erin judge writes this

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I'm Erin Judge. I'm a comedian and a writer. I live in Los Angeles. Let's hug.

November 10, 2008

Some Reasons to Support Gay Marriage

I'm writing this in response to the exciting conversation over at Jack and Jill Politics about gay marriage. Several people in the comments section of the original post have mentioned that the pro-gay marriage movement is elitist and ignores the concerns of minority voters. I don't have a ton of time for this, so please excuse my obnoxious PowerPoint style here:

A few of the material benefits:

* Full marriage equality is especially important for working-class and poor gays and lesbians because it grants them necessary spousal benefits, from health insurance to social security (once DoMA is gone).

* Immigrant and foreign citizen gays and lesbians cannot be sponsored for a green card by their American partners. This disproportionately effects poor and working-class gay people who cannot afford to immigrate on student visas or spend years in this country without working.

* State and federal tax breaks afforded to married couples would help working-class gays and lesbians.

Psychological and social benefits:

* One reason that gay people are concentrated in certain areas (New York, San Francisco) is because of homophobia in people's communities of origin. For many gays and lesbians, the difficult choice is to leave their communities to live openly or stay close to home and remain closeted. The legitimacy and dignity of full marriage equality brings us closer to a time when various communities accept sexuality diversity and gays and lesbians can live openly in their communities of origin.

* The children of gays, as I mention in my previous post, are not a hypothetical but an existing group of people. When these partnerships are not granted the same rights and dignity as straight partnerships because of homophobia, this has a negative effect on the self-esteem on the thousands of children of gay families.

* According to Dr. King, unjust laws are those that take the rights away from a certain group that are afforded to another group. An unjust law "gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority." Because heterosexual adults are allowed to enter into civil contracts called marriages, the California Supreme Court decided that it is only fair to allow any two adults to enter into a civil contract called a marriage. The active retraction of that right by California voters represents a step back towards separate and unequal.

A couple of additional comments:

* Many people believe that the pro-gay marriage movement's use of the term "civil rights" is meant to evoke the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. While I agree that the term is evocative of the brilliant struggles of that time period, it's also the correct term for the rights granted to individuals in our society for the nonpolitical conduct of their lives. Marriage rights, adoption rights, and property ownership rights are all examples of civil rights.

* The will of the electorate is not always used to decide issues of expanded civil rights, and with good reason. In cases where a majority seems intent to strip the rights of a minority, it is the responsibility of the courts to decide if laws that exclude the minority group are constitutional or not.

* In the case of California, the "No on 8" (pro-gay marriage) people were on the defensive. It is simply a different psychological position when you're trying to ask voters to grant rights than when you have some rights that voters are being given the opportunity to take away from you. It was not a passive or status-quo-maintaining choice to outlaw gay marriage. It was an active choice to remove rights, and I think that a "Why did you do that?" response is to be expected.

* Hopefully, after this tragic defeat of equality, the pro-gay marriage movement will adopt a positive, awareness-raising stance rather than one of scapegoating of various groups and lashing out. Gay voters were big Obama supporters, and he mentioned the contributions of gay Americans to his campaign within the first moments of his victory speech. That bodes well. We can reconcile our differences, but only if we continue to talk to each other respectfully. Scapegoating is wrong and unproductive. However, if a group of people (in this case, African-American voters) has taken a pretty strong stance against the rights of another group of people (gays who seek marriage equality), we have to be able to have dialogue. African-American voters effected the outcome of this proposition, and so what that means to me is that it's time for some serious outreach to the African-American voters and communities in this country. As long as the conversations are respectful, I see no reason why non-Black gays and lesbians cannot engage in them. It's unfair to Black gays and lesbians to ask them to launch and execute a behind-closed-doors PR campaign for Black voters all on their own; that simply does not make sense. We're all Americans, and we can all talk to each other.

