Monday, April 30, 2007
So I know who she knows and how she found me. She has apparently connected with a woman who is what a friend of mine refers to as the "cosmic gateway portal to the Cleveland lesbian community". She knows like every gay woman in town. So now my wheels are churning and working and thinking: Have I seen CYBT around town? I must have. And if I haven't I need to meet this woman who found the L'Enfant article as interesting as I did.
But she posts anonymously...*sigh*, so Moxie will never know. But I want her to know that the power of shoulder pads is harnessed by the Keeper of the Gems. TTT put me on to her and my world has not been the same since.
Thanks for the read and the support on my Degrassi Dilemma, CYBT; maybe one day we'll actually meet for coffee and discuss that NYT article.
There was no coffee date.
There was just a dinner date on Saturday, a brunch date on Sunday and a movie (Children of Men...I cried) Sunday night. I know, I know what you're thinking...where are the movers, but alas, no such thing! Moxie Lady has had a thoroughly enjoyable weekend with Miss Fixx-It. Lots of talking, joking, flirting, joking and talking. And I wouldn't be Moxie if I didn't say that was some good ass food involved. New York style pizza, desserts from Truffles, brunch at Lucky's Cafe, and ice cream.
I got answers to truly important questions like her favorite color, her dogs, sun sign, what's playing in her stereo, movies that make her cry, etc.
Now you are asking yourself: what about the...you know?
And I can tell you with all the honesty and purity of a flaxen haired Brownie Troop member named Maggie, there was no kissing....no nothing. Which is creating some palpable tension, but our few hand grazes and playful jabs have been good enough thank you very much.
So no, no coffee date. Just three fabulous mini-dates rolled into one sunny weekend.
Friday, April 27, 2007
AND this one from K at the office:
"I like Britney. I believe she is talented, but when I watch her it hurts...sometimes I just have to look away."
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Tada! It's supposed to be all encompassing and will cost almost $9 million over a several years. It has sweet tag lines such as, "It all adds up," and "Just add you".
I've seen better pop math with the band 2gether, whose biggest hit was "You+me=us (Calculus)".
How many consultants, businesses lunches and private jets did our "leaders" spend on this bland brand?
MK has an advanced degree in saving the world, aka, Social Work, and has landed a new job. She works with under served, disadvantaged, at-risk youth helping them build careers. (She also helps me build my career by helping me pick out accessories in the morning.)
So this is her first full week on the job and her first client, E is facing quite the conundrum. E is a state certified nursing assistant, who had to resign from her job because of family issues. E also has a child who has cancer. "Oh my gosh!", said M. Kitty. E needed help and deserved it ever so. Then one of Kitty's coworkers enlightened her on the situation with E. Apparently E has a side job as a.....madame. A manager of ladies of the night if you will. Additionally, it is not certain whether E quit or was fired from her job. And it is questionable as to whether or not her child actually has cancer. And as for securing a job, E has a difficult time dressing well for the part. To sum it up, Kitty's coworker said, "I mean, even if she wore scrubs to work, she would look better than what she wears every other day. At least she'd be dressing the part."
*Sigh* Poor Mademoiselle Kitty. She has to become an investigator as well as social worker. Being the beacon of light and hope that she is, Moxie Lady saw only positives in this situation.
ML: applying mascara. So, like she's a madame? That means she has management skills.
MK: brushing her hair. I guess so. Where are you going with this? I have to wonder how she got other women to have sex for money and then give it to her.
ML: Well, you can transfer those skills. That also means she is persuasive. Men have been pimps for centuries. You could argue she is empowering the female entrepreneurial spirit.
MK: I guess I see your point. So like a drug dealer...
ML: Could do really well in inside sales!
MK: Yes! And and...a man convicted of breaking and entering could do well in construction.
ML: Yeah, because he's good with his hands.
Petty theft = secret shopper
Grand theft auto = mechanic (obviously)
Assault and battery = high school gym teacher, boxer, police officer
Prostitution = Mary Kay or Avon Lady
Meth Lab operator = chemist, pharmacy tech
Trespassing = political canvasser
Fraud, identity theft = improvisational actor, politician
You get the gist! M. Kitty's coworkers aren't the greatest thing either.
MK typing away at her desk
Coworker: Are you good a manipulating images and formatting?
MK: Yeah. I used to do a newsletter at my old job for all my residents.
Coworker: Great. Can you help me with something?
At coworker's desk
Coworker: So my son is graduating and I need to put his school's emblem on the announcements and I can't get the image to lay out properly.
Conversation with her boss
Boss: Can you help with something really quick?
MK: Sure, what is it?
Boss: Would you like to be involved in our strategic planning process?
MK: Oh, I would love to. It would give me so much insight into the organization.
Boss: Great, I need to have one done in the next 30 minutes, so have a seat. You talk, I'll type.
MK: sits. blinks.
It can only get better! So stay tuned for the exciting adventures of Mademoiselle Kitty.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Today, the 25th person to be executed in Ohio since 1999, was put to death today. Reading his story made me get misty-eyed. For him, for his victim - his ex-wife, and her family. He shot his ex-wife in the head while their two daughters were sleeping. His ex-mother-in-law watched his execution with others and said she wished her daughter had gone as peacefully.
That is sad. Truly sad. Because you can only imagine the pain a parent feels when they have to bury a child - especially when she is taken so violently. And the children who were awaken by the gunshot that killed their mother....by the gun held by their father.
And you think about the man on the table waiting to be injected. Waiting to die. And you think about his last words and how it must feel to know the exact day and time when you're going to die.
For someone who is an absolutist, I can't tell you how I feel. No one gains anything from the death penalty when you think about it, but if you were that woman's mother, how would you feel? This man shot her daughter in the head while she crouched in a closet. But what if you're the mother of a man who was executed only to later be found not guilty?
Opponents of the death penalty will argue that the flaws in our justice system make the death penalty a dangerous gamble. Add on the people who find the methods of executions cruel and unusual punishment. Proponents argue eye for an eye. Your life must be taken for the life you took. Justice prevails.
I can respect the people who have actually lost loved ones to violent acts and still oppose the death penalty. It's hard for me to say that I would oppose it if I haven't experienced the pain of losing someone to a criminal. Much like I can't say that if I woke up pregnant one day that I would run to the nearest abortion clinic.
I think with an issue like this (and many others) a high-level of empathy is required. It is one of those issues that I think can foster common ground. Never mind that pro-lifers are pro-death penalty and pro-choicers are against it. Screw the irony. Today was a sad day for a lot of people in Lucasville.
It is in the spirit of Margaret Mead, that these committed citizens are changing the world. I wish more of us could take action against the plagues of humanity. - ML
Gimme an F! Gimme a B! Gimme an I!
Feds look into threatening letters about cheerleaders
Posted: Tuesday April 24, 2007 6:52PM; Updated: Tuesday April 24, 2007 6:52PM
Click here for story
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The FBI offered a $5,000 reward Tuesday for help tracking down whoever mailed dozens of threatening letters -- including some containing a potentially harmful insecticide -- complaining about TV coverage of college cheerleaders.
The letters were sent to national networks and their local affiliates, as well as people in states throughout the West and Midwest, according to the FBI office in Portland. Recipients also included people associated with university athletic departments in Ohio, Michigan and Arizona.
The initial batch of letters was postmarked in Portland and delivered in September 2004. Subsequent batches of letters were delivered between November 2006 and February, mostly with postmarks from Seattle, but some also were sent from Chicago, the FBI said. The letters claim camera crews spent too much time on close-ups of cheerleaders. One letter also complained about coverage of WNBA players.
