When blogger hacks have too much power and what we can all learn from the Sherrod case

Posted in politics, television with tags , , , , , , on July 21, 2010 by klysha

I was going to blog about something entirely different to end to my 3 month blogging hiatus but I just have to say something about the story I saw unfold on CNN and the web last night.

Shirley Sherrod

In some ways its absolutely awesome that the blogosphere has given any average joe a voice to share their opinions with the world. Unfortunately a lot of average joes really don’t deserve to have working vocal chords or the kind of power a keyboard can give you in our microwave society. This unfortunate reality is evidenced by the whole fiasco I just learned about involving a woman named Shirley Sherrod. Apparently some idiot blogger hack with a clear agenda named Andrew Breitbart posted a video on his blog of a speech Ms. Sherrod was giving at an NAACP function. However he apparently only posted about a minute and a half clip of the video that when taken out of context appeared to be racially incendiary. Faux News also apparently broadcast his partial video and went on to sully this woman’s reputation. Then the NAACP after being shown this edited clip quickly moved to renounce Ms. Sherrod and her employer, the Department of Agriculture, quickly forced her to resign from her job. Well it turns out that when you watch the whole 42 plus minute long video you see that her story was actually one of redemption and overcoming racism despite having lost her own father at the hands of racists. The irony that a woman who spent her life fighting to overcome injustice lost her job because some hack with an agenda tried to use her to prove an erroneous point is just evidence for how screwed up our country is  when it comes to the race issue. It’s also evidence showing why it’s just stupid to pass judgment on someone based on quotes, short video clips, and internet snippets.  The saddest part of this is, instead of issuing a quick apology for the hand they played in costing this woman her job, Faux news has tried to flip the storyAn idiot with an agenda into blaming the Obama administration and the NAACP for their character assassination. They have taken little to no responsibility for the hand they played in fueling the fire by reporting this story without checking the facts. And the second saddest part is that instead of apologizing, that Breitbart idiot came out to say his use of the video wasn’t about Ms. Sherrod, but about how the people in the audience reacted to what appeared to be a story about discriminating against a white man.  He isn’t taking into consideration that the audience saw the whole speech and was reacting to her story IN CONTEXT.  Is there no limit to the lengths conservatives will go to to alter the narrative the fit their agenda? Wait a minute I take that back…both Fox News and Breitbart have an agenda…while it’s sad, this kind of thing is expected out of them. The saddest part is the willingness on the part of both the NAACP and her employer, the federal government, to believe a story as told by people with a negative agenda. See this link to see Breitbarts own words and his clear statement of his agenda.

At any rate, I firmly believe that there is always a lesson to be learned when things like this happen.

Lesson 1 There’s no way to get to know a person’s character based on any one thing they said. No matter what the circumstances are, is there is almost always a bigger picture and an untold narrative behind anything someone allows to come out of their mouth. In this case the bigger narrative was readily available in the rest of the 42 minute speech that was misused, but sometimes the story isn’t so obvious and we should all consider this before rushing to judgment.

Lesson 2 Being reactionary isn’t the most effective way to bring about change. In this case the NAACP quicky responded to the video and almost immediately renounced Ms. Sherrod without even reviewing a tape that was shown at one of their OWN events. They did this because this tape was leaked in the wake of their call for the Tea Party to renounce racism in it’s ranks. They were so quick to try to show the Tea Party, “see we don’t condone racism”, that they didn’t even bother to get the whole story. NAACP you’ve got to be smarter that this when dealing with conservatives. They are skilled at altering the narrative to fit their agenda. (I’m very tempted to write a post later this week outlining what I think the NAACP needs to do if they want to remain viable as an organization. Let us not forget the recent Hallmark Card incident.)

Lesson 3 There are people…ahem…conservatives…who are willing to twist the story any way they can to try to prove a point. Therefore we must ALWAYS consider the source before running with a piece of information.

Lesson 4 Anyone who considers the Fox News Network to be a legitimate source of news is either racist or stupid. Okay maybe that’s not a lesson, but I am starting to firmly believe it’s true. Anyone who can sit and stomach much less agree with more than 60% of the biased, inflamatory, and often downright inacurate reporting that goes on on that network is probably either harboring  some deep seeded racist views or is an idiot.

This link shows the whole video

Click here to see CNN’s coverage of this issue.

Alabama Gubernatorial candidate shows his true colors

Posted in politics with tags , , , on April 30, 2010 by klysha

I take pride in my Alabama roots.  I really do.  Even if I tried to pretend I wasn’t born in the deep south this thick southern accent that I can’t seem to shake would blow my cover every time.  On multiple occasions when I’ve told people who had never been to Alabama where I’m from their  response was a wide eyed “Wow! Is it really, you  know, all racist and stuff?”   Usually they’re actually disappointed that I don’t have an arsenal of war stories about overcoming oppression and bigotry at the Woolworths soda counter.

