Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Time: Person of the Year

Bobby Ghosh, Deputy International Editor of Time magazine was interviewed by CBS today on the stupidly titled American Morning show with its underwhelming and ditzy hosts.

He was asked about the new cover of Time that declares "The Protestor" as "The Person of the Year."

First of all, look at what our discourse is reduced to - a trite morning show with annoying hosts who start off by joking about Kim Kardashian - interviewing a magazine that decided the Person of the year is an unnamed and anonymous group of people.

What is happening to our definition of personhood? First its corporations, now its large international groups protesting different causes all around the world? but ok....

According to Time,

"The protestor prevailed by embodying the idea that individual action can bring colossal change"

(how do you measure colossal? size? time? space?) But ok...

Protests around the world have been amazing. I remember watching Egypt's countdown to freedom as Hosni Mubarek stepped down. I literally cried for joy. I felt a tremendous bond with the Egyptian people. And the uprisings in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Russia... I have followed them with passion and empathy.

But for some reason something doesn't sit right with me.

Time magazine has gotten stupider over the years, in my opinion and I bet a lot of Americans are going to take this as being about the OWS movement primarily, not talking about the "Arab Spring".

As you know we don't do well with talking about things Muslim in this country, whether Arab or not. You're aware that Lowe's pulled its advertising from a reality tv show "All American Muslim" about a respectable AMERICAN Muslim family because some fascist bigoted folks complained that it wasn't 'Merican of Lowe's to advertise during that show. We gotta fight some t'errists.. Why did I just say "respectable"? I shouldn't have to say "respectable" should I? I feel the need to emphasize that this is not some stereotype of jihadists. I feel the need to mention that Muslims are 'Merican too. These might be anyone's neighbors here in America, the Land of the Free.

Lowe's tried to explain itself on Facebook and as the Kansas City Star reports it received 28,000 comments it had to delete. That's a lot of comments people. Why did they have to be deleted? Because of all the protestors who said hey that's not right, that's a terrible reason, and you should be ashamed of yourself Lowe's? No. Because the comments would make any normal, decent citizen sick. You guessed it. Anti-Muslim bigotry. The Star reported:

"The show, a reality program that follows Muslim families in Dearborn, Mich., was criticized by the Florida Family Association. The group, whose goal is "improving America's moral environment," said the show amounts to propaganda that covers up the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism."


You hate people because of their skin color. That is not moral.
You hate people because of their religion. That is not moral.
You hate people because of their culture. That is not moral.
You equate people with terrorists and spread fear. That is not moral.
You demand that your hatred be spread through intimidation. That is not moral.

Its not particularly AMERICAN either, until you made it so.
Your protest is not moral. I just can't say that enough. Bigotry, racism, hatred, prejudice, small-minded, ass-hattery is not MORAL in any way shape or form. And propaganda? What do you call the behavior of a group that has influence over a major company and demands certain information to be pulled from distribution because it doesn't represent your stupid beliefs? Do you understand that the rest of us want to live in America? The land where we come together in tolerance of diversity? That's kind of our thing.

I cannot believe how stupid people can be to equate Islamic fundamentalism with Muslim Americans. First of all, the hatred and vitriol inspired by and demonstrated by both the Florida Family Association, and Lowe's, and all the nasty people who commented on Facebook, is not only not moral, but amounts to CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISM.

I heard an analogy once that Islamic Fundamentalism is to Muslim people as  X is to Christian people.

Do you know what X is? The KKK.

Now that's an analogy. Can you imagine us protesting any of the moronic reality shows out there because the family in question was Christian and thus covering up the dangers of the KKK? No?

So let's broaden our conversation about PROTESTORS HERE. Let's acknowledge some flaws.

I would like to Occupy BIGOTS for a minute. As I've mentioned before I am so sick and tired of this hateful us vs them mentality. It goes against what it means to be American!! So let's think about this while we're talking about how much The Person of the Year includes those all around the world who are celebrating the Arab Spring. How about we talk about the shame of so many Americans normalizing bigotry? 

It is interesting to ponder this moment in history. All around the world people are saying enough. What does that say about yesterday? And the day before? This is our opportunity to learn, to listen, to understand international and domestic policies, histories, cultures.

It is amazing. And yet its happening at the same time that Lowes is pulling its ad and Time itself forgets about women. Why must politics relegate women to "women's issues"? Either something is specifically about women or they are disregarded. We can't talk about international contributions AND women?

In the interview with Ghosh, the selection of the Protestor as the Person of the Year is described as "a celebration of the common man." In a lot of moving and real ways it is. But its also not accidental that the word "man" was chosen.

Because you know what? The only woman Ghosh mentions (besides the "interviewers" who joked about Kim Kardashian) was Kate Middleton.

Really? A woman famous for being a diva in her personal life and having curves, and a woman who married into one royal family in one country? Two women famous for their marriages/style/personal life rather than immense accomplishment?

