Tag Archives: Donald Trump

Ten Days In

30 Jan

It’s a difficult time to be hopeful, isn’t it?

It really doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or Democrat, if you’re American or not (yes, Americans, other countries have people, too!). If you’re a human, this is a tough time. You don’t have to be a frequent tinfoil hat wearer to see conspiracies and have doomsday worries.

Because this is kind of how the end of the world’s likely to start.

In the simplest terms, a powerful nation has elected a man who knows fuck-all and for whom power is nothing but wank fuel [insert small hands joke here].

His global abortion gag rule will affect women all over the world, but he doesn’t care. I mean, literally, he doesn’t care about abortion; this isn’t a moral issue for him. A White House leak claims his words on the topic were: “It doesn’t effect me, so why should I care if it exists?” (I’m going on the assumption that even when Trump speaks he misspells words.) He pushed forward on the DAPL, despite Native Americans’ and environmentalists’ objections. The following day 138,600 gallons of diesel fuel spilled from a pipeline in Iowa. Of course, Trump doesn’t live in Iowa, so why should he care, right? Some of his cabinet picks, though, do care about the pipeline’s success. Coincidence? He put gag orders on government agencies, telling them not to speak to the press. He began plans for the Wall. And he initiated the Muslim ban Muslims-from-countries-that-do-not-benefit-Trump’-companies ban. He did this on Holocaust Memorial Day, when he also released a statement that did not mention Jews. I’m sure this has nothing to do with Steve Bannon, whose power in the White House continues to grow.

Basically, in his first week, Trump has illustrated that

  • American ideals mean literally nothing to him
  • many Americans themselves mean literally nothing to him
  • issues that affect the stability of the entire world mean literally nothing to him.

It is tempting to lash out at the people who voted for Trump, even the ‘good’ ones who didn’t agree with his horrible actions and words before the election but focused on potential economic benefits. It’s tempting to remind them of all the times they said wait and see or just give the guy a chance.

It’s also tempting to get sucked into every ‘alternative fact‘: the size of his inauguration crowd or his obsession with voter fraud. It’s tempting to retweet and post evidence that proves the President of the United States is a delusional liar.

It’s also tempting to put on a foil cap, curl up in a corner of a cellar, and pray you’ve stockpiled enough food and water to make it to the other side.

All these things are enticing, and I wouldn’t judge anyone who gives in. However, there are other things we can do.

Thousands of people are taking action around the world. Some US government agencies have set up ‘alt’ social media accounts. A few politicians are stepping up — lawyers and protesters showed up at airports, and shortly thereafter, a federal judge issued a stay against Trump’s ban. Millions of people are marching and making donations.

This is good. This is all good.

But it’s also all tiring, and we can’t pretend it’s not. We have to take care of ourselves as we do our best to take care of the world. We don’t know for sure what will or will not work. If at the moment all you can do is sign a petition, that’s all right. If you can’t afford to offer financial support, that’s okay. If you need to take a break from 695b5edf289e965571216ccf3acd3361social media, do it.

But promise yourself that you’ll do everything you can to stop Donald Trump. Because in high school history class, you probably wondered what you’d have done during the early days of Hitler’s reign.

Now is the chance to find out.

 

 

 

What Matters

7 Nov

Words matter.

Actions matter.

Voting matters.

bystanders

 

We Have Returned

14 Aug

vintage_bunker_photoChristopher and I have been underground for the last few weeks, testing our bunker. Given the events of 2016 thus far, we decided it’d be wise to check things out in case we need to go down permanently.

I spent most of yesterday skimming the news and can see that our choice was a wise one. God damn, son, things are bleak. It’s hard to imagine a future that doesn’t involve everyone hating everyone all the time and eventually being murdered or a murderer. Yeah, I know the Olympics are going on as well, but I’m afraid they just don’t do much for me. I mean I’ve not got anything against them, but as far as I can tell, their primary benefit is that they occasionally move Donald Trump a little lower down the front page.

The fresh air feels good at least.

If you too are considering leaving the above ground nightmare, we’ve learned a lot and are happy to share some of our mistakes and victories. The main thing is to plan ahead: we had been assuming we’d make our final move on the 9th of November, but I’m worried now that doomsday might come early, so get started sooner rather than later.

THINGS TO PACK:

  • The keys to the bunker door
    We’d actually planned to just stay overnight on the first of July, but someone — I’m not mentioning names, but it was Christopher — did not realise the keys had fallen into the grass until a few moments after we’d shut the door. A paperclip will eventually do the trick, but it takes much, much longer than expected.
  • A heat source
  • An icebox
  • A water purifier
  • Thirty gallons of water (per person, per week)
  • Teabags
    Don’t forget to tell your milkman to push the bottles through the cat flap in your bunker door.
  • Food
  • A bucket and toilet roll
  • Reading material
  • Masturbatory aids
    Take your usual, of course, but consider things you’ve sneered at in the past because Christopher reports that the Heat‘s Circle of Shame quickly lost its appeal and he found himself relying on the water purifier’s instruction sheet instead.
  • About 100 more cigarettes than you expect to smoke
    You will smoke them. Trust me. It’s fucking boring down there.
  • Lemons
    I won’t tell you why, but they come in incredibly handy.

