In which I provide examples

I had the distinct displeasure of encountering this ignorant piece of pigshit earlier today:

If you find naming five women you admire a “challenge,” you need to not only have the fucking sense to not say that on the internet where God and fuckin’ everybody can see it, you need to re-evaluate literally every single aspect of your life, because, and I cannot emphasize this enough, you done fucked up. You done fucked up and you are fucked up, and fuck you double for putting this ignant shit where I’m gonna find it during a week where I’ve got enough bullshit weighing me down already without your dumb ass.

You can’t come up with five women you admire? Here, motherfucker, have a list of a hundred women I admire, drawn almost entirely from living women (a few forced their way onto the list anyway; you’ll know them when you see them) and exclusively from women you should have heard of. It took me maybe fifteen minutes. If I included people I know who aren’t famous, I could easily fucking double this. If I took a few hours to do it and think about it carefully rather than creating it quickly, I could triple it.

Stupid fucking bastard. I hate men.

One hundred women I, Luther M. Siler, personally admire, sorted by first name. If you don’t know who they are, look them the fuck up.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Alfre Woodard
Alicia Keys
Alyssa Milano
Amanda Marcotte
Angela Bassett
Angela Davis
Anita Sarkeesian
April Daniels
Aretha Franklin
Ava DuVernay
Ayanna Pressley
bell hooks
Betty White
Beyoncé
Bonnie Raitt
Bree Newsome
Brooke Bolander
Cardi B
Carrie Fisher
Charlize Theron
Cherie Priest
Chloë Grace Moretz
Chrissy Teigen
Christa McAuliffe
Cicely Tyson
Claudette Colvin
Claudia Gray
Daisy Ridley
Danai Gurira
Elena Kagan
Elizabeth Warren
Emma Gonzalez
Emma Watson
Erykah Badu
Eve Ewing
G. Willow Wilson
Gail Simone
Hannah Gadsby
Hillary Clinton
Ijeoma Oluo
Ilhan Omar
Imani Gandy
J. K. Rowling
Janeane Garofalo
Janelle Monáe
Janis Joplin
Jodie Foster
Joy Reid
Judi Dench
Kamala Harris
Kameron Hurley
Kate McKinnon
Kathy Bates
Katie Bouman
Kelly Sue DeConnick
Kyrsten Sinema
Lauryn Hill
Laverne Cox
Leslie Jones
Linda Tirado
Lupita Nyong’o
Macy Gray
Mae Jemison
Maisie Williams
Malala Yousafzai
Maxine Waters
Mazie Hirono
Michelle Obama
Millie Bobby Brown
Ming-Na Wen
Missy Elliott
Mother Jones
N.K. Jemisin
Nancy Pelosi
Nnedi Okorafor
Noelle Stevenson
Oprah Winfrey
Patricia Okoumou
Queen Latifah
Rachel Caine
Rachel Maddow
Rashida Tlaib
Rivers Solomon
Ruth Bader Ginsberg
Sally Ride
Sandra Cisneros
Sandra Day O’Connor
Serena Williams
Sigourney Weaver
Sonia Sotomayor
Stevie Nicks
Tammy Duckworth
Tatiana Maslany
Toni Morrison
Uma Thurman
Uzoamaka Aduba
Viola Davis
Wanda Sykes
Zoe Saldana

On Al Franken

Al_Franken,_official_portrait,_114th_CongressI’m not at work today– I woke up with my head swimming like crazy, a condition that, seven hours later, hasn’t really gotten any better– and I probably ought to be doing something, anything other than sitting in front of a screen.  But seeing as how things like walking around or moving in general aren’t exactly easy at the moment (the decision to call in was made moments after realizing I needed to sit down for my morning piss, and then needing to take a second to not pass out after I did) I’ll just write a shorter version of the post I had in my head anyway because staring off into space until bedtime doesn’t sound super exciting.

So, yeah: screw Al Franken.

