Jul 28 2012

Breaking Baddus Interruptus

Fully loaded ice bucket next to couch? Check. Bottle of Prosecco in it? Check. Bag of Funyuns? Check.

That’s right. Time to watch the season premier of “Breaking Bad.”

Wait! The phone’s ringing? Son of a bitch, phone off hook, not-check!

Well, it was my mother. I always answer when it’s my mother because she’s in the habit of falling down and snapping her bones in half. At her funeral I don’t want to be the asshole standing there in mourning weeds thinking, “I could have saved her, but I was too busy gnawing on Funyuns while watching a TV show about the moral decay of a fictional suburban white drug lord.”

To my horror, my mother, whose bones were not broken this time, wanted to know if I was watching the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. This meant, in effect, that I had to watch the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. Summoning all the courage of the Fasters, I poured myself a glass and hit the remote.

The thing had already been underway for some minutes. I understand there was supposedly some story arc involving England Thru the Ages or whatever, and that I had just missed a fake queen skydiving, but even those two contingencies could not mitigate my confused, quasi-enskeevedness over the incomprehensible spectacle of about 28,000 children in luminous insane asylum beds, attended by an army of parlour-maid-looking female nurses. So it’s true then, what generations of Americans raised on Dickens have always suspected? That all English children are raised in Victorian orphanages? But what of the unsettling giant baby? What the fuck was that?*

And oh, they can’t be serious. A British Invasion medley? Really?

Of all the nasty, below-the-belt showbiz conventions, medleys suck the worst. There is no pleasure, no gratification, no philosophic value in a medley. There is only a sort of jarring pain, a stab of yearning, in being forced to endure 3 seconds of a beloved rock classic interrupted by 3 seconds of another beloved rock classic, many times in rapid succession. You just want to hear one whole fucking song, even if it’s fucking “Stairway to Heaven,” although one would of course prefer “Kashmir.”

By the way, all the featured medley artists were dudes. In Swinging London, birds didn’t rock.

At some point during the 3 seconds of “Bohemian Rhapsody” one of the commentators broke the sobering news that another dude, Sir Paul, was scheduled to appear at any moment. That did it. My filial obligations be damned! I immediately switched back to “Breaking Bad,” and you would have done the same. Can anybody even look at Paul McCartney — especially now that he’s an irrelevant geezer — without experiencing that haunting, guilty pang? You know, the one that whispers, “they killed the wrong Beatle”? Alternatively, I understand that when some of the younger set look at Paul McCartney, their pang says “Who the hell is Paul McCartney?”

The subject is nominally the Olympics here, so I’ll have to mention with a curled lip the women’s beach volleyball male fantasy/beach blanket bingo outfits.

Talk of cold weather had created panic in the British press that the female players would go for long-sleeves instead of the standard bikinis – a longtime but little used rule in international volleyball […] But the beach party atmosphere was augmented by the dancers, who filled the downtime with kicklines and even one tango that ended up with the dance partners flopping suggestively in the sand. [Huffington Post]

The “Playboy Prince” Harry has front row seats to the women’s final. Need I say more?

Probably not, but I will anyway. Just in case you were anxious that coverage of the sport would fail to sufficiently objectify the athletes, the Huffington Post comes through with this classy booty shot.

* I have since been apprised that the hospital beds spelled out “NHS” and were meant to represent Britain’s national health service. It still seems strange that national health would be depicted by 19th century sick people, but whatever. England’s just quirky like that!

Beds photo from Christian Science Monitor


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  1. Rarbles

    On the other hand I am now a huge fan of Beatriz Peron. Women’s weightlifting is live!

  2. sharah

    Where you came in, you missed the awesome percussionist Evelyn Glennie. She rocked :)

  3. Fictional Queen

    Damn. I hate the world.

  4. tinfoil hattie

    “Pffffffftttttt!” There goes the tinfoil hattie computer screen. Coffee all over the place.

    “‘They killed the wrong Beatle'” – why, oh WHY isn’t the “Twisty” show on Netflix in place of “Louie”?

  5. Pinko Punko

    The only English stuff they missed was maybe Doctor Who and Robbie Williams (who? the world asks). They should have just slipped some Daleks into the parade of nations. Led by flag bearer Davros, Matt Lauer could have said “while confined to a wheelchair, the creator of the Daleks says that he is here to “exterminate” and “kill the doctor” but is not likely a serious medal contender” before he got his face melted off by a death ray. Seriously, Mitt Romney probably wanted to shoot himself when he saw the extended Mr. Bean dealio. So it was just all around surreal.

  6. Owly

    Although it’s always fun to see the parade of athletes, I was not impressed with the opening ceremonies. I missed the part with the children, which, according to my mother, was the best part. Couldn’t tell you. It probably wouldn’t have impressed me either.

    Also, the commercials drove me crazy, as they always do. Especially the company that is “the proud sponsor of moms.”

  7. Notorious Ph.D.

    Owly, count me as one non-mother think it might be neat if they actually did have sponsors. Then they could get paid for all the work they do.

    I think that most moms would be sponsored by coffee companies.

  8. wev

    I’ve never heard of Funyans, which were once described as “lowbrow and small time, underachieving and unpopular,” but I’d probably love them. I might even watch Breaking Bad just in order to get the full effect. I was watching the sadness of the baseball game and only after my team lost did I think about the Olympics. It was so simple; I set the recording device to record the rerun of the whole spendid mess in the wee hours so that I could watch at my leisure, and promptly took myself, sans fun or Funyans, off to bed.

  9. lizor

    Only saw some of the visuals on other people’s mini-screens on the plane last night. Happily, I found a channel that had back to back episodes of The Golden Girls which was far more “awesome”.

  10. Ayla

    I can’t watch Breaking Bad on accounta the rape.

  11. Twisty

    “I’ve never heard of Funyans, which were once described as “lowbrow and small time, underachieving and unpopular,” but I’d probably love them.”

    Your comment mystifies me on many levels. I cannot resist inquiring how, if you have never heard of “Funyans,” you nevertheless seem to possess the (oddly accurate) knowledge that they are “lowbrow,” etc? Also, please divulge the context wherein Funyuns were thus described? Also, why must you misspell the word when I have thoughtfully provided the correct spelling in the post? Address these issues at once!

  12. Nolabelfits

    Of course the Spice Girls, who were a global phenomenon (whether you like them or not) were conspicuously left out of the whole thing.

  13. ew_nc

    Wait, what? Bikinis are the required uniform for women’s volleyball players? Please say you’re kidding.

  14. Hippolyta

    To conflate the two previous posts: I’ll take riot grrrl over girl power and Bikini Kill over required bikinis anyday.

  15. JoshS

    You bring us many Exotic and New uses of “panic” these past few days.

  16. Comradde PhysioProffe

    (1) If you enjoy extruded onion-flavored rynges, Wise Onion Rings are much better than Funyuns. Whatever shitte they are made out of is ground finer, and so they have a lighter, less granular texture than Funyuns.

    (2) The worst thing about those fucken opening ceremonies was how motherfucken long they went on. Who the fucken fucke has that kind of attention span?

    (3) It is an outrage that they played a little clip of the Sex Pistols but not X-Ray Spex.

  17. yttik

    Still speechless over the opening ceremonies. There was a giant pulsating baby, herds of sheep, and the Sex Pistols. There were giant coal burning smoke stacks that blew real sulfur into the crowds.

    Somebody described it as “weird and unabashedly British.”

  18. wev

    I am so ashamed of my failure to spell what was in front of me and for leaving out the explanatory middle of the story. Before I got terribly old I used to correct my obvious typos and overly cryptic remarks. Now I often don’t even see them. I do apologize.

