Friday, March 28, 2008

Boys Vs. Girls II: Attack of the Clones

While tracking the progress of the Leslie Bennetts op-ed piece across Technorati (because I'm bored like that), I ran across a real humdinger of a "me too" blog post. I was going to bold the "phrase that pays", but I'll leave that as an exercise to the reader: see if you can tell where this person's train of thought jumped the tracks for me.

Just like evangelicals in the Republican Party, older women in the Democratic Party have been expected to work for the party, vote, and go away. It's not going to be that simple any more.

We want representation, just like evangelicals in the Republican Party do. We're no longer willing to be silent partners who don't expect to have a voice.
Pardon me? Is this analogy implying that evangelical Christians don't expect to have a voice in government? That an influential bloc of evangelicals didn't in fact hijack the party and have been exceedingly influential in shaping the rhetoric and policy decisions of the past three decades? Do you seriously think same sex marriage or abortion would be red alert issues if the GOPs weren't thoroughly cowed by the power of God's People, if they expected the Christian community to sit back and take it? Those protests don't happen by themselves, you know. Fundamentalists aren't just working for the Republican party, they're working the party for their own ends. Sometimes the process works better for them than others, but you deny their influence on politics and American life at your own peril.

I see what this poster was trying to do, but that specific comparison doesn't help your case...if you're talking to liberals, that is, which is the probably the main group that would listen to a "conspiracy of the patriarchy" theory in the first place (full disclosure: I lean to the left, but not that far). This is the reason I usually end up editing my posts several times after they go live; words are all I have here, and they're too valuable to get wrong.

To sum up (and hopefully this will be my final word on this distraction): please let this meme die, because the further away it gets from the source, the dumber it makes us all. Just like the "pubic hair on the Coke can" derailed serious discussion regarding the qualifications and positions of Clarence Thomas, the gender issue is (brace yourself) beside the point when it comes to considering Clinton's qualifications and positions. This is too important an election with too many things at stake (not to mention too many lives on the line overseas and too many livelihoods on the line at home) to turn into a referendum about off-color jokes involving women with power. YOU'RE NOT HELPING.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Boys Vs. Girls, or "So It's Come To THIS"

On Wednesday's Talk of the Nation, Leslie Bennetts contributed to one of the most astoundingly wrong-footed political segments I've ever heard on an NPR station, basically expanding on her recent L.A. Times op-ed piece. The theme was insultingly simplistic: Hillary is getting the runaround because she's a woman, and the punditry is dominated by men. Seriously. That was her entire argument in the Times piece and on Talk of the Nation. Apparently she bases this patriarchal conspiracy theory on a non-sequitur joke from last season's South Park, a lame novelty nutcracker, and some stupid thing Rush Limbaugh said. And really, who didn't see that last one coming? (Let's ignore for the moment that Rush actually wants Hillary to tough it out because he believes an even more prolonged and ugly Dem primary season will help McCain in the fall.)

There are many reasons I can't stand Senator Clinton and her campaign. None of them have to do with the lack of a Y chromosome. I'll choose a few at random:

  • Sen. Clinton planted herself on the wrong side of a few hot-button issues: She was for NAFTA, until it was convenient to be against it (unless she isn't really against it). There was also that speech she made in support of Bush's blank check for Iraq back in '02, which simply won't go away, especially after 4,000 dead soldiers. Yes, a lot of people didn't ask the right questions at the time. No, that doesn't give her a free pass. Especially for a candidate who's been making huge noises in recent weeks about her extensive foreign policy experience.
  • The Clinton camp has struck a consistently sour and combative tone not only against Obama but against the parts of the nomination process that didn't automatically favor Hillary (here's a hint: don't say "caucus" when she's in the room). It gives me an uneasy feeling that they're laboring mightily to game the system under the guise of "making every vote count".
  • Hillary's speaking style makes me wonder if she's sincere about anything. That probably shouldn't mean anything, but dammit, it does.
  • When the Clintonistas go negative, the results make me feel especially unclean. The Geraldine Ferraro comment is a particularly on-the-nose example of this, but I especially can't shake that campaign appearance where she seemingly mocked the concept of hope (and may have burned the bridge to the elusive youth vote, where Obama has been playing especially well).
But no, according to Bennetts, none of the above comes into play because I'm a guy, which means the real reason I can't tolerate Senator Clinton is that in my evil heart I believe Hillary needs to be in a house dress baking cookies for her man, or some bizarre nonsense. There can't be any other reason.

As for Ms. Bennetts' comment that nothing like the infamous "iron my shirt" heckle would be thrown at Obama (as if nothing bad ever happens to a black man in this country), how soon we forget that during his first Senate campaign the GOPs made the jaw-dropping decision to insert Alan Keyes as Obama's opponent, leaving me with the impression that they thought the electorate was stupid enough to be confused by two black men on the ticket. Of course, it was Alan frickin' Keyes, so the resultant campaign was good for entertainment value, even if the result was never even slightly in doubt.

