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Archive for March, 2009

….and it’s pretty cool.

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So this roundtable has been a long time coming. In mid-January the team started to take a look at Hua Hsu’s Atlantic Monthly article “The End of White America?” And we had a lot of pissed off things to say. And yes it did take us more than a few weeks to corral all our righteous indignation together. But we hope you’ll think it was worth the wait.

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A Garden at the White House

I’ve not been posting much lately – perhaps the 3 of you who read this have noticed. Just too much stuff going on and not enough mental/emotional energy to dwell on it deeply and make commentary about it.

However.

Every now and then a glimmer of hope. This makes me happy:

WASHINGTON — On Friday, Michelle Obama will begin digging up a patch of White House lawn to plant a vegetable garden, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden in World War II. There will be no beets (the president doesn’t like them) but arugula will make the cut.

On a related note, there are worms in my basement. This makes me happy too.

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Sex, Lies and Photoshop.

This is a video suggesting magazines disclose when images of models are altered. I don’t hold out any hopes for that happening any time soon in the U.S.

But I have noticed something. I used to devour magazines – fashion magazines, beauty magazines, home and garden…. I loved having a big stack of shiny mags to while away an afternoon. I got away from partially because my time became more limited – I needed to spend my reading time on “serious” stuff… but also because magazines… basically are in the business of telling you how much you suck. You are not thin enough, pretty enough, your clothes aren’t fashionable enough, you’re not a good parent, etc. etc. etc.

So, I stopped with the magazines. (Full disclosure – I do buy magazines when I travel, and I do devote 1/2 hour (at least) every week to a trashy magazine. I’m not a saint, folks.) What I have noticed since I stopped reading magazines (especially fashion and beauty mags) is that I appreciate much much more the way real people look.

Real people. People who are no longer 20 years old. People who have some meat on their bones. People with bits that sag. People who don’t go to the hair salon (me). People who didn’t get braces when they were teenagers. People with big noses. People with scars. People grey hair, or no hair, or lots and lots of uncombed hair in fantastic colors. People with hairy ears. People with blue black skin.

People… real people… are beautiful, y’all.

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On Anger

Terrance Heath has a remarkable post up at Bilerico today, which must be read, in it he quotes an earlier post over at Republic of T to which I just say – word.

No one seems to seems to question whether the angry white men that swept Newt Gingrich and the Republican majority into power in 1994 were justified in their anger. It’s assumed that whatever they’re angry about they have a right to be angry about.

But not so for the so called “angry black women.” Their anger is somehow less “real” and less justified. Perhaps that that’s because being angry is a privilege in this culture. Anger, if you are a minority, is dangerous. If you are a woman, or a person of color, gay, etc., your movements must be calm, your voice must be modulated, and your anger must ever show.

Joy is permitted. You may sing, dance, and celebrate in your joy. It is a performance, sometimes a command performance, demanded of you even in the midst of despair. Suffering is permitted. It, too, is familiar and non-threatening. It can even be reaffirming to those looking upon it; reaffirming their power and privilege. Sadness is permitted. You are allowed to mourn, and to moan, keen, and cry in your mourning. Fear is permitted. Your fear — wide-eyed screaming of stunned silence — is familiar, and recognizable.

You are allowed all of the above, especially in response to another’s more “real” anger, but not your own anger. Anger implies entitlement — to material goods, to power and privilege, or a certain kind of treatment. Anger implies a right to expect something, and is a justifiable response to not receiving one’s due. And you aren’t due that which you’d have a right to be angry about having been denied.

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I’ve been traveling and I like to take some junk food reading along when I fly. I found out about this (site is in French) in Marie Claire magazine.

Here’s the intro to the photo spread in the magazine:

French photographer JR has spent the past year taking portraits of victimized women in Africa, Asia and South America, then making massive, poster-size prints which he plasters illegally in places you’d least expect – on buildings, bridges, buses, and beyond. The idea, says JR, who doesn’t give his full name in case he’s prosecuted, is to celebrate the strength and courage of women who live in places where they are often targets in wartime – and discriminated against in times of peace.

As mentioned above, the text on the artist’s website is in French, but there is a video explaining the project which is in English. The photos are stunning. I would love to know what the reaction is of people in the towns where the photos are displayed, and what happens to the women. (As Ms. Cripchick points out in the comments, there is an English version of the site.)

The photo below is from Liberia.

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