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  • theresinator 3:24 am on March 21, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    I have no excuse for my absence and… 

    I have no excuse for my absence and neglect of this blog because I still consider it very important to me. So lets just dive back in.

    I am feeling some kind of way right now.  This video captures part of it..


    My whole life it was just one way.  My hair was “hard to manage” so relaxing it (straightening perming chemically altering) was the only way.  Even when I took my braids out and my hair was long and wild I didn’t know how to handle it.  Me and almost every little black girl is told the same thing one way or another.  “Going natural” is expensive and time consuming and hard and you will have so many more “ugly days” and you don’t even know how it will look or if that look will suit you and there is so much less to do with it…. and it runs on a loop in your head and all you want is to feel human. The hair that grows out of your head makes you less of something and people will call you nappy and liken your tresses to pubic hairs (happened to me) and it is hard enough being a girl without inviting that into your life.

    Now I touch my hair and I cannot explain the feeling.  Like I feel unbound. Like that feeling you get when you are relieved of a great burden. Like when you learn the truth and the constant ticker of lies finally stops in your head. I can look in the mirror and see myself and no one else.  I can do everything. Thinking about it I almost want to cry over all the bullshit.

  • theresinator 7:53 pm on November 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Problematic but fun to talk about 

    Found this video

    and laughed at the following cliches:

    I’m gay and…

    1. Super wealthy

    2. I don’t like wearing shirts

    3. White…but more importantly, tan.

    4. scared of my strange new feelings!

    5. I kind of want to piss off my parents with my gayness (desperate housewives).

    6. You cant see me kissing until the 2000s.

    7. I am super turned on by first touching another man’s neck and/or shoulders.  That is how we reproduce.

    8. Shhhh. No one close to me knows!  If they found out they would look at me weird and be all like “wtf!?”



    Of course this video does not represent all depictions of gay males on television but I would say it is a good cross section.  Of course this is not including any shows from thw Logo channel that are specifically marketed to LGBT peeps.  So these shows were all written for an assumed straight and closeminded audience (feel free to challenge my generalization).

    I would like to discuss a few questions in relation to this video:

    What came first, the stereotype or the media depiction?

    What assumptions, reactions do you have to the depiction of “gay identity”? Do you think this even exists?

    Better clips to consider?

    Where the hell were all the black gay men!? What would those clips even be? Men on films?


    • Ian 9:33 pm on November 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Amber, you bring up so many fascinating points and ask so many good questions I hardly know where to begin. These are rich, complicated topics.

      First off, I guess, I’ll offer my thoughts on “gay identity.” Does it exist? Yes … well, sort of. But only in people’s heads. Like all social identities, it’s artificial and has a history — and modern American sexual identities (i.e., “gay” and “straight,” mostly) happen to be very recent, very fuzzy and in the midst of rapid change.

      What I found especially interesting was that the theme of gender nonconformity was almost entirely absent in these clips. Sure, some of these guys were rather suave, but they were all essentially masculine in their self-presentation (at least according to contemporary American standards). I was most struck by the “Desperate Housewives” clip; the young lovers actually call each other “dude,” a phrase stereotypically associated with perfectly conventional, entirely masculine (and hence implicitly homophobic) white teenage boys. Curious, curious. For much of the 20th century, however, homosexuality was entangled with gender inversion; while this connection was to a certain extent ill-informed, it did reflect the way that many “gay” men understood themselves. That you don’t see much evidence of that in these clips from the ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s deserves some discussion. I’d also say that the larger problem regarding the relationship between sexuality and gender remains unsolved and demands more attention.

      About the apparent absence of black gay men in “serious” television. Tricky, tricky. It probably partially reflects a general scarcity of blacks on television. But I’m unsure. I would like to discuss why the only clear representations of gender nonconformity is in the “Men on Films” clip. Is it because this is comedy and “they’re gay” is the punchline, so they need to really play up the stereotypes to get the laughs? Can we read race into this — is there a connection to black males’ unique anxieties about their masculinity? What’s going on?

    • theresinator 1:12 am on November 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Hmmm I like your point about how none of these depictions of homosexuality rely on a “gender inversion”…..except for “Men on Films”. Is it possibly because we are smart enough to know that it is not an issue of inversion so the thought of it is just funny? No, we are definitely not that smart. Just because the depictions in this small cross section were not effeminate (ew what a terrible word for a person with a degree in Women and Gender Studies to use) does not mean that that is what people don’t assume the “gay identity” to be. When these shows were being conceived and written I am sure some writer told him/herself “well I am going to shock them and show people the opposite of what they expect: guys who seem normal but they are into dudes!” I’m sure a lot of people patted themselves on the backs for these depictions.

