Friday, January 24, 2003

Okay, if it Isn't the English Profs, it's the Sociology Profs,
Or,
Yet Another Reason Why I'll Never be Interested in Sociology


From Critical Mass, Duke Visiting Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies (a deadly combination of specious reasoning masquerading as advancing the cause of that elusive animal, "social justice"), Becky Thompson, has stirred controversy over including Laura Whitehorn as an on-campus speaker.

Ms. Whitehorn (Hey! I only detonated the bomb when I didn't THINK there'd be anyone around), who did time for planting a bomb in the US Capitol, "expressed shock at the negative press." And professor Thompson, demonstrating her Soc/Women's Studies "parse the hell out of reality until it reflects what you want it to" mad debate skillz, had this to say:

"'Her work was actually the opposite of terrorism,'" she said, adding that it was protesting other acts of perceived terrorism. "'Part of being patriotic is trying to encourage the government to stand by principles of equality and democracy.'"
The debate is a free speech issue and the definition of patriotism does not exclude dissent, she said."


Okay, out here in the real world, you know, the one where the laws of space, time and physics apply, "free speech" is generally taken to mean, well, SPEAKING. WITH THE MOUTH OR VIA CUTESY LITTLE SIGNAGE, NOT C-4. Furthermore, in this same dimension, governments are not usually persuaded to uphold principles of democracy through explosions. That's why the first Tuesday in November is called Election Day, not Armed Resistance Day.

The tragedy here is not that Whitehorn (who, by the way, still doesn't see the problem with trying to blow up the Capitol), was invited to speak. After all, she's done her time, and in the eyes of the law her debt is paid. It's that people like Thompson can parse and twist reality to such an extent that bald-faced acts of violence against the government become our God-given right in the name of "free speech and patriotic dissent." Evil is making the foul seem fair (to mangle some Tolkien). The greater evil is not just that someone would do that on purpose, but that they would believe their own lies.

But hey, what am I upset about? They're only words, after all.

Thursday, January 23, 2003

Notes from the Underground

A few items from a snow day--here in NC, that means about 3 inches. Whee! Day off!

1. Watching Kate Michelman's (sic) speech, I was struck by the similarity of her language to that of the accepted misogyny of the Middle Ages, wherein a woman's value was basically reduced to the produce of her uterus. More on this later, but I think I've finally figured out the main reason I can no longer stomach the feminism being fed to intelligent, liberated, thinking young women by the emaciated vipers in charge. Yes, I do have cabin fever. Why do you ask?

2. Woo-hoo! NC STATE OVER DUKE!

3. Is it wrong to derive pleasure from watching your son stagger around in the snow like that little kid from A Christmas Story? I mean, it was so cute, how his little arms wouldn't go all the way down. Hee! I am so going to hell, I'm sure.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

(bad) Poetry Corner

In response to Andrea's call to mock the latest excrescence by Harold Pinter, I give you my take:
(Read the link to get the original; I'll not be sullying my sacred blogspace with the spewings of a doofus.)

Here he goes again,
The Crank with his mindless dreck
Spewing his knee-jerk crap
Getting published across the big world
Shilling for Stalinists.
The readers are all filled with dread
The ones who ask how this gets published
The others refusing to read
The ones who think he's lost his mind
The ones who wish that he'd drop dead

The Pinter writes words which suck
Your metaphors make no sense
Your metaphors self-contradict
Your metaphors--well, they're not
Your talent's gone out and your brain
Spits out non-words like "pong"
And all the blogs are alive
With the smell of a has-been's career.
If I Were a Cynical Person

I'd call this a most telling Freudian slip:

The Council on the Status of Women at N.C. State is hosting the 22nd annual Sisterhood Dinner featuring Crystal Kuykendall. The theme of this year's dinner is "Women Standing Strong in the Face of Diversity."

Yes, sisters, we are strong. Even in the face of such a terrible foe as diversity. The theme comes from the title of the featured speaker's speech. I'm thinking I'll give this one a miss if she can't even figure out that titling a pro-diversity speech "Women Standing Strong in the Face of Diversity" has connotations that contradict her point.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Cruelest. Show. Ever.

