When Mario Vargas Llosa won the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature, I was surprised to see conservative commentators giving his selection approving nods. I’d only read his entertaining, soap-opera-esque Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter and hadn’t considered its politics at the time. But if his novels have conservative themes, I’d sure like to read them. So I’ve begun to progress through his oeuvre.
Somewhere in some review, I read that his characters are secondary to the socioeconomic, political backdrops of the historical events of the period in which the characters are immersed. I don’t agree that they are secondary, but the real histories do add a sense of vibrancy and tension to the stories.
In Vargas Llosa’s novel The Bad Girl, which spans several decades and countries, his protagonist Ricardo finds himself amid the hippie scene in 1960s London, and it struck me as a contrast with today:
I liked Earl’s Court very much and fell in love with its fauna. The district breathed youth, music, lives lived without caution or calculation, great doses of ingenuousness, the desire to live for the day, removed from conventional morality and values, a search for pleasure that rejected the old bourgeois myths of happiness—money, power, family, position, social success—and found it in simple, passive forms of existence: music, artificial paradises, promiscuity, and an absolute lack of interest in the other problems that were shaking society. With their tranquil, peaceable hedonism, the hippies harmed no one, and they didn’t proselytize, didn’t want to convince or recruit people they had broken with in order to live their alternative lives: they wanted to be left in peace, absorbed in their frugal egotism and their psychedelic dream.
Reading that passage, my mind fast-forwarded to New York City, lower Manhattan, 2011, and the swarm of wannabe hippies at the Occupy Wall Street “protest,” proselytizing utter ignorance about the financial system and the economy, demanding handouts, defecating in the doorsteps of the surrounding good citizens, and drumming incessantly, noisily keeping the neighborhood children awake all night and distracted in school all day.
If only these hipsters “wanted to be left in peace, absorbed in their frugal egotism and their psychedelic dream.” But that’s the difference between these hipsters and old-school hippies. These people also reject conventional morality and values—but only because it’s too hard. They want stuff that others have, but don’t want to work for it, don’t want to start at the bottom and climb as they build experience and skill. They want the bourgeois money, power, position, social success; they just don’t see the need to earn it. It’s simply unfair if others have it, so they’re gonna pout and stamp their feet about it, and tweet their outrage from their iPads.
Another Vargas Llosa description pointed out, however, that the types of people drawn to 1960s London hippieville and 2011 NYC hipsterville are essentially the same:
Many hippies, perhaps the majority, came from the middle or upper class, and their rebellion was familial, directed against the well-regulated lives of their parents and what they considered the hypocrisy of puritanical customs and social façades behind which they hid their egotism, insular spirit, and lack of imagination. Their pacifism, naturism, vegetarianism, their eager search for a spiritual life that would give transcendence to their rejection of a materialist world corroded by class, social, and sexual prejudices, a world they wanted nothing to do with—this was sympathetic. But all of it was anarchic, thoughtless, without a center or direction, even without ideas, because the hippies—at least the ones I knew and observed up close—though they claimed to identify with the poetry of the beatniks (Allen Ginsberg gave a reading of his poems in Trafalgar Square in which he sang and performed Indian dances, and thousands of young people attended), in fact read very little or nothing at all. Their philosophy wasn’t based on thought and reason but on sentiment, on feeling.
All that dopey folly was tolerable enough, by virtue of being so inane it could be ignored. However, it came with a very dark side back then:
One morning I was in Juan’s pied-à-terre, dedicated to the prosaic task of ironing some shirts and undershorts I had just washed in the Earl’s Court Laundromat, when someone rang the doorbell. I opened and saw half a dozen boys with shaved heads, commando boots, short trousers, leather jackets with a military cut, some wearing crosses and combat medals on their chests. They asked about the Swag and Tails pub, which was just around the corner. They were the first skinheads I had seen. After that, these gangs would appear in the neighborhood from time to time, sometimes armed with clubs, and the benign hippies who spread their blankets on the sidewalks to sell handcrafted trinkets had to run, some with their babies in their arms, because the skinheads professed an obstinate hatred for them. It wasn’t only hatred for the way they lived but also class hatred, because these hoodlums, playing at being SS, came from working-class and marginal areas and embodied their own kind of rebellion. They became the shock troops of a tiny party, the racist National Front, which demanded the expulsion of blacks from England. Their idol was Enoch Powell, a conservative parliamentarian who, in a speech that caused an uproar, had prophesied in an apocalyptic manner that “rivers of blood would run in Great Britain” if there wasn’t a halt to immigration. The appearance of the skinheads had created a certain tension, and there were some acts of violence in the district, but they were isolated….
