Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Of innocence, animals, and bad science fiction

I'd like to begin by clearing up a few things. I loved everyones' comments on the past couple entries; they made me think.

My office friend said she had to leave the 9/11 memorial because she felt "used", between Bloomberg and Giuliani. It just wasn't right. I know many people who were there felt the need to be there, but the politicians' agendas, in both NYC and DC, were different from ours. It also gets me how people who don't even like to visit NYC for a week try to use 9/11 to make their points. I *know* that if our government wanted to catch Bin Laden, we'd have caught Bin Laden. Hell, any 14-year-old in America can tell you where the latest YouTube sensation is posting from and whether s/he is as s/he presents themselves. Don't tell me we can't get him.

I still like to think that our govermment actually wants to protect us, but that's one way many of us "lost our innocence", as the news reporters kept saying. I wanted to believe in GWB, the only president we've got. I wanted to believe that Giuliani meant well. Now I want to make every Giuliani supporter watch the last few episodes of Heroes Season One (in which a politician and his mother intended to take advantage of an impending tragedy) and GWB...well, make *him* slink away and take the few big rats left on his sinking ship, including that semi-closeted one, with him.

It needs repeating: The people who were most affected by the attacks voted for Kerry, or more precisely, against GWB, in 2004. I think that should say plenty. Of course, a college kid got tasered for yelling out too many questions to Kerry during a speech at the University of Florida this weekend, which shows we may not have gotten any better with him. I hate an insecure little bully with grown-up power, I really do.

Frankly, while I think the "Rice 'n' Bean" scandal is yet another tragicomic display of Republican hypocrisy, and while it doesn't surprise me one little bit, it's not the biggest scandal in Condoleeza Rice's career by far, so I'm not really all that concerned with it. I do hope that LGBT webmasters, writers, and bloggers will soon stop with the offensive racial imagery, like a picture of salt spilled next to pepper. I mean, cross-racial relationships happen, and the problem here isn't that one of these women needs a higher-SPF sunscreen than the other. My L'Ailee and I are technically of the same race, but a Florida redneck girl and a Siberian who came to NYC in her teens is about as cross-cultural as you can get. So I automatically sympathize with others in cross-cultural relationships.

I used the occasion of the lawsuit against Trouble the Rich Maltese Dog to share a quirk of mine. Basically, I'm the only person I know who fears small dogs more than large ones. I have a reason for that. I am not at all against providing for a pet's care--in fact, Leona Helmsley, mean as she was in life, inspired me and L'Ailee to think about putting our cats in our wills. (We just kind of figured our friends would take the ones they gravitated towards. We have eight, so we don't expect anyone to take them all.) I guess I should have made that much clearer. A pet can be loyal and loving when nobody else is; it only makes sense to repay that.

On to newer and more interesting things...

Speaking of innocence, and animals, the San Diego Zoo just found out that their month-old panda cub is a girl. A very cute, strong, friendly, and cooperative baby girl. Just look at how sweet she is! And look how sweet her mother Bai Yun is, too!

It's nice to know that the precious baby is a little girl bear. At the same time, I was a bit disappointed at the way some of my fellow and sister humans reacted. You see, this is the zoo's fourth panda cub, and it was a bit harder to determine this cub's gender than it was for her siblings. Panda babies are tiny, which means every part of them is tiny, which means sometimes it's tricky. Fans were getting upset not knowing! I'm thinking, "It's a little darling whose mother loves it! It's strong and healthy and growing and getting cuter every day! Who cares if we have to wait on gender, or even if it's intersexed?" (That has happened before.)

I'm a bit sensitive about intersexuality because I've met a few people who were. The Ex-Boy's got intersexed relatives--it runs in his family--so I did some research, too. (I particularly like the Intersexed Society of North America website.) It just seems right to me to respect the way people--or pandas--were made, unless they can't pass water or something. Not every animal or person was put on this planet to reproduce or to be the same as everyone else, and that's okay. Then we see that sometimes, to many other people, it's not okay, not okay at *all*, and we even have to induce conformity onto other *animals* who aren't bothered in the least by their difference. We have to have that clear category, even at the expense of other priorities. It was an attitude that seemed to dismay vets at the San Diego Zoo, too.

I think one problem is a deficiency of language, something else that San Diego Zoo vets admitted. We do not have a short pronoun for "genderless or not clearly gendered individual whom we value." Intersexed and transsexual activists have tried, with constructions like "sie", but that's not in the general vocabulary yet. We need something, I think. "It" is an object, a clock or chair or something, not a word we want to apply to an adorable and much-anticipated endangered-species baby, or our own beloved human baby who just looks a little odd when we change their diaper. In the Handmaid's Tale, there's a part where Offred's (the protagonist's) husband has their cat put down so their neighbors won't be tipped off to their escape from the new totalitarian regime by her meowing. Offred notes that the cat went from "she" to "it" in her husband's vocabulary, so he could stand to kill her. No wonder the veterinarians at the zoo called their unusually calm black and white baby "the cub" instead. No wonder the subject freaks people out.

