Thursday, March 31, 2005

Ode To Tom DeLay -- Song Parody

I've finally finished writing my Tom DeLay song parody, Ode To DeLay, which you can sing to "To All The Girls I've Loved Before." Here's how it begins:

A Rep whose name is Tom DeLay,
He breaks the rules most ev'ry day.
He don't respect the law,
Thinks ethics are a bore.
'Tis time to show him crime don't pay.

Tom practices dishonesty.
Ignores the law with joy and glee.
Misused the FBI,
Golf junkets on the sly...

The rest of my Ode To Tom DeLay is here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

When is a Blogger *Not* a Blogger?

With all the debate in various MSM these days on blogging, two very interesting pieces came to my attention this morning:

Greg Lindsay of Business 2.0 writes about Tina Brown blogging on a group blog started by Arianna Huffington (here).

Are we all supposed to feel good about this? I'm not sure exactly how I feel about this any more than I feel about a bunch of techno-geeks sitting around and deciding what is or is not a read-worthy blog.

In another article, for Editor and Publisher, Joe Strupp reports that Jeff Gannon has been invited to the National Press Club to speak at a luncheon on (you guessed it) blogging (here.)

Seems that Gannon is now a spokesperson for blogging because he's been a blogger for 3 whole weeks! Talk about your Teflon-coated con artists!

My sense of things, though, is that all the recent debates about blogging have tickled the MSM to the point where those involved in the MSM are finding new and interesting ways to co-opt blogging for themselves. It's like an older sibling coming along and taking all the fun out of a simple game of jump rope just becasue she can.

Makes me want to punch Tina Brown right in the nose...not to mention what I'd love to do to Jeff Gannon....it would involve some clothespins and rope...and would bring new meaning to the term "hung out to dry."


Tish G.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Little Bitty Mother Goose Woman with Black Bag and Bible

It's been awhile since I've posted a crone story on my blog. I just don't run across them too often. But today I came across not just a crone story, but ...

the funniest. thing. I. have. ever. come. across. on. the. Internet.

Well, perhaps the two funniest things. Estrogen Month and Sweet Savage She-Blogger rock, Tild. But listen to this story and image your old age outings with friends.

If laughter is the best medicine, get ready for a cure. It's an audio file and it may take a while, but be patient. it's worth the wait:

http://www.goddessmystic.com/blog/voicemail.mp3

This takes place in or near Dallas, and our narrator sounds so much like my brother it takes me back to the East Texas of my youth.

Backstory (courtesy of ham & cheese on wry):

An operations manager for Jack in the Box called his boss to tell him he was running late for a meeting. As he was leaving the voice mail message, he witnessed an accident and went on to provide "play by play" of the incident. This is the actual voice mail message. It was forwarded so many times within Jack in the Box, it crashed their voice mail server.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Sweet Savage She-Blogger



Image hosted by Photobucket.comPeople do different things that enable them to unwind; to de-pressurize from whatever it is that's pressuring them in their daily lives, be it job, relationship, home situation, health worries, whatever.

Some people knit. Some people jump on a treadmill. Some people make fudge. Some people play Quake. Some people masturbate to the Victoria's Secret catalog. Some people drink a quart of scotch and pass out. Some people eat fudge, drink a quart of scotch and masturbate to the Victoria's Secret catalog while running on the treadmill, then get sick and pass out after they bonk their head on the rim of the toilet. Hey, whatever works for you.

At one very stressful job I had several years ago, we had a table and chairs set up in a quiet corner of the department, and on the table were a big stack of coloring books and several boxes of crayons. Whenever you needed to take a break from a screaming client or an impossible deadline you could retreat to the coloring table for a while and just... color. Stay inside the lines if you wanted to, or scribble all over the page from edge to edge. Hey, whatever works for you.

For various reasons, my life happens to be a pressure cooker at the moment, and I often find myself in need of a de-stressing activity. My activity of choice is doctoring up old magazine ads and pulp magazine and paperback covers. Paintshop Pro and MS Paint are my coloring books and crayons.

I must have been under extreme pressure lately, because my output of 'Tildified' pictures has increased dramatically. I decided to share some of them with you here.

Just think of this post as a virtual refrigerator door where my mom has put my latest creations on display; (all held in place by magnets shaped like ladybugs and green peppers.)

