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Just in case you forgot what you were living in and tacitly supporting… from I Blame the Patriarchy.

It’s like when I happen to run into the occasional woman who thinks Bust is a feminist magazine. Or maybe she believes that femininity is “natural,” or that “radiant skin” is desirable. Look at her sails! Her bloomy, billowing sails, bloated with hot wind! What can I do? If I don’t take that wind outta them things she might go around the rest of her life arguing that burlesque is an empowering form of feminine self-expression.

So I cram down her neck the truth that our patriarchal social order, despite what she’s been told since the cradle, doesn’t really have her best interests at heart. I explain that she is defined in this social order solely with respect to male interests, and that she is a member of an oppressed sex class out of which she may not opt, and that her success in life is entirely a matter of the degree to which she appeases her oppressor.

She protests. She demurs. She vituperates. She calls me a sex-hating harridan prude.

And then her lobe starts to pulsate. The mascara falls from her eyes. She grasps that, yes, patriarchy is founded on oppression and suffering, that Ponzi schemes and thread-count cons are logical consequences in a world order that is itself the Mother of All Scams, and most horribly of all, that she is both complicit and a dupe in the whole set-up.

Her life is ruined, and she has me to thank for it.*

Trust no one.”

Claude Debussy‘s piece Reflets dans l’eau (“Reflections in the Water”) is the first of three pieces for the piano from his first volume of Images, which are frequently performed separately. It was written in 1905. As with much of Debussy’s work, it is referred to as Impressionistic, meaning that it expresses emotions and senses by making use of non-functional harmony and ambiguous key signatures, its tonality being mainly non-diatonic and usually having a sense of modality.

Reflets dans l’eau opens in a slow tempo (andantino molto) with a melody of A flat, F, E flat (which is repeated through much of the piece) while the right hand is playing a set of chords to accommodate the melody. It shares the main characteristics of French music of this period. For instance, the piece is characterized by ambiguous and fast changing harmonies.

The piece has several brief melody statements and climaxes that are more glimpses of music than full ideas, which is typical of Debussy’s middle and late piano works. This is one of the many pieces Debussy wrote about water; in particular, light reflecting off of its surface. The piece creates an image of water being not quite still, then becoming rapid, then decreasing in motion again. Reflets dans l’eau is also an example of the new tone colors Debussy discovered for the piano in this part of his life, and although he later refined this style, this piece is part of the greater achievements Debussy reached with the instrument.[1]

Breaking news on the misogyny front…

“An Egyptian court has ordered a halt to forced virginity tests on female detainees in military prisons.

The case, which was decided on Tuesday, was filed by Samira Ibrahim, a woman who said the army forced her to undergo a virginity test in March after she was arrested during a protest in central Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

Human rights organisations say that there have been many other such tests by the military.

“The court orders that the execution of the procedure of virginity tests on girls inside military prisons be stopped,”
Judge Aly Fekry, head of the Cairo Administrative court, said.

Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal, reporting from Cairo, said the verdict was cheered by hundreds of who had gathered inside the courtroom to hear the ruling read out.

“Today’s verdict to ban any form of virginity test [in military prisons] will be seen by many as vindication for their criticism of the military over the past few months,” our correspondent said.

“This is something that will draw more criticism to the Supreme Council of Armed Forces – not so much the military itself, but its leadership.”

You would think that with a little research they could determine that these so called ‘tests’ are nothing but bullshiteOf course if the goal is to coerce and threaten women, then indeed this is a valuable test.

We should send them a periodic table as well so they can stop their alchemy experiments despite the intuition that the lead to gold secret is just around the corner…

And of course, neither am I.  Our perception depends on where we are focusing our attention at the time.  75% of people did not notice that the person dealing with them changed.  So…do you still think you are on the ball?

Valuable insight from Barbara and John Ehrenreich about the OWS movement, class and popular misconceptions propagated by the Right.

The “other men” (and of course women) in the current American class alignment are those in the top 1 per cent of the wealth distribution – the bankers, hedge-fund managers and CEOs targeted by the Occupy Wall Street movement. They have been around for a long time in one form or another, but they only began to emerge as a distinct and visible group, informally called the “super-rich”, in recent years.

Extravagant levels of consumption helped draw attention to them: private jets, multiple 50,000 square-foot mansions, $25,000 chocolate desserts embellished with gold dust. But as long as the middle class could still muster the credit for college tuition and occasional home improvements, it seemed churlish to complain. Then came the financial crash of 2007-2008, followed by the Great Recession, and the 1 per cent to whom we had entrusted our pensions, our economy, and our political system stood revealed as a band of feckless, greedy narcissists and possibly sociopaths.

Still, until a few months ago, the 99 per cent was hardly a group capable of (as Thompson says) articulating “the identity of their interests”. It contained, and still contains, most “ordinary” rich people, along with middle-class professionals, factory workers, truck drivers, and miners, as well as the much poorer people who clean the houses, manicure the fingernails and maintain the lawns of the affluent.

It was divided not only by these class differences, but most visibly by race and ethnicity – a division that has actually deepened since 2008. African-Americans and Latinos of all income levels disproportionately lost their homes to foreclosure in 2007 and 2008, and then disproportionately lost their jobs in the wave of layoffs that followed. On the eve of the Occupy movement, the black middle class had been devastated. In fact, the only political movements to have come out of the 99 per cent before Occupy emerged were the Tea Party movement and, on the other side of the political spectrum, the resistance to restrictions on collective bargaining in Wisconsin.

