We all loved the 80s, but M.Snowe does not want to go back there, or even farther, as the case may be.
Labia Wars Episode V: The Religious Empire Strikes Back
Raiders of the Lost Vaginal Ark
Aliens in My Hoo-Haa
The Untouchable Part
The Princess Bride of Jesus
Back to the Future, Then Straight Back to the Past Again
This is Spinal Tap but in Your Gonads
Do the Right Thing Unless of Course that Thing is Providing Women Basic Healthcare Needs
The Terminator of 100 years of the Women’s Rights Movement
When Harry Met Sally and Immediately Prepped Her on the Rhythm Method
A Room with a View, a Vaginal Wand, and an Unnecessary Scan of Your Tiny Fetus
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off the Pill
So, which books are written by which former/current GOP Presidential hopeful?
Match the numbered book with the candidate. (Answer key below for cheaters)
A. Michele Bachmann
B. Herman Cain
C. Newt Gingrich
D. Ron Paul
E. Rick Perry
F. Mitt Romney
G. Rick Santorum
1. Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership, and the Olympic Games [A warm up, not a trick question, and not Jon Huntsman–he’s written no books!]
2. Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less: A Handbook for Slashing Gas Prices and Solving Our Energy Crisis [Guzzle, guzzle, pocket Exxon donations, guzzle, guzzle.]
3. End the Fed [See what he did there? Clever, clever.]
4. It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good [Surprisingly, not Romney]
5. Never Call Retreat: Lee and Grant: The Final Victory [OMG 2 subtitles!]
6.The Ron Paul Family Cookbook [A trick question??]
7. Core of Conviction [Like, molten lava core, a crazy Midwestern core, or creamy Cadbury core?]
8. No Apology: The Case for American Greatness [America never apologizes.]
9. This is Herman Cain!: My Journey to the White House [A trick question? If you’ve forgotten your author, remember–look down at the title!]
10. On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts are Worth Fighting For [A memoir from Catholic prison, by Father O’Leary?]
11. Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington [I liked the other guy’s Fed title better…]
12. They Think You’re Stupid [The literary equivalent of an “I’m with stupid” t-shirt]
13. 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours [Hint: Those principles didn’t actually work for us!]
14. Rediscovering God in America: Reflections on the Role of Faith in Our Nation’s History and Future [Published by “Integrity House”?]
15. A Foreign Policy of Freedom: Peace, Commerce, and Honest Friendship [ZOOMFG, China, let’s like lunch sometime, OK? Luv u!
1. F Romney
2. C Gingrich
3. D Paul
4. G Santorum
5. C Gingrich
6.D Paul [NOT a trick question, but what the hell are they eating?]
7. A Bachmann
8. F Romney
9. B Cain
10. E Perry
12. B Cain
13.C Gingrich [with coauthor Jackie Gingrich Cushman, i.e. the first of his two ex-wives.]
Recently, through a five-year old relative, M.Snowe found out about an “interactive” toy/book product for little ones called “Elf on the Shelf.” Perhaps this has existed for years, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it or heard of it. Here’s the Elf’s “story.”
So let me summarize: You read your kid the book about the Elf. You give the Elf a name, and then it magically acquires some sort of “Christmas Magic.” This Magic allows it to travel back to Santa every night, and REPORT BACK TO SANTA WHAT AN ASSHOLE YOUR KID IS. Also, if the child touches the Elf, they are warned it will LOSE ALL IT’S SPECIAL MAGIC and there will be no Christmas gifts. The Elf travels back to the owner’s house and magically appears in a different location in the morning.
Okay, so maybe these mind games aren’t on par with the Little Albert experiments or anything, but M.Snowe still finds it a bit perverse.
As with all perversities, let’s come up with some other, perhaps more adult-oriented, options:
JoePa on the Sofa–supposedly a nanny cam to make sure your babysitter isn’t feeling up your kids. (This toy was recalled a few months ago.)
Illegal on the Beagle–This underpaid worker disappears at night to take that job at the seven-eleven you wouldn’t condescend to take, even though your damned dog is totally starving.