Is the reemergence of a skinhead movement likely to occur in 21st-century America with the Democratic Party and President Obama’s constant stoking of class warfare? Our top levels of government and media and entertainment now tell people they should look to scapegoat others for their lack of success instead of picking themselves up and attempting to succeed on their own. I fear this will not end well.
A revival of skinheads is only one group to worry about. The organizers and propellers of Occupy Wall Street are not dopey hippies. They are hard-core Marxists, communists, socials, anarchists. They don’t want to be left alone. They want to coopt our American way of life, our American dream. They want to finish the job that Barack Obama has so successfully begun. They don’t intend to fade away peacefully in a haze of pot smoke.
The neighborhood had filled with small cafes, vegetarian restaurants and houses where all the varieties of Indian tea were offered, staffed by hippie girls and boys who prepared the perfumed infusions in front of the patron. The hippies’ scorn for the industrial world had led them to revive handicrafts of every kind and to mythologize manual labor: they wove bags and made sandals, earrings, necklaces, tunics, headscarves, and pendants.
I’ll take hippies over hipsters and union thugs. We’ll know they’re winning the battle for control over Occupy Wall Street if there starts being more tables selling macrame potholders and tie-dye t-shirts than copies of the Daily Worker and the Communist Manifesto.
The Wall Street Journal’s “NBC Unable to Shake Slide in Ratings” says that NBC, which has been in fourth place for years, has continued to go downhill. The only network up in ratings for the same period as last year is…Fox. But FOX is hardly the conservative bastion that Fox News and Fox Business are. Instead, the FOX network has cornered the market on soft edgy. (The hard edgy is over at F/X.)
I may be conservative, but when kids aren’t around, I don’t mind edgy. However, I also don’t mind wholesome, clever, educational, inspiring, or any of the myriad other things television programming can be.
The strange thing is that the article doesn’t address any of the reasons why I no longer watch NBC. In hopes that the NBC/Comcast executives would actually read the comments, here’s what I had to say to them:
I quit watching NBC because of their politicization of their entertainment—taking their abhorrent messaging from MSNBC and inserting it into their “family viewing.” For instance, embedding their “Green Week” propaganda into the script of their dramas and sitcoms. How Orwellian.
On top of that, if their stars are known conservative bashers who make vile jokes about the right on SNL, at award shows and at other venues, does NBC really think I’m going to enjoy watching them for evening relaxation? (Hello Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, to name a few.)
This is all on top of the general decline of network TV that’s apparently ashamed to have any wholesomely written shows. Why must family shows have parents talking/joking about their sex lives? Is it that much of a challenge to write well without thinking about sex? Can our children have a few years of television viewing without that? Is it impossible to come up with a modern-day Ozzie and Harriet or Father Knows Best that tells engaging stories about trying to be a good person and a loving family? Look at society today. Isn’t it obvious that we could use some of these stories to model?
Perhaps if NBC—and other networks—actually hired some conservatives in their programming departments, they might provide some television for the half of the country they currently ignore. That would surely give them a boost in ratings.
Lastly, the final straw that caused us to give up on most television is the constant cancelling of television shows. We’ve been burned so many times, just getting into a show and then poof, it’s mysteriously gone. Why waste the effort to tune in when it’s more likely than not that the show won’t make it a whole season. But then if it does, we’ve missed out on all the early shows and it’s just too much effort to try to catch up now. Why not offer a guarantee that the show will air the full season?
Oh, and quit scheduling your good shows up against your competitors’ best shows. There are many evenings when there is nothing interesting, but a few hours a week, the shows would watch all air at the same time. That ends up being a good thing for us, in that we don’t have our lives devoted to television all night, every night, and can enjoy books, music, videos, and occasionally an on-demand airing of a show that was stupid enough to air when we couldn’t watch it, if we haven’t completely forgotten about it.
Oddly enough, if I’m in the mood for comedy and want to watch an NBC property, I don’t turn to Bravo or Style or A&E. Instead, I’ll watch MSNBC. Now that’s some pure comedy gold.
Could it be a sign that the Obama 2012 is feeling shaky? Politico has reported that Oprah is ready and willing to campaign for Obama again:
Winfrey, who is beginning a new chapter in life following the sunset of her monster-hit show, told POLITICO she would be “happy to be of service” to Obama for his reelection campaign.