My subject for all of March, in honor of Estrogen Month, has been women bloggers. Who are they? Where are they? What are they doing? What do they want? (Besides Kevin Drum's head on a pike, that is. ...Right next to Matt Yglesias'.)

Elayne, Rox, Lauren, and Trish -- this one's for you:


Image hosted by Photobucket.com


Sheena-Blogger



The most excellent SB of Watermark and Blogging Blog informs that there is soon to be a conference on blogging and bloggers in her district of Blogistan out Montana way. She has put out a call for a cowgirl She-Blogger image to mark the occasion. I hear and obey, sister!


Image hosted by Photobucket.com


Calamity She-Blogger



Yikes. Bloodthirsty old bat, ain't I. Must finish with something a little milder; a little gentler. Lull 'em into complacency, I say....


Image hosted by Photobucket.com



No Cooties On Me



This post also appears over here.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Tsunami tragedy continues for women

An Oxfam International study, released Friday, on the tsunami which devasted south and southeastern Asia reveals that in some villiages of India and Sri Lanka, 80% of those killed in the tsunami were female. Those who survived are still suffering. "We are already hearing about rapes, harassment and forced marriages. We all need to wake up to this issue and ensure the protection, inclusion and empowerment of the women that have survived," says Becky Buell, Oxfam's policy director, in the India Times.

From CNN:
Sri Lankan women have reportedly been sexually assaulted in camp toilets and domestic violence is on the rise, the report found. Indian widows are now placed on the lowest rung of society where they can never remarry and must depend on their in-laws to survive.

Indonesian women, according to Oxfam and women activists, are being sexually harassed in camps, forced or rushed into marrying much older men and victimized by abusive Indonesian soldiers who reportedly have strip searched them.


As Margret Atwood theorized in The Handmaid's Tale, scarcity of women doesn't not increase their value in most societies; instead it further reduces them to the status of commodity to be sold, bartered or stolen. With what few assets they had now gone, women and female children are left to the fragile mercy of their male neighbors. This study shows just how thin the thread of civilization is.

Even if you made a donation in the early days after the tsunami, I urge you to dig deep and give again. It's going to take outside intervention to protect our sisters in Asia and that takes money. I made mine through Unicef, but there are many others still working. Give them a hand, please.

Terry

Friday, March 25, 2005

Air Force refuses to prosecute sexual harassment

As it turns out, this is my first post here. I don't know if it's against the rules, but I've cross-posted this because it makes me so f---ing angry!

Women are on the front lines with the men. Women are dying in combat with the men. Women are placing their duty to their country over their duty to their families, as are the men.

And yet the Air Force continues to ignore the sexual assault happening within their own ranks.

In a letter released Thursday by Acting Secretary of the Air Force Peter Teets to Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the Air Force revealed that it will not take administrative action against anyone as regards confirmed and repeated sexual assault at the Air Force Academy, RAW STORY has learned.

"The Acting Secretary of the Air Force has reviewed the Department of Defense Inspector General's (DoD/IG's) report and the Fowler report on sexual assault problems at the AF Academy," Teets wrote. "After considering all the facts and weighing all the interests at stake, the Acting Secretary found that no administrative action is warranted against those officers identified in those reports as bearing some responsibility for Academy's sexual assault problems."

"The Acting Secretary gave significant weight to their uniformly excellent and lengthy service and to the fact they were not intentionally or willfully derelict in their duties," Teets added. "He also found that any mistakes or misjudgments some of them may have made are mitigated by the complexity of the issues faced, the necessity of policy tradeoffs and compromises, and the difficulty of measuring program effectiveness."


Note: "confirmed and repeated sexual assault" -- the matters of fact are not in question. Some men committed repeated sexual assults, and now are going to receive no administrative action. So....go ahead and rape and harass women as long as you fulfill your duties. Physical assault (sexual or otherwise) is not important enough in the face of "policy tradeoffs."

"What the Pentagon clearly doesn't want to discuss, and what all Americans should know, is that women are being sexually assaulted on an ongoing basis in the military and at our nation's military academies by their colleagues," Slaughter continued. "Is this the best we can do for young Americans who put their lives on the line to protect our freedom?"

Leniency towards sexual assault in the military has long been viewed as standard practice.

