Posted by: Ophelia | August 4, 2009

Laura Ling and Euna Lee pardoned

CNN has more.

And here’s some thoughts on how Clinton’s role might be played in the media.

Posted by: Ophelia | July 21, 2009

Tuesday ugh

If you haven’t heard already a female sportscaster from ESPN was videotaped nude in her hotel room by some unknown pervert through the peephole. Of course the video has already made the rounds and it’s a popular search on google. Even though this is a classic invasion of privacy the dialogue surrounding the incident is about how sexy she is. Fox went so far as to call her a “sideline siren” and the NY post* says in their article that “ESPN believes she was the victim of a crime.” As if someone could just plumb forget inviting a stranger to videotape them through the peephole of their hotel room. Or maybe it’s the fact that she’s attractive that makes it less of a crime. How could someone be expected to control themselves when faced with the opportunity to invade her privacy and expose her body to the public? Let alone, how could they be expected not to actively seek out this video despite her coming out and stating what had happened and asking people not to do it. First and foremost she’s a woman whose body should be available to all who have an interest. Secondly she is a celebrity which means that she doesn’t get to have her privacy. When you’re a sexy siren I guess your privacy can’t be violated no matter how obvious a violation it is. So, the media outlets will dole out some faux pity which is just an excuse to talk about how hot the victim is.

*Also someone should alert the post that an article about a pervert videotaping someone through a peephole doesn’t require a still acquired from said video.

Posted by: Ophelia | July 9, 2009

Racefail of the week

Campers’ “Complexion” No Problem for New Pool Sen. Arlen Spector looking into accusations of racism

For kids in the summertime, there’s nothing better than jumping full-speed into a pool to cool off. So when 65 kids from a Northeast Philadelphia camp were banned from taking a dip at a private swim club because of fears they would “change the complexion” and “atmosphere” of the club, they couldn’t understand why.

Creative Steps Day Camp paid The Valley Swim Club more than $1900 for one day of swimming a week, but after the first day, the money was quickly refunded and the campers were told not to return.

At first there was no explanation, but some of the campers recalled overhearing comments about the color of their skin while at the club.

Then the swim club president John Duesler issued this statement: “There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club.”

So the staff at Girard College, a private Philadelphia boarding school for children who live in low-income and single parent homes, stepped in and offered their pool.

“We had to help,” said Girard College director of Admissions Tamara Leclair. “Every child deserves an incredible summer camp experience.”

The school already serves 500 campers of its own, but felt they could squeeze in 65 more – especially since the pool is vacant on the day the Creative Steps had originally planned to swim at Valley Swim Club.

“I’m so excited,” camp director Alethea Wright exclaimed. There are still a few logistical nuisances — like insurance — the organizations have to work out, but it seems the campers will not stay dry for long.

And to sweeten the deal, the owners of Gumdrops & Sprinkles treated the kids to a free day of candy and ice cream making.

The banning has caused so much controversy that U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) plans to launch an investigation into the discrimination claim.

“The allegations against the swim club as they are reported are extremely disturbing,” Specter said in a statement. “I am reaching out to the parties involved to ascertain the facts. Racial discrimination has no place in America today.”

(NBC Philadelphia)

“There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club.” This guy must have brass ones to literally issue a statement that epitomizes “If you’re black, get back” in 2009. So much for the era of hipster/pseudo racism which is thinly veiled in would be irony. They’re just bringing out the old timey racism.  The mere presence of black children is enough to make the patrons clutch their pearls, drop their monocles, and demand that they be removed lest they change the atmosphere of the club. They’ll probably issue some other statement and claim the kids were being rowdy since no matter what the behavior, malice tends to be imputed to children of color. One of the first reports mentioned a parent saying that she was afraid the black children would hurt her child when she complained about their presence. It’s things like this that make it difficult for me to agree with those that would posit that the negative portrayal of blacks in the media is just entertainment and it doesn’t change the way people behave. 64 kids just got the message that they’re not good enough because the color of their skin threatened the atmosphere of some club. In 2009. I’m spent.

