Why I Won’t Watch The Handmaid’s Tale

It’s been a long time since I’ve written an opiniony blog but this is something that I’ve been thinking a lot about and have developed strong feelings about. It’s also probably not a coincidence that my uterus is doing a cleanse with all the bells and whistles which doesn’t normally happen because of my IUD and in the past I’d work out all my opinions on my uterus schedule. But that’s not important and it’s not necessary for anyone to know. But now you do. Spoilers(ish) but only if you haven’t watched any popular tv for 3 years.

To be straight up, I’ve only watched the first three episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale and only stopped because I was busy and wanted postpone watching until I had the time to really watch. I’ve read 7-8 Margaret Atwood novels and am very familiar with the plot of The Handmaid’s Tale.

My problem with the TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale stems from my overall problem with TV adaptations in general. Books progress through plots, climax, and end. You can literally feel the progression of a book as you turn pages and feel the imminent final chapters with your thumb. A book is a complete package. TV is not. TV is dynamic and responsive to viewership, and employs huge crews, writers, and actors who like having jobs and all that disincentivizes the show from ever ending, which pushes the writers to come up with new material that still must somehow fit the plot of the book.

The way writers have chosen to do this is to maximize shock and brutality. It’s clear in The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and Orange is the New Black. Do you know what actually happens in the Orange is the New Black memoir written by Piper Kerman? She goes to prison, doesn’t like the food, meets a transwoman, and is out after like, 5 months and marries Larry who is actually a super good guy. Meanwhile in the show, sociopath guards are brutalizing helpless women, torturing them mentally and physically.

Although I haven’t watched The Handmaid’s Tale, I keep up enough to know what’s going on and it sounds like it’s going down a very similar path. Viewers are baited with a light at the end of the tunnel and ultimate redemption, but in the meantime the female characters are physically and mentally abused, raped, and tortured.

While some of this happens in the book, my concern is how common this is on TV, especially for female viewers. My larger concern is that these shows are blanketed with a feminist label so that people can forgive themselves by being entertained by it (even though Atwood has historically been unwilling to associate with a feminist label for her work.) I think that people want to believe they’re doing some good by participating in viewership because of the political and cultural themes and criticisms within the show, making watching itself a political action. I believe that this is false and makes people forget that this is entertainment written by people who need to turn a 311 page book into a multi-season program and need to keep upping the ante to maintain strong number and will do so at the expense of their female characters.

I had the same problem with Game of Thrones when they started to deviate from the book plots in order to stuff some extra seasons in there before George gets back to us with TWOW. I stopped watching for 3 years after the episode in which Sansa was raped because I could not longer reason with myself on why I would want to watch a show that is so gratuitous with violence against women, particularly when it does not further the plot.

My other concern (brought to my attention by this tweet) is that TV encourages viewers to empathize with the villains of the show, manipulating and manufacturing feelings in the viewers that they should not be made to feel. OITNB did this with Coates after he raped Doggett AND with Baxter Bailey after he killed Poussey. Writers are trying to create personal conflict for viewers and encourage them to sympathize with truly evil people. One could argue that viewers have the responsibility to challenge their own views but it ignores the question of why the writers want you to feel something for the villains in the first place.

Ultimately, I’m sick of shows using feminist language and marketing to get away with extreme and graphic violence towards women in entertainment. I think The Handmaid’s Tale could have made an excellent mini series if it had just stuck to the book, which is how I feel about most TV adaptations. I think American TV in general could benefit if shows had 3-4 seasons on average rather than 8+. Actually, I think all TV should be like Jane the Virgin which is the actual best feminist show on TV right now and is entering it’s fifth and final season this fall. It’s bright and original which allows the plots and drama to flow without emotionally exhausting the watcher. Can’t recommend it enough but I digress.

Of course would never judge anyone else for watching THT and am happy to entertain conversations about it, but THT, OITNB, and even Anne with an E are permanently off my “to watch” list. Women are brutalized enough in real life, I don’t need it in my living room.

