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Was Nigella abused by her absurdly rich, cantankerous, reclusive, eccentric husband? Guess what? That is for Nigella to decide and everyone else can shut the hell up.

19 Jun

The pictures are everywhere. Charles Saatchi, with his hands around the neck of the Domestic Goddess, and her in tears. They are at a public restaurant, and when they are done talking, he tweaks her nose and she kisses him, then downs a glass of wine, and they leave.

choke

Let’s start with a bit of background. Charles Saatchi was born in 1943 to a wealthy family in Bagdhad, Iraq. The family was Jewish, and anticipating that Iraq was not long going to be welcoming for people of that faith, the Saatchi family relocated to England.

charles

Charles spearheaded one of the most successful advertising agencies in the world, and he was a prolific supporter and collector of the arts. He launched the careers of Damien Hirst (who sucks), and Tracie Emin (who is a bona fide idiot).

hirst

bed

Your filthy bed is not art. I don’t care what art critics say. They’re wrong.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturepicturegalleries/8216563/Is-it-art.html?image=8

Saatchi was a huge supporter of Margaret Thatcher, and played a vital role in the campaign that resulted in her election and the subsequent transformation of England. Apparently, he’s a bit of a dick to everyone he meets, and he was eventually forced out of the agency he founded. He backs the innovative, the controversial, the provocative, the divisive, the rebels with or without a cause.

Not exactly an ordinary man.

Saatchi also dabbled in the literary arts, penning a book delightfully called Be The Worst That You Can Be: Life’s Too Long for Patience and Virtue.

book

Everyone is needy, arrogant, callous, aggrieved, self-absorbed, petty, mean-spirited, spiteful, greedy, envious, ill-mannered and malicious. In some measure some of the time. Only when you accept that much of the pleasure of being alive is to enjoy your own horribleness, and the character flaws in everyone around you, will you find harmony and each day will pass more sweetly.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2245916/Charles-Saatchi-puts-hand-wife-Nigella-Lawsons-mouth-bid-silence-her.html

Sounds like a charmer, no?

He’s worth about 135 million pounds, so being an eclectic, unrepentantly intractable maverick has paid off handsomely for him.

nigella

Nigella Lawson, AKA the Domestic Goddess was born in 1960 in London to a posh family. Daddy was the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and she rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous from birth. Her first husband died of cancer and within months she had moved in with her second husband, Charles Saatchi.

book 2

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigella_Lawson

Given that Daddy was an MP in Thatcher’s cabinet, it is highly unlikely that Nigella had never heard of Charles Saatchi and it would be a dubious claim to say the least that she was unaware of his reputation as an asshole.

A very, very rich asshole, but an asshole nonetheless. Here is Charles deciding he has heard enough of his wife’s blah blah blah and putting a hand over her mouth. What a dick!

hand

Gosh, do you think it’s possible that Nigella is the very first beautiful woman in the history of the world who married a much older, much wealthier man? A man with a reputation for belligerence and anti-social sulkiness?

I recall hearing at some point or another that chicks dig really rich alpha males with a flair for jerky behaviour, but that’s probably just bullshit. Right?

http://sugardaddie.com/millionaire-dating/find_wealthy_men_attractive.htm

Now, Nigella is no slouch in the money department, worth up to 10 million pounds herself, but the difference between 100 million and 10 million pounds is the difference between sunning in the south of France at a lovely chalet every year, and flying to one’s chateau on a private jet every weekend.

There are benefits to wealth.

There is also a price. There always is.

Predictably, the media response has been to jump all over Charles, and to conjure up a compelling portrait of Nigella as a Victim ™. Damien Hirst would be delighted. Gross caricatures, with no relationship to or understanding of reality.

