Hail to the V, indeed.

Finally I understand. Finally someone has shed light on a biological question that has plagued me for years. Thanks to Missouri’s Todd Akin, I now know that I should never have worried about getting pregnant after Alain forced himself on me. The superpower of my vagina kicked into high gear to shut that thing down. Amazing. I wish doctors had been more forthcoming with that news earlier. Would have saved me a lot of stress, maybe delayed the onset of my hair going grey.

Oh, but wait. That wouldn’t have worked for me, would it? After all, by Akin’s definition, I wasn’t legitimately raped. Date rape doesn’t meet Akin’s “forcible” criteria. My trusty vajayjay would have been all confused, unsure about releasing the shut-down chemicals and blasting that rapist sperm to smithereens. Damn. Guess I was right to worry and just plain lucky that all I got was raped.

I’m betting the folks who came up with the ridiculous and offensive ad campaign for Summer’s Eve had no idea just how right they were when they exhorted us all to hail the V. I mean, that’s some awesome power. Okay, so it wouldn’t have worked for me, but that’s my fault for not having the sense to get myself legitimately raped. But for all the women who do, wow. Someone ought to harness the power of those shut-down chemicals. Surely a natural contraceptive would be welcomed by millions. No more migraines and weight gain caused by the pill. Oh yes. Hail to the ever-loving V.

Of course, now that I know about the shut-down system, I’m a little annoyed. The system seems flawed. It’s great, the whole not getting pregnant from legitimate rape thing. Really great. Absolutely. But it doesn’t go far enough, does it? Even Representative Akin realized that, saying that there should be some kind of punishment for the rapist. Some kind. I don’t know what kind he was thinking of, but I know the kind that seems best fitting to me. That fabled vaginal shut-down system should shut down more than pregnancy. I’m thinking a two-step approach. First, of course, is the instant penile vaporization — which would take care of the pregnancy danger most handily. Next would be the injection of a neutralizing agent that would make rapists turn themselves over to authorities as well as acknowledge and seek help for their power and control issues. Now that’s what I call a shut-down system.

Alas, that’s just crazy, unscientific, hysterical fantasy talking, nothing to do with the evidence-based pronouncements of Representative Akin. Hey a girl can dream, can’t she?

Um … yeah.

Yes, I’ve been gone a LONG time.  I’ll address that in a moment.  Right now, there’s this:

Really?  Really?

Found this through Curly Nikki who sent me to the Hot Hip Hop Detroit link.¹

I spent a week in Detroit at the beginning of the month.  The relationship between Detroit and its non-white residents is something I have a lot of thoughts about.  Little did I know that Seagram’s offering me the chance to buy my gin with a du-rag needed to be one of those things.

Oh, Seagram’s.  Oh poor, misguided, unambiguously racist Seagram’s.  Apparently this gin is “Urban Elegance” … that’s what I learned by checking out the Seagram’s Gin Live site.  And, as we all know by now and as the ads on the Seagram’s site confirm, “urban” is a way of saying “black.”  Yeah.  Should I comment on their “Gin & Juice” line of pre-mixed drinks?  You know, the eight-mix collection with names that are almost all notably violent or aggressive (Red Fury, anyone?  How about a Blue Beast or some Purple Rage?).  Should I comment on the 2011 model calendar with eleven months of scantily clad black women and one Asian woman, each associated with a drink (at least they didn’t make the Asian woman pose for “Singapore Bling” or “Raspberry Twisted Kamikaze” … I guess that shows something)?

And of course, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission has under its fingernails the dirt of approving this ad campaign.  Really, people?