A November 2003 article in The Denver Post noted that twice as many accused Army sex offenders were doled out administrative punishment as were court-martialed.

"In the civilian world, four of every five people arrested for rape are prosecuted," the Post noted. "Nearly 5,000 accused sex offenders in the military, including rapists, have avoided prosecution, and the possibility of prison time, since 1992, according to Army records."


Women can't win. If we don't step up to fight, then we don't deserve equality. So we step up to fight, without complaint, and we don't deserve equal protection under the law -- nor, apparently, any sort of concept of human dignity or honor.

Imagine what the military's response would be if it were men being sexually assaulted by other men. "Oh, that would be totally different! That's why we cannot have gays in the military!" they say.

So is this non-response to sexual misconduct and physical assault within their own institutions a passive-aggressive way to drive women out of the military?

Of course, when you have ludicrous sites like this one, that says:

Jessica Lynch was the victim of feminist zealots who have been pushing for deployment of women in dangerous combat areas


and has a long list of articles that warn of the dangers of "colocation," complain that women in the ranks are hurting promotion chances for men, women are making "boot camp into summer camp," women in the military are against Christian teachings, women who choose motherhood over military have greater worth....you get the idea -- with sites like that, and people believing that tripe, it's clearly a lonely uphill battle for any woman who chooses to serve her country without employing her womb.

You get a different perspective, however, from The Minerva Center, whose "Nonprofit Educational Foundation Supporting Study of Women in War & Women and the Military" actually deigns to treat the subject of women in the military without Christian and male chauvinist dogma. In their FAQ, they tell of Molly Pitcher:

Molly Pitcher is the name of a legendary figure of the American Revolution. She is associated with the Battle of Monmouth and since 1876 has been identified with a woman veteran of the war, Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley, who lived in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. As part of the centenary events of that year, an unmarked grave believed to be hers was opened and the remains were reburied with honors under a plaque declaring her to have been the real embodiment of the famous Molly Pitcher.

The central theme of the Molly Pitcher story is of a woman whose husband was wounded or killed while serving at an artillery piece at the Battle of Monmouth. She took his place to the admiration of the other soldiers who admired her courage and devotion to her husband....

The real woman, Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley was awarded a pension by the State of Pennsylvania in1822 "for services rendered" during the war -- this was more than the usual widow's pension which was awarded to soldiers' wives who marched with the army. So one assumes she did something special. But when she died there was no mention of a cannon or the Battle of Monmouth in her obituary. Historical sources do confirm that at least two women fought in the Battle of Monmouth -- one was at an artillery position and the other was in the infantry line. There is no evidence linking either of them to McCauley.

There is another woman veteran of the Revolution who received a pension from the Continental Congress for serving at an artillery piece during the Battle of Fort Washington. Her name was Margaret Corbin, and she is now buried at West Point. Some people believe she should be considered the "real" Molly Pitcher, but few people knew about her until long after the Molly Pitcher story was known to every school child, so she cannot have been its inspiration.


And yet today, more than 200 years after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, women are still harrassed, raped, assaulted by their own comrades -- with tacit sanction by the military. Apparently Duty, Honor, Country has no room for decency, responsibility or a code of conduct that doesn't wink and say, "Boys will be boys."

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Media Censors the Masses

(This post also appears on Intellectual Property and Social Justice, a new movement at the UC Davis School of Law.)

---

The Alliance for Community Media has declared a Media Democracy Week from March 20-26 (found through navigation on various links from this Ms. Musings post, reflecting on the 2005 Women and the Media Conference).

Sarah JonesThe media, of course, is a very powerful tool for shaping and challenging cultural norms, so carving a space within it is inherently a matter of social justice for those of us who have been historically marginalized on account of gender, race, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, political views, or other factors. A few years ago, poet-performer Sarah Jones composed a brilliantly scathing commentary of misogynistic music (listen to it here), which the FCC attempted to censor for “indecency,” since it clearly encouraged depraved behavior that would tarnish the wholesome legacy of big-label gems such as this. Jones’s song has probably reached out and touched more people at a fundamental grassroots level than would, say, a prestigious law review article. Breakthrough, an international human rights organization, also exemplifies the importance of media in promoting equality and subverting social injustices.

