Saturday, August 27, 2011

Candyman 187" High Off the Fame"

The above video is the first release for candyman 187 on his new cd.  This video is essentially about how we consume celebrities.  We don't even really understand them as people, they are simply entities.  This message really comes through when Snoop Dog enters the video with a potion that causes people to finally comprehend their actions.

Candyman 187 was raised amongst the chaos of “hood” politics, thus making the message of this song political. Socially we have a tendency to discard men of colour, and this is even more prevalent if they do not stem from a upper/middle class background.  It is fame that makes men like Candyman 187, Tupac Shakur (who btw was his mentor) or Trey Songz appear so attractive.  Alone on the street at night, they would be more than likely to be seen as a threat than anything else, based solely on race.

Candyman 187 claims to live by the motto of “I live hard, fight hard, love hard, and can’t give up,” and when we consider the low expectations of men of colour, what option does he really have?  The key word in that above sentence is hard.  Hard is what marginalized people must be to survive and even that is not a guarantee for success. I am fascinated by the people who are able to take everything the world throws at them and create something new and challenging.

In an attempt to revive the west coast sound of his past, he music has morphed, creating a perfect blend of West Coast bravado and East Coast lyricism. It's quite like coming in from the cold.

Candyman 187 has already won the Album of the Year and Artist of the Year at the Los Angeles Music Awards.  If he can continue asking questions rather and producing music that comes from his experience, rather than simply mimicking what is already out there, he will add something new and distinct to the genre.  I don't know about you, but I am ready from someone in this genre to inspire me to do more than get my groove on.  I want a return to when rap was fresh and new and had something significant to say.

Drop It Like It's Hot

Thanks again for a marvelous week of conversations everyone. I am so sorry about the light posting on the blog the last few weeks.  The boys are off school for the summer and I am trying to adjust to the new schedule while blogging.  Please be patient and hopefully things will be back to normal soon.

It has long been a goal of mine to make Womanist Musings a truly inclusive and intersectional site and I believe we are finally well on the road to that.  It is my hope that at least once a week all readers will see an issue that directly effects them discussed on the blog. I really want this to be a space for marginalized people to gather and discuss issues safely. We may not always get things right, but please trust that a good faith effort exists.

I am currently seeking someone to join the team to talk about issues related to fat activism.  I would like someone who feels comfortable talking about their own experiences, as well as taking an FA perspective to conversations around body image.  If you are interested in becoming part of the team, please send an email to womanistmusings (at) gmail (dot) com with two samples of writing and an explanation as why it is important for you to explore this issue. Please note, this is a non paid writing assignment.

As always, Womanist Musings retains its open guest posting policy.  If you are interested in sharing an original piece or work that you have previously published on your blog, please use the above email.  Please include a small three line bio, and an image that you feel best represents you.

As usual, below you will find links to stories that I found interesting this week.  A link does not necessarily mean endorsement, it simply means that something about the piece caught my attention.  Please show these bloggers some love and check them out.  When you are done, don't forget to drop it like it's hot and leave you link behind in the comment section.

It's Raining
The 'two Michele's': Obama, Bachman held to two different standards
David Starkey on rioting and Jamaican language
Islamic History and the Women You Never Hear About: Female Warriors
The Coding of Fatness
Letterman Fat Shames Kirstie Alley in Earthquake Top Ten
Why I Don't Want to Talk About Race
LOL Ricky Gervais Is Such an Asshole
Happy International Slavery Remembrance Day
Jennifer Hudson's Recent Weight Loss and Size Expectations of Women in Hollywood
Latino-indigenous Mexican divide stirs Calf. town
On respecting the boundaries of your bisexual friends
Wate-On: "True Beauty Includes a Full Figure" 
What If Bella met Bella? Or Wed, Bed and Bruised - But Certainly Not Equal (Musings on Women's Day through a Lens of Twilight) 

Editors Note:  A link on this page is not necessarily a sign of agreement with the post and as always, the comment section is read at your own risk.  Sometimes links are to problematic pieces that I did not have time to blog about, and sometimes it's because I found something interesting in the position but in either case, a link is not necessarily a sign of support. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

It's Friday and The Question Is.........

This weeks question is based on the following video from the Family Feud.  For those that aren't able to view the video please find the transcript below the fold.

When Black Women Sell Out: "It's Free Swipe Yo EBT"

The following video was uploaded to youtube last Friday and has currently been viewed 56, 044 times.  It is so hideous that I actually paused and thought about the extra exposure I am giving it by taking the time to write about it. Chapters describes the video as follows:
Keywanda is having the time of her life. Her job is raising her family of 10 children while dealing with the drama and stress of the childrens fathers. Thanks to the great state of California, Keywanda can support her lifestyle of having fun, getting "Turnt Up" and the kids can even get to eat from time to time.

