Close Listen: Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” Glorifies Rape Culture, Is also Catchy

Oh, Robin Thicke.

Oh, “Blurred Lines.”

“Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke (who, I will admit, is super sexy) is everywhere these days.  The song, upon first and somewhat-distracted listening, is another generic pop song about sex or dancing or something…  It’s really catchy and it’s got some sonic soul.  The aesthetics of the song itself are groovy and cool.  If I hadn’t listened closely, I would probably like this song.

However, taking the time to listen to the lyrics provided me with the sadly not-so-shocking truth: “Blurred Lines” glorifies rape culture, portrays women as objects without agency, knowledge, or power, and suggests a problematic passage of women from one man to another.

Take a listen for yourself.

Wait… Before you do that, we need to talk about the video too.

THE VIDEO

The unrated version is below – very NSFW.  The video features three disaffected models wearing flesh-colored thongs…  As in, ONLY THONGS.  The boobies are out.  The models are sort of dancing.  It’s really rather weird.  Imagine what it was like to film that video.

Oh, so I just walk from side to side not really doing anything while these guys sing?  Okay.  Oh, and I’m naked.  Oh, I get a thong.  Great…

Awkward…

They let her wear clothes (sort of) but turned her into a road, on which they could drive their toys.

These very pretty, young women are strutting around while fully dressed men – all in suits –  perform a smarmy song around them.  It’s uncomfortable and everyone looks uncomfortable.  The women are making an effort to cover themselves some of the time, other times enjoying the bouncing… I guess.

At one point, one of the girls is holding a goat.  They’re wearing 90s shoes, plastic, and other weird stuff.  The men are all being horrible.

Ugh… Here it is.

BLURRED LINES – UNRATED – ROBIN THICKE, PHARRELL WILLIAMS, T.I.

THE LYRICS

The problem continues.

While the song is largely, well, stupid.  It’s a poorly written song about wanting to bang a hot chick.  We’ve all heard a lot of songs about this and many of them are offensive, reinforce stereotypes, and the objectification of women.  Even female artists participate in this a fair amount of the time.  Women often sing about how hot and desirable they are…  Men sing about their dicks.

The thing is, it’s a real problem to talk about women’s behavior meaning they want or need sex.  Consent is what’s sexy.  A girl dancing in a sexy way doesn’t mean she wants or needs to suck some dudes wiener. 

Women are allowed to be sexy, sensual, hot, attractive, pretty, and alluring without sex.  Nothing but consent is consent.  That’s just how it is.  Seeing a woman from across a room and having a feeling that she might “want it” doesn’t mean she really does.

Writing a song that repeats “I know you want it” six times per chorus sends a bad message.  It teaches young men and women that  seeming like they want sex is enough to consent actual sex.  But that’s not okay.  Sex should be something all participants agree to USING WORDS.  Not using eye movements or nods.  Telling men that they can tell when a woman wants sex by the way she dances isn’t helping anyone.  That’s teaching men that they know better.  They know something women don’t know.  Women need men telling them when sex should and will happen.

Except… WRONG.

The Chorus
And that’s why I’m gon’ take a good girl
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
You’re a good girl
Can’t let it get past me
You’re far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted
I hate these blurred lines
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
But you’re a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me

 

“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.

Creep Week: Snake Tongue, Over-Confident

Snake-Tongue, The Over-Confident

True Story…

I made the mistake of allowing this small-ish man to kiss me.  It was shockingly bad.  He then bragged about how good of a kisser he was, which I found alarming.  He asked me to confirm, and I said…  “Uh, I have to go.”  He then tried to convince me to sleep with him by explaining that he was as good at sex as he was at kissing.  So… I said, “No, thanks.”

It was awkward.

You see, I had allowed this small “gentleman” to walk me home, thinking that due to our common friends and his general demeanor, that he would not try a thing.  Well, he tried some things.  At first, he was just sort of oddly asking me to go out with him.  I was trying to negotiate down and not really interested.  Then, he just full-out went for a make-out session with my face.  I mean, he dove into my face.  He stuck his tiny, thin tongue down my throat and just kept jabbing it into my mouth.  His tongue moved in short, terrifying spurts.  It felt like he was trying tenderize my mouth.  It was, hands down, the worst kissing experience of my life.  Perhaps, the worst of all time.

