Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Photos below are of the Halloween benefit for Dogs For Autism--today at Earth Fare Plaza in Greenville.

It was a fabulous day, with great food, folks and entertainment... even if a bit rainy.

Below: The classic rock band is Ordnance 2110, who don't appear to have their own website. (And after much Googling, I still don't know what the band name refers to!)

The highlight was the dog costume party. The dogs loved it!

My favorite is "Medic dog" with the Red Cross insignia, although the sweetest disposition belonged to "Party Animal"--suitably bedecked in an array of colors.

More photos on my Flickr page.


Friday, October 30, 2009

SC Assistant Attorney General Roland Corning found in cemetery with Viagra, stripper, sex toys

South Carolina deputy assistant attorney general Roland Corning, photo from CBS News.

And a Happy Halloween to all of you, too!

Alan Colmes just posted on the latest South Carolina politician to exhibit Bizarro Universe behavior:

GOP SC Asst AG Caught With Stripper, Sex Toys, Viagra
October 30th, 2009

South Carolina Assistant Attorney General Roland Corning, 65, was seen pulling into a secluded area of a cemetery alongside an 18-year-old stripper, arousing the suspicion of Columbia, SC police officer Michael D. Wines, who eventually searched the car. The woman was an employee of the Platinum Plus Gentlemen’s Club.
[The search] revealed a sex enhancement drug (Viagra) and some sex toys. According to the report, Corning told the police he had a prescription for the medication and the other items were always in the car “just in case”, he needed them anytime he wanted.
The married Corning is a GOP activist in the state and a former legislator best known for his opposition to abortion.
CBS News adds:
Corning was fired, [Attorney General Henry] McMaster said on Wednesday.

"We received credible information about inappropriate behavior Monday afternoon," McMaster said Wednesday. "And by the close of business, he was no longer working here."

Such a trip to the cemetery "would not be appropriate, at any time, for an assistant attorney general," McMaster said.

There was no answer Wednesday at a number listed for Corning, who was a Republican legislator in the late 1980s and early 90s. He was hired in 2000 by the attorney general's office, where he worked on securities cases.

South Carolina has had its share of scandal lately, most notably Gov. Mark Sanford's "disappearance" in June. His office told reporters he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, but he was really in Argentina visiting his mistress.
Cemetery fun!

Who says Republicans don't know how to have fun on Halloween?

Boeing in South Carolina

Left: Boeing illustration of the 787 Dreamliner.

As you have undoubtedly heard by now, South Carolina got Boeing and the conservatives are crowing (yes, I'm a poet)... it's fairly nauseating.

Should Mark Sanford (our wayward, romantically-preoccupied governor) get credit for this economic coup? -- is the political question of the hour.

In any event, he is wasting no time in grabbing the credit:

SC Gov: Boeing 787 Plant Should Spur Growth Across State
By Ann Keeton
Wall Street Journal

CHICAGO (Dow Jones)--Boeing Co.'s (BA) new 787 Dreamliner plant in North Charleston, South Carolina, should have "a ripple effect that will play out over time," generating economic activity across the state, Mark Sanford, South Carolina's governor, said in an interview Thursday with Dow Jones Newswires.

Sanford spoke by telephone en route to Charleston from the state capitol.

Late Wednesday, Boeing said it had chosen South Carolina over Washington state for added 787 production. The new facility, to supplement final assembly in Washington state, is expected to be up and running by July of 2011.

To woo Boeing, South Carolina legislators offered substantial financial incentives. Boeing gets those benefits if it brings in at least 3,800 new jobs and invests $750 million in the next few years.

"This is the largest single job creation in South Carolina history," Sanford said. "It will give us an immediate shot in the arm at a time when it's needed."

As with other states, South Carolina is battling unemployment, now at about 10%. But, Sanford said, that comes on top of strong job growth in the past few years, as 85,000 new workers have come into the state. He hopes that Boeing will hire as many local workers as possible, although the number of local hires hasn't been discussed.

Over the long term, Sanford expects Boeing suppliers and other businesses to come to South Carolina, "repeating what we saw with BMW." The German auto maker has had a U.S. production plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, for 15 years, and currently is expanding that facility.

Boeing recently bought out a supplier's factory in North Charleston, and plans to expand there to add production capacity for the 787. But Sanford said he and South Carolina officials have been talking to Boeing since 2003, when the aircraft maker turned down his state's offer to start initial 787 assembly work in Everett, Washington.

In its home state of Washington, Boeing's Commercial Airplanes unit employs about 73,000 workers, and accounts for many more jobs there.

In the Seattle area, where most workers are located, business costs are relatively high, partly due to the presence of unions. Sanford said the recent decision by Boeing's North Charleston workers to reject union representation made a difference to Boeing, which has suffered a series of employee strikes in recent years. "They proved to Boeing that this is a right-to-work state," Sanford said.
(((sigh))) Yes, let's trash the unions some more, while we're at it.

Meanwhile, WIS in Columbia reports that this will make things easier on Sanford, so his happiness is unmistakably for himself and his own fate:

Boeing announcement may mean less heat on Sanford
Posted: Oct 29, 2009
By Jackie Faye

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - No one was happier to hear that Boeing was moving a major operation to South Carolina than Governor Mark Sanford.

With calls for his resignation and talk of impeachment, the deal and the economic growth it promises has taken the heat off the governor, for now.

Sanford says the cooperation that allowed South Carolina to seal the Boeing deal is a good sign for state government.

"To get something done means working in bipartisan fashion wherever you can, and where you respectfully disagree, you respectfully disagree," said Sanford.

One senator calls the Boeing decision a "quantum leap" for a state that's seen more than its share of negative news. One question remains: will Boeing also be a boost for the beleaguered governor?

Sanford, targeted first for his admitted affair and later following questions about his air travel, was still under fire this week by a handful of lawmakers who want him impeached.

"Leaving his state for five days without anybody knowing where he was, there was no chain of command or protocol established to exercise executive authority," said Rep. Greg Delleney. "If anybody else had done that, they would have lost their job. And he ought to lose his."

But some say the Boeing announcement has energized efforts to attack the state's unemployment problem, and impeachment could be too much of a distraction.

"What I've tried to do is take my cue from my constituents," said Gilda Cobb-Hunter. "What my constituents have said to me very clearly is, 'look Gilda, y'all have beat that horse to death. What I want to hear from you is what are you all going to do about bringing jobs to this state?' After all, the responsibility for job creation doesn't just rest with the executive branch. It also rests with the legislative branch."

"We understand what the important issues facing the state are," said Rep. Kenny Bingham. "We're doing everything we can to move in that direction. There are certain other issues obviously that come up that are beyond our control that we do have to deal with to some degree. But I think our focus is going to be moving South Carolina forward. I think that was pretty obvious yesterday in the last two days this week as we've been in session, dealing with the employment security commission. Dealing with the Boeing deal and the incentives package that we put together."

