Politics

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Mother's Day

I'm about to call my mom to wish her a happy Mother's Day. And I'm glad there's a day to honor this axis of her subject, this fraction of all that she is, and there's so much more: She's a breast cancer survivor, a watchdog when it comes to local politics (always getting mad when yet another person embezzles money from the city), a quick thinker, and she does right by everyone she knows. I can't think of anyone who knows her and doesn't respect and love her. But I'd be remiss if I didn't point out today that motherhood is revered in rhetoric and reviled in policy, to paraphrase Susan Douglas and Meredith Michaels. The discursive construction of motherhood is damaging to so many women; I'm reminded of one of flea's posts, which sticks with me:

I'm angry that so many of us live our lives with that nagging fear that we could lose our children if we fuck up in front of the wrong person, or even if the wrong person misinterprets what they're seeing. I am angry that baseball players get paid millions of dollars for only doing their job well 33% of the time but mothers don't get paid dick and are vilified for not batting a thousand. I'm angry that I've internalized all this Martha Stewart/Baby Einstein/Perfect Celebrity Mom bullshit, even though I'm fighting it as hard as I can.



I wish it were different. I wish we could detail our fuckups without fear, because God knows we're all in the same leaky boat. But as long as the burden of parenthood falls 90% on the mother, 10% on the father (regardless of how often he co-parents) and 0% on the government, we're going to have to keep whispering our failures to each other while pasting on the "we're all fine here!" smiles.

Douglas writes:

We mothers have no paid maternity leave, no universal healthcare so that all our kids are covered, no comprehensive after-school programs, no genuine, truly revolutionary new support of our public schools that would revive them (No Child Left Behind already has become a massive joke). Too many workplaces have no onsite or nearby daycare, no flexible time, no job sharing. The right to control our own reproductive lives is under total siege.



Mothers feel they have been sold a bill of goods: We're supposed to be eternally nurturing, supportive and ecstatic about child rearing 24/7. We are never supposed to get angry, because the words "mom" and "angry" aren't supposed to go together. But if mothers in this country never got angry about how they and the nation's children were being treated, we'd still have child labor and laws discriminating against married women in the labor force. Mothers' voices have not been heard, especially during this presidential campaign season. It's about time they were. Check out two Web sites, www.mothersandmore.org and www.mothersmovement.org. And remember: Motherhood remains the unfinished business of the women's movement.

I know some of that isn't true for some women; sure, many do have paid maternity leave, comprehensive after-school programs. Some even have on-site daycare at work. That's great, but these women are the exceptions, and as long as that's the case, I consider it a problem.

Fahrenheit 9/11

No bloggers that I've seen are commenting on the fact that Disney subsidiary Miramax dropped Michael Moore's latest film, a point-by-point critique of Bush's presidency, particularly involvement in Iraq. Moore says it's because Disney is worried about losing tax incentives. Disney says they don't want to be perceived as endorsing any particular candidate, and indeed kairos has a lot to do with it, and good for Moore for taking advantage of the timing. A representative for Disney says that Moore can find another distributor. Let's hope he does, but not before a lot of people get appropriately outraged over this act of censorship.

Mia Zapata's Killer Sentenced

From Paul comes the news that Jesus C. Mezquia, the man who raped and killed Mia Zapata, was found guilty and is expected to serve between 22 and 30 years in prison. I hadn't heard of the case until I read Cunt some years ago, and I was saddened by this too-common story. What disturbs and angers me more than anything, though, is that okay, he is serving over 20 years in prison, and that's justice, but he raped and killed Zapata in July 1993, and he wasn't found and arrested for it until January 2003. I'm sure other women suffered at his hand in the nearly ten-year interim. How many? Is justice being served for them?

Right-Wing Eye

I love this parody of the radical right that uses Queer Eye. It's full of funny little details--the row of white men signing the late-term abortion bill, Rush Limbaugh's pill popping, etc. :D

Mass Extinction Not Inevitable

But I'd say it's likely. How depressing:

Two recent studies suggest that the Earth is experiencing its sixth great extinction. Although that's a bad thing, it's not a done deal. A Q & A with conservation biologist Stuart Pimm by Stephen Leahy. [Wired]

Melissa Rowland Case

Feministe and Trish Wilson are commenting on the Melissa Rowland case; long story short, she's being prosecuted for the death of one of her twin infants, which is ostensibly a result of her refusing to have a C-section. They link to this article and this sublime one from FindLaw.

Needless to say, I am outraged about this.

In other news...The First Woman President Symposium is actually on September 10 and 11, not September 24 and 25 as I had read before. I'm there; we need that woman president now more than ever, it seems.

Copyright, Access, and Digital Texts

Charlie Lowe has published an excellent article in Across the Disciplines on open content and the state of our current intellectual property model. It's well worth the read, especially for those who are not all that knowledgeable on IP matters and how they are relevant to composition. Charlie has also posted a comprehensive bibliography of sources on intellectual property in rhetoric and composition.

Daily Anger

Misogyny:

SIOUX FALLS, SD – The South Dakota House of Representatives today passed a broad ban that would outlaw abortion, with no safeguards for women’s health or exceptions for women who are the victims of rape or incest. Planned Parenthood of Minnesota/South Dakota strongly opposes the legislation, which will now be considered by the South Dakota Senate.

In her book Going Out of Our Minds: The Metaphysics of Liberation, Sonia Johnson suggests that we (women, I mean) really shouldn't care one way or the other whether abortion is legal or not. What we need, she argues, is a woman on every block who knows how to perform a safe abortion. Vigilante midwives. Inga Muscio in Cunt: A Declaration of Independence agrees, saying that we need to learn more about concoctions of herbs and massage techniques that induce miscarriage. A controversial stance, I know, but one that appeals to me more every day.



Ignorance (a whites-only scholarship):

"If you are a white student on campus, you don't have anyone helping you, there is no one compiling a list of scholarships just for you," [Jason J. Mattera] said. "Why is it that only students of color have this?"

Where to start? Here, perhaps.

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