Romney Supports Daycare

Who could have thought I would love anything that Mitt Romney could possibly say? But I really liked the following:

Poor women who stay at home to raise their children should be given federal assistance for child care so that they can enter the job market and “have the dignity of work,” Mitt Romney said in January. . . “I wanted to increase the work requirement,” said Romney. “I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless.’ And I said, ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.'”

In the environment where nobody wants to discuss the horrible damage a mother who is stuck at home and torn out of the normal functioning of society causes to her small children, it is very refreshing to see a politician who suggests that it’s more important to provide women with daycare than with cash to sit at home and gradually go nuts.

My sister has a 2-year-old and, through observing her, we have reached a unanimous conclusion that everybody in our family supports: the last thing a kid of that age needs is to be stuck at home with an adult all day long. Kids need to socialize and grow through being with other kids and not with a parent whose life is in a total dead end.

Romney will still lose the elections, of course, and that’s a good thing. But it’s great to see that even conservative politicians let slip useful things about housewifery. Let’s remember that Romney’s wife hasn’t worked a day in her life, so the guy is probably well aware of the burden of having a housewife about.

Students and the Environment

My students do not follow the foreign affairs, their interest in politics is very limited, and their understanding of the economy is non-existent.

However, they are very aware of the environmental issues and are capable of a very sophisticated analysis of those issues.

My Advanced Spanish students had an assignment that they were doing on their own and that involved using the vocabulary that has to do with nature and ecology. I expected boring, self-evident, uninspired responses because, at this time of the semester, nobody wants to invest a lot of energy into an assignment that is worth 0,25% of the final grade.

However, most of them handed in assignments that demonstrated a very impressive knowledge of what happens in the world in terms of the environment.

The new generation seems to understand a lot better than we ever did how crucial the environment will become to all of us. While older people keep getting boggled down in useless discussions of fetuses and zygotes, these kids are thinking about stuff that really matters.

And good for them.

Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

People have been doing some great blogging recently, so today’s list is quite long.

The state that has the greatest number of abortion restrictions also leads in the number of rapes of school age girls. This is not surprising. You promote hatred of women on the state level and you will see it flourish on interpersonal level, too.

Let’s support with many hits a blogger who really likes me. People with good reading tastes should be promoted. 🙂 People who like me should really be promoted.

While conservatives are mostly hung up on keeping women, non-whites, gays, and Muslims under control, liberals seem to want to grind fucking everybody under the heels of their giant (sustainable, fair-trade, cruelty-free organic leather) jackboots. But gently. In a caring, eco-friendly manner.” You’ve got to love a blogegr with such a great sense of humor.

If it’s highly unlikely that you’ll write, decide not to. Don’t hope you will. There’s no particular nobility in that sentiment.” Now, this is a person who writes beautifully.

How to have amazing sex every day.

In my view, we should treat disgust the way that we treat love. That is to say, if someone tells you that they are in love with someone else, no matter what your personal feelings about the object of their affection, it is appropriate to respect their opinion on this matter. Likewise if someone tells you that they find something disgusting, you should recognize that convincing them otherwise would be a waste of time and energy.” Hear, hear!

Are you aware of this hilarious debacle where a multi-millionaire housewife who hasn’t worked a day in her life goes into a hissy fit when that truth is pointed out? Check out this great post on the subject: “Mrs. Mittens took to twitter to let the world know that she was a stay-at-home mom with five boys, which means she worked plenty. After all, she’s also got three mansions to manage, plus all those swimming pools and stables to clean. Shoveling out the stables alone must be a full-time job.”

Read this important post, people. Please, read it. “Despite the fact that childhood sexual abuse is revolting, it is surprisingly common (statistics are difficult to estimate, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to think it’s around 30% for men & women, if not higher). . . This takes me back to my beginning discussion of schizophrenia. So many folks are intent on biologizing the disorder and ignoring the social factors. “We, parents, aren’t to blame for this psychotic disorder. We’re victims too”. Sure, maybe you are. But I want to also be vigilant to the fact that psychotic disorders often have historical and traumatic origins.”

Why abortion is not genocide.

I’m normal, I’m normal! Here is a person who is as much into creating graphs of his daily activities as I am. I’m not alone in my graph-making obsession!

Sorry, GOP. You can’t perpetuate inequality and sexism–and expect women to support you. You’re waging a war on women. It’s not simply rhetoric. It’s fact.”

Afraid of giving talks? This post could help.

I don’t know who this Hound they are talking about is supposed to be, but this is the meal of my dreams.

Reasons to write by hand.

Will North Korea attempt a nuclear test?

This lament of a compulsive book buyer could have been written by me. It’s rare for me to identify with anybody’s experiences as fully as I do here.

