When I was a child, I occasionally saw other children on leashes held by their parents, usually at the airport or at amusement parks. I thought the concept was silly then; they were children, not dogs. But now, I think leashes should be a requirement for certain kids and their absent caregivers.
Today I sat for about twenty minutes in a public establishment, watching a mother dispassionately call for her three-year-old son to stand beside her. "Dan. Danny? Come over here. Daniel? Dan. Dan. Dan-Dan. Come over here. Come here. Here. Dan? Danny. Come here."
It went on and on, and the boy never came. He continued playing over twenty feet away, not even acknowledging the requests. The mother was wrapped up in her own business; she didn't want to lose her place in line, and she didn't want to expend the energy to either raise her voice or to grab her son. There were stretches of time during which the boy could have wandered outside, or when another adult could have abducted him. It takes less than ten seconds to snatch a child. This child could have easily disappeared multiple times, or he could have injured himself on the large objects in the room, because no one was watching him.
The whole time I was thinking, That would not be my child. Also, despite what some people might assume, the lack of parenting described in the situation above did not involve any black people. When I tell my future children to "come here", they will come immediately, or they can find somewhere else to live. I am the adult. I am responsible for their safety. They need to listen to me. Obeying my commands will not be an option for them to consider. There will be no negotiation.
This incident also came after I finished watching Paternal Instinct this morning on Logo. The two men in the documentary tried so hard for years to have a baby, just like my parents did. I couldn't imagine the absolute horror they would go through if someone stole their children from them. So when I see someone letting their child wander off because they are too lazy to be a good parent, I get upset.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
I found him! After having no luck with Google searches and being led to this other "Asian guy" by the related TWoP forum, I used my noggin, played my tape of the Office episode again, and paused during the end credits. "Tim Kang" was the only non-Anglo name listed in the guest stars. I checked on IMDb, scrolled down to Additional Details, and confirmed that Mr. Kang is indeed the Cingular guy, even though his Office appearance is not yet listed. So there you go. It only took me three days to figure this out. Brilliant.
In case the title of this post isn't self-explanatory even in context, it comes from the comments on the above video's YouTube page.
Look! Someone else has linked to me: The Morning After: Searching for Carrie Fisher, by James Poniewozik at Tuned In.
Though Fey didn't write last night's episode, who else could you imagine making an episode about first-meeting-second-wave feminism so funny, complete with an H. R. Haldeman talking-mailbox joke? (Update: Second wave meeting third wave? Or fourth? Version 2.1 meeting version 3.2? Neither math nor history is my strong suit, but, you know, something earlier meeting something later. Maybe Bianca Reagan can straighten this out.)
I'm pretty sure he is referring to the comment I left under his post, Mad Men Watch: His and Hers. How cool am I? Very! Thank you, Mr. P!
Sunday, October 28, 2007
A couple of weeks ago, on this thread, I mentioned that men are constantly portrayed as competing for women in a way that makes the woman essentially irrelevant. We use game metaphors to describe the system, but the winner and loser–the agents of participation–are always just the men. The women, I said, are the ball, the object you score with.
How I Met Your Mother decided to construct an entire episode (”The Belt”) around proving this point for me, throwing in the additional jaw-droppingly double-standard driven repetition of the idea that women are competitive bitches.
Barney and Ted have a long-standing competition as to who will successfully have a threesome first (two women, of course). They literally have a belt to give the winner–one of those super-tacky, wrestling championship style things. When Ted meets two women in a bar, he’s at first not sure which one he should go for. He keeps sneaking off to make phone calls to evaluate his strategy–note that he never gives a damn about the personalities of either of the women. One is just as good as the other, as long as making a move on the first doesn’t kill his chances of “scoring”. . .
Lily, who is mainly being ‘one of the boys’ during the whole threesome discussion, gets to be the one to remind us (again, repeatedly) that women who do these things are “sluts”.
It goes on from there. You should read the rest. No, I don't need to watch the episode. No, I don't care if my blog friends and outside friends think the show is funny. Yes, I still heart NPH.
In semi-related news, Joel Stein can go bleep himself:
This year, I was invited to six Halloween parties, which would not be strange if it weren't for the fact that I'm older than 12. Meanwhile, I was invited to zero New Year's Eve parties last year. People vastly prefer Halloween parties because New Year's Eve involves dressing up like an adult, whereas Halloween involves dressing up like a slut...
...after much research and consultation, I have founded our nation's newest holiday: Slut Day.
It will take place the first Saturday of every August, a time both barren of holidays and plenty hot enough for really degrading costumes. Slut Day festivities include costume parties with themed drinks such as the Lindsay Lohan (just whatever in a giant glass) and, if possible, flat-screen TVs showing the latest celebrity sex tapes and select parts of "Meerkat Manor." Or anything else. Flat-screen TVs are just sexy.