“I supported Barack Obama in 2008 because I believed then as I do now that he is the right man for the job,” Winfrey said in a statement. “I wanted to share my enthusiasm for his candidacy in hopes that others would see what I saw in him.”
“As for 2012,” Winfrey added, “If the campaign needs me, I’m happy to be of service. I’m in his corner for whatever he needs me to do.”
Since Obama’s inauguration, Winfrey hadn’t publicly declared her intent to campaign for his reelection, even when he and first lady Michelle Obama taped an episode of the “Oprah Winfrey Show” near the end of its final season.
Could it be that Oprah’s network has now gained a sufficient share of the viewership so that she doesn’t have to worry that her liberal Hollywood politics would drive segments of her audience away? Um, not likely. About.com Media reported last week in “The Oprah Winfrey Network Falls to 73rd in Cable TV Ratings” that:
Its ranking had been 45th for the first quarter, so dropping to 73rd place for the second quarter shows that ratings are in a free fall. TV Week reports that OWN is in last place among all women-focused cable networks.
Winfrey’s issues extend beyond television. Her O magazine is faced with an advertising sales drop of more than 31%. The Media Industry Newsletter says that compares with a 7% drop in ad sales for monthly magazines overall.
So is Oprah simply willing to toss her troubled network over to assist her buddy Obama? Or is campaigning for him simply a way to get her name in the media again?
Oprah’s CEO announcement in the NY Daily News also included a little tidbit about one of OWN’s shows in development: a new talk show hosted by Rosie O’Donnell set for this fall.
Anyone afraid their endorsement of Barack Obama would damage their business would not be putting the toxic, hate-spewing Rosie O’Donnell in a prime slot on their network. Having O’Donnell gush anger and slime daily might tend to turn off more people.
Oprah can’t help herself. She’s just a lefty, now more anxious and willing to promote liberal views.
Therefore, I’d bet Oprah needs the publicity as much as Obama does. She’s gonna gamble that she’ll gain more eyeballs than lose the ones she pokes in the eye by appearing in support of Obama again.
[NOTE: Ginger Lee’s statement on Congressman Anthony Weiner’s resignation can be found in the update at the bottom of this post.]
Ginger Lee gave a press conference today, with her new lawyer, media-crazed Gloria Allred. (I don’t typically read celebrity gossip sites or watch breathy “entertainment” shows such as Extra! or Inside Hollywood [I think that’s a name of one, isn’t it?], so I just about missed the news entirely.)
Ginger supposedly felt the need to hire an attorney because some man was threatening her. That sounds horrible, awful—until we learn it was not a threat to harm her physical safety. No, it was a threat to release a statement that she had not authorized. What? Is there any man that would want to release a statement for her other than Rep. Anthony Weiner (or one of his staff on his behalf)? Yet, at the press conference called to address this very issue, Allred refused to name the man. She would only say that he knows who he is, and they (Allred and Ginger) have the proof of it.
Ginger also reiterated her charge that Weiner had asked her to lie for him, and Allred creepily read from three emails in which Weiner tried to engage Ginger in a discussion of his “package.” That’s where I felt a bit sorry for her. If that’s the most brazen of Weiner’s sexy talk with her, I suspect it was rather bland communications. She was emphatic that no photos had been exchanged (although Weiner had apparently perused the numerous photos of her on her Tumblr blog).
This was Ginger’s opportunity to cash in on the scandal. If she had any super racy messages or obscene photos from Weiner, this was her one shot to release them. (Otherwise, it will be her later having to say that she was lying as well.) However, it seems that having Gloria Allred as her attorney is far more sensational than the actual communications with the congressman. Good for Ginger if she denied him the pleasure he was seeking. I don’t doubt her statements that he wanted what she wasn’t giving.
Jim Treacher at the Daily Caller said he wouldn’t live-blog the press conference, but couldn’t help himself. See his quick outline of the sideshow, which concludes with a few Catskills-worthy jokes about the media-loving attorney and her porn star client.
Unfortunately, only a few short video clips from the press conference are currently available online; I can find no full unedited video of the show.) Here’s TMZ’s typically raunchy juvenile edit, which features a couple of typical Allred awkward public relations moment:
Here’s a more mature edit by some guy with a pleasant accent:
Here’s Ginger’s full, unedited statement:
Lastly, here’s the most complete version, with both Gloria Allred’s and Ginger’s statements, along with a few questions from the media at the end:
I hope someone will please upload the full press conference portion. The Q&A session was the most illuminating, and Allred made several misstatements…or untruths.
