Saturday, November 26, 2016

600 Today!

Just to be clear, I'm not saying this woman looks 600. No. She doesn't look a day over 599 -- and god love her for rocking those wrinkles and smoking that look (I'm not advocating smoking either, though if I were to do that, I could do worse).

Nor am I saying that I am 600 today, although 600 is a fairly accurate estimate of the age I have begun to feel since he who shall not be named was elected president. But no; that is not exactly what I am getting at either.

Rather, it is OWW that turns 600 today with the publishing of this here 600th post since its launch in the April of 2013. And she has come a fair way since that April inception after a long dry summer that produced her first post 'Drought breaker' with its cleverly conceived double meaning.  That clever post received 6 page views.

Since then, OWW has become a little more political and topical in her blogs and her page views have increased accordingly, with pieces on Posting poo, Tall sperm, A big butt, Jesus's sister, Fuck dust, If men could get pregnant, the Burka ban, Drugs for mugs, Excessive clenching and One lost chicken wing, to name a few of her more popular posts that provided a little something for everyone.

Still, if OWW's author had a wrinkle for every blog post she has written she would indeed look 600 years old and she is not altogether sure that the time she has taken on these posts has been worth it, but then again, that's life. Putting the effort in is the best you can do and what you get back is often not a measure of that effort directly but of some spin-off of that effort, such as feeling better about all the smoking she did in her youth after discovering this woman, which she wouldn't have done if not for the blog.

So there's that.

And so it's a happy 600th blog day to OWW; may she blog on for the next 600. Fuck dust indeed.




Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Lorde Trump

So I tried to find comparable pictures of these two public figures in order to make a fair comparison, and this is the best I could come up with.

In each image the subject is closing her/his eyes, clearly deep in thought -- if thought of very different sorts, no doubt -- and the red highlight is of a roughly similar hue.

They're also both offering their contributions to the world with the aid of a microphone, if only one of those microphones looks like a pair of shrunken testicles, fittingly, the right one.

But there the similarities end -- although they are both white-ish (Trump is orange).

In an attempt to look at the world's present presidential predicament in a slightly less suicide-inducing way, I decided to compare these two very different public figures, one representing the past, the other the future, if both are currently colliding in the present. Lorde's second album is coming out soon; HURRY UP LORDE!

Let's not live in the moment, folks. Let's look to the future where people like Lorde -- wildly creative and courageous, highly intelligent, more mature than her years, open-minded, critical thinking and feisty feminist -- will prevail after the old but perennially childish, bigoted, egotistical, devious, deluded, sexist, racist, arrogant men of limited talents and minds so narrow they can barely see their own way forward let alone the way forward for a world that increasingly doesn't look or sound or think like them, as represented by Trump, finally dies away.

Let's see our present presidential predicament as the death throes of an old order that is finally being exposed for what it is by a generation or two of people who have seen, through people like Lorde of whom there are increasing numbers across the world, a better way to live and think and rule.

I have nightmares about Trump, don't get me wrong. We have a problem, Houston, certainly. But we have never before known the nature of that problem as well as we do now and you can't fight a problem so well if you don't know what it looks like. Now we do and it wears an orange toupee. Who knew? Not enough of us, apparently, but now we do.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Obama obit (political)

This is why I got out of politics -- the never-ending backtrack. In politics you've got to go back to go back, and you do, over and over and over again, when the right-wing 'conservatives' replace the left-wing progressives and dismantle all their good work to make their countries and the world a healthier, happier, safer place.

Here in New Zealand, when the RW John Key and party replaced the LW Helen Clark and party in 2009, her poignant words on election night were: 'I hope all that we've achieved won't be undone.'

It was, or much of it.

One of the first things Key did in office was repeal Labour's Healthy Food in School's policy that had funded the removal of fatty junk food from school canteens, a critical policy to turning around the child -- and so adult -- obesity burden in poorer communities.

The second was to increase the cost of food by raising GST by another 2.5%, a flat tax increase that hit the poor disproportionately and forced those struggling to feed their children to rely all the more on cheap junk food. This rise he had also promised the electorate he would not implement. Honesty means nothing to the wrong-wing.

