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Belle Waring

This Is The New Most Racist Field Trip of All Time

by Belle Waring on September 24, 2013

So, somewhere, someone proposed this idea, and other people said, “yes, that sounds like an excellent and educational idea.” Children from the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (which seems to be a magnet school in a majority minority public school district, but I’m not 100% sure) went for a 3 day field trip last year to a place called “Nature’s Classroom” in Charlton, MA. The students were notified about an “optional” Underground Railroad Skit 30 minutes before it occurred, on the last night. There, according to testimony from a father filing suit on behalf of his 12-year-old daughter under the Civil Rights act (along with some more ordinary “damages” suits against the school board), this happened (her re-telling, via the father):

Before we went into the dark room, we were lined up outside and asked to imagine running with our families in Africa. The slave master finds us and beats, stabs, and kills my father in front of me. I went into a dark room where I had to sit on my bottom with my knees touching; my legs fell asleep and were hurting….the instructor told us,”we don’t need any sick slaves; if you get sick we will throw you overboard.” I was told that sharks were following us and could smell our blood.

So far so good, right? But here’s where a teachable moment—turned into a terrible catastrophe. No, jk obviously, this is the most insane horrible thing I’ve ever heard of! But it does get worse.
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Is it really the case that pretty much all the Important Male Novelists of the mid to late 20th-century are such sexist dillweeds that it is actually impossible to enjoy the books, for many intelligent people? That would be a bummer, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Best suggestion for contemporary author of well-rounded female characters, from Tom: Kim Stanley Robinson. I LOL’ed. Shall we consider together?

John Updike, Norman Mailer: self-explanatory. If I get pushback on this I just…I don’t know. All right, The Naked and The Dead is an OK novel but after he turned into the Baron Harkonnen of Important Male Authors his literary credits were retroactively revoked. I read that novel about Egypt twice, don’t y’all make me go there! (Why? Because it was there. No, really. It was at my house. It’s why I’ve read The Tommyknockers twice also. It was at my house and then it was at a backpacker place in Melaka I stayed in when I had wicked jet lag for a day.) Philip Roth: sorry dudes, it just be’s like that sometimes. Saul Bellow: I am not qualified to say! Readers, please advise. Gaddis: aw, aw…goddamn. Did you—couldn’t you just have left out—? There has never been a book I enjoyed so much, that I threw against the wall so hard and hated so utterly as JR. It was devastatingly clear in the first hundred or so pages how unhappy I would be. And yet so skilfully gulled! Don DeLillo: Here quite a decent case can be made that he just hates everyone. And yet—yet—he hates some people more equally than others. Just set him side by side with J.G. Ballard, who truly hates everyone, and you will see what I mean.

Jonathan Franzen: he’s by no means the worst of the lot! He’s just young enough to know better. Some objected below that none of his characters are real, but rather all represent ideas in the fashion of… Look, I yield to no man in my love of Mann. I am a woman who, when packing to go to the beach in Thailand, decided to re-read Buddenbrooks. I know my Mynheeren Peeperkorn, Mr. Franzen, and you have not written a Mynheer Peeperkorn. Also, it is precisely Franzen’s desire to be an Important Male Novelist of the 20th Century that is so grating; he is a squirrel in the “random reward” group of a Skinner-box experiment that investigates how frequently the squirrel will press the lever that dispenses cocaine. D.F. Wallace: a good writer who is not such a sexist dillweed that it prevents one from enjoying his work, and is nonetheless an officially canonized Important Novelist. How satisfactory! He also needed an editor, though. Does no one have an editor? Do they rely on the firm rock of the horrible-looking PC OS to keep them real?
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Drink The Haterade

by Belle Waring on September 21, 2013

I don’t want to step on my husband’s post, so I am merely supplementing it, because I think there is something that deserves enough excerpts to warrant a post rather than a comment. To wit, this article from The Toast, “You Wouldn’t Like Jonathan Franzen When He’s Angry.” I am turning off comments to this post so we can talk in the thread below.

Jonathan Franzen is the angriest novelist in the world. He is the novelist who is so angry he cannot move. He cannot eat. He cannot sleep. He can just barely growl. Bound so tightly with tension and anger, he approaches the state of rigor mortis.

He is angry because Salman Rushdie uses Twitter, and nowadays people can buy books on the Internet, and the Home Depot, and he had to go to Germany one time, and also some women exist who have not had sex with him….