Safety For The Rich

Dan Waters is a snarky 22 year old queer biracial wonderment who is part White, Portuguese, and Native American (Wampanoag-Kiowa). He currently lives in Massachusetts, and plans to become a Lawyer. That is, if he can survive Algonquin language classes and polyamorous dating right now! He also identifies as Two Spirit, and prefers male pronouns, but cherishes his female body that he was given graciously by the Creator. He blogs at Identity Exposure.

So my upcoming adventure to University and campus dorming, I have been concerned about safety. As per usual, I like to be prepared. For basic things like bandaids, Tylenol (even generic), anti-bacterial ointment, eye drops, and my Epi-Pen; the costs were racking up. I did get into some money from my grandparents which afforded me to update my CPR/AED and First Aid certifications to make me more applicable for certain workstudy positions on campus. The classes together cost $100 themselves, and while beneficial the cost is excruciatingly high for nothing more than a video session and a paper test and a non-laminated card.

In my pursuit of safety, my father suggested mace. So when I started looking around, I found out that mace and pepperspray cannot be mailed to Massachusetts. When I asked a friend if knife shops carried mace products, he explained you actually have to register for a Firearms Identification Card! Firearms? Really? Even though mace has left people possibly blind, I am pretty sure they are left breathing at the scene while a gun certainly wouldn’t. The applications were available at police stations. Okay, I said. I’ll go.

So I went to the nearest one to me, and they said I had to go to the MAIN police office down near my old high school is, on the other side of town. Great. Thankfully my mother had a car and a quarter tank of gas, because bus fare would have been up to 5 bucks to and back. So not only did I have to get the application, I thought I would be able to do it today and get it done. Instead, I have to fill it out and call to make an appointment. So that would have been 10 bucks down the drain, and another subsequent 10 dollars the day of the appointment.

Why Hill Harper Is Wrong About African-Americans and Wealth

'Hill Harper No.227' photo (c) 2010, U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv - license:

Hill Harper recently did an interview with Loop21 to talk about his recent fight with thyroid cancer and the issue of wealth in the African-American community.When I got to the following answer and response I simply had to pause.

What are the primary financial problems facing African-Americans?
Blacks have the least cross-generational wealth transfer. Each generation usually begins with little or no money. The best way to transfer wealth is life insurance.  Take out a million dollar life insurance policy on your children so they can have that money. Another problem is credit card debt. If the credit card read “Slave” then people would throw it away. If you want Visa or MasterCard buy their stock.
I have to say that I found his response extremely classist and ignorant of the history of Blacks and wealth.  The easiest way to transfer wealth through generations is home ownership, not insurance.  Insurance is an extra, but no matter who you are, you will always need a place to lay your head. I cannot believe that this man is touting life insurance, when there are people who don't even have health insurance. If you cannot pay to live, how can you pay to die?  Even though property values have tanked the same trueism that applied in 1900 applies today: real estate will go up in value over time eventually. My home was built in 1917 and originally sold for 1800 dollars, I can tell you that the cost of my home today has multiplied greatly.  Once a house is paid for, it can be sold, or simply provide a rent free place to live, which on it's own will allow people to save, even as its value continues to rise.

House ownership is originally how Whites passed wealth from generation to generation.  The fact that Blacks have systematically been excluded from purchasing homes has the greatest negative impact on wealth transfer.  Even today, banks are still impoverishing Blacks, or did he think that it was an accident that the majority of those spurious mortgages were given to Blacks, even when they had good credit? What about the fact that Blacks are routinely targeted with high interest credits because these companies know that the inability to pay back the debt will allow the to increase the debt exponentially with soaring interest rates?  The word for this practice is usury and finance companies have made it a practice to target Blacks.  Everything from high interest credit cards, secured credit cards, home loans, student loans, car loan, checks cashing places and payday companies all target visible minorities.

I love his advice to buy stock.  That must be such a nice option to have in his privileged life.  Credit isn't just a so-called slave problem. Credit is a problem for most of north America and this is specifically because real wages have fallen drastically behind inflation and the cost of living.  People are now working longer hours for less pay - that is when they can get a job. Many people fall into  revolving credit card debt simply to live, and if they had other options they would take them.  Is he aware that the recession -- no fuck that depression -- has hit Blacks harder than any other economic group, even when they are well educated? Hey everybody, call your broker and give him your grocery money to invest.

