Monday, December 31, 2007

I'm working very hard before the New Year,



so enjoy these insightful posts from people I've never met, mostly via Feministe:

On Being First, by Jay Smooth at ill Doctrine.



#

Godwin’s law: NEW RECORD, by Sara at Sara Speaking. Emphases mine.

. . . So all of that I’m holding in mind as I’m reading this advice column about “professional” language. All told, it’s not a bad column, and I’m not here to pick at it. I’m just here to pick at the concept of “professional” language period. And I’m wondering if I’m smart enough to really unpack it the way I’d like to — but hey, that’s what other people’s blogs exist for, right? Surely someone else out there has deconstructed it more meaningfully than I will here.

But: professional language. The language of professionals, of people who know their shit (but probably do not name it), the language of power. Who is in power? Well, white guys. Straight white able-bodied Christian cisgendered [defined here] heterosexual (did I miss anything?) guys. So when we’re talking about “professional” language, isn’t that what we’re really talking about? . . .



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Most Dangerous Person 2007, by Christina at Saying Nothing Charmingly.

First runner-up: Mike Huckabee. If this man should, by some conspiracy obviously organized by Satan himself, win the Oval Office, we will see a theocratic kleptocracy the likes of which The Shrub only fantasized about in his most fevered wanking sessions . . .


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Boo Urns., by Red Stapler at Me and My Red Stapler.

The movie Idiocracy is on cable right now. I'm excited about this, because I never got a chance to see it.

The wonderful Sara Rue has a small role. As usually happens when I watch movies with my laptop in front of me, I looked her up on IMDB.

I saw some photos of her there, and I was so appalled by what I saw . . .


#

Finally, my favorite: Jamie Lynn Spears: Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don’t, by Emily at Planned Parenthood. Emily says much of what I have been thinking for the past month. Emphases hers.


I would agree that consequences of teenage pregnancy (here in America) have generally become less dire. But even today, it can mean losing a shot at college (b-ball player Darnellia counted on sports to secure her a scholarship), losing your job (in Jamie Lynn's case, her TV show) and losing your reputation (from role model to "trailer trash whore" ).

That's a whole lot of loss. Yet our message is--- we want young women to keep unplanned/unwanted pregnancies but we're not going to give them respect, decency or even a great number of options . . .


. . . I talked about this with a friend and was shocked when she told me, "She better be fired from that show!" When I asked, why, she said, "Because she's a role model!"

Perhaps she is. But she's also a human being. Is it so unreasonable to think that a 16 year old might have a sexual relationship when she's a working actor and treated like an adult in so many other aspects? Why does Spears lose the right to her job because she's pregnant? . . .

. . . We can all agree that teenage pregnancy is nothing new, so can we find common sense middle ground between "slut-bashing" and "don't do it"? Could we please talk about the obvious? Birth control! Sex education! And forget reducing girls to "role models" - teenage pregnancy is an issue so much bigger than one 16 year old girl. If we want to send better messages, we need to start from a broader cultural standpoint that frankly discusses reproductive functions and consequences. Because let's face it, no young girl's world is G-rated anymore.

And trust me, we aren't doing young women any favors by crucifying their former idols as "sluts."


That's what I'm saying, yo. I grew up on an island whose public high schools had to install an official uniform for pregnant students because they had so many girls in a family way. Let's not act like Jamie Lynn Spears is the only undereducated 16-year-old who has ever gotten pregnant. Let's not pretend that her young American fans--who are growing up in an increasingly oversexualized culture--don't already know where babies and STDs come from. Let's not demonize a teenager whose parents didn't seem to mind that she was allegedly living with her 19-year-old boyfriend. If parents can't handle teaching their children about sex and its consequences, they are in for a rude awakening: if you don't explain healthy sexual behavior to your children before someone else does, your children may end up pregnant or dead.

For more insanity on this topic, I give you Sherri Shepherd's take on The View: Should Nickelodeon Take The Knocked-Up Jamie Lynn Spears' Show Off The Air? A Very Special 'View' Debate, via Defamer.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Musings from an Angeleno: The Christmas Eve Edition

(Imagine a Christmas picture of the Psych boys and their families here.)

1. If you'll remember my musings from this same time last year, I apparently wasn't so impressive. Well someone was impressed by me this year, and rightfully so, and that is all I will say about that.

2. At the annual Christmas Eve candlelight service, one of the teenage ushers was sporting some Zac Efron-type floppy hair. In my head I was all, "Dude, get a haircut." Then I was like, "at least you don't have the Ef's orange skin." Finally I thought, "Thank goodness Stephanie is at another church over 3000 miles away, because we all know how she likes them young."

3. After the service, I was in the bathroom about to take a shower when I started to have a think. I had encountered some of my old classmates over the past two days, which triggered a frown on my face. Why were most of the people I was friends with in elementary school and middle school and high school still friends with each other, but they weren't friends with me? I hadn't really thought about it before. I just figured they had made other friends in college like I had. And they did, but they are still friends with each other too. I started remembering times during college breaks on St. Thomas when they'd all be hanging out together wherever, but I wasn't really in the group anymore. Then I felt bad retroactively for being left out.
Somehow, when I was scrubbing myself under the shower head that needs better water pressure, I realized that they are all still friends because they all live on the East Coast. They went to the name brand schools in New England and New York and the Washington, D.C. area and Florida, while I went to my top-choice, lesser-known school in California. They have all been visiting each other and hanging out regularly in their new homes since they graduated, because they all live in easy traveling distance from each other. As if the West Coast is a foreign country that requires a Visa and an overnight flight.