It’s rich racist legacy has afforded Alabama a spot on many a northern born black person’s “Will never visit list”,  but for the most part I’ve felt like Alabama has gotten a bad wrap.  Then just when I get pretty good at defending the honor of my home state somebody like this comes along and ruins everything.

Now I’m not arguing against expecting imigrants to learn the English language. In most countries you’re expected to learn the local language to live and function. My issue is with this guy making the language the driver’s license test is issued in a campaign issue. Really???? Because this is an issue that really effects a lot of Alabamians right????  In a state where there are counties with illiteracy rates as high as 34%  (That means in some rural counties in Alabama 1 in 3 people can’t read on a basic level) are we really gonna make requiring people to speak the English language a campaign issue???  Why not make  working to increase literacy for some of the poorest Alabamians a campaign issue….you know something that might actually BENEFIT some people.  Instead this son of a biscuit eater is making a blatant appeal to the bigots in Alabama who will eat up an oh so “Pro-American” sounding message like this.

“This is Alabama. We speak English.”

Really? Because the people of England would listen to anybody from Baldwin county speak for 30 seconds and beg to differ with this statement.

The thing that pisses me off the most about this ad is he’s trying to dress his blatant bigotry in a cloak of perceived logic.  That’s where things get get dangerous.  Unfortunately that’s a tactic that is frequently used by Republicans.

For me the bigotry is pretty blatant in this ad, but some people who share the “Pro-American*” views  Tim James is trying to portray here could easily get duped into thinking this is really about saving money. How much money is really spent on offering the driving test in other languages Tim?

However since I for one like my bigotry straight up with no chaser I suppose I should thank Tim James for pretty much doing the next best thing behind wearing a fitted tee shirt with I’m a bigoted jerk emblazoned across the chest. Too bad I’m not an Alabama voter so I can’t vote against him.

*I’m not necessarily saying that “Pro-American” is synonymous with bigoted but I’m not saying it’s not either

Why did I give Tyler Perry another $10… err Get Married Too

Posted in Movies with tags , on April 5, 2010 by klysha

Several days before opening night I read a scathing review of Why Did I Get Married Too that set my expectations even lower than they generally are for a TP flick, so low that I had pretty much decided that I probably wasn’t going to bother to see it. But on Friday I was out with some of the girls from work on a spring arrival celebratory happy hour outing and someone got the brilliant idea to cap off the night with a viewing of Tyler Perry’s latest. My initial reaction was to reject the suggestion based on the scathing review I had just read, but a tiny part of me wanted to believe that it couldn’t possibly be as bad as they said.  Plus I like to see things with my own eyes before passing  judgment.  Besides there had to be some entertainment value in this movie …there just had to…and there was actually…but not all of it was in the ways I think Tyler Perry intended.

I’ll try to describe how I felt about Why Did I Get Married Too did without dropping too many spoilers lest I ruin a bunch of black folks Easter weekend.

Let’s start with the good.

There are some great messages about communication in marriage, and thanks to Perry’s subtle as a foghorn delivery you can’t miss them.

A lot of black actors and actresses got a paycheck.

Sharon Leal’s dress in the opening scene made me believe in style again.

Lemman Rucker’s fine self.

Despite closely resembling two balloons stapled to his chest Michael Jai White’s pectorals provided a welcome and much needed distraction from how contrived the dialoge was between the men in that post jet ski  ride scene early in the movie.

Unlike most of Tyler Perry’s movies this movie wasn’t laced with churchy excessively moralistic themes.

This movie brought out the biggest crowd of black people I’ve ever seen at one time in Friendship Heights.  Since I live in Montgomery County MD, I welcome anything that brings me into the presence of a lot of black people.

Now for everything else.

Maybe I just don’t have a strong enough suspension of disbelief switch to sit through a Tyler Perry movie and ignore all the things that just don’t make any sense to me.

Things that didn’t make sense to me in this movie include:

Jill Scott’s character’s ex from Why Did I Get Married showing up at the time share.

The way Tasha Smith’s character only knew one speaking volume.

How Jill Scott’s character could make the exact same mistake Bird made in Soul Food. Don’t movie characters watch movies too?

Ciciley Tyson’s wig.  That wig was just disrespectful to our elders.

Janet Jackson’s and Malik Yoba’s characters relationship and all the melodrama that ensued. Perhaps some character development would have helped me out here.

