Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Odds and Sods: Stella Blue edition

Left: borrowed from the BBC.

Lina at Uncool brings us the very first Feminist Carnival of Sexual Freedom and Autonomy which really does rock, friends and neighbors. Don't miss it. Although from what I hear, Lina's already getting hits through the roof. And that's GREAT!

Go have a look, and open your eyes.


Plains Feminist has a great guest post by activist Ricky Baldwin, titled The Election and Progressive Politics, which started some rather interesting and politically-intricate conversations between me and Mr Daisy. Excerpt:

So I'm saying I'd vote for Hillary if she gets the nomination? Of course – if it seemed close in Illinois, [Ricky's home - PF] I'd vote for Donald Duck if he ran as a viable candidate. I worked on Hillary Clinton’s first campaign in New York because she was running against a rightwing nut. But I think you can tell by now I hope she doesn't get it. (I voted for Obama in the primary, just to minimize Hillary's delegates relative to Obama. My man Kucinich was out by then.) The policies of the last eight years at least must be repudiated, but a vote for Clinton doesn't really accomplish that all that well. Oh, I've heard all the arguments, most of which aren't serious. She's a woman – yes, and so was Thatcher. She's earned it (!) – and what have the American people earned? (Obama, by the way, has a much better record of working for the good and welfare.) Oh, yes, and speaking of arguments for Hillary that make no sense, there's one that needs special attention. I'll quote a friend of mine who's in charge of the excellent news service After Hillary repeated Bush’s transparent lie that Saddam Hussein kicked out the weapons inspectors (the US withdrew them, preparing to bomb), my friend quipped: "Hillary, ready to lie from Day 1." Indeed.

Sure, she's familiar with all the (evil) people. She's comfy sending planes to bomb women, children and sick people for elite purposes. And she'd have no problem selling out health care or whatever interest of the poor/working class comes before her, if it helped her stay in office or in some other way. I'm sure her reputation as a ruthless negotiator is well deserved, and her corporate clients were happy with her, but is that a pattern we want her to continue in the White House? The world needs something very different, and it's up to US citizens – who are the only ones who get to vote, unfortunately – to get the most we can out of our government.

What we need, of course, is an immediate withdrawal of all US troops and reparations to Iraq and Afghanstan, unconditional release of all POWs and reparations to their families, closure and evacuation of Guantanamo Bay as well as the School of the Americas and all US military bases around the world. We need to stop backing Israel, Saudi Arabia, Colombia and other repressive states and instead start standing up for what we say we support – democracy – even if the results are not what we'd like. We need someone who will fight for single-payer healthcare, a living wage, free abortion on demand and gay marriage (if we can't get the state out of the marriage business altogether). We need the right of civilian review for every person who alleges mistreatment by any law enforcement rep. We need to put an end to corporate welfare and reverse the policy that corporations are people with Constitutional rights (it would probably take an amendment). And so many other things that we will not get. But we have an obligation, on behalf of all the less powerful people of the world, to get what we can. Our comfort levels as voters, our disgust, our desires to touch symbolic base and feel good about ourselves, are nothing beside the deep suffering that so many billions on the planet endure largely at the hands of a world order dominated by our government.

The good news is, the Dems have a decent chance of winning, and both at least promise to get out of Iraq – eventually – tho I'm sure they'll maintain that gargantuan military base there and the 'quagmire' will continue. I doubt either one would hack away at welfare much more – Bill did enuf – or follow Bush-Cheney on international agreements like the Kyoto Accords, etc. We might even get a decent land-mine treaty! But will we get another Kosovo in Sudan? Maybe Iraq has lefta bad enuf taste to prevent it, if we fight. And hopefully we can get someone decent on the Supreme Court in the next four years. (Four is about all we can hope for; we have to make hay while the sun shines, like the Republicans do and the Dems usually don't.)
At this point, I'm pretty nervous that all of this Democratic infighting, coupled with shameful media fawning over John McCain, will cost us the election outright.
There are many such changes that we need, and campaigns for any of them would be well worth our time. But elections will not get them for us – and this one may yet prove that to some of us. The work we need to be about is much less glamorous. It involves knocking on doors, talking on the phone when you'd rather be chillin, talking to people sometimes awkwardly outside activist circles, sitting in long meetings, speaking up "even when your voice shakes," tolerating quirky people with strange ideas, and sometimes a lot of study (newspapers, voting records, etc.). It involves some flexibility, too, especially when two or more good causes compete or conflict, and yet some focus to remember our basic purposes and the people who need change the most. Whatever we do, however we disagree, I hope we always keep them in mind.

