Monday, June 15, 2009

I Heart Adventure, Where's My Story?

NPR - I love you a lot lately. Your coverage of Iran has been riveting, your All Things Considered have been fresh and delightful to listen to, and your afternoon interviews (Sally Field! Woody Allen!) have made me wish my lunchtime break was so much longer. And even better than all of that is this PERFECT letter by Linda Holmes asking Pixar to holla back at the gals who love their films, and would be pumped to see our own adventures and stories projected up there on the big screen.
Of the ten movies you've released so far, ten of them have central characters who are boys or men, or who are anthropomorphized animals or robots or bugs who are voiced by and imagined as boys or men. These movies feature women and girls to varying degrees -- The Incredibles, in particular -- but the story is never "a girl and the things that happen to her," the way it's "a boy and what happens to him."

And Up...oh, Up has Ellie, who I could have watched forever. Seen only in flashbacks to the main story, Ellie is warm and hilarious, ambitious and fearless, and then gone for most of the movie. She provides the engine for the story, in many ways, but it's an old man and a little boy who actually get to hit the gas.
I finally got to see Up last Friday and wowza! I loved everything about it, from the perfect non clichéd talking animals, to elderly fisticuffs, to the imaginative adventure itself, it was pretty perfect. But, sigh, I agree with Ms. Holmes. It needed more Ellie, or even better, Ellie needs her own film - one where she gets to live on and kick selfish old man ass all the while managing to be fitfully funny. Those moments in the beginning of the film where she was featured as a child where so entertaining and made me laugh the hardest. It reminded me of my younger days creeping around my block, notebook in hand, copying down the private rituals of my unsuspecting neighbors, all the while channeling my hero Harriet the Spy. I held on to every one of Ellie's moments so tightly as I watched it, knowing (from previews/reviews) that I wouldn't get to revel in her (my) young spunkiness for long. So I join Ms. Holmes in asking in a my most affable tone, Pixar? Can you give us some Coralines and save your Collettes? And while you're at it, can she be okay with being single? A lot of us are!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

You Can't Unwholesome Football

Jon Stewart lampoons Fox and Friends for tsking and tutt tutting Sacha Baron Cohen's naked ass stunt at the MTV movie awards, though mere days later the crew basks in the glory of a few lingerie clad female "football players." You'd think Gretch would retch over this gross hyper sexualization since her face almost turned inside out while discussing SBC, but instead, OMFG it's "the best thing [she's] ever seen on TV!!!!" Is it the football that makes it okay? The lack of ass hair perhaps? Or maybe it's Foxes desperate need for ratings...Jon?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Fox & Friends' Lingerie Football Romp
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorNewt Gingrich Unedited Interview

Monday, June 8, 2009

My Piano Playin' Heart Is Going Pitter Pat

Some (like the boyfriend) might say this is a waste of 3 minutes and 25 seconds, but if you go gaga for anything Metric, then I'd say this video of two teens pounding the ivories to the tune of "Combat Baby," in a somewhat methodical, yet haunting way is gonna make yer night. If you're not a slobbering Metric maniac, well, push play beats watching commercials between Colbert Report.

Metric - 9:30 Club, DC - June 18th - So. Effing. Pumped.

Thanks to Nicole for the link!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Close Friend of A&G Remebers Dr. George Tiller

While my anger is fierce and my heart is tattered, I have never actually met, nor worked with Dr. George Tiller, the Kansas abortion provider who was murdered in his place of worship this past Sunday, May 31st. One of my dearest friends, as well as a personal heroine of mine, has had those pleasures, however. On her blog, Next To Deadly Wait Forever, Elisabeth memorialized Dr. Tiller based on her interactions with him and her dedicated work in the reproductive health movement. Her post, They pray for us, prey for us, is one of the most beautiful, personal, and wrenching pieces I have read since Sunday. I would like to share it here, to not only introduce you to the beautiful prose of this writer, but to call attention to the ripples of pain and sorrow this cowardly act of hatred and violence has created across our society.

