then again, maybe not
Closed for business

March 17, 2006

The more the merrier? More like the more the sadder

I posted a comment over at Feministe, about the new HBO show, Big Love. I was going to write something else there, but I figured I'd think this through at my own damn place. The show is getting a lot of attention - most of it for what it might be rather than what it actually is. The first concern everyone seems to have is that it "glorifies" polygamy. Sounds fair. But I didn't see any of that in the show. No one in the marriage[s] seems very happy. One of the major plotlines of the episode was how unfulfilling the relationship was for everyone involved. But blah blah.

This really made me think about television as a way of communicating things we think of as negative, or immoral. Does television, just by showing something, glorify it? Or, if that's an overstatement, legitimize it? I don't think so. Acknowledging that something exists, and portraying it in a dramatic setting doesn't mean you endorse it. Which made me think of this move from a couple of years ago, The Woodsman, about a child molester who'd recently been released from prison. When the movie came out, there was a lot of controversy about showing sympathy for a pedophile, and humanizing him. Well, damn. Pedophiles are people. Bad, sick people, but people. And when I saw the movie, it didn't make me feel "wow, what a shame this child rapist is having such a rough time of it." I doubt anyone did. Being the lead character in a movie doesn't make you its hero. Which is not to say that some people wouldn't see it that way. But those people are wackos, so fuck 'em.

Since I took the long way around here, let me go back to Big Love. Aside from the trademark HBO reminder that this ain't basic cable y'all! The show is actually a little dull. But that's kind of the point. In a way, this show reminded me a lot of parts of The Sopranos. Sometimes you wake up and can't imagine how your life became what it is. So you do the best you can to keep going. That's nothing to celebrate, but it's nothing to hide, either.

Edited to add: The Woodsman starred Kevin Bacon, who's from Philly, like me. His accent was stupendous. And, I must admit, I was distracted through the whole film trying to figure out what street he lived on. I definitely knew it, but couldn't place it.

Friday Random 10 - New look edition

Wow, I wish I had some New Edition in my iPod. Oh well. New design, new leaf. Back to this Friday tradition.

  1. Fuel for Fire - M Ward
  2. Jolene - The White Stripes
  3. Freaky Black - Mos Def
  4. Strange Fruit - Nina Simone
  5. The Losing - The Pretenders
  6. Walk the Walk - Poe
  7. Bitter - The Pietasters
  8. Aurora - Veruca Salt
  9. One is the Magic Number - Jill Scott
  10. King of Silence - Cibo Matt
Still working out some of the kinks in the design. Blogger. Sigh.

March 16, 2006

Life is life, right?

It's so nice to finally agree with an anti-choice wingnut.

Via Pandagon:

A Christian attorney says any law that purports to ban abortion, yet allows
exceptions, is not a truly pro-life bill.


“I find it very difficult to rationalize — if you believe that this is genuinely a human child, an unborn child — how you can allow it to be killed simply because of actions of its father,” says the attorney. “It makes no sense down the line, and I think our opponents actually take full advantage of those kinds of inconsistencies in
decimating our movement.
I wholeheartedly agree. If you really think the life of a fetus is sacred, and no matter what, a woman should be forced to carry it to term, then think that. But you don't get to offer the bullshit out of "except in cases of rape or incest." Because if in those circumstances you are willing to say that a woman should not be forced to carry a pregnancy that "isn't her fault," you're full of it. If abortion is murder, it's always murder. Otherwise you're admitting there are gray areas, and that way lies madness (to you, at least).

Ok, ok… I'll do it!

I gave into office peer pressure today, and entered my picks for the NCAA tournament. Now, I know exactly shit about college basketball, but I do love filling out forms, so I submitted my bracket. And even though I picked winners based on a process unrelated to their skills - mostly I picked places I've visited, and the schools people I know went to, I am now fully and completely dedicated to winning. My competitive nature comes out in such strange and unexpected ways. But, I think this is getting me going because I don't have any clue, so it feels more like gambling. I'm a little less lost sitting at a poker table, but I'm still into the random chance of it all. So here's to my teams!

Edited to add: Oh yes, my final four is Duke, UCLA, North Carolina and Ohio State.

March 15, 2006

Whew, I'm on a roll…

It's so nice when I can spend more than five minutes at a time reading blogs. I feel so educated, and vaguely aroused (intellectually, of course). Lindsay over at Majikthise has an interesting review of Crashing the Gate. From this, and what I know of the writers, here's my main concern (which is clearly not at all their concern) about their vision of the future power of the "netroots."

