Saturday, October 31, 2009

Shout-Out

My friend Kris wrote a really interesting post about Christianity's approach to pagan holidays. I thought she made a great point. You all should check it out!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Daily Observations With Litigious Mind

Number One
Some people are really, really bothersome eaters. For instance, I am a cafe and seated at the table next to me is a man that is shoveling eggs into his mouth in a way that is, literally, making me queasy. Little yellow pieces are clinging to his lips before they are drawn inside or fall back to the plate. Not only that, but he makes smacking, sucking noises as he eats. You know what I'm talking about, right? That noise is probably in my personal top ten of extremely unpleasant noises. I mention it because I was at a coffee shop yesterday seated next to another man that made these noises while eating a bagel and cream cheese. Do I make these noises? If I do, please let me know.

Number Two
Here's a word to the (not-so) wise, specifically you people who have procreated. If there is a couple of childbearing years that you know who do not have children it is probably for one of three reasons: (1) they're not ready to have children yet; (2) they can't have children; or (3) they don't want children. Either way, it's none of your goddamn business. So why do you insist on dropping little hints and smarmy Facebook comments about when a "little" so-and-so is going to arrive? It's fucking rude.

This concludes daily observations with Litigious Mind.

Friday, October 23, 2009

One More Thing

Sorry for all the posts today. I'm bored, and I timed my NetFlix delivery poorly. No movies this weekend. :(

Anyway, something else happened today that I find annoying. (I know, what DON'T I find annoying?) My classmate was telling me about how he fell asleep in the law school lounge and how "this black girl came up and sat next to me, then left when she realized I was asleep."

Urgh! I find it so annoying when people describe someone in terms of his or her race when it's completely irrelevant. I mean, it's one thing if you're DESCRIBING someone, like "You know, Frank. The Hispanic guy?" At least then there's a point, and race is just equivalent to something like hair color. But why point out that the woman who sat next to him was black? It served no purpose.

I think it makes me uncomfortable because when someone says that to me, in a way it seems like they're (unconsciously, maybe) defining the other person's identity based on his or her race.

Barf

When I moved to my new town, I did not take my car with me for both convenience and monetary reasons. So as a result, I walk a lot. I didn't realize the effect this was having on me until I used the treadmill for the first time since moving here, which was about a month after the last time I went running. (I have been swimming here, though.) Much to my surprise, I did two miles without getting winded. "Wow," I thought, all this walking is paying off!"

However, I'm not losing any weight.

Probably because I CAN'T STOP EATING CHIPOTLE BURRITOS! I ate another one today, and I regret it hugely! Either my stomach will rupture, I will vomit, or I will be chewing on Tums all evening.

What is wrong with me? WHY CAN'T I LEARN?

I Heart Technology

I had a tweeted conversation with Fug Girl Jessica today. SO EXCITING!

More Feminist Stuff From Me

I know that I've led a pretty sheltered life by how genuinely baffled I am when I encounter sexist comments from well-educated men that I, generally, like and respect. But it keeps happening. And I am still surprised by it.

For instance, at my old job, there was a male attorney there who routinely referred to female clients (and girlfriends of clients) as "skanks." I always made sure to let him know in some fashion that I thought his comments were not cool. When I finally directly challenged him on it, his defense (for one female client) was, "I know she's a skank because she told me she likes to have sex with men."

I wish I would have been quick enough on my feet to point out that that doesn't make her a skank, that makes her heterosexual.

Another client apparently deserved the title because she had three children by three different men. I don't even know how many of our male clients had children by multiple women, children that they had no contact with, but never once did I hear him use a similar title on the men. Only the women were deserving of that.

And let's not forget the time he read a report from a female officer that contained things he did not like. She was labeled as a "slut." I took immediate umbrage to that. "You don't know that she's a slut!" I exclaimed. (You have to pick your battles. I wasn't even going to get into my objection to the word "slut" in general.) "You don't know that she's not," he replied. I couldn't resist saying, "Oh, so is that how it works in our system? Guilty until proven innocent?" He chuckled and said, "You're kind of closet feminist, aren't you?" I said, "Mmm, not really a closet one."

This is a nice, intelligent guy. Someone I genuinely like.

Yesterday at school I was sitting with a male classmate before class when a female law student walked by. I didn't see her, but my classmate watched her go by and then said to me, "I'm always amazed by the way some women don't take law school seriously."

