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Jan 08 2007

Birdness as usual

grackle.jpg

I return from abroad this fine brisk morning to find that Congress Ave — Austin’s most conspicuous Ave. — is shut down from Town Lake to the capitol building. Some cops reported “feeling sick” and birds have apparently been dropping dead out of the sky, biblical-plague-like. “Welcome home, Twisty!” they seem to say. Authorities — the good-looking, heroic nerds who, in disaster movies, nobody listens to until it’s too late — have enjoined the citizenry to give these eleven blocks a wide berth until the all-clear. Just another routine atmospheric poisoning here in trendy, progressive Austin.

Speaking of health, thanks to everyone who thought I would enjoy a hearty guffaw over the study showing how housework prevents breast cancer. Man, that’s a hot one.

Despite my having been indoctrinated from the cradle with the well-scrubbed Protestant dogma stating that a spotless house indicates a spotless character, I think I have done housework only about six or seven times, ever. The reasons for my apostate sloth are many. For example, I was born with the temperament of a disorder-tolerant layabout. Which, by the way, I must insist is not a character flaw, but merely a non-lethal variant of normal, like musical aptitude, or big feet.

Furthermore, I have no interest in creating a race of Clorox-resistant supergerms that will one day rise against me.

Even more furthermore, the cleanliness purported to be the result of housework is entirely illusory. What does “clean” even mean? It may be possible to temporarily inflict the appearance of some culturally-constructed sense of order on the macroscopic constituents of a given bungalow, but there are fundamental laws — such as the Law of Waxy Yellow Build-up — governing the microscopic infrastructure of those constituents that bow to no appliance, solvent, or tireless female human elbow grease.

I have concluded, therefore, that housework is nothing but the meaningless and futile attempt to rearrange matter. Matter, the actual arrangement of which is governed by cosmic principles far beyond the scope, the control, and frankly, the interest of a spinster aunt, just laughs at your stupid vacuum cleaner.

Because I have examined housework and found it to be asinine, I am unsurprised to see that it now prevents cancer. It makes perfect sense in a world gone bizarro that women’s traditional unpaid Sysiphean drudgery should be found to have “health benefits” associated with today’s Number One sentimental favorite “women’s” disease. No doubt the “benefits” are from inhaling the fumes from all that Lemon Pledge and EZ-Off Oven Cleaner. So never mind the mutation-causing environmental contaminants emanating from the megatheocorpo-industrial complex that manufactures the poisons, the chipper press releases, and the anti-cancer pills that cost chumps like me over $300 a month.

And never mind that this morning Congress Ave is littered with the corpses of poisoned grackles. Everything is expected to be “back to normal” by noon.

53 comments

  1. grrr kitty

    It is my contention that a certain level of filth keeps a person’s immune system in fine fighting trim. Now I can tell disapproving family members that I’m also “disorder-tolerant”. Heck, when *you* say it, it practically sounds like a virtue.
    Maybe there’s an activity more useless than dusting, but offhand, I can’t think of one.

  2. JRoth

    Matter, the actual arrangement of which is governed by cosmic principles far beyond the scope, the control, and frankly, the interest of a spinster aunt, just laughs at your stupid vacuum cleaner.

    Lordy, is that funny.

    May I suggest an extra-strudy cowboy hat to fend of falling fowl?

    And do Texans call them “cowboy hats”? Or just “hats”?

  3. Sylvanite

    Orac at Respectful Insolence eviscerated this study. Several of his commentators humorously suggested a study to examine the effects of housework on prostate cancer. I’d happily provide some housework for a study participant. That birdcage doesn’t clean itself, you know.

    Now why can’t some foul emissions take care of some of my local pests, like the house sparrows or the drunks who pee in my driveway?

  4. kreepyk

    “What does “clean” even mean? It may be possible to temporarily inflict the appearance of some culturally-constructed sense of order on the macroscopic constituents of a given bungalow, but there are fundamental laws — such as the Law of Waxy Yellow Build-up — governing the microscopic infrastructure of those constituents that bow to no appliance, solvent, or tireless female human elbow grease.”