      SO about the black guys. I admittedly laughed a lot when watching the clips. Then I admittedly felt guilty for not taking the time needed to really deconstruct this comedy. I especially feel like a paper needs to be written on “men on tv” parts 1 and 2. In the first episode one of the guys gets hit on the head and when he comes two is no longer high voiced and slinging sexual innuendo and…gasp…seems to be hetero. In the second part the other guy is visually uncomfortable doing the show with his new straight-acting partner and keeps trying to hit him on the head to put him back to normal. Seriously, I wanted to transcribe.

  • theresinator 5:58 pm on September 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Lighter fare… Digital White Flight? 

    Came across this article about the “racial divide on the internet”

    Personally I never cared for Myspace too much but there was a time (right before college) that I used it fairly regularly.  I do think that Facebook is somewhat elitist.  Remember when we were so excited to get our .edu emails so we can join? Was anyone else mad when FB opened to anyone with an email addy?

    What are your thoughts?

    What do you think this says about how various cultures want to use the internet?

    (stretching) What do you think it days about the Digital Divide?

    IDK whatever you have to say about it.

    • insomnia-rising 7:15 am on September 8, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I am not so sure that it can be said that is a racial divide as much as it is a subculture divide. Myspace has developed a niche for the music scene, and other performers. It is not suppose to be professional, just like nothing in performing is suppose to be traditional. It is not entertainment if it is predictable. Myspace adds another piece to the experience for artists to give to their audience. Facebook on the other hand was created at Harvard for the explicit use of social networking, or social engineering designed to put you a high paying job. Myspace is a networking site as well, but can be all about personality through blog posts, color schemes, background pics, etc. Facebook is more sterile.

  • theresinator 9:20 pm on August 21, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Since we were kind of already on the subject 


    In addition to my comments below I would like to add that I came across this story that makes me feel a little better about this issue.

    The article outlines a Healthcare reform plan Mitt Romney introduced in Massachusetts.  The article is boasting that the program is very popular and has resulted in nearly 100% coverage for the people of Massachusetts.  If this is true, I definitely want to know more about it.

    My question is, why haven’t I?  I can only see lots of benefits for Republicans if plans like this were more center to the debate instead of something I happened to find on twitter (twitter makes my life better btw). 1. It would be an alternative plan that would prove that the GOP is working at it too. 2. It would thrust Mitt Romney, a conservative candidate, into an even better position to become a challenge to the Dems in 2012.

    I think it is ciritcal that the GOP make it clear that they are not a purely oppositional party and that they can bring important legislation for everyone to the table.  Also, isn’t the GOP looking for a high profile candidate to help bring together the coalition?  Do they not want Mitt Romney to be that guy?

    Am I missing something here?

    I haven’t been brainwashed to only support democratic candidates.  If a republican can give me the sweet sweet political love I need I would be willing to cast my vote accordingly…. Right?


    Answers plz!

    • Jason 9:36 pm on August 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      *sigh*… right, only this was the democrats’ idea in 1993. namely, hillary clinton’s. and it was still her plan in 2008 (and harshly criticized by obama), at least until she conceded on june 6. it requires everyone to buy a private plan and subsidizes poor people. they would receive the health coverage that government employees get, which generally ain’t half bad… i’ve lived on it all my life since both of my parents are gov’t employees and now i work for a public university. once again, hillary wins and no one wants to admit it.

      and once again, the republicans are drowning quickly and failing to look for collective solutions.

      • theresinator 1:04 am on August 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        Well there you have it. I owe Hillary an apology. I knew I had to be missing something.

        Also, I lived on Military Healthcare up until this year and it was sweeeeeeeet. Now I’m trying this private stuff. We’ll see.

  • theresinator 12:44 am on August 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    This Post-Racial America Thing Wont Go Away…. 

    Sorry for the super long hiatus.  I really have no excuse.  Ever since the first post I have been bookmarking like mad with interesting topics and then I never seemed to garner enough “umph” to post them.  One thing I did notice (like I warned in the original post) was that an alarming amount of the stories that caught my eye were about America’s favorite subject of late: RACE. Ugh, I know I know I am sick of it (the way it is being depicted) too!  I’m sorry to perpetuate it!  But lets talk….

    So I would like to suggest a constructive discussion about the topic that is leaving me awake at night a little scared…. Here are some clips that scare the shit out of me to set the mood…

    If your haven’t seen this one, it is the Grand Daddy of crazy reactionist rhetoric that has literally brought tears to my eyes. Pat Buchanan on Rachel Maddow Show.  The part I want to focus on is where he explaims that white men deserve more America goodness because they are 100% of the people who made this country…

    Next a clip that I’m sure you’ve seen because it has been on several news shows but just to refresh your memory…

    Rush has also called Obama racist but it’s pretty much along the same lines…

    Bear with me PLZ.