November 5, 2008

Prop 8 Bigots: The Worst Americans

Dear friends,

I would like to name some names. From the caption of this photograph in the LA Times, "Bob Knoke, of Mission Viejo, Amanda Stanfield, of Monrovia, Jim Domen, of Yorba Linda, and J.D. Gaddis, of Yorba Linda, celebrate returns for Proposition 8 at an Irvine hotel."

Dear Bob, Amanda, Jim, and J.D.,

How sad it is that you have marred this beautiful, historic election with your unbridled elation at the triumph of bigotry and hate (by however miniscule a margin). Like videos of smug, self-satisfied racists chanting "2-4-6-8, we don't want to integrate," this image of the four of you celebrating the stripping of rights from a minority group will be viewed by the eyes of history with disgust and shame.

All day, we have been hearing incredible stories of the children and grandchildren of former slaves voting for a black man, of people who attended segregated schools and marched with Dr. King seeing a day they never thought would come in their lifetimes, of the kinds of bitter and casual racism in people's day-to-day lives that was soundly rejected by millions of people across this nation yesterday. Well, now I'm going to tell you my story.

I remember sitting in my 11th grade Advanced Placement American History class at Plano East Senior High School in Texas. My teacher (let's call her "Mrs. B") was asked about some of her political beliefs. She wouldn't talk about abortion or the death penalty, saying they were too volatile and that her opinions might upset people in the class. Then, "Ah!" she said, remembering a belief that she was sure would be uncontroversial. "I don't think gay people should be allowed to have children."

I sat there turning red. Only one close friend of mine in the class knew that I lived with my mother and her female partner, who raised me together for most of my childhood. As Mrs. B elaborated on the dysfunction that she surmised would befall the poor children of gays, I shuddered at the idea of being discovered. I desperately wanted to defend my own existence as a successful young person with the very background she was maligning, but I could only do so at my social peril. Despite the fact that most of my friends suspected the truth about my family, I was too afraid to reveal it. The climate was too charged with hatred and fear. I felt so frustrated and ashamed at myself for not being brave enough to tell my teacher the truth. I felt so afraid of the harsh judgment of those around me, especially religious Christians. I felt degraded and dismissed, and I sat there with no recourse, a 16-year-old gnashing her teeth with fear and shame, frustration and self-loathing.

With Prop 8, there has been much talk of "the children." These children are always hypothetical. Well, we're not. We're real, and we exist, and we are AWESOME. We're successful and balanced and productive members of society. And we will raise our children alongside yours, teaching them to be proud of their diverse backgrounds. We will do this so that no child will have to feel humiliated, marginalized, invisible, as I did in my 11th grade history class that day.

The only problem the children of gay people have is bigots like you.

So, back to your legacy, Bob Knoke and Amanda Stanfield and Jim Domen and J.D. Gaddis. On a day when America broke through some of its most painful discriminatory legacies, you stood for bigotry. On a day when the nation defied the expectations of the world, you became justice's worst nightmare. On a day when thousands of children might have been elevated to dignity with the validation of their family bonds, you reduced those children to second-class citizens. While we stood up to believe "Yes we can," you blocked the door to equality and viciously replied, "Actually, no you can't, you gays." (Perhaps you used stronger words than "gays.") But that is no matter. We have heard it all, and we have survived.

My people -- gay people, the families of gay people -- will not be defeated. We will continue to live our lives, build our families, contribute to our society, and live with dignity. You may never be convinced of our equality, but your children or your children's children will be. I hope for the day when you see the error of your ways, but I also know that if that day does not ever come, your ideologies will nonetheless be defeated. I believe that unjust laws must be destroyed, and if you don't, I suggest you read what I read every single January:
Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Erin Judge

September 26, 2008

Catholic League, say what?

"Witchcraft is a sad reality in many parts of Africa, resulting in scores of deaths in Kenya over the past two decades. Bishop Muthee's blessing, then, was simply a reflection of his cultural understanding of evil."

That logical doozy is excerpted from a statement from Bill Donohue, the President of the Catholic League.

