Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Updates, etc

I'm a terrible blogger but, after my too-short vacation in which I did almost no work and just spent money, I had to bear down and focus both on my then-current freelance projects, to get new ones and to try like hell to get a job.

I accomplished all of those, including the last: as of today, I'm the newest editor at Talking Points Memo.

Anyway, I'm also in the process of designing a new website, so keep an eye out, as I'll try to be better about reposting what I'm writing and will link to the site when it's up.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The view from here

Vacations are often pretty kick ass.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Catching up

I haven't posted links in a while, mostly because I was trying to get work done in time to take my first vacation in nearly three years, which I'm on right now and, nonetheless, still working. Sigh.

Anyway, for the month of May, I'll be co-hosting "Wilshire and Washington" in the place of my friend (the fabulous) Maegan Carberry every Friday morning at 10 am ET on Blogtalk Radio. We started yesterday:

Yesterday, I also ranted about Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin on Jezebel
Since When Is Hillary Clinton Less Influential Than Sarah Palin?

I was on The Mark Steiner Show in Baltimore:
April 26, 2010 Hour 2

I've also been writing for The Guardian:
Another 'reform' bill, another sideshow
Financial market regulation is a mess
Show Larry Summers the door

I was on Russia Today:

I was on RH Reality Check:
KBR’s “Facts” About Rape Case Are No Such Thing

I was, of course, on The Gloss, both with advice and a how-to video:
Bitch, Please: The Etiquette Of Vomiting At The Office And On Your Friends
The Look For Less: Hit The Red Carpet For $25
Bitch, Please: It's Time For Some Uncomfortable Conversations
Bitch, Please: How To Talk To A Friend About Her Controlling Boyfriend

And, naturally, I have totally been blogging about Dancing With The Stars:
DWTS's Sexiest Secret
DWTS Season 10, Week 6 Power Rankings
Dancing with the Stars Recap: Week 6, Results
Dancing with the Stars Recap: Week 6, Performance
Why DWTS Always Plays the Mom Card
Dancing with the Stars Power Rankings: Week 5
Dancing with the Stars Recap: Week 5, Results
Dancing with the Stars Recap: Week 5, Performance
DWTS Interview With Dlisted's Michael K
Dancing with the Stars Power Rankings: Season 10, Week 4
Dancing With The Stars Recap: Week 4, Results
Dancing With The Stars Recap: Week 4, Performance

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I was a weird kid

I was sitting here reading Silvana's really excellent (second) post about dude rock at Tiger Beatdown and came across this line and re-read it twice.
Especially because (and I can’t find a link for this, so you’re gonna have to take my word on it) women artificially raise their voices around the time of puberty, limiting their vocal range and depriving themselves of full use of their from-the-gut voice. Ever known a woman who seemed to find it literally impossible to speak loudly enough to fill a room? It wasn’t a physical problem. Also, the thing that teens start doing where you are constantly sucking in your stomach? Not good for talking loud and singing in interesting ways.
And I remembered that, when I was little, I used to take a lot of crap when I was a kid about just how high-pitched my voice was. My kindergarten teacher actually complained to my parents about it at their parent-teacher conference. When I first recorded it and listened to it back, I was pretty horrified at how much higher-pitched it was on tape as compared to how I heard it in my head. Unsurprisingly, I always sang soprano in chorus.

When I was about 12 -- i.e., in that puberty phase Silvana mentioned -- my voice changed. It got deeper, not higher, something I blamed on a series of throat infections. It's still high -- just the other night at a reading, my friend Kristal said it's just high enough that, on a voice-over, it would be hilariously funny to hear cursing the way I curse because it makes the cursing unexpected -- but it's definitely lower than it was. When I slow down and speak about intellectual stuff for an audience, it gets deeper yet. When I answer work-related phone calls, it's similarly deep.

But when I get a little sloshed, it gets higher and more girly -- I once referred to it as my "Drunken Strawberry Shortcake voice." I also find when singing along to crap on the radio or at karaoke, if I want to hit high notes without shattering ear drums, I have to take the deep breaths more than when singing low notes. Apparently, I internalized the too-high-to-be-taken-seriously thing a little too much.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On entitlement

So what is it, exactly, that makes people on the Internet (mostly dudes, but I have definitely seen it from women) think that a comment submission button means that have the RIGHT to comment as though it was guaranteed by the founding fathers and enshrined in the Bill of Rights as an inalienable thing? Like, hey, this is my space, my blog and my writing and there's nothing anywhere that says I have to be forced to hear or listen to your opinion. You can have it, you can say it, but I don't have to read it, I don't have to listen to it and I don't have to allow other people to read it. I don't expect if I comment on the Washington Post that Gene Weingarten is reading it and taking my critique or opinion about him to heart and, I would venture to guess, neither do most people.

