Welcome to Maoist Orange Cake. Each week one of our Divas posts a thoughtful (but not necessarily serious) essay on whatever calls forth her Voice or strikes her Fancy. We invite you to join us wherever the discussion leads.
Motto of the MOC: Sincere, yes. Serious? Never!

"I would also like to add that ‘Maoist Orange Cake is possibly the best name for a blog ever. Just my twopence." -- The Sixth Carnival of Radical Feminists, 1 October 2007

The Twelfth Carnival of Radical Feminists is up at The Burning Times blog and mentions one of our posts, Helen 'Wheels' Keller, for recommendation. Orangeists spreading our zest!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Challenge From Aunt Soozie, Part Deux

Aunt Soozie and I have decided to take the Drag King Name Challenge up to the next level, and allow you, Gentle Readers to vote on the best Drag King name! The name with the most votes (natch) will be declared the winner, and the name's contributor will be given the title "MOC's Diva Of The Drag Kings."

What will the winner receive? Glad that you asked! The Diva Of The Drag Kings will receive a beautiful gift box, containing one hat/crown, accoutrements fit for a "king", , materials to create the illusion of facial hair, and a disposable camera. so if the recipient desires, he/she can clothe themselves as the Drag King Diva, take a picture, and hopefully, one day, post it on this blog.

The nominations are;

Boxa Hammers

Benny Dick Shun

Elvis Herselvis

Nick Holeritchie

Brit Tenyspears

Brad Clitt

York Hunt

Cervix Merchandise

Pierre Hardon

Jean-Claude Coq au Van Damme

The voting will begin today, and end next Sunday, with the winner to be announced next Monday. Hopefully, there will also be a picture of the fabulous prizes the winner will receive along with it.

Let the contest begin! Happy Voting!


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It's Not Easy Being Ginger...

"The Martyr of the Solway" by Millais

...or a redhead, as it's more commonly known here in the USA. I'd ask you to just ask this woman, but she died in 1680. Her name was Julianne McCambridge, aka "The Martyr of the Solway". Poor Julianne had the misfortune to win the Scottish Lottery, which should be a good thing, right? Wrong! Number one, no one expected a WOMAN to win the lottery; Number two, She could READ (this at a time when most men couldn't) and, Number three...well, just look at her! Need I say more? She was declared a witch, and sentenced to death. The last time a witch was killed in Scotland before Julianne was 40 years before, and that one was burned at the stake. By 1680, that was considered somewhat distasteful (sooo 1640...) and so they decided on "death by three tides", which was supposed to be more humane. Since there were no tides in her vicinity, Julianne was taken to "the Solway", an area of Scotland where the tides rose up just high enough to drown someone. Julianne was tied (or chained) to a post in the bay, and as the tides came in, she recited psalms to the music of old Scottish tunes, and the story of the "Witch of Lambert" began to turn to "The Martyr of the Solway".

Now undoubtedly, Julianne's education and sex had a great deal to do with her misfortune (as well as the greed of the men in her community). But look at that HAIR. You can't tell me that doesn't have something to do with it. I say this as a woman who is "ginger" in all senses of the word (spicy, red-haired and queer). Think I'm being paranoid? Just look at all these "fun facts" I discovered about redheads:

Did you know...?

1. Redheads were once thought to be witches? Popular theory says they were thought to be conceived during their mother's periods, due to "uncontrollable lust" (which somehow was also the fault of their mothers). Which also leads us to...

2. Redheads are thought to have 3x the sex drive of a "normal" person. This probably has it's root in #1, but must still be widely believed today -- just try googling "redhead" and see how many porn sites you get.

3. Redheads were also thought to be vampires or werewolves.

4. Mary Magdalene is often pictured as having red hair.

5. Redheads are thought to have "bad tempers" or, in more pc terminology, "anger control problems".

6. Redheads are 1% of the world's total population, with the largest concentration of us occurring in the UK (about 12%) However, redheads occur naturally everywhere in the world, including Africa and Asia.

7. Prince Charles' first words upon seeing Prince Harry were "Ugh..he's got that rusty hair..." (and he says the divorce was HER fault!)

8. The term "ginger" comes from Cockney rhyming slang, "ginger-beer/queer", so being ginger is equated with being homosexual, as well as having red hair, and has long been considered a derisive term.

9. "Gingerism" has been compared to racism in the UK, and there are actually support groups to help people cope with their "gingerness" (that is, the red-haired kind).

10. Not to mention such terms and sayings as "redheaded step-child", "redheaded bastard at the family reunion", "carrot-top", "I'd rather be dead than red in the head", "hey kid, your hair's on fire," and so forth.

Despite all this, or maybe because of it, I have come to embrace my gingerness. Ironically, this comes in a time in my life when (sob) the red is actually leaving my hair! All those years, I longed to be anything but ginger, then, when I finally come to love it, it starts to go away. To rectify this, I did what any sane woman would do -- I asked my daughter to help me color it (Did I say sane?). Therefore, instead of the new penny shade of my youth, it is now a deep, dark, reddish-PURPLE.(I tried to fix it, but trust me -- only time will fix this).

But red is more than hair -- it is my heart, my soul. It's my pale skin, freckles, and tendency to bruise. It taught me empathy, to root for the little gal/guy. No matter what color my hair on my scalp is, I'll always be ginger....

