This is a great story so before I start with a trademark rant, let me just say how fantastic it is that a 12-year-old girl recognized the sexism at work and said something.
In Russell Township, Ohio, there was a parade. Parades happen in a lot of small towns so this is nothing to be surprised about. Taking part in the parade were the local girl and boy scout troops. Also not much of a surprise. It gets the kids out of the house and engaging in physical activity. I’m all for it.
As they walked by, the parade announcer said the boy scouts were the “future leaders of America.” OK, I guess. Seems kind of presumptuous but OK.
Then the girls walked by and the announcer said they were just there to have fun.
In reference to the Cyndi Lauper song which, though catchy and awesome, sends something of a poor message when it comes to the ambitions of young women.
Julianne Spyer was walking with the Girl Scouts that day and was none to pleased to learn that the boys were future leaders of America and the girls just wanted to have some fun. She wrote a letter to the editor and it went viral.
Everyone is super proud of Julianne for calling out the sexism displayed but I have to wonder – what now? Do you think that we are suddenly going to start doing better because of a 12-year-old in Ohio? Or are we so busy patting the kid on the head that we are going to stop there?
I also wonder, if this letter had been written by someone who was not a twelve year old, would it have gotten any attention at all? Would anyone else have noticed the subtle sexism that the announcer probably didn’t even think about?
I don’t wish to belittle what Julianne did one bit. She noticed something wrong and she spoke up. Her actions end up being irrelevant unless the next local parade announcer doesn’t make the same mistake. Or gets called out when they do.
Let’s celebrate Julianne because she is an awesome little girl and one of the future leaders of America. Even better, let’s celebrate her by actually listening to her message.
Trump Corner: The Russia Problem
I don’t usually lead with Donald Trump because he’d pretty much always a problem. Him and the people who blindly accept everything he does as anything other than the actions of a narcissistic racist whose every action is meant to make things better for himself and his family members. And who is also a sexual predator.
This week, Trump had a private meeting with Vladimir Putin and proceeded to throw his own intelligence agencies under the bus in the press conference that followed. What he did was so blatant, even Fox news had to acknowledge it at first. They couldn’t side with Trump until a day later when he basically said that he didn’t mean what he said and also fake news.
Because the news is super fake when it is quoting what Trump said into a microphone.
Now all of this was bad. But I feel as if we lost something while we were all being pissed off at our President for being a clueless asshole.
He had a private meeting with Vladimir Putin and we still don’t know what they talked about.
Putin has even announced he is beginning to work on military agreements reached at that meeting. But we don’t know what those agreements are. It isn’t even clear that our military is aware of what those agreements are.
Understand, our President called the European Union our “foe” last week. He then had a closed door meeting with Putin in which even his staff was not allowed. And he got together with Kim Jong Un earlier this year.
When a President of the United States has nicer things to say about two dictators than he does about democratically elected leaders of state, it should scare the ever loving shit out of you.
This isn’t politics. Stop loving this guy because he’s a Republican. He isn’t. He’s a guy who will do anything and everything to better himself.
I don’t know what he talked about with Putin. And neither do you. Don’t get caught up being pissed at him for insulting the US intelligence community to forget that he was buddying up to an oppressive dictator.
….and so was Putin.
So I’m just going to start local because I’m from St. Paul.
For those of you who aren’t from Minnesota, St. Paul is the Twin City right next to Minneapolis that you never hear about because Prince wasn’t from here.
Anyway, these kids were hanging out at Minnehaha Falls park and apparently dealing with some harassment from a white teenager who was calling them names. Racist names. Also, he was telling them he had a knife. No word on what happened to the racist white kid, by the way.
The police showed up, guns drawn, because there was a report that the kids had a gun. They didn’t.
Did I mention the kids were between nine and twelve years old?
At least two of them were handcuffed, one of them without his shirt. He was begging for his shirt because he was being bitten by mosquitoes.
The cops didn’t give the kid his shirt because fuck that child for having been the target of a racist attack! Or something.
So you can’t even be a black kid hanging around in a park these days. But you can totally be a white racist.
The incident is “under investigation.” I’m sure the police officers feared for their life (I mean those kids might have had a gun) and the fact they traumatized some pre-teens will result in a firm reminder that you shouldn’t handcuff a fucking nine year old when they’ve done nothing wrong.
