29 December, 2008

Arby's Food Disgusting; Ad Also Disgusting

This ad annoys the crap out of me; it is probably my least favorite commercial of 2008, which is saying a lot, since I've been watching more television than is probably healthy.

There are many things upon which I could enumerate when it comes to why this ad sucks--the one thing that sticks in my craw the most, however, is the overt sexualization of food service (especially since a woman is doing the serving!). The idea that men are obsessed with both sex and meat-laden food, too, is troubling. Would this ad be as "clever" if the gender roles were reversed? Probably not--especially given the not-very-subtle Arby's logo that literally pops up from the guy's head at the end.

15 December, 2008

Quick Hit Strikes Back: The Sexification of Illness

http://polkadotgals.com/index.html [NOT SAFE FOR WORK]

I do not begrudge these women for trying to raise awareness of fibro, but is a bikini/nude calendar really a good strategy? I also have to question the wisdom of selling lingerie [NSFW] in conjunction with the calendar in the name of "awareness."

What concerns me is the fact that many of the people who have posed for the calendar fit perfectly into the already-existing white, Western hegemonic ideal of female beauty, and are apparently nude in the name of "awareness." It's a move straight from the PETA playbook: using (white) naked female bodies to make consumers ostensibly aware of a cause without examining the larger implications of such a move.

How much "awareness" can one really have if one is too busy focusing on T&A?

For more on the sexification of illness and the related consumerist implications, read Barbara Ehrenreich's amazing piece "Welcome to Cancerland".

14 December, 2008

Quick Hit: Why I Strongly Dislike Jezebel

Because: using feminist rhetoric to slam fashion magazines and then turning right around to slam people whose issues you either cannot or do not wish to offer even a modicum of consideration to does not make you cool, or edgy. It just makes you an asshole. [I am aware that there are tons more examples of epic failure such as the above, but I lack the inner steeliness to go through the entire site right now in order to look for more.]

Judging by the site's popularity, however, I suppose that actively marginalizing and/or endlessly snarking on people who are--GASP!--different from you due to their (dis)abilities, differences of opinion, or perceived lack of what you conceptualize as feminist skills is the new "in" thing. I am all for using humor as a weapon and/or catalyst for change, but not at the very real expense of potential allies.

Yes, I am a total old-school style stick in the mud, and no, I do not intend to change this.

For more, check out this classic Feministing post on two of the Jezebel writers' (televised) drunken antics, and why the site's use of feminist rhetoric is problematic. Also, there's this. Totally awesome on the part of Jezebel and not at all problematic, AMIRITE?

Edited to add two more pieces worth checking out: One from Hoyden About Town, on Jezebel's use and abuse of ableist language (because this use is, of course, not just a one-time thing), and Deus Ex Malcontent's excellent analysis of some of the issues surrounding the Gawker fame juggernaut that spawned Jezebel.

07 December, 2008

oh hay look it'z my illness!


"Do you or someone you know suffer from fibromyalgia? Do you have constant pain and it's affecting your day to day life?"

Yes, and that's what fibro does. The constant pain affects your day-to-day life.

Were the topic "Do you suffer from fibromyalgia, and are you also filled with rage?" I would TOTALLY write in. Instead, they want to push some new treatment or something. Ergh.

So, who wants to inundate the Dr. Phil show with messages demanding that we angry fibromites get some screen time? ;-)

03 December, 2008

Who Needs Love, When There's Body Fascism?

So, Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls has recently gone public with her spat with her record label, Roadrunner Records--the label is refusing to promote the new single from her album (which I've been listening to NONSTOP, by the way) because her belly "looks too big" in the video.

Frankly, I'm not seeing this too-bigness:

Also, in a recent blog post, Amanda recounted a meeting with her A&R guy:

right before the european tour i went to the new york offices of roadrunner to say hi and check in.
my a&r guy (my main contact at the label) sat me down in his office and said he wanted to discuss the “leeds united” video.
he told me that there were certain shots that they wanted to either cut completely or digitally alter to “be more flattering”.

my favorite quote from that meeting:
“i’m a guy, amanda. i understand what people like.”

That last line is, I swear, just about the most unintentionally hilarious thing I've read all week. I like how "guy" stands in for all "people." Not all people are men, but okay, A&R dude. Congrats, you've just proved Laura Mulvey's 1970s-era theory about the male gaze, and it's 2008! Male is NOT the default, nor does it constitute the single set of eyes in the music video/film world or otherwise. How many times must us evil, hairy, angry feminists say it? GODDAMN.

Anyway, I'd meant to write about Amanda's album much, much earlier, as it's been in pretty much constant rotation here at the HamShack, but this whole debacle has given me an inroad. If you are looking for interesting, original music, please check out Ms. Palmer's work--both her solo album and her work with the Dresden Dolls. You can purchase her album here.

14 November, 2008

"Traditional Marriage," My Ass

As many of you probably know, Prop 8 has passed in California--this will amend our state Constitution under the guise of "protecting traditional marriage" to thereby restricting gays and lesbians from marrying.

I have a problem with this. First of all, the "think of the CHILDREN!!11" rhetoric that the Yes on 8 folks brought out during their campaign was not only ill-argued, but idiotic. Honestly, I couldn't give less of a shit about parents who want to "protect" their kids from the supposed onslaught of homosexuals and "gay marriage being taught in schools" (I'm still trying to figure out what that even means). If you want your kid to grow up to be a bigot, that's your deal. I do not have a responsibility to your child or children to uphold the "traditional" nuclear family, or claim that I support it, because I really don't. The thousands of people whose marriage rights y'all have just denied? They don't owe it to you, either.

I do not support the "traditional" family structure (which, I am assuming, equals mom, dad, 2.5 kids, a dog and a white picket fence) because it perpetuates a standard that many of us--of all sexual orientations--cannot or do not wish to live up to. I refuse to bow to a traditional institution (heterosexual marriage) that says, basically, that I should put my limited energies into being a consumer, wife, and mother, just because that is what women are supposed to do. Perhaps this worked in the 1950s, but for the vast majority of people, this system is outdated and rather ridiculous. "Traditional" marriage is so tied to notions of the nuclear family, religion and consumerism that it needs to be deconstructed and re-assembled as something that will work for a wider variety of folks; I think gay marriage is a good start to such deconstruction.

When did marriage start becoming everyone else's business but that of the people who are marrying?

Getting your activism on: There will be protests all around the country for marriage equality TOMORROW, November 15th, 2008. Click here for a massive list of demonstrations, state-by-state.

31 October, 2008


Bad pun nonwithstanding, here is Winston in his costume (photo credit goes to my partner, Liam):

Happy Halloween, everyone!

