Who Is Lyndon LaRouche?

American political scene never ceases to surprise me. The moment I think that I have finally reached a basic understanding of who’s what, I encounter yet another fascinating twist. Seriously, who needs mystery novels when you can just follow this country’s politics?

Today, I discovered a person called Lyndon LaRouche. Here is what he had to say about Putin’s decision to elect himself Russia’s president:

The Putin-Medvedev decision is actually a sign of hope for all mankind. What is required now is for the American population to dump its British-puppet President, and join with Russia and China to form the Great Pacific Alliance that can rescue mankind.

“This alliance is already in the making, as of the Putin-Medvedev announcement yesterday. Now is the time for American patriots to move decisively to dump Obama so we can join it, and take the necessary measures to save every section of the planet from an otherwise-inevitable collapse into the future envisioned by the British financial empire—depopulation and death.”


We have a joke in my country about this very old gentleman who had been a guerrilla fighter during World War II. Nobody told him that the war was over, so he continued derailing trains and blowing up soldiers’ quarters for decades after the war ended. It seems like Lyndon LaRouche is precisely this kind of person who keeps fighting a non-existent war with the long-defunct British Empire.

Is anybody aware of this politician? Feel free to enlighten me.

On Self-Service Check-Outs and Autistics

Before you start celebrating the reduction of the number of self-service check-outs in grocery stores, please think of the many autistics for whom a self-service counter is often the only way to purchase food in a non-traumatic manner.

A supermarket cashier can at least try to find another job. An autistic can do nothing to stop being who s/he is.

An Anti-Child Abuse Video Banned in Ireland

Sometimes, this blog’s readers kindly send to me suggestions about topics I could use for my posts. Reader Kinjal sent me a link to this article today:

Ireland’s advertising watchdog has made itself a laughingstock—except nobody’s laughing—by banning an anti-child-abuse PSA that was powerful enough to get noticed worldwide. The brutal spot by Ogilvy Dublin, which Adweek covered at length here, shows a boy being beaten up while still articulating, in grown-up language, a manifesto for children’s rights. After getting 13 complaints, the country’s Advertising Standards Authority has banned the spot from all “Irish media” (this does not include YouTube) because it supposedly breaches gender-equality rules. “Complainants objected to the advertisement on the basis that it was unbalanced in its treatment of the subject of abuse in the home. The advertisement only depicted a male as being the aggressor, and the complainants considered this to be unbalanced,” the ASA ruled, according to Adland. The stupidity of such a ruling is self-evident. It means you couldn’t dramatize abuse without having both a man and a woman whaling on the kid at once—which would be weird and completely shift the focus of the ad from the abused to the abusers.

I understand that the objections people voiced to the video sound ludicrous. However, if we analyze the PSA in question in a wider context, it becomes clear that there is a lot of truth behind the objections. In a recent post, I shared with my readers a series of posters that are part of a campaign against domestic violence. In every single poster, the abuser is male and the victim is female. The campaign addresses emotional and verbal abuse but at no point suggests that women can – and do! – abuse men.

More often than not, we imagine a rapist as a scary stranger lurking in the bushes, even though the absolute majority of rapes are perpetrated by people who know their victims and take place at home. This way of constructing the image of a rapist makes it a lot harder to prove that spousal rape and date rape are just as horrible and traumatic as being assaulted by a complete stranger in the street.

In the same way, domestic abuse and child abuse keep getting portrayed as being perpetrated exclusively by men. What lies behind this completely skewed portrayal is a belief that women are not only “the weaker sex” incapable of being abusive but also that women have some magic access to good parenting skills and some kind of a deeper love for their children than men do.

My friend and her partner recently had a baby. They are both highly-educated, feminist, and progressive people. Still, from day one, the father of the baby kept saying to the mother, “I have no idea how to burp her / change her diaper / put her to sleep / get her to stop crying, etc. You do it.”

“What makes you think I know any better?” my friend would always respond. “I never had any children before either.”

Women don’t have any kind of a “maternal instinct” that is unavailable to men. Mothers are just as likely to engage in child abuse as fathers. Until we allow ourselves to imagine maternal abuse as something that does happen quite often, however, we will not be able to address it.

A little while ago, a female blogger wrote a comment on this blog that said,

Please lay off those of us who choose to “lop off parts” of our sons’ penises.

She then got extremely huffy when I told her off and organized a silly anti-Clarissa campaign during which other female bloggers ridiculed me for caring too much about child abuse. As hard as I try, I honestly cannot imagine any male scientist, college professor and intellectual who would feel comfortable making this kind of remark about any part of his daughter’s body in public and then proceeding to make light of child abuse. This doesn’t mean that men don’t abuse children. Of course, they do. But they don’t act about it in such a cavalier way because they know they will be condemned for it.