Yes, in case you were wondering, he was implying that this woman wasn't serious about her future career because she was dressed up. Not dressed scandalously or inappropriately, just dressed to the nines. I, naturally, challenged him on that, and he stood his ground. "You know," I said, "women really can't win. If we don't dress nice enough, we're ignored by men. But if we dress too nice, we're assumed to be floozies who only care about our appearances."

"There's a happy medium," he defended.

"Yeah," I said, "and we'd better be careful to make sure we fall right between the boundaries or we're in trouble."

I don't remember how we segued, but he then made some comment about blondes and their (relative lack of) intelligence. I challenged him on that. "Come on," he said, "you don't think that if you pulled ten blondes and ten brunettes off the street the blondes wouldn't be dumber?"

I pointed out that twenty women would not yield statistically significant results, and he changed it to a thousand women each.

"No!" I exclaimed. "I don't think there'd be a difference."

"Well maybe just the blonde women I've dated have been bimbos," he said. Ding ding ding! "There's your common denominator," I retorted.

This is a guy with a law degree who actually thinks that a woman's intelligence and ambition can be determined by her appearance.

Is it any wonder that I consider myself a feminist?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Prescription for Insanity

The movie Zoolander is, obviously, the greatest film ever made. There are endless quotable quotes from Zoolander that never get old, never fail to amuse.

But did you know that there are also quotes that provide pertinent, succinct expressions for what a person may be feeling at a particular time? Take, for example, this gem from Will Farrell's character, Mugatu::

Who cares about Derek Zoolander anyway? The man has only one look, for Christ's sake! Blue Steel? Ferrari? Le Tigra? They're the same face! Doesn't anybody notice this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

See, this expression is useful for those times when you see something that is so blatantly ridiculous, but everyone around you acts as if there's nothing unusual about it in the least. Today, I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lyric of the Week

You criticize my walk as I watch you crawl.
—Holly Williams, "Everybody's Waiting For A Change"

This Is Why People Dislike Intellectualism

"The discursive constructions of law often dictate the enforcement of prevailing moral and social norms and serve to mold our perception of issue most sensitive to the body politic, such as the exogenous imposition of ethnic or gender/sexual identity." (Karen Eltis, Genetic Determination and Discrimination)

I mean, what the fuck is that? Is it REALLY necesary to write like that? Surely there is an average Joe translation that would get the same point across. It makes me think that the author is just trying to show off.

Part of my annoyance is no doubt attributed to the fact that I'm a lawyer. In legal writing you try to be as clear as possible. As my legal writer told us as 1Ls, "Write like your reader is an eighth grader."

I really hate readings from the social sciences.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hippies In The Family

DAD: Your cousin T is looking at Evergreen State for college.

LITIGIOUS MIND: What? Why? Does she like pot?

Reign It In

Do you know what I hate? People who squander the goodwill the world is willing, perhaps even eager, to bestow upon them.

The two best celebrity examples of this are Jon Gosselin and Levi Johnston. Kate Gosselin's criticism of Jon seemed so mean-spirited that I cheered when he left her. But then he goes and proves that he's the world's greatest douchebag by boozing, smoking, screwing, and stealing.

And who didn't cackle a little when Levi Johnston first spoke out again Sarah Palin? But the he goes and tells magazines about personal Palin family details that the public doesn't need to know. And now he's posing for Playgirl! Gross!

Come on, people! A little public support is not a free pass to go hog wild! Reign it in!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

At Least My Mom Thinks I'm Special

Holy crap! Do you know how many lawyers and lawyers-to-be I've met that have PhDs or MSs in biology or chemistry? I'm never going to get a job with my measly bachelor's degree!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cast Your Ballots

So, as long-time readers of this blog likely know, I have a problem with lack of objectivity at times. Some have accused me of being too sensitive. I will admit that, at times, that is true. I also realize that if it were not for my fear of confrontation—embarrassing for an adult, generally, and shameful for an attorney, specifically—this would be me:



Therefore, I submit my latest is-someone-being-an-ass-to-me-or-am-I-taking-it-the-wrong-way issue to you readers.

Exhibit A:
ME: I wonder if my student loan dispersal went through.

CLASSMATE: Nope. It didn't go through. Nothing will go through. You're going to have to go back to [state where you moved from].

Exhibit B:
ME: (Mentioned that what cost $.55 at a vending machine in my home state costs $1.25 here, and that state universities in my home state got Columbus Day off but we don't here.)

