Monday, April 6, 2015

Odds and Sods - APRIL 2015 EDITION

APRIL is here already! I haven't done an Odds and Sods post in almost a year, so here we go.

My last Odds and Sods post featured giant plastic ducks and Miss South Carolina... and so, not to be outdone, I am opening this post with some razzle-dazzle photos of SC COMIC CON, which was March 21st here in Greenville, at the TD Convention center.

I do apologize for being asleep at the switch when it came time to post these. (MORE HERE!) My camera battery died, and I just kept forgetting to replace it. (Also, there were several that didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped and I was somewhat disappointed.) As always, you can click to enlarge.

PS: I also posted a few photos of our local St Patricks Day block party on Tumblr. (green cake!)


I have recently been watching 19 Kids and Counting, featuring the pseudo-Quiverfull Duggars (who remind me so much of some Bob Jones University-affiliated families) and the weddings of their daughters Jill and Jessa. In case you didn't know, all of the 19 kids have names starting with J, which is either after dad Jim-Bob (they are part of the Christian Patriarchy movement, so this seems likely) or after Jesus, or both. Some seasons ago, they had a funeral for a miscarried "baby", after taking a famous photo first... they named that one Jubilee Shalom.

I figure if the TLC network is having whole-day marathons, I can't be the only one watching these people who seem to be the living embodiment of old-timey Little House on the Prairie values, sewing their own clothes, playing (appropriately Christian music) together in a family band, making jars and jars of their own pickles, expecting the kids to bunk 5 to a room or something, etc. Even though the kids are ON TV, they do not WATCH TV. Really. That's the claim. There are 19 of them, some in their 20s (people in this subculture only "leave home" when it is time to marry, one reason I figure they are SO ecstatic over marriage)... and we actually believe they can't organize their own movie/TV-watching sessions away from mom and dad? In this day of iphones? Pardon me, but I hardly think so.

But that is the show-biz aspect: we suspend disbelief and adhere to this fantasy of an innocent Andy Griffith-ish, old-school, southern family--who are nonetheless savvy enough to deal with Hollywood executives for 10 seasons and become millionaires. Their large house was built for them by the TV network; they reportedly pay no taxes on their land because they declare their home a "church" (a good illustration of how the religious tax exemption is habitually bent/abused). Eldest son Josh works for the right-wing (and very anti-gay) Family Research Council, although Michelle Duggar's sister is a lesbian in a long-term relationship with a woman. Jim-Bob Duggar (R) was in the Arkansas House of Representatives, which would suggest he knows a few things, like how to milk rich people for contributions, make various right-wing promises and get himself elected. Seen in this light, the 200 volunteers who instantaneously showed up to help out during the weddings, suddenly look like political volunteers, don't they? In a sense, they are. These Duggar wedding shows were one long commercial for the pseudo-Quiverfull lifestyle. (NOTE: the Duggars steadfastly refuse to use the term Quiverfull when put directly on the spot, so I have chosen "pseudo-Quiverfull" for this post... but its rather strange that they are easily the most famous of "Quiverfull" families and now they back away from the term? Why?) They even posted a bunch of viewer-tweets on one of the shows, wherein (mostly women) tweeted about how they wish they were Duggars, could have lots of close sisters as they do, as well as a "traditional" courtship. Etc. I saw a lot of this as naked propaganda for a lifestyle.

Both bridegrooms had to ask Jim-Bob for permission to court their legal-aged daughters, and still require chaperons and chaste, safe "sidehugs" (#sidehug became a popular hashtag during the TV marathons). The teary sister-bridesmaids (Jana, Joy Anna, Jinger, Johannah, Jennifer, etc) all kept saying they would "miss" Jessa, as if she was going to Antarctica, not just down the road to a house her father already owns.