This offends me.

There are non violent individual women who have stood up against enormous and "colossal" cruelties all around the world, in places like China, Afghanistan, Syria. I mean women who would put our own sense of bravery and courage to shame.

If that's not enough, Angela Merkel holds so much power right now in shaping the international debt crisis its hard to fathom.

What do you think? Are the Protestors in the United States and around the world the "Person of the Year"?

Is there a significant difference between OWS and the protests in the Middle East and Russia, protests that seem to me to be specific, passionate, uprisings of oppressed people. Am I wrong?

What women do you think should have not only been recognized, but should we be aware of?

In Their Own Words: Pamela

What do you think of the Occupy Wall Street movement? Are you involved?

As I am in the UK, I am not involved with this, but we have our own protests based on similar principles : to make accountable those in the financial sectors who brought about the financial crisis, and the resultant recession which has spread throughout all of Europe - affecting all but the affluent!

What really bothers you about it?

I, and thousands of others, find it obscene that our government is still allowing bankers and other financial institutions to pay out colossal bonuses, when the man in the street, through no fault of his own, is struggling to pay bills, heat his house and put food on the table, to say nothing of the job losses this has caused.

What happens if we do nothing? Why is this important?

The ramifications of allowing the banking industry to go unregulated has caused untold misery and financial hardship for many. Young people are finding it almost impossible to get a mortgage.(How many young people can afford to put down a deposit of twenty,thirty,forty thousand pounds. especially worse, for those graduates leaving uni with a large debt,already. What makes it particularly infuriating, is that the government, when bailing out the banks (with tax payers money) allocated a portion of this tax payers money to kick start the housing market. But what did the baks do. They used our money to pay off their own debts. And still the our government did nothing!
That is why we have people occupying the steps of St Paul's cathedral in London and why the Robin Hood Tax was started.

Has the banking crisis affected you personally? 
Yes, in that it took over three years to sell our house simply because prospective purchasers could not obtain a mortgage to buy it. (To say nothing of the money 'lost' in the devaluation of the price of the property)
Unfortunately, unless we put pressure on the government, they will fail to act because those at the top tend to look after their rich pals.The word 'cronyism' is banded about. With our conservative government, there are not many at the top of our leaders' board who are not millionaires. They have little concept of what a financial struggle it is for many in this country. I am sure it is the same all over Europe and the US.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

OWS and Greedy Ladies


The one thing people know about OWS is that it doesn't like "corporate greed."

As you know, one of the choices for the conservative candidate for President of the United States of America is Michelle Bachmann, a woman who thinks the U.S. is "running out of rich people." (2009). Rich people + heterosexuals + birth certificates + bibles make Michelle really happy.

Put together, Katherine Harris, Michelle Bachmann, and Sarah Palin, form a Trinity of Terror for me.

Each has been described as "hot", especially Sarah Palin. They are decent-looking women but bat-shit crazy rich bitches.. whose inner ugliness is revealed in so many images...and they become frightening caricatures (and even more in their words, their votes, and their actions)..

Oh this evil triumvirate. When are conservatives going to stop treating women like showpieces and put forth an intelligent, sensible, conservative candidate? I mean I don't want to be anti-woman but these women are gross. Not because they are women but because they are greedy, lying, crazy bitches. There are plenty of idiotic, lying, fanatical, bigoted, corporate cowing, bible thumping, gay bashing, female mouthpieces of greed.

But I don't care about talking heads. I care about the women elected to office. Katherine Harris isn't going anywhere, and Sarah Palin, as I predicted, has been cast away once the party is done with her, like an embarrassing aunt who winks at you over Thanksgiving dinner and says grace in tongues. You only bring her out to close family who like her 'kooky' way with facts and truth and sense.

Compare these crazy bitches to Elizabeth Warren, a modest, intelligent, sensible, practical woman who doesn't get by on looks, lies, and hyperbolic rants, but sense and decency, with rational arguments that appeal to supporters and detractors equally with grace and empathy.

But Michelle Bachmann is really frightening to me on a number of levels. She loves lying and bibles, rich people and making rich people richer. By the way, if you're interested in some of the atrocious things she has said and done, she has an entry on "dikipedia". She has said that the biggest issue affecting America in the next 30 years is gay marriage. Yes, she did.

Bachmann also refuses to give tax breaks to middle and lower income Americans (she says its wasteful) but she has no problem extending tax cuts for rich people. Anything less is a war on the rich (have you ever noticed how everything is a "war" these days? I want to wage war on inappropriate usage of nouns)...

Listen you guys, its all about gay marriage. Right?

So why are you guys worried about all this money stuff? Why can't poor people just shut up?

I would love to hear specific things OWS is planning to do to make a difference about $ and a coherent philosophy about why money is the central concern. Start. Do it now.

