Sunday, May 31, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Could there be a more flabbergasting display of mixed messages? Bristol Palin, advocate for abstinence, looking pleased as punch with her cherubic baby boy wearing a (popped her) cherry graduation gown and mortarboard. I was baffled...hit me upside the head...the entire last year was a dream...baffled.
Teen pregnancy has never looked so glamorous!
Now, I am aware there are a lot of mothers out there who successfully raised their kids in similar circumstances. And I'm not one to slap morality on this issue, however I think we can agree in the majority of cases, eighteen year olds are not mentally nor fiscally ready to be saddled with an infant. They should be hanging out with their peers, smoking menthol Newports in the parking lot and stealing Lip Smackers from the mall.
Underneath this picture is the following Bristol Palin quote: "If girls realized the consequences of sex, nobody would be having sex. Trust me, nobody." How can anyone take this message seriously? She's beaming. If I were a seventeen year old girl and I saw this magazine cover, I'd probably think, "Where do I get one of those?" Bristol Palin telling young people they shouldn't screw around is as ludicrous as as Kirstie Alley extolling the virtues of a proper diet, or Manny Ramirez steering you to away from steroid usage.
In the article, she responsibly says girls need to imagine and picture their life with a screaming newborn baby and then follows that up by saying her son is the best thing that's ever happened. So, what's the message here? How is a tween supposed to cope? My mind is reeling. This cover is so doggone cute I'm about to run out and get my daughter's layette for her baby, and she's TWO!
But the apple had to learn this technique of confusing spin from someone. And that brings us to the tree, Sarah Palin herself. She continues to confound and stupefy. First it's all, this is a private matter between my daughter and her then fiance. And now, sure honey, I think a People cover will be swell. What happened to privacy?
I have a feeling that this cover is damage control for Sarah Palin's ongoing political career. Show the baby, our hearts will melt and we will forgive the transgression. And if La Palin is controlling the strings, I have to doff my hat because I know first hand she's right. When Michael and I first brought Sebastian to our families our approval rating grew exponentially. Babies are a common denominator and Sarah knows this.
So, as precisely as she picks off wolves from a helicopter, she places her young daughter and tender grandson in front of the ravenous press. Pound of flesh, baby. Because Mama's got a campaign to run in 2012.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Prop 8 was unfortunately upheld by the California Supreme Court, and in a confounding display of decision making, so were the eighteen thousand same sex marriages that were performed between June and November of last year. Upheld. I'm still married. But my brothers and sisters who didn't take advantage of the four month window cannot. I do not feel victorious.
People want to tell me about the bright side. But I don't need any one to pacify me right now. My anger will serve me. My anger will serve the cause. How can I feel safe about my marriage when it isn't even legal in my state? Hatemongers are out there with placards saying I am a sinner, my husband is a sinner. They point fingers and speak ugly, an ugly, if I remember correctly, God and Jesus and Buddha and Allah and all our teachers do not tolerate. It's not for us to judge, but rather a time to listen...
The National Organization for Marriage...gave me hives just typing it...the group against gay marriage because somehow it will ruin opposite marriage in some sort of hush hush conspiratorial way, has proudly posted the following Stephen Colbert clip on their website.
“I’ve always thought Stephen Colbert was a double-agent, pretending to pretend to be a conservative, to pull one over Hollywood. Now I’m sure,” said Maggie Gallagher, President of the National Organization for Marriage.
Maggie, sweetheart, I think you missed the biting satire that is the genius of The Colbert Report.
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|The Colbert Coalition's Anti-Gay Marriage Ad|
One more thing, Maggie, darling, Stephen and I were the only guys to be transferred Junior year into Northwestern's theatre program in 1984. (Granted his career launched just a bit higher than mine.) We lived, ate and breathed theatre together. We graduated together. And recently we reconnected at our twentieth year class reunion. Now, I'm not going to lie and say we're best buds, however I know the man. He's not trying to pull one over Hollywood.
I'm sure you'll disagree, so I have a personal dare. I dare you to get a direct quote from him espousing your views, rather than pulling from his show.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
I was summoned.
It was six forty and baby girl was about to make her morning pronouncement.
"Coming." I lumbered out of bed wondering what she'd say today. It could be anything from I like bananas to Kitty cat is fuzzy.