Pepper Spray Cop on the Laptop— Every time you visit MoveOn.org, you’re basically asking for a capsicum shower.
Chupacabra on the Candelabra–I’m just saying, look up when you enter the room.
The Terminator on the ‘Frigerator–He’ll be back…for your Häagen-Dazs.
Batten down the hatches!
Seriously, red alert, readers!
Oprah, in her infinite wisdom, has decided that her magazine will feature “eight rising poets” in a photo shoot, so that all the readers can see them “express their dynamic personal styles—and show you how to cultivate your own,” i.e. with awesome clothes!
Dear Oprah and your magazine minions: Of course we believe that you are oh-so-pro-lady it hurts. But this is just wrong. This is something we would expect of Cosmo, or Seventeen (and we still wouldn’t like it). While it’s quite lovely that these WRITERS will get some extra publicity, and therefore extra commish, this is not cool. It’s true M.snowe may not like your book club–but at least it just sells books–usually good works of literature, so that’s all good. But, did you parade Jonathan Franzen around in Versace and make him use a hula hoop? When he apologized to you for that Corrections kerfuffle, did you literally make him eat his words? No, you didn’t, because he is a respectable, straight male who clearly is allowed to take his writing seriously.
For Shame. As someone who is constantly hounded by the rag mags, which obsess over your body and its fluctuations (a topic that has nothing to do with your craft and is therefore irrelevant), you should know better. M.snowe is sick to her stomach. Thank you for sending us back to the 1950s. Thanks for reminding us that in order for a woman to have anything substantive to say, she must look good while saying it, because then at least you have something pretty to look at while you’re nodding and not really paying any attention.
p.s. At least the commenters on the O website seem to be chiming in with dismay.
Wisconsin, Charlie Sheen, and Cleveland, Texas.
You might think these three things are quite dissonant, aside from the fact that all three have been a part of new coverage of late. But actually, they all have something else in common: Someone is being fucked over, dismissed, or totally obliterated due to a financially or culturally accepted mindset.
So, here are the three stories:
While m.snowe could go article by article and break it down for you, she thinks that sites like Feministing have already done the heavy lifting in that way, so why sound like a broken record? What m.snowe wants to talk about is the idea of victim-hood, especially as exhibited in these three stories.
In one way or another, all the victims of these articles are stigmatized, or at the very worst, made out to not be victims at all. The Wisconsin public sector workers are by and large over-educated people who took crappy wages to do some of the most essential (and unpraised) jobs in their state–teachers, cops, nurses, firefighters. One of their only real benefits is pensions and decent health coverage. But, because of certain largely untrue stereotypes about state workers in general, including that they are overpaid and under-worked, the Republicans in Wisconsin can claim that every other citizen is actually the “victim,” and destroy a simple framework of rights for an already heavily dismissed sector. According to the Republicans, the public workers are the ones bleeding the government dry with undue cause. And therefore, it’s easier for some citizens to stomach it/legitimize it. I’d like to see the state representatives vote for requiring a state-wide referendum when they want their own pay raises above a certain level. Also, let’s not forget–unions were first formed in the United States to protect sweat shop and mill workers. Think of where we might be had those unions never been formed.
Charlie Sheen smacks around a bunch of women (repeatedly, at different points in his life), and it gets a blip on the gossip reels, and perhaps he’s given a slap on the wrist. But, he abuses himself and the reputation of CBS to a point of no-return, and he’s pulled off the air. Who’s the victim here? It’s certainly not Charlie. As Anna Holmes of the NYTimes puts it:
“But there’s something else at work here: the seeming imperfection of Mr. Sheen’s numerous accusers. The women are of a type, which is to say, highly unsympathetic. Some are sex workers — pornographic film stars and escorts — whose compliance with churlish conduct is assumed to be part of the deal. (For the record: It is not.)”