Then, with the gains to the govt coffers, he cut taxes on the very rich at a time when we were in the thick of a recession caused by the recklessness and corruption of the very rich and in the process, reversed the progressive taxation policies introduced by Clark's government.

Our only public broadcaster, Radio New Zealand, has had no funding increase since the wrong wing came to office and is on the verge of having to close its Auckland office and studio that it has run successfully for many decades. It is the most listened to radio channel in the country by a long margin.

And so the fear is that the US right-wing will do as the NZ right-wing did and dismantle the progressive policies brought in by Obama over his eight years in office. And they will, because that's what they do. It's just a question of how fast and how much progress will be undone in the first four years.

With the world watching more so than ever it's also a question of how much this political corruption that is getting more brazen and shameless by the day can be challenged and exposed as fundamentally wrong and harmful to everyone in the long run -- even all the little Trump juniors.

So we the good have our mission for the next four years. To speak out about the harm Obama's replacement is doing and so honour Obama's legacy and honour ourselves and our children. He's already appointed an all-white all-male cabinet which is the first brazen leap back to the dark ages of institutionalised racist chauvinism.

And on that note, bravo to the cast of Hamilton for shaming Pence when he attended one of their shows on Broadway, calling him out when he got up to leave after the show with the challenge: "We, sir, are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights."

Do not cower, do not fear, the time for action is here!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Quake commiserations

My commiserations to those directly affected by the November 14 quake that reminded all New Zealanders we live on a shaky isle and that life is precarious -- and precious -- as two were killed, one man in the collapse of this Kaikoura home that his family had lived in for more than fifty years, though his 100-year-old mother survived the collapse, a bittersweet escape for her, no doubt.

Also, our capital city of Wellington incurred heavy damage to its harbour port, as pictured here, along with some damage to a number of city buildings, though many held strong in part due to earthquake proofing that must be at least some consolation for those living there. 

And the seal colony that we and so many others had observed with delight on that stretch of southern highway is now destroyed with the coastal landslip caused by the quake, also shown here. 

So much damage in so little time, though it could have been so much worse. The predicted tsunami never eventuated, though the quake's epicentre was centred off the Kaikoura coast. 

But with nature so destructive when it wants to be, we really need to do all that we can to counter that destructiveness by bringing as much warmth and kindness and togetherness to the world that is within our human power alone to do. Nature reminds us of the unique power we have, we should all take heed. 



Sunday, November 13, 2016

Thank you, Hillary Clinton (the people's 45th president)

The people's 45th President
"Hillary Clinton, thank you for being a pioneer and a role model. Thank you for persevering all these years even when you had to eat what I will euphemistically refer to as dirt. Thank you for your intelligence, dignity, tireless work ethic and toughness." (Curtis Sittenfeld).

"It is time to stop suggesting, as some commentators are doing, that Clinton failed us. The truth is, we failed her" (Sarah Churchwell).

Hillary Clinton has a Grammy Award for the audio version of her book It Takes a Village, just one more success of this over-achieving, under-valued woman that most people won't have known about as she campaigned to become president because, unlike her opponent, she is not a skite. 

So as some others post-election are pointing to the flaws in her campaign, because of course it must be her fault she was not able to convince enough people in the right states -- though she got 2 million more votes overall than her rival -- that she was a better candidate for the job than a 'man' like Donald Trump, nothing to do with the deep-seated prejudices and long-running misogynist smear campaign against her, I, like Curtis and Sarah and many many more women, want to acknowledge how great she is and what a debt we owe her as women, first and foremost. Those women who didn't vote for her are fucking hypocrites, which is the worst thing you can be, in my opinion.

So thank you Hillary Clinton for showing the world what women are up against and what we (some of us) are made of, a strength, compassion, humility, resilience and intelligence that are the best, the only, qualities in combination capable of leading us to a comprehensively better world. 

Thank you. You are a legend among women (and men) and your efforts will not be in vain.