Let's unpack that one, shall we?

The phrase "witchcraft is a sad reality" is, um, fascinating. What, exactly, is he saying is really real, is really happening? Does witchcraft or the attempted practice thereof cause humans to murder other humans? Or do certain witchy Kenyans actually conjure evil magic from Satan or something in order to kill people?

Bill, my friend, I believe you to be deliberately obfuscating here. And that purposeful vagueness is just another pirouette in the careful ballet that global Catholicism must try to dance.

I once saw a movie based on a Gabriel García Márquez story that I've never read. In it, a Latin American man must exhume his deceased young daughter's body because the above-ground cemetery where she rests is being knocked over to build a Coca-Cola-bottling-slash-banana-exporting-slash-right-wing-guerilla-training facility or something. So anyways, dude dives into his daughter's little alabaster drawer and discovers that her body has not decayed at all. Post-mortem corporeal preservation is, in Catholicism, an indicator of sainthood. So, after struggling with the Church bureaucracy in his homeland and getting nowhere, dear devoted dad does what any of us would do: he shoves his darling daughter's perfect corpse into a guitar case and heads for the Vatican.

Once there, a whole bunch of stuff happens involving an opera singer and a very macabre merry-go-round ride, but mostly this guy is cooling his heels and getting the run-around from the Church. Ultimately, while waiting around a Church office once again, our dude overhears some conversation about how they should really declare this chick a saint, since, you know, those countries, the wacky poor ones, with the regular-ass non-elite people, they NEED stuff like this. It'd be good P.R. for the Church to throw another saint their way, right?

Disgusted and insulted, our hero picks up his progeny-laden guitar case and storms out, and soon after he realizes he can do stuff telepathically and that in actuality he is the one imbued with miracle-working powers, not his daughter, so he just brings her back to life, and they cavort happily and have a much less macabre merry-go-round experience.

But the condescending message of the Church, with its high-level personnel base in secularizing, theology-heavy Europe and (mostly-)rational America, is what has always stuck with me about that movie. Church leaders are always trying to stay a teensy bit consistent with cosmopolitan thought evolution in the West (like newfangled science, even heliocentrism!) while still shoring up their power base in the developing world, where the interference of spirits and demons is sometimes seen as a very normal part of everyday life.

Bill Donahue's statement above neither confirms nor denies that witches cast spells that contain black magic that make people die. He just says that "witchcraft" is "a sad reality" which ultimately results in deaths. Everybody wins! Except the victims of witches, of course.

Fortunately, Sarah Palin will not be another witchcraft statistic, for she has protection. The only thing she's still vulnerable to is her own remarkable ignorance and utter lack of qualifications.

September 24, 2008

forging ahead to right right now

I'm in the middle of my least-responsibility-laden time of life since childhood. So far, it's an extraordinary and challenging experience. I'm all over the place when it comes to handling myself at a time like this. Some days I bustle from dawn until late into the night, writing and working out and cleaning and cooking and meditating and shopping and paying bills and making social calls and telling jokes and lining up gigs and updating my website and buzz buzz buzz. Other days I sit on the couch like an oversized piece of lint and read shitty blogs I do not care about and watch episodes of "Sex and the City" I've already seen eighty trillion times.

During my two years of IB hell in high school or my four years of too many extracurricular activities in college or my six years of day job plus comedy comedy comedy plus dating plus learning how to be a freaking grown-up, all I wanted was some time to relax and find balance. Some TIME OFF. I craved it, I dreamed about it, I hatched a crazy plan and toiled for years until I made it happen. Finally. A break.

A break is a funny thing. It turns out, none of our habits or impulses necessarily change, even when our day-to-day circumstances shift radically. Balance is not innate, and I lack experience with it, in my own life or in the examples of the people around me.