Some of the letters contained various powdery substances, which the FBI laboratory determined was an insecticide. An FBI spokeswoman declined to identify the chemical.
No injuries have been reported, authorities said.
The FBI released excerpts of two letters in the hope of identifying who sent them.
In a letter sent in September 2004, the author objects to the timing and angles of the shots captured by camera crews during sports events.
"We have asked nicely for them to respect us and all women, yet they refuse. They exploit innocent people, so we will too. When they start respecting us, we stop mailing these out," the letter reads.
The author of a letter sent in December 2006 complains that networks unfairly favor more modestly dressed cheerleading squads.
"For the last 6 years, Ohio State cheerleaders have received more TV time than any other Division 1A cheer squad on ESPN, because they wear long sleeved red/white outfits. If they wore sleeveless outfits, they would not get ANY TV time. So, we are fed up with this constant exploitation," the author wrote.
Thank you, MrL for the share!
Suck It Up: After the shootings came an orgy of mawkishness, sloppiness, and false sentiment.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Tuesday, April 24, 2007, at 2:29 PM ET
When people in America say "no man is an island," as Joan Didion once put it, they think they are quoting Ernest Hemingway. But when Hemingway annexed the seductive words from John Donne's Devotions, quoting the whole paragraph on his title page and borrowing from it one of the 20th century's most resonant titles, he did not literally mean to say that all funerals are the same or that all deaths are to be regretted equally. He meant that if the Spanish republic went under to fascism, we should all be the losers. It was a matter both of solidarity and of self-interest: Stand by your friends now, or be shamed (and deserted in your turn) later on.
The grisly events at Virginia Tech involved no struggle, no sacrifice, no great principle. They were random and pointless. Those who died were not soldiers in any cause. They were not murdered by our enemies. They were not martyrs. But—just to take one example from the exhausting national sob fest of the past few days—here is how the bells were tolled for them at another national seat of learning. The president of Cornell University, David J. Skorton, ordered the chimes on his campus to be rung 33 times before addressing a memorial gathering. Thirty-three times? Yes.
"We are here," announced the head of an institution of higher learning: "for all of those who are gone, for all 33. We are here for the 32 who have passed from the immediate to another place, not by their own choice. We are also here for the one who has also passed. We are one."
For an academic president to have equated 32 of his fellow humans with their murderer in an orgy of "one-ness" was probably the stupidest thing that happened last week, but not by a very wide margin. Almost everybody in the country seems to have taken this non-event as permission to talk the starkest nonsense. And why not? Since the slaughter raised no real issues, it was a blank slate on which anyone could doodle.
Try this, from the eighth straight day of breathless coverage in the New York Times. The person being quoted is the Rev. Susan Verbrugge of Blacksburg Presbyterian Church, addressing her congregation in an attempt, in the silly argot of the day, "to make sense of the senseless":
Ms. Verbrugge recounted breaking through the previous week's numbness as sheYes, it's always about you, isn't it? (By the way, I'd watch that habit of yelling at mountains and God in the greater Blacksburg area if I were you. Some idiot might take it for a "warning sign.") When piffle like this gets respectful treatment from the media, we can guess that it's not because of the profundity of the emotion but rather because of its extreme shallowness. Those birds were singing just as loudly and just as sweetly when the bullets were finding their targets.
stopped on a morning walk and found herself yelling at the mountains and at God.
Though her shouts were initially met with silence, she said, she soon was reassured by the simplest of things, the chirping of birds. "God was doing something about the world," she said. "Starting with my own heart, I could see good."
But the quest for greater "meaning" was unstoppable. Will Korean-Americans be "targeted"? (Thanks for putting the idea into the head of some nutcase, but really, what an insulting question!) Last week, I noticed from my window in Washington, D.C., that the Russian trade mission had lowered its flag. President Putin's commercial envoys, too, want to be a part of it all: surely proof in itself of how utterly painless all this vicarious "pain" really is. (And now, what are they going to do for Boris Yeltsin?)
On Saturday night, I watched disgustedly as the president of the United States declined to give his speech to the White House Correspondents Dinner on the grounds that this was no time to be swapping jokes and satires. (What? No words of courage? No urging us to put on a brave face and go shopping or visit Disneyland?) Everyone in the room knew that this was a dismal cop-out, but then everyone in the room also knew that our own profession was co-responsible. If the president actually had performed his annual duty, there were people in the press corps who would have affected shock and accused him of "insensitivity." So, this was indeed a moment of unity—everyone united in mawkishness and sloppiness and false sentiment. From now on, any president who wants to duck the occasion need only employ a staffer on permanent weepy-watch. In any given week, there is sure to be some maimed orphan, or splattered home, or bus plunge, or bunch of pilgrims put to the sword. Best to be ready in advance to surrender all critical faculties and whip out the national hankie.
It was my friend Adolph Reed who first pointed out this tendency to what he called "vicarious identification." At the time of the murder of Lisa Steinberg in New York in 1987, he was struck by the tendency of crowds to show up for funerals of people they didn't know, often throwing teddy bears over the railings and in other ways showing that (as well as needing to get a life) they in some bizarre way seemed to need to get a death. The hysteria that followed a traffic accident in Paris involving a disco princess—surely the most hyped non-event of all time—seemed to suggest an even wider surrender to the overwhelming need to emote: The less at stake, the greater the grieving.
And surrender may be the keyword here. What, for instance, is this dismal rush to lower the national colors all the damned time? At times of real crisis and genuine emergency, such as the assault on our society that was mounted almost six years ago, some emotion could be pardoned. But even then, the signs of sickliness and foolishness were incipient (as in Billy Graham's disgusting sermon at the National Cathedral where he spoke of the victims being "called into eternity"). If we did this every time, the flag would spend its entire time drooping. One should express a decent sympathy for the families and friends of the murdered, a decent sympathy that ought to be accompanied by a decent reticence. Because Virginia Tech—alas for poor humanity—was a calamity with no implications beyond itself. In the meantime, and in expectation of rather stiffer challenges to our composure, we might practice nailing the colors to the mast rather than engaging in a permanent dress rehearsal for masochism and the lachrymose.
The LAT fronts, and everyone mentions, news that the Mexico City legislature voted yesterday to legalize abortion during the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy. So far, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guyana are the only places in Latin America where women can have an abortion on demand. Although the law is likely to face challenge before the Supreme Court, some expressed hope that this could signal a turning point for many countries in the region where illegal and often unsafe abortions are regularly practiced.
Meanwhile in the US, women are clutching the last vestiges of choice like a life jacket on a sinking ship.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Funny, if we were talking about people "stealing" shitty music from their precious artists, then record label spokespeople would be lining up at the microphone. Now someone actually calls for some responsibility on the part of the industry and its all mum. The hypocrisy of the music industry amuses me at best and alarms me at worst.
Thanks, Russell for trying. We all have a ways to go.
If this incident at V-Tech has taught us anything is that we can't keep crying, we have to start talking and committing to true change. Otherwise we'll have to fire everyone until we all just shut up.
But since it was anonymous, I can't tell her that I too am disappointed in myself. Mostly this is because I am participating in the arcane system that believes race actually exists and instead of recognizing it as a social construct designed to hinder the human species, I stress out about going on a coffee date with a white woman.