28 October, 2008

The New York Times is Like That Friend That You Hate

Well, the NYT has, hilariously, done it again with their dismissal of people with fibromyalgia--this time, in a troubling article entitled "Half of All Doctors Routinely Prescribe Placebos".

But when asked how he treated fibromyalgia or other conditions that many doctors suspect are largely psychosomatic, Dr. Schreiber changed his mind. “The problem is that most of those people are very difficult patients, and it’s a whole lot easier to give them something like a big dose of Aleve,” he said. “Is that a placebo treatment? Depending on how you define it, I guess it is.”

Yeah, sorry we're interrupting your golf game with our neediness, Dr. Arrogant. Aleve also happens to contain naproxen, which is commonly used in anti-inflammatory medications used to treat arthritis. The problem is that anti-inflammatory meds do not usually work work on people with fibromyalgia. Not only does Dr. Schreiber apparently need more info on fibromyalgia, but he paints those who have the condition with a very broad stroke. Nice.

Also, if you're just prescribing placebos left and right and don't actually want to help people, why on Earth are you a doctor?

In my un-humble opinion, the Times is a bit like that friend you hang out with, but whom you find as annoying as all get-out. Sure, he's got occasional flashes of insight, but most of the time, you hate hanging out with him because he's either arrogant, dismissive, or totally hammered--and more often, he's all three of these wrapped up into one awful package. But you feel sorry for him. You want him to be a better person, and you suspect that his other friends either encourage his stupidity or don't notice. So you keep hanging out with him, in the hopes that you might have some sort of tiny effect, even though you probably don't.

10 October, 2008

Oh My, I Haven't Updated in Nearly a Month!

Ooops. I'll try not to let that happen again.

I started a cartoon/art blog, in between being insanely busy with school, work, managing the fibro, and other things. The cartoon blog is called Cheese and Dog. I've been sort of lazy with updating it as of late (sound familiar?), but this will change soon.

I am currently watching the documentary Taxi to the Dark Side. It is very good.

24 September, 2008

Stuff I Could Do Without

This is a meme that's been making the rounds lately, and since I just got back from a somewhat relaxing vacation and need to post something, here 'tis.

TEN THINGS THAT ANNAHAM COULD TOTALLY DO WITHOUT (ranked in order from least annoying to most egregious, though there are some near the middle of the list that rankle me equally):

10. Lint and other unsavory things that have somehow made a permanent home on my kitchen's linoleum floor (and won't budge)

09. Winston, ever the scamp dog, crapping in the house for the 3,347th time

08. Mysterious headaches and/or stomachaches

07. Epic, painful-to-witness stupidity from people whom I thought were above all of that (Shakes has a great explanation of such an incident here)

06. Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin

05. John McCain

04. This kind of shit

03. Having that "sinking" feeling and not knowing why

02. Being out of pain meds when I really, really do need them

01. Terrible fibro pain--culminating in an attack where my body feels like it is under a crapton of burning coals--right before school and work start up again!

11 September, 2008

The 9/11 Post

The more I attempt to think about 9/11, the less I am convinced that things "changed forever" on that day for the country.

Certainly, those who lost someone on that day had their lives irrevocably affected, as have those who have lost someone because of the dubious wars that directly resulted from 9/11. I don't dispute that at all. What I do dispute is the assertion that "9/11 changed everything" or "united us all as Americans."

What I have noticed is that the people in power have made changes to things that now piss a lot of people off; those in power have, effectively, missed their chance to make changes in our society that will actually make things better for people. Eradicating sexism, racism, homophobia, poverty, and related evils are just not important; "stronger" security checkpoints at airports and color-coded alert charts (to let us know how freaked out we should be) are more important.

I have seen no such "unity" in America. If you do not support or contribute to the people in power in this country, they do not care about you. One example of this was Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath. Those who have the most power in this country do not care about helping anyone but their own. If you are female, if you are not white, if you are not 100% heterosexual, if your gender identity is outside of the two options prescribed by society, if you are poor, or ill, or disabled, or do not subscribe to the doctrines of uber-fundamentalist Christianity, if you are for reproductive choice, if you are fat, if you are a feminist/womanist, if you do not have health insurance or need health care that is not rudimentary, if you require federal assistance/welfare, if you do not support the theory of intelligent design, if you work for the public school system, if you are an immigrant, if English is not your first language, if you are a war veteran, if you are unemployed, if you are lower or middle-class, if you are an intellectual, if you are a scientist who does not bow to governmental or corporate pressures, if you are a person who is perceived as being "too entitled" or "too angry" for being a non-white/woman/homosexual/disabled/poor person--those in power right now do not have your best interests at heart. American "unity" is, at best, an aspiration; at worst, it is a complete lie. Supporting only the incredibly wealthy and the lucky is not unity: it is treasonous to the true spirit of this country.

The myth that we are a "post-race" or "post-gender" society has also grown since 9/11. The one problem with this myth is that it is simply untrue. Any member of a minority group who has come of age in American society knows this. Unfortunately, the "post" myth is spread far and wide by those in power and those who support them. Take, for example, Sarah Palin. She may be female, but she is not a feminist. She is acceptable as a female candidate for a powerful international position because she does not threaten the status quo: she is pretty, she is intensely right-wing, and she presents herself as "just a hockey mom." She fulfills several stereotypical white female roles: mother, accidental-public-figure-but-not-really and masturbation fodder. She is a shining paragon of unattainable femininity and female power, without any of that messy, entitled feminism stuff. She is radical in the sense that her policies are arch-conservative. She is a lion in a zebra suit.

The same lions in zebra suits are running the country now, and using 9/11 over and over again until we don't dare question that it was a day that "changed everything." Sadly, it feels like very little has changed. We are still as selfish and faux-innocent ("Why do they hate us?") as ever. We can go fight a war based on extremely dubious premises, but we cannot care for our own people in their times of need (see: economic recession, Hurricane Katrina). We can talk out of our asses about human rights in other countries, yet we can still torture people, or detain them, and it's okay because we are America. We can use 9/11 as a political and rhetorical tool, yet accuse our ideological opposites of doing the same crass thing.

Welcome to America: We almost learned a great big lesson, once. Unfortunately, it didn't ever stick.

29 August, 2008

Sarah Palin

I posted this as a comment on a friend's Livejournal, but I am reposting it here because I: a.) need to update; and b.) feel strongly enough about this latest gaffe by McCain to write about it.

I'm betting that all of the Republican dudes are gonna be foaming at the mouth and/or crotch because Palin is not only female and ultra-conservative, but she's good-looking. Because apparently, a woman's first measure of how well she'll do in any field--particularly if it's a field in which she is in the public eye--is whether or not she's fuckable (Palin is a former beauty queen, and some internet d-bag has already provided a VPILF macro. CLASSY!).