    Obviously, you’ve never had a really determined gay guy form the upper Midwest clean your house before. I had a 1930s range in my old house that was incredibly encrustulated with gunk. When I moved in (the house was a rental before I got it) I did a pretty thorough cleaning job I thought.

    Later I rented the house to a gay couple. About a month after that, I wandered through their kitchen after repairing something. I couldn’t believe what they’d done to it.

  5. ramou

    On the bright side, you need not fear any form of bleach resistant buggers evolving (at least, not because one uses bleach). Using anti-batcterial cleaners, will, however lead to such things.

  6. norbizness

    Re: Bird Plague… I Blame The Condo Conglomerates Catering To Californians.

  7. emma goldman

    One of the major advantages of living alone for decades is that one finds one’s own balance on these things. I discovered that coming up with a half-assed system of dealing with clothing makes the getting dressed portion of the program much easier and aids in the laundry-doing portion of the program as well. a system for mail aids in the bill-paying arena, which, in turn, aids in the having electricity and not getting evicted arenas. Dusting, hmmm, when something is so encrusted I can’t use it and I need it right now? And I never, ever make my bed or dry dishes. The former is pointless, and the latter will happen all by itself. My criterion for cleaning the bathroom is I do it when I can see the crud without my glasses or contacts (and I’m really nearsighted, so I can accumulate a lot of crud before I can see it).

  8. Spinning Liz

    Sylvanite mentioned Orac’s coverage of this story, which is well worth reading. The quotes he culls (and shoots down) from wingnut blogs are real icepick-in-the-eye material, like this one from some asswig called The Eternal Bachelor:

    “So next time some women hassle you to donate money for a charity that battles Breast Cancer, go one better than giving them cash; give them a big pile of ironing to do, or ask them to clean up your desk.”

    If anyone still harbors any doubts that men really despise women, go to some of those hideous sites linked by Orac and read the comments. Weee doggies, I tell you what.

  9. nina

    Twisty, it has been far too long since I have declared that you are completely fucking brilliant and I would so totally make out with you. Please forgive the delay. It was true way back in the days of Typepad, it was true when the recent shitstorm was happening, and it is true now. Yours is the first blog I turn to, and one of the few I make damn sure to read every day. Carry on with your badass blaming self–you keep a lot of us going.

  10. anne

    Poor pretty grackles. That’s very sad.

    Twisty, you are brilliant. Your language, your humor, your photos – all make for a better day for me. You do keep a lot of us going, as was said above. Your site is my opening page when I go – as the kids say – “online.”

    At any rate, yeah about the housework. I am also a disorder-tolerant layabout. Not in actuality right now, but hopefully sometime this year.

  11. whyme63

    From linked article:
    “Dusting, mopping and vacuuming was also better than having a physical job.”

    Excuse me while I go prevent breast cancer by scrubbing my own exploded brain off of the walls.

  12. dream_operator23

    I wish I could get away with not cleaning the house everyday. Then I would have more time to read and play with my kids. Unfortunately my husband has a shitfit if I don’t. I’ve tried to leave it dirty, but the fights are so bad and I’d rather not fight about it. He says that since I don’t have an outside job then the house is my job. He says I can’t be lazy and read stuff online all day. So that arguement gets me everytime because I don’t want to be seen as a lazy slob.

    Dream

  13. octopod

    You know, I hear there’s a big stink going on in Manhattan too. Everyone says it smells like natural gas, which of course means it smells like thiols (methylthiol, I think), but no-one seems to know where the smell’s coming from and they can’t find any leaks. And now Austin too?

    Weird. I’m really curious now; I should go ask some of the atmospheric science people. Or maybe it’s just the Apocalypse.

  14. Sylvanite

    The Apocalypse? I’ll keep an eye out for the sun being as sackcloth of hair and the moon being as blood. And my nose out for thiols. And mercaptans.

  15. KTal

    Are you thinking of methane gas Octo? I haven’t smelled any up here (NH) yet, but then I’ve been smelling paint fumes for the last two days as I’ve painted my bathroom.