Walgreens allows their pharmacists to refuse service should they have a moral objection to the prescription being administered. I guess that’s OK because you wouldn’t want anyone…
It isn’t OK. In this case you had a woman who wanted to have a baby and was about to miscarry and the pharmacist basically shamed her by publicly refusing to fill the prescription.
This pharmacist has a job to do. And the bullshit idea that his deeply held religious beliefs should prevent him from doing his job is completely backwards. He still should do his job.
We all have to do shit we don’t want to do all the time. A lot of us don’t like our jobs but we still do them. I don’t like driving when other drivers are on the road because all other drivers are awful. I do it anyway. So pharmacist guy should just do his fucking job and hope god forgives him for doing the job he decided he wanted to do.
I’m sure there is a biblical passage that supports such an act. And there is also one that condemns it. They might be the same passage.
This case is even worse, by the way. He could have gotten another pharmacist to fill her prescription (per company policy). But he didn’t. Because his opportunity to shame her for what he viewed as an immoral choice (even though it wasn’t but it shouldn’t matter if it was) was more important.
And I know that we live in a world where bakers can refuse to make cakes for gay couples because it is OK to be a homophobic bigot as long as you can claim the bible is on your side. And that world means pharmacists can shame women for miscarrying without anything more than some online blowback.
But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. This shit is not OK.
Apologies for missing the last couple of weeks. I was on vacation.
Let’s Just Talk About the Children
The last few installments of STPMO have been focused on a single issue and this week is likely to do the same thing because holy shit is this country fucked up.
I mean, we are fucked up in a lot of ways. But when we are having a debate over whether or not it is OK to forcibly separate children from their parents for months or years, I don’t even know who we are any more. We seem overly concerned with the fact these are immigrant children as if that somehow makes it a different conversation than if these were anyone’s kids.
Never mind whether or not it is legal. I mean, it kind of is but it kind of isn’t and I try to keep this blog to about 1500 words or less so there’s no way we have that kind of time. We shouldn’t be asking if it is legal. We should be asking if it is ethical.
Roseanne Barr and Whataboutism
The big news of last week was Roseanne Barr’s popular sitcom being shut down because she tweeted something seriously racist.
For those unaware of what she tweeted, I’m going to show you. This is in reference to Valerie Jarrett, who is black:
It’s important to understand that comparing people of color (specifically black people) to apes is not just kind of racist. It is part of a long history of dehumanizing black people.
So what she said wasn’t just a “misstatement,” it was racist as fuck.
Barr has made racist statements in the past and has been publicly supportive of Donald Trump (as is her right), who is also a racist. And a sexual predator. We shouldn’t forget that Trump is a sexual predator.
This one, however, got her fired. And that doesn’t piss me off because free speech is not consequence free speech.
It does piss me off that a whole lot of other people are out of work because of what Barr said. Now, that’s the way this shit goes sometimes. They all knew Barr had a tendency to say outrageous things and they took that risk. The likely assumed the fact the show was enjoying high ratings might protect them from all but the most egregious things their star might say online.
Bad news: She said the most egregious thing.
Still, in the midst of liberal dance jams celebrating the fall of Roseanne, remember that our racist in chief is going to give Roseanne a golden parachute of some kind because he has shown the unending capacity to reward those who show him loyalty. Like Dinesh D’Souza.
So while Barr will carry on supported by the most nepotistic President in history, the rest of her cast and crew is out of work. They will find other work. But let’s remember that when Barr took herself off the air, she got a shit ton of other people fired in the process and they are not as likely to enjoy the love of the right Roseanne will enjoy.
Of course, a side effect of Trumpism is what John Oliver calls Whataboutism (he didn’t originate it but I heard it from him so I’m giving him credit).
Since Roseanne Barr got in trouble for being a racist, the right has immediately started looking for left leaning celebrities to punish. While this is fallacious reasoning, they don’t care. They can’t blame Barr for being racist so instead they want to find someone they can point to as a liberal who didn’t get punished for doing the same thing Barr did.
This allows them to remain the victimized underdog despite the fact they control all three branches of the Federal government, most governor mansions, and most state legislatures.
So what they came up with was Whoopi Goldberg and a shirt she was “wearing.”
I put “wearing” in quotes for a reason. The reason, of course, is that this image is a complete fucking fake. You can actually tell it is doctored if you know anything about doctoring images.
But that really doesn’t matter. What matters is to switch the conversation from Barr being a racist to Goldberg wearing a horrible shirt about Trump killing himself.
