Keeping ’em down on the (Animal) Farm

Fascinating article from last year asking Muslim Women not to wear the hijabimrs

Religion, which was meant to console and nourish the soul, has been used for centuries to keep women down. And that includes the ultra- Orthodox sect of my own people, the Hasidic Jews. Own a woman’s soul though religion and her body though restraints on birth control, abortion and marriage. I’ve given this a lot of thought over the years and have decided that women, all women, even those who delude themselves into thinking that being white and wealthy makes them equal to men when it only keeps them at the top of the “women” (i.e. second class citizen) pile, have a lot in common.

And although I am fully aware that it manifests at differing levels and intensity, being kept under the thumb of the half of the species that fancies itself “more equal than others” is one of them.

 

Keeping ’em down on the (Animal) Farm

Did Jane Austen Know My Mom? Did Hillary live in the early 1800’s? A Synopsis of the First One-Third of Pride and Prejudice

So I finally got around to starting  Pride and Prejudice and now that I’m about a third of the way though, I figured that there was already  enough stuff in it to  write a recap. Plus I’m convinced that somehow my mom and Hillary Clinton time-traveled to the early 1800’s and were the inspiration for the mother (mom) and the main character (Hillary.)

SO FAR…

These five sisters  live in England with their mother and father in a smallish town. The mother loves her daughters in order of how intelligent they are. She absolutely loathes the smartest one, Elizabeth, because Lizzy’s got her number. So does Lizzy’s dad, who trades dry quips with  her about how annoying  the mother is and even though their house isn’t very big,  has a study he can hide in when mom starts acting all histrionic over nothing. I think  the mother is a hypochondriac as well, but I’m not sure if that’s in the book or I just wanted to add a bit of me in there.

So there’s this rich guy who rents a house a few miles down the road, which in those days is like being right on top of the family’s house and of course the mother and sisters are really curious about anyone new in the neighborhood, so either they visit him or he visits them but somehow they get together and meet the rich guy and his two sisters, who act all nice at first but turn out to be superbitches because they’re the biggest fakers in the world.

The sisters (except Elizabeth because she’s got a superior mind, which was illegal back then) are clamouring for Mr. Rich Guy to have a ball so they’ll meet more guys and he becomes so sick of them asking that he finally gives in. The mother is in fucking heaven; she wants to marry off all her daughters to a rich guy because their male cousin is going to inherit their house when the father dies. It turns out it was also illegal for women to inherit property because god knows their pretty little heads would pop off like a cheap doll if they had to deal with stuff like titles and property taxes.

But sometime before the ball, the second-smartest daughter, Jane, who’s been visiting Mr. Rich Guy because they fell in love, gets sick from being in a cold carriage or something and becomes too sick to go home. So Mr. Rich Guy puts her up in one of the many spare bedrooms rich guy houses always have and the Bitchy Fakenice Sisters pretend to look after her. But Jane really wants her own sister to come so after waiting and waiting Elizabeth finally gets there because going down the street took  like a whole day back then. Or maybe Elizabeth was already there. I forgot.

Elizabeth sees that Mr. Rich Guy really does love Jane but the Bitchy Fakenice Sisters are so pretend sweet to Jane and go so out of their way to avoid Elizabeth that I figure something is up even if Elizabeth doesn’t want to see it yet.

Meanwhile Mr. Rich Guy’s even richer friend Mr. Darcy is visiting him and  Elizabeth thinks he’s a real dick because he hardly talks to her or anyone else unless he has something snotty or judgmental to say. Of course one of the Bitchy Fakenice Sisters is in love with Mr. Darcy but he’s diggin’ on Elizabeth only he’s too much of a jerkoff to say anything to her except cynical stuff phrased so eloquently that Elizabeth is compelled to toss the contents of her superior intellect right at his waistcoat and of course he is immediately smitten BY HER MIND! (Which was probably illegal back then too, but rich people can get away with anything.)

Days or weeks or some period of time pass. Jane is getting better and wants to go home but her mom is freaking out because she wants Jane to stay there until Mr. Rich Guy asks her to marry him. So the mother lies to Mr. Rich Guy about how sick Jane is and how she can’t be moved for a long time, etc. and he buys it. Meanwhile, the smartest person in the room, Elizabeth, is stuck in purgatory and forced to hang out even longer with a lovesick guy, a real dick and the super-stupid Bitchy Fakenice Sisters.

