away from the racist, classist center, democrats

I’m getting pretty fucking sick of cisgender, heterosexual, professional/upper class white dudes lecturing leftists on how shit our policies are and how little we’ve done for the Democrats. It continues today in the New York Times, in an opinion piece titled, “Back to the Center, Democrats,” by Andrew Stein and Mark Penn. Here is a taste:

Central to the Democrats’ diminishment has been their loss of support among working-class voters, who feel abandoned by the party’s shift away from moderate positions on trade and immigration, from backing police and tough anti-crime measures, from trying to restore manufacturing jobs. They saw the party being mired too often in political correctness, transgender bathroom issues and policies offering more help to undocumented immigrants than to the heartland.

This piece is full of useful advice for Democrats, such as, “restore the sanctity of America’s borders,” “reject socialist ideas,” “give up on both building walls and sanctuary cities” (side note: pray tell when progressives were into building walls; pretty sure that was all conservatives, and frankly, fuck you both for equating xenophobic walls and sanctuary cities), be nicer to the Catholics, and back tougher anti-crime/pro-police bills. You know, if I were going to write a parody of the asinine think pieces about how Democrats really need to get back to the center, it would look a lot like this loose stool Penn and Stein managed to squeeze out. Continue reading away from the racist, classist center, democrats

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food justice is reproductive justice

Depressing stories about reproductive healthcare and rights routinely fill the news: four Planned Parenthood clinics close in Iowa due to targeted budget cuts, our ass of a president expanded the global gag rule that prevents organizations that provide abortions from receiving U.S. foreign aid money, the soulless ghouls who make up the U.S. Senate Republicans have created a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare that targets reproductive healthcare,  and the TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale strikes fear into our hearts (I guess this one is only depressing because it’s “too real,” as they say).  In the United States, activists and feminists continue to struggle just to beat back anti-abortion legislation. Unfortunately, this has meant that many of us are stuck in a reproductive rights paradigm. The reproductive rights framework for activism is generally limited to the legal sphere and focused primarily on the legal right for someone to have an abortion. This legal right is, of course, nothing to sneeze at, and reproductive rights are critical to reproductive freedom. However, as a paradigm for movement-building, reproductive rights lacks the capacity to effectively connect with other social movements, and to move beyond a narrow focus on choice and “women’s health.” Continue reading food justice is reproductive justice

portobello poblano tacos

I love mushrooms and am always looking for more things to do with them! Go to an amusement park, rollerblade in the park, grab a drink at that new, cool bar in town…Ha ha just kidding, I meant I’m always looking for new ways to eat them!

Anyway, I made these tacos, and they were delicious! They are also very easy to make, and don’t take super long. They are deeply savory, salty, a little spicy, and not too heavy while still being filling! I ate them with a corn and bean salad (just corn, beans, red onion, lime juice, and spices). I watched an episode of Chef’s Table while I ate and felt inadequate, which didn’t feel as nice as the taco I was inhaling. I do not recommend Chef’s Table as a media pairing with this meal, or any meal for that matter. It will just make you feel bad.

Anyway, happy summer! Pepper season (and the season of most delicious things) is nearly upon us, and all of us who work in offices all day have increased staring out the window time by 50% (only some of us are daydreaming of peppers though). Enjoy the tacos and the sunshine, fellow Northern Hemisphere folks! Continue reading portobello poblano tacos

moving restorative justice from margins to center: what i learned

This past weekend, I went to Oakland, California, to attend the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice‘s annual conference, this year titled, “Moving Restorative Justice from Margins to Center: We’re The Ones We’ve Been Waiting For.” It was a truly incredible experience. I’m grateful and humbled to have been able to learn from some seriously visionary and creative activists. This conference was where you can find the people who have ideas so big and daring, it’s a little bit scary. It’s definitely scary to people who are invested in the status quo, which is what made it so awesome! Here are some of the lessons from the conference that resonated most strongly with me, and that I imagine will stick with me for a really long time. Continue reading moving restorative justice from margins to center: what i learned

miso chicken ramen

I had my first bowl of ramen in March 2016. I could not believe I had gone 21 years without ever having ramen that wasn’t Maruchan instant noodles! It was a shockingly different dish from the salty, thin broth-ed soup of my youth. As I had more experiences with ramen and became more interested in cooking, I was excited to find a recipe for ramen that I could make. LOL! If anyone else has looked into making ramen from scratch at home, they know it is a long and fussy process. Fortunately, there are versions of ramen in between traditional and instant. This is one!