Posted by: Ophelia | June 25, 2009

Buzz kill



So by now even if you haven’t seen the movie I’m sure you’ve heard some buzz about the new Transformers movie. Namely about two robots new to the movie franchise called Skid and Mudflap. Here’s some sources: The Huffington Post, and Chud. I just saw it last night. My reaction to the twins was exasperation. Their whole premise smacked of effort and I found it difficult to believe that Bay was not going for a Sambo meets JarJar Binks effect. The audience reaction is what intrigued me however. The audience did chuckle at the twins but the movie thought they were funnier than the audience did. They never got big laughs and the audience did not perceive that their constant fighting was supposed to be funny. The movie gave them more face time and more lines than most of the new characters  and while some people found them heh heh funny (notably whenever they would utter a swear or called someone a “pussy”), there were no guffaws. It gave me some hope that people can enjoy themselves at a movie without characters like that. Also the movie came equipped with the traditional–women who only talk about men and serve no real purpose save to run in slow motion from explosions.

Why would I go see such a movie? My fiance reserved tickets weeks ago. He has been into the Transformers since he was a kid. When we moved there were three full trashbags of Transformers action figures that came too. According to him, he had no idea the movie would be so bad. But I do wonder what if anything he would have noticed about the movie’s message about sex and race had I not been there. In fact he seemed utterly dejected once I explained what I had heard about the characterizations, however, I think it was more about realizing that he was dragging me to a movie that I didn’t want to see and less about outrage about the messages.

These were the heroes he grew up with and he was so excited for another movie even though it was undoubtedly going to follow a hackneyed plot that featured tons of explosions. He never for a moment had to consider any deeper message because well, the messages aren’t talking about them. The movie says that white dudes like him can be heroes no matter how nerdy. The media normally talks to him, not about him, and he did not really get why I was so irritated. To me it felt like a double whammy, not only did they have the tried and true hot chicks with no ambitions they decided to throw in tired sambo robots. The movie did not speak to me so much as about me as if it was impossible that I would be in the theater (although the ever presence of tired stereotypes normally ensures that I will not be there). I tried to get my fiance to empathize with me, likening it to someone physically assaulting one partner–the other shouldn’t continue the association. However, in this case it was a childhood friend of his that betrayed me, and it was clear he did not know whose side to pick. He was willing to ignore the indiscretions because, well, they weren’t about him. They rarely if ever are. To a degree I think I was jealous that I do not have the ability to ignore sexism and racism. There is plenty of media I can no longer tolerate–lots from my childhood, that I lost. I wish that I occupied a position  that the media spoke to and not about so that when I pontificated on race/sex, I could do so from an abstract point of view. I wish a movie was just a movie, or characters that just so happened to walk/talk/look like stereotypes could just be robots with nothing else to them. At the same time, it sure would be nice to see a movie without tired stereotypes being trotted out as if they enhance the experience. I wonder why the media thinks that white dudes like my fiance can’t enjoy something unless it has sexism/racism/testicle jokes.

Posted by: Ophelia | June 4, 2009

Rapist, not “Rapist”

Trigger warning.

