Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Clinton as Rocky=Root for me to defeat a black man!

Am I the only person who feels that Clinton's "Rocky" analogy is racially tinged? The original Rocky is all about a white, working-class underdog who fights against a favored black man. We're supposed to root for Rocky because he's an underdog and he never quits, but the subtext is always there: we're supposed to root for Rocky because he's standing up for all of us white folks.

the white hero is paired up against a "motor-mouthed African-American punk who shows no respect for America." According to Queenan, the film said "exactly what White America wanted to hear: They're gifted but we work harder."

So, Senator Clinton, you're like Rocky? You're going to take down the Black Man? How quaint and progressive.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Jews for Obama

Hi everyone,

I'd like to apologize for the hiatus. I've been working pretty hard with the pro-Obama Jewish community. Basically, I woke up one day and realized how terrible the rhetoric was against Obama, particularly for Jews. I felt that there were attempts to drive wedges between Blacks and Jews, and that is something that I find particularly abhorrent.
I hope to return to blogging again soon, but in the meantime, check out our manifesto: it's at You can also get it by clicking on this link. Go go Jews for Obama!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sunday, March 4, 2007

How the news media overlooks gendered violence

Jackson Katz has mentioned in the past that the news media does a really poor job of reporting "gendered" violence. For example, when a man goes on a killing spree and happens to kill only women, nobody mentions the fact that it is likely motivated by a particular ideology that shows contempt for women. This is not the case when we're talking about racial murders, or murders of homosexuals. And that's not to say that the media does a good job at reporting the phenomena of racism and homophobia (because they don't) but rather to underscore how they seem to have collective blinders with regards to gender-based violence.

Exhibit A: this morning, the news broke about a man accused of brutally killing and dismembering his wife. Seems like a pretty open-and-shut motivation--he likely wanted control over her, and she likely wasn't giving him enough. I say this being completely oblivious to the facts of the case, but lo and behold, upon more careful examination, the following motivation is revealed:

Police say the day the 34-year-old businesswoman went missing, the Grants argued over her frequent business trips abroad.

If he wanted to spend more time with her, seems like murdering her is a poor way to do it, huh? Unless it was really about power and control.

Now will there be any analysis of the links to domestic violence in the media? Probably not. Any mention of power and control? Certainly not. Or gender ideologies of superiority? Absolutely no way. And it's not like these are fringe ideas, either--they're part of the Center for Disease Control's violence prevention models, and we all know how slow government is to catch onto things like this.

Granted, the story has only been out there for a few hours, so hopefully we'll get some more investigative reporting as time goes on. Some would argue that the homogenous news reporting on issues like this has to do with the fact that all major media companies are owned by six corporations. Except it's even more insidious than that, because most of what they get news-wise actually comes from central distribution groups like the Associated Press. This is probably why in the first few hours, everyone in the United States is subjected to an identical viewpoint that reflects the opinion of one news corporation (which is a little too Big Brother-esque for me to contemplate for more than a few seconds at a time).

I never thought I'd say this on this blog, but the dearth of competition really has hurt all of us.

Saturday, March 3, 2007


Did you know that eHarmony doesn't provide matches for gay or lesbian couples? Seems innocuous, but did you also know that the founder of eHarmony has had most of his books printed by Focus on the Family?

Warren said eHarmony struggled in the beginning until the evangelical
Christian leader James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, gave
the company its big boost by hosting Warren on his national radio
broadcast. Warren describes Dobson as eHarmony's biggest supporter,
and the appearance on the show reaped 100,000 subscribers, he said.

It gets even better--check out this letter to

I was glad to see public recognition of the fact that eHarmony does not serve the gay and lesbian community. I originally heard of them while watching the reality TV show "Boy Meets Boy" on the Bravo network. "Boy Meets Boy" was essentially a gay version of "The Bachelor" and sought to find a mate for an attractive gay man. EHarmony was advertised heavily on several episodes of the show, and I made the assumption that it would be a useful tool to help me find a gay mate. I invested about half an hour answering all the compatibility questions, during which time my hopefulness grew that I would find someone with whom I could enjoy spending time and that I would eventually find a partner. At the end of the survey I was asked to describe my mate. It was impossible to register as a man looking for another man.