I have never regretted going to college in and remaining in Los Angeles. I love my new(ish) friends and being in my industry. There are things that I cannot stand about LA--the required driving and the high cost of living--but that is where I want to be. I just never considered that my old friends would continue to be friends sans moi. I thought I had done something wrong, like, "Thank goodness we got rid of Bianca. She was always such a Debbie Downer. Now we can finally have fun without her loser personality harshing our mellow. w00t!"

Yes, I know I have issues.

Happy Christmahanukwanzaakah to you!

Friday, December 21, 2007

My little hater says




everyone is going to resent me for being a dirty whore who runs with the Blame America First crowd. Apparently my hater is a tiny Bill O'Reilly.

.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

How sad is my Thursday night


without 30 Rock and The Office? I can't even find a good show on Logo. I have seen every episode of Rick and Steve, The Big Gay Sketch Show and Exes and Ohs at least twice. They really need fundage for some new original programming.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My friend got married!


No, that's not her. I don't know those fools pictured above. Can you believe [SPOILER ALERT] New York picked Tailor Made? That's some nonsense.

My friend Catherine got married. You can read about it here. Her husband seems pretty nice. And she made her own dress. How cool is that.

.

Three related stories:


Abstinence Programs Face Rejection, by Rob Stein, The Washington Post, via Feministing.

Bush policies likely to blame for more teen births, by Cynthia Tucker, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, via Feministing.

Knocked-Up Jamie-Lynn Spears Carrying On Britney's Troubled Family Tradition, Defamer.

My first thought was, How old was Solange (yes, that Solange), when she had her scandalous baby?

My second thought was, TedSez is funny.

My third thought was, Vanessa and her fellow Mouseketeers must be cracking up right now.

How many stereotypes

can fit in one trailer?



I know Tracy Morgan has issues, but Ice Cube should know better by now.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Posts that have intrigued me today,

mostly via Feministe:

Hannah Montana, Part II, by Reb at Adventures in Lame.

The Mommy Fetish- short version
, by The Red Queen, at Elizabitchez.

Why so angry? by zuzu at Feministe.

And The View on transgendered children, by Jessica at Feministing.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

What are your New Year's resolutions?


I haven't figured out mine yet, but you can share yours here.

This miniature post was inspired by Activist Resolutions, by Latoya Peterson at Racialicious, which I did comment on.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

When I asked for a more appropriate caption

this is not what I had in mind:

New York Post reaches all-time low., by Vanessa at Feministing.

Click on the link. It took me a moment to get the double entendre. Way to keep it classy with a K, New York Post.

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Law & Order is an urban show.


It takes place in New York City, the epitome of the word urban. However, black people in general are not "urban." Not all black people live in cities, or even suburbs. I, for one, grew up on an island with many other black people. These two black men who were shot by a trigger-happy white man named Joe Horn in Pasadena, Texas, were not "urban" either. I'm glad that someone is finally addressing this idiotic semantic issue:

Gabrielle Union does not like black movies labeled as ‘urban’, by Kirshan Murphy at Nubian Waves.

"No one calls Fred Claus the white Christmas movie. The Perfect Holiday is a movie about the holidays. It’s not race-specific.

"If there’s more than one black person in the movie, it’s an urban romantic comedy, an urban thriller - it’s just a flipping movie..."


I would never call Fred Claus "the white Christmas movie." I would call it, "the reason to avoid the theater." If I want to watch a holiday film starring an overpaid "comedian", I'll catch one of the thousand cable airings of The Santa Clause or Elf, both of which I also own.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My favorite commercial of the year,

as I recently mentioned to Stephanie:




If only I had switched to Geico. Then my life would be magical too.

.

Not the caption I'd use.


Ike Turner dies in San Diego at age 76, by Elliot Spagat, AP, via Yahoo! News.

Yahoo! has labeled the corresponding link on their front page, "Legendary but troubled Ike Turner dies."

Troubled? How about "Wife-beating psycho comes to a well-deserved end"?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Another completely different movie


I'm watching Breakin' All the Rules right now, which I did not realize starred Gabrielle Union and Morris Chestnut. I only remembered that Jamie Foxx was in it, because he was all over the commercials, coasting on the Ray momentum of 2004. The problem is worse than I had previously thought.

Peter MacNicol is in the movie, too. As Jennifer Esposito's boyfriend. Yeah, okay. I guess if Jimmy Fallon can do it . . . What has Peter been doing since Ally McBeal? Oh. Well good for him. I wouldn't mind hanging out with David Krumholtz all day.

Friday, December 07, 2007

They are called stalkers.


Subtitle: Why I don't like movies and television shows based on the desires of the white male patriarchy.

How Will Smith Saved My Life, by Josh at Bricks Explode


Will Smith Project: Hitch

Lesson Learned: Girls can be tricked into having sex with you

Explanation: There are three distinctly different ways you can get women to sleep with you:

1. Stalk them. Not the creepy "follow them around all dressed in black while calling them and hanging up one hundred times a day stalking," the funny kind that you can find in a PG-13 romantic comedy. The mistake that real life stalkers make is that they:

A: Are not as attractive as Will Smith

B: Don’t play whimsical music while they are stalking. How are we supposed to know that what you’re doing is funny, not creepy? You need to play a little Sheryl Crow or Third Eye Blind to show us how to feel. Silly stalkers, sex is for winners . . .


It goes on from there. I actually wrote about this double standard in my journal after watching an episode on How I Met Your Mother on the plane last year. Carrie Bradshaw also talked about this on that episode of Sex and the City where she encounters Aidan after their first break-up and wants to be with him again.

This Hollywood concept of wearing women down until they agree to fall in love with you remains ridiculous. Though it does seem to be the hallmark of male/female interaction in Aaron Sorkin productions. I don't think he knows any gay people or Latinos, other than Lily Tomlin and Martin Sheen, respectively.