In addition to fixing the Halloween problem, Slut Day also can replace the "Pimps N Hos" parties scattered across the calendar, which are racist and sexist, with an event that is only sexist. That's a 50% reduction in offensiveness.
Immediately after I finished reading this aberration, I composed and emailed the following message to the "columnist":
Dear Mr. Stein,
I used to be a fan of yours. That was until I read your October 26, 2007, opinion piece in the LA Times, in which you stated "I have founded our nation's newest holiday: Slut Day."
I could go on and on for pages on why your article disgusted me. Instead I will refer to the 2004 documentary entitled "Slut" by Rina Barone and Patricia DiTillio. At one point the film was being shown on the Sundance Channel. I'm sure someone with
your connections can get his hands on a copy. I suggest you watch it to understand how deeply this word--and the patriarchal judgment behind it--hurts both women and men.
I also refer you to Feministing, the website which contains the link that led me to your column:
He has not responded. Oh well.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
My favorite part of this week's episode of The Office, "Local Ad." Watch the video while you can.
[The video is gone, so you can click here instead.]
For you fellow TV aficionados, what is the name of that ad guy with the thick black glasses in the episode? I have seen him in several commercials probably every day for the past two years, but I don't know who he is. :( You may know as "The Asian guy" in the Cingular commercials:
He has also been the Dad in a Home Depot commercial, and a scientist in both a Shell oil commercial and a pharmaceutical (?) commercial. I am poring through the TWoP forums for info.
I should really direct this actor search energy into something constructive, like promoting world peace. So readers, after you finish perusing the interwebs, give someone a hug.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Purity Pledge via Feministing:
That was until I saw this video that I can't figure out how to embed: O’Reilly: J.K. Rowling Is A ‘Provocateur’ For ‘The Gay Agenda’ Of ‘Indoctrination’ by Matt on Think Progress, which I found via If Bill O’Reilly didn’t exist, we’d have to make him up. by zuzu on Feministe.
I'm a posting fool!
who don't support my desire to yell at people like these in department stores and make them cry:
Mistaken identity by resistance on Resist Racism, via Racialicious
A young African American guy I used to know had two occurrences of mistaken identity in one week. He was washing his very expensive car at his trendy condo building when management came out and told him that he wasn’t allowed to do that. Turned out that they had a problem with homeless people soliciting money for car washes (?). Condo owners, of course, were allowed to use the facilities in the garage for that purpose.
Then he was walking past a restaurant when a man jumped out of a car and handed him the keys. He had been mistaken for a valet.
To me, this was a clear example of how race can blind some white people to everything else. This guy clearly looked wealthy by my standards. He was always extremely well-dressed, lived in a very expensive neighborhood and drove a new sports car...
When walking through a restaurant, wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase, a white man stopped me and asked me to take his plate away.
Clearly, assumptions held by those people overrode even clear and obvious information that would indicate I was not in a service position.
Also, for some inordinate reason, white people often seem to mistake me for an employee of home improvement stores. Hello! No orange apron! (But every once in a while I like to answer the questions anyway.) Maybe it’s the tape measure and the manly stride. A white woman once abusively screamed that she wanted to see my manager RIGHT NOW because she did not feel I was helpful. Even after she found out she was mistaken, she did not have the grace to apologize.
They never do.
Maybe my Mummy doesn't get it because this doesn't happen to her on a regular basis. However it does happen to me, and those racist, self-satisfied people need to get out of my face. I have shopping to do, and I don't need to be reminded of my societal inferiority while doing so.
I love babies!
but some people can't take "institutionalized racism" as an answer:
Why is the Universe full of White people? by the angry black woman.
...maybe SciFi channel just sucks ass. I think that might be the case.
What else can you say about a network that allowed the guy who made the Earthsea movie turn all of the people white except for that one guy? On Stargate the black people are all slaves, but the white people might be slaves or they might be rulers or they might be accountants. On Atlantis they gathered together scientists and military folks from countries all over the world, and yet the only person of color from Earth is the one military guy. All of the other black folks come from another galaxy. From backwards, tribal planets no less. Oh, except for that one Asian chick in that one episode...
...it’s very easy for those who don’t have to think about race (read: white men) to say that ethnic minorities should stop counting how many ethnic minorities are represented in the media they watch (not to mention how they are represented) and just enjoy the fact that there are some. That’s just ignorant, people. Ignorant.
White, heterosexual men have the luxury of being able to turn to 99% of the channels beamed into their TVs and see themselves portrayed in a manner that makes them comfortable and happy. Most white women, do, too. Minorities of most any stripe do not have that luxury. This is especially true of ethnic minorities. Why do we ‘bean count’? Because we can. That’s not flippancy, that’s a fact. I can look at my TV and count the number of black people I see because there are so few of them and they tend to stand out in the sea of whiteness. I’m getting sick of it, myself. How about the rest of you?
