7 things at 11 o’clock (6.25)

1. Darrel Dow shares a “Pre-Courtship Questionnaire” he says was “received from a church in fundy circles.” It lists 423 questions.

Part of me thinks this must be some kind of parody, but then I don’t think someone writing a parody would have the obsessive determination to just go on and on and on and on and on with the joke like this. The sheer amount of work it took to create this much of whatever-this-is suggests it’s genuine. Genuinely what I can’t fully say.

2. Gene Robinson on how, again, sometimes the biggest news is that what used to be big news is no longer big news.

3. Here’s a Greenwald article on how Big Data is creating “a groundswell of social good.” That’s Ted Greenwald, not the other one. It’s an interesting look at Rayid Ghani’s ideas for how to harness big data for collaboration and hopey change-y goodness.

4. Richard Beck writes about memory and old-time gospel hymns, including “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.”

Here’s the greatest version of that song ever recorded, a duet between Robert Mitchum and Lillian Gish. “It’s a hard world for little things.”

I’d bet the Coen brothers had that scene in mind when they decided to use Iris Dement’s terrific version of the song in True Grit.

5. “A place that’s far, so far away.” The song. The person who inspired it. (via) Rockville is in that radio deadzone between Philly and D.C., so I always wind up with this song stuck in my head when I’m driving that way on I-95.

6. Congratulations to New Civil Rights Movement founder David Badash and Caleb Eigsti.

7. “Well, I’m at home at about 12 – I’d say about 11:30, almost 12 o’clock at night. And I’m hunkered down in my bed with my husband, very pregnant, and we got a call from a dear friend of mine and producer named Jack Nitzsche. Jack Nitzsche called and said you know, Merry, are you busy? I said No, I’m in bed. he says, well, you know, There are some guys in town from England. And they need someone to come and sing a duet with them, but I can’t get anybody to do it. Could you come?”

 

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Scenes from the class war (5.25)
'Game of Thrones' and the Bible
Chapter and verse
  • Carstonio

    I suppose Rockville would qualify as a factory town in the metaphorical sense, assuming most residents work for the federal government or its contractors.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A28715-2004Oct13.html

    Dumb question – how can Rockville be in Fred’s radio deadzone between Philly and DC if that town is not on I-95?

    I found the outcome of the Gimmie Shelter session chilling. For years I didn’t know what the song was about, because I couldn’t make out either line before “it’s just a shot away.” As a teenager I wondered if “shot” had the same meaning as Motley Crue’s “Ten Seconds to Love.” (Forgive me for the sin of mentioning that band in the same breath as the Stones.)

  • AnonaMiss

    Presumably he means Rockville is his destination. Though I disagree with his assessment of it as a ‘radio deadzone’. I used to take trips regularly through the rural midwest in which there were no radio stations in range, period, for miles upon miles. Rockville’s radio is about as good as the radio in the Chicago suburbs.

    Speaking of which, hello from Rockville. Drop me a line next time you’re in town and I’ll get you lunch. (Invitation extends to most Slacktivist regulars, though you’ll have to pay for your own food because I love Fred more).

  • http://hummingwolf.livejournal.com/ Hummingwolf

    I remember wondering if the R.E.M. song had anything to do with Rockville, MD, until I read a bandmember’s description of the town. It may not have been the “factory town” description, but whatever it was, it convinced me that the song was entirely unrelated to the Rockville I know.

  • Sam Kabo Ashwell

    226. Are pants ever acceptable

    I know this means ‘on women’, but I really like the idea of a sect that regards pants as impermissible for either gender.

  • Shay Guy

    Pants are an illusion, and so is death.

  • Carstonio

    Do you mean both genders must wear skirts, or that both must dispense with all clothing for the lower body other than underwear?

  • Baby_Raptor

    I am the only member of my (admittedly not huge) social circle that doesn’t despise pants and only consent to wear them when they absolutely have to. It may be relevant that I am the only female in this group also, I am unsure.

    I do not understand this hatred for leg coverings. It confounds me.

  • Alix

    I hate pants. Too restrictive, too hot in summer/cold in winter, and I swear the earth itself will split open if I ever find the right size. If they’re not trying to cut off my circulation or cut into some part of my anatomy, they’re either way too long or (surprisingly) way too wide.

    *sigh* It is so much easier to just buy skirts.

  • themunck

    One word, though. Pockets.

  • Alix

    It’s not hard to find skirts with pockets, in my experience. And honestly, I have difficulty using the ones in pants, because of the fit issues. So.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    There are lots of skirts with pockets these days. Actually, I think all the skirts in my closet have pockets.

  • themunck

    Hmm….Don’t suppose you could point me in the direction of somewhere I could find some? My girlfriend has been quite insistant that it’s impossible :P

  • Lori

    What is she looking for style-wise? Plenty of the catalog companies have skirts with pockets.

  • themunck

    *Coughs and light blush* After a short chat with her…apparently nothing skirt-like.

  • Lori

    So pants then? :)

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Coldwater Creek is where most of my skirts are from, but now I’m looking at their catalog and not seeing skirts with pockets. Hm. Maybe it’s fashionable now to have skirts without pockets, whereas a couple years ago, almost all skirts had pockets. Otoh, Macy’s online seems to have quite a few.

