TK Kenyon's Misandry, Carol Lloyd Of Salon Attacks Doris Lessing

Now that we're on the subject of Doris Lessing and misandry (see posts below), a good example of exactly the type of sexist feminists Lessing refers to have recently published their thoughts on Internet. One is a writer named TK Kenyon, the other a writer for Salon, Carol Lloyd. Both appear to be practicing overt sexism and misandry without a moment's hesitation--the former because she labels anyone of male gender a misogynist who doesn't like Doris Lessing's writing, and the latter by implying that Lessing's viewpoint on contemporary feminism can't be taken seriously because she fails to specifically address favorite feminist issues. After all, how dare Lessing challenge the viewpoint that all men are anything less than snails and puppy dog tails?

In a recent blog post on the subject of Lessing, TK Kenyon refers to all men (no distinctions made--cause we know all men are alike, right?) who don't like Lessing's writing or feel Lessing should not have won the Nobel Prize as: 1) Male chauvinist idiots; 2) Sci-fi hating snobs; 3) Devious misogynists; 4) Self-appointed literati; and of course, 5) Sexists.

The true sexist deceit being practiced here by TK Kenyon is obvious to anyone with an IQ greater than 20. NEWSFLASH: there are also lots of women who don't like Doris Lessing's sci-fi-ish work (see one of them at Powell's Books). Kenyon dishonestly pretends, for the sake of a rousing male bash, that only men are capable of disliking Lessing's work, but as a feminist sexist, her viewpoint is predictably absurd. Next, she jumps from this unsupportable conclusion to suggest a conspiracy of "male chauvinist idiots" who are attacking Lessing simply because they don't want to see a woman win a Nobel. Is this intelligent? Every time a writer wins a Pulitzer or a Nobel loads of critics come shrieking out of the woods to bitch about it. So what? But no amount of context or inherent foolishness of viewpoint will stop a TK Kenyon-like feminist from seeking publicity or pretending to take the moral high ground before her peers and admirers (just ask Nancy Grace).

Nevertheless, the first bit of comedy derives from Kenyon's comparison of Lessing to Vonnegut and how they both suffered similar "unfair" criticism regarding their sci-fi. Well, ummmm, there you go. Vonnegut suffered the same fate, according to Kenyon--and his critics, by definition, were not woman haters. Doesn't Kenyon contradict her premise somewhat when she uses this example? Yes? No?

Now, on to Carol Lloyd of Salon. In reference to the Guardian article on Doris Lessing, Carol savagely rakes Lessing over the coals for her viewpoints expressed in the Guardian:

On which imaginary planet is she residing? And what about domestic violence, rape and the scores of countries in which women are quite literally second-class citizens? As evidence of this ubiquitous male-bashing, Lessing recounts being in an elementary-school classroom in which a teacher was telling her 9- and 10-year-old students that wars are a result of men's innate violence. Yeah that's pretty stupid stuff, but ... can we really extrapolate on the failings of feminism from the silly comments of an elementary-school teacher?

Ok, well, the fact that Lessing did not specifically address domestic violence, for example, does not negate her viewpoint as expressed in the article. Carol Lloyd, rather than acknowledge the sexism inherent in second wave feminism, bashes Lessing for not seeing all men in the same light that she sees them--as abusers and woman beaters. Lloyd's dishonesty resides in the fact that she herself fails to acknowledge well-known facts regarding domestic violence, namely, that more mothers are guilty of child abuse and neglect fatalities in the home than fathers. According to the biggest child violence study in America conducted by HHS, women acting alone as child abusers comprise a far larger percentage of all perpetrators than men, 40 percent vs. 18 percent. Yes, that is correct. Hate to bring the wall down on you, Carol, but talk about power relationships? Why don't you complain about Lessing not addressing this fact also? Maybe because it makes women look bad and not men? But it makes no more sense to suggest that women as a whole are child killers than it does to suggest that men are woman beaters. Lessing was right to draw attention to the extremism of second wave feminism.

The second comical thing is the fact that Carol Lloyd, herself a sexist feminist, should fairly classify as a misogynist (as defined by Kenyon) simply because she finds serious fault with the writing of Doris Lessing. So as I noted previously, there are plenty of women who don't like Doris Lessing's writing. Other human beings who are not MEN don't like Lessing. Yes! I know them. And obviously, they're not misogynists!!!

Let's stop all this female redneck man-bashing. I agree with Doris. It's getting dumber and dumber and making everyone look like asses. Also, to TK and Carol, people should feel free to express opinions without being insulted. Debate is fine, but bashing is not.

Another Doris Lessing - This One Decries Feminist Sexism

Praise be! I just stumbled into an article posted by the Guardian which appears to confirm that not only does Doris Lessing object to second wave feminism, but STRONGLY objects. Fair is fair, so I must quote this article below:

The novelist Doris Lessing yesterday claimed that men were the new silent victims in the sex war, "continually demeaned and insulted" by women without a whimper of protest ... Lessing, who became a feminist icon with the books The Grass is Singing and The Golden Notebook, said a "lazy and insidious" culture had taken hold within feminism that revelled in flailing men.

And further:

"I find myself increasingly shocked at the unthinking and automatic rubbishing of men which is now so part of our culture that it is hardly even noticed," the 81-year-old Persian-born writer said yesterday ... "We have many wonderful, clever, powerful women everywhere, but what is happening to men? Why did this have to be at the cost of men?"

And further:

"I was in a class of nine- and 10-year-olds, girls and boys, and this young woman was telling these kids that the reason for wars was the innately violent nature of men ... You could see the little girls, fat with complacency and conceit while the little boys sat there crumpled, apologising for their existence, thinking this was going to be the pattern of their lives." Lessing said the teacher tried to "catch my eye, thinking I would approve of this rubbish". She added: "This kind of thing is happening in schools all over the place and no one says a thing."

And further:

"It has become a kind of religion that you can't criticise because then you become a traitor to the great cause, which I am not. It is time we began to ask who are these women who continually rubbish men. The most stupid, ill-educated and nasty woman can rubbish the nicest, kindest and most intelligent man and no one protests ... Men seem to be so cowed that they can't fight back, and it is time they did."

I can't help but wonder if Doris Lessing really wrote that foreword that I mention below? ... Very suspicious.


Et Tu Doris? Truth or Sexism?

I have not read this book, but according to a review at Powell's Books, Doris Lessing states in her foreword that men:

... lack the solidity of women, who seem to have been endowed with a natural harmony with the ways of the world....Men in comparison are unstable, and erratic. Is Nature trying something out?

This sounds right out of the mouth of Maureen Dowd and extremist feminists who proclaim it's nature's intent that men should become extinct. Well, wait a minute! Here is a statement by none other than Doris Lessing which is so general that it effectively negates itself, i.e., she would be more accurate if she had said "Men are accountants" or "Men are firefighters," but even these statements are markedly false as stated because of the implication made that most, if not all men, are accountants or firefighters. Thus, Men are no more "unstable, and erratic" than they are heroic and honest. I have to argue on this basis alone, the Lessing statement qualifies as absurdly sexist.

After I read it, I immediately flashed to past memories of a favorite woman boss of mine who was a Devil Prada monster of the worst kind, and to the vision of a mother violently abusing her child outside my office while simultaneously browbeating her husband into total submission. If you are out there, Doris, I highly recommend a reality check in the form of Phyllis Chessler's Woman's Inhumanity to Woman. As Library Journal notes:

Second Wave feminists have for 30-plus years operated under the assumption that sisterhood is powerful. Indeed, women acting in concert have forced society to redefine gender, domestic relations, and the workplace. Still, despite huge gains in public visibility, female ascendance has been hampered by a rarely acknowledged reality: women often betray, hurt, and humiliate one another. Mothers stymie daughters, biological sisters compete, girlfriends gossip maliciously, and women bosses exert arbitrary and capricious authority.