Anyway. Did y'all see that Clint Bowyer won his first Nextel Cup race *ever* this weekend? I guess he got tired of people like me singing, "One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong" whenever he was shown next to the good drivers vying for the Championship. I would have enjoyed it more if he wasn't such a jerk--he was yelling at his crew chief when he was five seconds ahead of everyone else!--but I seem to remember that Tony Stewart wasn't always confidently drinking from his water bottle and asking how the Redskins were doing when he was comfortably in the lead. (Don't like being fair.) I also firmly believe that Martin Truex, Jr. stole Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s spot in the Chase. I hate going along with the conspiracy theories, especially since I pride myself on being an independent-minded fan, but it's simply too blatantly obvious which Junior got the good equipment, equipment that Dale Junior had paid for. If I were Teresa Earnhardt, I would be feeling really stupid right now, except that Teresa's too stupid to feel really stupid.

I wasn't disappointed by the 4400 season finale later on, anyway. Goddamn, that was amazing! I said this last year, too, but that show really rewards paying close attention. It moves slowly and meanders--you think--but everything comes together eventually, and not a single character or plot point is wasted. There were a lot of parallels with events in real life--with the ways our government mishandled Katrina and 9/11, with the ways politicians exploit disaster to their ends, with the conflict between respecting individual autonomy and keeping the majority of the population safe. That poor Baldwin family doesn't come out well at *all*, but they of course serve as a microcosm for the rest of the country. I'm trying not to say too much in case someone still hasn't watched their TiVo recording of it, but dang-a-rang, I don't know how I'm going to wait nine months for the next season!!!! At least we can watch Heroes and think of what we would do if we took promicin or had it inflicted on us. L'Ailee and I both like regeneration, but I'd also like healing, and she of course likes flight. Stupid, but fun.


Don't you love when a disabled person doesn't let their disability get in the way? Even an armless man can whip ass!

A photographic memory can be a fun thing. Have y'all seen the new Flat Earth snacks, with the flying pig logo? They're supposed to be healthy, offering full servings of fruit and vegetables. They taste...healthy, in the bad old stereotypical way. I'd much rather have some green pepper strips with French dressing as a dip for a healthy snack with veggies. But the name sounded real familiar to me, and I eventually remembered this article from the Onion: Frito Lay Angrily Introduces Line of Healthy Snacks. So *that's* it! Eat 'em up, fuckers! :-D

Are conservatives really dimmer than liberals? I don't think so--I grew up with smart conservatives and can be considered conservative in some ways--and William Saletan doesn't, either. He convincingly makes his case as to why a recent study was wrong, wrong, and wrong.

Designers in NYC and elsewhere are revolutionizing environmentally conscious fashion. I thought I knew some of what's going on--L'Ailee loves the undesigned line--but I didn't know about the FiftyRX3 blog! Well worth reading.

Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, compares same-sex marriage to *slavery*. Well! Considering why the Southern Baptist denomination was formed and where the founders stood on slavery, I think that's a very interesting comparison for him to make. If you agree with me and my wife on this issue, only read if high blood pressure isn't a problem for you.

By the way, the next time anyone wants to tell you SSM is going to lead to polygamy and challenges you on why you don't approve of multiple marriages, you may wish to bring up what happens to "excess" males in polygamous communities.

Happy Mabon (Autumn Equinox)/Pagan Pride Day to all who celebrate it!


cats said...

the article you linked about ssm and slavery was very interesting... especially since i think he made the exact opposite point he was trying to make.

alan said...

Funny, I've likened this whole debate to the one about Civil Rights...the battle that took over 100 years to win after the slavery one was settled...the one where the Bible was quoted as a means of continuing the blatant discrimination that had existed as the status quo!

I keep thinking that this will be settled soon and that then we can move on to important things; then someone like this raises their head and I'm not sure I'll live that long!


Barbara said...

Wow, there is always so much to digest in your posts. Love it.

You're only the second person I've "met" who was afraid of small dogs. A big strong cop I once worked with was terrified of my two little dogs.

Dr. Deb said...

I have friends who felt the same way.

BTW, the photo of the panda is so sweet.

BostonPobble said...

I, sadly, do not have the time to go back through and read the previous posts you mention here HOWEVER I love your thoughts on "sie" and everything else. I've missed you. It's nice to back.

Jaded said...

Did you read the story about the 50 something year old housewife/mother who tracks down terrorists? She sits on her computer and lurks in jihadist chat rooms 'cause she speaks Arabic. She provides intelligence to the intelligence agencies! So if someone like that can find out what's going on, you'd think that the goverment coud track down one man! Or maybe we should just send that woman to find him. I bet she'd be successful. (although, the government can keep pushing the war as long as they have the evil one we can all rally against, right?)

I LOVELOVELOVE the baby panda!

The Southern Baptist Convention has gone off the deep end in so many ways lately. Women have once again become subservient in their eyes. We apparently should be working, have no role to play in the workings of the church, and should do nothing more than clean house/raise kids. Now, I clean house and raise my kid, but I also run a business. That would be frowned upon. So, I will not read anything they have to say. I find them offensive. Jimmy Carter, whom I respect greatly, left the SBC because of their leadership's new direction. That speaks volumes.