Re: I bet he's eager to tell you how proud he is to be a feminist, too

1

Cite your sources, Labs.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:30 AM
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Don't hate the vegan player, FL.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:30 AM
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A colleague has a similar story of young men at his conservative college insisting that the surge of hormones that they felt when they espied a beautiful woman was the Holy Spirit moving them. It's a sign from God that we are meant to be, man!

Yes, son, the Spirit is what's moving.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:30 AM
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The sad follow-up to 3 is that some of them get married and then in the cold light of post-coital sobriety realize what they've done.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:31 AM
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It depends on your definition of the Holy Spirit. Or were all those sado-masochistic masturbators of the Middle Ages not really worthy of becoming saints?!?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:35 AM
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Surely this suggest some angle by which we could save Slut-O-Ween for the sake of feminism. There's a value to having someone articulate the position and act in accord with it whether or not they believe it.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:36 AM
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4: Indeed. This goes along well with getting-married-at-20-getting-divorced-at-26.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:38 AM
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To be fair, that's a profile piece--if you wanted to be incredibly even-handed, you'd have to confess that it's possible the author was cherry-picking the most embarrassing and un-thought-out comments from a long interview.

But then you might want to look at the Kucinich campaign's official website page about Elizabeth--excuse me, "Mrs. Kucinich"--and notice that it uses the phrase "life partner." And that, for all their progressivism, she apparently chose to take his name. Somehow the fact that she did that, combined with the age difference, strongly suggests that his leftyism is of the self-indulgent it's-all-about-me variety, and that hers is the goofball kind that's not real big on actual hard-edged critical thinking.

Or, as I said to Labs, "I've always had sort of this vague feeling that Kucinich was one of those leftier-than-thou men who annoy the shit out of me. Based mostly on his supporters, I guess, and his anti-SCHIP vote. Now I feel like my disdain for him has been confirmed."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:38 AM
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I don't think you can draw even one single, solitary conclusion from the fact that someone took her husband's name after marriage.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:40 AM
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Sure, sometimes "making a soul connection" is really code for "yeah, I will definitely be hitting that later", but I look at pictures of the two of them and think that they are obviously completely goofy about each other.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:40 AM
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Update? "Update"? Too little, too late.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:41 AM
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she apparently chose to take his name

Because, of course, choosing to take your spouse's last name is the clearest sign that your spouse is a fake-ass liberal.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:41 AM
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Somehow the fact that she did that, combined with the age difference, strongly suggests that his leftyism is of the self-indulgent it's-all-about-me variety, and that hers is the goofball kind that's not real big on actual hard-edged critical thinking.

There's a third kind?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:41 AM
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Isn't it something like 95% of American women take their husband's name? I'm not sure much can be concluded from that (Is Elizabeth Edwards not progressive?)

Hey, it's really easy to love that soul when it appears in such a beautiful form.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:42 AM
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Well, there is *one* conclusion, namely that their last names are the same. I quibble.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:43 AM
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obviously completely goofy about each other


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:44 AM
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Also, I've concluded that B's box of random opinions should be audited for quality control.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:44 AM
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the light consciousness picture

I'm imagining a Celestial Seasonings package illustrated by Thomas Kinkade—which is the same thing I imagine when I wonder what hangs in the art museums of Hell.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:45 AM
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Celestial Seasonings package illustrated by Thomas Kinkade

Resurrection-Pomegranate Zinger


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:46 AM
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Okay. First, proposing to a woman who is 40 years younger than you after like three days suggests a certain level of entitlement. Second, being cool with her taking your name, when she is 40 years younger than you and just starting out on her career and you're (supposedly) Mr. Super Progressive, suggests that your Progressivism isn't terribly well thought-out and, at the very least, is less important to you than this sentimental "soul mate" nonsense. Which really, as a 60 year old man? Ought to be at least a little embarrassing.

I'm sorry. These folks are in public life. Their entire *deal* is oh-we've-made-our-life's-work-about-progressive-values. While I'm willing to give a pass to normal everyday anonymous people on grounds of sentiment, tradition, or "it's just easier"--I wish they wouldn't, but hey, it's their marriage--I'm kinda gonna have a little higher standards for people who are making a public stand for progressive values. Sue me.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:47 AM
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Passion Passion Fruit Infusion.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:47 AM
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Jesus, I have to admit I really like the sleepytime box, you know, with the little bear in the pajamas and cap sitting by the fire with some tea? it just looks so cozy.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:48 AM
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Dude.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:49 AM
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B fancies herself feminazier-than-thou, but she's a lightweight compared to the the real pros.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:49 AM
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Seriously. How is the name-change thing any *less* legitimate than making fun of him for the "soul mate" stuff? The soul-mate stuff is merely an aesthetic judgment; the name-change thing (and the age difference) at least *potentially* have some real significance.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:50 AM
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I don't even think the quote is so bad:

"I saw her eyes go to the light consciousness picture, then to the Gandhi bust, then to me," he says. "It was like one, two, three. That's when I knew."

He is following her eyes and they are showing him what draws her attention and what her internal priorities are. That tells him they think alike.

You don't have to read that quote to make him out to be a tool. They get the benefit of the doubt by me.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:50 AM
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Second, being cool with her taking your name, when she is 40 years younger than you and just starting out on her career and you're (supposedly) Mr. Super Progressive, suggests that your Progressivism isn't terribly well thought-out and, at the very least, is less important to you than this sentimental "soul mate" nonsense.

What kind of logic is this? If she's really that concerned about her career prospects, changing her name to Kucinich makes her more recognizable and memorable, as well as a veritable deity in all the circles she's likely to be looking for a job.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:50 AM
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20: Seriously B, I know this is one of your pet peeves, but it really doesn't tell you anything about the authenticity of somebody's progressivism.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:51 AM
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24: That's not feminanythingier-than-thou. That's just embarrassing nutcaseishness.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:51 AM
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Their entire *deal* is oh-we've-made-our-life's-work-about-progressive-values.

Maybe "progressive" means something different to them.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:53 AM
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25: Because knowing that someone is your soulmate after 3 seconds likely implies you're horny, and changing your name upon marriage doesn't imply much.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:53 AM
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What kind of logic is this?

B-logic. It's kinda like O-earnestness or M-fun.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:53 AM
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Wow, B and I alone against the world. I hope the Sleepytime Bear can come too.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:53 AM
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He is following her eyes and they are showing him what draws her attention and what her internal priorities are. That tells him they think alike how to talk her into marrying (and doing other things to) him.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:54 AM
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Nobody ever said that the kind of new-age pacifist earth-loving thing the couple in question embrace makes sense according to existing narratives.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:54 AM
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Oookay. After all, they're in love. It's not fair to be at all critical of the decisions people make in their personal lives, I guess.

I'm gonna go roll my eyes now.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:55 AM
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I'm gonna go roll my eyes now.

May as well. All the rest of us already are.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:55 AM
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Dennis should have told her what to call herself in order to be respectful of her autonomy.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:56 AM
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Ned gets it exactly right in 27.

I hope the Sleepytime Bear can come too.

I sense another furries thread in the making.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:57 AM
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I love the part where he has to talk to her dad to ask permission, only Dad is younger than Dennis.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:57 AM
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@38

Indeed.

So apparently the fragile young thing has no agency. She was forced to marry him as soon as he proposed. And she was also forced to take his name. How does she even get dressed in the morning, or does Dennis command her to do that too?


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:58 AM
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So apparently the fragile young thing has no agency.

I think it's the "young" part that rubs some fur the wrong way.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:00 PM
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40: Age doesn't determine ownership, Labs.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:00 PM
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40: Dad would probably have had some concerns.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:02 PM
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the light consciousness picture

Most likely is some variation on the dynamic image on this page. Saw it described somewhere as a splash of light against an orange background which was given to him by Brahma Kumaris nuns.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:02 PM
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Sometimes people are genuine. Some smaller percentage of the time, people are genuine within a structure that is usually cynical.

But look at . They look crazy about each other, and it looks different than the Thompsons.

I was talking to the funnier Megan about why Demi and Ashton don't take more crap in the press, and she answered, 'because he gets googly-eyed every time he looks at her.' Sometimes it is genuine.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:02 PM
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I sense another furries thread in the making.

meet

I think it's the "young" part that rubs some fur the wrong way.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:03 PM
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42

She's 30. Are you (or some, I guess) really willing to specify that she can't make decisions for herself at age 30?


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:03 PM
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For no good reason at all, I do have to link this picture of Kucinich as third-string quarterback on his high-school football team. He's number 26.

Hasn't the man suffered enough?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:03 PM
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But isn't the use of the name for career purposes the sort of thing you'd expect Mrs K to frown on? Besides, it sounds like her full-time job is hanging out with him. Yeah, I totally see why this is like the progressive poster couple.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:03 PM
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I love the part where he has to talk to her dad to ask permission, only Dad is younger than Dennis.

Keep hope alive, Labs.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:04 PM
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Can we please not conflate (a) her ability to make choices and (b) how good those choices are?


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:04 PM
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49: Awwww!


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:04 PM
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being cool with her taking your name

Yeah, he should have been a real feminist and dictated that she keep her father's name!

Seriously, I get that lots of women keep "their" name for progressive reasons, and I respect that. I didn't. because my name kind of annoyed me and his name was nice and blandly generic. And I'm still keeping it, even after deciding that he kind of annoyed me and needed to go. I mean, really, a rose by any other name and all that...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:04 PM
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42: We're certainly not hearing about what an outrage it is that Elizabeth, Michelle and Hillary consider themselves progressives and also call themselves Edwards, Obama and Clinton.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:04 PM
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Proposing after three days doesn't make him entitled. It makes him crazy. And we already knew that.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:05 PM
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I will agree that Dennis Kucinich's progressivism isn't terribly well thought-out and he's a real sucker for kooky sentimental "spiritual" nonsense. But it's not primarily her decision to take his name that leads me to that conclusion, and would that more politicians were so well-meaning & harmless. (In 2004, he drove me crazy, but I'm trying to embrace the popular front & get over myself a bit about people who are leftier & kookier than I am.)


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:05 PM
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What kind of logic is this?

It's an actual explanation and argument, as opposed to "you're crazy and your opinions are random."

I get what you're saying about name recognition. And sure, if what she wants is to build her career on his--which she pretty much says in the CD article, after all--then, fine, it's a logical choice. But wanting to build your career on your husband's coattails is kind of pathetic, and worth raising an eyebrow at. Especially, again, if we're talking about a couple that's all into how progressive they are.

That said, 30 is obviously correct. Progressive really does mean something different to them. Which is why I said that he strikes me as the kind of "leftier-than-thou" guy that I think are assholes: it seems to me that their "progressivism" means, basically, preening themselves on how sensitive and morally superior they are. I, personally, would rather deal with a straight-up old-school man who expects to be catered to; they're usually less condescending.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:07 PM
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55: I thought HRC was forced into it by political necessity?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:07 PM
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But wanting to build your career on your husband's coattails is kind of pathetic, and worth raising an eyebrow at.

So we get to vote for the black guy now without feeling guilty about it?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:09 PM
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Hold up. We can't even rule on the 'proposing after three days' part. That's only crazy if they were wrong, and there's no sign of that. Maybe they're enlightened enough to know themselves that fast.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:09 PM
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preening themselves on how sensitive and morally superior they are

Yeah, "preening" is exactly the image I got from, "She looked at the light consciousness thingy, then Ghandi, then me..." Like, gosh, what I first notice about her was how she was gazing upon me!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:09 PM
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it seems to me that their "progressivism" means, basically, preening themselves on how sensitive and morally superior they are

I've never noticed Kucinich promoting himself as morally superior. Passionate about his beliefs, yes, preening, no.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:10 PM
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But wanting to build your career on your husband's coattails is kind of pathetic, and worth raising an eyebrow at.

Don't bring Hillary into this.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:11 PM
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I just keep wondering when he's going to admit he didn't throw the One Ring into the fires of Mt. Doom.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:11 PM
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The logic may not be unassailable,but I feel B's point on the name change. When I have people who get married, female people, and they change their names I tend to wish neither they nor their male partners were cool with it. I do the same thing when I meet parents at my kid's preschool; if the moms have different names, without even thinking about it I rank them higher on my could-be-friends-with list.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:12 PM
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We can't even rule on the 'proposing after three days' part. That's only crazy if they were wrong, and there's no sign of that. Maybe they're enlightened enough to know themselves that fast.

The whole idea of marriage is patriarchal enough that it should only be a last resort, Megan.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:13 PM
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50: Marry me, Labs. You can keep your name.

he should have been a real feminist and dictated that she keep her father's name!

I *hate* this argument. One keeps the name one is given at birth, not because it's "my father's name" but because it is the name one has had one's entire life. It's *my* name. I'm sorry that I can't go back and rewrite history, but you know, that's not an excuse not to make a better choice now.

That said. Look, I *get* that lots of perfectly good feminist women change their names. Fine. We all make compromises with the world we live in. But let's please not pretend that they aren't comnpromises, okay?

55: As a matter of fact, Hillary Rodham *didn't* take her husband's name until it became very clear that her failing to do so was a major political liability. And then she changed it to Rodham Clinton. Yes, now she is Clinton; and yes, that is clearly a concession to realistic politics. But it *is* clearly a concession.

57: It's not *primarily* the name change that makes me dislike Kucinich. It's the dissonance between what people think he's supposed to be and what, on the evidence--his pyrrhic vote on SCHIP, for example--he seems to be: a leftist who thinks that his own personal moral purity is more important than whether or not he actually makes a difference.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:13 PM
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I thought his repeated vanity runs for the presidency were evidence of preening.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:14 PM
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What 57 said.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:14 PM
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it seems to me that their "progressivism" means, basically, preening themselves on how sensitive and morally superior they are.

If you know a little about Dennis's biography, he's got a pretty strong claim to moral superiority. This isn't, say, Barack Obama or John Edwards or Hillary Clinton. This is a guy who was liberal at times and places when it cost him to be liberal.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:15 PM
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This is a guy who was liberal at times and places when it cost him to be liberal.

Him and others (cf. SCHIP).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:17 PM
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You're moving the goalposts, B. Your original claim was that the fact she changed her name was good evidence for their lack of progressive values. Now you seem to be moving to 'it's a concession.' I don't think you can conclude much more than that (maybe Elizabeth headed off the whole thing because Kucinich was already a politician.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:17 PM
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60: It is my considered opinion--and I think the facts bear me out--that Clinton didn't *want* to build her career that way; she did so because circumstances sort of forced her too. Very different situation.

tend to wish neither they nor their male partners were cool with it

This is it exactly. It's not a question of my saying a man should tell her what to do, she lacks agency, blah blah strawfeminist argument. It's that because I *do* think that, you know, men are thinking creatures as well, and that they might could should actually give a shit about the equality of the women they love, and that couples *should* and hopefully *do* reach these decisions together--because of these things, I'm disappointed in *both* halves of a straight couple when the name change happens.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:19 PM
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If you already want to think he is preening, you can read the quote that way. If you don't think that, you can read the quote as an unusual level of alertness to other people's attention (how many of you follow your conversation partner's eyes?) and an excitement that she looked first at two things that are important to him too and then at him.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:19 PM
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Cala, 73 isn't quite right. With HRC, I think, well, she conceded to the political realities because she really does want a political career. With Kucinich, the utter certainty of the failure of his political ambitions means he has the luxury of a principled stand.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:20 PM
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58: it seems to me that their "progressivism" means, basically, preening themselves on how sensitive and morally superior they are.

In his defense, Kucinich does have some concrete accomplishments and genuinely courageous stands to his credit. (And the SCHIP vote is not necessarily cause to doubt his progressivism.) If he didn't actually do anything but morally preen himself, that would be rather different.

Their romance sounds to me pretty typical of powerful older man meets ambitious younger women, the sort of thing to which the dynamics of the political class lends itself. Much as I, for one, would for the most part love to see the American political class collectively boiled in pig fat, within that context it's nevertheless pretty weak to attack them as insufficiently progressive because Elizabeth didn't hyphenate her last name or simply keep her original name. Their actual accomplishments within their social class are more interesting and probably more telling.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:20 PM
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73: Also, that the same concession is good when you're riding Bill Clinton's coattails to losing the general election because it constitutes pragmatic adjustment but bad when you're married to Dennis Kucinich and advocating for hippie veganism because it makes the man's behavior smack of moral superiority. Wouldn't a morally preening "male feminist" (cough Hugo Schwyzer cough) make a colossal, tiresome point about his life partner keeping her birth name?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:22 PM
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Agh, multiple-pwnage.

But it's a sign of the deep malaise of American political life that progressives are comfortable attacking actual moral stands in politics as "preening." That's fucked, people. You seriously don't have to perpetuate that shit.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:22 PM
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I go back and forth. Part of me is with B: the whole point of Dennis Kucinich's existence is as the voice of ultra-pure leftism even when it would be unpopular or kind of crazy-sounding (Department of Peace and so on), but he's still married to a woman thirty years younger than he is who changed her name to his. Quixotic leftist purity is all very well, but falling for someone your own age with her own life? That would be too much. Feh, I say.

On the other hand, he seems like a nice little man (see above quixotically ultra-pure leftism), and he seems awfully happy. Which is nice.

Further disturbing me is that I have no idea what she's thinking. She appears to be happy with the relationship, which means either that she's an idiot, or that Kucinich is inexplicably endearing. I'd like it if the latter were the explanation, but it seems like the less likely of the two.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:22 PM
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76: What about her? Does she gain more taking his name or not?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:22 PM
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What's the story with SCHIP?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:22 PM
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73: No. The "it's a concession" thing is in response to the folks in this thread who seem to be arguing that you can't draw *any* conclusions about whether or not women change their name; the implicit group consensus here seems to be that after all, feminism is all about choices, so we can't judge.

In *their* particular case--given that they're public figures, etc., as I said upthread--I draw the conclusion that he is somewhat self-indulgent and that, when it's important *to him*, he's willing to sacrifice Progressive Goals to Feeling Good About Himself. It suggests to me that she's young and more naive than she should be (since she's not *that* young) about the relationship between the personal and the political.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:23 PM
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69: I'd need you to define "preening," then. If running a campaign doomed to lose, despite the fact that large numbers of people actually agree with your policy objectives, falls into the class of preening behaviors, then okay, but I'm not really seeing it. You think he does it to stroke his ego? I don't; but I doubt it's objectively decidable.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:23 PM
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I *hate* this argument. One keeps the name one is given at birth, not because it's "my father's name" but because it is the name one has had one's entire life. It's *my* name. I'm sorry that I can't go back and rewrite history, but you know, that's not an excuse not to make a better choice now.

That said. Look, I *get* that lots of perfectly good feminist women change their names. Fine. We all make compromises with the world we live in. But let's please not pretend that they aren't compromises, okay?

But you know, for alot of reasons personal to me, I considered taking on a new name to be a better choice and a better choice in a "asserting my own damn autonomy" kind of way. Picking a new name entirely might have been an even better choice and doing so upon some occasion other than marriage still better yet. But really, I just do not consider my decision a compromise at all.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:24 PM
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79 - I am right with you, DS. Thanks for that.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:24 PM
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82 before I saw the link in 77.

It's not as if Kucinich lectures people on how to be a male feminist.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:26 PM
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80: Quixotic leftist purity is all very well

And this doesn't make sense. Last I heard, Kucinich wasn't running for the Communist Party or joining his local branch of Womyn in Action, so there's no reason to hold him to "quixotic leftist" standards. He only looks "quixotically leftist" because of the insane proto-fascist drift of American politics; in the context of most Western democracies he's moderate left at best.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:26 PM
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74: Yeah, well, I'm disappointed in you, too, then.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:28 PM
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Cala, her career as what, exactly? Her wiki page reveals that she has a tongue piercing but does not give a current occupation.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:30 PM
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feminism is all about choices, so we can't judge.

No, it's that this is ultimately a choice of no importance, except to a few people who have it as one of their personal pet peeves.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:30 PM
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76 gets it exactly right.

DS, I know why he voted against the bill. It's the kind of argument that, imo, amounts to preferring one's own moral purity--I cannot in good conscience support this bill!!--to actually achieving something. The facts on the ground were that it was that bill, or no bill. Yes, that bill was flawed. Yes, it's worth saying that the bill is flawed. No, it is not worth undercutting the entire fucking program because you decide it needs to be all or nothing.

LB is right that he seems like a nice enough little man. My point here is that even nice people are political agents--especially when they're fucking senators and/or running for president--and that being "nice" and "in love" and "idealistic" doesn't, and shouldn't, give one a free pass when it comes to assessing one's *political* merits.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:31 PM
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>I'm trying to embrace the popular front & get over myself a bit about people who are leftier & kookier than I am.

This is a good point. As far as I know he was the only candidate to support a single-payer system of universal health care. It is a bad thing that everyone makes fun of him.

Also, kuchinich isn't much of a feminist. He didn't come out strongly pro-choice until 2003.


Posted by: Lemmy Caution | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:32 PM
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I'm changing my name to Becks XX.

Becks Lastname was my slave patriarchal name.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:32 PM
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I like 80 a lot.

If you know a little about Dennis's biography, he's got a pretty strong claim to moral superiority. This isn't, say, Barack Obama or John Edwards or Hillary Clinton. This is a guy who was liberal at times and places when it cost him to be liberal.

OK, I'll admit up front that I've drunk the Kool-Aid, but one of those three is not so much like the others on that front.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:32 PM
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Quixotic leftist purity is all very well, but falling for someone your own age with her own life? That would be too much. Feh, I say.

LB, am I correctly reading your position is that there's something wrong, or at least questionable, with a man falling for a woman (or a woman falling for a man) who is thirty years younger?

I think a very large percentage of people would happily "fall for" someone thirty years younger, were they otherwise unattacted and were someone thirty years their junior to fall for them. I understand there's some patriarchal history we're working against here, so it's tough to consider this in a vacuum, but Jesus, you can't blame a guy for falilng for an attractive young woman. (30! We're not talking 16.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:33 PM
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80: Oh, sure it makes sense. Kucinich's persona is that of someone who has consistently chosen to stick by his leftist principles rather than adjust them to get along practically -- that principled consistency is what I'm calling quixotic, not that he's lefter than anyone else sane. Which means that it doesn't look like he sees anything about his marriage as anything less than ideal, or he wouldn't have done it. And the thirty-years-younger, name-changing bit bothers me in that context.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:33 PM
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94: You could be BeXX, for short.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:34 PM
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"Bothers me" is the blog equivalent of twisting a man's nose in antebellum Virginia.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:34 PM
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Lefty purity is no better than righty purity. There are many reasons why feminist of both genders would support a woman changing her name, and anyone who criticizes them without knowing the circumstances is just as closed-minded and reflexive as any wingnut.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:35 PM
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I like 80 a lot.

If you know a little about Dennis's biography, he's got a pretty strong claim to moral superiority. This isn't, say, Barack Obama or John Edwards or Hillary Clinton. This is a guy who was liberal at times and places when it cost him to be liberal.

OK, I'll admit up front that I've drunk the Kool-Aid, but one of those three is not so much like the others on that front.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:35 PM
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The politics of name changing are certainly bigger than just being a "pt peeve," no? Look, everyone has personal reasons that mitigate the extent to which they should be judged on a particular behavior, whether that behavior is drunken obnoxiousness, garishly conspicuous consumption, the having of a big ornate wedding, breaking traffic rules, or name changing. Everyone understands these things within her own context, but that doesn't make any of them less meaningful for me as I form opinions about someone. Changing your name signifies. And it may signify autonomy to you, but it just doesn't to me.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:35 PM
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85: Great: I'm not going to argue with your assessment of your own situation. I'm saying it's a compromise because it's *always* a question of whether or not a woman is going to change *her* name on marriage--howcome this isn't an issue for men (unless, of course, said men and their prospective wives are deliberately being iconoclastic)? And howcome it's always on the occasion of *marriage*?

Basically I'm agreeing with this--Picking a new name entirely might have been an even better choice and doing so upon some occasion other than marriage still better yet--and saying, how is it not, in a small way, a "compromise" that the new name thing happened when you got married, and happened to be your husband's surname?

91: No importance whatsoever? Again, then why don't we see men and women changing their names in equal numbers? Symbols do matter; you can ignore them and say they don't matter *much*, but I don't see how you can say that they have "no importance whatsoever."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:36 PM
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Fuck. I have no idea how that happened.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:36 PM
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96: We're having one of those context-free conversations in which we're ignoring the fact that rich or powerful older men conventionally find themselves much younger wives or sex partners, and that these relationships are problematic from a gender-equality point of view, are we?

Cause yeah, outside of that cultural context, fall for who you like. Even within it, fall for who you like, but under some circumstances I'm going to be examining your relationship suspiciously. If you care, which there's no real reason why you should.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:38 PM
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Also, kuchinich isn't much of a feminist. He didn't come out strongly pro-choice until 2003.

Indeed. Which is another reason that I'm not a big fan of oh-he's-the-real-progressive-candidate arguments. If "progressive" means that feminism is an afterthought, well then, it ain't fucking progressive, I'm sorry. It's just another version of self-serving male bullshit.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:39 PM
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104: What's in that Kool-Aid.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:39 PM
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I wish I had a better articulation of this sort of phenomena, but I'm kind of tired of situations where people mouth the progressive platitudes but then when the rubber hits the road-- in "our own person case"-- it's the older guy sexxxing up the younger, more attractive woman, or the couple moving because of *his* job, and so on; that is, the results look just like what the Traditional Values couple would do.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:40 PM
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105: Ayup. The sentiments therein apply also to comment 100.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:41 PM
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you can't blame a guy for falilng for an attractive young woman

Though, to continue that thought, it is probably fair to blame him for the "soul partner" stuff. But that's only to the extent you think it's a dodge. (As in: maybe he says "soul mate" not because he's a genuine kook, or at least not only because he's a genuine kook, but also to deflect criticism, because he's otherwise uncomfortable explaining why he's married to someone 30 years younger than he is, probably for some of the very reasons mentioned in this thread. Very possibly he's even trying to deceive himself in this regard.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:41 PM
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"person" s/b "personal."


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:41 PM
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108: I think your problem is that you're unable to come up with a formulation that respects the choices that honorable people make in this flawed world. I can't come up with such a formulation, either, so I see your problem.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:42 PM
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108: Labs, honey, you don't need to keep commenting. I'll happily suck your cock. You had me when the post hit the main page.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:42 PM
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86: Cheers.

92: It's the kind of argument that, imo, amounts to preferring one's own moral purity--I cannot in good conscience support this bill!!--to actually achieving something.

Well, supporting legislation that openly treats part of the populace as second-class citizen would be "achieving something," alright, but forgive me if I don't see Kucinich as "preening" for taking a pass.

97: that principled consistency is what I'm calling quixotic, not that he's lefter than anyone else sane.

But it's principled consistency with the sort of moderate leftism that doesn't really give a shit about whether or not you change your name when you marry. So I don't see why his marriage arrangements are so bothersomely hypocritical. The woman is younger than him and attractive, but it's not like she's a Playmate trophy bride or something.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:42 PM
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108: Yep. Offering sexual favors or to bear your children as a means of expressing the intensity of my agreement with what you said would reinforce traditional gender norms, I suppose, so I won't do it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:43 PM
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The "it's a concession" thing is in response to the folks in this thread who seem to be arguing that you can't draw *any* conclusions about whether or not women change their name; the implicit group consensus here seems to be that after all, feminism is all about choices, so we can't judge.

No, it is not some namby-pampy I can't judge because it's choice bullshit. Not changing your name is so common that it is not a useful proxy for determining someone's political views or their sincerity in holding them.

Hey, analogy! It's like when ogged insists that wearing heels reveals something interesting about a woman's character, and everyone woman on the blog says "hey, wait a minute, that doesn't say as much as you think it does."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:43 PM
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112

Yep. I thought the point of progressivism and feminism was that people should be free to make the choices that make them happy, even if they don't happen to fit either the patriarchical or feminist narratives.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:43 PM
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Even within it, fall for who you like, but under some circumstances I'm going to be examining your relationship suspiciously

Examining for what? Evidence of inequality?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:44 PM
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113: yeah, but you'll liveblog it. So intimidating.

112: right. On one hand, the fear is that the progressive commitments are just epiphenomenal; on the other is the worry that sometimes the older guy and the younger woman are just right for each other, despite the baggage and context.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:44 PM
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I'm kind of tired of situations where people mouth the progressive platitudes but then when the rubber hits the road ... the results look just like what the Traditional Values couple would do.

Problem is, even if the couple is truly progressive and past the patriarchy and decided these things by a neutral coin flip, half the time the results are going to look like what the Traditional Values couple would do.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:45 PM
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108 is good, and I don't disagree.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:45 PM
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112: The argument is that you should at least admit that what you're doing has something to do with your historical and cultural context, rather than pulling this "soul mates" and "when you're really in love, age doesn't matter" nonsense.

114.2: If the choice is between taking care of some children and taking care of no children, then yes, I'll call voting for the latter in order to make a symbolic stand about second-class citizenship "preening." Why not support the flawed bill and then introduce an amendment? Or a new bill to correct the flaws?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:45 PM
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118: Well, yeah.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:45 PM
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If you can hate on the Kucinich-love, you just aren't human. This ain't Zizek's zombie wedding. Be romantic people!

insisting that the surge of hormones that they felt when they espied a beautiful woman was the Holy Spirit moving them.

And he is right to so insist. The beautiful is neighbor to the sublime.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:46 PM
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Examining for what? Evidence of inequality?

Examining.

Your question has been noted in the building.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:46 PM
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The politics of name changing are certainly bigger than just being a "pt peeve," no?

No.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:46 PM
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120 - Unless they're lesbian. I suppose that if they're gay, the results will always look like one person is taking the hit to support a man's career.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:48 PM
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just looking at the photos, don't know about them anything, i think they are a pretty compatible happy couple, the lady looks mature and not that young-fragile, he looks somehow fragile even if old


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:49 PM
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120: Sure. But when you've got a very common strongly-unequal-in-a-patriarchical-direction pattern, and you're not finding examples of strongly-unequal-in-a-matriarchial-direction cases to balance it out with, you can be pretty sure that's not what's mostly going on. When Nancy Pelosi marries a 30 year old hunk of beefcake who works in her office, Kucinich doesn't look so bad.

116: Not changing your name is so common that it is not a useful proxy for determining someone's political views or their sincerity in holding them.

I think that works for the woman on the street, mostly. For someone like Kucinch, whose whole life is lefty politics, I think it means more.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:49 PM
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90: FL, she has worked for NGOs. You must know that - it's in the linked article. If she's not NGOing right now, I think we can safely say that she's campaigning for her husband, which is not exactly unprecedented, even for women with further-along careers.

Also, on the Day 3 proposal thing: hippy-dippy people do that sort of shit. They also call each other "soul-mates." I don't think this should come as news to someone who lives in CA.

The guy is a lifelong bachelor who gets a lot of hobbit jokes at his expense. EK is not a "trophy" for an older man who divorced his B-approved first wife. She's a hippy-dippy weirdo who buys into his goofy worldview.* I think it's nice they found each other.

* Yes, of course it's possible that she's a manipulative climber who has chosen to latch onto the punchliniest pol in the US as her fast track to fame and wealth. Also possible that she's just an ignorant child who was overwhelmed by DK's raw charisma.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:51 PM
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122: Why not support the flawed bill and then introduce an amendment? Or a new bill to correct the flaws?

Because it opens further efforts up to a very predictable avenue of attack:

"Introduce a new bill? We already have this perfectly good healthcare bill which he voted for! That Dennis Kucinich, he's such a quixotic leftist!"

While discrediting Kucinich as a progressive more generally:

"How can Dennis Kucinich call himself a 'progressive' when he officially agrees that children of legal immigrants aren't worthy of health care! Just look at his votes!"

That ain't pragmatism. It's a trap. He was right to avoid it.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:51 PM
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it's principled consistency with the sort of moderate leftism that doesn't really give a shit about whether or not you change your name when you marry. So I don't see why his marriage arrangements are so bothersome

Because so many people hold him up as the *real* progressive candidate.

116: Right, and I think that my statement in re. heels was that sure, women wearing heels "means something"--it means that they've decided that X (in my case, vanity and being kind of femmey because I enjoy it) is more important than the choice that's best for their lower back/most symbolically critical of sexism.

I think maybe where you and I are differing is that in my real-world peer group, not changing your name really has been the norm. And it generally hasn't been some major huge deal that you had to convince your boss/kids' teacher/etc of; you just didn't change it, and there it is. Between that and having to fill out the paperwork to change your name, I do kind of see the name change as the active decision, rather than the neutral "norm."

120: And the problem with *that* is that because we don't yet live in equality nirvana, the "coin flip" metaphor implies that there's no such thing as social pressure or social conditioning.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:52 PM
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127: seriously. Why are gay men so un-feminist?

126: "pet peeve" + epsilon, where epsilon << (|Amount Housework(woman) / Amount Housework(man)| - 0.5)


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:52 PM
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For someone like Kucinch, whose whole life is lefty politics,

And again, Kucinich's whole life is not the sub-type of "lefty politics" that cares about name changing. It doesn't mean more.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:53 PM
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how is it not, in a small way, a "compromise" that the new name thing happened when you got married, and happened to be your husband's surname

But to me, for it to be a "compromise," I would have to have been giving some sort of ground and I really didn't. It just kind of pushes my buttons when you say that you are "disappointed" in couples who do the name change in much the same way that it pushes my buttons when people talk about pursuing a career as being a compromise as to motherhood or staying at home as a compromise as to one's own development and on and on and on. People read meaning into every choice you make and it gets tiresome to have to defend every little decision.

(That last bit is not meant as a tirade at you -- just general venting.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:53 PM
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Because so many people hold him up as the *real* progressive candidate.

Relatively speaking they're correct, he's as close as it comes. Which is an indictment of a political spectrum that has no real left, but that's not his fault.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:54 PM
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The statement that something "means something" means something, and that something is nothing.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:54 PM
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on the other is the worry that sometimes the older guy and the younger woman are just right for each other, despite the baggage and context.

Baggage and context are inescapably part of the deal in this flawed world, so I personally would give them a pass even on that. Ms. Kucinich's choices are inevitably going to be colored by the shape of society - something B allows for with Mrs. Clinton.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:55 PM
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137 gets it right.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:56 PM
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131: And those responses are important to avoid in order to maintain Dennis Kucinich's inassailablity? Or because we care about covering the children of legal immigrants? Because you'll note that the children of legal immigrants are still not covered.

EK is not a "trophy" for an older man who divorced his B-approved first wife. She's a hippy-dippy weirdo who buys into his goofy worldview.*

I think that this is true. I'm talking less about them as Human Beings than as political figures.

126: Huh. So it's completely irrelevant that name changes have been historically linked to legal erasure? Or that name changes continue to erase women from the public sphere (ever tried googling women h.s. classmates whose married names you don't know)? Or that it just so happens that it's the woman who changes her name 99% of the time?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:57 PM
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129: I think that works for the woman on the street, mostly. For someone like Kucinch, whose whole life is lefty politics, I think it means more.

Replace "woman" with "person" and this sentence serves as a concise general treatise on the vast successes of left-wing politics in the United States over the last 30+ years.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:58 PM
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134: And again, Kucinich's whole life is not the sub-type of "lefty politics" that cares about name changing. It doesn't mean more.

You seem to be missing that I think not caring about maintaining the current patriarchal name-changing norm is a problem. (Not the biggest problem in the world, not a terribly big problem, god I'm so self-absorbed even noticing this when there are children being burned alive in Kenya was we speak. Okay? But a problem.) So Kucinich not thinking maintaining the patriarchal norm is a problem makes me think less of him.

It's clear from his life that he doesn't give a fuck. I'd think better of him if he did.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:58 PM
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Kucinch, whose whole life is lefty politics

But he's not just the banner-holder for "LB's preferred definition of leftiness." He's a very specific, very unusual guy whose views are not representative of very many people, including lefties. I'm not saying that he should therefore get a free pass for being weakly feminist (at best). I'm saying that it's bogus to hold up the Platonic ideal of Lefty Pol and then knock DK personally every time he fails the test.

Of course it's fine to say "I won't vote for DK b/c his gender views are lame." But I think it's pretty shitty to attack someone's personal decisions for failure to live up to ideals that he doesn't even put up politically.

He's a vegan. Does he get to judge B for eating meat? Is she just a preening pseudo-lefty who doesn't really care about the planet?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:58 PM
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140: And those responses are important to avoid in order to maintain Dennis Kucinich's inassailablity?

How's about "credibility."


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:58 PM
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135 gets it exactly right. I cared not one bit what either of my wives did with their last names, any more than I cared whether they pierced their ears. What their last names were on our 1040 didn't affect the power relationships within the marriages AT ALL EVER EVEN A LITTLE BIT.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:58 PM
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And saying it in all caps makes it true, Apo.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:59 PM
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When Nancy Pelosi marries a 30 year old hunk of beefcake who works in her office, Kucinich doesn't look so bad.

