Patty and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I felt invigorated this morning; I actually got up and worked out.  I’ve heard that many adults do that in the mornings, and it’s not as fun as eating cheese.  Still, I did work out.  In my adventures, which included a brief and slow run, I went to my car to grab a CD (yes, I still buy them) I bought for a friend.  To my dismay, the door handle was broken.  Until I can find the part, figure out how to take the panel off, and replace it, I’ll be climbing in from the passenger’s side.

After that fun discovery, I took a shower, did my hair, went downstairs to pick out shoes… That’s when I saw a steady stream of water coming down from the ceiling of my closet.  Nearly all my clothing was soaking wet, multiple items were ruined, and it smelled great (just kidding).

I started pulling clothes of the rod, and piling them in the next room.  I ran upstairs to grab pots and pans to catch the drips.  I removed every shoe, shirt, skirt, dress, box, that one stuffed beagle, and my carved wiseman who looks like Jafar.  I exhausted my towel reserves and paper towels while sopping up gallons of questionably-colored water.  I individually cleaned every damn shoe.  I did hours of laundry.  It was so fun… no.

In the midst of the mess, I called my landlord and he assured me that it had “never happened before” which totally helps me in this situation.  I mentioned that it was convenient that the last maintenance they’d done in my apartment had left sawdust all over my closet.  Isn’t it nice that they failed to clean up earlier in preparation of this coming disaster.

For the next few hours, I watched water leak from the ceiling, then inexplicably and inconceivably coming out of the floor.  Because this is such a high-quality apartment, the floors are uneven and so are the ceilings.  The linoleum seemed to be soaking in the water, then rejected it for being far too natural to live in the horrid floor.  Even the spiders started to run away.

When the landlord and his “boy” arrived, sans plumber, they first decided to paint one of the garage doors brown.  They never use tape around here, it’s all just nearly straight.  Upon sight, he forced me to hug him, called me “sweetheart” and said “oooooooohhhh” about seven times.  I cannot fully capture how intensely I dislike them; all the bitch in me rises up in my throat and begs to be thrust at their puny little minds.  I held back.  I needed to go buy more detergent anyway.

When I returned, they had managed to open the ceiling and promised to go get a real plumber and real parts.  I inspected the whole in the ceiling while they were out – so many spider carcasses!  Yay!

The plumber arrived, with the landlord and his boy, and they proceeded to run up and down the stairs, call me “sweetheart”, and not understand plumbing.  When they finally realized that the issue was an incorrectly installed fixture in the tub.  My landlord, being a creative deflector type, told me it was because I hung a sponge from the faucet.  He said that the water was deflecting there and going into the crack.  If I hadn’t used that sponge, no water would have gotten into the cracks and holes.  Wrong.  Water goes lots of places in showers.  The sponge wasn’t there very frequently.  I use the shower, not the bath, so the water comes out of a different spout – it’s amazing.  That’s not even a sponge, it’s shower puff, dammit.

The plumber explained that the issue was a wrongly-installed part and not the (f’ing) “sponge”.

My landlord literally said, “Don’t you worry your pretty little head about this.  We’ve taken care of it.”

I repeated it back in my grown-uppiest voice, and then said, “You know that I’m a grown woman, right?  I’ll be sure to not ‘worry my pretty little head’.  I’d hate for it to get too full with ideas.  That’s for men!”

He stared blankly.  His boy laughed and appreciated the anger I was holding in.

I escaped to my computer where I was clearly working, when my landlord decided to start a very personal conversation with me.  Mostly, he was defending how great he thinks this place is, but he also wanted to push his fun opinions on me.  He asked about the guy I’d been dating when I moved in, I said that we were no longer together.  He then gave me tons of great advice.  He asked what happened, and how, and why, and so much more.  I said, “Yeah… I don’t want to talk about that with you.”  Then, it got weirder.

He said, “That’s too bad.  He seemed really successful.  You should really ask him to reconsider.  A girl would be lucky to have a successful man like that.  He seemed nice too, and he was pretty good-looking.  You should really ask him to get back together with you.  Seriously.”

With big and crazy eyes, I replied, “Wow.  That is so far over the line.  You need to stop talking.”

He said, “Oh, I’m sorry.  I just don’t want a nice girl like you to end up alone.”

That’s when I asked him to leave.

In conclusion, I hate this apartment, I hate my landlord, and I hate sexist norms about women needing men.  I just wanted to not have wet clothes.  I just wanted to have the whole in my ceiling plugged.  I just wanted them to pay for dry cleaning.  I just wanted to go to work.

Great.  What a great day.

