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Jan 01 2007

A nostalgic look back at two thousand sex

battlecreek.jpg
Author scientifically displays precise location of Battle Creek, MI

This morning I observe without surprise that the Battle Creek Enquirer of Battle Creek, Michigan — the breakfast cereal town where I spent the fourth and fifth years of my tragic childhood — is, like every other publisher of anything in the world, running one of those nostalgic looks back at 2006. At this cozy-family-nutmeggy time of the year, everybody in Battle Creek wants to relive the story of the guy who raped a sheep.

Poor exhausted news editors, their buttholes torn and bleeding from repeated intimate reamings by government press releases mistaking them for Michigan sheep, who can blame them for wanting to just take it easy for a couple of days? Why not lie back in the hot tub and merely thwack a pulse back into stories they already ran, stories that everybody stopped caring about months ago, by running them again? Especially if there was sex in’em, which, because every last goddam thing in the world is pretty much sex, there was. The Battle Creek Enquirer‘s most popular story in 2006 was July 22′s “‘Girls Gone Wild’ show results in charges.” Your eyes will undoubtedly glaze over when you learn that last summer yet more hotties were exploited in a local club by pornographer/human turd Joe Francis, but this intelligence titillated Battle Creekians as they’d never been titillated before.

The Battle Creek Enquirer is not alone in mistaking porn for news. Salon, for example, does it too. However, Salon doesn’t bother with all this sentimental “remembering”; they straight-up title their year-end feature “2006: The Year in SEX: So long, sugar tits!” and ram it down your throat. Rebecca Traister’s 3-pager of “libidinal surprises” places “Screech’s sex tape” (some ugly D-list celebrity’s poop 3-way. Eew. Who do I have to fuck to get a copy of that little slice of cosmic enlightenment?) and “the Year in Snatch” (a breezy look at the cooter-flashing craze spreading like hot young celebrity thighs among hot young celebrities) alongside the election of Nancy Pelosi, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Michelle Bachelet, and Ségolène Royal.

One might, if one happened not to be a moron (a qualification I am finding less and less common these days), object to this lumping of women politicians under the heading “The Year in SEX”; unlike those dude politicos who cheated on their wives with little boys or strangled their mistresses, these women did nothing except get elected. It’s one thing to mistake porn for news but something else again to mistake news for porn.

But lard knows a woman in public office is nothing if not a “libidinal surprise.”

38 comments

  1. vera

    Salon. Ewwwww. Salon seems to have changed the URL for the “So Long, Sugar Tits” article. Now it is here:
    http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2006/12/31/2006_sex/

  2. vera

    Okay, I tried to ignore it, but I couldn’t help myself. I followed the link to the article about the sheep molester.

    Haynes has prior convictions for burglary, home invasion and uttering and publishing [...].

    Can someone please tell me what comprises “uttering and publishing”? And why it is unlawful?

  3. stekatz

    And the sun rises on another year in patriarchy.

    Salon’s always a dodgey source. Broadsheet continually frustrates, and the comment moderation seems to be nil. Yet another website which has fallen off my continually dwindling list of places I visit anymore.

    Until I read the caption, I thought that lovely picture was instructing the patriarchy to “talk to the hand.” Now I see it’s that Michigan mitten thing. Here in California, you have to pull out a banana or a cellphone.

  4. Ron Sullivan

    A banana! Now why didn’t I think of that?

    Good hat, Twisty. And here we are in another year with the Patriarchy pulling another tight pink sweetheart-neckline babydoll-sleeve ruffled-hem belly-baring “Sex Class” Tshirt over our tired hungover heads.

    I really get pissed when they knock my tiara off with that.

    Happy New Year, kid.

  5. Lara

    Speking of babydoll sex class T-shirts, I’m blaming as hard as I can for this one, in toddler sizes 1-6.:
    http://www.miatom.com.au/imgs/shirts/makeup.jpg

    Little boys get boxing glove motifs, and little girls get makeup tools.

    I think I just threw up blamevit into my mouth a little.

  6. Ledasmom

    Uttering and publishing = counterfeiting of non-government documents, such as a diploma, and using same for whatever purpose one might. Publishing is the production part, uttering the use part.

  7. j

    A nostalgic look back at 2006: I discovered Twisty’s blog in 2006, and it changed my life. Happy new year, everyone.