The very sexism that doomed Clinton's run from the start (and I'm not a Clinton supporter at all, I'm just one of those humorless feminists, as y'all well know) is probably going to work very much in Palin's favor. That makes me sad, but not at all surprised.

26 August, 2008

The Outraged Commentary Pretty Much Writes Itself

Wow! I didn't think I'd be feeling uber-white shame this week, but PUMA PAC has changed that! Thanks, PUMA PAC!

This is the sort of thing that makes many people of color NOT WANT TO TRUST WHITE FOLKS.

22 August, 2008

I AM Entitled, Actually...

First, a question: Is there something in the air that has brought the concern trollz out in full force lately around the internet, particularly in progressive and/or feminist blogs?

Cara at Feministe did a great job of analyzing this horrific story about a woman with MS who was forced to crawl off of the Delta flight she was on after it landed, due entirely to the incompetence of the airline's employees.

From the second comment, the faux-cern started:

However, you also hear about these things all the time, so can you really blame people for being cold and weary of being “called into action”? And it’s not like all disabled people are saints- I’ve encountered a few that acted like they deserved more entitlements than the rest of the world just because they happen to have a mild defect that puts them in a wheelchair.

Really? I can't remember the last time I heard about something so epically horrendous. Maybe it's because I myself have a disability and have seen (and experienced) the disrespect/hatred that some able-bodied folks level at PWDs. Such treatment happens on a much smaller scale most of the time, and that is why most people don't hear about it.

Truly, this comment sounds like it was written by someone with almost zero experience with disability, chronic and/or dangerous health conditions, or actual people with disabilities--except for, ya know, all of those people this commenter has met who were in wheelchairs and acted so awful and angry and entitled and what have you, all because of their mild defects. They must have a lot of nerve to suggest that they deserve to be treated like normal human beings!

If you are sick of being "called into action," then you have a choice: Stay in your house and avoid human contact altogether. That way, you won't have any of us pesky, entitled disabled people whining for assistance and special treatment!

Here's the thing: I have a disability. I am also human. Like most other disabled folks, I am not a saint. I am certainly not a Super-Crip--I'm not here to make folks like the above commenter feel inspired and/or grateful to be alive and able-bodied. Like other human beings, I experience complicated, occasionally "messy" feelings such as anger. Like most human beings, I also realize that there are times and places for these feelings. However, I am still entitled to my feelings, and I am entitled to being treated like a human being instead of a (sometimes) walking stereotype--whether that stereotype is the Saint Crip, Super Crip or Token Crip.

All of us disabled folks are entitled to human treatment. We are not here for your inspiration. We are not here to make you feel better about yourself, or more superior to others because you can count us as "examples" of human potential. We are not here to make you feel like a hero because you're "just trying to help" by pushing our wheelchair, or recommending some weird-ass treatment for our condition(s) that totally helped your co-worker's brother's girlfriend. You are not superior to us, and we are not superior to you, though you may wish that one or the other could be the case.

We are human, and many of us would like to be treated as such, instead of dismissed as too much of some human quality, or qualities--too angry, too entitled, too un-able.

15 August, 2008

I Am the Worst Blogger Ever

[This has been cross-posted to my Livejournal, and I felt like posting it here.]

There's an interesting post over at Feministe right now about low-wage work, struggling to get by, and related topics. There are some brutally honest (and heartbreaking) responses in the comments.

And then one person, who goes by the handle "Sensible," jumps in with this doozy:

Over the past few years, I’ve made between 18 and 24k and I live well. I live in a high COL area and spend nearly half my net income on rent and must tolerate a roommate. But I have enough left to eat grass-fed steak twice a week and wild-caught fish the rest of the week. Thanks Trader Joe’s! I even manage to save some money each month.

I don’t know why people are whining so much. I don’t want to live this way forever but as a young, healthy person, it’s fine. Living well is all about figuring out what things you value and spending money on them. For everything else, just skip it.

Because I'm an asshat, and because the above made my blood boil, I responded with this:

Maybe they’re “whining” because they are barely managing to survive and yet working their asses off?

Hmmm, so sorry that we’re not all like you due to various factors, Sensible. Not all of us are “healthy” (I include myself in this category, since I have a chronic illness, but am lucky enough to have insurance *and* I’m young–-youth is NOT a guarantor of perfect health!), and not all of us can afford to “figure out what things [we] value.” As many others in this thread have attested, when one lives paycheck-to-paycheck, much of that money is automatically allocated to things like food and rent.

Of course, there is no response yet. "Sensible's" comment really got on my nerves, and even though I posted the above response a few days ago, I am still thinking about that comment. I know my response was more biting than it needed to be, but I'm so sick of people assuming that just because they themselves can live on x, y, or z amount per year and still be thriving/very healthy/able to eat steak, everyone else can (and, it is implied, should aspire to do so) as well.

It feels kind of weird that comments like these really get to me. Is anyone else bugged by comments like "Sensible's," or comments/attitudes like it?

07 August, 2008

Anger as a Constructive Force

I'm sure that many of you have heard variations on the following:

"You're just too angry. Your anger alienates people/potential allies and might make them afraid to associate with you! They won't want to be on your side because of your anger."

This statement, or a variation thereof, is often wielded at feminists, people of color (particularly women of color) radical progressives, non-mainstream members of the LGBTIQA community, disabled and chronically ill folks, atheists, fat acceptance activists, and others in order to get them to capitulate to some weird, unseen social standard that requires that they not offend anyone even as they fight to be heard and taken seriously, as well as for social and political justice.

There is a difference between being angry for its own sake, and turning one's anger into action. For whatever reason, mainstream Western culture has decided that people who have historically been put down, devalued and mistreated by those in the majority should fight for their rights, but they should "be nice" while they do so. The messages that historically devalued groups have to get across, even if said messages are quite radical, should apparently be palatable even to the people who have the most social currency in mainstream society. What's radical about that?

Anger makes people fundamentally uncomfortable, and I think that this discomfort often discourages constructive work. When those who need to express their anger, somehow, are not allowed to do so, the anger can become toxic. Instead of a catalyst for change, it becomes a symptom of a missed opportunity.

My own anger is something that I've just begun to embrace after years of stuffing it down and having it reappear at other times, often to my own detriment. Certainly, I may be too angry. I may indeed alienate people with some of my words. However, do I really want those who cannot "handle" what I have to say as allies, if I have to add, for example, rainbows and unicorns and puppies to my outlook on the world in order to make my outlook more palatable? No.

Anger, if used in a constructive manner, can be a great creative force. Most of the cartoons that I draw and have drawn start or started as brief doodles about things that make me or have made me angry. When I can create something that has been inspired by my own strong feelings, I feel much better and more able to cope with things such as my illness, and the physical pain and fatigue that come with it. When I take the opposite tack--that is, when I hold my anger in and don't do anything with it--I feel worse.

