Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What's Going On?

'Summer is here, Bee on Daisy' photo (c) 2008, Christine Majul - license:

By now I am sure that everyone has noticed the light postings.  I didn't plan to go this route this summer, but I have found it very difficult to write with my kids at home.  To be honest, the weather is also nice enough to coax me out of the house quite often as well.  So, if you will all hang in there, when they go back to school in the fall, I promise to return to the regular posting schedule. 

I will continue to post lightly, so don't disappear altogether. For the most part, there should be at least one post a day up. If there is something you would like me to comment on directly, please feel free to shoot me an email.  In the meantime, please feel free to use this post as an open thread and chat about whatever is on your mind.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Issue With Chik-Fil-A Is Not About Free Speech

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.  

I’ve been trying to avoid the internet lately to try and avoid both the Olympics and the whole Chick-fil-A bullshit. But, alas, the Chick-fil-A bullshit is even more all-encompassing than the Olympics with an inordinate number of clueless straight people rallying round the poor poor oppressed Dan Cathy and his hate chicken. And you’ve got to love how many of them are so desperate to say how much they’re not homophobes, no, really, honest.

Yeah, I don’t believe them either.

In the face of the sheer mass of the bullshit straight folks are flinging here, I feel obliged to say something, to vent if nothing else.

First of all, the most common crap people are slinging is: “He only spoke out against same-sex marriage”. 

It’s not actually true – but even if it were, and? Marriage is a human right – one that has been upheld repeatedly on both sides of the Atlantic. Denying human rights to marginalised people, deciding we don’t deserve human rights, is not a defensible position and is more than grounds to avoid this vile bigot and his nasty hate chicken. Of all the pro bono legal services I have provided GBLT people, the most common is my “partner pack” a big sheaf of legal documents that try try try to give same-sex couples the same protections  as straight couples – knowing that a) no amount of documents would give them the protection straight couples take for granted (including unmarried ones for that matter) and b) there’s no way the vast majority of them could have afforded this without pro-bono and you know there’s no legal aid for this. They faced no small amount of legal fees for something straight folks can get at registry office – OR not have to do a thing because the straight world gives them status automatically. (Oh and lookie here, Civil Partnerships can cost 12 times more than weddings. I’m shocked, shocked I say)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Michelle Obama and the Cost of Fashion

I have  new post up at Clutch

Michelle Obama has to walk a tight rope that often makes me wonder how she manages without stumbling.  Being in the public view means that what she chooses to wear is constantly a topic of conversation.  The power of her fashion choices can launch a career — as Jason Wu, who designed her inaugural gown, knows firsthand.   Mrs. Obama also has been the gift that keeps on giving to J Crew. According to ABC News, “When Obama appeared on The Tonight Show in 2008 and told Jay Leno that her yellow sweater, skirt, and blouse were a “J.Crew ensemble,” the company’s stock went up 8.2 percent.” Banana Republic, as well as H&M, has also experienced positive results due specifically to Mrs. Obama’s patronage.

Clearly the numbers spoke for themselves, but in June, author Elizabeth Cline suggested that  Mrs. Obama was not the godsend to the fashion industry, which she had been declared by so many.
“I think it’s ridiculous that she’s always lauded as this example of democratic fashion or that she’s so American because her fashion is accessible,” Cline told Huffington Post. “The reality is that the garment and textile trade has been a dying industry for the last 10 years. So why are we so excited when we see our first lady in cheap, imported clothes?”
For the larger public, the reality is that most clothing today is mass-produced and made on foreign soil. This happens because manufacturers want cheap labor and to escape North American labor laws. Short of shopping at second-hand stores, it is nearly impossible to find clothing that is made in North America, though the company itself may be a North American company.  The best one can hope to do is to avoid purchasing items from a company known to utilize sweatshops.  Even with that said, it is worth noting that though sweatshops are deemed something that happens in so-called third world countries, many of the larger cities throughout North America are home to hundreds of them.
The problem is about so much more than what Mrs. Obama chooses to wear.  Though she may be one of the most powerful women in the world, like everyone else, she must make her purchases within an uneven global economic market.  Everyday items are made through slave labor or manufactured in a system that essentially impoverishes the producers.  Everything from coffee to sugar, bananas, chocolate, potatoes, and flowers can reasonably be argued to be products that should be avoided because of how they are produced or the tariffs placed on imports. When you have small countries who cannot afford to subsidize in the same manner as the U.S., there is no hope of having fair trade, let alone working practices which do not produce neo-slavery for the purposes of consumption.

At the Head of State and Government Reception at Buckingham Palace for the Olympics Opening Ceremony, Mrs. Obama wore a J. Mendel Resort 2013 jacket with a white pleated skirt.  She looked absolutely stunning, but an issue quickly arose when it was reported that the J. Mendel Resort jacket cost a whopping, 6,800 dollars.  To be clear, Mrs. Obama was representing the American people on an international stage and was in the presence of the Queen of England, yet the concern was what she wore? Would it have been preferable for her to show up wearing a cheap dress from Target?