Harper has shown us exactly why you cannot talk about Blacks as a monolith.  While we all have to deal with racism, some of us have managed to accumulate class privilege.  It is this class privilege which has caused Harper to make these misguided assumptions.  There have not been any great gains throughout the generations because Whiteness has worked very hard to ensure that there aren't any.  It begins in school where they purposefully under educate you and try to make you feel ashamed of who you are.  If you manage to graduate and get into college with a full ride, you find out that you are not prepared to compete because they didn't bother to teach you how to write a fucking paragraph. Talk to any TA of a first year class and they will tell you the story.  If you manage to make it out of college, with  massive debt on your shoulders, then you have to deal with the rejections the moment people see an ethnic name on your resume, or realize as soon as you show up for the interview that you are Black.  Every single example I just gave is for a fortunate person.  Imagine how much harder things are for someone who did not get the breaks I mentioned above.

It's not that Blacks don't know that they should pay off their credit card at the end of the month, buy health insurance, life insurance, invest in a 401 K and pay off their homes.  They know - they know and it is infantalizing us to believe that we need to be lectured on this issue.  Good parents worry about  being able to send their kids to college and to help they get started in life.  They worry about having enough insurance, so they don't saddle their kids with funeral costs, but when you're poor, the vast array of options that Harper is touting are simply impossible.  The greatest proof of this can be found in a simple examination of the aftermath of Katrina.  People who had money got out, the people who didn't stayed, and some of them died. They paid for their poverty with their lives.

Finally, I don't give a shit that Hill went to school with Obama; he is out of touch with what is really happening out there.  I am sick of his paternalistic answers from everything to Black women and dating to Black people and finances.  Until he can suggest solutions that aren't a reflection of his various privileges, I would rather he just be silent.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dollhouse Season 1 Ep. 5 - True Believer

I knew that it's been awhile since by last review but honestly, there is only so much Dollhouse that I can take at any given time.  In this episode, Echo is used to infiltrate a cult because of a note claiming that people are being kept against their will.  I suppose that the viewer was meant to see the irony of someone who cannot consent, rushing off to save someone who is being denied consent, but it once again fell flat for me.

My first issue with the story begins with the intention to purposefully use Echo's eyes as a camera, while in the process making her blind. Ivy does her best to point out the danger that they are placing Echo in by saying, "there have been instances of this technology causing aneurisms and in one case death.  It's possible one good sneeze could bring on a seizure."  It's a true testament to how little Echo is valued, because Adelle responds with, "the risks have been determined to be within acceptable margins. How soon can she be read?"  Echo is considered to be one of their best dolls however, risking her death, or permanent injury to do a favor for a senator, is seen as perfectly acceptable.  The fact that it is a woman calling the shots, does not make the issue of a lack of consent any less troubling.

As a disabled person, I also find it extremely problematic to turn disability into a tool, because it obscures the ableism that people must face everyday.Though the choice was not made by Echo herself, an active choice was made by Whedon to take this approach.  Blindness is not a condition that one can choose or not choose at will, and when we consider that at this point in the show that there hasn't been a single disabled character, this episode is a mockery of our lived experience.
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Working (Or Not) on My Period

Eva Rivera is a proud lesbian Chicana, daughter, sister and sex worker who can walk in 6 inch heels and twirl naked on a pole in front of total strangers but is still viciously afraid of moths. You can catch her more of her here

Today I refuse to work. No glitter, no pink polyester, no hot lights. I am relaxing: reading a good book, calling up friends, and hanging out with my girl. Today is the one day out of the month that I choose not to work because I got my period this morning. When I started working at the strip club and now as a web cam model, I decided that I was not going to work on the first day of my period. I know that I have the privilege of making this decision and it's rare that we can just choose to take a day off. I've never had this opportunity at any other job. But now I have this luxury and I will not apologize for declaring the first day of my period a day of relaxation and reverence. I make some hot red raspberry leaf tea and borrow a good book from the library. I want to give my body this day to replenish and just feel good, because I can get so physically drained in front of that camera. I  work a regular work week- 4 to 6 days a week, 5 to 10 hours a day. I make exceptions the morning or night my period arrives and change my schedule around it.

The decision to work on my period is like a contract with my body. My body will agree to work the rest of the week (tampon string cut so it doesn't show), as long as I honor it by giving myself the first day. And I feel perfectly good with that. I try to respect and honor my spirituality, my history, my mind and my body and this is one ritual that I will hold on to for as long as possible, because it has fed me in a way that is unique to me and my relationship with my body.

Cherokee Expel Black Slave Descendants

When we think of slavery of Blacks in North America, we generally think of Black slaves and White owners, but for quite a few Black families, the owners were not White, but Native American and since they functioned under a separate set of laws, they were able to keep Blacks in bondage even after.  Descendants of these laws were accorded the same rights of the nation but that has now all been reascended. 

