Tag Archives: faith (sans evil serape)

general olga update

My birthday is this weekend, and it’s turning out to be one of those birthdays that start a week early and end a week late. Pretty awesome, if you ask me.

Here’s my birthday present to myself:
my tattoos
If you need an explanation about the new one, urban dictionary does a good job. Also, it’s a (F/f)aith tattoo! Yes, I went there. As to the one on the right (c. 2007), beyond the obvious, it’s not a topic for this blog.

The lettering was done by my friend Yuko.

Hmm. Other news. I love Foucault, but he is BREAKING MY BRAIN. I have realized that I do not know enough/ANYTHING? about economics, although I more than passed the AP Macro exam in 2005… something got lost along the way. There are cute boys on my radar, but as I have realized that I need someone to be a Watson to my Holmes, they may or may not be qualified candidates. Forget Miss Marple! Holmes is what I am going for!

Mmm, Jude Law. But I digress.

wise as serpents and innocent as doves

Hey, gentle readers. Sorry about my absence! As much as I enjoy linkspam, I like this blog to have actual content, and while I’ve had a few ideas kicking around in my head, none have entirely come to fruition. So this post is kind of all of them at once. In case you get confused, just come back to the thesis, which is: how Olga is Miss Marple.


My first grown-up book was Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians, which I read at the end of third grade or beginning of fourth grade, and which was pretty freaking morbid for a 9 year old, and also kind of racist, but whatever. I got totally hooked on Agatha Christie and plowed my way through most of her back catalogue over the next three years. As a result, I have read almost all of her Miss Marple books and short stories, a fair amount of her Hercule Poirot works, and ALL of Tommy and Tuppence because they kind of rock. Namely, Tuppence rocks. Can I be Tuppence? But that is not the topic of this post. The topic of this post is why I really like Miss Marple.

This is Miss Marple’s schtick, for those of you who are not familiar with her: she is a little old lady who lives in St. Mary Mead, a quiet little English town, and people think that she is a tad bit doddering and off in the head. But Miss Marple is incredibly smart and a great observer of people, and she solves crimes, often using her harmless appearance to great advantage.


Recently, I have been reflecting on how much I no longer regret my decision to major in classics. For quite some time after choosing to forsake the world of togas for the world of forsaking bras, I looked at my classical period primarily as a springboard for future endeavors and six years’ worth of training to write the best Harry Potter spells OF ALL TIME. (At least, that was my motivation when I started taking Latin in 2001.) Now, however, I’ve realized that a background in classics has had other benefits, namely, accelerating my transformation into Miss Marple. Wikipedia agrees with me: “Miss Marple’s Olga’s acquaintances are sometimes bored by her frequent analogies to people and events from St. Mary Mead the internet The Past, but these analogies often lead Miss Marple Olga to a deeper realization about the true nature of a crime the patriarchy life, the universe, and everything.”

Being Miss Marple means that I spend a lot of time connecting the dots, but it also means other things, namely that I spend a lot of time sitting around going, “Somehow, Inspector Fox, I don’t think you’ll find the murder weapon in Mr. Clarendon’s shed.” In other words, I spend a lot of time debunking things. Prehistoric matriarchy! Goddess worship = female empowerment! The decline of Western civilization!

I really, really hate the “decline of Western civilization.”


In other ways, I have also been like Miss Marple. For a long time, I liked appearing to be innocent and sweet, and in some cases, namely in my relationships, I really tried for the sweet part. But when you are a grouchy and smart old lady, that tends to rear its head after a while, especially if you are trying to keep some of that on the down low. It also gets aggravating, day after day, to have people constantly underestimating and undervaluing you, assuming that you are eye candy or just She Who Keeps The Home Fires Burning (not that these in particular are Miss Marple problems).

At a certain point, appearing harmless and fluffy, having people tune you out because you don’t get straight to the point, and then surprising them when you hit them upside the head with your awesomeness isn’t subversive. It’s just kind of sad.

I’m still a grouchy old lady, though.