Allred concluded the press conference saying that her client would not be able to do interviews after the press conference due to her heavy schedule. We now see that schedule involved flying off to Atlanta to begin capitalizing on her increased name recognition due to her Weiner connection.
The poster for her two-night appearance at the Pink Pony is quite amusing, reading: “Exclusive engagement” “The Pink Pony has done it again!!! We present Ginger Lee, the pornstar connected with the “peter tweeter” in Weinergate. June 15th & 16th. 2 shows a nite. 8:30pm & 11:30pm.” “She’s here for 48 hours only!!!”
Gotta love the little Weinergate Seal with a bust of Weiner amidst stars and jackasses (okay, okay, Democrat donkey logos).
TMZ notes that Ginger’s new gig was booked last week. They report that:
Sources at the Pink Pony strip club tell TMZ, the place will be selling super-sized hot dogs during Ginger’s 20-minute performance tonight — in which she’ll strip completely naked in a room full of dudes.
And it really pays to be at the center of a national controversy — we’re told Ginger is getting THREE TIMES her normal stripping rate to appear tonight.
And so the slow-speed trainwreck that is Weiner’s career continues, and Democrats desperately try to just move on with the Weiner albatross around their neck. As Ed Morrissey at Hot Air said of the Democrats’ PR strategy after taking note of the Ginger Lee/Gloria Allred press conference in which the porn star called on the congressman to resign: “Gloria Allred? Yeah, that strategy of ignoring the story is totally going to work now.”
UPDATE 6/16/11 1:30am
Well, boys and girls, you missed your opportunity to see Ginger Lee in the flesh (literally) at her post-Weiner Atlanta engagement. But she’s heading to South Carolina for the weekend, y’all. However, if you want to go, you’ll have to at least do some work to find the clubs by going to her schedule yourself. I’m out of the Ginger Lee performance promoter business. (Well…unless another club does a really fabulous Weiner poster, then we’ll see how newsworthy it would be.)
Earlier today Ginger put out a statement regarding Weiner’s resignation that even MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell called more dignified than Weiner’s own press conference. I had a hard time finding a complete copy of it anywhere in the major newspapers, magazines or blogs. The first place it finally popped up in full was at ExtraTV’s website—showing Miss Ginger to be smart again in going after the glitzy, fawning celebrity press instead of the rumpled, gruff political press:
I am glad that he has resigned. After the past three weeks and everything that transpired before that I think that he is making the wisest decision for himself, for his family, for everyone else drawn into this scandal and for the Democratic Party. I wish him the best and hope that the treatment that he is receiving will help him to control his impulses and make better judgments in the future.
1) Is the tweeted picture of you? Is that you in the photo, regardless of whether you tweeted it?
Who would not immediately answer “NO!” unless it was them? Weiner must realize that by refusing to say “No,” it tells the world the answer is “Yes,” right?
2) Why not let law enforcement handle this? It has been three days. Why not report this? Are you not concerned about evidence being destroyed or lost? Dana Bash says the FBI told her they had not been asked to investigate, and that the Capitol Police have said they are not investigating. Two semantical differences. When pressed by John King on Sunday night [note: cannot find the video of this exchange on CNN’s website], Bash said that based on her knowledge of Capitol Police protocol, if they had been asked to investigate, they would be doing it. So in essence, Weiner has not reported the hacking or pranking or whatever he wishes to call it to any law enforcement agency.
Weiner has previously been involved in the formulation of cyber-securitylegislation, but suddenly, he doesn’t think hacking a congressman’s account and sending lewd photos from it (not to mention viewing all the private information inside the congressman’s account) to be anything to be concerned with.
These positions are inconsistent, and logically lead to a conclusion that Weiner knows who is responsible for the photo and the tweet and does not wish to have them investigated, publicized or prosecuted. With his resistance to reporting the crime (if he was not personally responsible for the photo’s transmission through his accounts), Weiner is protecting the perpetrator. In the meantime, aspersions are being cast on innocent persons, particularly right-wing tweets and bloggers. Weiner needs to allow their names to be cleared—either through an admission that he knows the perpetrator or by getting law enforcement on the case.
3) Why did you hire a lawyer?
