May 31 2009

Spinster auntism lives

Oh yeah. I forgot to mention that, for good or ill, I’ll continue publishing blogularisms until the next batch of pointless criticism drives me completely underground. I mention this because some of you have expressed an interest. To those who have not expressed an interest: I bet you’re bored as hell, reading this. You should go read some Judith Butler. That’s entertainment!

Check this out!

[…] Butler questions the extent to which we can assume that a given individual can be said to constitute him- or herself; she wonders to what extent our acts are determined for us, rather, by our place within language and convention. She follows postmodernist and poststructuralist practice in using the term “subject” (rather than “individual” or “person”) in order to underline the linguistic nature of our position within what Jacques Lacan terms the symbolic order, the system of signs and conventions that determines our perception of what we see as reality.

I’m not against being criticized, incidentally. I merely question the extent to which readers of blogs can assume that bloggists can be said to constitute themselves, as opposed to the extent to which readers of blogs can be said to constitute critics.

Another thing I want to mention is: have you ever put out spider traps? Because holy shit, you wouldn’t believe the arthropods what waltz through your hut when you’re not looking. Today I found two regular scorpions under my fridge, and two wind-scorpions in my bathroom, and another brown recluse spider in the hall. And about a bafillion unidentified gnats, small beetles, moths, and lesser spiders, in the gluey spider traps I was obliged to stick here and there around the bunkhouse.

I am sorry I had to put out those traps. There was quite a bit of unexpected collateral damage. But I can’t have the dogs getting brown reclused. And Bert has this idea that scorpions are minuscule puppies.


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  1. Pinko Punko

    Now you are seriously messing with me. You are inflaming Brown Reclusivitiphobia. I fear this will soon be more than an intellectual lark concerning my hypothetical geography, the Brown Recluse geography and the Venn diagram showing extensive overlap between the two. Please describe the use of these spider traps further.

    Much obliged. Apologize for repeating myself, perhaps if I torched this comment with ellipses dot dot dot

  2. admirerofemily

    Re the continuing blogging – well that’s very good to hear!

    Yes, Judith Butler looks very entertaining indeed. It’s similar to previous comments in another thread about how we aren’t one perfect person who, like an onion, can peel off all the badness to be ‘the real me’.

    Rather, at times we act the wife, mother, daughter, employee etc.

    And each role we play has various taboos around who can speak and what they can say. Break ’em at your peril.

  3. dawn coyote

    For what it’s worth, I don’t read the comments much anymore, nor do I comment much anymore, but I always read you.

    You remain fresh and shiny and invigorating.

    I don’t want to say something mean or dismissive about the commentariat, because I like many of them a great deal, but they are not your only audience.

  4. magriff

    I like what the Sage book of qualitative inquiry has to say about all of this:

    Ontology: See: Metaphysics

  5. Hedgepig

    One of the reasons the Blametariat census of a few months back (a high point in IBTP morale I believe) was so interesting was that even some of the non-commenters stood up to be counted. dawn coyote’s point that us loud-mouths aren’t Twisty’s only audience is a good one worth noting.

  6. Comrade PhysioProf

    I am sorry I had to put out those traps. There was quite a bit of unexpected collateral damage.

    It sounds like most of the collateral damage was to spider food. So consider yourself as doing your part to maintain the arthropod predator-prey balance on Savage Death Island.

  7. speedbudget

    Spider traps are sometimes a necessity on a person’s Savage Death Island.

    Doing laundry one day, I was sorting the colors. As I lifted up a pair of jeans, lo and behold, a FUCKING HUGE spider skittered out. One with a fat abdomen and long legs, kind of like the Black Widow, but not the right colors or markings. No idea what is was. All I know is, I was on the phone with Mom, jawing away, and I started screaming bloody murder. Mom thought someone had come in the house and was attacking me.

    Looking around for a means of killing said spider dead, I found one of my garden clogs. Which would have been fine, had I not missed completely on my first shot. Now the spider is skittering all over the house, and all I can think is, “Oh fuckfuckfuckfuck. Don’t lose him, he’ll get in your bed tonight and KILLLLLLLLLLLLL you.” Luckily, he tried to nuzzle in between the carpet and the floorboard and I was able to beat him to death with blunt force trauma.

    My heart still races thinking of it.

    Mom, meanwhile, had hung an illegal U turn to come back to my house and save me. She really did think I was being attacked. I’ve never screamed like that in my life. Imagine how mad she was when she found out! Good times.

    I called the company we use for termite control that day and had them come out with traps. Spiders are awful, awful beings. Unless they are orb spiders outside in the garden. Those are okay.

  8. Vera

    I would like to register agreement with Dawn Coyote. I read your writing with great devotion. The comments, not so much. (I make an exception for anyone whose last name is Coyote.) I hope you publish a book someday. If you don’t, I may print out several of your essays, bind them together with duct tape, and give them to my daughters for Christmas.

