Stop covering Sarah Palin!

Recently I’ve been having a bit of trouble thinking of what to blog about. Today I just said to myself, what do you see in the news that really and truly makes you want to rip your hair out? And then I recalled tuning into CNN last night, watching the follow up to the Ames Straw Poll, and then seeing a segment on Sarah Palin. There we go.

So, if I may, I would like to make a call to legitimate news organizations (Fox excluded for obvious reasons) to STOP GIVING AIR TIME TO SARAH PALIN. We get it. She’s a fame-whoring non-politician who desperately wants to be taken seriously. It’s no coincidence that she magically keeps showing up with her bus in places where events for ACTUAL presidential candidates are taking place. Until she decides to run for president, or does anything actually important, stop covering Palin’s whereabouts and activities.

Don’t get me wrong, I loathe coverage of most of the other extremely right-wing Republicans that are making a bid for the presidency (Perry – frighteningly conservative; Santorum – homophobic scumbag; Bachmann – religious nutter, everything-but-hetero-phobic, and insanely anti-choice with a questionable understanding of American history). But that is because their politics make me cringe. At least these people are open and honest about their political intentions. Palin is just trying to weasel her way into any camera frame she can, and legitimate news sources need to stop indulging her.

Sarah Palin coverage should be left to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. We don’t need to get updates on her pathetic attempt at being relevant on news channels.

End rant.


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Stand By Me – A long time ago, but only if you measure in terms of years

If you recall the first ever post for this blog (and why wouldn’t you?), you will remember that on my first day of blogging I only posted a few choice words and a picture. Here’s a screen cap:

Everyone has a special film in their personal collection — one that they can watch a thousand times and never get sick of. One that they can recite every line from. One that they know everything about. Stand By Me is that movie for me. It’s had a longer lasting effect on me than any other film I’ve ever seen. There was even a period of time when I used to watch it, like, every single day. I’m not kidding. I love this film. The acting, the direction, the dialogue, the photography, the characters, and the music. OH! The music! Not since Dirty Dancing had a movie soundtrack rocked my world!

In high school I wrote an essay about the film for a writing assignment, and I was hoping to find it and post it here to show just how personal this film is for me. Alas, it’s on an old computer which I can’t find, but perhaps some day I will recover it.


So why am I writing about Stand By Me? Monday, August 8th marked the 25th anniversary of the film’s release in theaters. TWENTY FIVE YEARS. Three of the boys are grown now, one of them has sadly passed (I’ll spare you the details of my love for River Phoenix). Jerry O’Connell (Verne Tessio) lost his baby fat, grew handsome, and married Rebecca Romijn. Corey Feldman (Teddy Duchamp) buddied up with Corey Haim, starred in the Lost Boys (filmed in Santa Cruz!!!), battled with drugs, and has managed to have a mostly successful acting career. Wil Wheaton (Gordie LaChance), the film’s protagonist, went on to star in Stark Trek: TNG, writes extensively about gaming and tech, and has established himself as a celebrity in geek culture.

In honor of the film’s 25th anniversary, Wil took part in an NPR piece this week in which he reflects on his life and relationships during the filming of Stand By Me:  Stand By Me: A Love Letter To Childhood Innocence. He also wrote a thoughtful blogpost about it on his website, which was amazing to read and gave me a lot of insight into what being a part of this incredible movie was like: I Was Twelve Going On Thirteen When I Made the Movie that Changed My Life.

I ran all the way home....

Although Wil has gone on to accomplish good things over the years and has certainly moved beyond Gordie LaChance, his blogpost shows how much he truly appreciates having been a part of such a classic and awesome film, and how the experience shaped his life. He’s sentimental without being sappy, and reflective without being preachy. It’s an essential read for any fan of this film.

It happens sometimes. Friends Movies come in and out of our lives like busboys in a restaurant. But Stand By Me will be my favorite forever.

