coraa: (don't fear the reaper)
When I was a tween and a teenager, we didn't have a lot of money. I don't mention this very much because I don't feel that we had sufficiently little money to complain about -- we had food, a place to live, and health insurance (via my dad's retirement package from the Army); when I grew -- which I did a lot as a teen, as did my brother, of course -- I could get new clothes, I had a warm coat in the winter, we had a car that ran. We were okay.

More about money, poverty, and happiness below the cut )
coraa: (laharl wtf)
I'm sure most of you have heard, but an assemblyman from Orange County -- someone who, I believe, trumpeted the conservative family-values line to a great degree -- accidentally regaled a legislative hearing with explicit details of his exploits with two women, neither of whom he was married to. (Adding injury to insult, one of the women was a lobbyist. Conflict of interest much?)

So of course, it doesn't surprise me one bit that he said 'family values!' and did, uh, something else. We all know that a lot of people in politics are hypocrites, and family-values types are no better than most.

What gets me is -- good lord, how stupid was he? Or possibly arrogant. I mean, doing it is one thing; perhaps not advisable, but not gratuitously foolish. But talking about it, not just publicly but during a hearing, while mic'ed? We all know that mikes sometimes unmute themselves if you bump them wrong; there's a handful of embarrassing comments caught from public individuals that way every year. Why didn't he save the salacious retelling for a private moment with his colleague? Why not tell the 'story' in a back room, a club, a bar, anywhere that he wasn't in the presence of both a microphone and recording devices? Why?

I asked this of [livejournal.com profile] jmpava, mostly rhetorically, but he gave me an answer: many people who get that kind of position do so by being kind of a stereotypical alpha type. And to me, that means two things. First, he is inclined to see social relations and especially with women as conquests and challenges -- and what's the point of a conquest if you can't brag about it? Hell, I bet half the point of the two-women thing was the bragging rights rather than the sex itself. But second, and perhaps more importantly, he thinks he's above the rules. He doesn't think anything bad could happen to him, so he doesn't think he has to be careful -- whether that's because he's special personally or because he thinks he's immune as a middle-aged, upper-middle-class white man. And very often, I'm afraid to say, that's the case -- but maybe not if you're so careless you admit it yourself, in public, on camera. Amplified.

But still. While on a microphone? Really? Really?
coraa: (critic)
Something like two? three? years ago, at Thanksgiving at my boyfriend's father's house, the following conversation took place.

I don't remember how it came up, but I was talking about my scary school, associated with a scary church that my parents are still semi-associated with. I referred to it as "scary school." The person I was talking to (a friend of my boyfriend's father, a gay man) raised an eyebrow, and chuckled a little, in a way that I am familiar with.

"Scary?" he asked.

"Um," I said, and flailed a bit, and settled on, "...super-conservative Christian?"

"Ah," he said, but I could see that he was being, well, tolerant, in that way that people often are when they're talking to twentysomethings who are talking about their upbringings. "Scary?"

"Yeah," I said, and then fumbled, trying to figure out how to explain the environment I'd grown up in.

And then my semi-step-grandmother-in-law* stepped in. (She's from the same town I grew up in -- funny coincidences!) She's a woman in her... eighties? Something like that. With a very strong and also very likable personality. "She means it," she said. "They really are scary."

"Oh?" The raised brow lowers.

"They believe in slavery. I mean, they believe that slavery is just fine, and that the South should have continued as they were, without any Northern intervention of any kind."

The person I'd been talking to sat back in his chair. "Really?"

"Yes. And that women are inherently inferior to men. And a lot of other stuff."

"Oh," he said. "That is pretty scary."

"Yes," she said. "And if I hadn't said anything, you would have thought that she [me] was exaggerating, wouldn't you?"

"Yes," he admitted. "Probably."

"It really is that bad," she said.

And that's how I want to begin, talking about my junior high and high school. Some of the people I went to school with were lovely people. But it really is that bad. Slavery. Denial of any rights to women. Child abuse.

It really is that bad. And it's more common than you think. (And that's why I don't believe that the work of feminism -- or antiracism, or anticlassim, or wahatever -- is done. It's more common than you think, and it really is that bad.)

I'll post more, when I figure out where to go from here; I'm going to tag it all as 'scary church.' But when I say that I grew up with scary people, this is what I mean: slavery, denial of women's equality, right up front and on the table.

And it's more common than you think.

* - Semi-step-grandmother-in-law: My boyfriend's father's partner's mother. Funnily enough, she's actually a pretty conservative person -- but you can be 'pretty conservative' and still think that my adolescent school-slash-church is absolutely beyond the pale.

I am deliberately not mentioning the name of the school, the church, the pastor, or my hometown. They egosearch; I got away, and I do not want to be found again. But if you're really curious, e-mail me, and I'll give you more info on who I'm talking about.
coraa: (Default)
Making Light has a wonderful roundup-post of amateur political videos on the Internet. It was the first time I'd ever seen Will.i.am's "Yes We Can" (pro-Obama), which is pretty damn impressive, but the whole sweep of them (the roundup includes an array of candidates, though Obama gets the most coverage) is interesting -- some impressive, some heartfelt, some unintentionally hilarious, all very interesting.

Viva l'internet.

EDIT: Oh my god, one of the video-making groups is called "Headbangers for Huckabee." I die.
coraa: (vetinari politics)
Today I went to the caucus. I feel awesome for having gone, especially since it's the kind of thing that often triggers my social anxiety. (In fact, due to the remarkable turnout, I almost had oh-god-too-many-people claustrophobia. I dealt by offering to be the precinct secretary, which meant I was too busy keeping track of who had spoken and what the delegate tally was to focus on the number of people.) And it was interesting to do. [livejournal.com profile] jmpava is a delegate, go him! Anyway, I'm feeling pretty good, because participiating in The Process of Democracy(tm) is important to me, even though it's not easy for me.

After that we started watching Fullmetal Alchemist with [livejournal.com profile] 2gouda4u, [livejournal.com profile] thegreatgonz, and [livejournal.com profile] marvinalone. FMA is one of my favorite animes of all time, and we got to the episode that introduces some of my favorite characters -- Mustang's office, plus Hughes. I adore Hawkeye, even though she hasn't got much screen time yet, and Hughes' combination of being totally goofy with being unexpectedly badass charms me to no end. Plus, brothers, alchemy, alternate-1930s, and Mustang the smug bastard. Looooooove for the series. So I'm glad to get a chance to rewatch (so many things I'm catching on the second watching that I missed the first time through), and to share it with people. (The show is also remarkable for the number of awesome female characters. So far we've just seen Winry, Pinako, and a teeny bit of Hawkeye, but I'm totally looking forward to Ross, Izumi, Martel, Sheska, and other characters whose names would be spoilery....) ([livejournal.com profile] donaithnen, should you ever move to Seattle, I'll totally watch it a third time with you. Looooooove.)

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