Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

It gets more colorful at 3:54.

First heard by me today on The Week According to Frangela on KTLK AM 1150, during Frangela's beloved segment, "Professional Idiot of the Week":

"Slavery was evil, there's no question about that. But you know what? If it hadn't happened, where would you be right now? If your ancestors hadn't come over here for whatever reason, where would you be right now? You'd be floating down a river in Rwanda in pieces. Or maybe you'd be chased down by machete-wielding Janjaweed militia in the Sudan. Or starving under Robert Mugabe.

"Hey, ingrates. Get on your knees. Kiss the American dirt beneath you. And, please, shut up."

- Jim Quinn, from the June 24 edition of Clear Channel's The War Room with Quinn and Rose

There is so much nonsense to unpack in Jim Quinn's statement, including 1) most slaves in the Americas came from Western Africa, which does not include Rwanda, the Sudan, or Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe; and 2) most black people born in the United States have non-African ancestry as well, often due to the owners raping their ancestors. So, despite Jim Quinn's penchant for the one-drop rule, in a parallel universe without centuries of slavery throughout the Western hemisphere, we ungrateful black people could have been living in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, the South Pacific, pretty much anywhere. Correspondingly, many allegedly white people in that same parallel universe could find themselves living in Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria or picking diamonds in Sierra Leone, all homes of their hidden ancestors.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

The wrong way to spend your money

For those of you who cannot view the video, a 26-year-old lawyer living in Manhattan calls into The Suze Orman Show during the "Can I Afford It?" segment. He would like to spend $35,000 to upgrade his wife's engagement ring from 1 carat to 3 carat, in order to "give the impression of success." He calls himself "pretty conservative about many things" but the ring is "an investment piece."

$35,000? On a diamond? He needs to buy himself some gold bars, like the one Hank received on the pilot episode of Royal Pains. This man has the same problem as public-school-Taylor from NYC Prep: spending money you don't have will not impress people who would never like you anyway.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

I don't care about "melba toast," Michael Bay.

I do care about a pattern of racist behavior that has continued from the first Transformers film. Now the racism, and sexism, is back.

Dr Boyce: Yes, The Transformers Movie Was Quite Racist, by Dr. Boyce Watkins, PhD, BV Black Spin.

Harry says TRANSFORMERS 2 is foul mouthed, racist & misogynistic! It also runs an hour too long!, Ain't It Cool News.

Jive-talking twin Transformers raise race issues, AP.

Skids and Mudflap, twin robots disguised as compact hatchbacks, constantly brawl and bicker in rap-inspired street slang. They're forced to acknowledge that they can't read. One has a gold tooth.

How does a car have a gold tooth? And why does reading come up in a film about cars?

Actor Reno Wilson, who is black, voices Mudflap. Tom Kenny, the white actor behind SpongeBob SquarePants, voices Skids.

Wilson said Wednesday that he never imagined viewers might consider the twins to be racial caricatures. When he took the role, he was told that the alien robots learned about human culture through the Web and that the twins were "wannabe gangster types."

Gangster types like Michael Corleone or Tony Montana? No?

"It's an alien who uploaded information from the Internet and put together the conglomeration and formed this cadence, way of speaking and body language that was accumulated over X amount of years of information and that's what came out," the 40-year-old actor said. "If he had uploaded country music, he would have come out like that."

It's not fair to assume the characters are black, he said.

"It could easily be a Transformer that uploaded Kevin Federline data," Wilson said. "They were just like posers to me."

Kenny did not respond to an interview request Wednesday.

Way to cash that check, Mr. Wilson.

[Director Michael Bay] brushes off any whiff of controversy.

"Listen, you're going to have your naysayers on anything," he said. "It's like is everything going to be melba toast? It takes all forms and shapes and sizes."

If the racism wasn't bad enough, the sexism makes me physically ill:

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Review
, by Tara Meacham, Associated Content. Emphases mine.

You might have noticed that this Transformers film not only contains some poignant stereotypes of black people, but also that the movie is loaded with women. Most of them have fake boobs, push-up bras, and exist solely for the purpose of being sexualized in one way or another on a college campus. If they're not such women, they might be one of a few others—like the protagonist's mom, a typical empty nest middle-aged white woman ridiculed for wanting to have sex with her husband and stupid enough to purchase pot brownies without knowing what they are.

