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Archive for the ‘I’m angry today’ Category

I’m pretty conservative when it comes to calling someone an a**hole.  And Bill, you and I agree on an awful lot.  I’m looking forward to your movie.

And even after this (the breastfeeding part) I was willing to write you off as nothing more than an uninformed blabbermouth.

But referring to Senator Barack Obama as “our BOY” on the Daily Show??  You know better.  Now apologize.

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First of all, I hope you’re not reading this, because if you are it means that you Googled yourself and made it through too many pages of hurtful, scarring rumors and outrageous judgments about you, your family, and your choices.  I am sorry on behalf of all of us–Republican, Democrat, Independent, Blogger, and Pundit–that the very personal details of your life, particularly your sexual activities, are being discussed everywhere.

I am not going to discuss those details here, other than to say that as a pro-life person, I’m glad you’ve decided to raise your baby.  And as someone who is cheerleader for mothers and babies of all ages, you have it within you to do a great job.

But–and this is where my letter stops being personal and gets political–just because I like what I think you’ve done (because I didn’t get it from you, I got it from reporters who got it from a campaign who got it from your parents) doesn’t mean I’ve decided to ignore the real campaign issues and vote based on a candidate’s family situation.  It’s not fair that your mother and Sen. McCain are taking credit for something you have chosen in an effort to further their campaign.  I agree with Sen. Obama that families should be off-limits, aside from the photo-ops and professions of love.  It’s OK for candidates to let their children humanize them to the public.  It’s not OK for them to use the personal details of your life (and your brother’s) to make them look electable.  I don’t want to decide the election based on what kind of parent a person is–outside of extreme cases of abuse–but his or her platform and how he or she would be in office.

I’m sorry I let this get to me and I hope the next couple of years of your life don’t suck because people like me let it.

I hope your pregnancy is uneventful and returns to being private.

Love,

sster of boomerific

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To those of you who still believe racism is a thing of the past, on both an institutional and individual basis, read this, making especially sure to read the comments. I understand that the comments are skewed toward trollage, but I have personally heard more than one Cedar Rapidian refer to those “people from Chicago” (aka, poor black people mucking up our perfect, safe white city).

I know many, many CR people who do not discriminate and work hard to fight their inner racist.  But clearly we have a long, long way to go.

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Sad

It’s the worst kind of anniversary.  There are no gifts.  But if there were, this year would be paper.  On the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, Women for Peace Iowa held a protest outside of the offices of Senator Harkin and Representative Loebsack, complete with a flag-draped coffin replica.  Yours truly and her son in a backpack were pallbearers.

Upstairs, tiny paper coffins made out of printed flag paper lined the long hallway and spilled into the politicians’ offices.  I didn’t expect to be moved, but my heart sank into my shoes when I saw them.  The worst part was the way they tumbled over one another in the offices–lives tossed away carelessly.  Each one represented a life lost and a family torn apart.  Cliches cannot really convey how moving it was to see these tiny coffins.  And there were only 2,000 of them, just half the number of soldiers we’ve lost.

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And here is how high school student “Tucker” responds:

Rep Kern: On April 19, 1995, in Oklahoma City a terrorist detonated a bomb that killed my mother and 167 others. 19 children died that day. Had I not had the chicken pox that day, the body count would’ve likely have included one more. Over 800 other Oklahomans were injured that day and many of those still suffer through their permanent wounds.

That terrorist was neither a homosexual or was he involved in Islam. He was an extremist Christian forcing his views through a body count. He held his beliefs and made those who didn’t live up to them pay with their lives.

As you were not a resident of Oklahoma on that day, it could be explained why you so carelessly chose words saying that the homosexual agenda is worst than terrorism. I can most certainly tell you through my own experience that is not true. I am sure there are many people in your voting district that laid a loved one to death after the terrorist attack on Oklahoma City. I kind of doubt you’ll find one of them that will agree with you.

I was five years old when my mother died. I remember what a beautiful, wise, and remarkable woman she was. I miss her. Your harsh words and misguided beliefs brought me to tears, because you told me that my mother’s killer was a better person than a group of people that are seeking safety and tolerance for themselves.

As someone left motherless and victimized by terrorists, I say to you very clearly you are absolutely wrong.

You represent a district in Oklahoma City and you very coldly express a lack of love, sympathy or understanding for what they’ve been through. Can I ask if you might have chosen wiser words were you a real Oklahoman that was here to share the suffering with Oklahoma City? Might your heart be a bit less cold had you been around to see the small bodies of children being pulled out of rubble and carried away by weeping firemen?

I’ve spent 12 years in Oklahoma public schools and never once have I had anyone try to force a gay agenda on me. I have seen, however, many gay students beat up and there’s never a day in school that has went by when I haven’t heard the word **** slung at someone. I’ve been called gay slurs many times and they hurt and I am not even gay so I can just imagine how a real gay person feels. You were a school teacher and you have seen those things too. How could you care so little about the suffering of some of your students?

Let me tell you the result of your words in my school. Every openly gay and suspected gay in the school were having to walk together Monday for protection. They looked scared. They’ve already experienced enough hate and now your words gave other students even more motivation to sneer at them and call them names. Afterall, you are a teacher and a lawmaker, many young people have taken your words to heart. That happens when you assume a role of responsibility in your community. I seriously think before this week ends that some kids here will be going home bruised and bloody because of what you said.

I wish you could’ve met my mom. Maybe she could’ve guided you in how a real Christian should be acting and speaking.

I have not had a mother for nearly 13 years now and wonder if there were fewer people like you around, people with more love and tolerance in their hearts instead of strife, if my mom would be here to watch me graduate from high school this spring. Now she won’t be there. So I’ll be packing my things and leaving Oklahoma to go to college elsewhere and one day be a writer and I have no intentions to ever return here. I have no doubt that people like you will incite crazy people to build more bombs and kill more people again. I don’t want to be here for that. I just can’t go through that again.

