Posts Tagged ‘if i ran the world’

I’m a little late to the game here, but the Portland (Maine) Press Herald issued an apology for depicting local Muslims observing Eid on September 10.  Apparently, a photograph of peaceable practitioners of Islam engaging in an activity mandated by their faith and protected by the First Amendment is “offensive” and “insensitive” if it occurs anywhere near September 11.

For anyone who is still confused about why this is FUCKED UP, let me offer a parallel.  Timothy McVeigh murdered 168 people on April 19, 1995.  Timothy McVeigh was raised Catholic.  Do Oklahoma newspapers still depict people celebrating Easter when it falls on or near April 19?

Some might argue that the 9/11 bombers were motivated by religion and McVeigh wasn’t (and in fact, McVeigh’s Catholicism seems to have waxed and waned).  I think the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world would take issue with the assessment that the 9/11 hijackers shared mainstream Muslim beliefs.  This was a perversion of religion, not an exercise of the religion itself.

Let me be perfectly clear.  Personally speaking, I am pretty down on religion.  I think religion undermines personal conscience and, like any social institution that substitutes its own morals for individuals’ morals, it can compel people to do atrocious things.  And while I can’t claim to know for certain, I happen to think it’s also delusional.  The best I can say for Islam is that it’s no more bloodthirsty a religion than any other, which is far from a ringing endorsement.  (Christianity, after all, has the blood of colonized people the world over — not to mention the innocence of many an altar boy — on its hands.)  But most of the Christians, Jews, and Muslims I know are lovely people who consider generosity and good works the proper observance of their religion, even if I disagree with them about many of the particulars.

I love the Bill of Rights.  I really, really love it.  It’s the heart of a system of government that doesn’t always get it right, but comes damn close a lot of the time — more often than I sometimes give it credit.  And I’m proud to live in a country where the number one right (that’s correct, folks, it was #1 for a reason) is the right to speak, assemble, and worship freely.  It pains me to know that a few loudmouthed bigots want to restrict the very freedoms our government is legally obligated to protect.  These imbeciles aren’t literally attempting to establish a state religion, but when newspapers can be compelled to publish apologies for reporting on the free exercise of religion, we have an environment that favors some religions over others.  And that’s not acceptable.

So screw you, Portland Press Herald.  You should be ashamed of yourself.  You had a chance to stand up for freedom of religion and freedom of the press, and you blew it.


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Usually I like reading the Citizen Cohn blog on The New Republic — well, I like it when Jonathan Cohn’s writing.  But today: a piece of absolute drivel from Ed Kilgore, writing about a Jerry Brown aide calling Meg Whitman a whore.

The “whore” controversy, stupid as it may seem, represents a whole host of semi-subliminal issues. The subtext of the Brown staffer’s slur was Whitman’s decision to exempt police officers from one of her few specific proposals for reducing debt and spending, the elimination of defined benefit pensions for public employees. If she did that to secure a key endorsement, that’s worth knowing. The claim also undercuts another key Whitman talking point, her effort to make her unprecedented personal spending on her campaign a badge of her independence from interest groups, in sharp contrast to the union-dependent Brown. On her own part, the Republican candidate is frantically trying to turn this into a gender issue, for the very good reason that she’s a pro-choice woman fighting a pro-Democratic gender gap. She’s certainly not the first female candidate to seek to benefit from perceptions of puerile or insensitive indicators of chauvinism by a male opponent.

I don’t even know where to start. First of all, I’m not aware of any indication that Whitman has tried to make this a gender issue; she made a statement lamenting the use of “slurs and personal attacks” in politics.  Secondly, I’m sorry, but when you call a female candidate a “whore,” the subtext isn’t any fucking debate about exemptions for spending cut proposals, the subtext is that you’re calling her a whore because it’s an easy slur to remind everyone that she’s a woman.  Perhaps Kilgore just isn’t familiar with the fact that, despite those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, female politicians still aren’t taken as seriously as male politicians.  “She’ll push the button while she’s PMS-ing” ring any bells?  Guess what, you asshole, these ARE puerile and insensitive indicators of chauvinism, but you’re too mired in privilege to get it.