I remember when she said I want to do ballet and I thought, "Okay, kid, you're two, how the hell do you know about ballet?" The answer to that did not take too much sleuthing. Maxie is an Olivia freak. You know, the precocious piglet with a vivid imagination. Was a book, now a popular TV series on Nick Jr. I think there are only about twelve episodes and they practically run on a loop in our house. I can quote from it verbatim. In one episode, Olivia does ballet, and Maxie wanted to as well.
The thing about these pronouncements, I'm one of those doting parents who will try to make it happen. Bananas, simple. But ballet? Are there even classes for two year olds to do ballet? I had to scramble around and ask questions. Thank goodness for the mothers at gymnastics. I found out where to go, and what clothes she would need. I tried to do it the cheap way: Target, Payless. But for some reason merchandise was low, so I painfully whipped out my credit card and headed off to Capezio's. Ballet slippers and leotard, thirty three bucks. Classes for the rest of the session, eighty two. Recital costume and fee, forty one. I'm out one hundred fifty six dollars if she hates it.
She loves it! What ever Miss Aimee tells her to do, she attempts. Other girls end up doing their own thing, spinning on the floor and getting into the butterfly wings and scarves, but my little one does her damnedest to master plié and attitude. In the middle of her first class she found me in the parental crowd and yelled, "Papa, I'm doing ballet!" Another pronouncement with a serious undercurrent, letting me know this was no fly by night endeavor. I gave her a thumbs up and she broke out into the most infectious of smiles. Really, when you think about it, what's one hundred fifty six dollars?
So, what was in store for me today? The dog is pink. My hair is pretty. What? I got to her room, and was reminded once again that the crib has got to go. She'll be three next month. She needs her first big girl bed. I know, I'm a bit slow. I'll go to Craig's List today. I promise. Her eyes were bright. I could tell she had a doozie. Something that will define her life course. Speak, my child. Speak!
I like boy.
I like boy.
Really? Which boy?
And then she dissolved into giggles and squeals and tried to escape my extended arms. I quickly backed out and went to my bedroom to tell Michael. He looked at me with one eye, rolled over, pulled a pillow over his face and cursed a muffled FUCK! My husband is going to be a perfect horror to any boy sniffing around our daughter. The pillow came off his head and in a plaintive whisper he asked, "Why can't she be a lesbian?"
As I was pondering the benefit of Michael's question, Maxie was choosing her clothes for school, something she's been doing for a while now. She chose a yellow dress with white flowers and matching hat. And to complete the ensemble, white sandals and yellow sun glasses. She looked like Audrey Hepburn. Well, minus tiara and cigarette holder.
I had to wonder if in any part of my daughter's conscience, sub or otherwise, she was dressing for boy. As I drove her to school, I tried to get more info about boy but she was stylishly enigmatic. This left me humming one of those annoying songs that refused to leave my head. When we arrived she received numerous compliments. She took off her hat, handed it to me. Took off her sun glasses, handed them to me. (I couldn't help but wonder if Audrey passed off accessories with such aplomb.) And then we entered her class.
It isn't easy for Maxie to be social. She sometimes stands with her finger in her mouth before committing to having fun. Her standoffishness has always been a part of her. However, I've noticed over the past couple months that she has readily jumped in to activity with more frequency. And yet, today, finger back in mouth, eyes downcast. I wondered, what's up? I tell her teacher about I like boy, and she whispers, "It's probably Miles." And sure enough Maxie was gravitating towards Miles like my husband to trashy magazines. Miles, however, was more interested in a toy airplane.
That's it. I had to leave. I justified this thinking I'm sure she doesn't want me hovering. But really, it was painful watching her experience one of life's cruel lessons: talk about boy, dress for boy, approach boy, but all boy really wants to do is play with something shiny.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I admit it, I'm totally into fictitious serial killers. I am an avid fan from Hannibal Lector to Dexter. And each week on Criminal Minds, I enjoy the horrifically damaged psychopath who reeks havoc leaving bodies in his wake. Then the team (an amusing bouquet of FBI profilers) use psychology and socialogy and a whiz bang ex-computer hacker to nail the bastard. This show is not for the faint of heart. The killers sometimes use grisly techniques, and sometimes after the air date even I with my cast iron stomach can't eat beef carpaccio for days. This last week, the filthy slime bucket of a killer developed an anthrax-like pathogen, and released it on a breezy day into a kiddie park. Lots of death. The team had to investigate.
