Friday, July 22, 2016

A Quick Hillary Anecdote

Back in 2008 I hated Hillary Clinton.  I couldn't understand how anyone could like her when Barack Obama was an option.  I still love Barack Obama.  I can't regret my vote, but I think now that I was pretty unfair to Hillary Clinton.

Here's a quick late-night anecdote about Hillary.  To be fair, this is only based on my recollections and were it not after 11:00 pm, I'd probably do a little more work to dig up the clips.  But it's late, I'm old, and I'm confident my recollections here are correct.

During the '08 democratic primary, Jon Stewart ran a little clip about how the two democratic candidates managed the grueling process of campaigning for president.  Barack Obama said that he stayed sharp by working out every morning and playing basketball.  He was young and sharp and ready to take all comers.  Hillary answered the same question by saying "hot sauce."

I thought, "God, she's so lame!" which was the response intended by The Daily Show producers.

Up here in 2016, Hillary was being interviewed on a black radio program and was asked about something she kept in her purse all the time and she said "hot sauce.'  The interviewers weren't having it and asked if she were pandering.  Hillary joked "is it working?"

I ask you: do you really think Hillary knew that Beyonce had recently taken the world by storm with "hot sauce in my bag. Swag."  Really?  The 68 yr old lady was hip enough to know current Beyonce lyrics?

I don't think so - she does like hot sauce for a wake up.  She said so in 2008. And the "is it working" was a dumb joke. All her jokes should come from writers. Hillary is much better at doing a job than she is in running for one.  You know who'd agree with that assessment?  Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But this is how it is for Hillary.  Whatever she says is interpreted in its most nefarious light because, obvy, it's Hillary who's just "LIAR (FART NOISE) PANDER BEAR ASSHOLE LIAR WALL STREET LIAR POOP!"

I gave Hillary a little money tonight which is probably more meaningful than this dumb blogpost.  But, as one of her supporters (and there are lots and lots of us, no matter what Michael Moore and all those Berners on Twitter would have you believe) that she's still standing after that such a long history where everything she says and does is interpreted in the narrowest, least generous way possible, we are reminded us of how tough and resilient she is.

This is the person I want running the ship: someone who can take a punch without losing focus. She is, to use a phrase from the last decade, a goddamn BAMF.  And if you're still sitting there, so intractably attached to your idea of who she is that you're willing to throw your vote to a candidate who is no more than an orange meatsack of ego and misplaced rage, then I just don't even know what to say to you.

Except this blogpost and more like them.  I'm trying to convince you.  Don't risk an apocalypse.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Some Thoughts and Some Gene Wilder (I miss him)

So, what had happened was I chimed in on a pro-Jill Stein post and (figuratively) pooped on it and then was roundly scolded.  To be fair, my scolding was probably called for.  I'm not super into the dank memes, but I've always felt appropriately judged by this one:


This is a true statement - I don't actually have to tell people that I think they're wrong.  It's obnoxious. So I'll stop posting on people's Jill Stein posts. Instead, I shall take to my blog.

To wit: I can't with Jill Stein.  I just cannot.  The more people tell me why they hate HRC, the more convinced I become that to her haters she is what they've decided she is more than she is what she is (that was a deep statement.  I am a deep person).  In various exchanges on social media, I have been assured that HRC is a war criminal and that she is corrupt and soon to be indicted any day now. She is not a war criminal and people have got to stop throwing that term around so liberally. Furthermore, the Republican party has dedicated their considerable resources for over 25 years now, with laser-like focus, to indict or charge her in some way.  They've been unsuccessful because she is fundamentally honest.  Hillary Clinton listens to people and adapts and changes when she is convinced to do so. She is brilliant and she is open-minded. She has changed positions, just as we all have.  The fact that she does not remain entrenched, eternally convinced of her own correctitude, is a feature not a bug.  Hillary Clinton is good at working with people.  She is good at getting shit done.

But even more that that  - even if you think I'm fundamentally wrong and that a vote for Hillary Clinton is nothing more than a vote for a status quo that will make the rich richer and the poor poorer -  y'all, we have Done This Dance Before.

In the year 2000, I had many friends and colleagues who refused to vote for Al Gore because they were not, by god, going to play into this lesser-of-two-evils, neoliberal bullshit anymore!  And, yes, I know that there is a case to be made that the ensuing eight years were not the fault of the Nader voters, that the election was actually stolen (unlike, not for nothing, the 2016 democratic primary vote), and that Al Gore should have fought harder.

But the Nader voters didn't help.  Had they cast their votes for Al Gore, he would have won. Imagine now where we'd be now.  Imagine what the world would be like without Cheney's Excellent Adventures in Iraq.  Think of where we could be now if we hadn't lost eight years on Climate Change.  Think about that.

