Politics. Pop Culture. Basketball. Dog Stuff. Queer Stuff. Higher Ed. New Media. Pretty Pictures. Puns. Books. Righteous Anger. Cock-Eyed Optimism. Persistent Irreverence. From a Queer, Feminist, Critter-Affirming Perspective. Why? Because Dog Is Love, and Tenure Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Halloween in Roxie's World
Yes, it's Halloween in Roxie's World. That means there are pumpkin martinis on special tonight at Ishmael's, the seedy yet cozy bar around the corner from the global headquarters of RW Enterprises, LLC. That means bartender Peter Coffin has the five scariest movies ever playing on the bank of plasma TVs he recently had installed on the wall to the left of the bar. That means he's worked up a special menu, with a little help from the deliciously demented Amy Sedaris, that is conducive to eating, drinking, and having the crap scared out of you in a public place. Come on in. Have some meat loaf, mashed potatoes, and a glass of something really potent. The spirits are running loose tonight. You need all the help you can get.
And that means that, once again, the moms and I have suspended a key point of our companion species contract, the point that says dogs are not to be treated as cuddly, furry dependents or transformed into silly spectacles for the amusement of humans. They are to be respected in their otherness, their dog-ness, as it were, just as you goofy creatures are to be respected in your whacked-out humanness. We suspend this point on a couple of very special occasions each year -- Halloween and Christmas -- primarily because I am inordinately amused by the spectacle of humans going, "Oooooooooh" and "Ahhhhhhhhhhhh" over an old dog decked out in a wizard costume or in reindeer ears. It gives me hope that somehow you will manage not to destroy the possibility of life on this planet. So tonight I greeted the children of our neighborhood in the wizard costume that my friend Aaron got his dads to buy for me a couple of years ago. I greeted them.
I snuck out onto the front porch, and one of the children pulled me gently back inside. I stood on the threshold while they chose their treats -- "Everybody gets two," Goose said, until it became clear that she had bought way too much candy, when she suddenly declared that, "Everybody gets three" -- and when one of them got down on her knees and nuzzled my face, I kissed her. I love the little princesses and the animals and the girls with fangs and the one who explains she is "the spirit of music." Oh, okay. I love a festival of pretending to be something other than what you "are." I think that is a healthy exercise in stepping outside the usual order of things. I think it is good to try to know oneself in one's apart-ment, as Dickinson might have said.
Come back and see us this weekend, kids. We'll have a scintillating pre-election post that will explain the audacity of our ambivalence and the extraordinary possibility of America's first non-white president. Maybe we'll even tell you how we think the battleground states of Indiana and North Carolina will vote. Or at least we'll tell you which way the Moosians in those two states are trending.
It will be over soon, my darlings. Very soon, someone will be being addressed, with a mix of awe and amazement, as the president-elect. And I know in my old dog's bones that that person will not be John McCain. Relax, and plan to be here Tuesday night. We'll eat, we'll drink, we'll tell Goose to shut up if she messes with our ding-dong-the-witch (George Bush)-is-dead buzz. Trust me, it will be fun. They won't steal it this time, and the world will be better for it. Peace out.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Too Tired to Write About Marriage Day
Go peruse those posts at Mombian. Go click some of your hard-earned bucks over to the fighters for justice at No on Prop 8, who are up against the apparently endless supply of money being put up by Mormons to assure that marriage in California reverts to being accessible only to couples equipped with one penis and one vagina.
Then click on the vid below, which is kind of an ad for Gus Van Sant's new film Milk (trailer here), kind of an ad for the Emperor of Hope who is about to be -- finally! -- elected president, and technically an encouragement to vote against Prop 8 and the other two anti-marriage equality measures on ballots this season in Arizona and Florida. qta sent us the vid, 'cause he knows what it takes to get Moose all verklempt in the office on a busy afternoon. Love you, children. Keep the faith.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Nerves of Jell-O
Prognosticators are falling all over themselves trying to find similes epic enough to predict the scale of what is likely to happen on November 4 -- It'll be a grand slam (for Dems)! It'll be a blood bath (for Repubs)! -- but the party faithful are trembling in the pews, certain that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. The Bradley effect! Nasty Republican voter intimidation schemes! A terrorist attack launched from a remote corner of Alaska! Cindy McCain endorses Obama, unleashing a wave of voter sympathy that will reverse the tide of history!