    Which reminds me about housework. I do it when I must, but it is the last on the list. I like organization, but I don’t have time. I figure making money, cultivating my creativity, basking in the love of an admirer and other gainful activities to be far more important. In fact this afternoon I took a short nap as I wasn’t feeling too good (fumes probably) and it was my day off and I dreamed I was directly a maid around my house.

    Frankly, before my father married (after he divorced my mother) he had cleaning ladies and nannies for us. It really chafed my hide that he fired all the help and assigned all those tasks to one woman who frankly, I didn’t think was up to the job. I also picked up pretty early that there was something fishy about their relationship, I mean they meet and date, there’s a big damn ceremony and suddenly she’s moving in and turns from a beautiful princess (a ten year old’s viewpoint) to an angry, tired slave.

    I’ve never been able to rectify the belief I formed in my early youth that housework and baby watching were hard work worthy of a paycheck, a paid vacation and days off with the assumption that women and housework go together like an arm connects to a wrist. Believe me, I had chronic cognitive dissonance when having to pick up and slave alone after my three kids — and people telling me I should like it and its the pinnacle of my existence — what??

  16. mustelid

    Love your bathroom criterion, emma, though I wouldn’t dare practice it myself. The crud in my bathroom would develop political systems and long-range weaponry by the time it was visible to my naked eye. But you’re dead on about the pointlessness of bedmaking and dishdrying. My bed gets made when the sheets are changed. As for dusting, just wait till it gets thick enough to be rolled off the shelf. :)

  17. thebewilderness

    I, on the other hand, save your blog for last. I check up on some news, breeze by C&L, Pandagon, and Shakes Sis. Then it’s Twisty time. I love all you guys.

  18. thebewilderness

    Josh Marshall at TPM made note of the smelly problem in Manhattan this morning.
    Noxious fumes, dead birds, a major emergency in my eyes. Just another unfortunate industrial accident to corporationusa. Over on the mainland this past weekend a truck fell over and dumped 160 gallons of diesel in the Puyallup River. They were proudly announcing on the news that they cleaned up 35 gallons, not to worry everything is just fine.
    I hope the Twisty bungalow is upwind, upriver and upland of Austin industry.

  19. scratchy888

    Remeber, it’s not over until the last canary sings.

  20. Beard

    Well, I certainly understand all the excellent reasons to get snarky about the claim that housework is good for you.

    Nonetheless, the fact remains that those of us on the patriarchal side of the aisle get about five years less time on this mortal coil, on average, than the rest of you folks.

    Assuming that patriarchal oppression is intended to be for the benefit of the patriarchy, this seems like poor planning.

  21. Tanya

    Oh Dream I am sorry to see you write that. You see, once upon a time I was not a princess but a tired domestic slave known as a stay at home mom with a “man” who would not raise a finger in the way of providing help to raise two children. Not one dish was washed or diaper was changed by him. And yet the house was expected to be at his high level of cleanliness. This became a terrible trap that kept me from getting a job. How could I work and look after children and the house all by myself? Especially when perfection was expected of me?

    So I dumped the bum. And found myself a much less demanding, younger and non-assholish man. Meanwhile my former slavemaster spends many days crying in his beer about what a terrible bitch and slut I am and how I stole his children aka property. He was a benevolent slavemaster, he swears, and I am a crazy bitch that flipped out over nothing! Funny thing, I have far less housework to do and I manage to hold down a full time job and still find hours to waste spamming blogs with my worthless comments. Men really need to grow up and realize that we don’t need to take their shit and they can be replaced. Battery operated Boyfriends have definite advantages.

    When a man refuses to help out with the kids, he suffers. So does his relationship with the children. He is shooting himself in the foot. If men realized this, they might quit whining about the high divorce rate and actually do something about the problem that led their woman to dump them in the first place.

  22. Ron Sullivan

    Holy geeziz, Twisty, anything that can kill the Dread Texas Steam Grackle means big trouble for us mere humanoids. Stay upwind, by all means.

    As for housework: Obviously, the boyos would live longer if they did their own. I’m even less housework-inclined than Joe is, and want to run away screaming when he runs the vac. We have an unfortunate situation in the bathroom, however, in that it’s so small that if we let it get seriously dirty, we won’t be able to get in. There’s room for the dirt or us (meaning one of us at a time) but not both.

