Thursday, April 14, 2011

There's a "Sally Forth" Joke Here Somewhere

Today's Failbook fail: Works Every Time.

Question: How do you make a woman fall in love with you?

My answer: Hmm. Well, you can't make anyone fall in love with anyone else, right? That's . . . sort of the point of love. It's a great, mysterious force that strikes by surprise and keeps you locked in its hold through good times and crappy times alike. Asking me why I love my guy is like asking me why I sleep in a bed or why I eat tomatoes: it's just so obvious to me (though for other people, obviously, it wouldn't be obvious at all!), and I can't imagine things any other way.

That being said, if you have a girl you've got your eye on, there are things you can do to try to win her favor. Asking her out is a good start. Always respect her bodily autonomy. Never think you "deserve" a kiss for taking her out to dinner, or "deserve" sex for taking her out a few times. (Also, it's not on you to pay for the dates! It's 2011, fellas.) You deserve nothing, but she may choose to kiss you, or sleep with you, provided that's also something you want. Get enthusiastic consent for any sexual acts -- "Do you want me to do this? What would you enjoy?" Etc. If she says, "I just want to snuggle," don't be all dickishly disappointed. Snuggle like a pro.

Listen when she talks. Take her opinions seriously. Honor her intelligence. Look at things from her perspective. If you get this right, you'll be way ahead of the pack.

If you actually act on things you hear, you'll do great. If she talks about how Ben Folds Five was the first concert she ever went to (. . . ahem, not that I base that on my life or anything), maybe get her the new Ben Folds album for her birthday. You see where I'm going. It's all about listening and making her realize you do listen.

Oh, and don't lie. And if you're not feeling things, don't be like, "I need some time to think about our future," or whatever. Just apologize and end things kindly. Gah. (. . . Ahem. Again.)

So, that's pretty much it, I guess.

Facebook's answer: "have a chocolate penis that ejaculates money"

. . .

I, um.

. . .

Wait, so this dude wants me to bite off his wang? Or is this supposed to be a goose-that-laid-the-golden-egg scenario, what with the money ejaculation? Oh, wait, I have a JOB. I don't need jizz made of pennies, ASSHOLE. So yeah, I'll be biting off your dick now, douchebag.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

No Cymbal Hit for You, Ass

Today's Failbook fail: I Thought He Said "Never Guess."

So it's come to this. We've progressed from piercing your ears makes you gay, liking breakfast makes you gay, and enjoying male singers' voices makes you gay. Now here we are. At the Gaypocalypse. Where merely posting a Facebook status about yourself makes you gay.

Failbook mods, Failbook readers -- in fact, Facebook users of the world. I have an announcement. Ahem.


I'll just wait for you all to come up with new jokes. How long do you think I'll be waiting, hmm? Till the Sun turns into a red giant?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Her Full Name Is Little Jane Owned-By-Father

Today's Failbook fail: Her Full Name.

Some 13-year-old girl takes a Facebook quiz about what her baby will be named. (. . . Why is that even a quiz?! It's not as if a baby's name is something that just happens to it, with no input from the person who birthed it.) Her father replies that the baby would be an orphan anyway, since he would strangle his daughter for having a baby.

Charming. I mean, honestly, it comes off as slightly funny for a moment, but then you follow the thought to its logical conclusion and go, "Oh damn."

Fathers threatening their daughters with extreme consequences if they act upon their natural sexual feelings is so commonplace in America, we barely think about it. "When she turns 13, I'm gonna buy a shotgun." "No dating while she's under my roof." "Any boy she brings home, I'm gonna give him the third degree before he sets foot anywhere alone with my baby girl."

What's wrong with this? Well, it's all about men protecting the virginity of the women they own. Mothers rarely say shit like this. And parents almost never say it about their sons. What father of a boy has threatened to buy a shotgun on the kid's 13th birthday??

Here's the thing, Dads of America. Your children are going to develop into adults, and during that in-between time, adolescence? They are horny as hell, girls and boys alike. Also, they are not babies. You have to give them room to learn about their own sexuality, gradually and naturally. No, I don't think any 13-year-old should be giving birth. But the fail in today's Failbook fail is about the atmosphere that makes a comment like, "I will kill you if you get pregnant" so matter-of-fact and unquestioned.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Another Creeper Alert

Today's Failbook fail: Complicated and Imaginary.

What is it, I ask you, about the way het men relate to women that they can feel they are in a "relationship" with a woman they've never met? And by the way, this is by no means the first Failbook post of this nature -- it's one of at least several, and it's always het men talking about women. Why do they feel this is acceptable?

This isn't an empty question. It has repercussions from stuff as trivial as this Failbook post, all the way up to actions like John Hinckley's.

I suspect that when one gender is taught to view members of the other gender as objects rather than people, then this sort of behavior naturally results in a small, but not insignificant, portion of the population. Only a theory, of course.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Today's Failbook fail: Miss Interpreted.

I'm letting my fiancé fill in today. Whaddya got, hon?

Future Husband: "Obvious fail is obvious."

Well, all right. Can't get more succinct than that.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Go Back To Fifth Grade Health Class

Today's Failbook fail: To Whom It May Concern.

A woman complains that her employer, a hospital, does not provide tampons for sale in the gift shop. Her boyfriend comments that she needs to stop "broadcasting her bleeding lady bits." No, seriously. Her boyfriend says that. He also says he's "grossed out."

So . . . you want to publicly pronounce that you're "grossed out" because your girlfriend is shedding her uterine lining -- which she does every month, because she is not pregnant, probably much to your relief. What if she were to proclaim that she's grossed out by your penis, which urine comes out of multiple times a day? Ew, it's like a pee factory! I don't want that thing in my mouth or my vag! Grooooooss!!

Here's the deal, buddy boy: when you have sexual relations with a person, you accept everything about that person's genitalia. If you're a het guy, this means being cool with periods and period paraphernalia. Just because it's socially acceptable to say "ew, gross" when it comes time to talk turkey about that time of the month doesn't mean your girlfriend should take that shit. I hope she drops you right quick.

Also, never fucking say "bleeding lady bits." Ever. Fucking. Again. EVER.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Worst Insult: Being Called a Girl

Today's Failbook fail: Edward's True Self.

Someone makes a tired Twilight reference, and then the thread degenerates into calling Edward a girl. (Because a girl is a horrible thing to be.)

Please stop calling men women in order to insult them. As you may have guessed, this is not particularly nice to hear if you are a person who actually is a woman. Also, stop gender policing people for having attributes you associate with another gender. This is hostile, rude, and generally asshole-y. Thank you.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

For Female Lawyers, It's $1.4 Million!

Today's Failbook fail: Equal Rights.

Women talk about times they have "sweet talked" their ways out of tickets. One woman says she cries to get out of tickets.

For the record, according to Traffic (which I just read), crying has a net neutral effect on whether you will get a ticket. Some cops will let you off; others will specifically give you a ticket to punish you for crying. (Others, of course, will do what they are supposed to do, regardless of how the driver reacts.) So I'm happy to ignore the woman who says she cries.

As far as "sweet talking" . . . let's be real here. Most cops are men. If women are "sweet talking" men to evade punishment, what does that actually say about our society? Perhaps that women are taught that their most valuable commodity is their sexuality? And, by the way, there's no earthly reason that most cops should be men. In fact, Traffic also covers how in Mexico (I think), they've hired all female traffic cops, because they were shown to be less susceptible to corruption. Is that a model I think we should follow? Absolutely not. But a mostly-male police squad is yet another reminder of how the patriarchy affects our daily lives.

Anyway, back to the fail. You might be wondering where it is, since all I've done so far is pontificate about traffic cops. So some dudebro busts into the thread and says, "so don't bitch when men make more than women do in the workplace, we actually have to pay our tickets."

Dude? Bro? Go fuck yourself. Over her lifetime, a college-educated woman loses $713,000 thanks to the gender wage gap. Oh, and therefore she collects less Social Security and has less in her retirement fund, so she's more likely to be an impoverished senior citizen. Unless you are routinely paying $10,000 parking tickets that come straight out of your Roth IRA, you can shove that Men's Rights Assholery right where it belongs.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Woman's Place Is In Your Face

Today's Failbook fail: Kitchening.

Some jackass says because a person is a woman, she should be good at things involving the kitchen.

I don't give a flying pancake if this is supposed to be noveau hipster irony, or if this jackass genuinely believes a woman's place is in the house. You know why I don't care? Because every time a man says "make me a sandwich" (or one of its three thousand variants), it reinforces this fucked-up notion, regardless of the speaker's intent to be "ironic." Maybe we should save this joke for when women don't do like three times as much housework as men! Maybe then it will be funny! Not now! Right now, you need to shut the fuck up!!

Monday, March 28, 2011


Today's Failbook fails: That Time Is Now and Roadside Assistance.