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Your Wedding Theme Might be Offensive…

For the past few years I’ve heard about weddings non-stop. My sister was married last year, and several family members and family friends have tied the knot recently, so at one point dresses, party favors and wedding drama seemed to be taking over my life. I planned a bachelorette party, helped with bridal showers, baked cookies and watched every episode ever of Say Yes to the Dress. I feel like I know a pretty significant amount about weddings now, so it’s been interesting to read about two recent weddings that have caused controversy on the interwebs.

The first is the African Colonial-themed wedding that Jezebel reported on (the original blogpost was taken down after thousands of commenters flooded the message board), and the second is the Depression-Era Hobo Wedding as seen on Etsy (and followed up with a harsh critique on Regretsy).

Maybe you think a wedding inspired by the film “Out of Africa” seems romantic and beautiful, but the bloggers at Jezebel quickly picked up on the racist tones (probably unintended) of the wedding theme. I mean, just look at this photo:

via Jezebel

Is that not the most awkward photo ever? Black server dressed in clothing typical of the colonial African period serves white guests as bride and groom laugh on. It’s just uncomfortable. And the wedding took place in South Africa (although the bride and groom are European), which makes the whole thing even creepier. They traveled all the way to South Africa (home of the apartheid) to make it a real authentic experience?

Perhaps even weirder is the Etsy-blogged Depression-era Hobo wedding that has received a great amount of attention after Regretsy pointed out the fact that it’s really inappropriate and offensive to glorify poverty for your wedding theme. Guess what? The Depression was one of the most tragic things to befall America in the 20th century. It wasn’t “cute”. And it’s really weird to dress up and play poor, starving moonshiner. Blogger Hellen Killer at Regretsy writes:

Today I present one of the most insensitive features I’ve ever seen on the Etsy blog. And as usual, it’s celebrated in a circle jerk of obliviousness, complete with hipstermatic photos and dipshit Etsy drones yammering in approval.

Yes it’s a poverty wedding! How fun is that? They dressed like actual poor people! They even did some research:

We got to work researching the Depression era and hobo culture. As we prepared to make everything for our wedding, we collected feed sack dresses and old work boots, antique hand-stitched quilts and jug band instruments. After reading that the word “hobo” may be a syllabic abbreviation of “homeward bound,” we fell in love with the notion!

They fell in love with the very idea of penniless, homeless migrants, drifting from town to town, looking for work! Those hobos were just yummy, with their faded antique quilts and feed sacks, and those super cute boots they always wore. That whole period was just so desaturated and Brother Where Art Thou,which is also totes adorbs.

Okay, maybe many hobos found themselves having to leave their families in order to find enough work to support them, or maybe they escaped from harsh lives in orphanages. And, okay, maybe they died on train tracks or sweltered to death in locked box-cars. And maybe when they did finally find some work, they were set upon by thieves who took everything from them and threw them off of fast moving trains.

I get that couples may want to be “creative” and “unique” in planning their wedding, but let’s use some common sense people!

A blogger over at has posted an excellent piece about “romanticizing problematic wedding themes,” in which she points out that these two particular wedding themes were criticized, “not because of whether they were romantic (because those couples look pretty happy and romantic to me), but because of the particular theme they chose to romanticize, and the way it was presented. Commentors frequently objected to the romanticization of these particular themes matched up with a wedding.” She continues:

With the Colonial African wedding, the issue at stake is that the photos of the wedding that were displayed and the title of the original blog post easily worked together to suggest a glorification of British colonization of Africa and the negative things that came with it such as slavery, white-privilege, and the bitter history that followed. A storm erupted on the internet after the initial post was seen with most responses being pretty negative.

The couple had based the aesthetic on the movie Out of Africa, appreciating the look and feel of that movie without necessarily condoning the historical period during which it took place. They loved a particular look and feeling. The original bloggerswere partially to blame as they admit they “were naive not to consider the negative implications of using the word ‘colonial’ in the blog title” and didn’t consider which pictures they chose to juxtapose with that title, ending up with pictures that all had black servers dressed in clothing that slaves would have worn (despite that the servers were not all black).

