TRIGGER WARNINGS for pretty much every goddamn fucking thing.

We sometimes talk about subject matter that may be disturbing or harmful to those without the spoons to deal with it at that particular moment. Although we try to be conscientious about putting explicit notes about such content at the beginning of these posts, we are imperfect humans and therefore sometimes forgetful or unaware of the potential for harm. In those cases where we unfortunately stumble, we would be most grateful for your feedback on how we can be better writers, better allies and better human beings. Note in particular that some of our older posts contain ideas and language (such as “tranny”) that we have since come to understand are objectionable or harmful. Cringeworthy as they are to read now, we keep them as a potent reminder of how blind we can be to our privilege, and that being an ally is a process that requires an ongoing commitment to listening and learning. Again, we offer our deepest regrets. As we come across such posts, we endeavor to add appropriate content notes—and apologies—in order to make the Palace a safer place to visit for all readers. Well, okay, except for conservatives.

The Palace is a journey, not a destination.



First-time commenters are moderated: it’s the WordPress default and helps cut down on spam. After your first comment posts, your future comments will appear instantly. Please be patient: we try to approve new commenters quickly. Alas, sometimes life interferes.

This is not a safe space for @$$holes—for example conservatives of all stripes.

Everyone is welcome to engage in dialog here, and thoughtful disagreement is enthusiastically encouraged. Someone misinformed or unaware of certain facts is not an @$$hole: we are all ignorant of many, many things, and discovering them is what makes life (and blogs) interesting. An @$$hole, on the other hand, is someone who becomes aware of countervailing reasoning and evidence, yet stubbornly holds onto an untenable position anyway (“For-profit healthcare is the best system ever devised for human well-being!”). @$$holes, you see, are willfully ignorant. If one simply does not know or understand something and inquires about it in good faith, one is by definition not being an @$$hole. This is how we all learn.

This is a monarchy. The Palace reserves the right to delete, defile, and/or mercilessly mock @$$holes and @$$holeish comments at its sole discretion.

A HELPFUL NOTE:  If you personally find the Palace offensive, boring, beneath you intellectually, insufficiently catering to your unearned privilege, or otherwise unsatisfactory in any way, please go elsewhere.


Some may find coarse and adult language offensive. We do not. The most heinous, horrific and deeply offensive ideas can quite easily be expressed in words that are perfectly civil and polite. It is the content of an idea or argument that ultimately matters here, not its “tone,” and certainly not whether someone in a fit of righteous rage drops an f-bomb or five.

So we sometimes use adult fucking language ’round here. Yep. We are in the business of mocking conservatives and other unrepentant @$$holes, and we freely deploy colorful language to do so. However, we try — admittedly not always successfully — to refrain from using gendered slurs, or insults that are sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, classist or otherwise dismissive and demeaning to marginalized, oppressed and less-privileged individuals and groups. Here in the US, we have all only ever existed in a culture that is deeply sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, classist, etc., and thus we have all internalized language, behaviors and narratives that reinforce and perpetuate the ugly and unjust status quo. That is how human culture works. For those who aspire to be better human beings, it is a necessary endeavor to cull such harmful memes from our repertoire as best we can when we become aware of them, and to only use our privilege, power and platform to punch up—never down.

That being said, conservatives and other assorted @$$holes are manifestly not marginalized, oppressed or less-privileged individuals or groups. They control the government of the most powerful nation on Earth, have done so for decades if not centuries, and show no sign of retreat (quite the opposite). They have taken over state and local governments across the nation and are eagerly destroying civil liberties, labor unions, the human right to bodily autonomy, the air and the water, the rule of law, living wages, the country’s standing in the world, public education, the insufficient social safety net, crops and coastlines, the wall of separation between church and state, the wall of separation between big business and government, and the lives of millions of innocent people, including children, here and around the globe. (This is not a complete list of grievances.)

Thus, we mock.


