Saturday, August 23, 2008

Of VPs, Dates and Being the Other

First things first: Biden as Obama's VP pick.

I am not bothered by this.
I think it's brilliant, funny and totally expected. In fact, earlier this week, I called it while emailing with some friends. Friends called it for Bayh, Schweitzer and Webb but I went for Biden.

My reasoning:
As evidenced by an ample Google record, Biden has a long history of saying problematic shit re: people of color. I will not offer an opinion on Biden's racist tendencies - I'm just saying he says problematic shit.

The things he says are not that substantially different from what 98% of the general white population, conservative or self-identifying liberal, say/think about people of color in general, black people in particular. So, in effect, Biden is familiar to most of the population. He's easily recognizable; he is our American mirror.

By choosing Biden, the Obama campaign is saying to America, 'See? I get you. I know you're scared, but it's ok. Joe is just like you, and I like him! I'm not mad.' By signaling to the electorate that they're overlooking Biden's 'off the reservation' problematic racial shit, they are asking that we also overlook some things - primarily, the color of Obama's skin and all the weight it carries.

Yeah, yeah. Biden brings some bizarro 'connection' to 'everyday' people (pundits need to STFU) and foreign policy experience which is a good thing, but his biggest contribution to the Obama campaign is his whiteness. His benign, problematic, clueless whiteness. It's a gift and I hope Obama uses it well.

So I had a date today. Will there be a second? Just wait until the end of the story.

We went to the MCA for the Koons exhibit (which he didn't like at all because it had naked ladies and girly bits in it) and then talked for a bit on the patio while a wedding dinner was arranged. Our conversation, which I will spare you, reminded me of something a friend sent me from a Doctor Who recap:

In broad terms, the entire process of anima development in a male is about the male subject opening up to emotionality, and thus broader spirituality, by creating new paradigms as he encounters/projects new forms of femininity. The first is Eve, the Maiden: the emergence of the object of desire; has the troubling habit of simultaneously generalizing all females as evil and powerless. If you haven't met a guy stuck in this place... Well, trust me. You have. I don't know what else to say.

The second is Helen, as in Helen of Troy. In this phase, women are viewed as capable of worldly success and of being self-reliant, intelligent and insightful, even if not altogether virtuous. This second phase is meant to show a strong (untempered) schism in external talents but still lacking internal qualities (inability for virtue, lacking faith or imagination). You want the key to boys? This is it. Halfway through the rubric, and they're still not convinced women have an internal sense of ethics. Welcome to being the Other, if you hadn't noticed yet.

Brother Dude was stuck in Phase 2.

He asks me if I am looking for marriage.
I say, Not particularly.

He asks why.
I say, truthfully, that I don't think marriage particularly benefits me.

He asks me to explain.
I explain how the cultural construct of marriage is irrelevant to me and, frankly, I just don't see the social, financial or physical benefit for me. I've thought of this often and I've thought carefully about it; it's not a position I take casually.

His reaction? He says I must have suffered some kind of personal, abusive trauma to make me adopt such extreme ideas.

I explain that there has been no trauma, no abuse. These are my personal set of values and I'm sticking by them - because they're my values, you smug bastard, I thought.

He then called me inflexible and leaned back, saying that I'd change my mind.

A man telling me I don't know my own mind and I'll change it is a freaking red flag for me. He made me want to take my soda straw and plunge it into his frakking jugular.

The idea of a woman having real ideas and actually living by them is somehow stunning, apparently. Men are allowed to have Grand Theories and Values, but women aren't? This man is in his mid-30s; if he doesn't understand by now that there are women out here who actually live our lives according to our individual principles and ethics (which aren't ever up for approval by some dude) then he's not a guy I need to be around.

So, no. There won't be a second date for him. Smug bastard.


No Nonsense said...

love it when you write multiple stories, different topic in one post...sounds like a good ramble.

ok so you did like the date-next!

Obama/Biden I like that. I lived in Delaware and despite the foot mouth statements that Joe Biden makes, he is a pretty good guy. I liked him then, and when he decided to run in 2008 and I was all for him, so I am glad he is on the ticket. Beside he hasn't said anything different than what I know most white hasn't thought or said at some point.

liza said...

I'm *married* quite happily, in a relationship that is too easy judging from the cultural script that says "relationships are hard work" and I know that the institution isn't set up for my benefit. Nothing in this culture is, really. DUH. So, strike one against dude. The death knell for his as a rational person you want to talk to at all is the smugness. So, yeah. No second date for him.

ding said...

NoNonsense - exactly. Folks have their stuff all in a bunch over Joe and I'm just, 'What's the difference between Joe and the dude who sits next to you at work and compliments you on how well-spoken you are?' Nothing. Joe is you and Joe is me - long live the VP.

Other folks are all upset because of Biden's policy work and voting record. Well, all that stuff is moot, now. His only job will be as ambassador for the White House, tie breaker in the House and President if Obama dies in office.

(That's when you start to worry.)

Can anyone point to any really significant VP-initiated work in the last 40 years or so? Or, ever? (Cheney notwithstanding, of course, that sneaky, war profiteering bastard.)

No. So folks need to chill out and keep their eye on the ball instead of bleating about how sad Joe makes them feel.

ding said...

Liza - exactly. Patriarchy ain't ever going to benefit me so we make the arrangements that do. You're lucky enough to have met a dude who meets your arrangement. (Yay for hubbies who buck the script!)

Ugh. I also knew the date wasn't going to turn into a second when, in the Koons exhibit (which had some explicit pieces in them), he took my arm and tried to maneuver me out of the room, as if to protect me. Uh, no. My delicate sensibilities aren't going to collapse if I see Koons' wife's shaved cooter.

(though I didn't really need to see her anus on a canvas as big as my bedroom wall...Koons is a ridiculous artist.)