Late Night writer Jenny Hagel takes a moment to respond to Pope Francis writing that gay people shouldn’t be allowed to be priests. /center>
Feb 07 2011
Last year’s slue of Super Bowl commercials put a new spin on tired traditions. Hyper-masculinity was predictably glorified and exaggerated, women were shown to be little more than sexual objects, and blatant homophobia was present in a variety of ads. Each catered to an overarching idea that traditional masculinity was under attack from women, homosexuality, and femininity. The derisive phrase “the year of anxious masculinity” rightfully summarized the general feel and content of much of what aired. That particular slate of advertisements was nothing terribly novel in and of itself, but it did hearken back even farther than recent memory. The antecedent for each was, in part, one pervasive story.
Oct 10 2010
It would be so nice to believe that with the name Goonies involved, this would have been about something somewhat amusing…rather than out and out horrific. Last Sunday nine members of that street gang kidnapped and tortured three gay men, sodomizing at least two of them with a toilet plunger and a miniature baseball bat, robbed and beat the brother of one of the victims in a home invasion, and forced one of the victims to burn one of the others with a cigarette on a nipple and his penis, while they stood around and laughed.
It almost makes a person hope that the real Latin Kings took enough offense at these guys to really do something about them.
Jul 21 2010
President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
My name is Yahaira Carrillo and I’m undocumented. As I write this, over 20 undocumented youth are risking arrest and deportation to demand that Congress take action for the DREAM Act. Just over two months ago, I, along with two others, became one of the first undocumented immigrants in U.S. history to do the same. Like Mohammad Abdollahi, who wrote you a letter on Monday, I too am queer. I risk being deported to a machista country, Mexico, where killings related to homophobia are rising.
Jun 15 2010
Crossposted at Daily Kos
THE WEEK IN EDITORIAL CARTOONS
This weekly diary takes a look at the past week’s important news stories from the perspective of our leading editorial cartoonists (including a few foreign ones) with analysis and commentary added in by me.
When evaluating a cartoon, ask yourself these questions:
1. Does a cartoon add to my existing knowledge base and help crystallize my thinking about the issue depicted?
2. Does the cartoonist have any obvious biases that distort reality?
3. Is the cartoonist reflecting prevailing public opinion or trying to shape it?
The answers will help determine the effectiveness of the cartoonist’s message.
Taylor Jones, Politicalcartoons.com, Buy this cartoon
Mar 23 2010
Once again the radical right wing known as The Tea Party, that has become the face and voice of the Republican Party, has shown it ugly side and gotten the attention of the media. The Tea Party movement with the blessings and assistance of the Republicans in Congress once again demonstrated that they are arrogant, ignorant, bigots.
The “Partiers” called Democrats, even the ones that supported their misogynist, hate agenda, “baby killers” from the floor of the House and several demonstrators were arrested for shouting racial and hateful epithets from the Gallery. The demonstrators outside and in the halls harassed the Black members of congress with the worst racist insults and even spat on them. They screamed insults at Gay members of the House.
The Republican members of the House refused to criticize these demonstrations and were insulted when they were chastised for their silence.
Last night and this morning, the media called the Republicans out on their hate. On “Countdown”, “The Rachel Maddow Show” and Bob Herbert, in the NYT, took them over the coals.
First, Keith Olbermann with a “Special Comment”, GOP self-destruction imminent. The party’s obsolete ideas will undermine its relevance (the transcript is in the link):
Mar 14 2010
In these days of musical famine, where the industry responsible for bringing new talent to the forefront is very much still hemorrhaging money left and right, the latest buzz frequently focuses on Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, better known by her stage name, Lady Gaga. But, as often is the case, Lady Gaga’s politics and provocative behavior frequently overshadow the songcraft and the melody. Her videos and stage act are sexually subversive and highly controversial affairs, focusing in particular on willfully flipping gender roles and gendered assumptions upside down. She has spoken out vocally on behalf of LGBT rights and is herself openly bisexual, though she has since expressed regret at the admission, stating that she recognizes that the confession might have been perceived purely as a means of attaining cheap attention. When the stigma of being out for much of the community is still a liability rather than an asset, Lady Gaga did not want to be seen as another bisexual-for-headlines celebrity.
