This is my buddy Nikkos’ blog–my pal from my Metroblogging days. Way back in the day (2005) we got into a number of political debates with a variety of people. Some of them even operated with a modicum of respect and diligence.

Most of us here at the Finger have a left of Center view. William, in Nikkos’ blog, does not. My typical reaction is one of this
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Today, I am trying this:
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Lets see how it turns out, okay?

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Fast Acting AIDS

October 24, 2007

Today, I give AIDS the finger. I have yet to see independant verification of this yet, but if it’s true . . . . .fucking in the streets my friends. In the streets.

Damnit

October 21, 2007

I am giving a finger to Writers Block. It does not matter what I have to write–Blog posts, intakes, evaluations or some sort of fiction–I can’t write more than a few sentences at a time.

It took me an hour to write this. Seriously, fuck you writers block. Fuck. you.

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Newsflash: She’s a Woman

October 16, 2007

I think the only reason I go to CNN these days is force of habit. I’ve had it bookmarked at work since day one, sometime in March of 2000. Back then, there was actually more news than fluff on the front page. Now, it’s more local interest stories and celebrities getting arrested or doing…whatever celebrities do.  Even the real news makes me want to tear my hair out.

Liberal media? Pfffft.

So, for reasons still unfathomable to me – I should know better by now – I followed the link to the political ticker about Hillary Clinton appearing on The View, where she talked a bit about how people focus on her appearance and her hair and her laugh, which CNN has dubbed “the cackle.” (If they didn’t come up with it, they’ve certainly adopted it. I was away for work and had CNN on the hotel TV for background noise when they ran that Jeanne Moos piece on Clinton’s laugh. I wanted to throw a bottle of the hotel’s overpriced fancy water at the screen.)

In the middle of this View recap, there’s a link to a video report by Mary Snow. It’s called “Clinton plays the female card.”

Plays…the…

Waitagoddamnedminute.

I don’t care if you love or hate Hillary Clinton. I don’t know if I love her or hate her most days. But tell me how it’s okay for the media to be all over her for what she’s wearing and how she laughs, but NOT okay for her to talk about it herself? It’s all right for reporters to remark about her being a woman, but when she goes to events that address female voters’ issues she’s “playing a card?”

Show me one male candidate whose issues get shoved aside in lieu of how he looks when he’s on the campaign trail. John Edwards’ haircuts don’t count. Barack Obama’s race plays a factor, yes, but I have yet to see anyone make fun of his laugh or talk about how the cut of his suit on such and such a day was unflattering.

Hillary Clinton is – and I know this may shock people – female. Asking her to ignore that or downplay it is ridiculous. She’s not running her campaign based on “I have breasts, vote for me!” And well she shouldn’t. If her whole platform revolved around her two X chromosomes, I’d be pissed. It’s not. However, she is a woman. There shouldn’t be any shame in her acknowledging it, yet, when she does, it’s treated with derision.

When a male candidate goes and talks to a women’s interest group, it’s called campaigning. When Hillary Clinton does it, it’s playing a card.

Fuck. You.

CNN and Mary Snow, this finger’s for you.

Mooninite!

As a follow up…

October 15, 2007

As a follow up to my last post, I would like to point people to this article in the New York Times by Frank Rich.

I could not agree more.

Edited to point out that today is Blog Action Day. Let’s see what happens. I, personally, am letting my post below speak for “Blog Action Day”, even though it has nothing to do with the environment.

October 12, 2007

Time flash back to 2000. An idealistic college student stares at a 4 am delusional Peter Jennings, who is begging for coffee after having been on the air literally all night covering a crazy election. She goes to bed, thinking, “It probably doesn’t matter that much, anyway. Bush is an idiot, how bad could he be? Gore’s a nothing, so it’d just be more of the same–no change for the better.”

Flash forward 7 years. A much more cynical office worker stares at the BBC headlines, and has the urge to scream at the top of her lungs as she reflects back on the past seven years, winding up at that image of Peter Jennings on the televison seven years ago.

This is what is going through my head as I read the headline.

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS COUNTRY? We allowed a future war criminal to steal an election from future nobel peace prize winner.* What the hell. We should have done whatever it took to make the original election results stick. We should have asked hard questions about how the second cousin of one of the candidates wound up in a position to call states. We should have counted all the goddamn chads. And when Bush defeated Kerry, we should have looked hard at Ohio. We should have questioned Diebold. We are where we are because we accept corruption without questioning.