A massive disparity in distribution of wealth already concentrates access to and ownership of media in the hands of the powerful few, who are able to control the production of mainstream culture. But current intellectual property rights in media, music, Mickey Mouse, etc., also prevent most of us from democratically expressing ourselves in a meaningful way, such as by creating “derivative works” of these well-established products of culture from our own perspectives, and disseminating them for non-commercial use. Which, of course, is why it will become increasingly important to edify the public on the value of the Creative Commons approach and achieve a better semblance of a semiotic democracy.

Fortunately, blogs allow an avenue to get more voices out than do traditional forms of media (although, the conspicuous underrepresentation of female bloggers and bloggers of color among the “top blogs” and the outgoing links of “top blogs” is another matter to be duly addressed ;) ). Let’s do our part to promote some incisive and critical thought on the relationship between media and social justice.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Feminism, Visibility, and Peace

As Dave Letterman used to say, I am tired, but it is a good kind of tired...

feminism is not a dirty word Just finished up today's activities at the Center for New Words' 2005 Women and Media conference. And what a day! I served as a presenter fof two panel discussions, attended an extremely well-done seminar, and met a number of women who read AF&O-- thank you so much for coming!!! -- or whose own blogs are faves of mine. This was one superb day.

First up was my first session -- fiddling around with a crashed computer and an ultimately useless (for now) Powerpoint presentation forced me to miss the morning keynote. But the panel more than made up for it: In "Women Seizing the Online Space," the focus of the discussion was expanding and amplifying the voices of women in cyberspace. As Elayne Riggs anticipated in one of her terrific Estrogen Month posts, we did indeed talk a bit about supposedly invisible women bloggers (and Kevin Drum probably felt his ears grow a bit warm this morning). Joining me on the panel were AlterNet senior editor Lakshmi Chaudry, Women's ENews founder and editor-in-chief Rita Hensley Jensen (my hotel roomie), and Rosalyn Lemieux, who is an online organizer for MoveOn.org; the moderator was Tara Tidwell Cullen, who is managing editor of Cultural Survival Quarterly. All of these women had thoughtful things to say about increasing the presence and power of women online. Ultimately, it comes down to one thing: Getting women on the 'Net, giving them the confidence to express themselves openly -- among other women and in mainstream settings -- and using the power of the Internet to organize and find community.

When this session ended, I headed to "Start Your Own Blog in 90 Minutes," in which Christine Cupiaolo of Ms. Musings led a group of women through starting their own weblogs. In 90 minutes. I love truth in advertising. Now, I've been at this website/blogging thing for nearly a decade, so I didn't need to start one -- I just wanted the opportunity to meet my cybercolleague Christine face to face. The mission was accomplished most satisfactorily: Not did I get to connect with Christine, who did an awesome job, but I also learned about podcasting. And the goddess behind Echidne of the Snakes was there too -- what an honor that she came up and introduced herself to me. I am such a huge fan of her work.

What's so wrong with the F word? The next session was simply inspirational. The topic was "Out of Vogue: The Future of Feminist Publishing." Sitting on the panel with me were Jean Casella, former publisher and director of the legendary Feminist Press; Carol Anne Douglas, part of the editorial collective of the equally legendary radical-feminist newsjournal off our backs, Deepa Fernandes of Pacifica Radio (this young woman is so impressive, as is her commitment to the cause), and Amy Hoffman, an author and editor of the recently-closed Women's Review of Books. (We may see WRB return, goddess willing...) The discussion, moderated by Bitch magazine's Andi Zeisler, centered on how to revitalize publishing for, by, and about women (which, for our purposes, includes books, newspapers and magazines, the Web, and broadcasting). It was fascinating, running the gamut from debating the wisdom of collective vs. capitalist business models, to pondering the ways to meld old-school and third-wave girlie-feminist philosophies, to considering the voices of women in other parts of the world, and to other compelling topics -- including what future the "F" word may or may not have. More questions were raised than answers were found, but one thing is clear: As the decline in women's bookstores and publishing houses continues, the need for feminist publishing rises. Our assignment is obvious -- we must do whatever we must to keep women's words and issues in the public eye. And given the enthusiasm of the women in the room and the empowerment that came from the gathering, I have no doubt we will succeed.