The mislabeling of anger as somehow not constructive or totally alienating to "allies" also reveals quite a bit of misunderstanding of social privilege, but I'll get into that in my next post.

31 July, 2008

Step Aside, Summer Blockbusters!

I know that there must be some deep-seated psychological reason as to why I am so eager to see a fictionalized version of my country's nearly eight-year long nightmare onscreen, but I'll be damned if that's going to stop me from seeing this movie:

Forget Twilight and its surrounding hype, I'll be spending $10 on seeing this film!

Meanwhile, my intense dislike of George W. Bush is nicely balanced by my intense adoration of Patti Smith--and, rather awesomely, there is a film about her that is soon to be released:

[In case the embedded trailer above refuses to work, it is also viewable here.]

25 July, 2008

Mondo Video: Music Videos That I Don't Hate

I have a complicated relationship with music videos. I remember seeing the video for Brandy and Monica's song "The Boy is Mine" when I was 11 years old or so, and thinking, "That's what I have to look forward to as a young woman--being in constant competition with other young women for boyfriends and the like? Ewww."

I saw the video for Garbage's "Push It" soon after, and found that I could relate to that video much more. The song was weird, the woman singing it was both in control and viciously beautiful (on her own terms, too!), and the video was completely bizarre. I found myself wishing that I could inhabit such an odd environment, one that did not seem available to the majority of women in music videos; often, the women in videos were reduced to sex toys for the male performers, or worse, singing almost exclusively about about their sexual capabilities. There were (and still are) obvious exceptions to this, but at that time, sex (or the appearance of it) sold. In many regards, sex still sells. (Try uttering that phrase three times fast.) For a more academic/media studies-esque view on this topic, check out Sut Jhally's excellent Dreamworlds 3: Desire, Sex and Power in Music Video.

If you'll allow me to indulge my nostalgic tendencies for a bit, here is Garbage's "Push It":

From around the same time period (late 1990s), here is Tori Amos's "Talula":

And another Tori video, this time for "Raspberry Swirl." It's sort of like the Garbage video in that it involves a weird alternate universe:

Tom Waits's "God's Away on Business." I might be an atheist, but damn do I love this song and its accompanying video (dig those ostriches!):

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' "Do You Love Me," which does some interesting things with gender (lots of drag queens):

And, to end, Alanis Morissette's latest video ("Underneath"). It is a bit cheesy, but I do like the special effects:

22 July, 2008

Happy Blogiversary...

Winnie and I wish to congratulate my fabulous blog buddies Amandaw and OuyangDan, both of whom are celebrating their blogiversaries this week!

As you can see, Winnie is very happy about the blogiversaries of these two fantastic women:

Congrats to you both on your outstanding blogging, and here's to more of the same!

18 July, 2008

Mondo Video Friday: Lulz Edition

In an effort to get myself to blog more, I'll be blogging every Friday about various video clips from around the internet that I find especially amusing, pertinent or thought-provoking. This week, the theme is "Videos that make me laugh because of their ineptitude." [Pro tip: If you get the lovely "This video is no longer available" error message, try reloading the page, or going straight to YouTube to watch the video. You can always use the back button on your browser to come back here for my acidic commentary.]

First, let's start off with Scarlett Johansson's video for "Falling Down," from her recently released and incredibly ill-advised collection of Tom Waits covers:

OH, SCARJO. She is such a talented actress--why she felt that she needed to get into the music industry is totally beyond me. Assuming that you already have a successful career, actual talent, lovely and youthful good looks, and millions of dollars, here are the ingredients that one needs to make something like ScarJo has done here:

1. Find a chronically underappreciated, unique musical talent who has been in the industry for decades, and claim his or her work as an "inspiration." If this person is famous for their lack of vocal talent, even better!

2. Make an entire album of covers of this person's songs. Be sure to drown all of the great songs that you select with crazy overproduction, as well as your own inability to carry a tune (don't worry too much about the latter; hopefully, with its evil twin, overproduction, no one will notice! Also, don't skimp when it comes to the pretension of the cover art!

3. To make the video, film some random shit, use your song as background music, and add liberal sprinklings of every young, trust fundy art school student film cliche ever, including: Lars von Trier-esque handheld camera work; shots of yourself looking variously pensive, bored, and vaguely anxious; cool-toned lighting; close-up shots of a process that no one finds particularly new or interesting; something to do with automobiles; overused time-lapse photography.

Stir. Serve chilled. Watch the money (or criticism) roll in! If you're lucky, iTunes might even invite you to contribute a live set to their series of "exclusive downloads"!

Next up, we have Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' video for "Stagger Lee," off of one of my desert island discs, Murder Ballads.

NOT SAFE FOR WORK, or for children, due to lots of swearing and just a bit of homoeroticism. It will come as a surprise to no one that I once wrote a term paper for a music class on the song, the video and the homoerotic dynamics of both (as usual, I read waaaaaay too much into both song and video and used Michel Foucault's seminal The History of Sexuality to support my argument). It's pretty clear as to why I chose to write about it:

Love the song, kind of love the video simply because it is so hilariously bad. Let me count the ways: Nick Cave's dancing, his silver pants, and his Take That! shirt; the fact that there are no women in this video, and yet everyone involved seems somewhat oblivious to the homoerotic subtext of both song and video; the video's complete irrelevance to the actual subject of the song.

I was also going to post that damn Katy Perry video that everyone seems to love, because I hate it, but it won't embed! Blast.

10 July, 2008

Just Allergies?

Surely, there must be a better way to explain the allergic reactions that, periodically, send me into anaphylactic shock, along with a bunch of other crap. I experienced a particularly scary one a few nights ago, and had to go to the hospital.

Many people, when they hear the phrase "allergic reaction," automatically think of hay fever or something seasonal, or, at the very least, something very mild that can be magically solved with an antihistamine pill. My allergic reactions--the serious ones--have the potential to (as one ER doctor so bluntly put it to me a few years back) kill me. I have had these reactions off-and-on since the age of 14. They do not happen as frequently anymore, since some of the culprits ended up being certain foods; however, on occasion, these "attacks" still strike without any warning or wrongdoing (wrong-fooding?) on my part. As with many sudden health-related crises, they are terrifying.

