Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Prop

I'm pleased to see that the cats at fivethirtyeight have continued to post, even with the presidential election done and over with. They dropped this handy piece of analysis on an article the Washington Post published on Obama's stimulus plan:

I'm also inclined to agree with Jonathan Ichikawa's comment, "People who are not environmentalists are people who don't care about the environment. People who are not feminists are people who don't care about equal treatment of women," though would hasten to add that I don't think it's the author's intention to suggest otherwise. Mr. Silver, on the contrary, seems to be pointing out that for a lot of people, "feminist" and "environmentalist" are bad words, and that pieces like the one in the Post actively foster the ignorance that leads to this misconception.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Thank God

In the spirit of a blog I enjoy very much, I would like to take a moment to be thankful. Thank God for those saints who shovel sidewalks. I had to walk back to my place tonight to get clean clothes, and it sure was nice to not have snow caked to the sides of my pants. Why do they even own snow shovels? I may never know, but it sure is swell that they do.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


My alt. blog is officially up and running. I couldn't sleep, so I wrote to myself about the posties. Enjoy and please leave thoughts.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


It is a bit cold here. Sure, not as cold as where you are, in all likelyhood, but it's hard to get used to. The roads are icy, and the city lacks the equipment to do anything about it. The first night almost everything closed early, but people are getting used to it I think, and stuff's opening up--though the Sip and Ship's been pretty busy the whole time.

Tonight, though, there's a winter storm warning, and we're expected to get 5-8 inches of snow in the city with the possibility of high winds and their attendant power outages. I'm going food shopping soon.

On the up side, I saw "Teeth" last night. That is one quality movie. Now to be sure, it's not for the faint of stomach, especially if your a man with a particularly strong anxiety concerning castration. I'm going probably to write about it in my new blog :). If I take the time.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I think I'm gonna split things up a bit. I like doing cute short posts, and I like doing nerdy extended diatribes. So I'm going to keep PeatSpeak for the former, which will be the more personal and accessible (read: not boring) content, and I'm starting a new location for my more academic pursuits:

So far I haven't posted anything yet, so slow down there, Tex.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Reading Materially

I was just watching the Mike Huckabee interview on The Daily Show. Go watch it first; it's good.

Welcome back. Huckabee, toward the end, says that words matter, and definitions matter, and he says this in defense of retaining a millennia old definition of marriage as a man and a woman for the purpose of reproduction. Now I've rehearsed several times over, though perhaps not hear, some of the problems with this position, and I'll quickly recap them before getting to what I really want to say.
1) As John points out, marriage has undergone nearly radical changes over the period during which it has retained its preference for heterosexuality. Several well-known anthropologists find its origins in chatel slavery and abductions during raids. On this point the opposition is willfully ignorant.
2) There doesn't seem to be any great ideological or moral objection to the infertile marrying, and though surely those couples who choose to wait to have kids or not have them at all feel some pressure, great or small, from friends, family and strangers to get the job done, the idea of a ban on childless marriages would be a political non-starter. On this point the opposition is willfully disingenuous.
3) The history of the word or tradition and the normative telos of a union have no bearing on the effect of a homosexual marriage upon those not involved. Since the tradition of marriage is one of change, including same-sex unions into the fold only breaks with tradition if one strategically distills tradition as seen above; and the union of Adam and Steve does nothing to keep the Mormons from breading; so the manifest effects of gay marriage are unrelated to the objections stated.

But that is a little tired, surely, and something you've already thought of.

I'm more interested in words and definitions mattering. After all, regardless of the real history of marriage, what is at stake here is how it is defined (including how the construction of its history is defined). I like to think that words do matter, but maybe I've been saying this backwards. The feminism that I'm in love with, the post-structural feminism, is directly concerned with language's role in determining what we say is real. My feminism is a feminism of definitions: the way we define words, and the way words define us.

I see Huckabee martialling similar thoughts to defend his homophobia--a phobia that has its origins in part, I believe, in his decision that homosexuality is a choice--and I get worried about me. The difference is, I've decided, that for Huckabee, words (are) matter. But I think that Huckabee matters words--he is doing the opposite of what I want to do--and the campaign against marriage-as-love is a policing action to retain the right of the moral majority to the power into which it was born.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Midnight Musings.

Hi I'm Back.

I feel like this a lot lately [see comic]. I mean always. Except I'm not so sure critical success is necessarily any better than popular success. Success? Maybe saying "self-appointed" resolves the issue.