Man Uses Semi to Break Into a Sex Store to Steal Toy Vagina

Okay, this should be filed under shit you just cannot make up.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This Week's Top Troll

I have not done one of these in quite sometime but this is not because the hateful trolls have gone away.  I have decided that publishing a small example of the comments that I have not allowed to be posted on the blog, would serve as a teaching moment for many.  Often those of us that deal with marginalized identities are told that we are being too sensitive, or that things aren't really all that bad anymore. The truth is, there is still much that needs to change.  The best way to deal with this kind of hate, is to expose it to the light of day and reveal it for the ugliness that it is.  

As per usual, below you will find a list of comments that were not published.  Please be aware that a substantial trigger warning is in place, because many of the comments are homophobic, racist, transphobic, disableist and sexist.  Please choose the comment you find to be the most abhorrent and if you have the energy, please share why you chose it.

Smarter Than You on Disability as a Game:

You're a dumb whore. It's just a game. Also the attacks that paralyze in the game are nothing like real world things that could paralyze. Stop being fucking stupid and likening things like this to real world issues. It's people like you that are making the world MORE intolerant by making exceptions for everyone that you THINK get's offended by something YOU disagree with.

1498 on Guys and Dolls: The Power of Activism in the Margins.

Have you ever even done an informal survey to see if all you have is confirmation bias about men interrupting you? Because if the men who you claim interrupt you all the time also interrupt OTHER men, then there is no sexism right? Maybe you are just trying to find sexism so hard that you have to blind yourself and not even bother with practicing a little science before you can conclude that these men are interrupting you because you are a woman.

DVX Prime on The Great Popcorn Cuss Out

Madam, I don't know you or your family, but my sister posted this blog entry of yours on facebook, and when I read and re-read it I was so stunned that it has consumed a corner of my mind for most of the day. It has been a while since I have been so compelled to write a rebuttal, but here goes:

1) For someone who values people over commodities, you call your spouse "unhusband" and have named your children Destruction and Mayhem. Unless you're "just kidding", IMHO you have an emasculated mate and two children on the fast track to a lifetime of anger, hate, and contempt for their fellow human beings. This is how you value your own family? over microwaveable popcorn, of all things?

 2) Once again, my opinion only, but given this blog post, I shudder to think how your children behave around other children and adults. Children must LEARN, then EARN their respect; you just don't hand it to them and expect them to behave rationally. From what I gather from your blog post, your children have no respect for the people who brought them into this world, and will be rude, then aggressive, then hostile to their peers and their authority figures.

3) Lastly, Renee, I offer this treatise on the recent riots in London. I fear your children will be a part of something like this down the road, and I will offer my prayers for you and yours:

 TROLOLOL on Disability as a Game:
I'm sorry, but this post was wonderfully retarded and you're an idiot. Oh no, look! I just used words that are disabilities!
Get a grip, woman. If everybody was still so uptight on /words/ we'd still be in the 19th century.
I really hope you aren't teaching your kids that moron is more harmful than fuck, or you're going to see a lot more calls home from your poor, poor children.
I bet you're a typical sheltering suburban mom who drives a minivan to their kids' soccer game every weekend. You make me sick.

Dumbass bitch. Enjoy your butthurt. :)

 Anon on Pretty Fly For a White Guy:
ah... more of your hypocrisy. So because in this case you find the person doing the appropriation sexy and hot- thus you are sexually objectifying the male by saying that he can take his clothes off anytime- you give the whole situation a free pass and don't say anything about what you are trying to fight.

Why are you so selective and hypocritical about your supposedly fight against all isms and oppression?

This isn't the first time you sexually objectify a male either- you do it all the time on your vampire posts.

When Flash Mobs Turn Violent

'Mayor Michael Nutter' photo (c) 2009, Steve Karsch - license:

When I think of flash mobs, I think of people coming together to do some sort of artistic performance.  Sometimes these performances even have a political message, that teaches tolerance for others.  Recently however, flash mobs have come to mean largely Black youths coming together to swarm a store and steal thousands of dollars of inventory in Philadelphia. Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia,had some shocking comments to say on this phenomenon.
National media has been covering these incidents, and it has gotten at least one mayor so irate that he accused the black youth in his city as “making their race look bad.”  During a combative speech at the Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Mayor Michael Nutter blasted young black men, telling them to stop behaving like “sperm donors” and “human ATMs.” He said parents have to do a better job of supervising and training their children.