Lindsay says:
Crashing the Gate contains a lot of valuable advice for Democrats. However, I
was disappointed that Kos and Armstrong are primarily interested in
professionalizing the party through think tanks, paid operatives, and a new
breed of internet savvy media consultants. I wanted to hear about how new
technology might enable ordinary citizens to assert unprecedented influence over
politics and the media--from the bottom up.
Hugo warns:

Do these lads understand that millions of people in the core constituency of the
Democratic Party aren't even ONLINE? Unions, NARAL, and other "interest groups" are able to represent the marginalized who can't share their thoughts through email or small online credit card contributions. In Los Angeles, the SEIU
represents thousands of working poor, many of whom don't have an internet
connection. Their needs matter too.
Exactly. And furthermore, I'm not convinced that the solution to the problems in the Democratic Party is just a different small bunch of elitist making the decisions. More of the same is more of the same, regardless of their internet savvy. But I've not seen much coming out of Kos and the blogger boys club that really focused on getting a better party instead of a more successful one. I don't mean to jump on the anti-Kos bus. He's not that important. But I do worry that the creation of the "netroots" as a force for change isn't going to create any actual, you know, change.

Two things about Molly and two things about a Bitch

That’s capital B, fuckers. And don't you forget it.

As I was saying...

Molly says

Pro-"state's rights" means anti-human rights -- and it always has.
Indeed. What people mean when they say "state's rights" is that there is no value to inalienable rights of individuals. Only good luck in picking a place to live. That's bullshit, and it's certainly not pro-choice, pro-woman or pro-human.

Also, I'm shocked and disappointed about the continuing "controversy" about the information Molly posted on her blog a few weeks ago, about the abortion procedure. All of the irresponsible "she's telling women to give themselves abortions! That's so dangerous!" is ridiculous.

[Edited to add: Stupid Blogger just ate my 5 links about this. Dunno why. Repost later]

First thing about a Bitch:

I got far behind in my links to her posts about Ariel Levy's book, so just go to the source.

And another thing!

Bitch has incurred the wrath of my old nemesis from Alas, A Blog (only a nemesis to those who had to listen to me rant), Ginmar. I never engaged her in the comments because, well… go see for yourself at Bitch Lab and Feministe. Speaking of which, interesting craziness going on over there about feminist blogs, safe space, open dialogue, a lot of shit. Check it out. Beneath all of the attacking is a pretty thought-provoking issue. If you're a feminist with a blog that gets a lot of heated conversation, how do you, or do you, control what gets posted? And how responsible are you?

March 14, 2006

That's a bit of a stretch, dontcha think?

Over at Majikthise, Lindsay speaks out in support of "Go Fug Yourself." Full disclosure, I visit the site from time to time when I get links to something in particular. Usually involving an actress I like. It's a funny site. But fluff, at best.

The larger question is why our society is so fixated on appearance and the
personal lives of a handful pampered public figures. For me, Go Fug Yourself is
a non-guilty pleasure because it mocks the excesses of this decadent culture
with humor and insight. The celebrities take their own exhibitionism very
seriously but GFY deflates their pretentions. That, to me is a worthwhile
feminist activity in and of itself.
I agree that the larger question is why we're so obsessed with what celebrities wear. But the question behind that is why we're so obsessed with what everyone wears and what we look like. And more often than not it seems to me that the site isn't mock[ing] the excesses of this decadent culture…" so much as making fun of people for dressing "badly" or "inappropriately."

On Paris Hilton: "Well, at least it's not the kind of cock you expect Paris to drag
around with her..."

On Bebe Neuwirth: "You're too old for this outfit."
I'm not opposed to that, I don't really care, but let's not pretend this is a "worthwhile feminist activity."

Another point in their favor, according to Lindsay:

If they mention a celebrity’s body type or features, it’s almost always
complimentary (“She’s got great legs, but you’d never guess when she wears those
¾ length leggings and Ugg boots…”).

Ariel Levy, meet your new editor

Head over to Bitch Lab for a ton of info about Ariel Levy's Female Chauvinist Pigs (hint - it seems I'm one of them. FCP/dirty slut, whatev). Bitch is posting about the book as she goes. A critical play-by-play, you might say. Well, you wouldn't, but I did. Anyway. I have a sneaking suspicion that you'll learn more from these blog entries than the book itself.

