Sunday, August 31, 2008

"What?! There's a black guy?!"


With the announcement of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate, the 2008 U. S. Presidential election continues to resemble "Star-Spangled Banter", episode 4.08 of Will & Grace. It's surprisingly relevant. And funny! If you have the ability and the link is working, you can watch the episode here. For the rest of you, the relevant dialogue is below:

[WILL ENTERS HIS APARTMENT. GRACE IS SITTING ON THE COUCH READING A MAGAZINE.]

GRACE: You know, Sarah Michelle Gellar is really smart. I mean, at the beginning of this interview, she's just talkin' about stuff, like where she gets her highlights, but then she starts in on foreign affairs and campaign finance reform. I'm gonna say it... She's a genius.

WILL: Let me see that. [WILL FLIPS THROUGH THE MAGAZINE] Hmm... Interesting. Yeah. See? these pages are stuck together. You've been reading an interview with John McCain. Here's the rest of Sarah Michelle.

GRACE: [READING] "And even after all these years, limos are way cool." Yeah. I probably should've figured it out when she started talking about her time in a P.O.W. camp.

WILL: Ooh, uh, before I forget, I need you to write me a check. There's this guy, Ted Bowers. He's running for city council. I really think we should support him.

GRACE: Well, what do we know about him?

WILL: He's gay.

GRACE: And?

WILL: And... he's gay.

GRACE: But what's he for? I mean, you know, where does he stand on the issues?

WILL: What do you care? You thought Buffy was in a prisoner of war camp.

GRACE: I'm just wondering, what are his positions?

WILL: I don't know. I think he's a top. Come on. Write a check already. You should support gay men. Gay men support you.


~ ~ ~


SCENE III: Will's Apartment Building
(GRACE is doing down in the elevator when it stops and MRS. FRIEDMAN [played by Anne Meara!] enters.)

[MRS. FRIEDMAN ENTERS.]

GRACE: Hey, Mrs. Friedman, how are things on the eighth floor?

MRS FRIEDMAN: I'm not talking to you, Grace Adler, and you should be ashamed of yourself.

GRACE: I swear, the elevator smelled like this before I got on.

MRS FRIEDMAN: I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about your button. I can't believe you're supporting that man.

GRACE: Ted Bowers happens to be an excellent candidate.

MRS FRIEDMAN: [SPITTING] Ptewey! Your candidate sucks my rain boots.

GRACE: Hey, I like Ted Bowers, and he's gay, and I think it's high time we had gay representation on the city council, especially in a society that still undervalues the rights of gay people.

MRS FRIEDMAN: Fine. Do what you want. Me, I'm voting for the Jewish woman.

GRACE: There's a Jewish woman running?


~ ~ ~


SCENE V: Will's Apartment
(WILL and GRACE are home.)

GRACE: Uh... So, listen, I need a check.

WILL: What for?

GRACE: Judy Green. She's running for city council, and I think we should support her.

WILL: But we're backing Ted Bowers.

GRACE: Well, I found out a few things about him that makes me think I should support the other candidate.

WILL: Like what?

GRACE: Like he's running against a woman.

WILL: So? Who is she? What do we know about her?

GRACE: She's a woman.

WILL: And?

GRACE: And she's Jewish.

WILL: And?

GRACE: And she's a woman.

WILL: So what? What are her positions?

GRACE: I don't know. She's Jewish. She probably just lays there. Come on. Write the check!

WILL: I am not gonna write you a check. That would just cancel out the check you wrote me.

GRACE: I know. That's why I've already stopped payment on mine. Now, come on. Make it payable to "Judy Green for City Council."

WILL: All right. Is a zillion dollars enough?

GRACE: Come on! Women need a voice on the city council. I mean, 50% of the population is women.

WILL: So, one could argue that 80% of the population is gay. [BEAT] They just don't know it yet. Anyway, this is not about statistics. This is about who has the better candidate.

GRACE: Well, what makes you think that you have the better candidate?

WILL: Grace, he's gay.

GRACE: Well, mine's a woman and Jewish. That makes two victims to your one.

WILL: Since when are you so Jewish anyway? You're about as Jewish as Melanie Griffith in A Stranger Among Us.

GRACE: Well, you're about as gay as Tom Sellick in In and Out.

WILL: I am plenty gay.

GRACE: When was the last time you had same-sex sex?

WILL: I'm choosy!

GRACE: Ha! You're straight! Go watch a basketball game!

WILL: Yeah? Well, you're barely a woman. You pee standing up!

GRACE: Hey! There are a lot of diseases you can get from a toilet seat!

WILL: Our own?! [POINTING TOWARDS THE BATHROOM.]

GRACE: Well, I never thought that I would hear this from you! You hate women!

WILL: Well, you hate gays!