The Tremendously Hunky Agent partners with the Overly Smart Dweeby Agent. They go to the suspect's house. Dweeby is exposed to the anthrax. Hunky calls in the HAZMAT team. Cut to shower set up. Dweeby is soaked in his clothes (huh?) and the following takes place...
Overly Smart Dweeby Agent: Go help Hotch.
Tremendously Hunky Agent: Hotch has plenty of people helping him.
Overly Smart Dweeby Agent: He needs you more than I do.
Tremendously Hunky Agent: Reid, I'm going to see you off to the hospital.
Overly Smart Dweeby Agent: I'm about to get naked so they can scrub me down. Is that something you really want to see?
(Uncomfortable beat. Tremendously Hunky Agent opens his mouth to speak, closes it and raises an eyebrow in fraternal understanding.)
Tremendously Hunky Agent: I'll check on you later.
AND HE GOES! Possibly leaving Dweeby to die an excruciating pathogen induced death.
But these guys are profilers. They use brain more than brawn. Logic and psychology and intuition are their tools. They've successfully tapped into the female side of their brains. And yet, here they are sharing in a stunning display of hombre a hombre homophobia.
What was the writer's intent if not homophobia? I can't imagine it was a humorous button. Besides Criminal Minds isn't know for its knee slapping jocularity. So, then, what was the point? Hunky leaves because he doesn't want to face Dweeby's peepee? Is that it? Is it a sexual orientation issue? Is it size? Girth? I mean really...what's the prob here?
"This is to inform you that sufficient basis exist to initiate action for withdrawal of Federation Recognition in the Army National Guard for moral or professional dereliction. Specifically, you admitted publicly that you are a homosexual, which constitutes homosexual conduct. Your actions negatively affected the good order and discipline of the New York Army National Guard."
How? How does it negatively affect? Every time this argument swing back into the news the only thing resembling an answer comes from some yahoo, "Well, how am I supposed to feel safe taking a shower if I know one of my platoonmates is a homo." So, is that the reason Don't Ask, Don't Tell is still with us? The fear of the shower. And someone peeping at your peepee. That excuse is as pathetic as the homophobic dialog above.
Be sure to follow the link and put your name on a list that asks President Obama to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell and not to fire Lt. Dan Choi.
No guy has ever platonically said to me, "Nice cock." And I have to wonder if it's impossible for a man to admire another man's phallus without sexual intent. We don't need to get into a whole discussion about skyscrapers and world domination. But to all you guys reading along, I have a feeling if we could compliment and even admire each other's peepees in a friendly nonthreatening manner, Criminal Minds wouldn't have banal dialog, and maybe, just maybe Lt. Dan Choi and twelve thousand five hundred other soldiers might still have their jobs.
Monday, May 18, 2009
I start with a definition. Let me flip open my American Heritage. Ah, yes, here we are. Culture. The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of work and thought.
Culture has been an ongoing conversation between Michael and me since we met. We certainly do not see brown eye to blue eye on everything, however, we respect each other's point of view, which sometimes means shutting the fuck up.
For instance, my husband wouldn't let Sebastian's hair be cut until his second birthday. It's a black thing. It's part of his culture. Thing is our son looked like a sheepdog by the time I finally got him in a barber's chair. Sebastian is white.
So, if I understand the definition, my black husband socially transmitted his African American beliefs on to a green-eyed boy of Lithuanian dissent.
You would think then, tit for tat, I'd have something to say about our black daughter's hair. But you'd be mistaken. You see, black hair is huge. It's Empire State. It's Everest. So, to frame it in my WASP perspective, how one styles black hair is on par with which investment firm handles your disposable income.
Ever since Maxie was small enough to be carried in a Guatemalan sling, black folks would come up to me, say what a beautiful girl, and then without missing a beat grill me about what I was putting in her hair. But she was a baby, I couldn't imagine clogging her pores with product at such a tender age. This would cause Black Stranger to let out an audible harrumph, making me feel I'd egregiously let the culture down. Then, she would tell me about a hair care product that does wonders and make me swear to go out and purchase it that day. Which, of course, I would.