And now think about this: Donald Trump is so much worse than George W. Bush.  Even outside of his vile racism and vile misogyny, this is a man who is radically unconcerned with anything outside of his own enormous (yuge!) ego.  You would risk - and Jill Stein would have you risk - putting the nuclear codes into the tiny hands of Donald Trump.

Remember this?



Even if you think we're standing in an open grave (and I do not think this is a valid assessment of America), let's not invite the rain in on top.  Shit, let's not invite the ground to open up and swallow us into a sea of combovered effluvia and self-tanner.  Also nuclear winter.

Do you believe that you can maintain the purity of your vote and we'll still end up without President Trump?  Is that it?  If so, I have some friends over in Great Britain you might want to talk to.

If you think the democratic party is insufficiently liberal and you want a third party, then, for the love of god, work on this at the municipal and state level.  Look to your politically opposite (if, I'm just gonna say it, dispositionally similar) pals from the tea party.  They didn't get their political power by putting someone in the White House.  They got it by putting lots of someones in lots of city, state and congressional seats and now they're driving the clown car.

Do not, for the love of the entire Mel Brooks oeuvre, help to make Donald Trump our Commander-in-Chief.

This is, perhaps, an apt metaphor:


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A Quick Herstorical Bloggity

Laney is unimpressed that a woman is on top of a major party ticket for the first time in American history. But she is 12 and has always lived in a world were girls could do anything boys could do. I'm glad about this.  I'm glad my little #socialjusticewarrior feels confident in her girlhood.

But for those of us a little longer in the tooth?  For those of us who've had our whole value assessed based on fuckability?

Those of us who've been talked down to, or over?  Who've been on the wrong end of impatient, irritated glances in meetings where you've said the least?  Who've been condescended to?  Well, actually-ed at?

Those of us who've been ordered to smile and then called "bitch" when we didn't do it fast enough?

Those of us who've been followed by men who did it because they knew it scared us?  Who yelled foul things at us from car windows and then drove away?

Those of us assumed less capable or competent based on bra-size?

Those of us called too fat, too ugly or too old to matter?  Those of us who've internalized that our worth begins and ends with the male gaze?

To see that boss-ass bitch.  That woman who's been on the end of more sexist invective than anyone?  That woman who's been smeared, and gossiped and lied about?  That woman who's outlasted a 30 year discrediting campaign - a campaign so successful there's a whole host of Americans who'd believe, without even bothering a cursory google,  that Hillary Clinton eats puppies for breakfast because she's been commanded to by the president of Wells Fargo?  That woman who's been called a murderer? Who's been made responsible for her husband's infidelity?  Who's been called shrill, and castrating and oldfatandugly?  That woman is not just still standing.  She's winning.

She won.

Damn, y'all. I hope you'll pardon the term but it feels gangsta. It feels amazing.

So if you're choking down vomit at the polls in November, I'm sorry for you.  But I'm going to be casting my ballot with tears of joy in my eye.  I'm going full on Leslie Knope.  You're my girl, Hillary.  And I cannot wait to vote for you in November.


Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Woman Card

On Friday, a friend of mine posted, sigh, a 35 minute clip of Bernie Sanders with the text "If he were a woman, you would be all in!  I know it!  LOL!"

I know he was just joshing.  I know it was just a joke.  But I suspect he was, as Al Franken used to say, "kidding on the square."  In other words, framing what he felt to be true as a joke to keep it light or to maintain pliable deniability.  And I, I'm sorry to say, lost my shit a little.  My reaction was a bit like:


When I really should have been aiming for:


But, I confess, after ... how long has this primary season been going on?  Since the dawn of time? It feels like since the dawn of time.  So, since the dawn of time, I've found myself growing increasingly frustrated when I, the female voter, and Hillary, the female candidate, are endlessly called upon to defend against gender bias; while the male voter and the male candidate are just, you know, default and unremarkable.

This is not to say that I think any of my Bernie friends are voting for Bernie because he's a man.  I know this because they're all super eager to tell me how much they love Elizabeth Warren.  But they do not seem interested in interrogating whether there's a gender bias in play at how Bernie is treated - if Bernie (or any male candidate) has a leg up simply because their gender card is just the "normal" one.

So let me answer the question as directly as possible: would I be so passionate about Hillary Clinton if she were a man?  No.  Because if she were a man, she wouldn't be Hillary Freaking Clinton.

The politician she is has been forged in a smithy of sexism for over 30 years.  The mountain of shit she's had to defend against has played a role in her becoming a politician I deeply admire.  It frustrates me so much that I'm supposed to believe that her female-ness doesn't matter.  Lookit: male/female isn't some facile binary that you can just wish away from significance.  The fact that she is a woman, a female politician, informs her in ways far weightier than symbolism. Stop asking me to ignore it.