If it'll off-set my name-change failure, I will happily marry some hot, young trophy husband the next time around.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:00 PM
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It's awfully tiring to watch a bunch of centrists work themselves into a fit over someone else actually trying to be a liberal, while at the same time going on and on about how much said liberal doesn't actually matter.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:00 PM
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I just can't believe there can be any real debate about this. People can have all sorts of personal reasons for name changing and it can be the "right" decision in a number of contexts I'm sure. None of that means it doesn't signify more conservatively and patriarchaly than not name-changing. True.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:01 PM
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Look, this isn't ending until somebody changes their last name to B's.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:01 PM
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So if I'm getting this right, a purely symbolic vote in favor of the enhancement of SCHIP is "preening," but a purely symbolic stand in favor of one's wife retaining her own name - which, for all we know, is the stand Dennis took - is, um, something else.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:01 PM
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Done. Now I have to go shovel snow.


Posted by: DSPhd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:02 PM
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Look, this isn't ending until somebody changes their last name to B's.

I wanted to, but I was told just slapping Ph.D. after my name presented some sort of ethical problem.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:03 PM
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Well, if it makes you feel any better, stras, I actually gave $$ to DK last time; I appreciated him sticking around til the convention, even though it ended up not mattering even the tiniest bit.

But it's hard to deny that his worldview is goofy. His votes are reasonably solid, but the talk behind them is farther out there than just "trying to be liberal."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:04 PM
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135: I totally, totally get that, and I feel kind of shitty that making this kind of argument pushes those buttons for you (and for probably half the women who comment here, or more). And I *don't* think you have to defend having changed your name.

Of course, I do think you (or anyone else) has to defend an argument that changing one's name is an entirely neutral act. On which grounds I'd say that whether or not you *felt* that you were giving ground is irrelevant to whether or not a name change is a compromise; I mean, there are tons of women who don't feel like they're dealing with sexism when, say, they put mascara on in the morning--but of course, they are.

Relatively speaking they're correct, he's as close as it comes. Which is an indictment of a political spectrum that has no real left, but that's not his fault.

He's as close as it comes *if feminism isn't an important part of your version of progressivism.* It is mine.

138: Sure; their decisions are contextual as well. That doesn't mean that they're completely neutral. So, for example, the argument that Clinton's presidential run is part of a dynasty, etc. etc., has to be countered by the argument that this has historically been the case for women executives the world-over--and that yes, this is regrettable, but history suggests that refusing to vote for a woman executive because her husband or father held office before her basically amounts to refusing to vote for a woman executive, period.

Which is to say, it isn't *neutral*; it's worth being critical of, and the answer is "yes, but that criticism only goes so far."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:04 PM
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150: Heh. Yeah, the idea of a man changing his name to a woman's is funny as anything.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:04 PM
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In an ideal world, 154 would have been signed JBitch. It would have been pwned, but only partly.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:05 PM
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didn't affect the power relationships within the marriages AT ALL EVER EVEN A LITTLE BIT

Come on, apo. Of course this is true, the name change or lack of change probably doesn't affect most individual marriages. But the fact that almost all people who change their names are women, and that many of them do so out of pressure/desire to hearken back to a "tradition" where women were subsumed into their husbands and couldn't own property and were Mrs. Dudesfirstname Dudeslastname? That doesn't matter at all?

Please note that women still own only 1% of the world's property.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:06 PM
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116:

Hey, analogy! It's like when ogged insists that wearing heels reveals something interesting about a woman's character, and everyone woman on the blog says "hey, wait a minute, that doesn't say as much as you think it does."

Every woman on the blog didn't say that.

112: right. On one hand, the fear is that the progressive commitments are just epiphenomenal; on the other is the worry that sometimes the older guy and the younger woman are just right for each other, despite the baggage and context.

Yes. Given that, judging suspiciously from the outset smacks of small-mindedness.

But look, the real problem with charging people with being 'leftier-than-thou' is that it partakes of the same backlash against political correctness that some will use against, say, feminist thinking, as adopting a morally superior tone. It's a bit of a cheap move.

Also, DS is right in 79 and 88.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:06 PM
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Step right up! Get your trophy husbands here!


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:07 PM
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He's as close as it comes *if feminism isn't an important part of your version of progressivism.*

So who comes closer when you include feminism, B?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:07 PM
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156: I didn't say it had to be a man. Sexist!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:08 PM
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132: In my real world peer group, it depends on the peer group. In the academy, everyone expected I wouldn't change my name. At my parents' everyone thinks my marriage is doomed because I obviously hate God. My college friends are used to me doing whatever the hell I want. But it was a decision that could have gone either way for me, and came down to after dealing with immigration for a year and half, having to deal with any government agency, like social security or the DMV, made me want to tear out my hair.

I'm not saying there aren't good reasons to be suspicious of the May-December pairing, and I agree with 108. But it's something that is so unconscious (and this is without knowing the norms of her family, or whether she was worried it would look like a green card marriage if she didn't change her name), that the name thing alone is consistent with her being leftier than 94% of the populace.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:08 PM
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But it's hard to deny that his worldview is goofy.

I'll deny it. Contra Katherine, Kucinich's liberalism is more coherent, consistent and better thought-out than anyone else in the Democratic field this year. He certainly had the only consistent and humane foreign policy on offer from the Democratic presidential candidates, and his health care plan wasn't just the best policy, but is, I remain convinced, the only type of UHC that stands a chance of becoming law in this country. I don't think Dennis Kucinich stands a chance of ever becoming president, and I don't think he thinks he does, either, but I'm glad he's there to put those ideas out there.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:09 PM
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I'll deny it.

Okay, UFO sighting off Shirley Maclaine's balcony? Goofy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:10 PM
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It's not as if he sank the bill, was it?

LB, 80 bugs me:

Further disturbing me is that I have no idea what she's thinking.

Always worth keeping in mind. But then:

She appears to be happy with the relationship, which means either that she's an idiot, or that Kucinich is inexplicably endearing. I'd like it if the latter were the explanation, but it seems like the less likely of the two.

1. "She appears to be happy with the relationship" is true, but not meaningfully so. We know nothing about their relationship.

2. The choices offered are pretty irrelevant to why people fall in love.

It's one thing to say that a 30-year-old woman and a 60-year-old man have a daddy thing going on that reflects a political-psychosexual context that does not maximize women's freedom. That's a take on their relationship that wouldn't be out of the ballpark, and given who they are, might be appropriate to make.

But there are so many other reasons why people find each other and what they offer each other. "She's an idiot"/"he's inexplicably charming" isn't useful for someone who's in an abusive relationship. It isn't useful when it comes out of the mouth of the Nice Guy bitching about the jock and the babe.

I agree that it's worth calling attention to the political content of personal choices. But it's also important to remember that those choices are personal, and have private elements that are much less knowable.

I tend to think that the name-keeping is a choice I would valorize, but never so much as to cast aspersions on name-changing. It's only entered in the plus column.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:10 PM
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I'm amused with the constant reference to Kucinich's SCHIP vote, the argument being that not only is he a goofy, crystal-loving hippie, he actually voted the wrong way once! Kucinich almost always votes the right way, even in the face of immense political pressure.

Also, on the SCHIP vote, Kucinich knew that there was no way the bill was going to fail. He cast a protest vote. Note that he voted to override Bush's veto of the bill.


Posted by: PeaDub | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:11 PM
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161: WTF? Feminism is a real part of progressivism, and Kucinich is in many ways not a great feminist. What's the point of your question?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:12 PM
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So Kucinich not thinking maintaining the patriarchal norm is a problem makes me think less of him.

I've skimmed the whole profile, and I don't think Dennis's opinion on this is stated at all. How do you know what Dennis thinks on this subject?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:13 PM
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156. My boomer boss did this, as did a 45-ish colleague. It seems like a 70s sensibility to me from both of them. Frequency of surname change is a href="http://kuznets.fas.harvard.edu/~goldin/papers/Making_a_Name.pdf"> declining in the US, will be


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:13 PM
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144: Okay, credibility. My point is that "Dennis Kucinich's credibility" is less important than "insuring seven out of ten poor children." And that his voting in a way that suggests he holds the opposite view is representative of a kind of self-interested version of leftist politics that cares more about "my credibility" than about actually getting things done.

He's a vegan. Does he get to judge B for eating meat? Is she just a preening pseudo-lefty who doesn't really care about the planet?

If I were running for president and people were going around saying "B is the really progressive candidate and howcome all you folks who call yourselves liberals don't support her" and, say, your big liberal issue was animal rights, then you would be entitled to say "yeah, whatever."

The analogy kind of falls down there, though, because animal rights really *aren't* quite as important an issue to the American body politic as *women's* rights. I'm hoping that's not really going to be an arguable statement.

A better analogy might be, okay, it would be fair to criticize me on feminist grounds because my son has my husband's surname. I can explain why I made that choie, but I can also acknowledge that it's to some extent a compromise with history. If he had his dad's last name *and* he were enrolled in, say, an all-boys' private school, I don't think I'd be going around making starry-eyed statements about how this school really was just the best one for him and these things don't matter when you really want what's best for your child; I think I would have some kind of obligation to explain why my actions were in apparent conflict with my world view. And if I didn't, then people would be justified in being annoyed if they were told that I were the dream lefty candidate.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:13 PM
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Okay, UFO sighting off Shirley Maclaine's balcony? Goofy.

Not as goofy as Christianity. A triple-god that incarnated two thousand years ago as a dead Jewish guy in a convoluted plot to get himself executed and resuscitated from the dead in an arcane cosmic ritual to allow my bodiless spiritual essence passage to the afterlife? Which is more likely - that, or aliens?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:14 PM
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156. My boomer boss did this, as did a 45-ish colleague. It seems like a 70s sensibility to me from both of them. Frequency of surname change is declining in the US, will be < 50% in 10 years.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:15 PM
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169: I'm drawing a possibly unwarranted deduction from the fact that his wife changed her name -- presumably she wouldn't have done so if he were unwilling. But, like everything else about other people, I don't actually know what he was thinking. Thanks for reminding me of that!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:15 PM
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To make 161 seem less like baiting:

There is no 100% liberal-left candidate running. So every candidate is going to be a compromise/half-measure along some axis of progressivism. Edwards is probably most consistently left (assuming we credit his feminism bona fides as better than DK's), but he's barely halfway to DK on every non-feminism issue. Given that DK's not Coburn (or, really, any R) on gender issues, I'm not sure it makes sense to disqualify him from consideration as "close to really liberal" when that axis is his primary shortfall.

Even if you weight gender issues as more important than all the rest combined (which wouldn't be crazy), DK's still to the left of pretty much everyone.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:15 PM
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a "tradition" where women were subsumed into their husbands and couldn't own property

And that, in this country, no longer exists outside of tiny pockets of crazy-ass fundamentalists. Is it a vestigial bit of a sexist structure? Sure. But it's vestigial. It no longer serves as a reliable indicator of anything.

Please note that women still own only 1% of the world's property.

So, how much would that increase if they stopped taking their husbands' last names?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:16 PM
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Please note that women still own only 1% of the world's property.

True, but they've got all the pussy.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:16 PM
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177: Not true!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:19 PM
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176 is right. I don't see how it's especially different to criticise someone for changing her name than it is to criticize her for getting married in the first place. Both are rooted in teh patriachy, and the property-status of women. Most people do both now for other reasons.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:19 PM
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B- As you'll note from the reference to the planet, I didn't mean the animal rights aspect of veganism. Meat production makes more atmospheric carbon than cars; if you're willing to concede that life as we know it is an issue comparable to feminism, then it's a big deal.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:20 PM
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171: My point is that "Dennis Kucinich's credibility" is less important than "insuring seven out of ten poor children."

Which wasn't going to happen, because it was a foregone conclusion that Bush would veto the bill, as in fact he did. So you're asking that Kucinich go on record as symbolically supporting a half-assed approach to the issue in order to bolster his credibility or bargaining power. I think that's insance, and that Kucinich symbolically rejecting an already half-assed piece of symbolism was the right thing to do.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:20 PM
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insance

You can probably guess what that's supposed to read.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:20 PM
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179: What's the non-patriarchal 'other' reason that women frequently change their names on marriage and men almost never do again?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:21 PM
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145-146: True story: About two years after I got married, we bought a house. The Real Estate Guy needed our names for some paperwork. I had to call my wife to make sure I had her name right.



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:21 PM
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the real problem with charging people with being 'leftier-than-thou' is that it partakes of the same backlash against political correctness that some will use against, say, feminist thinking, as adopting a morally superior tone. It's a bit of a cheap move.

Mmmmm, no. A *lot* of men will make great claims to be lefty leaders, and will use these claims to dismiss and marginalize feminists. This is annoying and shitty, and they deserve to be criticized for it.

167: Fair enough. It still pisses me off, though. I cite it both because I cared a lot about that bill and because frankly I don't know enough about the man's voting record on other issues to haul out any other examples. I don't believe that my ignorance means that such other examples don't exist, and I rather suspect that the reasoning on the SCHIP bill suggests they probably do. But I might be wrong.

161: On purely feminist grounds--which, in terms of national politics, has reproductive rights as a huge deal--Clinton. OTOH, the welfare reform bill, which she ostensibly supported, is a very good argument that her feminism is naive about economic and racial issues that disproportionately affect women. But she *is* the first front-running major-party woman candidate, and she does have a long history as a self-identified feminist. I'd say she's the only real feminist candidate. Even if her version of feminism is flawed.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:22 PM
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Can we distinguish between the origin of a custom and whether the custom endorses the values of its origin? This is starting to sound like stupid wedding etiquette rules.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:23 PM
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When a friend of mine got married to a man with the first name Jacob, she changed her last name to Jacobs (without an apostrophe). Romantic or a symptom of the evil patriarchy?


Posted by: PeaDub | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:24 PM
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167 is completely right and my 181 is completely wrong, because I'm running out the door. Now. Now.... NOW.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:24 PM
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None of that means it doesn't signify more conservatively and patriarchaly than not name-changing. True.

Guess what. Living in Utah signifies the same way, much more strongly. Are we going to start making blanket judgments about people (yes, "human beings," B's 140 notwithstanding) who live in Utah?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:25 PM
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I like how Dennis Kucinich can never be forgiven for voting against SCHIP because he wanted it to cover immigrant children, but all three major candidates for president have either voted for the Iraq War or for its funding, and we just kind of shrug at that 'cause, hey, whaddayagonnado? GOBAMA! HILFORPREZ!


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:25 PM
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186: If that was, partially, to my 183, my only point in 183 is that contrary to Brock's 179, while there are reasons to get married other than the subjugation of women, there aren't positive reasons other than patriarchal tradition for women but not men to change their names. Doesn't mean that it's the most harmful thing in the world, but there's no good, non-patriarchal reason for it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:26 PM
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183: What about gender power relations would be different if men changed their names? Seriously, compared to, say, salary differences, this just doesn't rate as having real-world consequences at all. Except that B has a harder time googlestalking her high school girlfriends.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:26 PM
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180: Oh. Then the criticism isn't that I eat meat; it's that my lifestyle suggests that my commitment to combating global warming is only partial.

I would say that's a completely fair criticism. If I were running for office I'd counter it with blah blah only one car, etc., but it would be a damn weak counter. It's true. I am not as fully committed to combating global warming as I should be.

I don't think Dennis's opinion on this is stated at all. How do you know what Dennis thinks on this subject?

The fact that he hasn't stated an opinion and that his actions are inconsistent with what I believe to be a real commitment to the issue suggests that he does not hold the believes that I think are important for a real commitment to the issue. Duh.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:27 PM
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I was going to give you guys a nice new thread with an interesting topic about relationships and gender but not anymore.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:27 PM
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Seriously, compared to, say, salary differences,

You can't stop my commapower.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:28 PM
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Apo's comments are completely trollish. "In MY marriage the WOMEN have the power! Riddle-me-that, O Merlock The Femagician!"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:28 PM
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And 190 is right.

NOW.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:28 PM
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A name change is not meaningless, otherwise no one would do it; it's a pain in the ass. Assuming it is meaningful, I have never heard an explanation for why a woman changed to her husband's name that was not patriarchal. I find versions of "it is easier for kids when all parents have the same last name' to be roughly the equivalent of "it is easier on kids when parents are both white/straight/normal.' Which is to say, epistemologically flawed and a cover-up for a more deeply held but under-examined belief.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:28 PM
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In MY marriage the WOMEN have the power!

That's not what I'm saying. It's that one wife did, one wife didn't, and the power relations were not any different for either one's choice.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:29 PM
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It's only entered in the plus column.

I agree with this, although just last Saturday we had dinner with "our Christian friends,"* and I mentioned to my wife as we headed over that I thought it a bit odd that she had taken his name. So I wouldn't deny that I use it as a bit of a heuristic, but weighted so lightly on the negative side as to hardly matter.

* We strongly suspect that they refer to us as their non-Christian friends; we're at all their family events, and we're the only ones they don't know from church. But they're very liberal! The wife kept getting up from dinner to check on Obama's returns in SC.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:30 PM
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"Edwards is probably most consistently left (assuming we credit his feminism bona fides as better than DK's),"

I don't actually particularly buy this.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:30 PM
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This is just crazy. The name-change / younger-woman issue is being used as an excuse to attack everything Kucinich has ever done, and seemingly every guy who seems sorta like Kucinich too. His SCHIP vote is being misrepresented. I can't tell if it's bleeding over into Kucinich's issues too -- are we still in "Maybe he's right on the issues, but...." territory or have we moved into "he's just too left wing" territory. For me it's been nice to have someone out there I mostly agree with, even if he's a goofy little guy.

Dwarfish, even, as LB pointed out twice. And what seems to be a happier than usual relationship (at long last, for the poor little bachelor dwarf) is being kibitzed to death on principled grounds without much knowledge of any specifics. (I don't know the specifics either. Maybe it isn't happier than normal.)

My brothers and I have been totally cool with the not-changing-name thing, and only one of four wives took the Emerson name, by her choice. But Jesus, this isn't that big a deal. Who knows what the reasons were? It's just crazy. There's an enormous disproportion to what people are saying unless you actually disagree with Kucinich on the other issues.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:30 PM
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155: Oh! You shouldn't feel shitty -- the "it pushes my buttons" was meant more in the light of "please don't take it personally if I'm getting a bit snippy here."

Sure, I agree that the patriarchal assumptions of name-changing are problematic. But I also think just straight name-keeping can be problematic too, especially when there are kids involved. What message do you send when the kids get dad's name? Mom's? It's fraught no matter what

Having *a* name change upon marriage suits me quite nicely as a way of establishing a new family unit. I liked the idea of having the same name as my spouse and my child because it seemed suited to being part of the same team. We could have just take "Wildcats" as a family name for that purpose -- and you are right that this would have been more desirable than just me taking a new name that symbolically bound me to his family line. But in retrospect, that works out okay because now I can mispronounce it in just the way he most hated and taunt him with the fact that he can't make me give the name back!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:31 PM
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I have never heard an explanation for why a woman changed to her husband's name that was not patriarchal.

Someone above offered "I liked it better than my name." I'm liking that some people seem to think it's worth competing to be the leftiest, though.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:31 PM
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198: I think it's possible for one's reasons to be largely unexamined, of patriarchal origin, and largely decoupled from the rest of their feminist beliefs.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:32 PM
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189: Firstly, I'm not making blanket judgments about women who name change. TO make a judgment about DK, a public figure with a set of values on record, is one thing. I am saying though that female name-changing signifies in a particular way.

I think of 'living in Utah' as less of a personal choice than name-changing. Some people, for example, are born in Utah. Some stay there to take care of sick family. Some have job irrevocably moved there. No one, not one single woman, is born with her name changed to her husband's.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:32 PM
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My partner and I have decided that if we ever get married, we're going to skip the name-taking thing and just make up new names for each other. I'll become Celeste du Marche, faded international screen starlet, and she gets to be Gothmog, Eater of Worlds.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:32 PM
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192: It's history. You meet a Mr. & Mrs. John Jones, you don't know much about what they think about gender issues. They could be suffering from inertia and family pressure, they could be traditional and never thought about it much, or they could be "Rah, rah, go patriarchy!" You meet a married Ms. Sally Smith and Mr. John Jones, or Sally and John Smith-Jones, you know they believe in gender equality on at least a lip service level.

A world where it's the norm to at least pay lip service to gender equality is a more equal world, probably, than one where it isn't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:33 PM
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The fact that he hasn't stated an opinion and that his actions are inconsistent with what I believe to be a real commitment to the issue suggests that he does not hold the believes that I think are important for a real commitment to the issue. Duh.

This seems like a completely fair thing to say. I would be much more inclined to ding him for it as a left legislator if there was an example of some legislative failing that it connected to. I would be inclined to ding him as a public figure if there was evidence of hypocrisy. Instead, I'm inclined to say, "you know, it woulda been a cool message if Dennis and whatshername had chosen some cool new name they could share, like CommieElf" and then let it go.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:33 PM
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That's not what I'm saying. It's that one wife did, one wife didn't, and the power relations were not any different for either one's choice.

Yeah, but the power relations in any individual marriage are totally irrelevant as evidence against the arguments that name-changing on a societal level is problematic.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:33 PM
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192: Name-changes present a small, but real, obstacle to women who are trying to build a coherent professional career. They take a small, but real, amount of time to deal with in terms of legality and paperwork. They can be annoying if, like DK, you end up divorcing the guy who's name you adopted and then you have to either change your name *again* (exacerbating the other issues) or else just carry around the surname of someone you probably don't really like that much any more. They make it slightly more difficult for women who don't change their names, inasmuch as name changing is the norm, so one always has to explain that no, his last name isn't B, or no, I'm not Mrs. so-and-so but I am his wife, etc.

Are those as important as pay inequity or property ownership? No. Are they, in fact, "real-world consequences"? Yes.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:33 PM
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Cala, I think you are right, but I also think it is a lazy feminism that doesn't examine, on some basic level, such a decision.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:34 PM
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You meet a married Ms. Sally Smith and Mr. John Jones, or Sally and John Smith-Jones, you know they believe in gender equality on at least a lip service level.

Or that it was a pain in the ass to get her name changed and she didn't feel like doing it and he didn't care one way or the other. Like, y'know, my current marriage. Since Roberta still has her maiden name, are my feminist bona fides now established?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:36 PM
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Can we all agree that we shouldn't trust John Lewis on African-American issues, given that he appears to have kept his slave name?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:36 PM
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re: 198

In the case of my own marriage, we did it because the law [of my wife's country] pretty much required it, and because it was a fucking pain in the arse from an immigration point of view to be handling everything with two different surnames. Now that's not proximally patriarchal. It may be distally patriarchal -- the reason why the law is a pain in the arse clearly has its roots there -- but that's not the same thing.

My sister and her kids have surnames different from both my parents and from her kid's father. My brother has a different surname from either my father, me, or my mother. I could go on. The particular names people have can have complicated origins and they don't get easily subsumed under a simple set of value judgements.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:36 PM
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Since Roberta still has her maiden name, are my feminist bona fides now established?

No, because you called it a maiden name, which is patriarchal. /shit-stirring


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:37 PM
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There's an enormous disproportion to what people are saying unless you actually disagree with Kucinich on the other issues.

John, the conversation began and has been throughout solely about the issues around his marriage. That's why we're focusing on it. His general politics are great, mostly, if it weren't for the personal goofiness.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:37 PM
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217 isn't totally fair. There's also been a number of suggestions that he's not really such a good progressive candidate, all things considered, because, you know, his wife changed her name. Which I think is what John was reacting to.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:39 PM
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190, 197: Right. See, this argument makes sense *to you* because, e.g., a strong record on abortion rights *isn't as important to you* as the Iraq war.

It is as important to me. The arguments that you guys are presenting here are dismissive of feminism as an important part of "progressive politics." My SCHIP example is *an example*. If it were the only thing I had against Kucinich, and he were great on abortion rights and had blocked approval of the new FDA chair until Plan B was available otc, and didn't have these red flags in his marriage, then your poo-pooing of the feminist issues and saying that he's the *clear* progressive choice would make sense. Because then "progressive" would include "feminist."

But as long as it doesn't, then 190, especially, is very much a pulling of the "leftier than thou" card. And I think it's shitty, and it surely doesn't incline me to feel like you're on my side--even though you want me to be on yours.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:40 PM
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For me it really could have gone either way. Had I been in a different career, or no career, or six years earlier in my career, I might have changed my name. I probably would have thought about it just as much.

ttaM brings up immigration, which is a good point. A May-December couple with a quick history & short marriage might have (incorrectly) thought that it would be easier to get past immigration with the same last name.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:40 PM
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For me, individually, I really looked forward to taking my husband's name for years and years. It was linked to my contempt of single women and a bunch of misogyny and self-loathing. It was an unexamined belief that I easily gave up when I became a feminist.

My point is that I might have easily married young, and changed my name, and it would have TOTALLY been a measure of my indoctrination with the patriarchy.

It's not for true all women, for sure, but it most certainly is true for some women.

(BTW, I particularly like Sybil Vane's 198.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:41 PM
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The analogy kind of falls down there, though, because animal rights really *aren't* quite as important an issue to the American body politic as *women's* rights. I'm hoping that's not really going to be an arguable statement.

Well, yes, but killing and eating someone is a considerably more important offense than allowing someone to take an inappropriate name. I'm hoping that's not really going to be an arguable statement.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:41 PM
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This is just crazy. The name-change / younger-woman issue is being used as an excuse to attack everything Kucinich has ever done, and seemingly every guy who seems sorta like Kucinich too. His SCHIP vote is being misrepresented. I can't tell if it's bleeding over into Kucinich's issues too -- are we still in "Maybe he's right on the issues, but...." territory or have we moved into "he's just too left wing" territory. For me it's been nice to have someone out there I mostly agree with, even if he's a goofy little guy.

Oh, thank god, Emerson.

And the "little guy" language tossed around here is extremely obnoxious.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:42 PM
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If I understand Kucinich's vote, it was a protest vote that SCHIP wasn't broad enough, and done because he knew it would pass anyway. It did, it was vetoed, and he voted to override it.

That's pretty weak tea to establish that he isn't a progressive.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:42 PM
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213: Okay, his not caring about and her not wanting to put herself to the trouble to comply with a patriarchal tradition are, when you put them together, a pretty fair proxy for not being "rah, rah, go Patriarchy!" It's not the most significant decision in your life, obviously, but the fact that that was, for the two of you, the path of least resistance says something about your politics.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:42 PM
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190: All it took was a Kucinich thread for me to substantially agree with stras. Who knew!?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:43 PM
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One of the things that bugs me about choosing a new name is that it's often ethnically deracinating. My girlfriend, should we marry, would like to shed her name and take mine. I don't particularly want to get rid of mine, but if I did, I wouldn't want it to sound like we were taking a non-Jewish-sounding stage name. But finding a different Jewish name seems even weirder.

Maybe I'll pitch "Arbeter Ring" or something.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:43 PM
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225: Apo, I think you just got LB's endorsement. Congratulations, you're now a Feminist.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:44 PM
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I was going to give you guys a nice new thread with an interesting topic about relationships and gender but not anymore.

Do it. You know you want to.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:44 PM
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LB, he's accused of being "leftier-than-thou", and lumped in with a lot of obviously horrible people of that description. That goes beyond just disapproving of the name change / younger wife thing. I also think that far too much is being read into both his marriage and the name-change issue. People are making the worst-case assumption without knowing much about what actually happened.

I always assumed that Mrs. Kucinich was the predator, frankly. The little dwarf bachelor doesn't seem to have been a big stud in the world. All the goo goo stuff about soul mates etc. is just like all the other relationship BS in the world. I can't see zeroing in on Kucinich.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:44 PM
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228: Yeah, he just has this fucked up mental block about admitting it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:45 PM
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This is just crazy. The name-change / younger-woman issue is being used as an excuse to attack everything Kucinich has ever done, and seemingly every guy who seems sorta like Kucinich too.

Hooooookay. John, this is a huge overreach, and a demonstrably false statement.

Or that it was a pain in the ass to get her name changed and she didn't feel like doing it and he didn't care one way or the other. Like, y'know, my current marriage. Since Roberta still has her maiden name, are my feminist bona fides now established?

First, as you're saying--it's a pain in the ass to get your name changed. So changing it has to be a positive choice, not the neutral position. Second, your semi-feminist bona fides are established because you didn't care. If you were positively feminist *on this particular issue* (which I don't think you're claiming to be), you wouldn't "not care"--you'd have a preference that she keep her name.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:45 PM
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I'd like to wave a big "get a fucking grip" flag at this moment, by the way.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:47 PM
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I can't believe that no one has mentioned the most important reason for one's spouse to have a different last name: when you answer the phone and hear "Mr. [spouse's lastname]?" you know immediately that you're dealing with a telemarketer or other undesirable. Click.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:47 PM
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LB, he's accused of being "leftier-than-thou", and lumped in with a lot of obviously horrible people of that description.

"Obviously horrible" is a leap, no? You've got to know people who are purists on some political point, and who obnoxiously pull rank based on their political purity even when their particular positions are questionable. Heck, you may feel like you're talking to some such people right now.

That doesn't mean there isn't still broad agreement about a lot of stuff.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:48 PM
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I don't actually particularly buy this. [Edwards lefty, tolerably feminist]

I wouldn't argue it strongly. I'm pretty sure that Edwards is at least marginally more feminist than DK, and he's clearly to the left of the field on everything else, so....

But, frankly, this reinforces the original claim, which is that DK is as close to a lefty as there is in the race. He's to the left of everyone else on everything except feminism, and only HRC can credibly claim to be much stronger on feminism.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:48 PM
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See, this argument makes sense *to you* because, e.g., a strong record on abortion rights *isn't as important to you* as the Iraq war.

A strong record on abortion rights is pretty important to me. But I'll freely admit that opposition to a war that has killed hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings - some of them women, even! - is more important to me.

Any liberal president is going to do good things on abortion rights. Any solid Democrat is going to appoint federal court judges and supreme court justices that will uphold Roe v. Wade and other core liberal decisions. But not every Democratic candidate will pursue a non-militant, non-imperialist foreign policy. In fact, militarism and imperialism are taken for granted as the fundamental basis of America's foreign policy by the leading Democratic presidential contenders. And that matters to me because bad decisions in foreign policy on the part of American presidents kill lots and lots of people. Those people are every bit as alive as you or me or anyone else in this country, and I would like someone in charge of foreign policy who would at least pretend that people born outside of the United States count as human.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:48 PM
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234: My ex-wife's never-changed name is still on the land line at my apartment, and I still get those calls to Mr. Not-Wrongshore.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:49 PM
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I'd like to wave a big "get a fucking grip" flag at this moment, by the way

Oh really? You could wave it in your colon.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:49 PM
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233: Eh, it's the best argument we've got going right now -- it's not surprising people have gotten heated. Someone starts a better one, and everyone will change focus.

I understand Robert Burns secretly loathed haggis. And whisky.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:49 PM
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It's not the most significant decision in your life, obviously, but the fact that that was, for the two of you, the path of least resistance says something about your politics.

What exactly does it say, Elbie?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:50 PM
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I wanted to change my name when I got married, but my wife didn't like "Emerson." Sorry, John.

If John were really anti-relationship, he'd be rooting for B in this discussion. Revealed preference!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:50 PM
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I would like someone in charge of foreign policy who would at least pretend that people born outside of the United States count as human.

Dreamer.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:50 PM
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49. I'd hit that.


Posted by: Elizabeth Harper | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:51 PM
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241: Check back to the prior sentence: "a pretty fair proxy for not being "rah, rah, go Patriarchy!"" Clear?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:51 PM
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These statements go beyond the name-change issue:

"I've always had sort of this vague feeling that Kucinich was one of those leftier-than-thou men who annoy the shit out of me. Based mostly on his supporters, I guess, and his anti-SCHIP vote. Now I feel like my disdain for him has been confirmed."

But as long as it doesn't, then 190, especially, is very much a pulling of the "leftier than thou" card. And I think it's shitty, and it surely doesn't incline me to feel like you're on my side--even though you want me to be on yours.

Which is why I said that he strikes me as the kind of "leftier-than-thou" guy that I think are assholes: it seems to me that their "progressivism" means, basically, preening themselves on how sensitive and morally superior they are.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:51 PM
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Dreamer.

Maybe we could start at three-fifths of human and work up?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:52 PM
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If you were positively feminist *on this particular issue* (which I don't think you're claiming to be), you wouldn't "not care"--you'd have a preference that she keep her name.

Oh, come on. You might be able to claim that a postive feminist would certainly have a preference that we didn't live in a society in which the woman is more often expected to change her name, but given our society it's a huge overreach to say that anyone should have a preference that a woman keeps her own name. What if you want a common family name (for convenience? so there's no confusion about kids' names? etc.)? Is the only responsible option for him to take her name?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:52 PM
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My ex-wife's never-changed name is still on the land line at my apartment, and I still get those calls to Mr. Not-Wrongshore.

If you answer them without correction, I think that makes you the most feminist of all!


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:52 PM
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246: So what? B doesn't like him. I'm sure he's wounded, but you know, into every life....


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:53 PM
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Is the only responsible option for him to take her name?

They could both hyphenate (Hi!) or both change to a new name.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:54 PM
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249: I go them one better. I say "No, this is Mrs. Not-Wrongshore." Who says a woman can't be a bass?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:54 PM
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251: and that satisfies the "she keep her name" criteria how exactly?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:55 PM
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You could wave it in your colon.

We've already had that thread, heebie.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:55 PM
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252: Not me!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:55 PM
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I'm kind of surprised at myself for having such an angry, visceral response to this thread. I think having women's issues tut-tutted really enrages me. Which is how I percieved the gestalt of the comment thread, not any one person. Even though I picked on Apo. He can take it, the little bitch.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:56 PM
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Sure, I agree that the patriarchal assumptions of name-changing are problematic. But I also think just straight name-keeping can be problematic too, especially when there are kids involved. What message do you send when the kids get dad's name? Mom's? It's fraught no matter what

Having *a* name change upon marriage suits me quite nicely as a way of establishing a new family unit. I liked the idea of having the same name as my spouse and my child because it seemed suited to being part of the same team. We could have just take "Wildcats" as a family name for that purpose -- and you are right that this would have been more desirable than just me taking a new name that symbolically bound me to his family line.

I think Di makes sense here. It is not a zero sum game.

On the other hand, there are certainly plenty of divorced parents who come to school with mom and dad having different names. And dont forget to add in step-parents, girlfriends, grandparents, and step-grandparents.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:56 PM
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253: The only properly feminist solution is Emerson's no-relationship policy, Brock.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:57 PM
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253: The criterion isn't "she keep her name", it's "they not adopt his name".


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:57 PM
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I actually completely agree about the name-change issue, but not about its importance. It ends up being made for a lot of reasons. In my case (35 years ago) we didn't even think of changing her name, which meant she kept her ex-husband's name because it was too much of a nuisance to change back to her father's name and anyway, she had issues with her father. I have one friend I know under three different names (over 42 years) and sometimes I forget. I just think that it's wrong to put much weight on it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:57 PM
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253: I kept my name. I've still got it, right where it always was. I added to it, but kept it.

The point is that if the shared last name for the whole family is a dealbreaker for you, there are options beyond 'everyone takes the man's name.'


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:57 PM
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OT: I just had a cigarette and it made me fully nauseous, which is the 10th or so time that has happened this week. I am quitting smoking, I declare. But I don't know that I feel ready to tell real life people, that's a lot of accountability; so someone(s) here periodically ask me about it for accountability.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:58 PM
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245: Sorry, it sounded as though you were saying that either way, the decision said something about one's politics, but I see I misread. For the record, my wife took my name, and we never had so much as the briefest conversation about it.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:58 PM
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We could have just take "Wildcats" as a family name for that purpose

Oh my god, that would be so, so awesome.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:58 PM
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227: A friend of mine didn't change her name for just that reason -- or at least a variation of it. Her husband is of Chinese descent, and she figured it would just be weird for her obviously-not-Chinese, hearty English girl look to go with his last name.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:59 PM
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262: You could try snuff instead.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:59 PM
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Many fish change sex as adults without having to change much about their lifestyles.

I would love to smoke right now but will force myself to run to the gym instead.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:00 PM
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261: The point is that if the shared last name for the whole family is a dealbreaker for you, there are options beyond 'everyone takes the man's name.'

Well no shit. I guess you learn something new every day.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:00 PM
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ethnically deracinating

My wife & I both have German surs, and many of our friends call us the Rothbergs. We did briefly consider giving that name to our daughter, but it seemed odd for her to have a name that didn't belong to either of us.

My daughter's teachers tend to surname her by my wife's, even though she's hyphenated. I assume it's because they see more of my wife (she does the a.m. drop-off, while I do the evening, which is in a different room), or maybe they somehow read my part of the hyphenation as a middle? Anyway, funny.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:00 PM
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268: Dude, if you don't want simplistic answers, don't ask really easy questions.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:00 PM
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I ruled out hyphenation on complete laziness grounds.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:01 PM
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It's not the most significant decision in your life, obviously, but the fact that that was, for the two of you, the path of least resistance says something about your politics.

I am loving this sort of statement!

The fact that shaving your legs is the path of least resistance says something about your politics.

The fact that making fun of hippies is the path of least resistance says something about your politics.

Heh. No, seriously, I don't mean to raise unnecessary hackles with those analogies, but honestly: nobody fights every fight. You pick and choose where you'll dig in your heels and where you just get on with life.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:01 PM
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only HRC can credibly claim to be much stronger on feminism.