  • Alix

    Honestly, I always find thrift stores have a lot of neat ones.

  • Alix

    I have a few floofy floaty ones that don’t, but I consider those an excuse to rock a cool handbag. :P

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I share in this pain. My choices are either “way too wide, so a belt creates bunched up fabric” or “way too long so I walk on the heels.”

  • snowmentality

    To help with the “way too long” part of that, I recommend this method of hemming: http://www.daciaray.com/?p=38 It leaves the original hem in place, which matters for jeans.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Must keep this in mind. I’m terrible at sewing.

  • guest

    That’s a fair point–pants (trousers over here) that actually fit, especially nowadays in the drop-waist world, are pretty much impossible to buy off the shelf. (I have a narrow waist, wide hips and big butt, so I have to bring every pair I buy to the alterers to have the waist tightened.)

  • Carstonio

    While I admit I like the sight of female skin, I don’t like the double standard for clothing between the genders, particularly in the business environment. It seems to be about expecting women to display themselves for men. Seems fairer to me to either allow men to wear elegant-looking shorts and sleeveless shirts, or else require both genders to cover up. Interesting that on ancient vases from Greece, men’s clothing was miniskirt-length and women’s clothing was ankle-length.

  • Alix

    I agree, sort of? But I think a fairer idea is to let people cover up or not as they wish. One reason I will actually break down and buy pants* is for business attire, since I hate baring my legs and the only skirts people seem to find acceptable are knee-length and usually have a slit up the ass to boot.

    *Men’s pants, at that, since I swear to god it’s impossible to find women’s pants that don’t try to be as formfitting as possible, and are thus impossible to actually inhabit. For me, anyway. Apparently, all my muscles and fat deposits are in entirely the wrong spots. As, apparently, is my pelvis. Shaped for female** bodies, my ass.

    Ahem. Rant over. XD

    I prefer men’s clothes in general – skirts excepted – but that’s not why I buy men’s suit pants.

    **Totally resisting the urge to do my usual semantic shenanigans here. :/ But damn I wish there were a shorter way to say “female-bodied but not female-gendered”.

  • Carstonio

    “I think a fairer idea is to let people cover up or not as they wish.” – I agree in principle. I’m saying that if an organization is to have a standard, it should be a gender-neutral one.

  • Alix

    I agree with that!

  • EllieMurasaki

    Female-assigned-at-birth? FAAB for short.

    Note to self: don’t skip checking The Old Reader for a few days. Three hundred comments on one thread, a hundred fifty on this one, and a few more threads I haven’t even looked at yet–oh, DOMA’s been struck down, in case anyone hadn’t heard. o/

  • Alix

    I hadn’t ever run across that acronym before. I think I like it. Thank you.

    DOMA’s been struck down

    YAY!

  • Jamoche

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/sweden/10107704/Stockholms-male-train-drivers-wearing-skirts-to-work.html

    “More than a dozen male employees working for the Roslagsbanan train services in the Swedish capital have been wearing skirts in order to keep cool.

    One of the drivers, Martin Åkersten, explained that temperatures can hit 95F (35C) in the train cab during the summer.

    Uniform regulations by the train company Arriva state that skirts or long trousers are acceptable. At a meeting last year, drivers were told that shorts were not allowed.

    They have given their blessing to the men wearing skirts however.”To say anything else would be discrimination,” Thomas Hedenius, the communications head, told the local Mitti newspaper, cited by the Local website.”

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    The only grown-ups I’ve known to dislike pants are also men. I wonder if they get squished. I think it would make more sense, anatomically, for men to wear skirts.

    ETA: And I love that this got downvoted. *sigh*

  • Alix

    Dunno why you got downvoted, but I find your first sentence a little invisibling/dismissive. :/

    Please note the “little” – I realize you’re talking about your own personal experience. But, I dunno, I hear from too many largely well-meaning people that my dislike of pants is a sign of immaturity, antifeminist, whatever. But something about the phrasing … I dunno. :/ Brings all that to mind, I guess.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Er, the reason I phrased it that way is that I went through a stage as a child in which I refused to wear pants. I would only wear skirts and dresses. So, I know a woman who went through a stage of hating pants when she was a girl, but I’ve never known any grown woman (until you) to dislike pants. It has nothing to do with maturity level, just what I’ve seen in my life. So I figured, maybe so many men dislike pants because they squish their bits.

    And oh god the women who scream at other women for liking dresses/makeup/jewelry/the color pink — ARGH. That’s a rage button for me.

  • Alix

    Yeah. Honestly, it didn’t bother me that much, ’cause, y’know, you’re talking about your personal experience. But when you brought up the downvoting (randomly: it’d be really nice if people explained why they downvote!) … I dunno, I felt I ought to bring it up. :/ Sorry. >.<

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I brought up the downvoting because — and I might be seeing a pattern where there isn’t any — I seem to have someone randomly downvoting some of my comments anywhere disquis is used based on nothing in particular. People can say exactly the same things I’m saying, but I’ll get a downvote, for instance. Or I’ll get a downvote for wishing someone happy birthday. Like, every 7th (number pulled out of my ass) comment or so.

    Or maybe I’m just more annoying than other people, I dunno.