  8. Ms Kate

    Twisty, I just LURVE that picture!

    You’re all hat AND all cattle (and all Texas too).

  9. jane awake

    Does anyone else think that a fucked up, perverted sheep raper might not also be a fucked up, perverted child molester? I’m just saying, maybe only sheep do it for him. It’s possible, however unlikely.

  10. antelope

    My brain shut down completely when I saw the news about female politicians lumped in with Traister’s stunningly bad article. I wasn’t able to look at the internet anymore for the rest of the night, I wasn’t even able to blame, I just had a system crash and staggered off to bed early.

    I followed up a whole bunch of links on the recent brouhaha without feeling the need to stop reading, or writing if I want to, at any of the forums involved, but I am going to stop reading Salon. I liked them 3 or 4 years ago, and they were still coasting on that initial trust with me, so seeing that dreck prominently placed was really like getting kicked in the gut.

  11. Hattie

    I’m cancelling my subscription to Salon.com. Who needs them when Huff Post is free?
    Girls gone wild came to my town, Hilo, Hawaii, not so long ago, and in spite of front page coverage in the local blatt, only a handful of “girls” showed up, but lots of cops.
    My home is best depicted by a shaka hand.
    Aloha and a Happy New Year to you all from the last place in the U.S. to experience 2007.

  12. Tanya

    Twisty I have to thank you heartily for the awesome patriarchy-blaming. Your blog is my favorite in my internet travels. It is what inspired me to take up blogging and it inspired my blog title as well. I am sure that most of your traffic comes from me checking for an update 323547 times a day.

    I wanted to drink the Twisty kool-aid but you didn’t show up at the promised time. That made me very sad. :(

  13. Twisty

    Tanya, did you actually go to Flip’s? I apologize wholeheartedly for my failure to show. It just never occurred to me that anyone would take me seriously. Because, you know, I am such an incompetent blogger.

    I’ve been meaning for some time to schedule an actual Austin blamers meet&greet. I’m sure the two or three of us who show up would have a fine time. I’m thinking next Saturday at Spider House. I’ll post a formal invite sometime later in the week. Maybe we can even coax Norbiz out of his East side cave.

  14. Tanya

    Sorry, I was totally joking around. I live all the way in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canuckistan. If I could afford plane tickets to Austin I would happy to meet you. Unfortunately, that is not possible at this point in time. I will just dream of the day when I can drink the Twisty kool-aid and I will continue to act like a rabid fan and love you from afar.

    There are a few things that I have read in my time that were real eye-openers for me. The Feminine Mystique and your blog. Every damn thing you say is true and expresses what I have thought was wrong with the world but I didn’t know how to articulate it. Ever since I was in school and wondered why all the text books were from the male point of view or why my mother received mail entitled Mrs. Murray Derbowka. Even the time I was called a man-hater in grade 8 when my stupid teacher had us do a “marriage project” and I refused to use my partners’ last name. It all makes sense to me now.

    Anyway, you have had enough ego stroking for today!

  15. smmo

    This has to be in the top ten things I never thought I’d say, but damn I wish I lived in Austin. A Twisty kool aid drinkin’ blamers fiesta would be a marvelous beginning to 2007.

    Keep on blamin’ in the “free” world, Twisty. We need you.

  16. Buttercup

    Love love love the picture. Just love it. The sepia tone, the knowing smile, the twinkle in the eye, I love it so much I almost made ellipses. And we can’t be having with that now.

    Thanks for a great year in Blaming, Twisty. Your blog is one of the more thought-provoking things I read and the comments are highly educational.

    Is someone bogarting the kool-aid? Pass it on down, already!

  17. vera

    Belated thanks to Ledasmom for enlightening me about “uttering and publishing.” I’ll be sure to avoid it.

    And thanks, always, to Twisty for a great year of reading. I’ve got my koolaid right here though I dearly wish I could drink it at Spider House next Saturday with you.

  18. scratchy888

    Ever since I was in school and wondered why all the text books were from the male point of view or why my mother received mail entitled Mrs. Murray Derbowka.

