Femme FATale


fail: jerry lewis.
February 8, 2009, 11:37 pm
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jack assi’ve been writing a post for the past 3 days, on and off, trying to articulate what i’m feeling these days about the overall reception/treatment of femmes in some parts of the queer community and trussing it to some experiences of my own lately that have left me feeling pretty raw and dissatisfied. i’m hoping to finish it up tomorrow and to hear back a bit from my extended femme family and allies about our experiences.

in the meantime, though, my very dear, very brilliant friend emily and i wanted to help get the word out on legendary problematic comedian jerry lewis and the petition that is circulating to protest the anticipation of his receiving a humanitarian award at the oscars on feb. 22nd. lewis is well-known for his telethons for kids with muscular distrophy, which are really, truly eye-raising (in bad, bad ways). here’s more on that from emily:

Jerry Lewis has long been protested by disability activists for his infamous telethons for “Jerry’s kids,” children with muscular dystrophy. Though Jerry Lewis may have good intentions, his telethons are deeply problematic, as they encourage pity for people with disabilities and paternalistic charity. Many in the disability rights movement have come together to protest the telethons, but Lewis refuses to listen to those he supposedly seeks to help, and Lewis once responded to a protest, “You have to remember they’re sitting in chairs I bought them…. These 19 people don’t want me to [raise money]. They want me to stop now? Fuck them. . . Do it in caps, FUCK THEM.” Yet, he will be honored this year at the Oscars and receive a humanitarian award. Check out http://thetroublewithjerry.net/ to sign a petition and find info about how to protest the event. Pity is not progress. It is especially relevant that people support this protest in the name of Harriett McBryde Johnson, a disability activist and writer as well as one of Jerry Lewis’s earliest and loudest protesters, who passed away this year. Here’s one more offensive Lewis quote to leave you with: he said that a disabled individual is “half a person,” and snapped, “[If] you don’t want to be pitied because you’re a cripple in a wheelchair, stay in your house!”

clearly, jerry lewis is the last person who should be receiving a humanitarian award. we’ll connect the dots some more by noting that as if his pity partying of disabled folks isn’t problematic enough (and oh, is it ever!), lewis is vehemently homophobic, having used the word “fag” derogatorily and repeatedly in on-screen appearances in the past few years. need even more? he’s also an old misogynist to boot, quoted as having once said: “women should be having babies or naked, oiling themselves up at home. they should be waiting with bated breath for their man, the rightful heir to the throne and ruler of all mankind. only a strong man in a bear-skin bathing suit back from a long night at the clubs can rescue the weak, docile, female of the species.” barf. go sign that petition, no?



the moratorium is over.
December 9, 2008, 11:48 pm
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the title of this post should say it all. the moratorium on blogging and other fun and enjoyable things is officially over! monday night, i took my oral preliminary exam and passed! i am now an official ph.d. candidate and considered “all but dissertation” (ABD)! resuming normal life starts now!

blogging is not the only thing that has been put on the backburner in the last few months because of these horrific exams. socializing, laundry, moving generally beyond the 625 sq. ft. of my apartment (or library), are all other examples. seriously, i leave to see my family and friends back east in a week and my apartment has never been messier. life has been on hold far too long because of these things.

i miss being physically around my friends here in minneapolis. i’ve seen folks here and there and i’ve been to others’ houses for dinners and movies and thanksgiving, but no one’s been in my apartment since october. i realize that sounds pathetic, but when things got intense with writing my papers, my whole way of keeping up my apartment just took a nose-dive. i think it’s because it’s the one thing i *can* allow to slip, so it does. alas, i’m preparing to teach my last class of the semester tomorrow and then, for days on end, i will be armed with laundry detergent and pine sol in order to get this place livable again.

in the midst of all this stress and letting my apartment go to hell, i’ve never been closer connected to friends and family. there are folks out there in this world who, no matter what time of day and no matter with what frequency, high or low, allowed me to call them excited and hyper after too much coffee or crying and sniffling over what i assumed would be my academic decline. i owe so many thank you’s to the folks who got me through. allow me a few shout-outs, no?

my post-exam acceptance speech: (ahem!)

* to my parents, who don’t read this, but who i absolutely must acknowledge. i think we’re closer than we’ve been in a while because i called you nearly every day for weeks just to hear the encouragement and support in your voices even when we were talking about banal things like christmas, living wills, and the downstair bathroom renovation. mom, i’m sorry i bugged you so incessantly, but you make me feel better when no one else in the world can. knowing i make you proud is what’s most worth it. dad, i know you’ll never understand that what i’m writing is a dissertation and that it’s a lot different than my undergraduate “thesis,” which is how you repeatedly refer to it. still, the best part of passing monday night was calling you right after, when you were working on the trucking dock, and you yelled and cheered so loud that all the other guys on the platform knew i passed and they beeped the horns of their 18-wheelers and forklifts in congratulations. i will never forget the pride in your voice.

* to kelley, i’m finally getting around to giving you the address to this blog and with perfect timing. now i can say ‘thank you’ without breaking down into tears on the phone. i’ve never doubted the power of our friendship almost 10(!!!) years old now, but you reminded me why you will forever be so important to me. thank you for letting me sing entire songs to you that night i was losing my mind. thank you for telling me silly stories and rehashing all four years of college in order to take my mind off of the present. thank you for nearly getting into a throwdown with your boss monday night when you squealed with delight over my exams during the office holiday dinner party at a fancy pants restaurant. you’re the best surrogate sister a girl could have. family indeed, genius OF MY LIFE. xo.

* to emily, for being supportive and loving two time zones away. thanks for allowing me the occasional freak out phone call, my bombarding questions over gchat, and for not allowing me to wallow or be as self-deprecating as i probably would have liked to have been at times. you’ve always taken such good care of me – from first year to now – and you somehow still manage to do that even all the way over there in san francisco. i miss you way more than i can ever say. thanks for my surprise celebratory dinner. nothing says “you passed!” like pizza luce. you’re truly the best.

* to e, i’ve said it once and i’ll say it again, for all of our drama, you still know me more than most and know how to comfort me truly as a result. thanks for the much needed distraction of your neverending shoe dilemma, the oh-so-helpful and last minute study session over this past weekend and the reassuring phone call right before i went in. you are the only person i texted when i was waiting for the verdict to hear if i passed. that must mean something, no? xoxo.

* to all the other folks, some who read this and some who don’t, but who nonetheless i’m so grateful for: grandma, katie b., jasmine, porter, becky, uncle david & john, ricky, kandace, diane, bevin, and victoria (who sent me the most amazing femme-inspired care package ever!). special thanks also to leo, freedomgirl, kyle, sublime femme, and others for keeping me in your thoughts and leaving comments/sending emails of support and encouragement. love, love, love to all of you.

i worked harder than i’ve ever worked before these last few months and for all the effort i passed an academic milestone and simultaneously was reminded of the epic amounts of love and support i have in family, friends, and community. i am so thankful for all of you.

i’m sure that to some this whole post is going to seem dramatic and maybe it kind of is, but i’m too elated to really care right now. i’m happy and excited and *relaxed* for the first time in weeks. i’m savoring all of this and making it last as long as i can.

…in fact, until further notice, you can all refer to me as ph.d.-elect, hussy red!

xoxo.