Next, a dose of In The Company of Women for dessert.

NOTE: Evil and assholish-ness are NOT gender specific! And I refuse to join the band of Second Wave feminists who pretend this is true. I know it's a method of bonding for some. If you can sit around and blame the husbands and male bosses and boyfriends and fathers for all your problems, then you have something in common, yes? It reminds me of Neocon rednecks hoisting a beer and blaming all America's problems on Democrats.

I can't do that. I blame everyone for my problems. No one is singled out.


Neocon Norman Praises Bush, Wants More War

The neocon Norman Podhoretz has just "authored" a new book called WORLD WAR IV (I'm not linking to it, sorry) wherein he argues stupidly for a continuous Bush-like war against Muslim "Islamofascists." From The New York Times:

[Podhoretz] declares that the current Iraq war is only one front (Iran being another) in what he calls “World War IV,” a “long struggle against Islamofascism,” which like the cold war (the one he counts as “World War III”), “will almost certainly go on for three or four decades.”

And more:

Mr. Podhoretz, who last summer called upon President Bush to use military force to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear arsenal, writes in these pages of all the “progress” that is being made in neighboring Iraq, embraces the Bush administration’s aggressive policy of pre-emption and asserts that George W. Bush will one day be recognized “as a great president,” an heir not just to Truman but to Lincoln as well.

Besides being moronic, his view of the anti-terrorist strategy and Bush is as near to insane as you can get. How can you argue with such utter tripe without getting slop on you? This is neoconism gone deep end, so deep end that every neocon with an IQ greater than 20 should rebel and question their religion.

Are White Academics Attacking Black America? Did Ebony Magazine Help Invent "The New Racism"? Am I Delusional?

On the heels of intense and ongoing racist bloggery following the now infamous Duke Rape Hoax in North Carolina, I've been researching why it always seemed to me that starting in the 1990's a significant portion of middle and upper class Black Americans began to believe they were the constant victims of a definable and obvious "new racism" on the part of middle and upper class Whites. Recently, I backed into this article from 1996 by Hans J. Massaquoi that appeared in Ebony--a magazine that never stops insisting that a White racist lurks around every corner. And yes, this is NOT an exaggeration. Ebony Magazine spends more time fanning the flames of racism than the White House spends on making us afraid of terrorists. A quote from that 1996 article in Ebony as follows:

After years of hard-won gains made by some talented and upwardly mobile Blacks, a new wave of racism has been sweeping the nation that is threatening to turn back the clock. In the resulting anti-Black climate, Black achievers have become the frequent targets of inappropriate behavior on the part of Mutes that ranges from mindless disrespect to overt hostility and physical abuse. The result is that no Black person is too distinguished, too famous or too rich to be spared by the resurgence of overt bigotry.

Mutes? ... The story also quotes a claim by ex-governor Wilder of Virginia that he was suddenly and brutally assaulted by an airport security guard simply for pointing out that his suspenders might have caused a beeping alarm--a story that seemed to be absurdly exaggerated but was nevertheless "settled" to avoid the kind of publicity that Wilder could muster before going to court.

From Ebony Magazine in 1991:

The "new racism" is the term some observers use to describe the recent attacks-some subtle, some not-so-subtle-on Black progress. It is evident on predominantly White college campuses, where Black students and faculty face mounting hostilities. It is evident in corporate suites, where Black executives are butting their heads against glass ceilings that prohibit their advancement. It is evident in national polls that indicate White Americans-despite the overwhelming evidence of their individual prejudices-continue to labor under the mistaken belief that discrimination has been completely eradicated. And it is most evident in the nation's neighborhoods, where resistance to integration still runs deep.

So how about an example from today? There are plenty of reasoned approaches to racism by black commentators, but It seems, in some quarters, that the insistence on racism getting worse has become even more strident, perhaps to point of dementia? Well, okay, you decide. Here is a 2007 quote from BlackCommentator.Com, a very popular black website:

Black faculty, the few left, capitulate so as not to lose their jobs, homes, cars, and expensive clothes! Worse, whites have taken over Black studies and white women teach and write (they have control over the journals) about black women authors...there are white chairs of African Americans studies and white women have taken hold of Black women's literature as if it is their own. Black women or men who bring the history of oppression and resistance, bring a political consciousness to academia, or what they call 'an attitude' are not wanted." Indeed, this is "an insidious way to annihilate Black people."

Whites have taken over Black studies? Um ...


My Country Tis Of Anomie - Part 2

an·o·mie [an-uh-me] : lack of moral standards in a society ; social instability resulting from a breakdown in values; alienation experienced by a person or class as a result of lack of ideals.

  • Should this be news? During the Bush regime, the number of criminal cases pursued by the EPA against major polluters has experienced an incredible and frightening decline. According to the Washington Post, "the number of civil lawsuits filed against defendants who refuse to settled cases was down nearly 70 percent between 2002 and 2006, compared with a four-year period in the late 1990's ..." As the ex-director of EPA's Office of Civil Enforcement, Eric Schaeffer, put it, "You don't get cleanup, you don't get deterence." ... This scenario is all too familiar. Only Reagan could have possibly caused more damage to EPA after appointing the infamous Ann Burford.
  • The dying of Slavic Village, Cleveland, is a microcosm of big city problems going into 2008. Another reason for Americans to deny a curious and epidemic form of positveness--the kind of mentality that refuses to hear anything "negative" about the world around them. Regardless, what was once a thriving community has been severely tainted--courtesy of real estate agents and developers out to make a sub-prime dollar--and is now in danger of becoming a wasteland with hundreds of foreclosed homes and streets made dangerous by drug dealers and criminals out to feast on the carcass. But does everyone know that? Compare the yahoo page of positivism about Slavic Village vs. the reality expressed here. My country tis of anomie.
  • According to Politcal Animal, Cheney's pro-war lobbying organization, Freedom's Watch, is not only on the move and pushing for more Iraq war and a new front to open against Iran, but FW is also (according to the New York Times), being heavily funded by right-wing Jewish donors , one of the funders being Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas tycoon. Wow! Just even more signs that we live in a true democracy. Perhaps the White House should move to Vegas.


Bottle Billions At Stake -- Will Pro-Bush Saxby Chambliss Bring Osama Bin Laden Into This?

For years, health groups and concerned parents have been battling county and state bureaucracies over junk food sales in American public schools. Definitive studies have proved that junk food and bottled drinks (including so-called sports drinks like Gatorade) are not only unhealthy but lead to depressed grades and OBESITY! Reality check--the brain needs real nutrients to operate properly and the body needs healthy food to prevent heart disease. DUH. Now Senator Harkin has introduced a bill that would force the U.S. government, specifically, Dept. of Agriculture (God save us all), to set appropriate standards for food nutrition in schools. Course, that won't prevent the bureaucrats from writing "rules" to dilute the law, and besides, who is going to enforce it? DOA? ... Ok, ok, it's still a good idea and a great step, yes.

Regardless, the lobbyists representing Coca-Cola, Pepsi and other bottlers (annual sales of sports drinks reached $7.5 billion in 2006) are naturally lying through their green Gatorade teeth and claiming that that sports drinks and sweetened waters are lower in calories and actually good for high school students and young athletes, and they're going all out spending millions in marketing to prove it. A TV ad for Gatorade, e.g., has NBA player Kevin Garnett slapping around like a stupid milkman and setting Gatorade bottles at the doorsteps of homes just filled with handsome active models impersonating parents.

Anyway, all concerned parties are on board with Harkin's bill. More than 100 organizations, from the American Federation of Teachers to the Yale Prevention Research Center, support the new law. BUT GUESS WHO IS IN THE WAY? Why is it that it seems easier to sign up a member of the Republican party to defeat anything that might really make a difference to human health? Is that true or am I delusional? Pro-beverage lobbyists, shareholders and execs are betting their money on pro-bev politicians like ranking Republican member, the grand and honorable Senator Saxby Chambliss. And btw, he represents Coke's home state of Georgia. It's the real thing, Coke is.