I'm trying. That's all I know. I'm trying to take really good care of myself, to devote myself to my favorite pursuits, to work diligently and intelligently, to say stuff, to challenge comfortable and harmful habits of body and mind. I've discovered -- or perhaps at last simply processed the immensity of -- a great open-ended longing inside of me. Achievement, success, personal discipline, material possessions -- none of these things take the edge off for more than a couple of days. The aching longing is for something else, and it's finally clear to me that it's satisfaction with what I have and who I am. Right now. Every molecule and atom that constitutes my being at this very moment, even as I deposit pieces of myself into the air and onto my keyboard. I long for me to be okay with me.

And that acceptance is on its way. Or at least the elements seem to be gathering....

September 23, 2008

guest blogger

Today's blog is guest-written by the part of me that is filled with self-doubt and self-criticism.

Hang on, what's up? Oh, you're thinking about getting back into writing? Well, that's hilarious on account of how much you suck at it. You have no mind for prose, and you have nothing interesting to say anyway. What tales do you have to tell? Anything about your own life just sounds needy and bitter, and anything you make up sounds pathetically contrived. Your attempts to write fiction are too chatty and your attempts to write non-fiction are too intellectually irresponsible. You're boring. You're self-indulgent and self-obsessed. You're not funny or witty, you're just neurotic and circular. You're like the QUEEN of telling rather than showing. If you did write some piece of fiction, the world would just regard it as vapid chick-lit and smart people you respect would look down on you. You need to at least take some kind of class on stringing together a narrative or writing a decent description, and even then you would just see how everybody else had a lot more talent than you and hopefully finally give it up. Anything that you come up with and put out there will probably set back the causes of women and all of humanity by a couple of decades. Come on, do you really want everybody you know to read some piece of shit thing you write, and then have to have awkward conversations about it at reunions and holiday parties? You're not an artist. You're just a narcissist. Get over yourself and grow up. Or don't grow up! Fine! How about just kill yourself instead?! Awesome, now you're a blog cliche. Congratulations. Now I'm embarrassed for both of us.

Whew! Thanks, guest blogger! That was quite a mouthful! Now, please excuse me; I've got some writing to do.

September 15, 2008

thoughts on pain

"[I]n the day to day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes can have a life or death importance..." -david foster wallace

"Slogans saved my life. All of them — the dumb ones, the imperatives, the shameless, witless ones." - david carr

My first reaction to David Foster Wallace's death was one of shock, followed by immediate recognition and easy explanation, then anger at myself for making assumptions about him. His work is a world of pain, varieties of which he taxonomized and translated. His voice was soft and his speaking pace was measured, and he seemed thoughtful. He certainly thought. He may have thought himself to death.

Certain deaths are tragic and not at all surprising, which, in the case of a young person, always amplifies the tragedy. Kurt Cobain. Anna Nicole Smith. People can die from private pain worn on their celebrity sleeves, and the microscope of every type of celebrity can reinforce the horrible belief that a person's own pain is inescapable. You've won awards for your explanations of pain. Everybody's watching your pain and reporting on it and consuming it on their train commutes. So it must be, like, bigger-than-big pain, just like it feels. If everybody is looking, it must be a spectacle, right? Tautologically? It must be objectively Big Pain.

According to the New York Times, David Foster Wallace has suffered with depression for 20 years. Since he was 26. I doubt that. It seems to me that he's been treated for depression for 20 years. He published his first novel when he was 24. He was already a working artist by 26. Do you know how hard it is to disentangle your pain and your art, especially when that art has already born success? I do, and I don't; mostly I can only imagine. People would rather destroy their own personal lives, destroy their own minds and bodies, than get better when they fear that their work hinges on their problems.

Of course, that's just stupid, right? David Foster Wallace knew that was stupid and narcissistic, to believe one's pain is tied to one's work, to believe that one's success hinges on misery. He knew enough to see that. He knew enough to see the opposite. He had enough power and empathy to see every side, to see every reality, to berate and mock his own beliefs and those of others. He was at sea in a storm of seeing.