Think of all the women who have never slept with Jonathan Franzen. His anger must grow by the day. Soon it will envelop the world, and we will be forced to bow down in chains before it, and create ziggurats out of human corpses as terrible tribute. Some of these women who Failed To F#ck Jonathan Franzen might now be on Twitter, which is wrong because of a German essayist who is now dead.

To quote one of the most internetty minds of our generation, “heh, indeed.” Now I will speak my part, and then fall silent, except for the part about where we get into a huge argument in comments because I think pretty much all the Important Male Novelists of the mid to late 20th-century are such sexist dillweeds that it is actually impossible to enjoy the books. For me. Except William S. Burroughs, and that is because he does not want to sex chicks up. Not even a little bit. He wants us to be able to make clones, and then just go live on another planet with only men and boys and million-year-old crab creatures made of radioactive cadmium and then have gay sex there. It is astringently refreshing to have a novelist not care about having sex with you at all. It’s the best! Goodbye, poorly drawn female characters who exist as trophies for when the protagonists level up after a boss battle with Freudian analysis!

Now, dudes, part of shared bank accounts and having children and shit like that is that you can coordinate on stuff and divide responsibilities sensibly. Am I going to sit down and read about the Fourfold Root? No, I will ask my husband, “hey peaches, what’s this with the Schopenhauer here, am I giving a f*@k or what?” Then he can answer on account of having written a dissertation about it. And he arranges for everyone to go to the dentist, and parent-teacher conferences, and guy stuff like that which I as a mother, am not really into. Similarly, as John is a busy person who doesn’t have time to read novels which are both extremely long and quite bad, I can read them on our joint behalf. No, I can also read long good books on our behalf, so I can tell John crucial stuff about Proust like when the last volume opens and it seems as if all the characters have come in fancy dress but then… I read very quickly, stupidly quickly, a skill I primarily use to read the equivalent of a 500 page paperback, but made of internet bullshit, every day (I’ve checked). The Corrections, Jesus. It didn’t even have to be bad! There were many aspects of it that were very well observed and memorable. It needed an editor. It needed a nano-particle of self-awareness that was doing something other than comparing the distance of Franzen’s masturbatory ejecta to that of Philip Roth. Something that might, eventually, if nurtured in a caring bosom, maybe some kind of DH Lawrence glorying sheaf of wheat in the firelight thing, become humility. Just for like a second! It needed negative 4089 C of sexism to return to conditions amenable to reading rather than being the heart of a the giant blue-white star which is poised, even now, to go supernova in the center of the swirling storm of Eta Carinae. Let us never speak of Jonathan Franzen again.

A Woman Rice Planter

by Belle Waring on August 14, 2013

[This post is not entirely about Oprah Winfrey. FYI. It discusses a former slaveowner’s attempts to run her plantation after emancipation.]
Rest easy everyone! We’re cool! The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto has sussed out this Oprah situation in a way that I think you will all find correct and satisfactory. And what is more reliable than the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal?

Jesse Jackson hasn’t yet declared Zurich the new Selma, but from some of the news coverage you’d think Oprah Winfrey was the next Rosa Parks…It seems there was a language barrier: The clerk’s English isn’t great, and Winfrey probably doesn’t speak Swiss. “This is an absolute classic misunderstanding,” the store’s owner, Trude Goetz, told Reuters…What Winfrey construes as a racial episode is actually a story about class—a wealthy, privileged celebrity aggrieved by a lowly saleswoman’s lack of deference…It’s reminiscent of the endlessly repeated claim that criticism of Barack Obama proves racism is alive and well in America. Somehow Obama’s defenders are unable to see past the color of his skin and notice that he is president of the United States. As for Winfrey, she went all the way to Europe to discover that racism is alive in America.