Meanwhile, young Feminists are often lumped together into a catch-all umbrella term known as the Third Wave, a construct that satisfies no one and yet has to suffice since no one can think of anything better. It’s an unsatisfying qualifier at best, but does nonetheless capture the general sympathies of Generation X and Generation Y women’s rights activists. Though its mere existence remains frustratingly lodged under the radar of many people, just as invisible and unknown as the broad extent of its stated agenda, it lives and thrives for those who have tapped into it. Those committed deeply to its continued health recognize the challenges at play, the sort that keep it in line with a niche interest group rather than a fully integrated part of the discussion. So this is why that a movement desperate to find a point-to spokesperson for its causes has adopted Lady Gaga, even when the woman in question has bristled and hedged a bit at adopting the label for herself. Any organization or movement looking for increased visibility and instant identification in the wider world often seeks a celebrity or highly public figure to call its own and so it is with the Third Wave’s courting of Gaga.
Feministing and Feministe, two of the largest, most established, and longest running feminist blogs routinely feature the output of or miscellaneous content pertaining to Lady Gaga. One can be sure that the instant the latest video is posted, Gaga’s most recent interview is published, or some snippet of criticism finds its way into the public consciousness that it will quickly appear on the front page of the bigger sites. After being posted, the participation and interest level among readers and regular contributors will very noticeably spike. The purely sensationalist aspect of Lady Gaga’s public persona is, of course, to be attributed to much of this massive fascination, but to reduce her to merely a provocateur would be an unfair characterization. She does have quite a bit to say, though how she says it can easily be confused with or sometimes even muted by her means of presentation.
Survey Third Wave communities and one descriptive phrase keeps coming up over and over again regarding Lady Gaga—badass. In such spaces, no higher compliment could ever be paid than that. When so many women feel that their voices are routinely stifled or that they’ve been conditioned to stay silent while men talk first and act first, young feminists understandably find something courageous and enviable about women, particularly women their own age, who force the world to accept them on their own terms. Furthermore, Lady Gaga’s music videos in particular have directly, though a bit clumsily at times, taken on questions of same-sex attraction between women and done so in terms that are far closer to the way it actually exists in reality. The pure fantasy and grotesque parody of lesbianism, itself a construct clearly adopted by men, is at least pushed to the background of her work rather than set forth as the truth.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Lady Gaga has recently been the subject of wild, unsubstantiated, often internet-driven speculation as to whether or not she is really a hermaphrodite. In her latest video, entitled “Telephone”, she has seemingly put that rumor to rest, so to speak, though I would be shocked if others just as bizarre and scurrilous were not to follow. Feminist communities in the Third Wave have deliberately made room to incorporate queer voices into the discussion, so Gaga’s let-it-all-hang-out style resonates well with a group eager to dissect and deconstruct homophobic and sexist attitudes as a means of properly dispensing with the bigotry in an attempt to get at the truth underneath.
Still, Lady Gaga’s output, be it as a recording artist or as an activist isn’t a complete, satisfying fit with Feminism. Her entire shtick, be it her music or her music videos, traverse the same basic ground as many others who have come before her. I find what she stands for much more interesting and original than the music itself, which is rather derivative to these ears. I suppose as well that I have a different attitude regarding the objectification of the female form. Far from a prude, I still believe that while it might seem empowering for a woman to make a conscious decision to show off skin for whatever reason, rather than have that decision be forced upon her, the ultimate end is the same.
Gaga’s latest video finds her in some version or another of undress, and regardless of the intentions, only a very few will be in on the gag. The average viewer is bound to notice the titillation and miss the commentary. While the obvious statement set forth does speak to the idea that women ought not be subject to nearly constant scrutiny regarding their own sexuality in ways that a man never would be, I’m not sure a brash response, one in effect throwing the sexist assumption back in the faces of those who hold it is the best strategy ever devised.