The quotes at the beginning of this post by Wallace and David Carr show a humble kind of lucidity, or perhaps a lucid kind of humility: self-defined intellectual men with great, macho successes under their belts bowing humbly at the Power of Positive Thinking (TM). We humans, for whatever reasons, have evolved with a startlingly consistent need for a Higher Power, and for a Truth that we can cling to like a MobileMart sign in a hurricane. (I swear to those of you who haven't read it that O magazine should just be re-titled "How To Believe In Something When You Don't Really Necessarily Believe In Anything But You Know That People Who Believe In Something Are Happier And More Successful But You Often Find Yourself Too Cynical And Reality-Based To Delude Yourself" magazine.) For all of us godless (and pantheist and monotheist and seeing-all-sides-ist) folks, and for those of us who worship diction and feel truth when synaptic manifestations can be formed into correct-seeming strings of characters and words, platitudes and banal slogans can be a starting point (or at least a convincing, if embarrassing, stand-in) for belief.

You can think your way out of everything, except the problem of thinking too much. Sure, you can use your mind to free yourself from your mind, but that's different from thinking. You do other things. You distract. With purpose, you meditate. You liberate yourself from thoughts, and you do so in terror if your livelihood and bridge to humanity and very SELF feel dependent on your constant curious thinking and churning little brain. You've pitied the deluded forever. Pitied, and envied, but not really, but yes entirely envied. It's hard. It's a great big mindfuck is what it is.

David Foster Wallace tried. And for that, I love him. From the New York Times:

[David Foster Wallace's father] James Wallace said that last year his son had begun suffering side effects from the drugs and, at a doctor’s suggestion, had gone off the medication in June 2007. The depression returned, however, and no other treatment was successful. The elder Wallaces had seen their son in August, he said.

“He was being very heavily medicated,” he said. “He’d been in the hospital a couple of times over the summer and had undergone electro-convulsive therapy. Everything had been tried, and he just couldn’t stand it anymore."


Well fuck. Fucking fucking fuck shit fuck. He tried.

Those of us who have survived something like suicidal depression have a unique variety of survivor guilt. Because our minds can still see every way, we know it could be us in the casket with an extra thought or one less notion here or there. Timing, people, circumstance are all so crucially important to our survival. Every suicide is an accidental death.

And nobody will ever write like him again.

August 19, 2008

becoming a bicon

Here's an interesting factaroony: My "Dumb and Crazy" video on comedycentral.com, which is about my zany bisexual antics, has over 37,000 views!! When you compare that to the other videos, which have around five or six thousand hits apiece, it stands to reason that the bisexuality video is posted someplace bisexual for bisexuals to view bisexually.

P.S. Bisexual.

P.P.S. Hi Grandma!

I can't figure out where the thing is posted, though. I googled "bisexual comedian," and it returned plenty of pages about the not-so-much-zany-as-tragic antics of one Andy Dick. If anybody wants to send me the link to the message board or online community or RSS-feed-bisexual-brew-ha-ha where this video is posted, I would appreciate it.

Anyhoo, this got me thinking: Since I'm done being the Worst BRIDE Ever, I think it's probably the perfect opportunity to declare myself the Worst Bisexual Ever. Seriously, folks! For one thing, I'm MARRIED, to a DUDE. For another thing, I don't even know where to go on the tubes to find the bisexual webring that's making my video so famous. How pathetic is that?!

The good news is, married or not (and hopefully not not), I'm still as bi as they come. And I don't think I've embarrassed my family enough on the internet this year, so rebranding my blog to be about the sluttiest sexual orientation possible seems like a prudent decision at this time.

Graphic design updates should be any second now....

July 30, 2008

That's MRS. Worst Bride Ever to You...

It is done.

Oh what, you want proof?!?!?!?



And it was the best day of my life.

Some highlights:

* Me sprinting down the aisle. (Okay, you think you won't, but it's a natural response!)