Police: ‘Rapist’ May Not Be Guilty In Husband’s Scheme

Secret Service Reveals Possible Craigslist Connection

Posted: 3:33 pm EDT June 3, 2009Updated: 11:24 pm EDT June 3, 2009

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Detectives turned their attention Wednesday night to finding an accused rapist who might not be guilty of any crime. Kannapolis police charged a woman’s husband with arranging for a stranger to rape her.”We need to determine for sure if this other party knows, or should’ve known that this wasn’t going to be a consensual act,” said Capt. Chuck Adams. Police said the husband went online to Craigslist to find someone to sexually assault his wife.Investigators were using the help of the Secret Service to scour computer files in an attempt to locate the stranger.It was mixed emotions for neighbors now relieved it wasn’t a random crime. “Thoughts go out to the woman and her family, terrible thing, but very glad its not a unsuspected random attack,” said Mark Russell.Eyewitness News did a search on Craiglist, and found twelve local ads for “rape fantasy”, and sixty entries for “role play.”Police emphasize that the victim in this case didn’t know about her husband’s plan.Neighbors in the Farm subdivision off Shiloh Church Road in Kannapolis were shocked to learn about the arrest and charges.Subdivision resident Herman Fons said, “How can you do that to a loved one? I’m stunned. I’m stunned.”Kannapolis Police Chief Woody Chavis is similarly perplexed. “It’s very unusual, and I’ve been in law enforcement a long time,” he said.Davis said the suspect went online to the Craigslist web site looking for something unusual: a sex partner willing to go too far. “He solicited him to enter his house and sexually assault his wife,” Chavis said.The man found online has not been charged with a crime yet, and Chavis said police aren’t sure yet whether he thought the wife was in on the plan.Sunday morning, while the couple’s 3- and 4-year-old children slept, the alleged victim awoke to see a man standing at the foot of her bed holding a knife, according to Chavis.One of the first clues police had that the husband was a participant was that he apparently did nothing to try to stop the assault. “There is no indication he did anything whatsoever to stop it,” Chavis said.Police confiscated the husband’s computer and gave it to the U.S. Secret Service, which found the Craigslist connection.Eyewitness News reporter Ken Lemon asked Davis why the husband would set up such an attack. Chavis replied, “I think that was something he wanted to experience. That was his fantasy.”While Kannapolis police have released the husband’s name, Eyewitness News is not using it to protect the privacy of the alleged victim in the case.


This guy is not a “rapist”, he’s a rapist. Objectively speaking, he did rape a woman. She did not give her consent nor did he obtain it–if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck… I’m sure the excuse will be that he thought he was participating in a fantasy (there was a case like this in our crim law book wherein a husband told two guys to have sex with his wife, that she liked it rough, and if she complained that it was all part of the fantasy–what do you know, that wasn’t a reasonable mistake to make on their part). However, he never corresponded with the wife and was wielding a knife. Even if he honestly believed this was all part of an agreed upon activity, a reasonable person would have known better given the circumstances. How is it mutal and safe play when the parties haven’t communicated openly? Why are we trying to excuse someone for something so heinus? Do people regularly “accidentally” rape strangers because someone told them it was alright? Would we buy it if the husband told the guy to take money from his wife’s wallet and she’d be totally okay with it? We’d call him a moron and rightfully so.

Also I’m not so sure why the neighbors are relieved. Oh at least it was just some stranger of dubious moral character willing to threaten someone with a knife and rape them at the request of another–oh yeah, I’d feel much safer with someone like that roaming around my neighborhood. Oh and let’s not forget sharing the neighborhood with someone whose idea of a fantasy is having someone else be violated while he watches. He seems like a safe character to have around.

My heart goes out to the wife, I can’t even fathom how she must feel.

Posted by: Ophelia | June 2, 2009

Link roundup on the assassination of George Tiller

Feministe answers the question of “Is it wrong to murder an abortionist” posed by Slate.

Renee andKate Harding point out that the words and rhetoric of the movement have real world consequences.

I guess I’m still in shock–especially since the coverage in the mainstream media won’t call this the terrorism that it was but rather point the finger at Tiller for being an “abortionist”–a term which further erases the agency of his patients. It’s as if doctors who perform abortions trick women or ambush them and end their pregnancies when in reality it’s the pro life people who obfuscate the truth and force women into unwanted decisions with their “crisis pregnancy centers”. My thoughts are still jumbled up–and it doesn’t help that I recently made an appointment at a place that does perform surgical abortions, since they also perform other gynecological surgeries,  and I’m sure there will be protesters about. Of course, isn’t that what the assasination was about–not just to get rid of someone performing abortions but to frighten women away from obtaining abortions and frankly any other kind of health care from places that may offer abortion as an option. They don’t care about the women coming in for iud consultations, std testing, check ups, what’s important is that no one gets abortions–even if that means harming more women through lack of access to their healthcare providers as collateral damage.

I need more time to think.

Posted by: Ophelia | May 28, 2009

Race fail ’09

By “I was abducted by two black men” I meant I’m going to Disney World.

In the frantic call, Sweeten said two men had bumped her 2005 GMC Denali, carjacked her and stuffed her in the trunk of a dark Cadillac. She implied that her daughter was with her in the trunk, according to Philadelphia police Lt. Frank Vanore, who listened to tapes of the calls.

Sweeten, who is white, described her assailants as black but otherwise gave few details about their appearance, Vanore said.

“It was pretty generic,” he said.