Golly, don’t I feel a fool now! Thanks, the Wall Street Journal! With that out of the way I have something that is interesting and amusing to share with you, rather than something melting down with white-hot rage like a nuclear reactor core in a devastating accident. Let’s just wish we were down in the land of cotton, old times there are not forgotten, but—look away!
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The Cronut of The Summer of The August. Of Racism

by Belle Waring on August 13, 2013

Do you know how I would describe the actions of a powerful black woman against a defenseless fraulein, if I were, like, not racist at all? CANNIBALIZATION. *[I am wrong here—please read the ETA for why.] Buh—huhh? What now? WTF? Cannibalization, are you out of your ever-lovin’, blue-eyed, mind; this is part of your defense against people thinking you’re racist? Probably that’s just from laying down with the Daily Mail and getting up with pubic lice, as the venerable British saying goes. Oh, what’s this you say, over here? The original article in German? “Sie ist so mächtig, und ich bin bloss eine Verkäuferin. Ich habe niemandem etwas zuleide getan. [Sniffles audible—ed.] Ich verstehe auch nicht, weshalb sie das so gross im TV ausschlachten muss.” My German is rusty, so first I thought, that’s just some form of ausschlagen and the Daily Mail are being a bag of racist dicks per the uge’, but—naw, this is—oh, no, I can’t eve—God, why? For real, cannibalize! Apparently Swiss people are so racist, this is how you can explain you’re not racist! Also, by explaining that you can’t be racist because you’re Italian! [Raises hand, tentatively, ‘excuse me, I—] And, erm, this explanation works great for British people, apparently. And American Gawker readers eat this shit up with a spoon! OMG! Racism is the Cronut for the summer of this August you guys! CANNIBALIZE. No, for real. Cannibal.

I started writing the other day because I wanted to talk about how John’s question, “when did it stop being acceptable to say mind-bogglingly racist things in public?” is half a good question and half a misleading one. In politer society certain awful things were never acceptable to say. As time has passed the band of “can say ‘x’ and retain future political career” has been getting narrower, and higher, and that’s a good thing. But on the other hand, people who were racist never really stopped much being racist, or saying and doing stupid racist stuff. One thing that remained true was that certain words and phrases continued to be considered low-class and redneck even as many other whites remained very racist indeed. Thus we have the continual problem of rural whites doing something obviously racist (like the MO rodeo clown show (I am pretty certain this applies to their state legislature but have not done the research)) and then they are stuck simulaneously saying ‘that wasn’t racist’ and ‘you’re the real racists, playing the race card,” and “AIDS is thinning the herd in Africa and among blacks here in America—I call it natural selection for our country—no racism.” [Promise for real quote which I have cleaned up and can’t be bothered to find among 4,000 new ones on the rodeo article.]

Everybody on the internet is dissecting this thing 12 ways to Sunday and why? Why? Because they’re sexist and racist, I’m so flattered that y’all even asked! No, but a boringly obvious thing happened: A store attendant in Zurich didn’t recognize her (fine), so she treated Oprah like crap because she was racist. Yes, racially prejudiced against black people, is where I’m going with this. R-A-C-I-S-T. OMG, and yet an Italian person! Totally unbelievable, right, be… Later, Oprah was asked in an interview about the last time she experienced racism or racial prejudice. She said that because of her current social position it’s rare, but that when she’s the only minority and the only woman in a huge boardroom she still can tell they think she doesn’t belong. Then she told this story and that it had happened in Zurich, while she was out sans entourage or fake lashes but with [gestures to face] “my full Oprah on.” She did not name the boutique (this detail was ferreted out by gossip site TMZ) or the shop assistant (who is still anonymous.) THE END. CANNIBALS.

Please, please, go read the comments on the Daily Mail, and at Gawker, and elsewhere, and think, ‘these are my people over here. This is who I’m all about identifying with in this situation.’ Y’all know to whom these comments are directed, ye “I’m Richard Dawkins, except about all of left politics, fnarf! Sucks to be you, women and most non-white people, unless you’re willing to take part in the matinée, evening and sometimes midnight showings of the ‘Richard Dawkins is Right About Everything Finger Puppet Theatre’”-types. You begin to cease to interest me.

In conclusion, CANNIBALIZE.

*ETA: My German being, as I said, not the greatest, I trusted my dictionary for this one word and got only “cannibalize,” but I didn’t read carefully enough and get examples. I assumed the Daily Mail was just completely making things up, and my shock at seeing them (apparently) be right overrode my lexical caution. I was wrong. Commenter js suggests and commenter David Woodruff pretty well confirms, that this is “cannibalize” in the “we cannibalized the three crashed planes for enough parts to get the fourth off the ground” sense and not the “we stood around with bones in our hair saying ‘ooga booga’ while stirring a huge cast-iron pot with a skinny Italian woman inside, and we had it on a nice simmer, with some celery and carrots and onion and bay leaves in there” sense. So, we can continue to marvel at the racial cluelessness of a woman who argues that she cannot possibly be racist because she is Italian, and you should read the Daily Mail article carefully to see why her story is implausible in every detail, but I was wrong in my central accusation that she was calling Oprah a cannibal.