* The husband's notes for his vows. ("Wuv, make me happy, no greater foundation, will keep wuvving")

* Some wonderful toasts, and me catching the best man's Simpsons reference before anyone else. ("Is everybody.........good?")

* Three words: Like. A. Prayer.

Also in a completely unrelated note Wellesley girls are all unreal sexy geniuses okay that is all.

* Team Decor tarted up the tent, and then Team De-Decor (much the same personnel) ripped it all down right at the end. Fabulously.

* Our perfectly-executed first dance. Worthy of SYTYCD yo. I'm talkin' Hot Tamale Train bitches.

* My 2-year-old nephew trying to steal me away from my husband on the dance floor. (As my nephew was leaving, I said goodnight to him, and he said "I'M A GREAT DANCER!" I guess he was told that. A lot.)

* Me Crankin' that Soulja Boy with two of my favorite cousins.

* One of the caterers telling us it was the best wedding she'd ever seen. I mean, people can say that shit, but the caterer? She's seen a couple weddings yo.

* The Way You Move coincidentally being the last dance of the night. I dragged my husband onto the dance floor to that song so many times when we were first dating that it kinda became our song. Dirrrrrty South!

Yeah. Perfect. And now, I'm somebody's wife! Isn't that SPECIAL?! And WHOLESOME?!?!

Awwwwwwwwwwww, little Erin's finally settled down into wholesomeness. I guess we can all stop worrying or being interested or paying attention.

Ahem.

So if you're still under the misimpression that I'm wholesome, check me out on Comedy Central this Friday (August 1st) at 10pm.

More details are here.

Hooray for nightclub entertainment!!!

May 13, 2008

FUN!

You: So how's the wedding planning going?

Me: [beginning a panic attack] Oh, it's fine!

You: Yeah? So do you have a whole plan for everything?

Me: [dying inside] Mostly!

You: So you've got a ceremony written? Vows? Dress fittings? Music selections? Programs? Hair stuff? Transportation? A timeline? A license? An officiant?

Me: [actually rending my garments] OH GOD! I HAVE NONE OF THAT! AHHH!! AHHHHH!!
[Exits, pursued by the specter of impending nuptials]

March 12, 2008

Whither Spitzer? What of Silda?

Once, just once, I want a politician's wife to stand right next to him during his "whoops I did sex with something" speech and give an impromptu oration of her own...

Excuse me, pardon me, press corps? Yes, now, I understand that the juicy part of this conference that you came to cover is over, but would any of you perhaps be at all interested in what I have to say, which nobody has written for me and neither my soon-to-be-ex husband nor any of his political consultants or staffers has seen or could ever even have imagined in their wildest nightmares? You WOULD? Oh, alright then...move over, dear, there's a lady stepping to the podium.

Well, let me start off by saying, if I'd known I could've been charging him a thousand bucks an hour all this time, I would've cashed in and left after second year law! Ha ha, just a little "my husband banged a psychotically expensive hooker" joke there. Anyhoo, while I was standing over there, pale and steadfast-seeming in my resolve, I couldn't help but think, you know, gee, I'm actually a bit annoyed here. Yes, it's true; honestly, I am P.O.'ed. I am T'd off. Oh hell, I'm just plain mad. Not only did I have to shove myself into control-top pantyhose and prance out here in front of all of you, but after this, I have to go home and explain to an eight-year-old child what a prostitution ring is. While my husband drinks single-malt scotch and stares out steamy office windows contemplating his fate and folly, I have to field calls from his entire extended family who all ask how HE'S doing, how HE'S handling it. Well, who cares about him?! He made his bed, and unfortunately being his wife I too am expected to lie in it. Well, bump dat. I'm out, yo. And I'm taking the laptop, because I'm going to write a very detailed chronicle of all of his sexual...eccentricities. Like how he likes to snort lines of Junior's crushed Ritalin off my stomach. And that's only the beginning.