After some lovely chats with Jaclyn and Gilda from the godsend that is the Center for New Words, writer EJ Graff offered a brief and moving tribute to Wanda Alston, the brilliant Washington, DC, activist and GLBT community liaison brutally slain earlier this week -- oh, how she will be missed. Fatigue then hit me like a falling anvil: Back to the hotel and to an awaiting computer.

Which brings me to now. I am soooo tired: My recent bout with pneumonia has left me absolutely depleted. But, as I said, this is a good kind of tired. I may be exhausted, but I feel energized as well. After a good nap, I feel as if I should be able to change the world for the better through the power of the pen. I pray a whole lot of women feel that way too.

get up stand up Tomorrow, WAM will present a caucus on turning our newfound inspiration into action (which means next week I will have lots of information for you, gentle reader, and much work for you to do). Afterward, I will hit Boston Common to take part in the Global Day of Action. Lots of folks took to the streets today to mark the second anniversary of the US's foul invasion of Iraq, but Beantown is among the cities taking action tomorrow. I feel privileged to be able to take part in the worldwide call for peace; marching in Boston rather than in my usual stomping grounds (NYC, DC, Baltimore) will be so cool. The peaceniks are coming! The peaceniks are coming!

Are you in the Boston area? Come out for peace. Are you elsewhere? Be sure to retaliate with world peace in your city of town. Whatever you do, DO SOMETHING.

Estrogen Month in Full Swing

Frustrated at male bloggers who say we don't exist or aren't popular or worth linking to? Looking to add to your blogroll of political pundits but tired of seeing the same topic discussed to death by the male political blogosphere? Come on over to Estrogen/Women in Blogging Month, being celebrated all March at my blog, where we're discussing and celebrating hundreds of worthy women bloggers! End of plug...

Friday, March 18, 2005

Why We Read Blogs--A Theory

I spent a better part of the past two days pouring over more information about the wonderful world of the Blogosphere, making special note of Dave Sifry's charts, graphs, and convoluted verbiage.

What's fascinated me most is why people read blogs in the first place.

What I've been able to determine, thru all the charts, graphs, and technospeak, is that men who are in the 6 figure plus income bracket, who appear to be the ones who surf blogs the most, are looking for news. Perhaps they are still peeved that, years ago, conservative uber-nerd Matt Drudge beat them to the political commentary punch. So, they spend many, many hours searching for the Savior of the Media--a liberal uber-geek to counter Matt Drudge.

It seems too that their reasons for being so consumed with blogs is that they have a major distrust of the MSM--as if they will not get "the scoop" or "the truth" from anywhere other than a site where the journalistic credibility is questionable. In psychobabble causality, this could be an indication of a problem with their fathers...or another manifestation of a political paranoia that has been steadily evolving since the days of the Kennedy assassination.

(The official stats on men who read blogs, strangely, did not note how many men search blogs for free porn...I found some info on that from my own little poking around on Technorati--pretty funny but not a surprise!)

Yet what I've also determined from a rather informal consensus of women I know who read blogs, is that women may read blogs not only for liberal newsworthiness, but also for insight into the human condition. Women want to find out how others think about love, sex, raising children, coping with careers, taking care of elderly parents, etc., etc. I don't believe we are as occupied with finding validation for our political perspectives in the blogs of others as men might be. Some of us may be looking for "the scoop," but we have time for other things, too.

We seem to enjoy sharing the experience of our lives with others in the Blogosphere--maybe in an effort to feel less alone on our life journeys. Perhaps we are hoping to find others who can relate to us when we are struggling with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune; or we want to make others laugh; or we want to be appreciated for our hard-earned perspectives on life. (Given the boom in memoir publishing since the 1990's, it's no surprise that there would be many diary/memoir blogs. These blogs are just as, if not more, well-written than those mighty whiny tomes bulking out various isles at the local Barnes and Noble.)

So, in all the charts and figures presented about the State of the Blogosphere, one important thing has been completely left out--the human condition endemic to blogging. But Sifry's a smart guy. Maybe, if given the challenge, he'll figure out a way to chart that too.

Tish G.
(whose Lucky Bastard narratives are far more intriguing than her political commentary--but you know what They say about opinions...)

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

We're Not Worthy! We're Not Worthy!

