This NRA stands for National Restaurant Association, which sounds fairly innocuous, at least compared to the gun fetishist lobby we’ve all come to know and despise.
This NRA stands for National Restaurant Association, which sounds fairly innocuous, at least compared to the gun fetishist lobby we’ve all come to know and despise.
[CONTENT NOTE: intimate partner violence and murder, suicide, abuse, harassment, rape.]
As readers surely recall, I am exceedingly proud of my half-assed, poorly-executed, highly irregular attempts to extract $82 billion worth of amusement every year from the Religion-Industrial-Complex on behalf of atheist U.S. taxpayers, on account of our government’s unconscionable $82 billion in annual taxpayer subsidies to the R-I-C. I humbly perform this service by mocking a particular church sign in the small town in Northern Maryland where my mother lives. Which, admittedly, I was already going to do anyway for my own amusement. It seems I can’t help myself.
Unfortunately this week’s sign offers scant opportunity for amusement: it simply informs us (yet again) that this Jeezus character is a creepy motherfucker who no decent person should ever wish to emulate. So instead of a good old-fashioned mocking, consider this installment an important public service announcement. Continue reading
[CONTENT NOTE: harassment, abuse, assault.]
I’m sure you’ve seen some of the various online accounts (like this one) of violence, harassment, assault and abuse, after the worst elements of our society were emboldened by the election of perhaps the most despicable human being I have known of in my lifetime. Not all of these stories make it to a hashtag much less a news story, and I have a sickening feeling there are orders of magnitude more of them that don’t than do. Here is one from a dear friend of mine, posted here with permission (names and other identifying details have been altered):
[CONTENT NOTE: misogyny including slurs, racism, violence against logic, incoherence, banality, Nazis, sex toys.]
I had almost forgotten about this, what with all my squirrel monitoring duties and sofa painting and suchlike. But buried in my inbox was a gift from the WordPress gods in the form of two consecutive auto-moderated comments, written in response to a post I wrote back in July about the harms of benevolent sexism, and purporting to offer “an opposing viewpoint.”
[CONTENT NOTE: sexual harassment, assault and rape.]
The battle over Michigan State University’s women-only lounge began with a rival school’s male professor.
Mark Perry, who teaches economics at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus, had stumbled upon a news story about the 91-year-old room in MSU’s sprawling student union. “They’d written about what a great space this is for women,” Perry said. “They can go in and take a nap and not be worried about being bothered.”
So a d00d professor at a different college read about this great space for women at MSU, a place where they can relax and study without worry of being harassed by—let’s be clear here—men. And he said to himself, “Wow, I’m so glad for the women of MSU. I wonder how I can help institute the same thing here at University of Michigan?”
Hahaha. I’m just kidding.
He figured it couldn’t be legal. Banning men from a taxpayer-funded study area, Perry thought, could violate Title IX, a federal law meant to protect gender equality on college campuses. So he contacted the school. Nothing changed. He sent a complaint to the Michigan Department of Civil Rights in June, but the department would not accept it because Perry had not personally endured discrimination.
Professor Perry’s Civil Rights™ were totally being violated at a different university where he neither attended nor worked. Won’t someone think of the discrimination this man did not endure?
Then a writer for conservative news site The Daily Caller highlighted his grievance in a July 12 story.
His grievance, people. This poor man was aggrieved! And nobody cared…except for one heroic blogger at The Daily Commode.
Perry, who blogs about financial issues for the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think [sic] tank, followed up with a post of his own the next day: “Is it really legal for a public university to blatantly violate the civil rights of 50% of its student body?”
Next up from the nutty professor: “Is it really legal for a public university to blatantly violate the civil rights of 50% of its student body by prohibiting men in women’s locker rooms and showers?”
Two days later, MSU quietly shuttered the women-only lounge.
Female students promptly revolted.
Alyssa Maturen, 19, had just switched dormitories to live closer to the lounge, where she studied at least three times weekly. The sophomore marine biology major preferred the option to MSU’s gender-neutral places, where, she said, male students have interrupted work to ask her out.
She created a petition on July 18, writing, “Together we can take back our lounge.” By Wednesday, nearly 5,000 people had signed it.
“I’m signing because as a male, I’ve never felt threatened in a public space in my life, but every woman I know has,” one student commented on the Change.org petition. “I’ve never had to worry about people staring at me or coming up to me and forcing conversation on me while I’m trying to study, but every female college student I know has.”
“I myself have specifically used the women’s study lounge when initially going to the co-ed area to study, but then was harassed by a male student especially late in the evening, which continued even once I told him that I couldn’t talk and had to get my work done,” wrote another.
