Thirsty for a Fresh Take on All Things True Blood?

WELCOME! Thirsty for a fresh take on all things True Blood? Pull up a virtual barstool at the Pierced Pomegranate Tavern where sisters Rachel and Rebecca are serving up juicy feminist analysis with a twist and opening a vein of thoughtful sociocultural dialogue on HBO's hit series.

Like the epic literary salons of eras past - theaters for conversation and debate which were, incidentally, started and run by women; where the spirited debate about the issues of the day ran as copiously as the actual spirits did - but updated for the digital age, the Pierced Pomegranate Tavern is a fun forum for exploring questions ripe for discourse about the human condition & today's most crucial social issues through the medium of True Blood.

Your salonnières are not peddling liquor per se, but they are offering up new and alternative ideas informed by such diverse influences as pop culture, art, music, cultural history, Goddess studies, transformative theory, literature and poetry, and archaeomythology, filtered through the sieve of their own lived experiences as feminist women of a particular age, background, and culture.

This is a space where you - patrons and passersby alike - can view and engage with these perspectives through the lens of True Blood and contribute your own thoughts. So, no matter if you're a Truebie or a more casual viewer of True Blood, or your drink of choice is a pomegranate martini - one of Rachel's favorite cocktails to drink and Rebecca's to mix - an herbal tea, a frothy double mocha latte, or a can of Fresca (wink, wink) you're invited to join the conversation on the show's complexities in a way that can spark transformation.

Hopefully you'll find something to sink your teeth...err...straw, into! PLEASE ENJOY RESPONSIBLY ;-)


The Pierced Pomegranate Tavern is dedicated to exploring social issues and more through the lens of True Blood. As such, you may encounter:

related to the often provocative and adult themes presented by the show

If you choose to enter and participate in this virtual salon, please be prepared to do so in a thoughtful, respectful, and mature fashion with the above in mind. Click here to check out our comment policy. Thanks!


No copyright infringement is intended, all rights to True Blood belong to HBO, credit is ascribed to sites where images appearing here were originally found.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Here's to a Happy, Compassionate Thanksgiving!

Tonight I am steeped in tea, robust and bracing English Breakfast tea to be precise, with a splash of skinny caramel macchiato...America may run on Dunkin, but I most certainly run on tea and this evening I have gotten hopped up on several mugs of it brimming with non-dairy liquid sugar and caffeine, as you will no doubt be able to tell since the time stamp on this post will likely say about 4AM once all is said and done, and yes, I'm still awake!

So now that it's official, Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

You may be wondering why I am awake and rambling at this ungodly hour; it's because I've been working on the next post in the "Real Grrrl Power: Women in Solidarity" series. As you know, it's in response to the issue Rebecca has raised in her last few posts, namely; female rivalry and conflict. I hope to continue the discourse (please see my post from 11/23/10 for Part I), and yes, I am taking it very, very seriously. My goal is to have it finished and posted after Thanksgiving weekend.

As I contemplate having to be up and ready for work in about 4 hours, my thoughts turn to what's on my metaphorical plate for after the work day ends: lots of Thanksgiving cooking and baking. Since I've been working on my next blog entry for the past several hours I've got True Blood on the brain, so naturally my mind drifts to thoughts like, "wouldn't it be great to be able to put on a fabulous holiday dinner à la the consummate host, our dearly departed Talbot"?

I miss Talbot because, for one thing, he made sure to serve "cruelty free" meals at his table. Remember how he introduced each course at the lavish feast organized for Russell and the captive Bill, pointing out that all of the dishes were prepared using blood from willing donors? 

What's that you say? Blood - cruelty free or not - isn't on your Thanksgiving menu? That's OK, the principles of ethical eating and conscious cooking can be anyway - and this is relevant since part of our feminist frame involves thinking about how our actions effect the web of life.