~ ~ ~


SCENE VIII: Will's Apartment
(WILL and GRACE are hosting their simultaneous fundraisers for Ted Bowers and Judy Green.)

TED: Good evening, everybody. A lot of candidates in this race wanna tell you that there's an easy solution to our city's problems. Well, I'm here to tell you, there's not.

[WILL APPLAUDS. HE'S THE ONLY ONE.]

WILL: [EMBARASSED] Was that not an applause line? 'Cause it felt like one.

TED: For instance... Homelessness. Now, this is an awful, awful problem, and one solution that I advocate is give them a hot meal.

WILL: Mm-hmm.

TED: Give them a shower.

WILL: Uh-huh.

TED: Put them on a bus and get them the hell out of our city.

WILL: A-- What?

[CUT TO A BIT LATER.]

TED: So, in conclusion, women in the home, force those foreigners to speak our language, and if God didn't want some people to be poor, he'd give them money.

MR ZAMIR: He is very good.

GRACE: And now... Let's hear from a real candidate. Ladies and gentlemen, Judy Green.

JUDY: Thank you, Grace. Let me start by saying how gratifying it is to see so many white faces here tonight.

GRACE: Goh!


~ ~ ~

SCENE X: Will's Apartment
(The fundraisers are over. WILL and GRACE are relaxing on the sofa.)

GRACE: Remember when Election Day used to be fun? Passing out leaflets, knocking on doors, ripping our bell-bottoms and running from the fuzz?

WILL: That wasn't us. That was Linc and Julie from "The Mod Squad."

JACK: [ENTERING] Well, I've just pulled the lever for democracy. Oh, and I also voted. Ah-ha ha ha ha! What are you two sad lovers doin'?

WILL: Nothin'.

JACK: So, did you vote?

WILL: We don't deserve to.

GRACE: We just didn't think it was right to vote for someone without finding out what they stand for.

WILL: Who'd you vote for?

JACK: The black guy.

Both: What?! There's a black guy?!

[WILL AND GRACE BOTH JUMP OFF THE COUCH AND RUN OUT OF THE APARTMENT.]


.

So much to say, so little time.


Why Soldiers Rape, by Helen Benedict, In These Times via Feministing.

[ . . . ] Rape in civilian life is already unacceptably common. One in six women is raped or sexually assaulted in her lifetime, according to the National Institute of Justice, a number so high it should be considered an epidemic.

In the military, however, the situation is even worse. Rape is almost twice as frequent as it is among civilians, especially in wartime. Soldiers are taught to regard one another as family, so military rape resembles incest. And most of the soldiers who rape are older and of higher rank than their victims, so are taking advantage of their authority to attack the very people they are supposed to protect.

Department of Defense reports show that nearly 90 percent of rape victims in the Army are junior-ranking women, whose average age is 21, while most of the assailants are non-commissioned officers or junior men, whose average age is 28. [ . . . ]

[ . . . ] [Duke University Law Professor Madeline Morris and University of California professor and folklorist Carol Burke] both show that military language reveals this "unabashed hatred of women" all the time. Even with a force that is now 14 percent female, and with rules that prohibit drill instructors from using racial epithets and curses, those same instructors still routinely denigrate recruits by calling them "pussy," "girl," "bitch," "lady" and "dyke." The everyday speech of soldiers is still riddled with sexist insults. [ . . . ]


There's more!

[ . . . ] The message in all these insults is that women have no business trying to be soldiers. In 2007, Sgt. Sarah Scully of the Army’s 8th Military Police Brigade wrote to me in an e-mail from Kuwait, where she was serving: "In the Army, any sign that you are a woman means you are automatically ridiculed and treated as inferior."

Army Spc. Mickiela Montoya, who was in Iraq for 11 months from 2005-2006, put it another way: "There are only three things the guys let you be if you’re a girl in the military: a bitch, a ho or a dyke. [I know which one I am! Hint: we get things done.] One guy told me he thinks the military sends women over to give the guys eye candy to keep them sane. He told me in Vietnam they had prostitutes, but they don’t have those in Iraq, so they have women soldiers instead." [ . . . ]


Now for some statistics, which you may have seen before:

• A 2004 study of veterans from Vietnam and all wars since, conducted by psychotherapist Maureen Murdoch and published in the journal Military Medicine, found that 71 percent of the women said they were sexually assaulted or raped while serving.

• In 2003, a survey of female veterans from Vietnam through the first Gulf War by psychologist Anne Sadler and her colleagues, published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, found that 30 percent said they were raped in the military.

• And a 1995 study of female veterans of the Gulf and earlier wars, also conducted by Murdoch and published in Archives of Family Medicine, reported that 90 percent had been sexually harassed, which means anything from being pressured for sex to being relentlessly teased and stared at.

