Time Out for Incredulous Indignance

The New York Post Shows Its True Colors Again

When I saw the editorial cartoon, I will admit that my first response was incredulity: No one in 2009 could possibly be this obtuse. But wait, it’s Rupert Murdoch’s gang at The New York Post, so immediately, I regroup and realize that yes indeed, there are people who can be and are this blockheaded, this blatantly over the top, this far to the right that they no longer can see the horizon.

What am I ranting about? If you don’t know, please, let me share with you this delightful bit of editorial humor:

2009-02-18-cartoon

The drawing, from cartoonist Sean Delonas, is at best, tasteless, at worst blatantly racist.  And no, I am not over-reacting here.

No one can deny the fact that for years, African Americans have historically been likened to monkeys. The author of the Stimulus Bill is our nation’s first president of color, Barack Obama. Need I draw a line from point A to point B? Or is the implication that the Stimulus Bill is so bad that a chimpanzee could have written it? Either way, it’s an insult to the President.

Not to mention how insensitive the cartoon is to the poor woman in Connecticut whose face was mauled. The cartoon is based on the horrific event of the woman in Connecticut being attacked by a friend’s pet chimpanzee, resulting in the chimp being shot to death by police officers. In that case, the officers had no choice as the woman who was attacked was severely hurt, and the chimpanzee began to attack an officer. However, I am finding it very hard to connect that horrible event to the Stimulus Bill, no matter how much I work to draw incongruous connections.

Delanos told CNN that racism allegations were  “absolutely frigging ridiculous.” But he is not content to stop there. He continues: “It’s about the economic stimulus bill. If you’re going to make that about anybody, it would be [House Speaker] Pelosi, which it’s not.”  

Let me see if I understand: the dead chimpanzee is Nancy Pelosi, and that’s supposed to be better somehow?

rude-bw

No matter how you turn this thing around, spin it, move it, try to justify it, it just doesn’t work. The heart of the matter is that the drawing and its publication are rude. No matter how it is interpreted, it is morally objectionable and in bad taste.

Delanos is known for his insensitive editorial cartoons, in particular his collection of gay-bashing cartoons, so the fact that he sees nothing wrong with this latest piece of questionable editorializing—questionable as editorializing and questionable as having crossed that unspoken line that the really great editorial cartoonists never needed to cross in order to slice and dice their targets—is hardly surprising.

In the end, The Post is being picketed; rumors are that Rupert is not happy, and even insiders at the paper are writing not me e-mails to gain distance from this disgrace.

It just makes me tired all over when people still fail to realize that the election of 2008 was about more than Obama and McCain. It was about people being really tired of things as they were, tired of people being treated as outsiders because of otherness, tired of war, tired of poverty, tired of the U.S. ranking among third world countries for infant mortality. Tired of all of these things. And I think that their tolerance for intolerance is probably reaching its limits.

Perhaps people like Delanos might want to take that into consideration. But more likely than not, he will continue to be hebetudinous when it comes to an awareness of others.

More later. Peace.

We’re Down to Hours, and the Silliness Begins

Mommies, Don’t Let Your Daughters Grow Up to Be Rebels

Pepé Le Pew Couldn’t Have Done It Better

When I was a child, I loved that French skunk Pepé Le Pew: “Ah, chérie. Where are you? It is I. Pepé. I am looking for you.” And poor Pepé. He could never quite understand why the female cat would run away from him, why people would faint when he came around. And so, when the governator received a call from French President Nicolas Sarkozy, of course she was all aflutter when that accent came through le telefone pour le governor Sarah P.

What she didn’t know was that she was being punked, on air, by the Quebec comedy duo, “The Masked Avengers.” Now I do have to give them props, they gave her several clues along the way that she was not speaking with the real president, aside from the Pepé Le Pew accent. For example, the shooting the animals from the helicopter comment? Or how about his special American advisor Johnny Halladay (French singer)? Too remote? Okay, I’ll let her pass for not knowing the translation for lipstick on a pig (de rouge a levre sur un cochon).

But really, she didn’t get an inkling something was up when he said, “the prime minister of Canada Stef Carse” ? I mean, she’s the one who is always bragging about being next door neighbors with Canada, but she didn’t know Stephen Harper’s name . . . and then the Prime Minister of Quebec versus the Premiere of Quebec (okay, maybe splitting hairs, but she still didn’t recognize that the name was wrong). And come on, did she really think that a head of state was going to tell her that his wife was “hot in bed”? But worse than that, she said to “give her a big hug for me.” Omigawd. You do not tell a head of state to give his wife a big hug from you. Jeez-o-pete. Were you raised in a barn?

Moving on. Marcel the guy with bread under his armpit? Okay, I snorted out loud with that one. To which she replied: “Right, that’s what it’s all about, the middle class and government needing to work for them.” I think that it was at this point that the guys on the other end decided that they probably couldn’t go on much longer or they might pee in their pants.

