kitchen table

journal of popular studies
November 29, 2006, 1:11 pm
Filed under: Activism, America, books, Literature

My lovely friend Brynn sent me a package yesterday with the red & black thigh-highs, a new skirt, and many recent issues of the JPS.

“What?” You may ask. “That is Us Magazine, not JPS or whatever you call it.”

If you’ve ever read Mountain Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder, you know that we are stealing “JPS,” short for Journal of Popular Studies, from the book’s subject, Dr. Paul Farmer. The book is among my favorites–I sincerely think everyone should read it–and besides the kick in the ass it delivers to Westerners about our lifestyle, it also shares with its readers many of Farmer’s brilliant maxims and nicknames.

Journal of Popular Studies, which he reads on planes from time to time, is one Brynn and I celebrate.  Seriously though, I kind of wish I wasn’t including Britney Spears in the same post as Paul Farmer. His work, as Kidder describes it, is a moral compass for me. A welcome, consistent kick in the ass.


peace is the new satan
November 27, 2006, 11:04 pm
Filed under: America, conservative craziness


Apparently, some subdivisions consider the above image to be a “symbol of Satan.”

ted haggard: hyprocrite and victim?
November 9, 2006, 12:17 pm
Filed under: America, conservative craziness, Uncategorized

I’m about a week or so late on this one, but I want to comment about Ted Haggard. You know, this guy.

One thing that’s missing so far from the discussion I’ve read and heard is sadness. There’s been anger. And shock. And even, as Laura points out, hypocritical snickering at hypocrisy. But there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of sadness and what I mean by that is this: our heterosexist, patriarchal culture has created an atmosphere in which homosexuality is so deviant that gay (or bisexual) men like Haggard dedicate their lives to a mission of self-hatred.

That’s sad, not funny.

I’ll admit to some vindictive giggles when I first found out, especially when he admitted buying crystal meth but not using it and getting a massage from a male prostitute but not sleeping with him. Now, however, I’m ashamed of myself for laughing at a man who is clearly struggling. And while yes, a lot of Haggard’s past statements about the queer community anger me, I also recognize that we, as a society, need to take some collective responsibility.

Haggard’s hypocrisy didn’t grow out of nothing. It came from a culture of gay jokes, of narrow definitions of “real men,” of a denial of basic rights to those who identify as gay or lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. It came from the same culture that claims it is trying to protect the sanctity of an institution that the ends in divorce over 50% of the time. It came from a culture where the physical expression of love between two men or two women was, for years, illegal.

No wonder Haggard hates himself. From the moment he and other gay Americans could talk, they’ve been silenced.

o’reilly declares the sky is orange
November 8, 2006, 5:53 pm
Filed under: America, conservative craziness



there’s a new nancy in town
November 8, 2006, 5:40 pm
Filed under: America, conservative craziness, Gender

“In my first act of bipartisan outreach since the election, I shared with her [Pelosi] the names of some Republican interior decorators who can help her pick out the the new drapes for her new offices.”

Do you think Bush was talking about this Nancy when he said that?

Mrs. Reagan might of said, “I don’t talk about political matters. That’s not my department,” but this Nancy ain’t gonna sit pretty and decorate, George.

Proof that once a sexist frat boy always a sexist fratboy?

two day nap

Dismay uploaded by Lindsay Beyerstein.

I’ve sort of jumped ship these past couple weeks, been so busy with my two jobs & all the campaign work. It’s all over now though–the campaign, that is–and I am so, so please with the results.

After leaving the party at Democratic headquarters last night, a bunch of us headed down to Founding Fathers, a bar. We attempted to place our campaign stickers on the backs of unsuspecting Republicans–a fun game when your drunk on alcohol and exhaustion. Anyway, I’m ready for a two-day nap.

Follow all the news & updates here…

Lindsay Beyerstein photographing the faces of defeat in Virginia.

Buffalogeek has local analysis and some videos up from the after party.

South Dakota rejects the abortion ban.

people’s power: anorexics & the merits of tabloid coverage
October 3, 2006, 11:15 pm
Filed under: America, Feminism, friends, Gender

This whole skinny model, Hollywood’s skeleton chic thing has been all over the blogs, tabloids, and mainstream press lately. Still, I feel inclined to comment.

As I said to Brynn this weekend, if I was 16 and had an eating disorder, I would see the most recent cover of People magazine and buy it not as a resource for getting help, for a mine of inspiration. I know this because at 16 I did exactly that. The more photographs I saw of disgustingly skinny women, the more determined I was to get there myself. “It shows you that someone else is doing it so therefore it’s possible,” Brynn said.

One of the sidebar stories-within-a-story to the cover article featured a then & now of actress Portia de Rossi. I actually didn’t know she suffered from anorexia–must’ve been during college when I disappeared from the land of television–and wow, she was really sick. Included in the text next to her photos are quotes from de Rossi about how she did it and how she recovered.

“See,” I said to Brynn, “I would’ve read the ‘I ate 300 calories–a lot of jello’ part and told myself that from now on 300 calories and jello is my goal.” I would have copied her method to improve my own. Fucked up, I know, but probably not that uncommon among women with eating disorders.

In fact, the National Eating Disorders Association suggests on their website that recovering anorexics or bulimics censor the details of their own stories when talking with a person suffering from an ED:

Don’t provide ‘tips’ or play the numbers game. “I ate only XXX calories a day” or “He took as many as XX laxatives at a time” can turn a well-intentioned story into ‘how-to instructions’ for someone to follow.

All of this makes People‘s attempt at a responsible cover depicting the pressure young women feel to be emaciated–let’s not say “thin” here, it’s beyond that at this point–seem insincere at best. One would think that if People were truly interested in addressing the problem of eating disorders, they’d consider not running photographs of these sick women at all. Wait until they’re healthy. Tell their publicists that until the weight comes back on, only photographs showing them above 105 pounds will be published. I doubt that would jive with People‘s advertisers but if they’re serious about being a semi-serious gossip rag–hey, they write stories about “normal” people too–then they should consider taking on some of the responsibility. That cover doesn’t get them off the hook, it just sinks ’em in deeper.