Fuck the Patriarchy

Fuck the Patriarchy

Well, the country’s gone to hell in a handbasket since I last wrote!

I just finished watching the many hours of the recorded hearing regarding Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

I will say, first, that while the #metoo movement has brought memories to the surface for me of my own varied instances of mistreatment – sexual and otherwise – at the hands of males in my life, it wasn’t until Dickbag Trump’s dismissive tweet about Dr. Ford (people! Let us take a moment to let it sink in that this is the President of the fucking United States of America tweeting – tweeting! – insulting and offensive remarks about a sexual assault survivor – one of the citizens he is charged with representing) and the ensuing responsive #WhyIDidntReport that my rage erupted.

 

Fuck the Patriarchy

Why didn’t I report it when I was sexually assaulted, you motherfucker? Because when girls and women DO report, they are dismissed. They are doubted. They are questioned. They are scolded and berated. Their character is put on trial. They are humiliated and re-victimized. They are shamed. They are blamed.

And when I did finally report, that’s what happened to me. And that’s what’s happening to Dr. Ford, even at the hands of the so-called President of the United States of America.

So for two days, I’ve watched the hearing piece-meal, but riveted, and growing angrier and angrier by the moment. And it’s affected me enough to force me out of my blogging hiatus. Here’s my takeaway:

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford offered credible testimony. She was honest about what she remembers and what she doesn’t remember. She answered every question posed to her in a respectful and straightforward manner.

Brett Kavanaugh is a lying sack of shit. The only questions he answered succinctly and straightforwardly were sympathetic questions asked of him by Republican committee members. Every question, almost without exception, asked of him by Democrat committee members was met with evasiveness and a refusal to just say “yes” or “no.” Again and again and again and again he interrupted the Democrat committee members mid-question and talked over them, going off on non-responsive tangents that were clearly an intentional attempt to avoid answering the question posed and use up that committee member’s allotted time. He repeatedly tossed questions asked of him back to the Senator asking him questions, which is disrespectful and completely unacceptable in a courtroom (not that this was a courtroom, but the setting demanded the same level of conduct required in a courtroom, and he’s a fucking judge). He repeatedly lost his cool.

Republicans are assholes. Stinky, dirty assholes. They care not a fig for their fellow human beings, for what’s right and wrong, or for any ideals that decent humans hold dear. They care about themselves and their own self-interests, and whatever agenda will serve those. I know in saying this that I am painting with an extremely broad brush, and here’s what I have to say about that: if you still consider yourself a Republican, take a hard look into your (metaphoric) soul and ask yourself why? If you care about your fellow human beings and find the actions and the current state of the Republican party repugnant, then maybe it’s time to not associate yourself with that party any longer.

And the terrible, terrible thing is that there’s still a pretty good chance that Kavanaugh will be confirmed to the Supreme Court, even in light of all of this. I am reminded of the 2016 election, watching the debates, reading all the scandalous shit that came out about Trump and feeling very confident that there was no way in hell he could possibly make it into the White House. I suffer no such delusions anymore. This is the country we live in: men who lie and cheat and steal and assault and victimize can, in fact, make their way into the highest offices in the nation.

I am utterly disgusted.

Why is Dumb Funny?

Somehow or other, I came across a news story this weekend about a coffee shop that had opened up in Los Angeles called “Dumb Starbucks.” I cringed.

Why is Dumb Funny

What the fuck is this? I thought. Is Starbucks behind this? Is someone else? What does it mean? What’s the point?

As it turns out, it’s a parody of the real Starbucks chain, and comedian Nathan Fielder is behind it. The point of it, apparently, besides publicity, is to make fun of Starbucks. By calling it “dumb.”

Why is Dumb Funny

Sigh.

You know, I really don’t want to be a cranky pain in the ass, constantly on the lookout for a hint of offensive. I’m a fan of humor, of parody, of irreverence. A HUGE fan! Sarcasm is my second language. But I don’t understand why it is still okay to use intelligence as a means to value people and things.

Intelligence seems to be the be-all end-all, the mother of all attributes. Everyone wants to be a genius, or wants their kids to be geniuses. Well, guess what? The vast majority of us are not geniuses – and even those of us who may be very, very intelligent are unlikely to do really great things with that super intellect. Most of us, regardless of our IQs, will live pretty average, unremarkable lives. That is not to say meaningless lives – we each give our own lives meaning – but in the end, I don’t think intelligence has very much at all to do with how meaningful or fulfilling our lives are.

Even within the Down syndrome parenting community, there are many, many parents who reject the notion that their intellectually disabled child is not smart. We build up our kids’ intelligence because, apparently, while we can deal with heart defects and celiac disease and leukemia, we cannot deal with low intellect. A memoir I recently read by a young man with autism mentioned that people often assumed he was “retarded” because of his having autism, but, he insisted, he is not “retarded.” Even within the disability community, being not smart seems to be the very worst trait a person can have.

I’ve written endlessly about the use of “retard” and “retarded” as slurs. The truth is, though, that “retard” and “retarded” are only the most crude and obnoxious ways we insult and value people based upon their intellect. Calling people and things “dumb,” “stupid,” “idiotic,” and “moronic” are similar reflections of how we view intellect and intelligence, and how we value people based on those things.

I doubt Nathan Fielder was thinking specifically of Down syndrome or any intellectual disability when he undertook this project – and yet, it does reflect a certain attitude that smart = good/superior, and not smart = bad/inferior. After all, he didn’t call it “Smart Starbucks.” What would be funny about that?

Imagine if he had decided to call his parody store “Fat Starbucks,” or “Gay Starbucks,” or “Poor Starbucks”? Would that be as funny as “Dumb Starbucks”?