You know, pre-law school, I figured the law re: rape was that if someone said no and you continued, that was rape. Turns out that’s not true! You need nonconsent, yes, and sex, obviously, but you also need “force.”
Now, I’d have thought that in the absence of consent force is required to get someone to do something. But huh, turns out that the “force incidental to sex” does not count as “force.” (Though jurisdictions vary, obviously.)
Fascinating input into Obama’s decision-making, phenomenal tick-tock of how it happened, a great reconstruction of the days leading up to and after, plus random tidbits, like how Obama did not tell his wife, nor did Hillary tell Bill a damn thing. FLOTUS found out right before Obama made his speech, and Obama called Bill Clinton after he called Bush 43.
So, I’ve been thinking about the media lately, as the title would indicate. And, I can’t seem to make up my mind about something. On one hand, I look at all the satire and irony and think it’s prepping for change. Or, more elegantly put, it’s protest within the system. However, on the other, I think it’s just part of the system; it has a symbiotic relationship with what it satires. As soon as the subject of the satire stops, so does it. And since this is the case, we’re just caught in a vortex of cynicism and shallowness.
I really can’t make up my mind on this. It seems to me that the satire hasn’t really accomplished anything. SNL’s been on since the 70s, and it’s only gotten worse. What’s the point of satirizing a shallow subject, like the way the media covers politics? Does it reveal problems or does it perpetuate a system by acting as an outlet?
So interesting. Couple of thoughts:
1. You say satire hasn’t accomplished anything. Perhaps. Jon Stewart said once that satire has no effect on anything anyone says, and points to the fact that in the run-up to the Iraq War, The Daily Show was “highly skeptical” of the idea, and yet somehow we still invaded Iraq. True enough. Arguably, though, even if the effect isn’t direct, it still changes the way we think about the media and the way we think about ourselves. So maybe POTUS doesn’t watch SNL and make policy decisions based on that, but on the other hand, maybe satire reinforces our ideas about ourselves and our government, and maybe that effects how we vote, thus effecting governance/policy/”accomplishing” things. And we can’t ever really know satire’s effect, because we can’t run a controlled experience with a parallel universe without Stewart et. al.
Furthermore, The Daily Show, Colbert Report, and occasionally even SNL, crack me up. Particularly when the news is frustrating and/or makes me really angry, satire is a way for me to relax a little bit and laugh at it. Even if SNL/Stewart/Colbert/etc. aren’t causing social change, isn’t the fact that they make us laugh enough of an accomplishment? The “point” is just to make us laugh.
2. As to the cynicism point - yeah, I’m definitely with you on this. When Daily Show/Colbert did their Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, it felt so much like they were just mocking activism. Satire is kind of like the kid in the back of the class throwing spitballs at the admittedly ridiculous teachers, and that can make getting up to try and find a better teacher or class seem like a terrible, inefficacious idea. Satire works best when their is real anger about something going on, because there’s something to vent about, and it’s way to deal with that anger without exploding. When people are really trying to earnestly change the world, though, satire fails.
Basically, I agree, sometimes satire can mock earnestness and encourage cynicism. Much of the time, though, it just makes me laugh, and when I am angry, and need to stop screaming for a few minutes, satire gives me a way to vent.
“When neoconservatives say that they are the party of “law and order,” it is important to remember that they care less for the rule of law than they do for the rule of order.”—From Jacobin, mass incarceration and racism through the vein of political philosophies.
“It happens when a father realizes he doesn’t just love his daughter, but also her wife. It happens when a soldier tells his unit that he’s gay, and they tell him they knew it all along and they didn’t care, because he was the toughest guy in the unit. It happens when a video sparks a movement to let every single young person know they’re not alone, and things will get better.
It happens when people look past their ultimately minor differences to see themselves in the hopes and struggles of their fellow human beings. That’s where change is happening.
And that’s not just the story of the gay rights movement. That’s the story of America—the slow, inexorable march towards a more perfect union.”—
Just type up the Constitution word-for-word, then add:
"To answer all of these questions, just READ the Constitution and apply the PLAIN MEANING of the words. I mean come ON. Get a dictionary if you need to. Just use the plain/obvious/original meaning of the words. Stop being all judicial activist-y."
Then I’ll slam down my laptop and storm out of the room.
“Don’t be ridiculous, Elizabeth. I would never be president. I would only be dictator.”—
My dad, when I told him for possibly the eight gabillionth time he should run for, uh, city council. Not quite POTUS, but whatever. (I have also told my mom to run nine gabillion times, for the record. She has a classier way of declining.)
all due respect but your dad would not be a great dictator
“Don’t be ridiculous, Elizabeth. I would never be president. I would only be dictator.”—My dad, when I told him for possibly the eight gabillionth time he should run for, uh, city council. Not quite POTUS, but whatever. (I have also told my mom to run nine gabillion times, for the record. She has a classier way of declining.)
