50 Cent: “I’m Obama to the end now, baby!”

April 1, 2008 at 2:02 pm | Posted in Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, U.S. Politics | Leave a comment
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You thought it was bad for Hillary when Ted Kennedy endorsed Obama? Or ex-Clintonista Bill Richardson? Or Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar? Well, maybe these are important developments if you still live with your parents, know who Ron Wyden is and watch C-Span to see the grey parade of stiff-necked politicians pander for their lives, you saddo.

But if, like us, you’ve got your priorities in the right order, you’ll know that what really matters in this campaign is what’s going on in the mind of automated rap-bot & serial death-defier Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson. The omens are not good:

“I heard Obama speak,” the rapper told the MTV News crew assembled at his Connecticut mansion to hear the new G-Unit LP and talk about his upcoming video game. “He hit me with that he-just-got-done- watching-‘Malcolm X,’ and I swear to God, I’m like, ‘Yo, Obama!’ ” He threw his fist in the air. “I’m Obama to the end now, baby!”

Which is probably enough to throw the Clinton campaign into crisis mode. Hopefully, much like his insistence that he’s a ‘gangsta for life’ (whilst living in Connecticut? everyone knows that gangstas don’t do long commutes) and the declarations of love for the women in his rap videos, Fiddy’s Obama crush will be just as short-lived:

“To be honest, I haven’t been following that anymore. I lost my interest,” he said. “I listened to some of the debate and things that they were saying, and I just got lost in everything that was going on. … Don’t look for my vote, for me to determine nothing on that. Just say, ’50 Cent, he don’t know, so don’t ask Fiddy.”

Thanks Fiddy, we won’t.

The revelation comes at a testing time for the Clinton campaign, which has been working round-the-clock to snatch the gangsta rap vote from Obama. Her recent recollection that she had to dodge sniper fire on a trip to Bosnia was seen as a direct appeal to rappers whose songs are full of similarly dangerous exploits. Although she later admitted that she lied exaggeratedmisspoke‘ about the trip, this was not thought to damage her street cred as, well, rappers do it all the time.

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“My Subtle Variant of the Fairy Tale Is Truer Than Yours”

March 31, 2008 at 9:01 pm | Posted in The God Delusion | 1 Comment
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Gentlemen, start your engines: it turns out there are now more Muslims in the world than Roman Catholics.

I’m sure there’s some Code of Ethical Blogging constructed by a committee of the finest bloglords on the planet that instructs against quoting other people’s blog entries in full, but when the snark is this good, I feel compelled to act otherwise.

Via Reuters: The global population of misogynist cultists labeled “Muslim” have, at 19.2%, edged out longtime frontrunners the Roman Catholics (now just 17.4%) in the perennial struggle for world domination in the high-stakes My Subtle Variant of the Fairy Tale Is Truer Than Yours competition. What’s the secret of their success? Let’s ask Monsignor Vittorio Formenti, pointy-headed Vatican spokesbag:

“It is true that while Muslim families, as is well known, continue to make a lot of children, Christian ones on the contrary tend to have fewer and fewer.” [Source]

Clearly Catholic women are choosing to make the Virgin Mary cry in ever-increasing numbers. If the Catholics are to regain the pennant, they’re going to have to tighten up control of their uteruses.

But don’t go booking your victory dinner at Jean Georges just yet, Muslims! At a whopping 33%, Generic Christians — a loosely-connected super-sect comprised of all cults that advocate women’s oppression while employing the personal concierge services of the ghost of a dead Nazarene on a stick — still appease their vengeful male God in the greatest numbers overall, thus retaining the title on a technicality.

To atone for my sins, I insist you visit here and click on everything.

Update: This should be a parody but isn’t. John Gibson on the explosion of non-white children: White Ladies, Make More Babies

Feminism’s large wardrobe

March 31, 2008 at 8:14 pm | Posted in Feminisms | 4 Comments
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Ah, the benefits of dithering. I’d intended to respond to Ruth Fowler’s recent piece by commenting that “whilst it works well as an honest, human, witty and well-written memoir/book plug, as a piece of social/political commentary, it’s hopelessly flawed.” Thankfully, events stopped me from posting and I had the chance to read the piece again, in addition to Fowler’s comments in the inhumane eye-scratching arena that is Comment is Free. Instead of the rather clunky, apathy-addled critique of feminism I first suspected, it’s actually more of a reflection on identity, the limits of political engagement and her perception of the problems feminists have in making their values more appealing to modern women.

I have much less to disagree with on the second reading, but there’s still an interesting point in there that should be discussed.

Leaving aside her obvious and perhaps understandable disdain for the dry, pious, intellectual forms of feminism you’ll find in our universities, her main critique is that the complexities and contraditions within its discourse have obscured & confused what it means call oneself a Feminist:

“Working Feminism” became distorted by lipstick lesbianism, got tangled up with sexual liberation, became only a little about the right to vote, educational equality, non-discrimination in the workplace. It became marred by the numbers of women in the western-educated world who didn’t choose to become doctors and scientists and engineers and lawyers, so then we had to find a way to make the stay-at-home mum a feminist too, as well as the Page 3 girl, and the High Class Prostitute, and the crack addict on the corner.