I will continue to address the rest of the comments (Thank you, readers!) in the section under my previous post, Don't ask, don't tell....
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
In other news, I loved the Kathy Griffin E! True Hollywood Story. I hope my eventual THS is as downfall-free as hers. Here were the shocking glimpses into Kathy's life: to make up for her virgin status up until age 19, Kathy had sex with a lot of men during the 80s and 90s; also, her husband stole money out of her private account, so she divorced him. Huh.
I also look forward to having friends like Janeane Garofalo, Margaret Cho and Lance Bass who who go on E! and talk about how talented and sensitive I am. Because I am both of those things. I'm not hoping to befriend people who are famous now; I want my current friends to become successful and well known, at least by Best Week Ever standards. So start working on that pilot, that novel, and that ingenious business plan. You know I love you all. XOXO!
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Catholic condom ban helping AIDS spread in Latin America, from Reuters via Yahoo! News.
The rapid spread in Latin America of the virus that causes AIDS is made worse by the Roman Catholic Church's stand against using condoms, a U.N. official said on Monday...
"In Latin America the use of condoms has been demonized, but if they were used in every relation I guarantee the epidemic would be resolved in the region," said Alberto Stella, the UNAIDS Coordinator for Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
The Catholic Church, which holds sway in Latin America despite the rise in evangelical churches, opposes all forms of contraception and instead promotes abstinence as a way to avoid spreading AIDS.
These Yahoo! headline writers need some help themselves. How about "AIDS pandemic worsened by idiotic policy masked as religious doctrine"? This isn't just a Catholic thing. According to the US Department of State, it is literally the main thrust of "The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief."
I don't remember the passage in the Bible where Jesus said, "Don't talk about sex, and don't use condoms." I do remember Jesus saying something about helping the poor and the sick. Many of the people contracting HIV are poor. And if they weren't poor before, they will be soon because those AZT cocktails are expensive.
That is all. :(
Kathy Griffin Goes From D-List To E! True Hollywood Story, via Jezebel, Defamer.
Oh, Kathy already has one? What about Janeane? Get Janeane a show!
Did you notice Rob Thomas's moment of kinda brilliance? He's getting there.
Monday, October 22, 2007
...and don't give the colored folks anything significant to do or say.
That's what came to mind when I first heard the following news: J.K. Rowling Explains Why Uncle Dumbledore Never Got Married, from EW.com via Defamer.
Responding to a question from a child about Dumbledore's love life, Rowling hesitated and then revealed, "I always saw Dumbledore as gay." Filling in a few more details, she said, "Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald.... Don't forget, falling in love can blind us."
The second thing that came to my mind was this: Law and Order's Southerlyn Comes Out on Her Way Out, by Sarah Warn at AfterEllen.
In one of the most famous—and puzzling—conclusions to a Law and Order episode ever, Assistant D.A. Serena Southerlyn (Elizabeth Rohm) was unexpectedly outed at the end of “Ain’t No Love,” which aired on January 12, 2005, when she reponsdeed to her dismissal with the question, “You're not firing me because I'm a lesbian?”
Southerlyn’s unexpected outing is one of the few episodes in Law and Order’s 15-year history that has included a lesbian or bisexual character. Although Law and Order aired episodes about gay men beginning in its very first season, lesbians rarely made appearances on the crime drama until its ninth season in 1999...
To out Southerlyn in her final scene on the series feels a little like having your cake and eating it too: Law and Order gets to expand its diversity of characters and lay claim to a token lesbian among its cast, but avoid the ramifications of it because the character leaves the series immediately after her sexuality is revealed.
In the words of Stephen Colbert--after finding out John Edwards would be challenging his favorite son status in his one-state Presidential bid in South Carolina: What the bleep, y'all?
It's convenient that Ms. Rowling reveals this 1) with hesitation 2) after being asked by a child, 3) after the seventh and final book came out three months ago, and 4) after Dumbledore was killed in Book 6 by the gayest villain since Scar in The Lion King. Apparently it was a-okay for every other character in the Harry Potter series to be as straight as they want to be. But God forbid anyone in the books display any homosexuality, bisexuality, transgender identity, or hint of queerdom at all. It was fine for Ron to whore it up all through Book 6, having a purely physical relationship with Lavender Brown, while unfairly chastising Hermione because she had one date two books ago with Viktor Krum. Dumbledore could have at least alluded to a past relationship, or the special feelings he had for this Grindelwald guy.