Way back when in the campaign of 2008,  I was as passionate an anti-Clintite as anyone out there today.  I thought she was a corporate shill, power-mad, an entitled political elite. And I believed all of that because that's what people had been saying about her for pretty much my entire adult life.  But then I saw her sit through eleven hours of obstructionist, Republican, Benghazi nonsense-mongering.  And she was a goddamn rockstar. It was like a switch flipped for me and I decided to stop believing the 30 year long marketing campaign designed to discredit her and pay actual attention to who she is.

And who is she?  She is someone who is really good at politics.  She is temperamentally suited to the job.  She is a good, solid progressive.  She will Get Shit Done. If the past eight years of effective presidenting have taught me anything it's that inspirational speechifying makes for inspirational inspiring, but the sausage gets made the same way it always has.  And I mean since the dawn of this great nation: good politicians politick their way to change.  And if that seems dirty to you, I'd recommend you go check out this rather brilliant blogpost from my good pal, Paul.

I am passionate about Hillary Clinton - about the politician she is and what I believe she can do.  I believe she is a better candidate and will be a better president than Bernie Sanders.   And if one more person says "if she were a man..." my head will explode.  I'd say this would be one less vote for Hillary, but, I already voted for her and she's already won and she's going to be the person running against Donald Trump.  So, let's try to keep my head intact, shall we?  Stop trying to throw the "woman card" at me: there is no such thing.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Nightmares

I had planned to write tonight about how everyone needs to stop sharing that video of John Cleese complaining about political correctness because straight white guys have just got got got got GOT to stop complaining about "political correctness."  It's not just that it's a poorly-defined term whose primary function is to provide cover for assholes (when I googled the video to make the above link, the first hits were from Fox and The Blaze... you do the math).  But, it's also that it's rich and ripe beyond reason to complain about something that you've literally never ever ever been on the other side of because you are straight and white and male and, therefore, de-fucking-fault.

Also, despite all the pearl clutching over "political correctness", the world is a much better place for comedy now that Eddie Murphy (whom I love) is no longer able to lean on a punch line that is literally only "you faggoty-ass faggot" and Andrew Dice Clay (whom I do not love) is no longer able to book an HBO special on the strength of how he edits nursery rhymes so that they're all about how women have no function beyond spunk receptacle.

And besides all that, for the love of Monty Python (which I do love so very much), surely a man as hilarious and brilliant and effortlessly witty as John Cleese is more than equal to the task of handling an over-sensitive college student. Right?

But then I worried that I would have to spend too much time explaining that despite my opinion on how John Cleese had really oughta shut it when it comes to complaining about political correctness, I love and adore him unconditionally and am almost afraid to even mention him because the looming specter of celebrities I love dying is starting to give me a complex.   But I do love John Cleese.  Here have a John Cleese gif:


I love John Cleese.  And also, I am tired.  I am so tired.  Which is why I just spent several paragraphs writing about how I wasn't going to write about something I'm writing about.  It's the fatigue, guys!  And I am fatigued because Freddy Kruger seems to have taken over a portion of my brain and is just fucking WRECKING my sleep cycle.  Every night around 2:00 am is all like this:


And then I can't get back to sleep.  I mean, there was the bolting out of bed in a fit of screams because I was sure there was a rat about to fall from my ceiling onto my bed on Saturday.  On Sunday,  I dreamed I was a man who was married to Madonna.  That's not not the nightmare.  Although:


Girl, put it away and dial it back because you are leaving a trail of tryhard all over that red carpet and you are a hero of mine from way back and also, please, don't die for at least another 30 years because I cannot take another one!

Anyway, on Sunday, I dreamt I was married to Madonna and I was a man and Madonna ended up slamming her head into a radiator on purpose and bashing in half of her face and then when I went over to stop her I ended up with a glass shard literally through my eye.

WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT?

There was another one last night - I can't remember it because I'm still too tired from the other two nights. I just know that it was and that I was up in the wee small hours trying to remember that the world is a good and kind place and that sleep is a lovely release.

I am sick to death of whatever is yanking my subconscious from blissful REM sleep to remind me that life is fleeting and there is violence and also, here,  have a surreal and disturbing image or two to carry with you as you stumble into the bathroom because also you have to pee:


(If you find you are suffering from nightmares, maybe don't go searching for "surreal and disturbing gif" because OH MY GOD!!  That one up there is nowhere near the worst.  I'm not going to share the worst one because I love you all!  Not as much as I love John Cleese, but I do love you!)

I'm worried that I am talking myself into nightmares because not only do I suffer from whatever neurotic malady is giving me nightmares,  I also suffer from the uniquely American combo of Catholic guilt + Yankee Can Do-itiveness which means I believe everything is my fault and it would stop if I just tried a little harder.  So, when I go to bed at night I should be able to just convince myself to have pleasant dreams.