    Sorry you have to eradicate your spiders. Much as I admire spiders–in our house we refer to them collectively as “grandmother”–if I had to deal with brown recluse spiders, I’d put out traps, too. One of my friends lost two and a half fingers to a garage-dwelling brown recluse.

  9. slythwolf

    One of the nice things about living in Michigan is that we don’t have any scorpions.

    But no, no spider traps. What I did have to put out the other day was ant poison. Every fucking year this place gets an infestation. And normally I would be all in favor of a society where the females run things and do all the work, and the males are only kept around for sex and then they die, but not in my kitchen sink.

  10. Alex

    One time, I was digging potatoes and noticed this strange, grayish, furry thing–I thought it was some kind of plant part. Never having seen anything like it before, I tried to pick it up. Then when I touched it, it sprouted legs–eight of them–and scuttled away. According to the internets, nothing quite like it lives anywhere near me, so how it ended up in my Pennsylvania potato patch, I’ll never know.

    I mention this because it seems we’re all telling spider stories. Also, one time Spinster Dog Sunny was bitten by a spider and her face swelled up like a balloon.

  11. SKM

    Sorry about the collateral damage, but the traps sounds like a true necessity. Brown recluses are not all beer and tacos! My mother (a Maypearl denizen) was bitten on the back of her dominant hand by a brown recluse, and the recovery was a long and painful nightmare. She was lucky–she still has her hand, not to mention her life.

    Bert must be defended!

    I merely question the extent to which readers of blogs can assume that bloggists can be said to constitute themselves, as opposed to the extent to which readers of blogs can be said to constitute critics.

    Hear hear.

  12. Orange

    My aunt in the Chicago exurbs gets brown recluses in her barn. Me, I’m just happy to hide out in the city. Now, if only the damnable centipedes would discover that my aunt’s barn is a much lovelier place for them than my condo.

  13. Yonah

    Another voice in the “don’t read the comments much, but your posts are a favored element of my RSS feed”

  14. manifestadestiny

    Listen, I don’t like where this has gone. I think. I miss the posts about feminism–no offense to heartwarming nature crap. Yes, I kind of raised my eyebrows at “Cuntalina,” but that didn’t erase the work you did on sexting–a work that I had to actually leave the house and read aloud to my husband out of pride that there are women like you–as well as all the other sane-making writing you do. Your voice is in my top five of blaming voices, and I read a lot of feminist writing. I agree with you about BDSM–really good breakdown of that dynamic. Please keep blaming.

  15. Jodie

    Please keep writing…some of us may not comment much, but we appreciate you far more than you know.

    I find if you have plenty of Daddy long legs spiders, you don’t get many of any other kind. But that does nothing for the scorpions, of course.

  16. buttercup

    I love and will miss Twisty but am willing and able to adopt Jill as my new favorite spinster aunt.

    Another Mostly Lurker

  17. Emily

    Jill, I’d wager it’s okay to put out spider traps. I myself had a recent ant problem that has been solved with baits (corn syrup or some such and boric acid, natch). I’d also wager that it’s okay to use any word ending -alina, because funny, right? Whatever. This newbie is glad you are continuing to blog. What I’ve experienced here over the last couple of months has been both edifying and entertaining. Well done. Continue, please. Nevermind the plebes who are wound too tightly.

  18. MLH

    Those photos of spiders did give me bad dreams the other night.

    Other than that, please don’t go underground. If you go underground, the patriarchy wins.

  19. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Hey, if anything stings, bites or threatens my animals, they’re the reason I don’t wear lace-up shoes. We enforce a strict non-aggression policy chez Niebieszczanski.

  20. INTPagan

    Count me in as well with the usually-silent but still faithful readers. I don’t often comment because I don’t have much to add. “Cuntalina” made me cringe a little, too, but, really, as someone who only recently stopped actually using the word “cunt”, and, considering the wonderful work you do, I’m not going to proclaim you insufficiently feminist and a tool or some shit like that. You’re a human being; so am I.

    I like the feminism better than the heartwarming nature crap, but it’s your fucking blog, and it’s still good. Keep blaming.

  21. Emily (fmrly, the Baboon)

    I feel quite Thrilled to be a reader during this moment of transition. That is all.

  22. Tomecat

    Another, probably unwanted, voice here to say that I am profoundly grateful for this blog. IBTP was the first place I found in my 4+ decades, that verbalized, analyzed and clarified the conflicting messages I received from my own head and from society at large.

    Once I stumbled across a single post here, I immediately went back and voraciously consumed the archives for weeks. Unlike some of your readers, I value the commentariat immensely. Even the comments that piss me off, because they all help to organize my thoughts and force me to rethink my positions on everything–almost as much as your posts do.

    Anyway, to make a short comment long; glad to hear you’re sticking around–in whatever form you choose. And thank you for all you’ve done already. A voice as strong, intelligent and witty as yours is a welcome diversion to even the worst of my days.

