As promised (threatened?) in earlier missives, a picture of Belle’s tattoo.
She did the artwork herself. The tattooist was pleased at having to do (almost) no alterations to translate Belle’s fine art into body art. There is, of course, a story behind the design.
Belle included a triangle for several reasons, including her love of the strength and purity of the strongest geometrical shape, and because it is the mathematical operator (delta) ∆, for change. The cicada also has multiple personal references for Belle. She is in awe of the cicada’s dramatic emergent cycle (13 – 17 years, depending on the species), and a cicada symbolizes her years of dedication to the Oregon ZooTeens program. Last summer Belle and other members of the program’s Leadership Corps travelled to a nature preserve in Costa Rica, where they were serenaded by an abundance of cicadas.
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Too bad not all things that creep and crawl are as benign as cicadas.
There have been many articles published this week about the Santa Barbara killings. Cooper’s is one of the more incendiary and thought-provoking. She writes forcefully about the latest, maddening, frustrating – and worst of all, hardly atypical – mass killing scenario in the USA. It seems that “every few years, the American public has to watch in horror as some white kid goes on a rampage, killing everything from babies to old people,” when yet another young white guy decides “….his disillusionment with his life should become somebody else’s problem.”
Cooper rails against the inability of the press, the law, of society itself, to have the conversations “…about white male pathology and the ways that systems of whiteness and patriarchy continue to produce white men who think like this. ”
(The killer) had been posting strange youtube videos of himself talking about killing people over the last several weeks, so much so that his family was reportedly disturbed enough to call the police and have them come do a welfare check. But “officers concluded that he was ‘polite, courteous,’” and downplayed any difficulties.
In the manifesto he released he said he was relieved that officers did not push the matter further because they would have found his weapons.
Can I go ahead and scream yet? A black or brown man would have been violently hauled into a jail and locked up at the first sign of such machinations. His property rights would have been thoroughly violated, and no matter how “polite” and “courteous” he might have been with officers, no reports would have reflected such language.
These coded terms mean that these officers were incapable of seeing this clearly troubled young white man as a threat. How many mass killings must it take to recognize that white male entitlement is potentially deadly?”
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The Department of No, I’m Not Done Yet
Aka The Santa Barbara Killings and Male Defensiveness:
“We’re not all like that!”
Who. Fucking. Said. That. You. Are?
If, just one more time, I hear/read one more variation on that comment….
I recently posted a link on my FB page to a Greta Christina blog post that addressed the killings. The atheist/feminist/LGBTG activist, author and blogger linked to a compilation of excellent blog posts on the subject of why we are, still and again, told to ignore blatant misogynist fanaticism when it is implicated in acts of violence. “You see,” we are assured/lectured, “it’s just the unbalanced, socially awkward dudes who commit such atrocities, and there is no relation to misogyny…” No matter how many female-loathing manifestos were spewed from the very killer’s mouth/computer.
“A man who was part of a community of extremists who hate women, wrote a manifesto about his hate for women, then went to a female sorority house to kill women. But it definitely wasn’t about his hatred of women. Oh, no sir…. “
(Martin Robbins, quoted in Butterflied & Wheels post, What Elephant in What Room?)
The GC-linked posts show that a whole lotta intelligent, articulate and thoughtful men understand Why (the Killer’s) Misogyny Matters.
And then, there are others.
A FB comment on my afore-mentioned post:
“Because white supremacists don’t want to live with blacks, anti-Semites don’t want Jews to exist, ____(killer’s name)  failed to obtain to obtain what he (wanted? sic) from women and then converted it into a conspiracy against him. If you read further there was also bullying involved in his life. This is a complex situation which apparently been going on for years which the therapist was unable to identify how serious it was but was on top of the last email to notify his parents. Remember his first victims were male, so its (sic) not all about you.”
I wanted to frost the commenter’s well-intentioned, I’m-going-to-sound-like-the-voice-of-let’s-stay-calm-folks, privileged, clueless assterior. But since there is no frost-the-assterior button  on FB to click, I instead commented on his comment.
Uh, (FB poster), that some of (the killer’s) victims were male – just as victims of anti-Semitic or racist or gay hate crimes are often not Semitic, or of the “majority” ethnic group, or straight – does not mitigate the misogyny as his (self-identified) primary motivation.
I would hope my response to those bringing up anti-Semitism as the motivation for a mass killing would not be, “but Catholic Poles also died in the gas chambers, so it’s not all about you Jews.” I would hope, listening to someone who is trying to get people to consider the broader reasons and motivations that drove the murders of Civil Rights activists, to be just a tad less defensive, so that my knee-jerk reaction would not be to defend whatever group I am in that, I think, is related to the killer(s): “But, white activists were also slain in the Civil Rights movement, so it’s not all about you Negroes.”
It’s not all about you. Sadly, that comment just proves the pathetic, dangerous poin:  of people being averse to and uncomfortable with talking about misogyny.
We all want to believe we live in a “post-racial,” “post-gender inequitable” world, because then that would remove us from the responsibility of equalizing the imbalances.
If I am a man who considers myself to be the kind of man who does not hate women, who would never consciously disparage, harm or discriminate against someone based on their gender, then I can generalize from my own attitudes to assure myself that whatever individual or societal misogyny maybe-waybe still exists a teesny-weensy bit, golly gee, it’s not my problem, because…well…just look at me! I’m evidence that we’re not all like that. So, uh, yeah. We’re not all like that. Therefore, let’s pretend the ones that are like that don’t matter, have no influence, and never do any harm like that.
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We take a break from this week’s ranting to contemplate a soothing picture, brought to you by the makers of A Baby sloth in a Bucket. ®
Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.
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Operation Plain Speaking
Post Memorial Day rant musing: How I loathe, loathe loathe – and did I mention abhor? – the euphemistic, spin-meister monikers which Those in Charge of Such Things ® have applied to our recent and ongoing wars.
I get that “Desert Storm,” “Operation Enduring Freedom” and “Operation Iraqi Freedom” sound nobler than, “Thanks fer nuthin,’ Ex-Prez Bush-wad, now we’re the latest arrogant blowhards to get stuck in these historical shitstorms,” and are easier to fit on tombstones.
“Enduring Freedom,” my uncles’ and father’s (WWII) and grandfather’s (WWI) asses. People have died for those pompous pretenses. “Enduring freedom” is translating into “never-ending confrontation.” Call ’em what they are. The Iraq War; the Afghanistan War.
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Speaking of plain speaking, and desperately looking for a rant-free segue into coming attractions, I have been practicing my French survival phrases:
Aider! Un home avec une poitrine velue volé mon vin! 
J’aime votre chevre 
and of course
Où est votre coude ?
Breathe deeply, fight the good fights, speak plainly, and S’il vous plaît, me passer le caillé de fromage,  and – but of course! – the hijinks shall ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
 Name redacted; I refuse to type it.
 Why is that, Mr. Zuckerberg?
 An old Southern saying. Actually, not. But it should be.
 “Help! A man with a hairy chest stole my wine!”
 “I like your goat.”
 “Where is your elbow?”
 “Please pass me the cheese curds.”
 Il n’y a pas de footnote ici.