    I’m not sure if it’s a greater honor to be noticed than it is a humiliation to be called out for my failings. I was once again trying to be too brief and consequently was incoherent when I commented. I left out the intervening Google search in which the seventh listing provided the quote about Funyuns (they spelled it correctly, as I did in my search. I thought it was funny and it was downhill from there.) They also said that Funyuns were the Roger Clinton of snacks, so that will give you an idea how old the entry was.

    I would have replied (and apologized) sooner but I was watching the previously recorded Olympic Opening Ceremonies. The best part was the Queen’s corgis bouncing up and down the red-carpeted palace stairs as if they thought they were going along to the stadium.

    I wish I could promise I will do better in the future but I fear I am fast losing it, Twisty.

  19. janna

    I didn’t hate the opening ceremonies. I liked the made-in-China outfits the USA team wore. I missed the first half hour because I was watching Futurama.

    I did wonder during “Hey, Jude” what it would have been like if John Lennon were alive and singing “Imagine.”

    “Imagine there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion, too
    Imagine all the people, living life in peace”

  20. Shelby

    I was pretty impressed with the opening ceremony. But then I come from a land downunder where the opening ceremony comprised of 1000 lawnmowers, lots of corrugated iron, and Elle MacPherson atop a giant pair of thongs (phlip phlops).

    Catching Australia v USA in beach volleyball this morning I was heartwarmed and empowerfulized to see the Oz team in a full body suit wearing their titslings on the outside like Superman! Up yours Harry.

    The Spice Girls are reportedly going to perform at the closing ceremony. I hope Chrissie Hynde and Annie Lennox at least will be there as well.

    That said, if it were a choice between the opening ceremony and Breaking Bad, Walter wins every time.

  21. tinfoil hattie

    From an unverified source (Lance Armstrong’s “Live Strong” website): “The two-piece women’s top must be designed with deep, cutaway armholes on the stomach, back and upper chest. The briefs should be cut toward the leg on an upward angle. The maximum side width allowed is 7 cm. The one-piece must consist of an open back and upper chest.”

    The pornulation requirements have been relaxed this year in deference to the Saudi athletes, who wore their burkas during the opening parade.

  22. wendy house

    I made the mistake of making a few comments about medleys, victorian values etc on my Facebook status and was suprised by the speed and uniformity with which I was ‘corrected’ apparantly it was awesome and their is no room for any criticism if you are a local English person. Frankly it was as embarressing as the ticketing fiasco,, the sponsorship exclusivity, the security shambles etc… not to mention that locals have been told to stay out of London because of the potential for a transport fiasco. pffft. I didn’t even mention the way the women were portrayed in the opening ceremony.

    It’s embarressing how backward the UK is at being awesome…. move away from the awesopme ….move away….

  23. ivyleaves

    Until just now, I always thought the name was Funyums.

    The bikini requirement is an outrage. It feels like a rape when I read about the 7 cms, and it is exactly the same feeling that I have when I contemplate a christian high school’s requirements that female students’ tops must have straps no smaller than 2 inches. Both requirements are proof of rampant visual rape on the part of perverted men in charge.

  24. Friend of Snakes

    For those of you who lack the TV set, whether through poverty or clear-headed choice, but who obviously have access to the online experience, this article can help you find Olympics stuff for your viewing pleasure:
    5 Websites to Watch The 2012 Olympic Games Online

  25. Friend of Snakes

    Belatedly: Ooooooooh. Twisty wit de smack down on wev.

    I must admit, though, that I too was thoroughly confused by wev’s entire first post. But kinda like with knowing about really good salt, I can’t identify the alcoholic or the candy products to which Twisty alluded – part due to poverty constraints, part due to long-dormant alcoholism. Also, haven’t watched a second of the Olympics or the preceding ceremonies. Aren’t I the kinda poster every first-class blog wants on board making with the multiple comment? I think: no.

    Oh yeah, the main thing that frustrated me about wev’s first post was the total lack of identification of the loser baseball team for which she apparently roots. Girlfriend, get a better team. Recommended: Chicago White Sox.

  26. speedbudget

    Everyone is flipping out about the volleyball outfits because tickets to the volleyball games have been used as corporate payouts to their useless CEOs and VPs and whatnot. Whatever will the men do? Shit, they might have to go to their regular strip clubs and actually pay to see it. TRAGEDY!

  27. yttik

    “It’s embarressing how backward the UK is at being awesome…. move away from the awesopme ….move away….”

    There is this huge culture gap between America and Britain, that you wouldn’t think exists since we share a language, a history, but it does. In the US we really practice a shame based system. We’re ashamed of everything, sex, pollution, foreign policy, history, our government. The Brits are unabashedly unapologetic about anything.

    I had to laugh, in the US we would never celebrate 200 ft coal burning smoke stacks that blow real sulfur into the crowd. Like everything else, we’re ashamed of industry in the US. By the time we got to the parade of champions I was rolling on the floor because it was like, “and here comes another country once invaded and occupied by the British!”

    I’m not saying that one way is better than the other, just observing that there are these huge cultural differences that sometimes make it hard for us to “get” the British.

  28. Twisty

    Ooooooooh. Twisty wit de smack down on wev.

    Aw crap. I was joking.

    The joke was based on the frisson of hilarity generated by the incongruity of the world’s most nominated humorless internet feminist ostensibly taking a processed, mass produced snack food (Funyuns) so seriously.

    The joke failed. No offense was intended. Please, wev, save your apologies for when you use an ellipsis incorrectly.

  29. Nolabelfits


    Chrissie Hynde, being American, probably won’t be invited to sing, but one can hope.

  30. incognotter

    Mom and bro watched it with the volume turned up too high. Dog and I went to the park and grocery. When we got back it was still going and still too loud so Dog and I hid in the kitchen and worked on frosting a birthday cake. It was slightly less too loud there, and I was spared the visuals. Went and watched the torch in the speedboat and the lighting of those copper calla lillies that turned into the cauldron. It was kinda neat in an overly-commercial, over-the-top, much-too-loud kind of way. Fled back to the kitchen. Was SO glad to have a lesbian cake mandate as an excuse to flee. How could anyone possibly have watched the whole thing?

  31. Friend of Snakes

    Twisty said:

    The joke failed.

    Nah. And you know how we all knew it was a joke? I know I speak for everyone (right? Right?) when I identify the source of your success as being the ending exclamation point on your final sentence. A dead giveaway.

    Too, thank you for introducing me to the product, Flundyuunes, which I misidentified as a candy. Oops.

  32. Wednesday's Child

    Shelby, unfortunately the choice to wear full bodysuits for the Olympic beach vollebally team was a concession to inclement London weather and an 11pm scheduling rather than a flouting of the restrictive dress code. Apparently Natalie Cook is a big little bikini enthusiast: skin cancer and sand burn be damned.

    I had high hopes of a mini revolution being underway when news of the full body suit coincided with Natalie Cook’s flagbearer protest*. But alas, it was not to be.

    Apparently beach volleyball uniform rules have been amended (though no change to the wedgie-inducing 7cm stipulations for the bikini) to include the aforementioned full body suit as well as a shorts and t-shirt/singlet option for women. The volleyball federation attests that “this is to respect the customs and/or religious beliefs of countries.” Women not being worthy of respect in our own right under the Global Accords Governing Fair Use of Women.

    *For those not downunder, our beach volleyballympian Natalie Cook threatened to sit out the march if a woman wasn’t chosen as Australian flagbearer. This created quite a kerfuffle with basketball’s Lindsay Gaze being driven to remark that the historic lack of women was not about gender at all but a complete and utter lack of leadership qualities in our women athletes. “Back of the plane for you 4 time medal winning women basketballers, we never-medal winning male leaders need lots of room in first class for our egos.” Or something.

    As to Funyons, am all for processed food snacks but was not previously (and still not personally) familiar with this variation on the theme. However, when I first heard mention of them on Breaking Bad, I was aghast: why is Jesse bringing fungus bunions (bunion fungus?) to a meth lab?