I do declare, Saxby, yoh razah-thin lips been kissn' that ass o glass for waaay too long!

I must remind everyone that Chambliss is the George Bush political clone who beat Max Cleland in Georgia by running absurd attack adverts associating Cleland with photos of Osama Bin Laden--and simply because Cleland was attempting to be sensible about the Iraq war. So with his connections to terrorists, maybe Chambliss can now ask Bin Laden to return and pose with Harkin or perhaps members of the Amercian Federation of Teachers. That should turn the tide for Coke, obesity and stupidity notwithstanding.


One Last Jena 6 Reality Check Courtesy AP

I just had to quote this from Tod Lewan, an AP national writer, who recently published an article on the Jena 6 story. After researching court testimony, interviews with teachers, officials and students at Jena High, and public statements from a U.S. attorney who reviewed the case for possible federal intervention, these facts came out:
  • The so-called "white tree" at Jena High, often reported to be the domain of only white students, was nothing of the sort, according to teachers and school administrators; students of all races, they say, congregated under it at one time or another.
  • Two nooses - not three - were found dangling from the tree. Beyond being offensive to blacks, the nooses were cut down because black and white students "were playing with them, pulling on them, jump-swinging from them, and putting their heads through them," according to a black teacher who witnessed the scene.
  • There was no connection between the September noose incident and December attack, according to Donald Washington, an attorney for the U.S. Justice Department in western Louisiana, who investigated claims that these events might be race-related hate crimes.
  • The three youths accused of hanging the nooses were not suspended for just three days - they were isolated at an alternative school for about a month, and then given an in-school suspension for two weeks.
Reality check time! When will the media, Al Sharpton, Jackson and company stop polarizing America for the sake of a good story and ratings?


In Lynch Mob America, Wrong Makes Right Once Again - Jena 6 Debacle and Racism

What is really going on in Jena, LA, given today's hyped news coverage? It appears once again as if the media is creating a black and white story rather than presenting ALL the facts. Why let facts get in the way of a good story? But just to sober things up a bit, a few important facts that are not being talked about because they might lead to inconvenient conclusions upsetting to lynch mob America:
  • The white victim, Justin Barker, according to court documents, was slammed in the back of the head by a blunt force. Was it a fist, a bat, a stick? Who knows, but he was knocked unconscious and the Jena 6 began "to kick and stomp his lifeless body." Barker spent about three hours in a local emergency room for treatment of injuries to his head and face. According to spokespeople for the Jena 6, this attack was justified because of white racism in Jena. In other words, the attackers can't be held reponsible. Barker was kicked and beaten by black jocks (yes, they're all athletes) and long after he was unconcsious. So this behavior is justifiable?

  • The Jena 6 reporters claim that The Jena 6 attackers, especially Mychal Bell (a local football star), were charged unfairly for the crime. Well, guess what? The mainstream media isn't reporting the fact that good ole Bell is an extremely violent human being. According to Wikipedia, "A request to lower Mychal Bell's $90,000 bond was denied on August 24, 2007, due to his juvenile record, which showed that he had been previously convicted of four other violent crimes. Bell was put on probation for a battery that occurred December 25, 2005, and he was later convicted of yet another battery charge and two charges of criminal damage to property."

  • Also, according to supressed sources and Wikipedia, another little known fact: "The case sparked public outcry, as court-appointed public defender Blane Williams, himself an African-American, did not call a single witness in his attempt to defend Bell ... Much has been made of the fact that all members of the jury were white, however, an all-white jury was impaneled after none of the 350 blacks in LaSalle Parish who were called for jury duty showed up to participate in the trial.

So, a summary of the facts which create an inconvenient amount of gas for some of you: the jury was white because the black community refused to care enough to participate; Bell's defense attorney was black; Bell is a violent felon with a history; and finally, the Jena 6 acted in manner that was both cowardly and vicious.

Please keep all this in mind as the media does it's thing and the usual mouthpieces spout their rhetoric. By the way, the white students who hung the ropes from the tree should have been expelled, yes! Because they were not expelled did not give Bell and his jock cronies license to gang-assault somoene just because he was white. If anyone believes that Bell and the Jena 6 are innocent victims of white racism, please speak up here and tell me why, k?



What Do We Expect the Bush Bureaucrat General To Say?

I'm not going to waste time blathering on at length about the BS that General Petraeus is vomiting on Capitol Hill along with Ambassador Crocker (don't get me started). Of course, the surge is working! But why can't someone get to the f'n point already? Have we changed centuries of blood feud culture? Have we calmed their thirst for power? Have we stopped the influence of Iran and Syria? Have we stopped the influence of terrorist leaders? Have we changed their opinions about American infidels? Have we created an Iraqi government the country will accept as legitimate? Can we point a gun at their heads forever? Do we expect the bureaucrat general to agree with the Dick Cheney 1994 comments (see video below this post) noting an Iraq invasion as a waste of time and life?

The answer to all of these questions? You already know. Write the Dems and any elephants with half a brain and a speck of morality. Tell them to END THE BULLSHIT. Damn the Bush legacy!

BTW, below is a video with Keith Olbermann who comments on the White House editing of the September Petraeus report to Congress. Worth watching.

1994 - A Very Different Dick - Don't Attack Iraq!

I know this is old news, but I want it as a reference while other points are made. Also, some people have still not seen this!


What Do ALAS Feminist Bloggers Have in Common With Rush Limbaugh Supporters?

This is in relation, once again, to the Duke Rape Case. I find a terrible and frightening similarity between nuggets of anonymous thought on a popular feminist blog called ALAS, and the kind of stuff you read on the radical right blogs, i.e., a strategy of shoot first and keep shooting till your hand goes cold. They readily accepted the false claims and statements of Nifong and Mangum with the same zeal and unquestioning vigor that Rush Limbaugh junkies accept the words of their master as absolute gospel. Course, the media disinformation, Nancy Grace, and others, are to blame for much of this, but still. You judge for yourself. Is this typical of feminist thinking or just typical of human beings who reinforce each other's wrongness? ... These comments are from last spring. Posters are commenting on the "guilt" of the lacrosse players.
  • Q Grrl Writes: April 3rd, 2006 at 7:36 am The entire Duke lacrosse team has shat on the community for years — turn around is fair play.

  • Rachel S Writes: April 3rd, 2006 at 6:41 am One of the things that I find ironic is that these people who are so quick to point out alternative theories and suggest that this never happen are prognosticating (sp) about evidence that is either wrong or simply not there.

  • Antigone Writes: April 3rd, 2006 at 7:20 am I don’t doubt that the girl was raped.

  • Shannon Writes: April 3rd, 2006 at 7:21 am I think the victim deserves someone to take her side for once. These guys can get a fancy lawyer, and are protected by their status. Nobody is calling them into account for their rowdyness or loud partying, and saying that is why they raped the woman, but the woman is being bashed by rape apologists right and left.

  • Q Grrl Writes: April 3rd, 2006 at 8:38 am What part of the crime do you disbelieve? Barring non-consensual sex, what about the beating and strangulation? These men, specifically the lacrosse team, have proven, year after year after year, their willingness to engage in illegal and disruptive behavior, with little to no regard to the consequences. Suddenly, when the crimes escalate (or are finally reported) these men are innocent until proven guilty? Honey, they’ve been proving their guilt for years. Hell, they’ve already copped to criminal activity the night of the party, so I’m really not sure what “innocence” of theirs you’re trying to shore up.