 Anything at all.. I am listening..

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: Raising Awareness or Apathy?

One of the claims I hear from OWS participants is that they are raising awareness and they're really proud of how much awareness they are raising. Bringing the conversation to the table. Putting the conversation on the front page. A movement spreading like wildfires.

A November 21 USA TODAY poll  suggests that 6 out of 10 people don't care. 56% of people surveyed feel indifferent. Not angry or hateful towards OWS. They don't care. Take it or leave it, either way, its whatever.

Bello cites English Professor (WSU) T.V. Reed, who besides having two interesting first initials, claims that well, you see, these things take time. "The Occupy strategy is not going away".

Okay, first of all WHAT STRATEGY? Of annoying people to the point of apathy?

Secondly, okay can't argue with that - only time will tell if its going away or not. But that doesn't reconcile the fact that people claim to be raising awareness of issues and that is not verified by hard evidence - I really challenge anyone who isn't already an OWS supporter to name 5 five specific complaints (because in addition to the demands, that's really what they are, not suggestions: suggestions are often specific and don't say solutions are out there, suggestions suggest the solution, complaints on the other hand...have no such responsibility).

The movement needs to be about more than this, and the way you are doing it is ill-conceived. You should have a lot more in store than civil disobedience, and some sort of actual tangible goal you aim to produce with your civil disobedience, not just "attention" (again making you sound like children) especially since its the wrong sort of attention. Your "civil disobedience" demonstrations need to be thought through much more. You need to have the goal in "raising awareness" of not just getting on television.. but also in thinking of how to present your message and what the messages are.
What are you up against? Apathy. 
If you think that isn't a big enough problem, and it is, you are also up against massively skilled rhetoricians and propagandists.
You will not be around for a long time, you will not get anything tangible done, and you will not make a difference unless you change your game-plan and change it now. You define the discourse, you consider the rhetoric, you shape the message. Do it now, or it will be done for you.

You will not succeed without realizing what you are truly up against and it is naive to think you can survive much less succeed in this way. You will be crushed like a bug, like a fairy swallowed whole by the trolls under the bridge, if you don't really and truly act, with courage and conscience, now.

Trolls and Fairies

Trolls and Fairies
On my right are trolls (and maybe even clowns, you might say). On my left are fairies. Fairies cannot wage war against trolls. Everyone knows this. Fairies must learn to fight tougher.

Someone recently asked me why I spend so much effort extolling the weaknesses of this do-gooder movement and don’t focus my energies on bankers and corporate greed.
As if they shouldn’t be held accountable for their rhetoric, actions, and claims because they’re all such cuddly wuddly widdle polar bears? Don't imprison me in false dichotomies. I am perfectly well within my means to critique both corporate greed and economic disparity, and weak-minded chaos that disrupts working people for no particularly good reason with no means to an end or end to a means.

People. It is exactly this attitude which makes people sneer at you, this holier than thou attitude. You know how the worst of Republicans are hated for their deceitful, aggressive, misinforming, win-at-all-costs, ethically hypocritical, talking points attitude? Well people can’t stand the liberal attitude of smug moral superiority of anyone who disagrees with them especially when it’s other liberals.

I think it’s important to critique and reveal the flaws, hypocrisies, weaknesses, and sheer stupidity of a so-called movement so that they can better prepare and organize themselves. I’ll be frank and share something with you. I’m a teacher. It is in my nature to point out errors and hope the errors will be rectified. I’m not writing to merely mock what are clearly some pretty ill-conceived aspects of these protests, but in hopes that people will get their damn shit together.

They’re Never Going to Like You

Alright, so the misguided “Occupy” slogan is embarrassing enough with its imperialist connotations and pointless focus on occupying physical space. (Someone defend this need to occupy physical space, please, I’d love to see it). Then we have the rhetoric of “encampments” and “demands.” All of which reveals the attitude people are picking up on who disagree with you: entitlement. This rhetoric (and your actions) make you sound like a whiny bunch of white imperialist campers insisting on getting what you feel entitled to (you aren’t sure exactly what but you’ll enjoy the party while it lasts until the big bad conspiracies of law and order to try to remove you for public safety so people can go about their jobs).
That is what you sound like. And I’m essentially on your side. So think of how you sound to everyone else. Okay, so “occupy” “encampments” “demands” etc. wasn’t bad enough (and do not tell me that words don’t matter or that you didn’t choose them - you all claim to be raising awareness so yes you are responsible for the popular rhetoric and discourse on your movement. Yes you  are).

Now we have posters about SUGGESTIONS? Oh for the love of Christ.

              “We Don’t Make Demands So This is a Suggestion.” Could you BE more wimpy?

               “Solutions. They’re Out There.” Solutions They're Out There? What, like Extra-
               Terrestrials? Are you kidding me? Is this a joke? Are you TRYING to be lame?