November 11, 2011
Discussion of the recent revelation of events at Penn State has been happening everywhere, and a lot of people are saying really smart things on the subject. Plenty of people are saying stunningly ignorant and/or hurtful things, too, which is why I wanted to highlight one of the best things I’ve read on the subject. Guess what—it’s from the Onion:
Given the delicate situation, sportswriters said they felt the need to tread lightly and initially only asked victims how they thought Paterno might be feeling during this difficult time. They then followed up with more substantial questions about being exploited and preyed upon by a sexual deviant, such as how the victims thought their being pinned against a wall while Sandusky assaulted them might hurt Penn State’s 2012 recruiting class; how covering up a systematic pedophile victim-grooming pipeline, in the form of youth football camps, might damage the culture of winning Paterno worked so hard to establish; and whether they were worried about the mental state of the team heading into Saturday’s game against Nebraska.
That is some fiercely incisive commentary right there.
April 9, 2010
This headline just about caused me physical pain: Obama Sasses Palin on Nuclear Policy.
Now, you know and I know that journalists often have no control over their headlines. And indeed, I don’t claim to know much about Newsweek’s “The Gaggle” blog in the first place. And furthermore, I know some folks have gotten awful sensitive when it comes to calling verbal attacks against the President “racist.”
All that said: we’re going to say that the Black dude sassed the white lady? Seriously? Y’all have noticed that he’s the President of the United States, right? Or is he still supposed to “know his place” in spite of that little detail?
[Tip of the oh-so-post-racial tiara to Sadly, No!]
January 14, 2010
Feministe has a post up detailing a variety of ways to send aid (predominantly in monetary form) to Haiti. Please check it out, and be sure to read the comments as well, where there are some helpful follow ups as well as some good suggestions for the long haul—since Haitians will be struggling with the aftermath of this earthquake long after it has disappeared from the mainstream news cycle.
Also, I would just like to state for the record that Pat Robertson can fuck directly off.
November 4, 2009
By a narrow margin, Maine voters have rejected the legislature’s decision to allow same-sex couples to marry in that state. I’m heartbroken, I’m frustrated, and to be honest, I’m confused. I have heard the arguments against legalizing same-sex marriage, and while I suppose I understand them on an intellectual level, on a gut-deep, visceral level? They’re truly beyond me. Read the rest of this entry »
September 30, 2009
A friend of mine has a bumper sticker on her car that says, “I support democracy in Iran.” Now, obviously I agree with that statement, and I understand her motivations for putting the sticker there. However, sometimes the trouble with bumper stickers and bumper sticker-style statements is that they can come of as sounding exclusionary. “I support democracy in Iran” — but what about, say, Honduras, or Taiwan, or Liberia? I think it’s safe to say that my friend supports democracy in other countries as well, but I can’t help but be reminded of the media coverage of the Iran election and fallout versus the media coverage of election- or democracy-related unrest and violence in other countries. As other bloggers before me have discussed, it strikes me as problematic.
I thought of the Iran coverage yesterday when I came across an AP article discussing pro-democracy protests in Guinea:
CONAKRY, Guinea –‘s government said Tuesday it would investigate why troops opened fire on protesters at a pro-democracy rally. A said 157 people were killed and more than 1,000 were injured.
While saying it would investigate, the government continued to maintain that the protest was illegal. It also said far fewer people died than reported.
Hospitals were flooded with patients Tuesday, and the death toll rose through the day.
fired on 50,000 people at the main football stadium Monday, shattering hopes that this West African country was shedding the yoke of dictatorship.
Some of those at the rally, upset that a military officer who seized power in a December coup might run for president in January elections, had chanted: “We want true democracy.”
I don’t watch much TV news, particularly since right now we don’t have MSNBC, otherwise I would no doubt be watching Keith Olbermann’s and Rachel Maddow’s shows on a regular basis. That was true in June, too, though, and I still heard tons about the post-election unrest in Iran. As far as I can tell, people aren’t talking about the unrest in Guinea the same way, and I can’t help but wonder why not. I don’t have any firm thoughts on the matter, just vague ideas, the bulk of which were already covered in the Feministe link above. At any rate, though, I wanted to call attention to this story, and state that my thoughts are with the pro-democracy protestors in Guinea, along with others around the world who are struggling to create or maintain governments of, for, and by the people.
August 26, 2009
“[L]et us resolve that the state of a family’s health shall never depend on the size of a family’s wealth.”
–Senator Ted Kennedy, from his his 1980 address to the Democratic National Convention
Senator Kennedy was a complex figure indeed, even if one ignored his personal life*. Nevertheless, he helped Congress make a number of great strides toward progressive ideals**, and I expect his loss will be especially palpably felt (and has been felt already) during the continuing health-care-related struggles. I wish peace and comfort to his family and friends.