    Pat Buchanan and Glen Beck, just like Rachel Maddow and Kieth Olbermann (to name some on the other side), have scores and scores of people who watch their shows and use their opinions to inform their own.  This happens in various degrees but there is no doubt in my mind that Pat Buchanan and Glen Beck represent a section of the American public that look to them to not only inform but to be their voice on a national stage.

    I approach this issue trying my best to walk on eggshells.  Because I know honest, genuine, hard working people who would agree to a certain extent with Mr. Buchanan and Mr. Beck. However at the same time, I want those people to know that this makes me nervous.

    Here is a clip of Rachel Maddow clearing up some of what Pat Buchanan said on her show….I think this clip is fair (let me know if you disagree)

    Basically what I am concerned about is a widespread public belief/understanding of history that erases the contributions of everyone but white males in the building of this country. Like most things, if you repeat it enough it becomes true.  For example I am sure all of you have seen clips of angry people at town hall health care reform meetings who channel Beck’s comments and yell “I want my America back.”

    Here come the questions:

    What do you mean by “YOUR America”? (I mean this is as non snarky as possible) What is the “white culture” that Obama hates?  What do these comments really mean?

    Is the “my America” and “white culture” that these people refer to only a few semantic shifts from white supremacy?

    What will this outrage at the loss of the old America turn into?

    Before you answer, here is how I am framing my thoughts on the situation:

    I learned a long time ago to never suggest in any serious manner that a friend of mine may be (shhh) racist (to their face). The backlash ranges from extreme embarrassment to very angry and friendship deteriorating hidden feelings.  I am uncomfortable even writing about it.  The article really does a way better job at it.  So keep it in mind.  Even if you find yoruselves sympathizing with the Glen Becks in the world, I would like to know your feelings.  Afterall, issues like Affirmative Action and Health Care Reform cut VERY close to the heart of many people.  I will not judge if you don’t. This is about discussion afterall.  (Also I’m pretty sure there should be an anonymous option if you should choose)

    Just to reiterate general points:

    WTF do you think of the idea of “post-racial” America? Does anyone believe that shizz?

    What emotions do Buchanan’s and Beck’s arguments stir up?

    What do you think about the editing of American History to upplay some people and downplay others?

    Share a moment where you were accused of being racist/sexist/classist/other-ist? Thoughts?

    Whatever other question you would like to answer/ask.


    • insomnia-rising 8:23 am on August 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I am more fascinated by the art of such a conversation on race.

      Buchanan’s and Beck’s bigoted arguments are nothing new, and have been building up for sometime. Most would argue that the opposite side of his opinion is out of line, but these extremes have to be part of the conversation whether we like it or not. I am not sure a group of people can have a discussion without there being unsettling extremes, but the question is can there be a conversation where the extremes do not dominate? Can there be a moderate voice in the discussion? (which seems to be what theresinator is looking for) Where is the fine line of being assertive without being domineering?

      The intricacies of a conversation about race was discussed in a Bill Moyers interview with a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute and a columnist for the New Republic magazine, John McWhorter. The interview transcript can be accessed by the public at

      What are some of the more mild forms that this national discussion/obsession of race has created?
      *the Sotomayor confirmation
      *the Holder miscommunication discussed in the Bill Moyers interview from months ago.

      How has this all been building? It didn’t begin with Obama.

    • K 8:28 am on August 14, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      What would you know? I am one of the many people who agree with the arguments and statements made by individuals like Glen Beck. Not necessarily Glen Beck individually, but I am an avid listener of Conservative Talk Radio. Because of that, many individuals assume that I must be an ignorant bigot (believe what you want, as I am a very opinionated and individualistic person who can rightfully think for herself). Which is why I hate getting into political conversations/discussions because I feel I am always getting stampeded. But I feel the need to participate (you’re welcome, Amber).

      First of all, I don’t like Nancy Pelosi, I disagreed with the election of Sotomayer (not because she’s Hispanic or a woman, I just disagreed with her past rulings and I don’t really like how she has handled herself in the proceedings leading up to the election), and obviously I don’t like Obama. However, I don’t blame any of our problems on Obama himself (maybe his administrators.. which is fair as that’s politics right there) or any past presidents (we have a problem in society with pointing the finger at someone and blaming them for everything .. REAGAN/BUSH for example?). Isn’t that being a bit hypocritical if the opposing side can’t blame Obama, Clinton, Carter, etc. just a little bit?! haha.

      ANYWAY onto one of the many topics… I believe there is not (and never will be) such a thing as “post-racial” America. History tends to repeat itself, and the United States will therefore always be a racist country from all areas of the racial spectrum. Unfortunately, there are large amounts of individuals (doesn’t matter what race they are, really) who will always feel as if they have some sort of entitlement to something. That they are underprivileged, that they are being over-looked by whoever they believe to be the small group in power. If someone has it and they don’t, they want it automatically too. It is human nature to point the finger at someone else when something doesn’t go right, and I guess I’m a cynic but I have yet to experience a day when the vast majority of people around me take responsibility over themselves and their actions. Not once. It’s not going to happen. Blacks will blame whites, Hispanics will blame whites, and whites will blame Blacks, Hispanics, and other whites. It’s a vicious circle. It feeds itself and keeps on going.