We Need to Talk About Whiteness

Lots of white people want that identity to be boring, lifeless, and almost hidden. Lots of white people want to not talk about whiteness because they think that white privilege isn’t worth talking about. They think that focusing on other races – the ones suffering from this privilege – are the real place to effect change.

We can’t make a change unless we change whiteness too. Whiteness may be the privileged position, but that means it has more history, more substance than we’re talking about.

Race means a whole hell of a lot in America. We might not want it to mean so much, but it does.

Whiteness isn’t nothing. Whiteness dominates our societal “norms” and our visions of America. For too long, being white has been the default. We need to challenge this. We need to challenge the language of whiteness. We need to use “white” as a real, meaningful term instead of a default.

What does it mean?

Too many white people think they can describe someone without race when they’re white, but fail to do the same for Black, Asian, Hispanic, or any perceived “other.” Too many times, I’ve heard a story where the person’s appearance includes a whispered, “Black” or a strangely, almost mimed “Asian.” I’ve never heard someone whisper that so-and-so was … white. But a lot of so-and-sos are white.

What does it mean? Why are white people scared of saying that someone was black, and unaware of marking whiteness?

Racial-profiling is real. It is pervasive. It is often subconscious. It is ruining and ending lives.

I am white. I am a woman. I am short and rarely, if ever, a perceived threat.

If I lock myself out of my car, strangers will assist me, police will believe me – no one will accuse me of anything.

If a member of my neighborhood watch saw me walking alone at night, hoodie or no hoodie, heavy bags or empty arms, smile or menacing glare, that person would likely ask if I needed anything. They wouldn’t ask me what in the hell I was doing there?

If I walked up to a stranger’s home and knocked on the door, they would not fear me. They might offer me a phone, assistance with a flat tire, or even give me directions. At worst, they would think I might want to sell them something or talk about Jesus. They would not shoot me.

I am the perceived victim of all altercations. I’ve been in bar fights and street scuffles. I have always, always been the person others offer to help. The men involved has always been assumed guilty. (In these situations, I perceive the men I fought or argued with to be at fault too, but the strangers around us never questioned me.) When I have felt threatened in public and private, all outsiders involved have sided with me and offered me help.

I am not Trayvon Martin. I will never be murdered for looking suspicious.

What does it mean, I ask? What can we learn?

What can we CHANGE?

No one is surprised when I speak with eloquence. No one is surprised by my successes.

If you are white and reading this, I challenge you. I challenge you to not see this as something from which you are free. You are part of this. Even if you have never said, “Wow. You speak so well.” Even if you think you would never profile someone, assume someone’s intent, or suspect someone based on their race. I challenge you to examine your privilege. You are privileged. You cannot deny that. I challenge you to watch yourself. I challenge you to watch others. I challenge you to challenge racism – even when it’s subtle, unclear, or seemingly “harmless.” I challenge you to challenge your friends – of all colors. I challenge you to challenge your parents and elders when they use language, terms, or stereotypes. Yes, it’s nice to think that they just inherited language or don’t know that certain things are problematic. But, it’s not okay. Challenge them. Challenge them and educate them. I challenge you to make a real change in this society. I challenge you to expect more.

We all – all people – need to do better. We need to challenge every slur, every little joke, every tiny detail of our understandings of race. Racism is real. Racism is killing – literally killing – our children.

Being white isn’t meaningless. That privilege is so much more than history. That privilege walks with me into job interviews, down streets at night, in the aisle of every supermarket, convenience store, and department store. That privilege drives with me, walks with me, talks with me.

We have to change something.

What does it mean? How do we change it?

Let’s start with words.

*****************************************

More to consider:

I feel like we need to start thinking about race across a spectrum. The black/white divide we always get totally obscures other people and groups (Latino/as, Asians, Native Americans and other indigenous folks, etc.). It is truly problematic to me that white is the default for so many; we should also investigate how deeply that runs.

Also, asking people to think about whiteness as a category of privilege and taxonomy seems only part of the issue. I feel like we hear a lot about white privilege. We know we have it, but what do we do about it? This is what has always stumped me. How do you actively acknowledge your privilege and, at the same time, avoid being complacent without socially or economically shooting yourself in the foot (which seems to help no one)?

Furthermore, what does it mean to further taxonomize oneself (‘I’m Polish,’ for example) when you’re already white?

“Plus” what, exactly?

ImageThe woman to the far right is Jennie Runk, pictured here in a Glamour spread circa 2009. The intarwebs have been a-buzz because she’s H&M’s new “plus size” swimwear model.