More time goes by and Jane is getting even more homesick so even though back home mom is acting like a bull asshole and running around driving her husband crazy with non-stop whining and making up fake shit like “We can’t get a carriage!”Jane and Elizabeth finally go home after Elizabeth asks Mr. Rich Guy if they could use his carriage and he says yes, which makes mom hate Elizabeth even more than she already does.

The whole family is back together only a short time when they get a visit from their clueless cousin who becomes a clergyman and thinks he’s hot shit. Clueless Clergy Cousin (CCC ) wants to marry one of the five sisters because he thinks it looks weird if  a Man of God isn’t married and he’s doing the fam a favor by making sure they’re not thrown out of their house when the father kicks the bucket and CCC inherits it.

Mr. Rich Guy finally has his ball and Jane dances with him all night but Elizabeth is stuck with CCC. He is SOOOO BORING and just talks about how important and cool he is. Mr. Darcy is there and Elizabeth is determined not to talk to him but he keeps looking at her because she’s apparently pretty hot for a smart female. CCC decides he’ll introduce himself to Mr. Darcy even though Elizabeth warns him that pond scum can’t just  go up and say hi to an upper crust guy. Mr. Darcy is a predictable ass and CCC is predictably clueless that Mr. Darcy treated him like shit.

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Elizabeth trying to figure shit out with Mr. Darcy in background. If this novel is true to form, she won’t be calling him “Mr.” for long.

Mom is there, of course, and just won’t shut up about is how Jane is going to marry Mr. Rich Guy and the rest of her daughters are going to marry rich guys.Her voice really carries and the ballroom is one big echo chamber so everyone has to listen to this crap whether they want to or not. Elizabeth is mortified and warns her mom to cool it, but mom just keeps on going like a crass Energizer Bunny. If Elizabeth wanted the night to be over before it started, now she REALLY fucking wants it to be over.

Everyone finally goes home (guess mom found that carriage after all!) where the father alternates between retiring to his study and trading a few digs about mom with Elizabeth.

CCC decides to pick Elizabeth to be his bride because shes the most unlikely choice and also because the plot starts to sag and Austen needs to inject some drama juice or I and everyone ever will stop reading. Mom is pushing the marriage because she thinks no one would ever marry Elizabeth, what with her BRAIN and all, which we know was NOT COOL back then. The more Elizabeth declines, the more CCC thinks she’s just playing the coquette and the more mom screams and flips about how horrible Elizabeth is and how she’s fucking up her life and her family’s life and she’s the most ungrateful daughter EVER.

Mom tries to get dad involved but he just tells Lizzy she’ll be making a mistake by marrying  CCC and then retires to the previously mentioned study which I’m beginning to think is a home opium den.

At this point, mom is certifiable, and starts running around screaming about how she’s being ruined and pushing all her other daughters (except Jane–remember, Mr. Rich Guy) on CCC and saying how they’ll all be homeless wrecks after dad kicks if none of the girls marries their cousin.

But he ends up marrying Elizabeth’s bestie, a fellow SMART GIRL who figures CCC is the best she could do, plus she’ll get out of her house, where her parents are always giving her shit about never being able to get married because she READS and stuff. Elizabeth is bummed that her friend sold out and vows never to fuck up her life in a similar manner.

Then Jane gets a letter from the Bitchy Fakenice Sisters saying that they and Mr. Rich Guy are moving back to London where they’re pushing Mr. Darcy’s dumb sister on Mr. Rich Guy. Elizabeth think it’s because her stupid mom was practically screaming to the entire ball about how Jane was going to marry Mr. Rich Guy and the whole family was going to be swimming in money. Mom starts yelling again about how her life is over and they’ll get kicked out of their house, etc. and doesn’t give one tiny shit that Jane is trashed because she loves Mr. Rich Guy and even though he loves her he’s too much of a pussy to write or call her or  come over in his carriage to tell her goodbye.

That’s it so far. I think the rest of the book will go back and forth between how much it sucks to be a smart female in the early 1800s and the love-hate relationship between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, which is similar to the plot of some other famous book from one of the Bronte sisters, but I had the flu when I read it and don’t remember a whole lot of it, or even the title.

Happy reading!

 

 

 

Did Jane Austen Know My Mom? Did Hillary live in the early 1800’s? A Synopsis of the First One-Third of Pride and Prejudice

No justice, no grasp of reality

I have no problem with protesting, but if you’re going to wear tape over your mouth that says “Silenced” and carry signs that say “No Justice, No Peace” then perhaps you should visit a country where you really are silenced and a neighborhood where there really is no justice so you’ll grok the difference between what the people in those places are going though and your petulance because you didn’t get 100% of what you wanted.