  33. Kritique

    Not really interested in sports or the Olympics and mainly glad I don’t live in London anymore as the traffic must be a nightmare. But, saw interesting things popping up in tweets, so watched some of the opening ceremony last night on BBC I Player.

    Was great to see the Suffragettes have such a big part, and the clip of the first Lesbian kiss on British TV was pretty awesome as well. The celebration of the national health service was a bit of a kick in the teeth to the jack asses in government who want to take down what’s left of our public services.

    Funyons sound yum.

  34. magriff

    The only thing I’ve seen of the whole thing so far is a photo of Patsy and Eddie carrying the torch in matching white tracksuits. I think I’d like to leave it that way!

  35. ElizaN

    Funyuns are even better if you talk about them like you’re Justin Wilson. Also if you drink like him.

  36. otoc

    Those volleyball bikinis look ridiculous without high-heeled sandals.

  37. L

    The summer olympics are pretty dull in my opinion. I was watching the women’s gymnastics today and got to pondering the women’s uniforms. Why do they cover their arms but have bottoms cut up to their hip bones and that their asses hang out of? At first I pondered if this was for movement’s sake but the men gymnasts get to wear pants and seem to do okay. And a lot of these girls are just teens, making it even more creepy. I’d love to see some woman gymnast with her pubic hair blossoming out of the sides of that crotchular get-up. Oddly, it seems like swimming is the only sport where the women are more covered than the men, thanks to those newfangled suits that have become so popular the last few years.

  38. Lovepug

    Just to recap:

    * Funyons
    * Beach volley ball uniform requirements
    * Breaking Bad
    * The wrong Beatle
    * Lesbian cake mandate
    * Robbie Williams

  39. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    What? No giant inflatable pigs? You can’t represent British without Pink Floyd.

  40. Julie

    I thought the ceremony was far more interesting than most – A choir for ‘deaf and hearing’ children singing and signing the national anthem in their jammies! lots and lots of non-anglo participants, including the hero and heroine in the (admittedly pretty crap) medley sequence, a celebration of the National Health Service which involved 500 actual staff members of the NHS dancing their asses off, a tribute to a great children’s hospital, the aforementioned awesome female percussionist, the gorgeous Emeli Sande singing ‘Abide with me’, a celebration of the suffragettes and an overall theme of revolution – from the industrial to the digital – I thought it was a fair attempt at inclusiveness.

  41. Twisty

    I’d love to see some woman gymnast […]

    So would I. But women’s gymnastics is a children’s sport, and as such has no place in the Olympics. Odd that they all have to wear thick pink eye makeup and hair glitter that one normally associates with Stripper Barbie. They’re like Toddlers in Tiaras, with X-treme quadriceps. I also do not understand the herky-jerky floor routines. They jump and flip pretty good, but the robotic flailing in between is just creepy. And the skeezy old white-haired dude coaches! The whole spectacle is disconcerting in the extreme.

  42. Twisty

    Also, the Russian girls with their super-tight hairdos looked like advertisements for Ponytail Headache.

  43. Lalock

    Antoinette: The very beginning opening sequence, a pre-filmed flyover of the Thames from its starting point to downtown London, whizzed past a large pig flying over a factory. Also, immediately after the lighting of the torch, and before Sir Paul started singing, the music playing in the arena was “Eclipse.” Pink Floyd was fairly well represented, I thought.

  44. yttik

    “women’s gymnastics is a children’s sport”

    The really creepy thing is that they ARE women, Twisty. They have to be over 16 to compete and many are older. The trick is to be a certain body type and start training young to delay puberty so you can appear as a perpetual 12 yr old girl.

    The ribbon dancers disturb me, too. You have to look like a ribbon, six ft tall and 90 pounds.

  45. Hippolyta

    It’s surprising after so many comments that no one has mentioned Breaking Bad. I was a little surprised to read that you watch it. It is, after all, a rather testosterone laden show. However, I find it too compelling to resist. The characters are so much more dynamic and complex than practically anything else on television. I think it is rare for a show to surprise, even shock the jaded radical feminist and yet this show seems to manage it. I confess that despite my age I still like the concept of “breaking bad” in a Thelma and Louise, f*** the police, double-mastectomy-scar-showing, fight the power way.

  46. TwissB

    @otoc “Those volleyball bikinis look ridiculous without high-heeled sandals.”
    Right. But then it’s all about displaying girl buttocks – gymnastas’ teeny ones, beach volleyball babes’ adult ones – as a gratifying contrast to the men’s well-concealed ones. I’ve never seen the still or video cameras focus on the male swimmers’ backsides – or their crotches either – as they do the women’s. How reassuring toloser dudes it must be to see that, despite all the brave talk about sports making girrls tough, they can’t unite to stand up to men’s demands that they comply with abusive dress codes like bikinis and burkas.

    Among the bits of the opening ceremony that I’ve found on the Internet was a great big Mr. Punch on parade emerging from a hospital bed attached around his waist. Could that possibly been confused with the creepy giant baby that people describe? Sorry I missed the Corgis’ star turn, especially the descent of the stairs as described above.

    Altogether, the show seems to have exemplified the inimitably cool British sense of humor – including alas its occasional unexplainable lapses into abysmal bad taste e.g the revolting Mr. Bean whom they seem to find lovable. Why not the brilliant James Corden who has just won a Tony for best performer in a comedy that was a hit on the British stage, and whose character Smithy the plumber has done a number of hilarious video performances with top British athletes? (see “Smithy Meets the England Team” on YouTube). Or actress Catherine Tate whose “Lauren Cooper” the working class schoolgirl let both Tony Blair and the Queen know that she was “not bovvered” by their importance..

    Hippolyta, take a little break from those American canned hoodlums with their complicated psyches and try Lauren Cooper Meets Tony Blair for a refreshing change. Just a thought.

  47. incognotter

    Sadly, the lesbian cake mandate did not protect me from my mother’s concern trolling the next day. She was surprised that the women swimmers all have cut-outs all over their suits because it didn’t seem hydrodynamic. Based on the discussion here of the beach volleyball uniforms I suggested that the uniform requirements had been written that way. (I have not actually seen these suits but if she described them properly they must cause lobe explosion.) She was sure that could not be the case because the times are critical for record setting, so they couldn’t possibly handicap the entire competition in the name of pornulation. I hope she is correct, but you know what I fear.

    I did accidentally see some men’s swimming as I walked past. What’s up with the new men’s trunks that start so low they are basely a fig leaf and leave an inch or two of buttcrack exposed, yet have longer legs? I do not need to know any random guy on TV that well.

  48. speedbudget

    I love Bryan Cranston, and I would watch him watch paint dry. I just started watching _Breaking Bad_, and it is great so far.

    I also loved _Malcolm in the Middle_. I thought it was one of the best-written and -acted shows I had seen since forever.

  49. susan

    The swimsuit thing is kind of interesting: everybody was wearing these really, cool hydrodynamic full-body suits around 2008 and breaking all the world records, so they banned them. Now the women and men wear those suits go down to their calves (but can’t go any lower) and the men can’t wear anything on top. The women’s tops are not allowed to cover their arms. And most of the world records for most of the events still stand from the “bodysuit era.”

    As for the beach volleyball, yes, as someone mentioned, the degrading bikinis are no longer required. (Although, of course, we have to thank the other misogynists for for that…) It’s weird to see them in full body suits, though. It’s almost like watching a sport.

    And I’m nitpicking, but the medley/montage in the opening ceremony had at least one woman in it: Annie Lennox was featured for her 3 seconds.

    As much as I loathe the Olympics, I really love the Olympics. I just love sports and I can’t help loving the ideal of the Olympics, even though I recognize how far the games are from living up to it.

  50. Twisty

    Yttik: “The really creepy thing is that they ARE women, Twisty. They have to be over 16 to compete and many are older. The trick is to be a certain body type and start training young to delay puberty so you can appear as a perpetual 12 yr old girl.”