Let me put it this way: These things usually start out with little twitches of something (or things) that is (or are) obviously not-quite-right. It may be the itchy feeling on or in my eyeballs, which causes them to feel like a particularly sneaky bug is creeping across the surface of my corneas. It might be--to put it gently--gastrointestinal distress, wherein what feels like a big-ass snake is eating its merry way through your lower intestines (and boy, does that one show up in colorful ways). It may be the firey, nails-on-chalkboard feeling that your lungs start to have; mere minutes later, you might not be able to breathe. All of these things may start within minutes of each other. Next: You cannot breathe. Forcing an antihistamine pill down your swollen gullet becomes akin to forcing a too-big bite of something down your throat; it can be done, but dammit, it takes a hell of a lot of work. The final touch of this "allergic reaction" may manifest in something that my mom, hilariously, calls "Homer Simpson eyes": your eye sockets will swell; they will look like purple and red-toned boils stuck to your face. In other words, you will not look human for a while, and you certainly will not feel human.

Those close to me--my family, my partner, and my close friends--take this matter seriously. They know what the signs are, and they certainly know that if I say that I need to go to the hospital, I mean it. Hospital staff, usually, also take these attacks seriously. I can, fortunately, count on one hand the number of times that I have had to yell (more accurately, wheeze) to an ignoramus desk clerk that this shit will kill me if they don't do something. If I were not white, or if I were poor, or without health insurance, the few times I've had to resort to such a gambit probably would not have worked. It is likely that I would not be typing this.

Some people do not take these reactions, and the resulting medication regimen in the days afterward, seriously. Let's see: There was a former friend of my family who had a "dream" that I was faking these attacks to get parental attention, and then, the next day (as if on cue!) called my mom up and told her this. My mom, to her credit, angrily hung up the phone and refused to speak to this person ever again. (I can't help but wonder what this former friend would think of my fibromyalgia! Ha.) There was the boss I had a few years ago who, after I had an attack at work (which she was not around to witness), accused me of conspiring to close her shop for the day by having an attack (nevermind that I worked full time for her, and had not missed a day of work before then) in order to get her to lose money. She also threatened to withhold payment if her store "lost money" as a result of my taking the day off after going to the ER and being put on a medication regimen that made me a less-than-effective salesperson. Now, this seemed ludicrous to me at the time, and it still does; why would anyone pre-mediate a serious allergic reaction, particularly if it would cause them pain and suffering?

The above examples make me very glad that some people will never have to experience serious health problems; good for them! I am, at present, extremely lucky to have a job where my superiors take the health and well-being of all of their employees seriously. I'm fully aware that I am extremely lucky to be in this sort of situation; many people are not so lucky. I believe that this needs to change.

I'm not entirely sure how to end this--my regimen of steroid pills seems to be kicking in, so I'm going to end this post. In sum: Allergic reactions can be serious business.

24 June, 2008

Another Hiatus From My Hiatus

Hey, the trailer for another film that I sort of worked on is out! Click the "video" box on the IMDB page to see the trailer. You have to sit through an annoying M&Ms ad to see it, but the actual trailer is quite good, as far as trailers go.

Although I'm not sure when the film will actually be released, I'll post about it as soon as I find out.

11 June, 2008


Yes, I do have a guest post up at Shakesville! Thanks for asking!

I've been having kind of a weird couple of days (thanks, bizarre weather!), so it was pretty amazing to read many of the comments and find that people are going through similar situations, or that my post has been at least a bit comforting to people.

31 May, 2008

the enemy within: wiscon, disability, and hatred

here is a hiatus from my hiatus. [this was originally posted on my other blog; i've cleaned it up quite a bit so that there's not as much swearing.]

most of you have probably heard about the wiscon thing. in summary, for those who haven't: female SA forum-er and grad student (question: in what universe is this acceptable behavior for someone in grad school?) goes to wiscon, takes pictures of folks whom she can make fun of due to their perceived flaws--including fatness, disability, and being transgender--and then posts her whole "report" on something awful, complete with thinly disguised photos. people are upset, of course, and, sadly, it has devolved into some going so far as to send death threats to the original poster (which, in my view, is going too far). in case you're still confused, here's a roundup from some of the folks at journalfen. amptoons also has a great summary.

and please, prospective commenters, for your sanity and mine, DO NOT TRY TO TELL ME THAT SHE DIDN'T OR DOESN'T MEAN THIS SHIT, or that it isn't hurtful, or doesn't have concrete effects. it is so, so obvious to me that she meant this:

I remember how much I hate my fellow women, and then I go the whole rest of the year thankful that normal life is never this horrible.

and this:

The worst part for me is keeping silent while they [fat people at wiscon] claim that every doctor who tells you that being morbidly obese isn't fine for your health is being paid off by the pharmaceutical or diet companies.

and, by god, this:

Cynthia (a polyamorous woman in a group marriage with [the fake disease] fibromyalgia)

this was what really got me [awful grammar nonwithstanding!].

this comment just proves that if you don't have a "normal" body in this society, you are hated. it is okay, apparently, for people to mock you if you have a disability, particularly if they can't see it. if they can't see it, IT MUST BE FAKE. YOU ARE MAKING IT UP, so suck it up/take a tylenol/get out of bed/stop whining or otherwise making other people uncomfortable. hate towards non-normative bodies is very common and accepted in our society--and here is proof. additionally, i do not understand how this woman can call herself a feminist and also find it perfectly acceptable to mock other people because of their bodies, or their disability, or their gender identity. that is not feminist. sorry.

memo to op rachel moss: do your research (this should be easy for you, particularly since you're working your way toward a phd). fibro is not a disease. you can't catch it, although it would be kind of ironic if one could catch it, and then you or someone close to you did. then, perhaps you would think twice about talking out of your ass and posting your tripe on the internet. it's not "fake," either.

i hope i meet you one day, rachel moss, so that i can get you to understand that this condition is real, and that it changes peoples' lives. of course, since you make yourself sound like you're obviously in perfect health, you wouldn't know anything about that, would you? maybe since i'm not fat (although, in your view, i might be), you might take what i have to say more seriously than what the fat people who have health problems such as fibromyalgia have said.

one can always hope.

there's more, of course, but i don't quite have the heart to tackle it all right now.

20 May, 2008

a hiatus, of sorts

so here's why i haven't been around for a while: i fell about a week and a half ago (embarrassingly, i tripped over myself while walking from class and made a spectacularly hard landing on the pavement below) and now have to deal with a possible thumb-bone fracture. obviously, it's hard for me to type, but what's worse is that this whole thing has rendered me more disabled than usual.

i'll still be around (hopefully the doctors will figure out whether or not it's actually a hairline fracture soon!), but i probably won't be commenting around the blogosphere as much, or updating here until i make a full recovery from my fall.

until then: i feel honored to have been included in hoyden about town's femmostroppo top 40 for 2007. go read all of the posts included, because they are all fantastic! i know that's what i'll be doing, as reading is one of the things that i am able to do at this point.