Not sure I agree. I admire the fact that John Edwards has *actually addressed* the evolution of his political position on both abortion and gay marriage; this suggests he's pretty strong on at least *thinking* about the issue. And I don't think that Obama has a history of not being affirmatively pro-choice.

237: Okay. What you're offering here is an *argument* rather than leftier-than-thou posturing; I can respect the argument. That said:

'll freely admit that opposition to a war that has killed hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings - some of them women, even! - is more important to me.

Not to me. The war fucking sucks, but it is *in and of itself* an isolated phenomenon; wars happen. The question of whether or not women, as women, have the same right to self-determination as men is a lot broader than the single issue of abortion--abortion rights functions as a kind of focused demonstration of whether or not one gets that fundamentally.

That said, obviously the war is *also* a focused demonstration of a lot of other things--imperialism, racism, profiteering, etc. There is a reason why I (personally) *want* to support Clinton but can't quite bring myself to do so. It's the flip side of the reason why I, personally, have a suspicious feeling that Kucinich's progressivism only goes so far. My own, personal, instinct--and yeah, sure, this has to do with the fact that my own, personal, rights have something to do with my sex--is to be more automatically suspicious of folks who don't seem like solid feminists than it is to be automatically suspicious of folks who don't seem solidly anti-imperialist. I don't think that a solidly anti-imperialist presidential candidate has a hope in hell, frankly.

I do think that, generally speaking, feminism and lefty politics tend to reinforce each other. I'm more suspicious of Kucinich than of Clinton because he emphasizes lefty politics and doesn't seem to *realize* that; Clinton emphasizes feminism (in a dog-whistle kind of way) and does seem to *realize* that there should be a link between that and anti-imperialism. She seems to feel the need to at least *defend* and *explain* her war vote and her foreign policy positions.

Does that make her the perfect candidate? Obviously not. But, to me, it suggests that she's got better critical thinking skills (and, regrettably, a better sense of the American political reality) than Kucinich does. Of the two, I think she's a better candidate.

Luckily, I also think that Edwards and possibly Obama are better candidates than she is.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:02 PM
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Yeah, I'm all rah-rah everyone hyphenate, but it is a hassle. When I say my name, people hear it as a really perplexing four-syllable word rather than two two-syllable halves, and I end up spelling it every time I say it to a new person.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:02 PM
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If people had been talking about Kucinich's history on choice, which is not good, I don't think people would be demeaning the women's issue. The name-change issue just doesn't seem that weighty for a lot of reasons. Especially because we're jumping on a guy who, on most issues, is the most progressive one out there.

Donna Hanover kept her own name. I guess Giuliani is the feminist candidate here. (What about Judith Nathan?)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:04 PM
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You know who else had his wife take his name?

That's right.


Posted by: feldspar | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:04 PM
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Stop smoking Sybil. Do you really want to end up looking old like Apo???


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:05 PM
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"Not to me. The war fucking sucks, but it is *in and of itself* an isolated phenomenon; wars happen"

??? This makes no sense at all to me.


Posted by: katherine | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:05 PM
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Clinton emphasizes feminism (in a dog-whistle kind of way)

Only the ugly chicks know what she's talking about.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:05 PM
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I think having women's issues tut-tutted really enrages me

Which is fully understandable. My take is that even if you magically fixed this, it wouldn't really change anything. Its impact is far less than replacing the term policeman with police officer, for instance. But more to the point, thinking you can tell anything meaningful about someone's politics or commitment to progressivism by what last name their spouse sports is absurd.

He can take it, the little bitch.

You bet I can.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:05 PM
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Everyone, put out their Sybils right now.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:06 PM
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re: 245

I think we can take it 'keeping one's birth names' is a vague proxy for a certain type of vaguely pro-feminist orientation, yeah. It's only vague, because I'll bet you can find plenty of cases where the woman retains her name for 'already established career' reasons but where the relationship is otherwise pretty 'traditional'. But I'll concede it might serve as a quick and dirty rule of thumb. I think where it gets difficult, is that the proxy runs even less smoothly the other way. You can't say that 'changing one's name' is a fair proxy for a certain reactionary view about gender relations. The most you can say is that that one particular issue didn't matter as much to the couple as some other ones: concrete pragmatic things involving immigration; simple inertia; desire to please parents with traditional values; the law, or a number of others.

I'd strongly resist the view that taking a strong line on name-changing is necessary in order to establish one's feminist bona fides.

You could rank a whole bunch of other issues as more important without being at all dismissive of 'woman's issues'. Unless you are in the business of reducing 'women's issues' to one particular piece of symbolism.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:06 PM
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272: See, you didn't read what I said. I said that if not changing your name was the path of least resistance, that says something about your politics, or at least that compliance with patriarchal tradition isn't a big thing for you. It would be silly to, as you just did, suggest that you can tell all that much about someone's politics generally because they do comply with a tradition, even an unsavory one: it could be thoughtful compliance or thoughtless compliance.

(Kucinich, from other evidence, seems like the sort of person who should be generally thoughtful about this sort of thing. But not the man or woman on the street.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:06 PM
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But more to the point, thinking you can tell anything meaningful about someone's politics or commitment to progressivism by what last name their spouse sports is absurd.

Matching names is uninformative. Mis-matched names is somewhat informative.

And for some subset of those with matching names, it has real patriarchal roots in the individuals' identities.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:09 PM
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Stras: I'll freely admit that opposition to a war that has killed hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings - some of them women, even! - is more important to me.

B: Not to me. The war fucking sucks, but it is *in and of itself* an isolated phenomenon; wars happen. The question of whether or not women, as women, have the same right to self-determination as men is a lot broader than the single issue of abortion--abortion rights functions as a kind of focused demonstration of whether or not one gets that fundamentally.

B, the reason you run into so many horrible leftier-than-thou guys is that you're not very far left. It took me a long time to figure this out. You have your own politics, which may make sense in its own terms, but it seems to be center-left feminism. Anyone farther left than you, including women, will frequently disagree with you.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:10 PM
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Names have great power, everyone knows ("Nieman weiss, dass ich Frau Rumpelstilzchen heiss!"), but I had no idea that they were more powerful -- more to the point, so to speak -- than all the weapons and warlords in the world.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:10 PM
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283: Not changing your name is pretty much always the path of least resistance since it doesn't require any action, while changing it does. It may just signify laziness.

Not smoking doesn't signify opposition to Big Tobacco.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:10 PM
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274: Hyphenating would be fine, but I ruled it out having decided not to change my name to shivbunny's, then going and changing to cala-bunny would have a) meant I had to deal with paperwork and b) not actually placated my family.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:10 PM
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A friend of mine didn't change her name for just that reason -- or at least a variation of it. Her husband is of Chinese descent, and she figured it would just be weird for her obviously-not-Chinese, hearty English girl look to go with his last name.

Around here you learn pretty quickly not to assume very much about people's ethnicity from their surnames.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:11 PM
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Not sure I agree. I admire the fact that John Edwards has *actually addressed* the evolution of his political position on both abortion and gay marriage; this suggests he's pretty strong on at least *thinking* about the issue. And I don't think that Obama has a history of not being affirmatively pro-choice.

Hey, tell it to Katherine.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:12 PM
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287: The path of least resistance can mean more than just not filling out forms. It would have been the path of least resistance for me TO change my name, because I wouldn't have to deal with snipey comments from my (unmarried, I point out) wingnut sister. The fact that the only factor for you is laziness says something very small about your politics, or your family.

But 282 is right. It's an almost decent-proxy from not-changing to feminism; it's almost useless the other way.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:13 PM
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The fact that he hasn't stated an opinion and that his actions are inconsistent with what I believe to be a real commitment to the issue suggests that he does not hold the believes that I think are important for a real commitment to the issue. Duh.

Well, you've already given Hillary a pass on this because she wanted to take her husband's name for reasons you approve of - and the fact that her public statements on this specific issue have been contradictory is something that I'm sure works out to be a sign of her virtue, somehow.

But what about Ms. Edwards and Ms. Obama? What's your rationalization for them?

And more to the point: What about Mr. Edwards and Mr. Obama? Why are you willing to accept their silence?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:13 PM
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283 also works for as a rough response to, and agreement with, 282. Yeah, not-changing your name says more about your politics than changing your name does generally.

Kucinich, particularly, has a public life built on living by his political beliefs. So in his family, his wife's choice to change her name looks meaningful.

You could rank a whole bunch of other issues as more important without being at all dismissive of 'woman's issues'. Unless you are in the business of reducing 'women's issues' to one particular piece of symbolism.

Come on, man. Did anyone say anything about name-changing being more important than any other particular women's issue? I don't think so. The argument has been over whether it means anything political at all, and it really does.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:13 PM
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I think that it's about whether Kucinich is an annoying leftier-than-thou guy whose true nature was revealed when his young wife took his name.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:16 PM
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272: Those are both completely fair. People *do* choose where to make their arguments. That's not a reason to tell them that the arguments they choose are stupid or irrelevant ones.


Emerson, look at my original statement, which was: "I've always had sort of this vague feeling that Kucinich was one of those leftier-than-thou men who annoy the shit out of me. Based mostly on his supporters, I guess, and his anti-SCHIP vote. Now I feel like my disdain for him has been confirmed."

In short, I have an inchoate dislike of the guy. Maybe Parsimon's right, and this is because I have an anti-hippy bias. I'll certainly cop to a suspicion of a certain breed of hippie men; that's *exactly what I'm saying I have*. I'm trying to explain *why* I have that suspicion.

You (and presumably Parsimon) may feel that my reasons are inadequate, and that the real problem is that I hate hippies (or men). If that's the case, then freaking make that argument. Show some evidence. Interrogate some of my explanations. Try to demonstrate where I'm unwittingly being anti-hippy or anti-male (or whatever). But this "you're crazy" shit is just obnoxious, especially when I really am trying to explain my reasoning.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:16 PM
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Around here you learn pretty quickly not to assume very much about people's ethnicity from their surnames.

At first, I thought by 'here' you meant 'on Unfogged comment threads,' and not 'in Hawaii.'


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:16 PM
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re: 293

Some of the comments have appeared to conflate not particularly caring about name-changing with not caring about 'women's issues'. Specifically heebie's 256.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:17 PM
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Not smoking doesn't signify opposition to Big Tobacco.

You might want to buy one of my "I'm not smoking because I hate Big Tobacco" t-shirts.

On the back, it says "Why do you support Big Tobacco, smoker?"


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:18 PM
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The argument has been over whether it means anything political at all, and it really does.

Maybe this is the seed of disagreement, because I thought the argument here has been over whether it means anything political at all in the individual case, and it really doesn't (usually). In the aggregate, sure, maybe, I suppose. It certainly has historical significance. But I really do dispute that it alone tells you anything meaningful about an individuals politics (regardless of whether the person chose to change or not to change his or her name).


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:18 PM
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You might want to buy one of my "I'm not smoking because I hate Big Tobacco" t-shirts.

Pretty harsh on Joe Pernice.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:19 PM
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Pretty harsh on Joe Pernice.

Fuck that pseudo-literary wanker.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:22 PM
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297: That's a weird reading of heebie's 297. Saying that having a women's issue brushed off (and brushed off quite insistently) is pissing her off doesn't imply anything about where she ranks it among other women's issues.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:22 PM
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I meant that I think it's a wash between Obama and Edwards. Edwards has run a more progressive *campaign*, but Obama's got a more progressive overall record. Of course, that's partly because of their political situations: Edwards represented N.C. in the Senate & Obama was from an incredibly liberal district--but look, he was always ambitious, you can't discount his prior record entirely. And they're also in different political situations now, which partially explain the differences in their campaigns. Overall, I think Edwards is better on populist economics & Obama is better on foreign policy & human/civil rights issues.

Kucinich is left of both on everything but feminist issues, where he's right of both. Overall I'd call him more liberal, which isn't to say I prefer him: I don't.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:22 PM
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296: But it will also be true here once we're all Wildcats.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:23 PM
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301: Hey! I like the Pernice Bros.

What's the T-shirt have to do with him?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:24 PM
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The war fucking sucks, but it is *in and of itself* an isolated phenomenon; wars happen.

But the war isn't an isolated phenomenon. It's a natural outgrowth of a bipartisan postwar foreign policy consensus focused on the maintenance of American dominance to the exclusion of any other principle, using military power as a primary means. This isn't just about Iraq. It's about Iran and Israel and Pakistan and Afghanistan and about all the wars we might start and all the wars we're in the middle of starting.

And here's the thing about imperialism and feminism. Imperialism means war, and war is shit for women and children. You know this if you've paid any attention at all to Iraq. Clinton may honestly care about women in America, but her vote for war - which she continues to stand by to this day - represents more harm to more women than any George Bush court appointment has ever brought. Because women who are not Americans are still women, and feminists need to care about them, too.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:25 PM
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on the name front: naming your daughter Stanley Ann? Not cool.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:25 PM
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You could rank a whole bunch of other issues as more important without being at all dismissive of 'woman's issues'. Unless you are in the business of reducing 'women's issues' to one particular piece of symbolism.

Of course. But just because X is more important doesn't mean Y is completely *un*important.

285: No. Because I'm not talking about the center-left guys. I'm talking about progressives who are admitedly way more left than I am--which is *fine*--but whose leftist issues don't, apparently, include *feminist* issues. It's not their being more left than me that's the problem; it's that they're condescending, sexist jackasses who fail to see the mote in their own eye, and get defensive and patronizing when it's pointed out.

292: No, I don't approve of her reasons. I merely understand them and am willing to concede that they are, in fact, reasons. Re. Obama and Edwards, they---unlike Kucinich--aren't constantly held up (and holding themselves up) as being above politics because they adhere to progressive principles so strongly. So fine; they both had political ambitions, their wives took their last names because that's what you do if your husband has political ambitions. Is it uber-feminist? No. But it isn't uber-reactionary; it's just an acknowledgment of the current political situation. In Kucinich's case, given that "acknowledging political reality" is something he's usually praised for not doing, the decision seems to require a little more explanation. (Especially in light of the whole jesus, she's half his age thing.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:26 PM
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But I really do dispute that it alone tells you anything meaningful about an individuals politics

You're flat wrong. The fact that I hyphenated, and Buck hyphenated, says something about my politics and his. Heebie said about that if she'd married young, she would have changed her name, and it would have said something about her internalized misogyny at that time. Bitch's decision to not change her name says something about her politics.

Now, there are a whole lot of forces going on here, and if the only data you have is the name changing or not, rather than the full spectrum of family pressure, immigration issues, whether you thought about it at all or just did what you thought was the ordinary thing, there's no way to reliably tell someone's politics from their name-changing behavior alone. But that doesn't mean it's not a political decision on the individual level.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:26 PM
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re: 301

Heheh. I have to admit to quite liking the Scud Mountain Boys album and then being increasingly disappointed by everything else he's done.

re: 302

Well, perhaps I'm misreading the 'women's issues' phrase. Because it reads to me like 'women's issues' simpliciter rather than 'this particular issue'.

If I wrote, 'I hate class issues being dismissed' I'd intend it to mean 'class issues' rather than just whatever specific class issue was under discussion. Or, at the least, that I meant 'the dismissal of this particular class issue is symptomatic of the dismissal of class issues in general, and that annoys me'. Anyway, it read that way to me. If that's a messed-up reading, apologies.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:26 PM
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I don't think that I have to understand why you have a dislike of Kucinich. Your statement that his marriage and name change justifies your disdain seems very weak to me. What you said about SCHIP misrepresents his vote. You seem too willing to ignore everything else he's done on the basis of simple dislike or annoyance. And you lump him in with a whole class of people that you just dislike.

We're really at an understanding, though not a completely friendly one. You dislike leftier-than-thou guys for whom women's issues aren't always the first priority, and I dislike mainstream feminists for whom women's issues are always the first priority. Since we actually probably do agree about most issues except when we're forced to choose, we're not actually far apart. But I think that you and LB are being unfair to Kucinich.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:27 PM
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re: 305

One of his solo albums was called Big Tobacco.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:27 PM
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You can be Wildcats. I will be Cougars. (skip ahead to the one-minute mark)


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:27 PM
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297: Obvs. I'm not Heebie, but I think what she's conflating isn't "not caring about name changing" but rather "saying that name changing is a non-issue."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:27 PM
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272: See, you didn't read what I said. I said that if not changing your name was the path of least resistance, that says something about your politics, or at least that compliance with patriarchal tradition isn't a big thing for you. It would be silly to, as you just did, suggest that you can tell all that much about someone's politics generally because they do comply with a tradition, even an unsavory one: it could be thoughtful compliance or thoughtless compliance.

I did read what you said.

Your first and second (longer) sentences above are at odds: you can tell just as much about someone who complies with tradition as someone who does not. What you can tell is, if nothing else, where their political awareness and activism lie, hence where their priorities lie.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:28 PM
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309: Yoga pants, on the other hand....


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:29 PM
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311: Saying "his general politics are great" was unfair? What do I have to do be fair, knife the redhead and make a play for him myself?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:30 PM
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re: 314

Yeah, perhaps. I'd not say it's a non-issue. I'd just say that on the list of issues I really care about it appears really quite a long way down that list and that a lot of the things that appear way higher on that list are things that we'd traditionally think of as 'feminist' issues.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:30 PM
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313: Splitter!

(Will have to save the link for later--shitty office computer chokes on them.)


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:30 PM
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309: But it does dispute that a name change tells you anything meaningful, without knowing those other factors, which, after all, was the claim at hand.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:30 PM
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309: are we disagreeing? You seem to think we're disagreeing quite strongly, but I agree with everything you wrote. "[T]here's no way to reliably tell someone's politics from their name-changing behavior alone" is basically exactly what I said. I would have probably added "anything about" between "someone's" and "politicas", but other than that it's perfect.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:31 PM
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320: Yeah, I was reacting to "it means anything political at all" from the prior sentence. A decision can (and I would say in this case does) mean something political without being enough to deduce someone's politics from without more information.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:32 PM
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On the other hand, 306 kind of annoys me. Look, anything that affects humanity affects women, but feminism tends to focus on issues that disproportionately affect women-as-women. If they don't do that, who will? And they don't ignore foreign countries. But it's no less defensible for them to focus MORE on women in the U.S. than the rest of the world than for the labor movement, people focused on health coverage, or anything else. People can be members of a coalition in good standing & still prioritize issues that are most personal to them, for one reason or another.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:33 PM
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A decision can (and I would say in this case does) mean something political without being enough to deduce someone's politics from without more information.

Yeah. Agreed.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:33 PM
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322 also works to 321, and includes the hope that neither of you will notice that I didn't actually quote the bit of Brock's comment that I now claim to have been reacting to.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:34 PM
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306: I don't really disagree with anything you're saying here. I *am* a little bit suspicious, generally (not nec. in this particular instance), of people pulling out the "war is bad for women and children" thing. I mean, Bush made the argument that the Taliban was bad for women, which is true, but that doesn't actually mean he gives a shit about women's rights; he doesn't. I'd want to see (at least in Kucinich's case) some actual *committment* to women's issues *as such* before I'd be willing to consider "war is bad for women" as anything more than an offensive attempt to marginalize feminist critics.

311: You don't have to understand it, and it's cool with me if you think I'm not being fair to Kucinich. I'm just saying I don't think it's cool to go beyond "I don't think that's fair" to "you're crazy and your opinions are random"; it doesn't engage the argument at hand, and it's a really lame and shitty ad hominem.

I mean, it's funny as a joke. But it seems to have gone way beyond a joke and become the retort of first resort. I'm not at the moment especially mad about this, but it is sort of tiring. And it gives me one more pile of crap to wade through and argue away every time I want to engage an actual substantive argument here, and then suddenly I'm dominating threads, and blah blah oh no B's out of control again, what a crazy person she is.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:35 PM
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I get that. And I wouldn't dispute that in and of itself, it's political, but that in and of itself, it doesn't say all that much.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:35 PM
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knife the redhead and make a play for him myself

I knew there was an underlying jealousy there.

"You need a real woman, Dennis. One who won't change her name."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:36 PM
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A decision can (and I would say in this case does) mean something political without being enough to deduce someone's politics from without more information.

Then what political something does it mean, exactly? I don't understand. That we live in a big 'ole patriarchy? Okay. But something individual?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:36 PM
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328: Mmm. Hobbity.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:36 PM
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324: Agreed. Comity?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:37 PM
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No! No comity!


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:38 PM
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317: I was mostly responding to B, I suppose. But your favorable statement in 217 was a response to me, after a long string of mostly-unfavorable statements.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:39 PM
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Not going to read this whole thread, so perhaps I've been pwned, but I disagree with this attitude:

Sometimes "making a soul connection" is really code for "yeah, I will definitely be hitting that later." Quoth a real feminist: "what a tool!"

That's just a weirdly dualist, anti-sexual, puritanical thing to say. Connections of soul include physical desire. Why is that a bad thing and why does it mark out the desiring person as somehow sleazy or inauthentic? Do we have to not have bodies to be genuine?

No doubt Kucinich was attracted to her for lots of reasons. No doubt he would have been less attracted to a similarly idealistic but ugly woman. However, he would also have been less attracted to a similarly beautiful but less idealistic woman.

(This comment draws on my privileged access to the soul of Dennis Kucinich, which I normally try to avoid using).


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:40 PM
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That we live in a big 'ole patriarchy?

And (assuming that I didn't change my name) that I object to that, or at least don't except it as the appropriate norm.

Or if I did change my name, that either I don't think about the patriarchal implication of this sort of tradition, or I do think about them and approve, or I do think about them and disapprove, but my disapproval is less important to me than the other forces that argue for compliance with the tradition (and this can be totally different depending on the individual forces in your individual circumstances).

Those all have political meaning.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:40 PM
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329: That we live in a big ol' patriarchy yes. On the individual level, it suggests--*absent mitigating information,* like "my husband is a career politician" or "my father was abusive and I really wanted to get rid of his surname"--it suggests that the symbolic importance of name-changing isn't an important issue to you.

Which, you know, people who think it is important are entitled to be bothered/disappointed by.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:40 PM
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except s/b accept. Don't know how that happened.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:41 PM
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re: 323

Yeah, there's always a certain degree of parochialism and that's inevitable, and probably sometimes desirable, too. More sophisticated 'pro-parochialist' arguments have been wielded in the context of ethical theory, for example.

But we do sometimes criticize the labour movement for caring about certain workers and not others. Of course sometimes those criticisms are made by the right-winger essentially looking for a tool to wield against organized labour and those criticisms are insincere. But sometimes those criticisms are valid.

The same surely applies sometimes when we are discussing people's views qua 'feminist'. Even if sometimes the 'you only care about rich white American women' line is sometimes wielded cynically by people who are no friend of feminism, it is also sometimes a legit criticism.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:41 PM
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re: 337

Where's w-lfs-n to point a finger when you need him?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:42 PM
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Also, I would dispute something that B said earlier. Changing your name is still the default, even if it does mean that you have to *do* something like fill out a bunch of forms. (Lots of things are like this, e.g., it is a default upper middle class assumption that teenagers will go to college, even if they have to pay money & fill out a bunch of forms to do so.)

I received a pamphlet on how to change my name from the county clerk. Everyone not directly affiliated with my Evil Liberal University assumed either that it was inevitable that I would change my name, or that I was bucking tradition because as the brilliant analytic philosopher, I had a *reason* to do so, e.g., my career. That I have to have a reason to make it acceptable in the eyes of a lot of people suggests that paperwork aside, the default is (though shouldn't be) to change my name.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:42 PM
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326: B, what you said is that you had an inchoate dislike of Kucinich and people like him. I don't see how I'm supposed to argue against that or respond to it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:42 PM
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317: I was mostly responding to B, I suppose. But your favorable statement in 217 was a response to me, after a long string of mostly-unfavorable statements.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:42 PM
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I'd want to see (at least in Kucinich's case) some actual *committment* to women's issues *as such*

While Kucinich was pro-life until 2002, he seems to have genuinely changed his opinion on that issue which has been reflected in every vote he has taken since then, including voting "no" on the ban on partial-birth abortion. He has a 100% rating from NARAL, and is one of the most aggressive advocates for pre- and post-natal care, child care, universal health insurance, etc. Seems like more of a commitment than 95% of his colleagues.


Posted by: PeaDub | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:43 PM
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Well, even though one piece of information like whether someone changed their name doesn't mean anything all by itself, here's how it can be a political index.

Say, for example, that you have someone who knows me fairly well. Some of the people on this blog, even. Or my friends. My current political stance is very left, and very dominated by feminist concerns. I write, think, and talk about feminist issues all the time. Someone who didn't know my actual name-changing position could probably fairly easily deduce that I am anti-, and have no plans of doing so.

So let's say this person doesn't hear from me, and in five years hears about me through an alumni newsletter or news article and finds that I have a different last name. I'm pretty sure that person would be like whoa she must have changed since I last saw her.

So even though this one piece of information doesn't mean much in isolation, in a context it can mean a lot.

And yeah, if I were to get married and change my name, it means that I would have changed significantly from the person I am now. In more than just the "growing older" sort of way.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:43 PM
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333: I didn't say a blessed thing that disapproved of Kucinich's politics other than on the specific issues we were discussing. I did make fun of his looks, I'll admit that. But if he had a shot of winning the election, I'd vote for him, UFO's and all, and I haven't said anything inconsistent with that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:44 PM
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334: To the extent that they're saying 'we're soulmates' is meant to deflect attention from him being way over chicked, the fact that soul & sexual desire might go along together doesn't actually help his case.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:44 PM
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334: I'm gonna take exception to the "anti-sexual" thing. It's not anti-sexual to say, hey, great, she's a hot chick; but you're also twice her age and calling people your "soul mate" suggests a seriously unthoughtful acceptance of a lot of ridiculous "romantic" beliefs that are frequently used in extremely reactionary ways. And if anything, it's kind of anti-sexual to have to code "I thought she was really hot" in some blather about "soul mate" when you *first meet someone*. Like, maybe you can wait on the "soul mate" language until you've actually had an extended conversation with this incredibly hot babe?

And if not, then it's legit for people to criticize you for pretending that your sexual desires are somehow higher and purer than "hey, hot chick!"


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:44 PM
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And (assuming that I didn't change my name) that I object to that, or at least don't except it as the appropriate norm.

Or, as Apo pointed out, that you are just lazy. Etc. etc. I really think trying to read anything into this decision in isolation is a bit much. Which everyone now seems to be acknowledging, but we just had 200 comments laying into the poor hobbit about this.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:44 PM
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"Just lazy" includes "not accepting it as the appropriate norm". No one failed to change their name in 1930 out of laziness -- the fact that you can perceive that as the lazy option reflects your politics.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:46 PM
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Someone who didn't know my actual name-changing position could probably fairly easily deduce that I am anti-, and have no plans of doing so.

Maybe I missed the answer up-thread, but why does being a feminist necessarily mean that you do not change your name from your father's name?

Isnt the point that you get to decide, not that the decision has already been made for you?

In a relate matter, name changes are relatively easy. In fact, Stanley has requested to have his name changed to Mutombo.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:47 PM
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And if not, then it's legit for people to criticize you for pretending that your sexual desires are somehow higher and purer than "hey, hot chick!"

I think that he was also perceiving that she was attracted to him, which is a necessary stage in every courtship and not one that funny-looking runty guys ever get to. But obviously he should have politely asked her to leave the room.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:47 PM
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People click for the oddest of reasons. Elizabeth and Dennis strike me as somewhat new-agey idealists who probably do believe in soul-mates and such. And come on - the woman is 30 years old, not 16; she's well-educated, has spent time in the the slums of India and in Tanzania, still makes trips to Africa to advocate development and women's rights - it's not as if she sits at home tatting doilies, breathlessly waiting for the Man of the House to come home for dinner. To excoriate a couple for daring to exist despite a difference in age, on some vaguely-defined generalisation strikes me as simplistic. [One could, of course, argue that all marriage is a result of patriarchal social structures - does that make B less of a feminist because she insisted that Mr B marry her? Or because she left her academic job and moved cross-country for his job and became a SAHM? What things may appear to be on the surface are not necessarily the actual situation.]

Kucinich has evolved his thinking on abortion and women's rights - what he thinks now is what counts - he has said he's learnt from his female friends and understands that, without command over their own bodies and reproduction, women cannot be free. I'd rather support someone who admits that an initial position was wrong or insufficient than someone who never acknowledges that he or she has fucked up.

He's also the only candidate who is truly for gay rights. I know the man isn't viable, but the fact that he's been quite clear that marriage should be available to any two adults, that gay folk should be able to get family leave and have immigrant partners warms my heart. I want my kid to be able to import his own shiv-bunny, should he fall for a Canadian.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:48 PM
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In fact, Stanley has requested to have his name changed to Mutombo.

"Mutombo Wildcat" does have a certain ring to it.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:49 PM
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No one failed to change their name in 1930 out of laziness -- the fact that you can perceive that as the lazy option reflects your politics that we no longer live in the 1930s.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:49 PM
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Can we just stop the whole "father's name" thing? It's annoying. It's not my father's name, or my grandfather's name, it's mine. To my father, it is his, and to me, it is mine.

I'm not saying every feminist has to be against name-changing. But there are feminists, and then there are people who write and think about feminism daily and are pretty radical about it. That thing from NOW-NY is the first feminist thing in years that I've looked at and said "wow, that's out there." I'm pretty radical, or at least I like to think of myself as such.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:50 PM
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I would dearly love to have a thread about 338 sometime.

343: 95% of his colleagues are neither running for president or being held up as the most progressive candidate and why don't you support him if you're really so liberal?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:50 PM
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that we no longer live in the 1930s.

That you believe that we don't effectively still live in the 1930s also reflects your politics.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:50 PM
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Maybe I missed the answer up-thread, but why does being a feminist necessarily mean that you do not change your name from your father's name?

Yes, you missed the answer upthread. It's my goddam name. It's the name I had when I was born, and it's the name I've had my whole life. Who had it before me is not the issue. Are you conceiving of the alternative as taking my husband's father's name? If not, then the alternatives are keeping my name or taking my husband's name, or doing whatever third thing we come up with.

This 'It's not your name, it's your father's' crap really sounds like you think I need a cock to have a right to a name. I know you were just being cutely annoying, but it's fucking stupid and I'd be perfectly happy not to hear that particular cutely annoying little cliche ever again.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:51 PM
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352: That's a bit that drives me crazy about immigration. No option at all for gay couples, besides work-arounds like getting work visas. But the translator assures you your Columbian bride really loves you and you pay for her to have a few English lessons so you can prove a common language? Stamp! Here's your visa!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:52 PM
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Are you conceiving of the alternative as taking my husband's father's name?

"X," like some of the Black Muslims. Or maybe "XX" would be better.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:53 PM
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354 gets it right, obviously.

In science I've hardly met any female PhDs who've changed their names, because most of them had become somewhat known under their maiden names, and changing the name would mean they were no longer recognizable (and that their earlier published stuff wouldn't be cataloged with their more recent published stuff or be found by internet searches, nowadays). Isn't this also true in other academic areas? And law? And journalism? And in general if a woman has a career and gets married over 30? In all these situations the default could easily be to not even consider changing one's name, without even considering ideological reasons.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:53 PM
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347: I am hypothesizing here that Kucinich *really is* romantic and really did feel what he calls a soul connection. Some sort of telepathic sense that he and this person were specially destined for each other and meant to get married, be together, etc. Since they in fact did do that it seems reasonable. You, in your cynicism, may feel that this is a reactionary bit of false consciousness that simply provides cover for more basic human desires like raw lust, but why is he required to be as cynical as you are?

The argument here seems to be: I understand that the romantic idealism of "love at first sight" simply masks for an older man's greed for a younger woman's body, hence if Kucinich claims to feel such idealism he is not just a dirty old man but a smarmy and insincere one who refuses to admit his true motivations. But that's a circular argument that assumes he's a dirty old man in the first place. He may be an emissary from the Zeta quadrant given earthly form to teach us all how to love!

is meant to deflect attention from him being way over chicked

what does way over chicked mean? It sounds kind of interesting.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:53 PM
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354: No, it suggests more than that. It suggests that you are not wedded to tradition for tradition's sake; that you are not one of those people who thinks that the mere thought of a woman keeping her name makes her a feminazi. In short, that you are at the very least *neutral* about feminism.

Which, given that most people still expect women to change their names (for god's sake),* is pretty progressive in this day and age. Sadly.

*Because you're right: keeping one's name *is* easier, if all other things were equal.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:54 PM
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357: Bingo.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:54 PM
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This 'It's not your name, it's your father's' crap really sounds like you think I need a cock to have a right to a name. I know you were just being cutely annoying, but it's fucking stupid and I'd be perfectly happy not to hear that particular cutely annoying little cliche ever again.

I wasn't trying to be cute. The name that you received was a patriarchal name. It represents the bond with the patriarchal system.

My question is more to the issue of why does being a feminist mean that you have to keep it. Isnt this similar to the abortion issue? Isnt the point that you can have whatever name you darn well want?

(You could also change it to your mother's maiden name.)


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:55 PM
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361: Thinking that a woman's career is more important than the 'family unity' or 'tradition' benefits from changing her name on marriage is an ideological position.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:55 PM
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(You could also change it to your mother's maiden name.)

Which was her father's name...


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:56 PM
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362: I'm sure he really did! And I'm sure he really is romantic!

My point is that he has a rather uncritical view of m/f relationships, and that his being really romantic and really feeling a soul mate connection with his wife supports that contention.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:56 PM
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365: Isnt the point that you can have whatever name you darn well want?

See Labs' brilliant 105. Sure. Do whatever the fuck you want. But if people overwhelmingly do the traditional, patriarchal thing, and say "But it's my free choice", that's not a reason not to examine the forces guiding that choice.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:58 PM
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why does being a feminist mean that you have to keep it

Now this is just silly. We are talking about "keeping the name" v. "changing it to your husband's", not "keeping the name" v. "changing it to something else entirely". To say that my position is that people MUST KEEP THE NAME THEY WERE BORN WITH is wack.

It's not "keeping a patriarchal name" it's "keeping the name I was born with." I don't care if it's my father's, mother's, or fairy godnephew's name, I'm not about to suddenly start going around as someone else.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:58 PM
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Which was her father's name...

Agreed Brock. I don't freaking care what you do with your name. My point is that it is your business, not mine.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:58 PM
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365: This was answered upthread. The reason is that one cannot go back and change history. But one can resolve that from this day forward, one doesn't accept that surnames belong to cocks rather than to people.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:58 PM
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It suggests that you are not wedded to tradition for tradition's sake

This is true; I am not. But that disdain of tradition for tradition's sake extends well beyond women's issues and certainly neither originates nor centers on them (ask me about religion!). It doesn't tell you that I'm neutral about feminism, it tells you that I don't pay much attention to traditions I find meaningless.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:00 PM
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While Kucinich was pro-life until 2002, he seems to have genuinely changed his opinion on that issue which has been reflected in every vote he has taken since then, including voting "no" on the ban on partial-birth abortion.

Personally I think he's always been pro-choice, and before 2002 he was under the impression that his blue-collar constituents would boot him out of office if he didn't represent their Catholic views, whereas now he's decided he has nothing to lose in that respect. But of course there's no way to know that.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:00 PM
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one doesn't accept that surnames belong to cocks rather than to people.

I'll let you be the one to break the news to Mr. Roosevelt that he no longer gets to keep his surname.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:00 PM
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361

I knew a very liberal woman who kept her maiden name for professional purposes, but adopted her husband's name in personal settings. She's only half a tool of the patriarchy, so I only talk to her half as much as I used to.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:00 PM
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And Brock's 367 is the answer to 365. The argument you're making defines all names a woman has had deriving from her family as tainted with patriarchy; there's no connection I can make with my family that you can't say is a man's name. And it comes down to saying that the name a woman is born with and lives with doesn't belong to her -- it really belongs to the men in her family who had it before her. Bullshit. My name is mine, just as much as your name is yours.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:01 PM
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It doesn't tell you that I'm neutral about feminism, it tells you that I don't pay much attention to traditions I find meaningless.

It still tells you that traditions about a wife taking her husband's name are meaningless to you. That's still a political position.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:03 PM
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My brother's first wife changed her name immediately - and when the marriage ended 8 weeks later, refused to go back to her original name [Jewish] and kept his [WASP]. He thought he was marrying a lefty feminist human-rights activist lawyer; she, the instant the ink was dry on the marriage licence, revealed herself to be a racist WASP-wanna-be who didn't want to socialise with his black friends and who loathed the disabled people she was ostensibly advocating for [her then-job, which she quit when they got back from the honeymoon]. I doubt that her reasons for changing her name had anything to do with patriarchal notions - for her, it was shedding her ethnicity. [It was, BTW, a May-September relationship - but she was the older of the two.]

Me, I never changed my name whilst married, tho' someone at Social Security took that amiss and changed it for me. It took an effort and court papers to have them acknowledge my real name.

Oh - there's a guy suing because women can change their names to their husbands for free, but men have to go to court and pay $$. Works for me.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:04 PM
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377

If you object to the name changing as a sign of inequality, then you must also object to the fact that your surname came from your father for the same reason. It really doesn't matter that it's the name you had all your life. Malcolm X understood this.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:05 PM
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That's still a political position.

