....LMB: "Sum Linkz"....

April 29, 2003

Sorry folks, I'm so busy lately that I barely have enough time to peruse and digest the news, let alone peruse, digest, and analyze the news, and then compose blog entries to match. So here are some rather random, yet good links with some commentary.

Domestic Nepotism- short version: George W. Bush appointed one of his ex-girlfriends to head the Export-Import Bank.

There's a bit more to it than that, she's currently a "homemaker," but she used to have fairly important positions at PepsiCo and Reader's Digest. The Ex-Im Bank is essentially a government agency that gives our tax dollars to help out American companies that sell their products abroad. Why do they deserve our money? Damn fine question. Is a former PepsiCo exec qualified to take my money away and give it to large corporations? Probably.

But the author makes one Earth-shatteringly precise point: "Can you imagine what the press would be saying if Clinton did this?"

Damn. If Clinton had been found to hire an ex-girlfriend, it would be the front page of every newspaper in the country. They'd be talking about it on Crossfire and the McLaughlin Group. The Republicans would have called for Clinton's resignation. Someone would have set the White House on fire. Saturday Night Live would have continued to suck.

But since its Bush, it's buried in the last paragraph in a wonky "inside Washington" type column on page A21 of the Washington Post.

Matters of Emphasis- nice summary of the "the war was a lie" info, with some context that explains why no one should have bought into this war in the first place.

A long and rambling post about women and war that's been ambling around my brain for a long time without ever settling comfortably into any known essay structure, even by the loose standards of blogs, but which perhaps can be defined as a small stab at a still developing genre -- the quiet and hesitant rant- My fellow males: we suck. Blogger Jeanne d'Arc notices something that very few men (if any) seemed to notice: women were mostly absent from all of the Iraqi post-war celebrations. This should be both chilling, and depressingly prophetic. Were the women unhappy about the fall of the regime and about their future prospects? And if not, what kept them off the streets? And worst of all, why didn't we notice this? Should've been pretty damned obvious, but something in our manly upbringings has put some real blinders on us. We oughtta work on that.

D'Arc points out how Iraq could easily sink into the one of the misogynist schools of fundamentalist Islam (ironically, even under the dictator Saddam, women had more rights than in most other countries in the Middle East). She also notes the lack of female representation in the coming Iraqi puppet government. That should be just as disturbing.

Can Men Be Feminists?- I'm not as interested in the title topic of the post (the answer given is "yes"), as in this quote:

When a man comes up to me and professes feminism, a lot of times, what it has meant is, "I want to be a better human being, and since you are a feminist woman, I'm going to dump it all at your feet and ask you to be responsible for my enlightenment while I pepper you with questions, demand that you explain all things feminist to me, and then when I fail to achieve the enlightenment I want, I can blame you for not enlightening me properly."

Which is a good point.

Fellas, women go through all the trials and tribulation our sexist society can pile on them, and on top of that, they're supposed to teach your sorry ass how to be a feminist?

A female friend of mine told me some time ago that her problem with most of the feminist movement was that it depended upon waiting around for men to change. She thought that women needed to be working on making women's lives better, and leave the men to do whatever.

So, my Y-chromosomed brothers, if you really care, if you really want to be the better person, you're going to have to do the work. You're going to have to teach yourself, you're going to have to read, you're going to have to think, you're going to have to change. I'm sure you have some female friends who'd be happy to share their experiences and feelings with you, and talk over some of the issues with you, but it's not their responsibility. It's yours.

I'd recommend starting with the book Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks. She's brilliant, and lays everything out in a simple, common sense way. Using her definition of feminism, I think that "anti-sexism" might be a better label. Some men think that feminism is anti-male. hooks' feminism is not against men, it's against the sexist thoughts, beliefs and practices that can belong to both men and women. Aspects of sexism can both help and hurt members of either gender, but they most often priviledge men at the expense of women. Hopefully that description is a little less threatening.

Surely all this sounds like I think I am King of Feminist Land, but I'm far from that. I suck, but you've gotta start somewhere.

The M-Wunner- excellent comic from Ruben Bolling. As those damn H2 Humvee cars increase in numbers on our highways, the cartoonist wonders what if another military vehicle became popular for civilian use?

The more regimes change, the more it stays the same- Xoverboard points out that the recent government admission that they knew that Iraqi WMDs weren't really a threat came out almost a year to the day that the government admitted that they didn't really have enough evidence that Osama bin Laden was in Afghanistan to justify bombing that country to hell. In August's words from a year ago: "You are no longer hearing it from the lunatic fringe. You are no longer hearing it from racist anti-Semitic websites that claim some inner Jewish conspiracy to cause 9/11. You are hearing it from the Defense Secretary of the United States of America: We declared Afghanistan was hosting bin Laden, then mocked the people who asked for evidence. We launched a campaign that killed thousands of civilians because we assumed he was there, but didnít have the evidence. We bombed a country because we felt like it."

And last, but certainly not least:

U.S. Allows Iranian Group to Keep Arms- the U.S. signed a cease-fire with an Iranian terrorist group. Seriously. This means that the next time someone says something about Bush's "moral clarity," you have every right to kick them in the nuts.

Posted by Jake at 06:43 PM | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Rock on! bell hooks is one of the many and multifaceted goddesses of feminist writing...as I was reading that whole discussion on whether men could be feminists, I thought that a ton of those commentators (male and female) could have used a healthy dose of Feminism is for Everybody and Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. ah, synchronicity...

Posted by: Jenny at April 30, 2003 09:15 AM


The reason we saw no women celebrating:

If they were happy about being "liberated," it's quite likely they were fundamentalist Muslims who were rarin' to start their own new theocratic regime.

Fundamentalist Islam ain't too thrilled when women leave the house.

Hence, any happy women were inside being good, obedient little religious nuts.

[I'm sorry, that's how I feel about ANY religion that impacts that much on your daily life and ability to function: You're Absolutely Nuts.]

Posted by: michele at April 30, 2003 12:24 PM

Right on, Michele. It's ironic that happy, liberated Iraqis that American jingoists are carrying on about ARE happy that Hussein is gone......so they can set up their own backwards, misogynistic, totalitarian, theocratic regime. Yes, these are the happy, liberated Iraqis. The only problem is that Herr Rumsfeld is saying that the U.S. will not tolerate a Shiite regime. Herr Powell is a bit more moderate, saying that he wouldn't mind an Islamic republic rooted in "democratic" principles...like Turkey (known for repression of Kurds) and Pakistan (military dictatorship hated by many Pakistani Muslims).

In short, the Iraqi conflict is far from over. So what's this about Syria and Iran?

Posted by: Eric at April 30, 2003 04:45 PM

How does Bush get to be the teflon pResident and get away with it? UGH. It pisses me off to no end. The guy is a total dolt, lies, and the press writes about him as if he was a god.

Damn them all!

Posted by: Tom at May 2, 2003 07:30 PM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

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Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:

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