*I realize, of course, that that “even if” is pretty damn loaded.
**Hyperbolic? Oh, most definitely. After all, this is a memorial.
August 12, 2009
Okay. So. The kerfuffle involving Secretary of State Clinton “snapping” at a Congolese student who asked her what former President Clinton thought about something. (Here’s one article on the subject, with a rather unfortunate title, that I picked up off of Yahoo’s front page this morning.) Um… why is this an issue? Because it feeds into the popular narrative of Secretary Clinton as a termagant ball-breaker? Let me tell you something about having people ask what your husband (or boyfriend, or male partner) thinks of something you do in your professional life or the public sphere in general: that shit is irritating. It puts me in mind of one of the arguments against giving women the vote: the idea that a woman would just vote the way her husband (or father, or other male authority figure) told her to, effectively giving him multiple votes. (It also puts me in mind of the question Radical Vixen has to field on a regular basis, in reference to her sex work (site generally NSFW): “Your husband lets you do that?”) It’s a reminder that as much as a woman might have achieved, as much as she is working toward, she is still considered less than a man to a large portion of the world population. Questions like “what does your husband think about that?” — however innocently they might be posed — nevertheless carry that baggage, and are likely to provoke anything from eye-rolls to frustration.
Personally, I think Clinton responded in a diplomatically appropriate way (and I certainly appreciate that between nerves and translation, what the student intended to ask might have differed significantly from what was ultimately asked), particularly given some of the points Liss addresses here. In the end, I hate that the State Department is having to justify her response, and that that is what’s making the front-page news. Is that really the only majorly newsworthy aspect of Secretary Clinton’s trip? (The answer to that question, of course, is a resounding no…)
(ETA: Check out Tami’s post on the subject; she said it better than I!)
June 4, 2009
So much has happened lately: the issues of torture and the abuse of detainees continue to rear their ugly heads. President Obama nominated Justice Sotomayor for the Supreme Court (and the wingnuts, predictably, went completely batshit) on the same day the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8. Dr. George Tiller was murdered. On all of these subjects I tend to find myself vacillating between being at a complete loss for words and babbling incoherently, and ultimately I feel like there’s really nothing I can say that others haven’t already said better. I’m not a journalist; I need time to let things stew before I can adequately articulate my thoughts and feelings. To wit, when Evil Bender told me on Sunday that Dr. Tiller had been murdered, first I said, “No,” partly disbelieving him entirely and partly hoping Tiller had been shot and rushed to the hospital and had been thought to be dead but would actually turn out to be alive. My next response was to tear up and say, “Motherfucker.” Neither word makes for a particularly substantive blog post.
Okay, so why am I going into this now? Well, something goofy came across my desk this morning that I thought would make for a nice lighter-side post, but I was concerned that without having at least acknowledged the other things going on in the country these days, it would come off as insensitive (at the least) and/or as if I’d been living under a rock. So. There we are.
April 24, 2009
I’ve not made much of a secret in my offline life of my feelings for our local newspaper, the Topeka Capital-Journal: I’m not a big fan. I think it’s biased and poorly written/edited. (Check out an example that made it to the blogosphere a couple of months ago here.) As much as I’d like to support local print news, then, I tend just to ignore the CJ. Sometimes, however, it’s difficult to avoid; today while I nuked my lunch I glanced at the front page of a copy that had been left on the break room table. The top two stories focus on Governor Sebelius and the national spotlight that’s currently shining on her. It only took a few sentences for the top of my head to come flying off (emphasis added):
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ decision to veto Thursday a bill amending Kansas law on late-term abortions occurred at a critical juncture in her bid to become a Cabinet secretary in the administration of President Barack Obama.
Sebelius, who supports abortion rights but says she personally opposes the method of birth control, said the vetoed legislation likely would have been ruled unconstitutional by federal courts.
Now, maybe they’re paraphrasing words Sebelius herself used, but a cursory search makes me dubious that that’s the case. I think that sentence conflates — whether deliberately or unintentionally — abortion (the termination of a pregnancy) with contraception (the prevention of pregnancy). At best, it’s clumsy. At worst, it reflects an anti-choice bias. Either way, it frustrates me. And the thing is, I do think it’s possible to report on this issue without writing things that make my head explode (see this article from the Wichita Eagle). So — what gives, CJ?
April 23, 2009
Yesterday Allen Ray Andrade, the man who brutally killed Angie Zapata, was found guilty on all four of the counts with which he was charged, which included first degree murder and bias-motivated crime. The jurors rejected the “trans panic” defense (the idea that Andrade killed Zapata in a fit of angry passion after discovering that she was trans). It breaks my heart that, as much as the verdict may feel like justice, it won’t bring Angie back. Nevertheless, I’m stunned — in a good way — that the jury found him guilty.