I own all seven books, along with the four DVDs that have been released. That doesn't mean I have to like the WASPy, heteronormative patriarchal regressive world that J.K. Rowling ripped off from other books, movies, myths and legends. How original is it to write a fantastical story about an orphaned white Anglo boy who has to save the world? Yes, there's Hermione, the token girl; Kingsley, the big black guy in the Order of the Phoenix who functions as a bodyguard; and Cho and Dean, the vaguely ethnic love interests whose entire existences have been erased by Book 7, so that [SPOILER ALERT!] Harry and Ginny (who has no real personality of her own) can be together in holy white matrimony. The straight white guys get to have all the fun.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
What has VH1 come to? The video ended, but Midget Mac was okay. He swam across the pond, but when he reached the dock, New York didn't even try to help him. She didn't want to get her suit wet. And one of the other guys is married? This is now officially worse than College Hill: Embarrassing the VI Edition. Though that won't stop me from watching the I Love New York 2 antics.
I want to take a trip to the "animal zoo" with you, Mr. Samberg. I will look in your eyes and say, "I'm tripping too."
I know this video aired at the end of last month, but the SNL episode was on again tonight. And no, the rest of the episode was not any better the second time around. Ugh.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
. . . on Logo: Exes and Ohs. It's funny, and the main character is an overanalyzer like I am. Also, Heather Matarazzo plays an delusional aspiring singer/songwriter who calls herself "Crutch." That's reason enough to watch this 30-minute dramedy series.
However, as Sarah Warn said on After Ellen seven months ago, "what's up with a cast of all white women?" Sheryl Lee Ralph, of Dreamgirls and the last season of Designing Women fame, did play the minister in the pilot episode, but all of the main characters and most of the other supporters are white. Harumph. I can't find a suitable role model anywhere. I guess I've still got Tyra. Oy vey.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
1. Three words someone else would use to describe me are smart, funny and uptight.
2. My greatest professional influence is Gerry Laybourne.
3. My fondest memory is traveling with my Mummy to New York City.
4. The last book I read was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I'm on chapter four.
5. If I could have dinner with anyone living or dead it would be Al Gore. I have a few more people I would like to dine with, but he's first.
6. Three things I can't live without are water, TV and hugs.
7. The most pressing issue facing the world is the military industrial complex and every inhumane force that comes with it.
8. The most important lesson I ever learned was to work smart, not hard, no matter what your career counselor tells you.
9. My advice for those just starting out in this profession is this: Figure out what you want to do and who you want to be. Make sure you're climbing up the right ladder to success, and don't be afraid to construct your own. Ladder, that is.
10. My motto is: Everybody poops, even celebrities and "elected" officials. So give people the respect you think they have earned, not the respect their publicists have told you they deserve.
I love how they titled the larger piece "37 under 36: America's Young Innovators in the Arts and Sciences". How specific, yet not so. Also, where's my profile, Smithsonian? I've got a decade before I turn 36, I'm innovative and I'm artsy.
We need more people like these on our screens and in our government. And by "these" people, I mean intelligent individuals who want to move our country and its citizens forward. People who think about social, cultural and political issues, and who encourage others to do the same.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
I made a comment under this post over at Mr. Smooth's blog, so I hope it eventually appears. Until then, my sentiment is this: who needs to take responsibility for what? Last time I checked, I wasn't making any videos that involved one gender exploiting another. I'm not contributing to the history of misogyny in the United States and around the world. I'm not using racial slurs to refer to my peers, nor am I stating that any and all women I come across are prostitutes and/or female dogs.
This is the same way I feel when I hear people talk about how far the United States has come, and that racism, sexism and homophobia don't exist anymore, because this country was built on democracy and freedom, and it's the greatest country in the world. Most of the people who make those glib, propogandist statements have never left the country. They act like because they supposedly don't know any wife beaters, gay bashers or white hood enthusiasts, everything is fine, and therefore our country is so progressive. Except here's the problem I've often come across: it's not like there has been a large group of nonwhite people perpetrating this institutional bigotry. Meaning, there weren't a bunch of Asian people running the Middle Passage; there weren't a bunch of Native Americans rounding up Japanese American in internment camps; and there aren't a bunch of black people hiring Mexicans and Central Americans for cheap labor while simultaneously enacting discriminatory legislation to keep foreigners from "crossing the border" and "taking our jobs."
I'm not responsible for the bigotry perpetrated on certain non-white, non-male, or non-straight American citizens. I'm not oppressing myself. I'm not one of the people in this country who has "come a long way." I never had anywhere to get to. I've always been here. What needs to be said is the following:
- Certain (white) people in power, and even those not in power, need to stop being racist. I acknowledge that nonwhite racist people exist, but that is another discussion for another time.
- Straight people (and some queer people, too) need to stop hating the LGBT community.