It's insulting. It's dangerous. Yet one of my friends--who shall remain nameless--actually thinks that in relationships, men are naturally hunters and women are naturally prey. (She didn't use those words, but Steve Harvey did.) I explained to her that concept makes no sense, especially when considering relationships in the queer community. Using that logic, lesbians would be waiting around alone forever since no one would be pursuing them. And then there would be no L Word.

I'm sure I will expound on this at length at a future date. If I forget, then please remind me to.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

My favorite quote today


From Marge Simpson, via commenter caitlin at Agoraphobia:

Well it doesn't matter how you feel inside, you know? It's what shows up on the surface that counts. That's what my mother taught me. Take all your bad feelings and push them down, all the way down, past your knees until you're almost walking on them. And then you'll fit in, and you'll be invited to parties, and boys will like you, and happiness will follow.

.

Ten years later . . .


Katherine Heigl says Knocked Up was sexist, by Jessica at Feministing.

In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, actress Katherine Heigl says that Knocked Up, was "a little sexist."


"It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys," she says. "It was hard for me to love the movie."


Really Katherine? Here was my immediate response:


I've only been writing about this since this May when the movie came out. Katherine could have taken a looky-loo at my blog months ago. It was hard for me to simply tolerate the movie. Maybe she could have realized the overt sexism and misogyny saturated in the script when she first read it.


Other people had some strong words about this development as well. Feel free to share your reactions.
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Sunday, December 02, 2007

These are two different movies:


The Perfect Holiday and This Christmas. I know how one might be confused considering the similar festive themes and the pigmentation of the casts. Also, the picture featured about is from a completely different movie starring the usual suspects: Gabrielle Union, Morris Chestnut, Vivica A. Fox, Tamala Jones, Anthony Anderson and . . . Bobby Brown?
.

I got a reply from Mr. Stein!


It him over a month, but Joel Stein has responded to the heated email that I sent him in October:

Fair enough. I'll check out the movie. I had hoped I was using the word
with a positive connotation, but I do have some misogyny issues that
stem from my hormones. It's hard being a misogynist feminist, but I'm
working on it.

Thanks for the email. Really.

Joel


Well then.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The music is a bit much

but the message is effective: Who's On The Line by wgaamerica, via Ducky Does TV.

New Additions to the Store!

Let people know how you really feel:


Be proud of who you are:


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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Excitement!



I just opened The Official Steve the Penguin Store at CafePress.com! Featured above is one of the premiere items in the Steve the Penguin collection. It's my favorite shirt so far, but there will be more soon. For now, enjoy the other pieces that are also available:










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If you see one movie this year,

make it this one:

Sunday, November 25, 2007

"Who's the third guy again?"



Guess Who Thinks Rape Is Hilarious Now?, by Melissa McEwan at Shakesville, via Feministe.

Maybe this is why I haven't watched a Will Ferrell movie since Talladega Nights.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

How I spent my Thanksgiving plane ride home:



Yes, High School Musical 2 was my inflight entertainment. I was thrilled. I was also probably the only passenger singing along. Who else would be silly enough to stay up watching Zac Efron dance on a tiny beveled television screen?

I still can't believe the flight attendants didn't feed us anything on our five-and-a-half hour flight. Not even a tiny breakfast muffin. My plastic cup of orange juice did not cut it.

Here's what got me through a hefty patch of turbulence:



Corbin Bleu, I've got game. I can show you how I swing, too!
.

Monday, November 19, 2007

"That's some catchy racism!"



The 9 Most Racist Disney Characters, by Ben Joseph at Cracked, via Racialicious.

These old Disney movies are a little bit like your aging Uncle Frank. Honestly, he means well when he points out that Will Smith is "well-spoken." It's just that he, like the assemblage of clips below, dates from a time when people were unfairly characterized by their ethnic background (the acceptable methods are, of course, religion, geography, sexual preference and income) . . .

Commenter trey (and his many like-minded friends) puts us critical-thinkers in our place by pointing out who the real racists are. Emphases mine, typos his:

People like you that can take anything and make it into a racist issue make me sick. Most of these things are just silly and by pointing them out you are being more racist than the person that created them. I think it's racist to say every theif on television should be white because it might offend someone of another ethnicity. It's not like there were only Asian bad guys on chip and dale. There were white ones too but no one ever pointed them out and said they are thieves because they are white. You just said that they were thieves becaise they were Asian. Do you see how your the one being racist? Most of this is just silly like the comment about African Americans not existing in Fantasia. What you would rather Disney leave the racist portion in the movie? You know good and well that you would still be mad. You my friend are racist for pointing out people of different skin colors and talking about their behaviors because of it. You're causing more hurt than help.


Oh trey. If only someone could help people like you.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Same problem, different day.


I just had to click on the link on the Defamer home page: Book Report: Teenage Girls Are Seeing Red, on Jezebel.


Last night, there was a reading and party for Red, a collection of essays by teenage girls. So what exactly is going on with teenage girls today? They're pissed! Basically nothing's changed, 'cause we were some angst-y ass teens...


That seems cool, right? Except that every girl and woman featured in the photo gallery on the Jezebel page is white or some kind of light-skinned. Somehow it makes Gossip Girl look like the United Nations. Commenter Newlywed muses:


i guess brown girls don't have any place in pre-pubescent literary works...why isn't there even a token? :(


It's the same sentiment others have expressed during the debut of the book How Sassy Changed My Life: A Love Letter to the Greatest Teen Magazine of All Time. Well, I can't find them right now, but they were mentioned briefly in the book. Maybe it was in the Summer 2007 issue of Bitch magazine. This halifax_slasher person shares some of my views:


. . . Like all teen magazines, Sassy was forced to provide so-called complementary copy (Ed. note: read this article by Gloria Steinem) for its advertisers, shilling their products in alleged articles. And although Sassy prided itself in getting away from the "bland, blonde" cover models of other teen magazines, its cover models were beautiful skinny girls who were occasionally "ethnic." I suppose in the field of magazines this may seem progressive (considering Cosmo has something like one black cover model every decade or so), but it still teaches us what girls are for . . .