THINGS NOT TO BOTHER WITH:

  • Your phone
    One of the main reasons for going underground is to avoid the news, so bringing in your phone puts your sanity at risk. Be aware that there are no Pokémon monsters in underground bunkers. If you are worried about missing out on updates from family and friends, don’t be — they will likely soon forget you exist until you reappear on the first of each month to empty your toilet bucket.
  • Tins of beans
  • Silverware
  • Your bra

Now obviously, I hope that the world can manage to get its shit together soon and no one needs to give up on humanity and try to restart their lives elsewhere. As we continue our preparations, we’ll be trying to maybe do some good and make some changes. Maybe you could do this as well. Maybe if we all did, things could get better. Maybe.

I say let’s give it a try. Because Donald Trump isn’t a joke. And neither are the people who support him who will still be around regardless of November’s result.

There Will Be Blood

9 Aug

There’s an old cowboy song called “Red River Valley” that includes these lines:

For a long time, my darling, I’ve waited
For the sweet words you never would say
Now at last all my fond hopes have vanished
For they say that you’re going away

Y47AjNow history tells us the title probably refers to the Red River in Manitoba, but as someone who almost completed a minor in Feminist Literary Criticism, I can tell that this is a lyrical explanation of the mood changes that can be caused by menstruation.

Menstruation. It’s a word we don’t say very much in polite society. Is it because of that weird u that doesn’t really get pronounced even though it seems like it should? Is that why we rarely say it despite close to two billion people on earth spend two months a year doing it?

Of course, that’s not the reason. It’s more likely because it has to do with downstairs lady parts and even though there’s about three and a half billion of us walking around with said parts in our pants, they don’t come up too frequently in conversations, until a scared man gets called one or a strong man feels like pounding one.

Isn’t that lovely?

Anyway, I am going to talk about menstruation for a moment. It’s relatively simple: the uterus has a lining where an egg, if fertilised, hangs out to get nutrients and whatnot. Now uteri like to keep a tidy shop so if there’s no blastocyst in need, it cleans house, abandoning that lining and getting to work on a nicer one with a little more kerb appeal for the next month’s possible buyer. (Please note: this is a metaphor. Do not consider burning candles or baking bread in your uterus to increase the chances of a fertilised egg moving in.)

That’s all menstruation is, the shedding of the uterine lining. Nothing magical or mystical or mysterious about it. Just like we shed thousands of dead skins cells each day, women’s bodies are just eliminating something that is no longer needed.

Except it’s not quite as simple as that, is it? No.

Firstly, because it’s gross. Let’s be fair, it is. The endometrium is a mucous membrane, and when the word mucous makes an appearance, it’s never pleasant. What’s expelled each month is basically blood and tissue, which is, for most people, kind of disgusting. And painful too. Unlike with a nose, a good blow won’t clear this passage. It often takes uterine contractions, and those can hurt.

So what comes out and the process of getting it out aren’t the nicest. Plus the place out of which it comes is generally a private, members-only club, so could that be why people (and when I say people I mean men) struggle to talk about it? No, because those things could describe urine and excrement as well, and god knows, men love talking toilet business.

What makes menstruation different is because men know hormones are involved. Some men get confused by the concept of hormones. They think there are two hormones and each functions only as an excuse: the male hormone makes them think about sex at inappropriate times and the female hormone makes women bitchy once a month (or when moderating presidential candidate debates).

Some men think this because they are idiots.

The human body is pretty fucking complicated. With the greatest respect for and the least amount of interest in the complexity of science, let’s just boil it down to this: the human body is full of chemicals that move around our bloodstream telling different parts to do this or not do that. Essentially, they regulate us — all our systems, our sleep, our growth, our metabolism, our behaviour, and our moods. There’s a whole mess of them in there, and they control a lot.

So yes, sometimes oestrogen can affect a woman’s mood. It’s true; sometimes you’re just going to have to keep waiting for those sweet words I’m not going to say. But guess what, men? You’ve got oestrogen in your body as well. So there. And that testosterone you’re so proud of? It does more than just explain your boner, you know. Just to pick one example purely at random, some studies have shown a connection between testosterone and risky financial decisions. And women have testosterone in them as well, which may explain why I gave Christopher twenty pounds for his taxi ride home even though there’s a chance I’ll never see the change from that. Perhaps it was testosterone what made me do it.

Except probably not. Because even though our hormones do affect the way we act and feel, there are some things that we can control. For example, in stressful situations, our autonomic nervous systems use hormones to prepare a fight-or-flight response, but most of us don’t punch the television or run out of the room and hide just because the news upsets us. We don’t always eat when we’re hungry or leave the Sunday sermon early just because we’ve had a rush of sexual arousal (except that one time, but he was flying back to Uruguay that afternoon so time was of the essence). Even if my oestogen levels are playing havoc with my mood or I’ve got blood coming out of my wherever, I’m still a professional at work, and I will keep signing books until that queue is gone or I’ve at least earned enough to cover the costs of this new dress.

As you all know, I’m no scientist and the few I’ve slept with didn’t do a lot of talking while we were together, so I know my explanation does not reflect the full intricacies of the human body, its processes and their effects. However, I’m hoping I’ve at least made you realise that menstruation, while not the loveliest part of a woman’s experience, is natural and nothing to be afraid of.

Unless you’re a misogynist billionaire racist. But if you are, I imagine you’ve got quite a few items on your list of things to be worried about, like maybe why do I continue to embarrass myself and other Americans on an international stage or if it’s really true that the taller the tower, the smaller the penis. How about you get those other issues sorted before you start sharing your views on menstruation, yeah?