Basically, these women were asking for it. This is an example of what m.snowe likes to call, “The Dateline Effect.” M.snowe watched a lot of Dateline NBC as a kid–and almost unilaterally, all the murder-mystery stories were about pretty (usually blond) white women in their teens or twenties from a good quiet American town who were abducted or otherwise murdered by their husbands for no seemingly apparently reason. For a large bit of my childhood, m.snowe thought she was out of danger, seeing as she didn’t live in a quiet cul-de-sac, wasn’t named Stephanie or Mandy, nor had a cute dog and an adoring boyfriend who might turn violent. These are the victims we want to champion–the normal, the ones like us, or the ones that are the least offensive to the greater population. This of course was unsaid by news organizations, but absolutely implied. People of color, or differing orientations, etc.–anything outside the perceived norms of greater America. No one wants to say it, but this effect proves: some people stand by the idea that some people are “worth more” than others–and so when those with higher price tags are victimized, it defines the very top of victim-hood–young, innocent, beautiful, white, straight, etc.
But what happens when you are not at the top? Apparently, you’re disregarded when a celebrity shoots or hits you. Apparently, you are accused of asking to be raped at 11 YEARS OLD. First, m.snowe should say that there is a long history of all women (young, old, scandalous, virtuous) being somehow blamed for rape, as if rape would’ve been prevented by them, had they done something differently. The notion that a young victim should’ve dressed differently, or posted things on her Facebook page differently is complete crap. We created laws so that they can be enforced for all citizens. And no matter what, eleven years old is way, way underage for any kind of consent. This girl has only been alive for a decade. It doesn’t matter how she dressed, talked, etc.–she was taken into a house and battered and raped by 18 different, utterly disgusting creatures who like to pretend they are men. And the town? The ones that are commenting are more worried about the basketball prospects since two of the alleged rapists were on the team. Or they’re worried how the town will deal with 18 boys and men in jail. M.snowe is furious. You should be too. Who would defend a murderer by saying “well, that guy he murdered shouldn’t have worn that obnoxious shirt today.” The theory that men get some leeway because they are sexual animals who can’t keep it in their pants is an insult to awesome men everywhere.
m.snowe is often conflicted as she writes this blog, because sometimes, as a person who is pro-lady, you get into a situation where you essentially simultaneously become very anti-lady in incredibly specific cases (Ahem, Ahem, AHEM!). Of course, often, these women that you are against are public figures, and that opens them up to public discourse, and the criticism they might so royally deserve. And if women are truly to feel the full scope of intellectual equality, then they should be able to debate without worrying about gender.
But what about folks who are just putting their lives out there, into the blogosphere?
In the past two or three days, there have been multiple stories involving women writing about their lives. And not their lives as kick-ass independent awesome women, but as Stay at Home Girlfriends, or the dreaded “Mommy Bloggers.” For some reason, people want to read the intimate details of these people’s lives, instead of hearing about their ideologies, political views, etc. Truthfully sometimes, that’s more interesting. Perhaps it’s because some of them seem like train wrecks–M.snowe thinks so, at least–and we all know that makes for good entertainment. Or perhaps it’s to get people like m.snowe infuriated at the backwards logic that some of these articles or blogs promote. Either way, these blogs and articles are becoming the most read (and, according to the NYTimes, multi-million dollar businesses). M.snowe has many thoughts, but first, the articles we’re talking about:
- How to Survive as a SAHG (stay-at-home-girlfriend)
- Another SAHG’s blogged response to the previous article called “feminism schmeminism”
- A detailed NYTimes account of the top-earning “mommy bloggers” and the phenomenon surrounding it
Clearly, there are things that m.snowe thinks are just ludicrous. In the first link, regarding providing sexual favors:
“Frankly, there’s no real reason (time of the month aside) why I shouldn’t be ready and willing when he is. I try very hard to keep my boyfriend happy and this is a key part of doing so.”
She also admits at the end:
“I’m positive some people reading this will assume I’m a brainwashed and battered woman, and I can’t say I’m all that concerned.”