I also can't tell her that I am excited she read my blog. I want to know how she found it and does she like my layout colors and such.
I also can't tell her that if she is indeed a relatively cute black tomboy, I hope she's somewhere I can find her.
Moxie Lady thanks you for your mere existence; your words were icing on the cake. Keep reading and commenting.
Monday, April 23, 2007
I'm not sure what the Chinese zodiac is for 2007, but in my world, it is the year of the cock. After spending way too much time in the company of hens, ML has decreed that she would look forward to the pleasures that only gentleman callers can bring.
But working two jobs around straight women and gay men has brought me nothing but an empty bed and cobwebs around my good panties. Of course, it is hard to leave the hen house when so many chickadees peck around your feet. It's not that I'm dropping food, but an occasional crumb or two of feed has escaped my hand and low and behold a certain chick pecked and I'm giddy...like a school girl.
It's that feeling you get when someone you like, likes you back. And there's all that wondering and guessing and mystery. Your mind fills with what ifs and I can't waits. I love that feeling and I hate it because it can be so distracting. But distracting in a daydream way that has you painting all sorts of pictures that involve all sorts of things.
And there's that moment when you exchange phone numbers. And you get excited when you get a text or your phone says incoming call from "Grrl". Yay. And your first date. I know what you're thinking lezzies don't date, they meet up to plan which furniture to keep in their new house together, but there should be a bonafide coffee date coming up real soon. Hopefully we will avoid talk about baggage and instead focus on important things like favorite colors and movies and what kind of dog she owns.
Did I mention she was in high school when I was born? That should make things interesting. And that she sounds like Jane Lane from Daria? Plus, she's tiny....tiny like she made it to the final casting call of "Lord of the Rings" tiny.
And....she's white. ugh. why, why, why, WHY do I work myself up into a giddy frenzy over a person that I am technically not supposed to be attracted to? She's a boy. She is a boy...right there is an issue. She is a white boy. There I go betraying my race. Dammit.
She. white. boy. is not Strong. Black. Man.
When Moxie likes girls, she likes them in lip gloss and pink patent leather stillettos, but noooooooo here comes Miss Fix-It Lesbian in ripped jeans, blue (I think...they could be green. All I know is that they're so crystal clear, they practically glow) eyes and short hair and I'm all giggles.
Maybe I'm fighting something that just isn't there anymore? I don't know. I'm breaking my own rules and I am so pissed at myself. While I'm all giddy and giggles, I'm also feeling guilty about the giddy giggles. I can't like dykey white women. I can't. I'm not supposed to, but here I go again.
And if we went to a good school and he went to a crappier school, he still makes more.
And even though we have higher GPAs than men in every major, he still makes more.
And the longer you work, the wider the gap.
And just in case you thought calling a lawyer might help, proving sex discrimination is a tad difficult.
Happy Monday, Ladies.
Friday, April 20, 2007
I agree, the joke was tasteless and his response to criticisms doesn't help. I don't know where he got this sudden Bushist-type attitude, but it is not helping to win over a country that is growing increasingly against this fiasco also known as a war.
However, ML is quick to point out that wasting precious liberal dollars to essentially wag a finger over a stupid statement made by a peripheral candidate in the pre-primaries is even stupider than the the joke itself. It would be different if we were the religious right (Or Hillary Clinton)with a SHITload of money to spend, but we're not. Organizations like MoveOn need to conserve their warchests for when the rubber meets the road in election season.
Cho's Dark Manifesto Points to Lessons Not Learned
Posted by Cameron Scott
So maybe you're feeling news-blitzed about the Va. Tech rampage. I was feeling that way until about 10 minutes ago, when I stepped out to get some coffee. On the way, I saw the huge headline on the local paper: "Nation Asks Why." When I returned, there was breaking news that Cho had sent a "multimedia manifesto" to NBC news and that it was "disturbing" and "incoherent": more evidence that Cho was mentally ill.
Really it's a simple math equation. Mental illness exists. Specifically, schizophrenia (which despite April's earlier post is almost certainly what Cho suffered from) occurs in about 1 percent of the population. Untreated schizophrenia almost always leads to violent behavior, and mental health care in this country is abysmal and difficult to come by—and yet Bush is still cutting funding for it. You know what's easy to come by? Guns. If you don't have a record, just pop in to a gun store and pick one—or two, or three—up. There's no legal limit on how many rounds each of them can fire. If you do have a record, just go to a gun show and voilà. As long as guns are easier to get than mental health care, we will continue to have tragedies like this.
The other thing that the mystified question "Why?" overlooks is that mental illness can look kind of banal from the outside. Cho was aloof, quiet. The warning signs were not especially dramatic. He inappropriately contacted two female students. He wrote violent things in creative writing class. But it wasn't until his private thoughts were submitted to NBC and made horrifyingly real to the students of Virginia Tech that we could see how devastating mental illness is. Maybe the university could have done more, but they did force him into a mental health facility at one point and he still slipped through the cracks. You can't detain every deranged person. But you can keep them from obtaining weapons of mass destruction. And the Rambo-like photos of himself Cho sent NBC also make it pretty clear that glorifying violence doesn't help either. Americans talked a lot about that after Colombine and then did exactly nothing.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Guns and Abortion: How the right keeps winning on both.
By Jacob Weisberg
Posted Wednesday, April 18, 2007, at 12:32 PM ET
Why is it so easy to get guns in America? Cho Seung-Hui purchased one of the pistols he used to shoot 50 of his classmates, a Glock 19, at a shop in Roanoke, Va., after showing an ID card and passing an instant background check. He appears to have gotten the other gun he used, a Walther P22 semiautomatic, legally as well. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, guns are about as difficult to come by as Mexican food in Mexico.
School shootings are a regular occurrence in the United States. Every one of them underscores the obvious point that guns should be harder to obtain. So does America's death rate from firearm suicides, homicides, and accidents, which is double or triple that of other developed countries. But at least until this week, gun control had essentially fallen off the national agenda. Even most Democratic politicians treat the topic as poison. The gun lobby claimed credit for Al Gore's defeat in 2000, and John Kerry believed its boasts enough to pose as a hunter in full camo. The assault weapons ban Bill Clinton signed in 1994 expired in 2004, and efforts to renew it have flat-lined. Only in big cities have politicians not quite given in on the issue, despite the trouble it makes for them nationally.
The most common explanation for this retreat is the clout of the National Rifle Association. Like AIPAC and AARP, the NRA's acronym is a synonym for Washington power. But the NRA is an expression of the strength of gun owners, not the reason for it. And the outsized impact this constituency has is far from unique. Indeed, the gun lobby's success in derailing handgun regulation illustrates how American conservatives continue to win on a range of social and cultural issues where they actually represent a minority position.
This point becomes clearer when you compare the politics of gun control with the politics of abortion. On both issues, the public opposes a blanket ban by margins of approximately 2-to-1. But in both cases, the public also supports significant restrictions. The Gallup organization recently found that 37 percent of those polled agreed that abortion laws should be stricter, as against 23 percent who thought they should be less strict, and 36 percent who thought they should remain the same. On guns, the pro-restriction numbers are even higher. In another recent Gallup poll, 49 percent of Americans said gun-control laws should be made stricter, only 14 percent said they should be less so, and 35 percent said they should stay the same.