Oh, for dog's sake, people, will you relax already? Look, if through some combination of tragedy, farce, and evil doing, Barack Obama manages not to be elected president in nine short days, Roxie's World already has a convenient explanation that can save Dems the paroxysms of blame and recrimination that would surely accompany such an astonishing reversal of fortune. Forget the circular firing squads. Forget the effigies of Howard Dean or Nancy Pelosi or David Axelrod or Hillary Clinton. Forget the bitter, drunken, late-night debates about the 50-state strategy, Biden's gaffes, and Palin's demonic, folksy charm. If Obama loses and you need someone to blame, you just watch this video and it will all be perfectly clear.
There now -- Isn't that better? Isn't it comforting to have a scapegoat picked out in advance? Isn't it nice to know that you won't have to waste one precious ounce of brain power trying to figure out what went wrong? If Obama loses, it won't be the fault of voters' racism or the party's abandonment of core constituencies or PUMAs or the inexperience of the nominee. It'll be Goose's fault, and we can all live happily ever after, in whatever country we decide to flee to if John McCain becomes president. So calm down, darlings. We have a scapegoat and a plan. And an average lead of nearly 8 points in national polls with just nine days to go. Al Franken is going to the Senate. Liddy Dole is going into retirement. And the Obama girls will be going to junior high school in Washington, DC. Deep breaths, darlings -- Deep, cleansing breaths, a couple of stiff drinks, and a good, hearty laugh every day between now and November 4, and you will be just fine. We promise, and you know that dogs never lie. Peace out.
(H/T to Moose's girlhood pal, Mel, who knows that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.)
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Mad(dow) About You
For the Short-Haired Women of Roxie’s World, with love from Moose, who has been sitting in the red chair with her eyes closed ever since she read the recent NYT magazine interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, known in these precincts as Butch PhD. Go read the latest charm blast from the tough girl who has suddenly stolen the heart of the reality-based community. Then come back here and add to the following list of reasons she should stop by and see us sometime. Please, kids. Moose has got it bad. You gotta get her some relief.
Top Ten Reasons Rachel Maddow Should Visit Roxie’s World:
1. She identifies with Wally Cleaver “cause he’s a dork.” We identify with the Beaver cause, um, cause, well, call us, Rache, and we’ll tell you about it in salacious detail.
2. Her favorite item in her house is a sculpture of a big fat squirrel holding a reflector. Our favorite item in our house is a bright red and yellow plastic statue of an Eskimo girl used to advertise ice cream in Norway. It was stolen for us by law-abiding Norwegians and shipped to the United States as “scientific equipment.” That's how cool we are, Rache. We can lure Norwegians to ship stolen property overseas just to make us happy.
3. She likes playing bartender. She researches classic drinks from the golden age of American cocktails and makes them for herself and her girlfriend. We hang out in an imaginary bar tended by a guy named Peter Coffin who hosts themed happy hours with half-price specials on classic cocktails. But we do have an actual liquor cabinet in our house and some very sexy cocktail glasses.
4. She has a handkerchief fetish. We have moist, um, noses.
5. She cleans to avoid writing. We get dirty to avoid everything else. Come clean us up, please.
6. She jokes that maybe all the other pundits are hanging out together and not inviting her. We know that all the other bloggers are hanging out together and not inviting us. Who needs any of ‘em, Rache? Let’s hang out with each other and trash all the muckety-mucks of TV-land and Left Blogistan who are so much less talented and brilliant than we are.
7. She wears contact lenses and dresses like an assistant principal in order to be on television. One of the denizens of Roxie’s World wears contacts and thinks she needs to be sent to the principal’s office for acting up in class again the other day. She kinda hopes Principal Maddow is an advocate of corporal punishment. Ow, baby.
8. She has a fishing pole. We have a pond. With a waterfall and exactly one fish. Goose won't let you catch it, but just pretending to fish can be a lot of fun.
9. She is on television but does not own a television. We have a ridiculously large television with a fantasy channel that broadcasts Rachel-porn 24//7. What is Rachel-porn? It involves handkerchiefs, sneakers, rulers, dark-framed glasses, and clever banter in an alto voice on an astonishing array of subjects.
10. She loves lawn mowers. We have a lawn. A big, lush, undulating lawn badly in need of attention. You might want to bring along your pruners and loppers, too, Rache. Our lawn can be hard to control. Bring mulch. And a bottle of that Rhum Agricole stuff you like so much. Once you’ve disciplined the lawn, Moose thinks it would be nice to have cocktails down by the pond. With your girlfriend, of course. And Goose. And me. And that big black lab you’re snuggling with in the photo. I think we’d all get along famously.
