Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ha Ha

A few things that I find laughable.

1. In movies, TV shows and commercials that feature upper middle class to well-to-do married women, these betrothed ladies generally wear understated wedding bands. I’ve tracked it. According to broad reach media, 9 out of 10 women who have lots of money don’t like big honkin’ diamonds.

Their gold bands are rarely topped off with boastful, eye-shielding, bordering-on-tasteless engagement diamonds (unless they are supposed to be somewhat unlikable). Even though we know that nice women like those portrayed in the fictional dramas aspire to – and generally have – the biggest possible diamond they can afford. Or not afford. The biggest possible diamond they can convince their at the time husbands-to-be to take on as debt. And then have shipped to another state – to a friends’ or a mother-in-law’s – to avoid paying sales tax. They do this with a “we pay our taxes!” indignation, to which I say, “Not your sales tax, apparently.”

But the women in these media spectacles wear subtle gold bands because:

-Producers wouldn’t want them to appear gauche – though I suppose that’s what all the women who live in NY, SF, LA and many other places would qualify as with their hand-dragging diamonds that at least one African must have lost a few fingers over. Is there some irony here?

-We want these women to be relatable. Most women – while aspiring to a real knuckle-dragger – can hardly afford the miniscule, barely visible chip their fianc├ęs spring for at the local Wal-Mart or Shane Company.

We aspire to appear tasteful and un-greedy while signaling that we have lots of money and gigantic jewels. Or cars. Or homes. We don’t NEED them to feel superior. We just like them. Yeah right.

How about we all stop wanting great big shiny rocks (or cars, or homes) that De Beers (or BMW, or mortgage brokers) has convinced us we need to lay down 3 months salary for (more for the car and/or homes) and be as low-key as the pretend wives we see in movies and television commercials?

I’m not saying I’m there yet. I’m working on it. I’m just pointing out the irony.

2. People are upset about Jesse Jackson using the N-word. Really? You think black people don’t talk about other black people, not to mention white people, all people that are just a little less like them? Of course they do! We all do. I have an inside track here being in a mixed race family and hearing black people talk about white people and Jewish people talk about black people and on and on.

Just like religious people talk about how non-believers are heathens, liberal white people talk about “African Americans” (they say this with a barely audible hesitation, not sure what the appropriate terminology is these days; they want to use the respectful term when slandering…have we not yet realized that it doesn’t matter what you call ‘em, so long as you don’t say it with disdain?), gays talk about straights (‘breeders!’) and Jews talk about everyone including Schvartzes, Goyim and Shiksas. Please, white people – don’t act so ‘can you believe it?’ horrified because a black dude talks about the one black guy you like (because he ‘transcends race’ and ‘speaks so well!’) with a bit of antipathy. Not all black folks agree and like each other. Is that so shocking?

Really what we should all be asking ourselves is: why was Jesse on Fox News anyway? Is he so desperate for media attention after years left in the wings of American politics, that he was willing to sell his soul to Fox for a little air time? Apparently so.

3. Speaking of race, folks are also really upset about this New Yorker cover with Obama and his wife, Michelle, ‘fist bumping’; she sports a black pride afro the size of a beach ball in the style of what is intended to depict a ‘black militant’, he is depicted as a Muslim. I’m still trying to understand why people are upset with a magazine known for satirical cartoons for putting a satirical cartoon on its cover. It’s their stock in trade.

I suppose it’s anger inducing because these fancy over educated New Yorker editors are making fun of people who view this couple that way, who probably don’t read the magazine anyway so they wouldn’t have even known about it if it wasn’t telecast on every news channel known to mankind. Liberals are peeved because, they argue, regular old folks are gonna take this seriously. While they sip their over-priced lattes and carry their groceries in re-usable Whole Foods bags, these liberals say: We get it, of course, but all those poor under-educated Pentacostals…well, they won’t understand! Imagine this: when said Pentacostal is reading his New Yorker in the powder room, he’ll jam an index finger at the cover with “I knew it!” satisfaction. Oh wait a minute…he doesn’t get the New Yorker. He’ll be reading Field and Stream or Guns and Ammo or I love Jesus! on the can. So there’s nothing to worry about after all.

Are we really going to take up not very precious air-time, but time nonetheless, asking Barack about his thoughts and feelings on this cartoon? Yes, apparently we are. At least Barack put it all into perspective on Larry King:

“But you know what, it's a cartoon, Larry, and that's why we've got the First Amendment. And I think the American people are probably spending a little more time worrying about what's happening with the banking system and the housing market, and what's happening in Iraq and Afghanistan, than a cartoon. So I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about it."

Let me be clear. I voted for Hilary. I am one of these latte-sipping liberals (I don’t actually drink lattes, because I hate milk. But I do carry my own reusable grocery bags and I am left of left of center) but I happened to prefer Hils. But, thanks to this man for calling a spade a spade. Bad analogy in this particular instance. My apologies. Thanks Barack, for telling it like it is, in this instance anyway. I’m comin’ around to your mojo.