Been doing a bit more surfing this a.m. on women in the blogosphere....and found some interesting stuff:

...I discovered that there are several women bloggers who are weighing in on the merits of other women bloggers. To name two: our own Halley Suitt (whose observation on the impact of "white men" on the blogosphere I agree with--and whose tech knowledge I respect) has weighed in on this, as well as conservative pundit Michelle Malkin (whose opinion on Maureen Dowd I agree with, but little else).

It seems, to me anyway, that if women bloggers want to be taken seriously, even by other women bloggers, we must, at some point or another, blog on politics. I'm not sure if it matters whether or not our blogs are well-written or if the overall content is engaging and insightful, just as long as we stick in the occasional political or technological or business commentary. Even if that comment is something to the effect of "Alan Greenspan's a big old meanie--and he sucks too," it might get us a perusal from some dude (or chick) and up our blog's respectability quotient in the malestrom of the blogosphere.

This recent blog debate further highlights the problematic nature of blogs--as well as the need for various groups to identify what exactly a blog is and which of all the blogs are worthy of various ideological group's consideration. As we women engage in this debate and pass judgement on each other's blogs, perhaps we need to look at our own cliqueish nature/sorority mentality, how it, in its own strange way, mimicks the judgement values of the good-old-geek-boy network, and could end up being the cudgle that beats us back into voiceless obscurity.

Tish G.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

I have a slightly longer comment regarding women on op-ed pages and women bloggers at my blog....

Tish G.

Inquiring Minds Want to Know!

Occasionally I get a raging case of the Geeks and go poking around on various techie pages....and I find interesting things relating to the wonderful world of the Blogosphere. Check out what Technorati's Dave Sifry has to say about the State of the Blogosphere.

And, while you're at it, you might want to check out this little bit titled All the colors of the rainblog and the links to recent discussions on women and blogging which have come up since the recent heated debates about the derth of women on op-ed pages of high-profile newspapers.

I've been reading alot about these debates, and frankly I don't think Susan Estrich did us any good by attacking Michael Kinsley's health. That was a low blow that would make even a man look bad. When you're trying to make a point, and you've alread got a couple of strikes against you on what the good old boys might call 'general principle' you have to be very careful where you step, and Estrich stepped right in it (from what I can see).

But, overall, I think that using the blogosphere as a barometer for the women/op-ed pages argument is a little goofy. People blog for different reasons--some political, others not, and not all the others are on Livejournal either. There are many in the blogosphere who consider themselves ersatz journalists, while others just consider themselves political activists, and others neither of the above (myself in the third category). Women who should be on op-ed pages are, like the men, individuals who have established themselves not only as journalists but also overall as thinkers. Susan Sontag, for example, was much more than a journalist (although I don't think of Maureen Dowd as either a deep thinker or a journalist, but that's just one woman's opinion--and she's always blabbering in The NY Times).

So, maybe the question is where are the women thinkers? I wouldn't necessarily consider Estrich much of a thinker any more than I would Bill O'Reilly (and if he thinks with anything other than The Little Head, I'd be very surprised)--so I wonder, where are all the women thinkers?

or are we still just too damned busy picking up after the men and the kids and simply don't have the requisite time to fuss over our political navels like the guys do?

Tish G. (linked on
her blog)

Monday, March 14, 2005

Trish Wilson Celebrates Her Birthday With Style

Trish Wilson has found a delightful way to celebrate her birthday -- with a post she calls "Subvert The Dominant Link Paradigm" women bloggers edition.

Trish's birthday post is packed with links to terrific posts by women bloggers on feminist issues and other matters near and dear to them. It's well worth checking out, and I'd say that even if Trish hadn't included my Wonderbra song parody and my political song parody called "Nothin's More Revoltin' Than Dub's Nominee John Bolton."

So be sure to stop by and wish Trish a happy birthday, and check out all those links.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Sign the Petition

[This is also x-posted at Rox Populi.]

Help stop the FEC's heinous attempt to regulate free speech on the Internet by signing the Online Coalition's petition. Do it now, before you forget to do it.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Burning the Double Standard at Both Ends

Jamie Lee Curtis “came out” and exposed the kinds of trickery that the entertainment industry uses to make women look more beautiful in film and print. Why? Because at age 40+, she was through being poked, prodded, and starved to maintain a media friendly image. Kirstie Alley is stepping up to the plate to speak out against the same kinds of standards. What do these women have in common? They only chose to complain about these images and standards after they no longer met them. How can we blithely applaud them for their efforts against unrealistic expectations of beauty when they and other highly visible women achieved (and continue to achieve) wealth and success perpetuating them?

