9/11 Coloring Book

It is really sad that people would trivialize the tragedy of 9/11 to achieve really strange ideological purposes. Take, for example, a coloring book on the events of 9/11.

 Do people not realize that the very concept of a coloring book on the subject makes a joke out of 9/11? It takes this event out of the realm of historic tragedies and transforms it into a fairy-tale or a cartoon.

Of course, the makers of the book only created it to sell their propaganda to little kids whose parents are unintelligent enough to waste money on this ridiculous object. As The New Yorker reports:

Above bin Laden’s startled face, there are four long paragraphs on the mission to hunt down and kill him, followed by a paragraph of editorializing:

Children, the truth is, these terrorist acts were done by freedom-hating radical Islamic Muslim extremists. These crazy people hate the American way of life because we are FREE and our society is FREE. We must be prepared to know and understand the truth. America is FREE. Ask your mother and father, your teacher, your preacher what this really means. What does it mean to be FREE? Why are we a FREE people? We are free to think, free to be honest, free to write, free to live as we wish. We are America. America does not hate other people in the world, but we love the world in which we live and will defend our way of life.

I’d say that what it means to be free definitely has to include not having some paranoiac screaming the word FREE at you like crazy when you are a small kid. Of course, you can’t explain that to someone who sends you to your preacher to find out what it means to be free.



Klubnikis and Lola

My niece – whom for the purposes of this blog I will refer to as “Klubnikis” – is very smart. She is only 21 months old but she operates an iPad like a pro, can count to six, knows more songs than I do, and understands almost everything (including quite complex sentences) in 3 languages.

She also must have realized what most people don’t, namely, that I don’t like my name and don’t perceive it as in any way descriptive of me onomatopoeically. So Klubnikis came up with a much better sounding version of my name. She calls me “Lola” (pronounced in a Spanish manner with soft “l”s and a short “o”). I like that.

Klubnikis also calls the elevator “elvie” and says “armies” for arms. You have to agree that “elvie” sounds so much better than just some stupid elevator.

At a garden party we had in Montreal, Klubnikis spied me going into the bathroom. Then, she went outside, approached every single guest and informed them in a conspiratorial tone, “Lola piss piss.” When I came back, I was greeted by everybody staring at me and the host asking, “So how did you like the work I did on the bathroom design?”

OK, I promise there will be no cutesy baby stories for a while. I just needed to get this off my chest. 🙂

Does Anybody Else Have a Problem. . .

. . . with this MLK memorial?

Aside from the fact that, as Maya Angelou pointed out, his words were mutilated into a quote that made him sound like an arrogant jerk?

Why is Martin Luther King Jr. suddenly white in this monument? Not only was the guy black, the very reason he is getting commemorated is his heroic activism on behalf of African-Americans. Right?

I’m just not comfortable with this monument at all. Surely, it would have been pretty easy to make it in a way that didn’t transform MLK into a white guy, wouldn’t it?

Russian Speakers on American Sports

N. and I went to my favorite restaurant in St.. Louis tonight. A group of sports fans came in.

“Have you been able to figure out what sport this Cardinals team plays?” I ask N.

“Well, there are only two possibilities, right?” he says. “We should be able to figure this out.”

For a while, we observe the fans in silence.

“Ah!” N. exclaims suddenly. “Look, the fans are wearing baseball caps!”

“So what?” I ask.

“So they must be baseball fans!” he responds triumphantly.

“Wow, you are smart,” I conclude.

I have been trying to remember what sport the Cardinals play for over two years. Now I think I will finally be able to keep it straight: it’s baseball.

Oral Sex As a Feminist Issue

Some of the weirdest attempts to explain human sexual preferences from an ideological viewpoint are related to oral sex. Here is a set of myths that surround oral sex and transform it into a quasi-feminist issue:

– Men who dislike giving oral sex to women are misogynist jerks.

– Men who love administering oral sex to women cannot possibly be misogynist jerks.

– Women who dislike receiving oral sex do not exist. If they do, they must be oppressed victims of patriarchy.

– Women who enjoy giving oral sex are subservient to men.

– The final destination of sperm during oral sex has ideological connotations.

– A true marker of whether a man is a feminist is how enthusiastically he gives oral sex to a woman and how willing he is not to ask for oral sex to be administered to him.

To me, all these attempts to bring people’s sexual preferences into the arena of ideology sound extremely bizarre. We keep making fun of the sexually repressed folks who say things like, “Of course, I don’t want my wife to have oral sex with me and then go kiss the kids with that same mouth.” But are we any different from them if we keep reading ideological meaning into sex acts?

If you want to figure out how feminist one is, believe me, looking at their oral sex practices is really not the way to do so. The manner in which they do or do not enjoy oral sex only tells you one thing about them: this is how they do or do not enjoy oral sex. Looking for  a more profound meaning in these practices is completely and utterly futile.

Hypocritical Much?

I just discovered a blogger who is appalled at the barbarity of parents who pierce their newborn girls’ ears but supports the parents’ “choice” to lop off parts of their newborn sons’ penises. According to this blogger the “particular gender-stamp” of pierced earlobes “is particularly abhorrent”, while chopping off bits of somebody else’s penis is not a big deal.

I agree completely that piercing a person’s earlobes without her consent is atrocious. However, in our Western civilization an earlobe and a penis carry very different sets of meanings. Inscribing your will on a child’s genitals is really not the same as doing it on her earlobe. This is a symbolic act that allows the parents to appropriate their newborn son’s sexuality in the most direct and indelible way imaginable.

It is really disturbing that some people believe in selective respect for bodily integrity. This kind of hypocrisy makes all of their pronouncements very suspect.

Autism-Friendly OB-GYNs

Nominatissima just published an absolutely fantastic post that provides a list of what OB-GYNs could do to make gynecological services more autism-friendly. I hope that as many people as possible read this post and then forward it to others, link to it or quote from it.

Visiting an OB-GYN is torture for an autistic person. I always keep putting off my appointment for as long as I can. I know that I’m placing myself at risk by doing so but the whole thing is very painful exactly for the reasons listed in Nominatissima’s enlightening post.

In grad school, I had on OB-GYN who kept making jokes during the whole process. Probably, she thought she was going to help me relax this way. However, I need a lot more time than an NT person to process a joke even under the most propitious of circumstances. In a high-stress environment such as an OB-GYN’s office, I’m really in no condition to process humor.

“Why aren’t you laughing? It’s funny, just laugh,” she kept saying. Honestly, it felt like badgering. And the problem is that when I feel badgered, I can’t speak. So you can imagine how much I enjoyed the whole situation.

The OB-GYN I got after I asked to be switched from the comedian was a chatty type. She was like one of those hair-dressers who seem to think that entertaining the customer with inane questions is part of the job description. Believe me, the last thing an autistic person wants to do when she lies there with her legs spread open and a stranger rummaging there for non-sexual purposes is to be questioned about stuff that has nothing to do with gynecological health. “So what are you doing for Labor Day?” is really not a necessary question to ask in this situation.

The next OB-GYN was an exclamatory type. You know those people who put an exclamation into every sentence? They are definitely not the kind of people you want to let anywhere near your genitals. “Ahha!”, “Ay yay yay!”, “Wow!” and “Ouch!” are not things you want to hear from a person who stares into your vagina. Comments of the “Hmmm. . . Interesting. . .” variety are also not necessary.

It would be great if people acquainted themselves with Nominatissima’s post and a conversation about how to make gynecological exams more bearable for autistics began.