If Weiner is not going to report this to the authorities, then has he hired a lawyer to protect himself? Is he concerned that Ms. Cordova will come after him for harassment? Or is he concerned that the high school girl that claims she “talked” with him will have her parents come after him? Or are there other Twitter problems lurking out there for him?
I have to wonder whether Weiner knows that as the “victim” of a crime, that the district attorney would be his free lawyer as well. Someone, please tell Mr. Weiner that they’ll do all the criminal prosecuting for him.
4) Why are you following 21-year-old college student [across the country from you]?
Indeed. It’s not as if he follows everyone of his 45,000-plus followers. He follows less than one half of one percent of his followers. Why her and not 44,800 others?
+) Did you send the photo or not?
He will not say no. Instead he called Ted Barrett, the CNN producer who asked him this question several times, a “jackass.” As the producer says, “All you have to say is ‘no.'” If the answer is no, does he know who did? This goes back to question number 2.
+) Did you follow Ms. Cordova on Twitter? If so, how did you find her?
All of the above are questions that Mr. Weiner has been asked directly and plainly by the media, but he has refused to answer. If he did not follow Ms. Cordova, he should say so to end the speculation and insinuations to her reputation that they were involved in a Twitter affair. (Perhaps she only followed him, which would still allow him to send the lewd photo to her by private Direct Message, but would have left her unable to privately tell him to stop it.)
He has tried to claim that he does not know her. Does this mean he did not ever meet her in person (likely) or he has never interacted with her at all, beyond clicking her follow button but never having sent or received a tweet or private message to or from her?
The big question not asked in this contentious exchange: Did you privately tweet with Ms. Cordova at any time? Not necessarily sending her any photos, but even the most innocent exchange.
Another question no one has bothered to ask: Do you customarily, or even occasionally, send private messages to your fan followers (not just professional acquaintances or media or governmental persons)?
+) Another reporter or producer there asked why he follows so many women in his account. But he doesn’t really follow an excessive ratio of women to men. It’s more who these women are. Most appear to have no connection to his district or legislation or committees. Going back to my elaboration of question 4, my question would be, why did you choose to follow this select group of women out of your 47,000+ followers? What made you decide to include them in your very small, select Twitter inner circle?
Unfortunately in Mr. Weiner’s Weinerburg press conference, he behaved like the most despicable of politicians. The only “new fact” he would give in the interview was when he took a moment to mock a fellow congressman, a woman, whom he has been obsessed with on Twitter in trying to have more followers than she has. That woman is Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), whom he derisively has nicknamed “Crazy” on Twitter. This also fits in Mr. Weiner’s pattern of having low regard for treating women in a gentlemanly fashion on Twitter.
Ginger Lee—a porn star, stripper and fan of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY9)—was ecstatic on March 13 2011:
Ginger Lee’s tweet said: You know it’s a good day when you wake up to a DM from @RepWeiner. (I’m a fangirl, y’all, he’s my trifecta of win.)
[NOTE: DM is a Twitter abbreviation for Direct Message, in which a tweet is sent privately and only to the one recipient. To send a DM, the person you wish to message must be following you on Twitter. Ginger must have been following @RepWeiner for him to DM her. He would not necessarily have to have been following her to send the DM. However, a tweet was publicly broadcast by @patriotusa76 back on April 12 saying that Weiner only followed 91 people at that time, and it names “PORN star Ginger Lee” as one of them. PatriotUSA76 aka Dan Wolfe appears to have been on Weiner’s trail for some time now and has been tweeting his curious finds to various blogs and conservative websites, apparently to no avail.]
Following Ginger’s excited announcement of receiving a DM from Weiner, a few Ginger and/or Weiner fans piped up with questions:
@MilesLord asks @GingerLee: How do u DM people, and why the heck is Congressman Weiner DM-ing u??? To which @GingerLee replies: Because he is one of my heroes, & a DM from him is like a DM from Buddha.
And then there was this:
Ginger Lee tweeted to @starchild111: He thanked me for the shout-outs and said he likes my blog. (I died a little inside…in a good way.)
A couple months ago, around the time of this message, @Starchild111 was a high school girl who was trying to get Weiner to be her prom date. She was overjoyed when he followed her, upset when conservatives laughed that Weiner was trolling the school yard, and dismayed when he unfollowed her. Starchild has deleted her twitter account. I only just found her last night, so I have no knowledge of when she deleted it, but I have found tweets by her as recent as May 18.
Starchild is not the only teenage girl with a crush on Weiner that he has followed. There’s another one that he has apparently had an on-again, off-again following involvement with for a couple months. And he’s currently following her again now.