You may just see me as a kid, but let me try to teach you something. The old saying is sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you. Well, your words hurt me. Your words disrespected the memory of my mom. Your words can cause others to pick up sticks and stones and hurt others.

Sincerely

Tucker

(via Dispatches from the Culture War, who got it at Pam’s House Blend)

What scares me the most about Kern’s words is that they could have been taken verbatim from the stuff I was taught growing up, not by my parents but by the churches they raised me in, and all the bullshit youth group literature leaders put under my nose (I remember specifically a ‘true’ short story about a girl who had been ‘preyed upon’ by a lesbian).  When Attic Man first showed me the video I was literally finishing her sentences.  There’s nothing new here, and it’s still not a set of arguments that holds any sort of academic OR social water.  But it does help reinforce the deeply-held prejudices of people who may have just begun to think about the world in different terms, but will now sink back comfortably into the role of self-righteous culture-bearers and boundary-setters.

My personal, deep-felt thanks to the Richards for making this human for me and consequently (if unwittingly) helping me shed the last vestiges of this shit that still clung to me when I arrived in Pittsburgh.  And you know what else, guys?  Your marriage (then unsanctioned relationship) helped STRENGTHEN our marriage.  Take that, Rep. Kern.

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Also,

I’m annoyed at our Perkins waitress last night who praised me for being a “good girl” (yes, I’m 30 and not yet eligible for womanhood) for ordering three vegetable sides and mozzarella sticks (I’m keeping cheese, esp. in fried form, to 1-2 times a week).  Never mind that the broccoli was “butter-steamed,” that the “glazed” baby carrots were dripping with pancake syrup (yuck), and that the mashed potatoes were probably from a box.  People who eat regular entrees do not go to hell for it.  I’m thankful to Clementine for reminding us in the comments that food choices are not an individually moral.  They have societal consequences, but for land sakes, do not stop eating your pancakes because you feel it will put your eternal soul in jeopardy.

I just ate something called an “omlette waffle.”  If that is being ‘bad’ (despite the tofu and salsa involved), I don’t want to be ‘good.’

Vegans will probably think I’m in a funk because I ate a lot of fried cheese last night.

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TLC’s new How to Look Good Naked caught my eye in the promos, and not just because of the word naked. Giggle. OK, maybe. But I was intrigued by the idea of celebrating women of less-than-commercially/socially-ideal body types. The show comes on just after my group home guys go to bed so it was a perfect candidate for paperwork accompaniment.

I appreciate M. LeBlanc’s (the fabulous new co-writer on Bitch, PhD) review, but I don’t think the show is revolutionary. Slightly revisionary, maybe. But I don’t think a show that still says, like all the other makeover shows, “um, you’re nice, honey, but you need to spend $5000 (that’s not an exaggeration; that’s What Not to Wear, a personal fave) on a new wardrobe, have this makeup artist teach you how to hide (‘accentuate’ my ass) your natural features, color your hair (using a stylist you will never be able to afford without this show), and yes, still conform to modern western standards of beauty by choosing clothing that gives the illusion of thinness/curviness to look good.” No show that requires you to resort to enormous piles of capital to look good could be revolutionary. Of course there is the nude photo shoot, which is nice, and the people-on-the-street affirmations, which is the most touching part of the show (makes me cheer, actually). But this is all AFTER the hair and makeup.

The best part of the show is the initial in-underwear consultation in which Carson says, pre new wardrobe and makeover, “you’re beautiful and you don’t have to lose weight to be that way.” If only the show would go on that way! I suppose nobody would watch it, then–most of us like the fantasy of the ugly duckling. Capitalism has taught us that buying things will make it all better, so I don’t think a show with the patience to work on truly revolutionizing how we look at ourselves as women would necessarily sell ad space.

So what’s the problem with buying things to solve our problems, you ask? For starters, it teaches us that we have no internal resources; that the answer to our problems, no matter how abstract, is outside ourselves. That wouldn’t be such a bad thing if it also taught us to go to our families and communities for answers, but it doesn’t. Capitalism is isolating and divisive. I know that you’ve seen I’d-Like-to-Teach-the-World-to-Sing commercial, too, but please have at least enough cynicism to see that it gives us the warm fuzzies long enough to buy a Coke but not long enough to do the hard work it would take to really conquer world hunger and poverty. The crux of the matter is that solving problems is counter-intuitive to capitalism. In the short term it does, sure, or we’d never go back to the store. The problem is that commercial solutions are temporary because the logic of capital is accumulation and growth. Companies do not celebrate when their profits flatten out–they like nice, healthy growth. We have to keep buying for it to work. And the more we buy, the more we feel the painful side effects of capitalism: environmental devastation, spiraling poverty (wonder how Wally World gets its low prices so low?), and in the current discussion, a deeply held belief that we are not and will never be whole, good enough, truly worth something infinite and expandable (yes, even if our waistlines are).

Take off your clothes. You don’t need them to be beautiful. You don’t need your makeup, either, as I’ve discovered (oh, how pleasant it is not to de-cake my eyes every night or to have 10 extra minutes in the morning!). You don’t need a nice house or car to be deeply, passionately, and abidingly lovely and lovable.

What I don’t know how to do is to make these things true in a cultural sense. Surely we have the tools already available in culture to do so or I couldn’t be talking in just this way. But where are they and how do we use them?

I don’t know…maybe this guy has the answer.

Edited to add: Actually, this guy way deep in the comments of LeBlanc’s comments does–“One day I stood in the bathroom, looking down at my body, and I didn’t think ugh.  I thought I live here. And a wave of wonder washed over me.”

Awesome.

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