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i can’t leave you people alone for one second!

Posted by pocochina on June 24, 2008

I can’t leave you people alone for one second! THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!

Leaving aside my perpetual astonishment that the world, in fact, goes on when my internet goes down and I spend the weekend engrossed in third wave theory and Japanese feminist crime fiction, oh, sweeties, I didn’t think anyone would actually pour a whole bottle of detergent into the dishwasher, but now you’ve gone and done it.

Link Lovin’!

First of all, excellent news via Jack at Feministe, the convictions of two of the NJ Four have been overturned.

Q: Did Karl Rove us? A: No more than usual.

The Prospect has decided that the witch is dead, and so now they can get “Beyond Hillary” (no, no, I would never knowingly subject anyone to that level of annoying) and talk seriously about women in politics. One of these articles, about how one of the major barriers to women’s participation in politics is that women aren’t asked, and whew, now we’ve got that sorted, written by the original AHBADSMoFo, Ezra “too cool for universal health care if it means giving up a lie about That Bitch” Klein, unironically hosts a sidebar which proudly displays an article about how Jim Webb’s manly, handsome loose-cannon all-‘mukin sexy* beefiness makes him just too good to stand a heartbeat away from the Presidency. Meanwhile, Ann Friedman (of Feministing fame) writes on how to increase the numbers of women in government. The article is well worth a read, but I do have a couple of bones to pick. She mostly mentions women in legislative positions, though, and then HRC as an “exceptional” case – but, well, that’s the rub. Any woman willing to run for president – especially after seeing the shit that got thrown Senator Clinton’s way – is going to be exceptional in a lot of ways, and therefore there will be lots of grounds for “it’s not women, it’s just that BALL BUSTING BITCH.” To our sad detriment, we consider masculinity apart of power, and especially of the kind of power that comes with being Badass in Chief of the biggest bunch of tanks in the fucking world. (No. That is not how I think of our armed forces. It is how people with gender issues think of the presidency.) We don’t, as she suggests, need to “move beyond the exceptional Hillary Clintons.” Exceptional is not a bad thing. Only an exceptional person runs for the presidency, only an exceptionally talented exceptional person gets as far as Hillary Clinton did. [*For the record, I don’t think fiction should be held against anyone seeking office unless it shows a propensity towards violence; however, I haven’t read the books in question, but I do know the RNC and exactly what they have to say about the books.]

My co-blogger, Red (I say that a lot about the H1K ladies because it makes people think I’m as awesome as they are. It’s the transitive property of “seriously, go read her now”) follows Obama’s speeches to working women and mayors. Unsurprisingly, he is sooooo much better than that John McCain, who, don’t get him wrong, he would never talk trash, but Jasmine in band said is tooooootally going out with that nerd from the quiz bowl team. (Shut up, I’m allowed, I was the queen of Shakespeare trivia at Quiz Bowl! And we totally made it to semifinals because I nailed a math question. Arrogant Math Guy was so embarrassed.) Equally unsurprisingly, some good ideas couched in lots of conservative pandering and avoidance of important issues.

And oh, the weekend of the ill-fated Obama seal, which has already mercifully been yanked (h/tlady_jane). I have a couple problems with the seal. First of all, of course, it’s utterly ridiculous. “Vero possumus?” As morpheus0013 was kind enough to explain to us, it’s not even good Latin, but that doesn’t matter so much as – really? Was he pandering to his anti-Carthaginian hardliners? He’s tough on Gauls? Whatever, dude, we get it. What really bugs me about it, though, is the conflation of the person with the office. I’ve spent the last eight years of my life furious about this, and it’s only been exacerbated by spending the last ten months of my life immersed in constitutional theory. George Bush is POTUS; it does not mean that he is the office of the presidency. For example, though I disagree with his selfish, irresponsible vetoes, I acknowledge that it is his constitutional prerogative, and if he makes a bad one, it means we haven’t been doing a good job holding him accountable. To see a Democrat play this game that conflates the person with the office not only goes against the values in which we’re supposed to believe, but it’s also the Manly Leadership Game – fighting on the Republican’s turf. You don’t want to out-arrogant GWB, or out-ego Nixon, but you also can’t. Obama should be reiterating that he’s running to “unify” the country, not absorb the country into his campaign whether we like it or not. And, of course, this will lead to attacks of “elitism” and “arrogance” which, while crushingly ironic coming from Republicans, aren’t totally inaccurate. However, these attacks will be laden with racist dogwhistles, which are totally inexcusableand those don’t just hurt Obama, they hurt all POC.