  • Ampersand Writes: April 3rd, 2006 at 9:52 am But it seems incredibly unlikely that all of them are innocent (even if none of them committed the rape, some of them may have important knowledge that they’re withholding, such as descriptions of other guests at the party). Under the circumstances, and given the severity of the crime, I don’t think the use of public shaming by the DA is out of line.

  • geoduck2 Writes: April 3rd, 2006 at 10:03 am What is it about this case that is hard to understand? The police found 4 fingernails & her cellphone and her makeup bag in the house. (They held her from behind with an arm around her neck. Her nails broke off as she tried to pull away the arm that was cutting off her airway.) The medical examination found tearing and injuries consistent with rape. Her father says that her face is bruised ... A court standard is innocent until proven guilty. But we are all free to take and judge the information available to us.

  • ms. jared Writes: April 3rd, 2006 at 11:10 am thank you for this post. i too have noticed how quick everyone is to say “don’t rush to judgement” but it seems it’s only reserved for rape. we can “rush to judge” ken lay and tom delay and every other criminal ASAP but when it comes to rape we’re all supposed to immediately dismiss the victim’s claims and wait for the courts to decide.from what i’ve read and from past experience, i am much more inclined to believe her and i do.

  • anon Writes: April 3rd, 2006 at 1:14 pm I posted the below on Rachel’s Tavern, but I think it is relevant to this discussion. The way I see it, you basically have 2 kinds of people - those who are able to believe that such heinous acts can be committed by “basically good kids” and those who are not willing to believe it, which leads them to concoct elaborate schemes for explaining the rape and beating of this woman (which as far as I can tell is not in question - the only thing that IS in question is the who) ... Similarly, I think the men on the Duke Lacrosse team who allegedly raped the young woman have some sort of explanation in their heads that absolve them of responsibility. They may believe these rationales so completely that they are probably puzzled by the outrage and outcry. They may have lied to themselves so completley that they have begun to really believe it.
And then, many months later, when it had become overwhelmingly clear that Nifong and Mangum were lying and that the lacrosse players were innocent (even Susan Estrich had backed off), we have comments by many of the exact same people, even as recently as June. The comments in parens are mine:
  • Whether or not the Duke Lacrosse Players committed rape that night--I now believe they did not, although of course I could be mistaken--thinking that an inconsistent narrative shows no rape took place is wrong. (OMG! After it had been shown that Mangum lied repeatedly to protect herself and destroy the lives of others--and btw, inconsistent story demonstrates false testimony in other crimes so why do these people not see this as evidence of lying, especially in this case where the lies on the part of Mangum were so numerous and profound?)

  • With trepidation, I’m not limiting the comments here to feminists. (In other words, these people fear opinions that might contradict their own?)

  • If it can be proven that Nifong withheld evidence and lied to the judge, he should be disbarred and, ideally, put behind bars. (OMG! IF? IF? IF? Who is she kidding?)

  • THIS POST IS A FEMINIST, PRO-FEMINIST AND FEMINIST-FRIENDLY ONLY THREAD. (Regarding an ALAS post that slams everyone as a "vulture" who claims false rape charges potentially hurt real victims--in other words, this poster seems to be saying, "Just tell me what I want to hear." I have friends who work in rape crisis centers who say the same thing. I guess they're vultures too?)

  • I stand by most of my past posts on this subject. But I no longer believe Mary Doe was raped that night. Nor do I believe she wasn’t raped. I’m now an agnostic on this question. (She is "agnostic" on the subject! No evasion here.)
Enough. Now, I can't talk compare this to Rush Limbaugh supporters without wanting to vomit, so I'll just leave that part out. But a big question remains. Have these people become just what they hate, i.e., ignorant, narrow-minded sexists?

You tell me.


"Until Proven Innocent" - A Must Book for "Liberal" Hypocrites - Ugly and True

I've gave up on the left many years ago, and the right long before that. What I'm left with now are feelings of revulsion and impatience, for I find them both horribly hypocritical and self-serving. Whatever happened to reason, I ask you? Nevertheless, you must buy and read the nonfiction book, Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case. The book was written by Stuart Taylor, a columnist for National Journal, and K.C. Johnson, a history professor at Brooklyn College and CUNY.

No book could possibly do a better job of documenting and shining a glaring spotlight on the radical left of the Duke Campus--a group of lynch-mob academics who were determined, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, to condemn three innocent people simply because they were white and male. The evidence cannot be refuted. It's UGLY and it's TRUE. Only the biggest ostrich on earth could hide from these facts.

Courtesy of a great article on UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT on NPR, a slice or two from Chapter 8:

For many months not one of the more than five hundred members of the Duke arts and sciences faculty—the professors who teach Duke undergraduates — publicly criticized the district attorney or defended the lacrosse players' rights to fair treatment. Not even after enough evidence had become publicly available to establish clearly both the falsity of the rape charge and the outrageousness of Nifong's actions—widely seen as the worst case of prosecutorial misconduct ever to unfold in plain view. But, as some admitted privately to friends, they were also afraid to cross the activists—black and female activists especially—lest they be smeared with charges of racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, or right-wingism ...That's what would happen to a chemistry professor who—months after the team's innocence had become clear—became the first member of the arts and sciences faculty to break ranks with the academic herd. It took less than twenty-four hours for the head of Duke's women's studies program to accuse him of racism in a letter to The Chronicle.

The book goes further to note the contribution of a special Duke faculty member, Houston A. Baker Jr., a professor of English and of African and African-American Studies.

Baker was in demand among TV hosts such as MSNBC's Rita Cosby and CNN's Nancy Grace. He was also quoted in newspapers local and national, including The New York Times and USA Today ... Baker provided a window both into his soul and into the indifference of many academics to fact after a critic e-mailed him, "You will owe a big apology when the truth comes out, but I doubt you will be man enough to issue it." Retorted the professor: "Who is really concerned about whether a woman was actually raped or not? Are you a perfect idiot?" Baker tossed out a litany of false charges of misbehavior by lacrosse players, such as that they had "beat up people who were gay," before closing: "... You live in a white supremacist fantasy land. . . . Whew! Have you read recently? Anything? . . . And, get over yourself, buddy. Get smart before you write to a professor, OK. Read SOMETHING."

Thanks guys, for "Until Proven Innocent." Thanks to National Public Radio for bubbling this book to the surface.


"The Death of Psychotherapy" - Alien Life-Form Abuse Unfounded? No, Really?

To any poor soul who is prepared to spend a fortune on a "well-meaning psychotherapist," I HIGHLY recommend reading this book by Don Eisner, "The Death of Psychotherapy: From Freud to Alien Abductions." It uses a scary logic known as scientific method in an attempt to partition off viable forms of psychological therapy from the voodoo cures and method of most psychotherapy. And it does so quite successfully. Eisner builds his argument in a way that cannot be refuted, and I can't help but have tremendous respect for this man. Yes, I'm being positive now, thank you! Also, in a yummy way, it's a real antidote to all the alien abductee psychobabblers who regularly bilk impressionable people out of millions of dollars every year in order to cure them of their alien abductee traumas. Yes, all very sick, sick, SICK! This is totally TRUE ... Oh, and if you are reading this and consider yourself offended, then please fly to California and attend a flim-flam UFO convention to meet some of these stellar personalities. And I know I'm making fun of you, but guess what, you deserve it honey, big time!


Sociopath Bush Ignores Dying Man

The Associated Press reports that a police officer in President Bush's motorcade crashed his motorcycle and died Monday, less than a year after a crash in Hawaii killed another motorcycle officer accompanying the president. Rio Rancho Officer Germaine Casey, 40, crashed at the Albuquerque airport at a point where a road enters an underground parking garage, said Trish Hoffman, a spokeswoman for the Albuquerque Police Department. He was pronounced dead at an Albuquerque hospital. Bush had been headed to the airport after attending a fundraiser for Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M.