[ . . . ]

There is also Fox's character, Mikaela Banes, a female capable of fixing bikes and hot-wiring cars. She chooses not to go to college because she isn't a bimbo like all of the women that go there (because obviously college is not for smart people or women who think education might help them in life). She stays home to take care of her dad and mind the bike shop while Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBeouf) goes off to school on the East Coast.

She does other useful things, such as: run around in slow motion for a full five minutes at the end of the movie after taking off a protective layer of clothing in the desert, land her face on another male character's crotch, open her mouth a lot, appear with inconsistent amounts of collagen in her lips, flash her underwear while getting changed in the front yard, and attempt to be compared to Xena. Her secondary objective seems to be tagging along to help her boyfriend save the world; her primary objective involves getting him to say the L word and keep him away from fem-bots with anal probes.

Fox has a few key scenes in the film. In Egypt, she randomly dons a scarf over her mouth for a moment, because clearly the stereotypically fundamentalist Muslims all around would have been horrified at the sight of her uncovered mouth when her boobs could hardly be contained.

However, Fox does not play the most interesting female character in the film. That task falls to an unnamed female student in an astronomy class. Her job is to pick up a discarded, half-eaten, tossed-on-the-floor apple upon the command of the professor, who tells her to eat it. This degrading display is so horrific that I can't even be sarcastic about it.

Kudos to all involved. The Transformers franchise is now the front runner for the newly coined Rogen/Apatow Award for Excellence in Perpetuating White Male Privilege.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Acceptable double standards,

or, This post made me giggle and crystallized my disappointment in Justin Timberlake.

The Race™-Approved White Guys [Humor
], by AJ Plaid and Fiqah.

[ . . . ] in an effort to make sure such a pop-culture faux-pas don’t happen again, we’ve composed a list of white guys who are deemed The Race™-sanctioned—any Black female performer can be seen with these white performers and know she’s doing right by Us™. Our criteria:
  1. We know they’ve dated, are dating, are married to, have and/or have babies by Black women. (Having Black or Black biracial daughters, adopted or biological, is an added bonus. ‘Cause, as some of us wanna believe, if the white guy can touch/sex up/adopt/father a sistah, they can not possibly be…well, you know the rhetoric.)
  2. They can actually have performing-arts skills. (This leaves out Kevin “K-Fed” Federline.)
  3. They’re famous in their own right. (This kinda sorta leaves out Gabriel Aubry. Some early men-watchers know him as a model. But many more know him for siring Halle Berry’s baby. If you don’t believe us, say Aubry’s name and “model.” Then say Aubry’s name and “Halle Berry’s baby’s daddy.” Record the results.)
  4. We get the 6th Sense* that they’ve been with sistahs but aren’t talking about it.
  5. We sistahs have sensed the sexual tension between these dudes and the sistahs on-screen.
  6. They’re not Justin Timberlake.

My favorite special mentions in the category, "You'd Think So . . . But No", include Bill "I'm Not 'Down,' Just Visiting" Maher, and the winner of the "Don't Date Him Gurl" Award, Quentin Tarantino.

For more positive examples, please see this photo spread in Essence.


Two affluent men talking about abortion

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Mike Huckabee
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJason Jones in Iran

"Jon Stewart and Mike Huckabee talk about issues where they will never be the protagonist."

Readers, this is where the real change happens.

Also, at 2:28, you'll see that Mike Huckabee is worried that his children will send him to Shady Pines. If I were Mike Huckabee, I'd be worried, too.


Friday, June 19, 2009


I have been watching and loving Beautiful People. It's a BBC series about a fey, young British lad, his eccentric family, and his sassy, black best friend. The problem is that instead of airing on ABC Family, the show airs on Logo . . . because it has a few gay people in it? The show is about a boy and his family, yet it comes on Logo on Tuesdays at 10 pm, followed by Queer as Folk. Which is like having Gilmore Girls followed by Secret Diary of a Call Girl. They're both about straight women, right?

In conclusion, if you have Logo or BBC 2, watch Beautiful People. It's funny!