Here's some lovely links for y'all:

South Park, Cartman's "Ginger Kids" Speech

Realm of Redheads, website For Us, By Us

Genetics of red hair

The Redhead Cluster Phenomenon

BBC News Magazine " Is Gingerism As Bad As Racism?"


Monday, July 9, 2007

Lesbian Separatism in the Middle Ages

Princess Ida, one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s lesser known works, opens in less than a week at the Bagley-Wright Theatre here in Seattle, and everyone in the Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society is going crazy. My job is a tiny one: I handle the in-house video. I sit at the back of the house running an empty video camera that’s hooked up to monitors in the pit. That means I get to see every performance. Yay!

Princess Ida isn’t a show one gets to see often. It has some of Sullivan’s most beautiful music, including a song with a tune like something out of Handel’s Messiah in which three stupid soldiers—we know they’re stupid because they tell us so themselves—take off their armor piece by piece before going into battle. In this production, one of the three men explicitly turns it into a strip-tease for the benefit of the women’s chorus. The show also features men in drag, women twirling battleaxes as if they were batons, a bondage song for the lead tenor, a power struggle between professors, a unique Gilbertian poke at Darwin, and local talk-radio star Dave Ross complaining that he has nothing to complain about.

As a fervent Gilbertian, it pains me to admit that Princess Ida is not one of Gilbert’s best libretti. That doesn’t mean it’s bad; Gilbert never wrote a bad libretto. But it’s not up there with The Mikado or Iolanthe. The main difficulty for the crew here at the MOC is the subject of Gilbert’s satire: women’s education, and by extension, feminism. As in any movement made up of human beings, there is plenty to laugh about in the feminist movement, whether First or Second Wave, but Gilbert knew nothing about feminism, so he ended up making fun of all the wrong things. Fortunately, WSG is an equal-opportunity satirist, and men get skewered too, along with a wide variety of ungendered human foibles.

I’ve long thought it would be possible to put together a good pastiche of Ida that actually would make fun of feminism, and do it using Gilbert’s own characters and jokes. For instance there is the disagreeable feminist who trashes her fellow feminists, all in the noble cause of ideological purity. This same feminist, when forced to live in a perfect non-sexist world, is miserable: “Isn’t your life extremely flat when you’ve nothing whatever to protest at!” And there are the three ignorant housewives: “Politics we bar, they are not our bent; on the whole we are not intelligent.” Later, after some consciousness-raising, they throw away all their bras, girdles, and made-up. “This brassiere, truth to tell, may look uncommon well, but in a fight it’s much too tight; it’s like a lobster shell.” Then there are the three liberal feminists who want to wage revolution “most politely,” and overthrow male-rule without offending anyone. I find it telling that these excellent feminist types are all male characters in Gilbert’s libretto. The only feminist type in female guise is the separatist princess herself.

Oh yeah, I did mention lesbian separatism, didn’t I? It’s here, even though G&S certainly didn’t plan it that way. Here’s the tale: Some time vaguely in the Middle Ages, their respective royal parents arrange for Princess Ida, aged one, to marry Prince Hilarion, aged two. As the show opens Ida is twenty-one and it’s time for her to move in with Hilarion so they can do their dynastic duty. But somewhere along the line Ida has decamped to Castle Adamant with a hundred female students, plus faculty, all of whom have vowed never to have anything to do with men for the rest of their lives. For those of us who remember the 1970s, this will sound oddly familiar. Naturally, the guys can’t leave well enough alone. Hilarion and two of his frat buddies sneak into the castle, put on women’s academic robes, and try to pass themselves off as women, just as if they were at a music festival or something. This does not work, though the boys do get a chance to dance the Macarena and discuss global warming. The more male chauvinist of Hilarion’s pals wins over one of the younger students (who has a thing for beards), while the other pal gets drunk. Hilarion sings rapturously about having Ida chain him up, and she obliges by packing him off to a dungeon. Meanwhile Hi’s father has taken Ida’s dysfunctional family hostage and is threatening war. A lot of genuinely funny stuff goes on before Ida finally exhausts all her options and is compelled give in graciously, as a princess should, politely claiming to love Hilarion. The script makes it clear, however, that Ida will soon be back at Castle Adamant with Lady Psyche and her girl students. Maybe Hilarion will be able to get something going with his drunken pal Cyril.

Eight hundred words already! And I haven’t had a chance to say anything about Tennyson, or the map I drew as one of the props, or my rehearsal sketches, or the international reputation of the Seattle G&S Society, or what the strip-tease has to do with the Iliad. Someone will just have to ask me.

Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society: http://www.pattersong.org/
G&S Archive: Princess Ida


Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Guest Post Challenge from Aunt Soozie

Dear MOC Friends,

I put forth a challenge to youse. (non-gendered plural of 'you')

Maggie and I were recently lamenting the paucity of fabulous Drag King names. This lamentation occurred after we became aware of a Drag Queen named Suppositori Spelling.

We adore that name.

So, here's the challenge: collect or invent fabulous Drag King names and post 'em right here. If you post the name of an actual King a link to info about him would be grand.


Aunt Soozie
Your 2007 Beaver Queen
Beaver Lodge Local 1504
"World Peace"