As much as I hate to say it, I kind of agree with Thomas Friedman’s point in one of his latest editorials. Now, technically I’m older than the people he’s describing. I’ve never seen the point of MySpace or Facebook. I have enough real friends; I don’t need 300 imaginary ones to sort-of-kind-of know. I agree that politics online is not as effective as politics in real life. What we do here is a starting point, not an end point.

I would like everyone reading this to make a commitment with me–to go to the next political event that excites them. Take an active part. Go to a debate. Go to a protest. Because I, for one, don’t entirely buy into the YouTube debate. There is a mediated distance created through such an event that makes us into individuals, rather than a force for change. Eliminate the distance. Your physical presence says much more than this blog post ever will. The only way to get through to the people who make decisions in this country is to bring it to them. It also helps us to remember that we are not alone. It was so energizing and heartening to see the 500,000+ people who protested with me against the Republican National Convention in New York City. We need that energy back if we hope to change anything, and the only way to really do it is to come together.

If we are unwilling or think it’s too much trouble, perhaps we deserve what we get. This finger is for me, for not getting physically involved more.

The Salute

*And don’t even tell me about how George W. Bush has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Anyone can be nominated–hell, I could be nominated. If you took that nomination seriously, you are the world’s biggest idiot.

Ugh, Betty.

October 10, 2007

If you haven’t watched Monday’s Heroes, and you haven’t been reading the online comics, you might want to go catch up.  Here’s an image of my Heroes-crush Peter Petrelli for some quality spoiler space:

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So, we learn that Sylar didn’t bite it at the end of the first season, and the person who is nursing him back to health is Candice, the illusionist/shapechanger from the Company.  Now, I hated her in season one.  The character is just not at all likable.  I suppose, with her working with Linderman and the Company, it’s not all that surprising that she’d pretty intolerable.

Then came her backstory, and my annoyance switched from the present-day character to whoever wrote her past.  I guess it’s both Tim Kring, for the hints that have been dropped in the show (and her final scene as an overweight brunette at Sylar’s feet Monday night) and Joe Casey, who wrote the “Betty” arc for the graphic novel online.

Candice was once a fat, pimply goth girl named Betty.  The perfect, perky, beautiful cheerleaders (who think AP classes are for squares) and the handsome, football-playing, testosterone-filled boys in her class were mean to her and her awkward, pimply goth friend Ren.  Betty gets revenge on a football player, the rest of the team takes it out on Ren, Betty accidentally sends Ren into cardiac arrest revealing her newfound powers and plotting revenge, la la la.  In the end, she stops short of pulling a Carrie and just leaves everyone at the homecoming game freaked out while she strikes off on her new life as thin, pretty Candice.

I understand that comics and hour-long television shows are going to rely heavily on stereotypes.  Can we call the cheerleader/goth themes archetypes yet, or are they still too recent?

During the first season, I rolled my eyes at the portrayal of Claire as the one cheerleader on the squad who was a decent human being, but I let it go.  This season’s episodes with the mean ol’ cheerleaders bullying Martha made me grit my teeth, too, but again, I decided to just deal with it and let them tell the story.

Then, yesterday, while watching the episode online (I missed it Monday night), I had to go back and make sure they hadn’t just filmed Missy Peregrym at a bad angle.  I’d forgotten about an exchange between Candice and Micah during “Landslide”:

Michah: I have a cousin who eats like you. He’s huge.
Candice:  So am I.

After finishing the episode, I went and read the comics, since I haven’t seen them since last season ended.  And lo, the Betty arc. 

I guess it struck a harder nerve because I identify more with the kind of person they’re stereotyping than I did with the cheerleaders.  I was (and let’s be honest, I still am) the overweight, nerdy, slightly goth girl.  I was never quite brave enough to dress like Death (except on Halloween), but I wore my share of black and read far too many vampire novels. 

I realize that there are kids out there like that, who angst it up and believe that The Necronomicon is real.  (Ia! Ia!)  When I went to New Orleans the first time, we went on the Rev. Zombie’s Vampire Tour and the “real vampire” who walked along with us gave me his website and contact info afterwards (because I answered a lot of the tour guide’s questions, I guess.  I was wearing a white blouse and a flowered skirt; I hardly resembling a bloodsucking fiend at all).  He seemed to believe that he was Vlad II Dracula reincarnated, and that the Camarilla truly existed.

So, believe me, I know they’re out there.

What bothers me most about the Betty story, though, was that they did go for the obvious cliche.  I suppose, with her being a minor enough character, they don’t really have to put all that much time and thought into it.   Yet, the story so far has been pretty solid.  Of course they’re going to use sterotypes, but there have been some pretty good twists on them, too. 