    And I have a dust-mite allergy, so I should keep the place cleaner just out of self-interest. Eh. Life’s too short. We have been talking for years about equipping the turtles with little moppy skirts and letting them wander under the furniture. Cheaper than a robovac.

    Maybe it’s just a matter of attitude adjustment that got us to start co-writing a Chron column called The Dirt. Can’t be too zealous against our patron matter, now can we?

  23. Twisty

    Ron alludes to the extraordinary noise emitted by the abundant great-tailed grackles we have perched on every power line, billboard, fence, and lamppost. These are no ordinary birds. During mating season their ceaseless vocalizations approximate the scream track in a slasher movie. When you’re sitting at an outtdoor cafe you must jealously guard your lunch from grackle incursions; they think nothing of hopping right up to your plate and nicking your sandwich.

    Lately I’ve noticed that some female grackles, which are normally of a uniform soft brown hue, have been showing up with weird white mutant feathers. Something is going on all right.

  24. Buttercup

    I love grackles. Someone I used to work with called ‘em “damned walking birds”. She said, “birds ought to hop. They shouldn’t walk like that. It bothers me.” Cracked me up every time.

    I’m a reformed slob, it just makes my life easier if things are neat and fairly un-dirty. Only takes me about fifteen minutes a day because I have routines. And the man does his share then some, so it doesn’t get bad. I walk into the house after a day’s work and it’s clean, I smile. It’s a good feeling. Don’t get too many of those.

  25. Nick

    ‘Sides, what do you care, at this point, if it prevents breast cancer?

  26. ramou

    My wife and I periodically discuss cleaning house. She has felt pressured to do it because I do not.

    I assured her that if she left it alone long enough, I’d start cleaning. She took me up. I already feel so much better about the state of my cancer free man-breasts, and possibly my prostate, but what can I do about those dish pan hands?

    If only she’d clean up after her cats more so I won’t get lung cancer from the weird mix of floating feline fur and gravity defying kitty litter.

  27. Jodie

    If there are no bugs and it’s not a fire hazard, then it’s clean enough.

    My dust bunnies have mutated into dust yetis. And I could probably clothe the world if only I were to sweep up the dog hair, spin it into thread and weave that thread into cloth.

    Life is too short to spend it cleaning, because you get it done and then you just have to do it again. There are too many blogs, too many books, too many interesting people to spend time with, and dog petting to do, not to mention adventures and outdoor activities and live music and, well…you get the idea.

  28. Dr. Free-Ride

    My own (unsupported) hunch is that the grackles may have kicked the bucket as a result of being pressed into tidying the nest with industrial strength cleaning fluids.

    Fighting entropy costs us. I’d much rather change the social order than patrol for dust bunnies.

  29. emmala

    they didn’t measure a lifetime’s pattern of housework, they just measured housework during the past year. i think we have a case of reverse causality. that is, women who survived breast cancer were more likely to decide to screw the housework and go out enjoy their lives. let’s all learn from the breast cancer survivors, shall we?

  30. dream_operator23

    See that is how I feel too. There is so many better things to do than clean. I have three children ages two to nine and the house only stays clean at night while they are sleeping. Once they are awake again things get quite messy quickly. It just seems like so much pointless work to pick up all of their toys (and yes all of them clean with me too) knowing that they will get them out again the next day. I’d much rather play or draw or read…those things aren’t pointless to me. My husband tells me if I don’t keep the house cleaner though he is afraid the kids will get taken away. I told him there is no way that would happen, but he doesn’t believe me. I was going to leave him a month ago, but I have really mixed feelings about whether I really want to leave him. I’d much rather stay with him and have him treat me better. He has been better after the day I almost left, but I don’t know how much longer that will last. He is already starting to slip into his old ways a little.

    Dream

  31. Tanya

    I have never seen a grackle. We just have pigeons and seagulls and they are easy to ignore. I can’t imagine a wild bird that steals food off of my plate. Although my parrot does steal food from time to time.