  23. tle

    Auntie: I found you earlier this year, and immediately added you to my bookmarks. I finally read the comments from the post in which you used the “C-alina word,” and was fascinated that one of the people giving you the most crap for using teh-menz-worst-insult-against-the-noble-female has the word “babe” included as part of her on-line identity. Huh?

    The basic C word is one I have used, albeit sparingly, in situations where no other will do. While I do more than my share of blaming, I simply cannot come to terms with the idea that having scary female parts absolves a person from using her brain and exercising her free will. Like the majority of the human race is suffering at all times from Stockholm syndrome and therefore each individual member of that majority is not responsible if she is narrow-minded, nasty, hypocritical and a general waste of human flesh. Not buying it, sorry. I really liked the comment from wendyann. She said it very well.

    While I appreciate your writing style no matter what the subject, I do hope you do not concentrate only on the life of domestic animals and Texas vermin. I think there are many of us who mostly lurk, and perhaps do not express our deep gratitude for your keen mind and independent thought, served up to us through the miracle of the intertubes on a regular basis, often enough to counteract the naysayers.

  24. Nolabelfits

    This blog saved my sanity. All of it, including the hearwarming nature crap. I say Jill deserves a break. Coming up with fresh stuff on a daily basis is demanding, one would think. You know that this blog is going to have the best written and most humorous heartwarming nature crap anywhere.

  25. polly sytrene

    And that’s against some very stiff competition, because there’s a helluva lot of heartwarming nature crap out there.

  26. smellerella


    I am another lurker who has never posted a comment but who regularly refers wayward women and girls to IBTP when they are feeling at a loss and confused about the current state of affairs. When I say, ‘IBTP’, they say, ‘huh?’. So, I inform them about the wonderful online realm of IBTP where, it seems, most people ‘get it’ and they can find solace.

    However, there is a small part of me that feels somehow the nasties won this round. That the inner-critics that constitute internalized patriarchy were hard at work during the ‘cuntalina episode’ and these inner-critics spewed forth that which had been ingrained in them – using the word ‘cunt’ is the lowest of the low.

    I would argue that MEN decided that being referred to as part of a woman’s anatomy is insulting; I don’t believe that it is – I think my parts are FABULOUS.

    How is it that a group so enlightened, as the Blametariat, can FALL DOWN so quickly due to language. Are we really only as united as the language we use reflects? What happened to ‘reclaiming’ the word and USING IT OURSELVES to take back the ‘power’ of the insult? ‘We’re here; we’re queer’ ring a bell?

    Regardless, I’m glad you are continuing to post and encourage you to keep doing WHAT YOU WANT – it’s your damn blog after all. Screw the critics and never write for love; write for yourself. If nature crap is where you’re at, super; I’m still reading and will continue to do so as I have for the last 3 years.

    Warmest wishes from a faithful Canadian Cuntalina!

  27. polly sytrene

    I concur with m’learned friend.

  28. xochitl

    “Are we really only as united as the language we use reflects? What happened to ‘reclaiming’ the word and USING IT OURSELVES to take back the ‘power’ of the insult? ‘We’re here; we’re queer’ ring a bell?”

    Yeah, but that is not the context in which it was used here. It was obviously not meant as a compliment, and therefore served to reinforce the power of the insult.

  29. Rididill

    i know it’s like 2 years later so no one will care, but here are my thoughts on the word cunt.

    Prick, dick and cock are crappy insults. For someone who is foolish, irritating, and assholish. Cunt is a BADASS insult! Pricks, dicks and cocks may be mildly annoying, but they are ten a penny. They are nothing. They cannot even piss off with success and conviction. Cunt at least has some fucking teeth! (he he) Dicks are laughable. Cunts are the bond villain of the genitally-centred insults. It also has a nice abrupt sound akin to verbally stabbing someone in the face. that shit has power. male genital centred insults are just useless little ballsacks.

    I know many will not agree with me, and I do not use the word lightly. but there it is.

  30. vagabondi

    Rididill: That’s not an inaccurate observation, as far as it goes, but the poit of analysis is to take that extra step and ask why? What societal beliefs cause the observed phenomenon? What power differentials might be in play here, and do we want to perpetuate them? “Prick” is a wimpy insult; “cunt” is an atom bomb. Why would it be that calling someone a “man’s genitals” is maybe a bit reductive, but calling someone a “woman’s genitals” is deadly? Maybe it’s because those who use these words believe deep down, that men are all right, are human, whatever faults they might have, but women are disgusting, evil, beyond the pale. Maybe I, on the other hand, think my own genitals are perfectly ok, and I don’t want to use a word denoting a part of my own body as the worst thing someone could be like.

  1. Postmodernism vs. Cuntalinagate « The All-Seeing Eye

    […] of Judith Butler and how that work bears on discussions of power and resistance.  There’s this shout-out, of sorts, to Butler – I confess that I am unable to discern whether referring to […]

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