A lot is riding on the results of the state ethics commission investigation. Lawmakers say if that report fails to turn up solid evidence of serious misconduct the impeachment effort might begin, but it will ultimately go nowhere.
Translation: We lost our window of opportunity to get rid of Sanford and weaken and divide the South Carolina GOP. They are now united once again, however tattered and torn from within... as the Christian conservatives who were ready to roast Sanford on a spit (particularly women who identified with Jenny Sanford and admired her decorum in the face of this horrible disaster for her family), quickly back off and regroup.

If we'd had a strong, well-connected and well-financed dissident faction to go after Sanford immediately, we could have gotten rid of him in the first two weeks after the scandal. I knew when we didn't, that he had won the necessary reprieve. A master politician, he turned the confused attrition of his opponents into the appearance of a lack of political will, rather than basic disagreement about how to proceed.

Point, Sanford.

Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, waiting in the wings, thanks you.

Blue Sky

Decided on this one for the day before Halloween, since it's suitably Halloweenish that fans keep stealing Duane Allman's gravestone. It's as if he were some medieval saint or something.

But anyone who can play guitar like this? I guess I sorta understand why they steal it, because this brand of effortless playing manifests only a few times every generation. But I hope they realize, his greatness won't wear off by just possessing the gravestone.

And where on earth would you put a gravestone?


Blue Sky - The Allman Brothers Band

Going to Carolina, won't be long and I'll be there.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cookbooks you should meet

The Gluten-Free Vegetarian Kitchen by Donna Klein

This is a great cookbook! Lots of people are attempting to go gluten-free these days, and Klein is a veritable pioneer in that direction:

Gluten, a combination of proteins found in various cereals, is what "gives bread its elasticity and cakes their spring," according to the author of this wonderful vegetarian resource. But for people suffering from celiac disease or wheat allergies, gluten can cause painful cramping, nausea and worse. Although gluten-free baked goods will never taste quite as supple as their refined wheat counterparts, Klein's offerings hardly taste like deprivation. Spiced Basmati Rice Pilaf with Peas is a spicy, filling supper, easy to prepare and high in fiber. Mushroom, Pea and Pearl Onion Pot Pie with Herbed Potato Topping is more involved, but worth it: slightly sweet vegetables in a creamy sauce under a thick potato crust brightened with herbs. A surprisingly well-rounded selection of breads features recipes for dense, soft Irish Potato Bread, thickened with more than a pound of potatoes and a quarter cup's worth of potato flour, and a Rice Flour Pizza Crust that's a close-enough approximation of the real thing.
And check out the desserts, including Klein's famous Hawaiian Coconut Cake and Blueberry Cheesecake!

Best Quick Breads by Beth Hensperger

The author of The Bread Bible has ferreted out the quickest of her trademark bread recipes, for those of us too impatient (or busy) to wait. There are 150 bread recipes in all.

I particularly recommend her fabulous Cornmeal-Orange biscuits!

Entertaining for a Veggie Planet by Didi Emmons

You haven't lived until you've tried Emmons' sweet potato soup! MMmM-MMMmmMM!

A Taste of Africa by Dorinda Hafner

Hafner, a native of Ghana, hosted a well-loved cooking show on Kentucky Educational Television, and this was the accompanying cookbook. This is not vegetarian, but still notable for the sheer variety of recipes and ingredients. I highly recommend the Toogber (called "poff-poff"), aka Nigerian sweet puffs, which are wonderful.

Toogber literally translates into "sheeps' balls"--don't tell your friends what they're eating! (LOL)

Serene Cuisine: Traditional Yogic Recipes for the Mind & Body by Nicky Moona

I love this cookbook! The Yogic philosophy is mirrored in these traditional recipes:

Yoga and the right foods make a deliciously healthy combination. These easy-to-prepare recipes have their roots in ancient principles, but they’ve all been revamped for the modern diet and illustrated with beautiful color photos. Every dish feeds the body and spirit as well as the mind: it’s a high fiber, high in antioxidants, vegetarian diet for people who want to eat well and be happy, and it can help manage weight, boost energy, improve concentration, strengthen the immune system, and even ease stress. Above all, these recipes taste fantastic, thanks to infusions of therapeutic spices. There’s no guilt when you dig into a rich Strawberry Lassi; Lentil Spinach Soup; Corn, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad; a variety of chutneys and curries; Green Lentil and Rice Kichdi; and Honey Fruit Delight. A bonus appendix shows yoga postures, and explains the links between the poses and the recipes.
Vegan Planet is the name of my favorite cookbook by South Carolina's own Robin Robertson, who has authored 17 ground-breaking vegetarian and vegan cookbooks. (Vegan Planet is also the name of her first blog; the second is titled Global Vegan Kitchen.) Her other books include Quick-Fix Vegetarian: Healthy Home-Cooked Meals in 30 Minutes or Less, Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker: 200 Recipes for Healthy and Hearty One-Pot Meals That Are Ready When You Are, Carb Conscious Vegetarian: 150 Delicious Recipes for a Healthy Lifestyle, and the totally indispensable and fantastic soy-bible titled The Soy Gourmet.

From Robin's tasty book titled Vegan Fire and Spice: 200 Sultry and Savory Global Recipes, this is an Indian recipe for those of you who need some spice in your life!

Anshu's Red Lentil Sambar

1 cup red lentils
3 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons cold-pressed canola oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 hot green chiles, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 1/2 teaspoons sambar powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup chopped eggplant
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1. Combine the lentils and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer until soft, about 30 minutes. Set aside, but do not drain.

2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and when they begin to pop, add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, then add the sambar powder, coriander, cayenne, cumin, and salt. Stir in the carrots, cauliflower, green beans, and eggplant. Cover and cook for 5 minutes to soften.

3. Add the vegetable mixture to the reserved lentils, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are very soft, about 20 minutes. If the mixture becomes too thick, add more water. Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro and cook 5 minutes longer. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Serves 6

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What about Bob?

Both photos of Bob Inglis were taken by me at the Town Hall Meeting in Travelers Rest, SC, August 18th.

I met Congressman Bob Inglis yesterday! Yes, I strode right up to him as he was lunching in my place of employment.

A woman in the restroom had remarked, rather bemused, Bob Inglis is sitting out there. I peeped out and lo and behold, there he was. I walked right up and introduced myself as a campaign worker for Ted Christian, LOL. Yes, I did!

He and his companion, whose name I have forgotten already (some GOP-heavy, one assumes, in suitably Republican threads), stood up (like gentleman, no kidding) and shook my hand. Such southern politeness and civility! Joe Wilson showing his ass is even more unbelievable in comparison. They were friendly and joking, even as I told them I never agreed with them. They were gracious, terribly likable and kind.

Wow, I thought, no wonder he gets elected.

It turns out that Inglis has read my blog, the profile of Ted linked on Christian for Congress. Considering Ted's mean Inglis-cartoon graphics, I was a little shocked (I certainly wouldn't watch mean cartoons of myself!), but of course, politicians have to check on the opposition. I don't think he read the Town Hall Meeting piece, and I didn't mention it. Okay, fell down on the blog motto there (Ain't Skeered), because I didn't want to be rude.