Sunday, June 14, 2009

I don't have a subscription,

and I don't swoon at Alec Baldwin. But I do like what the star of My Life in Ruins has to say about Hollywood.

What’s the big fat deal?, by Nia Vardalos, Anderson Cooper 360 via IMDb.

It’s just weight. Just 40 pounds of fat now gone from my body, but wow, it’s pretty much all I get asked about. In the last year, I got to star in a movie, wrote and directed my next one, and adopted a three year old from American Foster Care. But guess what I’m asked…how did I lose the weight?

I am embarrassed to be in the position of answering questions about my body again. On the publicity tour of ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ I was asked over and over again, if, as the writer, I felt it was a fair depiction of real life to have someone of my er, below average looks, hook up with hottie John Corbett.

It’s been years, and I have sat through many a movie like Sideways, where nobody blinks an eye when Paul Giamatti gets together with gorgeous Virginia Madsen. And, then ‘Knocked Up’….well, the visual of Seth Rogen on top of Katherine Heigl made me put the popcorn down and reach for my purse. Not because I was grossed out but because I knew the film was about to stop and Ashton Kutcher would now jump out and go “aha, you’ve been punked, that would never happen.” I waited. But no Ashton. The film went on. And many a reviewer, who probably look like sweet Seth (yes even the women) gave it a thumbs up. [ . . . ]

Furthermore, I apparently will be seeing every Fox Searchlight movie out this summer. You're welcome, Rupert Murdoch. Also, that's a whole bunch of white, brown haired people in love. (Click on the links.) I guess it's the brown hair that makes the films "indie." And yes, I'm still going to see them.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Knowing your audience

and being self-aware. M-P G for the win!

Though, I'm still not watching Jimmy Fallon's show.

Speaking of early 90s icons, Mayim Bialik for the win!


Monday, June 08, 2009

This man should be removed from his position.

"Date Rape is not Rape" ?!, by passtheERA, Feministing Community.

University of the Pacific Says Date Rape is Not Rape
, by Cara, The Curvature.

UOP responds to sexual assault lawsuit, by David Siders, Emphases mine.

A woman identified in court papers as Jane Doe claimed in a March lawsuit that two basketball players raped her at a May 2008 party at Townhouses, campus housing on Pershing Avenue, and that a third player came into the room where she was and assaulted her as the first two players were leaving.

Pacific spokesman Richard Rojo said Thursday that the school does not consider the incident to be a rape.

"We would call it date rape," he said.

Rojo said the university considers "outright rape" and date rape to be different, in that date rape does not involve "a rapist jumping out of bushes and attacking people randomly."

He said, "These are people who knew each other. ... It's a social situation and unfortunately an all-too common problem at universities.

"It doesn't make it right. It's a sexual assault, and that's why the university took action in this matter."

Doe said in her lawsuit that Pacific's handling of the matter was hostile, causing her to feel unwanted at Pacific. Doe, a freshman, left the school.

I wonder how Mr. Rojo would feel if he had attended a party with his university colleagues, and three men whom he knew brutally attacked him. I guess it would not be called "outright assault" since the situation did not involve someone "jumping out of bushes and attacking people randomly." No, it involved three men purposefully attacking a targeted victim. Since Mr. Rojo knew his assailants, and was therefore on a "date" with the three men, he should feel comforted because this was "a social situation and unfortunately an all-too common problem at universities." Getting assaulted at university parties happens all over the world, therefore Mr. Rojo should not feel too bad that it happened to him. He could simply leave the University of the Pacific, like the above Jane Doe did, and find another university with new colleagues that might not "outright" attack him.

Additional articles and posts:

Thursday Frustrations, by Sarah M, The SAFER Blog.

University of the Pacific official's comments blasted, by Jennie Rodriguez,

University Of The Pacific Claims That Date Rape Isn't "Outright Rape", by hortense, Jezebel.

University Of The Pacific Doesn't View Date Rape As Outright Rape, by Marcella Chester, abyss2hope.

From the annals of willful ignorance on sexual violence, by Amanda Marcotte, Pandagon.

Rape Comes From Bushes, Spokesperson Says, by Amanda Hess, The Sexist.