Everyone who's close to me knows that although I am a committed vegetarian, I am not an evangelist for the cause. I do however promote using one's own set of values and conscience to make thoughtful, informed decisions about how what they include on their plate and how it is prepared impacts the larger scheme of things. I am also a fan of choices.

Here's one choice my Mom and I (who's also vegetarian) made for this Thanksgiving; since we don't eat turkey; we decided to join in the Turkey Day festivities by "adopting" one:

click here for more info. on the Farm Sanctuary's programs in New York and California that help abused and neglected farm animals across the country - ranging from the Celebration FOR Turkeys in which these intelligent and fun-loving birds get to stuff themselves with cranberry, pumpkin pie & butternut squash (yum!) to advocacy and educational campaigns and ongoing care for cows, pigs, ducks, goats, and more!

This is something everyone can appreciate and participate in, including the meat-eaters in my family, and maybe yours; it's one small but concrete way to make a difference by spreading compassion to the non-human beings in our world (our sanguivore friends would approve of that, too) and I'm sure you can think of others.

Yes, we are a "mixed family"; veggies and omnivores alike gather around our table each holiday and everyday, and there are many ways in which we're all trying to be more conscious about what we eat - for our own health and for the health of the planet - several of which Rebecca and our Mom have employed in their Thanksgiving shopping and food preparation (i.e. a reliable source told me that instead of wasting the [organic, free-range] egg whites that weren't needed in a recipe, they made facial masks with them and took a relaxation break together - nifty and thrifty if I do say so myself!)

We'd love to hear some of the ideas you've got for ethical and sustainable living.

So, maybe you can't put out an elaborate spread like Talbot's, but you CAN find reasons to be thankful and ways to share thankfulness this Thanksgiving after all. 

From both of us here at the Pierced Pomegranate Tavern, Enjoy the Holiday!

~ Rachel

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Raise a Glass to Real Grrrl Power: Women in Solidarity Part I

I know, I know, the title of this post probably tickles your nostalgia bone, conjuring images of those indie, grunge, and Riot Grrrl women musicians who rocked your socks (or frocks, as it were) in the '90's...

Lilith Fair performers

Bikini Kill

Lilith Fair performers

We're borrowing from these groundbreaking ladies' punk DYI ethic to tackle the issue of what happens between women When the Claws Come Out...and to ponder... Must It Be This Way?


Rebecca said her last post was an impromptu one, but I think it was really more like a sharp, if unrehearsed, articulation of certain notion that's been scratching at the surface of her consciousness for a while now; the idea of female rivalry and conflict. Since this has been the topic of a few of her last entries, it looks to me as though the cat is out of the bag!

Instead of trying to de-claw this contentious kitty of an issue, we're taking a more generative approach here at the Pierced Pomegranate Tavern, the one Naomi Wolf recommends in her October 14th, 2010 Harper's Bazaar piece GIRL VS. GIRL which Rebecca referenced in her last post - we've got to face it if we hope to transcend and transform it:
I trust that in looking closely at this darker side of our own psyche, we will learn enough about ourselves to stop being held at the mercy of it...if you drag it, protesting, into the light, that is the first step toward integration and perhaps a more real empowerment.
Wolf's essay posits a key question which we can use to guide our interrogation of what she calls "girl-on-girl combat" (female feuding that falls anywhere on the continuum of hostility from emotional treachery and betrayal, gossip, and exclusion to bullying, cutthroat competition, and all-out eviscerating aggression); the likes of which permeates the media and often bedevils our lives:

  • Are women destined for lives marked by power play and conflict with each other? In Wolf's opinion, perhaps so. In fact, she seems to argue for the possibility of a sort of genetic determinism in this regard. 
Her choice of Darwinian language is revealing; for example; in her recounting of the bullying a friend's 15-year-old daughter endured at the hands of alpha girls in two successive schools, she muses that "It was almost as if the new group had some unconscious primate ability to sniff out the injury and punish her all over again for her vulnerability".