He then began to tell me that he was “really, really good at stuff that girls like.”  I was like… “No.”  He kept trying to talk me into going to his place or letting him in mine so he could show me his skills.  He tried convincing me because he promised that “We don’t go all the way.”  He said, “We don’t go all the way” about 50 times.  It was an actual negotiation to him.  He thought that if he promised me orgasms and only foreplay, I’d be totally down.  In actuality, I was just trying to get him away from me without totally destroying our mutual friendship situation and without him knowing which apartment was actually mine.  He seemed very stalkery.

The reason he knew he was so good at pleasuring women?

He went to an all-boys school where the older boys “taught them all about that stuff.”  Uh…  Not to be judgmental, but wouldn’t older boys teaching younger boys about sex-stuff likely not involve women?  I mean, wouldn’t that experience all be dude-on-dude?  I just don’t think the ancient Greek system of old men making love to young men bodes well for that man’s skills with women.  You know?

When I finally convinced him that I really, truly, actually, for real was NOT going to mes around with his snake-tongued face, he said something horrible.

“Are you on your menstruation?”

The only reason he could imagine I wouldn’t want to feel his tiny hands or creepy tongue all over me was that I was on my period.  This yucky, creepy question was the last straw.  I slapped him across the face and told him to get real far, real fast.  He ran away.  He was a gross asshole.

This is, by far, the worst thing I’ve heard in response to rejection.  Never, never bring up a woman’s menstruation.

Side note:

He showed up at my apartment building the next day, calling me repeatedly (with a number he got from my friends), and begging to go on a date.  He also told me he lied about his age (he was younger) and he boasted his virginity.  I did not pick up the phone or see him again.

Horrible Realization: I’m Too Old for Cheap Beer

When I was in college, I could drink like a fish.  I put huge douchey dudes to shame with my incredible ability to chug, handle, and hold my cheap liquor and beer.  I preferred nicer beer, even in those days, but I wasn’t about to turn down a few dozen free cans of Natty Light or PBR.  You just don’t do that in college.  You drink what you are given… You know, if it’s not from a very shady source.  Hell, even if it is shady, you might consider it if it’s totally free.  I mean, you’re supposed to be poor in college.  Why not enjoy cheap-ass bear?

College students love beer.

Everyone loves beer.

However, not everyone can drink cheap beer like 20-year-olds.

Once graduation occurs, and you move on graduate school or perhaps a real-life, grown-up job with benefits and a salary and everything, your lifestyle inherently changes.  It just does.  Life is very different after college.  Now, instead of just wanting to get drunk and maybe get a date or two out of some dude/lady, you are actually talking about relationships and even….  MARRIAGE.  Well, maybe just long-term or like… living together or something.  You’re still figuring that part out.  Anyways…

Life after graduation is quite an adjustment.  It takes some g.d. time, y’all.  And that’s okay.

There are many lessons a post-graduate must learn, and one of the first I learned…  Nah, actually the most obvious one I learned, was that I cannot drink the way and the crap I once could.  I’m a grown-up now, and Natty Lite ain’t gonna cut it.

When you start to get old, your body can’t handle the vinegar/acid/gasoline contained in cheap beer.  At least, the body can’t handle it at the same level.  When a body is young and virile, it can fight off the poisons of cheap beer – the pee in Busch Light or the dirt in Natural Ice.  When a body gets older, it starts to give up on dying and it wants to live.  Cheap beer wants to kill you and your body.  Old bodies know better.  They demand good beer.

Older bodies also don’t want you to make them suffer with yucky beer.  I learned this the hard way.

I have now learned, once and for all, that I am now too old to drink a whole bunch of crappy beer.  My body hates it.  My body wants to be a temple instead of a garbage can.  I must obey.

Until very recently, I was entirely immune to hangovers.  I had only once had a hangover, and it was after a week of no-sleep and then heavy, celebratory drinking.  You can read about a lot that night in the post, “When Kate and Patty (Almost) Got in a Bar Fight.”  With that one exception, I have been a total boss.  This has annoyed many people.  Understandably so…  Hangovers suck.  Now that I’m a little older, I’m starting to catch them.

After a night of drinking… we’ll say “some” beers, I have started to feel a little less-than-great the next morning.  Therefore, I must accept that I’m now too old for drinking cheap beer like a college-kid.

Damn.

Bitch’s Guide to New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve can be bad or great, but it’s probably going to be bad.  If you are a bitch, or you like bitches, or you think bitches are funny… here are some tips.  Enjoy!