We claimed to have earned the right to spawn kids or remain barren and channel maternal energies into our careers. We could write about our promiscuous behaviour as evidence of our liberation, or declare we’re sick of men and strap on the chastity belt for the foreseeable future. If someone denigrated our choices, we could play the gender inequality card. Because we didn’t really have a cause as women, we struggled to define one, holding up Katie Price as a shining light of female empowerment one day, exposing Jordan as a brainless slut the next.

I think this is true to an extent, but I’d argue that such contradictions speak of a diversity & inclusivity that is actually positive for the feminist movement. The days when a woman was tarred with ‘betraying the sisterhood’ or ‘exhibiting false consciousness’ for thinking or acting outside the orthodoxy are thankfully receding. Also this plurality of different approaches means there is no longer any one ‘feminism’, but a large wardrobe of ‘feminisms’, reflecting that women don’t all act the same or think the same, but still share the same core values of equality.

To explain what I mean, let’s make a little list of statements on gender issues:

Women should be paid the same as a man doing the same job; women should have unfettered reproductive freedom; contraception should be widely available; rape and domestic violence are heinous crimes that go under-reported and under-punished; sexual harrassment and sexual discrimination are grevious abuses of power that should be punished accordingly; misogyny & sexism in our culture should be opposed whether is comes from rappers, writers or newsreaders.

If you agree with any or all of these statements, you are, like it or not, subscribing to certain Feminisms and whether or not you wish to walk up to the next person you meet and declare ‘I am a feminist’ is largely irrellevant.

In the grand scheme of things, these side-skirmishes in the culture wars are little more than distractions and whether your feminisms manifest themselves by supporting stripping as ‘liberating’ or condemning it as ‘grotesque objectification’, on the most serious issues, the two sides often find consensus.

By arguing over and campaigning for susbstantive causes rather than bickering over the modern meaning of a word or social identity, you make women’s causes far more appealing than you would by either trying to demolish or resurrect that word. By making these issues more appealing, and by winning more people over, the better chance you have of achieving your political goals. And if, in Ruth’s case, your audience remains unconvinced, that probably means you haven’t found a winning argument yet.

Photo: Flickr user chebbs (Creative Commons)

Mugabe’s opponents ‘forced to eat election posters’

March 26, 2008 at 8:06 pm | Posted in International | 1 Comment
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The Guardian:

Human rights groups today accused Robert Mugabe’s government of harassing and intimidating opposition supporters before Saturday’s national elections.

Amnesty International cited a case on March 7, when three members of the Morgan Tsvangirai-led faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were ordered by intelligence officers to take down election posters.

According to Amnesty, the officials forced the opposition supporters to chew the posters and swallow them.

The cruellest irony of all this…

…thanks to Mugabe’s malicious misrule, that’d probably pass for a meal in some parts of Zimbabwe these days.

For want of a God who’d give this vermin a heart attack.

Clinton’s long defeat

March 25, 2008 at 8:58 pm | Posted in Democratic Party Presidential Primary, Hillary Clinton, U.S. Politics | 1 Comment
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I wouldn’t normally link to David Brooks for anything more than another example of worn-out right-wing orthodoxy, but for a hollowed-out Beltway hack, he writes better than most.

A few days ago, a Clinton aide confided to the Politico that Hillary had no more than a 10% chance of securing the Democrats’ nomination for President. Brooks argues that those odds have since halved and ponders the full extent of the harm she’s inflicting on her own party by doggedly pursuing that 5 percent chance:

Let’s take a look at what she’s going to put her party through for the sake of that 5 percent chance: The Democratic Party is probably going to have to endure another three months of daily sniping. For another three months, we’ll have the Carvilles likening the Obamaites to Judas and former generals accusing Clintonites of McCarthyism. For three months, we’ll have the daily round of résumé padding and sulfurous conference calls. We’ll have campaign aides blurting “blue dress” and only-because-he’s-black references as they let slip their private contempt.

For three more months (maybe more!) the campaign will proceed along in its Verdun-like pattern. There will be a steady rifle fire of character assassination from the underlings, interrupted by the occasional firestorm of artillery when the contest touches upon race, gender or patriotism. The policy debates between the two have been long exhausted, so the only way to get the public really engaged is by poking some raw national wound.

For the sake of that 5 percent, this will be the sourest spring. About a fifth of Clinton and Obama supporters now say they wouldn’t vote for the other candidate in the general election. Meanwhile, on the other side, voters get an unobstructed view of the Republican nominee. John McCain’s approval ratings have soared 11 points. He is now viewed positively by 67 percent of Americans. A month ago, McCain was losing to Obama among independents by double digits in a general election matchup. Now McCain has a lead among this group.

For three more months, Clinton is likely to hurt Obama even more against McCain, without hurting him against herself. And all this is happening so she can preserve that 5 percent chance.

When you step back and think about it, she is amazing. She possesses the audacity of hopelessness.

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