Obama gives up public financing. Did he strongly imply that he was going to promise to take public financing if he were in a general election match-up with John McCain? Yup. Now, some of his supporters are deeply, deeply disappointed that The One has turned out to be a politician doing what politicians do; others are shrugging and saying you gotta do what you gotta do. But none that I’ve seen are exploring the situation to its logical beginnings. Obama knew, back when he was having these talks with McCain, that he was raising multiples of what McCain was, and that if he ended up being the nominee, he’d have even more new donors, plus the national machine at his disposal. The situation hasn’t changed fundamentally between now and then, in fact, he’s had comparatively slow fundraising months between now and then. He knew all along that he was going to take the public funding. And, you know, play games, don’t play games, but if he’s running as a reformer, against a guy with a widespread reputation as a reformer, and you come within a hair’s breadth of a lie about public financing, we should be asking a lot more questions about his credibility. This is an Issue. Elections are the ballgame. And, of course, when he was “strongly considering” but never actually going to take the public financing, he was using it against Senator Clinton, masterfully intertwining it with cultural assumptions that ambitious women are ballbreaking ruthless bitches who will do anything to have their way. All while trying to trap McCain into promising public financing and planning to pull the plug on it. It’s a good political move, but it simply bolsters what Clinton supporters said all along – he’s not a saint, he’s a politician, and a damned good one, which means he’s using your hopey changey inspiration for his own cynical ends. Which is fine, but don’t get so hacked off at us for it.

Salon-troversy!

And then. The Traister maelstrom. This smarts a bit because Salon sucks a little less than, say, Slate, and Traister is a feminist writer who I really do admire. First the good, she does admit it’s incomplete, and there are some parts that are dead-on accurate. Ex: “And for any of you sitting at your computers yammering about how the coverage of Clinton had nothing to do with her sex, allow me to be frank: can it.” I just don’t understand why, if Salon wanted to know why Clinton supporters are angry, they didn’t, yanno, ask a Clinton supporter. Fuck, they have at least one on staff, and she just wrote a badass post about why she’s pissed off. (Kate would also fit the profile Traister is trying to draw, because she does plan to vote for Obama in the fall, unlike many of the women for whom Traister claims to be translating.) Hell, they could’ve asked me, I’m not doing anything. There’s a link to the PUMA website, I’m sure she could’ve asked the RD a couple of questions!

Mostly, though, it’s frustrating. The language of “coming home” in the context of female voters – particularly given the someitmes violent overtones of the primary season. The assumption that we’re pissed off at the Big Dawg. (As if!) This assumed partywide attempt to distance ourselves from the only two-term Democrat in fifty years is politically stupid, and again, it gives the high ground of the debate to the Republicans. Now we all agree we hate the guy who brought us peace, prosperity, and a balanced budget, choked off the Global Gag Rule, appointed the first openly gay US ambassador, and put Ginsberg and Breyer on the High Court? Hey, you must’ve spilled something, that looks like a big brown splotch of hell no on your blouse.

What’s most upsetting, though, is the way the post is obviously written to placate people who are just! so! angry! that those uppity bitches are upset. Don’t we KNOW they wouldn’t have to YELL AT US if we didn’t MAKE THEM? Traister seems to be jumping in front of the bullies going, “no, no, their feeeeeeelings are hurt.” And while I don’t necessarily like that she misrepresents us in order to protect us from the mean, scary Obama bullies – please, we’ve been taking their crap for months – but just how fucked up it is that we should have to be apologized for and explained and oh, aren’t we cute with our little temper tantrums? If our votes matter, treat us like they matter, if they don’t, leave us the hell alone, either way, the bullying reveals something fucked up in Obama land, and the article doesn’t shed much light about the Clinton supporters who aren’t voting for Obama.

And then, darlings.

Sparks Fly at Black Caucus Meeting

Just What Was Said Between the Presumptive Democratic Nominee and Clinton-Supporting Congresswoman?

var addthis_pub = ‘abcnews’;

Sources at the meeting said that Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, a Clinton supporter, expressed the desire that Obama and his campaign would reach out the millions of women still aggrieved about what happened in the campaign and still disappointed that Clinton lost.

