Saturday, November 29, 2008

sexism ruins everything: Transporter 3

what is not to love about jason stathan? he's big, bald, english and built like a Hummer. in his movies, he always looks good, cars go fast and shit blows up. but, sometimes, you really wish his movies made some little effort to have a woman in it who didn't make you wish she was strapped to dynamite, no matter how cutely freckled she is.

(or, more appropriately, burn with the desire to see luc besson strapped to dynamite. the female characters he writes seem to be perpetually adolescent, burdened with a number of developmental challenges, and who respond in ways that are completely unattached to what is actually taking place around them.)

i can appreciate a well-choreographed car chase like any other but Transporter 3 was stupidly, lamely, idiotically and typically sexist.

though i have dwindling faith in male scriptwriters to write female characters with actual brains anytime soon, perhaps someone will pay attention:

1. if a female character was the adult daughter of a high ranking government official, mightn't she have a much better education than the average Ibiza party girl and not be so evidently vacuous?

2. in times of life-threatening stress, a believable woman would not get coy and refuse to offer important, relevant information that might help keep her and a companion alive.

3. knowing that her life depends on surving a treacherous road trip, an interesting and believable woman would not choose a random moment to waste time and drop ecstasy, swig vodka and demand her driver perform a strip tease for her.

4. somewhat related, during a kidnapping, it is not at all probable that a woman would demand a pit stop to seduce and have sex with her fellow kidnap victim/driver.

5. and if a pit stop was necessary, it would be to change from the high heels and party dress to more appropriate action gear that would allow one to, you know, run or something.

6. unless she has undergone brain damage, a more believable and less annoying female character would be a lot more interested in crisis resolution and not let the big guy do all the heavy lifting. for instance, instead of ineffectually screaming in the backseat while being re-kidnapped, perhaps one would be a little bit more focused on stopping the car.

geez, i hate sexism.

dork love: BSG!!

well, this got my attention.
Battlestar Galactica 4.5 Promo Clips!!

aargh. the finale can't come soon enough! why must you make us wait until april? why??

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vote for the YWCA!

Click here and vote for the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago; the organization with the most votes wins $15,000. We help women, girls, children and rape victims, for jeebus' sake! We help eliminate racism!

What to do:
1- Pick Chicago, IL
2- Click on YWCA Metropolitan Chicago
And that's it but you can only vote 1/day - so vote every day until December 10!

Frakking kids. We were kicking their butts until yesterday!

(yeah, conflict of interest. whatever. it's my blog and i can do what i want.)

(link fixed! thanks, Orange!)

Monday, November 24, 2008

frak home for the holidays

I was actually going to write something heartwarming and very Hallmark-ish about how much I like Thanksgiving and how I'll miss my dead mother's recipe for stuffing but I just got off a conference call at the office that just about made my head explode. I have *no* patience for inefficiently run conference calls where nothing is clear and folks wouldn't know an action item if it bit them on the ass. I especially have no patience for consultants without a good project management bone to share between them. We are paying you goo-gobs of cash! Work faster!!

So work has destroyed my soft, gooey mood and made me cranky. I'm so cranky I'm glad I'm going to be staying home by myself for the holiday. Me, in loungey pants, with a pint of gelato, some chili that I'll make on Wednesday night, and a stack of creepy, guilty pleasure DVDs and maybe some nekkid action with a boy. Or two.

I haven't decided how cranky I am and how much stress relief I'll need, yet.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Prop 8: the legal challenge begins

And so it begins, the legal arguments and decisions that will impact the everyday lives of gay and lesbian Californians.

A brief digression: in my day job, I'm the government relations officer for a non profit and I basically see that role as one that explains to interested (or apathetic) parties why my organization matters and why the work we do is meaningful and how others can contribute to that meaning. I was reading a messaging document about the way to frame a particularly complicated campaign we're about to launch in coalition with other orgs in the state and it presented a novel (to me) idea - that when advocating for a social cause, it might be better to promote materialist thinking, rather than mentalist thinking.

Using a materialist approach in social justice communications concentrates on the concrete advantages of better policy decisions rather than factors that are outside the public sphere of interest, like character, choices or individual motivation.