Let’s take another look. Here she is in H&M’s new swimwear shots:

ImageYes, apparently this size 12 woman is “plus-sized.” Excuse me? She looks HEALTHY. AND NORMAL. And pardon me, but I believe one finds size 12 in the “misses” (that is, the NOT plus-sized) section. Since when is this plus-sized? Certainly it’s not the size 0 we normally see, but should we really be calling this “plus”? Plus what? A normal amount of body fat and muscle?

As two women who are not size zeroes, we object. We object first because calling this woman anything other than normal is a gross misstatement. To imply that this woman is somehow heavier than she should be is nonsense. She looks beautiful as-is. I don’t just say this because when I look at most retailers’ models, I want to feed them giant Katz deli sandwiches by the fistful, but because this is the same kind of nonsensical distortion we get with the size zero model. Girls who are Ms. Runk’s size and one higher (14) are shopping in the section that advertises with size zeroes. Women who are size 16 and over are shopping for the clothes Ms. Runk is modeling. Isn’t it time we have just a bit of truth in advertising? If you’re going to sell “plus size” clothing, you need to use a plus size model. A model, that is, who wears size 16 or higher.

Additionally, there needs to be some parity across sizing. I give you the following anecdote: In December, I went looking for a New Year’s Eve dress. I headed to the predictable spots: Forever 21, H&M, etc. H&M was my first stop. My dress size, 95% of the time, is a 6 or 8. I do have a bit of trouble finding dresses that fit because I’ve got a lot of booty and not a lot of booby. But, I digress. I went looking for a black sequin number I saw on the website, and found they only had a size 4 left. I thought to myself, I might as well try this on. It’s realistically only one–maybe two–sizes below me. Maybe it will fit.

And what do you think happened?

Not only did this “dress” not fit over my ass, it hardly fit over my boobs! My tiny boobs! Most women who are my size or a bit smaller have bigger boobs than me! And, on top of that, the notion that this thing was a dress was a joke. Even if I had gotten it to begin fitting over my hips, it wouldn’t have made it much farther because there just wasn’t any more fabric! The damn thing was shirt for a 10 year old being passed off as a dress.

My call, therefore, is for parity in sizing as well as in advertising. I should be looking at models smack dab in the middle of the spectrum of “misses” (that’s a size six, by the way) and smack dab in the middle of “women’s.” And I should be able to reasonably enter a store and try on one or two sizes of clothing and find items that are at least close to fitting. I shouldn’t have to shop at store A as an 8 and then go over to store B and have to buy a 13/14. If we could actually get some real sense of what size we were and stick to it, and saw real humans modeling the clothes we’re buying, we’d significantly reduce the amount of body-hating that goes on.

It’s Time for Gay Marriage

Gay Marriage is Marriage Equality.

Equality is not asking for special privileges.  Equality is asking to be treated the same as everyone else.

The Supreme Court is not a church and it doesn’t care what your holy book says.  It does not allow slavery or prostitution (for the most part), which your holy book does.  It allows mixed fabric blends and tattoos and eating lobster.  Your god doesn’t belong in my laws.  I’m sorry, but it doesn’t.

No one gets to vote on straight marriage or divorce.  No one should have to vote on gay marriage.

Don’t be on the wrong side of history.  History will side with equality.

I am bi-sexual.  I want to marry a man or a woman someday.  I expect that my country will allow me to make whichever mistake I choose.  This is America.  I can kill myself on junk food.  I can fill my body with botox and silicone.  I can sleep with any adult who consents.  I would like to marry whomever I ought to like as well.

We can mix race, mix age, mix cultures…  So what if we keep the sex the same?

Stand for equality.

James Franco Is Bad at Poetry

Note:  This is a poem from the Inauguration, which I know was a few weeks back.  It just took me a long time to process this and I really didn’t want to read this whole poem again.

My brain is broken.  James Franco has broken my heart and brain.  I love poetry.  Therefore, I now hate James Franco.  He has called himself a poet, somehow joined many graduate programs in creative writing, and he is demeaning poetry consistently.  This is what happens when you give a spoiled child the means and praise he’s received.  He thinks he is a good poet.  He is so, so wrong.

As a person who writes poetry, I find him offensive. There are real poets, full-time poets out there who write incredibly beautiful, meaningful poetry that is art and not simply narcissistic rambling. In some ways, he may help bring people to poetry, but if he uses his notoriety to write sub-par, high school-level prose-poems, he isn’t doing the field any favors. People already scoff at poetry; he’s giving them more reason to do so. This is the poetic equivalent to painting a circle on a canvas and charging $100,000 for high art.

If James Franco represents poetry, then poetry is dead.

