Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Drunk Dialing Meets Drunk Blog Posting! This is Excellent!

Oh, sweet fuck. It just occurred to me, listening to some other sites with audio posts:

I can combine the best of Drunk Dialing with Drunk Blog Posting.

Oh, the shenanigans!!!

This entire media form was made just for me! Post your slurred, drunken rants to your blog at four am on Valentine's Day!


Before You Go Banging On Your Drum, Step Back a Minute. It's All About Context

On September 4 1967 the New York Times published an upbeat story on presidential elections held by the South Vietnamese puppet regime at the height of the Vietnam war. Under the heading "US encouraged by Vietnam vote: Officials cite 83% turnout despite Vietcong terror", the paper reported that the Americans had been "surprised and heartened" by the size of the turnout "despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting". A successful election, it went on, "has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam". The echoes of this weekend's propaganda about Iraq's elections are so close as to be uncanny.

Why the fuck don't we fucking teach people history in schools? Fucking shit, we'd avoid so many repeat propaganda fuck-ups.

Read the rest.

Coolest. Thing. Ever.

No shit. It's too bad I'm not more of a talker, but you know, a couple times a month I could see myself calling... myself, to bitch.

And you could all share in the fun!

Just think: long, bitchy rants from me, in my voice! With the proper intonation for "fucktard"!

So great.

The Latest on Battlestar Galactica

This Could Quite Possible Be the Best Show Ever.

But, it's not.

Cause the Scifi channel keeps fucking it up.

The premise is this: humanity is being systematically wiped out by "Cylons" - robots who come in several designs, some of them human. As most of their planets have been blown to bits, that last 50,000 humans in the galaxy (so far as they know), have formed a fleet of ships and are trying to outrun the Cylons while looking for a mythical "Earth" that they can settle down on.

There are things I love about this show. I love the end of the world stuff: the few against the Dark Forces of Evil. I love that in the episode "33" everybody's exhausted and looks like shit and they film all the interior shots with handhelds. I love that people are bitchy and confused and nobody knows what the hell's going on. I love that when the fighter pilots go out to Do Battle, they pass by a picture of a guy watching one of their cities bombed-out by Cylons - a reminder about what you're fighting for. I love the deck they've got that's a memorial to all the dead, all the pictures, the little momentos. I like that they, did, in fact, make an attempt to have a female character who outranks a male character have an affair with him...

... They fuck it up, but their heart was in it.

This is a show about genocide on a mass scale, and lots of very different people trying to work together, and a Faceless Evil to combat. Fucking Classic, right?

The Sci-fi channel toted the gender ratio on this show as being a big deal. It's a quasi-remake of the original Battlestar Galactica, and one of the show's favorite characters - the philandering, cigar smoking star fighter, Starbuck - is now being played by a woman.

There are, however, only four main female characters. Which, you know, considering there's only five or six male main characters, shouldn't seem so bad.


But half of the female main characters are robots.


I shit you not.

Half the female characters in this show aren't supposed to be real women.


I bet they think they're being "progressive."

Read any Golden-Age SF, much?

Worse, the one with the most screen time - the Evil Blond in the Red Dress - doesn't really do anything but make-out with the scientist guy. There's lots of Hot Blonde Cylon Skin for the 14-year-old boys in the audience, but not much substance. Just lots of scenes where she's breathily expositing nonesense about belief and redemption. In fact, the entire subplot of an entire episode consisted of the Cylon making out with the scientist.

Somebody over at Sci-fi doing a little wish fulfillment, much?

For the most part, the gender ratio on-camera is about 1/3 to 1/4 female, not 1/2, though if you're not paying attention, you may think it's half, because we're so not used to seeing women characters on screen.

They appear to have the best of intentions with doing this, but they keep fucking it up.

Some of the actors appear to be confused about What it All Means, too. There are weird scenes where you get these women deferring to the guys around them in weird ways - or sometimes they do, sometimes they don't - sometimes they seem confused during their scenes about whether they're attacking or defending, seeking approval or telling the guy to fuck off.