    What’s the cut-off age between “kid” and “woman”? These girls are not adults, however you slice it. The oldest girl on the US team is 18, but I was unable to identify her based on appearance; they all, as you say, look like 12-year-olds. I noticed that one girl who didn’t make the cut was bawling in a way that an adult woman does not. Of course the camera stuck to her like glue as she dabbed at her entearfulized teen mascara. Eck.

  51. yttik

    Like everything else in the patriarchy, women’s sports often require women to modify their bodies until they do appear more childlike. Gymnasts, ice skaters, ballet dancers. Besides the pedophilia and perversion, I think childlike makes us appear less powerful, less threatening to the patriarchy.

    When you start getting into things like volleyball, you can almost look like a healthy young female, so out come the bikinis and short shorts to make sure that everybody is clear about your second class status.

    But things are changing! When I was growing up we had to wear white gym uniforms and sit on the menstruation bench during PE so we wouldn’t injure ourselves certain times of the month. There were no girls sports in school, like softball, soccer. The changes we’ve seen in the last 40 years have been astounding.

  52. Jen

    Most American 18-year-olds are “adults” only legally, and it seems to be the case in Australia and the UK, too:


  53. janna

    Did you notice there is an actual adult woman on the Romanian team? She’s 24 and in her 3rd Olympics. I do not believe that 16-year-olds are women, but the best female gymnasts are teenagers, not women.

  54. KittyWrangler

    Was there anything lesbian about the cake aside from its intended recipient and / or maker? Please tell me there was.

  55. Nolabelfits

    There is also a 37 year old woman competing for the GDR-Oksana Chusovitina, who I believe took the bronze in the vault in the individual event finals Beijing in the last Olympics. She’s still built like a 12 year old.

    Its unfortunate how “glam” the presentation has become. I absolutely hate those shiny leotards.

  56. awhirlinlondon

    Compare the coverage with this:

  57. incognotter

    KittyWrangler, if you know some way to make a cake more lesbian than just made by a lesbian for a lesbian birthday party at the request of several lesbians, please let me know. I would hate for my cake to inadvertently linger too close to the center of the Kinsey scale. (One of them was gluten-free if that helps my score.)

    While not all the lesbians I know are feminists, I try to view feeding them delicious food as an act of sisterhood and subversion of the Patriarchal diet mandate. Cake mandate is much nicer, IMHO and a foil to the commerical-pedo-crappiness of the Olympic hype. Because, yes, Nolabelfits, “glam.” Ugh.

  58. blondie

    Granted, I did not catch the beginning of the Opening Ceremonies, and I tended to drift in and out of the room where they were on, but, What the Funyun?
    Who the Funyun’s idea was all that discombobulated bric-a-brac?
    Sadly, I missed the corgis.
    Otherwise, the high point for me was seeing David Beckham speedboating in Thames to save the day.
    Conversely, Breaking Bad is (angel choir) awesome. “He probably threatened somebody before breakfast.”

  59. Susan

    But watching the women play soccer today was an antidote to all the rest. Those women are FINE!

  60. qvaken

    Please, please, please let’s call 16-year-old teenage females “women”. Their male peers would find it so unsexy, so they might be less likely to rape them.

  61. yttik

    Ye Shiwen of China just broke a world record, beating the fastest male swimmers in the world. Naturally everyone is in a panic because it isn’t possible for women to even come close to men, so they had to test her for doping. The words they used to describe her amazing speed were, “unbelievable” “disturbing” and “suspicious.”


  62. SaraLyn

    Well we all know that women must appologize for stepping on men’s toes by engaging in sports which are, for all intents and purposes in the P, for men only. I think what is also disturbing about this article is the fact that they removed any positive attention (and then any attention at all) away from the athlete herself and went on and on about cracking down on doping! Ack! Apparently women only get positive attention in sports when they pose for Playboy months after the Olympics end…

  63. Brownian Motion

    @Nolabelfits, the Spice Girls did say that Girl Power was ‘inspired’ by Thatcherism, so maybe it’s a blessing in disguise? Then again, looking at that “maximum side width”, pretty much anything even partially disguised from the P’s leering is a blessing.

    @Yttik, it’s also got that sweet tang of the Chinese/communist peril to it. Those cunning savages are filled with savage cunning. Also, dope!

  64. KittyWrangler

    Darn, I was hoping you’d know. But upon reconsideration I’m embarrassed to say I’ve had a rather heteronormative attitude toward my food up till now. I think your pastry-feminist plan is fantastic, and clearly you are on the verge of igniting a new wave of feminism.

    Apparently the Olympic basketball game between France and Australia’s women’s teams was utterly amazing:

    “Australia trailed 65-62 and with time expiring, Belinda Snell banked in a 3-pointer from just past halfcourt to send the game to overtime and whip the crowd into a frenzy.”

  65. Ayla

    would anyone like to comment on the fact that the main character in Breaking Bad rapes his wife?

  66. eb

    In the synergistic universe of weird coinkidinks, I hadn’t even given Funyuns a thought since at least 1993 until two weeks ago when my 8 year old nephew asked for some via a phone call while his father and I were at the grocery store. My brother-in-law had never heard of Funyuns. And I’m all, “Wha? You’ve never heard of Funyuns? Who the hell hasn’t heard of Funyuns? Everyone knows Funyuns.”

    Now I see there is another who has not heard of Funyuns. Then, I just went to Wiki to learn about all things Funyunian (like they’ve been around since ’69) and I find out in season 2 of Breaking Bad, Jesse professes his love for Funyuns. I just started watching Breaking Bad on Netflix. For real. This is like a Funyunian harmonic convergence.

    Now I find out the main dude rapes his wife. Wow, the spoilers are, like, just wow.

  67. yttik

    “would anyone like to comment on the fact that the main character in Breaking Bad rapes his wife?”

    He’s also murdered about 6-8 people and blown up a nursing home. But what I find depressing is how much Skylar hate there is on the internet. People feel like she’s gotten too uppity. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the writers felt like a little punitive rape was in order.

  68. Laura

    Just chiming in to agree wholeheartedly with all of Speedbudget’s comment.

    I, too, would watch Mr. Cranston perform in this manner! And Malcolm in the Middle!!

    I remember talking about Malcolm in the Middle and how realistically it portrays families, only to be told that no, it is major exaggeration. Color me confused!

    While I admit some of the stuff was exaggerated, I can’t’ve been the only viewer who grew up in a household of sibling violence and parental consta-scolding? I thought such chaos was standard. I loved Francis for this reason; I was also the eldest, and was often threatened with being shipped off to military school.

    /coolstory sis

  69. virago

    All this talk of Funyuns. Unfortunately, I’ve heard of Funyons. Sorry Twisty, but I hate Funyuns. The thought of eating them grosses me out. To each their own I guess. Now chips and salsa- I could go for that! Excuse me while I run to the store.

  70. qvaken

    I have no idea what Funyuns are, so hopefully I can one-up you all by bringing up Tim Tams.

  71. maruja de lujo

    “…an incomprehensible spectacle of about 28,000 children in luminous insane asylum beds, attended by an army of parlour-maid-looking female nurses…”
    That very nicely sums up the irritated incomprehension that I feared that foreigners would feel on seeing the tribute to the National Health Service, especially US Americans, who tend to be very impatient with foreign cultural references.

    The NHS is much loved by most ordinary British people and hated by the very wealthy. The pressure to dismantle it and go back to early-twentieth-century health care — i.e. pay extortionate prices or bugger off and die — is intense. So, it meant a lot to a lot of British people that it was openly celebrated like that. The Great Ormond Street Hospital is the institution specifically referred to, which may explain some of the Dickensian, nineteeth-century quality that bothered Twisty.