And did I mention media fawning over McCain? I thought the media was supposed to be liberal? What exactly is GOING ON with the brazen McCain/media love affair?

Neal Gabler astutely takes on the subject in the New York Times. Gabler says "What is less obvious, however, is exactly why the press swoons for him." I've been confused by it for quite some time now:
Seeming to view himself and the whole political process with a mix of amusement and bemusement, Mr. McCain is an ironist wooing a group of individuals who regard ironic detachment more highly than sincerity or seriousness. He may be the first real postmodernist candidate for the presidency — the first to turn his press relations into the basis of his candidacy.

Of course this is not how the press typically talks about Mr. McCain. The conventional analysis of his press popularity begins with his military service. If campaigns are primarily about narratives, he has a good and distinguished one, and it would take a very curmudgeonly press corps to dismiss it, even though that is exactly what a good portion of it did to Senator John Kerry’s service record in 2004. Reporters also often cite Mr. McCain’s bonhomie as the reason for their affection. As Ryan Lizza described it last month in The New Yorker, a typical campaign day has Mr. McCain rumbling from one stop to another on his bus, the Straight Talk Express, sitting in the rear on a horseshoe-shaped leather couch surrounded by reporters and talking “until the room is filled with the awkward silence of journalists with no more questions.”

The Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, citing the conviviality during the 2000 campaign, wrote that “a trip on his bus is, well, a trip.” And as the party master, Mr. McCain is no longer the reporters’ subject. He is their pal.

While other candidates have tried to schmooze reporters this way without success, what has made Mr. McCain’s fraternization so effective is that it comes with candor — or at least the illusion of it. Over the years, reporter after reporter has remarked upon his seemingly unguarded frankness. In 1999, William Greider wrote in Rolling Stone that, “While McCain continues examining his flaws, the reporters on the bus are getting a bit edgy. Will somebody tell this guy to shut up before he self-destructs?”

Imagine, reporters protecting a candidate from himself!
Indeed. I agree with Gabler that the media-crush has plenty to do with McCain's self-deprecating sense of humor, notably shared by his main cheerleader, my own Senator Lindsey Graham. Gabler continues:
This sort of disdain might be called a liberal view, if not politically then culturally. The notion that our system (in fact, life itself) is faintly imbecilic is a staple of “The Daily Show,” “The Colbert Report,” “Real Time With Bill Maher” and other liberal exemplars, though they, of course, implicate the press in the idiocy. Mr. McCain’s sense of irony makes him their spiritual kin — a cosmological liberal — which may be why conservatives distrust him and liberals like Jon Stewart seem to revere him. They are reacting to something deeper than politics. They are reacting to his vision of how the world operates and to his attitude about it, something it is easy to suspect he acquired while a prisoner of war.

Though Mr. McCain can be the most self-deprecating of candidates (yet another reason the news media love him), his vision of the process also betrays an obvious superiority — one the mainstream political news media, a group of liberal cosmologists, have long shared. If in the past he flattered the press by posing as its friend, he is now flattering it by posing as its conspirator, a secret sharer of its cynicism. He is the guy who “gets it.” He sees what the press sees. Michael Scherer, a blogger for Time, called him the “coolest kid in school.”

The candidates who are dead serious about politics, even wonkish, get abused by the press for it. Mr. McCain the ironist gets heaps of affection.

Feeling bloody resentful that I couldn't go to the Women, Action and Media conference this past weekend, like the 'big bloggers'--but I suppose them's the breaks. I comfort myself knowing several of the "right" people (people like us! haha!) were in attendance.

Please check out Brownfemipower's speech, given at WAM, which sums up certain concepts I have NOT seen mainstream feminism address in a good long while. Are we "citizens" first, or women first? To me, that's not a hard question, but I think it may well have shocked a few of her listeners. Go BFP! (Any other WAM commenters and contributors? Leave a link if possible.)


PS: Bob Weir is getting out the vote wherever he goes, and so should YOU!
Listening to: Grateful Dead - Stella Blue
via FoxyTunes


screamin puma said...

Awesome carnival! Thanks for link.

Octogalore said...

I wish you'd been there! Hopefully, another time soon.