Posted by: Ali Davis | October 8, 2014

The First Taste is Free.

Your very own sample of the brand-new True Porn Clerk Stories audiobook. Please enjoy.

Posted by: Ali Davis | August 13, 2014

An Open Letter To Rush Limbaugh

Dear Mr. Limbaugh,

First off, keep doing the important work you’ve been doing of spreading kindness everywhere. There’s nothing that helps comfort surviving family members more than coming up with a one-phrase explanation for someone’s suicide.

You did, however, get something wrong in your recent statements about the tragic death of Robin Williams. That’s uncharacteristic, so I knew you would want to be alerted right away.

I know it must indeed seem to you like liberals are never happy. We’re always hand-wringing over people who are addicted to prescription drugs or fretting over some totally imaginary evil like child sex tourism. It’s such a stark contrast to your relentlessly cheerful and upbeat show.

But I want to reassure you that we do experience happiness every now and then.

We are happy during the Gay Pride parades, when we throw our gay-soaked beads into the crowds, knowing that the minute they touch bare skin, we have started the process of breaking up innocent straight families.

We are happy when we force schools to use textbooks that say that slavery in America existed and was bad, because nothing turns a child to dope and Paganism faster than an understanding of historic inequalities.

We are happy each time another day passes and our liberal media once again fails to report that dioxin in the groundwater not only cures cancer, it causes supervirility and a hardy entrepreneurial spirit.

We are happy during our ceremonies for the Horned God of the Forest, when we sacrifice a rich man — always a straight, white rich man — and blend him into kale smoothies that we feed to the bunnies and deer.

And we are happy again when we distribute that rich straight white man’s goods to the poor. But only the undeserving poor, the ones sitting in their yards drinking beer while endorsing their ill-gotten government handout checks and not even looking for a biochemical engineering job.

We are happy when we chortle into the sleeves of our summer parkas, knowing we have fooled 99.5% of all the scientists in the world with our global warming hoaxes.

We are happy when we run over coal and oil executives with our Priuses.

We are ecstatically happy once a year when our Dark Queen Rachel Maddow opens the gates to the vast, completely undeveloped plains where we have hidden all the lions and tigers and polar bears and we frolic and gambol among them. And you know what? They like to be hunted. They love it. But we won’t, because if there is one thing that makes us extra happy, it is being killjoys.

When the evening comes, we use our vast stockpiles of free birth control to have our joyous annual latte-and-quinoa-fueled orgy, where there are only three rules:

  1. Do What Thou Wilt shall be the whole of the law.
  2. Except for this list of government safety regulations.
  3. No straight sex unless it’s part of a threesome.

And we are happy whenever Neil Degrasse Tyson speaks, because he is awesome.

Other than that, you’ve pretty much got us nailed.



Posted by: Ali Davis | September 25, 2013

An open letter to KABC-TV Los Angeles

Dear KABC,

I just want to compliment you on that awesome news promo last night!

You started off strong, letting viewers know that a man has been “robbing and raping” his way across Southern California.

Excellent turn of phrase! Way to grab the ear! Way to let people know that this is about some dude on a spree, like in a super-cool anti-hero movie, and not someone doing something horrible that people should actually think about.

A lesser news writer might have gone with “Police are seeking a serial rapist for multiple sexual assaults,” but your team knew that that sounded way less fun. It might even make people think about the victims a little bit. Downer.

But that’s just icing, really. It’s not even close to the most awesome part of the promo. 

The best part was when you let viewers know that if they wanted to know what all the victims had in common, they would have to tune in at 11:00.

Sure, some boring-ass lame-O at another station might suggest that the fact that this rapist is targeting women who work in massage parlors is a vital piece of information to actual living, feeling human beings who are in danger. That lame-O might have suggested that you could just give out that information as a public service so that the women who are being targeted could take steps to try to protect themselves and, you know, not get raped.

But you awesome geniuses at KABC know that news is not about getting important information to the public. It’s about buzz and advertising dollahs.

You and everyone involved in that promo made sure to keep the most important thing in mind: That ladies afraid of getting raped just means eyeballs on your newscast. Plus it’s not like ladies who work in massage parlors are real ladies with lives that might get shattered, right?

Anyway, good job all around on making sure you treat the women in your audience like nonhuman commodities and rape as a particularly titillating lead-in to your newscast. I’m sure it will earn you booming ratings and high marks for creativity and innovation when you get to Hell.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any praise for the show itself.

I didn’t get around to watching it because fuck you.