“If you walk into somebody’s office with your hair uncombed and a pick in the back, and your shoes untied and your pants half-down, tattoos up and down your arms and on your neck, and you wonder why somebody won’t hire you?” Nutter told the congregation. “They don’t hire you ’cause you look like you’re crazy. You have damaged your own race.”

“I am a proud black man in this country,” Nutter said in a subsequent interview with the Associated Press. “It was a message that needed to be said. It needed to be said at this time…. People have had enough of this nonsense, black and white.” (source)
The fact that he can attest that the behaviour of some is damaging to an entire race is in and of itself a reflection of Nutter's own internalized racism.  Blacks are perceived of as a homogenized group, whereas Whites continue to be viewed as individuals no matter what heinous crimes some may commit. What Nutter is really worried about is how these flash mobs reflect upon him as a Black man and not out of any genuine concern for youth who are participating in these mobs.

He goes on to talk about presentation citing that hair uncombed and tattoos make one unemployable.  What is this but an attempt to coerce conformity upon youth?  Being middle class or even upper class is more than the ability to consume, it is also about a pattern of behaviour that is learned. I am particularly troubled by his assertion that the condition of one's hair should make one unemployable. Often times Black hair in its natural state is seen as unkempt and at time politically charged.  To blame appearance for Black youth unemployment is to completely ignore the way that these kids are often viewed by Whiteness. Young Black men in particular are viewed as a threat.  Even professionally educated Blacks have difficulty getting jobs and this is especially true if an ethnic name appears on their resume and yet somehow these youth, who society has chosen to ignore or responsible for their own unemployment.  I suppose the fact that Blacks have been hardest hit by the recession is all the fault of Black people and has nothing to do with White supremacy as well.

Of course, the next easy target is the parents.  He preys upon absentee fathers and parents who give money to their children instead of parenting.  What he does not acknowledge is that it take a village to raise a child. Government has let families down by not supporting after school programs.  You want to keep children out of trouble, give them something to do that matches their interests.  This could be anything from sports teams, to dance, music or art.  Children need to engaged by the world around them.  Even in the supposed ideal setting of two parents working forty hours a week, does not leave enough time to spend together as a family. In many cases, today's parents are working longer hours for less pay than the generation before them.  Some families must have multiple part time jobs in order to keep a roof over their heads.  Where is the relief for these families?  Blaming them for being absent when they have no choice is victim blaming and shaming.

I also think that it is important to note that property crime is an example of the class divide.  We spend hours upon hours aiming products at children.  Advertisers count on the nag factor to sell their items. Children are taught that their value is directly linked to what they have the ability to assume and having less than the person next to you, means that you are less than.  Is it any wonder that some develop a sense of entitlement when we have taught them that certain items are necessary and do not constitute a desire? The bottom line is that if you want to end property theft, then the gap between rich and poor needs to be reduced and or eliminated altogether. 

The bottom line is that a Black leader standing up and publicly affirming every negative stereotype that Whiteness has of Black youth is not helping.  In fact, Whiteness loves nothing more than when they can get a Tom to openly chastise other Blacks. If you doubt that, think about the way that Whiteness embraced Bill Cosby and his infamous pound cake speech.  It seems to me that if Nutter is truly worried about the state of Black youth that he should be taking proactive measures rather than publicly shaming Black youth but then it's easier to be a dupe of Whiteness than to do anything positive.

Pumping-Beauty Now, Pay Dearly For It Later

This is a guest post from the ever fabulous Monica of TransGriot

One of the issues I don't talk about enough is the prevalence of pumping amongst POC transwomen.   It's a subject that is guaranteed to start a vigorous discussion amongst us because the trans women who have resorted to it get defensive about pumping when we talk about the people who weren't so lucky. 

Talking about the risks of pumping is not by extension those of us broaching the subject  engaging in making moral judgments about their choice to do whatever they wish with their bodies.

While its a major issue amongst POC transwomen, our cis sisters are also getting pumped too and paying the price.

In February 20 year old college student Claudia Aderotimi flew across the Pond from London along with two friends to Philadelphia to get butt enhancement via silicone injections.   She and her friends had done some treatments before with no complications but on this trip something went horribly wrong.  Twelve hours after being injected on February 7 at a Philly hotel near the airport, Aderotimi  was complaining of chest pains, struggling to breathe and died in a local hospital.

The case got even more ironic because transwoman Padge Victoria Windslowe, a music artist who goes by the name of Black Madam, is considered a person of interest in this case.  She is accused of being the person who administered the fatal injections and is facing 10 years in prison if arrested, proven guilty, and sentenced for involuntary manslaughter.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Helena Andrews, Now Do You Believe that Bisexuality is Real?