And yet, when it comes to people who complain at Jezebel, or Feministe, or Tiger Beatdown or Shapely Prose (to think of sites where I've seen this entitlement spring up recently), it's like people feel that their rights are being violated when one of us refuses to allow them to rhetorically spew on our laps. Like, it's my lap, dude. I prefer it remain vomit-free. I wouldn't let you in my home, I wouldn't likely talk to you at a bar, I wouldn't get in a cab with you, why would I let your words touch me if I don't want? Hell, if you said that shit in my house, I would, in fact, escort you out, delete your number, not return your calls and generally act as though you don't exist, so I'm not sure why I'm supposed to have different standards on the Internet.

Fan letter time!

A letter from a "fan" in response to my piece about why the Steve Harvey telling African-American women to settle is as stupid as Lori Gottlieb telling anyone. Please note the egregious misuse of apostrophes, the inability to form contractions correctly, the run-on sentences, racism, misogyny, weird obsession with "natural" hair (but no acknowledgment that white women quite often die ours) and that this guy wants a white woman "TOO MARRY AND HAVE CHILDREN." I think, actually, no woman should settle for this crackpot, known as "Zzelbass," regardless of race. That is all. Enjoy.

SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY ARE ATTRACTIVE, AND MAKE A BETTER WIFE FOR THE LONG HAUL.SADLY BLACK WOMAN ARE SERIOUSLY OUT OF THE MARRIAGE GAME AND SERIOUS DATING. WHITE WOMAN TEND TO SEE FARTHER INTO THEIR FUTURE. FAR TOO MANY BLACK WOMAN HAVE SOLD OUT THEIR SOUL'S ,THEIR KID'S AND THEIR MEN. SIMPLY BECAUSE BLACK WOMAN WANT TO BE WHITE, I'VE NOTICED WHITE WOMAN MORE OFTEN AND THEY IN TURN NOTICED ME.THE BLACK WOMAN WOULD RATHER BE RIGHT THAN BE LOVED. SO MANY BLACK WOMAN WEAR SO MANY FAKE PRODUCT'S YOU NEVER QUITE KNOW WHO YOUR DATING. AFTER MANY YEAR'S IN THE BLACK WOMAN'S CORNER I REALIZE IN SOME FASHION OR FORM SHE MIGHT ONLY BE INTERESTED IN SOME SORT OF PROSTITUTION. selling kids to welfare, ripping dad's for child support, skimming her mom's resource's. text her girlfriend.all so childish and when you've matured and are grown,well you,ve made it to enjoy the adult thing's in life, not carry on childhood drama's..from the court's to the bedroom's to the street's..who need's it. look around you, count how many black woman are sporting their very own hair, possibly none, check your local waiting room, none..a black woman will leave her man and child over nail's and a weave..I am not one to argue and my personal preference is not for all, however if you like authentic hair, real conversation's about matter's that actually hold weight, real future prospect's of marriage and or a family then a black woman is'nt for you either. They are everywhere in the world and can be had on almost any street corner for a nickel or dime by any man of any culture..there is absolutely nothing special about an old stretched out tramp saying she need a real man..i wonder who in the H gave her those 5 kid's and sadly she state's none of the father's were men..i disagree, i think she was not a woman, just a aging opportunist.they are hard to surprise, they intentionally sabotage their own future's, and they feed utter nonsense to too many men's kid's about their biological pop..they'll spend 21 year's telling a kid pop's was'nt shyt simply cause they could'nt squeeze a weave out his wallet. many of their goal's are short, they live fast and suffer long and too many are suffering but strangely glow in the midst of drama for they can not function outside of chaos. I AM HUMBLE, so black woman i (small I) no longer have faith in, or confidence, or trust or concern. she has sytematically destroyed the very same people she created, she birth's son's and offer's them nothing, she' sell's her daughter's to the highest bidder,her kid's to agencie's and her loyalty reamain's with the devil. she is materialistic and yet has nothing, she want's a fendi when she does'nt have a closet, her belief's are not that of society, she can not function without disrupting some man's life. She believe's not in planned parent hood, all her babie's are accident's and she does'nt believe in prevention of any sort,not even vehicle maintenance. she is nasty, and has not had a physical or been to the gy in year's, she prefer's over the counter cream's as opposed to a real doctor visit, and she cannot by any degree appreciate her very own BLACK men that she has birthed. SHE IS A TRAITOR.,SINCE WE HAVE HER TO THANK FOR OUR LOST empire, our lost children, our lost opportunity;s,so many black men incarcerated over black woman..my eye's hurt, my voice is weak and I can no longer save her.so as she has done to him, she has done to herself utter destruction..Black men are the only men on earth who have no control whatsoever over their woman, only our so called woman is with every other man across the globe. since i cannot wake up her spirit or teach her the honorable way, or worship her like the queen she was meant to be.she's so uppity she does'nt even speak to the men in her community until she fall's..holly forbid if she has a gig, the bro will never hear the end. She like's being the man and all it pertain's..she will leave her man if she cannot control his every thought process, have'nt you noticed most woman find a man they can run over or younger or less experienced or less employed. She hate's men who have their own in such a way as she cannot destroy him. she should be avoided at all cost's, she is a danger to herself and her immediate family. However why bother, she believe's she's right about not holding her man down and having several babie's from 5 minute stay's, she wont be around long time like 401k, she can't envision more than a month ahead, she live's only to serve her immediate need's..she come's first even the kid's will go to the welfare or group home before she even remotely care's. rather than argue I saw something in them, it is THEY WHO BELIEVE THE WHITE WOMAN IS BEAUTIFUL..maybe too much barbie but who care's..im not arguing..TAKE A CLOSER LOOK THE WHITE WOMAN IS BEAUTIFUL AND I WANT ONE TOO MARRY AND HAVE CHILDREN..THANK'S BLACK WOMAN..YOU WERE RIGHT ABOUT SOMETHING-THEY ARE PRETTY. DONT GET UPSET WHEN U SEE ME WITH ONE, you pointed her out to me .