Ali Davis

Posted by: Ali Davis | November 20, 2012

Bankrupt: Some Friendly Advice to the Rebranded GOP

Years ago, when I first started freelance writing, I got hired to do the copy for a website for a car company that is no longer in business.

The company had noticed that they weren’t selling to women – in fact, their customer base was almost entirely older white men – and they wanted to change that. They were planning to deploy special banner ads on websites that got a lot of female traffic, and those would lead to a brand-new special splash page just for women. My assignment was to write the copy for that women’s splash page.

At first, I was excited to be a part of it. I had developed some strong likes and dislikes about the process of shopping and caring for cars, and had lots of ideas about how the company could speak to women.

…However, the company didn’t want those ideas. Well, that happens with freelance writing. No big deal. But when I asked about the focus groups that I assumed had been held, I found out that the company and its ad agency hadn’t run any of those. In fact, they didn’t seem to want any female input or thinking at all. There were women other than me involved in the project, but any suggestions were actively discouraged. We were essentially to take dictation for the company’s pre-planned concept for the site.

There was, of course, some “You go, girl!” type language, watered down to the point of meaninglessness. But mostly the whole thing was embarrassing. The finished site had very little about the actual cars, or why one might want to purchase or drive one. Instead, there were messages about the company’s sponsorship of the LPGA tour and donations to fight breast cancer. Because chicks love that stuff, right? And then they were expected to just obediently start buying.

I only worked on the splash page, but apparently if any women stayed on it long enough to try to find links to solid information about the cars, which was tough, they were treated to another page that cooed to them about “making cars simple.” You know, for women. And the banner ads – which I swear I had nothing to do with – were apparently even worse.

(As humiliating as that was, I was at least relieved that I hadn’t been involved with the splash page for African-Americans, which featured, for real, a black history timeline. It was the main visual of the site. DO YOU SEE HOW THOROUGHLY WE UNDERSTAND YOU, BLACK PEOPLE?)

The whole project was an epic disaster. Not only did women not start buying the client’s cars, but they sent scathing letters and e-mails to the company with a few choice words about condescension. I don’t have direct knowledge of the response to the black-history-timeline-with-a-car-on-it site, but I feel like I can make an educated guess.

I don’t know if the car company executives ever understood why the site was such a catastrophic failure, but as an outsider, it was easy: Instead of actually asking women and African-Americans why they didn’t want those cars or what they did want in a car or even in a car-buying experience, the company decided for itself what those groups would like and then expected female and black consumers to behave like two-dimensional stereotypes instead of thinking human beings with real concerns and desires. And they certainly didn’t expect anyone to behave as an individual – just as a monolithic group member, at most.

I repeat: That company is out of business.

I’ve been thinking about that job lately because I’ve been watching the Republican Party frantically try to re-brand itself after the election. Not re-think itself, mind you. Just re-brand itself. There doesn’t seem to be any real effort to do anything but pigeonhole the groups that didn’t vote Republican and consider giving lip service to their imagined wants.

And rest assured, it will be just lip service. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has been standing right up and saying that Republicans should stop making boneheaded, breathtakingly sexist statements about rape. But please don’t take that to mean that he thinks Republicans should stop their current push to criminalize abortion for rape victims. He just thinks the GOP should stop being quite so honest about it in public.

And so the Republican effort to win us back is progressing much like my early e-mail volleys with my one-time client. Single women just want free birth control for all the dirty sex they’re having! Latinos are single-issue voters who only care about immigration, and in only one way! Black people only want handouts! LGBT folks just have two goals: destroying American marriages and legally forcing churches to let them have sex on the altar. Yes, Republicans truly have us all figured out.

Here’s the thing, GOP: You might want to work in a couple of focus groups. You’ll note that I didn’t say “You might want to talk to people,” because you’ve been talking to people, or at least at them, quite a bit. What you need to do is run a focus group or seven and listen to people.

Find out what people in cities worry about. You may begin to suspect that their thoughts and needs are just as valid as those of people who live in rural areas. Talk to Muslims and Wiccans and Hindus and agnostics and atheists. You might find surprisingly strong moral and ethical codes, and a startlingly weak desire to murder other human beings.

Notice that Cuban-Americans and Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans (who are citizens! For real!) and many, many other groups that could be described as “Latino” do not all want or worry about the same things, even within those subgroups. Though you might be able to get away with the generalization that they’re not crazy about being treated as inherently foreign and an invading malicious horde.

