Archive for March, 2012

March 14th 2012
HA-ha!

Posted under American history & bad language & Gender & happy endings & jobs & wankers

It couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy!

In place of paid advertisers, public service announcements now fill some of the time between Rush Limbaugh’s monologues on radio stations, a consequence of an ad boycott against the conservative talk show host that is now nearly two weeks old.

It is, analysts say, the most serious rebellion against “The Rush Limbaugh Show” in the more than 20 years that the show has been broadcast. This week, new evidence emerged that the ad boycott was costing Premiere Radio Networks — the show’s syndicator — money, though the total amounts are unclear. Continue Reading »

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March 13th 2012
Lysol: America’s most destructive and least effective form of contraception

Posted under American history & Gender & the body & unhappy endings & wankers & weirdness & women's history

Let’s take a trip into history, to a world that time and systemic hormone disruptors have forgotten–the world after the Comstock Act and before the legalization of diaphragms and cervical caps and the invention of the Pill.  I will share with you the most interesting thing I learned in co-teaching a course on the History of Sexuality in America last term:  American women were encouraged by the marketing geniuses at Lysol in the middle third of the twentieth century to use Lysol douches for both contraception and personal hygiene. 

I had heard about the Lysol contraceptive douche, but until my colleague lectured on the subject, I had no clue that it was actively promoted for decades in degrading and fearmongering advertisements by the manufacturer.  It was an enlightening moment for me and for the students when my co-teacher explained in her lecture that Lysol was very popular during the Depression, because it was 1) inexpensive, 2) probably something you had already lying around the house, and 3) didn’t require a physician’s assistance (unless it caused internal injuries!)

(Remember:  I am not a modern U.S. historian.  The only thing recommending contraception in my period of expertise, the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, is perhaps the fact that most were non-toxic, if also as ineffective as Lysol.  The most dangerous “menstrual regulator” available was jumping off of fences or carrying heavy loads of wood, or eating too many juniper berries or drinking too much pennyroyal or squaw mint tea.)   

Nicole Pasulka at Mother Jones, riffing on Andrea Tone’s Devices and Desires,  has assembled a brief history of Lysol’s contraceptive application as well as a slideshow of the advertisements promoting the Lysol douche.  Warning:  this may be offensive and/or induce involuntary buttcheek clenching in women especially.  Clicquez a vos risques!  Continue Reading »

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March 8th 2012
Let’s Go Fly a Kite

Posted under childhood & fluff


Continue Reading »

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March 6th 2012
You’re talking about everybody’s daughters, dumba$$.

Posted under American history & bad language & Gender & the body & unhappy endings & wankers & women's history

This was my first thought when I heard Rush Limbaugh’s repeated prurient insults directed at a private citizen.  It’s interesting to me that Democrats are now articulating this very idea in media appearances–see the clip from syndicated columnist Connie Schultz on Rachel Maddow last night, and now President Obama in his press conference this afternoon.  It’s difficult for a lot of parents of daughters not to see in Sandra Fluke their own daughter, if not now then eventually someday.  As Schultz says, “[Limbaugh] asked for video, Rachel, of this young woman; he called her a slut because she wanted to be responsible about birth control.  They have no idea yet, it seems to me, what’s been unleashed but they’re about to find out.”  (Scroll up to about 5:30 to see Schultz’s interview.)

If my college students are at all representative, many of them were put on the Pill in high school by their parents.  Not all of them, of course, but it’s hardly a remarkable thing any more for a parent of a teenager to do this.  Republicans love their birth control as much as any other Americans.  They also love their daughters as much as other Americans–so who are you calling a slut, again, mister? Continue Reading »

38 Comments »

March 5th 2012
White bread, racial purity, and the longue duree

Posted under American history & book reviews & race & the body

From The Child's Colored Gift Book, with One Hundred Illustrations, (1867)

 Aaron Bobrow-Strain got some nice publicity yesterday for his new book, White Bread:  A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf, which according to Amazon will be released tomorrow.  Bobrow-Strain’s subtitle suggests his focus, which is really on the past 100 years and the invention of the mass production of factory-baked loaves.  In an interview with NPR on Weekend Edition Sunday, he made the point that “white bread was a deeply contentious food — ever since the early 1900s’ ideas of “racial purity” up to the counter-cultural revolution of the 1960s. . . . . White bread first became a social lightning rod with the Pure Foods movement of the late 1800s. Bobrow-Strain says well-meaning reformers were concerned about a host of legitimate food safety issues, and their activism led directly to many of today’s food safety laws.  But food purity ideals bled into the social realm in the form of what Bobrow-Strain calls “healthism” – the idea that “perfect bodily health was an outward manifestation of inward genetic fitness.” 