I was agonizing -- yes, dear readers, agonizing -- over which of these two piles of shit to deconstruct, and my dear fiancé said I should do a two-for-one deal, which I thought was fair, since I took the weekend off.

In the first, a father masquerades as his daughter on Facebook, saying that she has just found her boyfriend (husband?) in bed with another man, and so she is dumping him, because he is "so GAY." So, all right, it's hard to know what the father's intentions were here -- does he hate the boyfriend? Is it "good-natured ribbing"?

In any case, if a woman were to actually walk in on her significant other having sex with another man, I imagine the reaction would be more along the lines of, "You asshole! You cheated on me!" But no, the father just wanted to be like, "GAY GAY GAY, " so of course that's the faux reaction we get.

And then the daughter puts the crap cherry on this shit pie by saying her dad has "fraped" her. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. It's bad enough that this phrase makes light of rape -- must you add to it by implicating your own father?? It's as if she doesn't even see the word anymore, she uses it so casually.

The second steaming turd is all sexism, all the time. A woman expresses gratitude for the man who kindly stopped to help her change her tire. Men flock to the status to say dumb shit. "Hurr durr, it's because you have boobs. Hurr durr, if you were a man you'd change your own tire. Hurr durr, you didn't strip for him in gratitude?" A woman cannot even thank a man for his kindness without other men coming along, whipping out their dicks, and peeing all over the scene. Sexism: turning men into douchebags since THE DAWN OF TIME.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Breaking News!!

Today's Failbook fail: Uncle Frank's Opinion.

A guy is thinking about piercing his ears. His uncle says it will make him gay, or reveal that he's gay, or some such shit.

So let's go over the things that Failbook says will make you gay (if you're a man, naturally): ear piercing, eating meat, having a baby, reposting Facebook memes, having a job, liking male vocalists, and liking female vocalists.

Holy shit, you guys, EVERY MAN IS GAY. You'd have to be an unemployed, childless, vegetarian music-hater who doesn't use social networking sites! So . . . the only straight men are hikikomori. (As long as we go by the American defintion, whereby fish is not meat, Japan is a good population to draw from here.) The rest of you dudes? You're all queermos. Hope you've got plenty of lube.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Meditation on Blonde Jokes

Today's Failbook fail: Four Blondes.

What are blonde jokes "about," really? Other jokes that indict groups of people are usually pretty clearly racist, anti-Semitic, ablist, what have you. Blonde jokes are odd in that they target the most sexually desirable members of American society -- blonde women (who are presumably het/cis/thin/blah).

But I guess the message of blonde jokes is, Don't get too big for your britches, ladies. Don't let our desire of you ever distract you from the fact that you are a woman and therefore an idiot. In fact, the hotter you are, the dumber you must be. Ugly women are dyke feminists. Hot blonde women are morons who want nothing more than to trick some many into marrying and supporting them.

It's funny -- not funny ha-ha, more funny sad -- that jokes like this, which are, let us get one thing straight, written by het men, put on display the very real contempt so many men have for all women. These are people who are sexually attracted to a group of people that they loathe, fear, disdain. They believe terrible things about a group of people that they want to fuck, maybe even marry and procreate with.

This is why I never got this "battle of the sexes" shit. Most of us are attracted to people on the "other side." I do my best to believe nothing about men as a whole, and make my mind up about them individually. My father is a wonderful man. My fiancé means the world to me. I have tons of male friends at work. My mentor at work, with whom I'm very close, is a man. Some people want you to believe that feminists hate men. Nope. But plenty of men hate women. And that's just sad.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hope This Answers the OP's Question

Today's Failbook fail: Fact.

Someone observes that homeless people tend to be fat rather than skinny. Some jackass attributes this to "cannibalism."

Let's begin with the obvious fact that accusing the food-insecure of eating each other is simply heartless. Now let's move onto the question at hand of why homeless people are fat. Well, let's say you are living on the street. (This shouldn't be too much of a leap. First imagine your family has died. Now imagine that you have become mentally ill and thereby lost your job. Now that you have no job, you can't pay for rent or a mortgage, so you have no place to live -- and, oh, by the way, no health insurance to cover your illness, since you lost your job . . . because you're ill. Welcome to America.)

Maybe you're panhandling; maybe you're doing odd jobs; maybe you've been forced into sex work. Regardless, you're making a tiny percentage of what you used to make, say $10 a day. You don't know if you'll make $10 tomorrow. You don't want to save the money, because you have to sleep, right? You'll sleep in a parking garage or on a bench or under a bridge, and anyone could come by and take your money, maybe rough you up in the process. So there's no point in saving anything. It's too easy to lose what little you have.

What you need now is the maximum number of calories with that meager $10. Let's see -- a Big Mac is about $4, that's a good start. Maybe one for lunch and one for dinner. Now you have $2 left -- you might buy something like a box of Twinkies, high in calories, and it'll keep, too. Plus they're soft, which is nice because you don't have dental care anymore.

Now, a Big Mac is only 540 calories, so two in a day is just half your daily allowance of calories. Now, a 12-pack of 150-calorie Twinkies will put you over the 2000-calorie limit, but now it's time for us to think about what's been in our $10's worth of daily meals. Lots of saturated fat. Lots of sodium. Lots of sugar.

And finally, when it comes to surviving outside 24/7 in most of America, being skinny will get you killed, thanks to hypothermia, while being fat will stave that off somewhat.

I, as a privileged middle-class American, can afford to eat more or less whatever I want (I can't actually eat whatever I want, thanks to endocrine disorders, but I can afford to buy the food I need in any case). But because I don't have my head up my ass, I realize that this is not the case for everyone. And, therefore, I don't write Facebook statuses like that. Not having your head up your ass = not writing jackass Facebook status messages. Pretty simple, actually.

Monday, March 21, 2011

For All the Pastafarians in the House

Today's Failbook fail: 2 FAILs for the Price of 1.

It is a "FAIL" that a man's name is "Ram Amandeep."

I hope to the FSM that "John Smith" means "fondle a sheep while thinking about the Prime Minister in lacy underthings" in any number of languages that are not English. Please. speakers of English, get the fuck over yourselves. The combinations of phonemes you understand to mean certain things do not mean those things for everyone. Unless you are hopelessly ethnocentric, this shouldn't be funny so much as commonplace.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

All My Trains of Thought Go to Rapetown!

Today's Failbook fail: Untitled.

I know I've neglected this blog this week. I'm sorry, nonexistent readers. When you're full-time in a job and half-time in higher ed, sometimes other things fall by the wayside for a while. But I'm back, have no fear.

Today's fail is short and whatever the opposite of sweet is. (Shitty?) Someone names a bunch of his/her friends, and follows it up with, "Need I say more?"

If I were to see that, I might think, "Ah, someone had a good part." But the jackass "friend" who comments says that more information is necessary, or all will assume it was a "gangbang," which is a lovely colloquialism for "a bunch of people raping other people."

Some will tell me I'm wrong. "No, ma'am, it means group sex!" Maybe that's your Urban Dictionary definition (I don't know; I refuse to expose myself to that guaranteed ticket to Vomitville), but get real. Group sex is referred to as an "orgy," or maybe a "sex party," if you're a little older. "Gangbang" is rapey. It's real, real rapey, and the fact that it was someone's first thought upon seeing a bunch of names together is just sick. Welcome to rape culture!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

OMG There Are Fat People on the Internet!!

Today's Failbook fail: I'm Sure It Happens All the Time...

You know what the world needs more of? Hatred of fat people. Especially fat women. How dare they walk around with their fat, even post pictures of their fat online?!!? THE INTERNET IS FOR SKINNY PEOPLE, YOU FATTIE FAT FATSO!

And this girl has the temerity to say that people mistake her for Megan Fox! I mean, her face is blurred out of this post, so maybe there is a facial resemblance, but my stars, if you are fat you by definition cannot resemble anyone attractive!

The really sad thing is, this girl seems cool. She seems fun and funny -- I love her Simpsons shrt -- and by condemning her with no more than her own photos and one-line status update, I feel like Failbook just throws her into the garbage can without so much as a "buh-bye." Like, she's fat, so she's beneath even their assholish commentary. Oh, well, there is the title, as well as the hashtags: "facepalm," "image," and "really?"

The comments are a mix. There are some people saying, rightfully, "Don’t resort to making fun of somebody who made a self-deprecating joke and isn’t considered pretty because she’s heavy." And then there are people who are saying to man the harpoons, and furthermore, "I say we enact hunting to get the population under control." If that sounds eliminationist to you, it's because it fucking is.

Heads up, all: fat people have a right to exist. They are not a different species as thin people are. They have a right to be in the same spaces as you, whether that's Facebook, public transportation, a restaurant, or your workplace. Moreover, fat women can be pretty. Fat men can be hot. Stop acting like all these ideas are so friggin' radical. They're not. They're simple courtesy and recognition of reality.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Had to do a win today, because it's such a perfect response to some random bashing of Hillary Clinton -- who, it must be stated, is awesome. There are probably some fail-y Failbook posts today, but this one wins more than any of them fail.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Thelma and Louise Notwithstanding

Today's Failbook fail: Bad Example.