- Men (and certain self-hating women) need to stop oppressing women and end the cycle of misogyny.
We all need to stop acting like the oppressed and the oppressors have, or should have, a equal say in the direction of our country and our society. We don't ask serial killers what we should do to decrease the murder rate. We don't ask rapists how to stop sexual assaults. Mr. Smooth, I agree that there is a discussion to be had about the history and future of hip hop, and the effects hip hop continues to have on our communities. But let's not pretend that every person's opinion is valid and equal, especially the opinions of those "artists" who still choose to making their millions by treating women like worthless whores.
(I'm not saying that sex workers in general are worthless. I'm saying that's how certain recording artists treat the women in their songs and videos.)
We need to tell people, "this behavior is wrong, and you need to stop."
Friday, October 12, 2007
Ryan: Yeah, I created a website. Look, at the end of the day, Apple's Apple is flying at 30,000 feet. This is a paper company. And I don't want us to get lost in the weeds, or into a beauty contest.
Ryan's boss, Thomas Dean: I told you, I don't want you doing these things in here. You can use your own office or do it in the hall.
Ryan (now crammed into his own tiny office): Convergence. Viral marketing. We're going guerrilla. We're taking it to the streets, while keeping an eye on the street--Wall Street. I don't want to reinvent the wheel. In other words, it is what it is. Buying paper just became fun.
Next topic: Nobel Spurs Gore Supporters to Urge Presidential Bid, by Jim Malone, VOA News.
Hooray for Al Gore!
Time to delve into the Yahoo dating advice files! by zuzu at Feministe. Clickety-click on the link, and note that I was First! in the comments. I'm so cool.
Read my comment here, too: Color adjustment: The return of The Boondocks, by Todd VanDerWerff at The House Next Door, via South Dakota Dark. So far no one has responded to my brilliance under the post, but that's okay.
From Defamer: Hollywood Women On Working In A Schlong-Obsessed Industry. My favorite comment:
I'm so, so, so tired of this retardo argument about how wah wah wah women should buy tickets to change the world.
Maybe if they gave us some movies that didn't
b) Treat women as disposable backdrops to the hero's journey of some dude
c) Act like Vera Farmiga's role in THE DEPARTED was "A fucking awesome part for a woman" (WHAT.)
d) Pretend that women die en masse at 29
e) Approach the world solely from a male perspective
f) Treat women as, at best, humorless authority figures out to force you to change and generally fuck with your good time, and at worst as sexual objects who exist only to strut across the screen once or twice and then service the hero after he defeats the giant robots
WOMEN WOULD BUY TICKETS.
And Lynda Obst is such a hypocrite. I know for a fact that she's been rejecting female-lead scripts because they have female leads for at least the past year.
More sad news: Mychal Bell Of 'Jena Six' Ordered Back To Jail, by Kurt Orzeck, MTV.com.
"He's locked up again," Bell's father, Marcus Jones, told AP. "No bail has been set or nothing. He's a young man who's been thrown in jail again and again, and he just has to take it."
To brighten your mood: Your feminist cute for the day, by Jessica at Feministing.
I'd move to New York to get my daughter into that school. Or, I could use the relocation money to put in her into a good girls' school here in LA. Ha! Like I have money.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Black Sheep, by Jill at Feministe.
Automatic for the sheeple, by The New Meat, via Feministe.
Swiss Fury at Foreigners Boiling Over, by Molly Moore, Washington Post Foreign Service, via Racialicious.
Clickety-click on the links for the anti-immigrant horror.
Back in the US of A:
Teen Boys Love Implants Almost As Much As They Hate Period Bloods, Reports Cosmo Girl! at Jezebel, via Feministe.
And, Just when you thought they couldn’t get any lower…, by Jill at Feministe, a story that I originally heard about this afternoon on The Randi Rhodes Show.
I wonder which blogs I will read and link to tomorrow.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
. . . I have to say I did not approve of the scene where Serena has sex with Blandy McBlanderson [Nate] being interspliced with the scene where Steff/Chuck is trying to rape her. It's just offensive to parlay glorious bar sex with a frickin rape attempt and that idiot Blair child being over-dramatic about Blandy's revelation of the sex scene. That combined with the other attempted rape (two date rape attempts in one episode by the same guy?!) made me feel like the show was normalizing date rape . . .
For more astute observations on this based-on-a-book television show, you can read my comments here, here and here on South Dakota Dark. I'm funny!
Also, there is no need to euphemistically refer to Chuck's actions in the pilot as attempted "date" rape. He wasn't on a date with either Serena or Jenny when he attacked them. He is an attempted rapist and he should be in prison. That goes for real life attempted rapists as well. Because, as we saw in the show, the attempts don't stop even when the victims fight back, and those are only the attempts we know about.