  • Alix

    …That is really weird.

    At least I can rest easy, knowing any downvotes I get are almost certainly someone disagreeing with me or taking my comments too literally.

    …You got downvoted for wishing someone a happy birthday? Seriously? That is bizarre.

  • themunck

    My best guess that you’ve upset someone petty. You do tend to be pretty aggressive when people hold horrid viewpoints (for good reason, I suppose), or at least more willing to show your anger. So yeah, probably just some arsehole feeling hurt and being petty.
    …fun fact, my browser wanted to correct the word “arsehole”…into “hoarse”.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    That’s my guess too, though I do think the possibility of my being paranoid and this is actually not happening is extremely high. And I’m fine with it — this is how I am, it’s how I roll, and I’m happy with that. I grew up in a household where conflicts were never allowed to be handled or discussed, everything was hidden. There were occasional huge explosions after everything built up that everyone just pretended didn’t happen. Now, I get triggered when people are all being super duper nice over important issues, especially if someone tells me that I need to be “nicer” and not just call it like I see it.

  • Alix

    especially if someone tells me that I need to be “nicer”

    Speaking of rage buttons, that’s one of mine. In a big way.

    (I seriously could’ve written that entire comment.)

  • Arresi

    I’m pretty much the exact opposite. My mom had to have everything out right then, and got really upset if
    anyone left in the middle of the argument, even though I (and the rest of the household) needed time away to cool down. I prefer the sort of arguments that involved citations,
    and generally I just completely shut down when dealing with anything that gets too
    personal/emotional/subjective, especially if it involves people talking past each other (if I try, I usually end up anxious, tense, nauseous, and/or near tears). It makes involvement in social justice and political issues more than a little problematic.

  • Alix

    I need time away to cool down and get my thoughts in order too, but my mother would use that as an excuse to sweep everything under the rug and never talk about it again. (She’s gotten better about that, though. Now we go away, cool down, then reconvene to talk things out.)

    And my dad always used the “you’re angry and irrational/be nicer” thing as a way to dismiss and ignore whatever was making me angry, so. :/ Because to some people, how you say something (i.e. whether or not you’re kissing their ass sufficiently) is apparently far more important than the fact that you’re hurting. Tone policing is a power play.

    I don’t think either way’s better (talking it out RIGHT THEN or going to cool down) – whatever works is what matters. But what’s never cool is people being dismissive, belittling, or sweeping real issues under the rug.

  • Arresi

    Mom was, like I said, the exact opposite. If I wasn’t emotional enough, I clearly didn’t care at all. (She’s a bit better about it now – I think she honestly didn’t believe I was affected until I had a panic attack, which was obvious enough for her to “get”.) I think the problem I have is that I’ve never really figured out how to be supportive of somebody with the opposite approach without sounding like a belittling jerk or feeling like I’ve been walked over.

  • Alix

    I hear you. It’s hard – emotions are so personal, and it’s hard to compromise between how you deal with something and how someone else does.

    If I wasn’t emotional enough, I clearly didn’t care at all.

    *wince* My dad used to do this thing, where he’d basically use that line until we did get visibly angry, and then suddenly we were “too emotional.” There was (is) no winning with that man.

    That sucks. I’m glad your mom’s getting better about it.

    I’ve never really figured out how to be supportive of somebody with the opposite approach without sounding like a belittling jerk or feeling like I’ve been walked over.

    I’ve never figured out how to handle people using the tone/you’re-so-irrational argument on me without blowing up and “proving” their point, so. :/

    Why couldn’t emotions just be easy? *sigh*

  • Arresi

    Yeah, I think (unlike your dad) it really was more her just not getting it, so it started to get better. My issues with tone are really the only lasting effect, I think.

    And I can mostly live with it – after reading a few people on the subject, I worked out that tone policing was important and got an explanation as to why, so I usually end up mentally chanting “This matters to them, deal with it,” for a while. Most of the time, eventually things cool down and the important details are clarified.

    That said, I get really irritated with people who just throw in their opinion and don’t *ever* stick around for the discussion after. I don’t mind compromise on the behalf of others, but at some point I need the civil discussion to take place.

  • Alix

    I get really irritated with people who just throw in their opinion and don’t *ever* stick around for the discussion after.

    I share your irritation. Part of voicing those opinions, it seems to me, is then dealing with them. It does no good to just rant about why you’re angry and storm off before it can get resolved. :/

  • Alix

    You do tend to be pretty aggressive when people hold horrid viewpoints

    Yeah, but that’s part of what makes Lliira awesome.

    More seriously, I don’t understand relentlessly downvoting someone for crap like that. If nothing else, doesn’t it get tiring?

  • themunck

    I never claimed it wasn’t awesome. And yes, it probably would get tiring. Hence why not all her posts are downvoted.
    …Why do I suddenly feel like I’m trying to defend random downvoting?

  • Alix

    Why do I suddenly feel like I’m trying to defend random downvoting?

    Sorry – I didn’t mean to imply that you were. I was just building off your comment, not disagreeing.