Thursday, November 10, 2016


D is for Donald, D is for disgust
D is for defeat, D is for dust

D is for doom, D is for debt
D is for desert, D is for death

D is for drip, D is for drought
D is for despair, D is for doubt

D is for detest, D is for disdain
D is for damn, D is for derange

D is for danger, D is for dunce
D is for devil, D is for defunct

D is for discrimination

Uneducated, sexist, racist white men, and some of the most deluded, jealous and/or self-loathing women of any colour on the planet have just elected the next leader of the (not so) free world.

F is for FREEDOM, F is for FIGHT, as the rest of us must continue to do far into the darkest night.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Thank you, Donald Trump

Until Donald Trump decided to run for president against Hillary Clinton, sexism and misogyny were marginalised and mocked as non-issues trumped up by a few 'man-hating' women who identified as feminists.

It's ironic that feminists have long been accused of 'man-hating', like at least since Wollstonecraft in the 1790s, but their attackers have almost never been charged with 'woman-hating' (misogyny). Indeed the word misogyny was hardly used beyond feminist texts for much of history, despite the reality being dangerously pervasive, unlike so called 'man-hating' of which actual examples are rare to non-existent.

But since Trump has moved beyond business to politics, he has effectively shown a much wider group of people what sexism and misogyny look like in 'real' (if also surreal) life, namely a big steaming pile of orange egotistical woman-hating man shit.

And in the process he has made effective feminists -- people who acknowledge misogyny is a reality and a problem and take steps to expose and eradicate it -- of many who would not otherwise have identified with the feminist cause, especially men.

And I think this Conan interview with comedian Louis C.K. is an example of this Trump effect, bringing out the feminist in a comedian who is on record, not that long ago, for mocking sexism as a non-issue compared with racism.

C.K's endorsement of Hillary and statement about how it's time we had a mother as president because mothers care about and fight for humankind more than fathers ever have done, or, he says, ever will do, is a sign of real progress in gender politics, if he does seem to want to say he is excited to have Hillary as president more because she is a mother than because she is a woman, which is not entirely helpful. She is a woman first and we should not be afraid to say that we need more women in politics because men cannot govern fairly or effectively on their own.

Today is election day in the US, though the day is yet to dawn in that country. But here in NZ it is 9.30am on the morning of Nov 8 and the weather is blowing a gale in anticipation of a momentous battle.

May the best person win and a new era of non-hating humanity dawn for America, and so, with a bit of luck and a bit more time, the world.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Nasty feet vs. stupid assholes: the battle of the sexes 2016

'Get this, Donald -- nasty women are tough. Nasty women are smart. And nasty women vote. And on Nov. 8, we nasty women are going to march our nasty feet to cast our nasty votes to get you out of our lives forever.' (Elizabeth Warren).

The 'nasty' part Warren took from Trump's oft repeated description of Hillary as 'a nasty woman.'

It's interesting, isn't it. Aristotle, who hated the idea of democracy, believed women to be malformed men who contribute nothing to the genetic makeup of their offspring and as such saw to it that female newborns were either abandoned at birth or -- because we need a few -- kept, maximum of one per family, but denied the same amount and quality of sustenance and exercise as their male counterparts. And he was one of the smartest men (supposedly).

No wonder the Greeks are doing so well.

This year's US presidential race confirms that nothing much has changed as far as what men think about their gender superiority and right to rule. If only men voted, Trump would be elected.

That said, some men, if slowly and reluctantly, are finally acknowledging the truth and danger of their gender's deep prejudice against women, a prejudice that this election campaign has exposed like nothing before it.

Joe Klein, TIME columnist, who has not been known for his feminist sympathies or commentary in the past, has this week conceded that women are better suited to many of the challenges of politics, such as 'listening to a complicated argument without interrupting, negotiating patiently with opponents [and] looking before [they] leap'.

'Our politics', he further writes, has long suffered 'a profusion of masculine bluster' that leads to 'the unseemly leap into silly wars and overambitious programmes.'

Having studied feminist and anti-feminist rhetoric for far too long, I know the rarity and significance of this kind of concession by a man.

Hopefully it's not too little too late, because if this battle of the sexes is won by men, we're all, to use the Greek term, fucked.