This pattern of behavior, following and DMing young women that apparently have no relation to his district or his work, fits in with the suspected behavior of him DMing a crotch shot to a college girl in Seattle. Weiner is claiming his Facebook account was hacked, which doesn’t explain how the photo was uploaded to his yfrog account and then tweeted from his twitter account (that he was tweeting on around that time, including after the supposed hacking).
For more coverage on #Weinergate, see these excellent roundups:
I have more that I have found. Still sorting through it to see if there’s anything else to contribute to fleshing out the full extent of #Weinergate.
UPDATE [5/29/11 6:00pm]
Thanks to The Other McCain for the linkage. Welcome, TOMers.
Yukyuk: In a bit of irony, back in May 2004, Rep. Weiner introduced legislation to stop sexual harassment on college campuses:
“Institutions of higher learning have a responsibility to establish clear boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable conduct on campus,” said Rep. Weiner. “That means putting students on notice from day one that sexual harassment of any kind will not be tolerated.”
Perhaps Weiner’s just been conducting online research for some new legislation?
Another yukyuk: The Wall Street Journal has posted a very short little AP story regarding Weinergate. Note the pronunciation key they give in the first sentence. When was the last time you read an AP story that had that?:
NEW YORK — A spokesman for New York Rep. Anthony Weiner (WEE’-nur) says a lewd photograph sent from the Democrat’s Twitter account is just “a distraction” perpetrated by a hacker.
Weiner spokesman Dave Arnold told The Associated Press in an email Sunday the Twitter episode was “a distraction” from the congressman’s “important work representing his constituents.”
The photo showed a man’s bulging underpants.
It first was reported Saturday by BigGovernment.com, a website run by conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart. The site said the photo was tweeted to a woman in Seattle.
The photo was quickly deleted.
Weiner later joked about it on Twitter, asking whether his kitchen blender would be next to “attack” him.
“I haven’t met Rep Weiner. I follow him on twitter because I support him & what he stands for,” Lee said in an email to TheDC. “I have been hounded by his political opponents but that hasn’t changed my view of him and what he fights for.”
The Economist has an eye-opening article on India’s rampant problem with gendercide—the aborting of babies once they are determined to be girls. Over 600,000 Indian baby girls per year meet that cruel fate.
Parents choose to abort female fetuses not because they do not want or love their daughters, but because they feel they must have sons (usually for social reasons); they also want smaller families—and something has to give. Ultrasound technology ensures that this something is a generation of unborn daughters, because it lets them know the sex of a fetus. Sex selection therefore tends to increase with education and income: wealthier, better educated people are more likely to want fewer children and can more easily afford the scans.
According to WebMd, “The sex of your fetus can sometimes be determined by about the 18th week of pregnancy.” Eighteen weeks is well over four-and-a-half months into a pregnancy. Some other sites suggest gender may be determined as early as 16 weeks. But still, that’s at an age that no one could argue it’s “just a mass of cells.” This is a baby, with all its toes and fingers, with fingernails.
The Economist article notes that:
If sex ratios stay the same, 600,000 missing girls this year will become, in 18 years’ time, over 10m [million] missing future brides. Robbery, rape and bride-trafficking tend to increase in any society with large groups of young single men. And because in China and India men higher up the social ladder find wives more easily than those lower down, the social problems of bachelorhood tend to accumulate like silt among the poorest people and (in India) the lowest castes. This is unjust as well as damaging.
Unfortunately, the practice of killing baby girls doesn’t seem likely to go away anytime soon. The Economist says:
India, for example, bans ultrasound scans from being used merely to identify a fetus’s sex; it also makes sex-selective abortions illegal.
And still, despite the illegality, over 600,000 couples a year destroy their baby daughters in the womb.
This, gendercide, is what the pro-abortionists have wrought. When abortion is made so commonplace, so acceptable, so stripped of any morality, it becomes a casual thing to kill an unborn child. The writer of the piece seems more concerned over the loss of future feminist women than the mass, meaningless slaughter of 600,000 babies a year, saying things such as “whereas sex selection may be understandable for a family, it is disastrous for a nation.”
Aborting a baby for sex selection is never understandable. The only way to stop this epidemic is to bring back the shame that used to be associated with abortion.
Oprah has apparently decided that her coming out as a liberal Democrat has negatively affected her audience size—and more importantly, diminished the warm and fuzzy of OWN (her fledgling television channel). Popeater.com reported that the billionaire will not publicly support Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential campaign.