Starbuck starts to bitch out her commanding officer, who's also supposed to be her best friend (way too much "but shouldn't we play up the sexual tension between them" stuff for them to be best friends, but I digress), and she gets a little hysterical with it. Granted, they're all supposed to be frazzled at this point, but you know what - he didn't get hysterical. Boomer does the same thing when, in another episode, she blasts out a freak-out confession to her boyfriend (who she outranks), and he immediately goes into male-protector mode, and she goes into female freak-out mode and begs for him to "fix" everything.

This, after insisting that these were strong, smart women. And sure, even strong, smart women have freakouts - but you know what, you don't go hysterical in front of a commanding officer, and you can figure out how to "fix" something on your own without coercing the boyfriend who you outrank to cover everything up for you. These women are supposed to be smarter than that.

The hottest person in the whole damn show is definately Starbuck. She's fucking hot: not just in a "looks" way (because if you're too pretty you get points deducted, in my book - I need a little character in the face, not a plastic doll), but the way she talks, the way she walks, the way she holds herself. She's awesome. She's the only one who's got any real spit and fire to her - only she seems to switch from "butch" mode to "now I must be a seductive girl" mode rather too often for my personal taste.

Can't she just be ass-kicking Starbuck and have people like her anyway? Does she really need to wear a low-cut tank top (way lower cut that any body else's in the room) while she's kicking everybody's ass at poker? Does she even need to bother to pretend to defer to the scientist guy? Why doesn't she just find him amusing? Katee Sackhoff needs to take a couple of classes in the Joanna Russ school of feminism.... That would be so cool.

And you know there's this war going on: the director's saying, "These are tough women, but they haven't lost touch with their femininity! More femininity!" Which, somehow, actually means (to this director at least), "Show us that you really need male approval!"

Finally, the male characters defend the female characters a lot from verbal attacks by superior officers. You know, it's a fucking military setting. Getting chewed out by your superior is par for the fucking course. Get over it, you pansies. Again, this wouldn't be an issue if 1) the verbal attacks in question were without merit (in fact, they felt perfectly within limits to me, totally justified, and real) 2) if men were defending other men or women defending other women from such "attacks" in the same way.

Instead, you're sort of seeing this supposedly military-run ship tiptoeing around the women aboard it.

And it's really, deeply, stupid. Because you couldn't function effectively that way, if 1/3 of your crew got "special" treatment by virtue of having breasts. It would piss off everybody - male and female. And before you start arguing about women in the military now, let me remind you that this is supposed to be, like, 3000 years in the future. I'd certainly hope thoughts about what women could be and do and equal relationships between the sexes had improved somewhat by then.

But then, I'm a bit of an optimist SF/F writer, huh.

There's also this weird tension between the Battlestar commander (a man) and the President (a woman). He'll usually just make decisions without her input, like when to jump the fleet, who to attack, when to attack, what's best for everyone, but when it comes to, say, deciding whether or not to leave a lot of people behind, or kill dangerous people, she has to make the decision, even if those people are seen as a military threat.

I love the actress they've got playing the President, and I think she rocks the house, but you know, it's weird. The writers' decisions about when something becomes "her" decision, and when it's "his" seem decided merely based on how suspenseful it'll be. If you want suspense, you have him ask her what she's decided. If you want to move the plot, he just decides on his own.

Really random.

And for all my pissed off bitching, I do keep hoping it'll get better. I keep hoping that Starbuck will really come into her own, that maybe the cardboard too-pretty guy they've got opposite her will somehow develop an actual character, that just because Boomer is a robot doesn't mean she'll be an Evil Robot, that the fucking Cylon in the Red Dress gets blown up for spare parts really soon, that the twitchy scientist guy gets pushed out an airlock, that the President clearly states, "Here's when it's mine. Here's when it's yours," and that at some point, there's an actual likeable guy character who isn't 1) too-pretty and devoid of personality 2) a robot.

Which is like the same thing, I guess.

It's Bullshit, But it Pleases Me

I have no trust in these studies, because there are so many other factors at work, but reading this stuff always pleases me:

Not only red wine but also white wine, beer and hard liquor appear to protect against mental decline in older women, two new studies have found.

I'm going to live forever!