The Depression-Era Hobo wedding was written up by the couple themselves and they too made some grave word-choice errors that led to some very heavy criticism. Foremost among them was referring to their garb as “hobo-chic” which juxtaposed extreme poverty with high fashion. The wedding itself seems sweet and the romantic ideal they were going for came from memories of the Depression-era wedding of the groom’s grandmother…Regretsy criticized them for romanticizing hobos— homeless migrants who had no money and were forced to travel seeking work.

Credit: Chelsea Donoho via Etsy

The couples both look very happy in their photos, and I feel sort of bad that their special day is now being criticized and scrutinized by strangers on the internet. And I get that in today’s fast-paced, high-tech world, it’s easy to wax nostalgic for  simpler times, but it is problematic to glamorize or romanticize time periods and ways of life that were debilitating, torturous and horrible for those who actually lived that way.

So before you settle on that Civil War Confederate or Salem Witch Trial theme for your pending nuptials, think about what the theme really means sociologically and historically. Or just think. And don’t put it up all over the internet!

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Nope…Fox News is not racist at all.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. How about this headline from Fox Nation?

I only have this to say:

Head over to NY Mag’s site for a good critique of the headline: This Is Not an Onion Parody of How Fox News Would Cover Obama’s Birthday  

And also this post comparing Fox New headlines to the “actual news headlines” that Fox cited as their source: Actual News Headlines Vs. Fox New Headlines  

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No more co-pays for birth control will lead to an “army of flesh-thirsty young sluts”!

“Free birth control will wipe out the American race.” – Stephen Colbert, Aug 3, 2011

Last night on the Report, Stephen Colbert responded to the new U.S. Department of Health and Human Service guidelines which require insurance companies to cover birth control and other preventative methods with no co-pays. As noted in the New American,

“In addition to contraceptives, other mandated benefits under the new HHS guidelines include breast pumps, counseling on domestic violence, an annual ‘well-woman’ physical, sexually-transmitted infection counseling, and other women’s health services. Panel Chairwoman Linda Rosenstock, dean of public health at the University of California, Los Angeles, insists that such prevention services are critical to maintaining the physical, emotional, and psychological health of women.”

Surprise! Faux Fox News contributors are not happy about this. Footage from the totally fair and balanced station includes a female contributer (who Colbert accurately refers to as a “spray tan victim”) saying, dead seriously,

“Now we’re going to cover birth control, breast pumps, counseling for abuse. Are we going to do pedicures and manicures as well?”

Really lady? You’re comparing insurance coverage for abuse counseling to the government paying for beauty treatments? That’s pretty sick, but not surprising coming from someone from Fox news. In addition, the contributer believes that affordable access to birth control will lead to young women having “unrestricted, unlimited sex anytime, anywhere.” So true! As Colbert points out, everyone knows that girls on birth control become “wanton harlots with an insatiable sexual appetite.”

Colbert’s segment on this topic is probably one of the most amazing and well-crafted pieces I’ve ever seen on his show. Everything about it is just perfection.

Click the image and watch the video. 

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New Santa Cruz Patch post: “SC Loves Our LGBT Community. But it is Not So in Other Cities.”

Check out my latest blog post for Santa Cruz Patch here!


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The Sexualization of Little Girls: Breast Milk Baby doll, or Push-up Bikini Tops?

Fox and Friends recently aired a segment on a new doll that is about to hit American shelves: the Breast Milk Baby which mimics the act of breastfeeding to young girls. The dolls come in several ethnicities, genders, and skin colors.

On the segment Fox News frequent collaborator Dr. Keith Ablow declares that the new doll is “destructive,” works to “turn little girls into adults…blurs the boundary between children and adults in society…contributes to the sexualization of children and it makes them targets of assailants.” Contributes to the sexualization of children? Dr. Ablow, there is nothing particularly sexual about the act of breastfeeding (unless you have some sort of fetish). Although society has come to worship breasts as sexual objects, those two things on a woman’s chest are actually designed to provide infants with the sustenance of life. Sure, the doll is kind of weird, but I would hardly say that it sexualizes young girls.

