It’s the 100th episode of Reality Cast! Interview with Lizzie Skurnick, segments on right wing madness and sexphobic sex podcasts. Party on, podcast audience!
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It’s the 100th episode of Reality Cast,
y’all! It’s been a crazy time
since I started this podcast in the summer of 2007. We’ve elected a pro-choice President, gotten a new pro-choice
Supreme Court judge, and we’ve even started a serious process of moving towards
comprehensive health care reform.
We’ve seen the defeat of many anti-choice bills, but unfortunately,
we’ve seen an uptick in anti-choice activism and a law banning gay marriage go
into effect in California. We’ve seen abstinence-only education lose in a big
way, but we still haven’t seen comprehensive sex education really come to the
forefront. We’ve still got a
pro-choice majority, but abortion is still treated like a dirty word. We’ve made the public more aware of the
anti-choice movement’s fight against contraception, but we have seen the
teenage birth rate go up.
Obviously, there’s still a lot of fighting to do.
Thanks to listeners who’ve supported this show. You guys are the best, and I love that
you’re out there, caring and talking to friends and keeping up with the news
and having a sense of humor about it all along. If you enjoy the show, I’d much appreciate it if you could
go to our iTunes page and leave a positive review. Again, you guys are the best, and you’ve helped make RH Reality
Check what it is.
Our interview guest is writer Lizzie Skurnick, and I’ll have
segments on right wing nuttiness, as usual, and another on my obsession with
the podcast Sex, Really.
As we’re coming close to the end of August, I can safely say
at this point that this was a summer of right wing angry violent madness. The birthers and the town hall
protesters showing up to protest a fake version of the health care bill is just
part of it, of course. As I record
this, the actual violence has been minimal, though a lot of men have started to
show up at events with penis substitutes, I mean, guns. But it was also the Holocaust Museum
shooting, the Pennsylvania gym shooting, and of course, the murder of Dr.
George Tiller back in May. But even
though Dr. Tiller’s murder was the first shot in what was going to be a summer
of threats and violence, it’s still not being taken seriously enough by the
authorities. Amy Hagstrom Miller,
who I’ve interviewed recently, was on Rachel Maddow’s show to talk about a
disturbing lack of security around Scott Roeder, who is accused of murdering
So why the history lesson from Rachel? For a simple reason: Many members of
the terrorist breeding ground Army of God, which has had 6 members do time for
anti-choice terrorism, have been visiting Scott Roeder in jail. One has written a how-to book on
violence, and another has done time for clinic bombing. Here’s what Amy Hagstrom Miller had to
say on the topic:
The lone actor thing is clearly a joke, clearly
nonsense. But I’d go a step
further and point out that we have to see the connections between domestic
terrorism aimed at clinic workers and the larger patterns of threats and
intimidation that we’re seeing in response to health care reform. In many cases, it’s exactly the same
thing. Many of the people moving
from town to town to protest health care reform cut their teeth protesting a
woman’s right to choose, I’m sure.
More importantly, the anti-choice movement has been active in working
its networks and mythologies on behalf of opponents of health care reform. They’re experts at slurring doctors who
provide abortions or end of life care, and they’re willing to tweak those
narratives to fight against health care access for millions of Americans. And they’ll use the same intimidation
methods that they’ve used against clinic workers.
Unfortunately, the strong presence of conservatives showing
up at events carrying guns has inclined some liberals to arm themselves in
self-defense. This is the kind of
error that comes from not seeing the connections. Clinic workers have had to deal with these crazies for a
long time now, and as far as I can tell, they’ve decided that arming themselves
is not a legitimate strategy. All
you’re doing when you do that is make the wingnuts even more determined to
scare you and hurt you, because now they can pretend they’re the victims.
Instead, what we need to do is do what clinic workers have
had to do for a long time: Grow up and realize that these people aren’t
reasonable. They aren’t misguided
but moral people. They’re paranoid
and their mean-spiritedness has caused them to lose it. Thankfully, prominent liberals in the
mainstream media are beginning to make this point. Like Paul Krugman.
And that’s the meat of it. They’re unappeasable.
Those of us who’ve been watching this disaster of trying to find common
ground on abortion have been saying this for a long time. The right wing nuts don’t want to talk
about common ground, concessions, anything. They’re interested in screaming and making a ruckus and
total shutting down of any attempt to improve people’s actual lives and give
them more freedom and choices.