Check in with a few women, single and married. Yes, lots of women (and men!) like birth control, because planning if and when one has children turns out to be a really good way to help keep those children out of poverty. But brace yourselves, Republicans, it may get even more complex than that. It may just be that the women who didn’t vote for you are not so much sex-crazed as they really, really hate being treated like unthinking baby incubators whose lives are irrelevant once the egg is fertilized – no matter what the “method of conception” may have been.

And, yes, Republicans, you’re going to have to listen to some black people who aren’t Herman Cain.

I know this will be awkward because you have been using black people as the quickest, most effective way to scare a certain type of white person into donating to your campaigns and getting out to the polls for quite some time now, but I think you will hear some things that will be good for you. And most of you have known all along that the scare-the-racist-goobers campaigning is odious. Taste the bile you’ve generated, take some time to be ashamed, and then actually do something about it. The last four years have shown that you have a stunning number of racists in your ranks, GOP, overt and covert. It’s time to do what’s right and shame them out. Let them secede and form their own party. They love that.

And I cannot freaking believe I have to type this, but no, Mitt; no, Paul; no, Newt; and no, Bill; and no to so many of you: African-Americans are not lazy people who are just looking from a handout from you noble, hardworking white fellows. They’re not even the biggest recipients of Welfare. Whoops! Turns out that’s white people. So what do they want? You’re going to have to actually ask them, a bunch of them, from all different regions and income levels. And you’re going to have to listen.

As for the LGBT community, well, Republicans, I’m sorry to say that other than a few baffling stalwarts and the many closet cases in your ranks, you’ve pretty much lost the LGBT vote for a few decades. It was probably the part when you said that there was something so fundamentally wrong with us that we shouldn’t be allowed to marry each other. Or maybe it was the part when you called those of us who did want to get married slaves to lust instead of, you know, deeply in love. Or it might be the countless times you’ve claimed to be religiously oppressed when we object to being legally discriminated against. One of those things.

But you can take a few baby steps. Learn what “LGBT” stands for, and why liberals say that instead of “homosexual.” For extra credit, ask about the Q that sometimes gets put on at the end. If you can’t talk to us directly, try talking to those younger Republicans who for some crazy reason don’t find their gay friends so scary. Ask them why, and listen. The Rick Santorum types among you really seem to enjoy taking the position of embattled victimhood, so try a few thought experiments: Think about how you would feel if someone tried to pass a law that kept you from getting married, and thus from visiting the person you wanted to marry in the hospital. If that doesn’t move you, think about such a law would affect your inheritance.

And then, Republicans, you might try talking to people without automatically slicing them into any of those categories at all. Or you might go crazy and start talking and listening to people who are in unions and people who seem awfully huffy about what fracking is doing to their drinking water and people who used to have a pension fund before that corporate takeover and liquidation. And I think you should find a bunch of other kinds of people, and I think you should listen hard.

Because as I mentioned, that car company is out of business.

Posted by: Ali Davis | March 3, 2012

To Sum Up

Religious Male Congressional Witnesses: We do not want the compromise in which insurance companies pay for contraceptive coverage at their own expense because, even though religious institutions would not be paying for it, we do not want the female employees or students at religious institutions to have the option of having dirty bad sex without making babies.

Sandra Fluke: I wish to explain that hormonal contraception is used for a variety of medical reasons, and that such prescriptions often have nothing to do with sex or babies at all.

Rush Limbaugh: SLUT!

Posted by: Ali Davis | February 21, 2012

A Women’s Congressional Panel on Men’s Health

Posted by: Ali Davis | January 30, 2012

I’m proud of this.

I’m one of three co-writers, with Andy Cobb and Michael Damanskis.


Posted by: Ali Davis | December 2, 2011

An Unscientific Cat Coat Survey Landmark

As of this afternoon, I have my first report, via Twitter, from the Midwest: Based on a sample size of two (2) cats, we have a 50% rate of unusual floofiness.

That’s about on-pace with the West Coast, and way ahead of the East Coast, which does not seem to be unusually furry. However, we’re in single-digit numbers all around, so the scores can still really change.

No matter where you live, I want YOU (you) to participate in the Unscientific Cat Coat Survey. Living outside the United States? On another continent entirely? Hanging out in a hemisphere that is distinctly summery at the moment? I don’t care! We are on to something here, people! Every bit of information helps.

Just leave your floofiness report, geographic area, and the most shame-inducing song that’s still in rotation in your music collection (optional) in the comments of the main Unscientific Cat Coat Survey post or, if you’re really lazy, in the comments for this post.

Together we will bring the weather-predicting world to its knees.

And then we will be complete pains in the butt until it opens a can of tuna.