At the mention of Wilson, Inglis said to check out the before-and-after pictures of himself, sitting in front of Wilson during Obama's speech. Right after Wilson shouts, Inglis looks pained and brings his hand to his forehead. Obviously, a campaign set-piece of Inglis's, and very funny.

Unfortunately, the far-right Black Helicopter faction here in South Carolina is gunning for Inglis as they are (quite unsuccessfully) gunning for Senator Lindsey Graham. The big difference is that Graham can count on the whole state, and centrist Democrats will save him. Inglis has no such electoral cushion, here in hyper-Baptist, upstate-Bob Jones-land. The right wing in Greenville County is very, very solid and strong; Senator Jim Demint is their patron saint.

Inglis' real problem will be in the GOP primary, where the wingnuts will be out in force.


A few weeks ago, I met with Gregg Jocoy, Major Green Party dude, and talked about the possibility of running for office. YES! YOUR HUMBLE NARRATOR! I was thinking of something modest like County Council, School Bored (as the Yippies used to call it), one of those. The goal being, running for office gets the necessary concepts out there... and then we really don't care who uses the ideas or who takes up the banner for change. Whenever and however Green Party concepts (ecological/sustainability proposals) are presented to the mainstream, it can only be good. Green Party ideas, once regarded as total fringe, are gaining in popularity everywhere, even here.

Gregg assures me I could run under my blog name 'Daisy Deadhead'--in the same way football stars run under names like Biff and Tiger. I would, however, have to use my surname, which I think I could live with.

It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

However, there is the marginal possibility that I could actually get elected and have to do the job! Yow, that is rather daunting.

Here in upstate South Carolina, there are no educational requirements for any political office but sheriff (of all things)... this was dramatized back in 1996, when Debi Bush, a high-school dropout, was elected to the school board. (Under intense criticism and facing almost-national consternation, she very-publicly attained her G.E.D.) Well, I have a high-school diploma, certifications in lots of extinct computer-programs and, as Zonker Harris once said, I've been kicked out of some pretty good colleges!

Thinking it over. A fund-raiser with some rock bands would be fun, huh? :)


Who's to blame
When parties really get out of hand?
Who's to blame
When they get poorly planned?

Crashers get bombed
Slobs make a mess
Ya know sometimes
They'll even ruin your wife's dress
Crashers gettin bombed
Who's to blame?
Can you pull it back in line?
Can you salvage it in time?

(Green!) Party out of bounds - B-52s

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dead Air Church: I shall be released

I did not initially do a respectful obit for Mary Travers, because she once reamed me out when I did customer service. (sings: How many roads must a CSR walk down, before you talk to her niiiiiice?) But I've decided to relent, and today I say, REST IN PEACE, Mary.

Spiritual note: Once upon a time, I would never have relented. And now, you'll notice, it only takes me about 5-6 weeks. PROGRESS!

The following is Mama Cass Elliot, Joni Mitchell and Mary Travers, singing one of Dead Air Church's semi-official hymns, Bob Dylan's I shall be released. Awful instrumental arrangement in the background lets you know this was from 60s American TV (Mama Cass's short-lived variety show). Try to ignore it, especially the awful BRASS, ugh. Luckily, their pretty girl-harmonies survive the awfulness of the back-up.

Admit you like their sparkly outfits!


I Shall be Released - Mama Cass, Joni Mitchell, Mary Travers (1969)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Odds and Sods - Night of the Hunter edition

I love how Halloween has taken over October. For one thing, it's lots of fun. For another, it stops the capitalists from foisting Christmas on us too soon. Without Halloween, Macy's would be decorating Christmas trees in September.

And the best thing: OLD HORROR MOVIES.

If you have never seen Robert Mitchum's deranged preacher (movie still at left) in Night of the Hunter, your big chance is tonight at 8pm on Turner Classic Movies:

The Night of the Hunter (1955) is a truly compelling, haunting, and frightening classic masterpiece thriller-fantasy, and the only film ever directed by the great British actor Charles Laughton. The American gothic, Biblical tale of greed, innocence, seduction, sin and corruption was adapted for the screen by famed writer-author James Agee (and Laughton, but without screen credit). Although one of the greatest American films of all time, the imaginatively-chilling, experimental, sophisticated work was idiosyncratic, film noirish, avante garde, dream-like expressionistic and strange, and it was both ignored and misunderstood at the time of its release. Originally, it was a critical and commercial failure.

Robert Mitchum gave what some consider his finest performance in a precedent-setting, unpopular, and truly terrifying role as the sleepy-eyed, diabolical, dark-souled, self-appointed serial killer/Preacher with psychotic, murderous tendencies while in pursuit of $10,000 in cash. Lillian Gish played his opposite - a saintly good woman who provided refuge for the victimized children.

The disturbing, complex story was based on the popular, best-selling 1953 Depression-era novel of the same name by first-time writer Davis Grubb, who set the location of his novel in the town of Moundsville, WV, where the West Virginia Penitentiary (also mentioned in the film) was located. Grubb lived in nearby Clarksburg as a young teenager.

Once you start watching, you won't stop. The movie literally sparkles in some places, the black-and-white cinematography gleaming and beautiful. And Mitchum is utterly incredible. His serial-killer/preacher was famously tattooed with the words "Love" on one hand and "Hate" on the other, which has since become part of pop-culture legend--later resurrected on Robert DeNiro's hands in Martin Scorsese's remake of Cape Fear:
Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing (1989) referenced the love/hate, left and right hand theme, when Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn) explained the love/hate dichotomy. In The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), LOVE and HATE were tattooed on Eddie's (Meat Loaf) knuckles, and in The Blues Brothers (1980), the two brothers (John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd) have their names tattooed on their knuckles. In The Simpsons episode "Cape Feare", the menacing Sideshow Bob (voice of Kelsey Grammer) had similar tattoos on each set of knuckles as well - but since the characters in the cartoon show had only three fingers and a thumb, the tattoos were humorously "LUV" and "HAT" - (with a bar over the A).
The hands war with each other, love vs hate, and which will triumph?

Don't miss the movie, if you've never seen it.


Over at Twisty's blog, I blame the Patriarchy, there was a discussion of Meghan McCain's boobs. OOooops... I mean, McCain's Twitter photo. And for a bunch of feminists, it got kinda rough in there, as "advanced patriarchy blamers" (a group I am not sure I can claim I even belong to, as a bad Catholic) sounded just like my dear, deceased Aunt Mae:
Looks to me like the requisite lips out, head tilted downward but eyes up’ boob showin’ crap teenage girls post on myspace all day long. A joke, perhaps? Or just business as usual. How old is she anyway?
... which promptly set off a fascinating conversation. Go read! Warning: the thread is now up to 170 replies.