Randomly, even if verbally, pointing to things in a room doesn’t make your poem illustrative.  It just means you looked around a room.  Poetry is more than a listing of thoughts, or the action of hitting “Enter” on your keyboard.  Poetry is supposed to be art, and this does not qualify.  This is a the live-journal of James Franco pushed onto thin, tall pages.

Art is not an annotated bibliography and vice versa.  James Franco seems to think that he is smart, talented, and unique enough to justify his thoughts alone as art.  Just because you write it and you think you are great doesn’t mean you’ve made something good.  It barely means you’ve made anything at all.

From Kate: “This isn’t even pragmatic or pretty prose.  This is what would happen if poetry had an abortion.”

We must pay special attention to the poem’s end; not just because he gives himself an Oscar for a black-face portrayal of Obama’s “core goodness,” but also because he tells us that “[He’d] let the writer put in all the political crap.”  By saying this, it is as if Franco might actually be aware that he’s not a real writer.  Sure, he’s discussing a fake future movie that someone would write about Obama and then actually cast a white stoner…  But, he doesn’t seem to get that he is “writing” at the moment.  He took the time to google Asheville, but he didn’t take the time to google the president.  Here are some of the last lines about this movie: “I’d let the writer put in all the political crap, / And the specific things that he was up against, / All that stuff on CNN and the Huffington Post, / And I’d say the lines that were written, just like Obama / Reads his lines, but what would really put the role over / Would be the goodness at its core. / That’s what will be remembered. / Yes, his race, no one will forget. But the soul too. / I’d win the Academy Award if I just captured that.”

The vagueness of these lines enrages me.  Poetry is not vague.  He sounds like a person with no knowledge who has randomly decided to pontificate about President Obama.  “All that stuff on CNN and the Huffington Post…”  What stuff?  Which issue?  Are you speaking of his race, his policies, his debate performance, war, economics, anything?  Also, he says that he would “… say the lines that were written, / just like Obama…” almost as an afterthought, as if we, the readers, are supposed to assume that Franco is such a gifted actor, he could easily say lines “just like” the president.

Key Features of Narcissism and Overall Badness:

  • The poem features a striking lack of imagery.
  • The poem lacks rhythm, meter, and music.
  • The poem consists of the thoughts of an easily distracted, wannabe-educated, possibly high hipster with a grandiose self-image.
  • The poem seems to have to remind itself that its purpose is to honor the 2013 Inauguration of President Barack Obama.
  • It’s basically an encyclopedia entry (think wikipedia in a book).  He just explains to us what is significant about Ashville.  He seems to think that every detail of his life and the things that he knows are interesting.  He is wrong.  “Asheville is the place where the Black Mountain College once stood / And helped birth Rauschenberg, Twombly and Johns, / Cage and Cunningham.”
  • He talks about Obama knowing him from the Spiderman movies: “He [Obama] knew me from Spider-Man.”  I’m sure Mr. President was trying to polite; it’s not like he’s your biggest fan.  Get over yourself.
  • Celebrity name dropping without reason.  We’re all excited for you that you got to meet President Obama, Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise, and Claire Danes.
  • The poem ends with James Franco winning an Oscar.  That means that when James Franco thinks about other people, he quickly finds a way to think about himself.
  • The whole poem is about James Franco thinking about how James Franco is like or related to President Obama.  If I were to write a poem about a tree and I kept comparing that to my acting career, I would be a douche bag.  My point is that James Franco is ruining poetry and he’s a douche.

*********************************************************************************

Obama in Asheville

Asheville, North Carolina, is the birthplace of Thomas
Wolfe and the sometime residence of F. Scott Fitzgerald
When he visited Zelda at her institution;
He stayed at the Grove Park Inn, a grand stone edifice.

On the phone once, Cormac McCarthy lamented
The two added wings and the spa, and marveled
At the original structure, They pulled the stones
From the mountains and brought them down on mules.

Soon after his fortieth birthday, Fitzgerald attempted suicide
Here, but couldn’t shoot his own head, drunk, I guess.
Later, after he was actually dead, from alcohol,
Zelda perished in a fire at her institution, one of nine.

*

Asheville is the place where the Black Mountain College once stood
And helped birth Rauschenberg, Twombly and Johns,
Cage and Cunningham; now I think it’s a Young Men’s Christian Association.
On the wall of the Grove Park, they have pictures of the famous guests;

I’m not up there, but Obama is. I was asked to write something
For the inauguration of his second term, but what could I write?
I was in Asheville, studying writing, but not the political sort;
I write confessions and characters, and that sort of thing.