Summer Update Pt II

Summer is more than halfway through and I feel like it’s been very okay. Okay plus, actually. I think working only three days a week is the best thing for me, even if it’s completely unsustainable. Today I spent an hour and a half in the gym, most of it was just chilling because I had nothing else to do!

My side hustle of writing blog posts for random clients has been working out -more or less-. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than trying to deal with a traditional hourly job or God forbid going back to Starbucks. I have an interview with a part time position that I might be able to swing during the school year so we will see how that goes.

My internship is fine. I don’t want to talk about it so publicly until I’m done and able to summarize the whole experience. I did get to shadow some town employees during mosquito (aka bloodsluts) abatement (aka Skeet Shooting as I kept calling it) and on Wednesday I’m going on a police ridealong and then shadowing on investigations. I LOVE CRIME* so I am the most excited for this week.

At the beginning of the summer, I made a few goals for myself on my Summer Bucket List. Of the list, I’ve accomplished a few. I have launched a podcast (it’s called The World As We Know It the blog is a mess but our recordings are really good please check it out and tell you friends. rate us 5 stars and write a review and we will tell you how hot you are,) l have become a regular at this French restaurant in town, and have an 80% success rate on my goal of going on one date per week (like, it averages out to .8 for the whole summer). Wish I was drinking more margaritas, I don’t know how popular of an intern I am, and have barely looked at Twilight Princess.

I miss my friends from school a lot. I still wish I had tried to go somewhere else for my internship but the more I think about it, it really wouldn’t make that much financial sense or difference for what I want to do.

The other big thing I’ve been focusing on is changing my use of social media. I unfollowed all tag accounts on Facebook and Insta, as well as most celebrities and business pages. I’ve been focusing on using it for its original purpose- to stay in contact with friends and see what they’re up to. I’m tired of seeing the news and 87 identical opinions about the latest tragedy. I can get my news from news sources, and I feel that seeing everyone’s reactions is more performative than substantive.

Obv, I value my friends’ opinions but I think that if they wanted to talk to me about something they would talk to me and not just rely on me seeing a tweet about it to know how they felt. With that, I don’t think it’s positive for me to see all the negative all the time. I like to use my SM for jokes and sharing photos primarily but I will easily fall into traps and get emotionally invested in things that ultimately have no effect.

In sum, I am going to try and use SM as an enhancement of 90’s living. Like focus mainly on what’s happening around me but use it as a communication tool to check in with my friends who live far away and as a place for my funny jokes and pictures and to promote my podcast. Keep it separate from my news and business.

Am most excited for everyone to come back next month. Everything will be busy again and the streets will be a shit show but it’ll be like normal. Am very curious what the first years in my program will be like and I fully intend on enjoying what will definitely be my last year of school ever. Not gonna hold back (as if I was ever holding back before.)

Enjoy my selfies that I have to post as clickbait so people will actually read this and also

LISTEN TO MY PODCAST PLEASE

 

 

 

 

*I love people who work to solve crimes, not criminals themselves

My Green Chili Recipe

Every time I make a batch of green chili and post it to my instagram, I get a few requests for the recipe so I decided to post it and share my process with the world.

Green chili was my dad’s signature dish. He even won a neighborhood chili contest one and I think that he would have won even if my family hadn’t purchased extra votes in his favor. This isn’t his recipe, he used pork shoulder and chicken broth. He also used canned chilis and we have none of the same methods. Still, making the chili makes me feel kind of connected to my dad and home.

The process is a little time intensive for the first part but totally worth it. If you have someone who doesn’t mind doing bitch work in the kitchen, this can go a lot faster. I’m not strict about quantities when I cook, I always go by taste and by what feels right but I included them in my recipe from my most recent batch. I’ve also included a few pictures.