No one can read your mind — if you disapprove of a comment, but refuse to either confront the commenter or delete his leavings, other people reading your site simply assume you are okay with what he said. How can they know? You won’t even say anything yea or nay, because in your head you’re above all that. But no one can see you up there on your shining pedestal. It’s one thing to be unconcerned with what people think about you when it comes to your own beliefs and ideas that you have communicated to the world. It’s another to not care what people think about you because you don’t seem to understand that communication comes in many forms, and one of them is silence and inaction on a situation under your control.” I agree completely!

So this “motherhood is the most important job in the world” thing is an outlier. And it’s a tool used to not give actual mothers their due. It romanticizes what motherhood actually looks like; since the job is So Important, it’s positioned as something that women should be happy to sacrifice for. Of course motherhood should be tedious and financially stressful and uncompensated — your compensation is the smile on your child’s face! And that’s invaluable. If you think otherwise, you are probably some sort of witch.” The entire post is very good, so do read it.

America’s pill-popping capital. This is very scary, people.

The “I’m not going to lie” trend.

I would love it if, next time I walk into a room and had a sensory overload, instead of having people try to convince me I’m hearing things, or that I’m just wrong, and trying to draw attention to myself for no reason, to accept that I’m not attention seeking (the moment my brain went into overload and I had to cover my ears, I began to wish to be invisible and not draw ANY attention at all), and to accept that I am hearing a sound that is real and there, and to help me deal with it. But above all, I wish that it was safe and acceptable to say “excuse me, my Autism is showing”.

A great collection of quotes on the horrible damage religious fanatics and moral conservatives cause every single day to our society.

Catholic theologians denounce Paul Ryan as a traitor to Christian values.

And the post of the week: a Canadian blogger offers some very interesting research into the origins of Jenna Talackova, a transgender contestant in Miss Universe contest. This is fascinating stuff, people. I highly recommend.

Inflicting Happiness

Nothing is more annoying than people who try to inflict their understanding of happiness on others and massage the existence of others into their own understanding of what constitutes bliss.

Due to a completely misguided notion of politeness, one never responds to such well-wishers the way one would really like to, namely, “I’d rather submit to 10 years of penal servitude than consider living in what, in your warped worldview, passes for happiness, you officious, irritating creature.” Instead, one just babbles weakly about how, of course, everybody is different, which is why the definitions of happiness may vary. . .

“Oh, bother,” the well-wisher announces loudly. “Of course, everybody wants the same things.” And proceeds to inflict some more joy on miserable interlocutors.


Is The Hunger Games a Feminist Novel?

I won’t beat around the bush and will just give you my answer instead: no, of course, it isn’t. There is absolutely nothing feminist whatsoever about it. I can’t say that it’s actively anti-feminist either, though. The novel is simply not about that at all.

It’s funny that so many people think The Hunger Games is some sort of a feminist manifesto. For instance, Katha Pollitt, who is usually a very insightful journalist, gushes about the “feral feminism” of both the book and the movie like a teenage fan. These “female warrior” narratives that have become so popular in the past 25 years keep trying to sell us the belief that the most admirable girl of all is the one who has managed to turn into a boy. And I fail to see what’s so feminist and progressive about that idea.

The novel’s protagonist keeps repeating that she is much smaller and weaker physically than her male opponents in the Hunger Games. Yet, because of her great people skills, her capacity to sell her sexual favors successfully and fake sexual desire, her intelligence, her fast running and archery skills, she defeats them all.

I’m sorry, folks, but that’s a load of baloney. In terms of height, girth and muscle strength, women lose to men without a shadow of a doubt. Rare exceptions do not change the general rule. In any competition where brute strength or any sort of athletic abilities are involved, I can guarantee to you that I will lose even to the least athletic of men.

The good news, however, is that this doesn’t matter any more. The world has changed, and the brute physical force means nothing. People who used to make their living by lifting and moving heavy objects are being rendered unemployed by the physically much weaker folks who design the smart machines that can do these jobs much better. The muscle tone and the height are completely irrelevant to how successful and comfortable one will be in life. We, the women, have no need to prove that we can run, shoot, jump and kick ass as well as men. Because even if we can’t, it’s completely unimportant.

The “female warrior” narratives try to sell us some sort of a feminized version of a nerdy teenage boy’s Spiderman fantasy. “I will discover superpowers and will beat up all the men boys on the playground.” When that fantasy is projected on a female protagonist, silliness ensues. Let’s remember that the only battle that Buffy, a far more interesting and complex “female warrior” than Katniss, never manages to win is the one over the right to practice her sexuality as she sees fit. As a woman, i.e. a person who owns her female body, Buffy is a complete and utter failure.

For as long as I’ve been a reader, I have been searching for a female character I could identify with. Male characters like that abound. In The Hunger Games, for example, I feel a lot of affinity for Haymitch. Katniss, however, is as removed from my way of being Bella Swan is. The only real difference between the two is that Katniss is a little clumsier at performing patriarchal female roles: she mothers, albeit reluctantly, both children and adult men, she gradually learns to sell sex, and her entire existence belongs to her family.

And she can shoot a mean arrow. Whoop dee do. How very feminist of her.