Life imitates art. I really don’t like Damien Hirst.

hurst

What is this crap? Diamonds on a skull? Ed Hardy did it long ago. And the shark. Don’t even get me started on the shark. The Sistine Chapel? Art. Transformative, powerful, aesthetically perfect, compelling, evocative and technically exquisite.

sistine

The shark? Stupid.

shark

But I digress. Is it possible that Nigella is a victim of brutal domestic violence that has blighted her life and crushed her self-protective instincts and destroyed her self-esteem, as the media claims on her behalf? Sure, it’s possible. But that is not the only interpretation of so-called “domestic violence”.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/18/nigella-lawson-domestic-goddess-violence

Here’s another possible interpretation: Nigella admires and respects her husband for his rebelliousness and eccentricity and his awesome command of the worlds he inhabits. Perhaps she LOVES his unwillingness to take any shit from anyone, anywhere, under any circumstances, including her. She would not be the first woman to respond to men who are domineering and physically imposing. Indeed, it seems like we ALL like men who are commanding and tall.

both

Most of us, in ways that we are not entirely aware of, automatically associate leadership ability with imposing physical stature. We have a sense, in our minds, of what a leader is supposed to look like, and that stereotype is so powerful that when someone fits it, we simply become blind to other considerations.

http://www.gladwell.com/blink/blink_excerpt2.html

Here’s another possible interpretation: Nigella adores drama. She deliberately provokes Charles into behavior she can well and fully predict, because she likes the rush of adrenaline and the feeling of power that provides.

http://heartiste.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/scientific-proof-that-women-love-drama/

Here’s another possible interpretation: Nigella gives as good as she gets, but she’s smart and media savvy enough to keep her punches to the head in the privacy of their home. Most domestic violence is mutual. Nigella and Charles could be equally guilty.

http://www.avoiceformen.com/mens-rights/domestic-violence-statistics-laws-and-information-for-men/

Here’s another interpretation: Nigella is on the market for a new husband, and she needs some sympathetic media coverage to ensure she takes as much of Charles wealth as she can. He pled to a “caution”, which means he admitted the assault. He won’t be able to turn around later and say he never assaulted the poor dear. That’s a beautiful advantage to take to court, no?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2343829/Pictured-Charles-Saatchi-Nigella-Lawson-dining-restaurant-choked-her.html

Which one of these scenarios, if any, is true? I have no idea. And neither does anyone else. The ONLY one you will see reported in the media is the first one. Poor, poor Nigella. Abused by her monstrous husband. The new face of domestic violence.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/nigella-lawson-attacked-how-1-1959309

http://www.dailylife.com.au/news-and-views/dl-opinion/why-didnt-anyone-help-nigella-20130617-2odjb.html

http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/18/world/europe/uk-lawson-saatchi

Let’s pretend for one moment that Nigella is a completely awesome, spectacularly intelligent and capable woman utterly in control of herself and her life. We’ll pretend she’s a fully actualized human being. Oh come on now. Play along. Some women are, you know.

Nigella’s story is HERS to define. The media and the general public does not get a say in how her marriage operates. They do not get to define what does and does not constitute “abuse”. That is for Nigella to decide, and thus far, she has declined to involve the police in any way.

Whether or not the crown prosecutors get a say is another story. When it comes to domestic violence, the ground is murky. It is often said that one cannot rank oppressions or suffering, but that is laughable bullshit. Charles put his hand around Nigella’s throat. That is wildly different from banging your partner’s head off the wall until they are unconscious. We have degrees of assault and battery for a reason. Getting slapped is not the same as getting hit with a shovel.

http://assaultdefenselawyer.com/assault-resources/degrees-assault/

Charles is on record saying the interaction was a “playful tiff” and that Nigella was crying because she hates to fight, and not because she was hurt.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2343829/Pictured-Charles-Saatchi-Nigella-Lawson-dining-restaurant-choked-her.html

Is that true? I don’t know. Neither do you. You know who does? Nigella.

And until she speaks, if ever she cares to speak, everyone else can just shut the hell up. Nigella’s life is hers to decide. She has choices to make and consequences to contend with, as do we all. Holding her up to reflect one, and only one story of domestic violence, which may or may not be true, is a way to paint ALL domestic violence as a story about men as monsters and women as angels.