Most the content inside the magazine was also written for, by and about "indie" white people. The magazine wasn't as subversive and rebellious as the editors deluded themselves into believing it was. Similarly, it's great that the book Red is written by teenage girls; but if those girls are all white, and quite possibly all upper-middle class, it's not a progressive movement at all.
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Saturday, November 17, 2007

I'm still not changing my name.


Buffy the Name-Taker, by Ann at Feministing.

As a fifth anniversary gift to her husband, Freddie Prince, Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar has changed her name to Sarah Michelle Prinze.


"On their anniversary, she showed [Freddie] her new driver's license," the source tells Us. "It was so sweet."

Despite the fact that Gellar Prinze has said she isn't a feminist, I was still pretty surprised by this. Does the concept of giving away your own name as a birthday gift seem a little fucked up to anyone else? It doesn't strike me as weird to change your name of your own accord, even several years into the marriage. But framing it as a "gift" makes it seem like a sacrifice rather than something she wanted to do for herself. Kind of like the difference between "I got a boob job because I wanted one" and "I got a boob job for my husband's birthday."


From the comments section on Defamer, Bufflekins weighs in on this announcement:


If only Reese Witherspoon had changed her name to Reese Phillippe...perhaps it could have changed so very much. Sigh. Oh well, so much poignant history.


String_Bean_Jen sums up my sentiments in the Feministing comments:


My insides always sag a little when I hear about women changing their surnames to their partners' upon marriage. It is practically the only 'choice' confronting women that I remain absolutely rigid on saying no to when it comes to calling one's self a feminist. I think it is a practice that needs to die and I have yet to hear/read a smart, solid argument about why a woman should or would choose to change her surname to her partner's upon marriage (or in this case, 5 years after marriage), even on this fabulous blog/forum.


And another gem from cherylp:

If it was really free choice, maybe the majority of society would acknowledge that I even have a choice... Yes women have a choice. By law. But in fact, the patriarchy places so much pressure on women to make one particular choice...


You are awesome, antigone. If it was truly a choice, wouldn't people choose things at about the same rate? But they don't, suggesting something else is going on.


This reminds me of the argument I've had a bazillion times about marriage with my mother (I'm not keen on participating). By all means, 'technically' I have a choice about that... but then why do 95% of people still do the same thing? I mean, wouldn't it be like 50/50 if it was a real choice?

But I like clams.


From day ten. by pamie at pamie.com.

...Andy Gordon is the person who taught me what a "clam" is. He taught me by pointing out that I'd written one in my first script that was to be produced for television. He pointed it out by shouting it to everyone in the room.

You see, a clam is not a good thing...

I hadn't meant to put a clam in my first script...an Oprah joke during an Oprah-themed episode of television. That's a lot of Oprah jokes! And some of them got pretty clammy. I'd shorthanded a "What happens with Oprah stays with Oprah" joke that I meant to replace and somehow I forgot, and we're at the first table read in the writers' room, and Andy -- who is normally quite jovial and jokey with me, is all squirming and frowning and making these faces like I'm kicking him in the stomach. And we get to this joke and he shouts out as if he can't contain anything anymore, "Jesus Christ, can we do something about this CLAM on page thirty? It makes me want to KILL MYSELF."

~

Anyway, the other day, while rallying at the rally, a few of us started thinking of clams to write on our signs, to show our solidarity with other hack writers. Alex, Jessi, Rafael, Laura, and later Sara, all contributed to these gems.


"Could I BE any more on strike?"
"Note to self: Striking sucks."
"Hello.... strike."
"Strike is the new Job."
"WE WERE ON A STRIKE!"
"What happens on strike, stays on strike."
"And by 'strike,' I mean asking-for-four-more-cents-on-DVD-residuals and by 'Picket' I mean wanting-a-cut-of-the-revenue-on-Internet-downloads-and-new-media." (our demands are a bit wordy.)
"So we're striking? ....Awkward."
"Wassssstriiiiike!"
"We're literally on strike."


Just a few I remember before we depressed ourselves.


But those clams were funny. In that context. Not as actual jokes on TV. I get the funny because of the irony of how trite the jokes are. My humor is an acquired taste, as are the rest of my qualities.

The Day After



I'm currently watching pretty much the scariest movie I could watch, considering the current geopolitical climate. I saw The Day After for the first time during middle school. That was in 1994. During the Clinton administration. There was absolutely nothing to worry about. My classmates and I were watching this movie in our health class thinking about how scary it was back in the 80s to have to worry about the Cold War and nuclear holocaust. And then we moved on to our next class and went about our business.

Even the next year when we had the hurricane, it was bad, but not mushroom cloud bad. Yes, the island did look like a bomb hit it, but we didn't have to worry about breathing the air. Most importantly, in 1995, under the Clinton administration, FEMA was a highly functioning agency. Things got done. People got food, water, blankets.

Amazingly, watching this TV movie about a man-made (emphasis on man) disaster has made me feel better about my dilemmas. I feel patient now. I feel better about my proposed solutions. They aren't the ones I wanted. They aren't the things I planned for. They are what I have to deal with now.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I'm miserable

for many reasons, including the previous post on Windows Vista. Here are some more videos to explain this computer problem of mine:




Thursday, November 15, 2007

Here's the problem:


My old printer stopped working with my new computer. Now other stuff that came embedding in the computer have stopped working as well. I thought it was just me and my computer. No. It's not. It took that guy from Dodgeball and that guy from The Daily Show to make me realize what the problem is:



It's not like I had a choice of operating systems. Windows Vista is what came with the computer. I don't think Windows XP is even offered on new PCs anymore. I would downgrade to Windows XP on my new computer if I could. This is so annoying. I don't care if Bill Gates is helping poor people across the world. Right now, he is making my life miserable.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"Either Chinese, or some black dude – who can remember?"