Utensils
-Crockpot or large stockpot
-Food Processor
-Cutting Board and Knife
-2 Sheet pans lined with aluminum foil
-Plastic Gloves

Ingredients
-2 lbs fresh Anaheim Peppers
-2 Poblano Peppers
-4 Jalapenos
-6 (6-8) Habaneros
-6 Cloves Garlic
-2 medium Onions
-7 medium tomatillos
-2 cans Rotel
-1 carton Vegetable Broth
-1 tbs Honey
-Lime Juice
-High Temp Cooking Oil (Avocado, Canola, etc)
-Spices (Cumin, Salt, Black Pepper, Chili Powder, Garlic Powder, etc)
-2 Shots Tequila
-2 Tbs Flour

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Wash and dry all the produce, I use some castille soap to get the waxy residue off the peppers and tomatillos.

To roast the chilis, coat all of them in a thin coat of cooking oil. I used avocado oil and just poured a little into my hands and then covered all of them with just my manos. Place them in a single layer on an aluminum lined baking sheet. Do this to all the peppers. quarter the onions, cut little Xs into the tomatillos, peel the garlic and coat all of these in oil too and place them on another baking sheet.

Set your oven to “Broil” and put your first baking sheet on the top rack for 7-10 minutes then take them out and flip everything  and put it back in for another 5-7 minutes so that the majority of the surface of the peppers is black and blistered. This makes them easier to peel and will also make your house smell great. When the first tray is out, go ahead and do the same with the other ingredients.

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I start to peel them when the peppers are still hot but you can probably wait a bit if you’re worried about burns. PUT ON THE PLASTIC GLOVES BEFORE CUTTING ANYTHING. You will save your fingies from being spicy and don’t risk experiencing the hell of touching peppers and then touching your eyes. To prepare the peppers, I cut off the tops, slice open the side of the pepper and scrape the seeds out. The skin may come off really easily, sometimes it takes a little more effort. Avoid leaving any skin on them since it doesn’t soften in the cooking process and they’re not very pleasant to consume. When they’re de-seeded and peeled, I like to stack them up and then dice all of them at once and throw the pieces in the food processor. When all the peppers are done, blitz them in the food processor for a few pulses and then pour them in the crockpot. How much you process them depends on how much texture you’d like. This is the lengthiest process out of all of it.

Next, put your roasted onions and garlic in the FP and pulse a few times until there aren’t big pieces and put them in the CP with their pepper friends. After that you should only have roasted tomatillos left. I put these in the FP with a cup of vegetable broth and process it until it’s smooth and liquid. Add this to the CP with the rest of the broth.

To thicken it, put 2 tablespoons of flour (or cornstarch) and stir that motherfucker. Now I just1 put whatever spices feels right in, but the main ones that should go in are cumin (it’s a11 strong flavor so be careful), salt, pepper, chili powder, onion salt, garlic powder, and I put the smallest amount of cinnamon in there because FUCK IT and I think it adds a little complexity. Then I squeeze some lime juice in there, two shots of tequila (idk if it actually helps the flavor but I like it). If I’m eating it right away, I put fresh cilantro in mine.

I’ll leave it on the Crock on High for a few hours and then set it to low until everything is soft and familiar in there. Don’t be shy about tasting it and adjusting it, it’s out of my hands now.

I like to eat green chili on it’s own, on breakfast foods, with potatoes, wherever. If My Fitness Pal is to be believed and I recorded it correctly, these are the nutrition facts for 1 of 10 servings: chili facts

Summer Bucket List

-Be the most popular intern during my internship

-Go somewhere for a weekend

-Adopt cat?

-Relearn German

-Go on at least one date per week

-Finish Twilight Princess (prob not going to happen, but…)

-Launch a podcast

-Set a new squat PR

-Drink many margaritas

-Go to the Richmond Shakespeare Festival

-Do 10 hikes

-become a regular somewhere

 

It’s short list so far but I hope to update it and cross things off as I go.

Back To My Own Ones

So it’s been a month since my last post and some things happened. I didn’t really miss anything big in April right? I spent the whole month writing papers and working on presentations but my work paid off of and I finished my semester with straight As. I’m bragging about it a lot now because, as you may remember, I struggled a lot last semester. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten all As in a semester before and until now I’ve been satisfied being a B student. But this felt nice and now I’m unwilling to compromise it.