And then, Twisty outdid herself in her subsequent post on the conversation:
[Certain feminists commenting in the aforementioned thread] seem to be placing a pretty high premium on McCain’s intent. And they seem pretty comfortable in asserting an infallible familiarity with McCain’s innermost nature, for they have somehow divined this intent precisely. Maybe they have access to 8th-dimension vortex-portals through which they may mind-meld with Internet personalities. They assert, peering through their vortex-portals into the mind of Meghan McCain, not just that her intent was to titillate, but — and here is the critical jump — that this odious species of intent (slutism!) releases them from their oath of feminist solidarity.

You know how when a rapist is prosecuted, and the slutty intent of the victim is so acutely divined by the defense (’she didn’t fight back hard enough; she must have wanted it,’ etc) it may be used as a psychbomb to dehumanize her to the jury? It’s like that.

Or take women who post self-portraits on the Internet. Say we get our hands on one of those vortex-portals, so we know without a doubt that their intent is to titillate. Does it logically follow that they then desire a torrent of sex-based hate speech? Meanwhile, do even the feminists buy the whole women-are-masochists myth and just sit idly by while misogynists rip the titillators to shreds?

Anyway, intent, schmintent. I would urge the reader to recall how little intent has to do with anything. Particularly with the experience of the end user. The result is all that matters. Your boyfriend — if you haven’t taken my advice and dumped him yet — possibly loves you, but when he farts in bed and flaps the covers, who gives a flip about his intent? Do you not gag and think him a Philistine?

Which, before all you fart-flappers get lathered up, is my little metaphor for the metaphorical odor that metaphorically drifts, unbidden, from the condition of male privilege into the metaphorical nostrils of the oppressed.
That last paragraph may be the best thing I ever read.

Check it out.. the follow-up thread is up to 77 posts already.


More on what we in South Carolina are calling "Jim Demint and the Jews" from David Paul Kuhn writing in Real Clear Politics:
The Op/Ed was published Sunday in the South Carolinian newspaper The Times and Democrat. Chairmen Edwin Merwin, of Bamberg County, and James Ulmer, of Orangeburg County, wrote:
There is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves. By not using earmarks to fund projects for South Carolina and instead using actual bills, DeMint is watching our nation's pennies and trying to preserve our country's wealth and our economy's viability to give all an opportunity to succeed.
This is only one small story from one small town newspaper. But it is likely to make some national news.

That news will not be well received by the national Republican Party. The GOP has long attempted, albeit with little success, to make inroads into the Jewish vote. Of course, this incident will not help. And it may not be big enough to hurt that much. But the news comes in the context of the GOP's macro push to portray itself as a more inclusive party of late. And every anecdote exemplifying otherwise undermines that push.

That the offensive language was penned in an Op/Ed, rather than made in an offhand remark, makes it all the more politically foolish (and almost too stupid to believe).
Not if you live around here, it sure isn't.


And finally, the coveted Dead Air literary award goes to my favorite mom-blogger, Sheila, for her very gifted, postprandial haiku.

This was inspired by her first trip to Sonic:
cold crappy food wrong order
tarnished cravings

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Top Chef Ageism

Robin Leventhal of Top Chef, photo by Michael Nank, from the Queen Anne Farmers Market. If this woman can be derisively called "grandma" by her fellow contestants, there is truly no hope for the rest of us.

After all the online gnashing of teeth, gah! I don't wanna think about ageism ANY MORE. I AM THROUGH.

So, time to watch our favorite food-porn. I turned on the TV last night for some simple, feel-good escapism. Yes, I wanted lingering, yummy pan-shots of attractive plates of foods I've never heard of, with sprigs of fennel festooned every which-way. NO RACHEL MADDOW! NO POLITICS! NO AFGHANISTAN AND NO MARK SANFORD!


Dream on, grandma. Dream on.

My beloved Top Chef, which I have been bloody loyal to for 6 seasons, is now engaging in some blatant, nasty, ageist fun and games against contestant Robin Leventhal, whom the other contestants call "grandma" and like to trash-talk about being too old and not fitting in. In one scene I saw last night, several piggy-male contestants argued over who had been meaner to Robin. "Grandma needs to leave!" they all agreed.

By the way, did I tell you? Robin Leventhal is 42 years old. Forty-Two. 42.

Do you believe this?

Under the circumstances, all I could think is: Oh man, not here too. (((cries)))

When did cooking get to be the kids' territory? I mean, I do understand why fashion is; there is a constant search for the new, the upcoming, the next big thing. But cooking? I would think that age would bring much-needed expertise and valuable, crucial experience. The best cooks I have known have been doing it for decades and decades.

Well, I guess this show doesn't have anything to do with the FACTS, this is reality TV. And they can't use outright sexism and racism anymore, as they did on the MTV's prototypical reality show, THE REAL WORLD, and as they are perilously close to doing on the Real Housewives franchise, with NeNe and Kim close to brawling. And come to think of it, they DO love to trash the fat people at every available opportunity.

So, let's stir up some shit by trashing GRANNY. The um, 42-year-old "granny"--that is. What on earth would they do with a REAL granny?

Depressing, just very depressing.

I'll just go back to obsessing over Afghanistan.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You make the best of what's still around

Not enough bass on any of these songs. Turn up the BASS!


Dirt - The Stooges

Is Iggy saying "when you touch me" or "when you fuck me"? (Decades-old controversy!) He actually seems to be going back and forth, using both words; also "when you cut me"--which is what I always thought it was.


When the world is running down - The Police

Tell me where would I go?
I ain't been out in years...


Black Cow - Steely Dan

I'm the one
who must make everything right
talk it out
till daylight...

Another First for Dead Air!

FWD/Forward (aka Feminists With Disabilities for a way Forward) just started publishing this month.

This is a great blog, but unfortunately, I am not allowed to post there. (SEE EDIT BELOW)

Yes! This is a MAJOR FIRST for Dead Air, wherein I link a blog that has already BANNED ME!

Unfortunately, I went and pissed them off already by daring to ask why no bloggers over 50 were contributing and no bloggers over 50 are linked. Two major problems, as far as I'm concerned. Then I was brazenly redneck enough to offer myself up for linkage. (OMG! I forgot how UPSET everyone gets when you do that!) I've really gotta learn to keep my mouth shut and just let people have their illusions about how FORWARD thinking they are. Then again, I'd never have started a blog at all if I'd done that... so you see how confusing it can be, deciding when to speak out and when to stay comfortably and safely silent.

Well, still no answer about why old women are being excluded. It seems to me, once you mention something like that, steps should be actively taken. Certainly, if I was informed there had been ANY demographic group excluded from MY blogroll, I would be correcting it FORTHWITH and IMMEDIATELY. But then, I don't believe in exclusion. Since I (gingerly) entered Blogdonia over two years ago, I have learned that some people like to talk a good game, but still prefer to be exclusive, cliquey and clubby in their actual associations.

And as usual, asking for a link consigns you to the depths of Dante's Ninth Circle of Hell... it is probably considered the RUDEST thing you can do in certain highly-educated, middle-class areas of Blogdonia, although I still don't understand why and no one will explain it to me. (I just reciprocally linked someone today, who asked me to, for instance.) People ask to be friended on Facebook, don't they? What is the difference, exactly?