Still, like my fellow feminists, I can’t fault her for her intentions. Rather than lower the boom, I’d rather state that I appreciate anyone who is willing to risk being misunderstood. As I age I find myself increasingly disinclined to split hairs. After all, we come to a greater understanding in our own time, and each of us rests somewhere along that great continuum. Learning continues forever, as does development. Few of us fit neatly into the exacting parameters of any movement, and our unique humanity may be the reason why. Though we ourselves would never appreciate anyone who put us in a confining and vastly limiting box, we are often frustrated when our heroes can’t manage the same trick. We may need to understand that there’s a certain fluidity with labels just as surely as there is with human sexuality and gender. The same goes with feminists, Lady Gaga, as well as you and me.
Mar 02 2010
I’d like for you to try a little experiment for me.
It’s a very simple experiment, one that doesn’t involve stoichiometry, Bunsen burners, p values, test tubes, or access to hydrochloric acid. It’ll be fun, I swear.
Fantastic! Let’s begin.
Jun 23 2009
Crossposted at http://www.dailykos.com/story/…
What does Pat Buchanan have to do to get fired from MSNBC, show up to work in a white sheet?
Yes, Virginia, there is a white supremacist on MSNBC.
His name is Pat Buchanan.
Some of Pat Buchanan’s previous statements include these quotes.
“Take a hard look at Duke’s portfolio of winning issues and expropriate those not in conflict with GOP principles, [such as] reverse discrimination against white folks.”
And yes, that is David Duke whom Pat is referring to.
Sadly, that is just the beginning, and it barely even scratches the surface.
At the bottom of this diary there are e-mail addresses where you can demand that this racist hack be given das boot for the hateful bile he spews forth, bile which has no place in 2009 or America in any year.
Jun 20 2009
Sometimes there are bad weeks, weeks in which the steps backward, away from cohesion and community formation…and the dream of inclusion…are so extremely painful. This has been one of them.
Yes, there has been negative news (and a few positive notes, to be sure), for GLBT people. But at least for me, nothing has torn at my heart as much as the divisiveness which has resulted from this community’s reaction to that news.
I’d hope that people could understand where each other are coming from as we try to keep the lines of communication open. The intention of this piece is to try to generate some of that understanding.
For all I know, however, I may fail big time, and if I do, the pain will surely intensify.
Oct 25 2008
I’ve been feeling mournful of late. Can’t say why. Well I could but you don’t have all day. Let’s just say things are catching up with me: torture, war, theft, lies, fraud, corruption, joblessness, homelessness and doing nothing in the face of ecological disaster.
What a shame that we remain at war without reason. Shame on us.
And what a shame that we continue to blunder down the path to biospheric disaster defying all logic and denying all science.
What is wrong with us?
There are at least two wars ongoing that our government could stop, and would, if they had an ounce of moral fiber…or a lick of sense.
Jul 25 2008
What follows is a pair of articles recently posted by an NYC public school social worker over at Fire on the Mountain, articles I hope will be of interest of interest to educators and parents and perhaps more broadly.
Teen Breakthrough, Part 1: “I’m Not Racist Against Gays”
In my workaday world in the NYC public school system, this year’s big news was the growing acceptance of and sympathy for gay guys. And because male homosexuality has been, in my experience, so deeply stigmatized among youth, I think this is a tremendous breakthrough. I still don’t hear many guys in high school saying flat out, “I am gay,” but there’s definitely less attempt to deny or repudiate or hide attributes that might brand a young man as gay.
Little things like young men casually mentioning, “My uncle is gay,” or an African-American senior who is into fashion design, tends toward the flaming in his manner and shows no romantic interest in girls being elected a class officer. Or a young man saying to a female classmate who called him “fa–ot”in an argument: “Well, I don’t appreciate that because you must not think too much of gay people, and my brother is gay.” In the past, the likely response would have been to hurl back an insult, and the main concern would have been to assert his own straightness in front of the peer audience. But now, he takes the offensive and critiques heterosexism!
Another example that impressed me occurred in the context of a school art project for which students chose the theme of taboos. There was a fair amount of art about gay/lesbian relationships, but one of the most intriguing paintings showed what looked like a man in his twenties and a man in his sixties embracing, The young Latino artist, who as far as I know is straight, definitely wanted to provoke reactions and sought out feedback. It really blew me away that he was challenging two stigmas by portraying, in a compassionate way, both gay male sexuality, and the need of older people to express their sexuality (which is often is often a big yuck factor for teens!).