Given those numbers, it should in theory be easier for liberals to require handgun registration than for conservatives to constrain abortion. In practice, the opposite is true. Conservatives have been remarkably successful in promulgating parental-notification laws, waiting periods, and bans on specific medical procedures. Gun-control advocates have tried to borrow from the right's playbook, promoting restrictions that sound reasonable and poll well, such as waiting periods, background checks, and bans on semiautomatic weapons with scary reputations. Yet they have accomplished little. The only meaningful federal restriction on handgun purchases, the Brady Bill, was considered a huge accomplishment when it finally passed in 1993 after a decade of lobbying. But thanks to the private-transfer or "gun show" loophole, about 40 percent of gun sales remain invisible to law enforcement, rendering the law's mandatory background checks easily avoidable.
What explains the success of Republicans in regulating abortion, where only a slender majority of the country agrees with them, while preventing the regulation of guns, where a much larger majority disagrees? Of course, pro-gun activists have the largest possible advantage in the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees the right to keep and bear arms (and never mind the part about "well regulated"). Roe v. Wade discovered a constitutional right to abortion in the emanations from penumbras, but it has the political disadvantage of being neither explicit nor persuasive. In ideological terms, the conservative movement remains more disciplined and better skilled than the liberal side at framing political debates. It has cast both issues in terms of absolute principle: the right to life on abortion, and to personal liberty in the case of guns. The call to conscience tends to be more compelling than the call to practicality, and the contradiction between these two positions—one libertarian, the other anti-libertarian—bothers very few people.
Republicans also have a leg up on both abortion and guns because rural America, where their positions are most popular, has disproportionate power under the Constitution. Thinly populated Western states, where guns are loved, have the same two votes in the Senate as big Northern states, where guns are more often feared. Within states, cities are similarly disadvantaged by bicameral legislatures. The anti-majoritarian features of our republican system give conservatives strength beyond their numbers and insulate them from long-standing declines in both rural population and gun ownership.
Second Amendment advocates also benefit from an institutional supremacy that doesn't extend to their pro-life allies. Quick, name the liberal counterpart to the NRA. Let me help you: It's the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. In 2006, it donated $90,000 to support pro-gun-control candidates. In the same time frame, pro-gun groups donated $3 million to their candidates—33 times as much. This discrepancy echoes a sociological difference. Hunting and shooting are sports, with clubs around the country that bring together people who share not just a political agenda but a consuming hobby. There are no lodges for gun-control advocates.
The final point is about passion. Gun-owning in America is a way of life. Gun control is just a political opinion. This accounts for an enormous disparity in zeal between the two sides. There are single-issue voters on both sides of the abortion divide for whom the issue trumps everything else. But when it comes to guns, the issue is a litmus test only for those militant about the right to bear arms. A huge constituency considers this right sacred, cares about it exclusively, and needs little prompting to disgorge torrents of letters and e-mail messages to congressmen and editors. Gun controllers, by contrast, tend to be less excitable, see the issue as one of many, and struggle to motivate those inclined to agree with them.
The massacre in Blacksburg might change all that, but I doubt it.
Like most white people, however, she thinks his story is "remarkable". It's always unusual when Black men excel at something. I am sure he is also very "articulate" and will not succumb to his audacious, money-sucking, white handlers.
BUT, I stand corrected. A Lady always admits when she is wrong.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
By Robin Morgan [Moxie Lady: yes, ya'll, she is white]
Periodically, some new wound rips the scab off our national, livid scar where sex and race intersect: the young law professor, Anita Hill, shaming Congress by her dignity and inspiring women with her truth; the O.J. Simpson circus trials; the Duke-Lacrosse mystery; Don Imus v. the Rutgers Women’s Basketball Team.
We’re an adolescent country, ahistoric, not that well educated. Most Americans still don’t know that “races” do not exist, that what gets termed “races” are miniscule physical variations across our species, due to different survival adaptations we’ve developed since our human ancestors migrated from Africa to other geographical regions. (One instance: in a sun-drenched sub-Saharan climate, melanin in our pigmentation created darker skin as a protective necessity; under cloudier northern skies, paler pigmentation suppressing melanin became necessary so we could absorb more Vitamin D from the sun.)
Yet ironically, while believing “race” is real, many Americans think racism, sexism, and other bigotries are myths [Moxie Lady: PREACH IT, GURL, PREACH. IT.]—a staggering feat of collective denial. How many times have you heard someone start (or finish) a diatribe with “Well, I’m no racist (sexist, homophobe, etc.), but . . . ?
Michael Richards follows his melt-down by proclaiming he’s not a racist; Mel Gibson weeps he’s not an anti-Semite; actor Isaiah Washington calls a colleague “faggot,” but insists he’s no homophobe. Politicians spew blatant or coded hate speech, then muster blame-the-victim, nonapology apologies (“Sorry if anyone mistook what I meant”). They all scuttle behind the excuse of work-stress or alcoholism while fleeing to the latest damage-control hideaway: rehab.
Howard Stern, who built his career on every form of bigotry, “libertarian” Bill Maher, and new neocon Dennis Miller all boast about attacking “the Establishment” while they parrot and reinforce its basest values, and hide behind the “equal-opportunity insulter” justification—as if pain lands with the same impact on the powerless as on the powerful. A few others walk a fine line of satirizing prejudices while trying not to reinforce them. Stephen Colbert has built a not-so-bright, archconservative character deliberately to skewer that character’s politics. Yet even Jon Stewart, whose work I admire, at times jettisons his political conscience where sexism is concerned—perhaps too eager to court that age 18 to 24 pale-male consumer demographic? [Moxie Lady: Call 'em out, sista, call it! L-O-V-E the word, "pale-male".]
But all of these “truth-telling,” “ground-breaking,” “ballsy,” so-called rebels, however much they might now tiptoe around “the N word,” tiptoe more around words that would be really dangerous to use, especially in self-examination: The R word: Racist. The S word: Sexist. The H word: Homophobe.
Well, after a lifetime of activism—from the civil-rights movement through antiwar, antipoverty, the birth of lesbian and gay rights, the founding and flowering of the contemporary feminist movement in the United States and globally—I am still a racist, a sexist, a homophobe. How could I not be? How can any of us—no matter our sex or ethnicity—not be sexist, racist, and all the other –ists? Our society sowed these seeds in our formative consciousness.
I remember my mother and aunts—good women, liberal whites, working-class, apostate Jews, proud members of the NAACP—unthinkingly saying “That’s white of you,” or “I’m free, white, and 21,” or even “You can’t wear those new shoes yet! Stop acting nigger-rich.” Yet these women once soaped out the mouth of a playmate who used “nigger” as an epithet; all the while they chuckled at “Amos and Andy” stereotypes on the radio and made “No tickee no washee” jokes at the Chinese laundry. Conveniently, they didn’t connect the dots.
As a child, I sure got their double message, though. Never since have I been able to cleanse myself totally of those messages, not under the blast of Southern sheriff’s fire hoses, not on picket lines or at sit-ins or in jail cells. I wrestle with those toxins—whispery, seductive, semiconscious—every damned day, in myriad ways, and will do so until I die. Hannah Arendt termed this a necessary vigilance about “the Eichmann within,” who gets loose only when not acknowledged. It’s the hypocrisy. I believe that each of us truly commits to fight bigotry only when we get royally pissed at how it has warped our own humanity. At least then, with enlightened self-interest, we’re less likely to play Lord or Lady Bountiful but abandon the direct victims when the going gets rough. There’s no vaccine for these poisons siphoned into our systems, no individual-case cure. But recognition is the prerequisite step in treating such diseases until we can eradicate them outright. For that we need to come off it and tell the truth. It’s not about blame, but about responsibility; not about guilt, but about change.