You can keep insisting it, but I'll keep denying it. Does it help if I say that I think "the personal is the political" is mostly a meaningless slogan?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:07 PM
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calling people your "soul mate" suggests a seriously unthoughtful acceptance of a lot of ridiculous "romantic" beliefs that are frequently used in extremely reactionary ways.

Dude. These people seriously believe in souls and other New Agey bullshit. She was eyeing his "light consciousness picture." I don't even know what the fuck that is. But I wouldn't leap to the conclusion that it's a tool of reactionary patriarchy.

Calling a hippie who uses the term "soul mate" a closet Ward Cleaver (or whoever) makes as much sense as the old "Hitler was a veg" argument.

Jesus fuck, B, there's more than 2 world views (yours and the wrong one).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:08 PM
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If you object to the name changing as a sign of inequality, then you must also object to the fact that your surname came from your father for the same reason.

How is retaining the name I had all my life objectionable for the same reason as suddenly having to build a new identity as an adult when I get married? Changing my name on marriage isn't objectionable because my husband's name is tainted with semen, it's objectionable because it's burdensome. Keeping the name I've had all my life is not burdensome.

Geez. This really isn't a major political issue, but boy, addressing that it's political at all really seems to whip you guys up into a frenzy of denial and baiting.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:09 PM
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380 beat me to it. It's trollish to say 'so you keep your dad's name, huh?', but it isn't trollish to say, look the tradition that lead to you having your father's name is at least as patriarchal as the one that would lead you to take on your husband's name. And insisting 'but it's my name!' doesn't erase the history any more than 'but it's my CHOICE!' erases the history of marriage. So if it's acceptable to do, upon reflection, in one case, why not the other?

This is not an argument I think most women who change their names have thought through, so it is right to treat it as a kneejerk response most of the time. But there is an interesting issue here. What makes one an innocuous bit of history and the other always wrong?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:09 PM
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381: You can keep insisting it, but I'll keep denying it.

And you'll still be wrong. Doesn't matter, your heart's in the right place.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:10 PM
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Aside from the married name argument, which I'm not old enough for my opinions to merit a response, I think PGD gets it exactly right in comments like 362.

The "LOL all this 'love' silliness is all about being laid and following the traditionalist script, I'd respect him more if he'd go out and admit there's no romance in his heart, like I do" platform is the precise counterpart of what I hear from libertarians about how everybody is a selfish asshole and at least some of us are willing to admit it, unlike the liberal-guilt do-gooders who waste everyone's time because they feel like they should pretend to care about something.

No, not everyone is like you.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:10 PM
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Apo, I think your only way out of this is to go home and yell at your wife for not doing more chores, and then, I don't know, maybe slap her around or something. That will demonstrate that your ambivalence about your wife's last name really didn't signal any commitment to feminism after all.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:11 PM
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your heart's in the right place

Take good care of it, LB. I entrusted it to you for a reason.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:12 PM
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That will demonstrate that your ambivalence about your wife's last name really didn't signal any commitment to feminism after all.

Personally, I plan to change my last name to my wife's, so I can hit on chicks by sounding all sensitive and crap.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:13 PM
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383: Changing my name on marriage isn't objectionable because my husband's name is tainted with semen, it's objectionable because it's burdensome. Keeping the name I've had all my life is not burdensome.

That's curious, since you chose to undergo an equal burden.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:13 PM
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I think I'm going to change my last name to "No Middle Initial". That should be sufficiently confusing on forms.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:14 PM
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383.2 gets it exactly right. Goddamn.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:14 PM
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The personal version of this fight is one I'm not looking forward to. My GF wants to get rid of her name - she doesn't like it, and as "family" names go it's not very meaningful and doesn't connect to the parts of the family she feels a connection to. Her taking my name just sounds wrong to me, and bugs me for all of the feminist-vs-patriarchy reasons cited above. I suppose that it's my position of privelege that changing my name (to some undecided third joint name) doesn't sound reasonable to me.

I suspect I'll just roll over on this, ultimately, since that seems to be what I do in a conflict.


Posted by: tediously presidential | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:14 PM
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but it isn't trollish to say, look the tradition that lead to you having your father's name is at least as patriarchal as the one that would lead you to take on your husband's name.

The first thing I'd note here is that they're not two different traditions, they're the same tradition. That is, once you have a naming connection between parent and child, the name-change on marriage means that there's only one name left to pass down. At which point accusations of hypocrisy for accepting the one tradition and objecting to the other seem to fall flat -- keeping your name on marriage is objecting to the one tradition in that it burdens women and erases their personal history, and refusing to observe the tradition in the manner that best avoids the burden and preserves the personal history.

(Now, once you have differing last names in the nuclear family, children's names going forward do become an issue. But that's not an active issue for the daughter of a couple with matching names.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:17 PM
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393: Why don't you two just swap names?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:17 PM
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383

We've already covered that it's burdensome either way. I believe you yourself admitted that it's a pain in the ass to deal with your hyphenated name. In fact, the charge has already been leveled that whether you think changing is more burdensome or not depends on your circumstance (or moral purity, for some).


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:18 PM
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388: I've got it stowed in the duck next to Frowner's.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:18 PM
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375:I'll let you be the one to break the news to Mr. Roosevelt that he no longer gets to keep his surname.

I don't understand this joke, but it seems like a good opportunity to mention the piece of trivia that Eleanor Roosevelt's maiden name was 'Roosevelt'.


Posted by: Zippy | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:18 PM
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384, I think they are different. Look, having your last name be your father's name suggests that you get some of your identity from your father. This is at least partially true, because of, you know, genetics and all, and the main problem is that naming doesn't really acknowledge the existence of your mother. But that's secondary to the fact that your mother probably also changed her name to your father's last name and now the whole family has the same name. Boys have the same thing as girls; they too get their names from their fathers in the patriarchal tradition.

But changing your name when you get married is a decision you make as an adult to change how you are presented to the world, signaling that getting married affects your identity. Whereas in this part of the tradition, only women's identities (as reflected in naming) are affected by marriage, while men's are not.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:19 PM
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393

Clearly the feminist thing to do is to browbeat her into keeping her name.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:20 PM
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Ditto to 382:

Dude. These people seriously believe in souls and other New Agey bullshit. She was eyeing his "light consciousness picture." I don't even know what the fuck that is. But I wouldn't leap to the conclusion that it's a tool of reactionary patriarchy.

Jesus fuck, B, there's more than 2 world views (yours and the wrong one).

I do know what a light consciousness picture probably is. And yeah, people who go in for that really believe it. And are nice people, too.

I am glad that PGD is calling it like it is: the new-agey etc. people who speak of soul-mates are likely not to differentiate much between mind and body.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:20 PM
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Her taking my name just sounds wrong to me, and bugs me for all of the feminist-vs-patriarchy reasons cited above.

The egalitarian course of action is to allow her to call herself whatever she wants, isn't it?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:20 PM
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Or what LB said in 394.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:20 PM
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396: We've already covered that it's burdensome either way.

Bullshit. Changing your name is significantly more burdensome than not changing your name.

I hyphenated, which is a hassle, because family unity was important to me, and Buck hyphenated as well because gender equity is important to him as well as to me. Because something's a hassle doesn't make it gender oppression, unless it's a burden imposed on one gender and not the other.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:20 PM
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399.1

Along these lines, the Icelandic tradition seems nice, although it becomes a little difficult with larger populations.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:21 PM
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Really, the Wildcats thing is sounding better all the time. Haven't we had this argument at least once before, with a similar heat/light ratio?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:22 PM
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394: Good. Note that we're now not talking about what it signifies, or its history, but what the burden to the woman is. But now that starts to look less like something that is about overturning patriarchal norms, and more about what's practically best for her, and what might be a burden to some might not be to others (e.g., career & internet searches vs. tiring of explaining to the tedious daycare people about the name.) If we agree the patriarchal implications are the same, then we're just down to a practical decision. (I'm mostly just kicking this around.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:22 PM
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402: Apo, I think you need to re-read the thread.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:22 PM
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393: That's a weird position to be in. Have you considered dual-hyphenation? I bitch about it, but if the names work together it's not all that bad.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:23 PM
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409: My boyfriend actually was in that position with his ex-girlfriend. She wanted to change her name to his (not because of any dislike of her family or name; she was traditional), he didn't want her to, for feminist reasons. She thought he was Really Weird.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:25 PM
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I know a guy whose last name is Panther. His life is more awesome because of it.

Consider this a mild endorsement of the "change everyone's name to Wildcat" idea.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:27 PM
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393: Wife's best friend is so unhappy with her name (father's who ran out on them) that she was prepared, when engaged, to become - I shit you not - "Kat Ly/on." The engagement failed, but I guarantee that, if/when the time comes, she'll be switching. She probably should have switched to her mother's or some 3rd name back when she was 21, but for some reason didn't. Inertia, I suppose.

Other friends, wife kept her name for professional reasons, but was all too happy for children to have husband's name - she feels no tie to her family.

Ideally we would develop a new standard that was widely accepted. A lot of the objection to the idea that women taking the husband's name is always political comes from the fact that we have a default in this culture, and defaults are powerful. Most people are happy enough to go with the default, whatever it is. Our current default is, in fact, problematic, but until there's a new, widely accepted one, it will remain default (at least in the weak form of kids taking father's last name). Wife & I were very liberated by the idea that or hyphenated daughter will have to deal with the issue when her time comes, but in the meantime we were able to punt. I promise not to get mad if she only keeps the wife's half of her name.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:27 PM
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If we agree the patriarchal implications are the same, then we're just down to a practical decision. (I'm mostly just kicking this around.)

No, we don't. We agree that there's one patriarchal tradition which I'll describe as follows -- men pass down names through the generations to other men; women may use their father's name until marriage, and then must take their husband's, never having a right to a name of their own. This is patriarchal because it burdens women with a midlife change of identity, erases their personal history, and deprives them of generational continuity.

So, if you don't like that tradition, you want to stop observing it. If you stop observing it by having women retain their birth names on marriage, they retain personal history and generational continuity, and aren't burdened with a midlife change of identity. If you instead decide that their birth names are tainted by patriarchy, and say they have to reject them, you end up with a system that still has all the flaws of the old patriarchal system: women still have the burden of the midlife identity change, still lose their personal history, and still lose generation continuity, while men keep on passing their names down the generations.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:29 PM
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My birthday isn't for a couple of months, folks. You didn't have to go to all the trouble of making a thread like this just to validate my hiatus. But I love you for doing it just the same.

The philosophers and the sociologists have really fallen down on the job in this thread. You know what else doesn't matter in each individual case? Voting! There are things that, taken singly, make very little difference and convey very little information, but which, taken together, form a culture that affects everyone. You can focus on the individual choice and pretend it doesn't affect the culture or you can focus on the culture and try to invest the individual choice with more significance than it has, or you can do something useful with your time and help me find new pictures of Jessica Biel's ass. Land of the free. Unfogged is love.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:30 PM
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Surely by now we have actual examples of people with hyphenated names (from their parents) getting married to each other, right? "What will they do?" was always a kind of lame argument against hyphenation, but now I am curious - what did they do?


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:30 PM
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This would all be easier if women just didn't have names.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:30 PM
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now I am curious - what did they do?

They were forcibly sterilized to contain the madness.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:31 PM
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410: So they didn't get married? Hard core.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:32 PM
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My brother's first wife changed her name immediately - and when the marriage ended 8 weeks later, refused to go back to her original name [Jewish] and kept his [WASP]. He thought he was marrying a lefty feminist human-rights activist lawyer; she, the instant the ink was dry on the marriage licence, revealed herself to be a racist WASP-wanna-be who didn't want to socialise with his black friends and who loathed the disabled people she was ostensibly advocating for [her then-job, which she quit when they got back from the honeymoon].

Um, whoah. You'd think maybe this would have slipped out at some point prior to the wedding?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:33 PM
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418: No, they broke up without even getting engaged (though together for like 6 years). She was a smart and incredibly sweet girl, but she wanted to get married and have kids and move to the suburbs. He didn't. Well at least not to her, and not to the suburbs ever.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:34 PM
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Awesomely wrong hyphenations:

Zubenbüller-Brightenbucher (ph.)
Black-Brown

There was another one, that I think managed to combine 3 ethnicities between 1st name and hyph surs. Uwe Sanchez-Suzuki, or something.

I would like to know the answer to 415.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:36 PM
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416: In the feminist utopia of Mongolia both men and women do not have last names.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:36 PM
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I promise not to get mad if she only keeps the wife's half of her name.

You were more enlightened younger than I was. I was happy with my wife's keeping her own name but wanted the kid to have mine (he has my wife's, too, and that was important to me, but as a second middle name rather than a hyphenated surname). Now I'm a bit older and wiser and I really don't care very much. I'd like to think that progress might come faster if these decisions weren't getting made when we're young and stupid. OTOH conservatism seems to come with age at least as often as wisdom does, so I dunno.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:36 PM
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Uwe Sanchez-Suzuki, or something.

I presume you're familiar with the baseball player Juan Eichelberger. Middle name Tyrone.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:37 PM
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Um, whoah. You'd think maybe this would have slipped out at some point prior to the wedding?

He just assumed that, when she complained about the untermenschen she had to deal with, she was being hyperbolic.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:38 PM
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I just googled "light consciousness picture" and the *only* results are about the Kuciniches. WTF is a light consciousness picture?

Awesomely wrong hyphenations


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:41 PM
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427

You were more enlightened younger than I was.

Kind of, but, you know, some of the names have to go away at some point.

One weird thing about all this is that neither wife nor I have any cousins sharing our surs; she's the only holder of hers, and I have a sister who may or may not reproduce. So whichever name goes away really will go away. But I figure that's only incidental. If things go right, my name will live in buildings, and hers will in books. Is that so much to ask?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:42 PM
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421: My secretary's last name is [Japanese name] - [Spanish-derived Filipino name beginning with "dela"]


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:43 PM
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Great link, Apo, but fake.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:43 PM
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411: Heh. My last name is (hyphenated, but the part I go by in all situations except for when I legally need my full name is) the French word for Bishop. This leads me to use "cybishop" as a username sometimes. When I met Neil the Ethical Werewolf at UnfoggeDCon, he asked me why. "So, do you move diagonally a lot?"

412b: Wife & I were very liberated by the idea that or hyphenated daughter will have to deal with the issue when her time comes, but in the meantime we were able to punt. I promise not to get mad if she only keeps the wife's half of her name.

Yes, if you're going to punt, then please take this attitude and make it clear upfront. My mom was hurt that I dropped her half of my hyphenated name, and I've always felt a little guilty about that.

But you know, it just occurred to me, what did she expect? I wasn't going to keep my name unchanged when/if I get married, because it would be ridiculously confusing -- neither part of the hyphen would refer to hypothetical future wife. And it certainly makes sense to change it before then just for the personal and professional convenience of a shorter, simpler name. Something had to go, and all other reasons aside, my family is a bunch of Francophiles. Really, she's lucky it lasted more than two months into the year I lived in France.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:43 PM
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Great link, Apo, but fake.

Obviously, yo.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:45 PM
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Heh. I have the advantage of a more euphonious, less weird name. I'll be very surprised if either of my kids drops mine and keeps his. (I don't think they have a strong sense of which half is whose, of course. They know, at least by thinking about grandparents, but it's not relevant much.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:46 PM
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I suspect that I'm going to have a bit of an internal battle with patriarchal tradition when it comes to naming my children because I'm one of only two males in my generation with my surname, and if I don't pass it on to some kid or other (or if I don't have any male children, I guess), odds are that'll be the end of the line. It doesn't seem like something that should bother me, and I do on some level know that it's silly, but it does occupy my mind now and then.


Posted by: Andrew Johnson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:46 PM
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I promise not to get mad if she only keeps the wife's half of her name.

She'll probably just go by her porn name anyhow.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:46 PM
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414 demonstrates why we need Ogged back. Let's pass the hat and bribe him into returning.

I am AGAINST hyphenation, because it is UNSUSTAINABLE. Do we want to leave a world to our grandchildren that is littered with giant, polysyllabic, multi-hyphenated names that are nigh unusable in everyday life? No! We want to pass on the world in better shape than we found it!

As a solution, I propose that each parent keep their name and the child have an equal legal right to each parent's name. During youth and adolescence, the child could reflect the shifting tides of their affection for each parent by switching names regularly. "Mommy! Let me go to the Hannah Montana show or I'm TAKING DADDIES NAME!".

During adulthood, each of us would have an easy way to shed the burden of the past by easily and effortlessly switching names in midstream. Have a criminal record? A bad credit rating? Screwed up on the job? Embarassing blog comments google-able under your real name? Just switch names! Dual identity documents such as drivers licenses, etc. could be issued. No doubt the System will oppose this and try to maintain e.g. single SSNs, but that could be opposed through legislation.

My idea is brilliant, but all the feminists on this thread will oppose it just because I am a man and they are sexist. To compound the injury, they will no doubt call me sexist...projection!


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:46 PM
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414: The philosophers and the sociologists have really fallen down on the job in this thread

The philosophers and the sociologists backed off lest they become truly pissed off.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:48 PM
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Mostly off topic: Is there a non-gendered business letter address besides "Dear Sir or Madam" or "To Whom It May Concern"? Both strike me as fusty.

Also mostly off topic: the city business tax is coming after me for my ex-wife's business taxes. Am hoping I can get them off my back without having to give her up, but we'll see.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:48 PM
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426: Per comment #45 on this thread, it is probably something like the dynamic graphic on this page (there are about half a dozen versions refresh to see the others). Saw it described somewhere as a splash of light against an orange background which was given to him by Brahma Kumaris nuns.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:49 PM
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437:

Yo,


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:49 PM
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oudemia beat me to the punch.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:50 PM
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437: "Homeslice,"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:50 PM
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421: I read somewhere about a guy whose family name was Mason-Dixon. Probably apocryphal, though.

415: I'm not married yet, but as I said in the last comment, I go by the more distinctive part of my hyphenated last name. When/if I get married, I'll probably legally change it to what I've been informally going by for years. I have a hard time picturing myself changing from one hyphenation to another. As for our kids, who the hell knows.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:52 PM
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Juno ruined the word "homeslice" forever, as it did for several dozen other words. A better bet would be "To all you moondog daddies and crazy kittens,".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:52 PM
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435: I actually like a vaguely Latin-American version of hyphenation. Everyone hyphenates ad hoc in the first generation. Next generation, everyone keeps their hyphenated birthname, and rehyphenates on marriage by discarding their opposite-sex parent's name, and assuming their partner's name in its place.

Neat, sustainable, and fair.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:52 PM
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437: Gentlepeople:


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:52 PM
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Awesomely wrong hyphenations: Zubenbüller-Brightenbucher

The former justice minister of Germany under Kohl was Sabine Leutheuser-Schnarrenberger.

There is also the apocryphal sounding but apparently real (or, at least I saw it in National Lampoon) case of a Ms. Swallows-Cox


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:54 PM
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Militantly useless,

The Mineshaft


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:54 PM
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Neat, sustainable, and fair.

Except to lesbian daughters of gay daddies.

I'm disappointed in you, LB.

(More seriously, I'm having trouble putting the pieces together. I may need to draw a picture)


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:55 PM
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444: You do get brothers and sisters who, once married, have no discernible relation to one another. But better, I figure, than successive generations who, once married, have no discernible relation to their mothers.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:56 PM
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444 gets it right.

I thought for a while that our tradition of the wife taking the husband's name, being an unfair tradition that so many seemingly less fair societies didn't do (China, Arab countries, Spanish tradition in general) was an unfortunate descendant of the tradition that Mr. John Smith and his wife Bertha O'Malley were to be referred to as Mr. and Mrs. John Smith, with her referred to for formal purposes as "Mrs. John Smith". Which would also be more fair in a way than her having to actually go into her name and take part of it out in favor of something else.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:58 PM
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Andrew Johnson: My son is the last of the Emerson line back to his great-grandfather, and doesn't seem interested in breeding. No one really cares.

My grandfather's brother the hillbilly preacher had tons of kids who also had tons of kids, so by now the Emerson line is overbalanced in that direction. Since my grandfather quit talking to his brother, we don't know these cousins.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 3:58 PM
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My last name is the French word for Bishop.

You need to marry a girl named DuPont and hyphenate, so your children will be named after a cheese.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:00 PM
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443: Fuck. I forgot about that. Stupid Juno.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:00 PM
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Or, in lieu of some complex hyphenation scheme, what if on marriage every woman just took her husband's name? There's obviously some administrative burden there, but no more (actually, less) than is involved in hyphenation. I'm trying to figure out what practical real-world negative consequence that might have? Because as far as simple and neat and clean goes, that seems like it would work pretty well.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:01 PM
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448: Liz A marries Buck B, and become Liz and Buck A-B. They have Newt and Sally A-B. Jane C meets Bob D, and they have Andre and Janine C-D.

The two sets of siblings grow up, meet, and marry. Newt discards my A, and keeps Buck's B, while Janine discards Bob's D, and keeps Jane's C. They become Newt and Janine B-C. Sally keeps my A, and discards Buck's B, while Andre keeps Bob's D, and discards Jane's C. They become Sally and Andre A-D.

This is 648th on my list of reforms to institute when I rule the world.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:01 PM
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To be fair, Ned, Bertha was probably more happy about the John part than about the Smith part.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:02 PM
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This is 648th on my list of reforms to institute when I rule the world.

If you begin your rule shortly before your first kid's marriage, it'll be higher on the list, I bet.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:03 PM
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I'm trying to figure out what practical real-world negative consequence that might have?

Mobs of enraged feminists with axes storming your house? I mean, if you like that sort of thing...


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:03 PM
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455: And they'll all be too busy figuring out their names to oppress anyone!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:04 PM
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How does the hyphenation thing help? Isn't most of the concern people have about changing names due to fear of lost professioanl publications or contacts, etc.?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:04 PM
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My son is the last of the Emerson line back to his great-grandfather, and doesn't seem interested in breeding. No one really cares.

I think I have previously mentioned in this forum that I was the last chance in my (huge) family to save my family name from extinction, at which task I failed by siring only daughters. Fleur and I have gotten a surprising amount of encouragement from my aunts to produce a male heir.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:04 PM
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Mostly off topic: Is there a non-gendered business letter address besides "Dear Sir or Madam" or "To Whom It May Concern"? Both strike me as fusty.

Your mistake is in thinking that there's a non-fusty form of address for business letters.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:04 PM
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458: would every man takes his wife's name work better for you? Because that's fine too.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:05 PM
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Isn't most of the concern people have about changing names due to fear of lost professioanl publications or contacts, etc.?

It's easier to find someone if you know most of their name, right? Googling Buck's birth name finds him easily, despite the fact that he's hyphenated now. (Doesn't work for me, but that's just because my birth name was essentially Jane Doe.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:06 PM
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464: okay, but I thought literally finding someone on google was one of the lower priority concerns here.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:07 PM
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shivbunny wants the kids to have his name. I think I'm okay with that, but I'll feel a little bit left out.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:08 PM
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This is 648th on my list of reforms to institute when I rule the world.

LB for God-Empress!

(Can we say "Empress"?)


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:08 PM
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466: Yeah, that was a lot of the motivation for hyphenating. I didn't want to be the odd one out of the family.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:09 PM
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What about different surnames for male and female offspring, Cala?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:11 PM
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What about identical first names for male and female offspring, Sifu?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:12 PM
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It is his first instead of last name, but this Jo-Wilfried Tsonga fellow certainly has an interesting name. Congolese father and French mother, have not figured out how that got to Jo-Wilfried. To add to the diversity his nickname is Ali, from physical resemblance.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:13 PM
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470: or just index numbers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:15 PM
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469: Good friends did that (but with two sons), and whether it was just chance or not, each child is noticeably closer to the parent with the same surname.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:16 PM
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Won't fly. I think it would be easier on the kids in school to have the same last name, not to mention it being the only way to signal that they're his kids, not my kid from a previous marriage.

Of course, who knows if we'll even have kids.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:16 PM
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Of course, who knows if we'll even have kids.

The face that you successfully got married without sorting out this issue makes me feel better.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:18 PM
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472: Zero-based?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:18 PM
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I'm the only male of 'reproductive age' in my whole extended family with my surname. This extends right out to distant cousins. There's me, and there's a lot of women. My brother doesn't have the same surname as me.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:19 PM
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472: Stanley-Ann Wildcat for the lot!

474: I really think the school thing is overrated as a reason to do one thing rather than another with names. Maybe that's because my kid's never been in a school that goes in for much bureaucratic bullshit, but there have always been all sorts of families with all sorts of names and it just doesn't seem to be an issue.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:20 PM
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re: 474 and 475

We're in the same situation. I think most people are. Do people really discuss this in detail?

The person in favour and the person against in our relationship has switched places several times.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:21 PM
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470: Just call them all, boy or girl, George Foreman and be done with it. Ah... but once again the patriarchy rears its ugly head. (Semi-pwned on preview by 478.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:21 PM
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477: Big deal, you should go back to Czech Republic, where your wife can be the only woman on earth with her surname.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:21 PM
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475: We want kids, but balancing my degree, having health care, having enough money so the baby doesn't to sleep in the dresser drawer, and the fact that shivbunny travels a lot with work meaning we'd have to conceive the kid by broadband connection makes planning all go to hell.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:22 PM
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I think I have previously mentioned in this forum that I was the last chance in my (huge) family to save my family name from extinction

You too, huh? There are 5 people in the world with my last name, and I'm the only one of my generation.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:22 PM
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478: I cited it because a friend and older woman I respect specifically mentioned it as a headache with the different naming that really drove her nuts.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:23 PM
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Maybe that's because my kid's never been in a school that goes in for much bureaucratic bullshit, but there have always been all sorts of families with all sorts of names and it just doesn't seem to be an issue.

At my public school there was one type of family, with one type of name. I don't even think there were any hyphenated people.

Oh, except for the foster families.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:25 PM
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re: 481

She changed it. The Czechs changed the law. But yeah, for a while she was the only person in the world with it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:27 PM
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What's wrong with keeping the kid in a dresser drawer? (as long as it is a Farbman)


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:27 PM
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484: I don't doubt that some have that experience, but there are so many parent/kid name mismatches out there that that I would expect it to be limited mostly to more traditional areas and/or certain sorts of petty authoritarians. Possibly that's optimistic.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:27 PM
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Mostly off topic: Is there a non-gendered business letter address besides "Dear Sir or Madam" or "To Whom It May Concern"? Both strike me as fusty.

Is this still a live question? I'm not keeping up. I use "Greetings,"

and I've gotten to the point where I don't care whether it resonates weirdly to some. It's maximally neutral, to my mind.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:29 PM
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487: Where would I put my socks?

488: Mostly petty administrative stuff. E.g, parent-teacher conferences are sorted by A-L and M-Z, and they have to go both days. Reasonable progressive area, too.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:32 PM
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Or, as an alternative to 'Greetings'.... 'Dude'.

'Dude,

I hereby enclose the final draft of my paper 'Sexual symbolism in Carnap's Aufbau' ... '


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:34 PM
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If a multpily-hyphenate couple (Anne B-C and Doug E-F (E Fresh?)), the naming of their children should proceed via independent assortment.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:38 PM
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Wow. What kind of feminism thread is it when Ogged swoops in at the end and is (if I read him correctly) right?

Didn't Kotsko have a too-clever name scheme somewhere?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:46 PM
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This thread has made me realize that I don't know what most of my married female friends' last names are.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:48 PM
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417: She was a very good actress, he was working on his PhD and spending endless hours in the lab. She had many people fooled.

The Offspring has my last name as a middle, except in the eyes of the Social Security Administration, who truncated it to an initial. The Offspring has a lot of names: First name/Korean name/Standard middle name/Mom's surname/Dad's surname. This would not all fit on the SSA's computer form. I can see a future where many people have their hyphenated names truncated unless the gummint wises up.

I think I'll go back to some Viking ancestral epithet. "DE the Red". Of course, that means I'll have to get a funny hat and dye my hair.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 4:59 PM
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490: Put the baby in a laundry basket. Bassinet au Rubbermaid.

My then 6-month old sister slept in drawers as we wandered throughout Europe and the Middle East. I thought all babies did that and was very upset when my brother had to sleep in a crib.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 5:03 PM
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having enough money so the baby doesn't to sleep in the dresser drawer

I slept in a dresser drawer when I was a baby.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 5:12 PM
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489: Greetings works. Thanks, parsimon.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 5:19 PM
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497: ".....and look how well I turned out".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 5:21 PM
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I doubt that her reasons for changing her name had anything to do with patriarchal notions - for her, it was shedding her ethnicity.

Then why did she have to get married in order to legally change her name?

And insisting 'but it's my name!' doesn't erase the history any more than 'but it's my CHOICE!' erases the history of marriage. So if it's acceptable to do, upon reflection, in one case, why not the other? . . . . What makes one an innocuous bit of history and the other always wrong?

Because the claim isn't that the patriarchal surname tradition is an innocuous bit of history; it's that well, history is what it is. Given that I was, at birth, handed a surname that came from my father, my options are

(1) To say oh, well patriarchy is patriarchy; sure, I'll take my husband's name;
(2) To say, patriarchy is evil! and spend the rest of my life reseraching my maternal line backwards, trying to come up with a surname untainted by patriarchy;
(3) To say, patriarchy is evil! and I can't find an untainted surname! and call myself X;
(4) To say, patriarchy sucks, and I'm not going to spend the rest of my life trying to find an untainted surname, and I'm not going to call myself X because name-changes are inconvenient and present all sorts of other archival/historical problems, and BPhD is the name I've had all my life, so even though yes, it is--like most other things--tainted by patriarchy, I'm gonna say "this is the best I can reasonably do" and keep it, thankyouverymuch.

One is unacceptable (to me) because it perpetuates the problem; two is obviously ridiculous and impossible; three might well be the truly radical gesture; but not taking the truly radical gesture doesn't mean that four is meaningless or silly.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 5:35 PM
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382, 385, 401: No. Acknowledging that the language of romance is not untainted by sexism is not the same as saying that vegetarians are nazis. Sorry.

413 is fabulous.

what if on marriage every woman just took her husband's name? I'm trying to figure out what practical real-world negative consequence that might have?

People changing their names in the middle of their lives makes it very difficult to keep records. Some people have more than one marriage, making it even more difficult.

Changing names on marriage is stupid. If you want purely simple, then everyone keeps the name they're given at birth. If you want logical, then children are given the mother's surname, since maternity is never in question.

The fact is, names are symbolic. Kind of by definition, actually. So pretending that women taking their husband's names has no symbolism to it is sort of intellectually dishonest, if you think about it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 5:47 PM
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Is this the most important issue in the world? No. But like LB said, it's absolutely fascinating that you guys feel like it's so fucking important to argue about it when it comes up.

Our reasons for arguing about it are clear. What are yours?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 5:48 PM
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Arguing is fun!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 5:51 PM
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In re. Cala's "what to name the kids" question--obviously you should do whatever's cool with you and shivbunny. I gave PK Mr. B's surname. But fwiw, the kids having different surnames is really not going to be an issue in school. People imagine that stuff like that will matter, but by and large, administrators and teachers are used to all sorts of family structures, and little kids pretty much deal with the facts on the ground unless some adult decides to make a BFD out of it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 5:51 PM
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503: Agreed.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 5:52 PM
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since maternity is never in question.

A mother dies and the father remarries. The new wife becomes mother to the children. Others, using the matrilineal rule, mis-identify the children.

The fact is, names are symbolic. Kind of by definition, actually. So pretending that women taking their husband's names has no symbolism to it is sort of intellectually dishonest, if you think about it.

Aside from some crazy drawer-sleeping-in-childhood-folks, most people seem to be arguing that the name change symbolizes something without the degree of importance you attribute to it.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 5:52 PM
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500: I think she wanted the WASP family connections [or, at least, what she perceived to be family connections - one of the buildings at my brother's Ivy League university bears the family name]. Just changing her name wouldn't have done that. I suspect she thought that doing it independent of marriage would simply make her laughable, whilst doing it in the context of marriage was socially acceptable. It pissed my brother off no end - he had no expectation that she would take his name.

I know several couples who combined portions of their last names in some fashion, and both took it. Ex #2 and I considered it briefly, but the combination came out as a small furry animal. Ah, well.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 5:54 PM
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My wife didn't take my last name when we got married. Nor for the first 18 months or so of our marriage. I didn't care. Then she changed her name to be mine. Again, I didn't care--her decision. I can't figure out whether I'm on the good side of the line because of my indifference or on teh bad side of the line because my wife has my last name.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 5:56 PM
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Ex #2 and I considered it briefly, but the combination came out as a small furry animal.

That was the only combination?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 5:59 PM
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I can't figure out whether I'm on the good side of the line because of my indifference or on teh bad side of the line because my wife has my last name.

We've learned today that the indifference is also bad, Brock. The personal is the political, even if your false consciousness tells you it isn't.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 5:59 PM
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511

506: The new wife mothers the children, but she is not biologically their mother. If what you want is a logical system, and you want surnames to pass through generational lines, then making them follow biology makes sense.

A lot of people are pretending to argue that the surname issue has no symbolic importance. I think we're all agreed that its symbolic importance isn't the most pressing issue of the age

508: You're with Apo in being on the basically good side, but could be better (inasmuch as you say you're completely neutral on the surname issue). You're on the annoying side when you pretend to be arguing that it's a complete non-issue and no one should have any opinions about it whatsoever and that a woman changing her name on marriage has no more or different significance than a man changing his.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:01 PM
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510: what? I thought Apo's indifference made him good! See, e.g., 225. Why is my indifference bad? Now I'm even more confused.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:02 PM
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Ned, of course, is always on the annoying side, since he pretends to be reasonable but deliberately misrepresents the argument whenever feminism is the subject.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:03 PM
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but deliberately misrepresents the argument whenever feminism is the subject

Subjective experience is a remarkable thing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:06 PM
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515

I like Ned's comments, and haven't found them annoying.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:09 PM
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If what you want is a logical system, and you want surnames to pass through generational lines, then making them follow biology makes sense.

I certainly don't have any problem with that.

I think you're overestimating the numerical strength of your opposition.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:10 PM
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Sorry, 510 was inappropriate. I thought people had taken a harder line on apoptoser's admission of apathy earlier in the thread.

Personally, it seems that when certain people enter threads on certain topics, they always seem more angry than anyone had been in the thread previously, which makes me think "Whoa, I'd better start being angrier if I want to keep up with this sort of thing." But this does not lead to my best work.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:12 PM
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You're on the annoying side when you pretend to be arguing that it's a complete non-issue and no one should have any opinions about it whatsoever and that a woman changing her name on marriage has no more or different significance than a man changing his.

(1) I'm arguing, not pretending to argue, (2) not that "no one should have any opinions whatsoever"--let people have any opinions they want, but that you can't tell much about a person's politics by whether a wife has or has not changed her name, i.e. that if you happen to have strong opinions on this issue you probably ought not try to universally project them, because you'll probably get things wrong, (3) and that, correlated to that, a woman changing her name in our culture has not "no more or different signficance", but in fact has far less significance, than a man changing his.

I would also argue that, given its real-world consequences, which appear to me to be approximately none, LB placing this 648th on her list of reforms to institute when she rules the world is placing it far too high. But hey, do what you want with your own name--I couldn't care less.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:12 PM
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516.1.itchy trigger finger: Just pointing out that your justification of matrilineal naming rule there was a practical consideration, and that it isn't a panacea. Clearly in my example I was considering cases where doubt was present in the world at large.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:13 PM
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||
Where is JRoth? Nova is about taking the Parthenon apart and putting it back together again.
|>


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:14 PM
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514 is true, but so is 513 (possibly without the "deliberately"), and Ned isn't the only one.

517 would be less passive-aggressive if "certain people" were replaced with a proper noun.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:14 PM
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Well, on the topic of feminism it's obvious that it's bphd. On other topics there are other people whose opinions outpace the rest of the field in their vehemence.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:19 PM
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B has not been the most vehement contributor to this thread.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:20 PM
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Marvey everybody knows that piss-stained syphilitic fuckhole Ned was talking about me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:20 PM
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But like LB said, it's absolutely fascinating that you guys feel like it's so fucking important to argue about it when it comes up.

To be fair, part of the problem was that the argument seemed to waver between "not changing one's name signals resistance to the patriarchy" and "changing one's name signals acquiescence to the patriarchy;" no surprise that people got het up.

Maybe I should have questioned my wife's taking my name as a matter of course, but of everything involved in getting married, which was like having a second job for several months, that was the one thing that didn't entail hours of deliberation. Instead of striking a blow against the patriarchy, I took the path of least resistance.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:22 PM
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518: That's totally cool. No one is saying you can tell A LOT about people's politics. Just that surname choice is suggestive of some things. Which we've spelled out in detail, with proper qualifications. And we've also said that yes, by and large, individual people make their own decisions and that's okay.

Which leads me to wonder why we're still getting commentts like TJs, or, for that matter, yours. The anti-name-change feminists in the thread have actually pretty much conceded all the points you say you want us to concede. But still we have this lingering argument that we're saying that being neutral is bad, that we're overestimating the opposition, that somehow saying "it matters, but not much" is, at this point, an argument with *something*.