I also assumed most people knew that age and disability are intricately linked (witness the popularity of the phrase "temporarily able-bodied"--reminding people that age will impact the body) but FWD apparently doesn't want to talk about this or be reminded of it. (Why have a disability blog, then?)

I think there is likely another reason I have been banned, that some of you know and/or might be able to guess. (My kind particularly not welcome.) I won't get into it here, since I should be used to it by now... but after all this time, I'm still never prepared when it happens.

I will say that I am as knowledgeable as any other disability-rights activist. I have been writing about disability-rights issues since 1981, when I wrote a piece on Reagan Admin cuts to disability services for the feminist newspaper Plexus. I think I should have the right to be included on FWD. I am not a bad writer or a bad person. This banning, for no reason that I can see, is really a bit much. But "their blog, their rules"--and they have the right to include and exclude whomever they see fit.

The quality of the writing and subject matter is first rate, which is, of course, why I wanted to be included and why I wanted older women to be included.

At least they haven't banned my IP, so I can still read. At least, not yet!


EDIT: I have discovered that I am not banned from FWD. I do not know if I was banned, then un-banned (as I suspect) or never-banned, but I see from a comment on one of the contributor's blogs that I am not banned. However, my emails asking why a comment from days ago was moderated/censored (nothing obscene or gross in it) was never answered. When I asked repeatedly if I was banned, again, no answer. I therefore took it that way. (Wouldn't you?) I think if someone asks, they should be replied to--I'm old-fashioned that way!

Delighted that I am not banned. Good news. If this is the fault of their over-zealous spam-queue, it needs major work. If this is a communication issue due to being edited-by-committee, it needs to be tightened up considerably. Believe it or not, there are REAL trolls out there. --DD/10-23-09


EDIT: Disregard above edit. It appears that after all the hubbub died down, they went ahead and banned me anyway.

So, I WAS correct the first time. --DD/11-18-09

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

DeMint like 'a Jew watching our nation’s pennies’

About two weeks ago, I brawled over at Alas, A blog over the issue of antisemitism. Do I see it everywhere I look? Am I over-reaching?

Well, gee, wonder where I could have acquired a habit like that.

The following is from JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency)--some of you may have heard it on Rachel Maddow's show or read it on HuffPo.

Yes, this involves my senator!

SC GOPers: DeMint like a Jew watching our nation’s pennies’
October 19, 2009

Two South Carolina Republican officials defended Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) by likening him to Jews who "take care of the pennies."

Bamberg County GOP Chairman Edwin Merwin and Orangeburg County GOP Chairman James Ulmer wrote the Orangeburg Times and Democrat to defend DeMint after a Democratic politician said he didn't help direct enough funds to local projects.

"There is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves," the chairmen write. "By not using earmarks to fund projects for South Carolina and instead using actual bills, DeMint is watching our nation’s pennies and trying to preserve our country’s wealth and our economy’s viability to give all an opportunity to succeed."

The Palmetto Scoop, a conservative website in the state, said such comments underscored the Republican Party's difficulties.

"It's people like Ulmer and Merwin that make many folks fear for the future of the once Grand Ole Party," it said.
Ya think?

PS: And it's people like this that make some of the rest of us in South Carolina a bit hyper-vigilant.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Demise of Off Our Backs

Off Our Backs (known colloquially as OOB), the longest-running feminist periodical in the USA, began publishing in 1970. I began reading it around 1975-76. Confession: I used to fantasize about being in the Off Our Backs collective. I mean, in-depth fantasies. I imagined it as a feminist heaven, a woman-identified nirvana.

My OOB-collective fantasy first came to flower in the late 70s, during the time I attended lots of political meetings. Meetings, meetings, more meetings than anyone should be forced to attend. I became fascinated with the inner-workings of all of these meetings; the vast number of subjects spoken and unspoken. The multiple ancient hostilities and differences submerged for political expedience; the comrades sleeping together who pretended they weren't; the various types of flirting disguised as political curiosity; the engagement in constant verbal foreplay, using lefty phrases and slogans almost as caresses. And above all, the congenitally bossy people who were sublimating, using the left as their new place to terrorize, cajole, and occasionally force others into doing their will. All personality types were present and accounted for. And all sins. I found myself wondering if an all-woman environment would contain the same constant jockeying for power and position.

One of the things we had at the Columbus Free Press, was an "exchange list" of alternative newspapers from across the country. I don't know when the exchange list began, but every alternative newspaper I worked for (about a half-dozen total), had an exchange list of publications; they would send theirs to us and in exchange, we'd send a copy of our proud, plucky Free Press to them. It was then someone's job to go through the large stack of monthly exchange newspapers and scout for interesting news clippings to reprint. I gladly volunteered, since I was totally enamored with the collection of funky, radical publications, which made me feel like there really was a national movement. This was how I originally discovered Off Our Backs, Big Mama Rag, and What She Wants, as well as three newspapers I later worked for myself: Womansong, Majority Report and Plexus.

Off Our Backs was easily the most intense and comprehensive of all of these feminist newspapers. They covered an inexhaustible number of subjects, and took radical positions quickly, without a lot of dithering. (For example, for good or ill, they were the first to take the sides of both Aileen Wuornos and Mary Beth Whitehead, thoroughly unpopular positions.) They interviewed powerhouse feminists like Catharine MacKinnon, Nikki Craft and Mary E. Hunt. Fabulous women like Susanna Sturgis and Irena Klepfisz regularly wrote for them. I was enthralled. They seemed to have a lot of what we now call process, and they would write articles about how they had come to their political positions, including various arguments within the collective.

I became somewhat obsessed with the Catholic member of the collective, Carol Anne Douglas. I loved everything she wrote, although she scared me in how uncompromising and separatist she was. I could see Catholicism in her separatism, an unwavering brand of dogma that I wondered if she could even see herself. [1] But I loved her writing, and her careful reporting on events like conferences and workshops. I would go so far as to say that because I read her monthly for many years, my own writing style has been greatly influenced by hers. Douglas had the knack of fairly covering all sides of a debate while always letting you know where she stood, which I have always found intellectually impressive in the extreme.

At this juncture of the wild and woolly 70s, your humble narrator was hanging with the Yippies, whom I knew the OOB women wouldn't approve of. I knew this because I had written a (fairly good, I thought) piece on some of the Yippie women who had organized the Rock Against Racism concerts in Columbus, Chicago and New York City. Not only did OOB not publish it, they didn't even reply to me. (It was later run in a small Midwestern feminist newsletter, the name of which escapes me now.) I assumed this was due to my lack of education and/or poor writing (although my column in the Free Press had a small following by this time, so I figured my writing couldn't be too awful bad). Although I had carefully included the women-rockers who had helped launch the event in the USA (RAR was originally a British movement), I thought maybe OOB didn't like rock music or thought too many men were involved to make it an overtly "feminist" event. It never once occurred to me that they did not consider Rock Against Racism, or anything against racism, to be "unfeminist" or unpolitical. It is pertinent that I just assumed that politically, they were "ahead" of me; it never crossed my mind that I might be politically "ahead" of them.