Obama agreed that a lot of work needs to be done to heal the Democratic Party, and that he hoped the Clinton supporters in the room would help as much as possible.

Yup. It’s the Clinton supporters’ job to heal! Note the appeal to feelings – after all, only women supported Clinton (Rep. Rangel is amused) and women love that touchy-feely shit! Just give them a job to make them feel important! Hey, Senator, they have re-election campaigns to run, and lots of them hail from NY, which was pretty damn excited to re-elect Senator Clinton. They might not be much for healing right now. They might – wonder of wonders – have actually thought their colleague would be a great president. The original article states that at this point – post people switching at the last minute out of political necessity, the highly intelligent, politically savvy room is still 1/3 full of Clinton supporters, which makes those Unrepentant Racist Bitch assumptions just a hair suspect. Notice how there’s nothing about what he can do for them, districts where they can campaign together, just how Clinton supporters need to pitch in as much as possible.

According to Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., Obama then said, “However, I need to make a decision in the next few months as to how I manage that since I’m running against John McCain, which takes a lot of time. If women take a moment to realize that on every issue important to women, John McCain is not in their corner, that would help them get over it.

First of all, Mr. I Wanna Run a Government, MEN VOTED FOR HRC, TOO. A LOT OF THEM. Second of all, WOMEN ARE NOT FUCKING STUPID. We know exactly what John McCain is. If women are pissed enough to look at the two of them, under the harsh glare of day, and still think that they will do better under a McCain presidency, that is something Obama needs to fix, and right now. Third of all, stop fucking expecting our votes. I own my vote, not the Democratic Party or its nominee (however chosen).

And then. GET OVER IT. The ultimate in dismissiveness. Not “get excited.” Not “know they’re an integral part of our party.” GET OVER IT YOU STUPID BITCHES NOBODY YOU NEED ME ELSE WILL LOVE YOU.

Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif., a longtime Clinton supporter, did not like those last three words — “Get over it.” She found them dismissive, off-putting.

“Don’t use that terminology,” Watson told Obama.

[……]

In Clarke’s view, Watson thought Obama had just told her to “get over it.” She didn’t appreciate that, and she told him so and emphasized that it was a heated campaign and lot of healing remains to be done.

FUCK YEAH. First of all, Watson handled the situation perfectly. She explained that her colleague had used inappropriate and unnecessary language, that it wasn’t helpful in the caucus room or the campaign, and how and why he should fix it.

“I agree,” Obama said. “There’s healing on both sides.

You bitches ruin EVERYTHING! Winning would’ve been AWESOME if that BITCH and her BITCH FRIENDS hadn’t fucked it up with their CAMPAIGNING AND SHIT! No, there’s healing on one side. Clinton supporters need to be respected, and have our reasonable issues addressed. And we don’t owe anyone anything. Everyone has to vote in the manner which will leave their consciences least disturbed.

Obama then said two sources at the meeting said that he’d held his tongue many times during the campaign against Clinton in the interest of party unity and sensitivity. Clinton and her allies had suggested he was a Muslim, had said he wasn’t qualified to be president.

First of all, he shouldn’t be walking around slinging the M-word, not with his campaign discriminating against Muslim women who support him. Second of all, those smears have been debunked and debunked and DEBUNKED. The “qualifications” thing – I’m assuming he’s referring to the CIC threshhold test – was nothing the GOP isn’t going to bring harder and hotter in any event. Nothing is more destructive to party unity than such blatant lies about a candidate that a lot of us support.

Notice, too, how while he cites alleged slurs against him, he conveniently forgets that some of the healing on her side is going to have to come about because of the insults he dished out to us, her supporters, not just her?

According to the sources, Obama suggested he bit his tongue every time. He could be asking for an apology, he could be asking for the Clintons to reconcile with him, but he chose to rise above it.

Really? Axlerod didn’t send around some clip of Olbermann all hopped up on whatever as usual? OH, WAIT, HE DID. And the way he did it – to prominent media figures – suggests that not only did the Obama campaign expect the media to cover for him, but that you were utterly okay with all of what was going down on that show as it swirled down the shitter. Oh, and he didn’t answer criticism by saying that she “periodically feels down,”: or that “the claws were out,” nooo. Either none of that happened and we were ALL FUCKING HIGH, or he actually thinks that sweepingly insulting an entire gender just to get back at one woman counts for anything.