And let’s be clear – while I believe all of us (especially people of color) would be a lot better off if Trump was not our President – I don’t want him to shoot himself. I wouldn’t wish that on his family any more than I would wish all of the people working on “Roseanne” would lose their jobs because their star is a racist shitbag.
When you point out this photo is doctored to conservatives, their response is basically “yeah but she probably wore something that offensive at one point and besides whatever you used to find the proof it’s fake has a liberal bias because we conservatives are persecuted and that’s why we control all three branches of the federal government, and most governor’s mansions and state legislatures.”
They don’t care. Even though the most un biased proof in the world is just looking at the picture. It’s doctored! Holy shit! Are you willfully blind or actually blind?
Later in the week, conservatives shifted their attention from the fake picture of Whoopi Goldberg to a real thing Samantha Bee said on “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.”
In talking about immigration, Bee called Ivanka Trump a “feckless cunt.” She has since apologized because it was a poor choice. It wasn’t very funny. And when you are a comedian, being funny is top priority.
Barr should realize that as well.
Cries have gone up for Bee to be fired because, you know, double standard liberal bias blah blah blah. I mean, Barr apologized, right? And she got fired. But Bee didn’t. Yet. LIBERAL BIAS!
Now let’s understand the difference between racism and calling the President’s daughter a bad name.
One is racism. Full stop.
What Bee said was pretty stupid. Her and her writers had opportunities to make a different choice. They probably thought they were being edgy. But they were just calling Ivanka Trump a name. A really horrible name. A name that really didn’t do anything useful.
And look – I’m completely against tone policing. You want to use the c-word to describe someone, that’s your call. But you’d better have a really good fucking reason for doing so and if your reason is “it’s a punchline,” it needs to be the best fucking punchline you’ve ever uttered. The odds are just saying “cunt” is not going to be the best punchline you’ve ever uttered.
The right suggests that Bee’s apology is disingenuous because she had to know what she was doing when she said the word.
And yeah, she did. I’m a comedian. I’ve performed in some really offensive shows and when I’ve said offensive stuff. I knew what I was doing every time.
I’ve also crossed the line and been called on crossing the line. And I apologized.
Not because I didn’t know what I was doing. But because I got it wrong. I thought what I was doing was clever and funny and it was just stupid and wrong. When you screw up, you apologize and that apology can be sincere even if you thought you knew what you were doing at the time. Samantha Bee got it wrong and her apology is basically saying she got it wrong.
Should her show be cancelled? Probably not. Because getting it wrong is different from being a fucking racist.
In the end, though, none of us are talking about racism. And if we can really get to the heart of what pisses me off about all of this, it is that last bit.
What Barr said was racist. Comparing a black woman to an ape is racist and demeaning.
Barr has been racist for a long time. The people supporting her (specifically Trump) are also racist. They don’t like it when people point that out because being racist is bad. And it should be.
Doctoring a picture of a black celebrity to counter what Barr said doesn’t solve the fact that what Barr said was racist.
Tone policing what Bee did just takes attention away from Barr being a racist.
So what we aren’t doing is talking about racism. Barr had the number two show in the country and she’s been racist for a long time. This time she crossed a line and couldn’t walk back to the other side.
But she’s going to be rewarded for that racism because the most powerful man in the country is a racist.
People should lose their jobs for being openly racist. Trump should never have been hired in the first place because he is openly racist.
So please, let’s forget about the fact that Samantha Bee made a bad joke at the expense of the President’s wealthy, powerful, and attractive (to the President) daughter. Because Ivanka Trump can take it.
I mean seriously, stop worrying about Bee’s language choices for a moment to recognize that at the end of all of this, Ivanka Trump is doing just fine. You want to be offended on behalf of anyone in this entire endeavor, how about being offended for Whoopi Goldberg because she’s the only person who didn’t do what people are accusing her of doing. She’s also the only person of color.
You know who isn’t doing just fine? People of color in America. Because our President is a racist and he’s going to give Roseanne Barr a job while all those other people who worked with Barr, most of whom are not racist, won’t get a call from the white house.
Barr, Bee, Ivanka and yes, even Whoopi Goldberg are all sideshows to that basic fact. The racists are winning. Trump even said it himself this week (he said “we are winning” and may have meant “conservative jackasses like me are winning” but “racists” is just as likely). If you want to be pissed off about anything, be pissed off about that.