Some jackass makes fun of women drivers. Someone (a woman, probably) reminds him that he is himself a shitty driver.

But she does it too nicely, frankly, with a little winky face and all that shit. Next time someone pulls this shit on you, say calmly, "Have you ever thought about why men's car insurance rates are higher than women's? It's because actuaries have crunched years' worth of data and determined that men are costlier to insure. Meaning, men are bigger insurance risks than women. Meaning, women are the better drivers."

I usually don't pull this actually-the-data-say-otherwise shit out unless people espouse something that's just completely the opposite of the truth. Like when assholes spout off about gay people turning their kids gay or abusing them or whatever. Actually, it's the opposite! Gays make better parents! Shut the fuck up!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Not Even Close

Today's Failbook fail: China = Japan.

Look, if you can't tell by looking at a Southeast Asian person which country their ancestors are from, you are not alone. And no one would fault you for not knowing.

But the damn video here is titled with the word "Chinese," and then the idiotic OP starts spouting off about Pearl Harbor. Jesus Christ Almighty. It just showcases your ignorance, pal. You really don't differentiate between those countries at all.

Also, I just have to say . . . the actual video is an ad for a torture device for women that will squeeze them in precisely the right excruciating way to give them video-game-woman-style cleavage. I'm calling sexism on this one for not even acknowledging that this ad is for something ridiculously awful for women.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The International Language of Idiots

Today's Failbook fail: English Please.

A non-white person says things in a language that is not English. An American guy, who by the looks of his blurred-out picture is probably white, demands the person speak only English. The OP tells him to shut up, and the American cracks wise.

Sweet sparkly vampires, does anyone really wonder where the stereotype of an "ugly American" comes from!?!? Dear all Americans: THE INTERNET IS NOT SOLELY AMERICAN. FACEBOOK, TOO, IS INTERNATIONAL. There will be people speaking in languages you don't speak! A person's Facebook status is not a road sign in Wichita! You have no right to see it in English! Just! Shut! Up!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Also, You're a Creeper.

Today's Failbook fail: Step 1: Befriend Several Randon [sic] LaShondas. Step 2: ...

So . . . why "LaShonda"? Why not Erica, Stacey, Michelle, Alicia, Samea, Padma, Sunee, Miharu, Marjane, Maria, Dulcinea, Claudette, Agda, or any of a million other girls' names?

Could it be because "LaShonda" is a name associated almost exclusively with African-Americans, and you specifically want to target them in your nasty little prank?

Just sayin'.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Just STFU About Bieber, Mmkay?

Today's Failbook fail: An Unfortunate Typo.

Let me just vomit up some words about Justin Bieber, a man whom I have never met: BLARGH GAY HOMOQUEER GIRLY-GIRL FAG FUDGEPACKER GAY GAY LESBO COCKSUCKER FAGGY PRINCESS GAY WOMAN BLARGH.

There, now you have an accurate rendition of every single motherfucking Failbook entry that mentions Justin Bieber.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Creeper Alert

Today's Failbook fail: Boundaries.

A 21-year-old wants to date a 15-year-old.

For those who are fuzzy on ability to consent and rape, it's simple: if someone cannot consent to sexual congress, then any penetration is rape. Reasons someone might not be able to consent:
  • they person has been using drugs
  • the person is not mentally able to consent (whether because of limited intellectual capacity or because of mental illness)
  • the person is a goddamned child
Please see that last item for why this post was written by a creeper who doesn't care about consent.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Today's Failbook fail: Russell's Mum.

Stop saying "frape."

Read this blog post if you are at all confused about my continued rage about this ridiculous portmanteau.

That is all.

Monday, February 28, 2011

In Your Defense, Perhaps You Were Born a Jackass

Today's Failbook fail: Charlie Sheen's Lawyer Has a Point.

I'm going to be honest with you: I don't keep up with news about dickwads who are unjustifiably famous. (Sheen's dad? Justifiably famous. What the fuck has Sheen done to make him so damn famous, besides being born into a famous family? The last reasonably good movie he did was Being John Malkovich, and that was 1999.)

Anyway, so I don't keep up with the Sheenosphere. So my curiosity was piqued by today's Failbook fail, which says, in its entirety: "in Charlie Sheen's defense, cocaine is fun and those women have vaginas."

So, I have no interest in telling anyone what drugs they should or should not put into their bodies. The cocaine part, I am indifferent to.

But the part about women . . . well, I just wanted to know what the hell the commenter was talking about. I searched around for recent Sheen meltdowns, and I couldn't figure out what the women part was about. All his recent ranting seems to be entirely based on cocaine, self-aggrandizement, and anti-Semitism.

Then I pulled up this gem from the New York Times that summarizes Sheen's relationships with women: "In addition to wreaking all manner of havoc on himself with drugs and alcohol that has put him in the hospital and the show on hiatus, Mr. Sheen has done a lot of damage to the people around him, women in particular." It goes on to describe three separate incidents in which he threatened to kill women with whom he was involved, and how he had physically abused all three of them. The kicker: "Yet none of these incidents got Mr. Sheen fired from his lucrative day job as a sitcom star, not even suspended. What did? He insulted his boss."

So . . . his violence against women was utterly minimized . . . he never seemed to face any repercussions for it . . . and this douchebag on Facebook says, "those women have vaginas."

I'm fairly sure the original commenter was excusing Sheen's fucking around, not his beating up of those he fucked, but . . . no. Just . . . no. I have no tolerance for anything even close to this level of shit when it comes to domestic violence. Sit down and shut up, jackass.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Today's Failbook fail: Town Hall Discussion.

Blah blah blah, open forum, blah blah, lesbians caused the New Zealand earthquake.

If this dude was serious, he is a bigoted douche. If this guy was making a joke, he is an idiot. Are you aware, sir, that people actually believe this? At the very least, if it's not clear you're making a joke, then some people will see that and get bigoted, ridiculous ideas.

Even if it were clear . . . I mean, again, it's like that whole "back to the kitchen" thing. You may mean it ironically, but there are plenty of people who will take it utterly seriously, so maybe you could deign not to parrot the words of people who oppress marginalized groups that don't have a bite of your nice privilege sandwich.

And one more thing: I don't care how ironic you think you're being -- it's too damn soon. They're still cleaning up rubble, for fuck's sake.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I -- What -- But -- Really, WHAT

Today's Failbook fail: Men, Women, and Trees.

Oh shit, y'all, it is on.

Failbook hasn't been pushing my buttons for the last two weeks or so. I was starting to secretly wonder if . . . no, it can't be, but maybe . . . are they reading this blog?? I do tweet them with a link when they do something absolutely atrocious. But they've certainly never responded.

This is typical of my relationship, if you can call it that, with Failbook. I email them, or tweet at them, or use their contact form to complain -- not that I do this very often, mind you, but I did it a few times when they started using "frape" like it was the new hotness instead of a hot mess -- and they never get back to me. Ever. Not even a form letter to say, "Thank you for your concern. Humor is subjective, blah blah patronizing bullshit, we hope you enjoy our product."

So, I don't know, I thought they could be silently reading. I have to assume they read my emails and were silent, so I postulated that they could get my tweets and stay silent, too.

Anyway, my point is, my ridiculous fantasy wherein they read this blog and say to themselves, "Shit, we are being assholes by promoting some of this stuff"? Shattered. Totally shattered. All thanks to today's post.

A woman kicks off this layer cake of sexism with this gem, which I have always hated with a fiery passion: "If a man says something in the middle of the forest and there isn't a woman around to hear him, is he still wrong?"

STOP. STOP IT. I know you think you're being cute, but you are perpetuating this Henny Youngman vision of heterosexual relationships that still, to this day, colors almost all interactions between men and women. Women nag! Men pout! Take my wife, please! Christ on a cracker, have we seriously not moved past that?? You are free to date and/or marry anyone you choose (if you are het -- we're working on it for the gay half of this equation, obviously). Why would a woman become involved with a man who, in her opinion, is always wrong?? Why would a man become involved with a woman who believed that about him? Can we not all agree that men are sometimes right and sometimes wrong, and that women are sometimes right and sometimes wrong, because as wacky as it sounds, we are all the same species?!?!

A woman says, "Of course." Shut up.

A man says, "Balderdash, we are always right." Triple, no, quadruple shut up. "Women are always telling men they're wrong" is an ugly manifestation of our culture's ideas of heterosexuality, but "Men are always right" is an even uglier manifestation of men's domination of women. Read some of the stories at No Longer Quivering and then make that fucking joke.

And the last comment, the one that no doubt launched it onto Failbook, is a man saying, "If a tree falls on a woman and no one is around to hear her, why is a tree in the kitchen".

