Monday, September 30, 2002

Esteemed enemy of civil liberties and former mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani says in his new book that he asked President Bush for permission to be the executioner of Osama Bin Laden. This idea opens the door for an intriguing number of scenarios. For example, Kenneth Lay should be first in line to execute Saddam Hussein, since Iraq's sovereignty has inconvenienced him for so long. Jerry Falwell, that renowned defender of Judaism, could pull the plug on Yasir Arafat. And if we decide to go after Castro, Janet Reno should be allowed to run over him with her truck, as much trouble as she went through over that Elian Gonazales business.

There are a lot of people who could turn the lock if Dick Cheney went to jail. But that's too much fantasy, even for me.

Friday, September 27, 2002

I called the White House for the first time in my life today. I got a busy signal. But when I hit redial, the phone rang. I was placed on hold for a long time, so I decide to call back later. I redialed, and again, I was placed on hold for a long time. One of the good things about calling the White House and getting placed on hold is that you don't have to listen to stupid music while you're waiting; you wait in silence. The third time I called someone answered the phone on the first ring. I called to make a comment about the impending invasion of Iraq. I can't imagine that the President and Cheney (I know--I'm being redundant) and Rumsfeld and Rice give a damn about the comment line, but I thought it was a good idea to cast my citizen's vote. Just in case it turns out to be a closer call than any of them imagined. I gave the White House man my state, then told him I was appalled that we would even consider invading Iraq.

What bothers me is that it is not a toll-free call, so only people who can afford the phone bill get to call the White House and make comments. What about all of the citizens who can barely get food on the table or pay the rent? They have opinions, too. Just think: with the money John Ashcroft spent covering the statues, the White House could have had some toll-free lines for people who don't have much money.


Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Just when you're sure Jeb Bush has cornered the market on irony (see blog entry of 9/13), along comes Donald Rumsfeld. While speaking at a hearing today, he asked a rhetorical question about whether America should pursue weapons inspections in Iraq or go forward with an invasion. A woman behind him decided the question wasn't so rhetorical after all; she popped up and yelled "Inspections, not war!" Then another protestor popped up and joined in. They were forcibly removed by police officers. Rumsfeld's next line was "In Iraq, they wouldn't be allowed to protest."

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Sometimes, when I'm in my car, I listen to Rush Limbaugh, though this is something I can't do for very long at a time without experiencing nausea. I tuned in a few days ago and he was talking with an animal rights activist. The man was calmly explaining that he was distressed because farm chickens have their beaks cut off and are starved, and that they and many calves and other creatures are placed in crates so small they can't move. "And I'm glad," Limbaugh replied, "because that means I get to eat meat."

Limbaugh went on to say that he was a great supporter of provisions against cruelty to pets, but that animal husbandry was a different matter. "That's what those animals are raised for."

I do not eat meat and do not think it is right to eat fellow creatures. However, I cannot imagine that all meat-eaters agree that it is acceptable to torture farm animals, and that only a few lucky "pets" should be protected from cruel treatment.

Limbaugh went on to tell the caller that "You people"--meaning the animal liberation movement--"need to change your focus." He explained that he thought the movement was harmed by those who believe that all creatures are equal, and referred to people with such beliefs as "total fringe," "nuts," etc. This, of course, means that the millions of Buddhists in the world are nutcakes. Rush said so. Now I understand.

Monday, September 16, 2002

Hail Margaret Cho!

Surely one of the funniest people alive, she is now playing at your local theater in Notorious C.H.O. Raunchier than I'm the One That I Want--and, to me, not quite as good--the film of the Seattle concert is nevertheless a piece of comic brilliance. Cho explores menstruation (what if straight men had periods?), colonics, sex clubs, self-absorbed boyfriends, and--of course--the wisdom of her hilarious Korean mother. Though she has an enormous gay following, Cho's appeal is to anyone who is outraged with the world the way it is, but who is also ready to laugh uproariously at it. I was in tears through most of the film, and the few segments I found only moderately funny were a relief: I needed to wipe my eyes and give my lungs a break.

As hysterically funny as the first film, I'm the One That I Want is, the book by the same name is a marvelous treat. Cho is a gifted writer, and every page has laugh-out-loud lines.

Perhaps the best thing about Cho is that she has taken all of the dreaded ism's--racism, sexism, homophobism, fatism--dusted off their media-dredged dreariness, and re-exposed them for the horrors they are. Horrors that, in the light of Cho's genius, are some of the funniest things you'll ever see or hear.

Friday, September 13, 2002

Non sequitur of the Millenium (so far): The state has been organized in such a way that people should be comforted.
Jeb Bush
Governor of Florida


Thursday, September 12, 2002

Poor Rebekah Revels. The original Miss North Carolina has been booted out of the bimbo competition by a judge's ruling that leaves the decision up to the pageant officials. This clears the way for Misty Clymer (no one could make these names up) to represent the state in the Miss America contest. Revels resigned when a former boyfriend revealed that he had taken semi-nude photos of her. She says she didn't know he was taking the pictures and therefore she is "innocent."

Gag me with a mascara wand. First of all, it is disgusting that there is still a Miss America pageant. Pageant officials can talk until they're blue in the face about the scholarships, but the pageant remains an institution that views women as decorative objects to be put on show and judged by superficial standards that would never be applied to men.

Then there is the matter of Revels' "innocence." Okay, maybe she didn't know her boyfriend (some friend) was taking pictures of her. But who cares if she did? Why, in 2002, does a woman have to swear that she didn't know her partner saw her breasts? And why do young women think it is an honor to be in this pageant?

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

If you think the Women's Movement (remember the Women's Movement?) has changed stupid cultural attitudes, you haven't been paying attention to Gwyneth Paltrow. Paltrow said in a recent interview that she would never ask a man out because she is "freaked out" by "forward women."

It is amazing that a woman with such an abundance of talent in a field requiring intelligence and sensitivity could believe that inviting a man to dinner is "forward." She probably thinks the man has to pay for the dinner and order for her, too. These are the attitudes of the 50's and 60's that kept women "in their place," which is to say, submissive. Don't beat boys in sports. Don't show any romantic interest in them until they show it first. Don't give up your virginity until you're married. Don't pursue a career, and if you must, remember that it isn't as important as your husband's.

Women's fear of being thought aggressive when they are only conducting transactions in a normative manner is well-founded; I'll give Paltrow that. When a man takes charge, he's called a leader. When a woman takes charge, she's called "unfeminine." But fear of being judged by ignorant standards is a poor excuse for being less than who you are.

Sunday, September 01, 2002

Some people say that irony is dead. Don't you believe it. Just today, I discovered that someone had published one of my essays without my permission, which is, of course, illegal. Not only that, but the offending party failed to credit the original publication.

Here's the good part: the essay was about maintaining appropriate boundaries.

And did I mention that the illegal publisher is a respected religious organization?

Churches have a lot to learn these days.