Sometimes that really IS the story. Sometimes it’s not. Let’s not forget that Nigella is the Domestic Goddess. And some Goddesses are right proper bitches who will kill you dead.

diana

Every culture has them: Goddesses to be reckoned with. Perhaps Nigella is the Goddess to fear in the UK? It’s possible. We’ll see.

artemis

I just pray Damien Hirst doesn’t decide to use the episode to vomit forth another piece of his crappy art. Goddess forbid!

Lots of love,

JB

Rocket scientist figures out that a woman’s life isn’t rocket science. A truly brilliant lady worth applauding.

1 Apr

Yvonne

Yvonne Madelaine Claeys was born on Dec. 30, 1924, in St. Vital, a suburb of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her parents had separately immigrated from Flanders, in Belgium. Her father was a carpenter.

After the University of Manitoba barred her from the engineering program, she studied mathematics and chemistry instead and graduated at the top of her class. Her lack of an engineering degree did not prevent her from getting a job with Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica, Calif.

“Nobody had the right degrees back then, so it didn’t matter,” she told The Star-Ledger of Newark in 2010. “I didn’t have engineering, but the engineers didn’t have the chemistry and math.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/31/science/space/yvonne-brill-rocket-scientist-dies-at-88.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Yvonne Brill is rare example of female genius defined in traditionally male terms, and as I’ve argued before, when women of tremendous talent and ability and intelligence are born, the culture almost always makes room for them to rise. The University of Manitoba barred Yvonne from the engineering program because there were no accommodations for women at an outdoor engineering camp. Really? What kind of accommodations would she need? A menstruation hut? Her own tent? That kind of challenge was insurmountable for engineers? How stupid.

http://judgybitch.com/2013/02/14/its-been-fifty-years-since-betty-friedan-tore-apart-her-home-thanks-for-nothing-you-whiny-bitch/
http://judgybitch.com/2013/02/18/her-iq-is-higher-than-einsteins-what-does-she-care-about-her-nails-fake-tanning-and-her-hair-lady-genius-in-action/

tent

I’m guessing there was just very deep suspicion that women could actually perform in a discipline as demanding as engineering. These are some of the smartest people on the planet, and the higher up the intelligence distribution curve you go, the greater the gender disparity.

http://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/sexdifferences.aspx

Men outnumber women eight to one on the curve after IQ measurement reaches 145.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1274952/Men-ARE-brainy-women-says-scientist-Professor-Richard-Lynn.html

Eight to one!

That’s not sexism. It’s biology. But it still didn’t stop Yvonne. She was the one, up against the rightfully suspicious eight.

Engineering is out? Well then, math and chemistry are in. Easy peasy.

chemist

“You just have to be cheerful about it and not get upset when you get insulted,” she once said.

Exactly, Yvonne. Jezebel threw a spaz because Yvonne, who went on to marry and have children, planned her life around her husband and her children, and seems to have been very happy to do so. She preferred to be called Mrs. Brill, and when her children came along, she stepped out of the workforce for eight years to care for them.
http://jezebel.com/5993068/new-york-times-obit-for-rocket-scientist-yvonne-brill-rhapsodizes-about-her-beef-stroganoff

stoganoff

Apparently, she also made a beautiful beef stroganoff.

Well shock and horror! The lovely Mrs. Brill, at home in an apron with her children, knowing that her genius wasn’t going anywhere, and that supporting her husband’s career was just as important as her own ambitions.

apron

Mrs. Brill followed her husband around as he changed jobs, and according to her son, Matthew, she was perfectly content to do so.

“Good husbands are harder to find than good jobs.”

Amen, Yvonne.

Here’s what pisses me off about the Jezebel article, among other things: It should go without saying, but the problem with the original obituary is that a male scientist would never — NEVER — be hailed as a “the world’s best dad” before being hailed as an important scientific innovator.

First of all, although she sounds like she really was a wonderful mother, nowhere in the obituary does it say that Yvonne was the world’s greatest mother. It says she made beef stroganoff, took time off to raise her children, preferred her husband’s name and felt that a good husband was a far better investment than a good job.