Let's go through what that one sentence is doing:
  1. Telling a woman her place is in the kitchen; and
  2. Throwing in a healthy dose of violence, by way of blunt object trauma.
I know a lot of men, a lot of men, who consider themselves to not be raging sexists, use that whole "back to the kitchen/make me a sandwich" shit in an attempt to be . . . ironic? Or something. Yeah, it's just like wearing a trucker hat, except for the part where you deny the potential of half the human race to achieve anything outside one room in one house.

Lest you think I am overreacting, I invite you to watch The Daily Show's coverage of the 2004 March for Women's Lives (which I proudly attended). It's only 6 minutes long, and it's hilarious, so you should watch the whole thing. But if you're insanely pressed for time, skip ahead to the 2:30 mark, where you see that the anti-abortion protesters are screaming at the marchers, "SUBMIT! BACK TO THE KITCHEN! NOTHING COMPLICATED!"

So, yeah, about your irony? There are plenty of people who don't find it so fucking ironic.

In summary: imagine a train speeding along at 90 MPH carrying a metric ton of sexism. Now imagine Snidely Whiplash has tied a giant sexist douchenozzle to the tracks. Finally, imagine a trucker carrying a wide load of sexism is speeding towards the train tracks, because the arm that's supposed to come down to stop him is tragically malfunctioning.

That KABOOM reverberating through my little scenario is the trainwreck of sexism that this post created. Ugh, it's like sexist shrapnel is being lodged in my brain. Get it out, get it out!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Being Trans Is Not a Punchline

Today's Failbook fail: Lady GaGa's Perfume.

You know, Failbook's fails have been pretty minor for the last couple weeks. It was getting to the point where I was wondering if they had decided to cast off the Dark Side and actually respect human beings.

Then I saw today's fail and I was like, "LOL, they got me, ROFL."

Someone mentions that Lady Gaga (which is, BTW, the correct capitalization of her stage name) is making a perfume called "Blood and Semen." (I have no idea if this is true, and I don't give a shit if it is.) Someone of course makes a crack about how she should use her own semen in it.

I have to phrase what I want to say here very carefully, because it could easily be read by fucknecks as being anti-trans. I want to be clear: there is nothing wrong with being trans. This is obvious to all people who are not jackasses.

However, there is obviously something wrong with wielding accusations of being trans (or gay) as though those accusations are insults and/or punchlines. For the people who've been hiding under a rock for the past three years, Lady Gaga is an immensely successful pop icon, and because she is a successful woman, people "accuse" her of being a transwoman. She is in fact a ciswoman.

There's something insidious and awful about denying people's right to label themselves, for starters. And, of course, only gayness/transness are used as punchlines. Let's try to imagine the opposite scenario with a famous gay person (I would use a famous trans person, but I honestly cannot think of a transperson with the level of public visibility necessary to make this analogy work):

Rando: "Hey, I hear Ellen DeGeneres is starring in a kids' movie where she's married to Colin Firth and their kids get into wacky hijinks." [Ed. note: I clearly just pulled this out of my ass, but N.B. I love Colin Firth.]
Jackass: "Ohmigod, I knew it, this just proves Ellen is a straight!! She's always acting so straight, you know? I know she's says she's a lesbian, but Christ, you can feel the straight vibes just pouring off her."

No. This is clearly ridiculous. We only feel the need to snipe at the people we feel are transgressing the normal bounds of sexuality and gender, try and herd them into their so-called rightful place, way on the edge of the map. To many, being called "gay" or "trans" is punishment for not conforming. And therefore it is an insult, because to deviate from the "normal" course of having your gender line up with your genitals/chromosomes/upbringing (there are many ways of being trans), and having your sexual desire focus upon a lifelong monogamous partnership with a member of the opposite sex, is horrifying to jackasses everywhere.

So Lady Gaga, in all her non-conforming glory, must be herded to the edge of the map, confined to Transworld. That's her punishment. Because for many (most?) people, it is punishment.

I can't wait for the day when someone's sexuality or gender identity is a non-issue. A part of who they are? Absolutely. But as unrelated to others' reactions and judgments as the color of their eyes.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

No, Seriously.

Today's Failbook fail: How To: Hookup on Facebook with No Fear of Rejection.

The imaginary women in this post are named "Sexy McSexbucket" (photo: stereotypical young Asian schoolgirl"), "Derpy Derpina," "Ugly Pog," and "Dickshrivel Wench." And it's all about wanting to have sex with women.

Go fuck yourself. Seriously.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Woman + Tattoo = JUDGMENT

Today's Failbook fail: Financial Advice.

Man, Failbook hates tattoos. Considering that two out of five people in the Facebook/Failbook age demographic have at least one tattoo, this seems strange to me.

Oh well, let's move onto the slut shaming! Yes, of course there's slut shaming -- a woman wants a tattoo! So what does her "friend" say? "Skip the slutty tattoo."

Listen up, "friend." You may think a tattoo is in poor taste, or ugly, or ill-considered, or what have you. Unless it literally states, "I have had sex with many men," it's not slutty. And you know, even if a tattoo said that, you should keep your double standards to yourself.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Breakfast Is So Gay

Today's Failbook fail: Joshua Got Stuck.

Some guy says he wants meat. His "friends" say they've heard he loves a great sausage. The guy plays along, then realizes what they mean.

LOL! He's gay! LOL, LOL, LOL! Are you LOLing with me?? Gay, gay, gay, LOL!

Man, I'm cracking myself up. Hey, maybe I should write for Failbook!

Monday, February 21, 2011


Sorry for the two-day absence, bloggees! My future in-laws were in town -- staying at our house, in fact -- which made a lot of things difficult or impossible, including writing up fiery diatribes about oppressed groups of people. Now that we have our house back, I can get back to Failbook.

And, I am surprised to note, there isn't much going on today. But I will say . . . .

Today's Failbook fail: Know Your Tool.

Someone does something stupid and comments, "yes i am retarded." Can we just stop that, please? I know it's tough. I know it's everywhere. I'm not defending its usage, but shit, when you hear something from most people you spend time with, it's hard to drop. (That's why I suspect casual usage of "crazy," as much as it pisses some anti-ablism activists off, is not going away.)

That being said, let's all agree to take a step in the direction of not using "retarded" as a synonym for "stupid." If you blurt it out, just say, "Excuse me, that was insensitive, I meant to say [stupid/thoughtless/lacking in intelligence/cockamamie/whatever]."

Friday, February 18, 2011

Also, Blowjobs.

Daily Failbook fail: Bad Day -> Great Day.

Don't even bother clicking the link. It's boring. It's just, "You know what women are good for? Blowjobs." Yawn.

No truly outrageous fails today, though. I'm starting to think Failbook is growing a conscience!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

No fail?!?

I'm speechless. Two consecutive days with no real fail. Is Failbooking learning its lesson, or is this an anomaly? I guess we'll find out together tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

No Fail, Win!

No fail today! In fact, one post really cracked me up: A Blast from the Past. It's just a perfect, ridiculous example of all this awkward shit that can happen between exes. And the current girlfriend's response is so perfect. I laughed for a while at that one.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

When Real Life Intrudes on "Humor"

Today's Failbook fail: Divorcée Frapes Are The Best Frapes.


Okay, had my small moment of pure rage, now we can move onto the rest of the fail.

A man hacks into his ex-wife's Facebook account. He does the following things as her (in chronological order):
  1. Posts a note detailing her cheating, and its alleged consequences.
  2. Posts a status saying how much more well-behaved the children are with her new boyfriend, because "they see how quick [she] was to leave [her] adoring husband" and they don't want to be "trade[d] in too."
  3. Changes her relationship status to "married."
  4. Comments on someone else's status that she feels like a "slut."
  5. Friending himself.
Then the woman regains control of her account, somehow, and posts a status calling her ex out on his actions, to which some random asshat woman responds that he just "loves his wife and kids and wants them back." Thanks, abuse-negating woman! Nice to see you've got your Patriarchy Hat on.

Let's see what we've got here: slut shaming, of course. Naturally. But what really chills my blood is the husband friending himself -- which I imagine this woman did so that he could no longer monitor her -- and changing her status to married -- which I imagine this woman changed because she left the relationship.

This guy screams "abuser" to me. And he is, clearly, emotionally abusive; just look at what he wrote when he was posting as her. But more than any other fail I've commented on thus far, I wonder if this guy abused her (and/or their kids) physically as well, if he raped her, etc.

Oh, I'm not supposed to think about the actual circumstances of this post, right? I'm just supposed to laugh at the dumb bitch whose ex hacked her account. Let's see what the Failbook commenters have to say: "Awesome. Yes, her husband hacked her FB… but she sounds like a total idiot. lol" Yes, yes, there's that sweet ambrosia of human compassion.

Wait, this just in, from another commenter:

he’s actually a huge lush. Someone on this blog let out the person’s full name and you can read the whole thing on facebook right now if you check out [redacted] on facebook.