      The only thing that could be possibly out of line, I think, is that I am tired of pulling the race card with slavery as the reason behind why someone pulled it. I didn’t enslave anyone’s family members, so I don’t want to hear someone make a scene and shout out a speech about how someone’s ancestors were enslaved and put out because I got in line first at the movie theater and just so happen to be a white woman (this has happened before).. that’s when they’re just making a fool out of themselves and being offensive. In some places, that is an accepted form of behavior. I strongly do not support that on individual and moral/respectable grounds.

      On the topic of Affirmative Action, in my opinion, Affirmative Action doesn’t fix the end to racism.. it fuels it. In many sociological studies that have been completed in order to figure the effectiveness of such a law, women, minorities, older individuals and former criminals are still discriminated in the workplace and in the education system. For example, my mother is a white female in her late 50s, with a college education and over 30 years of professional experience, and is still unemployed for over a year after sending in over 300 applications — only to get one phone call and no job. Please, tell me how Affirmative Action helps in this situation? It fails in the sense that minorities could possibly be chosen over my mother to provide equality and diversity, but not necessarily by experience (not that I’m saying that is what it is, but it could be a possibility). OR It fails in the sense that my mother is discriminated by her age and then automatically assumed that she is not healthy or viable enough to be productive in a stressful workforce environment (bullshit) due to being close around the median retirement age (don’t get me started on the end of life counseling!) I know I’m pushing it since I’m taking about a white woman in this situation, but it still doesn’t add up. She is still discouraged, and rightfully so.

      Another thing about Affirmative Action that I have a problem with is the dispersal of Federal Financial Aid to perspective students. Again, I am a white female. I have a mother who is unemployed not by choice. My dad works overtime to help pay for my schooling. When I apply for Financial Aid, however, I don’t qualify for anything. Not once have I ever thought myself to be entitled to anything, but this is just an example of how speculative these laws are executed. In the meantime, I have a friend who is also female, but is half black and half Mexican. Unfortunately, her parents are divorced but, because she lives with her mother, she gets FASFA-backed full tuition to go to school, even though she gets a stipend from her father. Now, my friend’s mother makes around the same as my father. My friend has a father who has a good paying job. Is it wrong for me to wonder why, if our annual incomes are close to being even between her mother and my father, yet are extremely unequal when her father is included as a financial source given the fact that he provides my friend with money, why I do not qualify for financial aid but my friend does? Is it just because she’s by social definition a “minority” and her parents happen to be divorced? I find that to be a bit problematic. In all reality, I have more of a financial constraint than my friend does, but given the circumstances, the government financial services say I am shit out of luck! Then, who really are we choosing to help? If I was spiteful and/or a bitter individual by nature, I could easily turn this into a race issue of reverse discrimination (hence the vicious circle), but I don’t. I just think it’s unfortunate that things must be this way. That, and I love my friend.

      I also think the Health Care Reform is more detrimental than helpful (This is where I most agree with the Glen Becks, Michael Savages, and other Conservatives). This really scares me if we pass this kind of bill, due to it’s unreliability. As a nation we have always looked for a quick fix to our problems and, guess what — unless by a fluke — 9/10 times it doesn’t work the way we wanted it to/expected it to be. Canada currently has nation-wide health care system (and even though I am a conservative, I do know that Canada is a democracy and not a Communist/Socialist nation!) I have a relative that operates his own milk farm in Ontario who has been having horrible pains in his side over the past year. The nation-wide health care suggested for him to seek an x-ray of his stomach. In the end, he had to wait six months to get his x-ray and to find out what was going on with his body. Which is why he, along with other individuals from Ontario, drive to Michigan to get private health care, or attend to one of the few private practices within that province. Now, given Canada and other nations under this system, how is something like this going to help our already deemed “impractical” health care situation? It’s not. National Health Care in the big picture is a very pleasant thought, but when you get down to the minor details on how to put it into motion, it bottoms out. Our nation, under a private health care system, is already reporting that the number of certified doctors and nurses will continue to diminish over the next four to ten years. The population, in the meantime, in the United States has already doubled what it was in 1990 (151 million) in a spectrum of 20 years (over 300 million in 2009) — meaning it could be around 600 million people by 2030 by the rate it is moving currently. How are were to deliver decent health care to all these people when we can’t even come up with certified doctors to take on the patients? The answer is we can’t. Not rationally. Not realistically. The type of health care that National Health care could provide would be possibly below average, unreliable and unsafe (due to the absence of professionally trained doctors) medical attention… unless we force future generations to major in the medical fields upon high school graduation. Which I don’t see happening anytime soon.