So what did Bush do while the man died only yards away? He waited in his plush, overpriced White House limo. That's right. The second man to die in his presence, as part of his private motorcade, and Imperial Bush can't be moved to show a normal act of human compassion. It was reported that Bush called the man's wife to say sorry, but is that enough?

Course, what can you expect from a sociopath?


The Art of Lavish and Fraudulent Praise at Amazon - Man Camp by Adrienne Brodeur

Why do I have to be so negative? Is it because there is so much to be negative about? ... As I was wallowing in my thrill over the Claire Messud reviews being rediscovered (see post below regarding Emperor's Children), I decided to check the reviews of another crappy book that haunts my past, Man Camp by Zoetrope's former editor, Adrienne Brodeur. The novel was a flop, and with good reason--one of the many last gasps for the juvenile genre of chick-lit. And btw, when is someone going to fire the twits in book marketing and turn control back over to a few intelligent editors? When? Anyway, this 2005 catastrophe of a novel, Man Camp, was introduced to the reading public with dozens of fraudulent Amazon reviews (biz as usual). Though old news, I just had to throw these in by way of illustration and because they so nicely complement the crapola reviews of Emperor's Children, one of the worst published novels of all time.

Okay, here we go. The following Amazon reviews of MAN CAMP were supposedly written by real people unconnected to the publishing business, but who nevertheless talk like blurb-programmed robots. It's funny to think the marketing types don't see this stuff as utterly transparent to anyone with a brain evolved past that of a lemur.
  • Women can't seem to live with men, but can't live without them, either. Why is that? Perhaps, biology is the answer. Men, unlike their counterparts in the animal kingdom, don't have a clue about how to court a woman.
  • Although this is a great summer read, it's more than that. Brodeur's characters are both entertaining and touching, and face many issues we all grapple with ...
  • Man-Camp is fun, witty and a great summer read. Title notwithstanding, the novel looks closely and fairly at both sides of the gender dating gap and comes up with some pretty amusing and accurate observations about both! The author's slyly crafted prose provided many laugh-out loud moments for me, as well as nods of recognition.
  • Anyone who is ever been on a date will enjoy Man Camp. This story takes all the aspects of dating - the gruesome, the funny, the beautiful - and rolls them into a smart, lively, witty novel that is so fun to read. Male or female, you'll have a hard time putting this down. Adrienne Brodeur is someone to watch!

Finally, one purported to be from a college student in San Diego:

  • As a second year college student, in the prime of her dating career, advice on the opposite sex is a valuable commodity. Adrienne Brodeur is brilliant. She weaves a tale so honest and REAL you'll find yourself laughing out loud at the blunders everyone can relate too.
Vs. reviews by real readers:

  • Kind of corny and predictable, but I've read worse ... One thing I could most certainly do without and that has NO place in this type of novel is the detailed and in depth desciptions of milking and inseminating a cow. That's better left to a non-fiction book titled "Milking and Inseminating a Cow" ...
  • As a woman, I'm a bit bothered by the whole idea of this silly sort of banality. I'm being generous with my two-star rating, because the idea is cute, however simplistic. Cute, however, is not the key to good writing or literary substance. The characters are "stock" and predicatable (see Kirkus Reviews for a similar opinion) and the writing is, at best, formulaic.


Deleted Amazon Reviews of "Emperor's Children" Found - So Pallette-Cleansing!

Happy days. I know, I know, it seems obsessive to continue to rant about the horror of the Claire Messud novel, but I found the old customer reviews which had been flushed from Amazon, and I could not be more thrilled! It seems Messud was not able to purge the web altogether. Therefore, without further ado, I will share a representative sample. And btw, I want to reemphasize that this particular novel garnered overwhelmingly lavish praise from every source imaginable connected to the mainstream publishing industry. Despite this fact, it was not even nominated for a single important book award (Pulitzer, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, PEN/Faulkner). It is truly the poster child for all that now troubles American commercial fiction. Of the 154 reviews, the publisher's puppet-reviews read similar to this one by "Matt Spruce" ... i.e., rather like a blurb than an honest comment by a genuine human being:

As well as being decidedly-incisive, witty, and often deprecating, THE EMPEROR'S CHILDREN is genuine, providing a glimpse (though it's sometimes quite tinted) into the lives of the New York Upper Crust. Amazingly, nothing in this book is superficial; somehow, miraculously, Messud connects the reader with the characters, taking them off their soapboxes and proving that they are, indeed, real people. Along the way, Messud provides rich language full of sensory details that only highten the pallette-cleansing quality of this novel. It's funny, insightful, powerful, has beautiful language, and is ultimately moving, when its characters are faced with tragedy. It's simply amazing.

Simply amazing and pallette-cleansing ... Honest evaluations--mostly focusing on the crappy prose, pathetic characters, and juvenile plot--read like this:
  • I actually found myself highlighting sentences in the book and reading them to my husband at night -- for a good laugh! I can't recall ever reading so many clunky, tortured, obtuse sentences in a published book ... Some of the sentences have comically misplaced modifiers, some of them have multiple clauses offset by semicolons within clauses offset by hyphens, some of them are just plain weird.

  • The characters are trite, their situations are pedestrian, and the story could have been set in any large American city (except, perhaps, LA), in spite of it being hailed as a great portrait of contemporary life (mostly at the top) in NYC ... I guess the only thing that can be said of the book is that none of the characters is all that likable or even sympathetic, which is about as close to "real life" as this book comes.

  • I don't mind reading about characters that are unsympathetic and dull -- if the story has a point. Unfortunately, this book has no story. The author adequately illustrates the nature of narcissism, vanity, and wanton conceit; but her theme runs around in circles (tediously!) and never goes anywhere. She dangles plot lines that never ripen, and allows all the characters to remain static, essentially unchanged by the events that unfold.

  • I agree with other reviewers [at Amazon]. It appears the author likes very long sentences; many paragraphs are absolutely incomprehensible. Are we to be impressed with the overuse of commas and dependent clauses so that it often takes two or three readings to render a sentence understandable? If this is the new era of grown-up writing, I'll stick to my mysteries and nonfiction.

  • If the characters were people in or around my real life, I'd find a way to move to another country and become some real "Emporer's Child." These self-indulgent, pseudo intellectuals make me talk back to the book with bile in my mouth. "Please! Grow up! Get a life," are just a few of the comments that ran through my mind as I read this book. I am disappointed that the book reviewer from NPR gave it rave reviews, leading me to buy it, and I am disappointed that Amazon keeps suggesting that I would like it.

  • Without a doubt, a favorite of the NY intellgentsia, as it reinforces their view of the importance of the pointlessness of their social structure. Named the NYT "Best Book of the Year", we can merely conclude that the editors of the NYT Book Review are young, shallow and poorly read.

  • It isn't often that I will not finish a book. I can probably count on one hand how many times its happened. I actually wanted to throw this book across the room because it was so bad. I cannot figure out why it was so hyped. If the author was trying to impress me with all the big words she could throw in, she failed.


The End of Bat Boy? Weekly World News Goes Plop!

Reuters and other sources have recently reported the demise of Weekly World News from grocery stores and quickie marts all across America. Weekly World News was one of several black-and-white tabloids you would gawk at in disbelief while waiting for the cashier to ring up your cokes and onion dip. It featured various comical absurdities including pics of Bin Laden and Hussein dressed up like ballerinas and exchanging fluids, Bush Jr. consorting with evil aliens to divide Earth, Big Foot photographed in a college math class, the Elvis cadillac stolen from Graceland and spotted in earth orbit by shuttle astronauts, and so forth. WWN told Reuters, "Due to the challenges in the retail and wholesale magazine marketplace that have impacted the newsstand, American Media, Inc. today announced it will close the print version of the Weekly World News, effective with the August 27 issue. Weekly World News was AMI's smallest weekly publication." An SEC filing noted that sales of WWN had declined to 83,000 in 2006 from 153,000 in 2004.