It turned out that a chunk of her audience didn’t care for her leap into politics in hosting a rally for Obama in 2008. According to Popeater:
An October 2008 Gallup poll before the rallies but after Oprah’s public endorsement of Obama found that Oprah’s favorable ratings had fallen from 74 to 66 percent while her unfavorable ratings jumped from 17 to 26 percent. Then came news that Oprah’s TV ratings showed that her daytime audience, which was nearly 9 million at its height in 2004-05, had fallen to 7.3 million.
That’s apparently causing fresh problems, as Popeater reports:
“For 2012, much has changed for Oprah. She now has own cable channel called OWN that has been struggling to find an audience — she isn’t going to do anything to alienate them,” a TV insider tells me.
BET, however, in its short online report, wanted to totally, completely assure its online readers that this lack of visible support would in no way be a real lack of support, saying “Winfrey is still a huge fan of the president” and “Oprah still has admiration for Obama.”
But, as generous as Winfrey has been to her staff, talk-show audiences and charities over the years, it’s probably safe to assume that Obama will still have Oprah’s financial support in his 2012 reelection bid.
So even though it is well known that Oprah supports Obama, and as BET says, undoubtedly privately and financially supports him, she simply hopes her viewers are stupid enough to forget that and be wowed by giveaways.
But Oprah’s endorsement of Obama was not her only foray into partisan politics. Let us not forget that just last year, on September 21, Oprah publicly encouraged her fans to attend Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Insanity—an open mockery of the Glenn Beck Restore Honor rally held just weeks earlier.
Celebrities don’t get to jump in and out of the political arena whenever it seems fun or frivolous to them. If you are going to take a stand, set your standard atop the Alamo, fine. Just know that it will cost you part of your audience. And later, you don’t get to act like it never happened, if it becomes inconvenient to your bottom line.
There was once talk of the Oprah Mo, the momentum her endorsement gave to Obama. Never forget the Oprah-mo.
At first I was appalled and mesmerized and giggly when this video first came to my attention. The members of a new group, Conscious Men—a bunch of emasculated men (an oxymoron?), many with interesting hair and grooming choices—apologize to women for being men.
Part of the communal script from which they all read says:
“I may not have done these things myself, but I am aware of the forces of the unconscious masculine psyche, that men feel threatened by and seek to dominate the feminine. Many of the men that have oppressed and abused you are no longer alive. Among the living, many men may not be able to apologize because they remain shackled in a prison of anger, fear and shame. On behalf of my gender, I apologize to you for our unconscious actions when we were angry, scared and in the grip of destructive forces in our psyche.”
But then it occurred to me that much of their script is perfect for any historically villainous group to express remorse for their predecessors’ actions towards their victims. We can just turn it into a sort of Mad Lib:
“I may not have done these things myself, but I am aware of the forces of the unconscious [bad guy] psyche, that [bad guy, plural] feel threatened by and seek to dominate the [good guy]. Many of the [bad guy, plural] that have oppressed and abused you are no longer alive. Among the living, many [bad guy, plural] may not be able to apologize because they remain shackled in a prison of anger, fear and shame. On behalf of my fellow [bad guy, plural], I apologize to you for our unconscious actions when we were angry, scared and in the grip of destructive forces in our psyche.”
Now replace with your preferred good guy and bad guy.
For instance, we Southerners would love to hear a bunch of Northerners read it to us. Therefore, replace “bad guy” with “damn Yankee,” and replace “good guy” with “salt-of-the-earth sweet-tea-loving grit-eating gentle folk.”
Or the citizens of President Obama’s world would replace “bad guy” with “damn American,” and replace “good guy” with “rest of the world.”
Have at it. Fill in the blanks with you and your oppressed. Let the meaningless blanket apologizing begin so we can all cleanse our souls and “move forward into a new era of co-creation,” as one of the hippy dudes so emotively said.
I probably shouldn’t write any of this. There’s very little potential upside for me personally. But perhaps it will…I don’t know…promote a more harmonious community. In all likelihood, it will just make me sound like a fool.
Politics is a rough-and-tumble sport. In the blink of an eye, an ally can become a foe. But generally, that’s for the sake of political maneuvering, to seize some political ground, hopefully to abide by a principled conviction.
But a few days ago, a Twitter dispute arose between two people I enjoy reading and actively seek out their opinions, two people I frequently find myself in agreement with politically. But this argument had nothing to do with politics.