I wrote my friend Frank about what I could do, but he was unresponsive.
I went to class and then the little burrito place where they know me,
And finally at night I got Frank’s email on my phone and pulled over
On the side of Warren Wilson Road, past the school barn with the WWC —

That I couldn’t see in the dark — right before the school entrance;
A little spot where there’s a path that leads to a lake called Snake Lake.
First I called my class at UCLA, and told them to watch Apocalypse Now,
And that it used Heart of Darkness as a model, and that we’d watch

Eleanor Coppola’s Hearts of Darkness, the making-of, the following week.
Then I read Frank’s note. He said he was sleeping twenty hours a day,
With no symptoms except that he desired sleep
And just a little more sleep. He’s in his seventies.

Then he said that my poem was a difficult task.
How to write about a man written about endlessly;
A man whom everyone has some sort of experience of;
How to write so that it’s not just for the converted.

*

I met Obama once, in D.C., the Correspondents’ Dinner.
I was the guest of Vanity Fair, guided through D.C. by the wife
Of Christopher Hitchens, when he was alive. We went to Hitch’s place,
He had books from floor to ceiling, and said he had read

To Borges, when he was blind, Old Icelandic Eddas—
Then we waited in a private room with the likes of Tom Cruise,
And Katie Holmes, and Claire Danes. When Obama entered
The crowd converged. Finally, I got to shake his hand,

He knew me from Spider-Man. I asked him for advice,
I was scheduled to give the commencement speech at UCLA
And there were some undergraduate knockers against me;
He had been denied the usual honorary degree by Arizona State

Because he hadn’t accomplished enough, so I wondered
How he dealt with detractors. He smiled his smile and said,
“Humor.” Well he’s damn right, and I wonder how much
That stand-up comedian is laughing in the face

Of this big country. Because he is one man and we are many,
And a great servant of the people—he’s a president, not a king—
And doesn’t need to face what King Charles once faced.
(Frank suggested I examine Marvell’s semi-inauguration poem for Cromwell:)

That thence the Royal actor borne
The tragic scaffold might adorn:
     While round the armèd bands
     Did clap their bloody hands.

That most famous stanza, and then:

But bow’d his comely head
Down, as upon a bed.

And he was beheaded, good-bye Charles.

*

If I were to act in the film about Obama,
All I would need to get down, aside from the outer stuff—
And I know that’s important—is his essential kindness,
I’d let the writer put in all the political crap,

And the specific things that he was up against,
All that stuff on CNN and the Huffington Post,
And I’d say the lines that were written, just like Obama
Reads his lines, but what would really put the role over

Would be the goodness at its core.
That’s what will be remembered.
Yes, his race, no one will forget. But the soul too.
I’d win the Academy Award if I just captured that.

This Music Is Bad: will.i.am feat. Britney Spears – “Scream & Shout”

Two untalented “musicians.” Roughly 400 computer programs. 15+ Producers. And one incredibly mediocre, nothing song about itself. I’m so tired of meta-music.

This music is bad.

Why are people writing songs about the songs they’re writing.  I don’t need you to tell me during your song that when I hear said song, I will want to ask the DJ to turn up the music.  Let me figure it out on my own.  I have ears and a mouth.  I am capable.  I am fairly certain that these musicians are not trying to address pop music on the meta level; instead, I believe pop music has actually become so self-obsessed and tired that it must continuously reference itself.  If the musician doesn’t tell us to turn up the music, how will we know?

Also, why is Britney Spears referencing herself in this song?  They are sampling, “It’s Britney, Bitch.” from her “rough” phase.  Why bring it up?

“When you hear this in the club, you gotta turn this shit up.”  

Thank you so much for telling me what to do in when I hear this song.  Next time I’m in the club, squirming my sequined body on the dance floor, and I hear this song, I will scurry to the DJ booth in my 6-inch heels (read: slowly and carefully), scream into his/hers headphoned ears that she/he has “gotta turn this shit up.” Why?  Well, because clubs are always playing those will.i.am songs far too quietly.  I mean, will.i.am is prolific, philosophical, and deep, man.

This song sounds like a slow and sad eulogy for a euro-trash computer-generated porn star.  That, or the imaginary girlfriend of a coked-out wannabe dj living in the bowels of Los Angelos.  This song couldn’t be sadder.

It sounds like two old, nearly washed-up almost-musicians… Oh, wait.  It is two old, nearly washed-up almost-musicians.  It is lazy, tired, and entirely bland.  Perhaps, it is aggressively boring.  So boring it reminds me of these two assholes who hang out with my boyfriend’s friends.  Those two are real dummies.  They would probably like this damn “song.”

 

To my point, here are the full lyrics.  Careful, you might get blown away.