  • Cathy W

    For that matter, I could probably even hazard a guess as to “someone’s” handle.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    If you’re talking about the “someone” I think you are… I’m not so sure. That someone can read, and I think he would be more choosy about what he downvoted and what he didn’t. I have also been very critical of Scientology, and Scientologists are not allowed to read anything negative about Scientology. This started the same time someone or someones on an anti-Scientology board started to downvote every single comment anyone made over there.

  • MarkTemporis

    Awww, that’s rotten. I do seem to notice your posts more than others so you do have more of a definite ‘voice’, which someone you may have offended might be able to spot.

    Seems like a lot of work, though; I had the idea of going back and upvoting all your comments just because and gave up rather quickly (sorry).

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Heh, thanks for the thought. I wouldn’t have noticed anyway though, I don’t look through my old comments :-P.

  • Alix

    And oh god the women who scream at other women for liking dresses/makeup/jewelry/the color pink — ARGH. That’s a rage button for me.

    (Sorry, just noticed this.) Oh yeah, me too.

    What makes me just as ragey is the thing I hear a lot, that because I like those things I must really truly be female after all. Because everyone knows gender’s what you look like on the outside! GRR.

    To a surprisingly large amount of people, I don’t “count” as genderqueer unless I wear nothing but “masculine” clothes, and even then I don’t “count” to a lot of people thanks to the Ginormous Boobs of Death. Which aren’t exactly things I could help…

    (aaaaand I ranted again. XD Go me.)

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    While this is nothing like the bullshit you need to deal with, I spent the first couple years of college being constantly told by female friends that I must really be a lesbian because I was a feminist who didn’t like makeup and had lots of male friends. “But I have a boyfriend I have great sex with regularly and, oh yeah, I’m not attracted to women at all” was not an argument that they would listen to.

    I hate gender policing so much.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Don’t worry, it’s not like you can win anyway. I spent most of my schooling having people assume I was gay because I hung around members of the opposite apparent sex all the time without dating any of them.

  • Alix

    My dad decided I must be lesbian because I cut my hair. :/ There’s a very good reason why I rarely associate with him. My sister got hazed for supposedly being a lesbian because she had lots of female friends – and this had the added effect of causing her to wig out when she finally realized she was bi. (The fact that so many people still use “lesbian” as a slur or method of gender policing is, of course, also hugely problematic.)

    I hate gender policing so much.

    ME TOO. I wish we’d all just get over this shit and let each other be individuals.

  • JustoneK

    because without easily discrete and usually visible categories we run higher risks.

  • Alix

    I am really out of it today, and for some reason I’m not following. Can you clarify?

  • JustoneK

    everyone is afraid of something or other. we identify any potential threat to what we have via categories, and overlap or spectra make this harder to pin down.
    we can’t be individuals together until we’re all safe together, rly. and you know that’s not anytime soon.

  • dpolicar

    Yes, it’s easier to treat someone as a known quantity if they visibly and consistently identify themselves with a familiar category, and it’s easier to trust a known quantity than an unknown quantity, especially when I’m feeling unsafe.

    Agreed.

    But that’s not the full picture, and I find your formulation unnecessarily all-or-nothing.

    Even if I’m not perfectly knowable or familiar, we have a range of choices for how much trust to extend me. And no matter how carefully I comply with the expectations of a familiar category, we still have a range of choices for how much trust to extend.

  • JustoneK

    apologies if it seemed that way. I really shouldn’t be commenting atm but I keep coming back.

  • http://algol.wordpress.com/ SororAyin

    LOL. Most women that I know identify me (correctly as it turns out, but that’s neither here nor there) as something other than straight based, not on my romantic history, but on my willingness to stand up for myself. Apparently a lot of women out there assume that only lesbians can be empowered. What a crock!

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Reminds me of a story that was on FB about a first grade transgender girl winning the right to use the girls’ bathroom. One of the posters said she was fine with everything else, but took offense to the fact that her hair was dyed pink. All I could think was “really? Is being outraged at something that important to you?”

  • Alix

    *Sigh*

  • Fusina

    I hate them, mostly because of the fit issues, and the fibromyalgia “can’t stand anything snug around my waist” issue. I mostly wear dresses, but I did find some capri shorts that I wear under some of my shorter dresses–they are knit with an elastic waist and I get them a couple sizes too big so they are really baggy. I doubt I would wear them just with a shirt, they do not look that good what with the droopy drawers thing going on. But for under a knee length dress they are perfect, and I don’t have to worry about sitting down on the ground.

  • http://hummingwolf.livejournal.com/ Hummingwolf

    fibromyalgia “can’t stand anything snug around my waist”
    Heh. My fibro hits me differently–I wear jeans because they protect my skin from the pain of being pelted by the sand and gravel that get kicked up when I go out for a walk.

  • MarkTemporis

    THIS is the proper pants design for men! Given the questionnaire author’s obvious love for patriarchy, I’m somewhat surprised this fashion never became popular among these types. Probably just because it was designed by a black man.

  • P J Evans

    Wouldn’t an oversized codpiece be easier to deal with? (A decorative one, that is.)

  • http://algol.wordpress.com/ SororAyin

    “Cock of the walk” *smile*

  • Launcifer

    This question #226 seems to have kicked up a weird potential prejudice of mine that I never even knew existed.