Ok, so I’m not actually surprised.  In my neighborhood, I am bombarded with offensive ads all the time.  The most offensive of these are usually for alcohol.²  But this giveaway still amazes me.  And it amazes me for a reason that has nothing to do with how disgusted I am.  My disgust is a given.  Let’s think about this from the Seagram’s side of things.  You’re creating an ad campaign for your big fancy client, Seagram’s Gin.  You know they have a whole “Urban Elegance” thing going on … and you think a du-rag has anything to do with elegance?  Do you?  And clearly there’s a crazy-pants, drinks-too-much-of-the-gin staffer at Seagram’s who shares that ridiculous notion.  There is nothing remotely “elegant” about a du-rag, people.   Just know this.  Know it.³

Let’s get back to my righteous indignation.  You know what would be true urban elegance?  If all the “urban” people Seagram’s thinks they’re targeting with this giveaway turned their backs on this crap and shopped for Tanqueray or Beefeater instead.  So much classier than me pouting in a corner (in my du-rag).

¹  Though, I could have found it in plenty of other places. For example: The Milwaukee Drum (and yes, I’d love to get that “Uppity Negro” t-shirt from the sidebar).
²  How happy was I when a Sean Coombs Ciroc ad replaced the awful Captain Morgan billboard I used to have to pass every morning?  I may not be a Diddy fan, but I much prefer his ad to the image of a black woman looking drugged and unfocused as she sprawls on the ground in a bikini, her skin dripping oil.  Every morning for about six months.  Feh.
³  And, while it sounds as though I have all kinds of bad feelings about du-rags, this is really not the case.  I am, in truth, wearing one right now, protecting my curls so I can be all cute tomorrow.  I’m just saying there’s a time and a place for a du-rag, and when I’m stepping out and thinking I’m all the ish, there is narry a du-rag in sight.

I hate people … ok, I don’t really … except when I do …

I am a hugely fat, tall, dark-skinned woman who strides confidently and has big hair.  Can you see me?  If you can’t, please allow me to introduce you to the 4H kid who’s raising your guide dog because you, my friend, are blind.

Crowd of juiced-up white people congregating around the church I pass on my way from work to the subway.  I can smell the pot and see the beer bottles and know they won’t be pretty, know I want to be away from them.  I need to get from Point A on the east side of them to Point B on the west.  Each group I approach, I say, “Excuse me,” five or six times and with increasing volume.  No one moves.  Seriously?  Seriously, people?

Yeah. Seriously.  I have to shove past each cluster.  One guy, as I shoulder my way by him, says: “Did you feel that?  Something just moved by.  It’s so dark out here, I couldn’t see what it was.”  Seriously.

I do not have the time or patience for this level of bullshit.

I kept walking — head high, newly acquired face of belligerence in place.  Yes, I could have gotten in his face, made him acknowledge seeing me.  But why?  And, too, it would have been the very definition of a Pyrrhic victory: there were about forty of them and one of me, and most of them were men.    My decision to shove people aside so I could pass was enough of a challenge.  Further aggression — physical or verbal — would not have earned me anything but pain.

But really.  I have no time for this kind of crap.  I am done.  But other folks are clearly not done.  Can someone else deal with them, please?  I’m tired.  Beat to my socks.  It’s too many years, too much stupidity.  And I’m just so tired.  So tired.  Worn the fuck out.

A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place

Ah, don’t we all feel so very much better now that Anthony Weiner has finally admitted to being not only the subject of the crude twitpic, but also the sender?  I know I’ll be sleeping better tonight.  This whole story is so predictable, stupid, annoying, tired.  Why can’t these men figure it out?  No, I will refrain from adding to the 4,273,899 Weiner jokes that have made the rounds lately.  I do hope, however, that Weiner has learned to keep his mouse in its house and spare the rest of us.

But there are two things this story is making me think.  Plenty of people are calling for Weiner to resign.  Plenty of others are saying resignation would be the second mistake of this whole pathetic episode (really the third: sending the picture and lying about sending the picture would seem to hold the first two slots).  I’m on both sides.  Do I think a man shouldn’t hold public office if he can’t keep his pants on?  Not really.  But do I think someone who is foolish enough to send crotch shots of himself over Twitter should hold public office?  I’m thinking maybe not.  He couldn’t figure out what a stupid move that was?

