Everyday Feminism: What if going to the bathroom were activism?

A bathroom sign depicting the five genders

A bathroom sign depicting the five genders

The bathroom: we all go there, but do we do it for the right reasons? In many states, Americans reinforce patriarchy by using gender-segregated public restrooms. Other, better states have gender-neutral public restrooms, but people still use them in ways that enforce their gender privilege. By “people,” I mean men. Fortunately, Everyday Feminism has published this handy, 2300-word guide titled 6 Helpful Ways to Check Your Male Privilege in Gender-Neutral Bathrooms. There are actually seven items on the list, but four of them boil down to “don’t cover the seat in urine.” Another item is “wash your hands,” which raises questions about the line between politics and hygiene. But what if washing your hands were a feminist act? What if resisting the patriarchy were as easy as not laughing at strangers when they pass gas? If that were true, I could do feminism every day, just by continuing my normal behavior.

Continue reading

Combat! blog meets deadline, isn’t useful

A lowly scribe

A lowly scribe

Once again, there is very little Combat! blog today, because I must hit deadline after deadline. It was my understanding that writing for a living would mostly involve wearing a big sweater and drinking coffee. That’s true, I guess, but they also make you type like a mother. I have typed away my whole day, or at least my ability to compose within it, and now I must rest. While I slumber, feed, and try to defeat whatever virus I contracted on the plane, how about you read this story about the president-elect claiming, without evidence, that the vote was rigged. I’m trying not to nurse the absurd fantasy that recounts will undo the results of this month’s election. If they did, it might arguably be worse for the country than an actual Trump presidency. But to think that our chief executive will spend the next four years Just Sayin’ Stuff on Twitter—and through goodness-know-what official organs—is to stand at the edge of the abyss. We’ll be back tomorrow with something else—anything else. Oh god.

Thousands believe this pizzeria is a front for Clinton child sex ring

Comet Ping Pong in Washington, DC

Comet Ping Pong in Washington, DC

There is very little Combat! blog today, because I am about to get on a plane for the third week in a row. While I submit to the tender mercies of United Airlines, how about you consider that we may have finally broken democracy? Thanks to fake news stories and social-media conspiracy theorists, thousands of people now believe that Comet Ping Pong, a pizzeria in Washington, DC, is the headquarters of a child sex-trafficking ring run by Hillary Clinton. The owner and his staff have been getting death threats, and they’ve seen their children’s pictures used as photos of victims in fabricated stories like Pizzagate: How 4Chan Unconvered the Sick World of Washington’s Occult Elite. Don’t search #pizzagate on Twitter unless you want to lose faith in the American experiment. It’s possible that we have failed to teach millions of people the critical thinking skills necessary to function in civil society. Everyone had to be this dumb in the early 19th century, before the advent of public schools. But could they share their dumb ideas this effectively? Perhaps the analog here is not present citizens:past citizens but present publishers:past publishers. Everyone may have been dumber in the 1830s, but they were not the editors of their own newspapers. O brave new world.

The day after we deported the immigrants


The day after we deported the last illegal immigrant, America was not yet great again. That’s to be expected. Even though illegal immigrants had been causing a lot of problems, something as complex as the United States isn’t going to turn around overnight. We’re talking about a whole, complicated system. It would take a while for the job creators to restaff the illegal immigrant’s old, illegal jobs with working-class white people. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

But then, on the anniversary of the day we deported the last illegal immigrant, America still wasn’t great. The factories hadn’t opened up again, and houses cost about the same as they did before. They were still too slow at the doctor’s office. The busboys were all white teenagers with no sense at all, but otherwise, little had changed.

We figured something must have gone wrong, and it didn’t take long to figure out what. Even though we had gotten rid of the illegals, there were still a bunch of legal immigrants who were basically the same people. They came from the same places. They looked and talked the same way: different. The only difference between an illegal immigrant and a legal immigrant is a piece of paper, and that’s no difference at all. When you’re tackling a project as big as making America great again, you have to tell it like it is. Anybody who says otherwise is just being politically correct.

So we deported all the legal immigrants, too. Anybody who wasn’t born here was out. We figured that would make America great again. But after a year or so, everything was still about the same. If anything, the doctor’s office got even slower, and there were a lot fewer restaurants. But the big stuff—jobs, terrorism, that overall feeling that everything was getting worse—hardly changed at all. All we did was spend a billion dollars on trains.

Then we realized what it was: Even though we had gotten rid of all the immigrants, their kids were still here. Technically, they were born in America. But everybody knows that if your parents are from Mexico or Syria, you’re not going to learn American values. You’re going to learn what they teach you. All those people were running around keeping America from being great, acting like this was their country just because they grew up here. And then they turn around and indoctrinate their kids!

It was a real problem, so to make America great again, we deported people whose parents or grandparents were immigrants. A lot of people didn’t have their grandparents’ birth certificates, and some didn’t even know who all of their grandparents were, so we deported them, too, just to be safe. Now everyone in America is an American, and it’s going to be great. I mean, what else could the problem be?