    I don’t think I’ve ever been out with anyone who willingly wore a skirt to anything that wasn’t a wedding (and the lady in question was wearing a kilt, so I don’t know if that counts, strictly speaking). Hell, at least two didn’t even *own* a skirt. And now I don’t know if that’s simply how it goes or a genuine unconscious *thing* of mine.

  • Lori

    If you were actively anti-skirt you probably would have noticed before now. I suspect that you have a type, for all the complex reasons that many people have a type, and that type tends not to wear skirts.

  • Launcifer

    You’re probably right, of course. I think it might actually have been a moment of cultural confusion on my part. I was just so flummoxed by the question that I did a quick mental inventory and came up with what I assume would be an unacceptable answer for the author of the questionnaire.

  • Lori

    Yeah, for most of us that question is the kind of weird that tends to make the mental gears lock up.

  • Launcifer

    That said, I do believe that I’m going to use “Unacceptable Pants” as a title for something, one day.

  • Lori

    It sounds like a Fug Girls recap of some Hollywood event where none of the lady stars wore dresses. I wish both the event and the Fug Girls recap would actually happen.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Wallace and Gromit – The Unacceptable Trousers!

  • Amaryllis

    It reminds me of the old comic song about the Scotsman who insisted on wearing the kilt in all weathers and social situations. When asked, “Donald, where’s your troosers?” his only response was, “You’ll never get the breeks on a Highland man.”

    I guess he would have flunked question 226. Or passed it? It’s hard to tell.

  • the shepard

    good name for a band.

  • FearlessSon

    Kilts for everyone!

  • the shepard

    did brigadoon in summer stock one year. we all wore kilts for a month. they were incredibly comfortable and very cool, especially when worn in the traditional manner. we had to all learn to sit appropriately, though.

  • Veylon

    Remember: neither Jesus nor his disciples ever wore pants. Feel free to bring this up when the notion of Conservative Dress rears it’s ugly head. Demand to know who had the authority to impose Pagan pants on god-fearing Christians.

  • Alix

    I knew one person who would go on and on about how pants were unbiblical clothes adopted from pagans (and therefore demon-possessed) when women wore them, but if men wore anything other than pants, those clothes were, you guessed it, demon-possessed. And probably pagan too.

    He never did quite catch on to why we all thought he was full of shit.

  • Michael Pullmann

    I would like to subscribe to this sect’s newsletter.

  • the shepard

    wow. you made it to at least #226. i got all bored and gave up around #12.

    i would have never dated or courted or whatever they call it. not that much different from reality, though, i guess.

  • Alix

    I skimmed the whole list, but I apparently missed all the really juicy ones.

  • MarkTemporis

    I agree, and also would quibble as to whom and where it was decided pants should be worn in pairs. Sometimes I might just want to go around with one pant.

  • Fusina

    Boring fashion answer person here. Pants are plural and pairs because once upon a time you could wear just one pant. Pants were two pieces, one for each leg, they overlapped in the back and tied at the waist, and those codpieces you hear so much about were a separate piece tied onto the whole thing.

    I like fashion. It intrigues me. The stuff we wear now, the stuff we used to wear, and how, and why, etc… I don’t know why, it just is. I’m still pissed at my 12th grade English teacher who said I was too smart to choose the clothing styles subject for my Term Paper, (worth 25% of your grade, why don’t you write it on (longish list of subjects I wasn’t nearly as interested in)).

  • BaseDeltaZero

    And I’ve seen a few anime characters with just one pant…

  • P J Evans

    the questionnaire is now 404.

  • Alix

    It’s working for me.

  • Evan

    For a moment I thought you meant it’d dropped to only 404 questions!

    (No, all 423 are still there and correctly loading for me.)

  • hQ

    Granted a few of those questions are a little over the top, but I don’t think it’s a truly awful list of things to consider. It would probably best be titled “Pre-Marriage Questions” – and presumably many of these things would come out in ordinary situations/conversations during courtship. It’s really the title that seems all wrong; but I can’t find any MAJOR flaws with the list itself.

    I can say — as a former fundie and now atheist — that there are a lot of questions on there I wish I’d asked my partner, or delved into more, before getting serious (#5, 64, 66-69, 80, 159, 171, 190, 202, 293-338, 365…)

  • Alix

    The thing weirding me out isn’t the questions, necessarily, but the way this is intended to be utilized. As a checklist of things to make sure you know about your partner before settling in for the long haul – aside from some I disagree with, it’s mostly okay. As a pre-dating questionnaire you make your prospective partner answer instead of getting to know them in an organic way? That’s creepy to me.

    Edit: if someone presented that questionnaire to me, I’d consider it a warning sign.

  • Lori

    For the folks using this questionnaire “courting” is basically settling in for the long haul. It’s a lot closer to an engagement than dating. They think dating is bad.

  • Alix

    I get that, but I guess to me the timing still seems off? To my understanding, courting is essentially replacing dating*, so it’s not like these couples have gotten to know each other organically before; this is at or near the start of the relationship. That … concerns me, for reasons I can’t quite articulate.

    *I may be wrong on this. I was fortunate enough to never end up in that subculture myself, only puttering along on the fringes.