Well, thanks for listening. TTYL, Sweetie. Good luck facing the wolves!


[Exit stage center.]

Ah, how delicious it would be! Instead, we could very well have a man-stand-by-er as our first female president. Whatever the relevance to her candidacy, Hillary's ways during the Lewinsky days are what some people love her for and what a whole bunch of others really hate her for. What's clear to me is that Hillary listened to the consultants and followed the scripts...so we continue to wait for the wife who refuses to play along when her arrogant, self-sabotaging, power-hungry husband "betrays the public" when in actuality she is the one betrayed, far more than anyone else.

March 5, 2008

Barack Fever and Hillary Chills

Now, I like Barack Obama as much as the next guy, but I have to say, after reading the polemical freak-outs that my peers have been posting on Facebook after Hillary's victories last night, perhaps it's time to calm the hell down. Barack Obama is a POLITICIAN. People are flipping their shit on Hillary right now, lashing out like she's their mom and they just received an unfair grounding. Look, I don't love her politics, but I'm surprised people can feel so 100% aligned with Obama that they act so shocked and defensive when Hillary puts up a fight. I hear a lot of, "She'll do anything to win." I don't think that's true; I think she WANTS to win, but that's the whole point. I hear a lot of complaints about her Iraq war vote. In fact, I'm not voting for her because of her Iraq war vote, but then, I voted for Nader in 2004 (and I'll probably do it again because fighting the two-party system is more important to me than any candidate's rhetoric). My point is, Hillary is the Senator from New York. The JUNIOR Senator. She's the New York City brand Senator. Everybody in my family is from New York City, and back in 2003, every one of them was like, "Yup let's go to war!" Granted, none of my recent-college-grad friends living in Manhattan felt that way; they weren't fooled by the deliberate obfuscations of the Bush/Cheney/Rove war machine. But please remember, we were living in a PTSD propaganda state, and I honestly think Clinton voted the way she heard from her constituents that they wanted her to vote. It's a tough choice, and she did the wrong thing, but she didn't start the Iraq war. Bush did.

So as I made clear above, I'm not a Democrat; I'm a lefty, and I'm usually pretty alienated by the mainstream Democrats. What I don't understand is why so many of my highly, highly educated Facebook-posting peers feel such a genuine sureness about Barack Obama and such patent hostility towards Hillary Clinton. I work at comedy clubs every night, and cheap shots at Hillary (about her frumpiness or her nut-cracking or her thick ankles -- in fact many of these jokes are about her appearance) are an instant easy laugh, especially in ultra-liberal Cambridge, MA, where I work the most. People have very little sympathy for Hillary Clinton, and people my age seem suspicious of her motives ("She wants to be President at every cost!") while simultaneously believing all the hype about Barack Obama and his "we"-will-win-the-nomination-type rhetoric. In my mind, they're both politicians. They both have strong points and weaknesses. Barack Obama would be better for the world image of this nation, better for American democracy (having the same 2 families in the White House since 1989 or even 1981 if you count the Bush Vice-Presidency is kind of freaking spooky), and better for consensus-building. But if rank-and-file party members in Texas and Ohio and elsewhere hand Hillary the nomination, what are Barack fans going to do, vote for McCain? The Straight Talk Express doesn't seem like it would be very good at international diplomacy or consensus building or leadership or, well, anything, except being a dude instead of a Mom.

This election has definitely brought to the surface my feminist social observations more than once (Oprah's whiney lady impression, anyone?). One positive such moment was when I realized that, wow, a mother could be the President. Not just a woman, but a mother. There's something moving about that. And it's wonderful that either of the Democratic candidates getting the nomination will make history. Now it's just a question to see if the kids in the Obama camp can even give a shit about Hillary's positive points after all of this. If not, and if she gets the nomination, then the Dems will probably lose.