04 May, 2008

Portrait of the Artist as a Young 'Mite

By "mite," I mean "fibromite." This is sort of an unusual submission for the 37th Disability Blog Carnival. My thoughts have been scattered this week, as I've been having a moderate-to-massive fibro attack; since I drew this while I was in a ton of pain, it seemed like an appropriate thing to post.

BEHOLD, A SELF-PORTRAITY TYPE CARTOON AND ITS ARTIST! The quality isn't great, but you'll understand the idea (click to embiggen):

DESCRIPTION: Annaham (or half of her face, anyway) with her piece, which depicts a nude, hairy-legged young woman who stands against a white background. The woman has a rather confused look on her face. Needles pierce her body, and one of her wrists is secured in a chain that goes nowhere. Her fist is raised nonetheless. Awkward lumps of flesh form the woman's feet. Her torso is split open, revealing a broken column suspended in black sludge. The woman depicted here is obviously uncomfortable. Medium: Black ballpoint pen on college ruled-paper.

It doesn't have a title. I suppose that the general idea behind this piece is to convey to the viewer what being in near-constant pain is like, at least for me. [See if you can guess who my artistic influences have been and currently are!]

28 April, 2008

feminism: ur doin it wrong

Amanda Marcotte and Seal Press, I'd like to dedicate this faildog (courtesy of http://faildogs.com) to y'all, for this doozy:

Because I, for one, found your apologies deficient. As Liss points out, Seal Press's apology smacks of "OMG TEH WOMEN OF COLOR IN THE BLOGOSPHERE TAKE EVERYTHING SOOOOO SERIOUSLY AND THAT'S WHY WE'RE IN THIS MESS." And do they really think that "diversity training" is going to help matters?

And while I do want to give Amanda some credit for attempting to admit her wrongdoing, her post still strikes me as having a weird tone, especially with this part: I can understand why anyone would choose to boycott a book with these images, and I respect that choice. Hopefully, once they are removed, people will reconsider supporting the book if they like the content. Something tells me that support of Amanda's book is the last thing that many of us may be thinking about, but I digress.

I have a copy of the book, which I purchased a few days before the whole BfP thing happened. It sits on my desk, unread.

It will probably be sitting on my desk for a while.

11 April, 2008


Frank Zappa, in his song "Trouble Every Day," had this to say (in part) regarding race relations:

Hey, you know something, people? I'm not black, but there are a whole lotta times that I wish I could say "I'm not white."

For me, this is one of those times.

Summary: Famous white feminist blogger doesn't give credit where credit is due in a piece on immigration for a major online progressive hub. Less famous woman of color blogger--who has been blogging on the topic for years, and is presumably read by FWFB--shuts down her blog in the face of all of this.

Everybody panics. White privilege in the progressive blogging world continues to be massively overlooked.

I want to give FWFB the benefit of the doubt, as I respect her as a blogger and as a writer. Caveat: As anyone who is familiar with Foucault knows, power works in many different ways. Many "smaller" bloggers don't get exposure due to a number of factors--and race, predictably, is one of these factors. As Holly says in the comments thread (she's also the author of the above post), when you are a progressive, feminist blogger with a big commentariat, you have certain responsibilities, particularly if you have unearned (ie: white) privilege. I agree.

Caveat Two: In the comments of the above linked post (which also has a much better summary than I've given here!), FWFB starts off by denying all of the accusations--instead of facing up to them--and then starts off on an incredible journey of shooting herself in both feet (must be read to be believed), which includes numerous rantings that people are out to get her.

I cannot give FWFB the benefit of the doubt based upon her behavior in the comment section of the above post. Is it so hard for people to own up when they've made a mistake and--*gasp*-- perhaps apologize for making said mistake, and then work on changing the behavior that led to the aforementioned mistake? Apparently so. It is telling that it seems particularly difficult for FWFB, the prominent white feminist blogger, to do so, even as she crusades against injustices of many kinds.

Step up, white feminist blogosphere, and start examining your own privilege. I'm going to start immediately.

ETA: I can't even bring myself to address the Seal Press/Blackamazon thing right now. I am too angry.

06 April, 2008

The NYT Still Kind of Sucks, Actually

Apparently, I am still not missing anything by my lack of New York Times reading. This article pretty much made me want tear my hair out, and then maybe drop dead of a heart attack. Perhaps they would even consider writing an article about me!

In the blogging world that the NYT profiles, female bloggers--much less female tech bloggers--do not exist. Furthermore, blogging is figured in this article as lucrative, high-profile, and a viable job option. (This is not true for most of us.)

What really got me (and sweetmachine was struck by this as well) was the caption, stuck underneath a picture of a fashionably messy-haired young man slouching over a computer:

Matt Buchanan shows blogs may be a young man’s game.

Yup, ONE GUY shows that blogging is a "young man's" world, baby, and there ain't a damn thing that the rest of us can do about it. Older bloggers, people of color who blog, female bloggers, GLBTQ bloggers, non-able-bodied bloggers...hell, anyone who doesn't fit into the all-important category of male, white, able-bodied, straight, not overweight, and conventionally attractive (think about this: would the NYT have chosen an overweight, balding dude for the picture that accompanies the article?) DOES NOT MATTER in this article, and does not exist by virtue of omission.

This is exactly what people in my field of study mean when they talk about "violence by omission," or related terms--basically (and this is way oversimplified, mostly because my hands are starting to hurt**), when a group is omitted from mainstream representation, they, in some bizarre way, cease to exist in the minds of many. This is not to say that all of the targeted consumers of mass media are dupes, but for some, it may be inconceivable that blogs created by people who are not young, white, heterosexual, able-bodied, and attractive actually exist! Wow, what a concept.

So, thanks again, NYT, for continuing to perpetrate textual idiocy upon the nation! At the very least, the NYT has graciously given me something to blog about.

**See why I'm so ticked off about the whole able-bodied thing in particular? Sometimes, my lack of a perfectly healthy body prevents me from blogging. Horrors!

26 March, 2008

If Ryan Phillippe Doesn't Approve, Then Neither Can I.

So, Shakes has started a project called Gayest Looks For Leno, explained here.

Here's my and Winston's "Gayest Look." Possibly not safe for work, due to obscene hand gesture.

In sum: Jay Leno, you are an asshat, and I heartily extend my middle finger to you, due to your continued idiocy. And I thought the muscles in my right middle finger were atrophied from non-use! Luckily for Leno, they work just fine.

You can see more folks contributing their "Gayest Looks" right here.

18 March, 2008

Armchair Psychoanalyst Powers, Activate!

SCENE: Annaham stands at the bus stop at 10:30 AM, wearing a t-shirt, jeans, sneakers and a pair of retro sunglasses. Two nearly indistinguishable, white teenage boys with "stylish" asymmetrical haircuts and braces pull up to the curb in a silver BMW. One of them motions for Annaham to take off her headphones.