It’s a hard thing to grasp, because no one wants to believe this level
of unreason could really exist.
But this is the truth on the ground and the only way to deal with the
crazies is to go around them.
Taking them seriously is a waste of your time.
We haven’t checked in on the Sex, Really podcast in awhile,
but I thought that a recent episode was really too juicy to pass up. Laura Sessions Stepp does this podcast
for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, but a recent
episode appears to be less about preventing unplanned pregnancy and more about
demanding that young men in college have professional levels of income before
young women condescend to date them. Oh yes, Sessions Stepp is on yet again
about how awful it is that kids don’t date anymore, but she’s defining dating
based on income levels that are usually beyond college kids.
See if you can follow: It used to be dating when you ate
food, watching a movie, watched a sporting event, or listened to music with
each other. Now it’s not dating
when you eat food, watch a movie, watch a sporting event, or listen to
music. Because you said, "We hung
out," instead of "we went on a date".
Even though the behavior is basically the same. The notion that couples don’t go to
sporting events together in college is particularly laughable to me, since I
live right next to one of the biggest football stadiums in the country, and I
can assure you, properly heterosexual young blonde couples still appear in
droves nowadays as they do in Sessions Stepp’s dreams of a time that never was.
What Sessions Stepp has discovered in her research is that
kids actually still date. But she
can’t admit that, because that means she can’t raise some sort of horrible
panic about kids these days. So
instead, she’s freaking out about what is a shift in the words they use to
describe dating. If she were doing
this schtick in the 60s, she’d be complaining that kids don’t court anymore,
because they’re too busy going on these nefarious dates to football games and
movies. She’d also be worried that
they’re too busy doing the Twist to remember to do the waltz.
Unfortunately, she’s used this definitional slide on a bunch
of young women, to give them nostalgia for a time that never was.
The problem is that no one uses the word "date", it
seems. The notion that there was
some golden era when college aged boys had a lot of money to dump on fancy
dinner dates at restaurants that cost $100 a plate is just a fantasy that
Sessions Stepp pumped these girls up with. If she wants real old-fashioned dating, then that used to
mean strictly that young men came to your house or dorm and visited with you
under the watchful eye of a chaperon.
I did a quick google search and found that in the 50s, dating guides
suggested going to ice cream parlors, pizza parlors, drive-ins, bowling alleys,
coffee houses and record shops.
Half of these are things that Sessions Stepp would deny are
dates now, and the other half have been replaced by something equivalent. Movie
theaters aren’t cheap like they were in the 50s and 60s, and there’s no
drive-in to give you privacy, so watching videos at home is the equivalent. In other words, things are exactly the
same. But these girls are feeling
shortchanged because they don’t put on an evening gown and go to a fancy
restaurant. They also get angry that
guys want sexual contact, which is considered unromantic, but the big joke in
the 50s was get a girl into a drive-in and start to feel her up. I fail to see
how this has changed.
Hey, I’ve seen movies about young adults in the 50s and
60s. It was mostly necking in the
car, going to dances and bars, and getting cheap food. What Sessions Stepp is doing here is
incredibly sleazy. She’s feeding
young women an image of dating that’s borrowed from what people do now in their
mid 20s and beyond, when they have jobs and feel less awkward wearing grown-up
clothes. But she’s pretending that
those kinds of dates are something very young women did in the past. In reality, dinner dates and high heels
are part of the future, their futures.
Everyone I know who was drinking beer and watching videos in their
college years on dates, and most of us became the sort of people who go to
concerts, drink liquor, and eat expensive food on dates when we had, you know,
And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, that’s not really a joke
edition. Seriously, I don’t
understand what Rush Limbaugh thought was so funny about this.
it? Because she’s a woman and sex
sex sex sex sex. She has a vagina
so that means grope and sex and she’s not doing a real job, because did he
mention that women have sex organs?
Sheesh. Gotta love how he
claims she was doing something meaningless in the supposed swamps. She was in the Congo in part of a
diplomatic effort to reduce violence there, particularly sexual violence
against women. But of course, rape
and war are the sort of issues Rush Limbaugh thinks are meaningless.