• A 2007 survey by the Department of Veterans Affairs found that homelessness among female veterans is rapidly increasing as women soldiers come back from Iraq and Afghanistan. Forty percent of these homeless female veterans say they were sexually abused while in the service.


In addition to perpetuating the culture of rape, how can our government send soldiers to war, and then--if and when these soldiers make their way back home--allow them to be homeless?

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

So that happened.



Obama has choice words for McCain, by Foon Rhee, Boston Globe.

"John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell -- but he won't even follow him to the cave where he lives."


Ha! That speechwriter belongs on The Colbert Report.

~

In other news, McCain picks Sarah Palin as running mate.

Who?

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

When your running mate has deemed you


the pro-woman candidate in hopes to win over his former opponent's supporters, do not then make a joke about your wife:

Ladies and gentlemen, my wife Jill, who you'll meet soon, is drop dead gorgeous. My wife Jill, who you'll meet soon, she also has her doctorate degree, which is a problem. But all kidding aside . . .


It is heartwarming to discover what Joe Biden values in his woman. Attractiveness, yes. Higher education, no. Keep that patriarchy alive and kicking, Joe.

I think this will play out slightly better than the time Senator Biden called a certain Senator from Illinois "clean" and "articulate".

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Why I am passively boycotting the 2008 Summer Olympics:


I'm too lazy to look up and link to supporting articles. You'll have to wax that pony yourself.

1. The Chinese government continues to violate the rights of humans, both inside and outside of their own country.

2. I don't need to see another "news" article portraying Michael Phelps as the Great White American Hero. I have so much to say about identifying the word "sports" with men, even though women play sports too. But to focus, my main gripe is that as far as I know, Michael Phelps isn't trying to raise a family on his own on a minimum-wage salary. He isn't taking care of his sick parents while trying to put himself through college. He is not teaching in the abysmal US public school system. He swims fast. He won some medals. He's not saving babies. Neither are most deified athletes. Let's move on.

[Ed. note, 8/24/2008.] Also, what Tobes said: This is why... and CNN examines sexism in the Olympics.

3. The Chinese government is funding the genocide in Darfur. Yet my August "news" stories have been covering Russia's invasion of Georgia. I'm not sure how many people have died because of the Russia/Georgia conflict. However, I am pretty sure that hundreds of thousands of people continue to be killed, mutilated and raped in Darfur. One conflict in Europe gets daily news coverage, while one of the many conflicts in Africa that is funded by China gets almost no mainstream media coverage whatsoever. I wonder why that is . . .

4. The United States government has an embargo against Cuba because Cuba is a communist country. But playing sports in the communist country of China, with its deadly smog, is okay. Also, torturing prisoners on Cuban soil at Guantanamo Bay is okay. But taking a direct flight from Miami to Havana? Not okay.

Comments are welcome!

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Eh.



Obama taps Biden to be running mate, by Liz Sidoti and Nedra Pickler, AP.

You so know Senator Biden was having the Best Week Ever after the John Edwards story broke. He was just waiting for someone to pay attention to him again. With John Edwards out of contention for anything indefinitely, Senator Biden can finally get the recognition he deserves by bringing his non-"risky" qualities to the table. However, I do not know what else he contributes to the campaign besides his "safe"-ness. And by safeness, I mean he's a white male, in case you couldn't click on the linked articles.

At least John Edwards was trying to end poverty. I could never figure out what Joe Biden was doing in the primaries. Apparently he was running for Vice President.

I'm not impressed. Wake me up when someone ends the wars.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Because I'm awesome.

The song:



The backup:




The second backup:




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Saturday, August 16, 2008

"I’m not mixed, but WTF!"



Freakonomics: "The Plight of Mixed Race Children", by Latoya Peterson, Racialicious:


"Mixed race people, step right up to be essentialized into neat little patterns of behavior!

In a recent paper I [Steven D. Levitt] co-authored with Roland Fryer, Lisa Kahn, and Jorg Spenkuch, we look at data to try to answer that question. Here is what we find:


1) Mixed-race kids grow up in households that are similar along many dimensions to those in which black children grow up: similar incomes, the father is much less likely to be around than in white households, etc.


2) In terms of academic performance, mixed-race kids fall in between blacks and whites.


3) Mixed-race kids do have one advantage over white and black kids: the mixed-race kids are much more attractive on average.


The really interesting result, though, is the next one.


4) There are some bad adolescent behaviors that whites do more than blacks (like drinking and smoking), and there are other bad adolescent behaviors that blacks do more than whites (watching TV, fighting, getting sexually transmitted diseases). Mixed-race kids manage to be as bad as whites on the white behaviors and as bad as blacks on the black behaviors. Mixed-race kids act out in almost every way measured in the data set.