ETA: New 1 WTC will be 1776 feet tall. Think they planned that? ;)
Actually, I think the empty space was a great reminder of military power—and its limitations. 19 conspirators with very limited resources successfully attacked the most powerful nation on earth. We must concentrate on making peace, not spending endlessly on military.
I absolutely believe military power absolutely is limited, that we are far too invested in our military, and that the true strength of the U.S. comes from "the enduring power of our ideals." But given that we invaded another country while there was a big whole in the ground, I’m not sure that the empty space really reminded us of our vulnerability.
I was in NYC in January 2008, when Ground Zero was a whole in the ground surrounded by fences and cranes. When I looked at it, I felt only sadness, a sadness wholly unconnected with American military might, but connected instead with watching TV on a Tuesday morning in my Spanish classroom, unable to tear my eyes from dark hair flying every which way on tiny, distant figures as they jumped from the tallest towers I’d ever seen.
The empty space was a reminder of tears and hugs and confusion and fear. Of sadness.
The tower says that yes, everyone is vulnerable to attacks, to smoke, to fire, to death, to fear, but not everyone can come back.
Thanks to exams, I have been living in the library, 12th floor lounge, and various coffee shops around Boston. That means I haven’t done laundry in forever, so I am stuck wearing one of my old Apple retail holiday t-shirts today, cheerfully urging everyone I see today to, “Wrap up your holiday shopping!”
But at least my hair is clean. It’s the little things, you know?
“Your parents don’t want what is best for you. They want what is good for you, which isn’t always the same thing. There is a natural instinct to protect our children from risk and discomfort, and therefore to urge safe choices. Theodore Roosevelt - soldier, explorer, president - once remarked, “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” Great quote, but I am willing to bet that Teddy’s mother wanted him to b a doctor or a lawyer.”— WSJ’s “What Your Commencement Speaker Won’t Tell You.” The rest of the article isn’t particularly good, and really I think everyone who gives a commencement address should just read David Foster Wallace’s, because nothing anyone says is going to be better than that, but this is, I think. spot on. Wanting what’s safe is not necessarily the same thing as wanting what’s best.
“The thing that sucks about those shows is that millions of black people look at them and can relate on so many levels to Hannah Horvath and Charlotte York and George Costanza, and yet those characters never look like us. The guys begging for money look like us. The mad black chicks telling white ladies to stay away from our families look like us. Always a gangster, never a rich kid whose parents are both college professors. After a while, the disparity between our affinity for these shows and their affinity towards us puts reality into stark relief: When we look at Lena Dunham and Jerry Seinfeld, we see people with whom we have a lot in common. When they look at us, they see strangers.”— Cord Jefferson, Gawker
“They suggested Democrats were stealthily expanding “amnesty” to some illegal immigrants while pursuing pro-homosexual social policy under the guise of domestic violence legislation.”— NYT characterizing the GOP’s position on VAWA. Senate passed a good version of this bill despite this argument, 68-31. Given that vote, I’m choosing to believe that the above utter drivel is just bizarre campaign rhetoric and no one really believes it.
My (wonderful) property prof’s bailiwick is restitution (unjust enrichment), and turns out he’s published a book called The Color-Blind Constitution, embracing the principle of racial neutrality rather than the anti-caste (that affirmative action is just as bad requiring black people to go to the back of the bus).
I kine of hope the students in his class about unearned privileges have to buy this book about how the Constitution requires we make no attempt to remedy past/current discrimination. Just for the irony.
The Reign of Wonderful Section B is over, folks! Done with classes for 1L year. After finals I’ll post something about this year, but right now all I can manage is a kind of exhausted gurgle as i go back to outlining.
Our grand finale, by the way, was conlaw, and it was THREE HOUR LONG CLASS. Head currently swimming with Scalia-anger mixed with a dose of rational basis review and something about commerce among the several states.
Brief preface: I am generally opposed to navel-gazing, but you know what, this has been bugging me all week, I hopefully turn it outward a bit as well, and this is, after all, my blog. So, I am taking some time out from this exciting Saturday night spent knee deep in law school outlines to, uh, talk about this blog.
Last week, something sort of odd happened. I posted a link about the hypocritical views America tends to have of motherhood, and it exploded, with 4,480 notes as of this writing. These views on motherhood are, like everything else in our society, infused with racism, classism, and sexism. We value motherhood when it is occupied by white, more affluent women, but we do not when it is occupied by poor women of color.