Nonetheless you all should continue to read the comments on the article, at, perhaps most surprisingly, Gawker, where the “cannibalize” quote is taken for granted and yet most everyone, every, everyone takes the shop assistant’s side. What reason does Oprah have to lie? How many reasons does this other woman have to lie?

It Was Probably Rodeo Classism

by Belle Waring on August 12, 2013

Missouri had its annual State Fair just now. Our overseas readers may be interested in State Fairs. They have food, and rigged carnival games, and ancient tilt-a-whirl rides of dubious stability being tended to by men whose facial hair choices are, if possible, yet more dubious, each with a Marlboro dangling from their lower lip, or a Newport, or, OK maybe they’re chewing tobacco, and, indeed it could be snuff, I admit. They all look ‘shifty-eyed’ if they haven’t gotten waaaay down to the end of the line and look ‘actively malevolent/probably a serial killer who will murder a small child at the close of the fair and ritualistically use its blood to lubricate the “Roll-O-Plane” as he does in his grim trek through all 48 states, every year since 1996.’ State Fairs also always involve judging the quality of cows, pigs, chickens, blah, emus, blah, Kodiak bears (I haven’t researched Alaska’s 4H offerings) that have been raised by children in the 4H program. The 4H program teaches children how to raise cows, or—oh wev. They often judge pies and stuff also and then make pronouncements: “Mrs. Henrietta Criswell, your sweet potato pie is the finest in all of Missouri!” and then probably she’s carried around on people’s shoulders while they sing “for she’s a jolly good fellow.” Food endemic to carnivals, such as funnel cake, is always served, and then there are state specialities, like in the unnamed square states in the middle of the country, where they fry sticks of butter. At the Maryland State Fair two competing Baptist churches sell crab cake sandwiches. Compete on, brothers and sisters in crab-cake agape. Compete on. I prefer one but can’t remember which so always need to eat both. Missouri’s State Fair has rodeos on account of its location…ah…not out West at all but RODEO no backsies. Rodeos are actually very fun to watch (I’ve only seen them on TV, but it was fun.)

Well, someone’s in trouble tonight! Because they had one of the rodeo clowns (who have the actually quite dangerous job of distracting the enraged bull so that the thrown or injured rider can get out of the ring) wear an Obama mask. Oh no, you’re thinking. Oh yes, sorry, this is going where you thought: a kick right in the balls of racial harmony. Allow me to prëempt a certain type of stupid First Amendmentry by noting that the Fair got $400,000 from the state to put this on. This was not a private racist rodeo.

[Audience member Perry Beam reports:] “Basically, a clown wearing a mask of President Barack Obama came out during the bull riding event at the fair. The crowd was asked if it wanted to see Obama ‘run down by a bull. We’re going to smoke Obama, man,’ says announcer…[this is met with wild cheers and applause] Egged on by the crowd and the announcer, one of the clowns ran up and started bobbling the lips on the mask and the people went crazy. Finally, a bull came close enough to him that he had to move, so he jumped up and ran away to the delight of the onlookers hooting and hollering from the stands.”

Ha, ha, ha. You thought you were OK, right? Then you got to “bobbling the lips on the mask” and you doubled over in agony, suddenly immobilized by a kind of vicarious shame and embarrassment, amirite? Kick right. In. The. Junk, people, I warned you.

ETA: the rodeo clown also has a broomstick stuck up his a$S, something I hadn’t really focused on till it was pointed out by Uncle Kvetch in comments. As I said, I’m just praying no one in Missouri every travels to NY and knew anything about Abner Louima ever or I will die more.

Awkward Conversations We Have Had

by Belle Waring on August 9, 2013

My brother has had, really. I was going to put this in a comment but realized I couldn’t let it languish down there. I thought of this because it is such a piquant combination of ‘I’m laughing’ and ‘the blood is draining from my face as I contemplate the lived horrors of chattel slavery.’ There’s not so all-fired many anecdotes you can say that abou-naw, I can think of 6 or so right away and if I called my pops and my brother and sister I’m sure I’d get up to 30-odd. So, frex, my brother was really good friends with Charles Pinckney, who both had a summer house down the bluff from us on Pinckney Island and was a fellow boarder at St. Alban’s in D.C. One day—PSYCH different story!