In-depth coverage of the global movement

But Occupy could not have happened if large swaths of the 99 per cent had not begun to discover some common interests, or at least to put aside some of the divisions among themselves. For decades, the most stridently promoted division within the 99 per cent was the one between what the right calls the “liberal elite” – composed of academics, journalists, media figures, etc. – and pretty much everyone else.

As Harper’s columnist Thomas Frank has brilliantly explained, the right earned its spurious claim to populism by targeting that “liberal elite”, which supposedly favours reckless government spending that requires oppressive levels of taxes, supports “redistributive” social policies and programmes that reduce opportunity for the white middle class, creates ever more regulations (to, for instance, protect the environment) that reduce jobs for the working class, and promotes kinky countercultural innovations like gay marriage. The liberal elite, insisted conservative intellectuals, looked down on “ordinary” middle- and working-class Americans, finding them tasteless and politically incorrect. The “elite” was the enemy, while the super-rich were just like everyone else, only more “focussed” and perhaps a bit better connected.

Of course, the “liberal elite” never made any sociological sense. Not all academics or media figures are liberal (Newt Gingrich, George Will, Rupert Murdoch). Many well-educated middle managers and highly-trained engineers may favour latte over Red Bull, but they were never targets of the right. And how could trial lawyers be members of the nefarious elite, while their spouses in corporate law firms were not?

A greased chute, not a safety net

Read the rest of this entry »

Ah, progressive religious thought in action.

In another unsurprisingly putrid religious offering, the devout offer a lovely pastiche illustrating the misogyny, pettiness, and insular sectarianism that makes religion so repugnant to the rationally inclined.

“A shy eight-year-old schoolgirl has unwittingly found herself on the front line of Israel’s latest religious war.

Naama Margolese is a ponytailed, bespectacled second-grader afraid of walking to her religious Jewish girls’ school for fear of ultra-Orthodox men who have spat on her and called her a “whore” for dressing “immodestly”.

After significant media attention to the young girl’s plight, thousands came out to protest on Tuesday evening against gender segregation and violence against women at a rally in Beit Shemesh, 30km to the west of Jerusalem.”

These lovely ultra-orthodox men of faith have taken to harassing 8 year old girls because their immodest dress.  Bare arms apparently qualify as immodest dress.  Of course the gender policing going on here is not new – most religions by default destroy a woman’s autonomy and rights.  The neat little twist here is that this is happening in a supposedly secular democratic state.

“Naama’s persecution has drawn new attention to the simmering issue of religious coercion in Israel, and the increasing brazenness by vigilantes from the insular ultra-Orthodox community.
“When I walk to school in the morning I used to get a tummy ache because I was so scared … that they were going to stand and start yelling and spitting,” she said in an interview with the Associated Press news agency on Monday.

“They were scary. They don’t want us to go to the school.”

The new girls’ school that Naama attends in the city of Beit Shemesh is on the border between an ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood and a community of modern Orthodox Jewish residents, many of them American immigrants.

The ultra-Orthodox consider the school an encroachment on their territory. Dozens of black-hatted men jeer and physically accost the girls almost daily, the students say.  Televised images of Naama sobbing en route to school have shocked many Israelis, elicited statements of outrage from the country’s leadership and sparked a Facebook page with nearly 10,000 followers dedicated to “protecting little Naama”.

“Who’s afraid of an 8-year-old student?” Sunday’s main headline in the leading Yediot Ahronot daily said.”

    Let me answer that for you.  People so utterly screwed up on the stupid-shitty-ass Koolaid known as religion that they will verbally accost and spit on children because their magic book says so.  Actions such as this are so obviously wrong, but the power of faith and religious wankitude allows the believers to soldier on in the face reality and ethical considerations.

“Beit Shemesh’s growing ultra-Orthodox population has erected street signs calling for the separation of sexes on the sidewalks, dispatched “modesty patrols” to enforce a chaste female appearance and hurled stones at offenders.

Walls of the neighbourhood are plastered with signs exhorting women to dress modestly in closed-necked, long-sleeved blouses and long skirts.”

Yep, take that you unseemly, unsightly, unworthy women…cover your shame.  I’m thinking the Burka treatment is in order here, lets completely dehumanize women so we can completely strip them of their rights and membership in the human race.

“The Israel police are taking, and will take, action to arrest and stop those who spit, harass or raise a hand. This has no place in a free and democratic state,” he told his cabinet.

The abuse and segregation of women in Israel in ultra-Orthodox areas is nothing new, and critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye.

The ultra-Orthodox are perennial king-makers in Israeli coalition politics – two such parties serve as key members of Netanyahu’s coalition. They receive generous government subsidies, and police have traditionally been reluctant to enter their communities.”

Ah, the reason why the burning stupid remains.  Women’s autonomy and rights can happily be thrown under the bus for political expediency.  O how odious religion is when given political power and room to exist within  a society.  Here lies yet another shining example of why states MUST be secular and the boundaries between church and state must be clearly delineated.


One way of understanding Jazz.

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