This article has caused quite the controversy on Racialicious and many other blogs. It's a blogoversy. Someone write that down!


The Real Thing
, by Tama Janowitz, New York Times Blog.

My husband Tim and I adopted our daughter Willow, who is now 12, from China when she was 9 months old. We were told by the adoption agency that once the process was complete and the three of us were back home, many people would stop to inquire about our daughter’s Mongolian features or why she did not look like us.

It may be that having a child of a different ethnic background from yourself is more difficult in other parts of the country. And certainly that may lead to problems. But In my neighborhood in Brooklyn I see black women with half-Asian, half-black kids and I see kids with dark skin and blond hair — the mother is white, the father is not. There are Indian fathers and Caucasian mothers with their offspring. There are families with two dads. There are also Hasidic families with ten kids and Muslim women dressed in full burkas who have dressed their daughters the same way.

So here in New York City, we haven’t attracted too much attention.

Well, O.K., sometimes.

It is true when she was a baby, if I took her out on my own, sometimes people did ask me, “Is the father Chinese?” If I said “yes” the usual response was “Good for you!” This puzzled me, so then I just said, “Either Chinese, or some black dude – who can remember?”


Yes, who can remember? Aren't all multiracial-looking babies the products of promiscuity? I know my nephews and nieces are. So are my mixed friends. Their parents obviously had no shame in their game. I'm hilarious!

Here is the passage that most other people are writing about:


A girlfriend who is now on the waiting list for a child from Ethiopia says that the talk of her adoption group is a recently published book in which many Midwestern Asian adoptees now entering their 30s and 40s complain bitterly about being treated as if they did not come from a different cultural background. They feel that this treatment was an attempt to blot out their differences, and because of this, they resent their adoptive parents.

So in a way it is kind of nice to know as a parent of a child, biological or otherwise – whatever you do is going to be wrong. Like I say to Willow: “Well, you know, if you were still in China you would be working in a factory for 14 hours a day with only limited bathroom breaks!”

And she says — as has been said by children since time immemorial — “So what, I don’t care. I would rather do that than be here anyway.”


My favorite response so far comes from Sarah Kim, who reminds me that sharing your story with others is very important, for everyone involved: To Willow Janowitz: You’re not alone….


What made me incredibly sad while reading the post was thinking about the all-too-real pain that the blogger’s daughter, one Willow Janowitz, must be experiencing at being the butt of her high-profile mother’s jokes. Whether or not she has read or will read “The Real Thing” (and whether or not she will read/not read my little blog post here), I would like to say to you, Willow, that you are not alone. There are hundreds of thousands of other adoptees who, like you, have grown up in families where the insatiable need to normalize, to forget, to erase difference drives parents to say such (unintentionally) hurtful things to their children. It is so hard—SO HARD—as a 12-year-old transracially/transnationally adopted child to articulate why we sometimes feel conflicted, confused, and sad. And so sometimes we express this complex whirl of unremembered memories, feelings, and thoughts in reduced phrases—”I hate you.” . . .

So yes, Willow, I agree with your mother in that I do think you should write everything down. Girl, write all of this shit down. So not only can you tell your therapist (there is no shame in therapy!!!), you can tell the other adult adoptees that I hope you will one day meet. Because there are a lot of us. In fact, there is a global community of us. We are out there (even though by reading the NYT one wouldn’t think so), and we have voices, and we support one another. And we would support you . . .

.

It took long enough.


America's war returnees: many troubles but more help, by Gordon Lubold, Christian Science Monitor via Yahoo! News.

Nearly five years into the war in Iraq, the US Army has taken steps to improve the process by which it screens soldiers returning from war.

Many have trouble transitioning from combat dangers to a normal routine at home. But sometimes just identifying the problem is the issue.

The Army has improved its process by adding a second mental-health assessment three to six months after its initial screening, which is completed as soon as a soldier returns from war. This second screening has allowed the Army to unmask troubling trends among its soldiers: a fourfold increase in relationship problems compared with those reported in the first assessment, a surge of major depression among many, and increased alcohol abuse.

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Lost in Translation


For the past week, I have been trying to set up my old printer with my new computer. It has been such a trial, involving phone calls and emails back and forth. But today, after 40 minutes of trial and error with customer representative Rob, my printer finally works with my new computer. Hooray!

At the end of the call, when Rob asked if I had anymore questions, I told him I had one. Since he pronounced his Hs "hey-ch", like Anne Heche, was he from Canada? He said yes, he's from Nova Scotia. But then I worried that he thought I was making fun of him, like the Road Rules Down Under people did to their Canadian roommate who said "a-boot." I was trying to be nice and friendly since he had been so helpful. But sometimes my quirkiness and whimsy can be misunderstood, even by other people who share my nationality. :(

To emphasize my previous laments,



including I'm a normal person., I should share this with everyone!, Agree to Disagree? and Jigaboos & Wannabees, I offer you the following:

Racist Parents Kidnap Daughter and Try to Force Abortion, by Rachel S. at Alas, a blog, via Racialicious and Rachel's Tavern. Emphases mine.