I met Doctor Tiller in Victoria, British Columbia. He guided me through the process of digoxin injection over a fascinating pregnant-belly model with needles and ultrasound. His hands were warm. He was patient and attentive and described me as a natural in my approach to pumping salve into the umbilical cord and heart of a mock fetus. Never mind that I was simply curious and was not licensed to utilize his fascinating skill and wanted to touch his hands.

He sat next to me in Minneapolis, MN, during a session regarding patient counseling at an annual meeting. During the Q &A, he was offered a spotlight to share his vast insight. He stood statuesque, valiant and jolly and urged us to proceed fearless, with love bountiful in our hearts. When the session concluded, he offered me a few of his precious moments: we shook hands warmly and with energy and I asked with tears welling—who would provide when he no longer provided. He assured me the outcome was faith-full, that others would carry-on.

I rode in the elevator with him during our annual meeting in Portland, OR, in April. He wore his usual leather coat and sense of balance and compassion. He asked me of my evening in the city. Relentless lawsuits, harassment and recent clinic vandalism aside, he was calm. Carrying on.

He was shot point-blank in his church lobby this sun beaming morning. He was ushering and his wife was singing and they killed him in their place of peace.

I’ve had a creeping sense that something terrible would happen. I’ve begun to fear the safety of my clinic as anti-abortion extremists begin to lose their grounding in political clout but I didn’t imagine Dr. Tiller in this sense of doom. He seemed to glide through relentless opposition spiritually unscathed. I imagined him until 100. With years of peace to follow his tireless battle to be subtly, significantly good.

I could only give him these things in my merciless hope for magic: roses from the bishop’s garden, prayers 38-40 in the Bethlehem Chapel by the Way of Peace in the National Cathedral, the sunshine, the drum circle, the half moon.

Oh, Dr. Tiller. I will miss how I adore your daily perseverance, your swift and enlightening presence, your hands. Your eternal and expansive heart.

Thank you for your elegant words, and your purposeful work, Elisabeth. A powerful thank you to every person who works, fights, and lives for reproductive rights and health. You are brave, strong, and empowering. Please don't let any act of domestic terrorism deter your important LEGAL, medical, and ethical work.

Monday, June 1, 2009

This Is My Revolution! It Is Not Yours To Take and Remold Into Images of Hate, Violence, and Fear!

Today the Daily Beast reports that yesterday's horrific shooting of, Dr. George Tiller, a Kansas abortion provider may be a sign of an onslaught of more violent crimes, protests, and hack-tivism by extremists on the right.
People who study right-wing extremism have been worried for months that something like this might happen. In far-right circles, “there’s a sense that America has tipped and has slipped out of control and somebody better do something, with regard to abortion, gay marriage, demographic changes,” says Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.
I resent that the citizens of this country have to deal with this. Our elections are fair (though the right played a hand in one that was not), and democratic. Dems and the left sat by for 8 years while a war that we disagreed with was waged in our name. Our hands tied and our mouths taped, we protested peacefully, legally. Now 5 months into a new administration we waited so patiently and fought so hard for, an administration supposedly fueled by hope, this despicable crime is committed and blamed on this change in leadership.

change is causing our country to slip out of control? But where was the right when Bush was tapping our phones, and passing the Patriot Act? Where were the self identified "pro-lifers" when the Iraq war started killing thousands of innocent victims? And where are they now, 6 years later, as it continues to rage? This portion of the country stood silent for the last 8 years while Bush and co. restricted our freedoms in the name of freedom. But now, mere months have passed since Bush left office, and suddenly we're losing control.

Why? Because our President is black? Because a few more states allow gay marriage (keeping in mind a major state lost that right, and our crazy liberal president still doesn't endorse gay marriage, nor has he made a motion to legalize it federally)? Because immigrants, and foreign born people still live in this country, exactly like they did 6 months ago and the eight years previous to that? (And as a reminder, if you don't descend from Native Americans, you're technically an immigrant too, so leave your high horse at the door.) Nothing since Obama took office is radically different for the right wing. Their lives are the same as they were 6 months ago. The tipping and slipping is all in their heads, perhaps their own fear mongering has finally turned on them.