To which I have to ask, who are her handlers? What numbskull handed her the phone? Don’t they know anything about protocol? Are they for real? Is this aide now looking for other meaningful employment at a nearby McDonald’s as she should be for allowing the Republican VP candidate to be embarrassed for seven minutes on international radio and television, even more than usual? Good golly miss molly.

Who We Are is What We Put on Our Walls

I don’t know if any of you have noticed, but my new masthead is actually an inset of a picture of one of my collages. I kept trying to find the right picture for my masthead, something that would reflect the real me, and then it dawned on me: nothing would reflect me better than a piece of me. So I took a picture of my last bulletin board at work, and I cropped a piece of it. I really wish that I could have put more of the whole picture up there, but there is only so much space allowed for the image, so I took what I could get, and I really wanted to get my ERA NOW pin in the shot.

My offices have always been very, very cluttered, by choice. I have always reasoned that if I am going to spend over one third of my life in some place, then I need to feel comfortable in that place, and so I nest there. I bring in books, mostly reference books, but a few philosophy books, lots and lots of pictures of my family, but also pictures that I have taken of various landscapes, and then my little collection of minutiae that I have built up over the years—an ashtray from Paris, a running gnome with chipped feet, a Waterford business card holder, a clay fish that my son made in Bible school, a German knife letter holder that I traded an old Volkswagen for (long stupid story), and then my collage collection, which has taken many years to amass, and I have to tailor to fit my office size.

I mention all of this because I just read an article by Bill Bishop in “Slate Magazine” that talks about a very interesting theory: Republicans tend to be neater than Democrats. Really? Apparently, Sam Gosling, a psychology professor at the University of Texas, and three other colleagues, have posited In an unpublished paper that liberals and conservatives differ in “two major personality dimensions.” Their paper, which is titled “The Secret Lives of Liberals and Conservatives,” looked for the underlying personality traits that defined left and right.

It seems that we liberals are more open to experiences, and more motivated by the curiosity and diversity of the experiences. Whereas conservatives are conscientious, follow the rules, have self-control, and like order. The professors used college students as their test subjects, and took polls, asked questions, and looked at the students’ rooms for information. Conservative subjects had more cleaning products!

Now there is just one thing wrong with the professors’ study. They didn’t break it down by gender. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be stereotypical here, but I think that gender, in a study about neatness, would make a difference, regardless of political leanings. For example, when I was in college, my OCD was rampant. I not only cleaned my apartment, I cleaned friends’ apartments. No kidding. One of my best male friends happened to be very, very Republican. He was a complete slob. His apartment was filthy. I cleaned it—when he let me. However, the reverse can also be true. My oldest son and daughter for example, are both liberals, and when my daughter was 16, my father asked if someone had robbed her room (I don’t think that he was kidding). My son, who has since moved on from his neat phase, used to keep his room impeccably clean. You just never know who will be neat and who won’t.

Now as to the other part of their study on carrying over to work life and offices, the professors claim that conservatives’ offices “tended to be more conventional, less stylish, and less comfortable compared with liberal offices. Liberals’ offices were more colorful and contained more CDs and a greater variety of books.” I would have to agree with them on this point. Not just because of my own track record with offices, but because of my observations of other people’s offices. At ODU, for example, in the English Department, most professors’ offices were filled with wonderful, eclectic things. Whereas at the government contractor where I worked in Northern Virginia, it was predominantly rigid, and boring. The most exciting thing in one of my boss’s offices was a Porsche magazine.

And then there was the time in which I was stuck in a cubicle. Omigawd. Just send me into the circles of hell, why don’t you. But, hundreds of push pins and a lot of tape, and voila. It was just like a cubicle covered with as much crap as I could fit into a 10’x10′ space without the walls falling down. And boy did my boss hate it . . .

A Little Ironic Night Music

Found this little tidbit on the web, and while it happened months ago, I just had to share:

Rupert Murdoch must have been gnashing his big teeth. Apparently, the owner of Fox News and The New York Post, has no control over daughter Elisabeth’s guest lists. It seems that since Elisabeth Murdoch left her father’s employ to run her own television production company, Shine, Ltd., she has definitely formed her own alliances, and one of them is Barack Obama.

Perhaps daughter Elisabeth’s fondness for Obama comes from her first marriage to Elkin Kwesi Pianim, who is Ghanian, and with whom she has two children. Murdoch is currently married to public relations guru Matthew Freud, the great-grandson of Sigmund Freud.

Murdoch, a citizen of both the U.S. and Great Britain, is herself known as a shrewd businesswoman. She grew up primarily in New York. In April, she hosted a Notting Hill fundraiser for Barack Obama with co-sponsors that included Gwyneth Paltrow.

Can’t you just imagine daddy Rupert’s delight? Gnash, gnash, snarl, snarl.

Whoo, boy. Two days to go. Be prepared to stand in line. You’ll be part of history, whether you are a neat Republican, or an expressive Democrat.

More later. Peace.