Fans of Laura Shapiro’s Perfection Salad:  Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century (1986; 2009) will likely be familiar with the earlier parts of Bobrow-Strain’s narrative, from what I can tell from the promotional materials–I’m glad to see that Shapiro’s book has been reissued and perhaps thereby brought to the attention of younger scholars.  (I tried but failed to find even a table of contents for White Bread online–I guess we’ll have to wait until the book is officially published to “look inside,” as the Amazon feature suggests. . . )

Bobrow-Strain is not a historian, but rather an Associate Professor of Politics at Whitman College, and he holds a Ph.D. in Geography and other degrees in Latin American Studies International Studies.  White bread–or to be more specific, raised loaves made of refined wheat flour–has a much longer and more interesting early American history, and one that marries well with Bobrow-Strain’s arguments about white bread and racial purity.  Continue Reading »

24 Comments »

March 3rd 2012
Tips for toads: contraception = health care

Posted under American history & Gender & the body & wankers & women's history

Blowin' smoke, as usual. Why should we pay for his poor choices?

Violet Socks at Reclusive Leftist has a terrific primer to help everyone understand that contraception is basic to health care, and that the Obama administration is not forcing taxpayers to underwrite birth control.  The Obama administration rule is that insurance companies must provide birth control–you know, the insurance companies we pay money to so that they will cover our health care needs?

She elaborates on the especially stupid argument offered by some that contraception coverage means that women will be paid to have sex:

Insurance normally covers all kinds of medical expenses connected with sex and other voluntary activities. Bill O’Reilly complains that “men’s activities” aren’t covered, but they are. If men want Viagra so they can have sex, insurance covers it. If they get gonorrhea or syphilis or crabs from having sex, insurance covers it. If they get AIDS from having sex, insurance covers it. If they want to go skiing and need a cardiac stress test first, insurance covers it. If they need Diamox so they can go skiing in Aspen, insurance covers it. If they break their legs skiing, insurance covers it. If they need Simvastatin to lower their cholesterol because they won’t stop eating fatty food and red meat, insurance covers it. If they suffer a heart attack from all that fatty food and red meat, insurance covers it. If they need a nicotine patch to quit smoking, insurance covers it. If they get lung cancer because they won’t stop smoking, insurance covers it. And on and on and on.

Does this mean that men are being paid to have sex, to ski in Aspen, to eat sausage, to smoke or not smoke? No.

And let’s not forget:  women seeking contraception are in the habit of having sex with men, of whom we could with as much justice demand sex tapes and accuse of wanting to be “paid to have sex!”  Continue Reading »

16 Comments »

March 2nd 2012
Call the Pope: it happened again!

Posted under American history & Gender & local news & the body & unhappy endings & wankers & women's history

Remarkable providence!  A jury in Denver has decided that an unconscious woman actually got herself pregnant:

The woman became pregnant and Cox’s DNA was found in the fetal tissue. A test determined the woman became pregnant at about the time of the alleged attack.

Beyond the DNA, prosecutors had little direct evidence linking Cox to the alleged sexual assault.

There were no witnesses to the alleged attack. The alleged victim did not have a rape kit done at a hospital. There were no tests performed to confirm her suspicions that she might have been drugged that night as she has no recollection of what happened.

During closing statements Thursday, Steinberg criticized the investigation by Lone Tree police and called the alleged victim a “party girl” who drinks a lot.  Continue Reading »

16 Comments »

March 1st 2012
The Happy Song

Posted under art & fluff

by Kate Micucci of Garfunkel & Oates fame. Dig the ukelele licks!

8 Comments »

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