Right now, I’m at my mom’s house in Green Mountain Falls. Being at home is nice but it’s a challenge. It turns out that when you run away from your problems, it’s a safe bet that your problems will be there when you get back anyway. I also just didn’t have much time here. I am driving back to Bloomington tomorrow and I’m going to try and one-and-done it again which my body won’t like but will be more time efficient by far.

I feel guilty because I don’t think anyone here got the time from me that they deserved. Staying in Green Mountain Falls meant that I was pretty far from all the Denver people, being here mostly during the week meant that I couldn’t see people with jobs.

The good news is that I’m on a steady diet of burritos and margaritas, I did the Incline in an impressive 4 hours (up and down, also that is not actually an impressive time), and I got some vintage dresses. Am including some great dog and mountain pictures below.

Am still looking for a part-time job in Bloomington to supplement my internship. Am looking mostly for on-campus positions because I cannot work in food or retail ever again. Am available Sat-Tuesdays. LMK what you know. Also, my roommate in Bloomington has moved out so if anyone is looking for a place and wants to sublet her room for the summer, I think we’d both appreciate it.

Guppy Guppy Veggie Puppy

Writing while procrastinating on my homework

For the past 3-4 years, I’ve been kind of a bad dog mom. It’s hard for me to admit it and I am thoroughly ashamed about it. Gertie got itchy paws and skin around the time we moved in with Beautiful Kate and little Draco and I couldn’t figure out why. I did a fair amount of internet research but there is a lot of conflicting information and there are a lot of potential reasons for her itchy feet. I soaked her feet in anti-fungal solutions and I took her to the vet to get steroid shots and I tried her on grain-free foods, chicken-free foods, wet food only, dry food only, etc and sometimes it helped but the problem always came back and poor baby was always itchy. She’d also often get an upset stomach or persistent diarrhea.

Two weeks ago I started her on a vegetarian dog food and so far the results have been positive. She sometimes licks her feet but the raw skin there is healing and her foot fur is growing back, her coat is softer and a little shinier, and her ears and skin aren’t as itchy as before. I don’t know that the problem is completely solved but I’m hope I’m on the right track.

Googie also doesn’t like eating dry food alone and vegetarian wet food by the can is pretty expensive so I have been making my own wet food for her that she seems to like. I call it “Good Girl Stew”, or as Gertie knows it “Goo Gew Stoow” and it’s mostly beans, spinach, peas, tomato, brown rice, and some other low-sugar vegetables that I threw in my slow cooker. I was careful to only pick dog-safe vegetables and the overall weekly cost is about the same as cheap wet food.

This post is not much other than me tooting my own horn and trying to openly resolve y guilt about letting Gertie be uncomfortable for so long but I’d also like to hear from anyone who had a similar experience who could offer some advice on what I can feed my girl so that she lives the rest of her life as a healthy and happy girl. I’ve heard that duck is a good alternative meat for dogs because it’s fattier and easy to digest, so now that I’ve proven to myself that I am willing to spend $50+ on dog food I’d like to hear some suggestions.

 

Here are some pictures of Gertie to thank you for your time:

 

My Police Ride Along

For my Management of Local Government Services class, I had to go on a police ride along and write a report about it. The course is meant to give future city/public managers a generalists’s understanding of what specialists do within local government, so in addition to the ride along we will tour a public works facility and we have panels of experts come to class.

I scheduled my ride along with the Bloomington Police Department because I was not going to put in any more effort than what was necessary to complete the assignment and I did my ride along yesterday with a fairly young patrol officer who has been on the force for 2-3 years.

I added some truly hilarious snaps to my story as it was happening but throughout the day I was getting really negative responses about me even being in a car with a cop. One of the responses insinuated that I am supporting police brutality by doing a ride along. So that was pretty fucked up.

