Friday, August 29, 2008

believing their own propaganda?

Thank you, Chalice Chick and Cynthia, for insisting that the media has over-emphasized the phenomenon of "angry women who won't vote for Obama." I am sorry that I contributed to the perpetuation of such stereotyping.

And, while I expect that many conservative mouthpieces were hyping the "dissatisfied Hillary voters" meme, it may have boomeranged on them, as McCain has just chosen Alaska Governer Sarah Palin as his running mate. I do not know that Governor Palin is not qualified to serve as VP, but I do know that it undercuts the Republican's ability to smear Obama as "inexperienced": Palin has only two years of state or federal experience. And Alaska doesn't bring any more electoral college votes than does the state of Delaware, Joe Biden's home state--they both have 3.

I am pleased that a second woman has been selected for a VP position; and I think that McCain is wrong, if he thinks that Governor Palin will attract many women who originally supported Senator Clinton. For one thing, there aren't as many disaffected Clinton voters as the polls have said there are!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Hillary harridans?

Are US women so angry that they would allow McCain to take the Presidency? A recent poll (sorry, no source) reported as many as 21% of Senator Clinton's supporters plan to vote for McCain.

Dahlia Lithwick writes that this phenomenon is not just about one election: her slate column says that such women are playing into an age-old trick of stereotyping strong women as insane.

Her excellent column includes this paragraph:
"These disgruntled women—whether they plan to vote for John McCain, sit out the election, or simply gobble up airtime—are tacitly working toward electing McCain; a candidate who claimed last week at a presidential forum at Saddleback Church that life begins 'at the moment of conception' and who voted against legislation ensuring equal pay for women. These women must be well aware that a vote for McCain is a vote to overturn Roe. I assume they don't care. But my real problem with the Hillary Harridans—and the media's relentless focus on them—is that they give new life to Paleozoic stereotypes about irrationally destructive older women."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

traffic stop

Instead of mints or chocolates as wedding favors, Monica Mukerjee and Nick Micinski (pictured with her parents, left) donated the money to the Polaris Project, an anti-human trafficking resource center. They passed out cards with questions to help identify trafficking victims, and a number to call to help the victims and prosecute the traffickers: 1-888-3737-888 (or 888.373.7888, less mnemonically).

You can find other (better) pictures of the couple at the website of their photographer, Oliver Howell.

Friday, August 15, 2008

bye, ma

I may be canceling my AT&T landline phone. I know many folks who only have mobile phones; and virtually the only calls we get on that phone are from telemarketers; and it still feels weird. Unfortunately, we really cannot afford to keep the "house phone" working. According to a Slate article, we aren't the only ones giving up on landlines. And, according to this follow-up article, we aren't the only ones who are emotionally (and possibly reasonably) attached to our landlines. The most compelling reason to keep the phone is that it works even if the power is out. I keep my mobile well-charged, so that isn't worth the money, at this time. Thanks, Ma Bell, for all the good service and communication innovation...

Saturday, August 09, 2008

open doors, hearts, windowblinds

I'm troubled by this ad, which our UUA is printing in the New York Times, USA Today, and the Knoxville News Sentinental. The message, "Our Doors and Our Hearts Will Remain Open" is a good one, but there is just a hint of exploitation here, to me. My wife thought the text would be a good letter to the editor, but the pictures make it exploitative.

I myself have spoken of the Knoxville tragedy as an opportunity to walk our talk, to in fact keep our doors and hearts open. I have strategized how best to honor the victims and survivors, and use this as a teachable moment--to strengthen the bonds within and among our congregations, *and* to raise awareness of our UU movement. I respect this attempt, and I appreciate all who worked on it. I just wish it had stopped at "we mourn...we celebrate...our prayers are with..." Once it gets into "Unitarian Universalists know..." it feels unseemly.

Perhaps I'm old-fashioned. Maybe, in the 21st century, people accept (or expect) self-promotion.

In the aftermath of the shootings at the Amish school, a few years ago, the survivors responded "we forgive the shooter, and ask that others do, too." They did not continue, "and services are at 9:30 and 11, with religious education at 11, at the corner of First St. and James Avenue."

Friday, August 08, 2008

"terrible" book

Buy this book, and hope you never need it: A Terrible Thing Happened. Its subtitle is "a story for children who have witnessed violence or trauma. Often, it is more traumatic to witness something than to experience it yourself.

...and to help explain the title of this entry, the Blog of Unnecessary Quotation Marks is here.

Friday, August 01, 2008

gore-al and kal-al?

The Onion reports that Al Gore Places Infant Son In Rocket To Escape Dying Planet. The parallels with the "Superman" story are hilarious; the parallels with the actual crisis on earth, not so much.
Thanks to CDS.