Reducing Candice down to “fat girl who used to be picked on” was a missed opportunity.  She could have simply been average-looking.  Kring et. al might have taken a page out of Neil Gaiman’s book and looked at Nuala the fairy.  Hell, Candice could have been a man – now, there’s a plot twist for you (but likely not one that they’d want to explore in prime time, maybe.)

Anyway, yet another two-fold finger:  to the writers for making me overanalyze AND for their lazy storytelling.

Mooninite!

(Pretentious Bastard, you may want to skip this one, I certainly don’t want to trigger anything.)

This month is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Summary: My great-grandmother had breast cancer at 35. She had a double mastectomy and survived. My grandmother battled both breast and lung cancer–but I suspect that the lung cancer has more to do with her smoking. My aunt had breast cancer a few years ago. My mother had breast cancer at 60. She had a single mastectomy and a year of radiation treatment. I am happy to say that they all survived.

There is a genetic test that determines if you have a gene that’s been linked to breast cancer. It is being pushed on women, especially on women with family histories of breast cancer. There’s even a television ad to try and get women to take it. I feel that taking the genetic test is somewhat pointless. My odds for getting breast cancer are told in my family history. I don’t think that the genetic test is going to tell me anything I don’t already know–that I have a high risk of developing breast cancer? I already know that, thanks. One look at my family history tells me that. What it will do is force me into a group describing themselves as “previvors”. These women have already decided that they will get breast cancer and survive. Good for them. However, I choose to be myself, and not define myself by a disease that I have not yet developed.

This is why I am ignoring the articles being sent my way about preventative masectomies. I will not mutilate my body from fear over what might happen. Regular check-ups are happening, and will continue to happen until I die (given the preventative attention and family history, it probably won’t be from this). Once I actually develop breast cancer, it will be treated in the most effective way possible. (After all, I don’t see any men at risk for testicular cancer being told, “Maybe it’d be for the best if you just had them removed.”)

The finger below is for people who decide that their way of dealing with illness is the only way, and try to use fear and emotional bullying to make everyone deal with it the same way. Respect that it is my body, and my decision. It’s also for cancer itself, from my great-grandmother, my grandmother, my mother, my aunt, my sister, and myself.

The Salute

So my six year old comes home from school and we do the daily ritual of: “how was your day, what you do in school today, etc”.  Normally these are pretty mundane conversations.  You know the life of a second grader is not that exciting.

Today was a bit different, she told me they had a drill.  I figured a fire drill always fun to get out of class for 30 minutes.  No…New York state has instuted a new type of drill.  It is called a lock down drill or as I like to refer to it a new play on the old duck and cover drill. 

 I’m not sure if some of you are familiar with the duck and cover drills but in essense they were the solution thought up in the 1950s as to what children should do in case of a neuclear attack.  Hide under their desks and put their hands on their heads.  I think it was a good position since you are close enough to your ass to kiss it good bye.  Any ways, if you ask your parents (or grand parents for you youngins) you will find out it shaped their world view for life.  Knowing that your governments solution to world anihilation was to kiss your ass good bye does not leave you with much confidence.

Fast forward to today.  The concept of these lock down drills is should there be a gang of terrorists or crazed children in the school.  The kids will have a drill to help them deal with it.  Granted I think americans as a whole have no concept of what makes these “terrorist tick” and I’ll cite an example as to why.  My grandmother before she passed away a few years back was talking about how she was so glad the San Diego (PD/Naval Station) had been so quick to protect the Coronado bridge.  I’m sure a sentiment felt by many San Diegoans.  Except it misses the point that “terrorists” are not going to blow up a strategic target, they have no intention of invading and wanting to cripple a milatary target.  They want head lines.

 Any ways back to this concept of lock down drills.  Talk about a band aide (if you can call it that) and a perpetuation of state propaganda that is happening.

I’d give some one the finger as soon as I figure out who exactly deserves it.

[BeginNewSpeak]

This post is not about the following things:

  • Barack Obama’s refusal to wear an American flag pin on his lapel.
  • A reporter who could have asked any question–like one about health care or torture–but asked about why Obama wasn’t wearing an American flag.
  • The pundit’s ridiculous responses*
  • The amount of time devoted to this story on the national news
  • The amount of bandwidth devoted to this story
  • How the New York Times made this their lead story on their website
  • The lack of coverage of real issues in a substantive way

[EndNewSpeak]

And now, sincerely:

The Salute

*”Why do we wear pins? Because our country was attacked!” Yeah, stick that pin on and be a hero, asshole.