Good Stuff From Amanda

The Republicans have simply stolen the standard way Hollywood sells movies, which is bring in the men and the women will follow. The idea in selling movies is this: Stuff your movies full of good-looking women and violence, market directly to young men and they will drag their girlfriends to see it. And the girlfriends will go, because women are used to male authority in their lives.

The Republicans do the same thing. The Shrub is packaged up for maximum effect on a male audience. His rotating gallery of superhero costumes should be the first clue, as should the very existence of Ann Coulter, with her mini-skirts and her willingness to say nasty things about other women any chance she gets. The Stepford wife of a First Lady should really cause alarm bells to go off. The Republican party has been conveying a straightfoward, coherent message to the men of this country for a long time now, and that message is that they understand that men need to be Men and that the Democrats, in conjunction with the feminists, are trying to emasculate the men of this country. And that gets projected onto the nation as a whole--I would go so far as to say that 9/11 is perceived by many conservative voters as the result of our nation's "emasculation", that we became womanly and vulnerable and as such were violated.

I'm particularly pleased with the Laura Bush/Stepford equation. That one finally clicked. Wow. Read the rest.

My Secret Boyfriend Talks About Drugs, Alcohol, and Terrorism

Amusing thoughts from the other side of the pond.

Understanding the Religious Right

A 2002 Time-CNN poll found that 59 percent of Americans believe that the prophecies found in the book of Revelations are going to come true. Nearly one-quarter think the Bible predicted the 9/11 attacks. Drive across the country with your radio tuned to the more than 1,600 Christian radio stations, or in the motel turn on some of the 250 Christian TV stations, and you can hear some of this end-time gospel. And you will come to understand why people under the spell of such potent prophecies cannot be expected, as Grist puts it, "to worry about the environment. Why care about the earth, when the droughts, floods, famine and pestilence brought by ecological collapse are signs of the apocalypse foretold in the Bible? Why care about global climate change when you and yours will be rescued in the rapture? And why care about converting from oil to solar when the same God who performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes can whip up a few billion barrels of light crude with a word?"

via Echidne

Aren't There Any Bad Girl Poets?

Bad Guys and poetry:

In response to the question, “Can a bad man be a good poet?” there are only two things to be said: “Yes” and “obviously.” In part, that's because the poetry world sets the bar fairly low for “badness” — when we say a poet was a “bad man,” we don't mean that he was a shotgun-toting, baby-kicking monster; we mean that he was unpleasant, disturbed, or a jerk. And considering that poetry’s history is thick with unpleasant, disturbed jerks, the question would seem to answer itself.

He does, in fact, get around to talking about Anne Sexton for about two lines, but only to insist that it's impossible for a reader to "see themselves" in Sexton's poems, so it's different, somehow, to be shocked by her... I'm wondering if he means "a reader" to be "a male reader like me." Huh.

via Julian

Why is it Supposed to be So Much Worse When Women Do It?

Torture is torture. I'm so incredibly irritated that the "big freakout" about the abuse being dealt out to Iraqi prisoners isn't that it's happening, but that some of it's being dealt out by women.

No fucking shit. Women are people too. Women can do awful, mean, terrible things. And yea, it was probably men who told them to do it in some cases, but you know what, a lot of the time, they probably felt that what they were doing was "patriotic."

Women are Americans, too. Women were pissed off about 9/11, too. They felt they were serving their fucking country by interrogating people and treating them inhumanely, by working off religious taboos, by playing with sex. They were doing shitty things that their fellow male soldiers were doing, too. That's what you do. That's war. That's torture. Anybody who thought this isn't what they fucking voted for is wrong.

No, people shouldn't torture other people. It's fucking rude, whether you're male or female. Don't preach at me like women are supposed to be all "superior," and that it's perfectly fine for men to sodomize prisoners, but a woman rubbing her tits against some guy is oh-so-much-more-scandalous.

It's shitty no matter who's doing it. Stop freaking out based on the sex of the perpetrator, and talk about it for what it is: a bunch of Americans feeling that they were doing the right thing, being given orders by an administration who finds the Geneva Convention's anti-torture articles incredibly quaint.