Iris Vander Pluym is a godless, feminist lefty. She is a regular contributing columnist at The Political Junkies for Progressive Democracy, Secular Woman Salon, and Worldwide Hippies/Citizen Journalists Exchange, and has guest posted at Pharyngula, The Greanville Post and elsewhere. Raised to believe Nice Girls™ do not talk about politics, sex or religion, it turns out that those are pretty much the only subjects she ever wants to discuss. When she’s not busy mercilessly mocking conservatives and other fools, Iris is an artist, writer and activist living happily in New York City’s West Village.

Email: irisvpluym at the gmail thingy d0t c0m.
Twitter: @irisvanderpluym | Facebook.

SJ (Science Junkie)
Loyal Subject.

SJ is the ‘nym of a self-described “older married guy,” a former college psychology instructor and editor at a national magazine. Every stage of his very full life has been dominated by a passionate interest – from chess to distance running to photography (his current obsession). He writes under a pseudonym for fear that the opinions he expresses, particularly with regard to religion, might very well cause real problems for his family in his gawd-fearin’ community. (He plans to “come out” after his wife retires.) In the meantime, SJ promises to do his best to defend and promote science and reason, and to keep power out of the hands of the proto-fascists who have declared war on just about everything he values.

Palace Promoter of Secular REAL Wellness.
Don started out professionally as an urban planner (UNC-Chapel Hill) and evolved into a health planner and then a promoter of healthy lifestyles. He says, “I have blundered into the right places at the right times more often than not – and I attribute my mountain of good fortune to random chance.” He considers himself “a freethinker infidel apostate heretic convinced that the meaning of life is to make up stuff about multiple meanings of life and revise said findings, as necessary.” Don has written many books, produces articles daily, trains hard for fitness and triathlon competitions, and enjoys the love and company of his wife Carol, his children, grandchildren and many friends—including “SJ,” a distinguished blogger at this very site. Don travels extensively giving presentations on REAL wellness, rooted in the promotion of Reason, Exuberance, Athleticism and Liberty. Robert Green Ingersoll is one of his most admired heroes, although he has many more.


Welcome to Perry Street Palace. We hope you find yourself at home here, just please keep your muddy shoes off of the nice furniture kthx.



As you can see, the spectacular centerpiece here in our Grand Entry Hall is the Palace’s Shrine to PZ Myers, who published our little rant In Defense of Mockery as a guest post on his wildly popular blog, Pharyngula. We gained Many Tens of Loyal Readers™ that day, for which PZ has our undying appreciation and affection. The Palace throws a debaucherous birthday party in his honor every March 9.



The Palace LIBRARY hosts an extensive collection of materials (grouped by subject) on various topics of interest to us called the HIT LIST. The LIBRARY also curates an ever-expanding, eclectic collection of QUOTES you can peruse for inspiration and amusement.

(Talk as loud as you like.)



You must be 18+ to enter the BEDROOM.
some links = NSFW.

bedroom2It is clear that what animates much of social conservatism springs from seriously unhealthy, fear-based, hierarchical views about sex, gender and sexuality—and that therefore this must not go unmocked. Beyond that, the Palace holds that providing factual information about sex, gender and sexuality is a worthy public service in its own right. (BONUS: factual information about sex, gender and sexuality drives conservatives to apoplexy, so it’s really just full of WIN.) In the BEDROOM you will find links to a variety of reality-based, sex-positive resources and writers. If you are over 18, not at work, and so inclined, go forth and get your freak on. The Wingnut War on Fucking is not going to implode all by itself, people.


Iris the Idiot’s Kitchen.

A brief introduction to IRIS THE IDIOT’S KITCHEN is here.

There are 2.5 rules in the KITCHEN:

* Or to whatever extent not simple, worth the extra trouble.

Many posts are not “recipes.” They’re more like… explanations.



[CONTENT NOTE: extreme hostility to consent, bodily autonomy and agency.]
At the Palace Abattoir, we perform extractions of lifesaving organs whether donors consent to them or not! Don’t worry: we don’t harvest organs from just anyone. All of our involuntary donors must meet one very strict criteria: they would eagerly and happily force other people to donate lifesaving organs without their consent. Since they feel so very strongly about this particular principle, we feel it is only right and fair that they live by it. We are saving lives, people. Stop by and wave hello to Supreme Court justices, dozens of politicians, Phyllis Schlafly, Richard Dawkins and 447 active and retired members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

pressroomIt turns out that people sometimes write stuff about us…on the Internet! (I know, right?) Stuff like this:

“Iris Vander Pluym isn’t the most intelligent person to ever grace the internet…”
an insightful observer.