A few days ago I read a story from Rueters (sic) about a couple from Maine, who kidnapped their 19 year old daughter. They forced her into a car, and tried taking her to New York so they could force her to have an abortion. The daughter escaped and called police while she hid in a store in New Hampshire. The parents have been arrested and held on $100,000 bail. After reading the first couple paragraphs of the story, my immediate reaction was, “I wonder if the potential father is black.” However, the initial article reveals very little about the motive. After my initial read, the only motive I could glean was that the parents were mad that the boyfriend was in jail. But, this story didn’t add up to me. So yesterday, one of my students mentioned the story and said that–the kidnapped woman’s boyfriend is a black man, and the daughter told police that racism was a motive in the kidnapping.

Based on my research on interracial relationships, this story actually fits fairly well into the narratives I have seen in many white families where relatives strongly object to interracial relationships. The only thing that surprises me about the story is that the parents attempted to kidnap this woman; the cases I know of personally generally involve less direct coercion. I know of 2 cases (one in my research and one in another sociological study) where parents of a white person in an interracial relationship suggested, encouraged, and promoted abortion to prevent the birth of a biracial child (I am hesitantly using the term biracial because most of the white relatives would say the child is black.). I also know of other cases where people encouraged white mother’s to place a child for adoption because the child’s father was black, and I know of many situations where white families offered bribes and/or withdrew emotional and/or financial support as a way to discourage an interracial relationship or a pregnancy that resulted from such a relationship. In these cases, white relatives feel they are protecting the family’s reputation, and/or they feel that the relative in the interracial relationship is too naive (especially women) to know what she/he is getting into. White relatives who feel this way believe that birth of a biracial child is a permanent marker of an interracial relationship that will hurt their relative’s social standing (white privilege), and to some extent, I’m sure they are right about this. The irony of this is that many white relatives of interracial couples would be the first to say that race doesn’t matter or that whites do not have unearned privileges, but suddenly when it hits close to home, they change their tune . . .


Readers, I'm not saying that you are like the people mentioned in the article. I'm saying that people like that exist and they are plentiful. Therefore, I'm still alone. :(

[Insert tiny violin here.]

For a conflicting twist, the picture above comes from this article:

Not tonight, dear . . . in fact, not ever, by Dr. Pam Spurr at Times Online, via Feministing. Emphases mine.


Having researched my new book, as well as talked to thousands of men and women over the years, I now firmly believe that too many women see the sexual side of their lives as something to be claimed completely and utterly as their own. That’s fine for single women flexing their sexual muscles.

But once they settle into a relationship, many will continue to do so. This doesn’t make sense to me at all – and unfortunately I’m privy to the heartbreak and distress that goes along with this view . . .

At the risk of being called old-fashioned (though I don’t think that old-fashioned should always have negative connotations) and antifeminist, I’d go so far as to say that for both partners sex could be considered a duty, if it is something that one partner knows would make the other happy. Does he really want to go up on the roof to repair a leak on a Sunday afternoon? Does she really want to take out the rubbish in the pouring rain? No, but partners in relationships do such things because they know that it makes the other happy. Sex should be seen in the same light . . .


I can't even enjoy the rarely featured interracial couple in peace; I have worry about my vaginal duties to my nonexistent husband, too.
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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

“Teaching men not to rape”


Politicians and Rape: For Once, Good News, by Jill at Feministe. Emphases mine.

This made my day. Tory leader David Cameron is proposing broad educational and service-based responses to sexual assault:



He pledged longer-term funding for rape crisis centres, to change attitudes towards rape through sex education and announced a Tory review of sentencing.


The government says it has taken action to improve conviction rates.


In a speech at the Conservative Women’s Organisation conference, Mr Cameron said: “Studies have shown that as many as one in two young men believe there are some circumstances when it’s okay to force a woman to have sex.


“To my mind, this is an example of moral collapse.”


He called for “widespread cultural change” and warned that society has become increasingly “sexualised” over the past decade, during which time treating women as sex objects has become viewed as “cool”.


He also called for compulsory sex education in schools to drive home the message that sex without consent is a criminal offence.



. . . Acquaintance rape can be a tricky issue, because “no means no” just doesn’t jibe with all of the other messages that men and women received. The sexual power game puts a lot of women on a tightrope between virgin and whore; there’s pressure to have sex, messages that nice girls say no at least once or twice, imaging of sex as domination, assumptions that women will be the “brakes,” shame in giving an enthusiastic “yes” under certain circumstances. Men see the same thing — and they internalize the idea that “no” might mean “yes,” that women get off on being “ravished” and want men to take complete sexual control, that if a woman is in your bed it means she’s consented to doing pretty much whatever you want, that women exist largely for male pleasure . . .



That's what I'm saying, yo. Women shouldn't be the only ones taking rape prevention classes. It's not like they're raping themselves.

Why should I expect anything less?


Update: Innovative, William Morris Putting Assistants Out On The Streets, from Defamer via The Hollywood Reporter. Emphases mine.

As it turns out, those call-rollers who were told that they'd be sacrificing their overtime pay to help their companies weather the writers strike were the lucky ones, as THR confirms that Innovative Artists has laid off about 10 of its assistants, a move the agency's head says is necessary for the firm's survival while the flow of executive-nourishing commission checks slows to a trickle . . .


"If in my judgment I need to make changes ... (or) cut expense accounts, I'm going to do what every one of my competitors is doing," Innovative owner Scott Harris said. "I need to take measures to survive what could be a very lengthy strike. My priority is to keep this business running." Harris said that he has no plans at this time to lay off any executives but that more assistants will probably be let go.


Oh, Scott Harris. One can only hope that none of the assistants you have harmed in the name of "business" end up being your future boss, a boss that emulates the caring and compassion you have consistently displayed.

Two related articles



Ladies! Meet Available Striking Writers, from today's Defamer via Craigslist.

With a male-to-female ratio nearly as favorable as that of the average nuclear submarine crew, there is perhaps no better place for single women to prowl for companionship than their local WGA picket line . . .