  32. slashy

    Hey dream_operator23, while my highly disorder-tolerant queer self wants to rage at your patriarchal, uptight, superexpectationy spouse and advise you in clear terms to leave (because you & your kids will quickly reach a happy equilibrium of householdness far far away from him), I respect your statement that you’d rather stay, and have him treat you better.
    To that end, I say: this is not your problem, it’s his problem. It is not your problem to solve all by yourself, it is a problem to be solved between the two of you, and that only because you’re willing to put some work into it if he’ll meet you on the other side. Go into all negotiations here knowing that, if it came to that, you could always leave.
    Look, full-time parenting is a full-time job. I have never met any person with a child who claimed otherwise. Given that, and the fact that the task of cleaning house is often contracted out as a part-time job of significant hours (say, 20 hours a week to keep your house at his standard of cleanliness), we can establish that your spouse is trying to tell you that you need to be doing a full-time job plus a part-time job, about 70 hours per week, for free, no vacations, no sickleave, no benefits whatsoever. Meanwhile, he gets to do oh say 40 hours labour per week (the sort of labour that doesn’t require cleaning up puke or being woken regularly in the middle of the night) and call it even.
    The concept he doesn’t seem to have grasped is that you are a human being, a co-parent, and a partner in this arrangement, not some AutoMatoWonderHouseholdBot out of a 50′s mag devoted to keeping the whole place sparkling clean and bringing him his slippers and a pipe at the door.
    Obviously he has been extensively programmed by the patriarchy to expect these things as his right as an adult man. If he is willing to consider de-programming, try couples counselling or something (but make sure it’s not one that follows the ‘if all else fails, blame the wife’ school of thought). And really, if the state of the house is that important to him, he can shell out for a cleaner.

  33. grrr kitty

    I heart grackles for no good reason. When they’re moulting they’re kinda ratty-looking, but when they’re iridescent-black and sassy, something about the way they strut and squawk around my yard warms my cockles.

  34. Mar Iguana

    Unbanning myself long enough to beg you, dream_operator23, to read “Why Does He Do That? Inside The Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” by Lundy Bancroft, a man (and I seldom use that word when referring to the male species) who has worked with abusers for twenty years and cuts through their bullshit with a scalpel.

    For instance, Lundy’s answer to “why does he do that” is, and I paraphrase, “fuck why he does that.” The answer doesn’t matter and pursuit of the answer will only make you crazy. Which would be the point of the abuser’s bullshit.

    He is not going to get better. He will only get worse if you do not have some effective ammo on your side. Do not go into counseling without reading this book because a clueless therapist will make things even worse for you.

    Besides, he’s the one that needs a brain tune-up, not you. Lundy only works with the boys but is in constant contact with the women to keep them informed and to learn the truth of what is actually going on so he can call the abusers on their bullshit (in a manner, of course, which protects the women).

    And, whatever you do, DO NOT let your husband or any other abuser get ahold of this book. Bancroft will tell you why when you read it.

    You can get a copy really cheap in Amazon’s used book section. It will save you years of pointless pain and mind-fuck. Plus, the benefit to your children of living with a mother who takes no shit? Priceless.

  35. dream_operator23

    The more I think about it the it seems that traditional feminity is almost entirely about appearances and not substance. I use to adhere to the Christian fundie way of thinking and all of the articles that were to women (on Christian fundie websites) were about appearances, whether it be the appearance of the woman or her house. Like a woman is suppose to spend all of her time keeping up apperances and taking care of her husband and kids that she can’t do anything that matters. Not that taking care of kids doesn’t matter, but what a woman looks like or what her house looks like in the end shouldn’t matter as much as the fundies think they do. I think reading, making art, and having stimulating intellectual conversations matter much more than whether the house is neat.

    I’ve been married for ten years now (I got married at 18) and at first I liked taking care of my own house. I’m a neat person naturally and at first when I only had one and then two kids it was fairly easy. Then after I had my third child and my second son really started showing signs of being autistic (he always showed signs of it, but the older he got the harder his symptoms were for me to deal with) it got really hard for me to keep up with everything. Plus after ten years of doing the exact same thing day in and day out, I am getting really tired of it.

    slashy, I’m not straight either. I’m bi actually and always have been, but I really denied that fact for a long time because of the whole stupid sin thing.