I really could make that the entire post, and be done with it, honestly.  There’s been a lot of yammering in Democratic circles over the last couple of weeks– I am paying no attention to what the other side thinks, because fuck them– about whether Franken resigning after multiple credible accusations of sexual harassment, at least some of which Franken admitted to, was going to be a Good Thing for the party or not.  Franken, if nothing else, is at least a reliable vote in the Senate for Our Stuff, and has managed for the most part to buck the trend of former-entertainers-turned-politicians being useless buffoons.  I myself tossed the idea of him running for President around a couple of times,  an idea that I’ve mostly shot down because I’m really dead tired of voting for white men for President and don’t want to do it anymore.

And I dunno.  Maybe I’d feel different– I suspect not, but maybe– if Franken was from a state that didn’t have a Democratic Governor, and maybe I’d feel different if the current lead candidate to replace him wasn’t a woman.  But the idea of keeping a predator in the Senate because he’s currently useful to us is not a look I’m especially happy with.  Oh, you don’t like the word “predator”?  Too fucking bad.  Dude shoulda kept his goddamn hands to himself.  It is actually not hard to not grope people.  In fact, not groping people is easier than groping people!  There’s less to do!

“But the Republicans aren’t about to ask the shitgibbon to resign!  And they’re voting for a pedophile for the Senate right now!”

So?  Fuck them.  They’re assholes, every last one of them, and I don’t want to be like them.  I want every single one of these sex-assaulting shits removed from whatever public role they hold, and I want each and every single fucking one of them replaced in whatever positions they held by women.  And honestly, I’ve seen a few prominent feminists on Twitter posit that they aren’t especially chafed by the idea that a few genuinely innocent men might get caught up in this, and I’m starting to come around to their side of things.  Blow the whole shit up and start over.  I don’t care if Franken gets tossed to the wayside in the process.  Motherfucker shoulda kept his hands to hisgoddamnself.  He didn’t.  Bye, Felicia.

And now my head’s swimming again, so I’m going to go back to lying around and not doing anything.  If anybody else gets busted for sex assault while I’m gone, assume I want them done and dusted and don’t bother telling me about it, OK?  Cool.

A simple request

Could every man who is about to be driven from his job because of his history as a rapist and/or sexual harasser– and you fuckers know who you are— just do us all a favor and resign from your jobs and disappear off of the face of the earth now, without further ado and/or drama?  You fuckers are over, and the world’s about to be better for it.  Go join the fucking dinosaurs in the tar pits.

Thanks.

#metoo and me

So a friend of mine, a friend who will likely see this, so it’s not as if it’s behind her back, posted this on Facebook the other day.  Forgive all the blurriness:

allofus

And here’s the thing: yeah.  It does.  It makes me uncomfortable.  The notion– a notion I believe without the remotest qualification, by the way– that literally every woman I know has experienced sexual harassment makes me profoundly uncomfortable.  Hell, uncomfortable’s not even the word, although it’s part of it.  There’s a fair degree of fucking rage in there too, for example.

And no, I didn’t “like” the post.  In fact if I have hit Like (I don’t use any of the other options, ever; don’t ask me why) on any posts associated with the #metoo hashtag, I don’t remember doing it– and I’m pretty certain there aren’t any.

I hit Like on her post and then deleted it.  Wrote a comment, and then deleted that too, and then spent the next couple of days fighting off this post.  The reason I haven’t interacted with any of these posts online isn’t because of some feeling of discomfort or shame, is the thing.  I haven’t because none of this is about me, and I feel like it’s pointless at best and empty virtue-signaling at worst for me to interact with a thing that isn’t supposed to be about me in specific or men in general.

So, yeah.  All of them.  #allofthem, if you prefer.


I’ve spent the last few days– longer than that, really, but it’s come to a head in the last few days– thinking a lot about my own actions as a cishet guy throughout my life.  And in a lot of ways I’ve been resisting the temptation to paint myself as one of the good guys.  I’ve never raped anyone, obviously.  (Is it obvious?  Probably flattering myself.)