He just doesn’t seem to understand that he can’t blame everything on Hillary Clinton any more. It’s especially not going to work with the 18 million of us who voted for her, and it’s really not going to work on those of us who would drop everything to join her her if she were forming the breakaway People’s Republic of NYC. You have to work hard to do the healing, Senator.

And I’m tired of being treated this way. I can’t imagine how a black woman who beat all the odds to become a US Representative felt at being so dismissively treated. If that’s how he’s going to talk to her, comrades, just fucking well imagine how he feels about us.

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let me clear my throat

Posted by pocochina on April 12, 2008

So there’s this fabulous/hateful meme that’s been going around for a while – probably, in fact, certainly since before I began blogging – that makes the assumption that Clinton supporters are not anti-war.  In fact it turns into a pretty ugly assumption that the superior non-Clinton supporter knows all about the Clinton supporter, who she is, and why she is wrong about everything.

Fuck you.  You will not erase me.
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‘EY FONZ!

Posted by pocochina on March 27, 2008

I know I’ve had this talk about how it’s none of my business where (or if) Sen. Obama prays on Sunday (or Saturday or Friday) mornings.  And how the Rev. Dr. and I tend to agree on things that need to change in US public policy.  I kind of never wanted to think about him again in the context of the election.  (I bet I’d learn an incredible amount from his books, but since I have every reason to think Obama isn’t trying to force me to live by his faith, I kind of didn’t want to see him in the news until after the convention/general.)

And then I log onto my beloved clinton_2008and I see this, and I track it back to this. (Cause unlike some people, I’d rather track stuff down and even then admit that the source could be imperfect, but that’s just me, using ethical standards to determine what I write.  Jerk bloggers who cite the Drudge Report as a sole source when attacking a candidate, I’m looking at you.)  I wasn’t going to talk about it, because I know some Republican operative dug this up so that we’d beat each other up over it, but now it’s out there, and as the most important Italian-American on this LJ, I feel ethically obligated to weigh in.

I started thinking about this because I needed to do a privilege check on myself.  See, I heard about this, and I was a little annoyed, and much more amused.  I don’t agree with some of the other members that this is racism, per se, because racism is prejudice+power.  If I were the victim of systemic social bias based on my ethnic identity, I wouldn’t have been able to laugh.  I also am sure that there is a great deal of scholarship out there which deals with comparisons of the social inequalities of the ancient Roman world, and the power structures we work in today.

And then he went on with the “garlic noses” comment.  As I said in the clinton_2008 thread, this is an ethnic slur based on two things (1) that ethnic Italians are often made fun of for the size and shape of our noses and (2) that garlic, which has a strong odor, is a common ingredient in traditional Italian cooking.  So Wright said he was going to talk about social injustice in comparative historical frameworks, and then in the next sentence limited it to “HEY GREAZEBALL, YOU SMELL AND I HATE YOUR FACE.”  By doing so, he not only diminished the credibility of the argument itself, but also ceded a solid amount of moral credibility by using an ethnic stereotype.

It’s also problematic because it was published at the end of 2007, when Wright was either on the Obama campaign, or would shortly be seated in the position he held until two weeks ago.  At the time, Obama was selling himself as the non-divisive, bipartisan, unity-and-respect candidate.  And the Republican front-runner was Mayor Guiliani.  I have no love for Mayor Guiliani.  I never drank the oh-he’s-from-NY-he’s-a-moderate kool-aid.  He deserved to be attacked on his gleeful abuses of executive power, his unquestioning embrace of President Bush, his policies which are purposefully especially unjust towards people of color.  But he would not have deserved to be attacked on his ethnicity.

And though Giuliani might not have given a crap, there are older Italian-Americans who do remember suffering discrimination because of our stinky breath and ugly noses and heathen Catholic ways.  There’s a long and ugly history between African-Americans and Italian-Americans, and to be perfectly honest, Italian-Americans enjoy white privilege in American society because we are more white than African-Americans.  I wish it weren’t so, but it is.  The resentment is real, and while it is justified, the use of ethnic slurs is not.