  72. speedbudget

    @Laura, my childhood was much the same. Except sadly my dad was never a rollerskating champion like Hal.

    @marujo de lujo: I watched that tribute to NHS with tears in my eyes, wondering if there would ever be a day when America would give a tribute to its health care system. Right now, our system is exactly the pay extortionate prices or bugger off and die system your rich people want to go back to. Our rich people are holding onto it with death-grip fingers.

  73. blondie

    Funyuns. For times when onion rings would have too much nutritional value.

  74. stacey

    A Canadian tribute to our health system would be a massive train-line of gurneys moving painstakingly slowly through the arena.

  75. Friend of Snakes

    A U.S. tribute to our “health” system would show one wealthy person getting 80 per cent of his organs transplanted in one operation, while off to the side 45 million people were waiting in line to enter a door in the arena marked “emergency department” for their basic care.

  76. TwissB

    I loved the British insouciance in working a big tribute to the National Health System into the Olympic pageant. One could see it as a significant moment in British history when the people accepted the fact that, in a most basic way, they are all in it together and had a common interest in behaving responsibly toward each other. Americans have never been able to grow up and get over their mass delusion that each of us is an independent unit, standing on our own two feet and graciously responding voluntarily to the needs of “our neighbors” only on rare occasions when a showy disaster occurs. (Note the Republican attempt to exploit an out-of-context snippet of Obama rhetoric seemingly implying otherwise.)

    Americans also display extreme stupidity in failing to understand that medical needs can’t be met by a competitive insurance business, complicated by employer and union involvement no matter how successful it is at scaring politicians into leaving it in place. Health costs can be actuarily analyzed but that must simply be a step in maintaining a tax-paid system that works for all.

    I wish that I could have said all that as wittily and non-didactically as @speedbudget and @Friend of Snakes do above, but I must add for @maruja de lujo that I have been enjoying the speed with which a British relative has been transformed from snooty critic to ardent fan of the NHS since he and his wife have been experiencing escalating health problems.

  77. allhellsloose

    I don’t think I can ever get over the fact that the queen has a sense of humour, being someone who would love to see the UK a republic.

    As for the show; it gave thanks to the suffragettes, the jarrow marchers, and the beloved NHS; which is currently under attack by the Eton education in the Government and the current major of London, Boris (lover of the women) Johnson.

    The opening ceremony was a smack in the face of the establishment.

    I have to say nil points to Germany for using pink for the ‘girls’ and blue for the ‘boys’ in the parade that followed. Worst outfits of the night.

  78. speedbudget

    On the health care angle, it never ceases to amaze me that in this country of exorbitant insurance rates, people still have to have fucking fundraisers in order to afford the care their family members need. I just look at that, and I go, THIS is the system people fought to keep? The one in which you have to organize a fucking bake sale just to get the life-saving care you need?

  79. awhirlinlondon

    Loved the tribute to the NHS and YES, allhellisloose, it was a most excellent smack in the face to the pontificators in power. Loved the idiosyncratic looniness of the whole thing, including it not giving a damn whether the entire planet got every last joke.

    Did you know that the NHS was only founded in 1948? Think it had a great deal to do with the experiences of WWII for those at home as well as those fighting abroad. So many people injured, maimed, malnourished, etc., as well as some sort of national camaraderie brought on by the war. Not to mention a huge investment and expansion in medical services made necessary by the war. People had been talking about it since the 19th-C, certainly, but think that it was in great part WWII and its aftermath that made it possible.

    I would far rather have excellent private insurance in the US than access to the NHS in the UK – how not. But think that when one is designing a form of government / arguing over what government should do to protect its citizenry (and what “to protect” should actually mean), it would be an excellent idea to imagine one’s self standing outside of that society, as if waiting to be born, & not knowing what cards one would be dealt at birth. What physical and mental makeup? What economic circumstances? What race? Color? Sex? Etc.

    Am sure there are plenty of people like Mitt the Twitt who are entirely certain that they did indeed “build that” (loved that speech) and could do so again no matter what cards dealt, but most of us know that where / how we’ve ended up has had a good deal to do with the luck of that deal, whether good or bad. And if you don’t know what those cards are going to be and have an IQ higher than that of a potted plant and can therefore calculate the odds, untrammeled individualism / capitalism, red in tooth and claw, might look a damn bit scarier than it does to so many in the US right now, particularly to those in power.

  80. awhirlinlondon

    Postscript: I write the above as an American – don’t want to contribute to chauvinistic feather-ruffling by failing to note – who lived in London for years and now, apparently, it’s Sweet Home, Chicago? (Anyone else…? I know there was a lovely site that I’ve now lost where people exchanged this kind of info?)

  81. TwissB

    @awhirlinlondon. Unfortunately “excellent private insurance ” is an oxymoron. Example: Not so very long ago, health insurers would not cover anything involving women’s reproductive organs. Forced by law to provide such coverage, they surcharged women for it. Pregnancy was treated as “a voluntary condition” for which coverage was refused until insurers were forced by law to include it, again as a surcharged item. (“Suppose,” quipped NOW’s Judy Goldsmith, “women quit volunteering?” ) Men’s role in initiating pregnancy was ignored and treatment of their reproductive organs included without surcharge as normal coverage, as were their venereal diseases and sports-incurred injuries. This week, women politicians hailed the law forcing insurers to include contraception as a “victory for women.” The U.S. style of mixing private insurance with employer and government-mandated “benefits” is inevitably a hopeless and costly disaster from which even the rich are not entirely exempt.

  82. KJ

    maruja de lujo says,
    ” That very nicely sums up the irritated incomprehension that I feared that foreigners would feel on seeing the tribute to the National Health Service, especially US Americans, who tend to be very impatient with foreign cultural references.
    The NHS is much loved by most ordinary British people and hated by the very wealthy. The pressure to dismantle it and go back to early-twentieth-century health care — i.e. pay extortionate prices or bugger off and die — is intense. So, it meant a lot to a lot of British people that it was openly celebrated like that.”

    This observation is interesting- the NHS, or at least the idea of it, is loved by the British public. The trouble is, most ordinary British people, and that includes ones who are living below the bread line and dependent on state benefits as well as the massive middle class population who rely on the NHS for all their health care, have experienced so many cutbacks in funding, and staffing crisis after crisis, (resulting in incompetant, or bad, or non existent care and treatment), that many of them, me included, felt that irritated incomprehension that is certainly not reserved for US American audiences.

    To me, and to so many people I’ve met, overheard and talked to, the whole NHS reference was confused and sad. Many NHS workers found it downright insulting. People who’ve had operations cancelled, repeatedly, or whose relatives have died unnoticed in filthy wards, and who wait for years to see specialists or get even basic health assessments, probably felt that the celebration was nostalgic and stylised because todays NHS is in a very bad place.

    It was a weird celebration, and not a clear enough “smack in the face” to the people in power. (See awhirlinlondon and allhellsloose- “Loved the tribute to the NHS and YES, allhellisloose, it was a most excellent smack in the face to the pontificators in power.”)

    If it was a celebration, why was it featuring quaint lady nurses in old fashioned costumes? Bizarre and unreal. The nurses I used to work alongside in NHS hospitals and nursing homes (who don’t wear that get up!), as well as the care assistants (that was me- minimum wage of course), and all the other staff who make the NHS function, are badly paid, treated shabbily and end up leaving their professions at an alarming rate. When the NHS works, it is amazing and brilliant. I have personally benefitted enormously from it, but it’s also true that myself and many thousands of people have been treated badly and dangerously by it. Bad pay, bad working practice and low morale equals bad care.

    It’s dying, and the current government is not the only thing to blame for this. A successive stream of governments and social policies have ensured its future is bleak. The workers in the NHS deserve praise, celebration and gratitude. Also decent working conditions and fair wages would be nice!