I did not think this was a shocking observation. I thought about it like this: I sleep every day (or night, as the case may be). It is not news that I sleep every day. Everyone sleeps every night (give or take). Because it’s not news, I don’t really talk about it much. Similarly, it is blindingly obvious that racism, classism, and sexism (among other prejudices) permeate every part of American (and arguably global) life as privileged cling to power and a grapple with a fundamental fear, dislike, and distrust of an evidently insoluble “Otherness.” Because it is blindingly obvious, i don’t often point it out. I think that me saying every day, “Hey! Here’s how I was affected by sexism today!” would be sort of boring, not particularly helpful, and not exactly noteworthy.
Sometimes, though, these prejudices become overwhelmingly salient in our national conversation, and I am reminded of the blindness of privilege, i.e. that those who have privilege are blind to the insult and injury they impose on those who do not.
That’s how I felt during this whole Ann Romney-never-worked-a-day-in-her-life clusterfuck. As is per usual in politics, but is nevertheless frustrating, I felt horribly disgusted by and so alienated from this discussion around women, wealth, and race.
So when I posted that, I kind of just meant, “Hey, here’s this thing that seems completely clear and without which you cannot begin to talk about sexism in America but which seems to be missing from a good 80 percent of our national conversation. So frustrating!”
I am sure many people read it as such. From some of the reblogs, however, I also saw people flip out on me with intensity I have not seen since I accidentally pissed off a Harry/Hermione shipper back when I worked for a Harry Potter fansite. But whatever, it’s the internet, and frankly the Harry/Hermione shippers were meaner. Far more unnerving was the vitriol folks threw at people dealing with poverty, particularly poor people of color. I suppose it was naive of me not to expect that, but I basically figure this blog reaches friends, an occasional oh-that-post-was-interesting follower, and maybe an employer googling me before I am (hopefully) hired. I never expected it to reach “the internet” en masse. Nor did I expect to be used as in a political war. I didn’t tag the post politics, because I didn’t see how it had much to do with politics. Sure, this conversation was sparked by an inane comment by a CNN Democratic pundit and involved the GOP nominee’s wife, but my point is not unique to one party or the other. Almost everyone views women of color in this way, stretching across ages, class, gender identity, and, I would argue, race. I got sort of annoyed when people reblogged that post with lines like, “Yeah, fuck Romney.” My point was not about Romney, or Hillary Rosen, or any other operative. My point was about us. About Americans. About our agreed opinion about poor nonwhite mothers and rich white mothers. And about how that opinion is hypocritical, disrespectful, patronizing, controlling, and lacking a level of human decency every person is entitled to expect from our fellows.
I have two options: I can point out that opinion or I can be silent. Even though I am certain that thanks to confirmation bias nothing I say will change anything, and even though I am well-aware that sexism, racism, and classism are not news, sometimes, I get tired of saying silent.
Where in the article did you find a way to pull the race card in this one? Wtf? And by the way, being a mother is not “work” per-se. It’s labor, that’s for sure. But it is not work. It is an obligation that you have to your children. It’s no more “work” than breathing or taking a shit when you feel the need. I think Romney is using “work” as something that directly contributes to the improvement of the market and/or capitalist system.
I understand when people call it work and I don’t correct them. But just know that it’s not. At least not in the same sense of the word that Romney is trying to use. And if we use mom’s standard of labeling work, then all life is work. So everything is work! Breathing is work. Sign me up for the welfare! /sarcasm
Well, so a couple of points:
1. Re: the “race card.” I think it’s generally a mistake to think about poverty in America without talking about race. Unlike, say, Jim Crow era, we don’t generally denigrate black people in strictly race terms, but we use euphemisms. We talk about the “urban poor” and “welfare queens.” I don’t mean to say that poverty is restricted to minority groups - it of course isn’t - but it is true that black people are far more likely to be poor than white people, and it seems to me that when the American public talks about people in poverty, we generally mean black people in poverty. I wasn’t “pulling” the race card, because the race card is ever present in the U.S., in every discussion we have about money, power, and class.
2. I agree with you that staying at home is not equivalent to working for pay, although raising children is arguably much, much, much harder than any other occupation we could think of. My point was not that staying at home should be considered “work” for TANF purposes. That’s another debate entirely. My point was that it is completely hypocritical that when we talk about affluent or middle class mothers staying home with kids we laud those women for being good mothers, but when we talk about poor mothers staying home with kids we call them lazy and think they need to go get a “real job.” It’s the hypocrisy that angers me.