    When I was in primary school, possibly around grade four, my teacher asked me to speak in class, whereupon she pronounced that I seemed to have a very English accent of some sort. It excited her so much that she decided she would write home about it to my mother. Now, I was an extremely shy kid, but determined to do the right thing in every instance. The teacher called me to the desk and informed me of a special note that she would now write to my mother, informing her of the remarkable nature of my accent, as it appeared that this teacher was born in a similar part of England from whence she presumed the accent had derived. Having written the note, the teacher carefully folded it, and asked me to divulge my father’s name. I gave her the name, and “Mrs [my father's name]” was written down in neat, mature writing, upon the outside of the folded letter. As I noticed it, I registered that something had gone wrong. My heart began to beat very quickly. Perhaps the teacher had asked me for the wrong name, or even worse, perhaps I hadn’t heard her properly? I was devastated that I would look like a most remarkable fool if I was to hand my mother this professional note with my father’s name written on it. There was only one thing for it. I sat down at my desk and began covering the teacher’s writing with thick etchings of blue pen. I didn’t stop until I’d covered the whole side of the letter whereon the telltale marks of teachers pen had been, reflecting, as I thought, my inability to relate my mother’s name properly. I took the letter home to mother, and refused an explanation for the heavy markings on one side.

  19. shell4747

    I know this is a hell of a tangent, really, and I’m a new commenter here, but this “woman not having even a name to herself” thing really bothers me.

    I work for a nonprofit. I work with a database that tracks all our constituents, including the donors. The keepers of the database insist that they want ONE entry per couple. This causes a certain amount of ANGST in my heart even at the best of times, but recently I got a list of all our larger donors for the year to check against my lists for completeness etc., and I will be goddamned if every one of the couples weren’t listed under the husband’s name only.

    And I don’t mean listed as “Mr and Mrs Bignuts Donor”. No, I mean listed as “Donor, Bignuts”. Including the ones that I *know* were listed in the database under the woman’s name because that’s how I entered them BECAUSE SHE HAD BEEN THE ONE THAT MADE THE DONATION.

    When I go back to work in the morning I will have to deal with this because I sent a fairly severe email to relevant people last week, when everyone was gone. I plan, actually, to make a pretty damn big stink about it. I mean, come on, people. You really want to piss off donors by giving credit to their spouses instead of the actual writers of checks?! You would think that sheer self interest would take precedence over upholding the dang patriarchy, right? Well, apparently not.

    Twisty, I know someone spent more than two years in Michigan if you’re still going around using your hand as a map. Sorry about Battle Creek and all. I spent some childhood years in nearby Kalamazoo, a relative metropolis, and still have some pitiful relatives there. I escaped, at least from Kalamazoo, though I am only now getting around to escaping from Michigan; I’m headed, in fact, for Austin, like apparently 9/10ths of the rest of the country.

    I do love the blaming thing, and I’ll take some Blame Kool Aid any time, as long as it tastes like Negra Modelo.

    PS I also love your “Blame” send button. It makes me want to go back and break this into about six posts so I can blame some more.

  20. KTal

    Hey Shell, you wouldn’t happen to me my cousin only by marriage of your aunt to my father would ya? She lived her childhood in Kalamazoo as well. I only know her parents from a couple of meetings with them, so wouldn’t know the pathetic thing too well.

    Oh well, I can only hope that I was related to a fellow blamer, even if by marriage only as no one appears from my blood ‘cept my dear mother.

  21. foilwoman

    I’m utterly gobsmacked, befuddled, and discombobulated by the whole feminist blogosphere scandal, etc. Now, I’m a mere feminist, and not a radical feminist (I’m a tyro or neophyte blamer), but all I can think of the how-to-police-your-comments crisis is that (1) that ain’t no crisis, and there are bigger fish to fry, that’s a horse of a different color, which we’ll lead to water when we’re ready to burn that bridge and cross it (one hopes, crossing it first) while being tarred by the same brush and then collapsing under the weight of cliches and mixed metaphors as the now burning bridge crushes us; and (2) doesn’t the phrase divide and conquer mean anything at all? Please, if there’s real oppression out there (and there is) this blog isn’t the source of it, and perhaps focussing on the source (which would be, oh I don’t know, patriarchy?) might be better rather than making Twisty feel like an incompetent comment moderator (which isn’t going to happen anyway).

    Twisty, I can’t afford a trip to Austin, but if I could, I would fly in for chance to mingle. If you are ever in the DC area, I’ll drop my cloak of anonymity for a chance to meet and greet, etc.