I don’t think this woman is battered or brainwashed–that lets her off the hook too easy. But you know what? Frankly, m.snowe doesn’t care. Who is this woman that anyone should care? Either her or her boyfriend’s expectations (or a bit of both) are skewed in a scary way. But, hey, people can mooch off of others if they find a willing partner with which to do so (or they lose their jobs in this economy and need to get back on their feet). Whatever. I’ll tell you why m.snowe is a bit angry about this piece–why did the website even publish this? Oh, that’s right, because schmucks like m.snowe will link to it, and it will get traffic, and ad revenue, you get the drift.
And here we go again, in article 2 (my underlining):
“…a lot of women are still wired to be nurturers and care takers and that there should be absolutely no shame in wanting to fulfill those innate desires.”
My innate desire? To flip you off. But I resist, at least electronically, to do so, because no one should listen or care about your ridiculously fonted (what is that, lucida casual?), black-background blog.
Clearly, the NYTimes article has a more interesting story on its hands, and page five (if you can get through the first four somewhat stereotypically exasperating pages about women becoming mommy bloggers) sheds some interesting light on what it means to be a personal blogger, and just how personal you actually get, and how to keep it an enticing read for your visitors. Also, “mommy bloggers”–can you please do me a favor and find a new name for yourselves? Thanks!
So, M.snowe is just saying, go to good blogs, and let’s forget about this mess!
MATTY: Clearly, Giselle, this year, the designers thoroughly prepped their models. The models showed a committed intensity second to none, and weren’t afraid to show emotion. They all decided to go big or go home. And you can bet they didn’t go home. In fact, they’re still out in the city square runway right now.
GISELLE: OMG, Matty, so true. I loved the dark circles around their eyes, as if they hadn’t slept in a bed for days. And the haute couture is out in force tonight on the catwalk, which, incidentally, is made from shellacked protester tent poles and ransacked wooden structure scrap.
MATTY: Tres grunge chic! And did you see that floor-length number from the Al Jazeera line ? You know, the red and white flag that they wrapped, on the catwalk, on the bearded male model?
GISELLE: How could I miss? Beards are so in this year, btw. I mean, really. As are male models–we’re seeing a lot on the catwalk and in the crowds this year. Totally outshining the women.
MATTY: But you know who else is out? Yemen. I mean, one day you’re hot, the next you’re not. Watch out, Tunisia, you’re next, if you keep up that singed, frayed look.
GISELLE: They need to figure out a way to be classic. Like Egypt. I mean, did you SEE those angled hemlines? Umm, Excuse me! The ivory cashmere and lambskin protest signs? What a signature collection of protest vogue!
MATTY: I couldn’t agree more. Glam-O! What about those bold colors and the poufed shoulder pads? Way to put the “rev” in revolution! Gerry–everyone, our producer Gerry!–So Gerry, can you put that live feed from Egypt’s fashion week up on the big screen?
[Gerry mumbles something]
MATTY: You mean, you don’t have a live feed? The internet feed from Egypt is down? Don’t they know there’s a fashion show going on!?
GISELLE: Srsly. Oh well, onward! Guess what else is old yet new again this year? Headscarves! Seriously, these are in everywhere. And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but metal grommets are so in too! Grommets are one of the only fashion devices that really say “I’m so serious I’m keeping metal near my body at all times.” You are instantly so tough!
MATTY: Look at them sparkle with insistence! Such an inspiring collection from the Dissidents label.
GISELLE: Okay, Matty, you know what time it is…
MATTY: Time to scrape the fashion roadkill off the runway before it starts to make stink!
GISELLE: Last year, it was Prada Doha that really stunk it up with neutral-on-neutral tops and enlarged tulle hats in the shape of oil spigots. This year, the honor goes to…drumroll please…
MATYY: Mubarak! The glamour of the monarchy and totalitarian states is so last year!
GISELLE: OMG, I could not agree more. I mean, the military color palette and bobbles, along with the knit duffel capes couldn’t be more insulting to fashion. So imperialistic and stiff.
MATTY: All right, Gerry’s waving hysterically and saying something about evacuation. So look’s time it’s time for us to go. Remember–fashion is life! See you all for the next big event–Fashion Week: North Korea!