He’s real pathetic. I feel pathetic just reading it.

Wow, so, she's not a dumb bitch? Her reasons for leaving were complicated? Her cheating was a sign of a relationship gone horribly wrong? I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Sociopath's Day!

Today's Failbook fail: Oh, Baby...

I don't know where to begin with this post. I truly don't.

There's slut shaming. There's a rape joke -- a joke about raping a baby, of course, since it comes in the middle of a series of dead-baby jokes, which is just hit after hit of pure horror.

I'm generally not against humor because it's shocking. I had a great love of South Park in its heyday, and I still like to go back and watch some of the classics. (When Cartman froze himself so he wouldn't have to wait for the Wii? Classic. And the whole point of those two eps is to make fun of atheists, i.e. my own identity, but I don't give a shit, because it's hilarious.)

But these jokes aren't . . . oh, what's the word . . . umm . . . oh, FUNNY. They're not fucking funny. Their shock value is through the roof, which may make some people laugh in a sort of startled way, but there's no actual humor there. It's just dudes being "dark" because, I don't know, they think they're special? They think they're just so amazing that they have this offbeat sense of humor?

If I had these guys in a room, honestly, I would force them to watch footage of starving babies in resource-poor countries, or compel them to volunteer in a NICU for a week. At least then I could tell if their sense of morality was just so fucked that they should be sent to their own little Island of Misfit Toys, or if the exposure to actual human suffering would break down their ridiculous, "edgy" personae.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

And If You Live in "The Ghetto," You By Definition Don't Use Google Maps?

Today's Failbook fail: A Million Dollar Idea.

Someone wishes for Google Maps to add an "Avoid Ghetto" option. So . . . really you mean, "avoid people not of my race," right . . . ?

"Ghetto" is a really racialized word, as I've learned multiple times over the course of my life. Even knows that. This guy could have said "slums" or "skid row" and I would've let it slide. But no, it had to be "ghetto." Bah.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Lethal Disease = Mass Statuses

Today's Failbook fail: Status Irony.

This is just pure, distilled jackassery. Someone posts one of those mass statuses where they're asking for support for cancer survivors and victims. Some jackass responds, "These 'support' posts are the cancer of Facebook."

Honestly, I don't have a whole lot of academic feminist talk to bust out on this. It just pisses me off. Chances are, the OP has cancer, or someone close to him/her does. So, what the fuck, commenter. If you really can't stand mass statuses, ignore it. Or hell, block that person. Don't make them feel like they're ruining your fun just because they want to mention cancer.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Tale of Two Douchebags

Real dilemma tonight, guys. There are two posts on Failbook today that are both of the highest douchebag nature. One is just pure sexism; the other mixes sexism with the false sexuality binary and slut shaming.

Okay, how's this: I'm going to do the mixed one, and assign the pure sexism one as homework. I'll grade anyone who comments.

So. Today's Failbook fail: Try-Sexual.

This is a gem on so many levels. The original post is someone saying they don't "believe" in bisexuality. I love it when people think they have a vote on other people's lived experiences. It's like when jackass white people put down "human" as their race on forms. It's true that bisexuality doesn't seem to be as common an identity as being straight or gay, but I think it's more common than asexuality (which also exists, regardless of your willingness to "believe" in it, dear reader!)

Then a girl comments, saying she is bi, and has two girlfriends and a boyfriend. Now, while this does showcase her bisexuality, it's worth noting (for people who might be, I don't know, confused?) that bisexuality and polyamory are unrelated issues. I mean, they're related inasmuch as they threaten the patriarchy, but they're just two more slightly overlapping circles in the giant Venn diagram of human sexuality.

Still. A dude denies people's identities. A lady reminds him that it is her identity. What do you think is gonna happen next, smarty-pants?

If you said, "He's gonna slut-shame her!", I award you 50 Patriarchy Points!*

Yeah, he says, "That just makes you a whore." Yeah! You tell it like it is, bisexuality denier!! People having multiple consenting relationships definitely means they are sex workers! And also, sex workers are best referred to by epithets! You're so brave, telling it like it is in a sea of acceptance and friendliness towards women, sex workers, bisexuals, and poly people!

Here's an idea, dude: you're not the arbiter of others' sexuality. I know it's a shocker, but better to get it through your fucking head now than later, when you're screaming at some girlfriend because her "number" (ugh) is higher than you thought.

* Redeemable for male privilege at a Wal-Mart near you!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

That's So Straight.

Today's Failbook fail: Phone PHAIL.

Breaking news: "Gay" still not a synonym for "broken," "bad," or "wrong"! In other news, the Earth still orbiting the sun four billion years after its formation! Later this hour, we show the shocking truth about mammals: they STILL have hair and a neocortex!!

Why are we are so inured to "gay" as a random negative adjective? Can you imagine the average teenager walking around saying shit like, "My principal blocked Twitter at school. He is so black!", or, "My mom grounded me for a week! It's so wheelchair-user of her.*" I'm not playing Oppression Olympics here; I had a really wise African Studies prof in college who campaigned fiercely against that kind of thinking, and it stuck with me. I just can't believe it's 2011 and we're still saying, "That's so gay." And most people don't even bat an eyelash.

Anyway, thanks, Failbook, for slipping that in there. I was starting to get worried that you thought gay people were human beings or something!

*I think some people would argue that the use of "lame" actually fits the bill here, but I respectfully disagree. Words that initially serve to negatively label oppressed groups can and do evolve beyond that usage. My go-to example is "dumb," which was used against the Deaf for decades, but there are no Deaf people arguing we shouldn't say "dumb" to mean something is stupid. It has become utterly divorced from the Deaf. Similarly, when people say something is "lame," they do not connect it in the least with people with physical disabilities. I don't believe this is the case for "gay," the primary difference being that it's a group's self-label, not a superfluous outgroup usage.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

They Already Paid for It, Asshole

Today's Failbook fail: You Break It, You Buy It.

Congratulations to Failbook for being about the eighteenth entity to try to tell me this stupid joke:
Dear Egyptian rioters,
Please don't damage the pyramids. We will not rebuild.

Thank you.
The Jews.
Failbook is behind my grandmother on this one. My AOL-subscribing grandmother. Hooray for relevance!

Moreover, this joke is just bullshit. First of all, the pyramids were almost certainly not built by Jewish slaves. Archaeologists think the builders were skilled, paid laborers. In fact, the historicity of the entire Exodus narrative is not supported by any science or, indeed, any accounts outside the Bible.

So the Jews didn't build the pyramids. And, you know, that's not widely known, so whatever. But I think the larger point is that this is actually a really negative, awful message about an oppressed group of people that is trying to throw off their oppressors. The Egyptians have been protesting -- not "rioting" -- since January 25th. They've already effected a lot of change, and it looks like there's more to come. But there's no surer way to denigrate a group of protesters than to call them "rioters" and boil all their struggles down to a destructive action that might hurt the only landmark in their country that most white Westerners give a shit about. And since Jews are construed as "white" in the sane corners of America, it's just a racist/Islamophobic clusterfucktastrophe of a "joke."

Look, I'm Jewish; I get that I am the owner of a problematic identity, to say the least. But this joke makes me ashamed, since it was probably kicked off by a Jew. We should give more of a shit about the Middle East than to crap out a dud like this.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

No fail!

Perhaps in honor of my mother's birthday, no fails jumped out at me today. Enjoy the break!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Short Failbook Fail: Screw Assumptions

Today's Failbook fail: Trailer Tatty.

This post, my friends, is the motherlode of classism. Someone posts a quote by Winnie the Pooh (except, excuse me, I read that book when I was little, and that quote is not A.A. Milne, but I suppose that's beside the point). Commenter #1 says they want a tattoo of Winnie the Pooh. Commenter #2 racks up the following assertions about those with "cartoon character tattoos":
  • They live in trailer parks.
  • They are fat.
  • They abuse their children.
  • They frequent Wal-Mart.
  • They cannot read.
  • They have mullets.
  • They love wrestling.
Wow. I mean, what classist assumptions can even be added at this point? Okay, okay, I guess there are some, but the big points were all hit.

Underneath all these seemingly unconnected statements, of course, is the assumption that poor people are stupid. They get stupid tattoos, parent in a stupid fashion, shop at stupid stores, and wear stupid hairstyles. Never mind that their income level and their intelligence may not be related. (Education and income are generally highly correlated, but innate intelligence pops up in people regardless of their background.) If you are poor, you are stupid; you are worthless; you deserve my mockery. That's what Commenter #2 needed to say to Commenter #1, who only wanted to get an image of a cartoon bear emblazoned on her skin.

Look, if someone wants to get an "88" tattooed on their arm, I can say with high confidence that that person is a racist, anti-Semitic assclown. But if someone wants a Winnie the Pooh tattoo, the only thing I can say with high confidence is that they like Winnie the Pooh. But I don't know their income level, their haircut, or whether they're a good parent (or a parent at all).