As we started the ride along, I noticed some people tense up as we passed by and some other people would wave. We went on 5 calls, one was a response to domestic violence, three were wellness checks on individuals with histories of mental illness, and the last one was for a hit and run accident. We got called to a front-lawn fight and I got to ride with the lights and sirens on but then they called it off about halfway there so I just went home after that. We also did pull over one driver with expired tags, the officer gave him a warning and he promised to get the new ones that week. After that, the officer explained to me that the mayor implemented a new process after traffic stops that requires the officers to record demographic info of whoever they pulled over, including race, sex, and gender.

I didn’t think I would be taking a side by going on the ride along. First of all, it was for a class assignment. Second, my future career demands understanding of what police do and what they deal with as  well as understanding of citizens’ perspectives of the police. And like, how are we ever going to stop police from shooting black people if we don’t have conversations and talk to both sides about what’s happening. People on both sides are terrified and I want to know how much of that fear comes from ignorance and work on creating dialogues that lead to better understanding. Obv I am a white woman and I can never truly get what it’s like to live in fear of law enforcement but in 1.5 years I might be in a position where I can do something to help and I want to do that.

When I finish my report on my ride along, am happy to share it. I just wanted to but this up now to share my immediate thoughts.

 

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Why I Went Back to Church

.It’s been about two and a half to three years since I stopped going to church. Many of you remember because I wrote a relatively explosive blog post about it and some of you tried to convert me. But I said then and I still say that if I’m going to be any religion I’m going to be Catholic.

The reasons I stopped going to church are the reasons I’m hesitant to start going back. I didn’t stop going easily and it took a lot of consideration and I’ve applied the same thinking to my potential return. There are just so many things I know to be true that conflict with what the church teaches and I don’t know that they’ll ever be reconciled. As a refresher, this is a brief list of my intransigent beliefs:

Women are sovereigns of their bodies and can do whatever they want with them.

God doesn’t care about my voluntary sterility or sexual life or anyone else’s unless it harms another person.*

Gay people should be able to get married and have kids and experience all the same joys and woes of life that straight couples do.

Transpeople are whatever gender they are and if they want to go to church they should be unquestioningly accepted and welcomed and Catholics should make an effort to understand what it means to be transgender instead of choosing ignorance.

Women should be priests and be involved in all levels of decision making throughout the entire church hierarchy. The church needs women at the top to advocate for women and women have been silenced in the church for far too long. 

Of course I’m expecting backlash from this list. Inevitably, someone will slide into my DMs to let me know that this is heretical, that I can’t be a Catholic if I don’t subscribe 100% to Church doctrine, etc etc. I will preempt you by flipping you a giant bird and asking who elected you to Catholicism gatekeeper. You can’t tell me what to do. I haven’t been excommunicated. The church has historically not been opposed to change and people who ask questions, get loud, and who get passionate also are the ones that make change happen. And I will drop a truly careless amount of expletives. So just don’t do it. Let me work on my own journey and then we’ll both die and it won’t matter. Also, faith isn’t a zero-sum game. One person being right doesn’t mean the other is wrong. Also right and wrong don’t actually exist. How ridiculous is it to assume that all religion relies on this binary system wherein there is an ultimate right and ultimate wrong and our whole existence depends on circumstances beyond our control?

My other reason for posting this is to explain why I did go back to church today.

It’s very cliche to say that there has been something missing in my life and I don’t know that I actually do feel that way, but I missed the sense of community that I had when I went to church. It’s something that connected me to a community outside of school and work. As much as I like SPEA, it’s been socially stifling to me. I’m happy with my group of friends but there isn’t anyone else left to meet there. Also I spend 75% of my time in that goddamn building anyway and I want to be somewhere else sometimes.

Also growing up Catholic was a significant part (if not the most significant part) of my upbringing and I kind of miss it.

So I’m just going to see how it goes for me for the next few weeks and see if I keep wanting to go and if I don’t then I don’t and if I do I’ll go. I’m not going to make it a big deal right now.

*Harm here can mean many things to many people. People may argue that sex outside of marriage is spiritually harmful, harmful to one’s self image or self value, or harmful for physical reasons, or emotionally harmful. I think of harm as in harm that people control.