All right. I am officially sick of this “man cave” shit.

Apparently, since, y’know, there’s nothing else going on in the world, CNN has decided to pick up on the latest trend in home decorating – man caves, mantuaries, mantown, whatever the hell you’d like to call it, it’s the place in the house where the poor, beleaguered husband can go to be surrounded by his manly things and be free of his nagging harpy of a wife for a while.

No, I’m not exaggerating here. Go on, have a look.

The article is entitled “Why he needs a room of his own. The first bullet point is, “Man caves are a place for what a man’s gotta do.”

What, exactly, does a man gotta do?

I understand the importance of having your own space, a place for your things where you aren’t tripping over your significant other all the time. When we bought our house, we liked having three bedrooms so we each could have our own offices, our own spaces. Now that my husband has started the process of moving his office down to the basement (because it’s so much cooler in the summer), we’ve jokingly called it The Lair.

However, it’s being done for practical purposes, not so he can get away from the shrew upstairs. At no time have I ever felt like there’s a “No Girls Allowed” sign on the door, or as though I can’t go downstairs to talk to him, like the rules for these man caves seem to imply.

Jill Scully, 31, of Pescadero, California, doesn’t sneak up on fiancĂ© Nicholas Woodman, 32, in his lair, a barn outfitted with $13,000 of race car simulation equipment.

Nicholas, an amateur club circuit racer and owner of a digital sports camera company, takes the jostling driver’s seat for hours on end — helmet on, lights off, surround sound blaring. Interrupting her fiancĂ© might make him “crash,” so Jill, who helps run Nicholas’ company, waits until the end of the “race” before announcing herself.

“This deal conveniently ensures I have to be a spectator for a good half hour until his race comes to a close and I can interrupt,” she says.

I’m not sure how anything about this is “convenient.” This woman has to stand and watch what her husband’s doing, and be quiet until he’s ready to acknowledge her. I can understand not interrupting for a few minutes – we both play World of Warcraft, and there have been times when one of us has been in the middle of a boss fight when the other wanders in to ask a question. So, sure, waiting a few minutes to ask if he’s seen the car keys or if I remembered to add something to the Netflix queue is fine. But there’s always at least the acknowledgement that the other person is in the room – most of the time, the headset will come right off so whoever needs to ask a question can get an answer.

Having to shut up and wait, though? For a half hour? That’s ridiculous. And why does she have to be a spectator? Why not just go away and do her own thing, if she’s being ignored anyway? It certainly seems as though his time is more important than hers, if she has to stand there and wait. How is that a relationship between equals?

The whole presentation is simply insulting – that men need this place to get away from it all – the kids, the in-laws, the wife. The only mention of a reciprocal situation comes from (surprise) the marriage counselor: “‘My wife has a lot of quilting and sewing stuff in her office and she likes to sew and not be bothered,’ Brody says. ‘I think we all have that need.'”

It’s one thing to have separate spaces, but the whole idea of “mantown” borders on being insulting to the women in these relationships, no matter how CNN tries to spin it. The women quoted all have positive things to say, but the subtext makes my skin crawl.

So, here’s my first mooninite finger in a long time, pointed right at the mancaves.

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Seriously, fuck this noise.

October 31, 2007

Did you know that Al Qaeda is behind the California wildfires?

It is more or less beyond my powers of communication to express the utter absurdity of this “news” story, and my disdain for the morally bankrupt originators thereof – but I’m going to do my damndest, because I really need to give more Fingers and it seems I can only do it when I’m angry. As it should be!

The connection here is so utterly tenuous as to be nonexistent. To quote directly from the report, “police officers in a hovering helicopter saw a guy starting one of these fires.” A guy. A guy. And then these vague reports of an “al Qaeda detainee” warning of possible fire-starting as a terror tactic. Four years ago. Mentioning four states that distinctly were not California.

Let’s give Fox “News” the benefit of the doubt here – assume that this memo was in fact relevant and extant. Assume that “a guy” started at least one of these fires. At what fucking point does this become a newsworthy conclusion? This is speculation at best, and stinks to high heaven of the fear-mongering that the American right has adopted as their standard of operation.

Frightened people think with their skins, and that suits a certain cross-section of the political machine just fine. Fox “News” wants you to be afraid. “Fox News” has the culprit* for every disaste. Fox “News” will happily tell you that 2 + 2 = terrorism. Because if you live in a universe where Islamofascism is at the root of every evil, then Rudy Giuliani starts to make a little bit of sense. And that, this fine Hallow’s Eve, is something to be afraid of.

So here’s a big heavy metal Finger to nonsensical fear and those who would make it the currency of our nation. We don’t need that shit.

*From Achewood by Chris Onstad. Art used without permission.

[BeginNewSpeak]

This post is not about the following things:

  • Barack Obama’s refusal to wear an American flag pin on his lapel.
  • A reporter who could have asked any question–like one about health care or torture–but asked about why Obama wasn’t wearing an American flag.
  • The pundit’s ridiculous responses*
  • The amount of time devoted to this story on the national news
  • The amount of bandwidth devoted to this story
  • How the New York Times made this their lead story on their website
  • The lack of coverage of real issues in a substantive way

[EndNewSpeak]

And now, sincerely:

The Salute

*”Why do we wear pins? Because our country was attacked!” Yeah, stick that pin on and be a hero, asshole.