D00d. You have NO IDEA. You’ll certainly get no argument here.

We’ve also apparently managed to get ourselves listed in connection with several sex offender registries. That’s right: a Google search on “Iris Vander Pluym” generates multiple hits on sex offender registries. Now I can be a little forgetful from time to time, but I’m pretty sure if I had been prosecuted for sex offenses I would remember that. And yet! Despite this most foul and vile online reputation, some brave people nevertheless insist on quoting us favorably, linking to our posts, hiring us to write more of them and saying really nice things about us anyway. Huh.

Be sure to visit the Palace PRESS ROOM regularly to find out if we’ve gotten any more love, hate or yawning indifference from the denizens of the Internet and/or somehow managed to get listed on additional sex offender registries.



Mural by Bill Rancitelli

It’s no secret that we like to drink around here. Iris the Idiot’s Kitchen posts often suggest wine or beer pairings, but it would be nice to have a place to discuss wine, beers, spirits, cocktail recipes and various and sundry beverages. If you prefer to abstain, the THE BAR will happily serve coffee and tea, as well as our personal favorite nonalcoholic beverage, New York City tap water.

THE BAR is open 24/7/365.  Cheers.


THE ZOO. zoobanner

Life on earth is magnificent. Astonishing. Stunning. Breathtaking. And very, very weird. Enjoy it while it lasts.

A brief introduction to Palace Zoo is here. Visit our virtual collections of amphibians, arthropods, birds, gastropods, mammals, reptiles and tardigrades—but please, people, DO NOT feed the conservatives in the mammal wing.


All content © Iris Vander Pluym (and/or friends) 2010-2015. All rights reserved.

6 thoughts on “ABOUT

  1. Hi, Iris. I, too, write a column under a pseudonym, for reasons similar to yours. I am also an artist (photography) with work in several galleries. I live in the mountains of Western North Carolina, and I feel justified in saying that if my neighbors were aware of the commentary I publish, my wife and I would have a price to pay (and she still works full time). But the reason I’m writing is to tell you that your guest editorial at Pharyngula is terrific! When I finished reading, I thought PZ had written it; and I was getting ready to forward it to my long-suffering friends with an enthusiastic introduction when I noticed it was a “guest” column. Very good – well-written and well thought out. You have a new, regular reader!

  2. Smart response to the Lind article. I’m the editor of Salon — and I also happen to live on Perry Street. So should you want to remove your anonymity and grab a coffee at Doma for an off-the-record chat at some point, please let me know!


    • Um… hell yes! I’m having brunch at the bar at Perry Street right now, if you’d care to join me. Otherwise, although I’m pretty busy these days building my shrine to PZ Myers, I’m sure I can make time for coffee at Doma.

  3. Iris, you are awesome.

    I’m neither American nor do I care much about politics (my failure!), but I cannot deny excellence when I encounter it.

    (Praise from the disinterested, whatever next? ;) )

  4. So who ARE (names please) the Democrats who voted to let women die? Numbers aren’t enough, these people should be outed and publicly shamed! And the voters should be given the CHOICE of re-electing them or dumping them!

  5. Dear Iris
    I have no idea if you remember me. I’m Bear, [redacted]’s old friend and sometimes engineer. I just spoke to [redacted] today from his home in Spain. It’s the first time we’d spoken in almost [redacted] years. Of course, I asked about you and was pleased to hear that you were still good friends and that you visited with him often. I see from your writings that you are still an exceptional presence. You have really come into your own-you state your thoughts and enthusiasms with the same excitement and clarity that you did [redacted] years ago. It’s great to know where to find you. I’ll write again after I’ve absorbed more of your web content. Keep it up. You’re obviously getting through to people.
    Your friend,

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