    Dream

  36. Hawise

    Hey Dream, stick to your guns. Cleanliness or lack thereof is not what will get your children taken away. Your children will get more out of play time than cleaning time, and this is especially true of the autistic son. He needs social interaction and consistency. You can put off dishes and dusting but those precious moments of good contact are critical. My boy is going on eleven and it only gets tougher as the hormones start to change with puberty. Reading and art are great for helping your children develop critical skills and you need to arrange nights and days off for yourself so that YOU can stay focused on the long term needs of the family.
    You husband needs to get with the program- raising children is a long term project and it involves the whole family. The needs of the family are going to change and fluctuate as the children mature, so you need him to acknowledge your needs in the whole equation. Trust me, having him deal with the children for an unsupported day will help him with perspective and will not permanently damage the house or children.

  37. Twisty

    Giving unsolicited advice to perfect strangers is one of the things that people who aren’t porn addicts love to use the internet for, and I’m not saying that what you’ve all been telling Dream so far isn’t good, solid stuff, but I feel compelled to remind all and sundry that extreme caution is indicated when dealing with controllers, abusers, potential abusers, and other such male dickwads as have assumed ownership of their women. I urge Dream, and anyone else reading this who is enduring an unsatisfactory marital situation, to investigate the availability of local support systems, trusted family members, and loyal friends, and avail yourselves of same before embarking on major life changes.

    I hate to think of patriarchy-blaming as having limits, and maybe I’m just a little jumpy after the recent business with Hilaire’s subcontinental forced marriage, but I’m wondering — just wondering, mind you — if remote marriage-counseling isn’t perhaps a bit beyond the scope of the blog.

    Meanwhile, Dream, your observations about femininity are spot-on. Femininity is the enemy of all women.

  38. Twisty

    Not that I mean to shut the discussion down or anything. Just a small disclaimer. Carry on.

  39. goblinbee

    Hilaire’s subcontinental forced marriage?

  40. Cass

    The Lundy Bancroft book is very good. And following up on Twisty’s wise disclaimer: the National D.V. Hotline is open 24 hours at 1-800-799-7233, and would be a very good resource, Dream, for you to check in to.

  41. Tanya

    I should also point out that getting out of my relationship was no cake-walk and involved camping out on my friends’ couch with two children while finding a way to get the bum to get the hell out of my house. It was a very difficult time and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. If leaving your man is what you want to do, you have to go through a lot of soul-searching to make sure that it is what you really want. Reading books about abusers and why they abuse is what convinced me that my relationship breakdown was not my fault. Once I got that idea into my head it was pretty easy to leave.

    This might sound kind of stupid but in our local phone book there is a page about abusers. It had a checklist of abusive behaviours ex. controls money, put-downs, hits, forces sex, won’t take no for an answer. He scored 8 out of 10. It’s funny that something like that would make a difference but I had a heavy duty case of Stockholm syndrome.

  42. kathy a

    have to second twisty’s concern about not making things worse. a controlling and emotionally abusive person can turn violent; even if that doesn’t happen, they can become even more controlling and emotionally abusive when confronted.

    in-family abusers know your buttons, too — they are very effective, and will use every trick in the book to make the whole thing your fault.

    ***** it is a really good idea to have advice, local support, and an escape route lined up BEFORE any more substantive confrontations. most communities have domestic violence hotlines and resources — the national DV hotline that cass recommended [1-800-799-7233] will also have information and contacts.

    anyone who expects a perfect house with 3 young kids living there [not to mention, one with special needs] is a person not in touch with reality.

    i am also wondering if something else is going on here — it is not normal to think the kids will be taken away because the house is messy. someone who is already in trouble with the law, or who already has some legal involvement about parenting, might worry about that, though. not that i need to know, but it is something to bring up with a DV counselor.

