tomemos

January 14, 2008

Wanna be startin’ somethin’

Filed under: Blogs Themselves, Funny Stuff, Wrong Place Buddy — tomemos @ 10:41 pm

Checking our blog stats, and in particular the Google searches that lead misguided “readers” to our blogs, is something of a hobby among small bloggers, or at least me and my wife. This being the case, I’d like to inaugurate “Wrong Place, Buddy,” a recurring feature wherein I’ll note some of the more memorable search terms that made people realize that tomemos was for them. Here are the first two:

“having a decent dump”

“crotch shot of girl patting a snake”

Of course, posting these only makes it more likely that people (how many can there be?) will find this site with these searches. So, let me say to those people: Jesus, guys, haven’t you heard of Google Images?

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January 8, 2008

Save the drama for Obama

Filed under: Laws and Sausages — tomemos @ 11:59 am

(Updated below)

(title courtesy of Bad Gods)

Here’s how it went down. First, Hungarian Great Bela Tarr, who resides in Iowa, posted his predictions for the caucuses at his blog, Days of Industry (previously plugged in this space). His Democratic predictions went like this: Obama 40, Edwards 26, Clinton 24. Having seen polls showing a dead heat between the three candidates, that struck me as unlikely, so I posted a comment:

I think we’re seeing a little extravagant optimism here—if Clinton does that badly, I will wear the silliest hat I own everywhere I go for two days.

(I used the word “optimism” to reflect HGBT’s dislike of Clinton, not my own; see below.) HGBT asked if that was a promise, and if there would be pictures; I replied that yes, if Clinton finished in third with more than a fifteen-point deficit, as the post predicted, I would honor my promise and take pictures.

Well, you know how it actually shook out: 38/30/29. Obama did better, and Clinton worse, than I predicted, but she still finished well above the 15-point gap I specified. Nevertheless, HGBT had the temerity to send an e-mail to, like, everyone, with the subject line “The question is: will Tom man up?”

I did not wear my hat everywhere (or anywhere) I went; I consider myself vindicated by the results, if just barely. Nevertheless, the exchange (and the election itself, obviously) forced me to clarify my thoughts about the candidates, and I thought I would share those. And I did end up making a concession regarding my vow—read on for details.

(more…)

January 3, 2008

Omitofo

Filed under: Blogs Themselves, Laws and Sausages, Travels — tomemos @ 12:22 pm

(Updated below)

Two great posts have just gone up that have some bearing on my last, so I wanted to point you towards them if you haven’t seen them already.

Girl Detective just posted about an encounter we both had with a politically-minded drunk, who lambasted me for my laziness, privilege, and selfishness in getting a PhD rather than (for instance) volunteering in New Orleans, and then urged GD to make me understand what’s really important (by taking me to see Charlie Wilson’s War, mainly). One of the points GD makes in her post is that, despite our interlocutor’s avowed progressivism, she was actually embodying the anti-intellectualism (and, in her dealings with GD herself, the sexism) that is such a staple of the right wing. Now, most of the progressives and radicals who level accusations of liberal privilege are not drunk and belligerent, but rather thoughtful, committed, and intelligent. Nevertheless, the same kind of duping is often present: at the Shrub Blog, I observed that some criticism of Yes Means Yes, in dismissing the link between women’s sexuality and rape, was echoing right-wing opposition to (for instance) The Vagina Monologues. One of the right wing’s great triumphs has been to use privilege as a wedge issue against the left—think of the emphasis on Kerry’s billions and Edwards’s haircuts, while Bush and Cheney are allowed to be as rich as they want—such that ambition and idealism are both considered superfluous and inauthentic.

•After reading about my brief meat-eating stint, Uncomplicatedly posted her own solution to being a vegetarian in a meat-heavy locale, New Orleans in her case: simply to ask the chef to prepare something vegetarian, which can be more intimate than simply picking something off a menu:

You see, ordering a vegetarian plate gives you a unique relationship to the chef. Some will just give you a collection of their side dishes, which can be a bummer, but some will look around at their kitchens, see what’s on hand, and improvise something special for you. If taste is the most transitory aesthetic experience, it is also one of the most intimate, and I am grateful to all the chefs who have ever taken extra time to consider my needs. While my family members struggled with difficult choices, I would be sitting serenely with a closed menu, waiting to see what delightful thing the chef would do for me. I didn’t feel restricted — I felt more free.

Uncomplicatedly also writes movingly about the ways those with good intentions towards animals can reconcile themselves to the times when we can’t help them as we’d like. This seems to me applicable to other attempts to help the disadvantaged, and provides a link between what the two threads of my last post, threads which at the time I thought were unconnected. We should do what we can to help, and we should absolutely criticize those who harm. (To slip into the specific for a moment: some may feel this way about Yes Means Yes; I disagree, but more power to them.) But energy is almost always better spent doing, than it is lambasting oneself or others for not doing more.

Update (1/4): Joseph Kugelmass gives his take on all of this over at his blog, in an ambitious and thought-provoking entry.  It includes, among other things, the only defense of meat-eating I’ve seen that goes beyond “The lions do it,” “The cavemen did it,” “It tastes good,” or “How do you know PLANTS don’t feel pain?”  Highly recommended.

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