My friend Stephanie alerted me to this story today: Warner's Robinov Bitchslaps Film Women; Gloria Allred Calls For Warner's Boycott, by Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood Daily. Emphases mine.
This comes to me from three different producers, so I know it's real: Warner Bros president of production Jeff Robinov has made a new decree that "We are no longer doing movies with women in the lead". This Neanderthal thinking comes after both Jodie Foster's The Brave One (even though she's had big recent hits with Flightplan and Panic Room) and Nicole Kidman's The Invasion (as if three different directors didn't have something to do with the awfulness of the gross receipts) under-performed at the box office recently...
Of course, Warner Bros has always been male-centric in its movies. But now the official policy as expressly articulated by Robinov is that a male has to be the lead of every pic made. I'm told he doesn't even want to see a script with a woman in the primary position (which now is apparently missionary at WB)...
Noted women's rights attorney Gloria Allred just gave me this statement in response to what I've posted above: "If that's what he said, when movies with men as the lead fail, no one says we'll stop making movies with men in the lead. This is an insult to all moviegoers and particularly women. It is truly unfortunate that women get blamed for decisions which are made by men. Instead of taking responsibility for their own lack of judgment about which scripts to make, directors to hire and budgets to OK, some men in the movie industry find it easier to place blame for their lack of success on women leads and to exclude talented female actors from the top employment opportunities in Hollywood in favor of macho males. If that studio confirms that their policy is to now exclude women as leads, then my policy would be to boycott films made by Warner Bros."
Even if Mr. Robinov didn't say those exact words, the sentiment of the article still rings true. How many movies this summer had a girl or a woman as the lead character? Not as the way-out-of-the-guy's-league girlfriend, but as a protagonist with her own hopes and dreams outside of existing mainly for her man's pleasure? Now, how many movies this summer featured boys and men? Also, note how many boys and men filled up the supporting roles as well, and think about what kind of supporting roles the few women were left with.
To bring the horrid state of the movie business into focus, name one black female character in any of this summer's feature films. Bonus points if she had any sense in her head. I'll spot you one Alicia Keys in The Nanny Diaries.
Monday, October 08, 2007
Meaning, I agree with what is said below.
Wes Anderson: the ultimate heartbreaker, by Thea at Racialicious.
Have you ever woken up one morning and suddenly realised that an old and cherished friend doesn’t care about you or anything you represent, and actually either ignores or caricatures your existence?
Well, neither have I. But too many times I’ve realised that a director (or musician or writer or artist…) that I love like a friend actually creates art that exoticises, fetishises, or all out erases who I am. I’ve managed to recover from the horror of finding that much of the music I used to like is grossly sexist, (see our little blurb about Jessica Hopper’s famous article on emo music here) but I’m still working on getting over my ex-friend Wes Anderson...
Characters of colour in Anderson’s films are always caricatures, hilariously exotic. Anderson uses “race as a novelty”, says salon.com, “suggesting an assertively white-kid view of the world.”
These characters are funny not because of their personalities or life situations - unlike Anderson’s white characters - but solely because they’re brown. It’s like Anderson is saying, “The pirates are Filipino! How hilarious is that??” Needless to say, I don’t get the joke...
Anderson’s beautifully filmed and bizarre characters, who somehow made madness, dysfunctional families and alienation seem not only manageable but funny, were like friends who reminded me that I wasn’t alone. There were many times that Anderson’s movies comforted me with the message that yes, everyone gets lonely, and yes, there are still reasons to live through it. It was like Wes really got me.
But here’s the thing about Wes Anderson: he positions himself as an outsider, and his protagonists are always outsiders, painfully awkward and deeply deficient in social skills but also desperately seeking love (and you will notice that his white characters are capable of longing for love in a much more profound way than his characters of colour will ever acheive). But at the end of the day, what is so outsider about Wes? He’s an extremely succesful, wealthy, white dude. That’s not to say that rich white dudes can’t ever feel alienated. But to position yourself as an outsider, while making art that ensures that people of colour are truly outside, is obscenely fake...
Also, Unbearable Whiteness by Jonah Weiner at Slate, via Racialicious.
...The Darjeeling Limited, Anderson's latest movie, showcases an obnoxious element of Anderson that is rarely discussed: the clumsy, discomfiting way he stages interactions between white protagonists—typically upper-class elites—and nonwhite foils—typically working class and poor. The plot concerns three brothers, Francis, Peter, and Jack Whitman (Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman) who set out on a "spiritual journey" across India by rail...
...[For] a director as willfully idiosyncratic as Anderson, it's surprising how many white-doofuses-seeking-redemption-in-the-brown-skinned-world clichés Darjeeling Limited inhabits...