Is What Not to Wear on TLC. In the tradition of Trading Spaces, it's another Americanized version of a brit hit, but unlike Trading Spaces, it's essentially just a mean-spirited little bitchfest.

The premise is that a "fashion-challenged" person's friends get together and call the WNtW folks. Then, they secretly videotape the walking disaster going about her daily life. Finally, the WNtW "critics" ambush the woman in a public place and "tell it like it is," then give her money to go buy the "right clothes."

This is pure vicious cattiness dressed up to look like A Makeover Story. The difference is that in A Makeover Story the subject knows beforehand that she'll be at the mercy of stylists and consultants, and is excited about the change. In What Not to Wear, the poor woman is ambushed, insulted, and treated as though she's too stupid to walk and chew gum at the same time. Understandably, the woman gets a little testy--frankly, who wouldn't? She questions whether her friends really are concerned about her, and is therefore obviously resistant to change.

Here's the thing: If you really want to help someone look better, you might suggest a fun spa day and makeover together. If you feel the need to help your friend on national television, A Makeover Story is the way to go. Setting her up to be mocked, unaware, by a woman who looks as if she's been shellacked, her hairstyle and makeup are so hard, and a man who insults her fashion sense--in public, on television--while wearing ill-fitting jeans, 400 year old sneakers, and a Chippendale's-gone-to-seed hairstyle means that you aren't her friend. Particularly if you join in the mockery while making sure you're sporting your best (and only) Chanel suit for the cameras.

It's Junior High, televised. Color me unimpressed.

Monday, January 20, 2003

Why I Don't Watch Awards Shows.
Or,
My Eyes! My Ears! My God, Just Make it STOP!


Let me make this as brief as possible--awards shows are utter crap. They're all about the profit and the self-congratulations, and they're popular because hey! Everyone likes a freak show, particularly when the freaks are telegenic. But I'm not gonna pay my dollar anymore to see what's inside the garish canvas tent. Here's why:

Exhibit A: Every emaciated actress who insists on draping her bony ass in cleavage revealing dresses. (Cameron Diaz and Gwyneth Paltrow come to mind from last year's Oscars, if you need a visual reference. I've not been able to get past that photo of Lara Flynn Boyle this year to see if there were more crimes against humanity committed--I'm borrowing my husband's retinas to write this, in fact, as mine are now ash.)

Sweeties, the point of cleavage is HAVING SOME. And without implants, that means you actually have to have a body fat index of greater than -1. Those horrific jutting protuberances on your chests? They aren't actually breasts, they're part of your FREAKING RIBCAGE! Not sexy! Not sexy! Put on a turtleneck or something! Jesus, you could put someone's eye out!

Exhibit B: Tibet. It should be, like freed. Africa--did you know that people there are starving? Well, they are! And we should do something about it! OOOIIIIILLLLLLL! Please. Stop. It. Okay? Show up at protests, carry signs around, do whatever you want about your politics but at least TRY to do it in the proper forum. An awards show is not the proper forum for politics. It's like going to Disneyland and having to take a poli-sci exam to get in--incongruous and wrong. Oh, and about the opinions you're foisting on me? Tell you what--read a book, preferably one without pictures, and get back to me. I'll listen then. No, really. I promise.

Exhibit C: Helllooooo! Two Towers? Fellowship of the Ring? One more in the trilogy? Only the most ambitious film project EVER. Could we maybe acknowledge the fact that it has more going for it than a really great score? No? Okay then, bite me.

Andrea (sorry, no direct link to the post--it's all good stuff over there) had it right when she called celebs dancing monkeys. Bring on the dancing monkeys! And take the talking ones elsewhere--that Planet of the Apes shtick is sooooo dated.

UPDATE (or, the Wages of 12-hour Sudafed): The dancing monkeys should be credited to Rachel Lucas, although Andrea is writing along the same lines. Thanks for the correction, Brad!