    This quote sums up how so, so many british people are feeling-
    “Let’s leave aside the amount of money the show cost for one second. Yeah, austerity measures mean, among other swingeing cutbacks, we’re having to lose the jobs of 50,000 nurses and doctors even though there is literally no statistical proof that any of these policies are working. In this context £27 million on a giant game of It’s A Knockout might seem in poor taste but let’s still leave that to one side just for a second.” http://thequietus.com/articles/09513-2012-olympics-opening-ceremony-why-subversive-gestures-are-not-enough.

    50,000 staff made redundant. This is not something that is celebratory, it is tragic. And I blame the patriarchy so much for this.

  83. Shelby

    Fuck health insurance at all. It is not necessary. The government is there to provide infrastructure which of course must include health coverage for its taxpayers. This is why we pay fucking taxes. At this point in time Australia has a wonderful health system. I get sick. I go to the doctor for free. If I need an operation, that operation and time in hospital is free. Thank you medicare. Thank you Gough Whitlam. And thank you NHS Britain for the precedent.

  84. Shelby

    Caveat in small print: “free” does not include dental, consultation with specialists or certain “non life threatening” procedures including but not limited to pregnancy terminations.

    Nolabelfits, for the longest time I believed Chrissie Hynde was a Brit and I have no idea what led me down that garden path. Thanks for edumacating this old bugger.

  85. Jennifer Green

    This is a bit of a rant, a little long. Is it okay to write this here? The comments about the Olympics and British health care are bringing up so many feelings. And so often I appreciate the comaraderie from reading not only Twisty’s excellent writing (credit where due) but the comments that follow. We have so few spaces in which to share our truths!

    Come 2014, unless there’s a federal legislative change, Americans like myself without health insurance will face a tax penalty (close to $1000, I’ve read) as a result of the Roberts SCOTUS upholding the “individual mandate” penalty of Obamacare as a tax. The first U.S. woman put on SCOTUS, now-retired Sanda Day O’Connor, isn’t saying how she’d have voted on Obamacare (if what I read online from Huffington Post is accurate) but she is at least opposed to the Roberts Court having allowed U.S. politics to be high-jacked by unlimited soulless corporate infusions of cash to U.S. political campaigns in the hilariously, ironically named case, “Citizens United.” But then, hypocrisy reigns in patriarchy and the USA is nothing if not a patriarchy even when female tokens like former Supreme Court justices are somewhat more caring than their male counterparts might be.

    Bottom line, I have a law degree from a top ten law school (ironically the one founded by American “founding father” Thomas Jefferson), and I cannot afford health insurance. I don’t have an employer who provides health insurance “benefits.” Most do not in the U.S. these days from what I can ascertain, although many still offer 50% premium coverage, for example, with the rest payable monthly by the employees and such a high deductible to the employees that some folks cannot afford to use their “benefits.”

    The tax penalty of 2014 will be less than an employee share of such health “benefits” would cost. But without the option for “insurance coverage.” Only a tax windfall to the government that I certainly didn’t vote for and would never want to penalize myself with.

    In this version of patriarchy, if I needed long-term health care and some second-string doctor and/or hospital provided it, it would deplete all my limited savings— certainly too limited to afford hundreds of dollars in insurance premiums each month for myself — and relegate me to poverty.

    So I pray to the Cherokee Goddess (Selu) in a 12.5% part of my lineage almost overridden by the rest and hope I don’t get sick.

    Maybe booting out the queen and king on this continent was not such a great idea after all. Certainly the patriarchy’s violent end to indigenous matrilineal clans on this continent did my people no good.

  86. Guest Blamer

    I just saw this: “Falling for future-porn: the demise of art history and the rise of university marketing”.

    For the love of dog, would somebody who can blog more eloquently than I take on the whole “porn as metaphor” thing? “Food porn”, “house porn”, etc.? Every time I see porn being casually referred to like that, the rage threatens to overwhelm. Even people who think they’re feminists do it, and go all wide-eyed when I suggest that it’s really not cool to use a metaphor that normalizes the graphic representation of rape.

  87. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    The way I understand it, in the US, we pay taxes so the really rich don’t have to. It gives them more time to scare the part of the population who believes the Government will take all their money to provide health care for people with tattoos, elaborate wheel covers and hair weaves, and Coach handbags.

  88. ivyleaves

    Here we go: Use makeup to help win a gold medal:

  89. Maggie

    Here’s a decent rebuttal to another atrocious nytimes profile of 100m hurdler Lolo Jones, who has sex appeal even though she wasn’t given permission to do so:

  90. Mildred

    I haven’t followed the media coverage of the Olympics much, but I have one gay friend on facebook who constantly posts pictures of superhuman schlongs bursting through lycra running shorts, male gymnasts caught in a second, looking to be suggestively offering their anus’s to the lens (http://www.metro.us/newyork/sports/article/1148979–what-if-every-olympic-sport-was-photographed-like-beach-volleyball), all the sort of stuff that I’m used to seeing of women. It makes me laugh, I mean its skeezy as hell, and there is shittonnes of this stuff on the gay tumblr scene at the moment, and I feel sorry for the athletes that have to know that they are thousands or millions of dudes spank material, but its still kind of amusing isn’t it, to see what it’d look like if MEN were the sex class. I always make a point to show these pictures to Nigel who gets really indignified about the whole thing, like “Just because he’s gay he thinks he can flaunt what he jerks off to on facebook! If it was a straight dude posting pictures of camel toes everyone would think he was a creep!” and I laugh and say, no, that’d be pretty par of course wouldn’t it.

  91. quixote

    The commercial Olympics leaves me fairly cold, so the only thing I’ve bothered with is the BBC’s day by day pictures. Judging by the glimpses I can’t avoid of the coverage elsewhere, they’re doing a decent job of just showing sport, including women’s.

    This is Day 11, and there are links to earlier days below the pictures.

    Or does the BBC seem okay only because I’m so starved for something besides T&A crap?

  92. Soph

    Metro asks: What if every olympic sport was photograph like beach volleyball?

  93. Barracuda

    Speaking as a Canadian, the American health care ‘debate’ is fairly infuriating and confusing. I saw (unfortunately on CNN, which I find funnier than the Daily Show or other supposedly comedic new coverage) a ridiculous story following a young man who was both addicted to meth and in possession of a meth lab, which subsequently exploded, leaving him covered in serious burns and with little chance of survival. At this point, I was expecting the story to be about how brilliant it was that health care covered the costs of his operation, but instead it was a moralizing condemnation, largely focused on the fact that “good Americans” who pay taxes paid for this drug addict’s operation. The message appeared to be that people like this should be left to die, and your right to live is directly contingent upon your success in capitalism. In Canada, every drug addict, homeless person, or otherwise marginalized individual has, of course, free access to health care.

    Given that more women than men work minimum wage, earn lower on average, and generally have the burden of raising children (who may have health care needs), I think the issue of freely available health care is certainly a feminist issue.

    (The Olympics appears to be nothing but T&A, it’s maddening, but at least female weightlifting is badass as all hell!)

  94. Barbara P

    Perhaps this is too easy to say, but speaking as an American, the American health care ‘debate’ is extremely infuriating and confusing.

  95. bludot

    The women’s judo was also badass. I had never watched it before, but was impressed. I wondered why they weren’t required to wear makeup and bikinis. It seems like that would be obligatory for two women rolling around on the floor. Maybe the patriarchy just hasn’t caught up with this sport.

  96. phio gistic

    I saw an article on slate.com that said the women’s Olympic beach volleyball teams are no longer going to be required to wear teeny bikinis. This generous gesture was framed as ‘respecting religions beliefs’ because the only possible reason one would not want to compete on global television in a teaspoon of spandex is because some god-dude told you not to. The average commenter on slate.com seemed to agree, wanging on about Sharia law and his god-given right to ogle all women.