      Also, my father is 62 years old. If anyone tells me that it is a good idea for him to get End of Life Counseling in three years (proposal is to start at age 65), I’ll go ballistic and beat the shit out of the political figure who suggests such a thing. My father was a police officer for 37 years, has a will and life insurance policy because of the dangers that come with the job. But that isn’t good enough. Instead, even though my grandparents lived to be into their 90s-100s, my father needs to get a 30+ year head start to thinking about dying? What kind of pessimistic/sadistic shit is that? No thanks, America.

      • theresinator 10:54 pm on August 19, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks K! Do you think my views/posts are fair? I really try for that and I hope you weren’t offended by my referral to people who are fans of Glen Beck and the like. I noticed you didn’t mention Pat Buchanan… Come on….he is pretty wacko for those comments!

        OK in response: I know for a fact that you are not an ignorant bigot. In fact what I love about you is the fact that you are an ACTUAL conservative and not a neo-con. It’s the neo-cons that harp on christian family values and (in my opinion) end up isolating and insulting anyone who doesn’t fit into their narrow view of America. Conservatism is something I can entertain and even get behind on some issues. You can have a conversation with Conservatism (yay thats what we’re doing).

        Anyone who knows me knows I carry the race card with me tucked in my wallet and use it often (usually for humorous reasons). However, at the same time I know how uncomfortable it makes many many people. And frankly, I find that part of the reason people (and ok lets say white people in particular) are uncomfortable/annoyed by discussing issues of race is because no matter what you are talking about you can’t really avoid the slavery elephant in the room. People (all people) don’t like feeling guilty about the sins of others. It really isn’t fair to put anyone in that position and I try not to as much as possible. The fact that someone who looks like you may have owned someone who looks like me hundreds of years ago doesn’t really have anything to do with the here and now. I get it. However, at the same time I have to argue that the legacy of slavery does. It wouldn’t matter to me if I somehow was able to track down my roots (lol) to some particular slave (something that would be incredibly hard if possible at all, hell I might not even be descended from Africans! ) and even met the progeny of the people who used to own my ancestor. That has nothing to do with my life. What does affect and continues to affect my life is the history of race relations in America that is often diluted down to just the institution of slavery. The fact is, Slavery is an easy to access exemplification of race relations; Rich whites on top, everyone else on the bottom. After the institution fell it was replaced by literally thousands of other laws, customs, and whatnot in order to continue the status quo. Many of these small institutional factors that were designed hundreds of years ago still have a lasting effect today. I don’t mean to speak in such vague ways. In fact, I don’t trust people who make grands claims like the one I just did and don’t offer anything to back it up. Well here is a link that explains just a little part about the legacy of black exclusion in the American life.

        Like I said, this article doesn’t completely explain all of my claims, but I think it explains at least enough about my feeling that my life is directly affected by this legacy. This is how I understand and how it was explained to me. The GI bill helped many soldiers pay for college and buy homes when it was super cheap in the 50’s. Those people (and of course this isn’t all but I think a good amount) were able to be college educated home owners at an earlier time meaning greater prosperity and then got busy having lots and lots o’ babies. These babies, our parent’s generation, grew up in nice neighborhoods in their homes that their college educated parents owned and then went off to college. When it came to pay for their baby boomers education their parents had the added benefit of the home equity they built up to help curtail costs. Those baby boomers graduated college debt free and ready to rule the world. However, when you factor in the fact that black veterans of WWII (like my Grandfather) were not given the benefits of the GI bill, were not able (in a lot of cases) to buy cheap houses in new suburbs or go to college for free. Their children grew up and graduated college with loans. They in turn went into the workforce (when it was enough to have a Bachelor’s degree) a few steps behind their colleagues that had a little step up. Those are our parents.

        I am not painting this image to make myself or my parents victims of anything. I just want to point out a very real situation that can be true for lots of families in America.

        That brings me to Affirmative Action. I used to be against it. I used to feel like the biggest thing holding people who look like me was purely psychological. I used to feel uncomfortable thinking that people are always going to look at me like I don’t deserve everything that I have. Then I realize that some people are going to think that anyway. It is my job to prove them wrong. Now I believe that Affirmative Action is a bandaid on a large gaping wound that simply wont heal. Yeah, it’s kind of pathetic when you look at it in context….but actually treating the wound is something people aren’t really interested in doing. Now mind you, most of my understanding and research on the subject of Affirmative Action is centered around education, not the job market (which I think deserves a different distinction). What annoys me about the Affirmative Action debate is how it is depicted. People automatically assume that it is a glorified hand out. I can’t keep people from thinking that way. All I can say is that Affirmative Action in education simply opens doors where walls used to be, it does not push people through them and it certainly does not tell anyone what to do once on the other side. AA is about opportunity not charity. Just because I may have benefited from AA does not mean I didn’t work my ass off to get where I have. In no way does AA undermine personal responsibility and conviction. Without either you’re not going to make it anyway. The bottom line is, we do not live in a merit based society and you can see the proof in both the white and black communities. I don’t feel a sense of entitlement. I don’t think that white people owe me. I just want my hard work to pay off in the same way as anyone else and sadly that wouldn’t be true without Affirmative Action.