And as a historical quibble, pedantic but interesting, he shouldn’t have mentioned relationships between the Italians and the Galileans.  IIRC, (maxima cum laude National Latin Scholar, BITCHEZ) people who lived in the geographic area including Rome, which we now call Italy, were a mix of ethnic groups:  Etruscans, Germanic tribes, people from North Africa and the Middle East.  Some of these people were Roman citizens – those with power, to whom he compares white America – but most of them weren’t.  The concept of “Italian” didn’t exist until relatively recently.  So he should have said the Romans and the Galileans if he were going to speak of the ethnic groups that existed at the time.  If, as a rhetorical tool to create modernity and immediacy, he were going to use the modern geographic and ethnic correlaries, rough as they are, he should have said the Italians and the Jews.  Given his pattern of insensitivity to anti-Semitism* this omission is a little troubling.

Of course, in the history of bias in this country, this is not even a drop in the ocean, and insofar as any of this actually matters, well, there go the swing voters.  Wheeeeee!

*I’m only going to go so far as insensitivity, but I do see and respect the reasons why some people feel it goes farther.

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thoughts on The Speech in the form of a letter

Posted by pocochina on March 22, 2008

Senator Obama,

Like so many Americans, I was moved – in fact, emotionally shocked – by your speech this week.  I’ve already had an imaginary word with Rev. Wright during Pastorgate 2008, but well, he’s not asking me to hire him for a job next month, and you are.  So, Senator, we need to talk.

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what I’d say to Rev. Wright

Posted by pocochina on March 14, 2008

Dear Reverend Wright,

I’m pretty sure you’ll never read this, since, you know, I’m part of the US of KKK A and am a spoiled woman who has been in power since the beginning of time.  (I’m part Italian, and you really made me think about that part of my heritage.  For all I know, my great-great-great-great grandma killed Jesus HER OWN SELF.)  But I’ve been hearing your sermons on the news, and they’re striking a lot of chords.  I’m not sure about the UCC, but since it’s well known as an accepting, liberal denomination, I’ll assume I can, you know, talk to you.

Snark aside, I want to point out the politics we agree on.  There’s actually a pretty long list, and it’s based on just one or two clips I’ve seen of your sermons.

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anger and serious commentary

Posted by pocochina on February 26, 2008

Dear idiots who believed the fucking Drudge Report:

You are still idiots.

Oh, Jesus Mary and Joseph. It’s not like it’s this is even the first time a right-wing media outlet has accused Senator Clinton of doing their dirty work for them.
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spouses on the trail

Posted by pocochina on November 28, 2007

This article about Michelle Obama made me gasp with sadness.

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shove it, giuliani

Posted by pocochina on October 15, 2007

Okay.  Mostly, I despise Mayor Giuliani because he fucked over the firefighters on 9/11.  Oh, and how he takes credit for lowering the crime rate in NYC while rejecting the very policies that helped him lower that crime rate.  (As in, functionally literate people know that handguns kill people, so you should crack down on illegal handguns if people are getting killed.  As in he was a pro-choice New Yorker but now he’s all but (if not actually) promised to establish anti-choice judges and Justices.  As Jon Stewart (*fans self*) so perceptively observed about Senator Spector – “I have principles, but it’s not like I’m going to stand by them or anything.”  Because he craves the authoritarian privilege that comes, however rightly or wrongly, in a tragic crisis.

AND NOW THERE’S THIS.

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wingnut releases memoir! thousands cheer!

Posted by pocochina on September 30, 2007

I’m reading an article right now about Justice Thomas.  Honestly, I don’t know if it’s white privilege, or my obsession with the Supreme Court, or simply that I’m a dyed-in-my-feminist-knickers liberal, but I almsot never think of him as an African-American.  I’m sure if I were African-American that’d change.  However, I always think of him as one of the four wingnuts on the Court.  So reading about him through a race-consciouus perspective is interesting.

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on gender, coaching, and remember the titans

Posted by pocochina on August 18, 2007

This particular topic has intrigued me for a while, especially as it lets me talk about Very Important Personal Experiences, but the particular impetus is on that movie of Feel Good ‘Cuz Racism is Over, Right Guys? Football Fun, Remember the Titans.  Now, I am at least as much an evil cynic as the next girl, but yes, I did choose to watch it because it’s fun, and does an interesting job portraying a lot of complex relationships.  While it doesn’t pass the Mo Movie Measure,* it features some actors I truly enjoy, uses tons of fun music, and has OMG a gay quarterback.  Mostly, though, I watch it because it triggers new thoughts on memories that are pretty important to me.

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