  • JustoneK

    From what I know (and I was given the I Kissed Dating Goodbye book ages ago, and I did read it) it replaces it for sorta-mainstream fundies who don’t want to give up their normalcy. So that courting is a lot like dating, but more structured Christianesque and less “take person and go do food/entertainment/sexinz” which has a certain appeal to me for interpersonal relationship building. I do think modern dating could stand more structure and finding somedangthing in common with prospective partners instead of roulette.

  • Lori

    I think how one sees courtship in relation to dating depends on what one thinks dating is for. If the sole purpose of dating is to find The One then one is basically a replacement for the other. If one sees dating as being at least partially about getting to know oneself and other people, having new experiences and/or getting laid then they don’t have much to do with each other.

  • JustoneK

    I concur. And there should be hella more leeway for differing goals.

  • Lori

    That is probably the classic problem of dating and if I knew how to solve it I’d be hella rich.

  • Lori

    It’s not so much replacing dating as it is skipping it. This questionnaire would be given very near the start of the relationship, but even then the relationship would be seen as having a predetermined ending. For this subculture the ideal is that one never dates and “courts” only the person one goes on to marry.

    The entire “courting” culture is weird and raises all sorts of red flags and I think it’s just generally a terrible idea and not at all a reasonable response to concerns about dating. That said, within that culture this questionnaire makes perfect sense.

  • Jonna

    I dunno. I’ve seen couples who’d been much better off if they had answered a questionnaire (not necessarily this one) before getting emotionally invested. On the other hand, it basically is treating a potential mate like a potential car. But on third tentacle, they kinda are: you’re probably stuck with them for a long time, so you’d better make sure you can live with that – and, since they’re a human too, make sure they’ve done the same.

    So, it’s one of those things that can be a horribly creepy shopping list for a trophy-spouse seeking psycho, or a perfectly reasonable checklist for a horribly awkward person who nonetheless still needs love. Take your pick.

  • Alix

    Fair point. I imagine a lot depends on the relationship between the people involved and the manner of presentation.

  • MaryKaye

    To me an objectionably large fraction of the questions presuppose that there is a “right” answer and you’re supposed to give it. That doesn’t strike me as a productive way to find out about another person.

    8. Are you humble about seeking counsel or do you already have all the answers?

    I mean, really, what are you going to say in response to this? No, I already have all the answers? Obviously you are not “supposed” to say that. So the question doesn’t really find out if you are open to going to counseling; it finds out if you are willing to say what you’re supposed to say. Contrast this with the (equally objectionable) possible alternative:

    8a. Would you go to counseling if you encountered marital difficulties or do you believe that God’s support is enough for any family?

    Other questions that strike me like this: Who are your disciples? (Yikes!) When did you start to obey the Word because it was the Word? (Have you stopped beating your wife?) What do you believe about sin; what do you believe about Rom 6&7? (Talk about providing a BIG HINT as to what answer is wanted!)

    “What is your attitude toward historically held positions?” I think this can only be answered within a specific subculture; I sure would have no clue what it means.

    58. Do you plan for us to read the Bible together as a couple?
    59. Do you plan to initiate Family Devotions with our future family?

    The questionnaire is written for a woman to give to a man (many gender-specific references) and here you have the pernicious thing where the man is supposed to be the leader so the woman has to…ask him to lead.

    There are some better, non-leading questions later on. (“How do you feel about adoption?” etc.) But there are long sections where most of the questions are leading ones. If someone handed me this at *any* point in a relationship I would be very disturbed; it seems passive-aggressive.

  • Lori

    So the question doesn’t really find out if you are open to going to counseling; it finds out if you are willing to say what you’re supposed to say.

    It occurs to me that the question is in fact finding out what it really wants to know. As you say, it’s obviously not going to get an answer to the question that’s asked, but I think it’s telling them what they want to know.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    “What is your attitude toward historically held positions?”

    I’d appreciate anyone explaining wtf this means. Because my answer is: historically held positions by whom and when and where and which subculture are you talking about from that time and which person within that subculture? To me, the question looks like, “what is your opinion on anything anyone else has thought ever?”

  • Launcifer

    I figure the answer should have something to do with the Maginot Line, personally.
    Joking aside, I was going to ask a similar question before my mind leapt to some very unsavoury places indeed and I realised that one of those might just mirror the sentiment underpinning the question.

  • Randall

    I figure the answer should have something to do with the Maginot Line, personally.

    They shoulda run it farther north.

  • Alix

    “What is your attitude toward historically held positions?”

    Answer: People held them at one point or another.

    …Yeah, I’d totally not be able to resist the urge to be snarky.

  • ReverendRef

    “What is your attitude toward historically held positions?”

    I suppose mentioning the historically held positions of the Kama Sutra is probably not what they’re after.

    Talk about being snarky . . .

  • Alix

    …I think that wins the thread.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    My suspicion is that it’s Orwellian for “What is your attitude toward believing us when we say X has always been the church’s beliefs regarding X?”

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Are you sure it’s not code for “Are you sure you’re not one of those papists who follows tradition rather than reading the bible yourself and coming to your own conclusions which will just coincidentally coincide with ours in every detail?”

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Eh, I’m sure it all works out to be the same thing as long as the kids don’t ask too many complicated questions.

  • Lee B.

    Crap, this is like one of those tests where you didn’t study enough.