March 3, 2008

marrying things

If I weren't marrying my perfect fiance, here are some other things I would probably marry instead:

* Gina's Mocha Explosion

* this dress

* mac & cheese & broccoli

* my Fluevogs

* Slings & Arrows

* Heather Havrilesky's column

* pinot noir

* the laughter of strangers

January 14, 2008

Stop Moralizing and Start Moral Acting!

I finally got a chance to read Steven Pinker's NY Times Magazine piece entitled The Moral Instinct, and it's really fascinating. Pinker suggests that a universal moral code is built into the (properly functioning) human brain, and he compares it to Chomsky's beloved universal grammar. I found the article very informative in terms of the science, and I especially enjoyed Pinker's sensible arguments about the practical implications of some of the research.

You see, as it turns out, applying our moral code to certain situations can actually stand in the way of our ability to make rational decisions. Pinker states:


The moral sense, we are learning, is as vulnerable to illusions as the other senses. It is apt to confuse morality per se with purity, status and conformity. It tends to reframe practical problems as moral crusades and thus see their solution in punitive aggression.

He gives the example of global climate change, for which much of the response thus far has amounted to moralizing certain vehicular choices over others (Hummers = evil?) when the types of sense-of-righteousness-inducing changes most green-goers are implementing actually don't make much of a difference:


Though voluntary conservation may be one wedge in an effective carbon-reduction pie, the other wedges will have to be morally boring, like a carbon tax and new energy technologies, or even taboo, like nuclear power and deliberate manipulation of the ocean and atmosphere. Our habit of moralizing problems, merging them with intuitions of purity and contamination, and resting content when we feel the right feelings, can get in the way of doing the right thing.

I couldn't agree more. We have got to stop moralizing social problems and instead start focusing on the best ways to solve them. So, I am changing the mission of this blog. That's right; instead of bitching about bridehood, I'm going on a practical crusade to HALT THE DEADLY SCOURGE OF TROLLEYS!!!



Who among us has not heard tell the tragic tale of a poor bystander compelled to switch the path of a trolley away from five innocent people but only slightly less tragically TOWARDS a basket full of adorable puppies? And what of the puppies?? Rather than wringing our collective hands about what we "should" or "shouldn't" "morally" "do" in such a "situation," I suggest we get off our asses and stop leaving bushels of puppies on our nation's trolley tracks. Seriously, is that really the best place for your puppies, dude? I mean, it should at least be a ticketable offense. Am I right people?

My campaign to stop moralizing about trolleys and start raising trolley safety awareness begins NOW. In addition to imposing fines for trolley-related puppy abandonment, I also suggest we as a society become much more diligent about signage. For example (and I'm just throwing this out there):



See, bilingual! De nada, nuestros vecinos del sur. I believe that, with the help of this blog and the power of all of you to GET OUTRAGED(!!!), we can reduce trolley injuries to American humans and adorable pets from 1 in 3,000,000 to 1 in 10,000,000* at least by the time Greenland finally melts.

Who's with me?!?! Yeah!! We can make a DIFFERENCE, my people!! GOD, I feel so....MORALLY AWESOME!!!


*statistics not real

January 2, 2008

New Year New Bride!

I'm getting married this year.

Ha ha! Yay! Woooooo!!!

Sigh.

sigh.

uhnnnnnnnhhhhhh.

uhhhfluhbuuuzzzzzbzzzzzzbzzzzzbzzzzzzbzzzzzsssszzz.........

.....fzzzbmp. plupppplupp. fuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.....shhhhhh......

snahdt.

Okey dokey. So I guess I'm not 100% prepped and ready. I mean, I'm ready for open bar and big fun and the stupid giant white dress. All set in fact. And I'm ready to be Mrs. Erin Judge. I really am. And I'm ready to marry my man, insofar as marrying means living together and sharing finances and making decisions mutual, because you see it is century number twenty-one and well we do that shit already.

But I have to ORGANIZE SHIT in order to get married. You have to like book shit and invite people and write shit down and it's COMPLICATED.

Sigh again.

I think I'll go take a nap.