“I’m signing this because I use this space and it is one of the few areas that I feel safe,” wrote another.
WHAT?! Safe spaces are for “coddling students who can’t handle the real world.” If you find you need a safe space on a college campus, you need to “leave, go home, hug your teddy & suck your thumb until ready for university.” OBVIOUSLY.
Let’s just take a look at the “real world” at MSU, shall we?
Close to 25 percent of female undergraduate students at Michigan State University have been sexually assaulted and 12 percent have been victims of attempted or completed rape, according to a survey conducted by MSU and the Association of American Universities.
Of female students surveyed, 24.8 percent experienced completed or attempted nonconsensual penetration or sexual touching involving physical force or incapacitation…Of female MSU students raped through physical force, 71.9 percent did not report the incident.
Well golly. That’s ONE IN FOUR. But why would women not report their violent rapes? How can we
blame help victims if they won’t even do us the courtesy of coming forward?! Hmmm…
The U.S. Department of Education determined Michigan State University did not do enough to investigate two Title IX complaints and had a poor process for dealing with sexual assault accusations.
In a report released [in September 2015], federal investigators said MSU’s process for dealing with sexual assault complaints was not compliant with Title IX regulations. Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex.
“Its failure to address complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence in a prompt and equitable manner caused and may have contributed to a continuation of a sexually hostile environment for numerous students and staff on campus during the years covered by [the Office of Civil Rights]’s investigation, 2009 to 2014,” the report stated.
Alyssa Maturen’s petition to reopen the women’s study lounge also notes that the “lounge was a space where sexual assault victims could go and feel safe, a space away from their attacker.” I mean, what kind of world do we live in where we can just violate the civil rights of harassers and rapists willy-nilly? All men must have access to every space, including—nay, especially!—those where women victims of sexual assault and harassment seek refuge. To ban men from a single room is the exact same thing as denying them access to educational opportunities on the basis of sex! This is nothing short of persecution at its most egregious, people. MISANDRY!!!11!!
Some faculty members don’t think Title IX belongs in the discussion.
“It’s disturbing and troubling to see Title IX invoked in this manner,” said Lisa Schwartzman, associate chair and graduate program director of MSU’s philosophy department. “The Women’s Lounge is the one women-only space on campus. The claim that its very existence denies men access to an equal education is absurd.”
Perry disagrees. The Flint professor notes that women now outpace men in college enrollment and degree attainment…You can make a case that men need more help than women on certain dimensions,” he said. “Men are the ones that have fallen behind on college campuses.”
Now I’m just spitballin’ here, but maybe if there weren’t so many entitled creeps among them, men as a group would have better academic outcomes? It seems like it would be kind of difficult to disturb, harass or sexually assault ONE IN FOUR women while simultaneously focusing on one’s coursework.
Title IX was passed in 1972, stating that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Still, Adaku Onyeka-Crawford, counsel for education at the National Women’s Law Center, said Title IX has allowed for single-sex housing and single-sex facilities.
Not to mention single-sex sports programs. I guess none of the colleges that receive federal funding has an all-male football team. Who knew? Hopefully someone will come along soon and mansplain to me how the existence of a women’s
locker room study lounge interferes in any way with the educational programs, activities or opportunities available to men at MSU. Well, except for the constitutionally guaranteed opportunity to harass women everywhere at all times. That’s the civil right that’s really important here. Not, say, a woman’s right (under Title IX or otherwise) to access educational programs, activities or opportunities at a university without being constantly preyed upon by entitled douchebros.
Of course, conservatives hate Title IX; they are uniformly opposed to equality in principle. Shutting down the women’s lounge is typical of their transparent and petty “gotcha!” game, wherein they pretend to care about gender equality while perfectly demonstrating that their views are exactly opposite. I doubt I need to remind anyone here that these are the same assholes who want to strictly segregate everyone based on their biological sex in public restrooms, FFS.
If we lived in a world where equality existed, women would not require separate spaces to avoid harm by men. But we do not live in that world. Here in the real world, safe spaces for women are needed to mitigate gender inequality. Not because women are weak (they are not) or need to be coddled (they do not) but because they can sometimes use, you know, a break from gendered harassment and abuse in order to fucking read a textbook.
Alyssa Maturen’s petition to reopen the women’s lounge is here if you’re inclined to sign and share it.
Here’s a suggestion: if men are such fragile incompetents that they simply cannot take advantage of all the educational opportunities and activities at a publicly funded college if they are denied access to the women’s study lounge, maybe they need to leave, go home, hug their teddies and suck their thumbs until ready for university.