I feel like three-quarters of my posts are about not making dumbass assumptions about other people. If we could all adhere to that one tenet, what a lovely world this world would be.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Face the Fail

Today's Failbook fail: Not the First Time a Girl's Boobs Saved Her from a Shot to the Face...

There's nothing particularly fail-y about this post as it occurred on Facebook. A girl says she walked into a wall, but her breasts acted as a cushion.

Then, of course, Failbook has to turn it into a joke about ejaculating onto a woman's face. BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT WOMEN'S FACES ARE FOR, AMIRITE??! That, and saying things about how wonderful their man is. Dude.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Hilarity of Slavery

Today's Failbook fail: R.I.P. Billy.

A guy posts an ad for a "server" (i.e. a piece of computer equipment). His jackass "friends" pretend he is selling a woman who will serve them. The jackass-iest comment of all has to be, "She better not talk back!"

You guys. I am really tired, but I just have to point out that 27 million people across the world are enslaved today. Today, as in, February 4, 2011, 150 years after we "abolished" slavery. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to sexual slavery.

So this post is not fuckin' funny. I don't have the energy to state the obvious anymore.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Fiftieth Post Special Edition: A Feminist Skeptic

For this, my fiftieth post, I thought I'd veer off a little from laying waste to Failbook and instead discuss an issue that has been a thorn in my side for the better part of the last year, namely, what's a feminist skeptic to do?

(If either of those words confuses you, try referencing these working definitions of feminism and skepticism. It may be the case that neither means what you think it does, even if you are well-educated.)

At first blush, feminism and skepticism seem to complement each other like chocolate and peanut butter. Skepticism is the perfect vehicle to debunk claims about female inferiority, and feminism is all about breaking out of traditionally held but incorrect notions about all aspects of life. I can cite a few wonderful examples of this marriage of the two concepts: Delusions of Gender, Woman: An Intimate Geography, and Amanda Marcotte's amazing Skepticon talk late last year (we'll get back to her at the end).

But more often than not, feminism and skepticism are either at odds with each other, or, more frequently, completely out of touch with each other. The fault lies on both sides, and I've seen failures on both sides so many times that it makes me despair for the joining of forces that seems logical to me.

Let's start with the feminist side, because I have more experience with the feminist blogosphere than I do with the skeptical blogosphere. I follow a lot of feminist blogs: Feministe, Feministing, Fugitivus, Tiger Beatdown, and Yes Means Yes! are just some of the feeds in my Google Reader. But when I think about which feminist blog best sums up my experience in this world, it has to be Shakesville. Melissa McEwan takes on the worst of sexism, racism, heterosexism, ablism, transphobia, and so many other ugly ideologies in this world with wonderful contempt, causing anyone with an open mind to re-examine themselves for prejudices so ingrained that they might as well be undetectable, were it not for her illumination of them.

And yet. And yet when it comes to matters of science, I sometimes see Shakesville fall short in ways that make me cringe. When it comes to scientific studies that support Shakesville's positions on, say, abortion, they are lauded. And they rightfully post vicious take-downs of pseudo-scientific bullshit studies about gender differences.

But a couple weeks back, when Melissa made a post entitled "Feminism 101: Coded Misogyny and Institutional Prejudice," I found myself wincing at just a few of the points she made. Some of them are dead on: Black women are punished for wearing their hair in a natural style; our sexist culture codes war and the lack of a social safety net as masculine and therefore desirable; we should all be aware of the way that gender binaries influence our thinking about many, many aspects of culture. But her attack on "Western" medicine is painful for me to read:

So, too, discussions of Western/non-Western medicine. Western medicine is coded rational/masculine; alternative medicine is coded irrational/feminine. And here again is an example of intersectional prejudice, as many alternative practices (yoga, acupuncture, acupressure, massage, herbal remedies) are imported from the East. (And practiced disproportionately by people marginalized in the West: Women/people of color/queers.) The wholesale dismissal of alternative practitioners and practices as quacks and opportunists (despite there being plenty of quacks and opportunists to be found in Western medicine, too) is an institutional prejudice frequently loaded with both coded misogyny and coded racism.

Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. I'm not going to explain why non-science-based medicine (NSBM) is generally a bad idea: you can go to Science-Based Medicine for that. But I'd like to take on her claim that the opposition to NSBM is based on sexism and racism. In fact, my personal objection to NSBM is caused partly by my advocacy for social justice. In short, women and people of color are more likely to be poverty-stricken and without adequate health care. If they are having medical issues and the only care they can afford is "alternative" care, that is a huge, institutional problem that we should be addressing, because alternative care is not adequate care. Black and Latina women with breast cancer don't have equal access to treatment. If they fill that gap with homeopathy or acupuncture, that is not adequate and not equal. Immigrants to the U.S. get about half the health care services afforded to natural-born citizens. If they fill that gap with traditional medicine from their home countries that has no measurable positive effect on their health, that is not adequate and not equal. I could go on and on, but the point is this: marginalized people may be more willing and likely to opt for NSBM, but this is not good for their overall health outcomes, and may in fact be a product of their marginalized status.

Yes, there are problems with science-based medicine, specifically the way it interacts with capitalism (see Bad Science for more on this). And Melissa rightfully points out in the comments that medical trials need to include more marginalized populations. But modern, science-based medicine has lengthened our lifespans, given us birth control and abortion, made it possible for transfolk to physically transition, and afforded new opportunities to the disabled. Don't we owe it a little more respect than to say, "reflexively privileging Western medicine, which is best at serving the needs of financially privileged straight white thin generally able-bodied cis men, serves the narratives of the Patriarchy"?

So that's one example of how my favorite feminist blogs can be insufficiently skeptical. (There are plenty others, but I'm already headed for tl;dr territory.) It's posts like those that make me feel that I cannot make my Internet home entirely within the feminist blogosphere.

But I can't migrate to the skeptical blogosphere either. Though skeptical bloggers should be using their well-developed senses of critical thinking to examine their own prejudices, this just doesn't seem to be the case.

Sure, skeptical bloggers are generally progressive folks. They tend to be pro-gay marriage, pro-choice, anti-censorship, etc. But the safe space that you see on feminist blogs, where racism/sexism/homophobic/etc. are not acceptable, is not present in the skeptical blogosphere, perhaps because the skeptical movement is dominated by white, cisgender, straight, able-bodied men. Here's an example: about a month ago, Skepchick had a post up about the kerfuffle over the removal of n-word from Huck Finn. The author rightfully condemned the proposal, but in his condemnation he wrote:

Did he discover that Twain was not commenting on an atrocity of the time the book was set, but simply writing a buddy story about Huck and Jim that we can update every couple of decades to suit our current culture? I can't wait for the version with the rapping river boat captains, or the version where the Widow Douglas and Miss Watson sign on as a couple of skank 'ho's on The Bachelor.

Sweet Stephen Jay Gould's ghost, what was this poster thinking?? In case it's too subtle for you, he equated modern Black culture with rap and "skank 'ho's." What an evenhanded, neutral representation of an oppressed minority culture! It's as though a Kanye West music video came to life in the form of words on a skeptic blog.

Even on consciously progressive skeptic blogs like the Friendly Atheist, the comment threads can devolve into rampant, ugly sexism. (I wanted to post a link to a discussion I found particularly offensive, but the post where I believe it happened seems to have been scrubbed of all evidence of the back-and-forth between the misogynist and the women who protested his comments. I'm not a fan of this revisionism; I'd prefer the offending comments be hidden [i.e. accessible an extra click], with a note from the mod as to why it's unacceptable on that site.)

So what's a feminist skeptic to do?

Personally, I've only found one blog that meets in the middle of my two deep-seated identities, and that's Pandagon. This is Amanda Marcotte's baby, and she attacks both social justice issues and skeptical issues with unmatched rigor. More and more these days, I find myself sharing all her articles with my Google Reader followers, posting them on Facebook, doing whatever I can to spread her opinions across the Internet. We need more bloggers like her.

Just don't expect me to answer the call! I happened to have time to write this all up today because I'm home sick. Otherwise I'd be running around on my usual hectic schedule of full-time job, part-time school, and constant, time-consuming disease management. I'll continue my daily posts taking down Failbook, though, because it's a good outlet for my extreme frustration with popular culture. And maybe for my 100th post, we can dive back into this topic.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mostly, Just Shut Up

Today's Failbook fail: The Justin Bieber Movie Trailer.

My fail yesterday was not posting! We did have power, but the day got away from me. My apologies.

Someone mentions Justin Bieber. Some jackass makes a joke about how Bieber is closeted.

I'm so tired of this joke. It's hard for me to believe that the folks at Failbook aren't. Justin Bieber: entertainer. I can look at him and approximate his age, maybe his race; I cannot examine his innermost desires and tell what his sexuality is. Neither can you. He could be gay, straight, asexual, bisesxual, whatever, and none of those orientations would be morally different from any other. We do people a disservice when we assume we know shit about their sexuality when they haven't identified as anything, because it reinforces stereotypes and creates rampant heterosexism.