The OOB-Collective fantasy began, full-fledged, at this time. I would imagine the perfect harmony of an all-woman collective; the woman-identified purity that I could never hope to achieve, with all my backward husband-acquiring, punk-rock ways. I knew many of the OOB women were full-on separatists, so I imagined what I would say to them when confronted about those pesky males that I kept marrying. What would I say? Many of the answers I came up with, in imagined radical-separatist meetings, are answers I continue to use. (Fantasy has its uses!) I also found myself imagining long conversations with Douglas, about St Elizabeth of Hungary and holy women like that.

Around this time, I was also involved in another political group called TUFF. (No, I didn't give it the goofy name, okay?)

TUFF (which the Yippies called "not so tough") stood for Those United to Fight Fascism, and some of this group later morphed into Klanwatch. The (mostly white) people in TUFF were accused of ignoring the agenda of the Columbus black community and took these charges very seriously--deciding (of course) to have a big meeting over it. Interestingly enough, it was at this time that OOB was also having major issues with accusations of racism. I remember that the OOB collective didn't seem all that convinced that they needed to examine themselves, in comparison to TUFF, whose white members were busily rending their garments, doing penance and applying copious ashes and sackcloth. By contrast, it seemed to me, OOB acted as if they were doing Women of Color a favor by entertaining their perspective.

And so, TUFF (dumb name) had a racial inquisition, around the same time that Off Our Backs had one. (I remember wondering if this was some kind of weird political synchronicity.) Thus, I read about OOB's "race problems" at virtually the same time the white Columbus left was dealing with our "race problems"--and I was startled to read of the similarities in interpersonal dynamics. WOW, I thought, it all sounds the same!

OOB's official "Women of Color issue"--which was the result of a protest from WOC feminists who demanded that OOB turn over an issue to them exclusively--was the first place I ever read the term "pearl-clutching." There was also a very critical article by a black woman named Hope, who wrote about how white feminists did not take her seriously. She gave several real-life examples and I wondered which of these involved OOB collective members, or if any of them did?

I started thinking about the fact that OOB (and, to be fair, the white left in general) used images of Women of Color to gain credibility and to appear more serious. For instance, the OOB cover at left was fairly typical. Looking at the cover, you might think an Asian woman wrote the article, or that it was particularly knowledgeable from a Vietnamese woman's point-of-view. Nope. The image was just cool to use; the article was by an American, about American peace activists in Hanoi. (I did not know the term "cultural imperialism" then, or I might have used it.)

When Carol Anne Douglas' novel, To the Cleveland Station, was published, I grabbed it immediately. The novel was about a thinly-disguised Douglas (a lesbian-feminist writing for a radical newspaper, working on her Ph.D.) involved with an African-American woman who had been subjected to electroshock therapy as aversive conditioning. I read it a few times and was greatly disconcerted by it, but could not readily explain why. [2]

My first major problem with OOB (besides the separatism, which I enjoyed mentally jousting with) came in the early 80s. The aforementioned Carol Anne Douglas wrote, "Why aren't there any radical feminists in welfare offices?"--a line I read, as luck would have it, as I was sitting in the welfare office.

I read the line again. What?

And again.

I can still remember the feeling, my cheeks growing hot, the embarrassment I felt as I was erased by the same person I couldn't wait to read each month.

I was stunned. Why did she assume none of us are poor? That none of us have children AND are poor? It hurt me, but I didn't have the words. It just seemed like some bizarre assumption to me; welfare mothers can be some of the most radical women you will ever meet.

Doesn't she know that?

Apparently not.

And so, my OOB-universe was seriously rocked to the foundations by this classist statement by Douglas, whom I had so much admired. My OOB-fantasies consequently ebbed for awhile. But at the end of the 80s, when I moved south, they resumed, as I found myself pining for a lefty political collective again, realizing that the whole alternative-media era had now passed. OOB and Kerista were the only people left who had maintained collectives, and took center stage in my mind as people who had made collectives somehow continue to work in real life, not just in theory.

When the Keristans broke up in 1991, that left OOB.


I can't remember when I stopped reading OOB. Probably the mid-90s.

At some point, their views seemed antiquated and disjointed. I changed my mind about several key issues, such as sex-work and transgenderism, and found myself on the opposite side of the feminist divide. Nonetheless, I always wanted the publication to survive, although I didn't see how that could happen without an infusion of new ideas and new blood.

And as time went on, the welfare-office remark stuck in my craw. As I grew older, I realized what a completely clueless statement it had been. I wondered how I had ever idolized people who believed such a thing. The statement was obviously the result of a very sheltered life, from one who had never been inside a real live welfare office. And I wasn't thrilled about the direction OOB was taking in the 90s, which seemed even more middle-class, highly-educated and sheltered than it had been in the past.

Which brings me to the present.

Off Our Backs has been rumored to be in the process of breaking up for quite some time now. While I remember regular monthly OOBs, never late and always bulging to the seams with content, OOB has been quarterly (or less) and rather slim for the last decade or so. But last year, Heart (YES! That Heart!), aka Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff, was supposed to be riding in on her white mare to save the day and edit the summer issue. (Oh boy, I thought.)

Apparently, Heart messed up her save-OOB gig. In fact, no one seems to know why Heart did not do as she promised she would do, but that's getting ahead of the story. (She claims a "family emergency"--although the women who were on her email list know of no such emergency.)

A black woman who was a collective member of OOB, has just written a scathing critique of OOB's race politics, or lack of them. She has catalogued her OOB involvement on a blog named Celie's Revenge. Thus, I will call her Celie, since I have not been given direct permission to use her name (although Karla Mantilla used it in her response).

It's a long post, but several passages jump right out at the reader, especially an old OOB junkie like your humble narrator:

Their last question to me during the interview process I went through to join the collective was if I had any ulterior motives? Let’s put aside, just for the time being, the inherent racism in any POC being asked such a question by anyone who is white, especially when the interviewer is in the more powerful position not just due to race. At the time I took this to just mean they were concerned that, in fact, I was just a closet sex pozi. But now looking back realizing that I had already made my radical feminist opposition to the sex industry very clear from the start I see the question as a reflection more of their suspicion of my possible ulterior motives as a Black person not as a sex-positive (pro-liberal, pro-porn, pro-prostitution) person. Would I as a Black woman whose identity was muddied by the reality of race threaten the collective’s value system in which the interconnectedness of oppression is dismissed in favor of a narrow focus on gender identity and male supremacy? Was that what they meant by “ulterior motives”?Their last question to me during the interview process I went through to join the collective was if I had any ulterior motives? Let’s put aside, just for the time being, the inherent racism in any POC being asked such a question by anyone who is white, especially when the interviewer is in the more powerful position not just due to race. At the time I took this to just mean they were concerned that, in fact, I was just a closet sex pozi. But now looking back realizing that I had already made my radical feminist opposition to the sex industry very clear from the start I see the question as a reflection more of their suspicion of my possible ulterior motives as a Black person not as a sex-positive (pro-liberal, pro-porn, pro-prostitution) person. Would I as a Black woman whose identity was muddied by the reality of race threaten the collective’s value system in which the interconnectedness of oppression is dismissed in favor of a narrow focus on gender identity and male supremacy? Was that what they meant by “ulterior motives”?
Indeed, this lets us know the agenda was not entirely on the up and up. Why would someone's "ulterior motives" be questioned?