    Uh…how about, “The shifting balance of power between the Premier of the Soviet Union and the General Secretary of the Communist Party made an already-complicated organizational structure that much harder for outsiders to understand.”

    Now if I just throw in some examples I should be able to BS my way into at least a passing grade.

  • VMink

    I’m pretty sure it’s code for ‘traditionally-held positions,’ which is to say, ‘traditional positions held by the wife and husband,’ which is to say, ‘traditional marriage roles’ which is to say ‘traditional complimentarianism,’ which is to say, “My attitude is one approximately 180-degrees to that. At least my pitch and yaw is. My roll is…pretty much anything, really, at that attitude. Next? … Oh, there is no next?”

  • Lori

    It would probably best be titled “Pre-Marriage Questions” – and
    presumably many of these things would come out in ordinary
    situations/conversations during courtship.

    Courtship is a term of art for the subculture in question. It’s a lot closer to what we would consider engagement. And stuff like this is far less likely to come up in ordinary situations for this subculture because interaction between the sexes is really controlled.

    Basically they’ve created a really rigid situation and then come up with a really rigid way to compensate for difficulties caused by that rigidity.

  • Katie

    Point of order: This isn’t a list of questions that the couple is supposed to ask each other. This is what the prospective bride’s father is supposed to ask the prospective groom to make sure that someone unworthy isn’t allowed to court his daughter. This system seems to result in a lot of single women…..

  • Shay Guy

    And I’m hunkered down in my bed with my husband, very pregnant,

    My reaction: Wait, your husband was pregnant?

  • Baby_Raptor

    Very pregnant, apparently. Poor man. I’ve been very pregnant…It really is not fun.

  • FearlessSon

    I’ve been very pregnant…It really is not fun.

    I continue to be confounded that some people see it as a desirable state.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    My mom barfed her guts out her entire pregnancy. Her best friend never threw up once, had happy hormones the whole time, and her worst side effect was needing to pee a lot near the end.

    For some people, it really is an enjoyable state. For others, it is torture.

  • FearlessSon

    As my mother once said when she was in labor with my younger sister and only sibling, “Oh God, why did I do this again!?”

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I’ve known women who’ve had fast and easy labors, and women who’ve had the opposite. Personally, there’s no way I’d go through it without an epidural, but as there’s no way I’d go through it period barring divine intervention, that’s sort of a moot point.

  • Alix

    My sis had an eleven-minute labor. The family hadn’t even managed to all gather at the hospital before Advent of Baby.

    We were actually really relieved, ’cause we expected complications. She’s a small, narrow-hipped woman, and my nephew was pretty substantial.

    We still tease her about it, ’cause that’s how we roll.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Some of my favorite collaborative writing took place while my SO’s character was nearing the end of her pregnancy. The words “How could you do this to me?!” were uttered at least once.

  • Arresi

    One of my relatives threw up the entire pregnancy, and her child was born a month late. By C-section, because there was not a single sign of her going into labor.

  • the shepard

    my youngest daughter was late. she decided it was time to be born the night before the scheduled induction.
    it has set aclife precedent with her.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I have a friend who had two easy pregnancies and just can not comprehend that women who have difficult ones aren’t just making mountains out of molehills.

    And she still says this after she had serious complications that necessitated inducing labor a month early.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I kinda want to nose through that questionaire and see how the boyfriend and I rate, but…Damn. 423 questions?

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    It’s like those huge sex quizzes (called, tongue-in-cheek, “purity tests”) my friends and I used to take at parties in college. Except without the sex. Otoh, it might be fun to get a group of people together to take it, though I think a translator would be needed.

  • Randall

    They’re not all actually questions. Some of the “questions” are options for the question above them that for some reason have been numbered as if they were new.

  • Lori

    The content and use of the questions on the courtship questionnaire is obviously a problem, but I don’t think we can take much issue with the number of questions. The eHarmony questionnaire has slightly more and signing up for eHarmony doesn’t have nearly the implications that “courtship” has for that subculture.

    That said, the mindset behind many of those questions is horrifying to me. Also, I don’t think that answering a questionnaire about things like the hardest thing you’ve ever done is at all productive. That’s a conversation, one to be had after a significant degree of trust has been established, not a short essay.

  • aunursa

    I appreciate detailed pre-engagement and/or pre-marriage questionnaires that require the couple to discuss issues that will affect their married life.

    A pre-courtship questionnaire? No.

  • Lori

    They are basically getting engaged though, so I don’t think that’s really the issue with this thing. Strictly speaking, neither is the fact that many of the questions presuppose ideas that I think are wrong and/or repulsive since the people taking it don’t feel that way.

    I think the main problem with this is that there are so many questions that have obvious “right” answers and are therefore a test of conformity rather than a prompt for meaningful discussion. Marrying someone based on their ability to say what they know TPTB want to hear isn’t much different than marrying someone after a 1st date when all you’ve seen of them is their “best foot forward” behavior. It might work out great, but the odds don’t favor it.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Also, if the girl you’re courting doesn’t like your answers, she doesn’t say “I’m not interested, but here’s the resumes of five other girls I think you’d be a better fit with.”

