Friday, March 07, 2003

Behold the Power of Uterus

Maybe it's just me, but I didn't think that the way to liberate women from manichean stereotyping was by replacing one set of stereotypes with another. It's still just a bunch of gibberish. I've been thinking about that lately after the whole Lysistrata thing, and then I came across this article on a "progressive" website. Here's the most offensive paragraph (and I had a hard time choosing):

Liberation, the act of rescuing the damsel in distress, the art of war to free people seen as incapable of carving out their own destiny, is a patriarchal fallacy. The idea of liberating Iraq by force represents the systematic domination of male over female, the forcible rape and ensuing grief and shame of disempowerment that women have historically encountered as victims of male-perpetrated violence.

As opposed to the everyday reality of rape, grief, disempowerment and shame that women endure under Iraqi rule. By this logic, no population, no matter how forcibly repressed, has any excuse for not liberating itself. And no one can help them, either, because that's patriarchal. Instead, we should listen to our feminine side in the matter:

Embodied in the female experience is this notion of conscience. It is the intuitive, secret voice that whispers the directions for following a higher path. It is the dreamlike symbolism revealed through humility and introspection. Turning inward requires reflection and self-knowledge, faith in the unseen. It is the root system which takes hold beneath the soil before peering upward into the light. First we must go deep before emerging into the world.

Iraq, the religious and historical cradle of civilization, is a potent metaphor for femininity. It is the Fertile Crescent, the great mother womb which gave birth to inventions like the wheel, the art of writing and three of the world's far-reaching religions, Islam, Judaism and Christianity which share a common Abrahamic lineage. It is the home of archaeological treasures buried deep in the vast desert sands. It is the home of unheard weeping, suffering borne disproportionately by grandmothers, mothers and children.

The invasion of Iraq is a crime against all women, against all that is feminine and sacred.

Here's where I'm going to get a little wound up. Women aren't somehow "closer to the divine" than men. Iraq is a country with a history. It is not a womb, not a sacred repository of the earth mother, and not a cypher for the great and powerful holiness that is WOMAN. And while I don't doubt that there is weeping and suffering borne disproportionately by women there, it's NOT because Iraq will probably be liberated by force, it's because REAL WOMEN, with REAL, NOT FIGURATIVE WOMBS AND BODIES, ARE BEING OPPRESSED, TORTURED AND KILLED BY THEIR FELLOW CITIZENS.

Get your head out of your sacred womb, you stupid cow, and look at reality. You're so caught up in "big ideas" about patriarchy and earth mother symbolism that you cannot see how your pseudo-intellectual analysis and resultant paralysis lead to the continuing perpetration of crimes against living, breathing women. There is a fine line between deliberate ignorance and willful evil, lady, and you're walking it. No matter how enlightened you think your uterus makes you.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

The Energizer Bunny of Stupid

It just keeps going, and going, and going. Read this if you need a laugh. Me? I want a Hip Hop Against Racist War t-shirt. Sigh. Especially when its spokeswoman says stuff like this:

We feel that the nature and intensity of these attacks reveal the clear white supremacist sentiment that is driving the push for war by its supporters. In addition, the violence embedded within this attack reflects the real and present threat of violence that students of color feel every day at North Carolina State University.

Gee, I must have missed the "KKK Says Bombs Away" pro-war demonstration.
Holy Hobbit, Batman!

I think I missed something in my first reading of The Hobbit, as this book description reveals. The original page from Wal-Mart has been taken down, but TORN helpfully provides a screencap. Hee!

Sorry for the light posting--hope to get back to my regular raving tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Bon Mot of the Day

"War is Terrorism. Just ask those who have plastic and duct tape for windows."

Had to pass through the Free Expression Tunnel, or "The Goofy Gauntlet" this a.m. on the way to Kinkos and Starbucks, and saw the above painted on the wall. I am...puzzled by the sentiment, to say the least.

What does that mean? Does it mean that squatters in unfinished housing are war refugees? Does it mean that Iraquis only have plastic and duct tape for windows? Just--what? Does it mean that Americans are having war perpetrated on them? See, if War is Terrorism, then I guess Terrorism means War. Following that logic, an act of Terrorism is an act of War, and we are more than justified in defending ourselves, so going into Iraq to dismantle a regime that funds terrorism and therefore creates war isn't pre-emptive at all...oops. Maybe they didn't think that little trope through. Or maybe they just ran out of paint before they could finish the thought.

Or maybe, if you're in a confined area (like a tunnel) where paint fumes tend to be trapped, at 1 a.m. (when the slogan was painted--we're now datestamping our graffiti at State to prevent premature whitewashing), and you've never really HAD an original idea in your life, combining all the slogans you've ever heard into one gobbet of dumb and spewing it forth onto a tunnel wall seems like brilliance.

But then, I've had a LOT of coffee this morning, so maybe I'm just thinking too much. Gotta hate when that happens.

Monday, March 03, 2003

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

Actually, this took about a whole minute longer than I would have expected. Perhaps the reflexes are slowing down in knee-jerk land? Yes, it's the ubiquitous "Look, there were racist slurs in the free expression tunnel about the war in Iraq! War is racist!" piece, written by someone in the "vaunted" and appropriately titled "liberal studies" program.

For the uninitiated, "liberal studies" is a catchall for folks whose attention spans are far too short for them to actually concentrate on one discipline. It's a mishmash of humanities courses, seasoned with marxist and feminist theory, whipped into a lather of reactionary and lazy scholarship, and half-baked for easy intellectual consumption. Yum-my. Here's a little taste from the aforementioned dish:

Since the United States embarked on its never-ending "War on Terrorism" in 2001, many of us who stood to oppose this endless war identified racism as one of the key components in the ideological backing for war. As war in Afghanistan turned into war in Iraq turned into war in Korea, we had our suspicions confirmed: The United States is much more interested in the economic, political and social control of black and brown bodies and their resources than ending "terrorism."

Note that the actual racism practiced by the people who flew the jets into large buildings is glossed over. See, if you're conducting a religious war against the infidel, it helps if a lot of the infidel happen to be white. That way, if the infidel get kinda pissy and start shooting at you, you can count on mental midgets in liberal studies programs to freak out and cry racism. See also how the racism inherent in the idea that black and brown bodies are always victims, never independent actors, is ignored.

Read the rest, if you're so inclined. But really, you don't have to. Here's the conclusion, just to give you some closure--or indigestion, if you'd like to continue with the belabored food metaphor:

Tuesday's messages were sad, frightening and telling, as the pro-war forces confirmed what we have known all along. War and racism are linked, and our world will not be safe until they are both eliminated.

No, that wasn't at all predictable. Just think--this guy's gonna have an MA soon. This piece could have been written by a random Chomsky generator. Explain to me again how academia is about rigorous mental discipline?