The same can be said for every over-forty actress heard voicing her disgust at the lack of juicy roles in Hollywood for women their age. How much effort was made by these women to thwart sexist ageism in Hollywood when people were lining up to take their picture? How many of them turned down roles because they had to play a much younger wife to a sixty year-old, Viagra chugging geezer? Does it occur to either Curtis or Alley that their efforts today would not be necessary if they and other women had not sanctified those potentially dangerous stereotypes to begin with? Those women are not standing up and saying "no" to someone else's stupid expectations. They're trying to sell empowerment because they can no longer sell their young, beautiful asses. Now, they're on our side? Give me a break. I'll let them play in my sandbox when I think it means something, not because it's their only other option.

When we bask in the reflected glory of false bravado, we can easily forget that unrealistic beauty standards are not only reinforced but celebrated because other women agree to meet them. As long as not-so-visible women and former media darlings are the only ones in the vanguard against an entirely unhealthy image of beauty, we're screwed. The world is saturated with images of young women who are so thin that they have to buy breasts. And it's only getting worse.

Fostering the illusion of eternal youth and beauty is worth it for famous actresses because at the end of the day, they know it is bullshit and they're getting paid a lot of money to pretend that it's not. I will stop doubting the sincerity and intentions of these babes when there are fewer shows like “Fat Actress” and more shows like “Thin Gorgeous Actress Eats a Ham Sandwich and Refuses to Pretend She’d Actually Sleep with an Old Skanky Bastard”.

Schizophelia Jones

Dubya's Democracy Occupation; and Friday Hometown Blogging

I often wonder how Bush says most of what he says with a straight face. For instance, here's Bush doing his stern act regarding Syria's occupation of Lebanon:
We want democracy in Lebanon to succeed. And we know it cannot succeed so long as she is occupied by a foreign power.
Such hypocrisy calls for a poem:
Dubya's Democracy Occupation
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Democracy cannot succeed,
Said Dubya with a glower.
In countries that are occupied
By mean old foreign powers...
The rest of Dubya's Democracy Occupation is here.

And in another post, I suggest Friday hometown blogging for bloggers who lack a blog-worthy cat. My first hometown blogging effort is A Baysider's Ode To Queens, which begins:
Both a county and a borough,
Part of New York City too.
On Long Island, yet not of it.
I'm confused as hell. Are you? ...
The rest of my Baysider's Ode To Queens is here.

Are bloggers journalists?

My fellow Blog Sisters, you should be aware of a case now being litigated in California which addresses whether bloggers are entitled to the same legal protections as traditional journalists. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has stepped in to represent the bloggers, has collected the briefs here. (Hat tip to How Appealing for the pointer.) The case has gotten a lot of news coverage lately, with recent articles in the San Francisco Chronicle and New York Times, among other papers.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

This is a world super-power?

Voted into the Hall of Shame this week are the Senate Republicans, who jammed through a bankruptcy "reform" bill while defeating amendments offered by the Democrats which would have protected the homes of senior citizens and others of the 50% of bankruptcy filers driven over the edge by medical bills, all while maintaining the "Millionaire's Exemption," which allows the wealthy to place their property in an assets protection trust which cannot be touched by the bankruptcy court.

From the Detroit Free Press:
Don't add to the costly ordeal of serious illness
March 1, 2005
Changes being sought in the bankruptcy code look even more ridiculous after last month's release of a study led by Harvard legal and medical professors. The research shows that fully half of those who file for bankruptcy hit the financial wall because of medical problems. Scary as it is, many Americans are just one serious illness away from financial ruin.

That pretty much punctures the credit-card industry's assertion that it's too easy to file for bankruptcy and that too many people use it as a way to run up debt and then dodge their duty.
[snip]
Among those struggling with medical problems, the Harvard study found, loss of income due to sickness or injury was as big a problem as mounting medical bills, and that affected care-givers as much as those suffering from the injury or illness. Most of the people in this category were middle class and three-quarters of them had health insurance when their health problems began.


