Thursday, November 06, 2003

I have a confession to make; I don’t like Howard Dean.

This is not new. It’s been percolating for a while. I wouldn’t admit it to myself, only going to so far as to own up to feeling “lukewarm” about him. There are things that I like about him. I like things he’s said. I like how he’s surprised everybody by becoming a frontrunner. I like that he goes to people like Kos for campaign advice.

But I don’t like him.

Take this Confederate Flag comment (and I must say it is quite a feat to have offended both African Americans and white Southerners in one fell swoop). I’m less bothered by the content of the comment than I am about what it reveals. It’s both careless and opportunistic. And that worries me.

I don’t think that Dean is a racist nor do I think he’s disdainful of the south. I do think that he doesn’t have as nuanced a view of racial strife in this country as he would have us believe. I

But that’s not the whole truth to the reason I don’t like him.

The whole truth is that I don’t have a good reason that I can prove. He rubs me the wrong way, I can’t visualize them as President, none of these are really good reasons. I just don’t like him.

The ironic thing is that I like a lot of his supporters. They’re smart, energetic, and I respect their opinions. For this reason I’ve tried to shake these vague feelings. But they just won’t go away.

If Dean wins the party nomination, I will vote for him and consider it a really good choice. I’ll even decorate my jacket with buttons and my car with bumper stickers. Is this hypocritical? I don’t think so. I believe I’ve said before that my approach at this point for November 2004 is ANYONE BUT BUSH. But Dean is not my first choice. Because I just don’t like him.

So if anybody who reads this blog either feels the same way or wants to change my mind, please feel free to make your case. I hope this doesn’t chase anybody away.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Tran-fastic Moments With Ann Coulter

I missed Hardball but Pierce over at Altercation piqued my curiosity so I decided to dig up the transcript. David Corn and Ann Coulter are facing off over the Reagan fiasco. I don't remember how they leaped from the Reagan mini-series to Patton but that's how Annie's mind works.

MATTHEWS: You are dead wrong. Everybody loved “Patton” from the first day it came out.
       COULTER: But that isn’t the way it was intended.
       MATTHEWS: I was in the Peace Corps in Africa and everybody over there loved it when we got to see it. From the first day we loved it.
       CORN: How could you not love that movie from the opening scene?
       MATTHEWS: He’s God-like. Ann, where do you get this malarkey from?
       Everybody loved “Patton.” How old were you, when “Patton” came out. How old were you, two?
       COULTER: I think you’re misunderstanding.
       MATTHEWS: No, I think you’re wrong, Ann. I think everybody loved “Patton.”
       COULTER: Can I respond?
       MATTHEWS: Who didn’t like it?
       COULTER: That is precisely my point, because it was made accurately.
       But it was made, the people making it were intending to make Patton look bad.
       MATTHEWS: Who did that?
       COULTER: That is why George C. Scott turned down his Academy Award for playing Patton.
       MATTHEWS: Who told you that? Who told you that?
       COULTER: It’s well known.
       MATTHEWS: It’s well known?
       COULTER: Why do you think he didn’t accept the award?
       CORN: Why did he take the role? Why did he take the role, Ann, if he didn’t want to do it?
       COULTER: Why do you think he turned down the award, Chris? You never looked that up? It never occurred to you? “I wonder why George C. Scott didn’t accept his award.”
       MATTHEWS: Because he said he wasn’t going to a meat parade, because he didn’t believe in award ceremonies because they’re all about women wearing no clothes and showing off their bodies...
       COULTER: By portraying Patton as negatively as possible, but by doing it accurately the American people loved it.
       MATTHEWS: Facts mean nothing to you, Ann.
       CORN: In this movie he shoots down an airplane with a gun.
       MATTHEWS: I’m glad you are not making movies, Ann Coulter. Thank you, David Corn, Andrew Grossman.

Next time she's on I suggest someone spike her coffee with Thorazine.
You think this has anything to do with the fact that more people are getting their news from the The Daily Show?

I like to think so.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Jon Stewart beats the crap out of O'Reilly, Matthews, and Brown.
Just when you thought it was safe to cancel your cable
Barraged by accusations from conservatives that it was distorting the legacy of a president, CBS announced Tuesday it was pulling "The Reagans" miniseries off the air.

The network said it was licensing the completed film to Showtime, a pay cable network that, like CBS, is owned by Viacom.

Well, at least Showtime is attempting to atone for the great sin that was DC 9/11.
Interesting piece in today’s Salon about The Human Stain and other work done on “passing.” I can’t say that I’ve done a lot of reading on the subject and am still only about two-thirds of the way through The Human Stain. But this is one of the few articles I’ve read that addresses the phenomenon of passing in terms of our ability --or lack thereof-- to confront multi-ethnicity.

Any truly anti-essentialist framework must embrace a technical truth: Despite the legacy of the "one-drop rule," someone who's both black and white is passing for black as much as he's passing for white. "The Human Stain" sidesteps this issue because Coleman's parents are both defined as black, but Coleman's white ancestry is written all over his face -- so why can't he claim it?

There is a lot more to this article but that really jumped out at me. One thing that I’ve noticed growing up in Chicago, which is one of the most racially segregated cities in the country, is how complex the reaction is to the concept of biraciality or multi-ethnicity. I sometimes find that simply acknowledging that I am biracial can be seen by people has an attempt to downplay my African American heritage. Coming out as biracial has a “lightening” effect; it’s the new “passing.”

What’s both fascinating—and for me intensely frustrating—is how the one-drop theory has come full circle. Once used as a way for white sires to legally reject mulatto offspring, it became of uniting African-Americans. For a lot of people, the introduction of the little multi-ethnic box on the census sheets was something that could splinter communities.

I had mixed feelings about that. I always wanted to have a definite answer for which box to feel in. People used to tell me, “Put what your mother is,” but that never felt right. Usually I’d feel in two boxes and not worry about it. Mostly I just wanted it not to matter so much. But the Census Bureau is preoccupied with single boxes, so a “Shade in all that apply,” approach was not an option.

And in a way it solves nothing. If I insist on my own multi-ethnicity there are still many people who choose not to. And if a mulatto declares himself/herself as African-American he/she is seen as more African-American than me.

This is not something I think about often as it comes up less and less. But every now and then I catch myself explaining my ethnicity to someone and wondering what they might be thinking.

Monday, November 03, 2003

My Weekend

San Francisco is the best city to be in if you happen to sprain your foot.

Also I'm more of a "smoked salmon socialist" than I am a "limousine liberal."

And that's all I'm going to say about that.