1.  Shoes.  Wear shoes that you feel comfortable in all night.  You have to spend all of the hours up to midnight and beyond in shoes.  People will be drunk and there will be broken glass.  You cannot walk around barefoot.  You cannot walk home barefoot.  You must wear your shoes.  Don’t be “that girl” who spends the whole night whining about her friggin’ feet.  Don’t be the girl who can’t walk in her shoes.  You know the one.  The one who scuttles from place to place and must perch wherever she lands.  The one cannot actually walk without tripping.  The one who topples into the bathroom to re-apply her lipgloss.  Don’t be that girl.

2.  Booze.  Remember, you will be drinking for a long time on this Eve of the New Year.  Your body will be exposed to so much.  You should invest in mid-level liquor – at least.

3.  Shots, specifically.  Keep count.  Even if it means you have to take a sharpie to your arm (a mark for each drink), you must track your drinking.  You are in for a long night, so you gotta have a plan.

4.  Food.  Bitch, you gotta eat!  If you eat nothing, you will pass out.

5.  Cleavage.  This really depends on what kind of bitch you are.  It’s New Year’s Eve, so go nuts.  Show off your boobies.  Get slutty.  Do whatever.  As a really bitchy bitch, I really don’t care what other bitches are wearing on New Year’s Eve.  It’s like Halloween… Free pass.

SO MUCH CLEAVAGE.

6.  Dates.  If you bring a date to a New Year’s Eve party, make sure he/she isn’t a dumbass, can hold his/her liquor, and that your date can dance.  There will be WOO-WOOs.  Make sure they are ready.  Don’t be the girl with a lame-ass date.  Go solo if it comes to that.

7.  Boyfriends.  If you bring your boyfriend or girlfriend, they SHALL NOT GET SHITTY.  They shall bring mints and make out with you at midnight.  They shall bring you drinks.  They shall dance appropriately.  THE BOYFRIENDS SHALL BE FUN.

8.  Dancing.  Please do as little grinding as possible.  Please whip your hair.  Please shake it good.  Please do some work out there.  Sweat it up.  Do yo’ thang.

9.  Tampons.  Someone will need a tampon – it might be you.  Just bring a damn tampon.  You’ll be someone’s hero and it will feel great.  Good for you.

10.  Bi-Curiousness.  You gotta kiss somebody at midnight.  I’m not here to judge that part of you.

11.  Hats.  Party hats are fucking annoying.  Do not make anyone wear one.  If you want to wear one, that’s great… It tells the rest of us that you’re a dumb ass.  Seriously, suck it.  Hats are sucky.

12.  Driving.  You will be drinking.  Just get a cab.  Your only other option is to crash where you are.  The likelihood of someone staying sober enough to be the DD later on is low.

13.  Glitter.  A little glitter goes a long way.  If you’ve got a sparkly dress, maybe cool it on the bling and the white/silver eyeshadow.  Be sparkly, but don’t try to imitate the NYE Times Square ball.  You don’t need 10,000 blinking lights to be beautiful.  Also, if you do happen to over-glitter, it will get on EVERYONE.  I don’t want to wear your damn glitter, so stay the hell away, Ke$ha!

14.  Underpants.  Just wear them.  Underpants are always, always worth a panty-line.  Don’t be the girl without underpants on.  We don’t want to see your hoo-ha.  Anyone interested in your hoo-ha will happily wait to see it.  Seriously, I don’t want to see a single baby-factory on the dance floor or getting out of a cab.  We all have underwear.  Wear yours.

15.  The Midnight Kiss.  Just go for it, bitches.

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

Stop Calling Mindy Kaling an “Up and Coming Comedienne.” She Has a Show. She’s Up. She’s Come.

If I see one more fucking article or blog post about how Mindy Kaling is “up and coming,” I’m going to lose my fucking mind.

SHE HAS HER OWN SHOW.  IT’S CALLED “THE MINDY [F’ING] PROJECT.”  SHE’S MADE IT.  SHUT UP.  SHUT UP.  SHE IS AS SUCCESSFUL AS ANY MAN COULD HOPE TO BE.

I mean, she has her own show…  Right?

the mindy project

Also, she’s been a head writer and a cast member for The Office for almost 10 years.  They hired her at 24.  She’s established.

young mindy kaling writing for the office

Oh, and she wrote a bestseller.  BEST SELLER.

kaling_211

When dudes get their own shows, do we call them “new” or “up and coming?”  NO.  Now, they’re just famous, rich, and successful.  Mindy Kaling is famous, rich, and successful.  We need to accept that women can be successful, not just nearly successful, not just almost successful.  Women don’t get the same credit.  They have to prove themselves over and over again.  Men, however, only have to prove themselves once – maybe twice.