Posted by: Ali Davis | December 1, 2011

The Completely Unscientific Cat Coat Survey

First off: I know this is not science. We all agree on that.

But it could be interesting, which is one of my favorite excuses for doing things.

It came up because I noticed a month or two ago that my cat Mae, whom I have owned/been the personal assistant to for 15 years now, grew a winter undercoat like I’ve never seen this year. She’s a short-haired cat, and for the first time I’m having to comb and even cut mats out of her fur. (You would be correct in guessing that neither of us is happy with this development.)

Anecdotally, I’ve heard that a cat’s undercoat can be predictive of the severity of winter weather, but Mae (and I) lived in Chicago for eight years and she never grew a coat like this. And we’re in Los Angeles now.

I should not that there’s only a 50% rate of unusual undercoating at my place. My other cat, Grendel, is quite sleek. However, he’s half Siamese, a breed not generally known for getting all floofy, and he’s only six months old. What the hell does he know? He can barely deal with seeing rain.

After another session of trying to get all the fur tufts out of Mae’s butt, I tweeted about her new coat and quickly got notes back from two fellow cat owners, one also in California and one in Oregon, whose charges had also gotten crazy huge for winter – and to a degree that the owners hadn’t seen before.

So I’m curious. In the interest of, well, not science, but of anecdotal information that could one day lead to science, or at least something interesting, please tell me:

Is your cat unusually furry this winter?

If not, how’s the fur situation relative to previous years?

Where in the world are you?

What is a song that you love, love, love, but hope no one finds in your music collection?

Wait, are you lying about any significant part of this?

Please leave your response in the comments on this post, right below there, for ease of information gathering and to avoid duplications from Twitter and Facebook and stuff.

I am totally serious about collecting this information into a Feline Fur Index.

Together we will bring important knowledge to the world. Or at least unimportant speculation that could lead to something-or-other. Which is, as I have mentioned, totally worth it.

Thank you.

Posted by: Ali Davis | November 21, 2011

The Three Scariest Topics from Saturday’s GOP Debate

This Saturday was the “Thanksgiving Family Forum,” a Republican debate minus Mormons Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, who wanted to avoid the very real possibility of the incredibly far-right audience – and maybe one or two of the candidates – screeching “EEEEEK Satan Cult! Satan Cult! Not real Christians!”

(On a side note, let’s remember that the Mormon church leaders spent tens of millions of dollars to stop gay marriage in California and other states, at least in part as an attempt to gain street cred with far-right Evangelical churches. It must hurt to be subjected to so much garden-variety fear and bigotry when they put so much effort into spreading slightly different garden-variety fear and bigotry. No, those aren’t tears of joyous laughter. I have something in my eye.)

The forum was sponsored by The Family Leader, Focus on the Family, and the National Organization for Marriage, so everyone already knew it would be a Who Hates the Gays the Most Derby. But, perhaps more important, it started at 5 p.m. Eastern time on a Saturday and was only broadcast on the Internet. Even journalists weren’t watching this thing. The tally on my livestream never got above 20,000 people.

So instead of the usual dogwhistle far-right pandering, the candidates felt free to really cut loose. Here’s the most terrifying stuff you may have missed.

1. They’re not even pretending it’s about abortion anymore. It’s about personhood.

Radical anti-choicers used to hide behind abortion as a principled stand in favor of life. But they’ve won enough battles there – making abortion effectively illegal or impossible to obtain in great swathes of the country – that they’re pushing it a step forward. They’re also giving the game away, but it seems like they feel confident in doing that.

Personhood laws are not about abortion. They are about outlawing many forms of birth control. The IUD and most forms of the pill would be illegal in any areas where these laws pass, as would, arguably, chemotherapy for pregnant women with cancer.

If there is one thing to be clear on, it is this: The personhood movement is not about stopping abortions or saving lives.

They are trying to take away your control of your own fertility. Even if you are part of a married, straight couple, these people want to take away your right to decide how many children you will have and when.

You want to put your financial resources and time into raising two kids as well as you can and within your means? Too bad. Michele Bachmann, the personhood movement, and, apparently, Jesus want you to keep having them until you are cast into poverty and/or the mother dies in childbirth.

And if you don’t like those options, they want you to just stop having sex. Again, not dirty, bad premarital sex or even scarier, dirty same-sex sex. They want to control what married, straight couples can do in the privacy of their own homes. They want to force a choice between years of abstinence or kids until you’re broken.

Nice folks, huh?