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True Blood Season Five, Episode Nine: Everybody Wants to Rule the World

This episode opens with a true blood factory on fire in Huston Texas.  At the compound, a man is tied up on the table and Steve Newlin says a prayer over the body after some sarcastic prompting from Russel.  Salome is clearly not impressed and follows up with her own prayer.  This scene is interesting because it's the first time in history of the show that they have shown full frontal male nudity. It is however worth noting that the nudity was that of a nameless male victim whereas at some point most of the female stars have shown some kind of nudity. In the meantime, Eric wants out of the compound.

Lafayette is in Sookie's bathroom looking at himself in the mirror and Sookie chastises him. Apparently, she wants him to look into the presence she sensed last episode.  Lafayette gets serious and tries to find out about the apparition, but isn't able to.  Lafayette says that he is still going to charge her 100 dollars, to which responds, "put it on my tab." I like the point of Lafayette not playing servant to the other characters, but it does not add to his authority to have Sookie so easily cast her debt aside.  As they sit down talking about Tara, (yeah I know, surprise surprise, Sookie thought to ask) Lafayette gets a message from Sookie's grandmother, who says that she is happy that the fae are looking after her and brings up a box that is under her bed.  This of course casts all thoughts of Tara aside.

Jessica is at the police station trying to defend Hoyt's involvement with a hate group. It seems that they have named the hate group the Obamas because of the masks that they wear.  I found this to be absolutely disgusting. Jessica is worried because she cannot feel Hoyt and says that if anything happens, it's because of her  When Jason reaches out a hand to comfort her, she pulls away from him. I liked this because there is no way she should have been accepting of this considering that they last time they were together he shot her. We flash to a scene of Hoyt tied up and unconscious being dagged on the ground.

Luna and Sam argue because he does not want to leave her alone.  He is off to chase the Obamas, so Luna gets out of bed saying that she is not going to lie in bed like the princess and the pea.  She accuses him of being sexist and Sam is frustrated saying he is only trying to protect the  person he loves. Considering everything that Luna has been through recently, this seems a little spunky agent to me but I do respect the idea of a woman not needing a mans protection.

Terry decides he is going to offer Patrick a fair fight but Arlene is far from happy about this.

At Fangtasia, Tara stockpiles True Blood, but Pam tells her to sell it so that their customers don't feed on humans.   Pam says that they need to keep their heads down, tits up and the True Blood flowing. When the True Blood runs out, it's her plan that they feed discreetly on the humans.  Tara offers to be an air for Pam, because she senses that Eric is in the thick of this but Pam wants know part of it, saying that they are not Oprah and Gayle.

At the compound, Eric confronts Bill about his idea with much sarcasm.  Bill insists that he is not playing a game but Eric suggests that he is laying it on thick and playing against political masters who are out of his league.  Eric out that they are not going to buy this act much longer and Bill asks what if God is a vampire. Eric reminds him that they were high.  Bill says he does not know who to trust because everything he believes has been turned upside down, and so Eric asks if Sookie is food to him now and says that he can have his religious crises elsewhere.  Eric hands him a stick and says that the only way out is with a sample of Salome's blood.

Sookie is going through memories out of the box and she finds out that her parents bodies were found by Sheriff Dearborne. 

At the station, Jason assigns men to watch Jessica.  She is sad that she cannot stay and help out, but Jason reminds her with sun coming up, she has to be safe. Jason tries to reassure her saying that this is what he is trained for. Yeah, if I were Jessica, I wouldn't be reassured by that fact because we are after all still talking about Jason Stackhouse.  Andy is online reading the vampire manifestos and he sees a video of them forcing vamps to face the sun.  Apparently, the Obamas are modelling themselves after the Klan and this sets them off to find the dragon.  I am going to take a small break to say how offensive this comparison is.  The KKK is a White power terrorist group and to have Black members of the Obamas just flies in the face of history.  This leads them to beat on the prisoner to try and get answers.

Alcide is driving and he gets a flashback to his youth were he is hearing about the importance of the pack.  It's a flashback to his father and him choosing to become a member of the pack.  After each vow, bear blood gets smeared on their forehead.  Alcide it seems, is headed to Jackson, which is out of town altogether.

Sookie goes to Bud's briefly asks how he is doing and learns that his colon cancer is in remission.  She quickly segues into her parents death, wanting to know if anything he noticed anything suspicious.  Bud says yes, it could hae been a vampire, but they didn't know about vamps at the time and assumed it was gators. Bud points out that her grandmother was killed because she associated with vampires and this does not make Sookie in the least bit happy  Sookie begins to read his mind and hears that he is hiding something, and so she grabs his hand, but is hit in the back of the head by a woman with a cast iron frying pan.