        As far as FAFSA goes, it measures a students estimated family contribution. If that is a certain amount less than the estimated cost of attendance of a school it determines how much the school is allowed to offer in Federal Stafford loans. Also if it is low enough it will offer Federal Pell grants which are free money. But it is purely income based. My parents are divorced too and when filling out the FAFSA I claim my mothers income (which is less than my Dad’s) because I am dependent on her income and not my Dad’s. I don’t even know what theirs would be together. Yes, I did get financial support from my Dad while in school (he recently cut me off!) but that doesn’t really have to do with what it costs to be financially responsible for me. If my Mom can’t pay the mortgage its not like my Dad will chip in.

        But I don’t want to belittle your frustration with a very sucky situation. Its not really possible to go to college anymore without facing serious financial issues and it is only compounded by life’s own obstacles. My mother lost her job around the same time. She was unemployed for 10 months until she was forced to take a job making less than half of what she was. We lost the house (before it was cool to do so with the economic recession) and what little financial security we had amassed. What we can be thankful for (and you can too) is the fact that it hasn’t stopped us from moving forward. You are still able to attend school and work toward a more prosperous tomorrow. If we keep busy the economy will come back around and I hope that means a new job for your mom. She is just too cool of a lady to keep down!

        Blah blah blah Healthcare. I “support” the proposed reform even though it isn’t exactly what I want. I would (like the Glen Becks of the world) like to know how it will be paid for. However, at the same time I believe that regardless of how it’s paid for, it will cost more in the next 10 years if we don’t change it. I haven’t heard many people mention it in recent events, but I jumped on the bandwagon when I considered that 47 million Americans are uninsured and even more and under insured. This figure will probably be going up with the failing job market. Just think of all of the people who just graduated college and haven’t found jobs yet! For example, my brother does not have health insurance. Furthermore, no one in our family really has to means to help if some health emergency came along. I live in the constant fear that it really only takes one accident, one person not paying attention on the road, one serious virus, one sickness to ruin all of us. Even if it is something small, exorbitant Health Care debt would cripple my brother’s income sucking up any money that could have gone to building a prosperous future. I feel like we are in front of death panels every day. Some people are worth the benefit of preventative care and health care that keeps you healthy instead of charges you for ever getting sick. Others are marginalized to only be able to afford to get care when they no longer have an option. After you go to the emergency room (many people’s only time with doctors) you still get charged later and that can be the difference between life and death. Moreover, I don’t buy into the comparisons of this reform to Canadian and European health care. The only actual reform in the bill is the public option. This is absolutely different than those systems who don’t have any other option. Also, it’s not like private insurance companies have been all cute, cuddly, and willing to fork over money to keep you alive over the years (think the movie John Q). Why are we clamoring to keep them? I don’t think that a lack of doctors deters me from wanting a public option for Health Care. There are ways (with time) to generate more doctors for America if there is a need for them (medical school subsidies? Malpractice insurance reform? cuter lab coats?) I agree that Nationwide Health care is easy to say and will be far from easy to implement. I would like to see how it will happen too and (if the bill passes) it will probably be a long time before we see the effects that we are hoping for. However, just because it will be incredibly hard, doesn’t mean that it is not incredibly needed. I do not trust the people who wish to shoot down the bill who are also not coming up with an opposing solution. You cannot deny that the system is broken. Million of Americans are simply left out of a life where they can afford to get sick without derailing their future. This should not be acceptable and I refuse to accept it.

        I am tired of typing but I hope I made a good response. I will probably submit this and then see all of my grammatical and factual errors…..oh well.


    • Ian 10:58 pm on August 19, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      These are some fascinating questions. Unfortunately none of them have easy answers. Still, I’ll try to offer my perspective on one of them: whether America has become a “post-racial” society.

      My answer: America obviously isn’t a “post-racial” society (and that wouldn’t necessarily be desirable, either). HOWEVER, it might be turning into a “post-racist” society. Let me attempt to explain what I mean by that…

      I’m starting with a few assumptions. First, race is mutable and socially constructed. Conceptions of race differ dramatically by culture and historical period. They’ve changed throughout American history, and they’ll surely continue to change in the future. (If you’d like some specific examples of how this plays out, just ask — I’ve got plenty.) Second, racial differences are NOT just biological — in fact they often aren’t biological at all. Just as often, they are tied up with cultural identity (including but not limited to language, religion, values) and relations of economic power. … I realize that these two points should be old news to most people reading this blog, but they’re important to bare in mind nonetheless.