It would be wonderful to have nuanced discussions about these issues in the media, rather than the shrill squabbles that pass for discussion in the commercial media. Usually NPR is about the only place where you can count on something like that in the course of a day, but sadly Wednesday wasn't the day. Thursday might not be good either, but I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Voice of Murtha: The Voice of Gladness?

(Yeah, nobody will get that title...did you have a better one?)

Our own Skaboomizzy--you know, the guy that never posts here, even though he can--has posted to the DailyKos his own personal analysis of what the Jack Murtha endorsement means for the Clinton campaign (tl;dr version: not a lot, really).

Equally enlightening are the tiny handful of comment field counterattacks which take him to task on smears he didn't write; the one implying he's another Karl Rove is wonderfully delusional. It's a damn shame that, given the signal-to-noise ratio of the modern political process, people who want to actually think the Important Things through get squelched by kneejerk reactionaries, who are much sexier to the supporters of the 24-hour news cycle. I can't say this often enough: one of the major enemies of reason is the group of people who tell you what it all means before they have a handle on what "it" actually is.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It's About Missed Opportunities...And Floods...And Maybe The Hall of Presidents...

Yeah, I know McCain is the standard-bearer for the Republicans in '08, and I suppose they could've done worse, but really, do you have a snowball's chance in Hell of getting anything like this out of the Johnny Mac campaign?

Do you?


Screw it, I'm voting Obama...

He is survived by his ex-wife and a freaky-ass Space Baby...

Arthur C. Clarke died today in Sri Lanka.

He was 2001 80 years old.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dragging Kentucky Out Of The 21st Century

Kentucky State Representative Tim Couch wants to outlaw anonymous posters online because of some recent high-profile cyberbullying cases ending in suicide, and he wants to do it by fining webmasters who don't keep accurate information on all users.

Basically, Rep. Couch (Hey kids! A Republican legislator who doesn't understand the Internet! What a novelty!) would like to step on the concerns of whistleblowers, victims of hate crimes and molestation, and other people who genuinely need a shield to preserve their safety in tough times so that he can band-aid the booboos of east Kentucky kids who had somebody be mean to them on the Internet. His brilliant plan to save the children online is by forcing them to attach their real names and addresses to everything they do online. Putting aside the profoundly clueless idea that bullies won't bully you if you know where they live (never stopped real-world bullies in high school), the pedophile lobby must be huge in the Bluegrass State. The men who show up at Chris Hanson stings have wet dreams about a law like this. Also, have you ever run across somebody online who said they'd kick your ass if they could find you? Well, now your address is right there. See you in fifteen minutes, punk!

If I was a Kentucky taxpayer (Drew Curtis, I'm looking at you), I'd be salty as holy hell this is the face your state legislature presents to the world. But back to the Ky. Rep.: good luck enforcing your parochial little statute across state lines. Or internationally. Or even inside Kentucky, really. I guess I'm saying to Rep. Couch that he's coming across as a dangerously ignorant tool of monumental proportions, so take that worthless bill off the floor and fade back into obscurity. If he's not one of Keith Olbermann's Worst People In The World tonight, it'll be like finding out there's no Santa all over again.

(Full disclosure: I'm a North Carolina citizen posting through a service whose main point-of-presence is in California (or is it India? See, sometimes it confuses me, too...). )

Thursday, March 06, 2008

So Does That Mean Ron Paul Is Yosimite Sam?

My last post for this 24 hour period comes from (via Cartoon Brew) and is about the Looney Tunes theory of presidential politics. How it relates to the current race: Barack Obama is Bugs Bunny and Hillary Clinton is Daffy Duck. And Bugs Bunny always wins.

I thought it was especially important to whip this one out today, since Tuesday night the GOP nomination was handed to Elmer Fudd...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

3 A.M.

(Another thing Matt (who, for the record, is an Obama man) threw out in chat but is now too beyond blogging to put up himself.)

It's 3 a.m.

Your children are sleeping.

But in the White House, a phone is ringing.

It's Mike Gravel.

He's lost his pills and is in the bus station.


When that phone rings, don't you want someone who can go pick up a delusional, jabbering Mike Gravel at the Greyhound depot?


For a Tooth

And now, via Suzdal-festivalo de rusia animacio, something to wipe that taste of those Michael Musto pictures out of your mouth...a short film about hygiene procedures and parallel worlds.

Boring ol' credits:
Original title: Назубок ("For A Tooth", if I'm translating the original post right)
Director/script/design: Artem Lukichev
Sound: Dmitri Milovanov
Producer: Alexander Gerasimov

He ain't Marilyn, but neither is Lindsay quite yet...

When I stop talking, it takes a little bit of grease on the wheels to get me to start posting again...well folks, this stunt by Michael Musto for the Village Voice did the trick. Hmm, looks like there's an article attached (about semi-naked starlets who don't seem to do much else, and how they all think they're Marilyn Monroe), but somehow, these terrifying photos have erased my ability to read. And still I can type. Weird. Hope somebody will proof this for me...