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No justice, no grasp of reality

Dear Gila Woodpecker

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Major Asshole Bird

Do you have any idea how much of an asshole you are?

I mean, woodpeckers in general are the assholes of the bird world, but you’re their emperor. Every day it’s Good Morning Desert! with your atonal squawk that deafens me like a Jet Ski ringtone, even through double-pane windows.

And that pecking on the metal part of the chimney thing at 5 a.m.? Nonstop? For a half-hour? What kind of a sadistic waste of your Darwinian adaptation is that? I know you’re beating the bill to let every bird know that this is your joint just in case some broad comes by, but no female in her right mind is up that early. And trust me, if she’s hot for you, she’ll come flying in first 10-20 seconds or so.

You sound too desperate and even I–a human–know that’s a huge turnoff in your avian world. I don’t blame every feathered frail from here to Yuma for turning tail when they see you.  Maybe if you spent some time in quiet contemplation you’d figure out why you haven’t had a mate for the past three years. May I suggest you pee on something instead? It works pretty damn well for the coyotes.

And I know that you know the hummingbird feeder is called a hummingbird feeder because it exists to feed hummingbirds— birds that hum and are really little and can’t eat the birdseed or peck on the quail block or drink from the birdbath that I fill every friggin’ day just so you can drink and wash off your disgusting lice. But despite the thousands of times I tried to chase you off by flapping my arms like a Harris Hawk or growling like a Bobcat, you refused to move away from the sugar water. Yes, you’re an addict who can’t stop hittin’ the beak, which is why your last mate left you. And if you had any friends you would have found that out way before now.

Have you spent at least a feather of time wondering why I stopped hanging out on the porch in the morning, even though it’s my only slim window of reasonable temperatures this time of year? I doubt it, because you’re too busy giving me and every other living thing in the desert an upturned middle finger.

You should thank me for telling you this because the Ladder-Backs have been thinking it for years, but don’t have the balls to tell you because they’re half your size. I wouldn’t be surprised if even the Pileated ‘peckers in Jersey know about you. I hope they do, so they’ll come west and kick your ass so hard you’ll turn into a doll’s feather bed.

Why am I even wasting my time? You’re a narcissist. And no, I’m not going to tell you what that is. You’re just going to have to look it up in the DSM-5 or ask a crow or something. Or stuff your fluffy ass into your lonely Saguaro hole and never come out. I’m beyond caring what the fuck you do.

–She Who Lives in That Really Big Nest

 

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Dear Gila Woodpecker

The Voodoo of Candidate Picking Thanks to Yogi Bear

As charming/quaint as this NYT photo of people casting votes in Iowa by tossing paper in a pic-a-nik basket, this is an election for a candidate for the president of the United States, not the local Grange. At least these Republicans are actually voting. Iowa Democrats trade S&H Green Stamps to find a winner. And each state has it’s own voodoo workin’ to make a decision. No matter what your party or candidate preference is, whether you’re happy, sad, both or neither today, we need to overhaul the presidential primary process. I feel a hashtag coming on! #PPPoverhaul

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They stole the pik-a-nik basket back from Yogi Bear.
The Voodoo of Candidate Picking Thanks to Yogi Bear

Put on your shoes and dance the blues

I’m listening to a stream from WXPN/Philly. They’re playing all-Bowie, all day, as a bunch of other stations probably are today. David Bowie (unlike  Janis,  Jimi,  Jim or Amy who I somehow knew would crash and burn early) was one of those people in my musical universe that I just thought would go on forever. His death, after 18 months of battling liver cancer, came as a shock to all but those who knew him most intimately. The fact that one can keep such news private in this age of endless blood-hunts for celebrity news is news it itself. It also says a lot about the discerning nature of his friendships, the integrity of those he chose to be closest to him.

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It was 1972 and I was a 15-year-old.  freak. Not in the let-your-freak-flag-fly way, but in the eight-pointed-star-in-a-round-hole way. I’m not going to go into my fucked-up childhood or how the freakish feeling started from the time I had enough brain cells to carry memory around, but somehow I felt my way to a small group of people who stuck out in the same way, who wanted to crouch in corners but were called out before they could, who had basements pot and turntables and albums of music that was the only thing that made me feel –even if it was bad. Even today, certain lines, bridges, chord changes, will make me burst into tears.   “Keep your ‘lectric eye on me babe” from Moonlight Daydream was one of those lines and David Bowie created some of that music. I’m so sad. Not for Bowie, because he’s moved on to wherever, but for myself, my teenage life, my friends, what would come after and what I was way closer to before.

 

 

 

Put on your shoes and dance the blues