TEENAGE DRIVER [TO ANNAHAM]: Excuse me, we just heard on the radio that...escaped slaves from the mental hospital are running around town. And they're, like, killing people with stupid sunglasses!

The BOYS break into a series of high-pitched, irritating giggles that can only be described as Beavis and Butthead-meet-Pikachu. This continues for about a minute.

ANNAHAM is confused, and gives her trademark "you are irritating, stupid children, and you are also full of shit" look.

THE DRIVER of the vehicle gives ANNAHAM the middle finger. THE BOYS speed off, laughing.


This happened to me this morning.

Thanks for the entirely unnecessary middle school flashback, privileged teenage white boys! Did your parents refuse to pay for the repairs on your car after you drunkenly crashed it at the senior prom, and so you feel that you should--nay, must--take your antisocial whims out on complete strangers? Is your arguably newly formed "masculinity" so threatened by a short woman in retro sunglasses that you must make a joke to her about homicide? Tell me, o privileged teenage children, so that I may be better informed about the unfortunate and oh-so-hard lives that you lead. Obviously, you feel so superior to me that you feel entitled to make a joke about my death, even though you do not know me, and I do not know you.

I am playing the world's tiniest violin for you both.

[Sidenote: I'm reading Battle Royale right now, and the idea grows more and more appealing by the day.]

15 March, 2008

At This Time, Only LOLDOGS Are Appropriate

funny dog pictures
image courtesy of IHASAHOTDOG.

The weather where I live is made of fail.

Yes, I'm having a fibro attack; yes, it is right before my school's finals week.


26 February, 2008


Lindsay over at BABble has an interesting thought:

They want us to change our bodies because they think it's easier than changing their minds.

My riff on this was originally posted over at BigFatDelicious, but since I'm exhausted, here are my thoughts:

Basically, I agree totally with what both Lindsay and Mariellen have to say. I’ve noticed that people who are “healthy” (or say that they are) and who tell those of us with health problems that we’d be better if only we did x, y or z seem to have a similar bent to the anti-fat hysterics. I think some of it is definitely (as Mariellen pointed out) an excuse to be “right,” even if they actually aren’t right. I also think some of it, particularly when it comes to people with chronic health problems, or who are fat, is fear-based. The people who think they’re “right” and perfectly “healthy” because they eat right/exercise for four hours a day/bathe in the blood of baby sheep do not want to acknowledge that bad things happen, because they are afraid that if it can happen to other people, it could happen to them.

Unfortunately, for those people who equate “being healthy” with having higher moral ground, the thought that they, too, are susceptible to illness and bad things happening is TERRIFYING. This is such a culturally ingrained mode of thinking that YES, it *is* easier for some to expect us (fat people, chronically ill people, et cetera) to change our bodies. Changing one’s mind about this sort of thing--and the related issues--isn’t exactly encouraged in our culture.

Also, I was planning to write a gigantic post on why I am supportive of the Fat Acceptance and Health at Every Size movements, but I am exhausted. More on that later.

12 February, 2008

The Corporatocracy, They Lied to Me! HOW COULD THEY?!!11

You know, I may feel like an idiot sometimes, but it takes little things to remind me that in the grand scheme of things, I'm not an idiot. Or at least I'm not responsible for horrific t-shirts such as the ones pictured here, or for this misguided, ridiculous ad campaign, which promotes a product that arguably smells like ass. This is not news, however; whenever I see some poor sap buy Axe, I feel a twinge of pity and a whole lotta vehement dislike.

Extra irony for extra lulz: Unilever, the company that owns Axe, is also responsible for the stupidly simplistic "Dove Campaign For Real Beauty" that nearly everyone was slobbering over, rather Pavlovianly, a few months back. It's true. More proof that in a corporatocracy such as ours, companies will resort to such tripe as talking out of both sides of their mouths to make a buck and/or make us believe that we have "free choice," or that supporting their "campaign for real beauty" constitutes some sort of radical act of self-esteem. Again, not really news, but sort of troubling nonetheless.

Oh, and Unilever also makes skin-whitening creams, which is apparently big business in countries like India. GO, UNIVERSAL WORSHIP OF WHITENESS!

Okay, enough commerciopolitical talk. My neck hurts. Off to rest.

07 February, 2008

Why I'm a Feminist, Part 7,568

OMG, JOHN GALLIANO. Way to advocate for that equality between the sexes by having a fashion line inspired by violence against men, instead of the totally old and tired trope of violence against women! It's such a fresh viewpoint, isn't it?

Need I mention the obvious--namely, that TORTURE AND VIOLENCE AREN'T SEXY? But no publicity is bad publicity, I suppose. I don't care if this is some sort of "political commentary," like some have been saying. It is still using violence to sell something (in this case, $100 underpants, $300 t-shirts, or what have you), which is just all kinds of wrong for reasons that I don't have time to get into here. It is still in poor taste, and my guess is that some people won't get what's so very wrong with this sort of display, and just default to something like, "But his clothes are so great."

Stay classy, fashion industry!

01 February, 2008

Quote of the Day

Early-20s male nerd, on cell phone and angrily, loudly yelling: "They shouldn't have used CGI...yeah, for Happily N'Ever After! I'm telling you, it ruined the entire film!"

Overheard by me, at my university, near the student union building.

25 January, 2008

Conservative Gays Say the DARNDEST Things!

Dear Andrew Sullivan,

You may be a queen, but that doesn't make you Queen of the Feminists.

Warmest regards,

EDIT: Dana Goldstein has more.

20 January, 2008

Open Call For Submissions!

Crossposted like hell. Mainly, though, I'm posting it again here for the benefit of those who read my blog, but may not have seen it yet. And if anyone wants to link the blog, please leave a comment either here or at the blog with your blog or site, and I will be sure to link back. Questions? Email me by clicking the "Contact" link at top left, or leave a comment to this post.


The new Faces of Fibro blog has been created, in part, to combat the backlash from recent U.S. print media articles that question the very existence of this condition. I hope to create an archive of the stories, images and experiences of people with fibromyalgia.

Here are some very general submission guidelines:

I want to hear about your experiences with this illness, in 500-900 words. Here are some sample topics to get you thinking (and writing):

--How/when were you first diagnosed?
--What has been the biggest challenge so far in dealing with your condition?
--What have your experiences with telling other people that you have this condition been like?
--Do you believe that there is a stereotype of people with chronic health conditions? If so, how do you personally fit or not fit this stereotype?

These are just sample topics. You can write about any aspect of fibro and your experiences with it, really.