CLASSMATE: Okay, just as a warning, if you say that one more time, I'm going to say, "Then why don't you just go back to [state where you moved from]?"

ME: Uh, you've pretty much implied that already.

So what is the verdict, asshole or non-asshole? I bet you can guess where I fall on this issue.

(These are not the only potentially assholey comments I have received from this particular classmate, but they are the most egregious, I think. In isolation I could perhaps shrug them off, but the cumulative effect... I'm starting to get the idea that someone doesn't like me.)

Pink or Blue

It is a funny thing when a pregnant friend (or spouse of a pregnant person) announces the gender of the baby. We all get so excited (I'm including myself here) and say such obvious things.

Today, my friend announced she's expecting a boy. I get all excited and say something asinine along the lines of, "Wow! That will be different!" (Her first is a girl.)

Thank you, Captain Obvious!

I am also amused by the "boys/girls are so much fun" comment because you KNOW that they would say the same thing no matter what the gender!

But you kind of have to express stupid sentiments of excitement over baby gender, because what else would you say? You knew it was going to be one or the other! And one is no better than the other, but our words, when viewed outside of emotion, would appear to imply.

I don't know, I just think it's funny. I'm excited for my friend to have a boy, but I would be equally excited if she was having another girl. I guess expressing exciting is the best we can do!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Detours Ahead

BAD DAY for me and public transportation. First, I enter the wrong address into the online trip planner and end up in a part of town that is NOT where I was trying to go. Then I go to the mall but get on the wrong bus on the way back! An impromptu hour-long tour of the city.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Funny New Show

Okay, so that kid Manny on "Modern Family" is pretty freakin' adorable. And that show is hilarious; I laugh out loud during every episode.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

You Know, Some Things Aren't Cute

Recently, one of my Facebook friends and his wife had a baby girl. The day after the baby’s birth, the father—in his status update—requested suggestions for “anti-boy protection devices.” From the comments, it appears that everyone thinks this is funny/sweet/etc. To defend against the inevitable accusation that feminists are humorless and can’t take a joke, I added a smiley face emoticon to the end of my comment “The feminist in me objects to this.”

I object for so many reasons.

First, this means that literally from the time this female child was one day old, she has been talked about in terms of her (impliedly sexual) relationship to/with men. I find this inherently objectionable because she’s an infant. Can’t they let this baby be a baby before they start thinking of her as a male’s companion? And why are they even assuming that she will ever be a male’s companion? Maybe she’s a lesbian. Did anyone ever think of that?

Second, this kind of thing (“protecting” from the opposite sex) is never said about baby boys. This desire to “protect” daughters but not sons is, at its core, a belief that females cannot be trusted to make their own sexual decisions. Because the same is never said of baby boys, the implication is that males can be trusted to make sexual decision. A natural corollary to all this is the belief that female sexual purity is valuable and must be guarded, but the same is not true of male sexual purity. This just propagates the harmful virgin/whore dichotomy that females have to deal with while leaving males free of stigma no matter what their choices.

And finally, it is always the father that must be the one to protect the daughter. This doesn’t make sense to me. Females need protection from males by males? Even if we assume that protection is needed, why is the mother always left out of this equation? Wouldn’t the mother be better equipped to offer protection, as she herself has been a female adolescent? Again, there is a strong implication that females cannot be trusted to make sexual decision, for themselves or for their children. The decision must be made first by their fathers and then by their husbands/partners.

Now, I’m sure that the father who posted this and many of the commenters would reject these assertions if presented with them. But that’s the problem. That’s where my frustration stems from. These underlying assertions are not apparent to them. It doesn’t factor into their consciousness, but it clearly does factor into their subconsciousness. Otherwise these kinds of “jokes” wouldn’t be carried on. Otherwise so many fathers would not feel compelled to express their desire to keep their day old infant daughters away from boys. As feminists, how can we rid society of these patriarchal assertions if people don’t even realize when they’re propagating them?

MSNBC versus Fox News

Did anyone watch Meet the Press last weekend? A discussion arose that got me thinking.

I am a big fan of The Rachel Maddow Show, and I like Countdown with Keith Olbernmann, too, but usually for different reasons. But I also have an inherent dislike for Glenn Beck. I really despise his public persona. I have heard people say many times that MSNBC and Fox News are essentially the same thing, but they are just aimed at opposing views. That is essentially what come up on Meet the Press when Rachel Maddow and Mike Murphy were commentators.