After searching the Web site for an explanation, I came across the FAQ section where, as described in the article, they said that because gay relationships are so different and gay compatibility is not the same as straight compatibility, they would not match gay people.

So they actually advertised on a "gay" show, but then didn't offer a match?

And from Neil Clark Warren himself:

It "calls for some very careful thinking. Very careful research." He adds that same-sex marriage is illegal in most states. "We don't really want to participate in something that's illegal."

Aside from all of the other questions (is he trying to convert gays to being straight?), I think this illuminates something very important about how marriage and love are viewed in some quarters--namely, that marriage and love are inseparable. And therefore, if you're in love, you need to get married. And in a weird conflation, that if you can't get married, then you obviously can't be in love.

Friday, March 2, 2007

How do we counteract the tabloids?

I alluded to this in an earlier post, but I really think that the mainstream news media is just one big tabloid. The details of Paris Hilton's love life, the status of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' kid--these things don't seem like anything relevant to me. And this sort of thing is the domain of the tabloids, with SHOCKING NEW SECRETS! about peoples' love life. And yet, it's being reported as serious news, on par with a natural disaster or serious political developments. I don't think I'd mind, except for the fact that I really do believe that it desensitizes us to actual news and events that affect our daily lives, and crowds out valuable details that allow us to make an informed choice in a democracy.

As the always brilliant and hilarious Matt Taibbi noted:

"Now, after she shaved her head in a bizarre episode that culminates a months-long saga of controversial behavior, it's the question being asked by her fans, her foes and the general public: What was she thinking?"-- Bald and Broken: Inside Britney's Shaved Head, Sheila Marikar,, Feb. 19

What was she thinking? How about nothing? How about who gives a shit? How's that for an answer, Sheila Marikar of ABC news, you pinhead?...

...My definition of a news story involves something happening. If nothing happens, then you can't have "news," because nothing has changed since the day before. Britney Spears was an idiot last Thursday, an idiot on Friday, and an idiot on both Saturday and Sunday. She was, shockingly, also an idiot on Monday. It will be news when she stops being an idiot, and we'll know when that happens, because she'll have shot herself for the good of the planet. Britney Spears cutting her hair off is the least-worthy front page news story in the history of humanity.

Apparently, from now on, every time a jackass sticks a pencil in his own eye, we'll have to wait an extra ten minutes to hear what happened on the battlefield or in Congress or any other place that actually matters.

Which makes the AP's weeklong ban on Paris Hilton stories so fascinating.

It was only meant to be a weeklong ban -- not the boldest of journalistic initiatives, and one, we realized, that might seem hypocritical once it ended. And it wasn't based on a view of what the public should be focusing on -- the war in Iraq, for example, or the upcoming election of the next leader of the free world, as opposed to the doings of a partygoing celebrity heiress/reality TV star most famous for a grainy sex video.

No, editors just wanted to see what would happen if we didn't cover this media phenomenon, this creature of the Internet gossip age, for a full week. After that, we'd take it day by day. Would anyone care? Would anyone notice? And would that tell us something interesting?

It makes me wonder why news editors make the choices to print what they print. Do they deliberately avoid controversial topics? And how can we pressure the mainstream media to report things that are actually relevant to our lives?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Banning the N-Word

I noticed that Stillman College is having a conference on usage of the N-word. The article also makes the point that there were a number of city councils that are trying to ban the word. While I think the conference is a great idea and deathly neccessary, I'm not so sure that official bannings of the word is the right way to go. It is my opinion that the only beneficiaries of censorship (of any kind) is the power structure--they will twist whatever ability to censor that they have towards their own ends and goals. And so, for that reason, I feel very uncomfortable with the talk of "banning" anything. It feels like (to paraphrase Audre Lorde) using the master's tools to dismantle his house.