    Someone asked the USA women’s team what they would wear since “now they can wear anything they like” (no pressure ladies). They said not to worry, they would keep the teeny bikinis because: they already have them, “I’m not a sex symbol; I’m an athlete,” they grew up in California and love being in bikinis alll the time and are just so comfortable in them, and because “If you wear baggier clothing, you get sand everywhere.” Which is why the men’s team competes in Speedos and nothing else. Oh wait, they actually compete in full coverage shorts and shirts, as shown here:


    Anyway, dudejams everywhere heaved a slobbery sigh of relief until disaster struck – the volleyball players decided it was too fuckin cold in London and put on long sleeves anyway. But in a surprise come-back, they ended “in style” according to a Miami Herald article. “After rainy and cold conditions the night before, Wednesday night was an almost balmy 66 degrees, and the players wore bikinis instead of the long sleeves they’d sported earlier in the tournament.” Back to the bikinis for a storybook ending and status quo firmly in place.

    Oh and FYI, according to salon.com, “for $6 ultra-Orthodox Jewish men can buy vision-blurring glasses to avoid seeing “inappropriately” dressed women” just in time for the Olympics.

  97. speedbudget

    @ Barracuda: You just nailed why there is even a debate about health care in the United States. See, health care is a zero-sum proposition. There’s only so much to go around! And the good people shouldn’t have to share their hard-won health care with all THOSE people. THOSE people is everyone from drug addicts to minorities to people with a plethora of speeding tickets, whatever! Basically, it’s whoever is in line in front of you in the ER or waiting room.

  98. yttik

    I think a big part of the health care debate in the US has been fear of our government being the ones who dole it out. They have a terrible track record of actually trickling anything down to the little people in a productive or fair way.

    Take for instance our current healthcare solution passed by this administration. It will leave at least 30 million of us uninsured and facing fines because many of us are not poor enough to qualify for medicaid and yet not rich enough to pay 2700 a month for insurance.

  99. speedbudget

    A lot of what is wrong with the ACA, like what you point out with the lack of full coverage, is a direct result of its having been a handout to the insurance companies.

    I would kind of rather have the government dole it out, even unevenly, rather than the system we have now, where it is held for ransom. At least with the government doing it, there is a slightly bigger chance of oversight and fixing problems in distribution.

    If you can’t afford the 2700/month for insurance, you will only be “taxed” up to 2% of your income to make up for not having it. Do a cost-benefit analysis and see what you want to do.

  100. TwissB

    Two political forces up to which no politician can stand are the insurance industry and the NRA. The only force that can disarm them is the majority of voters who don’t like them and empower their representatives to resist them. With communications media in thrall to insuranmce advertisers and medical research centers in thrall to producers of products for medical use, it is hard to see where the needed voter education can come dfrom.

  101. Mildred

    @phio gistic
    The sad and depressing truth is that these ladies are gonna have to stick to the bikini’s if they have any hope of getting sponsorship, its fucking sick that female athletes are criticised for sexing it up when the alternative is poverty.

  102. otoc

    But see, if some women make it OK for it to be all about their looks, they then make it OK to reduce Gaby Douglas to her “bad” hair when she wins gold. Ultimately it’s not an individual woman’s fault if she has to make a choice between living her dream or not participating in this game, but it’s not all and always about the micro level and the individual when we’re talking about the political implications of women being made to be men’s sexual clowns in public.

    I would also like to point out that most women don’t get the support, opportunity, choice, etc. to live their dreams. Many women work in tragically shitty jobs their whole adult lives and are still in poverty, or worse.

  103. Nolabelfits

    In addition to not having the support, opportunity, choice, etc. to live their dreams, most women spend so much time doing stuff for everyone else or working those tragically shitty jobs (or both) that they don’t even know anymore what their dreams are.

  104. yttik

    “…if some women make it OK for it to be all about their looks”

    But see, women don’t “make” anything. Women are forced to play by the rules the patriarchy has established. You can cover yourself in a burka, but it still doesn’t change the rules. You can put on several heavy coats and you’ll just attract a different kind of rapist. What those volleyball players are wearing doesn’t make them “men’s sexual clowns,” the fact that they are female in the patriarchy does.

  105. otoc

    Whether “made” by women originally or not, the actual effects of participating are what they are and I’m going to talk about them.

    Let me put it this way: A group of friends, all in the LGBTQIA community, decide to go on a trip, to the desert (in a VW van, har har). They find themselves stranded with nothing to eat and they only place for hundreds of miles is a Chik-Fil-A. They go and they eat. They are not bad people who are evil for doing what they had to do. But the actual effect is that they gave money to a homophobic, bigoted, POS company. It is what it is — a justified action that still has negative effects on others. It is not all or nothing, black and white, 100% pure action vs. 100% evil.

    If no feminist is ever allowed to criticize, disagree with, point out the political implications or harm(s) to others of a woman’s actions or behaviors, if a feminist is only allowed to provide unqualified, enthusiastic support for other women no matter what, lest she be accused of “shaming”, then this little enpornified box that we are trapped in is only allowed to get smaller and smaller and smaller. And that is what I have witnessed happen in my lifetime.

    Women, feminist freedom fighters throughout history, have had less choice than we do now in many ways, yet they resisted and made change. To say that no woman has any choice is akin to saying no woman can ever resist in any way, no matter how privileged she is, and I think that’s total bullshit.

  106. otoc

    I also hate when people take one word that may be wrong or clunky in what someone is saying and pick on it rather than the larger point. When I said “…when some women make it OK” I did not mean, “Women and only women have complete control over the process of sexualization that is happening at the Olympics and it is happening outside of the patriarchy in a total vacuum.” And I notice you leave out the “made to be” part of my sexual clowns comment, which is a direct reference to the patriarchy, so why am I getting a lecture on it?

  107. Saurs

    But see, if some women make it OK for it to be all about their looks,

    Is that a strawsexylady I see before me? I take your point otoc, but you’re being imprecise here. Which women, where, specifically, made (how?) something (what?) all about their looks (to the exclusion of everything else)?

  108. yttik

    There’s no lecture happening here, just a discussion.

    “If no feminist is ever allowed to criticize, disagree with, point out the political implications or harm(s) to others of a woman’s actions or behaviors”

    Women tend to get enough criticism from the patriarchy. In fact, our whole world pretty much revolves around the alleged harm we do to others. Equality requires that we apply the same empathy, tolerance, acceptance, of women that the culture applies to men. Boys will be boys, but women, well she better be perfect physically, politically, emotionally, at all times.

    “if a feminist is only allowed to provide unqualified, enthusiastic support for other women no matter what”

    We’ve never seen this happen with women, but the patriarchy sure has used it effectively with men. They’re pretty good at providing unconditional, enthusiastic support to other men. If women could ever come close to building this kind of solidarity, we’d finally have some real power.

  109. Kristine


    You hit the nail on the head, that is exactly what it’s about. It’s widely assumed in America (at least by rightwingers) that getting ahead in the capitalist system is a moral decision, and people who fail at it should be punished. We say we value altruism, but in a capitalistic society the people most valued are the ones with the most money. And guess whose work is expected to be performed without pay?

    You guessed it: caregiving parents, the majority of whom are women. It is the one truly altruistic job that contributes the most to the economy, and the government and taxpayers don’t think its valuable enough to even provide healthcare to the children, let alone the mothers themselves.

  110. Lidon

    “Women, feminist freedom fighters throughout history, have had less choice than we do now in many ways, yet they resisted and made change. To say that no woman has any choice is akin to saying no woman can ever resist in any way, no matter how privileged she is, and I think that’s total bullshit.”

