October 9, 2009
The example of Murphy Brown should not be practiced by those who propose to defend Family values.
Hey there, Mr. or Ms. Freeper! I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but the season in which Murphy Brown — a fictional character, I feel I should point out — became a single mother happened almost twenty years ago. You might want to try out this newfangled thing called getting the fuck over it.
I s’pose I might as well be talking to my shoes on that point, though, no?
August 28, 2009
If you listen to NPR’s Morning Edition or read Shakesville faithfully, then you’ve already heard the news that Reading Rainbow is going off the air after a 26-year run. It’s not happening because LeVar Burton wants to retire (though who knows; maybe he does) or because every child in the US is so excited about reading that it’s no longer necessary. Here’s why it’s happening: Read the rest of this entry »
March 27, 2008
On Thursday, March 20, 2008, Jay Leno welcomed as his guest on The Tonight Show the actor Ryan Phillippe, who, early in his career, played a gay character on the daily soap One Life to Live. During the interview, Leno hounded Phillippe, telling him to look into the camera, pretend it was his “gay lover…Billy Bob,” who “has just ridden in shirtless from Wyoming” (still milking the Brokeback jokes), and give it his “gayest look.”
The reaction: My Gayest Look
And while we’re being a bit cheeky about all this, our message is dead serious: A 2005 study by GLSEN found that 90% of LGBTQ teens had been harassed or assaulted during the previous year. They were three times as likely as non-LGBTQ students to say that they do not feel safe at school and remain at increased risk for bullying, assault, and suicide. That doesn’t happen in a void. Gay jokes are not harmless; they contribute to a culture in which institutionalized homophobia has tragic consequences. We want Jay Leno to know that we, LGBTQ people and their allies, are not amused.
February 10, 2008
I don’t mind admitting that I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. It’s a holiday that’s centered around generic ideas of romance, of courtly love, of The Way Your Romantic Life Is Supposed To Be, and so it bothers me on a number of levels. Still, I’ll be happy come February 14th, because the arrival of the day itself means that the aggressive marketing for flowers, candy, and jewelry that comes with the holiday will cease, and we will — in theory, anyway — get a bit of a break before the aggressive marketing for flowers, candy, and jewelry for Mother’s Day begins.
Today, however, I came across the worst TV commercial for Valentine’s Day jewelry I’ve ever seen. It was comparable to the Family Guy diamonds commercial, and was perhaps worse because it was longer, and it was actually a serious commercial, put out by JCPenney. (I couldn’t find the ad on YouTube, but for the time being, anyway, you can see it on their website; it’s linked in the right-hand column.) It shows two or three men holding up heart-shaped pendants, then swinging them back and forth in the style of a hypnotist. In soothing voices, they give the recipients of the necklaces what are at least meant to seem like post-hypnotic suggestions: “You love how it looks. You think I’m the perfect man,” and “You are very happy with me right now.”
And then it ends with the line “Today’s the day everyone gets what they want” written on the screen.
The implications of this commercial made me exceptionally uncomfortable. On the one hand we have the idea of men hypnotizing their significant others to make the latter appreciate the former more. On the other hand we have men buying jewelry (a bribe, anyone?) for their significant others for the same purpose. Either idea would bother me, but together, they’re so much worse. And I wonder, who thought this was a good idea for a commercial? It doesn’t paint a flattering portrait of people who enjoy Valentine’s Day and celebrate it in traditional ways. “Everyone gets what they want”: women get a piece of inexpensive jewelry, and men get women whose esteem can be bought with a piece of inexpensive jewelry. So, ultimately: what the hell, JCPenney?
January 29, 2008
Not that I’m obsessed or anything…
|Which sci-fi crew would you best fit in with? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com
|You scored as Serenity (Firefly)You like to live your own way and don’t enjoy when anyone but a friend tries to tell you should do different. Now if only the Reavers would quit trying to skin you.
Also? I can kill you with my brain.
January 17, 2008
Because I have a great love for absurdity — here’s the Swiss Family Robinson:
and Robert Goulet:
November 8, 2007
A handy video [via Shakes] that explains why writers are striking:
And here, Joss Whedon takes the New York Times to task for its unsympathetic coverage of the strike. A sampling:
“The trappings of a union protest…” You see how that works? Since we aren’t real workers, this isn’t a real union issue. (We’re just a guild!) And that’s where all my ‘what is a writer’ rambling becomes important. Because this IS a union issue, one that will affect not just artists but every member of a community that could find itself at the mercy of a machine that absolutely and unhesitatingly would dismantle every union, remove every benefit, turn every worker into a cowed wage-slave in the singular pursuit of profit. (There is a machine. Its program is ‘profit’. This is not a myth.) This is about a fair wage for our work. No different than any other union. The teamsters have recognized the importance of this strike, for which I’m deeply grateful. Hopefully the Times will too.