      So, continuing to the “post-racial” vs. “post-racist” distinction (which is also related to why so many conservative white Americans are so pissed off… and why Americans in general are still so uneasy –and dare I say completely irrational– when it comes to race).

      America is self-evidently NOT a “post-racial” society. With very few exceptions, Americans are still very conscious of racial differences, and these are often essential to how they define themselves. I don’t see this changing anytime soon — and I would argue that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Racial diversity (which, as I suggested above, to a great extent means cultural diversity) has enriched and continues to enrich our nation enormously. We’d be losing a lot in a truly “post-racial” America where a distinct black (or Hispanic or Asian or Native American) identity disappeared.

      America might be becoming a “post-racist” society, however. I think everyone can agree that for the vast majority of its history America was a racist society — one in which non-whites (which for a long time included Southern and Eastern Europeans, by the way) were excluded and economically exploited. Period. However, I think that we can also all agree that during the past few generations we’ve made great progress toward correcting these old injustice. Surely our society now in 2009 in less racist than it was in, say, 1860 or 1960. I challenge anyone to deny the veracity of that last sentence.

      Of course, I only said that America may be BECOMING a “post-racist” society. Obviously the legacy of centuries of racial injustice remains. Blacks (and Hispanics and Native Americans, for that matter) do not have their fair share of economic and political power. And racial tension still continues to simmer.

      So, will we continue to follow the historical trajectory of the last few generations? Will the racist elements of our society continue to disappear bit by bit until we reach a point where we’ve truly become “post-racist”? And can we accomplish that while still maintaining distinct racial identities? It is my dear hope that this is our future, and I think we have good reason to believe that it’s possible. But at the same time I have a nagging suspicion that it’s never going to happen … not entirely at least. There’s very often tension and misunderstanding and sometimes even outright hatred whenever a minority cultural (err, racial) group lives within a larger national culture. Hopefully we can overcome this.

  • theresinator 12:12 am on July 25, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    What started it all: Discussion Number 1 

    Hello People!

    So I promised this first post a few days ago and I am just now getting to it. Deal with it.

    Anywho, this discussion is going to involve RACE, GENDER, and REPUBLICANS! Oh My!

    It begins with an article I read on the conservative “American Thinker Blog” about an incident that occurred between California Congresswoman Barbara Boxer and Black Chamber of Commerce head Harry Alford.  You can read the whole thing here :

    But here are the basics:

    • Boxer and Alford disagree about some sort of energy/jobs issue (its unclear just from the clip)
    • Boxer decides to try to persuade Alford by citing other black people who agree with her (NAACP, some group of black men from Atlanta ect.)
    • Alford gets really angry because they essentially don’t have anything to do with him….besides being black.
    • Boxer starts to retreat from her dumb assumption.
    • Republican senator doesn’t really call her out on it.

    Here is a link to the actual video as well:

    Points I would like to discuss:
    1. I’m not sure how to exactly feel about the “incident” between Boxer and Alford. Part of me thinks he overreacted a bit.  But what if I’m part of the problem!?
    2. (referring more to the comments on the article) How do you feel about the charge that “republicans need to stop being nice”? My first reaction is fear because I thought they were being pretty mean all along…. (Um, not you Repub friends…)
    3. (comments again) One commenter states that they feel Repubs should take on some traits from the “personalities” of Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin (i.e. tell it like it is take no prisoner type).  Aside from what I feel about these people, I think it is almost cool that those two figures, that at least these commentators seem to endorse as people to rejuvenate the party, are women.
    What do you think? Is the Republican party (and/or it’s elected officials) being too nice about issues?  What about all of the “truth” that is not getting out there?  I know at least some of it has to exist.  How do we find out!?
    What do you think of Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin (the latter more than the former obvi) as new blood for the Republican Party?  What feminist critiques can you see?
    And of course any other issues you would like to bring up are welcome!

    • Matthew 3:52 pm on July 25, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Nancy Pelosi has absolutely nothing to do with incident, she is the Speaker of the House. You are referring to Barbara Boxer …

      • Matthew 3:57 pm on July 25, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        Also, Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin are some of the least respected political pundits/figures within the Beltway. I disagree that it is some innovative concept for Republicans to START using the abrasive, “take no prisoners” style of Coulter and Palin. They’ve been doing that for the last 8 years, and I think it is part of the reason why they are so unpopular.

      • theresinator 6:13 pm on July 25, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        How incredibly embarrassing! I don’t know how Pelosi seeped into my subconscious while writing this post….

        • K 8:50 am on July 29, 2009 Permalink

          No sweat, Am.. Absent-mindedness is inevitable when it comes to Nancy Pelosi.