Ironically, after I came to the realization that it was best to just fly my freak flag and let the chips fall where they may, people started making even more erroneous and frustrating assumptions about my innocence and purity because I got Jesus. (That’s a phrase I deeply enjoy using. Like, fuck yeah, Jesus is the mud I’m rolling in! except it’s like spa mud because it’s made by God, and it’s also like regular mud because it’s outside and available to everybody, at least in rainy seasons!) What I had once enjoyed – creeping out my housemate with my tentacle bunny plushie, getting approved of by partners’ parents (hoo boy), alarming various people with the egg story (I only tell that one in person) – had lost its charm. When my mom told Martin that it was okay to tune me out sometimes, I just talk a lot, it runs in the family — that was not funny. Also, not ok.


For a long time, when I was very sick — that’s why I’m a grounchy old lady! not exaggerating, my dear readers! — I kind of forgot I was smart. I assumed people tolerated me on sufferance and attempted to buy their loyalty with baked goods. (In case you were curious, I make a truly bitchin’ three bowl devil’s food cake.)


Miss Marple is smart. She is a badass. People often forget this. That’s why, when she catches the bad guy, it’s a surprise. It shouldn’t be a surprise when women are smart, observant, socially aware. Those shouldn’t be “women’s secrets,” either. And when women talk, it’s worth listening. If people ever listened to Miss Marple finish her stories… well, those books would be a lot shorter. And possibly more morbid.
Which is fine by me.

books to read!

I’ve been putting off posting because I want to do an in-depth look at why Elaine Showalter’s Hystories is the worst book ever written… ever (ok, that’s not true, Mere Christianity is a tough contender), but that’s taking a while. It’s rare that I read a book that is so bad that it is painful for me to read (as opposed to hilarious), but this… this is one. Anyway. You have that to look forward to!

TOP FIVE BOOKS EVERYBODY SHOULD READ AND BY EVERYBODY I MEAN YOU
The Industrial Vagina: The Political Economy of the Global Sex Trade, Sheila Jeffries. I tell everyone about this book because it is even more awesome than the title, and you know what, that is hard. I do not agree with some of the things that Jeffries says, but her work is amazing and groundbreaking and her arguments totally valid. This was my first real exposure to discussions of global and transnational feminism, and it blew me out of the water.
All Our Kin: strategies for survival in a Black community, Carol Stack. I love this book. I don’t think that this book says everything about race, or class – the author was a middle-class white ethnographer researching a poor Black community – but for insight into outside economies, it can’t be beat. It is a golden oldie.
Trauma and Recovery, Judith Herman. This is basically THE book.when it comes to the history of trauma studies and current thoughts on dealing with trauma. As a survivor, this and Angela Shelton’s Warrior Workbook have been the two most helpful things for me. As She Who Is Really Into The History of 19th Century Women’s Mental Health, this book is also quite excellent.
Beyond God the Father: toward a philosophy of women’s liberation, Mary Daly. Mary Daly needs no other recommendation.
Gender Trouble: feminism and the subversion of identity, Judith Butler. I feel like choosing this for #5 is a little bit of a cop-out, because everybody already knows MY PURE AND GLORIOUS LOVE for JB, but hey – this is, again, a book that everyone should read. It is not easy going. But it will make you think!

sarah g brings us this sad news…

Mary Daly, blasphemer, radical, kicker of many patriarchal asses, has died. She was 81.

From the newsbrief I just linked to:

According to the National Catholic Reporter, Daly once wrote, “There are and will be those who think I have gone overboard. Let them rest assured that this assessment is correct, probably beyond their wildest imagination, and that I will continue to do so.”

Words to live by!

yay, christmas

This is not an actual blog post, just me posting my favorite prayer because it’s Christmas.

God, it is night. The night is for stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.
It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done;
what has not been done has not been done. Let it be.
The night is dark. Let our fears of the darkness of the world
and of our own lives rest in you.
The night is quiet.
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace.
The night heralds the dawn.
Let us look expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilities.
In your name we pray. Amen

– from the New Zealand Prayer Book

the unbearable fatness of being

Sometime in late 2007 or early 2008, I started following Fatshionista, a community on livejournal dedicated to plus-size fashion. There was a recent kerfluffle when the moderators decided to restrict OOTD (out of the day) posts to members who wear a US size 16 or higher. This alienated a substantial minority of its members, self-described “inbetweenies” who fall in the gap between plus sizes and straight sizes. The heretofore largely sedate sister community, Inbetweenies, was suddenly flooded with new members – many of whom were not pleased with the new state of affairs over at Fatshionista. Despite being at the smaller end of the size range at Fatshionista, inbetweenies had previously made up a significant percentage of OOTD posters, and the wake that trailed behind them as they moved to new ground was substantial.

