[Quick note - I haven't heard any news from Thers since his e-mail this last weekend. The family is going through a very painful and difficult situation, and I hope you'll join the WF irregulars in sending positive vibes, prayers or whatever your personal philosophy dictates to his family. Thanks, kids!]
Oy. In Thers' absence, I find myself half-heartedly and more-than-half-grudgingly embarking on... hm, what shall we call it? How 'bout the Death March of Banal? Honestly, I don't know how any liberal blogger maintains a sense of sanity or humanity, forcing themselves to ingest the daily cocktail of digital numbskullery and philisophical ipecac that's crapped out by the neocon bloggers. Regardless, it's the task I've agreed to undertake for the time being. Let's start with an easy one for today, shall we?
The High Priestess of Induced Narcolepsy , K-Lo, starts a "column", that she allegedly wrote completely on her own and with no help from anyone else who claims a grasp on basic English writing skills, with:
Oh, you can just smell where this is going, can't you? I'll skip over the trite and extra ordinary fillers and thought by-products in the middle to get to the truly tasty morsels at the end of her "column".
Let's get my personal views on the subject out of the way first. I think beauty pageants are stupid. Whether they demean women, individually or as a gender, or not, I'll leave to the nation's women to answer. I just think they're pointless. How many Miss Americas or Miss USAs can you name off the top of your head? How many do you care about? How many have actually accomplished something worthy of America's limited attention span?
I also think Perez Hilton's question to Miss Prejean was pointless and bizarrely out of context for the particular venue. If you want to "represent" America - or in this case, the USA (apparently, there's an important distinction) - as a set of shiny teeth, a clear complexion and a talent for walking in high heels and a bikini simultaneously, your views on marriage really don't matter to me. Of course, Hilton ranks right down there with the beauty pageant "managers" as a professional hanger-on, so it's not a complete surprise that he'd ask such a ridiculous question. Fame does odd things to people, a point which should be head-achingly obvious to anyone who's wasted their time following the saga of Miss Prejean. Back on track, though, my issue isn't with Miss Prejean, Mr. Hilton or pageants in general.
My first thought is that Ms. Lopez is probably not a big fan of NOW, what with their constant harping about equality and women's rights and hairy armpits and menstrual cups and what have you. No, my guess is that K-Lo would just as soon have all those cranky ladies just shush it! and get back to the business of cooking dinner and voting for their husband's preferred candidate (if they insist on voting, which they really shouldn't anyway) and not having jobs (except for K-Lo, who totally earned her position because of her nearly masculine ability to write and edit and so forth and so on). Thus, it's very interesting that she makes a call to NOW and claims they value ideology over women. Let's examine that. (I'll use pictures because reading is hard. Amirite, girls?)
Interesting, no? Lesbian Rights. Marriage Equality. Why, it's almost as if NOW has more important issues on its many desks than salvaging the reputation of a beauty pageant contestant who said that lesbian rights and marriage equality weren't important to her, at best, and might be considered an ideological opponent of those issues. Issues that affect a great many women, their friends and families in the USA. Thinking about it, one might even come to the conclusion that K-Lo doesn't really understand what NOW stands for, what their goals are or exactly what it is that NOW is fighting for. Health, Family, Peace, Disability, Violence Against Women, Economic Rights... it's almost as if NOW has a dim view of beauty pageants and doesn't feel the need to defend people who dive into the stereotypes of women as silly little things that* should be leered at and not heard.
Of course, the story - or should I say "column"? - doesn't end there, no siree. We knew that once K-Lo got on a roll, she'd bring it around to something more... ideological, shall we say? What, oh what, could she possibly tie into this subject that would make liberals and feminists look bad, push an extremist right-wing opinion and somehow create a false sense of righteousess? What, indeed... Oh, I know - MUSLIMS!!!
The Prejean story and the Hasan story are related, inasmuch as ideology and political correctness direct how these news items are reported and how the people involved are treated. This ultimately leads to how we view ourselves as a society. Are we a people who protect the innocent? Or are we a people who line up on the side of the loudest, the most intimidating, regardless of what is factual, regardless of what is just? There’s a definite pattern in the answers we’re collectively giving to those questions.
Apparently, K-LO is blissfully unaware of the many Teabagger rallies, the 9/12 Project (wtf?), Fox Tabloid Channel, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Dick Armey, Liz Cheney, Sarah Palin (she writed a book!), Dan Riehl's brain-fucked expose on a murdered census worker in KY, Erick Erickson's DogPoopalooza, Lou Dobbs, or the orgasmic reporting that Nidal Hasan IS A MUSLIM AND OMG!!! IT'S TERRORISM AND OBAMA FAILED AND ALSO BOWED TO A JAPANESE MAN - IN JAPAN!!!!! that seems to be all the rage on your various "news" programs and in the parlors of the well-heeled, these last few months.
I couldn't give a shit if Miss Prejean made some I Feel Myself tapes for her boyfriend. Hell, if my girlfriend did it for me, I'd be thrilled; I wouldn't make them public but I'm a nice guy, that way. I have a great deal of respect for women in general; if you want to be a beauty queen, that's your right. I think it's a waste of time and energy, but it's not my call. On the other hand, if you make some happy sexy fun time tapes, pose for nearly-topless and definitely provocative pictures, then hold yourself out as a blue eyed paragon of virtue and portray yourself as a demure victim who had no idea, well... you can cry all over your fake boobs but don't come bitching to me.
And for K-Lo to disingenuously invoke NOW's history and mission, claiming that their declining to defend Miss Prejean's honor is some tacit endorsement of liberal ideology or failure to stand up for the women of America, when she bloody well knows what their intended organizational purpose is, is a full court press of bullshit in the highest order. And, in the same exhalation of extremist halitosis, to claim that "political correctness" is at once a weapon to attack Miss Prejean while defending Maj. Hasan from accusations of terrorism that only her ideological cohorts are making, with almost no evidence to examine... Well, one needn't wonder where Ms. Lopez's ideologies and loyalties lie on the grand spectrum.
One last point I'd like to make, that has perhaps only a tangential connection to the issue at hand, but - I find myself shaking my head, more often than I'd like, at some of the comments I see when people are discussing Ms. Lopez's posts, specifically, comments about her weight. I don't believe in certain philosophies, actions, or mind sets because I'm a liberal. My beliefs and actions are what make me (for lack of a better term) a liberal. I don't believe in "political correctness" because I'm a "liberal." I believe in treating people with compassion and generosity because they are people. Sure, I'll rail on Republican politicians and extreme religionists - because of what they believe, what they say and what they do. Harshing on people for their weight, their looks, their perceived masculinity or femininity (as if it matters) is something I find extremely grating, especially when I observe it coming from people I presume to be my philosophical fellow travelers. I don't use the term "nigger" because, imo, it has a disgusting history. I don't mock people for their looks or weight or Odin-given intelligence - not because it's politically correct to refrain, but because I know it's hurtful to some people; and when I mock people for their phsyicality, it makes me a smaller person.
Some people may not agree with me on this point. Great, I hope you'll vote with me when the time comes to elect leaders who share our common political goals. Other than that, you're on your own, I guess. Let's mock K-Lo and the rest of the neocon bloggers for what they say and believe (I mean, come on! right?), but let's leave the shit-gargling to the clinically assholish and the tea baggers.
* intentional grammar, to make the point that some folks see women as objects, not people.