This is nonsense, but still I'm going to try it. Tonight I will attempt to lull myself into 8 hours of restive sleep by having something warm and herbal (shut up - I'm talking about tea) before bed and then watching an episode of Andy Griffith because then perhaps I'll dream of sitting on the porch in Mayberry, with a bellyful of Aunt Bee's pie and the dulcet tones of Sheriff Taylor strumming on his guitar which is so peaceful that I'll forget about the kind of horrible and restrictive underwear I'd, as a woman of Mayberry, be wearing. That old underwear is truly the stuff of nightmares.  Girdles and stays OH MY!

Maybe instead of being a woman in Mayberry, I'll dream I'm a man and then I'd only have to worry about obnoxious college students being politically correct.  I'm pretty sure I could sleep right through Threat Level Whatever Oh My God Get Over It.

Wish me luck!


Monday, May 2, 2016

When Laney Was...

When Laney was 2, she sat on my lap in a yellow glider in a lavender room and I read her stories and sang her songs.  I'd put my nose on the top of her head and nothing has ever smelled that good since.

When Laney was 6, I found her standing in the kitchen, weeping over some childhood tragedy.  I picked her up and she wrapped her legs around my waist and nestled her head in my neck and cried until she felt better.

When Laney was 9, she went to a new school and I sat in my car as she walked into the playground, among a hundred kids she didn't know.  I sat in the car and watched and cried and hoped so hard that someone would be her friend (someone was).

When Laney was 12, we drove home from school and she checked her phone to see what had happened in the virtual world that day. She said, more to herself than to me, "Someone just tried to trade me a stupid Pokemon for one of my good Pokemons." I didn't understand what that meant, but was feeling sort of silly, so I said, "I hope you told them they could fuck right off." And then we laughed and laughed.

Sometimes I wish Laney could still fit in my lap and that I could hug her woes and worries away.  But sometimes I'm glad that she's a big kid who laughs and laughs at a strategically-deployed f-bomb.  And both of those sometimes seem to be happening at the same time all the time.

Sorry that was so mushy.  I'm having some feels tonight.  Here's an Archer gif. When Laney is 16 (maybe 17) maybe we can enjoy Archer together.






Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Time's Arrow



I feel like I used to be better at time.  I used to have a little kid who required a lot of attention, which I happily gave.  Now I have a tween kid whom I rarely see because, I believe, she has some sort of inter-dimensional portal in her room that takes her to a land of magic and wonder - a place where there are no Trumps and wifi fucking everywhere.  I used to update my blog a couple of times a week and managed to find time to write a book.  Now I just hit this blog monthly or so when something big happens like Don turns 50 or I come up with some elaborately strained metaphor.  Once I found the time (and it was so much time) to learn how to play Moonlight Sonata on my cute little spinet.  Now I can barely be bothered to get to the end of a song on Spotify before I skip to the next one.

Is this a symptom of age?  I thought when we got older we were supposed to be better at this kind of stuff.  Actually, I thought we were supposed to be better at all the stuff except maybe metabolizing food. It turns out you retain amateur status well into mid-life.  What's up with that?

I believe I've written about this here before, but help me out: once I read this book about a town where everything was real nice and then out of nowhere these furtive strangers showed up. I can't remember the name of the story (which is what I'm hoping you'll help me out with), but I picture the strangers looking like the evil aliens from Star Trek TNG's Time's Arrow.  Here's a visual if you're not cool enough (that's right!  I said "cool enough") to know without one:



The furtive strangers made bargains with the townspeople.  They'd grant you one of your dearest wishes in exchange for a little of your time.  But you wouldn't remember making the deal.  Instead, all of the sudden you'd just have less time. But then you'd make another wish and then have less time.  And so everyone started rushing everywhere and no one knew why. And the nice little town was no longer a nice town. There was one hold-out, though.  One guy refused to make the deal and, instead, just slowly spent his days sweeping the streets, with all the time in the world.  Have you read this story?  And, if you have, what was it?  Also, did you wonder why the one hold-out didn't think of something better to do with all his ample time than sweep the damn street?  I mean Beethoven wrote a TON of stuff he could have taken the time to learn to play.  He could have read Ulysses.

I have no plans to spend what little time I have left after I've traded so much to the Time Bandits or whatever on Ulysses. I started it once.  I'm pretty sure Joyce is playing some kind of an elaborate practical joke.

(Was the story I'm thinking of Time Bandits?  That was a movie, right?  Did they steal time in that movie?  Was there a guy sweeping the streets, strangely pleased with his weird career choice?)

I suppose the secret is, as it is so often, to quit worrying about it so much.  Also: aggressive scheduling.  It's a bit hard to put those two things together.  Aggressive scheduling does not, generally, pair well with a laissez-faire attitude. But I'm confident I can figure it out.

After all, I'm the only one of you dummies smart enough to have sussed out that James Joyce was just fucking with us on that whole Ulysses thing.

Right?