    And yeah. These questions aren’t that bad as some kind of pre-marriage inventory. They’re a lot more specific and intrusive than the internet quiz the catholics make you fill out, but they’re not out of line.

    For that.

    This, on the other hand, is an attempt to weed out people who don’t match the right tribal markers. And that’s creepy.

  • Patter

    “94. Are there any verses that helped you confirm the decision?”

    Ezekiel 23:20

  • Lori

    Ha!

  • Launcifer

    Ah, I never tire of seeing that verse quoted – in any context.

  • Launcifer

    And I have to say that I never get tired of hearing that Gimme Shelter anecdote, either. No idea why – it just brings a wry little smile to my face.

  • Victor

    “Well, I’m at home at about 12 – I’d say about 11:30, almost 12 o’clock at night. And I’m hunkered down in my bed with my husband, very pregnant, and………

    END YA SAY sinner vic?

    Victor! Victor! Victor! Why don’t YA mind your own business cause YA don’t even know what’s UP or DOWN these days now. Fred is the “ONE” who said those words above and remember he’s a god just like U>S and besides, “IT” is his blog now!

    Listen Fred you’ve got to help U>S alien gods out a little now! Please don’t go around teasing Victor’s so called “ONE” per sent age retardo soul who keeps saying that this quiet “ONE” per sent age so called “Jesus” is for real now. Come on Fred, meet U>S (usual sinners) good or bad, “I” mean right or wrong, no, no, “I” mean more or less if YA get my drift NOW? Long story short Fred, YA just can’t go around and around with our triniy within your old praying chapel, “I” mean your old blogs trying to impress She Guys, no, no, “I” mean Shay Guy. Otherwise, we gods will need to create our own so called “Questionaires” and longer story short, YA know as well as “ME”, “ME” and “ME” that these pup pets, “I” mean animals, no, no, “I” mean humans will lose in the long run cause this “Jesus” at best was just a nice guy and……

    END YA SAY sinner vic?

    STOP “IT” VICTOR! Don’t be like that! BE NICE NOW! Don’t him bare ass, “I” mean embarass U>S this WAY cause YA don’t have much time left Victor. Don’t YA want a free ride in our spaceship now? If so, tell that “ONE” per sent age little retardo soul of YA’s to just mind your own business and leave Fred alone while he deals in his own ways with this “female-bodied but not female-gendered” so called problem, “I” mean con cern,,,,,no, no “I” mean “Concern” now and……

    END YA SAY AGAIN sinner vic?

    http://www.splendoroftruth.com/curtjester/2013/06/what-really-happened-2/

    Go finger, “I” mean figure people now!? :)

    Peace

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    And speaking of Much Ado, this learned constable is

    too cunning to be understood — Act V, Sc 1

  • Victor

    What’s this YA say Ross?

    A worm is eaten by a fish and the fish is eaten by humans as brain food cells. Round and round we go until IT’s equalizing effect of death and decomposition of great men and beggars both end somewhere in time as dust and…….

    END YA SAY sinner vic?

    Go Figure people now! :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ab4xogLt5xE

    Peace

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Maybe the kids should fill out an MMPI and a PSAT exam while they’re at it. May as well be thorough.

  • Michael Cule

    Ye gods and little fishes! If you know all that about a person before you marry them what is there going to be left to find out after the ceremony?

  • JustoneK

    Actual compatibility.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Not to defend that silly questionnaire, but why does there need to be anything to be found out?

  • Lori

    IME, you could know the answer to every single one of these questions and still be surprised at least once a day once you start living with someone. People are complicated and also changeable.

  • Sue White

    Hell, this is a pre-courtship questionnaire! You have to know everything about them before you even get a first date.

    Then again, on sites like Okcupid you can answer potentially thousands of questions to see how you match up with someone.

    (“Public swimming”??)

  • LeRoc

    I like the way question 123 follows 122 ;)

  • Amtep

    This one really stumped me:

    “208. On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate the worth of a woman?”

    I mean… awuh… guh… what?
    I can’t even figure out what they’re intending to ask. Can anyone give a sample answer?

  • Lori

    The fundies I grew up with had plenty to say about the worth of a woman (much of it offensive and/or dumb), but nothing that could logically map onto a 1 to 10 scale. I thinking understanding that one would require input from someone who was part of this specific corner of the subculture. If we can find someone who thinks that one needs to have a position on public swimming (#152) maybe they can tell us.

  • the shepard

    well, i’d have to say it depends on the current market rates. personally, i think we’re in a bubble right now, woman-value wise, and i’d hold off on setting any kind of value until i’m sure it’s not about to go bust on us.

  • Alix

    The bubble on men, of course, burst ages ago.

  • the shepard

    too bad you can’t buy us for what we’re worth and then sell us for what we think we’re worth.

  • Alix

    That’d solve the world’s financial problems. ;)

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Mr. Pewterschmidt, your daughter may be worth a million dollars to you, but to me, she’s worthless.

  • Amtep

    By the way, Fred — “The sheer amount of work it took to create this much of whatever-this-is suggests it’s genuine” — take a look at http://www.lolcatbible.com :)

  • Jamoche

    Down near the bottom:

    “Thing’s I like:”

    Oh, that’s easy. People who understand that the greengrocer’s apo’strophe is a bad thing.


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