Speaking of which…

2. They hate and fear members of the LGBT community even more than they usually let on.

I can’t even begin to chronicle how much they blamed on the LGBT community and how much they want us disappeared, or at least penned into some sort of offshore island. Long story short, we are physically ripping apart the fabric of all that is good and America itself.

Well, at least we know now that the huge increase in low-level earthquakes isn’t from fracking.

Rick Santorum has been savvy enough lately to start using a take on this in which (surprise!) he is the real victim here. He says he doesn’t hate The Gays – He loves them! Loves them so much! – it’s just that he has sincere religious beliefs that he is entitled to write into the law for all of us. And to accuse him (or Bachmann, or Paul, or Newt, or Cain, or Perry, or Romney, or the sponsors of the Thanksgiving Family Forum) of bigotry is actually evidence that you, the accuser, are the real bigot here.

Oh, really? Try saying the things they say routinely, in public, as though they are matters of not just common sense but vital national interest, about any other group.

“People of Belgian descent should not be allowed to marry each other, and the government should not force me as a Christian to tolerate that.”

“We cannot allow anyone under 5′ 8″ to adopt children.”

“Children need to have two parents who are college-educated. Allowing people who don’t have at least a four-year bachelor’s degree to raise kids is akin to abuse. Those kids are better off in the foster care system.”

Those statements clearly carry animosity. They are prejudiced and hateful. So you don’t get to claim they aren’t if you’re just popping new subjects into the same templates.

Just because it makes Santorum, Bachmann et al get a case of the sads when you point out that they are vicious bigots who are actively spreading hate and fear does not mean that it isn’t true.

The current crop of GOP candidates, with the exception of Huntsman, is in favor of incorporating open bigotry into our national policy. Huntsman is widely seen as having no chance whatsoever. Largely because he refuses to participate in the open bigotry.

Conservatives claim they are the party of personal responsibility. They should take responsibility for the cupcakes iced with bile that they’ve been handing out.

3. These supposed Constitution fetishists want to destroy the judicial branch of our government.

Even though they were clearly pandering to the event sponsors, I was astonished at how hard all the candidates came out against the third branch of our government.

I honestly couldn’t tell if it’s because they don’t know how the government is supposed to work – Bachmann said, for real, “Why is it that the big decisions always get made by the Supreme Court?” – or if they know but want to pander to the stupid and people who are angry enough that they just don’t care.

In this case, I think I was actually giving them too much credit as decent human beings by assuming, at first, that they were that ignorant about the basic makeup of  government they hoped to lead.

But look at those first two items again. These candidates, collectively if not individually, know exactly what they’re doing.

Our government was set up with checks and balances to stop legislators from overstepping and trampling on people’s rights.

But trampling on people’s rights is what’s on the agenda here. It is the main thrust of the current GOP platform – we didn’t even get to the part where they want to legalize stopping brown people on the street for looking too foreign in more states than they already have.

For today’s GOP, trampling rights is second in importance only to protecting multimillionaires from taxation. It even ranks above constant, bloody, macho-boosting warfare!

The radical right, which has become the mainsteam GOP, wants to try to legislate gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people out of existence – or, failing that, into the closet, and out of the workplace. They want to stop any woman – any couple – from choosing whether or not to have children, and when, and how many. They want to stop even married, straight couples from having nonprocreative sex.

You’d better believe they hate judges. Judges are there to hold the line. The judges are the ones who are supposed to tell them no, you cannot legislate discrimination; no, you cannot control the sex lives of consenting adults; no, your narrow interpretation of a single religion cannot be imposed as everyone’s law.

And this crop of candidates wants to stop that. They know what judges do: Judges thwart the far right’s cruelest instincts, and the far right cannot stand it.

They talked about term limits for Supreme Court justices – because what we need is for that institution to become even more politicized and subject to the whims of the moment – and actually talked about allowing Congress to eliminate entire courts that are “unnecessary,” by which they mean courts that stand in the way by producing rulings the Bigot Brigade doesn’t like.

Gingrich even talked about eliminating a specific judge whose ruling Newt didn’t like. Attempting to intimidate a judge is a felony… Unless you do so as a part of your presidential campaign.

These candidates will shred anything that stands in their way, including the Constitution, and, if you’re not careful, including you.

Even if you’re a white, straight, conservative, married, native-born Christian, don’t get cocky. Romney and Huntsman didn’t skip the Thanksgiving Family Forum because it was impossible to attend it and look like adults. They skipped it because they knew that one false move could get them, the wrong kind of Christians, thrown under the steamroller.

And you never know where that steamroller will point next.

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