I mean, really, are we waiting for her to get rid of her boobs and become John Hamm?  By the way, John Hamm is not an up-and-comer, and he doesn’t even have his own show, and his show is on cable.  (I think it’s very good, but you get my point here.)

When Louis C.K. got his own show, people weren’t sitting around saying: “Wow.  He’s almost comparable to other successful comedians.  We should watch him to see if he gets more successful.  What a nice young man.”

Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Martha Stewart aren’t the only successful women in the world.  Many, many women have “made it.”  They didn’t “make it” with an asterisk, or any ifs, ands, or buts – they just fucking MADE IT.

When Hilary Clinton wins the 2016 election, are we going to sit around and talk about her like she’s ALMOST there, almost made it.  Having a vagina doesn’t make your success any more or any less temporary.  What else do people think will happen?  Having boobies shouldn’t mean you have to wait to get credit from all the dudes who like touching boobies – who, by the way, are probably way too intimidated by the success of those boobies to feel good about touching them.

It is harder for women to make it in Hollywood as writers.  It is harder for women to make it in politics, business, engineering, and many other fields.  That does not, however, take away the power, the position, or the accomplishments of these women.  It does not make their successes more vulnerable or their power less permanent.  We should be, and perhaps are, even more impressed with their triumphant success over rooms filled with dicks and dick jokes.  Ladies have to work a little harder.  Ladies have to prove themselves continuously.  Ladies have to show that they can be strong without being bitches, and that they can be sexy without being stupid or desperate.  Men can be gross or fat or assholes or hardasses or softies or whatever with so much more ease.  I know that some men will take offense to this – they should.  It’s awful that this is still true in so many offices and writers’ rooms, etc.  Change it.  If you are a man and you don’t like this point of view, challenge it.  Think about the women in your field, the women in your TV.  How many are there?  What are their positions?  What are your opinions of them?  How do the men around you talk about them?  If it’s sexist or unfair, speak up about it.  If it’s not, then YAY!  I’m wrong and happy to be.

mindy kaling sag white dress sexy

My point is that women’s success seems to be compartmentalized into “women’s success” instead of just success.  Mindy Kaling isn’t “one to watch out for.”  She is literally someone you can currently watch on TV– on her show — which she created — which she writes — in which she stars.  

She deserves a little more faith from the media.  She’s a pretty big deal.  Deal with it.

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.

 

A Hobo is not a Halloween costume

Halloween: the chance, once a year, to pretend to be someone you’re not. I like to think Halloween costumes say a lot about a person. They also say a lot about what we think but never say.

Take this, for instance:
I saw a picture recently of friends of friends of friends dressed up for Halloween. They were supposed to be homeless, complete with “Will Work for Food” signs, tattered jeans, and worn out flannel. Similarly, I see people every year wearing sombreros and telling people their costume is “A Mexican.” Or folks who stick some feathers in their braid and throw on a pair of moccasins to be “An Indian.”

Not okay.

Halloween apparently is not only a time to “be someone else” for a day (or two, or three, depending on how many times you celebrate), it’s time to let our collective, offensive, racist American id run wild because it’s hopped up on too many Reese’s peanut butter pumpkins and Four Loko. Do I think these people mean to be offensive? No, likely not. Really they just want to shotgun some Busch Lights and hook up with the cute guy in the “Where’s Waldo?” costume. Being an historical figure (who is, perhaps, Native American or Mexican/Latino) would be one thing, but to say “I’m (ethnic stereotype – regardless of negative, neutral, or positive implications)!” is short-sighted, foolish, and–well–racist.

There’s a certain responsibility that comes along with picking and putting on a costume; any costume you wear inevitably says something about you and your attitude toward other people. Choosing insensitive costumes matters. Just ask the employees of Steven J. Baum’s firm in Buffalo, New York. These geniuses thought that it was a good idea to dress up as homeless people and create fake sections of foreclosed homes at their office Halloween party. Are you outraged? Yes, you likely are. And so should you be. At the same time, however, these people dressing up as homeless people for Halloween is not much, if any, worse than when people who aren’t legal actors in the foreclosure crisis do it.

This Halloween, dress up. Go out. Drink Four Loko to your little heart’s content, and stuff your face with Kit Kats, Snickers, Reese’s pumpkins, and everything in between. Just try not to be your own id.

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.