Still not convinced? If you won't listen to us, perhaps you'll listen to the Boss. We'll give him the last word today. He knows what it means to be in thrall to a woman who doesn't even know you're alive. Poor Bruce! Poor Moose! Poor humanity!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Just Say I Do
Anyway, here's Biden with Ellen. The Prop 8 conversation is right at the start of the clip:
Oh, and did you catch Ellen's line about her and bride Portia de Rossi hoping that Prop 8 fails because they don't want to have to return the china and other snazzy wedding gifts they received for their August nuptials? It's as if she, too, has been reading Roxie's World! Keep the Crock-Pot, too, Ellen!
So, Joe, we're so proud and happy that you came out loudly and clearly on national television on the right side of Prop 8 that we are not even going to bother to point out that the Democratic ticket's position on same-sex marriage is now officially and utterly incoherent. I mean, Joe, you did say in the vice presidential debate that you and Senator Obama are opposed to same-sex marriage. (That's on tape, too, unfortunately.) And yet you congratulated Ellen on her marriage and said you were opposed to state and federal efforts to amend constitutions to prevent unions such as Ellen and Portia's. I'm sorry, Senator, but the right can be forgiven for thinking that in fact you are for same-sex marriage, while the pinko, homo left can be forgiven for scratching its head and not knowing or trusting where you stand on the issue. You're not making friends -- or sense! -- the way you're handling the matter right now, so Roxie's World has a simple suggestion for you. The next time somebody asks whether you support same-sex marriage, you look 'em right in the eye and just say, "I do."
(H/T to Geoffrey, the Official Prep School Teacher of Roxie's World for passing the Biden tip along. We don't know how such a hard-working boy has time to watch Ellen, but we are awfully glad he does.)
Monday, October 20, 2008
Read These Now
Stop the Presses: Andrew Sullivan Got Something Right: In a short piece on California's Prop 8, Sullivan calls on Barack Obama to spend some of his political capital (and some of his 16.5% lead) on standing up for marriage equality in the Golden State. Noting that support for Prop 8 is especially strong in the African-American community, Sullivan writes,
Oh, Andrew, you just couldn't resist a wholly gratuitous swipe at the Clintons, could you? Do we need to point out to you how much more forceful and far-reaching Senator Clinton's support on LGBT issues was than Senator Obama's during the primary campaign? Never mind. The point here is that Sullivan is right to insist that Obama step up to the plate on this issue pronto. If he remains silent and Prop 8 passes, this blog will never forgive him. Think about that, Mr. Practically-the-President.
All this makes it vital, in my opinion, that Barack Obama strongly and unequivocally oppose Proposition 8 in California, rather than keeping mainly quiet as he has done so far. We need him to make an ad opposing it. This is a core test of whether gay Americans should back Obama as enthusiastically as they have in the last month. If he does not stand up for gay couples now, why should we believe he will when he is in office? And if black Americans are the critical bloc that helps kill civil rights for gays, that will not help deepen Obama's governing coalition. It could tear it apart.
Memo to Obama: make an ad. Speak loudly. Defend equality. Defend it when it might actually lose you some votes. Show us you are not another Clinton.
Eight Against Eight: Speaking of Prop 8, a bunch of the Big Dyke Blogs have banded together to raise money for the No on 8 cause. Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend has signed on. The plan is for eight lesbian blogs to blog against Prop 8 for 8 days. And on the ninth day they'll have a big virtual softball game. Ha-ha. No, they didn't invite yours truly to participate, but, remember, I'm a dog. The dykes just do the scut work around here. (That sigh you hear is from my bitter, publicity-hungry typist.) Show some love to the sistah bloggers and give some money to the cause, doggone it.
Digby Speaks -- er, E-Mails: Nice interview with the Mother of All Progressive Bloggers in today's LA Times. We heart Digby, who is the opposite of publicity-hungry, even though we can't figure out why lately there are random gray boxes obscuring our view of her site. Has anybody else had this problem?
Kiss Liddy Good-Bye: Could it be the insufferable Elizabeth Dole will lose her Senate seat in the Obama tsunami that seems poised to sweep through North Carolina? Why the heck not? Read this encouraging New Republic profile of Kay Hagan, the Carolina state senator who is trying to make that lovely dream come true.