The mods at Fatshionista had good reasons to change their previously more open-ended size cap. Fatshionista is a size-positive community; it’s not a place for people to come and feel good about themselves because they’re not as fat as “some” people. The mods also wanted to make people who were solidly plus-size feel welcome. While I’m wholly supportive of Fatshionista’s decision, I’m also one of the inbetweenies who can no longer post there.

This post is not another episode of “The Passion of the Inbetweenie”; I’m less interested in exploring the politics of Fatshionista’s new policy and more in investigating what it means to exist in this liminal state somewhere between marginalization and acceptance. For many years, I struggled with my participation in LGBT organizations — not because I was concerned about supporting the community, but because I didn’t feel like I was “queer enough.” I vacillated between taking an “ally” or a “bi pride” button every time Pride Alliance tabled in ye olde student center. Then I started making “pretty, witty, and christian!” rainbow buttons for my campus ministry’s table and decided that worrying about LGBT welcome and inclusivity in my community was more productive that staying up all night worrying about the tokenization of bisexuality in Katy Perry lovin’ college environments. (At this point, I think I’d have to elope with Cyndi Lauper to Iowa to feel adequately gay.)


Me at the Prop 8 protest in St. Louis, November ’08.

It’s a lot harder to negotiate the liminality of fatness, though, because it’s so subjective, and unlike your sexual preferences, kinda out there on display. When I said proudly in class, on embodiment day, “I’m fat,” was I reclaiming language for myself, or just promoting body hate? When I still look at myself, in the mirror, what does it mean that I see that I am fat, as opposed to, I dunno, middlingy? I love my body. I love that I have the gifts of mobility, sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell, although several of those are limited or have been in the past by my disabilities. I want to be able to say, “Yeah, my body doesn’t fit into straight sizes real well, and it has fat weird places, but I’m proud of it and what I can do!” I want to reclaim fatness.

I’m just not sure if fatness is mine to reclaim.

I encourage you, gentle readers, to reply if you feel so moved; I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.

yeah, I’m on vacation

All I really want to do is recommend you some vids, because, yo, I’m obviously not doing anything constructive on vacation, but perhaps this post should have some content. Or maybe not. At least, it’ll have some links.

– I love Dinosaur Comics. So, naturally, I also love fanstrips that address the Serious Issues of cultural appropriation and racism in dance moves. I think this may be a call to action, action in this case being a slumber party with Save the Last Dance, lots of alcohol, and critical analysis. Or maybe just some Bring It On.

– Apparently there are no good fanvids for Golden Girls. Well, I don’t believe that. None that I can find easily. This is frustrating.

– I actually recommended a fic to someone the other day with the endorsement, “It references Stanley Fish!”

– My church’s book club is reading Small Gods for January and Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bible! for February. Previously on Olga’s Church’s Book Club: Cat’s Cradle and The Poisonwood Bible. I am pleased. (I have not yet read Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bible!, and I keep getting it confused with Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains!, which I am fairly sure is not the same.)


Okay, done with content now! Vid recs, absurdist edition!

– As I said to my friend Mer, who is the target audience for this fic, “Christian Bale + Zefron = NO = yay!” “Bet on It” meets Newsies for a ludicrous Disneygasm.

– There is no way that the execution of “Harry Potter meets Snakes on a Plane” could ever have topped the concept, but my, does Dualbunny’s vid give it a run for its money. I have at best a tepid tolerance for the first four Harry Potter films, and neutral feelings about HP vidding, but this vid won me over.

– I have feelings about the first Twilight movie, feelings which mostly boil down to, “I am so glad that my friend Dallas bought this for me, because I would never have paid money for it, but it is the best excuse for drinking games ever.” (Sidenote: despite what the content of this post, and possibly the content of this blog, may suggest, I have never played a drinking game.) However, this vid has made me see that, deep inside this… this… I’m trying to find a synonym for “black hole” that doesn’t have disturbingly yoni-like connotations — this abominable snowman of a movie, there is actually a pretty hilarious film. From Cappy, “All Apologies”. Ah, Nirvana and Edward… a match made in heaven. I cried happy emo tears.


Next time on the blog: actual content, as opposed to a mashup of links I keep emailing my poor innocent best friend in France & my Twitter feed.