Please email your submissions to faces.of.fibro AT gmail dot com. You may submit under a pseudonym, but use an actual name, please. Pending approval, I will have your submissions up on the blog in as timely a manner as possible. If you want to include a picture of yourself, it is welcome and encouraged. (Max of 350 X 500 pixels, please.) If you have a website or blog that you would like to be linked after your piece, or biographical details that you would like to include at the bottom of your piece, please send either of those with your submission as well.

I look forward to reading your responses!

16 January, 2008

HAY GUYZ, Guess What's Back en vogue?

Being an asshole for the express purpose of getting more hits on your blog! YES!

Memo to people who think they know everything: YOU. DO. NOT. I don't have Restless Leg Syndrome, but do I say that it's not a "real" illness? No. Because people's experiences--bodily and otherwise--are different. Just because you've been blessed with perfect health, or that the maladies that you've experienced aren't met with outright mockery, quit-whining-and-pull yourself-up-by-your bootstraps-rhetoric, or disbelief doesn't mean that all of us have been so lucky.

I didn't think I'd be using the "dumbass" tag quite so much, but there it is.

People With Fibromyalgia: I Need Your Input!

Since the does-fibro-exist-or-not debate seems to be back en vogue, I'm thinking of starting a blog or website with the images and stories of people with this condition, just to show the world that we're not all middle-aged white women, as the recent NYT article seemed to imply. Also, I've heard from several people that the (fairly) new Lyrica ad is a tad troubling, as it portrays people with fibro as "victims." Y/N?

I could use your thoughts/input/suggestions. Also, if any of you bloggers with fibro want to help me run this thing, that would be awesome.

EDIT: I did it anyway. Submissions are needed! :D

14 January, 2008

I Don't Need Another Reason to Dislike the New York Times, But Here's One More!

Dear Mainstream Media,

When you care to shine your lovely spotlight on chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia, please employ journalistic discretion in order to make sure you're not doing it wrong, unlike the New York Times.

Let's go through this article line-by-blame-y-line!

But other doctors — including the one who wrote the 1990 paper that defined fibromyalgia but who has since changed his mind — say that the disease does not exist and that Lyrica and the other drugs will be taken by millions of people who do not need them.

OH MY GOD, EVERYBODY PANIC. Certainly, diseases can be misdiagnosed. Does this mean that everyone who's been diagnosed with fibromyalgia has been misdiagnosed? No.

As diagnosed, fibromyalgia primarily affects middle-aged women and is characterized by chronic, widespread pain of unknown origin.

Damn those uppity women and their bitching! Hey, NYT, you forgot to mention fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain, difficulty sleeping...et cetera. You've got to be able to do better than this horseshit that you call "reporting." Oh, you can't? :(

Those figures are sharply disputed by those doctors who do not consider fibromyalgia a medically recognizable illness and who say that diagnosing the condition actually worsens suffering by causing patients to obsess over aches that other people simply tolerate.

HAY GUYS WE'RE SUCH REBELS IN TEH MEDICAL COMMUNITY CUZ WE SAY FIBRO DUZN'T XIST. UR PAIN IS NOT REAL SO QUIT UR BITCHING, K THX. Also, take note of the special, piping-hot side of crispy "othering" present in this excerpt! Mmmmm-mmm, good!

And drug companies are aggressively pursuing fibromyalgia treatments, seeing the potential for a major new market.

Not this "all drug companies are EVIL!!!11" stuff again. Also, just because they're marketing to me doesn't mean I'm automatically going to switch to their new meds immediately and without planning or consideration. As GOB Bluth might say, "Come ON."

Ms. Matallana said she had suffered from fibromyalgia since 1993. At one point, the pain kept her bedridden for two years, she said.

I like how they only interview one person with the condition, and one doctor who "believes" that it exists. Also, note the "she said." Not "she experienced pain," but "she said."

But doctors who are skeptical of fibromyalgia say vague complaints of chronic pain do not add up to a disease.

Yes, because the described experiences of thousands of people with this condition are all "vague." These "debunkers" need to get a copy of Elaine Scarry's The Body in Pain and read it, stat.

The diagnosis of fibromyalgia itself worsens the condition by encouraging people to think of themselves as sick and catalog their pain, said Dr. Nortin Hadler, a rheumatologist and professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina who has written extensively about fibromyalgia.

Oh, really? I actually felt quite a bit *better* when I got a diagnosis after almost a year of not knowing what the hell was the matter with me, and going to doctor after doctor--none of whom could figure it out. For those of you who have never experienced serious pain, "cataloging" it can help people deal with and manage it. This is not the same thing as your life revolving around your pain.


“These people live under a cloud,” he [Dr. Hadler] said. “And the more they seem to be around the medical establishment, the sicker they get.”

No, this doesn't sound like the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as "yuppie flu" debunkers AT ALL. And Dr. Hadler, I suggest YOU try living with an illness that makes you feel like you're either being crushed by a giant hand or too tired to stand. Take your pick.

Most people “manage to get through life with some vicissitudes, but we adapt,” said Dr. George Ehrlich, a rheumatologist and an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania. “People with fibromyalgia do not adapt.”

Awesome! I was wondering when our old friend, "If You Do Not Live JUST LIKE ME, There is Something Wrong With You" bias was going to show up! People who say this sort of thing never seem to take into account that different people adapt in different ways, OMG. And hey, Dr. Erlich? I have fibromyalgia, and I think I have managed to "adapt" to things just fine. Let me give you a few examples from my own life: I go to school full-time, have a job as a writing tutor, am on the Dean's List [at a school that has made the U.S. News & World Report list of top public universities in the U.S., no less], am currently working on an honors thesis which examines, among other things, media "othering" and bias, AND I HAVE FIBROMYALGIA. HOLY SHIT! I'M, LIKE, A STATISTICAL IMPROBABILITY! TEE HEE!

There's another page to the article, but it mostly covers the theme of "DRUG COMPANIES ARE TRYING TO PREY ON PEOPLE WHO THINK THEY HAVE THIS ILLNESS THAT ACTUALLY MIGHT NOT EXIST."

This article stands as incredible proof of the sometimes "hidden" bias of the supposed bastions of our democracy, the mainstream press. Yes, I know this makes me sound like some sort of tinfoil-outfitted conspiracy nut, but if you just take the time to look, I'm pretty sure this sort of biased language pops up in all kinds of articles about various health conditions--including other invisible illnesses, and everyone's favorite scapegoat, the obesity "crisis."

So, MSM, please take this as a cautionary warning. The NYT, in this article, went about portraying fibromyalgia as the distinct medical domain of whiners, potentially drugged-out misdiagnosees, and uppitee wimmins. For your sanity, and the sanity of those who are affected by invisible chronic conditions, please approach this topic with some degree of sensitivity and neutrality.


EDITRON 5000! Lindsay has more.