And from the May 9, 2007, issue of Defamer: Hollywood Diversity Shocker: White Guys Still Doing All The Writing, which I grouched about earlier this year.

I knew there was something weird and strangely familiar about all of these strike videos. Okay, so there were three (two and a half?) black men featured in the video above. But they weren't writers. And none of the people speaking from the podium were female. Also, when Dennis Haysbert was on the screen, I kept wondering when he would tell us about Allstate's stand.

I love being told who I am



and what I'm about. Apparently I'm also a white guy. Or at least, that is who is being allowed to speak on "my generation": Millenials on 60 Minutes.

I can't embed their videos because Yahoo! doesn't roll like that. So I posted the YouTube video above from twixters . . . which also seems to be run by a white guy. But I digress. Back to the old people making baseless judgments on me based on my age.

I actually have had this argument in person with someone who is pushing this baloney. Someone who insisted that most people between the ages of 13 and 30 (because I have so much in common with a 13-year-old) are impatient, self-centered, and condescending towards old people. I also read this ridiculous expose in TIME magazine over two years ago: They Just Won't Grow Up. Note the white guy again representing my entire generation.

I suggest these buffoons at TIME and 60 Minutes watch MTV's “True Life: I’m Supporting My Family”, or read a book about the youths, or actually listen to some real people in their 20s talk about how difficult it is to pay back student loans by working a job that pays just over minimum wage in a depressed economy.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Don't Want to Be

any of these losers: AMPTP Dedicated To Feeding Delicious Content To Hungry Screens, from Defamer.





Also, TV Blogs Go Dark in Solidarity with the Writers Guild of America, by Liz at Glowy Box, via Defamer.

On November 13th, this blog and the blogs listed below will be on strike for the day in solidarity with the Writers Guild of America. As fellow writers and as TV fans, we are coming together to express our strong support for the writers and their goals. We believe that when a writer's work makes money for a company, that writer deserves to be paid . . .


You may notice, as TheStarterWife did, that Television Without Pity is conspicuously missing from that list of 17, even though its arguably most famous contributor of yore is a strike captain. As far as I know, the blog, which is now owned by Bravo/NBC Universal/GE/The Sheinhardt Wig Company, has not mentioned the strike once. Last year, before the takeover, I'm pretty sure the strike would have taken up a whole lot of space on the front page, with recappers' hypotheses and Mondo Extra interviews with writers on the front lines. If the TWoP co-founders Tara Ariano and Sarah D. Bunting are really "[maintaining] complete editorial independence, despite now being a tiny division of General Electric", then they are doing a sucky job. Also, the new TV Guide-esque design of the site looks stinky-pooh.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Here is the original:


And here is the terrible upcoming remake:


The original co-stars had an age-differential of nine years. The current co-stars were born twenty years apart. TWENTY. What is that about?

Get Smart
is still one of my favorite shows, and now this abominable new film is ruining it for me. Curse you, Anne Hathaway.

For now, enjoy this original hilarity:


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Thursday, November 08, 2007

"I'm talking about Big Companies, and their Two-Faced Fat Cat Executives."



Because I'm too lazy to write my own Gossip Girl recaps:

"What's with the business formal? Are you being arraigned for something?": Gossip Girl, by Carrie at South Dakota Dark.

You can read my feelings in the comments section that follows.

~

Victor, Victrola, by Jacob at Television Without Pity.


"What if there was this gay serial rapist who accidentally fell in like with his best friend's girlfriend, who was kind of his best actual friend, because they were kind of rapists together, and they got together in the seamiest, creepiest way...but you were cheering them on the whole time, and kind of got teary when they sealed the deal, even though it was presented in weird '90s Nine Inch Nails jumpcuts played against weird '00s emo-punk-rock crap? Like their creepiness cancels each other out and it's kind of...sweet? Like, 'Way to lose your virginity to the gay best friend of your shitty boyfriend'?"

~

‘Gossip Girl’ Exceeds Our Expectations … Again!, from New York Magazine's Daily Intelligencer.


• Okay, so Vanessa sneaks in while Dan and Serena are making out, which brings to bear the question we've been wondering since she first stepped foot through his window. What if he were masturbating?? This is high school, not Clarissa Explains It All; you can't just sneak through a boy's window without warning if you don't want to see some frighteningly awkward hunching maneuvers and a flash of low-grade Internet porn. Minus 5.

• Aha! Only a few minutes later, Vanessa comes in and Dan is looking at porn. Except he's still not masturbating. Not to be vulgar, but in what world would that happen? Minus 5, for willfully and repeatedly ignoring the libido level of a high-school boy. These creatures will hump APPLE PIES, people.


Josh, if you're reading (fingers crossed!), did you write this third one? Because I don't know many bloggers who can work in an effective Clarissa Explains It All reference.

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My thoughts on this week's 30 Rock:

"A whale is trouble! I have to go." Love love love Al Gore.

"What do you do with the Pop-Tart?!" Ewww. Poor Liz Lemon.

Also, Mr. Pancholy, please get more press so I can link to you in a Joseph Gordon-Levitt manner. You are so funny and talented. You're like a primetime broadcast version of Lloyd.

I didn't realize until right now that David Schwimmer wasn't playing himself. He was playing a previously out of work actor named "Jared." Right.

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I haven't finished watching The Office yet, but my initial thoughts include these: Jim, everyone likes to have their own special day on their birthday. I know I do. (Winky-wink.) Kate from Jon & Kate + 8 acknowledges this, and she has eight kids who share two birthdays. You only have thirteen employees for an entire year. Plus, party planning is Angela's entire reason for being. Let everyone have their own day and their own cake.