The same is even truer of sexism—where denial and collaboration are epidemic. Racism is still taken more seriously because men suffer from it, too—and whatever any men do or feel must be more important than what happens “only” to all women. When a man says “I’m no sexist, but . . .” I groan inside. But when the rare guy begins, “I guess I must be a sexist, but I don’t want to be, so how . . .” he gets my attention: he’s owning up to reality, and already addressing not what but how.
Everyone over age 45 shares some version of my childhood brain-soiling experiences. Younger Americans share different pernicious messages: It’s cool to make fun of geezers, fat people, spastics, amputees. If certain hip-hop lyrics reek violent woman-hatred, it’s hip for everyone to echo that (and it rakes in dough for the pale-male-owned record companies). If chic fashion spreads celebrate sado-porn rape poses, well, that’s just edgy. If talk-radio’s crude propaganda spews words like “feminazis,” “retards,” [Moxie Lady: GUILTY] “Lezzies,” “ragheads,” and “wetbacks,” gee, lighten up, nobody takes that seriously. (Who is nobody?) If “Hey, man,” “What’s up, dude,” or “You guys” have been resurrected as generic terms for greeting a friend/friends [MOXIE LADY: GUILTY], then to point out wearily that these terms erase female presence is to invite rebuttals revived word-for-word from the 1970s: to be overly sensitive, uncool, and, naturally, one of those humorless, dreary PC types. (About 15 years ago, I wrote a Ms. editorial explaining “PC” as really standing for Plain Courtesy.) D’uh. We’ve been here before, oh yeah. But it still hurts. It hurts. What part of “It hurts” don’t they understand?
I know, I know, it’s positive (however maddening) that our memory-challenged pundits now claim the Imus affair will “open” a national dialogue about which some of us Americans are already hoarse, yet still babbling. I know patience is not my strong suit. I know that over time, consciousness is contagious. Once you start connecting dots, you can’t help but connect more. Rep. Linda Sanchez recently suspended her membership in the Hispanic Congressional Caucus, the second to leave the group charging sexism; her sister, Rep. Loretta Sanchez resigned after accusing caucus chairman Rep. Joe Baca of referring to her as a “whore.” [Moxie Lady: See Black Panther Party, people] Star athletes, members of Congress, law professors, single moms dancing at frat parties to support their kids, presidential candidates—when in doubt, call ‘em whores. We’re none of us immune to the hurt. And we’re none of us immune to being agents for the hurt.
I don’t only mean obvious offenders, serial right-wing purveyors of hate like Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, et al. What about liberal compartmentalizers? Wasn’t that left-leaning Hollywood awarding an Oscar to the song “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp”? In a coyly intellectual version of “Ooops, my bad!” progressive politicians and journalists—Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden, Rep. Harold Ford, Frank Rich, Jeff Greenfield, a depressingly long list—now sheepishly admit to having been (caught as) enablers by appearing on “serious” segments of Imus shows, while they conveniently overlooked vicious sexist and racist “jokes” bracketing their discussions. I’ve heard feminist spokeswomen defend appearing on shock-jock shows or political shout-fest programs claiming the “need to reach those audiences.” To help generate more heat than light? To be a guest or a dartboard? To do outreach or to collaborate—conveniently compartmentalizing while hyping a book or oneself? [Moxie Lady: HULLO.]
Language reflects and defines attitudes. Attitudes reflect and define action. It’s the hypocrisy, stupid.
From the media, as usual, we relearned Compartmentalization 101: Whatever Men Say and Do is More Interesting than Whatever Women Say and Do.
Feminist movement support for the Rutgers team has been close to eradicated in coverage, which positioned Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson as leading the protests. Most pundits chose to play a sick Competition of Oppressions game, presenting the Imus debacle as more a racist story than a sexist one—as if human suffering should be compared, women appear in only one skin tone, and bigots can’t hate and chew gun at the same time. The Sunday morning TV political shows ignored the sexism entirely. Some commentators justly praised pressure brought by a 200,000 member African American women’s organization joining the protests, but neglected to mention that The National Council of Women's Organizations—11 million multiethnic women in 210 organizations—was among the first to demand firing Imus and his producer. Eleanor Smeal of the Feminist Majority Foundation met privately with the team at the start, and her speech brought down the house at their Rutgers rally. NOW’s President Kim Gandy has been denouncing Imus for years, and from the first moment this story broke, she, together with heads of other national feminist organizations, attended those same pressure meetings with CBS and NBC executives. These were meetings where Sharpton and Jackson—each bearing personal baggage as an apologist for his own past sexist actions and ethnic hate speech—garnered the media spotlight.
The fall-out from such destructive divide-and-conquer reporting implies that African American male leaders cared, but women of all other ethnicities did not. Erasure again—partial-truth reporting that feeds racism and sexism.
By now, we ought to know better, right? We ought to know that, despite persistent, erroneous media references otherwise, women are not another minority: we’re 52% of the population—and of the species. And you can damned well bet we come in all sizes, shades, shapes, ages. You name it, we are it. That’s the F word: Feminism.
At least the women athletes from Rutgers (two of whom are stereotype-breaking European Americans, by the way) got it right. Refusing to compartmentalize, and continuing to demonstrate not only physical but moral grace, they made clear they felt all women had been degraded by Imus’s remark. As team captain Essence Carson said: “We’re just trying to give a voice to women who suffer from sexism. . . . Not just African American women, but all women.”
[Moxie Lady: Amen. Cue the choir.]
What if John Edwards worked at Wal-Mart?
Ordinary wage-earners face obstacles in trying to care for ill spouse
Pundits opine over whether or not John Edwards should suspend his presidential campaign in the face of his wife's recurrence of cancer -- a personal decision that's none of our business. But here's something that is our business, every one of us: what happens when ordinary workers' loved ones become sick with cancer, or for that matter, the flu?
Imagine that John Edwards worked as an associate at Wal-Mart -- or any other non-union retail outfit -- stocking shelves 35 hours a week. Most weeks he's scheduled for 40 hours or more, but because he doesn't work those hours year-round, he's not full time and not eligible for health insurance.
John has been on the job more than a year and is covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). That means he can take up to twelve weeks off to care for his seriously ill wife. Problem is, the time is unpaid. With the loss of income from his wife's job while she undergoes treatment and medical bills piling up, he can't afford to take much leave. Only 8 percent of workers in the private sector get paid family leave, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- and John isn't among them.
No paid sick days
If John wants to hold Elizabeth's hand during chemo, he'd have to hope the appointment falls on a day off. Because of the unpredictability of his schedule, John often doesn't know until a day or two ahead of time which days and what hours he'll be working in the coming week.Why doesn't he use his own sick days?
John has some, but in his store you're not allowed to use your sick time unless you yourself are ill. As an hourly employee, none of his sick days are paid -- like half the workforce, three-quarters of low-wage workers, and five out of six part-timers. Taking off would not only cost John a day's wages, but could trigger disciplinary action.
Or John could be one of the growing percent of workers at Wal-Mart and other employers whose weekly hours are kept at less than 25, removing him from FMLA coverage. That means he's not guaranteed any leave, even unpaid, even to be with his wife after surgery, even if her condition deteriorates.
If John worked at a firm with fewer than 50 employees, or was classified as a freelancer or independent contractor, the FMLA wouldn't cover him no matter how many hours he worked.