After a series of pratfalls, the brothers throw up their hands, deciding to go their separate ways. (What follows is no movie-ruining giveaway, but I should insert a SPOILER ALERT, just in case.) As they walk alongside a canal, they see three adolescent Indian brothers attempting to cross it on a raft attached to a system of ropes and pulleys. A pulley snaps, and the boys are flung into the raging currents. Francis, Peter, and Jack dive in—one set of flailing brothers trying to save another—but one of the adolescents is killed. They're invited to the child's rural village for his funeral (which Anderson cannot resist presenting in slow motion and setting to a Kinks song), where the Whitman clan realize that they need to stick together and see out the rest of their journey. Turns out that a dead Indian boy was all the brothers were missing.
This isn't just heavy-handed, it's offensive. In a grisly little bit of developing-world outsourcing, the child does the bothersome work of dying so that the American heroes won't have to die spiritually...
The comments that follow the Slate article are depressing, but not surprising. God forbid someone point out that racism isn't confined to nooses, burning crosses and pointy hats.
If you saw last week's episode of Gossip Girl, here's an article you might enjoy: At the elite colleges - dim white kids, by Peter Schmidt at The Boston Globe, via Racialicious. Emphases mine, for those of you who like to skim.
Surf the websites of [selective colleges] and you will find press releases boasting that they have increased their black and Hispanic enrollments, admitted bumper crops of National Merit scholars or became the destination of choice for hordes of high school valedictorians. Many are bragging about the large share of applicants they rejected, as a way of conveying to the world just how popular and selective they are.
What they almost never say is that many of the applicants who were rejected were far more qualified than those accepted. Moreover, contrary to popular belief, it was not the black and Hispanic beneficiaries of affirmative action, but the rich white kids with cash and connections who elbowed most of the worthier applicants aside.
Researchers with access to closely guarded college admissions data have found that, on the whole, about 15 percent of freshmen enrolled at America's highly selective colleges are white teens who failed to meet their institutions' minimum admissions standards...
Who are these mediocre white students getting into institutions such as Harvard, Wellesley, Notre Dame, Duke, and the University of Virginia? A sizable number are recruited athletes who, research has shown, will perform worse on average than other students with similar academic profiles, mainly as a result of the demands their coaches will place on them.
A larger share, however, are students who gained admission through their ties to people the institution wanted to keep happy, with alumni, donors, faculty members, administrators, and politicians topping the list. Applicants who stood no chance of gaining admission without connections are only the most blatant beneficiaries of such admissions preferences. Except perhaps at the very summit of the applicant pile - that lofty place occupied by young people too brilliant for anyone in their right mind to turn down - colleges routinely favor those who have connections over those who don't. While some applicants gain admission by legitimately beating out their peers, many others get into exclusive colleges the same way people get into trendy night clubs, by knowing the management or flashing cash at the person manning the velvet rope.
Leaders at many selective colleges say they have no choice but to instruct their admissions offices to reward those who financially support their institutions, because keeping donors happy is the only way they can keep the place afloat. They also say that the money they take in through such admissions preferences helps them provide financial aid to students in need.
But many of the colleges granting such preferences are already well-financed, with huge endowments. And, in many cases, little of the money they take in goes toward serving the less-advantaged.
Did someone say Duke? Duke apologizes to lacrosse players, by Aaron Beard, AP, via The Buffalo News and Racialicious.
What a country!
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Pink or blue? by Dr. Confused on Feministe.
I’ve been known to hang out on certain bulletin boards where people use abbreviations like “DH” (dear husband) and slightly-nauseating terms like “baby dust” (a magical substance that can get you pregnant, but which is presumably less damp than semen.) In the first trimester, there was a thread on the topic of whether or not to find out the sex of the fetus during pregnancy. (Actually, most posters write "gender of the baby," but let’s go with the correct "sex of the fetus.") Some excerpts of the thread:
"The minute I can. I hate calling the baby “it”, and I don’t like green/white/yellow clothes… I want to know! :D
One point as to why we want to wait… when pregnant with DS we had friends that were also PG. They had 2 u/s and both times were told they were having a girl. So they bought a wardrobe, designed the nursery, etc… all in pink and purple. And they had a boy. Talk about being shocked! DH and I also have a plan to avoid the neutral stuff for a long time. First, we will buy one girl outfit and one boy outfit for hopital pictures and taking the baby home. Grandma will go crazy once she knows the gender and the baby will have several outfits… probably in a matter of a couple hours! Shortly after DS was born, they went to dinner and came back with 3 or 4 boy outfits! Of course we will have some neutral gender stuff, but I am a shopper and it won’t be long before baby has a full gender specific wardrobe!