In short, y'all are being weird. I can only imagine that it's because you don't like it when "certain people" talk on "certain topics." Even when those people are not actually saying anything that you substantively disagree with.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:23 PM
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525: Oh sure. These arguments tend to do that. All I'm saying is that we all sort of did go out of our way to clarify, and that taking the path of least resistance--while completely human and not especially blameworthy--is, well, sort of the path of least resistance.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:26 PM
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B, I'm just here to defend the hobbit. It's that or mark up a purchase agreement for an insurance company, and this is more less not fun.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:26 PM
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more


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:26 PM
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I can only imagine that it's because you don't like it when "certain people" talk on "certain topics."

History seems to indicate that "certain topics" is "feminism" and "certain people" is "women."

Are women. Is woman? Blergh.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:28 PM
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This strikes me as one of those things where people can't let go of the idea that the feminists *must* be overreacting about something.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:28 PM
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528: Right, on re-reading I wished I'd said "I can only imagine that blah blah, or else you're just really bored and dragging the argument out for the fuck of it." Which is totally cool with me. God knows it's not like *I've* never done that in my entire life.

Of course, you do realize that if you would get back to marking up that purchase agreement you might be able to see your wife and baby tonight.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:28 PM
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In short, y'all are being weird. I can only imagine that it's because you don't like it when "certain people" talk on "certain topics." Even when those people are not actually saying anything that you substantively disagree with.

This would be a lot less passive agressive if you named mrh, B.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:29 PM
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531 is so quotable. Can I steal it?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:30 PM
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535

Tweety, picture me giving you the finger and a raspberry. In, of course, the most casual friendly way possible.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:32 PM
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I love rasberrys! It must be so nice to live where you can get fresh fruit all the time.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:34 PM
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but of course you can steal it. it's all good in the sisterhood.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:36 PM
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Thanks, Sibyl!

where you can get fresh fruit all the time.

ZOMG, we stopped on the way home from picking Mr. B. up at work today and bought like three pints of fresh picked ripe strawberries as big as my fist for $7. In January.

I so, so love it here.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:37 PM
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Tweety, picture me dipping my finger into raspberry jam, and licking it, in the most sensual way possible.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:38 PM
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My wife and I gave up both our surnames and took a new name (both old names and the new name share the same initial letter, fortunately). We're friends with another couple that did the same.

She never really liked her maiden name, my maiden name [sic] was, uh, unwieldy. Like 474 et seq we weren't certain on the kids issue (we're now committed to no kids), so felt it might be good to share a last name.

Like 477, I was basically the last hope of maintaining the line of my maiden name.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:40 PM
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I can spell rasberries!

No, honest!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:41 PM
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542

It's a "Z", Tweety. Actually two of them.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:43 PM
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543

One of the buildings at my brother's Ivy League university bears the family name.

Bloodaxe Hall? The Gorm Library?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:45 PM
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544

Zazberries?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:45 PM
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545

Close enough.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:50 PM
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Hyphenation blows. My surname is way cooler than my wife's maiden name, so she changed hers.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:50 PM
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546: she didn't want to keep the nom de pedophile?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:53 PM
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Gswift, don't start up again. I just emailed Ogged pointing out that although he may hate us all, we managed for the first time ever to wrap up one of these threads without anyone going away mad.

Which just goes to show that the real problem on this blog is Ogged himself.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:54 PM
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543: That's my mother's side of the family. The WASP side is my father's.

However, should I ever win the lottery and have the means to purchase a castle mansion, I will consider naming it Bloodaxe Hall.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:58 PM
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550

I left to go to my belly dancing class.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:58 PM
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Where is JRoth? Nova is about taking the Parthenon apart and putting it back together again.

Dammit! JRoth was making and consuming mussaman curry (speaking of problematic names). And now Nova is over. But thanks for thinking of me, oudemia.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 6:58 PM
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Are your children being raised in the Bloodax tradition?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:03 PM
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548: I find that rapid eyerolling dissipates anger.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:11 PM
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we managed for the first time ever to wrap up one of these threads without anyone going away mad.

Not so fast on the comity, B. I just came back, and I think

Acknowledging that the language of romance is not untainted by sexism is not the same as saying that vegetarians are nazis. Sorry.

is unresponsive bullshit, pure and simple. The term "soulmate", used by people who believe in stuff like reincarnation, is so far from standard "language of romance ... tainted by sexism" that, to pretend that it is, is tendentious and so goddamn annoying.

I pointed out that these people have a belief in the concept of "soul" that is out of the mainstream, and that this makes it hard to call their use of the term "soulmate" a mainstream, patriarchal conception. You respond, "nah nah, it is too a mainstream conception. Because I say so."

I would also note that, when someone pointed out that DK's positions and votes on gender issues since his (public) conversion on choice have been unassailable, you just handwave it away with a little personal snipe (356). Your intuition about his personal relationship is a house of cards, and your assumptions about his political stances are simply wrong, but your takeaway from all that is that you were right all along.

Fucking annoying.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:11 PM
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Yeah, my only sticking point was that one's spouse's last name is not much revealing about the genuineness of one's liberal bona fides. I like both of my wives' surnames (Moore, Andrews) better than my own (Barnes), though all three are so common that there isn't any need to preserve the names. But I could barely be bothered to make any decisions about the weddings (aside from insisting on not having one the second time around), so this lazypants surely wasn't jumping through the legal hoops to change my name.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:14 PM
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ZOMG, we stopped on the way home from picking Mr. B. up at work today and bought like three pints of fresh picked ripe strawberries as big as my fist for $7. In January.

Huh. Picked up a quart of ripe, sweet strawberries for $1.50 in the Strip this morning (hie thee to Stan's, Ned).

Actually, I don't know what's going on. The strawberries has never been this good and this cheap in winter before. Must have something to do with all the ash from the fires, or something.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:15 PM
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551: I can burn it from my Tivo if you care. It was pretty fucking awesome. Check your local listings!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:15 PM
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Barnes!? [recoils in disgust]


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:16 PM
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Yeah, my only sticking point was that one's spouse's last name is not much revealing about the genuineness of one's liberal bona fides.

Right, and that's what the main argument was originally about. I think we're all largely in agreement on that, but for some reason everyone's not seeing it.

556: Global warming, or mutant strawberries.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:18 PM
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Californian strawberries, or Mexican?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:18 PM
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557: Thanks. If I can get my shit together, I can tape it overnight Weds-Thu. But don't delete it yet, please.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:18 PM
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FEAR MY MUTANT POWERS, PUNY HUMANS!


Posted by: ¡EL FRESA GIGANTÉ | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:20 PM
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560: Pretty sure CA, but I haven't checked this container.

It's the ripeness I can't get over. These have been as good as all but the very peak of the local season. I'm mostly glad because it's the most reliable fruit/vegetable to get into my daughter. A couple weeks ago she ate (no shit) almost a pint at one sitting. She weighs 35 lbs.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:20 PM
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A couple weeks ago she ate (no shit) almost a pint at one sitting.

Your parenthetical seems unlikely in light of the rest of the sentence.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:23 PM
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OK, now I'm going away til morning. B, I'm sorry if 554 was too dickish. I just found your dismissal, well, dickish. But, as has been clear, I'm pretty much in your camp on naming in general, and DK won't be president next term, so no big deal, right?

OMG, I just realized: I have some mousse cake. And strawberries. Wow.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:23 PM
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FEAR MY FEROCIOUS APPETITE, ¡EL FRESA GIGANTE!


Posted by: JROTH'S DAUGHTER | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:27 PM
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We should have a special word used to declare comity when there are still indissoluble antagonisms. We could call it "Comity*!", or "Lutheran Comity!"


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:29 PM
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I think "comity" is Unfogged's safeword.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:36 PM
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The ripeness was maybe b/c of the rain? Maybe there's a short-term glut of PICK THEM NOW strawberries on the market?

JRoth, I missed your dickish comment. Two things: newage or not, part of the implication of "soulmate" is that there's such a thing as lifelong monogamy, and that this is the ideal. Whatever your "religious" beliefs, that's not an idea that, in this historical moment, can reasonably be said to be free of sexism.

I wasn't waving away the "he's voted good in the last few years" thing. You misunderstood. "You" wasn't directed at you; it was part of the "being held up as" paraphrase of the kind of argument that often gets made (to, say, me) when people want to imply that one is a hypocrite for not supporting Kucinich, and if only everyone voted their conscience instead of electability, etc. He's voted good since 2002. Fabulous. Clinton, at least, has been pro-choice for her entire career. Edwards, I think, hasn't, but he's also not just changed his position, but explained the change (which I'm not aware Kucinich has done). Obama, I believe, has also been pro-choice for his entire career.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:41 PM
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567: Made me laugh. We could just call it "comity."

On preview, right, 568.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:41 PM
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there's such a thing as lifelong monogamy, and that this is the ideal. Whatever your "religious" beliefs, that's not an idea that, in this historical moment, can reasonably be said to be free of sexism

???


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:51 PM
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Gotta agree with 571. That makes no sense at all.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:53 PM
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I was going to say; monogamy is sexist?!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:54 PM
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546: she didn't want to keep the nom de pedophile?

That's certainly making the decision look all the better.

But, "Swift" just objectively rules as a name, and she couldn't help but switch.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:54 PM
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newage or not, part of the implication of "soulmate" is that there's such a thing as lifelong monogamy, and that this is the ideal. Whatever your "religious" beliefs, that's not an idea that, in this historical moment, can reasonably be said to be free of sexism.

Not true. In the new age conception, it doesn't mean lifelong monogamy. And even if it did, there's no reason to think it's sexist. That would take a separate argument on your part, one I'm not necessarily inviting you to make, mind.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:55 PM
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Sigh. Can we table the "what's wrong with monogamy?!?" question for another day?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:55 PM
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576: Can you at least send us a link to a reference on why monogamy is by definition a sexist construct? Some of us seem to need a reminder.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:57 PM
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The question isn't what's wrong with monogamy (answer: nothing, it's as valid a choice as any other); it's what's inherently sexist about two people each deciding they're going to have a monogamous relationship.

Remember: I don't much believe in the feasibility of lifelong monogamy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 7:59 PM
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Sigh. Can we table the "what's wrong with monogamy?!?" question for another day?

Didn't you, uh, just bring it up to make a point?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:00 PM
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Remember: I don't much believe in the feasibility of lifelong monogamy.

I wonder about this too, although these are thoughts I keep to myself in the interest of waking up each morning with my genitals intact.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:02 PM
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Not to mention that the concept of reincarnating over many lifetimes doesn't restrict the gender one can be reincarnated in. Hardly "sexist" to think that reincarnation can bring two soulmates together as a het couple or a gay couple.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:04 PM
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569: Kucinich has discussed his change of heart on abortion. He listened to women who spoke to him about the necessity that women have the right to control their own bodies and came to the conclusion that his Catholic upbringing had been wrong.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:07 PM
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it's what's inherently sexist about two people each deciding they're going to have a monogamous relationship.

Especially given the dominant alternatives tend not to be terribly female-friendly. I can see ways monogamy might be sexist (put up with that alcoholic husband, or else you're a whore!), but nothing inherently so.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:12 PM
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Okay! So the answer is "no, bitch, explain!"

I'm tired, but this is the best I can do. One of the major reasons why monogomy is socially important is that paternity is a problem. It seems to me that the evidence from practice is that we're not, generally speaking, "naturally" monogamous--after all, even in times and places where non-monogamy is *very* heavily stigmatized/punished, people will still have affairs. So I think that we tend to value monogamy because socially it provides benefits, rather than for the same reason that (say) we value eating or caring for children. (On the children thing, I think that the social pressure is actually in the opposite direction, away from caring for them, at the present moment. Yes, in many ways we treat kids much better than, say, historic Europe did; keep in mind, though, that historic Europe had incredibly bad nutrition and people drank alcohol like, all the time, so we're sort of dealing with a culture in which people were presumably operating at sub-optimal levels.) And by and large, the social benefits of monogamy to men as a group have to do with paternity and sexual jealousy; the social benefits to women as a group have to do with financial security.

Moreover, broadly speaking, as a culture we tend to think that women are more "naturally" monogamous than men. So we see it as "romantic" and praiseworthy when men view monogamy as an ideal, rather than merely expecting/insisting on it in women. We don't give women the same social approval for being monogomous--if anything, of *course* women are going to value monogamy more, since you know, they need men to protect/provide for them. When women are *not* monogamous, we tend to think very badly of them; when men aren't monogamous, we tend to think less badly of them than we do of women.

So I think that basically "valuing mongamy" means valuing an institution that has historically been viewed as compulsory for women, and that's still very tied up in women's economic dependence. As women have gotten more economically and sexually independent, we've got this renewed emphasis on monogamy as a romantic/moral ideal. It seems to me to be something of a backlash.

All of which isn't to say, any more than my beliefs about surnames imply, that people who in their own lives value monogamy are Bad Sexist Assholes. Keep in mind that my original statement was merely that idealizing monogamy *in this historical can't reasonably be said to be free of sexism.* I simply do not think it is possible for properly socialized human beings to completely isolate their "personal" beliefs from the social and cultural ideals they live with.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:14 PM
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the social benefits of monogamy to men as a group have to do with paternity and sexual jealousy; the social benefits to women as a group have to do with financial security.

Woman aren't subject to sexual jealousy? Good to know.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:17 PM
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ae


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:17 PM
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584: I simply do not think it is possible for properly socialized human beings to completely isolate their "personal" beliefs from the social and cultural ideals they live with.

And what, pray, makes you think that the Unfoggedariat has any "properly socialised human beings"??


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:19 PM
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I don't know what B's angle is, but my own response to the matter of monogamy being sexist - contextually, not absolutely - would have to do partly with monogamy's being so linked with marriage, itself a sexist institution. and that, more broadly, the rhetoric that extols monogamy seems to me to often suggest that as a lifestyle it isn't so difficult for women, but men need to be convinced of the virtues in order for a patriarchal system (i.e. one where men provide support and women reproduce in controllable ways) is continued.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:19 PM
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589

pwned, more elaborately and effectively, by B.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:20 PM
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590

582: Okay, good for him.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:21 PM
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I simply do not think it is possible for properly socialized human beings to completely isolate their "personal" beliefs from the social and cultural ideals they live with.

I would agree with this, but disagree that the social and cultural ideal is essential to monogamy. Shorter me: hey, the religious right's rhetoric doesn't speak for me.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:22 PM
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585: That isn't what I said, nor is it implicit in what I said.

589: No, yours was better. Shorter.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:23 PM
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591: It may not be essential; my point is, there's no way to be sure that your commitment to monogomy has nothing in common with the religious right's. I mean, for heaven's sake, you were raised Catholic. Some of that sexist indoctrination probably took, right?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:25 PM
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On a more serious note, "renewed emphasis on monogamy" is probably more linked to the modern awareness of STDs, including the incurable ones. Being monogamous is just safer all round.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:25 PM
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594: Again, I don't think that you can just trace causality that way. If that's the case, why is monogamy such a huge deal for religious conservatives who also oppose HPV vaccination?

Just because we can come up with rational explanations that *don't* have anything to do with hundreds or thousands of years of cultural history doesn't mean that poof, all that history suddenly vanished overnight.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:28 PM
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Monogamy is a much better deal than polygamy for the median man, that's for sure. This clearly increases the attraction for large religions that have their foundations in underdog stories (compare Christianity vs. Islam). Not sure what it says about sexism, though.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:45 PM
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If your objection to monogamy is historically based, polygamy doesn't fare any better, does it?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:47 PM
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Religious conservatives are spurred on by their [yes, sexist] belief system; it has nothing to do with a "backlash" because teh wimmen are gettin' uppity. They didn't change, they merely maintained their status quo. Your statement: As women have gotten more economically and sexually independent, we've got this renewed emphasis on monogamy as a romantic/moral ideal. It seems to me to be something of a backlash implies that they - and other parts of society - have backtracked. They didn't, they simply never evolved. [Given that they don't believe in evolution...] Anecdotally, many of the people I knew who led wildly non-monogamous lives have decided that safer is better and ceased the multiple partner thing.

You are also not taking into account that intelligent people frequently reject their early socialisation and make thoughtful decisions about how they wish to lead their lives. I have to assume you did, as I doubt that your upbringing endorsed the husband-and-boyfriend lifestyle. You can't declare that no one is capable of overcoming social conditioning; it just isn't true.

Back to the new-agey soulmates issue that triggered this - it's a question of rightness of fit, not idealised, eternal monogamy. The idea that there is a soul out there who will resonate with one's own and really and truly understand one is very appealing to some people - not because of sexist tinges of ownership, but because the believers are more likely to be lonely social misfits.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:48 PM
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I did a quick search of this thread for "Gore," and oddly enough didn't find it. The subject has moved on from wantonly bashing Dennis Kucinich for... whatever... I'm sure, but if B's still hung up on the fact that Kucinich used to be anti-choice, so was Al Gore. Nevertheless, I'd still vote for Gore for president, because global warming and a mildly saner foreign policy are more important to me than an anti-abortion stance he abandoned years ago.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:56 PM
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Bitch, people can easily ignore history of which they are not aware. That would be most of us, most of the time.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:58 PM
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597: Polygamy sure as shit isn't something we idealize as a society, or think is romantic. So no, it doesn't hold up, god knows; but no one's saying it does, either.

Religious conservatives are spurred on by their [yes, sexist] belief system; it has nothing to do with a "backlash" because teh wimmen are gettin' uppity. They didn't change, they merely maintained their status quo.

Oh, come on. Abortion was not the huge issue for Catholics 50 years ago that it is now. It surely wasn't for Protestants. And yet.

intelligent people frequently reject their early socialisation and make thoughtful decisions about how they wish to lead their lives.

Of course they do. But that doesn't mean that they're suddenly completely free of that socialization, however much they may consciously reject it. Overcoming social conditioning in terms of one's actions is one thing; freeing oneself from (say) guilt or anxiety or defensiveness is quite another.

On the new agey thing; to be honest, I don't know much about this. I'm quite willing to accept that the conscious understanding of why soul mates matter to new age folks is that they believe in reincarnation and the eternity of souls. But for people who weren't raised in (say) a Buddhist society, where reincarnation and the eternity of souls are ideologically ingrained, I maintain some skepticism about whether or not they're completely free of the socially dominant Christian sexist nonsense. (That said, I absolutely accept the "social misfits" explanation. But surely part of what rankles about being misfits is one's own struggle with self-acceptance in light of one's internalized self-image as a (socially constructed) "misfit.")


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:58 PM
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Just because we can come up with rational explanations that *don't* have anything to do with hundreds or thousands of years of cultural history doesn't mean that poof, all that history suddenly vanished overnight.

No, but it is how progress happens. I'm not deny there's a common history, because like, the history is there. But there's a difference between acknowledging it and being bound by it in one's personal interactions. My marriage looks a lot different from my parents'.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:59 PM
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600: I see. So if (say) my kid grows up without being taught anything about the history of slavery and racism, and he picks up the word "nigga" from hip hop music, it's not a racist term? Come on.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:00 PM
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My 258 was originally tongue-in-cheek, but you seem to be buttressing it. Also, buttressing should be a euphemism.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:01 PM
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The other problem with arguments of the form [ institution ] is inherently [ oppressive ] because of [ historical links to oppression ] is that just about every institution in society is more or less tarnished, and unless you're going to say we should junk them all and move on to our glorious, universally equitable pod-and-food-pellet-based lifestyle, you end up not really saying much of anything.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:02 PM
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603: No, but you could probably make the argument that it has been successfully reclaimed by rap artists and thus that when white frat boys complain they can't say 'nigga', the proper response is to roll your eyes.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:03 PM
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62: Definitely. And the danger to the kind of arguing I'm doing here is that it can impede progress to be overly self-conscious about history, especially on the level of the individual. In terms of looking at broad social trends and ideological shifts, though, I think it's pretty sound to assume that well-established ideas don't just vanish.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:04 PM
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So if (say) my kid grows up without being taught anything about the history of slavery and racism, and he picks up the word "nigga" from hip hop music, it's not a racist term?

No, not when he says it.

There is authorial intent behind the text, you know.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:07 PM
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605: I'm completely not claiming to be offering some new pod-and-food-pellet-based utopian way. All I'm ever arguing for in these discussions (I think, if memory serves) is that we acknowledge that like you're saying, institutions are tarnished and let's not be sanguine about glibly assuming that because we know that X is Wrong, the things we value must therefore be completely not-X.

606: Right, but see, my kid's white. So if he didn't know that it's a bad word--since after all, I didn't teach him any history--he'd be entitled to complain about that. (Under the "people can ignore history they're not aware of" formulation. Which I'm saying okay, sure, they can; but we can't.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:08 PM
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A toddler that runs around crying out "shit! shit! shit!" very well may know that he shouldn't say it, by the winces of his parents, but has no idea that the context could be excretory, agricultural, or other.

I guess, after thinking about it a bit, that I think you're radically shortchanging the intent behind people's adoption or eschewing of cultural practices in favor of context they may not have even the first inkling of.

So, it would seem, I'm coming to agree with your 20.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:14 PM
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"people can" s/b "people do, all the time, even the best among us"


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:15 PM
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601: How did you leap from discussing monogamy-as-an-ideal to abortion opposition? What I said was that the RR position on monogamy had not changed, which has fuck-all to do with abortion. [And, given that abortion was illegal 50 years ago, it's not surprising that the assorted Xtian churches didn't make it an issue - they didn't have to.]

Some of us are sociopathic enough that we don't have any guilt when transgressing our early socialisation. Then again, my upbringing emphasised the idea that the very intelligent make their own rules and only pretend to follow society's blathering. I was raised as a green monkey.

IMNSHO, if people suffer from guilt/anxiety/defensiveness because of their socialisation, they need to do a cost/benefit analysis - or maybe get a little shrinkage to reconcile the quarrelling bits of their personalities. I've never understood the "I like to do X, but I have to have a drink or two to do it" sort of thing. I once got into a heated argument with someone on a kinky sex site when I suggested that, if doing X required consuming a pitcher of margaritas aforetime, then maybe said person should indulge in some navel-gazing and figure out why it took being blind drunk to do something that was ostensibly "fun".


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:21 PM
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let's not be sanguine about glibly assuming that because we know that X is Wrong, the things we value must therefore be completely not-X.

But no one's saying that, at least I don't think anyone here is going to deny that marriage has a sexist history. All I'm arguing for at least is the claim that what some earlier person thought wholly controls the content of my actions.

I think part of the problem is that sometimes "sexism" seems to imply "horrible practice which must end now, with institutional and cultural sanctions, if necessary" and sometimes it implies "common practice which has horrible roots, but all we need to do to discharge our feminist obligations is be aware of it."

I mean, really, I don't think B is a better feminist than LB because B has an open marriage, and I don't think B would either. So I have to wonder what's supposed to follow from calling monogamy itself (as opposed to the history of the institution, which no one should be denying) sexist.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:25 PM
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613: So I have to wonder what's supposed to follow from calling monogamy itself (as opposed to the history of the institution, which no one should be denying) sexist.

Because, by agreeing with that notion, we validate those who don't practice monogamy. [See 597 re: those who defy social expectations, thereby causing themselves psychological problems.] I've run into many cheerleaders for polyamory whose arguments are based on a need to be seen as Doing the Right Thing - and who castigate those who choose monogamy.

I've been both non-monogamous and monogamous at different times in my life; what is comfortable at one time may not be right for another. That doesn't make my monogamous relationships inherently more sexist than the open-marriage/multiple partner thing. We have a right not to screw around if we don't want to.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:37 PM
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612.1: Um, it's not just that 50 years ago churches weren't anti-abortion; it's that many, many pastors and priests actively campaigned to make abortion legal, and helped arrange for safe illegal abortions for their parishoners.

612.2: Huh. Well, okay; maybe you're sociopathic. Plenty of people are raised to *believe* all sorts of things that are at odds with what they're raised to *do*, however, so the "I was raised" thing doesn't prove anything one way or another. And of course people should get therapy to deal with their internal conflicts. That doesn't mean such conflicts don't exist, though, and therapy isn't a magic bullet.

613: I'm confused then; why are you arguing against a claim that no one's made (i.e., "what some earlier person thought wholly controls the content of my actions")? I don't think I'm a better feminist than LB, either; and I'm certainly not (as I think DE is implying in 614) castigating the monogamous. I'm pretty sure I've made explicit statements on this very site about how much I loathe self-identified polyamorous people for doing that and how reluctant I am to call myself "poly" partly for that very reason.

Of course people have a right to choose their sex lives/marital practices/etc. I'm not saying that people who choose monogamy are more sexist/less feminist than people who don't. I'm saying that ideologically speaking, "monogamy" is a concept that's entirely bound up with sexism (and history). It's not about blaming people at all. It's just about being critical (in the critical thinking sense) of social norms and truisms and the kinds of things that "everybody" believes.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:47 PM
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615: Like I said, the problem is different contexts. (And I'm not making a strawman: you said the concept of a "soulmate" and "monogamy" couldn't be free of sexism, even if both people had thought it through. Pretty much means the content of what I do is fixed by factors wholly external to me.) If I say, hey, this hiring process is sexist and these men that whine about not getting hired due to oogityboogity affirmative action are sexist, I'm saying something should be done and if nothing is done, this is bad. If I say, hey, monogamy is sexist, I'm not implying, this is bad, I should go get a boyfriend.

I don't deny the historical claim, but presumably, you think there's something wrong with the Kucinichs calling each other soulmates, and it wasn't just a history lesson you had in mind.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:57 PM
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612: You don't understand the concept of "inhibitions"?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:58 PM
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I'm not saying that people who choose monogamy are more sexist

Oh thank heavens! B., then you don't dislike Kucinich for his soulmate which = lifelong monogamy (which it doesn't, but ok) thing!

Actually, probably you didn't like the term "life partner," feeling that it's worse than "husband" or "wife," because the latter two these days suggest something potentially transitory, or a merely legal arrangement.

I'm off.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:04 PM
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Sorry, that came out sounding snide which I wasn't trying to be. I just meant to point out that the abnormal behavior you are seeing in people is basically described by the common concept of inhibitions.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:04 PM
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My last name is something like Smith, and my honey's is something like Ahmad Tehrani, sometimes spelled as one word and sometimes as two. I do not think that should we marry, there will exist a name-changing situation that will preserve both family unity and individual identity. Smith-Ahmad-Tehrani is just not workable. I guess I'd keep my name, but I think I'd be pretty sad not to have the same last name as my kids. I don't see becoming Jackmormon Ahmad Tehrani, though.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:50 PM
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Jackmormon: why not pick a common name you both like? I know a couple who did that.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:54 PM
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He's really attached to Ahmad Tehrani (after spending many years getting over it). We're not getting married any time soon, and the last time we discussed the issues swirling around name-changing did not go so well, so we'll see.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:02 PM
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You could name your children various permutations of it, though! Little Smith Ahmad Tehrani, Ahmad Tehrani Smith, Tehrani Smith Ahmad. Eh? That would be awesome, and really confusing for aging grandparents.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:04 PM
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620: Is it possible that the two words in his name might be smooshed together in an alternate transliteration, like our friend Ahmadi-Nejad has managed to do? That might be more convenient.

But keep at it, even though it's more acceptable for women of the Orient to assimilate by hyphenation than it is for the reverse to happen.

Hmmm, I think I have a coworker whose sister encountered this problem. I'll ask what her sister's name ended up being. Unless she just changed her whole damn name when she converted to Islam.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:05 PM
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Ned, yes, sometimes his name is Ahmaditehrani. Not on his passport, though, and I am strongly pro-getting all the paperwork exactly the same so my honey doesn't end up in fracking Guatanamo. Smith-Ahmaditehrani is also a bit of a mouthful.

confusing for aging grandparents

My dad tried to say something nice about my honey this Christmas. Unfortunately, he mispronounced the first name so badly I had to ask him to repeat his comment twice before I could tell who he was talking about.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:10 PM
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No, I just dislike "soulmate" on aesthetic grounds, because I think it's incredibly cheesy. I can't remember any more why I said that monogamy is sexist anyway. Which it is, but I freely admit that I don't find Kucinich icky because he's married, presumably monogamously.

Anyway at this point I CAN NO LONGER REMEMBER what in th eheck we're arguing about.

JM, give the kids your name? Or a combined name, like Smith Tehrani? Smehrani? Some crazy-ass made up name?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:11 PM
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If we get to that point, it'll be complicated, that's for sure. All I know is that our kids would be GORGEOUS. And very very near-sighted.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:14 PM
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God, near-sighed. Because I am a terrible, terrible mother, I've been letting PK spend way too much time on his computer, and the weakness that a doctor noticed last year in his near vision (and said he should either get reading glasses for, to help strengthen the muscles, or else do eye exercises) (the weakness is basically that his eyes tend to overcorrect and move inward more than they need to) is now pronounced enough that I can actually *see* his left eye crossing a bit when he looks at something close to him.

I actually feel terrible about this, even though all that has to be done, presumably, is get the kid the glasses the doctor mentioned. Which he, the kid, actually wants. But jeez.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:28 PM
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Oh, man, don't let the eye problem get ahead of him! My poor little brother. We didn't suspect until sooo late...


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:51 PM
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628: Glasses are sexy. The upside is that now he'll be sexually active way sooner than he would've been otherwise.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:55 PM
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Non-monogamously, of course.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:55 PM
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What my parents taught us is that words mean things besides what we intend, both because we're influenced in ways we're not thinking of at the moment and because others have their own histories. So what I'd say to a hypothetical child of mine using "nigger" without overtly racist intent is that sometimes it doesn't matter what they meant in the narrow sense of "just the specific connotations and denotations I wanted to send at that moment", it's bad to use because it's hurtful to others and because it can and usually will end up reinforcing attitudes they don't want to support.

Given that as a starting point, I can see how some people - including, not surprisingly, a bunch of women - are more concerned than I am about the implications of some personal choices in the realm of love and relationship. I can see the same dynamic at work, and am quite willing to believe that I'd be more concerned too if I had a better grasp of the situation from other angles. (That's how it went for me with racism, homophobia, and other stuff, after all.)


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:18 AM
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632: Finally.

Re. glasses, yeah. I swear, he's only had the computer a month! And for at least two weeks of that time he wasn't using it because he was at my dad's! The crossed eye thing came on really suddenly and I promise to call the doctor this week!

Re. sexually active, so cute: he confessed to me that he "kind of has a crush on" this one girl in his class. Who I like very much, and I gave him the big thumbs up. So he wants to know why, and I go down the laundry list of this girl's many fine attributes, ending with "and I have to admit, she has a really pretty smile. In fact, she's just really pretty." (She is; she's gonna be a beauty in a few years.)

PK says. "Oh yes she is."

Heh.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:29 AM
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Oh, B, two suggestions:

First. This is no miracle cure, but lutein taken regularly has done great things for my habitual eyestrain problems. I have migraines much, much less frequently than I used to, and about half the sensitivity to bright light I have from porphyria goes into abeyance. Highly recommended. The herb eyebright also helps - partly because it's rich in lutein.

Second. I do think John E. hit on something useful when he wrote about your visceral dislike of things that seem hippy-ish to you. But you clearly dislike leaving it there, too. It might be useful practice to take "I have a visceral, pre-rational dislike of X" a bit more seriously, and not try too rapidly to nail it down in a larger framework. It might, for instance, lead to fewer digressions like the one about monogamy.

I don't claim this one is a miracle cure, either, but I've found that saying "I'm revolted and don't feel I can be very rational about this" and pausing there for a while to think it over has saved me some embarrassing arguments in recent years. Sometimes, in the pause that follows I realize that what's really going on is a bit of biography or whatever - it took me years to realize how much certain liberal political arguments turned me off because the rhythm of their usual delivery reminded me of a doctor who'd been cruel to me back when I was first suffering major immune collapse. Once I realized that and dealt some with that baggage, I realized that the arguments themselves were actually pretty good. Other times I'll find that, yeah, the visceral is in fact attached to something rational and developed that I do want to defend as a valid thing. Just not always, and giving myself the breather seems to help. So I recommend it to all and sundry. (You can be either all or sundry, as you wish.)


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:31 AM
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633: PK: "She looked at the pencil, and the eraser, and my long, flowing locks. That was when I knew."


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:37 AM
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Er. I just realized that my last post could really be easily read as an example of the Man Lectures Silly Woman style of rhetoric. That wasn't my attention. I have problems sometimes getting the right balance between "I want to be general, at the risk of losing the specificity of whatever triggered me to write in the first place" and "I want to be specific, at the risk of sounding hectoring". I don't mean to single you out for criticism in my second point, B, so much as to use you as a hook on which to hang my bit of exposition on dealing with visceral reactions. Apologies in advance if I blew that part of it.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:44 AM
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Incidentally, what grade is PK in?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:47 AM
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I like being all better than sundry. Thanks, Bruce. Re. the visceral, pre-rational dislike, one bad habit I definitely have is externalizing my arguing-with-myself thing, which is how I try to find flaws in my rationalizations. It's helpful to me, but it drives people crazy, especially online....

635: Oh dear, I hope not. Actually he was teaching her TKD after school today. Plus--and I'm kind of horrified that this matters to PK so much, but also kind of pleased, in a viscerally irrational way that probably doesn't bear looking into--he specifically made a point of inserting "and she has a good fashion sense" into my litany of how she's smart, and funny, and practical, and etc.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:48 AM
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636: No, you got the tone just right.

637: Second. But I can't remember if this girl he likes is in 2nd or 3rd; it's a 2/3 class.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:49 AM
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Hey, my first crush was second grade too. He's right on schedule. Congratulations!


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:51 AM
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His actual first crush was in kindergarten, I hate to tell you. Then last year he had simultaneous crushes on two different girls.

He's precocious.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:54 AM
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Well, I guess that blows the argument that you're gay-ifying him right out of the water.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:55 AM
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Sadly, yes. I'm holding out hope that this "she has good fashion sense" thing might still turn it around, though.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:58 AM
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You might still be able to achieve "bi." Then everybody will love him.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:03 AM
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Hey! Awesome plan. I hear all the kids are going that way these days anyhow.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:05 AM
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Also, wow, Living Colour. I'd forgotten about them.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:08 AM
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Probably because they sucked, as I'm finally prepared to admit.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:13 AM
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LOL. How long did that take you?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:14 AM
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Until just now. Big moment.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:15 AM
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Wow. Congratulations. I'm here for you.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:16 AM
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Wow, personal epiphanies are exhausting. I think I'm going to pass out go to bed. 'Night!


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:19 AM
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I dispute 647.

Admittedly, I never listen to them now, but they were pretty good for 1988. Late-80s rock music containing, as it did, an Aegean-stables-load of shit.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:20 AM
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ttaM's comment brought home that "until just now" means it took twenty years.

Scratch the going to bed plan. I'm going to find some more whiskey.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:24 AM
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I've got some scotch. But sadly, I really should go to bed.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:26 AM
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Oh, hey ttaM. Was this you?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:33 AM
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re: 655

See other thread. It sort of sounds like something I might say, but I don't think it was something I actually did say. Maybe B is right and it was Apo?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:42 AM
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Nah, though from the Isles I think. Maybe dsquared.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:47 AM
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Definitely not a D2 kind of thing. OFE, maybe. Good combination of straight up, pithy, and wise.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:49 AM
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I'm thinking OFE. To bed! Maybe the Google fairy will leave me a surprise under my pillow. Or maybe the cat will kill another cockroach. It's all part of the great going-to-sleep lottery


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:07 AM
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Not me. Wish it was. Alex?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:10 AM
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Dare I go back to topic? LB @455: this is much like the convention in Spanish speaking countries, where married women legally keep their birth names by default. True, the convention is Fathersname Mothersname, but it's always been acceptable to use and pass on Mothersname if you prefer it, e.g. Pablo Ruiz Picasso.

Note the absence of patriachy and sexism in Spanish speaking countries. Which is why I question the importance of naming conventions to the core issues. That said, I would have felt very weird if Mrs OFE had insisted on taking my name (she sometimes uses it for booking restaurants, etc. because hers is peculiar, and it's easier).


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:27 AM
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628: PK's vision sounds exactly like mine, right down to the lazy eye starting around age seven. Just as an anecdatum, my eyesight started to deteriorate (three prescriptions within six months), and what halted it was getting bifocals and forcing my eyes to work during close work. And mine fell apart without any silly computer to blame, so PK's new computer probably has little to do with it. So get him cute glasses and no beating yourself up!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 5:16 AM
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Lazy eye untreated becomes very serious and can lead to a kind of blindness in that eye -- I have more than one friend with that problem. I'm not sure that it's the result of any particular activity, though.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 5:23 AM
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No, it clearly wasn't - there was nothing about SS7 signalling, aircraft carriers, or Bill Deakin in there, was there?

Meanwhile, 233 with a bullet. Clearly Kuchinich should damn well order his wife to change her name back, the bitch. As you know, it goes like this:

1. Coercion.
2....
3. Utopia!

The good news is that the guy who you've just spent 450 comments discussing whether or not you should vote for him based on your own entirely conjectural views about the state of his marriage isn't going to be on the ballot, so whatever net information loss has resulted can be tolerated.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 5:29 AM
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Aside from the gratuitous intellectual thuggery, PK rocks.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 5:30 AM
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FWIW, a squint/lazy-eye can be corrected with glasses.