Allison McCarthy is a regular team blogger for Ms. as well as a freelance writer for magazines such as Bitch and a contributor to several anthologies.  Her full bio is available here

"Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. Not all things are black nor all things white. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories. Only the human mind invents categories and tries to force facts into separated pigeon-holes. The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects. The sooner we learn this concerning human sexual behavior, the sooner we shall reach a sound understanding of the realities of sex."

- Alfred Kinsey, Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male (1948)

We all have dealbreakers when it comes to dating.  But what if your dealbreaker invoked the purposeful erasure of someone's identity?  Such is the case for Helena Andrews, author of the best-selling memoir Bitch is the New Black and most recently "Dealbreaker: He's Dated Men" column for GOOD magazine.  The article chronicles Andrews' experience dating an unnamed, older, sharply dressed and "sexually mysterious" Black male in Washington, D.C.  As the daughter of an an "out and proud lesbian" and single parent, one might expect that Andrews would offer a more nuanced perspective on sexuality.  Yet throughout the article, there is nary a mention of her ex's bisexuality -- instead, Andrews refers to him as a  “formerly gay man."  Is this really the case? 

On their first date, Andrews observes that her gentleman caller "led the back of his hand up the back of my leg from Achilles tendon to that crazy sensitive skin behind my knee."  This signals his sexual interest in her ("Yes, it was definitely a date") and he soon introduces her to his circle of friends, indicating his desire to develop a romantic connection.  As their relationship progresses, he shows further signs of interest: "showing up on time every time, always paying, wanting to buy me clothes and being willing to dog sit when I was out of town."  But in Andrews' retelling, their courtship is portrayed in sharp contrast to her ex's past.  In a private phone conversation, he tells her that he's dated men before; while Andrews finds his honesty both courageous and "really really hot," she soon realizes that his experiences with men were "a wedge between us... Eventually, neither one of us was happy pretending that I was into it." 

Christine O'Donnell Accuses Piers Morgan of Sexism For Asking her About Same Sex Marriage

'Christine O'Donnell -- As Seen on TV!' photo (c) 2010, Mike
 Licht - license:

I absolutely loathe Piers Morgan and I fully believe that he is smarmy, and has an inflated ego. This is why it irks me beyond belief that O'Donnell has put me in the position to have to defend this horrid man.  By now you are aware that when O'Donnell appeared on the Piers Morgan Show to promote her new book Trouble Maker, that she walked off set.  For those that haven't seen it, the video is below.


As a public person anything that O'Donnell has said is fair game.  She in fact affirmed that she did discuss same sex marriage and DADT in her book, and so the idea that Piers did not have the right to question her about this is ludicrous. In fact, what Piers did was what any journalist worth their salt would have done (lord how it hurts me to suggest that Piers is a good journalist).  In the tradition of Republican women before her, O'Donnell goes into complete denial of the validity of the question because of her desire to avoid talking about the issue (think all of the taunts of gotcha when Palin was asked about the Bush doctrine, which BTW I a Canadian knew the answer to)

Instead of admitting that she should not have listened to her handlers, O'Donnell has decided to suggest that Morgan was harassing her.
"It was not about the questions of gay marriages, as the producer very dishonestly tried to portray it. It was ... the very inappropriate, creepy line of questioning leading up to that. And I think that I was a very good sport for the first 20 minutes," she said. But it was questions that he'd asked just moments before the gay rights issues -- including one about masturbation -- that unnerved her. "Do you still think masturbation is wrong?" he asked, followed by "Have you committed lust in your heart?" 
She was so upset from those questions that she realized the interview had little chance of getting back on track.

"When they're sitting there pressing you on personal intimate questions and you're saying, 'I don't want to go there,' he could have said, 'What's your mother's name?' and I would have been like, 'Come on, let's stop!' I wanted to stop that borderline sexual harassment that was going on. It was inappropriate and he wasn't stopping."

She said it had nothing to do with the issue of gay marriage or gay rights. (She says her position is that states and churches have the right to decide how to handle such issues for themselves.) "It really is not about that question, it was about he put me in a position that was very awkward and very uncomfortable and we were late."

She said that "very inappropriate, creepy line of questioning" would never have been directed at a man. When the interviewer pointed out that these were issues that O'Donnell had written about in her book -- "Trouble Maker" -- which was the very book that she was promoting on the show, O'Donnell said there was a keen distinction that was being overlooked.
"I addressed the questions [in the book] and I put it in context that, 'No, I would not do that interview again.'" Morgan, she said, took it one step beyond, and started making the queries personal -- and in the present tense, with questions that "[go] into a personal nature and start prying."