Scene's that made me say why????

Tyler Perry playing a man. Even though I honestly don’t think Tyler Perry is gay,  he’s incredibly unbelievable to me as a straight man. I don’t understand why that’s the way it is but it just is.

Aside from a lot of things just not making sense to me and Tyler Perry’s complete inability to make use of nuance to deliver a message it seemed like TP just got a little lazy when he wrote this one.  But then again if I think back to every other movie he ever made  I suppose they all seem a little lazy so maybe my less than stellar impression of this movie is mostly my fault.  Silly me for going in there hoping to see some growth.  According to the reactions I saw on Twitter from most of his fan base and the extra dialogue provided by the audience in the packed theater I was in, this was an amazing flick.  So any negative impressions on my part are very likely a sign that either my expectations for this movie were in complete misalignment with the fact that this was indeed a TP flick or they could mean I’m just not in TP’s target demographic.  Either way I couldn’t help walking out of the movie theater feeling like I had just witnessed one of the worst movies I had seen in a very long time. But I also haven’t seen a Tyler Perry movie in a long time so…yeah.

But then there was Lamman Rucker so I guess it wasn’t the worst movie I had ever seen.

Erykah Badu gets naked in her Window Seat

Posted in Music with tags , , , on April 1, 2010 by klysha

The web was abuzz all week about my favorite artist’s new Window Seat video in all its butt nekid glory. Reactions ranged from critiques of her choice to use nudity to prove a point,  to marveling over the deepness of her social commentary juxtaposed against the ampleness of her behind.

The legality of shedding your clothes in the streets of Texas aside, I for one don’t understand why someone shedding their clothes publicly is such a big deal. Every one of us does this pretty much every day in our bathrooms (hopefully), and in some countries bathing is done publicly. We’re all born naked for crying out loud. But in a country where the fallout from Janet Jackson’s Nipplegate continues to plague Superbowl half time shows six years later, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  Americans are such prudes.

Ms. Badu’s public striptease looked so liberating that I might actually be a little jealous of her because she managed to get away with public nudity and managed to find a way to get naked in a video without coming across like a ho.  I’d strip naked  and run through the streets right now if it weren’t for a) my fear of mortifying my ultra prudish mom, b) my fear of going to jail and losing my good job c) my fear of the crazy dude who might misinterpret my nakedness as an invitation to snatch me up and take me to a dank basement to perform unmentionable acts on my vulnerable naked self.

While the video did feature a thought provoking social commentary on group think, the controversial striptease was clearly a ploy to sell records and I’m not mad at her at all for doing it. That’s her livelihood and as long as she’s making dope music while pulling off stunts like that I will forever be a fan.

I hope Erykah accomplishes her primary goal of selling as many CDs as possible but I’d also like to applaud her for accomplishing the following things:

1) introducing at least a few black folks to the term group think…anything that contributes to the expansion of the vocabularies of my people is a win in my book.

2) providing a diversion in my Twitter time line from the tweets about the antics of Kat Stacks

3) getting us skinny girls a few extra looks by displaying what a skinny chicks body might look like after three babies*

*Okay I’m really hoping her video accomplishes this

Healthcare reform and why I hate politics

Posted in politics with tags , on March 21, 2010 by klysha

I’m not sure whether I’ve ever mentioned this before, but I hate politics. I hate it in just about every arena it manifests itself in to include office politics and even the politics of picking the next book to read in my book club.  Heck even the politics of deciding who to vote off of America’s Next Top Model (does that still come on) irks me and I don’t even watch the show.  But I especially hate national politics.  I could write an entire blog post just about all the things there are to hate about politics. Maybe I’ll do that one day. But all my petty reasons for hating politics aside the one that makes politics suck the most is the fact that the national political structure is one of the most cumbersome and ineffectual vehicles imaginable when it comes to getting things done that effect people’s lives.

The current debacle over healthcare reform is a prime example of all there is to hate about politics. My disgust with watching the political process play itself out is so strong that I’ve almost checked out of the dialogue entirely. But due to my commitment to being a beacon of light in the bacteria infested murky pool  of life I will attempt to express my feelings on the subject entertwined with the reasons for my disdain with the politics of it all one time before this bill (hopefully) goes to a vote.

I think most people agree that something needs to be done about the current state of healthcare in this country. This of course excludes any people who have funded their beach house in Maui and or multiple plastic surgeries through the fleecing of those in need of medical care. It may also include people who have good healthcare coverage and don’t give a rat’s hindparts about whether anyone they don’t know has to foreclose on their house because they got sick and had no coverage. But those people aside the rest of us recognize that there is a need to make some changes to the current system. Unfortunately the only way to make the kind of sweeping changes that are needed is through across the board reforms of the system and the only way to make a whole system change is through legislation and therefore politics.