But there was that one time, with that one woman, where she indicated her lack of consent to a certain action at the literal last possible moment, and it’s haunted me ever since.  When I say last possible moment, I’m not exaggerating, not by a millisecond or a fraction of an inch.  I didn’t go any further– of course I didn’t– but my first immediate visceral reaction was wait what the fuck are you kidding and I don’t know how much of that reaction got through to her.

I’ve never catcalled anyone, not once.  Never hassled a woman in a bar, never got angry with anyone because they wouldn’t give me a phone number or something like that.

(I have what I’m pretty sure is a funny story about accidentally approaching the wrong woman in a bar who I thought was one of my friends; maybe I’ll tell it sometime.  It’s not for this post.)

But I had years– years— where I bought into the idea of the friendzone, and where the idea of just telling a woman that I was interested in her and thought we should go out/make out/fuck each other senseless was pure anathema.  No, she (whichever she was at the time) was gonna figure it out sooner or later and fall into my arms.  I was a Nice Guy.  Sooner or later she’ll figure out that all the guys she dates are assholes and I’m right here, all not being an asshole and shit.

I can think of some moments, some interactions that make me cringe right now, honestly.  I’m pretty sure there were times when I was being creepy as fuck and didn’t even realize it.  There are others where I know I was being creepy as fuck and I regret the hell out of them.  Some of them probably involved the woman who originally triggered this post, honestly; we have a bit of history together, not all of which I’m proud of.

(True fact: the first time I kissed the woman who eventually married me, we were sitting at a table in a diner and I literally said “Let’s go make out in the parking lot,” and it worked.  Sooner or later I broke past the idea that doing nothing would get me somewhere.  That said, if that line doesn’t work?  Possible eew.)

I remember one time in high school when a bunch of us– too many to fit in the car– were all going somewhere, and one of the girls decided she was going to sit in my lap.  I put both my hands in my lap, palms-up.  She shrugged and did it anyway, probably knowing that having both hands on her ass would make me twice as uncomfortable as it was making her and that it wouldn’t last more than a moment, which it didn’t.

I still remember that.  I wonder if she does.

(I was gonna say “I’ve never groped anyone who didn’t want me to,” which is what reminded me of that story.)

I remember a week– one very, very weird week in middle school– where for some reason everyone, boys and girls, were all going around trying to yank each others’ shorts off.  By the end of the week everyone had their belts on so tight or their pants laced so tight that I suspect some of us were cutting off our circulation.  I was on both sides of that little game.  But I can’t say I’ve never tried to take anyone’s clothes off who didn’t want me to, either.  I still remember the two girls I targeted; I know one of them took a swipe at me at one point too, although I don’t know who was first.  I don’t remember what the other one thought about it.

(God, I’m glad my middle schoolers never had that bug hit.  I can’t imagine what the teachers were thinking.)


I don’t know that I have a single, overarching point to all this.  Okay, yeah, there’s obviously an element of the confessional here but that’s not the entire point.  I have contributed to this culture of rape and harassment, or at least participated in it, and the fact that I’ve learned (tried to learn) to be better in recent years doesn’t affect the facts of who I was and what I did, even if I can point to any number of men who were maybe worse.

You don’t stop rape, or sexual harassment, by controlling women.  You stop rape and sexual harassment by insisting that men learn to be better.  One of my most important jobs right now is to raise my son to be better than me.

Maybe men need a #metoo hashtag.  Or an #allofus hashtag, because right now, it is all of us.  We’ve all contributed to this.

Or maybe we could just stop, and fucking listen, which was what the point of the hashtag was in the first place, and try to learn to get better.

Maybe.

#REVIEW: SLEEPING BEAUTIES, by Stephen King & Owen King

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I am a big enough Stephen King fan that the majority of the time I know about his books way in advance and they get preordered.  I have read damn near everything he ever wrote, excepting only his book about the Kennedy assassination (which I refuse to read, because Wrong) and for no clear reason the third book in his Bill Hodges trilogy, which I’ll get to eventually.  So the fact that I hadn’t heard about Sleeping Beauties until finding it on a shelf in Target, of all places, was more than a bit unusual.

Here’s the inside jacket text:

In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep: they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent. And while they sleep they go to another place, a better place, where harmony prevails and conflict is rare.