Leaving that little sneering bit of contempt for mothering aside, it took me approximately two seconds to find an obituary for a male scientist that spoke of his family upbringing, what he liked to eat and the importance of his wife. Okay, he didn’t make a mean stroganoff, but apparently the rice and evaporated milk diet was important enough to mention.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/science-obituaries/9920933/Hobart-Muir-Smith.html

hobart

Ah yeah, and he liked lizards and frogs, too.

frogs

And it took a further two seconds to find an eminent scientist who works cooking into his lectures.

michael brenner

http://www.seas.harvard.edu/brenner/Home.html

In an article titled Ten Things You Need to Know About Stephen Hawking, the Mirror felt that four of those things should be about his upbringing, his family, his children and his hobbies.

hawking

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/stephen-hawking-10-things-you-171089

These things are not buried in some deep, dirty, secret part of the internet that is almost impossible to access. It would have taken Jezebel ten minutes to find out that articles and obituaries that refer to male scientists are just as likely to talk about their family, their spouses, their children, their hobbies.

So what is the source of feminist bitterness about women, incredibly intelligent, accomplished, brilliant women who are capable not only of building propulsions systems that keep satellites in orbit, but ALSO of making beef stroganoff, being great moms and loving wives?

obama

Personally, I think it’s the order of priorities that pisses feminists off. The feminist ideal is this:

Me
Me
Me
Me
More me
My cat
More me
Yoga
Book club
Shopping
Pissing and moaning
How much will I get if I divorce him now?
Should I fuck the new intern? He’s kind of hot.
I hope that asshole doesn’t think I’m making dinner tonight
Shit, I chipped my manicure
Should I get a venti or a grande?
My house
My kid
My husband

Women like Yvonne have an entirely different set of priorities:

Husband
Children
Work

satellite

In that order. You would be hard-pressed to find a lady smarter than Yvonne, and she put that intelligence to work in BOTH caring for her family and designing rocket propulsion systems. Because you see, you CAN do both. But not at the same time. The simple reality of women’s lives is that we are on a time line that has built-in constraints, and if we want children, we need to have a completely different set of priorities than men.

http://judgybitch.com/2013/02/05/the-genius-of-women-or-the-capacity-to-love-others-more-than-you-love-yourself/

Oh, and we need men, too. And that’s the real burn. Fish DO need bicycles, and those bicycles aren’t free. Why should they be? It comes down to realizing that women and men are not identical, and in feminist theory, that means we are not equal. According to feminism, the only way women can be equal to men is to meet them head on, achievement for achievement, and to deny, in the face of all evidence, that there are real, measurable differences in terms of what we can accomplish.

Rather than embrace a woman’s special genius, feminism denies femininity altogether. A rocket scientist who was also a mother, wife and excellent home cook? Only one of those things is worth mentioning. By denying that even the smartest women on the planet are still women, feminism inadvertently (or perhaps consciously and deliberately) hates women.

Why would I embrace a theory that hates who I am? Why would any woman? Loving your husband, taking care of your children and making a terrific stroganoff are not things to be embarrassed about or ashamed of. Nonsense. They are the very things that make us happy.

All of us.

It’s not rocket science.

Lots of love,

JB

Women work harder than men? At what?

27 Feb

So Jezebel is running a piece today about how women work harder than men. You can just see them all, in their stretchy pants and broomsticks, dancing around and cackling na na na boo boo, we work more hard than you.

witches

Researchers observed 274 subjects working at companies scattered around the United States in financial services, consumer products, education, health care and energy. Approximately 53 percent of subjects were female and 47 percent were male.

During a ten-minute experimental trial, female subjects worked 2.5 minutes compared to 2.1 minutes for male subjects without a privacy filter installed and 4.9 minutes versus 4.3 minutes for male subjects with a privacy filter installed.

When given the opportunity to walk away during an experimental waiting period 38 percent of female workers walked away compared to 52 percent of male workers.

http://jezebel.com/5987056/women-work-harder-than-men-study-says

Hmm. Okay. Apparently, women spent more time working, but at what?

Remember this:

http://judgybitch.com/2013/02/07/babies-we-dont-need-no-stinking-babies-the-genius-of-amanda-marcotte-again/

Number one occupational category for women?