Why is a black woman thought to be more "sex pozi" than any other feminist who applied for the position? (Is there any serious feminist who doesn't already know OOB's position?)

That was my experience of their question: I felt like I was in a probationary period in which I was supposed to prove my loyalty which really meant my ability to be silent on matters of race and white supremacy.

Although I was previously declaring and saying that I was the first Black female member of oob’s collective I’d discovered that this actually is not true. But I shouldn’t be faulted for assuming that! Why? Because after my experience with oob’s collective, production team, and volunteers the vast majority of whom were white, I couldn’t have imagined that another Black woman could have existed and survived with her radicalism and dignity intact for long in such an oppressive space [...]There’s no way for me to know how many other Black women and other women of color have been on the collective of off our backs. And I’m sure oob is not to about to say because I doubt the numbers are impressive.
Good Lord, they never discussed this with her???!!!

Oh wow.

I had no idea they were this backward regarding race. The fact that my Rock Against Racism article was patently ignored, is suddenly viewed in a whole nother light, now isn't it? Maybe they thought the subject simply wasn't important, if they thought the fact of WOC collective members wasn't important enough to discuss with Celie. [3]

I urge you to read it all. Some other excerpts that seem especially damning:

Oob is overwhelmingly white in a city known for its anti-establishment organizing and community-building by POC. This includes a bookstore called SisterSpace and Books on U Street NW, the operators, a black lesbian couple were evicted from that space due to the gentrification of the neighborhood. What is the history of oob’s solidarity with SisterSpace and Books and other WOC-run organizations in DC? This is an open question to the oob collective for whom sisterhood is so valued in statement. The question is, is this value also evidenced in their forty years of presence in a Black-majority city where Black women outnumber white women? Is it reasonable to assume that over forty years some significant sisterly bonds would be made by the white women of oob to their Black DC sisters?

I had actually asked Karla Mantilla directly that question related SisterSpace and she seemed uncomfortably dismissive of them stating that she had tried to reach out but they never seemed interested.

In the collective, currently, there is only one woman of color and the white women who comprise the majority are just fine to put her out there as “the representative” of the collective...
we see an example in which some white women strengthen their sisterly supremacist bond by freezing out “the other,” the lone Black woman, the ‘guerilla in their midst.’ Or, as white supremacist “radical” feminist Kate Guntermann phrased it, “Blackzilla” in an exchange I had with her on Facebook. She used this term, seriously, to me, to refer to Black women who she believes choose race over gender by siding with sexist Black men rather than bonding with racist white women.

It should be noted here that my exchange with Kate Guntermann was what compelled me to set the record straight with my “radical” white feminist sisters. Please don’t get it twisted: my radical feminism as a Black woman is not to be used as an invitation for white feminists to appropriate my feelings of betrayal by misogynistic Black men into their agenda of dismissing their white privilege!

When I was initially invited into the collective, most of my writing was directed at Black male chauvinism, misogynistic hip hop, and street sexual harassment by men. None of these issues indicted white women on any level. So upon reflection the only thing that might explain the collective’s swift disdain for me might have something to do with the way my criticism had recently turned towards white women’s racism. I am left to wonder: was my critique getting too close to their privileged comfort?

For Guntermann and for other white racist feminists, a “Blackzilla” is a bully to white women, a Black woman who, somehow, against all systemic odds, has power over white women to control and manipulate them—to make white women behave the way we want them to behave. Right.
Laurel Long is a white Goucher student who worked as a summer intern at the oob office. When I found out I’d be working with her as a volunteer I added her to my buddy list on google mail. Her very first words to me about the photo of myself I had up as my chat avatar was, “Wow! You look like Angela Davis!” As anyone who isn’t white supremacist and who knows me can attest, I look NOTHING like Angela Davis! But I guess to someone like Laurel all Black women look alike. She wasn’t referring to anything having to do with our ways of being in the world. She was speaking solely about my appearance and how I apparently would be mistaken anywhere for Angela’s daughter.
A list-serve for the oob production team was started so that the women on board to produce the next issue could communicate. Cheryl Seelhoff, a white “radical” feminist who didn’t live in DC, was put in charge of assigning tasks and developing a theme and structure for the next issue.

Our goal was for the next issue to go out in June 2009.

In mid April, after the articles for the next issue were written and sent off to Cheryl, she disappeared.

When the production team members began to write in to the list wondering what the status of the issue was Cheryl finally responded by saying that she was going through a very painful and difficult family situation.

Within 24 hours Karla Mantilla and the other white women on the list immediately responded with supportive words of understanding and sisterhood. And compassion and outreach was indeed what should have been provided to Cheryl, given her life circumstances. I have no critique at all of the level of contact white women gave to Cheryl. It was the sisterly thing to do.

The concern for Cheryl’s situation and feelings coupled with a desire not to appear dismissive or cold meant that the June deadline for the issue’s release and arrival in subscribers’ mailboxes, like we’d promised, came and went. It wasn’t until late July that anyone finally moved to do anything about getting the issue going again.

Then in late June there was the crash of the Red Line train on the DC Metro System. As some of you know I later realized I missed being on that train by only a few minutes when I decided to cross the platform to head in the opposite direction. Tragically, the life partner of an oob collective member, Carol Anne Douglas, was on that train and died from the crash. It was announced on the production team list serve. Everyone expressed their shock, sadness, and sympathy. The oob collective sent flowers. I posted the tragedy as my Facebook status and asked everyone who believed in feminism to please send along their words of sisterhood towards this woman who had committed her life towards women’s liberation.

In September, Celie was fired from her job, and there was little sympathy extended to her, as it had been extended so freely to Seelhoff and Douglas. She also finds out about Karla Mantilla's birthday party, to which she was not invited. Finally, she learns through a Facebook OOB account, that she is no longer a member of the collective (!):

I knew for certain that I’d been officially removed by them from the actual collective only when I saw a new Facebook group for oob created and my name not included among the list of collective members. I guess that’s what the oob collective calls consensus when they are dealing with a Black woman. Let me remind the collective and its white supremacist supporters and apologists: Karla and her silent white sisters who collaborated to shun and purge a Black woman from their collective could have contacted me at any point during the whole process. They stood in solidarity and silence, allowing me to wonder what the hell was going on.
And here is the official reply from long-time collective member Karla Mantilla, which does not mention racism at all.

Got that? DOES NOT MENTION RACISM. AT. ALL. Because only the black woman says it's about racism, the white people know it isn't. So, that's that.

Karla Mantilla's angry, nasty response was originally published at Redmegaera's blog, but has since been deleted. (Gee, I wonder why?)