One woman, the mysterious “Eve Black,” is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Eve a medical anomaly to be studied? Or is she a demon who must be slain? Abandoned, left to their increasingly primal urges, the men divide into warring factions, some wanting to kill Eve, some to save her. Others exploit the chaos to wreak their own vengeance on new enemies. All turn to violence in a suddenly all-male world.

Set in a small Appalachian town whose primary employer is a women’s prison, Sleeping Beauties is a wildly provocative, gloriously dramatic father-son collaboration that feels particularly urgent and relevant today.

I read that mess, laughed, and handed the book over to my wife, saying that she had to buy it.  Now, again, usually new King is an insta-buy.  And I can’t recall any other King books that were bought so explicitly for a hate-read as this one was.  But… I’m not wrong, right?  That description sounds absolutely terrible.  From the weird “future so near and real” (the book is not set in the future, at all) to the deeply odd “urgent and relevant” (how?) bit at the end, it’s a cavalcade of bad.  It makes the book sound awful.

Having read all 700 pages in the last… week?  or so, and having stayed up way late last night to finish it, I can confirm: it’s not nearly that bad.  It’s one of those books that’s better while you’re reading it and not so much the day afterward when you’re thinking about it, though.  And I’m pretty sure, despite what Stephen and Owen have said in interviews, that Owen wrote most of the book.  The plotting is pure Stephen King, but on a sentence-to-sentence, page-by-page basis, most of the prose doesn’t sound like him to me.  Part of me wants to feed the book into a computer and go all Documentary Hypothesis on it, to be honest; I think it’d be fun.

So, yeah, the book: that description’s not far off in a literal sense, it’s just way crappier.  All the women in the world suddenly start spinning cocoons around themselves when they fall asleep, because Reasons, and there’s this woman named Evie (not “Eve,” which would have been way less subtle) who doesn’t web up and seems to be psychic because Reasons, and they get really violent if you remove the webbing because Reasons, and eventually (spoiler!!) the women all come back because Reasons.

A careful reader will have discerned my issue with the book already.  Unlike, say, The Stand, which is my favorite King book, what happens to the world’s women in this story is presented as purely supernatural, with no scientific explanation of any kind at all.  And while most of King’s work does have at least supernatural underpinnings to it, even Under the Dome did a better job of providing reasons why the Bad Shit was happening and not a bunch of handwaving.  This book is composed of 100% dura-grade premium Handwavium, and nothing in the basic premise happens for a reason. Once the scenario is up and running, okay, characters tend to respond in reasonable and understandable ways.  But the setup itself?

Why do the women all fall asleep?  Why is Eve so tremendously violent when we first meet her?  Why the cocoons?  Why can’t I spell “cocoon” without putting a double-C in there?  Why do the women go to what they call the Other Place, and why aren’t there any women from outside Dooling there?  Are only the women from Dooling sent to the Other Place?  Why?  Why does Evie seem to be trying to get herself killed for part of the last third of the book?

(The Other Place, in general, is narratively unnecessary, and every page set there could have been cut without harming the book.)

I’m generally okay with a book not tying up every loose thread and leaving some questions unanswered, but holy shit, this book is nothing but unanswered questions.  My lack of reading comprehension can probably be blamed for a couple of them, but there’s basic worldbuilding shit here that’s left undone in favor of handwavium and it bugs.  And the ending is weak as hell.  Spoiler, but you know this already anyway: the women come back.  They literally just decide to not be sleepers anymore and then they aren’t.  Or maybe Dooling’s women decide for the whole world?  Why do they specifically get to decide?  Who knows!  But they all have to decide to come back for any of them to come back, which is not as much of an obstacle as it might seem.  Why do they all have to agree?  Reasons!

(Apropos of nothing, in case you’re wondering, the book doesn’t know trans women exist.)

I dunno.  I four-starred this on Goodreads originally, but I’ve dropped it to three while I’ve been writing this.  The book wasn’t bad while I was reading it, but the lack of any real resolution at the end dooms the entire enterprise.