Monday, April 12, 2010

A response, cross-posted from the comments

First off, I guess I should point out (again) that I didn't disagree with the substance of Matin's article, nor her decision to self-identify as a womanist. Her problems with academic feminism and the feminist movement aren't particularly dissimilar from my own, in that I think race and class (and disability and gender-identification and lots of other things) are often (and used to be exclusively) side-discussions in favor of things that affected the day-to-day lives of the people with the money, time and space within the larger society to dedicate to discussing and being active on them. Her critiques of her experience with women's studies are similar to the things that drove me away from the program at my university. She identifies as a womanist; I identify as a feminist concerned with the kyriarchy. I don't believe that women can achieve equality without everyone in marginalized groups getting equality because too many women belong to marginalized groups that lack equality.

That said, my critique was very specific: she said that her problem with feminism was that it ignored the contributions and voices of women of color, and then seemingly ignored the contributions of voices of women of color. Latoya was totally right that those sites are externally identified more with Jessica, Jill, Amanda and Bitch herself than the women of color who write for it, and that their commentariat is often hyper-white and eager to separate race from discussions of gender (ahem). But, calling them "largely run by white women" is, to me, not accurate -- "largely identified with" or "largely read by" are extremely valid criticisms, as Latoya said, but to say that they are largely run by contributes to the (I think inaccurate perception) that their editors or leadership are exclusively white. Martin could have even said that they focus on issues of more interest to white women than not -- and it's a criticism this site made of Feministing a year and a half ago, to an angry comment thread, so I'd hardly be one to complain that it's not a interesting point.

To me, the problem with ignoring the contributions of women of color to mainstream sites is it contributes to the difficulty of those writers to get the attention, both from readers and the mainstream media, that they deserve.

Martin, on her blog, took offense that "Jezebel" didn't comment on a piece written by Chloe of Feministing for the Guardian about why she thinks womanists should integrate into the Feminist movement. I can only point out that I've worked here about 1-2 days a month for the last 4, hadn't read the piece, likely wouldn't have agreed with it if I had and might well have critiqued if I had been writing here when it ran. I am, however, more into these kinds of arguments than anyone except perhaps Latoya, and have no special insight other than that as to whether any of the other writers at Jezebel saw Chloe's piece or felt like getting into a discussion about it at the time.

Her larger critique, however, is that it wasn't my place to point out that there are women of color leading and writing in those spaces. It's not one I plan to argue with. It is a point of view -- one I obviously didn't agree with -- but one about which she feels very strongly for her own personal and intellectual reasons.

My point was, and is, that I think the way to get people to associate these blogs with women of color is not to accept and contribute to the perception that they are largely run by white women but to highlight the important contributions made by the women of color who write and help run those blogs, and to encourage them (and others) to hire, promote and highlight the contributions of many more -- and also to link to, engage with, read and promote the writers who choose to operate in different spaces, like Martin, that are dedicated to more specific points of view.