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effing massachusetts, demanding sales tax at 6.25% of NADA trade-in value on vehicles purchased out of state under six months ago.  i mean, hell, the car was a damn gift from my mother and i paid a grand total of $0.05 in sales tax to our town clerk back home.  and yet massachusetts finds a way to flog another $400 out of my penniless, still unemployed hide.  i am waiting to discover that the RMV assesses you an additional $300 processing fee if your name is difficult to pronounce.

[eta: apparently this is not the case if the car was purchased from or given by an immediate family member.  i still think it’s highway robbery that you’re still subjected to the double-whammy if you bought it from a dealer under 6 months ago.]

i’m all right, for now.  i can still afford food, shelter, gas, and (for the time being) even occasional amenities.  at the moment my greatest fear is probably getting in a car accident — either hospital bills or car repairs would put me up the creek.  i don’t think there’s even a figure of speech in this language for what the two together would do.

this all sent me into a bit of a panic earlier this evening.  it’s a little bit like floating around in the ocean, this business of being a Real Person.  i am quite fond of the ocean, as i am quite fond of Real Life, but it tosses you around a good bit, doesn’t it?

Real Life has less seaweed, though.  and you don’t have to worry about this.

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realizations, of late:

glaciosity is stupid.  ben harper should stop stealing kisses and find himself a girl whose kisses are freely given.

most of the time singlehood is fine, but i just spilled ice cream on my thigh.  what a complete waste of that moment.

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there are obviously some terrible, devastating, serious consequences to societal sexism. women all over the country and all over the world are brutalized, marginalized, and silenced on a daily basis. but… sometimes it’s the little things that piss me off.

to wit:

–men shave about 5% of their bodies.
–women shave about 35% of our bodies.
–when women don’t shave their legs, they get called granola-crunching lesbians. when men grow beards, nobody bats an eye. stubbly men are sexy, stubbly women are careless. (seriously? beyonce on her worst day has better looking underarms than i do.)

but, men reap more benefits from advancements in research and development:

–men got three-blade, four-blade, and five-blade razors before women: for example, gillette’s venus razor wasn’t introduced until march 2001, fully three years after mach 3 for men, the comparable product, was introduced.
–now, men get fancy-schmancy razors with indicator strips to tell them when they need a new blade.

now, i want silky smooth legs just as much as men want me to have silky smooth legs. and i could probably just go down to cvs and buy gillette fusion cartridges for my venus razor (razor blades for different brands within the same company are about as interchangeable as car parts for different makes from the same manufacturer– it’s not a sure thing, but it’s pretty good). but really. when your gender has been historically enslaved, harassed, violated, denied educational and professional opportunities, and subjected to cruel and unreasonable expectations… the least society could do is offer us proportional means to live up to the unreasonable expectations.

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  1. i am staggered by all the things i am not.
  2. first impressions are more fragile than people usually think.
  3. a ringing phone can be a gift from god or a harbinger of doom.
  4. i could really go for some café au lait right now.
  5. procrastination truly is the thief of time.  which means that, at the moment, cleaning the dust out of my laptop keyboard with a safety pin and a pair of tweezers is the thief of time.  i disgust myself sometimes.
  6. world leaders, when they’re feeling rebellious, ought to engage in some low-key retail therapy.  or buy a present for a friend.  some shoes.  a new jacket.  the world would be a calmer, more elegant place.  and the global economy would be in better shape.
  7. i hate unpacking.  i don’t put away my bags until the suitcases lying on my floor retching up clothes are empty because all the clothes are in the laundry.
  8. sliced fresh strawberries with a little sugar and milk are like crack to me on these sunny warm days when we’re sort of slowly, hesitantly lurching toward springtime.
  9. the thought of wet pant cuffs gives me shivers.
  10. i love writing and receiving cards with long, thoughtful messages: birthday cards.  christmas cards.  thank-you notes.  anything pretty that comes in a matching envelope, that doesn’t come with a silly, pre-printed hallmark message.  (if it has a pre-printed message, better be snarky.  just sayin’.)

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annie lennox is my early 90s rock diva alter ego.


(yes. that is hugh laurie in that video. and john malkovich.)

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