There’s no better way to muck up a good and much needed change than to let politcs get involved in the process. Politics is messy, slow, and worst of all emotionally charged.  In it’s attempt to please the majority it usually winds up pleasing no one, and I think that’s precisely what’s happening with healthcare reform.  As much as I want to see the healthcare system improved who knows whether the current bill, if it ever gets passed, can do what is needed. It’s been adjusted and watered down so much in trying to please so many people that it likely barely manages to do anything in terms of making things better.

Most of the people who are the most up in arms on either side of the healthcare debate won’t even be effected that strongly one way or the other regardless of which way it goes which is why it’s baffling my mind how controversial and emotional this debate has become. It’s hard for me to muster up comparable levels of emotion on the subject since I’m blessed enough to have good healthcare coverage and I’ve also been blessed enough thus far not to ever suffer a major illness. Despite my fortune I do care about the people who don’t have coverage or who had coverage but were screwed over by an insurance company when they got sick. Therefore I’d like to see a bill get passed, even if it’s imperfect because it would at least give a starting point from which improvements can be made once we get a chance to feel this whole thing out. A failure to get anything passed could be a failure to ever have a vehicle to improve the system.  I will say that while I don’t know or understand all the nuts and bolts of the current bill (and lord knows I don’t even want to) I do know that even though I think it may be trying to do too much it doesn’t even touch some of the other parts of the healthcare system that need revision.

I blame politics for watering down and convoluting what the healthcare bill could have been.  And I blame politics for the fact that there are people who want to fight getting something in place just because they’d rather see the person in charge fail over seeing something get put into place that might eventually serve as a tool to help some people.

At any rate if I keep talking about this my ambivalence  on the subject will start to show and I’ll likely reveal  the real reason I’d like to see something get passed which happens to be the fact that I’m sick of hearing about this healthcare1 bill.   Whoops I said it. Oh well, now that it’s out there let’s get this vote over with so CNN can focus on more pressing matters like the content of Tiger Woods’ freaky sext message conversations with his stripper friends2.

1 Throughout this process I haven’t really heard anything about reforming “healthcare.”  Real reform of healthcare would include revising the way that medicine is more focused on over prescribing and unnecessary surgery than it is on prevention and healthy living, but that’s a WHOLE other debate. People would REALLY be pissed off if someone started trying to take away some of their scrips and telling them to give up their bacon, cigarettes and sugar. Shoot I might start a protest if someone told me to give up sugar.

2 I’m kidding…sort of

Seven reason’s Valentine’s Day makes my toenails itch

Posted in Relationships with tags , , , , , , on February 13, 2010 by klysha

I’m sitting in my condo for the second time in a row with my weekend plans foiled by the snow. This time it wasn’t the DC snow that foiled my plans though. It was snow in of all places HOTlanta! Were it not for Atlanta’s inability to deal efficiently with two inches of snow. I’d be in route to the big easy and the port city* for some pre-Mardi Gras/post Saint’s Super Bowl win partying followed by recovering over beignets at Cafe Du Monde tomorrow morning. So needless to say I’m not a happy camper this afternoon. Just thought I’d put that out there before I start my post so no one is confused about why I’m not writing like my normal cheery self.

Anyway my original plan was to pretend that the day they call a holiday that happens to fall tomorrow doesn’t exist while enjoying Mardi Gras madness. (what better way is there to be oblivious to the existence of something than over a hurricane or three?)  But since I’m a tad surly today and this year unlike last year I won’t be whizzing down a ski slope in Colorado, I’ll go ahead and write about the  reasons Valentine’s Day makes my toenails itch.  Just to be clear, this doesn’t come from a place of bitterness about being single.  I actually wrote about my feelings on Valentines day years ago on my blog before I had a blog…also known as my now essentially defunct Myspace page. Of course I was single at that time too, but I don’t really like Valentine’s day even when I’m in a relationship and here are a few reasons why.

The vomit pink and red color scheme makes me nauseous

..like seriously…it’s really hard for me to look at the card aisle this time of year

Valentine’s day can put a lot of pressure on the not quite defined barely a step above a regular booty call relationships I’ve tended to be in around this time of year if I’m in any kind of relationship at all.

Nothing more awkward than trying to navigate the vast grey area between the happy valentines day phone call/e-card/text message stage and the romantic get-away to Costa Rica stage. (*sidenote* the couple behind me in line at the airport as my Mardi Gras plans were being systematically destroyed had just had their Valentine’s vacation to Costa Rica that they had been planning for a year cancelled. God always has a way of  putting things in perspective for me when I need it *end sidenote*)

The bevy of whack find a mate singles events this holiday usually spawns.