So for the last few years, some players at Football games have knelt during the National Anthem to draw attention to racial problems in America. The NFL had allowed it but clearly it pissed some people (like our whiner-in-Chief) off.
The reasons are spurious. It doesn’t disrespect the troops because the National Anthem never used to be about the troops. It doesn’t actually hurt ratings because television ratings are falling for the NFL at the exact same rate they are falling for all other network broadcasts. It doesn’t even disrespect the country because the right to voice concern with what is happening in our country is literally built into the first amendment. Yes, these people protesting are rich but they aren’t protesting for themselves you myopic dickbags. This may be hard to believe, but people can give a shit about others and some try to use their public platform to help those people.
I guess it just pisses off (mostly white) people who don’t think that (mostly non-white) people have anything to complain about.
So the “compromise” the NFL has come up with is to require players to stand during the National Anthem or, if they can’t do that, they can stay in the locker room. Failure to do so will result in a fine levied against the team. The team then can decide what to do to the players including fines or suspensions.
32 people (all but two of them white) have decided that protesting players (who are mostly black) should stay out of sight rather than quietly taking a knee during the national anthem.
Our President has responded by saying that if you can’t respect our flag and country by standing for the anthem, maybe you should leave the country.
So our President has basically told black people in America that they should leave. Because apparently staying out of sight isn’t good enough.
What the President said is really important here. Because you can’t separate the rise of white nationalism from that asshole. When he makes statements like he made this week, he is empowering people who think that America is for white people.
The other part of this conversation is the number of people who respond to all of this by saying technically it is the right of the employer (a NFL team) to impose restrictions on how their players behave in public. Because technically it is. I mean, what the owners are doing is legal.
But it is a straw man argument. So what if NFL teams have the legal right to tell their players to stand up and shut up? By doing so, they are sending the message that their version of patriotism is more important than anyone else’s. Further, they are sending a message that rich people get to control the lives of everyone they pay.
They are forcing players to be patriotic. Which isn’t even patriotic. What will be patriotic is when players kneel knowing there are potential consequences for the action.
And that’s going to happen, by the way. Anthem protests were mostly over. This new policy means they will probably be bigger than ever next season as players engage in a game of chicken with owners to effectively say “OK, I’m kneeling. Now what?”
But please stop defending the billionaires because they can legally do this. Yeah. I get it. They can.
We all know that. Why can’t you all shut up about what they have the legal right to do? If you aren’t OK with it, don’t be OK with it. It’s like you want to hide behind the legality of the action to throw your hands in the air and say “what can I do? It’s their right!”
Are you OK with them taking advantage of that right or not? The rest is window dressing. It’s like saying “I agree with Black Lives Matter but they shouldn’t block traffic.” Fine. You don’t like that some protests block traffic. Do you no longer agree with Black Lives Matter because they blocked traffic?
Either you agree with what the owners did or you do not. Their right to do it is not relevant. When they exercised their right, were you OK with it or not?
I’ll remind those who are paying attention that the two players most readily identified with the anthem protests – Colin Kaepernik and Eric Reid – still don’t have a job. Reid, especially, is considerably better than average at his position and he has been contacted by one team this year. That team owner specifically asked Reid if he would kneel for the anthem.
So making the choice to speak up (by silently kneeling) is costing some people jobs. But we don’t seem interested in the risks those players have taken for exercising their first amendment rights. Only the rights of the billionaires who don’t like what they are doing.
This week, I’ve been listening to white people talk about how these are “important issues” but the anthem “isn’t the right time” to call attention to them. They say that they watch football to “escape” from politics and that minute and a half when someone kneels quietly at the beginning of the game just makes it impossible to enjoy the three hours of football that follow.
Excuse me for being indelicate but fuck them.
While they complain about how politics “invades” their enjoyment of football, pretty much every black man in America sweats out a traffic stop because they want to make sure they don’t get shot. Do these assholes whining about politics invading their play time stand at attention during the anthem? Or do they simply expect the players on the field to do so while they can concentrate on their fantasy football scores?
If you think this is just about the NFL, you are mistaken. It is about black people trying to tell white people something and white people constantly saying “you need to tell me in a different way.”
First, they said “you can’t block traffic or I won’t listen.”
Then they said “you can’t kneel quietly or I won’t listen.”
Now they are saying “Just stay out of sight. Then I promise I’ll listen.”