This next bit isn’t just for Anthony Weiner.  It’s more of a public service announcement for men in general.¹  Women really and truly don’t want to see your penises.  We don’t want them flashed at us on the subway or in the park.  We don’t want to open an email and find photos of them.  Know this, men: your penis isn’t pretty.   If we are wildly attracted to you, madly in love with you … then your penis would have some appeal (and even then that’s really only true some of the time, often it will just make us chuckle because it’s such a strange little appendage).  But even if we’re in love with you, we still don’t want to see your little congressman without prior invitation.  Trust me.

Men don’t seem to know this.  It’s something I realized during the craziness of e-dating.  I wish I had five dollars and a memory eraser for every time some man sent me a photo of his penis after one email exchange, after one phone call. What is that supposed to do for me?  Is there really a woman somewhere who gets excited by the sight of a penis?  Sure, we might look at the guys in Playgirl, but we are looking at the whole guy, not just one little bit of him (though I have to say: for me, a naked guy reclining under a willow tree or hanging out of a police cruiser looks more comical than come-hither).

I know that men can’t help the fact that they think like men.  They know how thrilled they would be if the women they liked — or perhaps just any woman — sent them unsolicited topless photos.  But you know what?  Women aren’t men.  And breasts are a lot prettier than penises anyway.  Penises are a private matter.  No one is ever going to love them as much as you do, so you need to keep them to yourselves.  When we want to see them, we’ll let you know.


¹ And yes, I know all men aren’t the same.  I know and appreciate that fact.  Still, sometimes a little generalizing more appropriately fits the bill.

Update, thanks to Molly: If you haven’t yet seen Kristen Schaal’s hilarious piece that makes the same point, go check it out!

Reading Is Fundamental … ish

The A train yesterday.  Morning rush.  Crowded.  Lots of readers.  Seeing so many people reading when I’m out and about makes me happy.

But then I look at the page displayed on the Nook of the woman next to me.  Clearly from a chapter that must be called, “Disgusting Stereotypes about Haitians and How We Will Perpetuate Them.”  Its central premise seems to be that Haitians are worshipers of evil and that their pagan Voodoo ways are the cause of all their problems.

Seriously?  I read along with her for a few pages to see if maybe there will appear a magic line like: “Oh, these are the kinds of small-minded, hurtful things that small-minded hurtful people say about Haitians.”  No such luck.

But the woman across from me is reading Water for Elephants.  Yes, yes, she’s reading a new printing that has Robert Pattinson on the cover and that pisses me off, but still.  It’s a great book even with the lame “Now a major motion picture!” cover.

The woman next to her is reading Minding God’s Business.  I have no idea what this book is, but the title makes me smile.  Like you’re eavesdropping on God, or butting into divine conversations out of which you should definitely be keeping.  Silly.

I look around: kid reading Catching Fire, man reading Deathly Hallows, another with a graphic novel, a slew of spines I can’t see, a whole bunch of people deep in a newspaper.  Half a dozen Kindles, a few more Nooks, a handful of iPads.

I love-love-love to see people reading.  And I really am working on getting past my “You’re reading that?” snobbery (though I still can’t get behind a book that blames the people of a country for their misfortunes because of a string of lies about a religion).  I’m happy to see all these readers.  Happy, encouraged, affirmed.

Until she gets on.  Gorgeous, tiny Latina, closed and angry face.  She squeezes into a seat between two bigger women and pulls out a book: Why Men Love Bitches.  I want to be kidding.  I do.  I’m not.  The page she opens to is a rule (number 63? 68?) that says we need to keep men guessing and confused by not being available, that this behavior will drive them into our arms.  Oh.  Right.  So it’s not an “explaining how men work” book but a “how you can be the kind of bitch men will love” book?  Swell.

I try to console myself with my old stand-by: “Hey, at least she’s reading something,” but it doesn’t work.  Keeps getting drowned out by, “You’re reading that?”  Feh.