Okay maybe I shouldn’t hate on these too much. I’m all for any efforts to bring folks together in this crazy world. I’d try to catch one myself if I didn’t think it would be filled with guys with that “look at me I’m a loser and you must be one too cuz you’re here so I’ve definitely got a shot” look in their eyes.

Those mystery boxes of chocolate with no labels

Valentine’s day is always plagued with an abundance of random chocolates that often give no warning about the kind of miscellaneous goo hiding under that tempting chocolate shell. Until I wrote that sentence I never realized how similar those mystery chocolates are to men.

 

 

The pressure V-Day puts on clearly defined relationships.

The pressure is often even higher for people in well defined relationships to do something special for their mate on Valentine’s day. Usually the brunt of this pressure is carried by the men but, thoughtful female that I sometimes try to be, I’ve on a few occasions put in effort on this holiday. I think I did this in some kind of masochistic quest to show that women can make men feel special on this day too. If I recall correctly my Valentine’s Day efforts somehow bit me in the rear, possibly thwarting  future attempts of this kind.

You can’t get a reservation in a decent restaurant because the love birds have taken them all

and even if you could who wants to have to sit through dinner watching love birds be lovey dovey  all night

Dealing with the aftermath  when cupid misfires

From what I’ve seen Cupid must have gotten his target practice while riding in a car full of gang bangers doing a drive by. And occasionally Cupids errant shots result in gifts from suitors that you’re not feeling in the same way they’re feeling you. On three occasions I have received flowers from guys I wasn’t feeling.  I wasn’t unappreciative of the  gifts I got from these guys. I actually enjoyed the flowers (even though I’m not much of a flowers kind of girl) once I got past the thank you very much for the gift but we can never be talk. But I could have just as easily done without the flowers to avoid the awkwardness.

Now I said Valentine’s day makes my toenails itch. I didn’t say I totally hate it. I just don’t think it’s been all that cool of a holiday since the days of  exchanging valentines with a sucker stuck to them in elementary school. Despite the itchy toenails I actually do think it’s probably a good idea to have a day on the calendar to remind people not to take the people they love for granted.  I just wish this day wasn’t coated in so much syrup or wrapped in that awful pink and red package. Id probably be cool with having some kind of anti-sap celebration with my SO if I had one.  And who knows maybe when I’m truly in love it’ll come with a dose of whatever it takes to be able to stomach all the syrup. In the mean time I guess I’m stuck with waiting for the pink and red storm to pass.

*the Port City is Mobile AL, home of the first American Mardi Gras and also the town I was raised in.

Blizzard brain block

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2010 by klysha

I’m sitting in the house snowed in for the 5th day in a row so you’d think I’d be pumping out blog posts like nobody’s business. But the snow has turned me into the worst kind of slacker. I’m getting waaay too used to sitting around getting paid to do absolutely nothing …My expectations for how much I feel like should be expected to do for each dollar per hour I make is starting to go down at about the same rate that the number of inches of snow outside is increasing. As a matter of fact a couple more days of this and there’s a good chance* I’ll have the following conversation with my supervisor the next time I’m in the office:

Supervisor: Any chance you’ll get this project finished by the end of the week?

Me (while blowing my freshly polished fingernails dry): Excuse me but I looked at my last pay statement and I was still getting paid at the sit on my butt and do nothing rate. I’ll need to see at least 30% increase if you expect me to actually complete assignments

 Aside from the snowed in slackerism, I can’t really decide what I want to talk about. I’ve read about a lot of useless tomfoolery while I’ve been held hostage by the Snowtorious B.I.G., but I can’t seem to piece together a whole cohesive piece. 

Blog posts Ive considered writing today include the following:

When a rapping roach goes to jail: My deep thoughts and reflections

Things I’ve learned from reading Sarah Palins hand

John Mayers racist penis and you

10 reasons Valentine’s Day makes my toenails itch

But all I’ve actually managed to accomplish today is beating my high score on Bejeweled and making a bomb Welch’s grape juice snow cone.

Perhaps if I someone chooses one of the potential topics I’ll feel compelled to write a post, if not I’ll go back to browsing through Twitter posts and maybe give myself a much needed pedicure. I actually might write the Valentines day post if I can convince myself there’s a good reason not to pretend it doesn’t exist entirely.

*By good chance I mean not a chance in Hades…I still enjoy receiving my paycheck on schedule every two weeks