So . . . shut up.

Monday, January 31, 2011

What Kills You Makes Me Laugh

Today's Failbook fail: Red Eye.

A dude says his eye has been red for quite some time. His "friends" tell him he must have AIDS. Some jackass says the dude is not allowed in his dorm room anymore, because of the AIDS.

This is already weak as far as humor goes. What really kills it is that, you know, people with HIV/AIDS really are discriminated against constantly. It's not like they pretended the guy had skin cancer or congestive heart failure. No, they picked a disease that is a) associated with such oppressed minorities as gay men and Black folks, and b) the cause of rampant discrimination. And then they made a joke about discriminating against him. Ha . . . ha?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday, Sunday

Sundays are slow days for Failbook, and thus carry less opportunity for Failbook fails. I have to say I totally agree with the last post of the night -- people who write "must of" or "should of" make me want to die -- and the rest aren't worth mentioning. Another fail-free Sunday has come and gone. See you tomorrow for what is sure to be a trainwreck fail.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Today's Failbook fail: Justine Bieber.

Someone chastises Google for (accidentally?) including Justin Bieber on a list of most Googled women. Some jackass comments that they want to high-five Google for this list inclusion.

Slim pickings today. This is just an everyday, vanilla gender policing. Nothing special. Not to minimize it, but I have nothing clever to say about it. It's too run-of-the-mill for Failbook.

Friday, January 28, 2011

I'm Changing My Password to "leavemealone"

Today's Failbook fail: Happy Birthday!

A man hacks into his wife's Facebook and shames her because some man has been talking to her about having sex with her. (There is no indication the wife has actually done anything.) Some jackass congratulates the man on having his wife's FB password. Scrolling down, we realize that it is the woman's birthday.

This is just sad. It's also a terrible violation of trust, which is why I've filed this under intimate partner abuse. No, it's not a black eye, but violating your partner's privacy is a form of abuse. It tells the violated partner that they cannot expect to keep their thoughts or actions private . . . especially if those thoughts/actions are distasteful to the violator.

I'm almost more disgusted by the bystander who just had to goad the husband. You can't argue that he acted in the heat of the moment. He just wants to advocate for hacking into your wife's FB account. Ugh.

In case anyone thinks I am a humorless fussbudget who dusts teapots for fun, I had to share a Failbook win, for a change: Gandalf or Dumbledore? This post is everything the fails aren't: really funny without being incredibly offensive.

I was leery about this post when I saw the topic (in short, deciding which wizard is better). I thought for sure that someone would use a gay slur against Dumbledore, given that he's a gay character. But no, all fifteen comments are totally slur-free, and in fact a lot are super-geeky, opinionated rants about which character is superior. (For my money, it's Dumbledore, who actually lived in the world, as opposed to Gandalf, who was never really a part of Middle Earth, just sort of floating above it all, eventually abandoning it. That makes him a far less interesting character to me.) You can have a spirited, hilarious, hate-free discussion. This is proof. If there were more items like this, I'd have to give up this blog.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

You Make J.K. Rowling Cry

Today's Failbook fail: Welcome to the Wizarding World of Fat Puns!

Sorry about yesterday's failure to post, everyone. I live in the catchment area of the worst power company in the nation, so any time the D.C. area gets "weather" (of any kind), I'm without Internet. Last night I went to bed super-early and read a John Irving novel by the light of a hand-cranked flashlight. I felt like a damn pioneer girl.

Anyway, onto today's Failbook fail. This is one of those fails that does not inspire my outrage, only my contempt. It's just a bunch of jackasses making Harry Potter-related "yo momma" jokes, with the predictable fat hatred and lookism (e.g. "Your momma's so fat she has the Goblet of Gravy").

Honestly, as an avowed Harry Potter lover, these just make me sad. Why take a series that is essentially life-affirming and moral and use it for this crappy schtick? Can't you base your stupid fat jokes on Twilight, or Atlas Shrugged? Or, better yet, don't hate people on the basis of their weight, but that's asking for the moon, I know.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Not a High Bar to Clear

You know, I was all geared up for a good rant this evening. Why? Because I'm on the rag, and the deep and persistent pain in my uterus makes me want to tear into things -- and it's better for me to tear into sexism and racism than it is for me to tear into, say, the wall. For the sake of both the wall and my hands.

However, having read all of Failbook's posts for today, nothing lights my fire. You've got your usual oddballs and ignorant turds, and I wouldn't say that each post today was a model for how people of different backgrounds can get along in this crazy world, but no one is admitting to sexual assault, so that makes it a good day for humanity at Facebook. I can't believe I just typed that sentence. I feel so sad.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Believe It Or Not, the Horror Escalates

Today's Failbook fail: Her Police Report Will Be the Last Laugh Though.

Some jackass writes a status message about how much he loves girls' breasts. Other dudebros say, "Totally, brodude." A woman says she'd be surprised if any women let the OP near their breasts.

The OP's response? Ahem: "groped my stepsister in her sleep this morning, so it looks like the joke's on you. and her too, i guess."

Yes. That's the "joke."

To quote the fabulous flick Zoolander, I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. Is this really what you've stooped to, Failbook? I mean, you didn't have to stoop very far -- ahem, raping the homeless, but still -- a guy molests his stepsister IN HER SLEEP, and you feel that's a good thing to spread to the masses of jackasses who read your "humorous" posts.

Do you seriously, seriously not understand that by posting these things, you're legitimizing and normalizing them? One of my favorite comics did a strip about this concept: you think something is unspeakable -- like sexual assault, or incest -- but little by little you can inch towards thinking it's acceptable. Posts like this one on Failbook do exactly that. Congratulations, douchehounds.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What Would Yeshua Do? Not Post This.

Today's Failbook fail: Think of All the Siestas He Would've Taken Too.

Someone says they'd have preferred Jesus turn water into margaritas. (I'll take a Black River Boogie as long as you're taking requests, Jesus!) Some jackass comments, "then it'd be hay-soos, not gee-sus."

Besides being racist, this is also just incredibly stupid. First of all, I'm going to say in world production and consumption of margaritas, American college students probably are way out ahead. Some American college students are also Latino, mind you, but making and/or drinking a margarita is hardly a referendum on someone's race.

But even more stupid, to me, is the idea that Jesus actually pronounced his name "Gee-sus." I mean, that's what this jackass is implying, right? That Jesus was a nice white boy who pronounced his name the way modern-day white Americans do? Let me be the bearer of surprising news, then: Jesus was Semitic, probably looked more like modern-day Arabs more than anything, and pronounced his own name "Ye-shu-a." Because that was his name. Yeshua Ben Yosef. This whole "Jesus" thing is how the Greeks and Romans butchered that Jewish boy's moniker.

Oh, and Failbook has to make matters worse, as per usual. Yeah, those lazy Latinos, taking siestas! What the fuck, Failbook, is your staff comprised of former Warner Bros. employees who were cryogenically frozen in the 1950s?

I almost wish there had been a better fail today, because this one is just so stupid. On the other hand, I have to be thankful we don't have another show of pure evil like yesterday.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

No God Would Allow This Post To Happen

Today's Failbook fail: I'd Like to Think It's "Jumanji."

Someone wonders in their status what name atheists call out in bed. (As an atheist with a sex life, let me answer this burning question once and for all. Many of us do still say "god" in that situation, as well as others: "God, it's freezing in here"; "Just shut the door, for god's sake!"; "Oh my god"; etc. It doesn't mean we secretly believe in a deity. It means we use that syllable as an exclamation because it's so common in the English-speaking world.)

Anyway, back to the fail. A jackass replies, "Mine." (Ha. Um. Ha ha. Yes, we all call your name, rando.) Then the original posters says, "I said Atheists. Not High Park Homeless."

Eesh, wow, that some serious classism right there, in that the OP is clearly trying to insult the commenter by insinuating s/he has sex with homeless people.

But the response from the commenter is breathtaking it its horror: "What's the difference? By the time I'm finished with them they don't believe in a loving god any more [sic] anyway."

WHAAAAAAAAT. First of all, first of all, this comment is the end of the post! Meaning that THIS is the "joke" that Failbook thinks is so damn funny that it deserves to be posted! THE FACT THAT THE COMMENTER IS JOKING ABOUT RAPING HOMELESS PEOPLE. THAT IS THE "JOKE." THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH DISDAINFUL QUOTATION MARKS IN THE WORLD TO PUT AROUND THE WORD "JOKE."

Secondly, let's revisit the fact that this person just straight-up said, "I rape homeless people!" If you truly believe that this is not what this "joke" is about, you are deluded beyond my ability to yell the truth into your ear. This is the commenter's idea of a one-up. The OP insulted him/her by saying, "You have sex with homeless people." The commenter one-ups the OP by saying, "You mean I rape homeless people."