On one side, there’s Jim Treacher, also known as @jtlol on Twitter and Sean Medlock in real life. I’ve followed him since before he joined the Daily Caller and before he was struck by a car and seriously injured. For the past year, he has undergone numerous surgeries to replace his knee and make it functional again. On most days, Jim is uproariously funny, able to boil down an issue to one brief, pithy comment.
On the other side, there’s Dan Riehl, also known as @danriehl on Twitter, an exceptionally conservative blogger at his own Riehl World View, who calls them like he sees them, though not always in the most polite—or family friendly—manner. Even when I don’t agree, I find his opinions interesting, something to take into consideration.
All of a sudden, these two got into a Twitter fight. Here’s where I probably shouldn’t say anything, but unfortunately, my point can’t be made unless something is said.
In reading through the exchange, it does seem like Jim started it. Perhaps he hasn’t ever cared for Dan. Maybe he didn’t mean anything by seeming to agree with someone calling Dan a “Riehl jerk.” Maybe it’s how these guys talk to each other all the time, and the affection between them would make Jim’s comment no big deal to either of them. I don’t know. I don’t know either of them personally. I only know them through their writing and their Twitter personas.
After a few half-joking exchanges, Dan makes a joke about Jim being hit by a car because they didn’t have cars back home, or something like that.
From Jim’s side, with all the pain and difficulty he’s been through, I can see it would be a less than hilarious joke to him. Just the night before, I had seen his tweet about being in pain because he had exerted his knee too much. To try to cheer him up, I tweeted him a lame joke about a stiff knee would prevent him being accused of having a knee-jerk reaction to anything. Yuk yuck, I know. Anyway. It got no response, which is certainly better than the response Dan got from all corners. I just hope Jim or anyone else did not take that as being insensitive to his misery; my intent was entirely the opposite.
Perhaps my joke simply proves that I’m not a good judge of sensitivity borders, because—while I hate to admit it and open myself to criticism—from Dan’s side, I don’t see his defensive joke as being particularly malicious either, especially in light of what he later wrote about it, saying he had not been aware of Jim’s recent trials with his leg. (Granted, the title and tone of the post obscure much of the apology.)
But once Dan tweeted that tweet, several of Jim’s friends began attacking Dan on Twitter, and Dan became obstinate.
For me, I felt dismay. It seemed best to just stay out of it, hope the two found some way to resolve it amicably.
They didn’t. Instead Dan had to go and mix contrition with spite with a new post and corresponding avatar featuring photos of a bruised, injured Jim. The mocking use of the pictures did cross the line. And it’s good to see that he’s gone back to his standard Twitter avatar of himself.
So Jim started it, and Dan ended it. Neither of them are blameless. But it seems that hard feelings remain, and not just for the two of them but for the people that took either side—many of whom I also respect and admire and don’t particularly want to draw their ire.
But for all of their followers that remained neutral or uninvolved, especially the ones who follow them both, we’re stuck in an uncomfortable position. Will one side take offense if I RT the other? Will their followers decide I’m unworthy to be associated with them because I didn’t take a side? Should I just lay low until most everyone has forgotten about it?
The argument didn’t change my mind about either guy; neither of them behaved that out of character from the persons I’ve come to expect. This Twitter war doesn’t seem to be just cause to forever forswear one or the other. I’m not going to quit reading either of them. In fact, I want to be able to continue to tweet and retweet them (provided neither of them blocks me after hearing of this post).
This isn’t the first Twitter/blog war to inspire these thoughts in me; it’s just the latest. I finally decided to say something because this was one that didn’t start political (as far as I know) and devolve into the personal, as so many of the other wars do.
It’s one thing if some Twitter scrub gets in a fight with another scrub. It’s another when it’s between some of our conservative Twitter celebrities, so to speak. That fractures the community.
Anyone who knows me or has followed me long enough knows I’m not a fan of bi-partisanship and the word compromise does not set my heart aflutter. I’m all for a lively debate. I understand that sometimes things get overheated and rough.
Just be aware of the effect it has on your followers. Just know that what something looks like printed on a screen may not be the way it would sound if you could hear the person say it. Twitter is perfect for communication—and miscommunication. I know. I’ve had my share of it.
So I won’t pull a Rodney King and ask “Why can’t we all just get along?” But I will ask, please don’t make me have to go get the appropriate Twibbon to signify whether I’m with the Crips or the Bloods.