It's kind of confusing but it works like this: you have to give folks a reason to discard their binary thinking, largely based in fear or ignorance. "Gay marriage will mean the end of heterosexual marriage" or "Gay marriage is unnatural" (because being gay is unnatural)

A mentalist approach (something I do all the time because I get so easily pissed off) says that 'Gay marriage is good because gays are people too and it's just fair to legally recognize their relationships, too! You're such a bigoted asshole!'

This is one effective way of communicating the issue.

Might there be a more effective way to communicate the issue?

Perhaps. (And I'm working this out as I'm writing here, so bear with me.)

A materialist approach says this:
"The right to form a family without the interference of state or federal government is a core American value, along with fairness, equality and freedom. To deny gay marriage, or other legal arrangements that replicate (though aren't the same as) marriage rights, is to deny them the right to form a family and separates them from a national identity that is rightfully theirs."

Or something like that.

The advantage of this kind of framing:
It neutralizes the kerfuffle about 'protecting' families and maintaining the importance of families to an intact social fabric. In fact, it buys into it. You are correct, sir. Families are the foundation of society and gays and lesbians would like to have families of our own.
It allows a conversation about how gay families support society. Gay families provide parenting, support children, are invested in and contribute to the various supports that are involved in raising a family.
It connects the narrative of gay and lesbian equality to a national narrative of liberation. It's not just about one community, it's about the connection to a big ol' community. The struggle of other people and other communities to live lives of independence and freedom, away from social and religious oppression, is no different from this struggle.
It erases the binary Us/Them. Family is family, no matter who's in it.
And it doesn't waste time pleading for reluctant hetero acceptance of a gay 'lifestyle.' Homophobia will probably never go away; but with family, there's strength.

Ok, I really should get on the phone now and do some work.

CA Court Case Challenges Prop 8, Anti-Gay Rights Measure |

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

well, that's one album i don't need

just the other day i was listening to a prince song and thinking, 'he is so cool; i need to download his latest.' but that was before i readthis.

so i guess i can download something else now.

the view from the other side: why civil unions aren't enough

From an Andrew Sullivan post:

We are so often told by opponents of marriage equality that they do not oppose our right to have basic legal protections. What they do not understand, because they have never had to understand, is that without legal marriage, gay couples are always subject to the veto of family members who have more say over our spouses under the law than we do.

and this:

Until you have been treated as sub-human, it's hard to appreciate how it feels. We will not give up. And we will win in part for the sake of those who never made it to see this day.

This is what my faith teaches me, whatever the Vatican insists. Our love really is stronger than their fear.

so to bridget, chris and others who offer the mealy-mouthed 'i'm ok with their civil unions but, euww, i don't want them to be married because marriage is meant to be straight' i say that this is a civil rights issue.

you're either for equal rights because you truly believe in liberty for ALL and that all men were created equal, and thus how the world works for one set of the citizenry is how it should work for ALL - or you don't and think that our Constitution is only for straight people.

pick one.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

no apology

"If gays are granted rights, next we'll have to give rights to prostitutes and to people who sleep with St. Bernards and to nailbiters." Anita Bryant

while it's snowing in chicago let me share why i was rude to commenter bridget, down below.

(no one may be asking, but i'll tell you anyway because - one, i'm sure i'm going to be rude a few more times as i keep writing about gay rights and, two, i don't want to keep explaining myself.)

i have no patience for the apologists of bigotry, no matter how harmless they try to make themselves seem.
i have no interest in engaging in some bullshit, trollish 'conversation,' or 'dialogue,' about 'both sides' of the issue because there are no two sides of denying american citizens basic equal rights because you don't like who they sleep with.

if you don't believe basic humanity and decency, as well as the foundation of our Constitution, dictates that the same liberty that you and i experience should be extended to everyone, as part of their national birthright, then you have nothing to say to me.

that's it. those are the parameters, the guidelines of the issue with which i'm willing to engage - not about religion and not about morality because our rights as citizens have nothing to do with either religion or morality.

it's pathetic that the shite spewed by anita bryant back in the 70s still has currency today. i guess that's the laziness of bigotry for you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

oh, rahm, pt. 2

Wonkette : Take Intern Juli’s Advanced Emanuel Brothers Personality Test From Hell

So, if one really wants to be thorough about one's Obama Administration stalking, knowing one's target is absolutely crucial.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

it's about love

[h/t Wade and LeBlanc on Bitch, Ph.D.]