The same would never happen with a man, she said. (source)

Rest in Peace Nick Ashford (1942-2011)

Nick Ashford was one half of the R&B soul group Ashford and Simpson.

Ashford and Simpson wrote Motown's two favorite "Ain't" songs, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing," along with "You're All I Need To Get By."

They also had a long singing career, scoring their biggest chart hit with 1984's "Solid (As a Rock)" and later settling into a long run at clubs and cabarets.

They also owned several restaurant/clubs, including the 20/20 on W. 20th St. and the Sugar Bar on W. 72nd St.

They were a DJ team for several years on WRKS (98.7 FM), playing the kind of music they wrote and sang.

Ashford, a tall imposing man whose signature hair was long, was known as a gentle presence in the music business.

Nickolas Ashford was born in South Carolina and grew up in Michigan. He moved to New York in the early 1960s with $57 in his pocket, hoping to make it in show business.

He was attending Harlem's White Rock Baptist Church when he met Valerie Simpson, a New Yorker who sang in the choir and also had musical ambitions.

They recorded together briefly and unsuccessfully in 1964 as "Valerie and Nick," but had more success with writing songs - which at first, said Ashford, they sold for $75 apiece.

Their first big hit was Ray Charles's "Let's Go Get Stoned," which hit the top 10 on the R&B charts in 1966, and soon after they signed to Motown.

Besides songwriting, they also produced most of Diana Ross's first three solo albums and worked with artists that included Teddy Pendergrass, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson and Chaka Khan.(source)

Why I Don't Look to Win Net Arguments

This is a guest post from Sparky, of Spark in Darkness.  Many of you are  familiar with him from Livejournal, as well as from his insightful and often hilarious commentary here. Each Tuesday, Womanist Musings will be featuring a post from Sparky.

There are a large number of people on the internet who believe they have won lots of social justice arguments against me – especially when it comes to homophobia.

And this surprises Beloved, it does, for he has yet to outmanoeuvre me when I blame him for, well, absolutely everything I can :) (because that's loooove). He will even lament about how I will even replay past arguments in case I feel he hasn't been hailed my rightness sufficiently.

This is because tormenting Beloved is a fun sport of which I am an international gold medal holder.

So why on the net are there all these victorious arguers? Well, because I don't really argue on the net. Most of the times when someone drops prejudiced bigot shit on my screen I wince, make a note to treat that space accordingly and tread carefully should I ever go back there. Occasionally I'm invested enough in a space or person – or it's my space – to engage the fail and resist it. Sometimes it's just vile and I feel I have to comment because if I don't I feel I've endorsed or accepted what has been said. So I comment.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Feminine and Feminist Are Not Mutually Exclusive

Matt Kailey is a transman living in Denver, Colorado, and an author, public speaker, and trainer on transgender issues. He blogs at Tranifesto. In his ideal world, no one would be equal to anyone else – everyone would just be equal.

An acquaintance of mine - a white woman and an ardent feminist - recently gave birth to a baby girl. When she did, she seemed to feel the need to explain to me why she gave the girl what is considered in our culture to be a feminine name, and why she wanted to dress her in cute, ruffled pink outfits and decorate her room in what we would think of as feminine colors and themes.  

This is not the first time that a self-identified feminist has practically apologized to me for suddenly doing a flip-flop on her views about traditional “femininity.” It seems to happen when baby girls are born (or less frequently, when a new beau appears - I'm old enough to remember the outrage and sense of betrayal in some feminist camps when Gloria Steinem got a new boyfriend and started wearing heavy makeup). 

I guess I can understand why my friends feel the need to offer some explanation for their sudden support of conventional gender expression - I am a long-time advocate of relaxing, or even eliminating, specific gender roles and expectations. But I have never knocked “traditional.”  

I think that, even if society did get rid of its long-held gender expectations, there would still be people - both men and women - who kept to the old traditions. This is where they are most comfortable, and there's nothing wrong with that. My problem comes in when “traditional” is simply another word for “unequal,” and “gender roles” is simply another term for “controlling personal expression.” 

PeTA Launches a porn site

'Clean Your 
Conscience' photo (c) 2008, ProgressOhio - license:

PeTA is the gift that you wish you could regift or donate.  In yet another stunning display of lowering the bar yet again, PeTA has decided to launch a porn site.
PETA plans to register itself to operate the Web site.

"We are preparing to launch our own site, but instead of just showing people our iconic ads we then show them how animals suffer for entertainment," said spokeswoman Ashley Byrne, according to the Herald Sun.

"Our racier actions are sometimes a way to get people to sit up and pay attention to the plight of animals," she said.