Mantilla eagerly takes on the white (wo)man's burden:

Following is my reluctant answer to the wholly outrageous , unsubstantiated, and ridiculous charges made about off our backs of late by [Celie][...]I know it can be exceedingly difficult to sort out the merits of the charges that have been levied against me and against off our backs. It is entirely understandable that it would be difficult to know whom to trust in this matter. Nevertheless, I urge you to consider all the facts before you come to a conclusion. I also urge you to consider that not everyone who posts something on a blog on the internet is honest or is acting in good faith.

Below, I lay out some significant inconsistencies and internal contradictions in the claims and statements that [Celie] has made. I believe that if you look at these facts with an open mind and in honest good faith, they will, at a minimum, establish some serious doubts regarding her claims
...and goes on to insist that Celie wasn't kicked out, she QUIT! So THERE!

Umm, is that supposed to sum everything up? She quit in a huff, so you didn't kick her out?

Okay, why did she "quit" then?

Why, when she quit, did she make no mention of racism by multiple collective members as a reason, but instead say that it was because “certain people” (which I assure you means me, as you will come to understand below) were “unresponsive” to her?
Gee, I wonder.

Why does she write about “Karla Mantilla & company” or “Karla and others”? Why am I singled out by name?
You don't get it, do you, Karla?

If you don't get it, then you don't get it. And there is no mistaking the fact that Karla doesn't get it:

I was quite friendly to [Celie] from the beginning of her coming to off our backs, inviting her to several social occasions at my house as well as sharing some meals and other events with her. I admired her incisive intelligence, her breadth of knowledge, and her politics. In addition, I spent much time at our collective meetings listening to her complaints about her many Facebook fights. My fellow collective members will agree that I was the person on the collective who was most attentive to her and spent the most time with her.

At first I thought she just needed the affirmation and support that anyone needs when encountering injustice such as what she claimed happened to her on Facebook. But as time progressed, I began to notice that she was interested in very little of the actual off our backs business and appeared to merely want an audience to listen to her rant about people on Facebook who had offended her in some way. Then I began to notice that it was she who picked the Facebook fights, and even more upsetting, that she was a person who, when she perceived offense of any kind, however slight, was vicious, vindictive, mean-spirited, and relentless.

I began to see this as a pattern by early September (I had no idea just how right I was), and at that point, although I had every expectation of continuing to work with her on off our backs, I began to want to distance from her socially.

That is why I did not invite her to my birthday party and did not respond when she sent a mass email that she had been laid off. My birthday party was NOT an off our backs event, and I assumed that others who felt close to her would be supportive to her regarding her job. In fact, two other collective members, Angie and Laura, did contact her and offer her their sympathy on losing her job.

I did not think my distancing from her would be a big deal, especially since she had not attended any of the social events at my house, in most cases without even RSVPing, and she had never had any personal conversations with me in which she expressed any interest in me or my life. I was surprised when she missed a couple of oob meetings without even calling or emailing to let us know whether she would be there. I was shocked to read her resignation letter on our semi-public listserv alluding to “certain persons.” [Celie] has at no point attempted to contact me in order to ask what was wrong or why I was withdrew from her, nor has she ever communicated any of her concerns to me.

The reason I believe she singles me out in her various diatribes is because it was I who distanced from her—I absolutely admit that I did that. She is correct that I reacted to her being laid off with less concern than I ordinarily would have with other people, but this has nothing to do with her being black; it has everything to do with her being cruel and spiteful and my wish to not be involved with such a person on a social level.

It is absolutely ridiculous that she has blown my social distancing from her into a grandiose lie about me personally and off our backs in general. Her trumped up ex post facto charges of racism are nothing but malicious lies she is attempting to spread on the internet in an attempt to exact revenge for a perceived personal slight.

Bottom line—I don’t like her, I have a right to not like her after coming to know her, my evaluation of her has proved true in her subsequent behavior and treatment of me, and all of this has nothing whatsoever to do with race. She is one of the meanest people I have ever encountered in my many years doing all kinds of work, and I wish to have nothing more to do with her.

Her statement that what we/I did to one black woman, we did to all black women, is laughable. She does not represent all black women—it is a supreme insult to black women to suggest that she does. How I treated her and my opinion of her are solely due to her own particular behavior and personality–her vindictiveness, her maliciousness, her lack of integrity, and her complete disregard for ethical behavior–and nothing else.

I take no joy in declaring this publicly, but her behavior has forced this admission. I have no shame about my actions—I befriended her, spent time with her, found out who she is, and I refuse to be bullied into involving her in my personal life.

Karla, you are the one who is friends with HEART, yes? You are the one who loooooves Heart and parties with her at the Michigan Women's Music Festival and believed she could edit OOB... right? Did you apologize to the collective for your bad judgment, believing silly Heart could edit her way out of a paper bag? Should we be holding you accountable for letting your friendship cloud your political loyalties? WHERE is the issue of OOB promised by Heart? (And more to the point: WHAT family emergency was this?)

Reading this sordid nonsense that Mantilla has spewed (and is now deleting in SHAME, one hopes), I know which side I'm on.

Please, somebody put the nail in the coffin of OOB. I hate to admit it, but it's time.


[1] In her novel To the Cleveland Station, Douglas writes, "I am a Catholic who searched for another faith and found it. That explains so much about me."

[2] I feel Douglas' novel was unknowingly and unintentionally racist in its characterization of the African-American woman. But I found it rather hypnotizing because I could imagine writing the same thing myself. Douglas came from a racist father, as I did. She compensates by attempting to canonize the character and portrays her as a blameless victim. In fairness, Douglas later wrote that she should not have written the book at all and said it was inappropriate, but did not go into detail about how she arrived at that position. (I am sure I am not the only person who had issues with the characterization.)

NOTE: Celie does not criticize Douglas, but focuses on Mantilla. My reasons for mentioning Douglas' book is to make it clear there has been an ongoing race-oriented political critique of OOB, and Celie unknowingly walked into the middle of that. (I wonder if she is even aware of Douglas' novel?)

[3] I do know that an Asian woman named Adriane Fugh-Berman was a collective member for years. I do not know why she left, but OOB was much poorer for it. Her bio does not mention her years at OOB, where she wrote about women's health issues and reviewed books. I know of no other WOC at OOB, which doesn't mean they didn't exist. But no other OOB-member that I recall, actively wrote about race (as I recall Fugh-Berman did).

[4] I wept reading this, since I know how much Carol Anne Douglas loved her partner, Mary "Mandy" Doolittle. My deepest sympathies to Douglas on the loss of her beloved Mandy. :(

[5] I hope I do not have to do a whole social critique about why words like malicious, mean, vindictive, unethical, etc are problematic when applied to a black woman by a white woman in a collective situation, wherein the white woman has more social status and authority. Karla assures us that the facts will surely support blah blah blah, when all I can see is, Karla thought Celie was hunky-dory and right-on for awhile, then decided she was not, all due to some Facebook feuds.


Pardon my skepticism, but I hardly think so.