When my brother got to USC (not that one. The other, less evil one) and he walked into his dorm room, his new roommate was shocked. (This was before there was Facebook.) “You’re white!” My brother had to concede that this was so. His roommate continued to be startled and amazed. “Sorry, I just assumed you were a brother. I mean, I have met a lot of people in South Carolina named Waring and they have all been black. I have never met anybody named Waring who was white till now.” I am unsure as to what, exactly, my brother said. I really wouldn’t have known how to get out of there gracefully. ‘Ah, yes, about that, well, you see. It used to be that… That is to say there were…we. Uh. Did you know that after the Civil War, freed slaves often…arrrglegggh [Belle pretends to be choking on a boiled peanut shell].’ I believe my brother actually re-directed the conversation with a well-timed, “hey, you want to fire this up?” in which no one was accused of depositing excess saliva on the cottonmouth killer. Gameslifemanship for the ages, people.

Everybody’s Racist!

by Belle Waring on August 8, 2013

I am back in Singapore, but my lovely husband came with me and the girls on our trip to Bluffton, South Carolina to see my dad, at my childhood home. We stayed just over the bridge in Savannah, about 30 minutes drive away. It makes me so happy to go and sit at the top of the bluff when the tide comes high in the evening (it moves an hour forward each day, 2 highs, 2 lows, 8 1/2 ft difference, so the current is extraordinarily swift). Everything at the top of the bluff is in shade already from the live oak trees (which are festooned with gray pennants of Spanish Moss just like you heard about) but the river is still in the sun, and the marsh grass becomes this neon, impossible green color against the darkening water. The only time I ever felt a twinge of human fellow-feeling towards Mitt Romney was when he went back to Michigan where he grew up and said “the trees are the right size.” That’s right, dammit! The huge old water oaks that meet over the road to Bluffton, making it a beautiful tunnel, are The Right Size. The view from the top of the Eugene Talmadge Bridge, where you see all the marshland spread out before you like a tablecloth someone has shaken out perfectly over a still pond, but which has not yet begun to sink, is The Right View. And the levees and bunds and old, old paddies you can still see cut into the marsh from when the whole area was used for wet rice cultivation and growing long-staple cotton are The Right Thing to see. They remind you that South Carolina used to be rich instead of poor, when it could produce Carolina Gold rice—the best in the world if I may say so, and I’ve eaten plenty—using slave labor, and more importantly cotton, cotton, cotton. Paddy cultivation is extremely labor-intensive, and even after the invention of the cotton gin, picking cotton is hard, evil work, second only to cutting sugarcane, I imagine. If you can make people work for free; if you can buy people from Africa who know how to grow cotton and rice (because you sure as hell don’t know); if you can use your human possessions to breed new slaves like you would breed cows or pigs; if you are brave enough to be the white minority in a majority-black state—even then you will be afraid, and hear stories about Jamaica, and you must be cruel enough to quell every glance towards rebellion with vicious force. If you do all that, you can be rich. Rich! You will probably also be as racist as the day is long.
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And They Played Angola Prison Spirituals as the Recessional

by Belle Waring on September 24, 2012

So, some celebrities got married: Blake Lively, who was in the TV show Gossip Girl, and Ryan Reynolds, who was in the Green Lantern and is one of those dudes who is stipulated to be handsome but his eyes are too close together so he just looks moronic. Like a younger…thingface. Whoever. Lively herself is an off-brand Gwyneth Paltrow so it’s suitable.