Bimbette: Shake it down, shake it down now
The lickerish Faye Wattleton and other unwitting FCPs
Levy’s confession
Uncle Tomming
Levy plays the telephone game

March 13, 2006

Another brilliant Bitch!

Great post from Angry Black Bitch about my favorite straw man of affirmative action, the "black student who stole your spot at Yale…"

She breaks it down well, but it's something most people forget. The issue is not under qualified black/brown students taking the places of completely qualified white kids:

See, the dude who may have taken your spot at Yale is most likely not the brown
and black students who make up less that 10% of the student body. He's that
legacy know, Carter Silverspoon from Choate?... yeah, him and his
forever unimpressive non-intellectual ass. College ain’t a meritocracy, but that
fact is better explored through a conversation with the heir to your right and
not the black chick to your left.

Also, only related in the sense that I read it right after this, apparently Isaac Hayes has quit providing the voice of Chef on South Park, because of the show's attitude about religion. I loved the character, and he'll be missed, but I can understand the action.

I wrote the above before I read the whole article and saw that Isaas Hayes is a Scientologist. Great Vortex (or whatever the alien-God of Scientology is). Your "religion" is a joke. A club for wacky rich people. Deal with it. Also, where have you been Isaac? That episode aired months and months ago.

This is what happens when I use my brain...

See? When I'm all thinky about issues, I forget the important things in life. Like The Sopranos starting up again (still trying to catch my breath), and The L Word breaking my heart last night.

Oh, and Hi! to everyone getting here via a Google search for "ANTM blog." Sorry, this isn't actually an ANTM blog. But this is (partially).

So much in my head…

Wow, this weekend was full of things that keep swirling around in my head. It's possible that's because I spent so much time walking around with my thoughts. Or it could be because I didn't drink at all. Here are the vaguely formed thoughts I'm going to try and work through.

I watched the social experiment (read: snooty reality tv) show, Black. White. I think it premiered on Wednesday, but I didn't get around to watching it on TiVo until Saturday morning. I found it extremely interesting that the show, whose premise is two families, one black, one white, getting made-up and "switching races." Then they go out and see what happens. Interesting, or so I thought. But what's interesting about people legitimizing and aspiring to fit stereotypes? They each learn to "talk white" and "walk black." How consciousness-raising.

I also ended up having a very painful fight with my mother on Saturday afternoon. We fight all the time, that was no surprise. But the subject of the argument was. We were talking about a friend's wedding I'm going to be in, and all of the annoying things that go along with that. Because she's my mother, the conversation quickly turned to when I'll be getting married. This is probably the 10th time we've talked about this in the last year, and I wasn't in the mood. So, I laid out for my mom all of the reasons why it bothers me that she is so focused on this. Not the least being that she herself never married, and had a great life, and fulfilled her dream of being a mother. Somehow we then ended up talking about celebrities. She mentioned that she likes Charlize Theron, who she called something like Charlotte Thenon, but that's my mom. I told her that I'd heard Charlize Theron and whoever she's dating said they wouldn't get married until gay and lesbian couples could as well. I thought that was great. I wish there were more straight people (not just celebrities) who would say the same thing, marriage for all couples, or marriage for no one. My mom hit the roof. She said "so what, you won't get married until gay people can too? That's not going to change anything." Which lead to the whole activism argument, which we've been having since I was 10. Sigh. So I asked her, "what if people were trying to pass laws that interracial couples couldn't marry? And I wanted to marry someone of another race. Wouldn't you want people to stand up and support that?" She says, "of course. And I support gay marriage too, but I don't see the point of a straight couple refusing to marry to make a point." Uh, "you don't see the point of symbolic gestures, of solidarity? You do remember the civil rights movement, right?" And around and around we went. It bugs me that my mother's politics and beliefs are very in line with mine, she really doesn't value my or anyone else's activism. It makes me sad that she can support an idea, but not doing something about it.

Wow, I really didn't plan to go on and on about that. A little venting, sorry. The other thing I'm thinking about is what it means to be a friend. I hung out with a woman I used to work with, who I love, but on a very surface level. I think she's fun, but very self-centered, and I don't share any deep thoughts or feelings with her. From the outside, someone would probably think we're best friends, but it's very shallow. And I'm not sure how ok with that I am.