Finally, regular updates and lots of information are available at the United Hollywood blog — which is where the above video originated. I learned through that blog that the WGA actually conceded the demand for the additional 4 cents (i.e. 0.6% instead of 0.3%) on DVD sales at the eleventh hour, to no avail.
I don’t mind watching reruns (even if this goes on as long or longer than the 1988 strike: 22 weeks — and 22 weeks without The Daily Show during election season would seriously suck) and waiting longer for movies I want to see if it ultimately means writers will get paid more.
October 31, 2007
Animated version, read by James Earl Jones:
Text below the fold: Read the rest of this entry »
October 4, 2007
If any of my readers ever wondered where I got my name, here’s the answer:
I can see the music…
September 17, 2007
Excerpts from posts I think my readers would be interested in. If the paragraphs I’ve posted here catch your attention, then please go read the rest (and you might even tell them who sent you).
On or related to the Jena 6:
- This is nearly two weeks old now, but still worth reading — Do you understand where you are? :
There was a note about the local nightspots. Namely, that there were none. Save for the juke joint down the road a piece across from the “Fish Shack”, and of course, the few spots some 35 minutes away in Wilmington. But one of the note’s points of interest got some of the young people going. It stated, that after 8:00 P.M., NO ONE WAS TO GO DOWN ACROSS THE RAILROAD TRACKS, PAST THE GREEN HOUSE (an actual green-colored house), AS THAT WAS THE DEMARCATION LINE BETWEEN FREE-GOING COUNTRY, AND KLAN TERRITORY.
Doing so was, according to the note, “tempting fate” and “taking your life into your own hands”.
Many of the assembled—particularly the younger ones, were agog at this special note, thinking it was a.) a joke, b.) a silly wive’s tale, and worst of all, c.) an open provocation to their God-given right to flex their northern-bred muscle and “rights”. After much clamor, older relatives prevailed upon the upset youngers, and implored them to please observe the warning. It was not a frivolous one.
On a related note, Blue Gal’s vlog for the week tackles the racism inherent in certain white attitudes, not to mention the phrase “the suspect was an African-American male.”
On the sexism front, Echidne of the Snakes tackles a speech to the APA entitled “Is There Anything Good About Men?” I encountered this speech a few weeks ago and reacted, emotionally speaking, similarly to EotS, but had a harder time articulating what bothered me about it (aside from, “Women improvise less when playing jazz? Really? Erm, how about Ella Fitzgerald?”). Luckily, EotS is articulate enough for the both of us (and then some, I’d say):
That men are both better and worse than women, according to Baumeister, is because men are more likely to be found in the tails of various test distributions, even if the average scores are the same for men and women. This means that there are more men in the upper tail, and it is those men who run everything and build the boats they then take out to make discoveries and to amass treasure which they then take back home and get to mate with most of the women. The guys in the lower end are the ones who commit murders and such and never get to mate at all. But almost all women get to mate, you see?
Ok. Let’s do that again: HISTORICALLY speaking, the men in the upper tails of various distributions were more likely to build the boat and bring back the treasure and mate with all those women. That’s why today’s men should be ON AVERAGE better than today’s women if Baumeister’s argument made sense. But it doesn’t have to make sense, so men and women are still equal on average in various abilities but men are more likely to be really bad or really good. The only way all this would make sense is if men started a lot less able than women and only slowly, over centuries, managed to crawl up the frequency distributions. OOPS. We don’t want that.
So let’s tell the same story about motivations! Yes, that’s the ticket, because there is no way of properly measuring motivations or their environmental component, so discussing the evolutionary inheritance of motivations by gender will work! Never mind about the genetic explanation for such an inheritance. We’ll worry about that later.
In entertainment news, Liss watched the Emmys so I didn’t have to. Normally I like the glitter and spectacle of award shows, but I just couldn’t be arsed about the Emmys. Sounds like I didn’t miss much outside of the Holy Trinity of the Church of the Fucktologists.