I had it. I had to wear glasses from about age 3 until I was about 14. I had quite a bad squint [and long-sightedness] but the glasses corrected it. I didn't start wearing them again until a couple of years ago [and only for driving].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 5:34 AM
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This 'It's not your name, it's your father's' crap really sounds like you think I need a cock to have a right to a name. I know you were just being cutely annoying, but it's fucking stupid and I'd be perfectly happy not to hear that particular cutely annoying little cliche ever again.

Aaaaarrrrrrrgghhhh! I know I missed most of this yesterday and that this thread is probably died a natural death already, but....

I changed my name upon marriage to the name the Ugly Naked Guy was born with. And guess what -- it's MY name now. Mine. A name I have every right to and which I chose. It's no more stupid to say "it's your father's name" than to say "it's your husband's name." The fucker may have thought every god damned thing in the marriage belonged to him, but I got the name. It is mine now and only I can take that away from me. I own it.

Y'all keep saying how much of a burden the name change thing was and, having done it, I disagree. It's been a decade, but I don't remember having to do much of anything at all. I think I went to the DMV to change my driver's license -- which I had to do because of the change in address anyway.

Did it mean that, poor me, I suddenly lost my identity because I gave up my birth-name? No, because my identity, mine, has never, ever been tied up in a name. (Tied up in all sorts of other patriarchal crap that has taken me quite some time to untangle, sure. But not in a stupid name.)

Have I lost something because people from high school/college can't randomly google me? Shit, if I wanted them to find me, they would be able to! I can register at my alumnae sites or Classmates.com and still be found. Just a couple weeks ago a high school friend tracked me down -- despite the name change. Prospective employers, alas, cannot research local newspaper archives and discover what a force I was in fast pitch softball. But good god, that's not what defines me.

I was 24 years old when I got married and was at a very definite stage of just beginning to define my own identity. Not an identity I was born into, but an identity I have chosen. I chose to change my name. I still have my history. None of that just disappeared the day I got changed my name. I might have made a different choice had I married later and had more of what I consider "my identity" built up under my birth-name. But that wasn't my situation.

I understand why other people choose not to change their names, or choose to hyphenate, or choose to call themselves the Wildcats (if I had it to do over, I'd call myself Di Wildcat, it's true). That's great. But to sit here insisting that I have made some sort of compromise and that you can tell something about my commitment to feminism because I made a different choice is irritating as hell. In my case, the name change says "I don't that what name I chose has any significant effect whatsoever on my advancement as a woman." And I was right -- it didn't stop me from being the primary bread winner, from pursuing the career I want, from having a perfect and exceptionally well adjusted child.

And no, it doesn't work here any better than anywhere else to say, "Well, but we don't mean you."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 6:30 AM
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I've got your back, Di. 667 is pretty much what I was was trying to say yesterday, although coming from you I think it's probably about 6000 times more convincing.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 7:19 AM
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667: I'm not trying to say that I'm a better feminist than you, odds are I'm not. And I'm not trying to say that changing your name demonstrates that you're a bad feminist -- if you read back, everyone who's talking about the political implications of name changing is caveated all to hell and back; personal circumstances, if you weren't thinking about it in political terms, whatever, it doesn't necessarily mean much of anything in each individual case.

But that doesn't mean you can say that it's wrong to say it globally, across society, means nothing. You didn't change your name because you decided spontaneously that you wanted a new identity as an adult, you changed your name at the time when you got married, to your husband's name. The fact that that's still an ongoing, living, tradition that burdens women in a way that it doesn't burden men (and saying the burden isn't a big deal doesn't answer that. No one's arguing that going to the DMV, having to explain to people what your new name is, and so on, is a huge problem for everyone. But big or small, it is a burden, and it's one that's handed out asymmetrically by gender.) means something politically.

Ogged's 414 really sums up what I want to say here.

(Specifically, the language of mine you quote and are annoyed by? I'm responding to someone saying that I don't have a different relationship to my birth name than to my husband's name, because both are really men's names -- one's my husband's and one's my father's. That's saying that no name is mine, if there's a man who had it before me, and that's a piss-off. I'm not, as you seem to be reading me as, saying that Yes my birth name is mine, No my husband's name can't be mine -- my positive argument against name changing is about history, personal and generational, and burden, not anything along the 'it's not my name, it's a man's name' front. I'm trying to reject that argument.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 7:44 AM
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The "Dennis ring" told her to take his name. Otherwise that sign from the cosmos or whatever, the double K's on the ring, wouldn't have made sense as a prophecy of their union. Duh.


Posted by: blute | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:05 AM
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if you read back, everyone who's talking about the political implications of name changing is caveated all to hell and back

A lot of the caveating took place precisely because people were pushing back against the stronger forms of the claim.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:09 AM
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Further to 671.

That's what happens in discussion threads, obviously. Journey towards comity, etc.

But there were somewhat stronger versions of the claim being made than the highly caveated ones.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:11 AM
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672: (a) Eh, I didn't see anyone changing their ground. I saw clarification, but that's different. (b) 667 came at the end of the thread, after all of the clarification. Presumably, therefore, it's a reaction to everyone's position as clarified, or softened, whatever.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:17 AM
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First, what I'm reacting to most strongly in the language I quoted was the flippant dismissal of what I consider a reasonable point as "a cutesy cliche." Will was trying to make the point (that I had tried to make earlier in the thread) that a birth-name and a married name may well result equally from the same patriarchal traditions rendering a choice to keep the birth-name less inherently sticking it to the patriarchy than has been assumed. Will wasn't really saying that no name is yours because both are really men's names. He's saying that either name can be really yours even if it originated with a man.

Ogged's analogy to voting, frankly, highlights exactly why this whole thread has been irritating me is pissing me off. Blah blah blah "we're not saying anything about individual choices," etc. and so on. But you are. You are saying, "Oh, honey, we understand that you might have had good reasons for failing to vote in favor feminism, and your one vote wasn't going to make a difference anyway, but still you voted against feminism."

And to say that everyone has caveated the hell out of their position and no one is criticizing any individual choice is demonstrably wrong. Sybil specifically said that women who change their names get automatically ranked lower on her could-be-friends-with list. B said she is disappointed in both halves of a straight couple when a name change occurs. You described "as flat wrong" Brock's statement that "I really do dispute that it alone tells you anything meaningful about an individuals politics."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:43 AM
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667 came at the end of the thread, after all of the clarification. Presumably, therefore, it's a reaction to everyone's position as clarified, or softened, whatever

My reading of the clarification/softening has been that alot of it was "Oh, well we don't mean you." Which doesn't cut it for me. This all started with why Dennis Kucinich is a bad progressive because his wife took his name. Not a discussion of whether, in general, it makes sense to presume that a woman will take her husband's name. But a discussion of a couple who presumably is well aware that she could have chosen any name she wanted and who made a decision for reasons we are not privy to. Actual individuals were the focus of condemnation, not just an abstract tradition.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:49 AM
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If that was Will's point, I misunderstood him, but I think I was clear as to what I was angrily, rather than flippantly, objecting to.

Ogged's analogy to voting, frankly, highlights exactly why this whole thread has been irritating me is pissing me off. Blah blah blah "we're not saying anything about individual choices," etc. and so on. But you are. You are saying, "Oh, honey, we understand that you might have had good reasons for failing to vote in favor feminism, and your one vote wasn't going to make a difference anyway, but still you voted against feminism."

I don't want to fight with you, and I don't mean to attack you or your feminism globally, and I think I've been clear up above that for any individual person, whether the facts of their individual situation override the political issues relating to name changing doesn't, by itself, say much of anything about their politics. But I can't agree that it's not a politically weighted decision for anyone. I think we've got to agree to disagree and drop it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:56 AM
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But I can't agree that it's not a politically weighted decision for anyone.

You can't agree that it's not a politically weighted decision for anyone (no shit) or you can't agree that it's not a politically weighted decision for everyone? I think the latter is the claim under discussion.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:00 AM
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Unfortunately, a lot of things get people ranked lower on my could-be-friends-with list; bumper stickers, perceived obnoxiousness of kids, occasionally attire, etc. I'm not going to hierarchize them. Any one of those things, however, inclusive of name-changing decisions, could easily be counteracted upon my getting to know a person and the contexts behind any of those things. Which is to say, I am fully capable of and frequently do *understand* and sympathize with the reasons behind a name change on an individual level. But unless you are going to get a tattoo on yoru forehead with those reasons, you can neither expect me to know them upon meeting you nor to not have the opinion that *taken as a cultural tradition* name-changing is not compatible with (my) feminism.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:02 AM
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Let me try it positively. "For each person deciding whether or not to change their name on marriage, there is at least some political weight on that decision."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:03 AM
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Also, for the record, I would like to add that some of my best friends are name changers.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:03 AM
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You yourself have changed your name from Rachel, on this very blog!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:05 AM
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Sybil misanthropy doesn't work that well unless you really stick with it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:05 AM
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That's right, LB. I caved to an oppressive paradigm desirous of impossible specificity and singularity in language. A concession.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:08 AM
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But unless you are going to get a tattoo on yoru forehead with those reasons, you can neither expect me to know them upon meeting you nor to not have the opinion that *taken as a cultural tradition* name-changing is not compatible with (my) feminism.

Nor can you expect to know my reasons -- which is why I find it unfortunate that my decision would predispose you to not wanting to be my friend.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:10 AM
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It is unfortunate, probably. I should probably be more nuanced in my predispositions. But it's not something I react to nearly as strongly as, say, a Bush bumper sticker or a Free Tibet tshirt. I don't have that wide of a social network and should maybe be less of a bitch, but I am sure that a woman's name-change has never in itself precluded a relationship. It's not unfortunate, however, that I have an opinion, or a strong one, on the issue.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:17 AM
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679: I know you want this to go away, but could I ask for clarification on this point? When you say "at least some political weight on that decision" do you mean (1) political issues factoring into the decision, or (2) political consequences of the decision (and if (2), (a) individually or (b) only in the aggregate), or perhaps (3) both (1) and (2) or (4) something else entirely?

Di seems to be strongly disputing (1), based on her personal case. Apo strongly disputed 2(a) based on his marriages. 2(b) is ogged's voting analogy. Di disputes 2(b) in 674, and I've said a few times I'm not really sure those aggregate political consequences are supposed to be, exactly (other, perhaps, than increasing the potential for (1)--though maybe you view that as a significant consequence).


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:18 AM
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How badly do you want me to keep on annoying Di? I'll go through exactly what I think, again, at weary length, if you really think it's likely to add something productive or interesting to the process of beating this particular lump of horsemeat, but do you really think it's likely?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:23 AM
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This is going to be much less nuanced than anything LB says. Changing your name signifies, and it signifies in accordance with a patriarchal tradition. One can claim one's reasons to have nothing to do with that tradition, as DK has done. One can claim that tradition to have no presence in one's marriage, as apo has done. But one cannot deny the existence of the tradition or the fact that on its face name-changing fits squarely within it. The fewer people who name-change, the less visible the tradition becomes.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:23 AM
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How badly do you want me to keep on annoying Di?

Actually, I think Brock is hoping you will wrap this up with a clarification that simultaneously affirms women generally and mollifies me specifically.

Or, more concisely, just admit you were wrong.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:26 AM
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678: Shorter Sybil: I am judgmental. I view the personal as political (in the broad sense) in the absence of mitigating explanations.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:28 AM
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Mmm... horsemeat. I am only asking because nearly 700 comments in I'm still not sure exactly what's being claimed. (In large part, I'm sure, because there are several voices on your side of the table who no doubt have differing views of things, and different claims.) I'm not asking for weary length--it's multiple choice! Just a (1), (2)((a) or (b)), (3) or (4)!

I really don't need you to go back through all the arguments and rationales again--I think I've got that. Again, I'm just trying to clarify what precise claim those arguments and rationales are meant to be supporting.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:29 AM
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If that's what he thinks, he's going to be mistaken. "Affirming women generally" is absolutely content-free; any group of three billion people, you're not going to be able to 'affirm' anything common to all of them. And I'm not going to say anything that mollifies you more than what I've already said -- figuring that out was the point of my offering to drop it with an agreement to disagree.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:31 AM
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688 is essentially correct, in the same way that certain aspects of traditional wedding ceremonies are a nod to teh patriarchy.

You can't avoid the truth of this, but you can (obviously) weight it very differently at a personal level. Name- changing is hardly unique this way.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:32 AM
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692 crossed with 691. It's not that easy, mostly because your multiple choice options don't make much sense to me, and particularly your characterizations of other people's posts in terms of them are kind of unrecognizable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:32 AM
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As for "How badly do you want me to keep on annoying Di?" Very, very badly, of course. It's only through breaking female solidarity that the patriarchy will be re-affirmed.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:34 AM
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I thought B had a point about monogamy, romance, soulmates, etc. But I don't like the style of argumentation that finds some connection between a social institution or a lifestyle and somebody having been oppressed once somewhere and then tries to use it to invalidate the whole thing. Monogamy can be seen as a pro-feminist move within a patriarchal context, and then evolved toward companionate marriage as society became more ideologically egalitarian. Monogamous companionate marriage has a lot of internal contradictions in justification and ideology, but I don't see why it's necessarily sexist.

Anyway, given the long and intensely sexist history of non-monogamous institutions people opposed to monogamy on principle have a lot of explaining to do as well if they want to go down the political justification road.

And sure, monogamous types come up with romantic fantasies (like "soulmates") to give them the energy and dedication they need to pursue their lifestyle. But everybody does that. One often finds that non-monogamous people are pursuing some equally romantic fantasy of personal freedom (I'm not a suburban drone, I'm a brave sexual adventurer!, etc.); there are other romantic quests connected with non-monogamy as well. Hard to get through life without fantasy; most of us are pretty cheesy at some level.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:35 AM
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I agree with 679.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:35 AM
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one cannot deny the existence of the tradition or the fact that on its face name-changing fits squarely within it

One can, however, deny that fitting within that tradition in 21st century America carries anywhere near the import that you're assigning it. Or that people are unable to adopt whatever part of that tradition they care to for whatever reason they care to without being unwitting tools of teh patriarchy. Otherwise, you run face-first into Tweety's pod-and-pellet-based utopia problem.

I mean, women having relationships with men period fits squarely into the patriarchal paradigm and therefore B and LB both are half-assed feminists on that score. What I sense happening at different points in the thread is certain people proclaiming that the bits of that tradition they've held onto are okay, and the ones they've declared unacceptable are valid demerits and the longer we discuss it, the more subjective and self-serving it looks.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:36 AM
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694: what? I thought they were clear. Well, okay, I don't want a bunch more words to be spent on this. The thread is already 139 pages when printed.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:37 AM
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692: My 689 was a joke, actually.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:37 AM
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the more subjective and self-serving it looks.

I Am Your Yardstick.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:39 AM
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700: jokes are a bad idea in a feminism thread, Di. Women are notoriously touchy.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:40 AM
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Thread not dead yet? OK, here's Crooked Timber's Ingrid Robeyn's experience on the kid-naming question. At the moment her kids have one surname in Belgium and a different one everywhere else in the world.

The example of China, where women do not take their husband's names, is one of the reason I think that the significance of this problem is being vastly exaggerated. China is just much more sexist than the U.S. Women have their own names in considerable part because they are not completely trusted by their husband's kin.

As time goes on, I imagine that the U.S. default will change, but if that happens I don't think it will change much of anything; it might just be a sign that all the other battles have been won, or it might mean very little.

In actual China monogamy and marriage-for-life are regarded above all as protections for the wife, making it almost impossible for her husband to dump her when she gets old. (Polygamy over there is always polygyny, of course). As women gain marketplace power this is changing, but if relative economic equality doesn't precede no-fault divorce it will unquestionably be bad for the ex-wives there.

I also have trouble seeing no-fault divorce plus gender-neutral polygamy (i.e. polyandry too) as a place to start in the attainment of equality for women. It might be an end goal, but in the context of the rest of actual American society (without a strong welfare state, for example, and without strong protections for divorcing wives) they probably will more harm than good.

I also felt that Kucinich was being nastily dumped on for irrelevant reasons, and that people were obtrusively kibitzing his relationship on the basis of very little evidence.

I'm not sure I want to fight this whole fight again, but anyway.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:40 AM
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I Am Your Yardstick.

I Am Your Garden Gnome.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:41 AM
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B and LB both are half-assed feminists on that score.

Dude, I'm a half-assed feminist on a million different points, and I'm sure that B would be happy to agree that she is too. Saying "I'm a feminist" is way, way off from saying that "Every decision I make is feminist" or that "All decisions I make that are recognizably less feminist than they could be are things I need to beat myself up over."

But that doesn't make the not so feminist things I think or do feminist because a feminist is doing them -- I can think about their political import separately from what they say about it me, which often isn't all that much..


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:42 AM
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My ex-wife took Di Kotimy's solution. She kept her first husband's name because people knew her under that name, and because it was her adult name. She had been very happy to ditch her birth name because she had bad (not horrible) memories, and she saw no need to keep on changing.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:43 AM
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you run face-first into Tweety's pod-and-pellet-based utopia problem

Utopia hunting with Cheney.

699: you...print unfogged threads?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:43 AM
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I can't believe that Emerson used "kibitzing" that way, and, worse still, that it's apparently a proper use.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:44 AM
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706: It would have been better, of course, had she taken Wildcat.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:44 AM
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709 was also meant as a joke. I can't help wanting to be funny, even though I know feminists are supposed to be humorless.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:45 AM
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I'm a half-assed feminist on a million different points

Well yes, that's my point. And judging anybody's commitment to women's rights or progressive politics based on this one unbelievably minor issue is a reliable recipe for bad diagnoses.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:46 AM
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The situation John describes in 706 is sadly not uncommon. I also know women who have ditched their birth name because of its associations, but kept their first married name through subsequent marriages, presumably because the relationship wasn't all that bad.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:46 AM
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presumably because the relationship wasn't all that bad.

Oh, believe me, the relationship was indeed all that bad. But the name is pretty decent.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:48 AM
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None of my ex-wife's friends since her divorce (1970 or before) has been likely to socialize with her ex-husband. I run into him occasionally and he barely knows who I am.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:49 AM
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703: I was trying to get at some of this in 696.

But politically: there's something to be said for dropping the whole vaguely authoritarian "which protects women better" approach (where monogamy comes off at least as well as other forms, IMO better) and just saying that our romantic desires and expectations are unduly constrained by institutions that evolved under previous conditions that no longer hold (agricultural poverty and lack of birth control are just as relevant as patriarchy here IMO). So we should all be freer to experiment than we are (although experimentation does not always lead to happiness...constraints can be good).

But that position is not compatible with attacking Dennis Kucinich as sexist because he found his soulmate. (Really, the fact that she's younger and less powerful is doing most of the work with that claim anyway).


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:50 AM
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Oh, and I should add for the record that there's nothing dramatically wrong with my birth family either --- certainly an egg or two with the name I'm happy to distance myself from, but others of whom I am quite proud.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:51 AM
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699: you...print unfogged threads?

And binds them in calf leather. Makes his office look like a law library.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:54 AM
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LB's 679:

"For each person deciding whether or not to change their name on marriage, there is at least some political weight on that decision."

Someone asked for clarification on this. It seems clear that it's a normative statement: there should be some political weight on that decision.

Several people have broken the analogy ban, so I'll go ahead: I put political weight on women's decisions to shave their legs. I've spent a lot of time discussing this with myself, not least because I'm told in no uncertain terms that I should not. What I take from the whole thing is that I cannot tell other people what should be political for them and what should not.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:55 AM
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The whole vaguely authoritarian "which protects women better" approach

This phrase recognizes the real-world power-and-wealth differential. People who marry commit part of themselves, including tangible things like real property and credit rating, and both sides need legal protection. In pir society husbands are de facto better protected.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:55 AM
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My bathrooms are wallpapered with printouts of the Innocence thread.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:55 AM
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711: You know, it got brought up about Kucinich, because there's other information about Kucinich in the picture -- he's the sort of generally quixotic hippie-dippie type where you do kind of expect every little thing he does to reflect his politics. So nitpicking Kucinich doesn't mean that you'd nitpick everyone else the same way.

Putting Kucinich to one side, then, I've been perceiving the argument between people who are insisting that it's wrong to believe that name changing necessarily means ANYTHING AT ALL; and people saying it means something -- not that it's by itself diagnostic of being a wholly owned subsidiary of the patriarchy, but it means something. And it does. B's wearing heels means something -- not that she's not a feminist, but that her shoe choices derive partially from sexist pressures in our society. My shaving my legs, likewise. None of these things are huge deals, but they're not meaningless or politically neutral.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:56 AM
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I think the hangup here may be on the word "political".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:57 AM
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Heh. 721 crossed with parsimon's 718, making the same leg-shaving point. But my intent was to be descriptive rather than normative: 'does' have some political weight, not 'should'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:58 AM
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722: I think social equality between genders is a political issue, so this is all politics for me. Were you thinking something like 'It's got social meaning, but not political meaning'?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:00 AM
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The other thing is that Kucinich is quixotic and purist in that he will vote "no" on major, weighty issues even though he knows that he will lose 434-1. This is something many people respect.

But that does not require him also to be quixotic and purist about lesser symbolic issues like this one. Everyone draws a line.

And some of the reason why Kucinich was targeted seemed to be coming from resentment of his meaningful quixotic purism, as though it was felt he had to be knocked down.

And the personal ridicule rankled too. I'm not really willing to leave Kucinich out of it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:01 AM
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By the act of changing or not changing your name, you are either reinforcing or undermining a social norm whose origin was patriarchical. It doesn't really matter if you've though about it or not. So there really is a political aspect, but I can't see it as significant compared to loads of other things.

Obviously the amount of weight people gives this is highly variable.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:02 AM
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No, that it has a personal meaning rather than a political meaning. And further, that changing or not changing your surname really has no substantive effect on gender equality.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:03 AM
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719: I was presuming a wealthy society with decent social welfare protections (I'm not sure how much de facto better protection husbands have in our society, but in China I'm sure the gap is immense). I think the left has kind of abandoned utopian politics and allowed libertarians to be seen as the ones championing freedom. So it's useful to think about how one would ideally like to see society organized and not be endlessly looking to censure current inequalities.

I once dated a woman who put political weight on giving good blowjobs. Inherently submissive, more so than a man going down, etc. Her compromise was not to be too good at it.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:03 AM
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I once dated a woman who put political weight on giving good blowjobs. Inherently submissive, more so than a man going down, etc. Her compromise was not to be too good at it.

Oh, sweet jesus, don't bring that into it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:05 AM
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political weight on giving good blowjobs

I believe there were several lengthy threads devoted to this very issue...


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:06 AM
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I really can't control myself. Stop me before I comment again.

But at some point women might still be changing their names just out of custom, without it having much of any meaning or effect for anyone. A pure convention.

Compare our pagan calendar names: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, March, May, June -- are we still pagans?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:06 AM
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88 and 143 to 721.1. (The depressing thing about "quixotic hippie-dippie" is that it's basically a straight regurgitation of a corporate media narrative about Kucinich, and it simply doesn't fit his politics. It's depressing to see someone as intelligent, informed and engaged as LB repeating this stuff.)

137 to 721.2. (Put another way, these things "mean something" in that they have some sort of social valence and will provoke reaction, but they don't map neatly onto "patriarchy" or "progressivism" and it's fruitless and self-defeating exercise to pretend otherwise.)

Reading the name change portions of this thread, I'm reminded of interviews with "swing voters" in 2004 where people talked seriously about voting for candidates based on their hairstyle or whether they seemed nice. Assigning any great significance to the name change thing is a great way to become the left version of that kind of person. apo has been completely right for the entire thread.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:07 AM
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I'm not really willing to leave Kucinich out of it.

Are you willing to recognize 'things people are saying about Kucinich' and 'the general discussion of name-changing' as different conversations? Me, I like Kucinich better than B. does -- my primary reaction to his marriage is a combination of man, what a goofball, and it's nice that a basically decent guy seems to have found happiness in his own desperately weird New-Agey way, with a certain amount of funny how all these individual routes to happiness come out as a powerful (weird as he is, he's still in Congress) older man having sex with a hot younger woman.

But the name changing conversation we're having isn't tightly tied to what people think about Kucinich.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:07 AM
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Oh, sweet jesus, don't bring that into it.

You're losing the energy for Unfogged, Sifu. I'm just trying to create the first 1,500 post thread.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:08 AM
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And 731.3 is good.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:09 AM
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735 is correct.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:10 AM
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and it simply doesn't fit his politics

It does fit his rhetoric and personal behavior. Again, UFOs, Shirley McLaine, 'light consciousness picture', Department of Peace, and so on. I genuinely think, based on facts about Kucinich, that he's personally a weirdo.

As I've said a couple of times in this thread, I'd vote for him if he had a shot, and I think his politics generally are great.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:11 AM
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731.3 is good in a futuristic way.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:11 AM
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But at some point women might still be changing their names just out of custom, without it having much of any meaning or effect for anyone. A pure convention.

I disagree. Has a meaning, has an effect. And it benefits men more than women, as a group.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:11 AM
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Let me try it positively. "For each person deciding whether or not to change their name on marriage, there is at least some political weight on that decision."

I agree completely.

I was reacting to my perception that there should be a default position that is feminist.

Virtually every decision has some political weight. Whether the mother stays home with the child or the father does. Lots of things. I do not find the name changing issue to be a decision that should be accorded tremendous weight.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:11 AM
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Basically, as I've said, I'm on board on the name-changing thing and have proved it, as have two of my three brothers. And we're a generation older than most people here.

But frankly, LB, you were the one who pointed twice to Kucinich's runtiness. (I have my own runt issues based on my first 10 years). The discussion of Kucinich was really quite nasty for no valid reason I can discern.

I'd also say that a lot of B's ideas about family and relationships would make much more sense in a more-equal, social-democratic society, but she has the habit of putting her issues first and being angry at men who say that the social-democratic stuff needs to come first, as though social democracy were a male issue.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:15 AM
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UFOs, Shirley McLaine, 'light consciousness picture', Department of Peace

One of these things is not like the others.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:16 AM
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I'd say that 731.3 ignores the onesidedly practical effects of namechanging; maintaining a continuous public identity and so forth. If changing is absolutely thoughtlessly automatic on marriage, like Wednesday not reminding anyone of Odin, women in public life suffer a name-recognition hit when they marry. And once you're thinking "Well, keep your name if your continuous public identity matters to you, but automatically change it if it doesn't", we've got a tradition where no one's asking a man if his identity matters, but a woman has to rate herself and decide what her past means to her when she marries. While as I've said over and over again, it doesn't have to be a huge deal, I don't think there's any way to make it absolutely neutral.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:17 AM
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Heebie, I don't agree. Look at what I said about China. Chinese women don't change their names, and there's no benefit in it for them. I think it's best for name-changing to be optional, but once it is (and it mostly is now) I don't think that name-changing has much significance.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:17 AM
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737: Well, he is guilty of having New Age-y religious beliefs which are not appreciably crazier than the supposedly more meat-and-potatoes religious beliefs professed by every other candidate ever. But one of the things that's supposed to make New Age stuff such a turnoff is that people imagine it's superficial, unexamined cafeteria spirituality -- that people who profess such beliefs can't be expected to reflect their beliefs in every other little action in their lives. This is why Shirley McLean is always the kiss of death in any context where she's mentioned.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:17 AM
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it benefits men more than women

It doesn't benefit men in any way that I can discern. It inconveniences women and therefore women are free to choose not to change their names, as increasing numbers are doing.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:18 AM
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But frankly, LB, you were the one who pointed twice to Kucinich's runtiness. (I have my own runt issues based on my first 10 years).

I apologize to Kucinich and to all other short men for making fun of him.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:18 AM
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And were I to make remarks about tall, horsey women, I would apologize to them too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:20 AM
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242: 'Department of Peace' is either Orwellian or impractical. If it's a name for a department that still oversees people with guns and tanks, it's Orwellian; if we're not going to have any militiary at all, it's silly. Thinking that way means that he's a nice person, but it's a silly thing to say.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:21 AM
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743: I read that as being more musing that we might get there some day (but it's a long way off). I thought that was plausible. Your points about the practical issues are of course very real today. Which is why I think I disagree with Will, in that there is a sensible feminist position on this. Not don't change your name, but rather don't change your name unless you have a compelling reason to do it. As you say though, it's inherently not going to be a neutral decision but that doesn't mean it's a staggering big deal either.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:21 AM
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I apologize to Kucinich and to all other short men for making fun of him.

Thanks, but if I ever meet you I'm still going to take you down, just to prove I can.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:22 AM
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748: Seriously, I don't approve of making fun of people based on their appearance, and given that you called me on it, I do really apologize. (I'd take the comment about tall horsey women personally, but I'm not that tall, and more moose-like than horsey.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:23 AM
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Sorry LB, making fun of women with antlers is just too easy.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:24 AM
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Heebie, I don't agree. Look at what I said about China.

The example of China, where women do not take their husband's names, is one of the reason I think that the significance of this problem is being vastly exaggerated. China is just much more sexist than the U.S. Women have their own names in considerable part because they are not completely trusted by their husband's kin.

Okay, I think I'm wrong. This seems convincing. Wrong-ISH. Not completely wrong.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:26 AM
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To runty guys you're tall, LB.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:26 AM
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If it's a name for a department that still oversees people with guns and tanks, it's Orwellian; if we're not going to have any militiary at all, it's silly.

Of course, neither of those options are relevant to the actual proposal, but never mind.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:28 AM
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Stick to your guns, Heebie. The fact (taking it on faith, I don't know jack about China) that China is more sexist than the US, but lacks name changing doesn't come close to implying that non-name-changing is cultural feature that indicates sexism.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:28 AM
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Feminism has come some distance when we can openly talk of your given her antlers, though.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:28 AM
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758: Yes, feminists like Carol Gilligan have indeed contributed to our freedom to make incomprehensible statements.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:29 AM
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757: doesn't come close to implying that non-name-changing is cultural feature that indicates sexism.

Come on. It come close to implying that name changing as a cultural feature is not a reliable predictor of sexism or lack thereof, which presumably was the point of bringing it up.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:30 AM
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756: Busted, I had not read up on it. It's still silly, along the lines of the department of homeland security -- it's putting a bunch of functions with perfectly good homes in other departments like State, Justice and so on in a new department so we can put a pretty name on it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:31 AM
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From the Wikipedia link: The idea for the establishment of a U.S. Department of Peace and Non-violence can be traced back to debates by the framers of the U.S. Constitution. An essay on the establishment of a peace organization was written in 1792 by Dr. Benjamin Rush, a physician, educator, and signer of the Declaration of Independence. His proposal called for the establishment of a "Peace Office" which was to be on equal footing with the "War Office". It saw an urgent need for the establishment of "an office for promoting and preserving perpetual peace in our country" in order to maintain the greater welfare of "these United States."

I did not know this.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:31 AM
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No one is ever wrong on Unfogged, Heebie -- except anyone who admits to being wrong.

You're the first ever. We have to make an example of you.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:32 AM
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We have to make an example of you.

Put on the antlers, Heebie.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:32 AM
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760: It come close to implying that name changing as a cultural feature is not a reliable predictor of sexism or lack thereof, which presumably was the point of bringing it up.

Really, no. I don't think anyone's said that in the world today, cultures where women change their names on marriage are uniformly or overwhelmingly more sexist than those where they don't. The conversation has been about the meaning of name changing in American (and some UK) culture.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:33 AM
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Stick to your guns, Heebie. The fact (taking it on faith, I don't know jack about China) that China is more sexist than the US, but lacks name changing doesn't come close to implying that non-name-changing is cultural feature that indicates sexism.

YEAH! I'm sticking to Elbie's my guns!

Plus I still stand by the statement that there is always a political component to the decision of what to do with one's last name.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:34 AM
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Neither did I.

761 is a reasonable objection, but I think an equally reasonable case can be made the other way: these functions currently have homes in other departments, but they're not focused and coordinated toward peace efforts. In a period when American politics has been overrun by war profiteering, militarization and the glorification of violence, it's not unreasonable to think that a specifically-mandated counterweight would be a good idea.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:34 AM
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Put on the antlers, Heebie.

I'm picturing an antler-helmet, hanging on a peg on the wall, with strewn panties dangling on it, leftover from Unfoggedycon.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:36 AM
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766: Can I ask for a definition of "political" as it has been used in this thread?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:37 AM
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748: Seriously, I don't approve of making fun of people based on their appearance, and given that you called me on it, I do really apologize.

I'm pretty glad to read this; between that and others' cheap shots at Kucinich for being "overchicked" and various other things, I'd become disgusted.

So thanks.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:37 AM
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Note how quickly LB stepped in to squelch Unfogged's first-ever admission of wrongness.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:38 AM
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People wore panties to Unfoggedycon?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:38 AM
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Can I ask for a definition of "political" as it has been used in this thread?

Uh....I just mean that......uh....first you define "thread" and "definition". Then we'll talk.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:39 AM
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Actually, 188 was Unfogged's first-ever admission of wrongness. Racists.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:39 AM
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772: Just the guys.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:40 AM
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People wore panties to Unfoggedycon?

Just the moose.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:40 AM
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with strewn panties dangling on it, leftover from Unfoggedycon.

I thought we agreed to go commando to Unfogged DCon?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:41 AM
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I think I'm near Apo in #769: I don't know what "political" means. Or, in mechanical fashion, how name changing has a political meaning (or a political meaning that is large enough to be worth measuring). I'm willing to concede that it does, because why the fuck not, but "why not?" doesn't seem like the soundest ground on which to base an argument. (That, obv., is not what people arguing for political meaning have been arguing.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:42 AM
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That was why you had all that greasepaint on your face?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:42 AM
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What DS said in 756. There are obvious problems with the DOP idea, not least that it doesn't (AFAIK) address how its international goals might best be achieved through the existing diplomatic corps, but actually promoting peace is a pretty fucking good idea, especially given how aggressively and systematically we promote violence and war. Kucinich is lame at presenting this kind of thing in a way that doesn't invite mockery, but the media is still at fault for accepting the invitation.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:42 AM
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Mostly pwned, but still.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:44 AM
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For me, personally, it is a political issue for the background reasons I gave in 221.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:44 AM
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782:

But you didn't give up the self-loathing, did you?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:46 AM
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apo and Tim, "political" means "personal," obviously. You should be looking for a definition of "personal."


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:46 AM
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(And now I've read 221 and I feel bad.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:47 AM
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782: that's effectively the "no shit" of 677. Of course it has strong political meaning for some people, and they'll therefore likely either do it or not, depending on their inclination. Most of the rest of the thread is reacting to the assertions that it necessarily has political meaning (or consequences, or something) for everybody.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:48 AM
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I reread 221, but I'm still not understanding how "[i]t was linked to my contempt of single women and a bunch of misogyny and self-loathing" falls under the term political. I'm not being willfully obtuse, i promise. I think we are using radically different definitions of the word.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:50 AM
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besides making you feel bad, 784 is BS, DS. You cannot absent yourself from politics just because you do not want to think about your personal life in those terms (along whatever axis). It's nothing if not an aggregate effect.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:50 AM
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Most of the rest of the thread is reacting to the assertions that it necessarily has political meaning (or consequences, or something) for everybody.

Eh, I still think this. Since marriage is a crossroads and everyone has a last name, everyone who is married has either considered or been blind to the sides of this minor political issue.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:52 AM
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I think we are using radically different definitions of the word.

Okay, what's your definition?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:53 AM
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789: in that case, I'm with Apo in not understanding what exactly "political" means here. I gave LB multiple choice options but she declined. Could you answer?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:55 AM
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we've got a tradition where no one's asking a man if his identity matters, but a woman has to rate herself and decide what her past means to her when she marries.

And this could just as well be seen as a disadvantage to men. She gets a chance to consider what her birth-family's name reflects about her identity, whether it reflects things she wants to endorse or things she wants to disavow. A man, in contrast, is traditionally stuck with the identity he was born into. But you know what, both the man and the woman are perfectly welcome to think about this when they get married now.

I know, the origins of the tradition are patriarchal and about "ownership" of women etc. So? Liberal types are all about reclaiming things with negative connotation -- Bitch calling herself Bitch, for example, or the gay community reclaiming the word "queer" and so on.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:57 AM
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Actually, 188 was Unfogged's first-ever admission of wrongness.

I claim prior art


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:57 AM
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I refuse to get involved in the definition of "the political". What did Hannah Arendt say? Strauss? Schmitt? Voegelin? Screw it.

Without defining the word, I am willing to grant that name-changing is or can be political, but not enough so to justify the shit flicked at Kucinich.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:59 AM
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You cannot absent yourself from politics just because you do not want to think about your personal life in those terms (along whatever axis). It's nothing if not an aggregate effect.

I think "It's" is doing all the work there. If a woman from China comes here and demands to take her husband's name out of a desire for more equal treatment, does it get added to the same column as people who believe as HG does but change their name? Is that because there is some broad singular meaning social algorithm at work? Does amplitude matter?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:59 AM
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Uh, so my choices for "political" are:

I know you want this to go away, but could I ask for clarification on this point? When you say "at least some political weight on that decision" do you mean (1) political issues factoring into the decision, or (2) political consequences of the decision (and if (2), (a) individually or (b) only in the aggregate), or perhaps (3) both (1) and (2) or (4) something else entirely?