Pet Songs -- Yes, Pet Songs: This was a loopy piece in the Sunday Post that had Moose spitting her coffee across the breakfast nook -- music videos of songs people had written about their pets. The critics picked "Bones" as their favorite song, a song we liked because it featured an old dog with arthritis who was still capable of great mischief. Our personal favorite, though, was the hilarious yet heartfelt "Rescue Dog Rock." We like its message about who really rescues whom in these complex human/canine interactions, so we'll leave you with that video to go to sleep on tonight. Arf arf arf and a woof woof too to you, my beloveds. Don't work too hard.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
When I Grow Up
Now, wasn't that sweet? Uplifting? Fun? (Oh, and, yes, that was Michelle Shocked doing the vocal. Here is her longer, edgier video for the song, "When I Grow Up.") My legions of loyal readers know that Roxie's World is proudly ad-free, but we brought you this commercial message from Kaiser Permanente's "Thrive" campaign as a way of kicking off what we hope will become a series of posts on the theme of growing older, particularly growing older while queer and/or female. We've even debuted a new post label -- aging -- to mark the occasion and to remind us of our commitment to the subject, in case it slips our (aging) minds. It's something we've been thinking about since June, when we did that post on the California wedding of pioneer lesbo activists Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon. We followed up on that with a poignant late September post, "Grow Old With Me," that meditated on the different widowhoods being faced by Joanne Woodward and Phyllis Lyon after the deaths of Paul Newman and Martin because of the unequal ways their relationships were seen in the eyes of federal law. Those posts, the loss of a dear friend, the deaths of several friends' parents, and even the upheavals in the financial markets have had us focused rather acutely on issues of age, time, change, loss, and futurity. Lately, we can't help projecting ourselves forward a little and trying to imagine what life will be like, how we'll adjust to inevitable changes, and how we will -- individually and collectively, emotionally and politically -- negotiate the many challenges that will arise as the largest generation in American history enters its senior years.
It's a set of questions and concerns that brings to mind the conclusion of a favorite old poem by Adrienne Rich, whom Moose thinks of as the most morally strenuous of contemporary writers. She tends to channel Rich whenever she is grappling with a complex problem and is tempted to take a short cut or let herself off the hook for something. Rich doesn't allow that, but her rectitude is tempered by great tenderness, as we see in the closing lines of "Nights and Days," from Rich's 1978 collection, The Dream of a Common Language. The poem is addressed to a lover and, like this post, preoccupied with imagining the future. After conjuring a series of pictures and dreams, it concludes:
and I ask myself and you, which of our visions will claim usMoose likes the way the lines effortlessly join the abstractions of vision with the practicalities of "how" and "what" we will say, do, or know. Oh, and she admires the dual, passive/active role played by the word "claim," which is another way of connecting abstraction to the individual's action and agency in choosing how to go forward.
which will we claim
how will we go on living
how will we touch, what will we know
what will we say to each other.
How will we go on living? Is the question melodramatic or overly earnest? Picked up a newspaper lately? Your earnings statement from the third quarter of the year? A little melodrama may be called for, but Rich's poem is more accurately described as a call to consciousness -- to moving forward with mindfulness and a sense of connectedness and consequence. It seems to us such a frame of mind is in order, and so it is in that spirit that we launch this series of reflections. We invite your input, too. What are your concerns as you experience your own process of aging and the aging of those with whom you are close? What are the visions that sustain you or that you would like to see realized as a way of aging with less stress (on individuals and families) and more fun?
What we really love about the Kaiser Permanente ad is that it shows a variety of women all having a roaring good time in their aging bodies and in the company of their aging women friends. We like seeing images of old women laughing and dancing and drinking wine and falling happily into one another's arms, though we'd have liked it even better if the ad had shown differently abled bodies joining in the fun. Still, a vision of older women reveling in their physicality rather than hiding it as if it were something shameful and sharing the deep pleasures of one another's company is a vision we would definitely like to claim as we move forward in our own aging processes.
Our personal stake in this? Well, let's just say the series on aging may culminate near the end of March when someone in Roxie's World hits the half a century mark. You are all invited to the party, kids, as long as you promise to bring your pom-poms. Shimmy on, ladies and boys!