Self-desribed “Mommy blogger” Jessica Gottlieb counters Dr. Ablow by pointing out that it’s totally natural for young girls to mimic their mothers who have previously breastfed them and may now breastfeed younger siblings. Girls see their mothers feeding babies, and they want to be like their mothers. The doll’s official website monitors the media’s response to the doll, even publishing a post on how Bill O’Reilly and other Fox News commentators express opposition to the dolls, and breastfeeding in general.

In case people have forgotten, breasts are biologically designed to deliver milk, not to simply turn men on. So if we can teach little girls to think of their bodies as nurturing entities rather than objects of desire, I don’t see any major problems with this new doll. has a list of “11 Insanely Sexualized Chidlren’s Products” on their website, and a similar breastfeeding doll is featured on their list. I was glad to see so many commenters pointing out that breastfeeding is not sexual. Here is a sample of some of the comments on the blog post:

“…Breastfeeding is not sexual, it’s nutritional. It’s a sad reflection on this society that anything to do with breasts is seen as sexual.”

“…don’t see the sex behind the breast feeding baby doll. It’s weird, but not sexualized. Same with the pregnant barbie. Unless you find fetuses attractive–and I’m not judging (yes I am)–then again, not sexualized, just weird.”

“The breastfeeding doll shouldn’t be included in your list of  ‘sexualized products’, for the simple reason that breastfeeding is not sexual. Like other body parts, breasts have more than one function. The main function of human breasts is to feed babies and young children. In Western culture, they also have a sexual function. The two functions are separate. To label a breastfeeding doll ‘insanely sexual’ is to mistakenly associate the two separate functions of human breasts.”

However, you know what does sexualize young girls? These underwear found in the juniors section at Walmart, which read “Who needs credit cards” on the front, and “When you have Santa” on the butt. Ah, Santa. The ultimate Sugar Daddy.


Or how about Abercrombie & Fitch’s Abercrombie Kids line, which marketed padded, push-up bikini tops to girls in the 8-14 age bracket? The SF Gate ran a story on the bikini line, quoting a mom who declared, “[The] use of the word ‘push up’ is unbelievably inappropriate. The push up bra is, effectively, a sex tool, designed to push the breasts up and out, putting them front and center where they’re more accessible to the eye (and everything else). How is this okay for a second-grader?”

Credit: SF Gate

Or how about lower back tattoos for your little girl which you can pick up at Toys R Us?

There is no shortage of examples of sexualized clothing for young girls. A recent study reveals that:

“…up to 30 percent of young girls’ clothing available online in the US is ‘sexy’ or sexualizing. The study was carried out by Samantha Goodin, a former Kenyon College (Ohio, USA) student and a research team led by Dr. Sarah Murnen, Professor of Psychology at Kenyon College.

In their view, this has serious implications for how girls evaluate themselves according to a sexualized model of feminine physical attractiveness. It makes them confront the issue of sexual identity at a very young age. Their findings were just published online in Springer’s journal, Sex Roles.

According to ‘objectification theory’, women from Western cultures are widely portrayed and treated as objects of the male gaze. This leads to the development of self-objectification, in which girls and women internalize these messages and view their own bodies as objects to be evaluated according to narrow standards – often sexualized – of attractiveness. Bearing in mind the negative effects of self-objectification such as body dissatisfaction, depression, low confidence and low self-esteem, Goodin and team looked at the role of girls’ clothing as a possible social influence that may contribute to self-objectification in preteen girls.”

What do you think about the Breast Milk Baby doll? Do you think it sexualizes young girls, or should we mostly be concerned with push-up bikinis for children, thongs for ten-year-olds, and high heels for toddlers?

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