Ancrene Wiseass

A would-be medievalist holds forth on academia, teaching, gender politics, blogging, pop culture, critters, and whatever else comes her way.

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Yes, this really is yet another blog by a disillusioned grad student. I sympathize, but that's just the way it has to be. For hints as to what my bizarre alias means, click here and here and, if needed, here and here. To get a sense of what I'm up to, feel free to check out the sections called "Toward a Wiseass Creed" and "Showings: Some Introductory Wiseassery" in my main blog's left-hand sidebar. Please be aware that spamming, harassing, or otherwise obnoxious comments will be deleted and traced.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


I step away from my tale of woe to do a bit of political plugging. Don't worry; I'm sure I'll get right back to whinging soon enough.

Grassroots Action Item #1:

This week (and perhaps even tomorrow morning), the House of Representatives will consider a Republican-sponsored amendment to the budget which would make $50 billion in cuts to Medicaid, food stamps, and student loans while offering $70 billion in tax cuts, most of them going to people who're unlikely ever to need Medicaid, food stamps, or student loans. I'd classify this as "business as usual" if it weren't coming in the wake of the NOLA disaster, which so thoroughly demonstrated our country's failure to look after its poorest citizens and should have shamed the legislature into doing some soul-searching. As it is, this qualifies as a particularly callous and unprincipled machination.

If you want to protest, MoveOn's got an online petition you can sign and send to your representative.

Grassroots Action Item #2

Usually, being the recipient of anything handed out on the street is a pain in the rear. Usually, I tend to wait until I turn the corner (so as not to demoralize the distributor of flyers or what-have-you, whose job must already be horrible enough) and then toss it directly into the nearest trash can. But not this time.

Not only are Luna Bar reps passing out bitsy samples of their tasty provender, but this little treat comes with a flyer that invites the beholder to join the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which is working to hold corporations and the government accountable for the inclusion of "chemicals linked to cancer, reproductive harm, and other serious health consequences" in many products marketed primarily to women and gender-bending men.

I'm convinced that, just because the transformative powers of cosmetics and fashion have traditionally been used as a hegemonic tool doesn't mean they always have to be used for such purposes. But I definitely think we shouldn't to have to pay for a glossy lip or a lined eye with our health, so I like this campaign very much. Another positive aspect: though it's particularly connected with the fight against breast cancer, there's nary a pink ribbon on this website.

File Under "Quelle Surprise"

Bush's new nominee for the Supreme Court, Harriet Miers, has already been outed as a political crony (after the "Brownie" debacle, we might think El Presidente would have the sense to make less questionable nominations, but one apparently can't underestimate the man's arrogance). And now, like the previous nominee, John Roberts, she's also been outed as unsupportive of women's reproductive rights, despite her (probably very convenient for her backers) lack of a paper trail.

Dr. B. has an incisive post on Miers and why we really need to keep her off the Court here.