Oh, and one more thing.
Michigan State was one of more than 100 schools being investigated for similar Title IX complaints. Among them was the University of Michigan; the report from that investigation has yet to be issued.
I’m sure with such exemplary professors as Mark Perry running around, the University of Michigan has absolutely nothing to worry about.
[CONTENT NOTE: harassment.]
This really should require no further explanation whatsoever. But since I’m snowed in because of a motherfucker of a blizzard, and my WIFI still seems to be working (so far…), I think I’ll spend a few minutes expounding upon “No.”
Anti-abortion activists should not be allowed to harass preschoolers.
Anti-abortion activists should not be allowed to harass anyone, and no one should be allowed to harass preschoolers.
No one should be allowed to harass anyone.
Jeezus, those winds are howling, and the view from my window is a complete whiteout:
LIVE! FROM NEW YORK! IT’S…WINTER STORM JONAS!
I have a nice hot pot of coffee and a temporarily content kitty (is there any other kind?) so…hey, what the hell?
A new Planned Parenthood clinic is currently under construction in Northeast DC, right next door to a school.
Over the past several months activists opposed to the clinic’s construction have been “purposely and aggressively menacing” school children as young as 3 years old with graphic images and language, causing “severe emotional stress,” according to a lawsuit filed in DC Superior Court by the school in December. Teachers have had to keep students inside at recess, and…with a larger crowd and a number of prominent antiabortion figures expected on account of the annual March for Life [sic], administrators decided to cancel school altogether.
The school closure cost [Bill Harper, parent of a 5- and 7-year-old students] $80 in extra childcare fees, but he was most angry about how the recurring demonstrations have disrupted the day-to-day educational experience for the students. “The whole school is focused on preventing the children from being terrorized. They’ve had to redesign the community,” he said, gesturing to black cloth draped across a fence to hide a playground. He told me that teachers sometimes have to take students on a long detour to reach the gymnasium across the street without encountering protesters. To Harper, they aren’t just a nuisance but a safety concern: One of the defendants named in the lawsuit, Robert Weiler Jr., was previously convicted of plotting to bomb an abortion clinic and shoot doctors in nearby Greenbelt, Maryland.
Why this particular terrorist wasn’t locked up for lifetime is perhaps a subject for another post, but I would be remiss if I did not make a few points about the d00d here.
“From all indications, it appears he was acting alone,” said Gregory K. Gant, the special agent in charge of the ATF’s Baltimore field division.
He’s a white terrorist, you see. And as we all know, white terrorists operate in a cultural void, and in any event they are uniquely impervious to violent rhetoric and ideologies. Also, we must be careful not to implicate a white terrorist’s race, nationality and/or religion in producing such terrorists: he is simply “Lone Wolf” No. 194,801.
Agent Gant also said this:
“In some ways, it could have been a bigger threat because it wasn’t something we were tracking, and we didn’t see it coming.”
Surveillance state: FAIL. While the state is quite keen on deploying counterterrorism tactics to infiltrate and monitor citizens opposed to U.S. economic policy, immigration policy, harmful trade agreements, union-busting, racial profiling, the death penalty, Israeli violence against Palestinians, endless wars, etc., white terrorists operating on US soil just aren’t people law enforcement would ever thinks to track. I mean, gosh, how could anyone possibly ever see anything like this coming?
But I digress. Back to the Forced Birth Bozo Brigades.
The lawsuit describes the protests as a form of coercion, intended to draft parents and administrators into a campaign to block the clinic from opening next door. The antiabortion activists “have promised they will ‘be back every week’ if the students and parents do not take action against the Planned Parenthood health center,” the complaint alleges. Protesters have shouted at children to “Tell your parents they kill kids next door.” In November, an activist named Jonathan Darnel sent an e-mail to school administrators that read, “I am not threatening you. Nevertheless, if you are failing to challenge Planned Parenthood, I feel a moral obligation to alert the community (including the parents of your students) myself…. I’m sure you don’t want to see me, my antiabortion friends and our graphic images any more than we want to be in your neighborhood.”
Defendant Larry Cirignano was at the protest on Thursday, wearing a banana-yellow tie stamped with the words “choose life.” I asked him if he was at all concerned for students who were disturbed by the images and messages he and other demonstrators present to them. “I’m worried more about the kids who are in the pictures,” he responded. “It’s sad that the school and parents didn’t think they should get involved.” Gesturing at the group waiting to hear [Dvideo campaign intended to take down Planned Parenthood] speak, he said, “Most of these people aren’t from around here.” Cirignano said he’s being represented by Mat Staver of Liberty Council, who also represents Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis.avid Daleiden, the shitweasel behind the recent deceptive
These are just fantastic people: respectful, kind, informed, tolerant, exactly the kind of community exemplars you would definitely want to have around small children.