They had the wedding, which was all perfect and arranged by actual Martha Stewart with color-coördinated jordan almonds (OK I made that detail up, but almost certainly yes), at Boone Hall Plantation, outside of Charleston in South Carolina. Boone Hall almost alone of the pre-Civil War plantations has its slave quarters intact. I think this is actually awesome about Boone Hall. At all the other plantations, you go, and some nice white volunteer shows you around, and you have to just use your imagination. The main house is now surrounded by vast lawns, and live oaks and azaleas, wisteria and breath of spring, tea olive, daphne odora, gardenias, and mounds of Lady Banksia roses. Mmmm, up in Charleston that Lady Banksia will get up to one-and-a-half stories high. I’m not sure why it doesn’t grow so well in Savannah. Pretty little yellow roses on a climbing vine, heaping up on itself, all up around old fenceposts. But no hovels! No wood fires, no chickens, no foundries! No crying babies, no foremen, no one making grits, no one getting beat the hell up, no black people!
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Infringements on Worker’s Rights: Not Imaginary

by Belle Waring on July 5, 2012

Oh Christ. IMAGINATIVE EMPATHY FAIL. The imaginative empathy fail button at CT headquarters is turning around and blaring and stuff and I am sick so I don’t have time to deal with this plus it’s an annoying sound. Everyone, please try to imagine you are a poor person for at least 45 seconds at a minimum. Also, if you look at an 80-comment thread and only one commenter with a visibly female handle has said anything, would you please just, go get someone off the street or something, or like maybe the woman next to you at Starbucks, to comment? Don’t tell her it’s about libertarianism!! Don’t be hitting on her either. Unless you’ve got mad game like Kells. Tell her I asked you to. Anyway.

Do you know how becoming a Jesuit differs from taking on a job that is unpleasant? You don’t need to become a Jesuit to get money to buy food and clothes for your family! For real! You’re not even supposed to have a family! So is there an issue there, about whether one can potentially contract oneself to SeaOrg or the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and come out missing your freedom? Yes, and that is what separates cults from churches in most people’s mind. This could be an interesting sidebar discussion but it has nothing to say about the “putting up with awful things to have a job” issue.
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Oh, I know what y’all are going to say. You’re going to say it’s wrong to like R. Kelly because his music is bad. No. Unnnh huuh. “But it’s got T-Pain in it!” You like “I’m on a Boat,” don’t you Sherlock? Further, “I’m a Flirt” is insanely catchy. Now you object that the Venn diagram of insanely catchy and bad has a large overlapping area, because you wrongly hate hillbilly-from-the-future Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” but nonetheless, “I’m a Flirt” is just a good song. No. You know why else? Because I told you so. Also, everything silly you wanted in a video. Expensive cars? Stupid big jewelry? Honeys up in the VIP room? So many honeys. I’m gay for this video.

But it might seem as if it’s wrong to like R. Kelly’s music because he’s committed statutory rape on multiple occasions.
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Martin Amis Moves to Brooklyn, Sounds Like Jerk

by Belle Waring on June 25, 2012

The New York Times sometimes does things just because it can, as Drew Magary of Gawker noted in his nuanced, thoughtful “The New York Times Styles Section Profiled The Brant Brothers Because The New York Times Hates You.” (Really you should read it, even though you will find out who the Brant brothers are, and All Will Be Lost. Also, Faye Dunaway.) So maybe the New York Times was briefly diverted from its mission to reported on all the news and cetera, to do something just to mess with us.

Many of you may have worried that literary Brooklyn wasn’t macho enough, what with all the female authors, and the important female editors, and all the attention paid to ladyissues, and all those memoirs you heard about from those women who read comic books when they were kids in Brooklyn and then something something. Let me tell you: Martin Amis just pulled your fat out of the fire, who doggie! He’s mannin’ up the borough right and left! He gestures out the window of his brownstone “Out there, it’s Arcadian,” he said. “It’s prelapsarian. It’s like living in the ’50s.”

You know what I love about the ‘50s? The rigid racial apartheid. That’s the best part, seriously. Oh, shit, no—I messed up—the crippling sexism and hatred of homosexuality. No, no—goddamnit! I’m going back to the rigid racial apartheid thing I said just now. That’s the best. It’s like having 3 favorite flavors of evil! That’s why the ‘50s are so tempting and delicious: just far enough away to see recognizable humans betraying their dearest in the service of ideology, just close enough that you know they knew better.
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A recent study by the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that women using IUDs and other methods like under the skin implants or Depro-Provera injections were much less likely to have an accidental pregnancy than women using ordinary birth control pills, the trans-dermal patch, or the vaginal ring. (CT readers who are not up-to-the-minute on ladyissues may be interested to learn that the ring is a polymer, well, ring, which is inserted into the vagina, and then releases hormones over the course of three weeks. The birth control type is replaced after four weeks. Another version is used to treat the effects of menopause and has a different schedule.)