Circumstances suggest the Duggars could not possibly be as sweet, naive and innocent as they appear, and yet, people resoundingly choose to think so. They are "cute" ... people don't like to be reminded of their politics. When I confronted tumblr trans women about sleeping through Michelle Duggar's work on an anti-trans campaign, nobody really answered me about that. The Duggars can be as political as they wanna be, since they position themselves as the Arkansas equivalent of the Von Trapps.

Would all those tweeting young women really prefer that their father screen all of their boyfriends, immediately eliminating anyone who did not regard courtship as inevitably leading to marriage? (First there is formal courtship, then engagement, then marriage. Each phase must be officially "announced" and slightly-more touching is allowed at each level; no kissing until the wedding day.) I don't believe that. What are women nostalgic for? That old "Cinderella Complex" syndrome, the feminine desire to be taken care of?

In the above link about Jessa Duggar, we learn that she actually budgeted her own wedding. As we learned during the show about her, she is very efficient and even organized homeschooling lessons for her whole family. But see: that is not old-school Christian patriarchy, allowing women to manage money. The Duggars get the mystique of "tradition" while availing themselves of Skype, iphones, microwaves and smart daughters who can manage money. It is impossible to truly GO BACK, so they get the best of both worlds. (Back in the day, these highly-managed marriages could not be arranged by looking at a guy's photo on Instagram, or checking out your future Christian spouse on her family's television show.)

I don't think women truly, in real life, want this lifestyle, but they do want to indulge the fantasy. Because I don't think it exists. Not even for the people practicing it. People want "reality TV" about it, but not reality.


Quick notes:

* SOME GOOD NEWS: There is a little orca baby boom, reported by the Guardian.

* We are still plugging away on the radio. Check us out live tonight at 8pm on WOLI!

* We are planning a demonstration against the Republican presidential "debate" (Fox News doesn't allow genuine debate, of course, but you know what I mean) next month here in Greenville, Saturday May 9th, in front of the Peace Center. I will make an official announcement here later, but we are already regularly announcing this on the radio show. YALL COME ON OUT AND RAISE HELL WITH US! (My account of our demonstration at the last Fox News debate is HERE.)

So far, they've got Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz... the usual suspects. But NOT the erstwhile star of the show, Jeb Bush. Uh oh. Is he dissing SC?

Hm. They won't like that.
The event will bring at least six potential Republican White House hopefuls to downtown Greenville for a day of stump speeches.

Confirmed to attend, according to Citizens United, are Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, former Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.

Citizens United said it would announce additional speakers later, but Duncan said former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush won't be among them.

"Jeb Bush and I have communicated," [SC Republican congressman Jeff] Duncan said. "He has a commencement address in Florida that day that is precluding his having the ability to come."

Duncan said at least three other South Carolina congressmen – Trey Gowdy of Spartanburg, Mick Mulvaney of Indian Land and Mark Sanford of Charleston – are expected to attend.
Trey Gowdy and Lindsey Graham, all by themselves, are reason enough to show up and howl.

Yall come! If you are coming from a long distance, please contact me and we can probably find a place for you to sleep, too. Remember, it is likely one of these (awful) deluded individuals will be the Republican nominee, or will serve as Veep or in the cabinet, if they should win the presidency.

Show up and make your voice heard!

* Medicines from the Earth will be May 29th - June 1st at the Blue Ridge Assembly in beautiful Black Mountain, NC. (my previous account of the herbal conference is HERE) Its pricey, but you will come out smart as the dickens.

* Waving to all the folks who have dropped by in the past couple of months, starting with Black History Month, which brought copious hits on the lynching of Willie Earle in 1947, as well as the release of Edward Lee Elmore from South Carolina's Death Row (after 30 years). We also had a bunch of hits on George Stinney, the 14-year-old child executed by the state of South Carolina in 1944. I was probably the first person to cover Stinney nationally (on the radio), although of course many African-Americans locally have written about George Stinney for decades. At long last, Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen found that "fundamental, Constitutional violations of due process exist in the 1944 prosecution of George Stinney, Jr." and vacated the judgment.

It's about time.