On Maxie's bureau, there are bottles and jars of leave in conditioners, lotions, oils, hair balms, moisturizing creams and tonics. The goal is to find just the right cocktail for my daughter's specific hair type: a soft tight curl. As of this writing, Maxie has amassed fourteen containers of product. She's two.
Michael originally promised to be in charge of Maxie's hair and I was thrilled. Teaching my sausage fingers the intricate art of twist, braid, puff and lock, was highly intimidating. But at some point, he got busy and I became the caretaker of my daughter's do.
I am partial to her natural hair and that's not just because I sometimes wake up woozy from late night vodka binges and want to do as little styling possible. I actually think Maxie's curls are beautiful.
Now, we're to the crux of the story. Maxie goes to a nifty little pre school. I chose it for two reasons: proximity and really cool staff. My one complaint is that the student body isn't incredibly diverse. Where the staff is a fricken Benetton ad, the students are Eight is Enough. Maxie has two beautiful teachers, one is of Mexican dissent, the other black.
One day, Black Teacher tells Black Husband using black vernacular, "If she comes to school with her hair looking like that one day, that's okay. But three days in a row! That's unacceptable. Bring her early, I'll do her hair."
Michael was mortified. He was raised to be better behaved, better dressed, and better groomed than his white contemporaries. His sisters always had their butter whipped. And it was never a consideration to keep their hair natural. His culture had wrapped him on the knuckles and he was smarting from the pain.
I'd like to introduce another character into this narrative. Sally Foster. My mother. A woman who probably still hasn't visited my blog because she's too embarrassed to type the word penis. Sally would never let us leave the house unkempt. I remember my aunt saying, "Only Sally would dress her kids in white and then demand they not get dirty." And we wouldn't! We sipped soup without slurping. We answered the phone with, "And whom may I say is calling?" And we wore alligators on our clothing with alarming frequency. Welcome to my culture.
At some point, this broad definition of culture gets silly, doesn't it? It can apply to pretty much anything. Letting your pants hang down half mast...culture. Creative spelling, using a 'k' where a 'c' should be...kulture. Five thirty cocktails, face lifts at fifty, wrapping the family car around a tree...culture, culture, culture.
With my mother firmly a part of me, you better believe that both my children look good when they leave the house. So, I couldn't take Black Teacher's chastisement with the same gusto that Michael did. Besides, kids at Maxie's school have leaves in their hair, grape juice stains on their shirts and drag around old wigs as toys. Trust me, my daughter is put together just fine.
Two weeks ago, I was late picking up Maxie at school. And when I got there this same teacher was tightly weaving Maxie's hair. French braiding...or corn rowing...not sure which, perhaps it's a cultural distinction. What first looked to be a loving gesture from behind, became a thing of horror from the front. Maxie was near tears from the pain. I mention this and with a knowing smile Black Teacher says, "Well, we all had to go through this."
Bam! The culture card trumped parental concern.
I didn't know how to respond.
I then collected my daughter, who was thankful to be out of her clutches, and we bumped into Mexican Teacher, who said, "Maxie would really look cute with pierced ears."
Bam!! Culture card again.
My mouth hung open like a codfish.
I am positive that Paulina Perfect, WASP mom of Vanilla Viv, has not been subjected to such blatant cultural beatdowns! My kid was singled out by dark skinned ladies because of her dark skin. I'm sure their hearts are in the right place, but it's part of my culture not to concern two year olds with excruciating hair designs and ear lobe piercing, not yet. I know there are some painful years to come. Battles to win and loose on both sides. But for now, isn't she allowed to be a little girl who's hair comes loose on the playground, without social repercussions?
Of course, my husband shrugs his shoulders, siding with Black Teacher. So, I mention this to a longtime friend (also black) hoping to get some balanced perspective, but she tells me "It's not too young for her to learn." Learn what? I query. Then she tells me what a teacher said about her son's afro, "Isn't there something you can do with it? It distracts the other students." Her son does not attend that school anymore.
I thought it was black folks who were judgemental about black hair. But now I'm told white folks are the ones who judge. Is this the case? I thought back. Have I ever stood in follicle judgement? All I came up with was, "Oprah, girl, before you went in front of the cameras, did you really think you looked good?"