    I agree. It’s completely defeatist and nothing ever gets done with that mentality. In regards to the Olympics, at this point in time, if these volleyball players really did not want their asses hang out while they’re playing, they wouldn’t have had them hanging out. And those ridiculous photos are about what they are wearing. Did anyone see any photos with closeups of the female weightlifter’s asses? Obviously not. You cannot make someone into a “sexual clown” if she refuses to be one. I can say, “Oh, I’m seen as a sex object” but does that mean I should start doing porn because it makes no difference anyway? No! Of course it makes a difference, and so I’m not going to reinforce it. You can add to the pile or not.

    “We’ve never seen this happen with women, but the patriarchy sure has used it effectively with men. They’re pretty good at providing unconditional, enthusiastic support to other men. If women could ever come close to building this kind of solidarity, we’d finally have some real power.”

    That’s true, but when should support *ever* be unconditional?

  111. incognotter

    @awhirlinlondon – I am within gallivanting distance of Chicago. If you want to meet up sometime, drop me a note at incognotter (at) yahoo.com. There used to be a yahoo or google group of Chicago area Blamers, but nothing much was happening there and then I lost the link.

    @DoctressJulia that goeth for thee also, if you are reading.

    Or really anyone else in the area.

  112. Saurs

    if these volleyball players really did not want their asses hang out while they’re playing, they wouldn’t have had them hanging out.

    And if the photographers weren’t shitheads answering to cynical media types who treat female athletes like they’re anomalies whose sole purpose is to be leered at, their tiresome sport something that can be readily manipulated into soft porn, they wouldn’t be going after the disembodied candid body part shot to begin with. This is hardly unique to the Olympics. If you pass as female and dare venture on occasion into the outside world, chances are somebody somewhere is going to try to shame you for your dirty pillows, going to try to blame you for “using” them to your “advantage,” like it’s a great honor to be objectified.

    In this sense, I’m grateful for all the ubiquitous ass shots at this year’s Olympics. Even the willfully stupid have noted that the preoccupation with women’s body parts is not about the women (who are merely minding their own business, getting on with the task at hand, daring to exist) trying to court attention and all about the male photographers and editors who think the world is less interested in what the women are doing than in how they look when they’re momentarily unguarded and briefly caught up in something more important than trying to cover up their dirty x-rated jiggly bits like they’re supposed to.

    You cannot make someone into a “sexual clown” if she refuses to be one.

    Women don’t have the choice of opting out. If it were that simply, feminism wouldn’t exist.

  113. quixote

    The photographers and editors bear a lot of responsibility. As I said earlier, I’ve done my best to give the Olympics a miss, but I have looked at the BBC photos of Days 1-15. Lots of shots of female athletes being athletic. And that’s all. Even the beach volleyball, astonishingly enough.

    So, yeah, women could be wearing bike shorts or whatever, but media who want to turn them into T&A still would, and media who don’t can manage to do a good job no matter what they’re wearing. Shocking, really. It’s almost as if they were men or real people or something.

  114. Julie

    Having just watched the closing ceremony, it appears that the ‘nasty, below the belt’ medley of the opening ceremony was just a teaser for the closing ceremony, which featured a shit load of beloved rock classics in full, many by the original, sometimes very aged artists.

  115. awhirlinlondon

    To incognotter & Doctress – would like that very much & will email later this week. Thank you incognotter! Thanks very much!

    To all of you: please, will you remind incognotter & me (& I imagine a huge bunch of not-living-in-Chicago-ans of the link to the brilliant let’s-get-together-site, which if we make work, brilliant?) Would be most grateful.

  116. Doctress Ju'ulia

    If I had any way to get to Chicago, I would go. it would be so nice to meet other women who feel like I do about things.

    Unfortunately: no job, no money, no car of my own. I have been erased and badmouthed thoroughly by my male ex-boss and all the men I interview with, knowing I have no chance of being hired since I am over 25 and don’t have big boobs. I feel hopeless. It’s been almost 2 years and despite having over 15 years’ experience behind a bar, I am not being hired to tend one. At this point, if I were offered a job tending or managing a bar elsewhere, I would relocate.

  117. incognotter

    @Doctress Ju’ulia – I thought you were in WI? If you are, I am sure we can work something out offline. If not, please forgive my brain fart.

  118. Redpeachmoon

    Did anyone else catch the creepy Russell Brands ‘I am the Walrus’ performance at the end of the Olympaloozaganza? The reunion of the Spice Girls was worth the wait though.
    Bravo has a new show to hate on women: Gallery Girls. You can hate the snotty uptown girls, AND the Brooklyn hipster chicks, all in one episode!
    Andy Cohen is a brilliant hit maker.

  119. VinaigretteGirl

    Catching up from mixed-watching in the US and UK. Most of the UK people I know make fun of photographers and editors who run the porny totty shots, of which there were almost none on the fulltime BBC coverage. Beach volleyball women’s teams spent a lot more time in shirtsleeves than not, overall. Which means US blamers need to write to NBC pointing out that their coverage was craptastically unprofessional by their own industry’s standards in yet another way in addition to all the other ways.

    Interesting also to note here how many people find the Spice Girls to be a Good Thing; opinion here remains divided (fun feminism versus empowerment versus made-up-by-men Thatcherite trash).

    Every country had women athletes this year; the women’s boxing was fantastically wonderful; the Canadian sink’n’swim routine was witty as the best standup comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe but done with superb physical strength and aptitude; women’s footy (soccer to cross-pondians) was enthralling.

    The opening ceremony was a huge poke in the eye to all our politicians and the bloody bankers. The children were actual health-fragile kids, anyone who could travel; the doctors and nurses and midwives and all were actual NHS doctors and nurses and NHS employees. The theme came because J M Barrie gave his copyright and profits from ‘Peter Pan’ in perpetuity to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) for Sick Children. I can’t believe that a little sulphur-smelling smoke seems like a big deal to anybody, but compared to the immense pride of skilled steelworkers and iron foundry workers, ship-builders, and miners, I’d say it was worth it, no worse than a bit of incense or perfume or ordinary air quality in London anyway, and I say that as a woman with lousy lungs.

    So hey; the problem with the Olympic coverage lies with NBC, and we all could and should write letters to the international governing bodies of the sports we care about to tell them how full of crap the pedophilic body presentation might be – but let’s leave the actual sports and athletes well out of it. They are *awesome* (I’m not even sporty but I recognise hard work and skill) , our volunteers were wonderful, the fencing events we went to were superb and awe-inspiring.

    Except for the humorous bits (mass singalong of ‘Always look on the bright side’, with rollerskating nuns, a pipe band, and Morrismen, yes, please) the closing ceremony was mostly a mess. The Spice Girls especially. (ducks and runs HERE)

  120. K

    VinaigretteGirl, what was the Canadian sink n swim? Is it something I can watch on YouTube? I tried to Google it but not even being sure exactly what it was I was baffled. Thanks in advance.

  121. lizor

    @ otoc,

    “If no feminist is ever allowed to criticize, disagree with, point out the political implications or harm(s) to others of a woman’s actions or behaviors, if a feminist is only allowed to provide unqualified, enthusiastic support for other women no matter what, lest she be accused of “shaming”, then this little enpornified box that we are trapped in is only allowed to get smaller and smaller and smaller. And that is what I have witnessed happen in my lifetime.

    Women, feminist freedom fighters throughout history, have had less choice than we do now in many ways, yet they resisted and made change. To say that no woman has any choice is akin to saying no woman can ever resist in any way, no matter how privileged she is, and I think that’s total bullshit.”

    This so rocks. I just had to repost.

    I have also noticed that the backlash over the past couple of decades coincides with the idea that acquisitiveness is a forgivable/ethical motivator – i.e. “So-and-so HAD to do it, the money was just too good”. I know that many women live in dire economic circumstances with extremely limited choice for survival, yet many do have a choice not to capitulate to the dictates of the capitalist P.

  122. Vinaigrette Girl

    K, a million apologies for this late reply. Shitstorms at work… Sink or swim = synchronised swimming. I’ll get my coat now.

  123. K

    Thank You Vinaigrette Girl!

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