SCREAM AND SHOUT
will.i.am featuring Britney Spears

Bring the action

When your hear us in the club
You gotta turn the shit up — You gotta turn the shit up — You gotta turn the shit up

When we up in the club
All eyes on us — All eyes on us — All eyes on us

See the boys in the club
They watching us — They watching us — They watching us

Everybody in the club
All eyes on us — All eyes on us — All eyes on us

I wanna scream and shout and let it all out
And scream and shout and let it out
We sayin’ oh we oh we oh we oh
We sayin’ oh we oh we oh we oh
I wanna scream and shout and let it all out
And scream and shout and let it out
We sayin’ oh we oh we oh we oh

You are now now rocking with 
will.i.am and Britney bitch
Oh yeah  — Oh yeah — Oh yeah
Bring the action

Rock and roll
Everybody let’s lose control
On the bottom we let it go
Going faster, we ain’t going slow-low-low
Hey yo
Hear the beat, now let’s hit the floor
Drink it up and then drink some more
Light it up and let’s let it blow

Hey yo
Rock it out and rock it now
If you know what we talking bout
Turn it up and burn down the house ha house
Hey yo
Turn it up and go turn it down
Here we go we go shake it
Cause everywhere we go we
Bring the action

When your hear us in the club
You gotta turn the shit up — You gotta turn the shit up — You gotta turn the shit up

When we up in the club
All eyes on us — All eyes on us — All eyes on us

See the boys in the club
They watching us — They watching us — They watching us

Everybody in the club
All eyes on us — All eyes on us — All eyes on us
I wanna scream and shout and let it all out
And scream and shout and let it out
We sayin’ oh we oh we oh we oh
We sayin’ oh we oh we oh we oh
I wanna scream and shout and let it all out
And scream and shout and let it out
We sayin’ oh we oh we oh we oh

You are now now rocking with 
will.i.am and Britney bitch
Oh yeah — Oh yeah — Oh yeah
Bring the action

It goes on and on and on and on
When me and you party together
I wish this night would last forever
Cause I was feeling down and now feel better
It goes on and on and on and on
When me and you party together
I wish this night would last forever
Forever forever ever ever

I wanna scream and shout and let it all out
And scream and shout and let it out
We sayin’ oh we oh we oh we oh
We sayin’ oh we oh we oh we oh
I wanna scream and shout and let it all out
And scream and shout and let it out
We sayin’ oh we oh we oh we oh
We sayin’ oh we oh we oh we oh
I wanna scream and shout and let it all out
And scream and shout and let it out
We sayin’ oh we oh we oh we oh

You are now now rocking with 
will.i.am and Britney bitch

You’re never allowed to use the n-word. (So you should shut your mouth.)

First thing’s first: I’m very pleased that President Obama won his bid for re-election.  I am not a Romney fan and I am (obviously) a pretty hardcore liberal.  That’s right everyone, I love my rights and lady business and social programs and gays and minorities and taxes and environmental activism and rights and all kinds of other liberal shit.  I support marriage equality.  I support the Dream Act.  I support legalizing weed.  Okay, so now my bias has been addressed.

But here’s the thing, being liberal doesn’t mean you get to say the n-word.  And here’s the other thing, disagreeing with President Barack Obama (or any other person you might label as black) doesn’t mean you get to call them the n-word.  Unless you are black, don’t say.  Just don’t.

It’s pretty simple: if you are a white person, you don’t get to say the n-word.  

I’m white, and I’m not even going to type it.  Why?  Because I don’t get to use that word.  It’s not unfair.  It’s not a problem.  It’s not hard at all.  I’ve never once felt like I needed to do so, and I never will.  I don’t think there is any reason, even if I’m trying to talk about it academically, to actually use it.

Just don’t use it.

After the election, there were so, so many people on twitter and elsewhere who felt entitled to use that word.  Why?  Because they were mad that Barack Obama won the election.  Oh, and because they are racists, they called him the n-word.  These people largely claimed that they were just expressing an opinion, and that using that word doesn’t make them racist necessarily.  Maybe that’s true in some situations – like maybe you’re at a concert and you’re singing along to lyrics that include that word – okay, I still wouldn’t do it, but you’re not necessarily racist because of it.  However, if you’re pissed off about something and use the n-word to insult a person, then you’re a racist.  It’s pretty simple.