But fans will shortly want an answer to the most important question of all. What the hell happens to Bat Boy? BB was the favorite creationof WWN. They launched him into Afghanistan to comb the caves for Osama.

I know I will miss him. I can't help but get teary knowing he will not be there to cheer my long and boring waits in the Safeway checkout line.


Ever since the NRA and it's cadre of paid-off media conservatives have been using the Virginia Tech psycho as a poster child to push the agenda of America's gun manufacturers, I've been getting crazier and crazier. I swear if I hear one more of them huff and say that millions of America's college students should all buy guns and go armed to campus, I'm going to flip out, buy a gun, and shoot one of the little pricks.

If the danger of killer psychos is that great, then why not push for a Federal law that mandates all students wear Kevlar vests? Surely, that's safer than millions of new firearms in circulation owned and operated by skittish and untrained college students? Yes? No? Huh?




My Country Tis of Anomie

an·o·mie [an-uh-me] : lack of moral standards in a society ; social instability resulting from a breakdown in values; alienation experienced by a person or class as a result of lack of ideals.


Just some goodies to share. How can I get enough of all this incredible bullshit:

  • Linda Chavez, former Reagan official and Fox News sweetheart, has raised tens of millions for Republican anti-union and anti-liberal causes. Among other things, she is known for sending out fund raising letters comparing unionism to terrorism. The real problem rests in the fact that the vast majority of the money raised by Chavez and her family has not found its way into the political arena, e.g., only .3% of the two million raised to fight abortion was actually spent for that purpose. Do her thousands of earnest and terrified small donors know all this? We hope not. Is this fraud? WE HOPE SO. Go Linda!

  • Billions have been spent on anti-terrorism equipment all over the U.S. Much of it, requiring expensive maintenance, is falling apart or gathering dust. For example, currently half of the Washington D.C. area's bomb squads can't communicate via their $12,000 "Cobra Kit" phones because the wireless bills remain unpaid due to insufficient funds to renew the contract. Not only that, but maintenance on the kits is absurdly expensive. Local jurisdictions without enhanced budgets to pay for the upkeep are simply letting the equipment rot. Montgomery County in Maryland stopped paying the bills as far back as 2005. D.C. and Arlington also dropped wireless payments not long after.


Death Cat Stalks Gonzales

I just learned, courtesy of THE DOOD, that the famous death cat has parked itself at the Justice Department and refuses to leave. According to Dood, "Administrators for the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence Rhode Island late today confirmed that their prized cat Oscar had gone missing. White House authorities late this evening confirmed that the cat in question had mysteriously shown up there. Oscar was recently featured in an essay in the New England Journal of Medicine in which he was heralded for his uncanny ability to predict the imminent deaths of hospice patients."


CNN Fear Mongering Again

Taking a script right from Fox News, CNN is trying to boost ratings again by making us think a terrorist is behind every bush. Where there isn't any news, they manufacture it, keeping the fear level as high as possible. Just recently they ran a story during morning prime time, the lead telling us that the government is warning us that terrorists might be making "dry runs" through airports to test strategies for future attacks against America. From the TSA press releases, the CNN marketing jabberwocks pulled a story about strange packages pulled from passenger carry-on bags. According to the CNN website: "Police across the country should be on the lookout for what could be "dry runs" for a terrorist attack, the Transportation Security Administration advised after series of suspicious incidents occurred at U.S. airports. Blocks of cheese were found in a bag with a coil of wire and tubes, the TSA said. An unclassified advisory, sent July 20 from TSA to law enforcement agencies, raised the possibility that recent activity could be "pre-attack security probes. CNN obtained the advisory from a government source."

So after smartly creating a story designed to scare the crapola out of any poor and impressionable creature who might be flying any time soon, CNN anchors deliver the small print at the bottom of the page. Their new mediagenic female states, "However, TSA has informed us that none of the suspicious packages were linked to terrorists." In other words, THE STORY IS ALL HYPE AND INVENTION BY CNN AND TSA. There are NO terrorists making dry runs. These were not, repeat not pre-attack security probes. These people were all law-abiding American citizens. Shades of WMD! ... So what else is new? I'm just so sick of the endless fear mongering.


Steny Hoyer Encourages American Obesity

The greed and flagrant absues of convicted felons, former Republican member Duke Cunningham and Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, hang over this House like a dark cloud. - Steny Hoyer

Americans who care about health should be up in arms about the recent Steny Hoyer lobbyist orgy at the Rio Mar Beach Golf Resort and Spa in Puerto ... the Rio Mar, "set between a mile-long stretch of Caribbean beach sports recreational facilities that range from two 18-hole golf courses to a 13-court Peter Burwash International Tennis Center, a Caribbean watersports center, a Las Vegas–style casino, and a new Balinese- style Mandara Spa. To complete the Rio Mar experience, culinary artists from all over the world work their magic at 11 restaurants and lounges." Americans must be aware that a public official sends a wrong message to the entire nation when he's feeding hundreds of lobbyists upwards of 5000 calories a day per head. What are we talking about here? Enormous buffets that would make Holland America furious with envy: bisques of every type, london broils and slabs of filet mignon, baked alaskas and parfaits and custards, pasta fazool, and liberal do-gooders broiled under glass.
God, when will somebody do something about it? Might Congress pass a law to curtail such engorgement? What will our children learn from this?
The mind reels and the stomach rumbles.


Hype Over The Jane Austen Hoax - Are Interns That Stupid?

As many of us already know, David Lassman, director of the annual Jane Austen Festival in Bath, pulled a cute little prank on American publishers by typing up opening chapters of some Jane Austen books (Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion), adding a cover letter with plot synopses, and mailing them to a total of 18 publishers and literary agents. Course, Lassman changed the titles and the character names before sending them out.

The sad tale of what happened next was well covered by The Guardian--the most embarrassing rejction coming in a letter from Penguin Publishing (publishing Austen's books in "Penguin Classics"), saying "Thank you for your recent letter and chapters from your book First Impressions. It seems like a really original and interesting read." Later, a Penguin spokesman said, “We don’t take anything that is not agency-led so I doubt the person would even have read it.” No kidding! And how can you blame them when you consider that on any given day in the U.S. thousands of manuscripts (mostly bad ones) are circulating in the mail? More rejections piled up from big names Random House, Hodder and Stroughton, Simon and Schuster and HarperCollins.

So what does this all prove? That the poorly paid and overworked support staff at agencies and publishers, the interns at the gate, are either really NOT reading the manuscripts that come their way or they are "reading" them and not getting it, or some of column A and B. The Austen hoax isn't the first to reveal this. As far back in the 80's, Doris Lessing executed an identical hoax by sending around her latest novel under a pseudo. 13 publishers rejected it with comments equally as boilerplate. An editor at Viking finally recognized the style and contacted Lessing to put an end to it.

Do we shoot the interns or just spike their Starbucks with cyanide?


The Transmogrification of Dick Cheney

The above photo was leaked to the Internet only yesterday. Apparently, during the two hours Dick Cheney was appointed President (as Bush was rammed up the rectum and checked for liberal polyps) he transmogrified to his true form: an indestructible alien death-robot. This photo was snapped just as Cheney was disintegrating one of his staff for daring to suggest that he might benefit the nation by using his newfound powers to reduce the size of government.
Once Bush regained consciousness, Cheney morphed back to his usual form, that of a sneering asshole.