The women using the pill etc. were, in fact twenty times as likely to have an accidental pregnancy as the other group. “We know that IUDs and implants have very low failure rates — less than 1 percent,” says Brooke Winner, MD, a fourth-year resident at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the study’s lead author. “But although IUDs are very effective and have been proven safe in women and adolescents, they only are chosen by 5.5 percent of women in the United States who use contraception.” In this case the study provided the various types of birth control at no cost. Worth noting, when the cost barrier was removed, the percentage of women choosing long-acting contraceptives went way up, to 75%.
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That’s Racism, Everybody!

by Belle Waring on May 3, 2012

I wish people would stop being so confused all the time. If someone is “a racist” it is not because he is a like a Nazi with a uniform and everything, and pledges allegiance to the flag of racism, and goes around shouting “I hate Mexican people!” Well, to be fair, he might shout that if he were drunk and had smoked some of the cottonmouth killer, or were on MySpace. And those dudes in Stormfront exist. And racist skinheads too dumb to join Stormfront. Nonetheless, in ordinary speech one only means “hey, he said a thing that was racially prejudiced,” or “she told a racist joke,” or “he threw a crumpled-up beer can at that broke-ass African-American gentleman walking right beside the road (South Carolina doesn’t hold much truck with sidewalks) while shouting ‘f%cK you n1gger!,’” or “she collects these weird racist yam crate-labels from Louisiana in the ‘30s and I am not sure her motives are entirely pure.” (May God help me on this one, a collector sells them in Takoma Park at vintage fairs and sometimes I succumb. They’re so cool! She’s a 65-year-old Black lady, so she’s off the hook. OR IS SHE?!).

Anyway, otherwise very intelligent people such as Radley Balko go weirdly off the rails on this one. (Whom you should all read all the time, even though libertarians annoy you, because he is the only person in the history of blogging to ever get anybody off of death row by blogging about it. We arrange some excellent book events, and we make nice covers and John typesets’em all purty, but I’m pretty sure Radley’s got us beat ten ways to Sunday on useful blogging and we will never recoup, not with a thousand book events. Anyway he’s not the annoying kind of libertarian. Er, rather, he’s one of the least annoying kinds. He actually cares about the rights of poor people and has noticed that corporations as well as governments can infringe upon your rights, although he doesn’t focus upon this latter point as much as a left-libertarian would. Did I mention he saves people’s lives? His blog is rushing into burning buildings and dragging people out, and then it wants to go back in, and the chief’s trying to hold it back, because it’s inhaled all this smoke and all, but it busts free and saves three more children, but it just has three cute smudges of soot on its face, and then it kisses Natalie Portman. Then maybe it links to Ilya Somin, and you think, the hell he did?! Our blog is just drinking a cup of coffee, and making plans to kiss…Clive Owen? I may need to re-do the polling on this one.)
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Well Bless Her Poor Little Heart

by Belle Waring on April 10, 2012

I’ve already gone over my looking at words limit today, so this will be brief. I thought this odd problem was caused by watching a bad TV show in which some of the characters have Southern accents. Nope. In wending my way through the various neuroscience labs and so forth I have learned that they basically don’t know jack about migraines. But in any case migraines are exhausting. So I am strongly inclined to make curious mistakes, wrong words, spoonerisms, aphasia, whatever. (I couldn’t remember the word “tesseract” the other day. My doctor laughed at me when I brought this up as a complaint.) And to regress. But regress to what, when I was 6? I never have had a Southern accent as an adult. I speak overly quickly, but with a normal East Coast accent. Except under the strain of continual pain and electric storms in the brain I…have a Southern accent now? My daughter said “ain’t” the other day? What in the everlovin’ blue-eyed world is that, I ask you. My family is going to give me constant hell from the minute I see them till moment I leave. I’m afraid to go home to DC! I’ll go to S.C. sure, no one will notice.

My Chinese business partner loves it, she thinks Southern accents are the cutest things in the world, and it also means I talk at about…2/3 the speed of my previous rate. Maybe even 1/2. It’s just, really weird. I can feel it; I can actively fight it with concentration. It varies throughout the day, depending on pain and so forth. The funny thing is that I used to be unable to produce a Southern accent on demand. If she asked me to do it, I couldn’t, I would just freeze up somehow, it felt like I was pretending something. Oh well, ain’t is a perfectly fine word.