Notably, the article doesn’t mention the whole “black men abducted  me” until midway down the page. The media swarmed over this story and it went national quickly–although it seems the sensational nature of the crime was due in part to the whole black abductors. Now the local stations all want to discuss the racial implications of how fast the media jumped all over the story and believed it even when investigators didn’t.

So what does it mean that after Susan Smith and Charles Stuart people still buy “a black guy did it” as a plausible explanation?

Posted by: Ophelia | May 26, 2009

California Supreme Court Upholds Prop 8

Although the court split 6-1 on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the justices were unanimous in deciding to keep intact the marriages of as many as 18,000 gay couples who exchanged vows before the election. The marriages began last June, after a 4-3 state high court ruling striking down the marriage ban last May.

In an opinion written by Chief Justice Ronald M. George, the state high court ruled today that the November initiative was not an illegal constitutional revision, as gay rights lawyers contended, nor unconstitutional because it took away an inalienable right, as Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown argued.

L.A. Times

Posted by: Ophelia | May 26, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor nominated for the Supreme Court

Feministing has a link to the Scotusblog’s discussion of her record.

The New York Times article discusses the implications of her ethnicity:

Judge Sotomayor has said her ethnicity and gender are important factors in serving on the bench, a point that could generate debate. “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,” she said in a 2002 lecture.

She also once said at a conference that a “court of appeals is where policy is made,” a statement that has drawn criticism from conservatives who saw it as a sign of judicial activism. Judge Sotomayor seemed to understand at the time that she was making a controversial statement, adding that, “I know this is on tape, and I should never say that, because we don’t make law.”

Conservatives quickly pointed to such statements after word of her selection on Tuesday.

“Judge Sotomayor is a liberal activist of the first order who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important than the law as written,” said Wendy E. Long, counsel to the Judicial Confirmation Network, an activist group. “She thinks that judges should dictate policy, and that one’s sex, race and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the bench.”

White House officials concluded that such statements, while perhaps providing fodder for opponents, would not be problematic enough to hinder her confirmation. Some officials have said in recent days that they relish the prospect of Republicans standing up against a Hispanic woman with her life story, because it would only damage the G.O.P. with a key voting bloc.

Isn’t it a bit naive to think that one’s ethnicity, wealth, and culture don’t already affect decisions all the time? Why is it suddenly a problem when a justice does not come from the traditional halls of power? Now we should be afraid that a judge will use personal experience to influence decisions–even though we’ve seen it before. Or perhaps we’re supposed to be afraid because white and male is considered a neutral status and therefore those judges will always be impartial since they have no interest. I’d have to say that’s naive at best and completely ficticious at worst.

Posted by: Ophelia | May 19, 2009

Dieting double talk

Whenever companies come up with diet products they tend to be targeted firmly at women. Usually they’ll redo an existing product stick in artificial sweetneers, make it smaller, and maybe slap some pink on the package and call it things like decadent, or no guilt (because women should feel guilty for eating). But when these companies try to advertise low calorie foods to men, they must explicitly state that they’re for men–not like those frilly girly diet foods.

See: Fling. The Twix for dieters.

Not onlyfling is it 85 calories, the chocolate also sparkles.

Wrapped in a shiny pink and sliver package, this delicate “chocolate finger” is intended for women. The word “finger” is an industry term for a long, slim confection, Mars spokesman Ryan Bowling says, but with ads that invite you to “Pleasure yourself” in pink lettering, consumers might come to other conclusions.

The tag line on the package is “Naughty, but not that naughty.” A TV spot starts with what looks like strangers having sex in a store dressing room. Currently the candy bar can be bought only California and online, but if all goes well, Mars is hoping women will be having Flings all across the country.

Perhaps it’s named fling as a reminder of the relationship women are supposed to have with food–fleeting and guilt ridden? Or perhaps it’s only a fling since it doesn’t add unsightly pounds and inches? What’s the deal with the sexual innuendo?

See also: Pepsi Max the first diet cola for men

In this case they went for the tried and true method of sticking a bunch of “manly” images into the commercials to make it more attractive  to men–as usually seen by commercials for burgers with bacon on it. So we reaffirm that diet foods are for girls, but not this diet food because it has extra caffeine…mmm manly.

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