John might have a sympathetic supervisor who lets him take off when Elizabeth needs him, making up the time when he can. But even kind supervisors report to higher-ups who often put the kibosh on kindness. And with Wal-Mart's new sick day policy, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, John would be required to call an 800 number rather than speak with his manager directly.
Business lobbyists tell us the workplace is family-friendly. Of course, many small business owners would know John personally and generously help out.
And an increasing number of larger employers have policies that cover these situations, because they know paid leave cuts down on the high cost of turnover, boosts employee loyalty and adds to productivity.
But millions of people in this country live just like this hypothetical John Edwards. Many companies have no family leave policies; where policies do exist, they often depend on management discretion.
Legislation can help
In imagining John Edwards as an ordinary wage-earner, we could fill in many other employer names. Family values too often end at the workplace door.
Sen. Ted Kennedy and Congresswoman Rosa deLauro have introduced the Healthy Families Act, which would require employers with 15 or more employees to offer seven paid sick days. The bill includes part-time workers and care for a family member as well as one's own illness. Sen. Chris Dodd is working on a bill that would establish a paid leave fund for workers nationwide needing family or medical leave.
Let's send our prayers to the Edwards family, and honor whatever decisions they make. And then let's work to make sure we have public policies in place to guarantee that nobody will have to choose between caring for a family member and keeping a job.
Ellen Bravo is the former director of 9to5, National Association of Working Women, and author of "Taking on the Big Boys, or Why Feminism is Good for Families, Business and the Nation" (Feminist Press, 2007). Write her at br
Below the Belt: A Biweekly Column by NOW President Kim Gandy
April 17, 2007
Let's start with a simple fact: Most U.S. media outlets — television and radio stations, newspapers and magazines, movie studios, music companies and book publishers — are owned by a shockingly small number of giant corporations. These conglomerates generally are run by white men focused on profits and stock options. This reality lurked behind much of last week's Don Imus storm.
That's not to say that some fine behavior wasn't on display. In fact, the outcome was a victory for all women, and particularly for women of color. After Imus called the Rutgers University women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos" (and his producer Bernard McGuirk called them "hard-core hos"—he can't be let off the hook), organizations like the National Association of Black Journalists, Media Matters for America and, of course, NOW swung into action, alerting the public and demanding accountability.
NOW supporters sent over 30,000 messages in support of the campaign. Women and men across the country responded in force, saying enough is enough. Employees of CBS and NBC let their bosses know that a line had been crossed and the networks' reputations were at stake. Advertisers started dropping like flies.
One week after the offensive comments were made, MSNBC discontinued its simulcast of Imus in the Morning. The next day, CBS Radio canceled the show. The week ended with an inspiring press conference organized by the National Congress of Black Women and the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, at which a long list of leaders, including civil rights legend Dr. Dorothy Height, addressed the larger challenge of creating diverse and responsible media while ridding our culture of misogyny and racism.
So, kudos all around to everyone who did the right thing. Unfortunately, the media's handling of this news story demonstrates a problem beyond Imus' crude sense of so-called humor. My staff and I watched hours of media coverage on this issue, and I appeared on a number of TV and radio shows. The other guests invited to comment were almost invariably men. True, we saw and heard from more people of color than ever before. It's just too bad that almost none of them were women of color. I was on two segments of an hour-long morning cable show devoted to the issue and, despite a large number of guests, I was the only woman — in other words, there wasn't a single African American woman on the show. And with so few women in the discussion, the issue of sexism has not been given the attention it deserved.
Despite the advances that women and people of color have made as working members of the media, their presence in top management and as owners is still minuscule. The news can't help but reflect the lack of diversity and inherent privilege of its ownership, and the power imbalance that persists in our society. Take the April 13 front page story in the Wall Street Journal as an illuminating example. The article was littered with the names of high-profile decision-makers and communicators. A total of 35 people were named in the text and photo caption — ranging from talk radio hosts to media executives, politicians to journalists, civil rights leaders to business chiefs.
Just two of them were women — a lousy six percent in a story partly about sexism! The writers and editors didn't even bother to call Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer by name; otherwise the tally might have jumped to a surplus of three women.
When I took part in meetings with NBC and CBS executives last Thursday, who did the television media report was there? Only Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson. Now, I don't begrudge these two civil rights leaders the ink and airtime they received — they were saying what needed to be said and, without their outrage, the story might never have received the level of attention it did. But it sure would have been nice for women across the country to know that women leaders were present at those meetings, speaking up on their behalf.
Women, and men, need to hear the message from feminist groups that what Imus did was not just a shock jock repeating naughty words he heard in rap songs (yeah, like Imus listens to rap). No, what Imus did was utilize an ugly, age-old tactic. When confronted with a group of successful women who dared to tread into a historically male arena, he tried to diminish them the best way he knew how—by reminding everyone of their sex and their race, and by judging them on their appearance. Not only that, he employed the term "ho" (short for whore), which often is reserved for women who step beyond male-patrolled sexual boundaries. What did these young women do to rate such a harsh assessment? — Oh, that's right, they were playing sports.
Imus and the crew on his show had a long record of making racist and sexist comments. In 1993 he said of journalist Gwen Ifill, who was then working for the New York Times: "Isn't the Times wonderful? It lets the cleaning lady cover the White House." Still, he attracted a steady stream of well-respected presidential candidates, legislators, news anchors and editors as guests. It's the top-shelf company he kept that helped sink Imus — making it almost impossible for him to defend his show as merely a comedy.
While other big mouths like Glenn Beck, Neal Boortz, Tom Leykis, Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh (whom NOW targeted with a multi-year campaign) spew hate across the airwaves, none of them have the status that comes with interviewing Tom Brokaw, Maureen Dowd, John McCain and John Kerry on a regular basis.
And, despite what some may say, this is not a free speech issue. Don Imus can walk down the street shouting "nappy-headed hos" all he wants, or even get a demonstration permit, make signs to that effect, and march around with them. But nothing in the First Amendment entitles him to a $10 million a year job or a television showcase for his hate speech.
Even those inside the media agree. On the Today show, radio host Tavis Smiley said: "I think while Imus had a First Amendment right to free speech, he doesn't have a First Amendment right to a talk show."
We can't heap all the blame on the media's shoulders, though. Why was there an audience willing to snicker along as Imus insulted women, blacks, Jews and other oppressed groups? Why did Tim Russert of Meet the Press and Tom Oliphant of the Boston Globe agree to go on his show? Why did so many people consider his words no big deal, or felt that his good deeds should compensate for his bigoted speech? Perhaps it's because we've encountered this attitude so many times, for so long, in a society where racism and sexism continue to fester, that we've all become far too desensitized.
Neither Imus nor the media industry created the system of denigration, intimidation and discrimination that functions to keep women in line. But they do benefit from it.
Let's face it, we're all going to have to be vigilant if we want to change something as elemental in our society as sexism and racism. We must call out hate speech whenever we hear it, even from our friends and family. We must teach our kids that boys and girls are equal, and equally deserving of respect – that women are not the mere decorations or sex objects that they seem to be in most music videos (that's all genres of music, by the way, not just hip hop).
And we must support legislation that protects women and girls as they make their way in a hostile world. At the same time the Imus flap was dominating the news, Senators Ted Kennedy and Gordon Smith introduced the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, a law that will penalize and help prevent hate-based violent crimes. The most comprehensive hate crimes legislation ever introduced in Congress, this law will finally classify as hate crimes certain violent, criminal acts that are motivated by the victim's gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.