  22. antelope

    Shell – I work in the non-profit sector, and most places I’ve worked there is very little debate but what you’re right. All the major fundraising database software companies have had to address this problem w/in the past 10 years, because of course they didn’t start out thinking about it, but then their clients complained.

    Standard practice nowadays, supposedly, is to have a spot on the donor card where you specifically ask “what name do you want to be recognized by” for the donor plaque or whatever. If there’s no donor card, then somewhere in the thank you letter it should say, “we’re planning to recognize you by (name on check) – if you want something else, please let us know.” Then there should be a place in the database for that specific category, the recognition name as opposed to the envelope name.

    If you do this, you will get a few women who want to go by hubby’s name, sure enough, but not many. You’ll also get a lot more people choosing to be anonymous, and a lot more choosing to add “In Memory Of so-and-so”, but there’s nothing wrong with that, and they’ll like your organization that much better for giving them the chance to make those types of decisions.

    So there’s some arguments you could present without getting riled up, if you want. If you feel like getting riled up and educating some people, though, more power to you.

  23. Beard

    As a computer scientist, it always steams me when people or organizations say, “We have to do it this boneheaded way because that’s the way the software works.” The whole point of software is that it can do *anything* you want, if the developers put the time and thought into designing it correctly.

    Therefore, yes, the problem is the patriarchy, in the sense of an implicit conceptual framework that leads clueless people to do things that end up oppressing people, especially women. Software developers are not gleefully saying, “Here’s how we take away women’s names and identities.” The patriarchy operates through cluelessness.

    PS. Happy New Year, Twisty!

  24. Spinning Liz

    Dear Twisty:

    I covet your eyebrows!

    Love, Liz

  25. jami

    interestin’ pic.

    regarding rebecca traister and her strange recent trips to paris hiltonville, many americans have decided that numbing their brains with america’s next top model is way better than caring about this fucked-up country.

    i’d like to think traister is throwing those people meat to lure them in to her realm of often-important womanly concerns. it would be sad if broadsheet permanently lowered itself to full-time coverage of beaver cams.

  26. ps

    Regarding “Girls Gone Wild” – I talked via email to the Executive Director of the “NS Advisory Council on the Status of Women” about a protest of “GGW” when they came to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in September 2005. They succeeded in getting GGW to leave without filming anybody.

    Their success was partly due to a little advance warning (and the jerkiness of the GGW crew). Paraphrasing her email – One of their local TV news reporters noticed a GGW truck in town. She stopped to ask the driver what it was about. He was very rude to her and she decided to follow up. She immediately discovered what kind of organization it is, and decided to report on it. Someone contacted the SoW office and the local university communications directors and got remarks about the undesirability of GGW being in town. Local television and newspapers carried negative stories about GGW. A protest was organized. GGW left!

    She also suggested getting info about GGW out in advance to get the general public on your side, and getting the “hospitality industry” (bar owners catering to a young crowd) on board, perhaps through their industry association. Having a schedule of where they are going would be really helpful but I’m not sure where to get it.

  27. blondie

    But hey, nice hat.

  28. Friggas Own

    I recieve mail from a few non-profits to which I had donated marked “Rev. Frigga’s Own & Mrs. Frigga’s Own”. I got a chuckle when I turned to my boyfriend and said “Hey, Mrs. Frigga’s Own, you got mail!”, but it really says a lot about the assumptions some people make. It doesn’t help that these are the non-profits that forced me to choose either Mrs., Miss, or Rev. as the salutation, so it was either disclose my marital status or get mistaken for a man.

  29. Twisty

    An independently wealthy pal of mine, married to a dude without a dime, has a bunch of dough invested with this big investment firm. They throw a big golf tournament every year for their clients. When they called her up to tell her about the tournament, they invited the penniless husband but not her; it turned out to be a men-only affair at a men-only golf club. Man was she steamed.

  30. shell4747

    Ktal: None of my aunties spent their childhood in Kzoo. They all hailed from Alabama and had the accents to prove it. Take one ordinary name (Michele). Shorten it (Shell). Now make it into 2.5 syllables (Shaay-yull).

    Antelope: Thanks for the constructive advice. As it turns out, of course there is a way of indicating what name to use in the annual. Equally of course, no one told any of the actual users about it and in fact it was indicated to the actual users several times that it was useless to try to address people as a couple unless it was Mr and Mrs. I’m glad it’s not so and that I found out how to fix my people, as it were. Also, I think this is a very good idea and I might add it to my own thank you letters: If there’s no donor card, then somewhere in the thank you letter it should say, “we’re planning to recognize you by (name on check) – if you want something else, please let us know.”