What to do about it.
As the lawsuit winds its way through the courts, it is worth remembering that the US Supreme court struck down a Massachusetts buffer zone law around women’s clinics—ones that were already open and operating, not construction sites. The justices so ruled from the safety and sanctity of their very own buffer-zone protected place of work.
As I noted at the time, that decision was unanimous—thus rendering the entire Supreme Court as currently constituted not just a bunch of flaming hypocritical @$$holes, but complicit in providing material support to terrorists.
As that’s how the state of affairs stands, I propose a simple strategy of tit-for-tat. To wit: picket the schools where the protesters’ children attend. Hold up giant posters picturing women killed and imprisoned as a result of anti-choicers—most prominently the photo of Geraldine Santoro taken at the scene of her death from a self-abortion attempt.[WARNING: extremely graphic violent image, NSFW.] Shout in the kids’ faces “Your parents want to kill mommies!” “Your parents like killing poor mommies!” “Your parents want to put poor mommies in jail!”
Stop when they stop.
Why no one will do this.
Because it’s fucking horrible, that’s why—even though it is, apparently, legal. Pro-abortion activists like to think of ourselves as better people than our enemies. And of course we are, demonstrably so: you don’t see us going around firebombing right-wing churches and shooting anti-abortion ringleaders, do you? We are certainly “above” directing such reprehensible tactics at innocent children, or frankly at anyone at all.
And therein lies our dilemma. Just think for a moment about what it actually takes for conservatives to change their minds, and not just about this issue but about anything. Global warming, for-profit healthcare, creationism, gun access, immigration, the unbroken record of failure of right-wing economic policy and governance, take your pick. Evidence is not enough. Epic calamities are not enough. Personal calamities are not enough. Experts who know what they’re talking about are not enough. These people cannot be reasoned with, and yet they are winning. There is no denying that their tactics, however reprehensible, are nonetheless effective.
It’s quite the conundrum, no? It certainly leaves me contemplating whether I ought to rethink that “No.”
I hope this edition of Ask Iris has been helpful.
Have a nice day.
[CONTENT NOTE: mass shootings, terrorism, graohic description of rape, domestic violence. No violent images.]
A longtime Loyal Reader™ sent us an image of yesterday’s New York Daily News cover, which we found quite interesting.The Daily News, if you are blissfully unacquainted, is a New York metro-area tabloid that could perhaps best be described as the unholy offspring of the city’s two other daily rags, the execrable New York Times and Rupert Murdoch’s bird cage liner The New York Post. Its editorial slant is yawningly predictable and pro-status quo; its coverage of the pope’s recent visit, for example, fawning. In a word: conservative. That is why it is extraordinary to see this headline in giant screaming letters: “GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS.” The “this” refers to the latest shoot-’em-up that as of this writing has left 14 dead in San Bernadino.
I don’t know about you, but I read that as a scathing rebuke of some god or other (it’s not entirely clear to me which one). To add insult to injury, the cover features tweets from four prominent Republicans posturing about prayer—their single, inept and reflexive response to such tragedies—and highlights the fact that these very “cowards” are among the only few people on Earth in a position to actually do something about US gun violence. Then, as a final insult to Zeus (or whoever), prayers to the deity in question are openly derided by the Daily News as “meaningless platitudes.”
This is fantastic news, obviously: I think it’s fair to surmise that the paper’s editors have been reading my blog and finally taking the importance of god mockery to heart, if I do say so myself.
Anyway, speaking of shitty gods and shitty people, it will come as no shock to readers that the recent Planned Parenthood terrorist—who I will not name here because seriously, fuck him—is a conservative Christian, a violent, abusive, controlling, misogynist, rapist, stalker and wife batterer, with a looooong history of shitweaselry. It’s all good though, because his god totally forgives him for anything and everything he does, no matter how evil. One of his three ex-wives said in court papers, “He says that as long as he believes he will be saved, he can do whatever he pleases.” Christ, what an asshole. By which of course I mean the god Christ is a fucking asshole. This is the kind of shit he is only too happy to forgive:
[He] reportedly began to harass the woman on and off the clock. He followed her to her home and on Nov. 29, 1992, he reportedly ambushed her as she attempted to take out the trash.
“The suspect then allegedly put a knife to the victim’s neck and forced her back inside her residence,” said a police report about the incident. “The suspect then allegedly forced the victim down into the couch, struck her in the mouth with his fist, and then sexually assaulted her.”