Scarcely a week passes without a news story in print or on TV about a locally organized fund raiser for some resident who, even though insured, cannot summon enough cash to pay the deposit for cancer treatment for herself or her child. They are reduced to depending upon the kindness of strangers via coffee cans in convenience stores to obtain medical treatment. Now, thanks to the credit card industry lackeys in Congress, they will have no hope of having those debts forgiven. They will receive less consideration and mercy than the millionaire from Florida or Texas who ran up hundreds of thousands in debt flying to Paris and collecting yachts and mansions. Medical care is now deemed a luxury greater than furs and diamonds and oil wells.

At the same time, unnoticed by the rest of the industrialized world, on January 4, 2005 (page 5 below the fold in my local paper) Mexican President Vicente Fox announced that all Mexican children with cancer will receive fee treatment as long as they need it. Perhaps this bankruptcy atrocity will drive immigration in the other direction.

Now you tell me--which country should be considered a world leader?

Terry

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Fujifilm Digital Cameras - Digital Camera Showcase - Fujifilm FinePix F440

Fujifilm Digital Cameras - Digital Camera Showcase - Fujifilm FinePix F440
I want! I want!

Giuliana Sgrena comments

Giuliana Sgrena comments on their vehicle's speed, which the U.S. military had given as approaching the checkpoint at a high rate of speed....

Cominciano le prime ricostruzioni di quanto avvenuto ieri a Bagdad. «Non andavamo molto veloci, date le circostanze», ha detto Giuliana Sgrena, intervistata da Rai News 24. «Parlavo con Nicola, quando siamo stati colpiti da una pioggia di fuoco», ha aggiunto la giornalista.

Idyllopus

Putting the "Aaaaaaaaa!" in Anti-Choice

The oft-stated fear over the future of Roe v. Wade and reproductive rights in the US is not mere paranoia. The Bush Administration's renewed effort to stack the judicial deck with far-right, anti-choice judges appears to be under way -- and the plan the Shrubbies propose is nothing less than terrifying. Read the following, check out NARAL Pro-Choice America's new web film, and take a stand for women, for justice, and for freedom.

It's easy - and funny - to imagine Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as rights-stomping Judgezilla, but the reality of what
[Dubya] Bush and his far-right, anti-choice friends are planning for the Supreme Court is all too serious, and even scarier than a monster movie.

See the movie "Creatures from the Far Right: Supreme Court Under Attack" to see what I mean.

Seriously... in their zeal to pack the courts with anti-choice extremists, Bush and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) are manipulating Senate rules to take away the Senate's constitutional right to review and oppose judicial nominees. This so-called "nuclear option" would take away our most powerful line of defense against extremist judges: the filibuster.

If you value balance and moderation on our courts, and believe the Senate should carefully review judges who will be confirmed to lifetime appointments, Frist's plan is even scarier than our movie monsters -- and takes even more courage to oppose.

Please ask your senators to support important procedures that ensure that the Senate independently review the record and merits of each judicial candidate.
Take action to save the filibuster, which, right now, may be the only friend progressives have.

Meanwhile, MoveOn.org needs justice-minded folks to sign a petition urging lawmakers to stand against Bush's re-nomination of 20 highly partisan, pro-corporate candidates who were already rejected for the US Courts of Appeals. As the organization notes, they were stopped before, they should be stopped again. Please give the petition a look and, if you are so inclined, sign it.

from all facts and opinions

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Housekeeping

I'm going to be doing some housekeeping here at Blog Sisters next week. If you are missing a link to your blog on our blogroll, please let me know. If you'd like to be added to the list of women who post here, let me know that, too.

The Real Reason Condi Gave Canada The Boot

In my latest post over at Mad Kane's Notables I explain the real reason Condi gave Canada the boot. I also do some fun-poking at Condi-for-Prez fans, including those who are panting in anticipation of a Condi v. Hillary presidential race.

And while you're there, I hope you'll check out my Those Classy Right-wingers Are At It Again, in which I reveal which loony site named my Dubya's Dayly Diary its "retarded lib site of the day." Now that's what I call an honor!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

For Your Consideration

In celebration of Estrogen Month, Elayne Riggs is running a contest of sorts to identify female bloggers who deserve a wider readership and more links. So, hop on over and vote now.