When I first heard of Monday's horrific mass murder in the engineering building at Virginia Tech, I immediately thought of another mass murder at another engineering building — the one at the University of Montreal where, in 1989, engineering student Marc Lepine murdered 14 women and injured 14 other students, mostly women. That reminded me of last year's Amish school shooting where girls were singled out for elimination. We don't yet know whether the Virginia Tech shootings were hate crimes, but there have been enough hate crimes – more than enough — to make it clear that more expansive laws are essential. And they remind us of how deep the river of sexism runs.
We have our work cut out for us. The radio dial is chock full of raving bigots, but we're ready. Watch out, and listen up!
This is a nappy headed ho incident because of the shitload of irony and hyprocrisy in this situation. Here's some irony:
Violence against women - From the 2006 Amnesty International Human Rights Report
In an effort to stem increasing abuses against girls and women, including dowry deaths, sexual assault and acid attacks, parliament in August passed the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Bill (2005), which legislates for comprehensive protection of women from all forms of domestic violence.Traditional preference for boys has led to thousands of female foetuses being aborted despite the prohibition of pre-natal sex determination for this purpose. In May the Health Minister stated that there had not been a single conviction for breaking the ban since it was introduced eight years earlier. Many of the abuses suffered by Muslim women in Gujarat in 2002 fell outside the definition of rape in national law, thereby hampering victims' quest for justice.The Supreme Court in October objected to a 2003 order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court reducing a 10-year sentence for rape to nine months' imprisonment. It held that an inadequate punishment for rape was an "affront to society".The personal law of specific communities became a political issue after the All India Muslim Personal Law Board confirmed Muslim clerics' fatwa concerning the marriage of Imrana Ilahi. Imrana Ilahi alleged rape by her father-in-law in June in Muzzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh; the Board subsequently annulled her marriage and pressed for her rape allegation to be re-framed as a charge of adultery. Imrana Ilahi and her husband defied the directive but the local village council continued to put pressure on them to withdraw their charge of rape.A petition seeking to prevent the establishment of a parallel Muslim judicial system and binding fatwas issued by Muslim clerics or organizations was pending in the Supreme Court at the end of the year.
And some more: 10 links to organizations dedicated to eradicating the problems of women in India.
And some more: a documentary all about women prostitutes and their kids. If you want, you can rent the DVD and watch the scene where the woman gets beat by her pimp in the middle of a busy alley over and over again.
Nevetheless, there must be a way to fire Richard Gere.....
So you get the picture. A hidden camera was placed in a busy Metro stop - L'Enfant Plaza to be exact - and it documented people's reactions to a guy (Bell) playing music at a subway stop...or in this case, non-reactions. This man who plays on a kajillion dollar, one-of-a-kind violin made $32 playing for a day. It explores how we view beauty, our priorities as human beings, and all the irony that an experiment like this can reveal.
The article contains more references to people I have never heard of, or read, than an episode of Fraiser. But it's brillant. It really is. The simplicity and mundane(ness) of rush hour put into the context of human nature. It forces to ask ourselves:
- When do we ever stop and hear "the music"?
- What is beauty?
- What is humility?
- What are our priorities?
- Why are children smarter than adults?
- What, exactly, is the rush? What are we working for?
Read the article, then meet me for coffee to discuss.
Friday, April 13, 2007
I have been talking about this all week, but I don't feel I'm getting heard and my frustrations are mounting. The situation with Don Imus is particularly explosive, more than the Michael Richards, Mel Gibson, Ann Coulter, General Pace debacles that have occured in our nation's recent memory. It's explosive because it highlights: 1) the lack of real Black leaders, 2) our nation's inability to accept what privilege means, 3) the obscurity that Black women face and the assaults we receive on all fronts, and 4) that money is the ultimate and final motivator.
I have already discussed my utter disdain for Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, two people that Americans are fooled into thinking are worthy of our attention. Barack Obama, who is slowly beginning to annoy me with his premature arrogance, is also masquerading as our Great Black Hope. Funny how these people who are hell bent on getting justice from Don Imus are all men. Funny how none of them have actually TALKED to or about the women that these commments were made about. Funny how those same women expressed their disgust with the situation, did not want him fired and simply wanted to move on. Funny how no one listened to them.
This point about privilege and to some extent money...first, Harvey Fierstein wrote an excellent and "in yo face" commentary about how we pick and choose what we tolerate. This privilege that we all possses in varying degrees clouds our ability to be objective when it comes to discrimination. Sure calling someone a n---- h----- h- is wrong, but if they were gay....eh, maybe not so much. Or fat. Or retarded. Black people suffer from being way selective about what they take issue with. We seem to have some super limited recollection of a time when we were getting thrown up in trees and lit on fire while still alive just because we used the wrong water fountain.
This is why this situation is key - more than the others - because it casts an ugly light on the fact that we have not reached a point where ALL discrimination is confronted. Yet we fool ourselves into thinking we are a right and just society. "Look at us", says the liberal white person, "I am as outraged as you are about Don Imus!" But quiet as kept can be when Ann Coulter called John Edwards a fag. When Letterman and Leno make fat jokes every night. When Howard Stern makes a celebrated comeback to satellite radio. When Three Six Mafia wins an Oscar for Best Original Song whose lyrics include the trials and tribulations of a pimp.
And this privilege extends into bigger arenas when talk about people like the Duke lacrosse players. Now they're the victims. Such victims that they want to sue to gain vindication. But I can't help but get angry when I see their smug, shit-eating grin faces. It's the same look they have had since this whole thing started. I still think they're guilty of wrongdoing. Just like white people think OJ is guilty. And its because their wrongdoings (much like Simpson's) is largely centered around their attitudes, their demeanor and their general behavior before and during the proceedings. While evidence may indicate that the alleged victim was lying, it still shows that they hired strippers to be at their house for a party. There is still documentation of the derogatory comments they made about these women. These are not innocent students - these are college men who thought so little of women that they hired them as party favors. The team is notorious for such behavior. The town is notorious for poor race relations. These men have the power to call their rich parents who hired rich lawyers to defend their honor. What did these women have in their corner? A DA who believed in them. A town full of locals who were tired of being treated like shit by an elistist institution. It angers me that the woman was proven to be lying because we all know it makes it harder on rape victims everywhere else. It angers me more because the system in which this all played out was never fair and accesible to everyone to begin with. The Duke players will go on to lead the same privileged lives they always had. They will graduate and work at blue chip firms and F500 companies and many will continue to abuse women in general and appease their fetish for Black women without much thought to these incidents.
So money equals power and privilege. CBS is no champion of human rights. The advertisers are no champions of human rights. These are large corporations that look at only one thing and that is the bottom line. CBS dropped Imus because advertises were jumping ship. Advertisers dumped CBS because they feared losing consumers....money (At least the executive in charge of CBS is a woman). And under the guise of doing the right thing, everyone goes home happy and richer. Don Imus can even been seen leaving the studio after getting fired in a top of the line limo. He may have lost his job, but he still has more money than Obama, Sharpton and Jackson. And he will make more with books, appearances and eventually his own radio show that will be broadcasted somewhere else.