4. Are people seriously opposed to gay marriage? How on earth is the fact that some guy in San Francisco (we’ll call him Bruce) who works as a casual pants merchant at Gap deciding to spend the rest of his life with his long time partner (we’ll call him Dan) who owns his own interior design firm and they together own a small ‘ranch’ in Petaluma where they grow organic vegetables (well, the local Mexican help does) and style the ‘barn’ to look like a page out of a Ralph Lauren store display…I lost track. Oh yes, how is the fact that these two lovely lads can tie the knot going to put an Oklahoma, Jesus-ordained, highly traditional ball and chain style marriage at risk? These two gents are committed to making the world a prettier place. Their ‘taste level’ beautifies Northern California, their commitment to each other rivals that of Hollywood’s latest ‘it’ couple. And they want what regular old folks have. The ability to commit to each other before their family and friends. And slink away in humiliation ten years later when it all falls apart.

Isn’t it more likely that a husband’s affair with his secretary or the fact that many hetero couples have sexless marriages (officially a ‘sexless’ marriage is sex 10 or fewer times per year) more likely to wreck the traditional union? I just don’t see how Bruce and Dan in Petaluma riding on matching miniature ponies is going to affect Doris and Bob in Tulsa. But then again, I never understood how the fact that Dan prefers to sex up people with parts that match his own was going to impact Doris.

In a few short years it will seem as ridiculous that gay people couldn’t get married once upon a time as it seems now that mixed race couples couldn’t get married just a few years ago. Of this, I’m sure.

Whew. I’ve gotten all my social/political/economic issues on the table.
I’m now going to go read the New Yorker, while wearing only a tasteful gold wedding band, before calling my gay newly married friends to congratulate them and see if they got my wedding gift of a top of the line espresso machine, before tuning in to Fox News for a little heart-pumping ‘know thine enemy’ before bedtime edutainment.


KristenM said...

That was so funny. One prob is that with 24 hour news, it seems to generate a whole lot of stupid non issues to fill the air time.

Caroline said...

This is a very interesting post but having just read your book I have been waiting for you to comment about this year's Olympic gymnastics team, the selection process, and the choice of gymnasts. Or if you don't care, to read why you don't. I know you are more than a former gymnast and of course you are free to write whatever you want on this blog, but I am personally very eager to know what you think after having read your book.

susie said...

I'm just some random blog browser who loved your book. I grew up in the east bay and now live in North Carolina, a completely opposite political atmosphere (that's supposed to mean that I understand both sides and have friends of all backgrounds--except for Baptists, actually). If you're honestly interested in the answer to the question of why people care that gay people can get married, I think I can answer as a religious conservative (who doesn't read "I love Jesus!" on the can).
Gay people can do whatever they want, that's fine with me. I tolerate (I know that sounds condescending and I don't mean it that way, I know they tolerate my behavior too) their behavior and I understand why they do what they do. However, I feel like gay marriage moves our society from tolerating others' choices to full-fledged acceptance and promotion of them. I've read about the legislation in California being pushed ahead about sex ed changes in schools and not permitting our kids to read books with parents in them because that's making kids who don't have both parents feel bad, etc. etc. So we're not just permitting people to tie the knot, we're going to be, as a society, advocating and supporting a lifestyle morally I don't want to be supported and lauded as an acceptable choice, and also one that's not ideal for raising children. But yes, it is better for a child to be loved by people rather than to emotionally rot in the foster care system. Do we shoot for the ideal as a society or just let whatever happen, happen and hope that there's enough love to go around that will fill in the inherent wishes of children that know they should have a father and a mother?

Also, I'm going to say one thing. I think that liberals get so frustrated with not having gay-marriage (it's everyone's right to be married with whomever they want) that I find it humorous they get offended when you relate polygamy to those same rights. Polygamy was banned based on the fact that marriage is between a man and a woman, so now that that's changed, why can't we extend the right of marriage to everyone? Isn't it a little hypocritical for gays to only think of themselves as oppressed and not the polygamous men and women who can't live their married lives outright? Gay people get extremely offended if you even relate the two. I just think we're going to have to either draw the line at man-woman, or just open it up to everyone and have a whole bunch of fun in the married world.

I know these ideas/points were stated very well, but I wanted to say my piece (even though it's not my blog, sorry) and make sure I respond to the liberal points where it makes it seem like conservatives are idiots for ever having objected to love between two people. Thanks and I find all your olympic articles and your book really interesting.

Jennifer Sey said...

hi susie, thanks for reading the book and the salon stuff. i guess i'd disagree with you that allowing gay people to marry violates some sort of ideal. i'm married to someone outside my race, which not to long ago would have been considered a violation of an ideal. obviously, i'd staunchly disagree that it does; i see gay marriage along these lines.

AND, i'm fine if a guy wants to marry a bunch of women. Or vice versa. So long as its not the fundamentalist polygamy wherein child abuse and oppression of women is the norm.

appreciate your reading so consistently! regards, Jen Sey