Others have claimed that it’s not “fair” that black people get to use the n-word while not-black-people aren’t afforded the same privilege.  If you or anyone you know thinks this, give it a moment to stew.  Just think it over for a second.  Presumably most of these people are white, and they think it isn’t fair that black people get to say the n-word.  They’re mad because that’s not fair.  They’re mad because black people are doing something that white people can’t.  (Pause to think.)  If you didn’t reach the following conclusion, you need to take a college course, watch some documentaries about the 1800s, or 1700s, or most of the 1900s, or just give up: white people are privileged, have been discriminatory and hateful, and owned slaves for hundreds of years.  Remember the whole “segregation” thing you read about in high school?  Yeah, that was like 50 years ago.  It was real.  I think white people can give up a few words; that seems a lot easier than hundreds of years of slavery, discrimination, and marginalization.

You can think of other words.

There are so many other words to use if you’re mad at someone.    Here are some examples.

  1. Jerk.
  2. Stupid-head.
  3. Asshole.
  4. Dummy.
  5. Ignorant.
  6. Simple-minded.
  7. Wrong.
  8. Uninformed.
  9. Fool.
  10. Racist.

If you are a white person trying to justify the use of a racial slur, shut up.  You have no reason to use it.  You have no excuse.  You are being racist, ignorant, and wrong.

If you’re wondering if you can use it in special circumstances, you can’t.  Nope.  Not okay.  Even if you’re the token white friend in a group of black friends and everyone around you is chummy and using that word in a nice, friendly way… you still can’t say it.  Even if you and your friends are all making jokes about ALL the races, you still can’t use it.

Sort of like you wouldn’t say the f-word in the grocery store in front of a bunch of kids… you know, except way worse and completely different.

There were a lot of people using the internet (via twitter, facebook, and all other forums, I’m sure) to complain about the results of the election, which I understand.  Americans have the right to express their opinion.  That said, Americans don’t have the right to be racist or hateful.  There are not rights to attack people via social media – cyber bullying is an actual crime.  People are not protected when making threats or speaking words of violence.  Racist speech, while not technically illegal, should be shamed.  It’s already shameful, and the rest of us should make sure those who use hate speech are shamed for it.

You’re a racist.  Shut up.

Seriously, it’s 2012.  There is no excuse for racism.  There is no need for it.  If you are a racist, if you use racial slurs, if you think it’s okay to make jokes about other races, etc. you should be ashamed of yourself.  Shut up.

 

Mitt Romney Is a Robot-Alien, and other things I sort of believe.

Mitt Romney is a weird guy.  I think we can all agree on that much.  He doesn’t really seem to understand what’s happening around him.  As any politician must, he bravely ventures into diners filled with Middle America’s most middle-ish of people.  Romney is a 1%er, in fact, he’s probably in the 0.005%.  Dude is rich.  Dude is so rich.  Dude doesn’t even know what a clearance rack is.  Dude probably doesn’t even like Target.  If you don’t regularly shop at Target, I have doubts that you understand “middle class.”

Romney’s absurd wealth makes him so out of touch and seemingly odd that he seems like an alien/robot, or a robot alien.  I just don’t think he can wrap his beautifully gold-plated brain around the milieu of normal life.  *By the way, I mean real gold; I’m not calling him a blond.

Are you wondering why I think he’s both a robot and an alien?  

I’m just pretty sure he’s a robot alien.  As in, I think he is a robot who was likely designed by aliens far away in space, then maybe the robots rebelled and started to produce more of themselves, and now they are infiltrating other cultures and planets, and Romney is one of their best machines… His bid for the presidency is one of the final steps in their plan.

Anyways………….  Here are some reasons.

REASON:  He’s bad at talking like a human person.

Imagined Mitt dialogue: “Hello there, Average Joe.  I am Candidate Stone Hair.  I would like you to vote for me.  I will do anything, literally.  Also, what is a ‘flannel’ and why is everyone in plaid?”

“TERRIFIC!”

“Oh, boy! It sure is sunny!”  “Haha!”  “Yes!”

“I like Michigan.  I like trees.  All the trees are the right height.”

“Tall women are dangerous.”

“Hello there, waitress at diner.  I would like two poached eggs with truffle oil, on a bed of fresh mint, with a piece of Wonder Bread, toasted, and spread with pumpkin butter on one side and Belgian chocolate on the side.”  And then the waitress is like…  “?”

REASON: He just might be too rich.  I don’t think this is a “punishment for success” as Fox News might think it is; I just think someone that far out of the normal American experience won’t be able to understand what people need or want.  I don’t feel comfortable being represented by this person – just like I wouldn’t want the King of France leading our country.  That would be weird.

REASON:  His richness leads to thinking that the middle class stops at $250,000 per year.  Um, if you’re making a quarter of a million dollars, you’re upper class.  I bet that he cannot even imagine that a middle class family might make less than $100,000 per year.

The poverty line must be so astounding to him.