Sunday, June 07, 2009

"This is where the magic happens."

"Yo, Professor Puggleface. You feel good about our sound investment? Roo roo roo roo."


Friday, June 05, 2009

So, it's not just me?

Dating 101: Dealing With the Race Factor
, by Arnold Chao, Yahoo! Personals.

Internet love is not colorblind, UC Irvine study. Emphases mine.

[UC Irvine sociologists] Cynthia Feliciano and Belinda Robnett collected data from Yahoo personals between September 2004 and May 2005, randomly selecting profiles of people ages 18-50 in the Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Atlanta metropolitan regions. While white men were more open to dating outside their race than white women, both had specific racial preferences. White men preferred Asian and Latino dating partners to African Americans; white women were more likely to exclude Asian men.

According to Feliciano, negative portrayals of African American women and Asian men in popular culture could contribute to these preferences.

"Stereotypical images of masculinity and femininity shape dating choices and continue to be perpetuated in the mass media," says Feliciano, sociology and Chicano/Latino studies assistant professor. "The hyper-feminine image of Asian American women contrasts greatly with that of Asian men, who are often portrayed as asexual."

In comparison, the image of the strong African American woman is at odds with idealized notions of submissive and frail women. This may explain why African American women faced high levels of rejection among men, researchers say.

"Cultural portrayals of African American women in the media continue to stress traits seen as negative, such as bossiness," Feliciano says.


Researchers' analysis of minorities' racial preferences showed that Asians, African Americans and Latinos are more likely to include whites as possible dates than whites are to include them. This suggests that whites, as the dominant group in the U.S., remain in the privileged position of being able to facilitate or hinder the full incorporation of minorities.

Or maybe I'm a crooked pot without a crooked cover due to my "bossiness." I'm sure that's it.

Also, way to be timely, Yahoo! and UC Irvine. I re-reported this phenomenon two years ago, and Racialicious still reports on interracial relationships regularly. Their Craigslist personals article from two years ago is still my favorite. I also enjoyed the open thread on dating that followed a year and a half later.

Furthermore, the survey should have examined same-sex relationships as well. Way to be heteronormative, sociologists.

Ooh! I liked this post, too, by the Frog Princess. I have been saying the same thing for years, yet it is so hard for my friends to comprehend my outlook and my situation. As the Frog Princess says about the open thread on Racialicious, "The article and the comments really validated what I’d been feeling my whole life but that I’m not allowed to say in public because it makes some people uncomfortable."


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

"Exactly! A reverse racist!"

"We call it that because it's the opposite of the way you're supposed to be a racist."

Also, no matter what The Today Show (at 4:12) or the Telegraph suggest, Judge Sotomayor's parents did not "immigrate" to New York from Puerto Rico. They moved to New York from Puerto Rico. Like when the Clampetts "loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly. Hills, that is." Or when George and Weezy were "moving on up/To the east side/To a deluxe apartment in the sky." They didn't change countries; they were Americans finding a new, potentially better, place to live.


Dead Parents

HuffPost Review: Away We Go, by Marshall Fine. Emphasis mine.

You're a couple in your mid-30s, expecting a baby, suddenly shorn of the anchor tethering you to a hometown you're not that crazy about. Now what?

That's the conundrum confronting Burt (John Krasinski) and Verona (Maya Rudolph) in Sam Mendes' Away We Go, from a script by Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida. Burt and Verona are only a couple months away from parenthood, when Burt's parents (Jeff Daniels and Catherine O'Hara) announce that they're moving to Europe for two years -- before the baby is born.

Since being close to Burt's parents (Verona's are dead) is the only reason they've stayed in Connecticut, Burt and Verona decide to hit the road, visiting friends, siblings and relatives around the country, auditioning potential new places to relocate.

That's what happened in Flashdance, too: ethnically ambiguous characters in movies often get no family because you would have to admit that they aren't white, as I have mentioned before. The most egregious rendering of this in my recollection was on One Tree Hill when Haley's parents, sister, and son all ended up being white people, even though Haley is clearly not a white person.

In conclusion, I will probably see the movie anyway. Also, John Krasinski: what is up with that beard?