All this controversy and the hope for true dialogue, exchange and action are lost. Fingers were pointed, shots were made and after the dust is all settled, the money is in the same pockets and Black women are left with the marks of dirty footprints from a national scuffle. Decisions were made about rights and wrongs, but I'm just not sure we were right about who was wrong.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
April 12, 2007
Re "Imus is not alone," Opinion, April 11
I want to express my whole-hearted agreement with Constance L. Rice. She says so clearly what I have always felt. The assaults on black women come from all fronts — black men included. Why do our civil rights "leaders" think it is worth their time to punish Don Imus for saying things that athletes, actors and rappers have been saying for decades?
Imus is not the downfall of the black community; it is our lack of action and our unwillingness to confront such sexist, homophobic, classist and degrading comments and beliefs that our culture celebrates that contribute to the challenges we face as a race. Rice hits it on the head. I just hope that Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and the rest take note.
AND I have the voicemail saved on my phone from the paper that confirmed that my lil letter was going for publication. Total domination is but a few more angry letters away.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
One step forward for Mother Earth, one step back for Camille Paglia
In Thailand, women are fighting environmental ills the best way they know how (or were told) in a Miss Earth pageant.
...and the struggle continues.
Monday, April 9, 2007
I may be alone in my stance, but maybe I’m not. Ironically enough, I could start an online community for people who don’t use MySpace. I won’t. The people who do declare their dislike of the site seem to be tech snobs and find the whored out pages of the members to be in poor techie taste. Not my territory, but many of the pages are pretty harsh on the eyes and my computer’s memory capacity.
Let me try to wrap my head and arms around this so that I can articulate my peeve as clearly as possible.
Age anti-discrimination….Granny is part of your Extended Network
OK. So in theory a social networking site is a great idea! It allows us to connect with friends and family we don’t see often. We can meet people who share interests. Find people half way across the globe. Promote new works, artists, politics, beliefs etc. Great, awesome….
And I truly believe that is what its creator(s) had in mind when it launched. But it has morphed into a community of pathetic souls, pedophiles, frenemies, loners, stalkers, and celebrities desperate to reach the 18-35 age bracket (or younger or older, I can’t tell anymore). It has become a free dating site for divorcees masquerading as just wanting to “network” or “meet friends”.
Honestly, if it were just 13 and 15 year olds spending all their time online, I wouldn’t care. I would dismiss it as teenage obsession. But nooooo…..the number of people pushing thirty and who fell off the cliff eons ago have pages, too. And that is when it gets a little sad.
I am someone. I count.
I have an account. I set it up only enough to check friends' pics or blogs (see I’m a good friend). I admit that I have found myself getting lost in the viral mazes of the “extended network”. Look at me I have friends! It is sad the ego boost people receive based on the number of “friends” they have. To me, the more friends you have, the more time you waste at your computer.
Then there is the Top 8. Oh my. You are no longer my BFF; you’re in my Top 8. Congratulations, all your comments to my page will be automatically accepted and they won’t have to wait for my approval (Having comment approval makes one a demi-god). Not to mention the magic one must feel when Hillary Clinton accepts your friend invite. To be so close to someone so great….
Things you could be doing with your time
- Staging a sit in
- Hosting an exchange student (who would probably spend most of their time on MySpace in your home office)
- Feeding the hungry
- Clothing the poor
- Going to church
- Saving wounded pigeons
- Planting a tree
- Connecting with real people in a live setting such as a doctor’s office, brothel, or coffee shop
- Doing Yoga Booty Ballet
- Going to an indie record shop and discovering artists there
- Riding a bike
- Tipping cows
You get the picture. I can only imagine how many calories I am not burning typing this post. Or grants that aren’t being written (don’t worry, it’s under control).
Why this is worse than the apocalypse
I know I'm overreacting, but MySpace creates a false sense of self(hood). It tricks people into thinking their lives mean something and that they can be experienced through a monitor and keyboard. It feeds into our society’s growing egocentric, anything goes, anyone can be a celebrity pandemonium. Generation X, Y and Millennials are notorious being self-centered assholes and now our addiction to ourselves in but a mouse click away.
While it connects people, I really think that it is damaging how we see, experience, and connect with each other. It celebrates selfishness by equating worth with the amount of exposure you have. It tricks thirty-somethings into thinking it is normal and acceptable to maintain relationships in this arena. People that age should have their own stationery and drop a hand-written note to distant friends and relatives. We’re fostering the great cosmopolitan divide by continuing to support MySpace.
Don’t get me wrong...
I love what technology has done for our lives. I love how many ways we have to connect with each other. I appreciate the need to reach out farther than around the corner. I get it, people. I get it.
I just wish to caution MySpace users from letting real human contact atrophy. They need to be careful not to let open and honest communication turn into passive aggressive exchanges like deleting someone from their Top 8 when they piss you off, leaving evil chain letters in someone's comment section, or changing your relationship status when your boyfriend gets on your bad side.
That being said...
I hate to brag, but Tom is in my Top 8. He CREATED MySpace. He friended me the minute I signed up. How many people can say that? Hmph.
What makes me upset is the response to these incidents. People like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson only work to further prove my belief that no real Black leaders exist anymore. I mean someone has to point out that comments like this aren't acceptable. But leave it to these two clowns to call a press conference and demand apologies from people who are inconsequential to the success or failure of the Black race. I see their very public responses as nothing more than smoke and mirrors to hide the fact that they are useless. Their hey days are over and they thrive on beating dead horses. Let's add to my frustration whomever showed up for their scheduled protests. Protest the war, global warming, Darfur and Sudan genocides, don't waste your time protesting a marginal figure in the media.
And it's not just Al and Jesse. Even when Ann Coulter questioned the heterosexuality of John Edwards, LGBT groups were calling for her to be fired. She wasn't fired, but she was dropped by a number of affiliates. However all that "advocacy" did nothing to stop one more gay man from being fired, or some lesbian couple from adopting.
I know, I know, it is part of the Equality Agenda, and if we can confront and combat "-ist" attitudes in the media, we're winning half the battle. I guess.
Believe it or not, people have the right to say whatever they want even if we don't agree. Leave it to constitutional lawyers and the Supreme Court to tell me if I'm right...or wrong.
It seems to me that "advocates" appear when the targets are easy. Al and Jesse and HRC, where were you when Lebron made seemingly anti-gay comments about gays in the NBA? While we're wasting time and money, let's attack him...oh wait, he's done so much for the Black race. Or how about the countless sexist and violent rap videos, or the fatherless Black children, and the AIDS and the class divide? These are real things that are real threats the Black community. One more white man with one more stupid thing to say can't make my life any harder than it already is. Institutional barriers, politics, and the economy can.
I think that people like Sharpton and Jackson need people like Coulter and Imus...it makes them look good. Gives them an opportunity to appear as if they're really doing something. And that is what is truly sad. I expect ignorance and I get it. I expect leadership and I'm let down every time.
"The WP fronts news that YouTube has become a popular tool for Mexican drug cartels. They use the service to recruit, glorify the lifestyle, and post threats—often videos of revenge killings (esp. beheadings) set to original music composed by hired balladeers. One such ballad, "To My Enemies," became a posthumous chart-topper in the United States after it sparked a gang war and landed its author in the morgue."
Monday, April 2, 2007
Heard this song several times over the weekend and now it is stuck in my head. I like this song the most out of all her singles. I also L-O-V-E those big ass earrings!
However, Fergie, please know that while you are singing to pimped out tracks by Black producers and sweatin it out in hyped up dance routines choreographed by...Black men, we haven't forgotten Wild Orchid, and we never, ever, will. Ever.
P.S. You did beat out Gwen's look at the fabulous life.