Shifting her gaze to this dynamic as it presents itself among adult women, she writes:
I have seen the exclusion of one woman or group accompanied by so much glee from the others that it seems almost like a visceral behavior. I have even wondered if this reflex is evolutionary. Perhaps on the savannah, females had to form close, trusted groups to successfully gather food and rear children; perhaps they also needed to be able to brutally exclude a female outsider and her offspring—or a female perceived as threatening the group's survival—without regret, or recourse, when times were tough.
The idea that women are hard-wired for backbiting and emotionally devastating struggle with one another is but one way of interpreting a complex problem. Only by wrestling with the subtleties of antagonism and discord between girls and women...
  • Is it inborn (I hope not, otherwise, in light of our exceedingly close connection to each other Rebecca and I must be freaks of nature!); or are we socialized to be at each other's throats (vampire pun intended!)?
  • Are there alternatives or other ways of being?
  • What kinds of social conditions would have to exist for different relations between women to emerge?
  • If this dynamic is based more in nurture than nature, who suffers most and who stands to gain by the way women are acculturated to be in fierce competition at all times? And the flip side of this coin is, if women's relationships are distorted in the media and pop culture to insinuate a higher prevalence of rancor and social sabotage (i.e. Real HousewivesJersey Shore, and every other "reality show" that portrays women as being ever ready to rip each other's hair out), who is getting their kicks at our expense?  
...can we hope to, in Wolf's words, "draw back the curtain on this painful, unflattering subject"; both True Blood and the rich interdisciplinary field of women's studies extend helping hands with which to pull.

There's More Than One Way to Skin a Catfight

Women are complex, so a one-size-fits-all treatment of what defines us and our relationships to one another just won't do. There are numerous and multi-dimensional ideas and perspectives with which to deconstruct and open fresh vistas on the matter of female acrimony

True Blood (Season 3 in particular) offers us several vantage points on this - we see representations of women's relationships on the show that speak to their inherent nuance. Also, there are patterns of how women have related to each other which are revealed in the art, myth, and history of times past as well as in living traditions that endure both within and outside of the prevailing cultural context which we can look to for other views on the topic.

In the next part of this "Real Grrrl Power" series I will present images from True Blood intertwined with material from humankind's deepest cultural history and diverse life ways from around the world, contemporary fiction, and art that can kick start our further exploration of womanhood, strife, and solidarity.

So Stay Tuned!!!

~ Rachel

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My thoughts on daydreaming, Harper's Bazaar and The People's Choice

"To lose one's self  in reverie, one must be either very happy or very unhappy.
  Reverie is the child of extremes" ~ Antoine de Rivarol

        I am sitting at my desk staring out my window, my mind is beginning to drift away into thoughts of nothing and everything all at once. I can hear the world moving around me, but pay no attention. Two small squirrels make their way into my line of vision and it hits me.....I have been daydreaming. It has been so long since I have actually caught myself in a daydream, I forgot what it felt like.  I promptly snap back to reality and recall an article I read recently that daydreaming while thought to be a healthy escape from reality, is in fact UNhealthy; and the daydream (no matter what the subject) can cause you to feel sad. While I understand the logic behind this, I can't help but think this can't be completely true. My heroes have all been daydreamers. The poets and musicians I have opened my heart to speak to me in a way no scientific mind ever could. They are the one's who give my world color and imagination and for that I am forever in their debt. So I say dream on, my friends..."dream out loud"!