I'm gonna punt. I'm not articulate enough to parse that. You all really don't think that this smells political? I do.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:59 AM
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All of you people who are expressing incomprehension about how name-changing (or some other feminist issue) is a political issue need to be assigned a remedial reading list.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:00 PM
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798

796: okay, so those weren't definitions of "political," exactly, but they're getting at something close to the same idea.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:02 PM
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(798 cont:) that idea being "how exactly is the 'political' playing into this question?", which, of course, depends on what is meant by political.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:03 PM
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Since marriage is a crossroads and everyone has a last name, everyone who is married has either considered or been blind to the sides of this minor political issue.

Sure. Absolutely.

But the point is you can't fairly make an assumption about the meaning attributable to the decisions people make about this without looking at the specific people making the decision.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:03 PM
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Okay, what's your definition?

Dealing with issues of governance, policy, or power relations.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:03 PM
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802

DS is alwas wrong, like having natural rhythm. He knows that. KR was falsely claiming to be wrong. Fraud.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:03 PM
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A man is actually not *stuck* with his name any more than any woman is. An adult man can, like any adult person, chose tochange his name at any point. Because so few do, I assume that most men do not see the name-changing process as an opportunity for self reclamation or reinvention, etc.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:03 PM
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I reread 221, but I'm still not understanding how "[i]t was linked to my contempt of single women and a bunch of misogyny and self-loathing" falls under the term political. I'm not being willfully obtuse, i promise.

Let me try it this way. What positions on the status and equality of women are normal in our society is a political issue. Fifty years ago, the overwhelmingly normal position was that women should be subservient to men, now that position is, while not entirely gone, much less common. That change is a political change.

Heebie, by (hypothetically) changing her name on marriage, would have been expressing a political position -- that single women are less important and significant than married women, and that she had gained personal status by acquiring a man of her own. Now, that's not the only thing that changing your name can mean, by a long shot. It's just what Heebie would have meant.

But of the constellation of meanings name-changing can have for the people who change their names, a lot of them are linked to political beliefs about the lower status of women, and most of the rest of them are at least characterized by a belief that disassociating yourself from those political beliefs isn't important for you. The latter is itself a political statement -- naming your fan club the Katherine Klarkson Klub is a political statement that there's no reason to worry about making sure not to associate yourself with the KKK, and its still a political statement along those lines even if you're really not a racist at all.

Now, sometimes that's perfectly defensible -- you don't have to sweat about disassociating yourself from every distasteful position out there. Going to an anti-Iraq war demonstration sponsored by ANSWER is taking the political position that you don't need to worry about not associating yourself with Stalinists, and I'd say that's absolutely fine. But it's still taking a political position, and so's changing your name.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:04 PM
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805

Less snidely, I think the answer to Brock's question quoted in 796 is, yes, all of the above.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:04 PM
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806

You all really don't think that this smells political?

Part of the reason I'm curious is because my intuition is also that it's political, but I increasingly think that intuition is a function of what I was taught. If most people in my cohort agree that it's political--in the way that we agree that wearing a red ribbon means you support AIDS research--then it's political for us. But I can't quite see the mechanical way in which it's necessarily political (or, maybe more accurately, political in a sufficiently large scope as to make it worth noting).


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:06 PM
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800: My position on assumptions, quoting meself from 284:

Matching names is uninformative. Mis-matched names is somewhat informative. And for some subset of those with matching names, it has real patriarchal roots in the individuals' identities.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:06 PM
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808

I gave LB multiple choice options but she declined.

And as I said above, I declined solely because I found your phrasing incomprehensible, not because of any general opposition to the multiple choice thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:07 PM
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"But the point is you can't fairly make an assumption about the meaning attributable to the decisions people make about this without looking at the specific people making the decision."

Not so. I can't say conclusively what it means to you to have changed your name unless I know your specifics. But I can know what it means to me, and I can know how it means on a larger societal level.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:08 PM
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I sense premature comity. We'll never make it to 1500 this way, people.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:08 PM
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Dealing with issues of governance, policy, or power relations.

I think this is residually - but still relevantly! - in the category of power relations. No?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:10 PM
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mrh had no problem with my phrasing. What's the matter with the rest of you?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:10 PM
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Now, sometimes that's perfectly defensible -- you don't have to sweat about disassociating yourself from every distasteful position out there.

Is there disagreement about which side of the line name changing falls on in some broad social sense?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:11 PM
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788: besides making you feel bad, 784 is BS, DS.

I felt bad for clumsily appearing to mock heebie's pain.

I don't feel bad for a more general skepticism about "the personal is political" as a meme, however, because although it can be used to illustrate how a person's experience reflects and is informed by and feeds into ideology (as heebie illustrates), it can also be used to deflect focus from issues with direct bearing on the use and misuse of state power to obsessive, paralytic and mostly useless parsing of minutiae while giving people the illusion of doing something worthwhile (as most of the rest of this thread illustrates). The vulgar mobilization of "the personal is political" has done a lot of damage to genuinely useful left activism, and to feminism. I will therefore reserve the right to poke fun at it in future.

793: So noted.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:12 PM
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"But the point is you can't fairly make an assumption about the meaning attributable to the decisions people make about this without looking at the specific people making the decision."

Not so. I can't say conclusively what it means to you to have changed your name unless I know your specifics. But I can know what it means to me, and I can know how it means on a larger societal level.

This is true in a much more general sense. You can't get very far with specifics unless you know a person well (and even then...). But whether it's changing of names, driving a big SUV or a little hybrid, going to a particular style of church, etc. etc. etc. some of these minor aspects of how a person chooses to live their lives are inextricably connected to underlying political discussions. The less you know about an individual, the more you have to rely on social context as the only way to interpret their actions.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:12 PM
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802: I think I do have natural rhythm, too, but I'm probably wrong.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:13 PM
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Is there disagreement? I'd say yes, there's disagreement about everything out there in this big old crazy world.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:13 PM
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addendum to 815: but this is a slippery slope of course which can lead you to superfical judgement.


814.b general skepticism accepted --- there are some problems with this idea and it's application. It's also at some level tautological, which shouldn't be discounted.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:16 PM
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I think this is residually - but still relevantly! - in the category of power relations. No?

This goes back to Emerson's pagan names of days and months. It would be political (under my perhaps idiosyncratic definition) if not changing your name carried some sort of governmental penalty or if changing it conferred some sort of governmental benefit. But it just doesn't.

I share DS's skepticism about the usefulness of the "personal is the political" mantra.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:18 PM
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I sense premature comity. We'll never make it to 1500 this way, people.

Resolved: The decision to have an infant son circumcised perpetuates a patriarchal legacy and imparts useful information about the parents political convictions.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:20 PM
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I think this is residually - but still relevantly! - in the category of power relations. No?

Could you explain how so?



Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:20 PM
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some of these minor aspects of how a person chooses to live their lives are inextricably connected to underlying political discussions.

I think the whole argument is over "inextricably." I might say you don't care much about the environment if you drive an SUV with more comfort than I would have if I said you were a Bush supporter for the same reason. Because in the former case there's a sort of mechanical way it follows: spending more gas than you probably need and harming the environment in the process. In my experience, you're more likely to be a Bush supporter if you drive an SUV, but I can't quite see the mechanical connection.

Is there disagreement? I'd say yes, there's disagreement about everything out there in this big old crazy world.

I wasn't sure if this was the sticking point of the argument, that's all. There's a weird self-referential thing going on where if you think it's on one side of the line, it pretty much is for you and it probably does tell you (or others) something about you. But if you don't, maybe it doesn't.

I think I do have natural rhythm, too, but I'm probably wrong.

Do you feel more Canadian or more black?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:21 PM
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Dealing with issues of governance, policy, or power relations.

Power relations.

Apo, I expect that "political" means socio-political: if the goal is not just equal rights but equal regard for women, then the un-norming, as it were, of women behaving in ways that have either been historically submissive to a male-dominated society, or that actually continue to be so submissive, is extraordinarily important. And women's personal decisions that are clearly a function of the male-dominated society (past or present) are political decisions.

Shifting gears: power relations are obviously not always explicit. The claim in this thread has been that the subservience of women indicated by name-changing is an implicit perpetuation of male dominance. And that the only way we are going to change that particular instantiation of the game is by refusing to participate. The more we refuse to participate, thereby changing the norms, the less normal it is to consider our male-dominated history inevitable. We shift the relations of power between men and women. So it is political.

Can I have lunch now?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:23 PM
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Now, sometimes that's perfectly defensible

I get this point, and that's what bothers me because it puts me in the position of feeling like I am supposed to defend my decision -- that clearly I did something wrong, but it might be defensible.

But I can know what it means to me, and I can know how it means on a larger societal level.

I guess I just plain disagree as far as what it means on a larger societal level. I don't think it means much at all, at least in my community. Any more so than the tree makes Christmas a pagan holiday.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:24 PM
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Woohoo to 823! Nicely clear.

(It's still going to be subject to the "But it's just not a big deal for everyone" response, but I don't know what to do with that at this point other than gesture back over the thread, including particularly Ogged's 414 and so forth.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:26 PM
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Can I have lunch now?

Only if you take my last name.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:26 PM
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The decision to have an infant son circumcised perpetuates a patriarchal legacy and imparts useful information about ... political convictions.

Yes, absolutely and also:
The decision to get married...
The decision to give a child after a husband...
The decision to shave one's legs...
The decision to wear makeup...

I could go on all day.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:26 PM
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Oh, and by the time I was done with that, I didn't preview. Sorry.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:26 PM
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No, 823 was useful and really not pwned.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:27 PM
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The decision to give a child after a husband...

NOt sure what happened...that was originally:

The decision to give a blowjob....
The decision to name a child after a husband...


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:28 PM
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822: Do you feel more Canadian or more black?

Actually, I've always felt vaguely Basque.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:28 PM
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Any more so than the tree makes Christmas a pagan holiday.

My mom argues this, as part of her assimilationist bent whereby she mildly tries to pass as Christian and distance herself from Judaism, ("but Passover is about dead children!") and it drives me batty.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:28 PM
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Too much time at the fronton as a young man?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:28 PM
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The decision to give a child a blowjob after naming a husband...


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:30 PM
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it can also be used to deflect focus from issues with direct bearing on the use and misuse of state power to obsessive, paralytic and mostly useless parsing of minutiae while giving people the illusion of doing something worthwhile

HEAR HEAR


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:31 PM
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everyone who is married has either considered or been blind to the sides of this minor political issue.

Yes, but the trouble with this formulation is that the results don't tell us anything about that consideration or blindness. It's hard to credit as meaningfully political a decision the result of which is uninformative. It's having an anti-war/pro-life candidate running against a pro-war/pro-choice candidate. You can't point at the results of that vote and think that you have valuable information about the individual decisions.* That's why this issue is such a poor proxy for anything. And it's hard to credit a poor proxy as meaningfully political.

* Don't take the analogy too literally; obviously, you can tell that a voter for candidate A doesn't view pro-choice as the most important thing. But that's not necessarily saying much


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:31 PM
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heebie-jewbie.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:32 PM
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833: I think rather it is that I was denied the fronton. My fronton-self is my exotic, suppressed "other" identity for which I secretly yearn.

834 to 830.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:33 PM
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836: Argh argh argh argh argh argh argh. It has been said many times in this thread, by those arguing that name changing has some political meaning, that yes, on the individual level, without additional information, it is a poor proxy for the changer's broader political beliefs. Can we agree to agree on that bit?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:34 PM
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839: I think people are having trouble going from the micro to the macro.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:36 PM
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heebie-jewbie.

heebrooey-geebie.

But I feel like a Unitarian!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:39 PM
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Can we agree to agree on that bit?

Gladly, but only if you were willing to back down from the claim that individual name-changing, like voting, has an incremental effect. Because, short of that, you are still treating my individual choice as a Bad Thing.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:42 PM
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839: Yes, but my point - and the point of the meaninglessers - is that, because "it is a poor proxy for the changer's broader political beliefs," it's a poor proxy for anything.

Someone upthread suggested that we're within a decade of name-takers dropping to half the populace. At that point does it cease to be political? What percentage of women get to take their husband's names for their own, personal, well-considered reasons before they're oppressing themselves?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:43 PM
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844

We're still stuck at agree to disagree there. Does it help if I repeat, as I said above, that to the extent 'bad thing' is an appropriate description, it applies just as much to my shaving my legs?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:44 PM
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Isn't it precisely because changing one's name is a comparatively minor step that doing it or not seems politically meaningful? After all, old powerful dudes sleeping with young hot chicks is more problematic for gender politics than last names, but people are reluctant to tell DK that in order to be a true liberal he should have married someone else.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:44 PM
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individual name-changing, like voting, has an incremental effect.

I believe it does. A small one. The net value of such a choice for you, personally, may easily be positive.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:46 PM
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847

842 is totally unfair. To agree that a certain behavior doesn't *necessarily* mean something about an individually is completely different than agreeing that the same behavior does not mean at all. You simply cannot declare that your name changing means only what you want it to me, nothing more. Your namechanging contributes to a culture in which namechanging is the norm. That is utterly an completely undeniable.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:47 PM
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848

Does it help if I repeat, as I said above, that to the extent 'bad thing' is an appropriate description, it applies just as much to my shaving my legs?

Do you really believe this? If so, why do you express strong opposition to one but do the other?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:48 PM
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849

But I feel like a Unitarian!

That explains the lip piercing, I guess.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:48 PM
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850

What percentage of women get to take their husband's names for their own, personal, well-considered reasons before they're oppressing themselves?

You want a numerical answer to this? The same percentage as men who at that time take their wives names for their own, personal, well considered reasons. When we're talking about something that women do but men don't, that's historically continuous with a practice related to the subjugation of women, and which places practical burdens on women but not men, dismissing it as pure individual choice is just silly.

The fact that it's no longer actively required doesn't make it gender neutral. If it were a practice that were as attractive to men as to women, that would be gender neutral.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:48 PM
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How about this: keeping one's name is a feminist decision; changing one's name isn't (actively) feminist.

There are no doubt plenty of counter-examples like Di, but I (and a lot of people) am still going to use keeping one's name as a proxy -- absent other information -- for feminist whateverness.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:49 PM
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What percentage of women get to take their husband's names for their own, personal, well-considered reasons before they're oppressing themselves?

When half of men take their wife's names, will I consider the point moot.

Technically, I would consider it moot when 1/4 of men take their wive's names, 1/4 have their wives take their names, and 1/2 are in marriages where they hyphenate or keep their own names.

but only if you were willing to back down from the claim that individual name-changing, like voting, has an incremental effect. Because, short of that, you are still treating my individual choice as a Bad Thing.

And Di, I do think it has an incremental effect, just as I think wearing high heels has an incremental effect. It's consistent with the patriarchy. I still wear high heels sometimes. I like the way my legs look in them.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:49 PM
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Does it help if I repeat, as I said above, that to the extent 'bad thing' is an appropriate description, it applies just as much to my shaving my legs?

Not really, but at this point in the thread I'll forgo my defense of leg-shaving by feminists. To me, describing a woman's decision to change her name or shave her legs as bad for the feminist cause is itself bad for the feminist cause. It subjects a woman's personal decisions about her personal life to a level of truly unwarranted scrutiny. I should be allowed to make decisions about how I manage my own body hair or identity without having to worry about what political message someone else is going to draw from it.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:50 PM
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I want ot add that I do lots of things that I think are "bad things" in terms of the larger scheme of feminism. I am at present wearing makeup, and high heeled boots over shaved legs, and am about to go get my kid who has my husband's last name. And I will cop to each of these things being a concession. Like the other women who are sharing this position re: namechanging, I am really not trying to be holier than thou.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:50 PM
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855

I like the way my legs look in them.

I think we can get comity on that, am I right, fellas?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:51 PM
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848: What I have been expressing strong opposition to is the argument that name changing doesn't mean anything at all for lots of people. It does mean something. It's not meaningless. People making that claim are wrong, and I'll keep arguing until you all agree with me or give up.

That's not the same as having "strong opposition" to an individual's changing their name. Search this thread for my name, and check for phrases like "not a big deal" and "doesn't necessarily mean much". I've been saying that kind of shit a lot.

And I don't shave my legs terribly reliably, if it matters.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:52 PM
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||

A shout out to Soup or any other Mac people.

I'm setting up Apple Mail to access my gmail account. How do I know whether I'm supposed to set it up as a pop server (is that the right phrase) or an IMAP one? Can I do either? If so, which is better?

|>



Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:54 PM
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I should be allowed to make decisions about how I manage my own body hair or identity without having to worry about what political message someone else is going to draw from it.

Again, this is agree to disagree territory. I can't imagine having any kind of productively opinion-changing discussion of this, but I'm not with you here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:54 PM
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As I return to work, I want to say that I have deliberately stayed out of this debate, but Di and Brock have argued the side I would have taken very creditably.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:55 PM
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No habla Mac but IMAP is much better than POP.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:55 PM
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BG: IMAP is much better.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:55 PM
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I like the way my legs look in them.

I think we can get comity on that, am I right, fellas?

And then I like to french-braid my leg-hair and pop zits.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:55 PM
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856: I suppose I meant "strong personal opposition." You don't necessarily think someone's a bad person for changing her name, but, based on what you've said in this thread, I'd be surprised if you said it was ever anything but out of the question for you, personally.

This is a bit of a tangent.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:55 PM
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Boy, I don't get a vote on this, but I'm not buying a single one of 844, 847, or 852 as not judging on Di. I always took "before you point out the mote in someone else's eye, remove the plank from your own" as an admonition against judgmentalism, but I guess it was really just establishing the proper form for being judgmental.

That said, I take LB and h-b's responses to me as making eminent sense - except, of course, that it's ignoring path-dependency, etc. But I'll take that as a side-effect of talking about principles.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:56 PM
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865

I'll keep arguing until you all agree with me or give up.

Aw, shit. I was going to just let it go, but now I feel challenged. Just when I thought I was out....

And I don't shave my legs terribly reliably, if it matters.

Comity!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:56 PM
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866

IMAP, BG, and dear god choose a shorter thread to go off-topic on.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:56 PM
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867

I think we can get comity on that, am I right, fellas?

Never!


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:56 PM
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868

And then I like to french-braid my leg-hair and pop zits.

Good gracious am I glad I'm getting out of here before Apo links to that video.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:57 PM
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869

I should be allowed to make decisions about how I manage my own body hair or identity without having to worry about what political message someone else is going to draw from it.

I see this as a nice thought but fundamentally impossible. Where those parts of your personal life intersect with political issues like feminism, nobody gets to make apolitical choices.

Perhaps we just can't get past that disagreement, as it seems pretty fundamental to me.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:58 PM
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mrh--I saw that my computer peeps were active in this thread, and I got an answer right quick.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:58 PM
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871

BG, did you get email from me?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:00 PM
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872

I see this as a nice thought but fundamentally impossible. Where those parts of your personal life intersect with political issues like feminism, nobody gets to make apolitical choices.

Well, I'm just seeing women's choices as being subjected to disproportionate scrutiny here -- i.e. heels, shaved legs, etc. Honestly, what the fuck does my leg hair have to do with feminism?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:02 PM
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Where those parts of your personal life intersect with political issues like feminism, nobody gets to make apolitical choices.

What parts of our personal life don't intersect them, soup biscuit? Because once you start defining it that expansively, it quickly drains of all meaning.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:03 PM
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874

This thread should have ended on 177.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:03 PM
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875

Honestly, what the fuck does my leg hair have to do with feminism?

Nothing, except its use as a punchline.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:04 PM
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876

873 gets it right. Let's not make the perfect the enemy of the good here.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:05 PM
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I actually think that environmentalism is a decent analogy here (doing my part to extend the hiatus), in that there are a limited number of people who really live the ideal, a significant number of people who try hard but make the occasional compromise, even more people who are vaguely aware but generally go with the flow, and reactionaries.

I bring it up because of the judgmentalism. Can we all agree that judgmental greens don't advance their cause? That none of you organic-eating, Prius-desiring, CF-lighting people appreciate being sneered at for wearing a leather belt? So WhyTF do you think that it's valuable to make a big deal (and yes, despite demurrals, you've variously made big deals about it) about minor-resonance, low-impact personal choices?

This isn't saying that we can't talk about things, or that anyone's being shrill (ha!). My point is that it's really obvious in this one sphere that not being judgmental is wise, even though SUVs haven't been outlawed yet. We can learn from this.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:07 PM
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re: leg hair, to take just one angle. Di suggests that women's choices are being subject to more scrutiny. True. So are women's bodies. In fact, the default condition of our culture is that in order for women's bodies to *not* be subject to scrutiny that labels them as "off" in some way, they need to perform certain acts to beautify them, e.g. removal of particular body hair. Hairy legs get more of the wrong kind of attention, and yet hairy legs are the default condition. The labor of hair removal is disproportionately assigned ot women, that's what it has to do with feminism. By choosing to do it, you (and I) make a choice to inhabit the norm of feminine beauty. We simultaneously do not make a choice to refute that norm.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:08 PM
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879

Honestly, what the fuck does my leg hair have to do with feminism?

Come on -- you can perfectly reasonably say it's not a big enough deal to worry about, and I and my erratically shaven legs are right there with you, but you have to have a rough sense of the argument, right? Gender differentiated grooming standards requiring that women be groomed to be sexually appealing in order to be visible in public, yadayadayada and so on.

And I'm all about subjecting men to the same scrutiny -- see my 850 and heebie's 852, earlier discussions of childcare making the point that there's not a feminist solution to the problem that doesn't involve men, and so on.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:09 PM
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I don't really know what judgmental means here. I make teeny tiny assumptions about women I don't know who change their names; much smaller than the assumptions I make about people who go to church or who spend hours a day commenting on blogs. Is that seriously what we decrying as judgmental? Again and again, LB and sb and hj and I have said that none of these things make people "bad people." Is it the having of an opinion that one refuses to relinquish that makes one judgmental?


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:12 PM
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defining it that expansively, it quickly drains of all meaning.

Well sure, but that's true of an awful lot.

To some degree, the only politics you really have are the ones you live. Accepting, of course, that this is an imperfect exercise by nature.

872: I think this thread has spun up around womens choices so that's why those are the examples. In the context of these particular examples I'd say that a man and womens part in the decision about what name(s) their children bear are equivalently political. But it generalizes: Decisions about where & how you live, what sort of vehicles you drive (or don't), what foods you choose to buy, etc. etc. etc. Lot's of parts of daily life cannot be extricated from a political context in a non-superficial way. Which is not at all to say that political implications should outweigh personal ones.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:13 PM
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Because once you start defining it that expansively, it quickly drains of all meaning.

I don't think that follows. There are no choices free of political meaning; there are many choices that are close to free of political value.

The lower the degree of concert, the lower the value of a particular political action. I boycott Wal-Mart because there are organizations maintaining and building that boycott; Target does a lot of the same things, but I don't think my boycotting Target would have a lot of meaning.

Once you get into individual choices, you're dealing with questions of personal virtue and what statements you want to make to other people. These are important, and political, but they don't effectively create change on any level but that of personal interaction. That's not negligible, but it's not societal either.

Apo, you've said a couple times that you don't think the phrase "the personal is political" is meaningful. I'd say it's very meaningful in terms of describing why we do things; it's less so when it comes to the doing of politics.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:14 PM
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881: But it generalizes: Decisions about where & how you live, what sort of vehicles you drive (or don't), what foods you choose to buy, etc.

Actually that's not generalization. Those are all examples of decisions that are concretely and explicably political in ways that name-changing isn't.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:15 PM
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884

The labor of hair removal is disproportionately assigned ot women

Not in terms of person-hours per year, I'd say.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:16 PM
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885

878: Great. So when I remove my leg hair, the feminists get to get all over my shit. If I don't remove it the patriarchalists (oh shut up, I needed a word for parallel construction) get to get all over my shit. So, as a woman I am now damned if I do and damned if I don't. And this is good for me as a woman because...

I do choose to wax from time to time, and sometimes (though rarely) it's about inhabiting the norm of feminine beauty. Not often, my leg hair isn't very prominent. Sometimes, I do so because I like the smooth feel of waxed legs (and I'm the only one feeling me up these days, so that's very definitely not playing to a patriarchal norm) and because leg hair makes me feel all itchy. Probably the main reason I wax is because I get some weird, probably OCD, kind off satisfaction from ripping those little hairs out at the root. It bugs me to have some (well-intentioned) outsider just presume that, tsk, tsk, she's just caving in to patriarchal standards for feminine beauty.

I mean, it's all well and good to say that personal decisions cannot be apolitical when they intersect with feminist issues, but as a woman every decision I make intersects with feminist issues because I am a woman. Making decisions. I see nothing remotely feminist in declaring that I have to make every decision into a political statement.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:19 PM
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and yes, despite demurrals, you've variously made big deals about it

I don't see this really.

I like the parallel with environmental issues. The parallel argument, though, is whether or not purchasing an less efficient car (I don't mean a monster SUV) than some of your possible choices has no political aspect.

883: I disagree; I think they are concretely political in exactly the same way that name-changing (or not) is. I'd agree they don't all have the same significance, but they all have the same nature.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:19 PM
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I find myself hopelessly confused on this issue. I sort of feel like I'm on both sides. I realized after parsimon's point about leg shaving that this sort of mirrors ogged's claim about makeup and dateablity. That's not to claim that ogged was holding out for feminist reasons, but he was clearly making a claim about the choice to wear makeup reflecting a decision about certain types of compromises with expectations about the feminine. I think a lot of people now on the anti-name change side were on the opposite side from ogged. And I'm pretty sure I was on ogged's side of the issue, but am/was on the "doesn't mean much" side of the name changing issue.

I now take the "name change is bad"/"make up matters" position. If that's the coherent one.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:19 PM
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888

880, see the last para of 885.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:23 PM
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889

So when I remove my leg hair, the feminists get to get all over my shit. If I don't remove it the patriarchalists (oh shut up, I needed a word for parallel construction) get to get all over my shit. So, as a woman I am now damned if I do and damned if I don't.

Well, but who's damning you for shaving? I mean, I do, Sybil does, Heebie does, I dunno about parsimon but she hasn't given you a hard time about it. It's not the most feminist possible thing to do, but that doesn't mean anyone's hassling you or me about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:23 PM
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853:

To me, describing a woman's decision to change her name or shave her legs as bad for the feminist cause is itself bad for the feminist cause. It subjects a woman's personal decisions about her personal life to a level of truly unwarranted scrutiny. I should be allowed to make decisions about how I manage my own body hair or identity without having to worry about what political message someone else is going to draw from it.

Well, good: we're back to what this really reflects, which is the 2nd vs. 3rd wave feminist responses to, uh, feminist concerns.

2nd Wave tells you that the personal is political. 3rd Wave (the backlash) tells you that women can do whatever they want, even if it transparently conforms to male-dominated norms and may be said to perpetuate the submission of women, because, Hey it's my life and body and I can do what I want.

There's no real answer to this, but each position does have something to tell the other. It would be a mistake to stand unequivocally on either side.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:24 PM
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891

as a woman every decision I make intersects with feminist issues because I am a woman [...] I see nothing remotely feminist in declaring that I have to make every decision into a political statement.

You don't have to make it into a political statement, it already is one. It would be feminist to consider those statements as you make them, but it would also be crazy-making. So be a little bit more aware, make a few decisions differently, forgive yourself for a lot more, and be excellent to each other.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:25 PM
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892

mirrors ogged's claim about makeup and dateablity

Fair enough, but I don't think Ogged would label that a political decision, either.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:26 PM
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893

I now take the "name change is bad"/"make up matters" position. If that's the coherent one.

The thing is, I'd be with you on "makeup matters" in very much the same way "name change matters". I was on ogged's case about not wanting to date women who wear makeup, because I think (as people have said about name changing) that it's a lousy proxy for anything significant enough to make the date-don't date decision on. But that doesn't make makeup politically meaningless.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:26 PM
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but as a woman every decision I make intersects with feminist issues because I am a woman.

This is too reductive. Those decisions that you make that intersect particularly with gender issues --- societal objectification/sexualization of womens bodies, gender inequity in a workplace, child rearing, etc. etc.. have a political weight that is unavoidable simply because of the currency of these issues.

Which doesn't mean that any of it is particularly a big deal, but it does mean there is an unavoidable political component.



Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:26 PM
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895

the 2nd vs. 3rd wave feminist responses

What do the do-me feminists say on this issue?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:27 PM
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896

Fair enough, but I don't think Ogged would label that a political decision, either.

Ogged has been wrong about other things, so why not?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:27 PM
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897

And who's damning me for not shaving? No one's ever actually hassled me about that, either, and I spend a good deal of time fuzzy.

When you and Heebie and Sybil and possibly parsimon are vocal that shaving is not a good, feminist decision, you are, you know, hassling me. Not in a direct, personal sort of way, of course, but still.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:28 PM
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898

Parsimon is kicking ass in this thread.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:29 PM
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899

897: Eh. Back to agreement to disagree.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:32 PM
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900

come on, Di, we are all admitting that we shave too at the same time we are saying it isn't hte most feminist thing we could be doing. So we are hassling you as much as we are hassling ourselves. Things are getting a bit reactionary up in here.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:32 PM
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886: But my point is that none of us is a perfect enviro, no matter how you want to define it. So what I've learned to do - as someone to whom environmentalism is incredibly important - is to make my own decisions by my best lights, encourage others to do so as well, and not to judge others for (minor) failings. So yes, I'll judge an SUV owner, just as I'd judge a woman giving up a rewarding career to stay at home for her husband. But I'm not going to judge someone for getting a minivan when a wagon might have suited them as well, or for eating factory meat.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:34 PM
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886: I'd agree they don't all have the same significance, but they all have the same nature.

If the issues don't have the same significance, it's hard to see how they can politically speaking have the same "nature." Choices about driving, food, living spaces can reflect all sorts of issues of preference, economic class and political awareness, but they have concrete outcomes in a way that name-changing does not have. How then do they have the same "nature"?

890: 3rd Wave (the backlash)

Conflating third-wave feminism with anti-feminist backlash is... oversimplifying a tad, yes?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:34 PM
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903

I've heard that Sybil never shaves her legs, despite her claims that she does.

Some people just don't like hair, women or men. Good thing BR doesnt like a bunch a hair on my head.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:34 PM
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892: You're not trying to deny that the penis is political, Apo, are you?

893: But I seem to recall ogged making a broader claim that insofar as women in NYC, because of social pressures, were more likely to wear makeup than women in oggedville, then NYC was a worse place than oggedville.* That seems to parallel the broader discussion.**

* I might be misremembering that.

** If I've remembered that right, I don't know if I would want to go quite that far in my agreement with him, though given my new position, I think I probably should. Like I said: hopelessly confused.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:35 PM
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905

will, are you my husband?


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:36 PM
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906

I think that part of it was more general NYC-loathing and baiting me than really a part of the makeup argument.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:37 PM
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907

900: I'm saying you are hassling yourself unfairly on that point as well. And I'm not really complaining of being personally hassled myself -- I'll do what I will with my leg hairs regardless of what you might think of it. I just find this micromanaging of feminine decisions for compliance with The Approved Feminist Guidelines a bit much.

I also thought "reactionary" was a bit over the top.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:37 PM
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even if it transparently conforms to male-dominated norms and may be said to perpetuate the submission of women

Does doing things to please men perpetuate the submission of women? A fulfilling, non-isolated life is to a large extent about pleasing other people. Men are 50 percent of other people.

Some of this seems to rely on viewing life as a zero-sum situation. Almost an importation of Marxist theories about class conflict into the relations betweeen the sexes.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:39 PM
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909

You're not trying to deny that the penis is political, Apo, are you?

My penis is piratical.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:39 PM
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910

Does doing things to please men perpetuate the submission of women? A fulfilling, non-isolated life is to a large extent about pleasing other people. Men are 50 percent of other people.

Here we return to the concept of the patriarchy as different from men.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:41 PM
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911

Could everyone please convert to multiple choice instead of essay format? We're now at 181 pages and my printer is very tired.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:41 PM
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912

I just find this micromanaging of feminine decisions for compliance with The Approved Feminist Guidelines a bit much.

I am with Di on this one.

Sybil:

Tell your hubby that the patriarchy says that we will make an exception and let you have hairy legs.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:41 PM
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913

911: The answer is C.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:42 PM
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914

Nobody is talking abotu Approved Feminist Guidelines. As soon as women start talking about the complicated socio-political implications of various decisions, they get accused of Making Too Much of Things, Reading Into Things, or Being Controlling Bitches.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:43 PM
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915

910: you think she is doing something in order to please--not men, but--the patriarchy?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:44 PM
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916

Conflating third-wave feminism with anti-feminist backlash is... oversimplifying a tad, yes?

I have yet to hear a description of third-wave feminism that doesn't sound like "oh, mom, lighten up a little."

(Actually, I have heard it to describe a more global, racially aware corrective to second wave. But that does not seem to be at play here.)


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:44 PM
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917

[foolishly wades in]

Microjudging and micromanaging both have incremental effects which, in my opinion, far far outweigh the supposed benefits of the 'approved' (whether by feminism, environmetalism, or some other flavor of progressivism) alternative.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:44 PM
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915: what I quoted in 910 was about "conforming to norms", not "pleasing" anyone in particular.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:45 PM
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919

think that part of it was more general NYC-loathing and baiting me than really a part of the makeup argument.

As I said, my memory is a bit hazy, but I remember it--so often the case with ogged--as both.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:46 PM
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920


Seems like we should have comity on this: All of the matters under discussion have political content, but it's boorish to make wholesale judgments about an individual's political worldview based on how they deal with these matters individually.

I know there are probably a few dissenters, but don't most of us agree on that statement?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:47 PM
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921

i'll never change my name and never shave my legs
and i think men are basically more able to accomplish any goal just because they are equipped that way physiologically
based on my observation that i'm the most productive when my estrogens are at the lowest


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:47 PM
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922

As soon as women start talking about the complicated socio-political implications of various decisions

I have asked at least a half dozen times, and to my knowledge have not received a response: what exactly are the complicated socio-political implications of a voluntary name-change? I'm not trying to be dense; I just don't get this. I surely understand it can have such implications--Heebie's example--but I really don't understand why it supposedly must.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:47 PM
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923

Er, that is, 908 transformed "conforming to male-dominated norms" into "pleasing men". Not the same thing.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:48 PM
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924

Microjudging

And there's the uncreated conscience of unfogged, forged in the smithy of... of... help me out here. Amusing when it's politicians or journalists, less so when it's interpersonal.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:48 PM
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925

Conflating third-wave feminism with anti-feminist backlash is... oversimplifying a tad, yes?

Maybe. I'm not sure. My general sense has been that so-called 3rd-wave feminism has gone toward just what Di voiced: the freedom to make the personal not political. That's not necessarily anti-feminist, so you're right to that extent.

The sense of "feminism" is changing, then.

But I still find myself swayed by the notion voiced by a few people here (soup biscuit in 894 just now) that women's bodies and choices *are* politicized, and you're an idiot if you think otherwise.

I'm trying really hard not to offend anyone.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:48 PM
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926

[thinks better, bows out]

I'm going for a swim. Could someone get word to Cala that I'd like to have a short conversation with her offline? I'd appreciate it if she could send me an email.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:49 PM
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927

I'm going for a swim.

Napi is Ogged?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:49 PM
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901

This is exactly the same sense in which people aren't perfect feminists, either. Which is why the issues level enviro comparison to feminism works, because there are many choices that have evironmental or feminist impacts, but some are objectively or subjectively more significant.

You say that you would judge someone who drives an SUV but not someone who eats factory farmed meats. Does this mean you think the former has a political aspect but the latter doesn't? That seems indefensible to me.

More likely, I suspect you view it like many people that the relative cost/benefit to you of choosing car A vs car B is much better than the cost/benefit of eschewing factory farms. This won't be true of everyone, but you're more understanding of the choice in the latter case, even though you know there are objectively negative environmental consequences. You might consider some militant anti-car vegan-only activist harmful to your environment goals in exactly the same way that you might consider an militant anti-marriage anti-male feminist to be harmful to your feminist goals. You might consider some choices that have a measurable environmental effect to be so minor as to be not worth anyone bothering about.

In both cases, as you said -- identify what you see as right, make some changes where you can, and don't beat yourself up too much about the others. That doesn't mean you can't see there are things you are doing that aren't helping (your environmental/feminist goals) or have a net negative effect, hopefully a small one.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:49 PM
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Nobody is talking abotu Approved Feminist Guidelines. As soon as women start talking about the complicated socio-political implications of various decisions, they get accused of Making Too Much of Things, Reading Into Things, or Being Controlling Bitches.

A conclusory assertion that leg-shaving is "not the most feminist thing" falls short of "talking about the complicated socio-political implications of various decisions." In fact, I'd say that assertion entirely oversimplifies a decision that may very well have complicated implications with respect to female autonomy and self-determination.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:50 PM
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930

Can I note again, that putting Kucinich to one side (again, open to nitpicking because of his general holier-than-thou-ness. I may be wrong and unfair to him on that front, but the fact that I think that about him is why it makes sense to put it to one side) that this conversation has not been between people who want to condemn individual women for making choices that haven't been approved by Teh Feminist Cabal. I don't want to micromanage anyone, and I haven't seen anyone else micromanaging.