    • Ian 8:43 pm on July 26, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I honestly don’t entirely understand what was being discussed at the meeting in the first place, so I’m having some trouble appreciating why Alford thought Boxer’s remarks were racist. Could someone try to explain this to me?

      Regarding the future of the Republican Party… Whether or not a politician is respected “within the Beltway” has little to do with their potential success at the polls. Senators and congressmen aren’t elected by their fellow legislators, after all, but by their constituents. And, like it or not, Palin and her ilk do have tremendous appeal to a lot of working-class rural/suburban whites. If anything, Palin’s “outsider” status and elite culture’s exasperation with her only endeared her more this demographic. Could this sort of figure ever win an electoral majority? I doubt it, but I wouldn’t entirely dismiss the possibility either.

      This is sort of moving far from the points of discussion you originally proposed, but… It seems to me that part of the reason the Republican Party is in such a bad way is that the coalition that it’s been built on since the 1960s is falling apart. The two components of this coalition were (1) social conservatives (i.e., sex-negative, hyper-patriotic religious fanatics and crypto racists) and (2) pragmatic and/or ideological supporters of American-style capitalism. Originally this was a fairly happy marriage, both because the two groups often overlapped anyway and because they shared a common enemy in the Left, whether in the form of domestic radicals or expansion-minded Soviets. Nowadays, however, trying to join social conservatism and corporate capitalism makes much less sense. In the 21st century, wealthy, well-educated urbanites (i.e., those that have the greatest interest in maintaining the economic status quo) pretty overwhelmingly have progressive social views; as the center of the Democratic Party moved to the right on economic issues in the 1980s and 1990s, these types now feel entirely comfortable with the Dems. Meanwhile, 21st century social conservatives tend to be less well-off and less educated, and while the modern Republican Party’s platform might reflect their values, supporting its economic agenda actually works against their own interests.

      So, given this situation, what will become of the GOP? The conventional wisdom is that they just have to reassert their old “small government/free enterprise/traditional values” shtick, the Democrats will take a wrong turn, and *poof* – back to business as usual. But I don’t think that’s going to work; that strategy’s success depends on the existence of a coalition that is rapidly disappearing.

      A more likely scenario, I think, would be a “Palin-ized,” populist Republican Party, one that dispenses with the GOP’s old free-market rhetoric and couples social conservatism with support for economic policies agreeable to the working class. It seems unlikely this coalition could win a majority … unless it incorporated blacks and Hispanics as well? They too tend to be both socially conservative and economically marginalized.


      [Disclaimer: I am NOT advocating such reformation of the GOP -actually the possibility disconcerts me greatly- but merely trying to speculate about how the party might evolve.]

  • theresinator 11:09 pm on July 22, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    “Freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, dissent, and debate.” 

    Thus, I wanted to start this blog in celebration of all three.  Recently, my addictions to certain social networking sites (Twitter, Facebook, etc) have led me to many shocking, exhilarating, and disturbing, stories of current events both highly covered by popular media and not. Often I find myself reading something and immediately grasping for my phone or turning on my aim just so I can discuss them with my wonderful friends that always bring more thought provoking insights to the game.  It’s like a drug and baby I want some more.
    Here I will be posting new stories, opinions, picture, sound clips, videos, and whatever that I would like to offer up for debate and discussion.  In my experience this usually leads to more links, more cursing, more laughing, and more fun.  I also don’t want to design this solely for my own enjoyment.  I will gladly invite any contributors that enjoy being a nerd just as much as I do.  Just let me know through comments/email ( and I will add you.
    Just a heads up, right now many of the links I have bookmarked for posting have a lot to do with feminist/race/class/gender/sexuality/politics/education (some all in one) issues because those are the things that get me all hot and bothered.  More issues are certainly welcome!  Even, and especially, if you disagree.  I like to keep my mind open and def want to know if you think my opinions, critiques, or whatever are flawed.  Just remember to always be respectful with anyone you are replying to.  Even if you have to say “I see what you’re saying and I respect your opinion but….you’re an idiot.  We are all here to grow!
    So I hope you have read/heard something you like and will join me in the future for some nerdy and fun times here at CULTURE TROUBLE*

    (*Like the title? As I was making this blog I was sitting right next to my copy of “Gender Trouble” by Judith Butler who of course took her title from “Female Trouble” directed by John Waters)

    Love a dove love,

    • Ian 3:47 pm on July 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Start postin’!

    • Ian 3:47 pm on July 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Also, Clayton often wanders around my parents’ house singing the theme to Waters’ Female Trouble. Just FYI.

    • Amanda Kruel 12:42 pm on July 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Who is that quote from?

      • theresinator 11:51 pm on July 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        Hubert Humphrey…..he was a former US vice prez

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