Howdy, folks! Today, m.snowe could have written a riveting response to that Jesse Bering piece on Slate about how women have evolved in order to prevent themselves from getting raped.
But, it’s Friday. Fridays are days to do less work and then get drunk, not to talk about sexual assault, and/or the implications of evolutionary science. So in order to waste some time (while hopefully still entertaining y’all) I’d much rather tell you all about my daily morning dilemma.
m.snowe gets up ridiculously early. Not garbage-collector early, but definitely early for someone in publishing. Think: school-teacher early, give or take. So naturally, a lot of coffee needs to be had. And when does critical mass approach? Right on my walk into the office, after thumping up the stairs out of the subway and onto 35th Street.
There is one Starbucks on my way into work. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Before m.snowe goes any further, let me stress–this is the ONE Starbucks that I can handle. And believe me, I’ve tested out many. It is the only one directly in my path, and it is almost never busy. It’s not dirty, and there are almost no tourists that don’t know how to order things–just people in a hurry, that understand everyone else is in a hurry.
Okay, so there is one Starbucks (and yes, I also know that you are thinking Starbucks is an evil empire. I guess that makes me a Storm Trooper, but Jesus, who isn’t a Storm Trooper for one reason or another before 8AM?). I get a Grande, Bold, Plain Ol’ Cup O’ Joe every blessed morning. Of course, this only happens when I’m not on one of those “strapped for cash so I can only consume $2 tacos for the rest of the week” kicks, which happen more often than not. (Again, as I work in publishing.) So, anyway, that is my coffee order.
You would think there is nothing problem-causing about this order. You would be wrong. There are further nuances here:
1. I drink my coffee absolutely black. Blacker than Robin Williams’s back hair.
2. I am incredibly worried about over spending.
3. I have an irrational commitment to the idea of fairness and justice.
4. I like to be pleasant to food service workers, because I used to work in food service (can you say, college mess hall/work study?).
So, my dilemma: I immediately noticed that usually, the Barista leaves at least one or two ounces of liquid out, so as to leave room for folks who like milk, sugar, etc. The first time I noticed that, and felt that I wasn’t getting my money’s worth, I asked if the Barista could fill it to the brim.
His response: “Oh, so you want ‘no room.'” Yes. I had the easiest solution, right? In order to get a full cup of black coffee, all I need to do is order it with “no room.” No worries, right?
Wrong. In fact, every time I say, “Grande bold coffee please, no room,” one of two things happen:
The Barista says, “huh?” and looks at me funny while proceeding to fill me an un-full cup, or the barista completely ignores what I said and gives the order (minus the instruction of no room) to another person, who gets me a coffee with a few ounces missing.
And now I am trapped in an untenable situation: I need their coffee, but every visit, msnowe is either:
–The asshole who hands the coffee back and politely says “I asked for no room please,” and gets dirty looks
–The unhappy customer with 2.3 ounces less coffee than she paid for, who walks the last block to her building crestfallen, head hung low in defeat
Viable solutions are strongly encouraged. This is about as philosophical as m.snowe can get on a Friday afternoon. To have such troubles, right?
p.s. Unrelated and way, way more substantial: Obama kicked ass with his speech the other night. Just sayin’.
m.snowe’s “tips” for how to write a book that will invariably be reviewed well by the general/intellectual audience and the media outlets they praise (i.e. NYTimes, NYRB, etc.):
1. Be pretty/handsome in your author photo. Smile into the camera and tilt your head if female. Gaze ponderously (with glasses) and look towards something in the distance if male.
2. Have a long title (so that it eats up review word count and reviewers don’t have to say as much about your book, or alternatively, they can give it a snappy abbreviated title). Example: “The Soul-Crushing Work of Staggering Boredom in Which Everything is Illuminated to Radioactive Levels, Bitch.”
3. Make your book at least partly about race or poverty, and be sympathetic to it. That, or the plight of middle America. Immediately, Oprah will make your book into a made-for-tv movie on HBO, and no reviewer will ever be able to completely hate your book, for fear of being labeled as a racist or upper-class elitist. (But do not think you will get a similar reaction if it’s about gender or neuroscience.)