For some reason, although if the actual messages made up the post, it would rightfully be seen as horrifying, veiled statements that convey the exact same message are . . . hilarious? Supposedly? To their (small) credit, the commenters on the Failbook post seem just as mystified as I am. When even the rape-loving commenters at Failbook think you've gone off the rails, you've gone off the fucking rails, Failbook.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Too Tired for a Good Title

Today's Failbook fail: His Man Card Was the Admission Price, Don't Worry.

I'm gonna be honest with you all -- I went out drinking with friends tonight, and I'm in no shape to write a long-ass entry. (I'm not drunk -- I can't get drunk anymore, thank you so much, crappy pancreas -- just bone tired.)

So, you know the drill. A man admits he likes something not coded 100% masculine. His gender is called into question. We've seen this before. It's stupid. The end.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I Have to Go Cry Myself to Sleep Now.

Today's Failbook fail: FAILy nd Frens.

Congratulations, Failbook. Today's fail is the first one of the 35ish I've posted that has literally made me sick to my stomach.

The whole fail -- THE WHOLE THING -- is just a photo of a fat Black woman holding the ASL "I love you" sign in front of a prison visiting room window, behind which her Black partner (boyfriend? husband?), decked out in prison orange, looks really happy to see her.

The photo, which was posted by the woman, is captioned, "tyrone gonna bail out soon baby i love you hang i there!"

That's the "fail." The "fail" is that this Black woman is audacious enough to love a Black man in prison. The "fail" is not that America has jailed so many Black men. The "fail" is not that America continues to oppress Black people, creating ghettos, economic instability, childhood malnutrition, lack of education, and through-the-roof homicide rates.

Look, I don't know what this poor guy did (if anything). But just looking at their faces, it's really hard for me to believe that the guy is, say, a murderer. (Would he be about to be let out on bail if he were? Probably not.) Nine chances out of ten, he got thrown in there for some minor drug offense. He has a partner who loves him and came to visit him in jail. She smiled as she snapped a photo of the two of them together in the only way they could be in that moment. And Failbook labeled it "fail."

I sincerely hope this couple never finds the Failbook post about them. If they do, I hope they don't scroll down to see the comments such as:
  • "jeez, just ship them back to africa for god’s sake…"
  • "Wunn munckeey enn kaje. Uthhuur owt." (Or, in actual English, "One monkey in cage. Other out.")
  • "send them to africa! they already claim it partially as their nationality. i don’t hyphenate it, i am american!"
  • "Wonder how many crotch droppings she’s toting around."
I didn't even have to scroll down that far. The comments are just radiating with racist hatred. Hence my nausea. Fuck you, Failbook.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Nothing Is "Fine" Here, Actually

Today's Failbook fail: It's Fine, She Was Wearing a Helmet.

This gem must be reproduced in its entirety:

Jackass #1 (apparently female): my boyfriend slapped a retard today! LOL
Jackass #2 (male? female?): all domestic violence should be reported. you shouldn't let him hit you again.

And then some asshole "liked" the second jackass's comment.

So Jackass #1 is proud of her boyfriend for a) being violent b) towards a disabled person. Or, if the person was actually not developmentally disabled, then she is using the word "retard" to describe someone she thinks is, well, not valuable as a person. So she's racking up two points.

And Jackass #2 is c) making light of domestic violence d) in order to call Jackass #1 a "retard." Two more points! Bravissimo!

And then, just for that extra fail to push it up to a nice handful of points, Failbook titles the post "It's Fine, She Was Wearing a Helmet." It's funny because the boyfriend did slap the original poster, and therefore she is the "retard" in question, but Failbook says it's okay!! BECAUSE SHE WAS WEARING A HELMET HA HA HA HA HA.

Hey, did you know that developmentally disabled people have feelings? I don't think the Failbook crew knows. I mean, I have to believe they don't know, because the alternative makes me want to throw myself into a ravine.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Today's Failbook fail: iAmanidiot.

Some sucker leaves his Facebook logged in at an Apple store. Some jackass takes the opportunity to post a status message.

Well, okay, maybe you or I would do the same thing. But would you say "Im [sic] a little gay boy" and "I just got fraped"? No, no you would not. First, if you're reading this, there's a good chance that you don't believe calling someone "gay" is an insult. Second, you probably also would never use the word "frape," because it is a ridiculous insult to rape victims.

In a stunning turn of events, I'm not by myself on this one. Someone in Failbook's comments section brings up their discomfort with the homophobic slur. The response? I shit you not: it is, in full, "Because most ppl aren’t little f@gz like you. get off the internet if you don’t like ppl making fun of that scum". Delightful. Hope you enjoy the culture you're encouraging, Failbook! (Are there really no gay employees there? No women, either? No rape victims?)

Here are some alternate pranks, given that you hate neither gay people nor rape victims:
  • Post the status, "Please taunt me for leaving myself signed in at the Apple Store. 'Like' this if you want to teach me a lesson!"
  • Change the sucker's favorite bands to Nickelback, Creed, and Staind.
  • Fill in "Steve Jobs worshiper" in the sucker's "Religion" field.
If you're not familiar with humor that's not at the expense of oppressed groups of people, you might need more training than I can give in one blog post. See your local Learning Annex for more.

Monday, January 17, 2011

"I think I have bronchitis." "Never mind that, how 'bout a nose job?"

Today's Failbook fail: Bedside Manner.

The exchange that goes most of the way through the comments on this status is near and dear to my heart. I'm troubled by the medical profession a) upselling patients on entirely cosmetic services, and b) fat-shaming patients to the extent that they don't want to seek medical attention anymore.

To expand more on (a): this has happened to me quite a bit recently. I've moved, so I've had new dentists a couple times in the last three years. Every time I fill out a new patient intake form, I've had to answer bullshit questions like, "If you could change one thing about your smile, what would it be?" and "Are your teeth as white as you'd like them to be?" This angers me. I'm seeking medical attention, but instead of having my issues addressed, I'm being pressured to purchase things that will not make me healthier, just make the dentists richer. The same thing happens in dermatologists' offices (seeking treatment for a rash, I was made to fill out a form almost begging me to take an interest in Botox) and at the nutritionist (I was there because of an endocrine disorder, but hammered with offers for weight-loss products).

It's my opinion that this is a real violation of trust inherent in the doctor/patient relationship. But instead of going on and on about this, I'll merely point out that the patient in this Failbook post has a perfectly valid point. Why would a pediatrician's first question to her young patient be, "What are you doing about your acne?" This is bordering on unethical. Surely the appropriate first question is if she's been feeling all right lately and/or has any concerns or complaints.

Acne is not life-threatening. In all but a handful of cases, it is annoying but cosmetic, and disappears for most people naturally around age 20. Some adolescents feel strongly enough about their acne that they treat it, even when the treatments can have heavy side effects. Others prefer to let acne run its course. And most kids fall somewhere in the middle, putting Noxzema on it when it gets bad. These are all valid options, and a doctor shouldn't make acne an issue unless a patient brings it up.

Now, (b) is a much bigger issue. Others have written about it far more eloquently than I, but I'll make a few points:
  1. Shaming patients for their weight does not inspire them to keep up on medical care for themselves.
  2. Fat does not equal unhealthy.
  3. Changing your diet to lose weight does not work.
  4. If this doctor should be recommending anything, it's physical activity (which this girl may already be engaging in! -- who knows if the doctor even asked).
Good on this girl for recognizing the crappy care she's getting. So why is this Failbook post a fail, if the poster in the original status message brought up two big, legitimate issues about her medical care, and her friend backed her up? Can you guess? Can you???

If you guessed, "Some dude jumped into the thread and mansplained why the girls are OH SO WRONG," ten points to you!! And BRAVO. You truly know the power of the mansplanation.

Anyway, some jackass pops in and mouths crap about how these girls want their doctor to "pussyfoot" and "sugarcoat." No, they want their doctors to treat them with respect. I know, it's a radical notion: treating a pimply, fat teenage girl with respect?? ABSURD. NOT WHILE I STILL HAVE BREATH IN MY BODY.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I Would Have Broken the Thing Over His Head

Today's Failbook fail: Men Are Subtle.

There's something so heartbreaking about this post. One woman's status message is that her husband has bought her razors instead of flowers. One can only imagine that this is his way of insisting she submit to the cultural norm of the smooth-legged, smooth-underarmed woman.

But the comment on the status really takes things to another level. The second woman confesses that when she was pregnant and told her husband she could no longer scrub the bathtub, he bought her a scrubber on a stick.

Is there no more shining example of male privilege than this one? He is unable to conceive that he himself should clean the bathroom, even when his wife is limited in her movements because she's carrying his child.

One may wonder at the people put on display in this post. However, given that Failbook is supposed to be "Too Funny to Unfriend," not, say, "Too Sad, in a John Updike Novel Sort of Way, to Unfriend," this is definitely a fail.