Friday, November 07, 2008

party over: a primer on equality and Prop 8 - from a brown straight girl!

We'll take a brief break from the longest post-election party ever to turn a quiet, sober eye to California, my home state. There, among the raisins, peaches and lettuce, the people of California voted overwhelmingly to deny their fellow Californians basic equal rights while, at the same time, making it possible for Barack Obama to become President. Ironic, isn't it?

Basically, Prop 8 tells every gay person in California to suck it up and accept it: you will never have the same right or access to the same things to which I, my straight sister and straight brother in law have rights and access.

There. That's the Proposition in a nutshell.
(Come at me with your counter arguments trying to explain to the 'danger' of gay rights and not only will I call bullshit on all of it, I will ask you what made you hate gay people.)

Now there's been some talk about who's to blame for this vote. Was it black people? Was it Latinos? Was it black and/or Latino church folk? (We'll come back to that.)

Let's cut to the chase: it was straight people who tanked equal rights for gays in California. (Let that sink in a bit. We'll come back to that, too.)

Here's the thing about equal rights - they actually supercede religion and race and they do so because the idea behind equality and civil rights is quite simple:


I will repeat this often and loudly at whoever is puffing themselves into a self-righteous ball about why they voted for Prop 8:

Religion: you voted for Prop 8 because the Bible said so. Well, so what? We don't live in a theocracy and it's wrong for a portion of the population to be subjected to your narrow interpretation of the bible which should actually have no bearing on civic life. God will not send you to hell because you voted for something that gives Tony and Miguel the right to spousal healthcare benefits or visit one another in the hospital should Tony get hit by the RTD.

The 'Ick' Factor: you voted for Prop 8 because the idea of two women loving one another and exchanging vows in front of a judge skeeves you out. Again, so the frak what? Your personal, outdated and irrelevant homophobia just legally stripped an entire community of their basic civil rights which they should have because they're, you know - basic frakking human beings living in America.

The Race Thing: you're quite willing to vote for Obama but, lawd, that gay thing is what white folks do. Are you kidding me?? You are surrounded by gay people.

You sit in church, look up into the choir and know that Donny the pianist has been 'that way' for years. (Quiet as kept, you know big ol' flashy, stentorian Bishop So-And-So has been having liaisons with black men for years.)
You have a cousin who has brought her slightly butchy 'roommate' to every family reunion and you know they're not just sharing an apartment to save on rent.
You have heard stories of folks in your family who've never married or remarried after a spouse has died, but are suddenly quite comfortable moving in with their life-long same sex best friend - and you know it's not just about companionship.
You go to all the fests in Leimert Park and you see the all the gay men with their babies and their 'girlfriends' and you KNOW those men aren't straight.

And you know what? Luther - gay! Langston - gay! Snoop (on The Wire) - gay! My aunt Diane - totally gay (which I just found out about last year from my dad who was also caught by surprise)!

What the hell, my people?!
Y'all had best get off your high horses about civil rights and demanding to hear bullshit arguments to 'convince' you that gay people need the same rights as you. Who do we think we are? We do not own the patent on civil rights. Ol' Miss Sally mighta marched with Dr. King but Ol' Miss Sally has NO right to use Dr. King's fight to emancipate black folk to justify keeping gay people in a cage built by her cultural misunderstanding of what 'the gays' do, are like or really want.

You know what gay people want? What you and I have. Freedom. Autonomy. Dignity. The privilege to introduce the person they love to a room full of people as their spouse. They want to fulfill a human desire to create a family and have that family be protected just as your family is protected. They want what we have and we should give it to them.

Why? Because we took it away from them!

This brings me back to STRAIGHT PEOPLE tanking this thing for the gays. White, black, latino or asian - a majority of the heteros in California voted for this shit. Why? Because we are drowning in our straight privilege and are, deep down, unrepentant homophobes. We don't like gay people. Apparently, we mustt hate them, despite working with gay people, socializing with gay people and having gay people in our family. We might as well have just pinned a great big pink triangle on them.

And until we share some of this burden and hold our fellow straight breeders accountable for their homophobia, gay people will never get what they deserve - what we have.