The assault continued with [the conservative Christian] dragging the woman into a bedroom and continuing to rape her there.
His second wife, to whom he was married at the time of the rape, described the Christ-forgiven rapist in divorce filings as “controlling, abusive and serially unfaithful.” She said he “routinely gambled away the family’s money [but] was ever reluctant to provide for his wife and children financially.”
Hot-tempered and unstable, he “erupts into fury in a matter of seconds,” said [the evangelical Christian’s] second wife Barbara Mescher to attorneys. In her time with [the devout follower], she testified, she continually “lived in fear and dread of his emotional and physical abuse.”
“[The white male] has a history of arrests in South Carolina out of Colleton and Beaufort counties, records show,” said the Post and Courier‘s Glenn Smith and Melissa Boughton. “A background search completed by The Post and Courier found that [the conservative man] was arrested in 2003 on a cruelty to animals charge but was found not guilty in 2004. He was charged under the state’s Peeping Tom law in 2002 but that charge, too, was later dismissed, according to a background search.”
Hey, if the god of the bible forgives him, why even bother to prosecute amirite?
Now okay, I admit it, here is where I get a little…confused. A timely report on a survey just issued by a Christian organization reveals that Jeezus followers have the most abortions, by far:
But if you take nothing else away from this little rant, take this: forgiveness is overrated. And so are gods.
The Palace hereby extends a royal welcome to all of its new readers at the New York Daily News editorial board! Watch and learn, editors. Watch and learn.
Oh look, everyone: Catholics being unconscionably ignorant bigots and actually using the safety of children in their care as an excuse to do it. HAHAHA. Please.
Back in the spring, when the mother of the [trans] girl first heard her daughter couldn’t use the [girls] washroom, she asked what were the reasons that led the ECSD to this decision. She was given two answers, the first was that her daughter being in the bathroom violates the biological rights of the females, the second was that it violates their safety.
“I told them ‘you better drop that defence pretty quick as it sounds like you’re implying my child is a predator, which she isn’t,'” the girl’s mother said. “And two, you’re stating in that statement that transgender people are predators which they are not.”
Numerous studies have concluded transgender youth are far far far more likely to be assaulted than to assault people and are in fact one of the most at-risk groups in our society. So maybe it’s time for this Bishop and the Catholic Church to start focusing on actual proven threats to the children’s safety.
Like, oh, I don’t know…perhaps themselves and their church?
How any decent person could ever willingly support the Catholic church I will never understand.
How any decent society could ever entertain for one moment the Catholic hierarchy being in charge of children—children!—I will never understand.
How about you STFU 4EVER & take ALL the seats, Catholics. That includes you too, smiley pope. I see you.
[CN: sexual assault “humor” as branding.]
So I saw this sign on the counter of a concession stand at a movie theater in Chelsea today. (I saw The Martian, by the way, which was freaking awesome. ♥!) Now, it is true that I am one of those notorious Humorless Feminists™ you have undoubtedly heard a lot about, so you might want to keep this very important fact in mind here. But…
WHAT THE ACTUAL F*UCKING F*UCK IS THIS?
“Grabba Sweet Bottom ;D”? That’s your fucking trademark? May I politely suggest—as someone who has had her “sweet bottom” grabbed without her consent (by MEN of course) on too many occasions to count, much less recount—that these Sweet Bottom Cookie people just go right ahead and fuck themselves, and then go fuck right off? Yeah? Like, right now? Thanks, ever so much.
And I get the sweet bottom/butt joke, I really do. I think it’s boring and infantile and infantilizing, but yes I understand it. And I like butts! I like ogling butts, I like butt sex, I like butt porn, I even like butt jokes! I am a fan of The Butt. But see, when you add grabbing? To sweet bottom? It ceases to be merely uninspired humor, and moves squarely into the realm of rape culture. Butts do not exist for the grabbing, not without the butt owner’s consent. That is sexual assault. And you know what? It is not fucking funny. Girls and women do not need products marketed to them with the message that butt grabbing is normal and fun and funny and not harmful in any way. And believe me, boys and men certainly do not need that message reinforced, either.
Here’s some more clever marketing:
This is who we’re dealing with here, people.
You can contact this asshole here to inform her that a Humorless Feminist™ has nothing but bottomless (<—hahaha) contempt for her sexual assault “joke” shenanigans.
FYI: Now that Michele Lewis’s Sweet Bottom Cookie company has partnered with Nestlé, I’m sure you can look forward to a sexual assault “joke” on a cookie wrapper coming soon to a convenience store near you!