Category Archives: History

Aging Bull(shit)

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Plastic surgery and all other attempts to “reduce signs of aging” are just another phase in a long line of oppressive prescriptions placed on women. This one is just like corsets, hoop skirts, foot binding, burkhas, genital mutilation, high heel shoes, constricting clothing, excessive thinness, dieting, tanning salons, and on and on.

All such customs and fads serve to keep the focus on women’s appearance above all else, reducing their time for more meaningful activities as well as limiting perceptions of women’s worth. The beauty practices are also great at generating economic activity, of course–none of this stuff is cheap and most of it requires continual maintenance and updating. If some cabal got together and planned out this grand conspiracy, it wouldn’t be any better than what we already have without a grand plan: brilliant methods for preserving male power in the personal, political, and economic realms. Ironically (or not), excessive thinness, plastic surgery, and all these other things really don’t improve women’s appearances, and in many cases make them look worse. One’s safety can be impacted as well: the diminished ability of a woman hobbled by high heels to evade an attacker is a form of powerlessness not unrelated to the reduction of women’s power in other areas. But then, we all know the only power a woman needs is the power to attract a man.

Really, the worst part is that most women willingly embrace these “beauty” practices, they spend vast amounts of time and money and psychic energy on being what they’re told to be–even when it’s painful, even when it doesn’t magically get them what they want. And they judge one another based on adherence to current norms–so it was probably a woman shouting about Hillary C’s looks at CPAC, when Paul Begala rightfully proclaimed her  a “real woman” for not trying to pretend she has no wrinkles.

From the GOP’s event Conservative Parade of Asinine Corporatism (CPAC):
Paul Begala: Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Need A ‘Facelift,’ She’s ‘A Real Woman,’ Not A ‘Republican Society Lady’
Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Paul Begala faced off against conservative media mogul Tucker Carlson for an event at CPAC on Thursday, exchanging jabs on a number of political topics. Given the opportunity, Begala also shot down a conservative audience member who attempted to get in a jab at Hillary Clinton.
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“She would be a great president,” Begala said of Clinton, going on to claim that the fact that Republicans are already attacking her is a sign they are “afraid.”
“I hope she does (run) — I have no idea if she will,” Begala continued, going on to list a number of things that he believes Clinton wants to do outside of electoral politics.
“I think she’s actually gonna first live a life, write her book, reacquaint herself with the real world…” he started.
“Get a facelift!” someone in the crowd interjected, seemingly channeling a topic of discussion on Fox News last month.
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“No, not get a facelift,” Begala said. “She’s not a Republican society lady, she’s a real woman.”
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I hope that Hillary doesn’t succumb to all the pressure, but if she does run for Prez, the pressure to conform will probably be too great to resist. And too many other women will judge her harshly if she doesn’t stretch out those wrinkles.

Chew, Shoe, or Skew?

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I’ve been enjoying  audio books lately because I have to drive to distant parts of my county for work. One thing that fascinates me about the audiobook experience is the ways in which the readers pronounce some words. Now, I have degrees in English, and have always had a pretty good vocabulary, primarily as the result of reading. So consequently, there are many words that I’ve only ever read and not heard anyone use, so I’ve deduced my own pronunciations. Some of these have seemed clear, and there are others about which I’ve been unsure.

So now, when I hear some of these words uttered by the readers of different audiobooks it’s an interesting experience. I noticed this a lot with “The Bonfire of the Vanities,” as Tom Wolfe has an expansive vocabulary, and the audio book reader had some interesting pronunciations that mostly sounded right.
Today, listening to the history, “Occult America” the reader pronounced the word ‘eschew’ as “es-kew,” which seemed to me a novel way of pronouncing a useful word that sounds awkward the way I’ve always pronounced it, which is “es-shoo.” Looking online about the issue I saw some debate about whether the word (in American English) is pronounced “es-shoo” or “es-choo,” but interestingly, no mention of the potential “es-skew” version I heard on the audio book.
One writer on a message board on this matter, with the screen name “Packard,” amusingly commented:
“If ever I used “eschew” in conversation I would immediately be branded an effete snob. So that neatly exempts me from ever pronouncing the word as I do not wish to be considered an effete snob and I don’t use it orally. (I do use it in written communication, but rarely.)
In a subsequent post, Packard writes, “I do recall a teacher saying, “Eschew obfuscation, espouse elucidation.”
Chew, Shoo, or Skew? All would seem to work.