(Why I'm using 'we:' we, even as self-identified friends to the gays, are implicated in this travesty. Clearly, if we straight people who support gay rights because we know and love gay friends and family or because we know it's the right thing to do or because we are (gag) 'tolerant' - clearly we didn't do enough. Our gay-hating friends, acquaintances, neighbors and family voted for this shit because we didn't call them out on this crap long before this stupid Proposition even got on the ballot.

The burden to change the paradigm of hatred and bigotry shouldn't fall entirely on the community that's oppressed by it; it should be shared equally by the privileged who must sacrifice something in order to see the promised land of equal rights for all.)

So go on. Celebrate voting for Obama and 'change.'
Deep down we straight folks are oozing with the same old bullshit tar of hypocrisy.

[A Private Note to Richard:
Yes, I do think anal sex is healthy, especially when done with respect, with someone you trust and/or love, with plenty of lube, as well as a condom.

In fact, Lawrence v. Texas pretty much guarantees that any and all enjoyment of butt sex is private and outside of the reach of the law. In fact, beyond butt sex, Lawrence v. Texas also upholds that the liberty given to us in the Constitution pretty much covers gay folks' freedom to enter into relationships without fear of reprisal or criminal prosecution, whether or not such a relationship has legal recognition. You know - like STRAIGHT PEOPLE. Thanks for asking.]

Thursday, November 06, 2008

oh, rahm.

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan (November 06, 2008) - Getting To Know Obama's New Chief Of Staff

i have just added one more name to my Crazy Jewish Dudes I Like (A LOT) list:

And there’s the story of how, the night after Clinton was elected, Emanuel was so angry at the president’s enemies that he stood up at a celebratory dinner with colleagues from the campaign, grabbed a steak knife and began rattling off a list of betrayers, shouting "Dead! . . . Dead! . . . Dead!" and plunging the knife into the table after every name. "When he was done, the table looked like a lunar landscape," one campaign veteran recalls. "It was like something out of The Godfather. But that’s Rahm for you."


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

We Won!

Oh my god.
We did it.

Thank jesus.


I cannot say this with enough emphasis: Get in gear and go vote.

Stand in line for a long time; wear comfortable shoes; pee in a can or wear Depends.

Double check your polling location.

Bring two forms of ID (one with a photo and one that verifies your current mailing address)

Bring along the number of the ACLU voter protection hotline and email:
1-877-523-2792/email at

Vote all the way down the ballot (a filibuster-proof majority is our goal!)

Read directions carefully and take your time with the new electronic system.

[This is a special note to members of the youth vote:

I've already had to tell someone's undergraduate sister living in Mississippi, but wanting to vote absentee in Texas, that she can't vote today because she waited too long and missed her deadline for sending in her application as well as her ballot. Are you freaking kidding me??

If you guys blow this for us (as you did back in 2000 with your Nader vote) I will be seriously pissed.

This goes for all the little old people down in Florida, too.]

Saturday, November 01, 2008

in memory of dana ferguson

yesterday, i went to my pastor's funeral.

the church was coldly austere and beautiful; the service emotional and wrenching. somberly dressed, clearly fighting tears, members of the church streamed in from all over the city, forming a line that rivaled one on Easter Sunday. a letter from the Mayor's office was read.

i held it together through Barber's 'Adagio', through the opening prayers but then came Psalm 121, which has always been a favorite of mine.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

3 He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.

7 The LORD shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
8 The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.

it made me think of her evident dedication to her calling, the joy and discipline she showed but also the brave perseverance she showed during her illness. it was almost too much to think about.

but there were moments of joy, too. laughter through the eulogy, the comfort of seeing a packed congregation rise as one to sing the doxology, to recite the Apostles Creed, all of us praying together and reciting the 23rd Psalm (another of my favorites.)

and finally, after the wrenching recessional as her casket was slowly wheeled down the long, straight center aisle led by a bagpiper and followed by the pastoral staff and her surviving family, the Tower Brass doing a boozy, ragtime arrangement of 'Just A Closer Walk With Thee' that made us all erupt in bursts of giggles and clapping. it was her final joke.

the lesson here? in the shadow of death and sadness there is joy and grace. this is the gift that Christ has given us and for which, despite my personal failings and struggles, i am eternally grateful.