Internet surfers who visit the x-rated site will initially be presented with animal rights groups too salacious for TV ads and campaigns. However, the sexy side of PETA, illustrated in its galleries and videos will give way to the horrific mistreatment of animals on factory farms, with pictures and video shot undercover by the group's hidden camera investigations.

It will have enough adult content to qualify for the XXX domain site but also some other graphic images of animals that viewers may not expect to see.

"We live in a 24 hour news cycle world and we learn the racy things we do are sometimes the most effective way that we can reach particular individuals," PETA spokeswoman, Lindsay Rajt, told Huffington Post. (source)
Well I suppose the good thing is that by launching a porn site, that PeTA can no longer claim that they aren't exploiting women, except that they then turn around and justify it for the sake of saving animals.  Uh huh.  Look, I am not one of those women that is anti porn.  I recognize that for some, this is a job like any other and that feminist porn makes a point of producing porn that is not told from the point of view of the male gaze. However, PeTA's continual use of women, does nothing but reduce women to pieces of meat and I completely fail to see the agency in this supposed choice.

Rest in Peace Jack Layton

'Jack Layton, Leaders Tour - Tournée du Chef - Jack Layton' photo (c) 2011, Matt Jiggins - license:

This morning I awoke to learn that Jack Layton leader of the NDP party has died of cancer.  Jack was one of the few Canadian politicians that I really liked and respected.  In the recent election, Jack led the NDP party to what would be known as the orange crush, as the NDP literally crushed the PQ to become for the first time ever, the official opposition.  I think that it is fair to say that the NDP is where it is now on the strength of Jack Layton's effort and the days to come, the party will have to struggle to maintain the amazing legacy, he leaves behind.

When someone passes we have a tendency to remember the good and forget the bad and when that happens we ignore exactly how complex a person is.

But Layton did have some brushes with controversy. In 1988, he came under fire when it emerged that he and Chow were living in a housing co-operative subsidized by the federal government, despite a combined income of $120,000. Toronto's solicitor cleared the couple of any wrong-doing, and the couple soon left the co-op and bought a house in Toronto's Chinatown.

In the 2011 election, three days before voting day, it emerged that Layton had also been caught up in a sting on a Toronto massage parlour. Layton insisted he had entered the salon seeking a legitimate shiatsu massage and didn't know the place was used for "illicit purposes." Police chose not to charge him in the sting.

Despite the scandals and Layton's failed 1991 mayoralty bid, his ambitions didn't falter; they simply shifted. In 1994, he decided to make a run for federal politics, vying for a seat in the riding of Rosedale. Again, he fared badly, finishing fourth. (source)
Layton was not a perfect man and he didn't always live by the principals that he set out for others but as politicians go, his concern for marginalized people, whether they be poor, immigrants, of colour or LGBT was enough for me to entrust my vote to him.  Rest in peace Jack, you were one of the good ones.

True Blood: Nobody Leaves

Let's do something a little different this week.  Let's discuss last night episode by character/plot.  Last night's episode began with Alcide carrying Sookie away from the battle.  Sookie is taken from him by Bill.  Bill tries to give her his blood, while Alcide asks, "does she even have a pulse?"  Can we just say right now that there was no suspense to this. Of course the minute that Sookie wakes up she barely thanks Alcide and proceeds to make plans with Bill to get Eric. In the first sensible thing that Alcide has done in a long time he tells her that he is done and walks out of the house.  

Unfortunately for Alcide, Debbie is awake when he gets home.  She pretends to sleep but you can see the tension all over her.  (BTW, thank you Alan Ball for the naked shot of my fav werewolf)  As Alcide snuggles up to Debbie, her eyes go yellow.  It's clear to me that Alcide needs to just take his fine behind away from both Sookie and Debbie.  Could any man really be that slow to catch on?

Creepy Debbie shows up at Sookie's place the next day with flowers, claiming to want to help Sookie.  Right after telling Debbie that she cannot forget the fact that she tried to kill her, Sookie listens to her thoughts and decides to trust her. Obviously, Debbie would only think what she wanted Sookie to know.  So thelma and louise head off to Goddess Emporium, where Debbie rats her out immediately.  Tara holds a gun on Sookie, and tells her how stupid she is for showing up, but I guess the idea of some good ole fashioned spunky agency was too much for Sookie to avoid.  Tara tells Sookie where Bill is and Sookie charges Tara and escapes.  One would think she would have clued in then that Debbie is up to no good, but Sookie jumps into Debbie's truck. It's also worth mentioning that she showed no concern for the fact that Tara was being held prisoner and so her main target to help as Bill. Why is Tara even friends with this woman?