We need to start having discussions, articles, posters, videos, etc. about maternal abuse, too.

I’m Not Clarisse Thorn!

So now it seems that some people are confusing me with another feminist blogger called Clarisse Thorn. I had no idea Clarisse Thorn (or pretty much any other blogger) existed when I started blogging 2,5 years ago. I chose Clarissa as my blogging pseudonym because Clarissa was the name of my grandmother who died tragically when she was quite young.

And now I’m getting confused with Clarisse Thorn who is a worthy individual, a good blogger, and a talented writer. But she’s not me. Just read a couple of her posts and a couple of mine, and the difference will become obvious.

Thank you for trying not to confuse CT and Clarissa and here is one of CT’s best (in my opinion) posts about the anti-porn movement for your reading pleasure.

Rapping Sarah Palin

N. and I spent the entire day today doing immigration-related things. One of them was getting our passport-size photos done at Walmart. This always takes forever because the pictures come out wrong and you have to redo them. And then they still come out wrong.

So to pass the time, we picked up Sarah Palin’s autobiography Going Rogue. Within twenty seconds we were rolling on the floor with laughter. I’ll just share a couple of quotes with you and you’ll see what I mean.

What are you trying to do, slay the golden goose? But when the boom went bust, the golden goose still ruled the roost.

Just try rapping this passage and you’ll see why it’s absolutely priceless. And if you think this is an isolated sentence, think again. The entire book is exactly like this. Every single sentence has at least one hackneyed ancient cliche. Most sentences have three or four of them.

Of course, when I got to the following statement, I realized that this book had been ghost-written by somebody who simply hated Sarah Palin and wanted to sabotage her:

My BlackBerry vibrated me back to work.

I imagined saying something like this in class tomorrow and it became clear to me that the person who wrote this had some personal grudge against poor Palin.


Yesterday, I realized that I’m now so Americanized that I’m out of touch with Canadian realities.

My mother was telling me about a restaurant she visited.

“I don’t like it much,” she said. “Besides, it’s very expensive, so I didn’t want to order a lot. So I just ordered two entrees.”

“Why on Earth would you do that?” I asked. “You could have just ordered a small salad and some soup.”

“That’s exactly what I did,” she answered. “I just told you that I ordered two entrees.”

I remained puzzled by the conversation until my sister explained to me that the story occurred in Quebec where “entree” doesn’t mean the main course but an appetizer.

Why Is It. . .

. . . that people who keep complaining about “greedy” Jews are always so eager to leach off of said “greedy” Jews?

A Jew is an imaginary space onto which people project their own worst qualities. They try to distance themselves from these bad qualities by loudly condemning the Jews for supposedly having these characteristics.

As I always say, if Jews didn’t exist, somebody would have invented them.

What a Horrible Teacher Sounds Like

And this is the kind of person who should never be allowed to teach:

And because I had spent the weekend in MyKindaTown with friends, drinking and laughing and having the kinds of conversations about art, music, philosophy, and sex that I cannot have with these children I teach four days a week–I lost it.

“What the hell are you two talking about that is so important?? I AM TALKING HERE. SHUT UP AND LISTEN. If you cannot do that, I will separate you permanently for the semester, or I will ask you to leave, because you are incredibly irritating and rude.”

And without skipping a beat, continued to explain the pertinent changes to our schedule before firing up my lecture for the day.

I don’t feel like I was out of line. I feel like they are fucking lucky that I don’t believe in physical violence, because this is the second time since the start of the semester on 9/8 that I have to call the two of them out and I was really feeling like just cracking their heads together like a couple of coconuts.

Can anybody tell me if in other occupations it is as acceptable to flaunt this kind of complete and utter lack of professionalism, or is it only the teaching that is blessed with having huge numbers of incompetents flocking to it? I don’t care how tired, miserable, depressed and stressed out I get, but if I ever allowed myself to behave in this disgraceful manner to my students, I’d consume myself with shame, guilt, and feelings of complete worthlessness. Any teacher who is worth a dime knows at least a dozen ways to get students to stop talking to each other and listen without these public fits of hysteria.

I believe that there is absolutely no excuse for “losing it” with the students. Feel miserable? Go to the Dean’s or the Chancellor’s office and scream at the people who are not in a subordinate position to you. And if you are too chicken to do that, then just stuff it.

I have no doubt that this person spends a lot of time whining about how s/he is unappreciated and downtrodden at work while happily stomping on people who cannot afford to yell back.

P.S. If the website where this was published realizes how horrible this post is and decides to pull it before you get to see it, you should know that I got it from College Misery.