     Earlier this week, while attempting to block out the vulgar conversation two men were having at the bar I work in, I buried my nose in a magazine (much like what Tara tends to do at Merlottes!)...flipping through page after page of advertisements and recommendations for shoes I will never be able to afford, I came across a very interesting read. The article entitled "Girl vs Girl" by Naomi Wolf  (featured in the November issue of Harper's Bazaar) reminded me of something I was talking about in my last post  "Feminism-the new F word?". The article, inspired by the new movie "Black Swan", starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as two ballet dancers caught in a messy rivalry, breaks down the anatomy of female group behavior. Using examples of  schoolyard bullying tactics to more well known celebrity female rivalries the author paints a picture of time tested patterns that read like a handbook on how to break one another down. Ms.Wolf even suggests that this behavior might be genetic " I have seen the exclusion of one women or group accompanied by so much glee from the others that it seems almost like a visceral behavior. I have even wondered if this reflex is evolutionary". Towards the end of the article she [Naomi Wolf] begs the question "Do we risk losing the victories of feminism in every previous generation because we can't for the life of us seem to be able to sustain a common cause without inevitably taking out the long knives?"  It really does make you wonder! If we as women could stop just long enough to realize what we are doing to each other, and in turn to ourselves I would hope, as Ms.Wolf does that "in looking closely at this darker side of our own psyche, we will learn enough about ourselves to stop being held at the mercy of it."  For the full article I urge you to pick up this months issue of Harper's Bazaar!

     For the last part of this impromptu blog I call your attention to the 2010 Peoples Choice Awards. As we all know awards shows can be boring and predictable, but this show has the potential to be quiet different. While not truly your choice, as you are choosing from a group of pre selected nominees, the vote is in your (our) hands! True Blood has been nominated for a variety of categories and I would LOVE to see them win! Having already voted I call upon you now to do the same! To cast your vote please visit ~ Rebecca

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Who's Your Mama?

It's been a full week since Election Day, and the congressional race in my district isn't the only thing that's still unsettled. Yes, the attack ads and incessant robocalls have at long last mercifully abated, but frankly, the hoopla surrounding this most recent political cycle (and its rank billowing fallout) is even now roiling my gut like the queasy lurch of a dingy cast into stormy seas. OK, OK, maybe I'm overexaggerating a little...but partisan politics does at times make this girl feel like reaching for the pepto!

A few days before I cast my ballot I was moved to revisit an amazing gift my Mom gave me a few years back - Women Who Dare Knowledge Cards - brief illustrated biographies drawn from the collections of the Library of Congress which pay tribute to "inspiring women who have exhibited the courage and determination to reach beyond the ordinary and expected, often braving seemingly insurmountable sexual and political tyrannies in the process".

For me, reflecting on their lives really underscored something Rebecca wrote in her last post:
How have we allowed our sisters, daughters, grandchildren to think so negatively about a trail blazing group of women that made our lives what they are today? Without them we would not be able to vote, go to school, have a job, own land or any countless number of things we are able to do today, but as with most privilege take for granted.  
So true!

Canadian songwriter Nancy White's wry "Daughters of Feminists" echoes her point, since - according to the Knowledge Cards - the song "laments the tendency of younger women to forget the struggles of their elders".

As I sat curled up on my couch, cards fanned out on my lap, the countenances of women of passion and ambition who achieved outstanding success in varied fields of endeavor - literature, the arts, sports, natural sciences, politics, and more - formerly considered appropriate only to the attention of men seemed to me as the visages of ancestresses. I recalled feminist scholar Carol Christ's description of a women's pilgrimage to Crete and their descent into a small cave said to be an ancient site of Goddess veneration in her book Rebirth of the Goddess (1997, p. 28):
The Trapeza cave has two small enfolding rooms. The women gravitated to the smaller one, placing candles and a terracotta image of a Neolithic Goddess on a stone in its center. Libations of milk and honey were poured on the rock, and a song was sung. Then each woman spoke all the names she could remember of her motherline. "I am Carol, daughter of Janet, daughter of Lena, daughter of Dora, who came to the United States from Germany, grand-daughter of Mary Rita, daughter of Elizabeth who came from Ireland, " and so on around the circle. this was followed by the naming of female mentors and friends. As hundreds of female names echoed off the walls of the cave, the group sensed its connection to Neolithic women who may have sat in a circle in that same cave, remembering ancestors. This ritual strengthens women by giving us a sense of connection to a history of female energy and creativity stretching from the present back to the distant past. 
There is something powerful...and empowering...about invoking the names of the ancestresses - women who have gone before us who are tied to us by blood or bond who represent points on the Motherline. Naomi R. Lowinsky describes the Motherline as a name for a pattern, for the oneness of body and psyche, for the experience of continuity amongst women. She conceptualizes it as a central organizing principle in the psyche of women, "like the stem and the roots of the tree of life, through which a woman is related to the ancient earth of female procreation" (1992, p. 4).