Though I aspire to eat entirely vegan, I also prioritize wasting as little food as possible, which means that I sometimes eat meaty leftovers that no one else wants. In this case, I had some shredded chicken on hand from a friend who was going out of town and wouldn’t be able to eat it. I was craving something warm and comforting, and decided to try my hand at a ramen-y noodle soup. It turned out to be really delicious! The broth was rich, savory, and salty, and everything else was nice and simple. I think this could pretty easily be made with tofu or mushrooms if you want to make it vegan-friendly. Otherwise, everything else is vegan! It was really satisfying, and very easy to make. I’m excited to look around for more pseudo-ramen recipes. If you’re looking for a vegan, full-on ramen experience, though, here’s a recipe that I haven’t tried but that looks delicious from Serious Eats. Enjoy! Continue reading miso chicken ramen

vegan baozi with savory miso-mushroom filling

I think we can all agree that “savory, filled dough pocket” is the most delicious food category on this beautiful planet we call home. Empanadas, gyoza, ravioli, pierogies, samosas. They’re all so different, but they all take me to sweet, sweet ecstasy! I especially love bao, soft, puffy steamed buns with savory fillings. I’ve been intimidated by them for a while because they require a yeast dough, but they ended up being pretty easy! They just require some time and patience. They can be filled with anything your little heart desires. This filling was very delicious– savory, rich but not heavy, and salty with a bit of bite from the vinegar.

I synthesized two recipes from the Kitchn and Food52. Good luck and enjoy!!!! (Also, for active dry yeast users, the Food52 recipe uses that kind of yeast. Very easily adaptable.) Continue reading vegan baozi with savory miso-mushroom filling

gender studies rule, boys drool: “the conceptual penis” and sexist attempts to discredit feminist scholarship

When I first read “The Conceptual Penis” and the authors’ accompanying article explaining their hoax, I was pissed. I was a women’s and gender studies major in college; the discipline changed my life and my understanding of the world. I hold it in very high esteem (though that’s not to say there are no problems with the field, or with academia as a whole). Gender studies is not only very important to me personally. It’s also an extremely important addition to and subversion of traditional academic departments. The authors of “The Conceptual Penis” and I do not share these views.

The hoax, which was published by Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay (under pseudonyms) in the journal Cogent Social Sciences, was a play on a similar “hoax” by the physicist Alan Sokal in 1996. Sokal submitted a fake paper to a peer-reviewed journal as a prank that aimed to show that any article could be published in even fancy journals if it was filled with enough big words and run-on sentences to please postmodern academic sensibilities, and if it aligned with postmodern (left-of-center) ideology.

Inspired by Sokal, Boghossian and Lindsay submitted an article to Cogent titled, “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct.” In a piece that they wrote to explain the hoax, they say:

The paper was ridiculous by intention, essentially arguing that penises shouldn’t be thought of as male genital organs but as damaging social constructions. We made no attempt to find out what ‘post-structuralist discursive gender theory’ actually means. We assumed that if we were merely clear in our moral implications that maleness is intrinsically bad and that the penis is somehow at the root of it, we could get the paper published in a respectable journal…After completing the paper, we read it carefully to ensure it didn’t say anything meaningful, and as neither one of us could determine what it is actually about, we deemed it a success.”

Aside from the arrogant, smarmy tone of the piece (which is annoying but not really a substantive problem), there are some serious issues with the premise of their “hoax”:  at its heart, it’s a sexist attempt to discredit gender studies rather than a genuine academic exploration; their theorizing is not as silly as they make it sound; their own positionalities and ideologies prevent them from seeing the limitations of their “hoax;” and it’s simply bad scholarship with a conclusion that lacks supporting evidence and authors who intentionally obscure any evidence that contradicts their ideology, which is the exact crime they accuse gender studies of committing. To put it bluntly, they’re full of shit and are having a power trip by creating a sexist caricature of gender studies. Continue reading gender studies rule, boys drool: “the conceptual penis” and sexist attempts to discredit feminist scholarship