. . . "I was wondering what economic theories they used to get to this point, but surprise - there ain’t none!

We try to use economic theory to explain this set of facts. I can’t say we are entirely successful. If we had to pick an explanation that best fits the facts, it would be the old sociology model of mixed-race individuals as the “marginal man”: not part of either racial group and therefore torn by inner conflict.


~

Apparently, in Steven D. Levitt's mind, mixed children who are neither white nor black, like Tia Carrere, don't exist. Also, I don't drink or smoke, like white people allegedly do. Nor do I fight or get sexually transmitted diseases, like black people allegedly do. However, I do likes my TV. So following Mr. Levitt's calculations, I am one-third black. Maybe I am also one-thirteenth Chickasaw like Stephen Colbert.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

This commercial makes me sad.



- From LetCaliforniaRing.org

Because some people still don't get it. I hope they will understand someday. Everyone deserves equal rights. Also, Democrats: approving of separate but equal "civil unions" doesn't cut it. I'm looking at you, John Edwards, adulterer of the hour.

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Friday, August 08, 2008

He seemed like a nice guy to me.



Bernie Brillstein, 1931-2008, Defamer, though I first learned about this at LA Observed.

He has made some questionable statements. He also brought us Just Shoot Me!, as featured in the above clip. It's the "Christmas? Christmas!" episode with Ray Liotta. For you Man Band fans, here's a clip of the show with 98 Degrees.

We'll miss you, kid.

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Judge not,


unless you've never cheated on your cancer-stricken wife, like some people:

Edwards admits to affair he denied as candidate, by Pete Yost, AP via Yahoo! News.

This just in: Elizabeth Edwards standing by husband after affair, by Pete Yost, AP via Yahoo! News.

I have lots of thoughts about this situation. The first thought relates to women like Elizabeth Edwards and Michelle Obama (no, there is not a similar scandal a-brewing for Barack). How do these women do it? How do these women look at their multiple degrees and their own high potential for success, then decide, "I am going to dedicate my life to supporting my husband's dream of becoming the President of the United States"? Because that is what they did. These two women each got their law degree from the same school as their respective husbands did. Yet their husbands were the ones who decided to take the spotlight as US Senators and presidential candidates. Their husbands also decided to keep their last names.

My second thought is regarding any of you readers who are thinking to yourself, "Bianca would be a great first lady. I should marry her before I run for President." Before you call the caterers, ruminate on this: If my spouse cheated on me while I had cancer, I would not then "stand by" my spouse, in theory or in reality. I would not continue to support my spouse's campaign. I would tell my spouse to find another place to live. They could find their clothes to the left, if not out on the street. And if my spouse ever thought about running for any national office again, I would never let the mainstream news media outlets ever forget that my spouse cheated on me while I had cancer.

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Even a commercial about chocolate



has no black people in it. The usurping of roles for brown people has not stopped with Angelina Jolie and Robert Downey, Jr. It continues with computer-generated chocolate people with unquestionably white features.

In the Hershey's commercial featured above, I counted two white people--a tall, thin young man, and a shorter, equally thin, younger woman. I also spotted a butterfly and three bunnies. Of course, the man was conveniently driving the car, because a lady in a commercial can't drive if her man is around.

Before you readers accuse me of being overly sensitive to the racism, sexism, sizeism and heteronormativity of a company hawking candy to Americans, look at the picture below:



It strikes me as odd that to enjoy "what makes a Hershey bar pure", the consumer should be thin, straight and white. Because fat people don't like candy. Neither do the gays or the non-white.

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"You can't spell 'Gentleman' without the 'G'."



This show is growing on me. I don't like the Anglophilia and Eurocentrism permeating the lessons in sophistication. For instance, I don't think that cricket is "the most sophisticated sport" in the world just because it's British and requires players to wear sweater vests. I don't think that blackballing your peers to remove them from your exclusive club shows good sportsmanship or gentlemanly qualities. I think it's cowardly and duplicitous. Just because something is associated with the UK doesn't automatically make it sophisticated or proper. Have you seen Colin Farrell? But what can we expect from a man whose outfits look like something Ralph Lauren (née Ralph Lifshitz) and the Brooks Brothers vomited up.

Also, one would think that a competition obsessed with faux English culture would get the grammar in the title correct. The program--executive produced by Jamie Foxx, who has not yet made an appearance--should be called From Gs to Gents not From G's to Gents. "G's" is a possessive adjective. I don't even own a diamond patterned ascot.

Furthermore, as Linda Ellerbee once said, "If men can run the world, why can't they stop wearing neckties? How intelligent is it to start the day by tying a little noose around your neck?"

However, I do like that some of the contestants are trying to make their lives better. That's a good thing.

Here's what Joel McHale has to say:



.