4. Where appropriate, add “local color.” That can be in the form of cool story framing or the use of accents specific to Southern locales. Do not correct grammatical errors in speech. You’re not being lazy or exploiting a different race/class because, you know, it’s for local color and authenticity.
5. Write well, but not unimpeachably so. Because if you write too well, people will review your book poorly just to be contrarian or self-aggrandizing.
6. Add a spiritual revelation. Laying on of hands and shaking are optional, but encouraged.
–m.snowe just finished reading “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” by Rebecca Skloot. While m.snowe for the most part enjoyed reading it (especially the aspects of law, science, racial tension, and privacy), she really hated the sections written in the first person by Skloot. Her interaction with the family, while unavoidable to mention, is covered in a way that is deeply patronizing and self-congratulatory. And considering everybody has been shitting daisies all over this book, she thought someone should mention its flaws.
Apologies, I’ve been neglecting my blog in favor of far-flung voyages (as if anybody actually reads this blog anyway!).
But here’s a little snippet of an extremely-satisfying -to-compose story… m.snowe has found that perhaps better than any corporal reality, fictional punishment is quite enough when exploring very personal injustices. Hope you enjoy, and please do let m.snowe know if she should compose further hellish levels.
BUSFERNO…The stress -reducing imaginings of a withering traveler.
While sitting on the MEGAbus one cold November evening along the Hudson River, I remember falling asleep, my head stuck in the vice-like crack between my headrest and the window, and then I woke up with a jolt…I think…
To my surprise, a rather portly man silently tapped me on my shoulder to wake me. The bus, it appeared, had been emptied; all the other passengers were gone. The most peculiar glare was coming from the windows, as if light was filtering through a deep fog against the glass. The rotund gentlemen with a blue bowler cap beckoned me forward silently with his index finger, and let himself out the bus door, which opened as he approached it as if by a motion sensor, without any levers pulled or buttons pressed.
I decided to follow him. At once, as I stepped off the increasingly narrow and angled flight of stairs, I was thrust into a world that looked nothing like the boring suburban hometown that was my bus’s destination. The first thing I noticed was the ground (if you could really call it that). It was littered with all manner of garbage in such a way that you couldn’t decipher the bottom–gum wrappers, dirty clothes, used condoms, half-eaten sandwiches, sticky old already-been-chewed gum, snotty hankies, banana peels, all manner of rotting food–I only mention the most inoffensive objects to you now, to spare you the gruesome scene. It was worse than Brighton Beach the morning after a college all-night bonfire party. By no means did I want to stay in this neighborhood. It expanded out as far as the eye could see, and the sound of crunching and crumpling and grunting got louder as I carefully maneuvered through the filth.
The portly gentlemen seemed to want me to follow him, and in the distance, I could see what looked like another bus, parked and ready. Perhaps my way out of this horrid place. Halfway there, I noticed that some of the garbage was moving.
In fact, it was moaning. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the upright bags of Sunchips–those eco-friendly, extra-noisy crinkly bags–were spinning around. I leaned down to look closer at one of the slowly oscillating bags–indeed, amongst the logos and pictures of chips, was a tiny set of eyes, a larger nose, and at the bottom—a gaping human mouth. When the eyes focused on me, I realized, it was a person, buried in the trash-laden ground up to their neck, head glued tightly inside a potato chip bag, as if it were a mask. To say the least, from what I could make out, this guy looked incredibly stressed out. “Nom, nom, nom! Help me eat out of this!” he cried, mouth full, in between huge chomps of brownish black apple cores, used chewing gum, and moldy, half-eaten sushi. “Imost aate talll!!!!” was his cry of increasing urgency. But it seemed no matter how much he consumed, the pile of putrid refuse just refilled itself and tumbled into his screaming and chewing mouth. Only after his cries became piercing did I run away, and while running, remember that he looked strikingly similar to the man I sat across from on my bus–the one who was constantly eating with his mouth open and smacking for all to hear.