Talk of Cage on Web del Sol

Michael Neff of Web del Sol recently interviewed film producer and agent, Barbara Zitwer, on his new net-radio show, THE SOLWAVE. The interview twists and mazes around to finally come to rest on facts about Nicolas Cage and his eccentric nature. More importantly though, it reminds me of my love for the black comedy, Vampire's Kiss, a film that even to this day has been seen by relatively few people, and yet it must rank as one of the most obscure film wonders of all time. Nicolas Cage plays Peter Loew, a bullying literary editor who hooks up with Jennifer Beals. In due course, she sucks a few pints out of him, and continues to suck, and as time goes forward, he feels increasingly hostile, aroused, and nutbaggy. Soon enough, it dawns on Peter that he was bitten by a vampire, so he goes out and buys a set of real fangs. Cage's performance in the film is fantastic and it's still one of my favorites next to Raising Arizona. As many have pointed out, his performance in Vampire's Kiss dwarfs everything else he's ever done.
Congrats also to Barbara Zitwer for bringing this great film to the planet Earth. Thank you and lots of kisses to you.
My recommendation is to order from NetFlix cause most video rental joints will no longer have a copy of this superb film. If you like comedy, clever story, and Nick Cage, you will ADORE this movie!

Michael Moore Puts Gupta in His Place

From the archives of Moore's SICKO webpage. He recently and succcessfully countered claims of false information by Dr. Gupta, CNN's corporate medical spokesperson. Here is a slice and a link. Everyone MUST SEE THIS FILM.

"The fact that the healthcare system in an impoverished nation crippled by our decades-old blockade (including medical supplies and drugs) ranks so closely to ours is more an indictment of the American system than the Cuban system ... Although Cuba ranks lower overall than the United States, it still has a lower infant mortality rate and longer life span. And unlike the United States, Cuba offers healthcare to absolutely everyone. In an independent Gallup poll conducted in Cuba, "a near unanimous 96 percent of respondents say that health care in Cuba is accessible to everyone." ("Cubans Show Little Satisfaction with Opportunities and Individual Freedom Rare Independent Survey Finds Large Majorities Are Still Proud of Island's Health Care and Education," January 10, 2007. "


Gawker Skewers The Yiddish Cops

I just had to repost this from about Chabon's latest. This is entertaining, yes, and what is wrong with him?

"Michael Chabon's new book has been troubled with a bad case of being crap. We've been trying to keep an open mind about The Yiddish Policemen's Union, but he's not making it easy. For starters, it's written in a "hard-boiled, Yiddish-inflected patois." Also, the only thing we've heard about Michael since The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay won a Pulitzer in 2001 has been his personal child-bearer Ayelet Waldman's irrepressible oversharing about his sexual prowess. Now we learn that HarperCollins pulled it from their publication schedule at the last minute! "While long gestation periods and multiple drafts aren't unusual in the publishing industry, the time and effort expended on behalf of Mr. Chabon's vision are illustrations of the book's importance to HarperCollins," the reporter claims. Exactly. Just switch the word "aren't" with the word "are," and the words "the book's importance" with the words "the book's terribleness," and that sentence becomes almost true."

He tries real hard to get this cliche detective thing going in the hook and it just flounders in an embarrassing way ... and so forth. Still, some good stylistic cinema, but not as top quality as Kavalier and Klay.

Gore's Stop-Global-Warming Video

Sewage Divers, Elephant Vasectomist, and Whale Poop

Popular Science's "10 Worst Jobs in Science" this year (July issue) included the divers who scrub the walls of pits of sewage, toxins and nuclear waste; the elephant vasectomist (wielding a 4-foot-long laparoscope to deal with the 12-inch-wide testicles); carcass-preparers who ship cat, frog, shark and even cockroach bodies to be studied in science classes; the whale researcher who admitted she was "surprised" at "how much you could learn about a whale through its feces"; and the volunteers who lie still for up to 21 days to study the effects of weightlessness (for $2,000 a week).

Biodegradable Art Scaffolds and Victimless Leather

This is tres bizarre. Australian artists Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr blend art with science, extracting living cells from animals and growing them on top of biodegradable scaffolds so that when the scaffolds disappear, a living entity remains, in the shape of the scaffold. At the Israeli Center for Digital Art in Holon, Israel, in April, they unveiled "Victimless Leather," or actual animal skin cells that grew into leather without harming an animal, but their previous work has included growing steak from lamb muscle cells and the preparation for growing wings on a pig (though, in the final stage of that project, they were turned down by the exhibitor, who was apparently grossed out).

More about this ... Whoooo!


The Black Face of Racism in Ebony

I just picked up the July 2007 issue of Ebony that advertises in bold white letters against a black background: "An Honest Examination of Race, Language, and The Culture of Disrespect." Flipping through the pages of that particular section in the magazine I'm struck immediately by a couple things. First, the examination involves only opinions of black people. All other races are excluded from the dialogue. Second, several of the pages, in the footer, run blurb after blurb of historical instances of white racism. Third, references to Don Imus and his infamous quote are ubiquitous, including one that refers to his comment as a "sexually abhorrent tongue-lashing" and adding that "The moment was historic because the nation had finally reached a negativity limit and people reacted in protest." Hmmmm, well, I kinda thought it was because Al Sharpton seized on it and sounded the trumpets of God for weeks, no? Maybe it was historic then.

It recalls a story from a friend of mine who was quickly slapped by a couple of "white liberals" because he dared suggest in open conversation that Sharpton, given his history, should admit his own racism, and that all racism is wrong. And, btw, do hypocrites like Sharpton have the moral authority to address issues of racism? I ask you. But anyone can say whatever they want, of course.

Back to Ebony. Upon closer examination of the examination, I came upon an especially interesting article by Adrienne P. Samuels entitled "The Culture of Disrespect." BTW, here is a quote from Ms. Samuels from an interview-article online:

If people write to me, I've usually made them uncomfortable. I'm all for that – making people uncomfortable. If I've done that, I've done my job. Mostly what I want to get across is that we have to be fair.
But back to Ms. S's piece. What is striking are the images of Martin Luther King, Al Sharpton, and black civil rights marchers (featuring a smilling Sammy Davis Jr.--rather awkward esp cause Frank was absent) juxtaposed to images of Imus and the Rutgers University women's basketball team. I thought all this stuff would be old news by now, but it is referred to again and again and again throughout the magazine, as if the readers and and Ms. S can never get enough of it. Imus is the looming symbol of racist white America, the truth lurking beneath the surface, always ready to disrespect at a moment's notice.

Ms. Samuels does an admirable job of getting lots of opinions on the issues of Imus and disrespect and how it came about, but all from black Americans, only black Americans. Is this indicative of racism or simply smart politics? Are they both entertwined?

Is it fair?

Going further, and perhaps because I am not a usual reader of Ebony, I was surprised by a few viewpoints as the discussion of "disrespect" naturally fused with the black music business and quotes by black notables on this subject, e.g., Jeff Friday, founder of the American Black Film Festival, says Black America made a mistake in allowing critics to launch an assault on a Black music form:

For me, I just think that we give White people too much power.

Apparently, Jeff thinks Whites should be muzzled at appropriate times. And then we hear from Q-Tip, a "legendary" hip-hopper who "worries that the community won't heal if the music of youth continues to be attacked." So the issue isn't the hate speech of black music artists, its the attack on black youth by Whites and White-sponsored puppets like Oprah (who is noted as being divisive). Meanwhile, NPR commentator Jimi Izrael says "pooh to the culture of disrespect and other discussions he feels are egged on by Whites." According to Jimi:

Whenever they want an explanation, we stand up straight, clean our noses and try to give them an explanation. We've trained them to do that ... they feel like it's up to them to put us in check.
Okay Jimi, uhhhh, and just below the above statements, at the base of the page, a blurb that reads:
Ragtime music reached its peak in popularity. It was celebrated for its
innovation and decried for being Negro music and too exciting.
And there are more blurbs and more blurbs. Wow. Wow. Wow. I'm still rubbing my eyes and blinking. Where's Martin Luther King when we need him?