    Beard: See, you are absolutely right.

    RE: GGW – it’s a fine idea to find these people and follow them around everywhere in your town, because of their reported ugly tendency to surround and intimidate reluctant women into acting “wild”. Among other reasons.

  31. norbizness

    Well, at least Peter Pan on Barton Springs isn’t sex-segregated… yet.

  32. Ms Kate

    I really gotta give my husband some props here. Several of his elderly relatives were prone to mailing me things as Mrs. Hisname Surname and sending us stuff as a couple addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Hisname Lastname, a behavior I could really do without.

    After I completed my dissertation, he dredged up and sent these relatives the official Emily Post and Miss Manners etiquette dicta on the subject of address. He noted that both clearly stated that I was to be referred to in the future as Dr. Myname Lastname, and, as a couple, we were to be most properly addressed as Dr. Myname Lastname and Mr. Hisname Lastname.

    The Christmas cards, for once, did not offend.

  33. grrr kitty

    I still don’t understand why even people I interact with on a semi-regular basis automatically assume I’m married (e.g. dr. appoint reminders arrive addressed to Mrs. Mylastname. Mrs. Mylastname is my mother, and she’s been dead lo these nine years. It makes even less sense than referring to me as Tony, who has been deader than Stonewall Jackson’s horse for 22 years.)

    Anyway, I believe the appropriate Kool-Aid color for hoisting on this auspicious occasion would be purple.

    And if you want to read a giggalicious book about Battle Creek, MI, check out “The Road to Wellville”.

  34. maribelle

    it turned out to be a men-only affair at a men-only golf club.

    hmmm it’s scary that this would be the thing they’d use to reward their best clients, i.e. their best clients are men.

    Unless they have an equally lavish affair at a women’s only spa/lair where the women clients get makeovers, mochachino-pedicures and spend their days plucking clothes pins off one another for minor social gaffs. Cause you know, fair’s fair.

  35. Jodie

    Shel and antelope: I’ve been divorced for 10 years. My exhusband has not lived in the past 7 residences I’ve had.

    I still get mail addressed to Mrs. Evil-Exhusband’s-Name (or sometimes even Mr. Evil-Exhusband’s-Name) from nonprofits or commercial enterprises. He lives in another state (and has for the past 15 years), so it’s not like we’re easily confused.

    These go straight to the circular file. I used to call or write letters and request it be changed, but that never seemed to happen.

    The worst ones, though, are the charity phone calls/political phone calls where the person asks for “Mr. Evil-Exhusband”. Those poor sots get a lecture about getting names correct. And STILL don’t get a donation.

  36. vera

    That does it.

    Salon followed up the “Sugar Tits” headline with “Big Breasts for Dummies,” accompanied by a photo of a mannequin with gravity-defying DDDD gazongas. What in the world is Salon trying to do? Purposely annoy and offend?

  37. Atzbanite

    Love the picture, it looks like your clean livin’ style has suited to a T. I dunno though, seems that there’s a bit of warmth and twinkle there. Better watch out. Though I’m just east of Twisty land it’s still not an over nighter, otherwise I’d be right at that gathering.

    I always try and mess around with the addressors since I am the one who has managed most of the administration and money for the family for years as well as being the Chief Cook and Bottle Washer of the earning. I get pissed when Joe Car Insurance says “Let’s fill out this application, now, your husbands name for the primary holder?” Honey you want to talk to me with no disrespect or I will drop you faster than a dirty kleenex but with far more disgust. The answer is usually some like, “Well this is how we customarily fill these out.” Then change the custom son.

    ‘Course I always go through buffets backward to thwart the light and cheap stuff on the bottom and the expensive stuff on the top that won’t fit once you get there.

  38. slashy

    Twisty, is it really you? My blaming young heart goes pitter-patter at your eyes, your hat, and your navigational expertise.

    2006 is the year that I took up patriarchy blaming as a full-time occupation, largely thanks to a certain spinster aunt and her wordly talents. In 2007 I resolve to do my own small part to inspire & support more emerging and aspiring spinster aunts and other varieties of patriarchy blamer.

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