Maybe white people are intimidated with natural black hair. It's big and ballsy. It's Empire State and Everest. It says take me as I am, bitch. Barack Obama probably wouldn't be president today if Sasha and Melea didn't have their hair pulled and straightened and contained in neat curls. A bit of a leap, but anyone willing to challenge me?
There's only so much I can do to control my daughter's hair, let alone her world. She will meet many people who will want and need her to be a certain kind of women. So, for you, Maxie Pearl, when it gets a bit thick, I offer the following India Arie lyrics...
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Why is this taking so long? We have to be patient. We should have heard something by now. These things take time. I don't think we're getting it. Don't say that. It happened in October, it's now May. They're backed up, that's all it is. That's seven months ago. Bureaucratic red tape. The whole thing's a hoax, I'm telling you. No, it's not. That's it, let's move to Iowa!
In a time when the definition of marriage is questioned daily, in a time when we in California are waiting on pins and needles for the Supreme Court's ruling, in a time when nay saying public figures go on about their own freedom of speech, while wanting to abolish others' civil rights, I received a piece of parchment in the mail. It ratifies what I know in my heart to be significant and real...
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you our Marriage License!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Christianity Today: In the last month, same-sex marriage has become legal in Iowa and Vermont. What do you think about same-sex marriage at a state level? (Pretty much the same question that put Miss California on the national hot seat. Watch out Joe!)
Joe the Plumber: At a state level, it's up to them. I don't want it to be a federal thing. I personally still think it's wrong. People don't understand the dictionary--it's called queer. Queer means strange and unusual. It's not like a slur, like you would call a white person a honky or something like that. You know, God is pretty explicit in what we're supposed to do--what man and woman are for. Now, at the same time, we're supposed to love everybody and accept people, and preach against the sins. I've had some friends that are actually homosexual. And, I mean, they know where I stand, and they know that I wouldn't have them anywhere near my children. (And he fumbles. Golden Joe down for the count.)
I have a fundamental problem with godly sorts who hold up the dictionary as if it's the Bible and insist there's nothing wrong with calling someone queer. (I have an equal problem with religious publications that print interviews of this sort and promote it as spiritually relevant.) Honky, on the other hand, a word that I bet wasn't on anyone's mental list, makes Joe the Plumber righteously indignant. Really? Honky?
Now, I've heard many slanderous things shouted in the heat of the moment, from the playground to the locker room to the gay bar (that's right, sissy queers can sling hash with the best of them.) But never in my whole life, have I heard anyone use honky, with the exception of television characters on Norman Lear sitcoms. And even if someone were to let that pearl drop, would it hurt me to my cracker core? Probably not. I imagine I would be stunned by its impotence.
Joe the Plumber says queer isn't a slur. So, I guess I shouldn't take it personally when it's hurled at me with relish and ferocity. And even though my dictionary adds that queer is offensive slang, he might be on to something. From now on whenever someone yells queer or faggot or cocksucker (words that probably were on your mental list), I will not accept it as invective. But rather as a subtle caress. A chuck on the cheek. A butterfly kiss of affection for my homoness.
Now, America, you may not embrace all of us behind the lavender curtain. However, with Maine and Vermont and even Midwestern I-o-way jumping on the gay marriage band wagon, there are certain hard facts that you must face. The momentum behind opposite opposite marriage is undeniable and stopping it is as futile as stopping women's rights, the black vote, or Pam Anderson's next sexcapade.
Look at the backlash that's occurred to those who have recently spoken out against. Now, I'm sure both Miss California and Joe the Plumber have some lovely honky qualities, you probably would want to invite them over for a barbecue, but someone should have taught them not to reach into a heated political oven with only a dictionary, spay on tan and the rules of their church to protect them. Let's face it, gay marriage bashing is just not cool right now.
A quick shout out to Joe the Plumber's friends who are actually homosexual...that is, if you really exist. I am a parent. My children are surrounded by people of all ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs, sexual orientations, political stances. And I'm teaching them that being a friend is an all or nothing, total acceptance kind of pact. (There may be disagreements, but acceptance and respect are key.) If Joe the Plumber doesn't respect you enough to have you "anywhere near" his children, thus putting you on the same footing with murderers, lepers and pharmaceutical CEOs, then I think it's high time to rethink your actual friendship.