I have to know. I like to be prepared. I’ve only had boys so far and everything I have is for boys. I don’t have any unisex stuff, even the newborn onesies are blue with trains, planes and cars."
That last one is interesting to me. I design airplanes for a living, and I have a vagina. Nevertheless, if I were to put any daughter I should have into a onesie with an airplane on it, some of these writers would consider it borderline child abuse. But how will people know she’s a girl?
8th Century Scholars by Jill on Feministe.
This professor is fantastic. He was fired from his job for telling students that the story of Adam and Eve should not be taken literally — students apparently felt the professor was "denigrating their religion." But his responses to the situation are hilarious and spot-on:
"I’m just a little bit shocked myself that a college in good standing would back up students who insist that people who have been through college and have a master’s degree, a couple actually, have to teach that there were such things as talking snakes or lose their job," Bitterman said.
Well, if the Bible says to teach it…
"I just thought there was such a thing as academic freedom here,” he said. “From my point of view, what they’re doing is essentially teaching their students very well to function in the eighth century."
Regarding the latter post about religion, i.e. Christianity, I like this clip of The West Wing better than the one featured on Feministe:
Friday, October 05, 2007
and it was the Best Walk Ever! Readers of the female persuasion, you should go on a walk, too.
The group of people I walked with was made up of so many fabulous women at different points in their careers. During the reception that followed, I got to talk with talented individuals whom I had never expected to encounter, and whose work I never realized how much I appreciated until it wasn't there anymore. The coolest thing about the entire affair was how comfortable I felt. I was accepted by everyone, by women who have done so much with their lives already. And many of those successful women were impressed by me and my goals. I wasn't worried about what my face looked like or what clothes I was wearing. I felt so supported and empowered and connected. These are people who understand what I stand for and know how far we still have to go as women together.
After all of that positivity this morning, conversely this evening I've been watching And You Don't Stop: 30 Years of Hip Hop, a miniseries on VH1. After four hours of footage that included the LL Cool J, Run DMC, The Beastie Boys, and rises and fall of Tupac and Biggie, one guy finally mentioned "The whole misogyny thing", and pointed out that "[hip-hop is] so accommodating of different styles and different points of view...except for women." Ice-T then excused the industry's oppression and degradation of women by calling it a "back-and-forth", ongoing "battle of the sexes", stating that rappers like Foxy Brown and Lil Kim represent "Do me" feminism.
You know what I love? When men making millions of dollars off of hip hop--an industry now fully entrenched in the hate, mockery and subjugation of girls and women--try to inform me about feminism. Additionally, the entire contribution of women in the hip hop community was relegated to ten of the final 20 minutes of this five-hour special. Those ten minutes included commercials. Also, during this entire special, only one woman was featured as a talking head. One. I couldn't tell you how many men there were featured during those five hours, it was that many.
As I watched the special this evening, and as I listened to Steve Harvey talking to Smokey Robinson on the radio this morning, I realized how much of our culture is dominated by people who decided to say something and were given the power to do so. Not necessarily something important. Just something. Many of these people are men with absolutely nothing of value to say. I'm not talking about Mr. Harvey or Mr. Robinson in particular. I'm talking about fools like Nelly and Lil Jon, whose songs and videos degrade themselves and the women "hired" to gyrate in them. Hired is in quotation marks because I learned from another hip-hop special on VH1 that these women are often not paid for their appearances. Instead of getting much deserved residuals any time the video airs, they get harassed and abused for free. Now that's America. And how are Nelly and Lil Jon degrading themselves? Well, Nelly grew up in a middle-class suburb, and Lil Jon apparently has a bachelors degree. Yet they perpetuate this ghetto fabulous lifestyle acting like they have no sense. What is that about?
Ooh, so now I'm watching a commercial for Ben Stiller's The Heartbreak Kid which looks like a movie about Ben marrying a blond woman who is way too young and way too good-looking for him. He seems not to have known anything about his trophy wife before he married her, and now it turns out that she's crazy. And the movie wants us to feel sorry for him . . . why? I don't get it. Maybe he shouldn't have married some skinny blond woman half his age before he got to know her. Idiot.
I can't wait to see that other movie coming about that young, funny, driven college-educated woman who likes to talk about current events with her friends . . . Oh, that's not a movie? . . . I meant the TV show. . . No TV show either? Then I guess I'll go watch some more gay men on Logo. :(
Nope, there is obviously no problem with the representation of women in American media. You win, irwin.
That's all for now.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Or not. Whichever:
Bush vetoes children's health insurance proposal, by Mike Carney, USA Today.
A response by Ted Kennedy and friend:
In semi-related news: Jenna & Henry Shocker: Rich Powerful White People Often Marry Each Other! at Wonkette.
Also, many of your comments have now been responded to, in some cases multiple times. I heart comments!