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"There's No Money To Be Made On The Internet"



Michael Eisner and Jeff Zucker should talk to Oprah:

Oprah Meets YouTube. Who's Bigger?, by James Poniewozik at Tuned In.


Someone evidently informed Oprah Winfrey that there was a medium that she did not yet own a major piece of. And you know what happens when someone tells Oprah that. And so it came to pass that Oprah set up her own YouTube channel.


You'll have to click on the link, because on the Oprah channel, "Embedding [is] disabled by request." Which defeats half the purpose of posting videos on YouTube.
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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

My favorite Strike videos today

Found first via Stephanie's Soap Box:

The Office is Closed




Why We Fight



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Found via pamie.com:

WRITER SPEAKS OUT



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From Defamer, Defamer Visits The Paramount Picket Line, starring Stanford Blatch and a naturally lovely Rhoda Morgenstern. I can't embed the video, so click on the link.

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In Rape Today


Eight teen rapists go free after taping their crime, by Jessica at Feministing.

Eight teen boys in Australia were given a slap on the wrist after sexually assaulting a 17 year-old girl, taping the assault, and distributing it as a porn movie.

The girl was filmed performing oral sex on two boys, had her hair set alight, was spat at and urinated on during the incident at a park at Werribee, inMelbourne's outer-west, in June last year.

...A DVD of the attack - which was titled 'C**t the Movie' - was distributed throughout the community, the court heard.


The most poignant comment so far has come from Blitzgal:

You know what stands out the most for me in this case? Six guys in Jena, LA were charged with attempted murder and conspiracy for beating up a guy who was then well enough to go to a school function the same evening. They literally faced decades in prison. Many of them were the same age range as these guys. Just to put it in perspective. Rape simply isn't treated as a serious crime. Period. Bodily assault is treated with more severity.


The problem is that rape is bodily assault. So is setting someone's hair on fire. Rape is not about sexuality. It is about violence and control and humiliation. And in this case, it is about a society that encourages violence against women in particular, and condones depraved, unforgivable behavior by eight individuals who, in a different world, would be justifiably "released."

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Marital Rape, by Courtney at Feministing.

You all know I have complex feelings about my girl Oprah (evidenced by the title of my book review column), but right now she is doing a great service. I'm watching her show on marital rape and it is both horrifying and such a relief that more national airtime is being devoted to this critical and neglected issue. She just told viewers that 1.5 million American women are raped or sexually abused every year by an intimate partner...


I'm trying to watch the episode now. I get so frustrated and angry when I read these stories and I watch these shows, with these stories of women who stay in relationships with men who abuse them mentally, physically and emotionally. Women who don't recognize the abuse because they married to their abusers. Women who think their wedding vows have deservedly condemned them to a life of misery. Women who put their shattered matrimonial dreams first, and their own well-being last.

There is so much that can be said and has been said on the subjects of rape, sexual assault and abuse. Here are two more sentences:

  • If you have been forced to perform sexual acts against your will, you have been raped.

  • If you have forced someone to perform sexual acts without their consent, you have committed an act of rape.


For a more educated view on the subject, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline or call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Dirty Old Women


and a few men too: BWE SLANG: The "Reverse Savage", by Michelle Collins at Best Week Ever, via Stephanie's Soap Box.

The Reverse Savage is a term indicating a child star who was once not that cute, and then grew up to be extremely cute. It derives from the child star Fred Savage, who, as the main character on The Wonder Years, was an extremely crush-worthy youngster with an adorable face. Once grown, however, his youthful features morphed into a sort of unusual adult male face, the result being the man was no longer nearly as adorable, his career dead in the water.

The Reverse Savage describes the opposite effect — a child star who while not necessarily being the cutest kid or young adult, grows up to be extremely successful and attractive.


Ryan Reynolds, Lucas Black, Jake Gyllenhaal, all great examples. Though I must disagree with drreamerr, who chimed in with "Both Ryan Gosling and Joseph Gordon-Levitt." No. Both of them were always cute.

My favorite comment came from Jenn:

I want to be Mrs. George Michael (from Arrested Development, not the gay guy)


Thanks for clearing that up, Jenn. Because the only reason I wouldn't be with the drug-addicted, bathroom-trolling, reckless-driving former front man for Wham! is his gayness. Right. I'm sure Michael Cera rests easier at night knowing that people can tell him apart from the singer due to their divergent sexual orientations.

Yes, that is Jonathan Lipnicki featured above, and he turned out pretty well. Carrie, Stephanie, take a step back: he's 17.

Falling in love all over again

T Style: Men's Fashion Fall 2007, from The New York Times Style Magazine. Thanks, anonymous!



If you all can stop swooning for a moment, there is also a related article: Kid Rock, by Lynn Hirschberg.

During college I started to miss acting. I started auditioning for movies. That’s how I got the part in “Mysterious Skin.”

In that movie, you play a gay hustler. It was a bold decision to take on that role. Were you nervous?

I find it very strange when people say, “How could you make that movie?” I never had any trepidation. When I read the script, I thought the director, Gregg Araki, would want me for another part, the sensitive boy. He said, “No — I want you to be sexy.” I had not heard that a lot. I was always cast as the friend or the nice guy. It’s really great when someone says, “I want you to be the sexy one.”


Yes, it is great. Although no one ever says that to me. :( I would say it to Mr. Gordon-Levitt all the time if I could. :)

It’s interesting that critics consider it riskier from a career standpoint to play a gay hustler than a soldier in an unpopular war, or a psychotic hit man, which you play in your next film, “Killshot.”

As an actor, you have to be open-minded. That’s one of the great aspects of the job. In the real world, people make judgments all the time. But as an actor, you can’t judge. I would rather play someone who is different from me. You can’t be a bigot and be a great actor.


Look at Mr. G-L making sense.