Please quit trying to justify your flawed reasoning, right wingers. Just say you hate people of color. Say you hate immigrants. Say you hate the GLBT population. Say you hate women. JUST EFFING SAY IT ALREADY. Call it what it is and stop putting it all under the insincere and disgustingly inaccurate headings of "protection," "freedom," and worst of all "love." These are not your ideologies to uphold. They are mine. They are that of my friends, colleagues, relatives, mentors, teachers, and acquaintances. They are the ideals of those who work tirelessly to eradicate violence against women; those who fight to make sure all Americans have access to proper housing, education, food, and health care; those who make sure children are loved, wanted, and properly cared for; those who rally against hatred and inequality in all aspects of life; and those who protect the choice of women and their families when it comes to their reproductive health and safety.

I am working for protection. I am working for freedom. I am working for love. YOU are working to undo everything I and everyone in my life has lived and fought for. And The Daily Beast, with the insight of Brian Levin, predict there is more to come.
Now the economy is far worse, as is the degree to which conservatives find themselves marginalized in national politics. There’s desperation in the air... Levin fears that, as in the 1990s, other attacks could follow. “One thing we know about extremism is that it tends to occur with some seriality,” he says. “This was not only a single assassination. Within the movement, it was a call to arms. Whether or not it’s successful, your guess is as good as mine.”
I can tell you it will not be successful. The murder of Dr. George Tiller is not a victory. It is a reminder. It reminds us why our work is so important, and also reminds us that is not easy. But most of all, it reminds us that we must never stop fighting in solidarity.

Friday, May 29, 2009

You Took the Words Outta My Mouth: Immigration + Mental Health = EPIC FAIL

Thea Lim has this excellent post over on Racialicious, "When Systems of Oppression Intersect: Mental Health and the Immigration System." It details the story of Xiu Ping Jiang, a Chinese immigrant who has been caught up in the flawed deportation process, and whose situation is more compounded by a system that does not know how to properly treat for mental health concerns. This piece, which also cites other articles of note, captures what a horror show our immigration system really is. Being kept in solidarity confinement has ratcheted up Jiang's depression and suicidal ideations, thus it becomes increasingly more difficult for her to properly organize effectively for her case. Lim goes on to say:
It is impossible to disentangle the different strands of prejudice; where the psychiatric system is used to persecute people of colour, the justice system or immigration system persecutes people with disabilities, and inhumane systems in general combine to drive people to madness.
Read the full article here. As a crisis worker who has seen similar issues played out, let me just add that this problem is exacerbated when intimate partner violence or sexual assault is involved. This triad is unfortunately very common and there are not enough agencies with the appropriate resources available to aid these victims. This is the kind of problem that while not specialized, is treated as such, and I would love to see it addressed by our new administration.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Metric vs Married To The Sea

So other than biting my nails over the wait for the new HP movie, I've been obsessively listening to the new Metric album, Fantasies. Which, not to sound too over zealous, is completely perfect from start to finish. If you don't know Metric, check out that link above and give a listen, I doubt I'll like any album more than this one in 2009 (unless it's the new YYY which I haven't picked up yet).

One of my favorite parts of this album is the last song, it's upbeat, cute, and makes for a good visual. But more importantly, it makes me think Emily Haines (front woman) is really into the online comic, Married To The Sea. Which would be cool, because then we'd have something in common, and when we meet I could tell her I'm from Ohio just like Drew and Natalie who make MTTS, and she'd instantly want to be best friends with me because of my good taste in webcomics and midwestern states. So if you haven't already made the connection between these things, let me elablorate. The last song, Statium Love has lyrics like this:

Wanna make a bet
We'll be neck and neck
Taking off the gloves

Spider Vs Bat
Tiger Vs Rat
Rabbit Vs Dove

Every living thing
Pushed into the ring
Fight it out
To wow the crowd

The full song lyrics are here and you can listen to Statium Love on the site link up top. So the song has a deeper meaning about relationships (of course), but that's all lost on me, because everytime I listen to it, I think of this MTTS comic:

lolz...Moral of this tale? Listen to Metric, and read MTTS so you can wow your friends at parties with your inane cross references.