Thanks, Ebony. Guess I'll go back to being a racist now ... Ah, and one more thing, nowhere in the disrespect article that included the above quotes is a single mention of Al Sharpton as having any responsibility for the elevation of the Imus issue or the subsequent debate that followed.

Just had to note that.


The Corporate Supreme Court Strikes Another Death Blow To Democracy - No, really.

"Where the First Amendment is implicated, the tie goes to the speaker, not the censor."

Stirring words from the Bush appointee to the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, as the final gavel came down like an axe on the McCain-Feingold campaign reform law. Along with his fellow Bushers, he has now made certain that evangelical and corporate America can run tens of millions worth of attack ads against corporate-unfriendly and non-"Christian" candidates in the final days before the presidential election. Of course, it also paves the way for "liberal interests" to do the same thing, thus not only creating supreme confusion while hiding the real truth, but making Americans more cynical than ever.

It's my contention that so-called free speech issue of Roberts and blue company is a convenient argument created by corporate attorneys and agreed to by Roberts. The law did NOT prohibit anyone from saying anything they want on television or in adverts--it simply prevented them from connecting the lie or smear or graphically misleading statement to a specific candidate in the final days before an election.

"This is a big win for big money," the Washington Post reported Mary Wilson, President of League of Women Voters. Indeed, the addition of Alito and Roberts has been a windfall profit for the corporations who put "good business" over the welfare of their nation. It's going to be an all-out war of smear and disinformation that only benefits special interest groups, their marketing agencies, and the TV industry. A few media heads will bitch and moan, but after the green dust settles, true democracy will be even be more of a dream than it is now.

Thank you Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and the rest of you blue-blooded, black-hearted bastards.


A Great Prosecutor to Convict an Innocent Man - Nifong, Fatty Arbuckle, and Nancy Grace

My passion for gross and obvious injustice is equaled only by my loathing of The Emperor's Children, however, I must call attention to these observations by Jonathan Turley following the Duke Rape Case:

What's most remarkable about the whole scene, though, is how rare it is. Nifong's misconduct was hardly unusual: Some of the most high-profile cases in history have involved strikingly similar acts of prosecutorial abuse. But instead of being punished, the worst violators are often lionized for their aggressive styles -- maybe even rewarded with a cable television show.

Nifong is a classic example of the corrosive effect of high-profile cases on a prosecutor's judgment and sense of decency. Even before the players were indicted, the district attorney had played to the passions surrounding a black stripper's allegations that she had been raped by affluent white college boys. Nifong called the Duke players "a bunch of hooligans'' and promised that he would not allow "Durham in the mind of the world to be a bunch of lacrosse players from Duke raping a black girl in Durham."

But he had a problem. The accuser kept changing her story, and there was no evidence of a gang rape. In addition to his prejudicial comments, Nifong was accused of withholding test results showing that DNA found on the woman's body and underwear came from at least four unknown males -- but none of the 46 lacrosse team members.

Nifong isn't the first prosecutor who, in his words, "got carried away" in the glare of television lights. In 1921, the silent-film star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle was tried for the alleged rape and murder of a 30-year-old showgirl named Virginia Rappe during a party in a hotel suite. The San Francisco district attorney, Matthew Brady, faced a situation almost identical to Nifong's: His chief witness was less than credible.

Rappe's friend Maude Delmont dramatically described how Arbuckle had dragged Rappe into the bedroom, gleefully proclaiming, "I've waited five years to get you." She insisted that she spoke with Rappe three days later, just before the young woman died (of peritonitis caused by a ruptured bladder), and related the too perfect account of how Rappe yelled, "I'm hurt, I'm dying. He did it, Maude." In reality, rather than staying by her dying friend's bedside, Delmont had run to send a telegram to friends that read: "We have Roscoe Arbuckle in a hole here. Chance to make some money out of him."

It didn't matter. Brady was hooked. Like Nifong's conflicting DNA report, the coroner's report in the Arbuckle case found "no marks of violence . . . and absolutely no evidence of a criminal assault, no signs that the girl had been attacked in any way." Just as Nifong insisted that he had clear evidence against the lacrosse players, Brady released a statement (soon after receiving the coroner's report) saying that the evidence "shows conclusively that either a rape or an attempt to rape was perpetrated." Notably, when Arbuckle was finally acquitted in a third trial, the jury issued a written apology for the "great injustice . . . done him."
and further:

History is rife with such "great prosecutors" convicting the innocent to satisfy the public. In the 1913 Leo Frank trial, Atlanta chief prosecutor Hugh Dorsey pursued a Jewish factory owner for the rape and murder of 13-year-old factory worker Mary Phagan. It was a period of intense anti-Semitism, with crowds chanting "Kill the Jew" outside the courtroom. Prosecutors ignored the fact that all the evidence pointed to a janitor, Jim Conley, as the killer. Instead, they repeatedly rewrote Conley's conflicting statements to help him manufacture a coherent account for trial. Conley was identified years later as the killer by a witness, but it was too late for Frank. He was kidnapped from prison by vigilantes (including many leading lawyers) and hanged near Mary's grave.

When told that he had secured the death penalty against an innocent man, a Texas prosecutor once reportedly boasted that "any prosecutor can convict a guilty man; it takes a great prosecutor to convict an innocent man."

and on to my favorite bad-TV personality who gets five stars for creative man-hating:

Consider the career of Nancy Grace. Before becoming a CNN and Court TV anchor, she was a notorious prosecutor in Alabama. In a blistering 2005 federal appeals opinion, Judge William H. Pryor Jr., a conservative former Alabama attorney general, found that Grace had "played fast and loose" with core ethical rules in a 1990 triple-murder case. Like Nifong, Grace was accused of not disclosing critical evidence (the existence of other suspects) as well as knowingly permitting a detective to testify falsely under oath. The Georgia Supreme Court also reprimanded her for withholding evidence and for making improper statements in a 1997 arson and murder case. The court overturned the conviction in that case and found that Grace's behavior "demonstrated her disregard of the notions of due process and fairness and was inexcusable." She faced similar claims in other cases.

You might have expected Grace to suffer the same fate as Nifong. Instead, she has her own show on CNN, and the network celebrates her as "one of television's most respected legal analysts." On TV, she displays the same style she had in the courtroom. (In the Duke case, her presumed-guilty approach was evident early on, when she declared: "I'm so glad they didn't miss a lacrosse game over a little thing like gang rape.")

The Grace effect is not lost on aspiring young prosecutors who struggle to outdo one another as camera-ready, take-no-prisoners avengers of justice. Grace's controversial career also shows how prosecutors can routinely push the envelope without fear of any professional consequences. Often this does not mean violating an ethics rule, but using legally valid charges toward unjust ends.

One of my favorite topics, and one largely ignored by Americans everywhere.


Messud's Horrible Novel Wins

I just stumbled onto a few other people with some semblance of sanity who also fully recognize that Claire Messud is one of the worst writers ever published in America to receive lavish praise as one of America's best writers.

As One Minute Book Reviews puts it:

The most overrated book of 2006 was The Emperor’s Children, a windy and cliché-infested novel full of repulsive characters who move in eddies around an aging New York journalist.

Now I have to quote this from Messud's novel:

"He remembered his father’s telling him - his father, small as he was himself tall, with sloping shoulders off which Murray feared, as a child, the braces might slip, a bow-tied little man with an almost Hitlerian mustache, softened from menace by its grayness, and by the softness, insidious softness, of his quiet voice, a softness that belied his rigidity and tireless industry, his humorless and ultimately charmless ‘goodness’ (Why had she married him? She’d been so beautiful, and such fun) - telling him, as he deliberated on his path at Harvard, to choose accounting, or economics, saying, with that dreaded certainty, ‘You see, Murray, I know you want to go out and write books or something like that. But only geniuses can be writers, Murray, and frankly son …" [p. 124]