In a time when, as Rebecca wrote below, "We have turned on each other! We live in a society where it is more entertaining to tear each other down then lift each other up. Through no medium is this more evident than in the world of "Reality T.V.". Here the Court Jester is king and kindness and morality are viewed as weaknesses...Where have all our role models gone?" we MUST remember our foremothers and welcome their legacies into our lives.

Our foremothers who saw personal wealth and pioneering achievement not as ends of their own but as means to promote and expand opportunity for others...

Mme. C.J. Walker (Entrepreneur, 1867-1919)
Elizabeth Blackwell (Physician, 1821-1910)

...who imbued their groundbreaking art with the struggle and power of women, who won acceptance in elite circles, who exerted profound influence and made headlines for their accomplishments instead of for their exploits of ill repute...
Frida Kahlo (Artist, 1907-1954)
Mary Cassatt (Artist, 1844-1926)
Ma Rainey (Blues Pioneer, 1886-1939)
Beryl Markham (Author, 1902-1986)

...whose revolutionary activism, writing, thinking, and oratory have sealed them to the annals of history as champions of equality and freedom...
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902)
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)
Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)
Lucretia Mott (1793-1880)

...whose fearless nonconformity and advocacy for the rights of women to practice birth control and retain their personhood within the institution of marriage has opened new avenues of expression for us all...

Calamity Jane (Frontierswoman, 1852?-1903)
Mary Edwards Walker (Physician, 1832-1919)
Margaret Sanger (Birth Control Pioneer, 1883-1966)
Lucy Stone (Suffragist, 1818-1893)
...who helped to extend feminist struggle to include the intersecting issues of class and race... 

Belva Lockwood (Attorney and U.S. Presidential Candidate, 1830-1917)
Mourning Dove (Indigenous Cultural Documentarian, 1882-1936)
Ella Baker (Civil Rights Leader, 1903-1986)
Harriot Stanton Blatch (Suffragist, 1856-1940)

...and whose celebrated and storied careers enriched the lives of all of humankind.
Rachel Carson (Biologist & Author 1907-1964)
Edith Spurlock Sampson (1st Black Female U.S. Judge, 1901-1979)
Chien Shiung Wu (Manhattan Project Physicist, b. 1912)

These are just a few of our "mothers"; women whose impact on the world has been felt for generations and is still palpable today. Some of them are icons, others are shining examples of the person who, quietly and often without fanfare, changes the system from within - men and women alike can (and should) proudly claim them as their Mamas!

When it comes to True Blood, Sookie and Tara, Arlene, Jessica, Pam, and Sophie-Ann, Crystal and Debbie needn't be cut from the cloth of any of these remarkable women or draped in the mantle of feminism; writ large as "feminist characters" to offer us valuable points of departure for dialogue and discourse around our issues and struggles, identities, aspirations, relationships, and our lives - whether we are male or female.

Remembering and honoring our Mamas is part of our feminist frame here at the Pierced Pomegranate Tavern- as is dipping into the surging contemporary women’s spirituality movement - a wellspring of wisdom bubbling up from our deepest cultural history and diverse belief systems from around the world for multi-dimensional ideas and approaches that enhance human well-being and to dismantle mechanisms of injustice and oppression. 

In my next post I will plunge into this font, using an archaeomythological approach to explore the Goddess Persephone's ordeal of rape and abduction...or sexual initiation? through the lens of True Blood.

So drop back in soon folks...and don't forget to call your mother (or mother figure in your life)! 

~ Rachel