S E C R E T A R Y

secretary

Just picture all those ladies, working their asses off filing stuff alphabetically, scheduling appointments and animating Power Point slides.

Wow.

Healthcare? Oh, hello nurse! Can you please let me know where the surgeon is? Go wipe that ass and fetch that tray of medicine and I’ll stand here and wait for the cardiologist, shall I?

surgeon

Hard to know where to begin with this stupidity. How are the researchers measuring “work”? I can imagine it goes something like this:

Betsy the legal secretary sat down and started to type up the list of statutes that apply to John the lawyer’s new case. Oh look, someone has already indicated what order they go in. Yeah, that would be John. I’ll just sit here and transcribe his notes, after I finish posting these adorable cupcakes and this awesome baby mermaid crochet pattern to my Pinterest board.

mermaid

Oops, privacy filter. Guess I’ll have to just keep typing.

Ho hum. Look at me working.

John, on the other hand, has just spent 20 hours reviewing all the legal precedents that are relevant to his case. Now he needs to figure out which ones are most directly applicable. He sits for a moment, just thinking.

Guess he’s not working at all, is he?

What a stupid study.

Let’s apply this to my life. My day begins at 530AM, when I get up to have a little peace and quiet and coffee to myself, and I can watch the sunrise, which is one of my favorite things. I tool around the internet and then stop to write a blog post when something pisses me off, which generally doesn’t take long.

sunrise

Then I get my day going. Get the kids up and off to school, do the shopping, laundry, cooking, cleaning, blah blah blah … all the shit I do all day, including sitting down and doing absolutely fucking nothing whenever I damn well please. Kids get home from school and I start dinner preparations and then serve and eat and tidy up after and soon enough bedtime rolls around and then there’s all that work and then I finally have some time alone with Mr. JB and we talk about his day and my day and discuss whatever family management issues we need to discuss (new dance shoes – order online?) and by 10:30 PM we’re in bed and then it’s hooker time! My day ends around 10:35 PM.

bed

Haha!

Just kidding, honey.

I’m usually asleep by 11PM, and I spend most of the day on my feet, getting shit done.

Working, in other words.

Whew! Check that out. And it doesn’t end on the weekends! Nope. No days off!!!

I regularly put in 17.5 hour days, seven days a week, 365 days a year. That’s over 6000 hours per year. And I’ve been at it for almost 13 years!

Goddamn, I work a lot.

Mr. JB? Good god. He works about 20 hours a week, doing the actual job he is paid to do. You see, he is paid to solve problems and to communicate the solutions to the people who need to know them. Most of his work week is spent doing one thing:

Thinking.

chair

Most days, you’ll find him sitting in a chair reading something. He’ll read a couple paragraphs, drop the paper to his lap and just stare out the window. He might search for information on the computer now and then, but mostly he just thinks. He spends a lot of time wandering around different sites chatting to people.

He doesn’t appear to be working at all.

But he is.

Mr. JB just read this at work (you slacker!), and he wants me to add that he regularly gets up from 1AM to 4AM to write reports because it’s quiet and it suits his biorhythms. I doubt the researchers would capture that kind of work, either.

In one of the first comments over at Jezebel, a woman writes that her boyfriend gets paid to sleep at a firehouse?

firehouse

Are you fucking kidding me, bitch? No, he does not get paid to sleep at a firehouse! He gets paid to run into burning buildings and drag people out! He gets paid to stop the fire from spreading uncontrollably and burning the whole damn street down. He gets paid to make sure the damn fire is out!

firefighter

He gets paid to sleep. Jesus.

It’s wonderful that researchers can come up with these clever topics to encourage women to think themselves equal to men in every conceivable way, but until we know WHAT it is that women are working at, it’s all just smoke and mirrors.

The reality is that most women are working as support staff for MEN, who are doing all the real work. Sucks ladies, but the truth hurts. When you don’t really have to stop to think about your job because it’s so fucking simple and stupid the average fifth grader could manage it just fine, well, yeah. You’re going to appear to be working more.

And thinking less.

alphabet

How much thought does the alphabet require?

Lots of love,

JB

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