My perception of the conversation has been that I, and those I agree with, have been arguing that it's generally false to claim that for any person, their decision to change their name on marriage has no political meaning, and we've been getting a whole lot of vehement disagreement about that. If you think that I'm putting too much importance on the meaning of name changing, I think you're not taking the tone of the conversation as a whole into account.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:50 PM
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931

And I and others have said this and now I am bored so this is a really reductive version: namechanging does not reduce the common-ness of a tradition that devalues women's identity. Not namechanging does work towards overturning the norm. I'm not out here saying it is every woman's moral feminist duty to do that work.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:51 PM
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916: Actually, I have heard it to describe a more global, racially aware corrective to second wave.

That's kind of what I had in mind, rather than this.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:51 PM
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933

what exactly are the complicated socio-political implications of a voluntary name-change? I'm not trying to be dense; I just don't get this. I surely understand it can have such implications--Heebie's example--but I really don't understand why it supposedly must.

To me, it's not complicated. The standard, which is patriarchy-derived, is that women change their names to match their husbands when they get married. Feminism says, "wait, why should we do that?" Not changing your name is a feminist decision. Changing your name isn't necessarily un-feminist, but it isn't affirmatively feminist.

Isn't it kind of parallel to the "Ms" vs "Mrs" thing? Do you understand the socio-political implications of that?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:52 PM
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934

I haven't read through today's comments yet, but man, this is Hirschman redux.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:52 PM
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935

922: Try my 208, 394 and 413.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:52 PM
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936

Also, soup's 928 kicks ass.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:53 PM
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937

If the issues don't have the same significance, it's hard to see how they can politically speaking have the same "nature." Choices about driving, food, living spaces can reflect all sorts of issues of preference, economic class and political awareness, but they have concrete outcomes in a way that name-changing does not have. How then do they have the same "nature"?

We are conflating a bit a small individual choice and how it relates to gender issues and a large number of choices in other areas. I was probably unclear: feminsim as an issue and environmentalism as an issue, to take two, map onto each other reasonable well. The changing (or not) of a name upon marriage is one small aspect of this, as noted many times.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:53 PM
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938

I think the freedom to have the personal not be political is right up there with the freedom to have large bodies not be gravitational. You do have the freedom not to always care that much.

I will sign on to 920.

922: They are complicated because it's not a matter of "if you change your name, we'll shoot this dog." They are socio-political because they derive from a clearly patriarchal tradition. They are implications because although they are not an explicit statement of I Agree That Women Are Property, they imply that the name-changer (and the name-change accepter) accept the status quo, and the status quo has a history shaped by the patriarchy.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:55 PM
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939

935: ? I don't see those as responsive. I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on this.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:56 PM
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940

In response to Brock's request for multiple choice. Name-changing:

a) Devalues women's identity and is un-feminist;
b) Is not really a big deal and nobody's making a fuss, who's making a fuss?
c) Is worth arguing about for over nine hundred comments and calling people reactionary and patriarchal for disagreeing;
d) All of the above.

AFAICT from the behaviour of the anti-name changing faction, the correct answer is d). Somehow. But don't ask me how that works.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:57 PM
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941

Brock, just because the political implications are complex doesn't mean they are important or indeed worth thinking about at all.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:57 PM
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942

Are 940 and 941 designed to be insulting? Or "funny"?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:59 PM
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943

933 reminds me of two things that come up often enough I think they are pretty good support for the idea that naming conventions really still do matter in this culture, and they are still indicative of broken thinking.

Let's say I'm a married man, but my wife does not take `Biscuit' as her surname.

I fully expect that at some point she will receive mail addressed to
Mrs. Biscuit.

and even

Mrs Soup Biscuit, randomtitle

which seems particularly egregious.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:01 PM
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944

942: 940 doesn't make any sense until you map each choice onto these.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:02 PM
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945

943: Eh, I receive mail addressed to my parents. Who have never lived at my address. The injustices of junkmail are many, but not particularly anti-feminist.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:03 PM
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946

943, exactly. It offends my wife (and me) that our financial dude, who knows that we hold the account together and that we have different names, addresses stuff to Mr. and Mrs. H.

It sucks that he makes that assumption.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:04 PM
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947

Sorry parsimon, I missed 925.

women's bodies and choices *are* politicized, and you're an idiot if you think otherwise.

It's probably more disagreement about what constitutes significant, action-worthy instances of politicization. Third-wave (North American) feminism cares less about underarm hair than second-wave did, for instance.

Actually, there's probably a quite serious problem with positing any kind of unitary "third wave" entity at all, since it seems to me that there are multiple forms of third-wave feminism descended from the multiple contending forms of second-wave feminism. "The freedom to make the personal not political" seems like the wrong shorthand to me in any case.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:04 PM
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948

940 is an expression of annoyance at something that is passive-aggressive and decidedly unfunny.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:05 PM
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949

I have to quote Daffy Duck here: "Pronoun trouble."

To me, at least, it matters a very great deal whether someone who's accusing me of a lapse from a principle important to me is also guilty of the same lapse, and if so, how they deal with their own guilt. There's a big gulf in my likely response to "you've done X and it's bad and you're part of the problem insofar as you keep Xing" without an acknowledgement that "and I'm struggling with the same problem" and the same charge from someone who starts off by acknowledging their own complicity. I'm not trying to speak for Di Kotimy here, but it feels to me as a bystander that the focus of the charges on name change and other anti-feminist actions (or actions that may be anti-feminist) has shifted rather substantially as we find out just how many likely anti-feminist things the chargers are doing themselves.

Is this just mushyheadedness on my part? It could be - I'm open to the idea, seriously. But I, at least, have an especially difficult time taking seriously criticism that begins sounding like Jesus driving the money-changers out of the temple and ends more like "I'm just one more poor old hungry beggar showing you where I've found food". (Sorry for the evangelical-speak comparison. Been talking religious cultures with friends today and I'm kind of stuck in the groove.) I read LB and SV as implicitly claiming a purity that it doesn't seem they actually have, at first, and it looks like I'm not the only one who did so.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:05 PM
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950

Does Camille Paglia get to be in a wave?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:06 PM
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951

women's bodies and choices *are* politicized, and you're an idiot if you think otherwise.

Are you an idiot if you would prefer not to have your body and your choices politicized?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:06 PM
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952

950: No.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:06 PM
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953

945: Oh, I'm not talking about junkmail but real mail.

The point being that the first instance represents a mistaken assumption that we'd share a name. The latter insists her own name isn't important enough to find out, at least in the context of a correspondence.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:07 PM
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954

I'm kind of stuck in the groove.

It's a good groove. ODB > OTR > OTB, in my book.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:07 PM
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955

My wife, who did not change her name, started receiving mail *from her relatives* addressed to Molly Helpy-Chalk the day we were married. We even got checks made out that way, which was especially difficult, because "Molly" is a nickname and not a legal name.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:08 PM
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956

Are you an idiot if you would prefer not to have your body and your choices politicized?

No, it's not idiotic to prefer that we all lived in some other universe where this was a choice you could have.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:08 PM
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957

I read LB and SV as implicitly claiming a purity that it doesn't seem they actually have, at first, and it looks like I'm not the only one who did so.

I'd really like you to search the thread for my (and Sybil's) names, and think about whether you want to stand by it. I have throughout been arguing nothing other than that the decision to change one's name on marriage has political implications. I have not claimed to be personally pure, or teh mostest feministests person out there, and I'm not sure at all what your basis is for accusing me of hypocrisy.

If you reread my contributions to the thread and still think I'm a hypocrite, so be it. But I don't see what your basis is.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:09 PM
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950: Camille Paglia is in a wave. It's the "useful idiots" wave, the same one that Eugene Volokh and lots of other bright people wave, where they spend a lot of research and verbiage demonstrating that what serves the agenda of those with power is always desirable.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:09 PM
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959

952: Comity!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:10 PM
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960

Are you an idiot if you would prefer not to have your body and your choices politicized?

If by "politicized" you mean "nitpicked", then no, that's quite fair. If you mean "comprehensible in political terms", then I think you're asking for an exceptionalism that can't be granted.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:10 PM
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961

LB, I did re-read before commenting. What I saw at first was simple condemnation: name changing is bad because it reinforces the patriarchal order and every woman who does it is helping do that bad work, period. What I didn't see at first was any talk about the extent to which every life has its compromises, the relative weight to individual lives of particular choices, or the practical problems of pursuing a better world as thoroughly as we might. As the thread's gone on, you and others have given the nod to your own compromises and possibly regrettable choices, and the whole thing has become (to me, at least) substantially more interesting and even useful.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:12 PM
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962

every woman who does it is helping do that bad work, period.

Comment numbers, if you would?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:13 PM
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963

I try and get three regrettable choices out of the way before breakfast, clears space for the rest of the day.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:13 PM
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964

938: Wrongshore! Blogcrush re-established.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:14 PM
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965

By the way, "hypocrite" isn't the charge I want to make, but I'm not sure what the right word for it is. "Un-nuanced" sounds too detached and abstracted. "Unproductive" is a big part of it. I'll have to think about it. But as a general thing, if I want to make a charge of hypocrisy I will do that directly - I try not to leave anyone guessing about my sense of their character flaws, as opposed to (as in this case) what seem to me less than ideal rhetorical stances.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:14 PM
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966

Are you an idiot if you would prefer not to have your body and your choices politicized?

The easier thing to do is just not to care. Not always so easy, though.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:15 PM
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967

I read LB and SV as implicitly claiming a purity that it doesn't seem they actually have, at first, and it looks like I'm not the only one who did so.

I did not read either as claiming any broader sense of perfect feminist purity, actually. And the fact that they are critical of their own feminist "failings" doesn't make it better for me.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:15 PM
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968

LB: 191, 208, and 335, f'rex. If I'm misreading your intent, please do feel free to apply the clue-by-four.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:17 PM
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969

I'm not sure exactly where I'd come out on the Great Name-Changing Question, but I do know one thing: the HELL I'd bear to term a child whose last name was only going to reflect the father. I'd sooner change my name first.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:17 PM
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970

967: Yeah. You I disagree with, and I wish my position on this were something we could agree on, but I don't think we're miscommunicating. Baugh seems to be reading an entirely different conversation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:18 PM
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971

964: Awww. I'm blushing.

Good thing you weren't around for the Michael Keaton business last night.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:19 PM
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972

I don't know if it's just a personal verbal tic (goodness knows I have enough of those), but "I don't care" feels very different in implications to me than "I'm choosing not to fight this fight so intensely", even if the practical outcome is the same.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:19 PM
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973

All right. 191: there aren't positive reasons other than patriarchal tradition for women but not men to change their names.

Would you care to tell me that the positive reason not derived from patriarchal tradition for women but not men to change their name on marriage is?

And if you haven't got one on tap, or really, even if you did, how do you construe that as some sort of claim of personal feminist purity?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:21 PM
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974

No, it's not idiotic to prefer that we all lived in some other universe where this was a choice you could have.

Okay, so you'd prefer to live in a universe in which the presumption wasn't that a woman adopts her husband's name upon marriage. You seek to bring about this universe by living/advocating a life challenging that presumption. I will bring about the change I seek -- to be able to live my life without my choices and my body being politicized -- by challenging the politicization of acts that I firmly believe should be entirely personal.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:21 PM
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975

947:

Actually, there's probably a quite serious problem with positing any kind of unitary "third wave" entity at all, since it seems to me that there are multiple forms of third-wave feminism descended from the multiple contending forms of second-wave feminism. "The freedom to make the personal not political" seems like the wrong shorthand to me in any case.

Shit, sorry DS, I missed this myself.

I trust your judgment that my formulation is the wrong shorthand, so I'll look around for more dimension. Nonetheless that formulation seems to capture the objection Di and others have been making.

The thread's becoming too long for me to refresh.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:21 PM
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976

the HELL I'd bear to term a child whose last name was only going to reflect the father. I'd sooner change my name first.

Yeah, I thought that was weird, too.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:22 PM
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977

208: You meet a Mr. & Mrs. John Jones, you don't know much about what they think about gender issues. They could be suffering from inertia and family pressure, they could be traditional and never thought about it much, or they could be "Rah, rah, go patriarchy!"

This is an "un-nuanced" claim that "every woman who does it is helping do that bad work"? Saying that knowing that a woman changed her name doesn't tell you much about what she thinks about gender issues?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:24 PM
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978

As I went to bed last night, I thought "boy, I bet 548 is going to be funny tomorrow."

I was right!

I am beginning to reconsidder 503, on the other hand.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:24 PM
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979

969: In Mexico, people go by the surnames of both parents. Perfectly sensible tradition.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:24 PM
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980

I will bring about the change I seek -- to be able to live my life without my choices and my body being politicized -- by challenging the politicization of acts that I firmly believe should be entirely personal.

I still don't think it's going to work; you'd be better off not participating than challenging. Once you accept that there's something to argue about, you've kinda lost the battle over whether something can be politicized.

Don't take it from me, take it from John Mayer and Pat Benatar's famous duet: your body is a battlefield.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:24 PM
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981

335: Or if I did change my name, that either I don't think about the patriarchal implication of this sort of tradition, or I do think about them and approve, or I do think about them and disapprove, but my disapproval is less important to me than the other forces that argue for compliance with the tradition (and this can be totally different depending on the individual forces in your individual circumstances).

And this is supposed to be an un-nuanced condemnation of all women who change their names?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:26 PM
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982

Saying that knowing that a woman changed her name doesn't tell you much about what she thinks about gender issues?

I'll say that.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:26 PM
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983

978: Doh! I didn't see 548. I feel sort of responsible for stirring the pot now...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:26 PM
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984

612: I understand inhibitions perfectly. I don't understand, however, why people do X, then wrack themselves with "guilt, anxiety or defensiveness" or require drugging themselves to near unconsciousness in order to perform some X and don't do anything about it. Fucking yourself up or over strikes me as a rather unhealthy mental lifestyle. Whinging that one's social conditioning is at fault is a refusal to take the trouble to work on the problem - rather like "the devil made me do it" excuses put forth by the various members of the RR when they commit Happy Feet in airport bathrooms or bang altar boys in the sacristy.

"No-one can overcome centuries of patriarchal influence" has too much of a "so don't bother trying" subtext; it does feminism no favours in denying the concept of educated free-agency. When B insists that Cala and shivbunny's decision to be monogamous is somehow a relic of Catholicism, instead of decision made by two thinking adults, she is implying that C/sb are incapable of making such a decision for rational, personal reasons. Or, with her insistence that monogamy = sexist, with the implicit assumption that somehow those who 'overcome' monogamy are somehow more politically pure, that she isn't demonstrating a need for validation of her own lifestyle - and please, the I'm-not-saying-that-monogamists-are-Bad-Feminists- but-monogamy-is-sexist mantra is doing just that.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:26 PM
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985

Bruce, I'd really appreciate an apology for your 949.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:26 PM
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986

982 pwned by 9. I'm serious about this. How's about a new thread, folks.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:28 PM
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987

928: Pretty much, yeah.

Actually, factory meat is a much bigger deal than name-changing. Indeed, whereas name-changing is more visible - and thus, in a sense, more important politically - factory-farmed meat is vastly more impactful. I guess that's part of why I'm not sympathetic to the anti-name-changers in this discussion, even as I myself am on their side IRL. This is such a tiny issue, I'm struggling with anything comparable in the environment. Maybe paper bags vs. plastic, where they're both problematic, yet oh-so-visible? Heavy nighttime drapes in the winter?

[fuck, just got distracted on the Rudy thread. Had no idea what was going on over there]

I guess that's why it's so touchy. The only measurable IRL impacts of name-change are personal, but to reach Utopia requires quashing those impacts. Anyway, comity AFAIC.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:29 PM
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979.---Little Immanuel Mazdegh Smith Ahmadi-Tehrani is probably going to have a hard enough time in life, DS.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:29 PM
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980: I still don't think it's going to work; you'd be better off not participating than challenging. Once you accept that there's something to argue about, you've kinda lost the battle over whether something can be politicized.I still don't think it's going to work; you'd be better off not participating than challenging. Once you accept that there's something to argue about, you've kinda lost the battle over whether something can be politicized.

Not responding at all seems unproductive, frankly. Not arguing at length, well, you're probably right that arguing at length is counterproductive. But that is in my nature, so...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:29 PM
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990

I'm totally with LB on this. I don't think it needs to be individualyl judgmental at all. Look, I doubt any woman here lives her life according to the platonic ideal of What Would Be Best for the Sisterhood. I sure as hell don't; I've made career trade offs for family reasons & intend to make more & I'll consider them worth it. People have lots of different priorities & there are trade offs. I have no problem admitting that I while I consider myself environmentalist, I eat too much meat, too little organic stuff, take too many cabs, don't compost, etc. etc. (All of this adds up, actually, to a much, much worse effect on the environment than changing my name would have on feminism). Pointing out that taking your husband's name, as an action, less feminist than not, doesn't mean it's immoral, the wrong thing for you do do, that you're a traitor to your sex, etc. About none of us are politically pure, on any issue, so why is this different?


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:30 PM
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986: B is pretty clear about saying that what she does isn't for everyone. The message I get is that monogamy as a default position is rooted in sexism, but an educated choice to be monogamous is no less valid. (Chicken, but not sexist.)

I'm kidding about the chicken.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:31 PM
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992

Immanuel Moishe Mazdegh Jürgen Smith Ahmadi-Tehrani


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:31 PM
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993

LB, I agree that the convention of name-changing foisted on women as a default and not men is a bad one I'm in favor of its dissolution. I'm not criticizing the idea, I'm talking about how I perceived the delivery.

Some criticisms come from a mentor to a student, or an authority to a subject, or otherwise from moral and intellectual high ground to lower ground. Others come from one peer to another, or at least to someone occupying about the same moral and intellectual stature. Implicit claims of authority draw my attention because I have something of the anarchist's concern for power as a corrupting force and a bias in favor of peer exchanges as less vulnerable to information corruption.

Now, I'm open to being told that I'm going too far with this general principle: that charges of the general form "you're doing X, and X is bad because it betrays important cause Y", without further qualification, do in fact imply authority with regard to Y. That is, when people make pronouncements about what others are doing that hurts cause Y, I see them as asserting a superior standing. Whereas when someone says "you're doing X, and X is bad because it betrays important cause Y, just as A and B do, which I also struggle with", they're dethroning themselves. (This being Unfogged, I pause 30 seconds for someone to make the inevitable "being kicked off the toilet" joke.) With a personal admission of that sort, the critic gives up a hierarchical authority in favor of a more personal one: "I am qualified to address your failing because I too am in the belly of the beast."

I will note that this general style sense is one informed in very large degree by my experiences with severe disability, and I do recognize that power issues in medicine aren't synonymous with all other kinds.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:32 PM
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994

JRoth:

Doesn't everyone use those reusable bags now?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:32 PM
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995

993, see 985.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:35 PM
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996

arguing at length is counterproductive. But that is in my nature, so...

...here we are.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:35 PM
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997

The last 300 or so comments have been pretty great.
If the post had said "Explain why the personal is political," it would have been boring, but basically what's happening here is that people for whom that's self-evident are being asked to explain to people who disagree, and it turns out that it's very hard to give a short but convincing account. First you have to set up the parameters of our particular situation, in social, cultural, and historical terms, and go on to show how very small gestures, when taken in the aggregate, conspire to affect people's lives. It turns out that it's very hard to marshal evidence for it, and here there's a disanalogy with something like recycling, which we can measure.

Another interesting question is why particular acts come to have more importance than others. Why is name-changing a bigger deal than make-up wearing, for example. Again, there are aspects of our situation that explain why people judge one more rigorously than the other, but those have to be explained as well, or "the personal is political" can seem like random judgmentalism.

Anyway, good stuff.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:35 PM
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LB, 985: If I said that I look back on the posts and have any reaction other than what I wrote up earlier, I'd be lying. Nor did I intend anything I wrote to come across as the sort of personal attack it did to you.

But what I do see is that people much more directly affected - that is to say, other women in the exchanges - don't see them the way I do, or see different clouds of inference and association.

Under the circumstances, then, I have to admit that (as I suspected might be the case, since it often is) as a bystander, I've missed some important things. And I obvious did give a bad impression myself. For that I'm very sorry, and I'll try not to repeat the mistake in future threads.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:36 PM
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999

Thanks, dad.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:37 PM
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1000

Fuck off then, asshole.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:37 PM
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1001

400!


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:37 PM
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1002

988: Nah, by the time he's grown the Great Enemy Wheel will have swung back around to the Chinese. No problem!

990: Pointing out that taking your husband's name, as an action, less feminist than not, doesn't mean it's immoral, the wrong thing for you do do, that you're a traitor to your sex, etc.

It does rather make one wonder, then, why it's so important to point out -- and, as has happened here, to defend unto the last pixel. The "it's not big deal, but I'm just sayin'... and sayin'... and sayin'..." maneuver does throw off more than a bit of an air of the passive-aggressive. I can see why Di is irritated by it.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:38 PM
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1003

Nor did I intend anything I wrote to come across as the sort of personal attack it did to you.

Don't let her intimidate you into backing down, Bruce! LB loves to throw a good punch.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:38 PM
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1004

999 to 997.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:39 PM
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1005

Er. Let me rephrase that last part.

I don't mean "sorry I look like a jerk on this", I mean "sorry I came across like I think you're a bad person". That's what I'm sorry for, because I don't think you're a bad person, nor that anyone else involved in the exchange is - I meant to criticize a style of presentation as distinct from its content, and blew it, and I hate doing that. Sorry.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:39 PM
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1006

1000 to ?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:39 PM
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1007

1000 was an intemperate response to the first paragraph of 998; I wouldn't have put it like that had I read the rest of the comment.

I would still have said that 949 is absolutely unjustified by the comments to which it refers, and it makes me disinclined to pay any attention to your comments.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:39 PM
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1008

1003: Will, when I say things like that, it's not being intimidated, it's being embarrassed for having managed to fuck up my presentation.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:40 PM
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1009

1006: 1000 to you, its tone regretted in 1007.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:40 PM
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1010

1000 to me?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:41 PM
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1011

1007 is a lie. 1000 was to Ogged, and now LB's trying to walk it back.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:41 PM
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1012

It does rather make one wonder, then, why it's so important to point out -- and, as has happened here, to defend unto the last pixel. The "it's not big deal, but I'm just sayin'... and sayin'... and sayin'..." maneuver does throw off more than a bit of an air of the passive-aggressive. I can see why Di is irritated by it.

Well said.

Oh come on with the asshole talk, LB. You are the first one to ride someone else's comments hard. Why do you react so hard when someone responds to you?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:42 PM
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1013

1012: It's a reptile thing. You wouldn't understand.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:43 PM
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1014

1002: It's a fucking disagreement, Slack. Neither side has fucking dropped it. There's nothing passive agressive about continuing to fucking argue about something, when the people you're arguing with keep on worrying the goddam discussion like a dog with a fucking bone.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:43 PM
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1015

1010 ... you and anybody else who asks questions.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:44 PM
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1016

Why do you react so hard when someone responds to you?

I think we all react pretty strongly when someone accuses us of acting in some way contrary to our own ideals. (See eg. my participation in this entire thread... ) "Holier-than-thou" is pretty contrary, I think, to LB's ideals and is what she was accused of. It may not be what Bruce meant to convey, but that's how I read it, too, and the reaction makes sense in that light.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:45 PM
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1017

1012: No, actually I don't pull that kind of crap on people, coming in at the end of a long argument and not addressing the actual substance of the argument, but saying that someone's lack of nuance throughout says something unpleasant about them personally. And if that's the sort of thing you do think I pull, then fuck you too.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:45 PM
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1018

It's a fucking disagreement, Slack. Neither side has fucking dropped it. There's nothing passive agressive about continuing to fucking argue about something, when the people you're arguing with keep on worrying the goddam discussion like a dog with a fucking bone.

I have to agree that I wouldnt call it passive aggressive.

It is just plain aggressive.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:46 PM
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1019

I agree with 1014. "Agree to disagree at length" seems to be the operating principle -- I think both sides are butting their heads against a wall, but neither is being passive.

I would have said "fricking", however.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:46 PM
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1020

Best 1000 ever.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:47 PM
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1021

when the people you're arguing with keep on worrying the goddam discussion like a dog with a fucking bone...

Um, wow. That was actually pretty fucking condescending LB.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:47 PM
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1022

It is just plain aggressive.

My apologies if my aggression disturbs you.

I'm out -- I've said everything I've had to say on the actual topic, and I haven't got any more patience for the sniping.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:47 PM
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1023

So when do I bring up meta-considerations about the style of argument people bring to bear in this kind of argument? I'm totally ready.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:47 PM
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1024

Argument, argument, argument, argument.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:48 PM
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1025

LB, I'll take one more run at it and then go tend to chores.

I think the exchange became more interesting as it picked up more first-person context. It seems like these days I'm learning most from people talking about how they juggle the compromises that they face themselves, particularly when it comes to matters where personal choices inevitably will affect broad social developments one way or another.

A friend points out to me that I could have saved myself some embarrassment by remembering that the weblog is context too - very little of that kind of personalization appeared in this thread for the very first time, it's been hashed over in lots of other threads. That's true, and that's another mistake on my part. I'll blame fatigue for that one; I always get mental tunnel vision when tired more.

And it's also true that I'm carrying over mental baggage from some day job-related arguments where people have been making explicit assertions of authority to pass judgment that get undermined by their later admissions of their own failure. I don't actually think that any of you here are the forum and mailing list twits annoying me elsewhere, and I need to do a better job of mental firewalling.

And that's about it for me, unless there's any other screw-ups I need to make amends for along the way. I would like to revisit the rhetoric part of my intended (as opposed to actual) posting, but...when better rested, and in a very different context. Sorry again for the bad parts of all this.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:48 PM
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1026

Anyone know how to Romanize the Mandarin curses they use on Firefly? I'm going to try to be a little inventive with my reply to 1017.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:49 PM
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1027

And if that's the sort of thing you do think I pull, then fuck you too.

This is what bothers me. When you make comments like that and simultaneously demand apologies for less nasty comments.

Don't bitch people out and then demand that they apologies to you.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:49 PM
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1028

129: http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSN3061371020080130?feedType=RSS&feedName=oddlyEnoughNews&pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=10001

Of course, the reason Gmail put this at the top of my window is the novelty of it, so not really much of a counterexample.


Posted by: Pantene | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:50 PM
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1029

1000 to 1020.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:50 PM
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1030

Here you go, DS.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:51 PM
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1031

You know, this entire thread can be read as an elaborate joke by B, who, accused of being unhinged, gets people to go off on an angry thousand-comments-of-power sort of thread to justify herself.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:52 PM
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1032

Go shave your legs, Labs.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:53 PM
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1033

1000 to 1029.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:54 PM
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1034

More blogcrush on marvey!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:55 PM
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1035

1027: Yeah, I'm going to agree with will now. If you want to demand apologies from someone who you think has misread you, then maybe you ought to think twice before describing people who have made nuanced and thoughtful arguments in opposition to yours as worrying the argument like a dog with a bone.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:55 PM
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1036

1002: oh come on. Because people keep disagreeing, & we're still talking about it? I jumped in because people seemed to be reading LB in a way that I didn't think was fair.

I didn't change my name in part because I am one of four sisters who were very much "the lastname girls", "the lastname sisters," & I was the first to get married & didn't want to break up the set. My older sisters then changed their names. I was a little sad, but really, not only did I not think they were betraying the sisterhood; I gave them no crap about it & am not sure I wouldn't have done the same in their place, or if I hadn't liked the sound of my last name better than my husband's.

I really think there's a ridiculous double standard going on here, though. I would be pretty annoyed if my vegetarian relatives were constantly telling me how unethical my eating habits were, but I also don't expect them to publicly affirm that there's no ethical or environmental difference at all between eating meat & not eating meat.

Like I said, this is *less* of a big issue, w/ less of an effect on others, but obviously someone who keeps her name for feminist reasons isn't going to affirm that changing v. keeping your name is totally irrelevant to feminism, any more than someone who's a vegan for ethical reasons is going to affirm that there's no ethical reason for veganism.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:55 PM
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1037

LB is entitled to tell people to fuck off at least once in a two-day 1000 comment thread. I'm just wondering whether Baugh's "experience with severe disability" means that he's severely disabled and was told to fuck off just seven comments later, because if so, this blog is finally turning into something I can be proud of.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:56 PM
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1038

Doesn't everyone use those reusable bags now?

Yeah, I know. I said I didn't have a good comparison.

Just last week, we were in IKEA only to learn that they have abandoned disposables. Miraculously, we squeezed $150 worth of crap into just one of those big $1 bags. Two days later, Whole Foods puts up a sign that they're not getting any more bags in stock. I'm going to have to teach my dog to crap in the toilet.

Holy fuck, this thread is accelerating.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:57 PM
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1039

Gnaw my bone, apo.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:57 PM
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1040

1033: no, LB said 1000 was to me. I'm pretty sure it was to 121.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:57 PM
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1041

LB is entitled to tell people to fuck off at least once in a two-day 1000 comment thread.

Oh, because the patriarchy says she can???


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:58 PM
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1042

615: This is tangential, as what the fuck does a discussion of monogamy have to do with abortion is still a valid question:

Individual clergy in the 1950s may well have "actively campaigned to make abortion legal", but I suspect you've got your history wrong and are thinking of the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion, which came about in the late 60's. At least one of my college dorm-mates used their services. [Others of us passed around the name of the doctor who would prescribe the Pill, even to the unmarried. Without Griswold v. Connecticut, there would probably have been the need for more CCSA referrals.]

Speaking of history, we must remember that it was late 19th/early 20th century feminists and the AMA who campaigned to make it illegal, the former because it was an unsafe medical procedure and the latter because doctors weren't making any money at it [also the reason why circumcision was promoted as a "cure" for masturbation - because they could make money at it]. Abortion was once regarded by feminists as an evil perpetrated on women by men in order to get rid of their potential bastard children. So even abortion has a very sexist history - does than mean a modern woman who has one is giving in to the patriarchy?


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:00 PM
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1043

1037: but she said it twice! Is she entitled to that, Dear Leader?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:00 PM
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1044

1037; hey ogged, fuck off.

(no particular reason, it just seemed like a good way to welcome you back... )


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:03 PM
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1045

I thought it was rather general knowledge that Bruce Baugh struggles with disabilities of various sorts about which I'm a little vague. One of them involves his immune system. I'm also sad to have seen him told off so emphatically because he's usually been a voice for kindness wherever I've run across him.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:03 PM
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1046

1000 to 1043.

1042 stirs the pot admirably.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:04 PM
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1047

1037: Ogged, I've got overlapping immune and neurological problems. It looks like I have porphyria and an independent auto-immune disorder and something making nervous sclerosis that may or may not also be its own thing. I'm housebound, unemployable except for very limited kinds of doable-at-home work, unable to go out in crowds because the broken immune system won't repel infections and will react allergically to lots of common chemicals, and so on. I have seizure episodes that erase randomly selected bits of short- and long-term memory, and more of them when the tide of depression is strong. I'm weak and clumsy, my senses are all impaired to varying degrees, etc etc etc. I really never expected to live as long as I have, and it's a life with a lot of pain and tedium in it. (Which is part of why I sometimes come off as such a social clod. I know I'm under-socialized, and that most of the socializing I do get is with various geeky communities.) I'm not exactly the boy in the bubble, but it's sort of in that general vicinity.

So I have a lot of experience with certain kinds of discrimination, power imbalances, and the like. It's just that they're not synonymous with the ones that would come with race, gender, and so on - it's basically a specialized kind of class problem. And I know that it skews my perception and judgment in all kinds of ways.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:04 PM
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1048

1042 is really interesting. Who writes about it? Was there crossover with temperance/suffrage?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:04 PM
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1049

Oh christ the guilt card ruins everything.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:04 PM
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1050

Which is part of why I sometimes come off as such a social clod.

What, among this crowd? Not hardly.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:07 PM
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1051

This is tangential at comment 1042. Beautiful!

I have to go out to dinner, and will post a full review at comment 2000 later tonight.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:08 PM
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1052

1049: FL, I hope it doesn't come across like I'm trying to play the guilt card. I don't intend to - I don't see any of it as license to inflict hurt on others, certainly. Rather, I just wanted to give some context about why I may fall into some kinds of misreading, just as if I had any other kind of exotic background.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:09 PM
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1053

DominEditrix: If you have URLs to follow up on the sort of thing you mention in 1042, I'd be really grateful. It happens that I have use for feminist medical history of the early 20th century. Seriously. (Long story about why.) And besides, I just wanna know.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:11 PM
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1054

But I would not feel so all alone,
Eeeeverybody must fuck off!


Posted by: Bob Dylan | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:11 PM
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1055

Actually, Bruce, that was cross-posted; it was intended at JM's 1045. Would I have made the same joke at 1047? Hard to say.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:12 PM
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1056

Wow, sorry to hear about all that, Bruce. All the best.

But seriously, folks, it's impossible to participate as much as LB does, taking on all comers (heh) and not lose it occasionally, so when it happens at comment 1000, after two days of argument, maybe we can just let it go.

Now someone who's not on hiatus put up a post so we can close this thread.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:12 PM
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1057

I fucking did, you ghee, but did people want to talk about tea? No. No they did not.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:14 PM
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1058

1031: Labs, it was a worthwhile thread.

1047: Bruce, I heard what you said upthread about tone and presentation; I heard you. You're not very clumsy in print.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:14 PM
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1059

Ah, thanks Sifu.

1017: I know that you've departed, but for the record: "Da-shiang bao-tza shr duh lah doo-tze!" Yes, it's a disagreement. However, you of all people are poorly placed to complain about others "worrying the discussion like a dog with a bone," sorry. And one side, roughly speaking, in the disagreement has not been claiming to regard the whole thing as no big deal, while the other side has. (I mean, Gao yang jong duh goo yang, I for one regard the passing off of triviality as profound political discussion as a tremendous annoyance and a habit much more incrementally injurious to progressivism than name-changing, and I think Di has gotten annoyingly short shrift in the whole discussion.) If indeed it's no big deal, then the persistence seems unwarranted; if it is a bigger deal to some than they were previously willing to state, I'd prefer they just come out and say so.

For what it's worth, in your case I don't think you're being passive-aggressive, I think it just chaps your ass to not clearly get the better of an argument. I can hardly judge you for that, since I'm the same way. And I understand your annoyance with Bruce, too. Nevertheless your outburst around the 1000 mark came as a surprise, I have to admit.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:15 PM
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1060

1058.1 very pointedly not to 1057, I note.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:16 PM
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1061

Now someone who's not on hiatus put up a post so we can close this thread.

You know you want to, ogged.

You printed out this whole thread and read it obsessively, we know.

You're so back in.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:16 PM
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1062

1048 - Read Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, et alia. Reflect that medical procedures were more primitive and antibiotics practically non-existent, making abortion more dangerous than it is today, and that patriarchal notions of women's chastity made bearing a child out-of-wedlock socially impossible. For the feminists of that time, social equailty would mean the right to have those babies without condemnation. [NB, they also favoured birth control and sex-education, both of which would have helped women avoid abortion.]


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:16 PM
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1063

As far as middle-aged, chronically ill, unemployable and socially awkward male bloggers go, Bruce Baugh is my favorite.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:16 PM
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1064

Ogged is right, of course. Katherine, sorry, 1059 before I saw 1036, and now I have to step out.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:18 PM
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1065

How about this. Do people see the difference between saying:

(1) In feminist utopia, X would happen, & if our goal is to reach feminist utopia women should choose X
(2) Every woman, or at least every real feminist, has a moral obligation to prioritize moving closer to feminist utopia over other political priorities, or other individual considerations in her life.

(2) is problematic & I'd say bad for feminism & why I can't stand Linda Hirshman. I don't see a real problem with (1) though.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:18 PM
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1063: Great, now Farber is going to show up with a bunch of rhetorical questions suggesting that you'd like him best if only you knew what the hell you were talking about.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:18 PM
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1053: No URLs, just book-learning. [We 1970s feminists didn't have computers. Or the Intertubes. ] If you google SBA, Eliz. Cady Stanon et al, you should find commentary.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:20 PM
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1068

Eh, fuck off then Labs.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:21 PM
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1069

1065.1: Is there a hole in the wall, where the men can see it all?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:22 PM
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1070

Katherine, the problem I see with (1) is in dictating what women should choose, which is contrary to the feminist utopia I would like to see. (In which women are free to make their own considered judgments about everything from career, to name-change to leg hair...) I think the disagreement her is a little bit about what feminist utopia looks like and alot about how we get there. Parsimon's 2nd vs. 3rd wave feminism point pretty much nailed it, whether or not she is right about what 3rd wave feminism is.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:22 PM
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1071

1063 is going to really hurt ogged's feelings, by the way.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:22 PM
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1072

1067 et al: Yeah, I've got some good histories and primary source collections. I was mostly wondering if there were any recent round-ups or reinterpretations that I would miss in library browsing, but, um, I didn't actually say that.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:23 PM
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1073

1068: an invocation of 1000 would be canonical.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:23 PM
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1074

1063: Cryptic Ned, my cat is mad at you. Or would be if he could conceptualize you. I laughed, and leaned forward, and went from scratching the top of his head (his favorite place for it) to poking him in the eye. So he's stalked off and it's all your fault.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:25 PM
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1075

Ok, there's a new post up that should satisfy all your needs, and I'm going to close this thread now.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:26 PM
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1076

eep


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:26 PM
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