REASON: Well, it’s because he’s so robotic and awkward.  He doesn’t seem to understand humans.  I imagine that life in general is very confusing for him.  In this campaign, he’s had to sludge to such awful, lowly places (by his standards) and it’s hard.

He just doesn’t get it.

REASON: He tells stories like this: “I met a guy yesterday, seven feet tall. Yeah, handsome, great big guy, seven feet tall! Name is Rick Miller—Portland, Oregon. And he started a business. Of course you know it was in basketball. But it wasn’t in basketball! I mean, I, figured he had to be in sport, but he wasn’t in sport.”

REASON: His face doesn’t make sense.

REASON:  Romney doesn’t seem able to agree with himself for any substantial amount of time.  I’m not sure if he’s sure if he’s real or not.  Is moderate Romney the real one?  Is super conservative Romney the real one?

watch?v=bxch-yi14BE&feature=related

REASON:  I’m confused.  Isn’t this guy just the leftovers?  No one was excited about him a few months ago.

Mitt Romney is crazy-crazy.  He just confuses me.  What do you want?  What is your deal?  Why do you want all this power?  You don’t really have any views or thoughts that stay steady.  Ugh.

Unacceptable Items of the Last Three Weeks

So, I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus, but I haven’t forgotten R&RC. In fact, some of the absurd things I’ve seen these past few weeks require some attention.

1. Flesh colored leggings. NO. NONONONONONO UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, NO! Why? Why would you possibly think this is a good idea? I thought the Wal-Mart meme lady would have convinced the world, but apparently not.

2. Tiger stripe leggings. I’m not sure what happened to the students on my campus (there must be something in the water), but apparently standard black leggings weren’t bad enough and we needed flesh colored and tiger stripe varieties. Really?

3. Peek-a-boo shapewear. Shapewear is awesome. It keeps you tucked and set where you should be to look awesome. But looking at it? Not so awesome. So, when I was walking behind a girl in a short pencil skirt and suddenly realized, oh, it doesn’t have a lace border, those are her SPANX, I had to shake my head and wonder whether she could feel a draft. You would think, right?

4. iPod in your butt. Yes. Yes, I said iPod. In. Your. Butt. I was at the gym last week on an elliptical behind a woman on a treadmill. She kept adjusting her sweatpants as she was running, and I was pretty much ignoring it when suddenly she started digging around in her pants. Slightly aghast (my mother taught me not to stick my hands down my pants in public; I don’t know about the rest of you), I watched her pull an iPod out of her sweatpants and adjust the song and shove the thing back in her pants and keep running. W. T. F. Let me count the ways this is unacceptable: one, gross. Two, unsanitary. Three, YOU’RE KEEPING YOUR iPOD IN YOUR ASS. Four, IN YOUR ASS. Five, there’s a reason clothing companies don’t put pockets in the center of the back of our pants; items stored there make you look like you’ve shit yourself. Six, IN. YOUR. BUTT?!?!??!

Yes, this is a real commercial.

After seeing this on TV for the second time, I felt compelled to share it with all of you. At least, I figure, I won’t be alone in my rage against this company and whatever marketing “genius” came up with it.

The first time I saw this, I thought, “Oh awesome! This guy built a mousetrap-style machine that refills his drink! This should be cool.” Alas, I was disappointed, aghast, angered, etc. to find that instead, the solution to the empty drink glass is the girlfriend (wife?). What the fuck. How is this on television? Why isn’t the whole world pissed about this? I mean, the Miller Lite commercials they used to have on TV promoting the “manliness” of drinking Miller Lite (e.g. don’t be a sissy, girls’-pants-wearing light beer drinker!) seem tame and almost endearing compared to the outright misogyny of this gem. I mean, really? We haven’t moved beyond “women belong in the kitchen and/or serving my every need including thirst”? It’s 2012 for godsakes.

I mean, the idea of businesses like SportsClips thrive on the idea that women are meant to serve men both in deed and as eye candy (see also America’s favorite place to get buffalo wings and glimpses of boobies, Hooters). The problem isn’t only the proliferation of antiquated notions of what it means to be a Woman–that is, buxom, always sexy, kitchen- or service-centered, adorably dumb… the list goes on–but antiquated notions of what it means to be a Man. Commercials like this imply that part of being a man means treating all women like glorified servants and exclusively doing “manly” things like watching sports–and being unable to drag oneself away from such manly activities in order to groom oneself, because that’s for pussies. It’s not only women that should be outraged at commercials like this that appeal to undeniably sexist notions of male/female relations, likely located somewhere in the irrational amygdala.

I don’t want to suggest that we should be better than this. We are better than this and it’s about time we show it.