  43. darms

    So whaddya do if SHE is the clean freak? When I was single I washed maybe one load every two weeks. Now that I’m married it’s 5 plus loads a week for only two people. And that’s just the laundry! Honestly, every time I find a used toothbrush I toss it lest she find it and use it to clean the bathroom. I don’t mind helping with housework but she is so extreme frequently all I can do is to be elsewhere. Pity the “patriarchy-blaming” doesn’t come as a liquid or a gas, else I’d try to infect her with some. Honestly, if she had her way our house would be hermetically-sealed and we would live in the front yard, enjoying our spotless house by looking in through the windows…

  44. joolya

    It makes me very happy to know that my dear, male, housecleaning spouse will not suffer the pain of breast cancer!
    I will encourage him to further exercise his arm muscles by checking MY breasts regularly for lumps and calcifications. I reckon that this counts as “housework” as it will be primarily done in our house.
    Everybody wins!

  45. joolya

    Hang on, I just want to add (largely in case Mr Joolya reads this) that I DON’T expect my male housecleaning spouse to do ALL the cleaning just because his level of mess tolerance is lower than mine (which is quite high). I’ll do it, but it’s only because I know it bothers him to have dishes in the sink, and because I love him I don’t want him to be upset, and because eventually I start to feel guilty if he’s doing all the dishes while I relax in front of the tube.

    Which has nothing to do with gender roles, really, but human politeness. Similar situation to living with slightly less messy than me female housemate(s).

    Whew.

  46. joolya

    Dream, you are breaking my heart!

  47. rainie

    At our house we refer to cleaning as “battling entropy”.

    If the disorder becomes too great, I find it difficult to relax. The exact level varies. When it’s reached though, I get a bit redfaced and agitated and clean like a banshee. (Not redfaced angry, but more flusterred.) There is an ongoing assortment of tasks that have to be done to keep a household going. I don’t have any particular problem doing any of them, as long as there is no ugly gender based expectation that they are all my responsibility.

  48. Harpie

    I may need to get my hands on that Bancroft book.

    I’m not into housekeeping either. I figure, if it’s not a health hazard or a fire hazard, who cares? I’m moving soon, so my place will get cleaned and all my stuff boxed anyway.

    Be careful, Dream.

  49. thepoliticalcat

    Sylvanite writes:

    Now why can’t some foul emissions take care of some of my local pests, like the house sparrows or the drunks who pee in my driveway?

    ——————–
    To which saith I:

    Time to order a second breakfast burrito, toots.

  50. hk-reader

    I am a patriarchy blamer, yet I do like to clean.

    As the anthropologist of religion, Mary Douglas reminds us:

    “Dirt is essentially disorder… it exists in the eye of the beholder… In chasing dirt, in papering, decorating, tidying, we are not governed by anxiety to escape disease, but are positively re-ordering our environment, making it conform to an idea.”

    “Reflection on dirt involves reflection on the relation of order to dis-order, form to formlessness, life to death.”

    Mary Douglas wrote a fascinating book on issues of dirt (pollution) and the moral realm. It’s called “Purity and Danger” (first published in 1966). She also relates how ideas about purity of body relate to ideas about the body politic and the cosmos.

    Some of her other works:
    * The world of goods : towards an anthropology of consumption (1979; rev, ed. 1996)
    * Risk and culture : an essay on the selection of technical and environmental dangers (1982)
    * How institutions think (1986)
    * Risk and Blame (1992)
    * Thought styles : critical essays on good taste (1996)

  51. PS

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21036489-5006789,00.html

    Mystery as thousands of birds fall from sky
    THOUSANDS of birds have fallen from the skies over Esperance and no one knows why.
    Is it an illness, toxins or a natural phenomenon? A string of autopsies in Perth have shed no light on the mystery.

  52. Twisty

    Well that’s just peachy.

    There’s no word yet on what killed the Austin birds, either. Certainly it is something hideous going on, and right now they’re in the middle of the cover-up, but in a year or so we’ll find out the truth: that some nefarious lobbyists dropped those poisoned birds on the doorstep of the capitol to shut it down and give’em extra time to finagle some horrific deal with some horrific legislators.

  53. Sylvanite

    thepoliticalcat says:

    - “Time to order a second breakfast burrito, toots.”

    Ha! I’ll get my husband right on that – something tells me he’d be more up to the task.

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