The discussion turned towards Rep. Alan Grayson’s comments on the floor of the House, and I think the question was whether it symbolized a widening of the divide between parties, and an increase in the vitriol. This followed:

MURPHY: What’s happened is that we’ve created—there is kind of a freak-show business now of, of each side, which amplifies the shrillest voices. We have one-party cable networks now—one of each. And what that does is dumbs down the debate. Everything’s argument by noise, by hot language, and by anecdotes. You know, so facts, and more complicated debate is pushed out because it’s not loud and colorful enough. It cheapens the debate.

MADDOW: Who is Joe Scarborough—which network is he on? Which one-party network?

MURPHY: He’s on your liberal network.

MADDOW: So he’s—how is that a one-party network?

MURPHY: I would take your primetime and Fox’s primetime and say there’s kind of the same dance toward the dumbing of the debate.

Then the conversation (eventually) turned to Sarah Palin and her prospects for the 2012 Republican nomination for president.

MADDOW: I do think that there’s a little big of reckoning that needs to happen on the right for Sarah’s Palin success. I mean she was the vice presidential nominee. She is going to sell a gazillion books, and she is the biggest brand name in Republican politics still right now. And she’s chosen—the person who’s writing her book, her last, the last person who she co-authored a book with was called “Donkey Con,” and it was co-authored with a guy who’s widely believed to be, and I believe him to be, a white supremacist. So she’s chosen Lynn Vincent, who’s written a book with a white supremacist, to write her book. And she’s the biggest name in Republican politics.

MURPHY: Oh Rachel—

MADDOW: —and you can dismiss her and say she’s not going to be the nominee, but I do think the right needs to sort of answer for what’s happened to conservatism.

MURPHY: Let me just say, I am a well-documented non-fan of Sarah Palin, at least as a national politician, I don’t know her personally. But that’s guilty by association stuff, that’s the cable stuff.

MADDOW: But why—

MURPHY: That’s the problem.

MADDOW: You can pick any ghostwriter.

MURPHY: Sarah Palin’s a lot of things, but she is not a white supremacist.

MADDOW: No, I don’t think she is, but you can pick anybody, why would she pick somebody who’s associated with the League of the South? Who’s said that Americans are revolted by the idea of having a black sister-in-law? I mean, she—this is who she picked to write her book.

MURPHY: Yeah, but there’s—

MADDOW: Why do you do that?

MURPHY: That sort of guilt by association stuff, which, I don’t know what—check it out—

MADDOW: It’s guilt by choice.

MURPHY: —it’s so not important to the central questions in the country right now. But that’s what cable TV has become.

MADDOW: Sarah Palin’s popularity is a central question in the Republican party right now. We can make fun of her, but it doesn’t make her go away.

I found myself really wondering where I came down on this. The last thing I want is to be just the liberal equivalent to Glenn Beck viewers.

I get the impression that Mike Murphy is just attacking cable TV content to avoid discussion of the real issue Rachel Maddow brought up: why is someone like Sarah Palin—who apparently doesn’t mind associating herself with this co-author—the biggest name in the Republican Party? I mean, essentially Maddow was saying that the Republicans have to come to terms with the fact that they’ve moved so far right that they’re losing moderates. Isn’t that an issue worthy of discussing? Maddow’s example may be used on cable TV, but it still serves a purpose, doesn’t it?

However, I do think that Murphy is onto something, but the difference lies in the viewing audience. If you’re a viewer who has ill-developed critical thinking skills, after hearing Maddow’s example, the only jump you’re going to be able to make in your mind is: Lynn Vincent wrote a book with a white supremacist → Sarah Palin is writing a book with Lynn Vincent → Sarah Palin is a white supremacist. Yes, that dumbs down the debate, but that’s only the fault of the cable networks if they intentionally cater to those viewers with poor critical thinking skills. I personally do not believe that The Rachel Maddow Show does that. I personally think that is what Fox News does. So for that reason, I don’t think it’s fair to equate the two.

Thoughts?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My Love Song to Patty Griffin

This makes me so very happy, so I will share it for you listening pleasure. It is Missy Higgins singing one of my favorite Patty Griffin songs, Moses. I want a legal download of this song so bad, but I can't find one! It is available for purchase on the Australian iTunes page, but not on the U.S. iTunes. And you can only legally purchase songs from the Australian page if you're in Australia, apparently. (I tried.) I guess my next option is to see how much the EP is. Imported albums tend to be way expensive, though. Grrr...