Friday, October 17, 2008
Friday Night YouTubery
And here's Part II:
In the interest of bipartisanship, here is Senator Obama's competent but not nearly as funny bit. He does manage some good self-deprecation ("If I had to name my greatest strength, I guess it would be my humility," he says during a section in which he helps voters get to know him better. "Greatest weakness? It's possible that I'm a little too awesome."), but on the whole he seems far less at ease in the role of comedian than McCain does. Even as he mocks his high and mighty public image, one senses that the Precious takes Himself just a little too seriously to be entirely comfortable in the role of clown. Or maybe jokes are always funnier when the underdog is telling them. Wev. Here's the President-in-Waiting:
Oh, and if McCain won the comedy smackdown, Obama continues to lead in the endorsement race. Wa Po weighed in today, and rumors are flying that retired Gen. Colin Powell may endorse Obama in an appearance on Meet the Press on Sunday. Meanwhile, America's favorite dog blog devoted to politics, pop culture, and basketball continues to drive the Obama campaign and many of its loyal readers crazy by refusing to endorse the senator from Illinois while praying fervently for the defeat of McCain-Palin. Perhaps in the next couple of weeks we will find time and words to explain our inexplicable stance, but, in the meantime, relax. Obama is so far ahead in Maryland that nobody's polled here in a month. The registered voters of Roxie's World will do whatever they do or don't do on Nov. 4, but they will be dancing with you in the streets on Nov. 5 to celebrate the coming end of the long, sorry reign of Shrub and Darth Cheney. That, my friends, will be a day of rejoicing, and we look forward to spending it with all of you, regardless of what you do in the privacy of the voting booth. Peace out.
Update: LA Times endorses Obama in tomorrow's paper. And we bring you the news today, because we know you count on us to be the speediest news hounds in the 'sphere. ;-)
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
What We Drink: Cheap Beer
Joe the plumber is here. He's drinkin' free and bombed on his butt.
How's by you? This time, Goose isn't even impressed with Obama's tie. Oh, boy. Wake me when it's over.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Butch PhD v Da Frum(p)
Just watch Rache disembowel GOP hack David Frum as he tries desperately to defend an utterly specious comparison between the smart but snarky style of Maddow's show and the crowds calling for Dem blood recently at McCain-Palin rallies. It is a thing of beauty and a joy to behold. Really. Watch every delicious second, and then go read Tristero's rapturous response over on Hullabaloo, which is where we picked this up.
Forgive us, but we are inordinately fond of smart girls who look as if they could bench-press a smarmy jerk as easily as they could demolish his logic. You go watch the vid. We are going to close our eyes and think of . . . um, whatever it is Moose is teaching tomorrow. Really.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Shut Up and Vote
(Photo Credit: Picked up at Shakesville)
For some strange reason, the usually right-on-the-money Melissa McEwan included this Missouri billboard in her "Obama Racism/Muslim/Unpatriotic/Scary Black Dude Watch," but we thought it was an elegantly succinct argument in favor of Senator Obama, even if the portrait artist did get a little carried away in his depiction of the Democratic nominee's teeth. Still, we loves us some scare quotes 'round here, and the moms have been screaming for higher taxes for years. The election is three weeks from tomorrow, kids, so this billboard may be just what the gun-hatin', baby-killin', same-sex lovin' tax hikers of Roxie's World need to help them make up their minds. Stay tuned!
How're y'all doing? Sorry for the silence of the past few days. My typist has been ridiculously busy trying to finagle an extended period of time off to do nothing but sit in a chair and write, which sounds suspiciously to me like the life she already has, but what do I know? Meanwhile, out in the real world, polls are suddenly pointing toward an Obama landslide, stocks staged a monstrous rally, and Paul Krugman has won a Nobel fricking Prize.
Let us all pause for a moment and admit that life doesn't entirely suck. Change is comin', you betcha, and Roxie's World is ready for it.
(H/T to qta for inspiration on the post title. Pretty boy is ready to get this election over already!)
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Can This Marriage Be Saved?
We don't often blog on demand here in Roxie's World, valuing our independence as we do, but when Roving Reporter and BFF June Star phones in the middle of the week imploring us to post on something -- and promising to promote the post throughout the densely populated Garden State -- well, we listen. Besides, she wants us to help save same-sex marriage in California, which is on the ballot in November and is losing support in recent polls, so we've decided to mobilize my legions of loyal fans to help turn the tide. C'mon, people -- It's time to point, click, cough up some dough, and help assure that Ellen and Portia don't have to return that snazzy Crock-Pot they just unpacked.
Here's where you go to give, unless you'd rather go here. Both groups are trying to get ads on the air, so take your pick. Why should you be willing to part with some of your precious shekels in the midst of a presidential campaign and a global financial meltdown that has probably reduced your net worth by 50% in the time it has taken you to read this post? Why, indeed, especially if you are, say, in a committed heterosexual relationship on the other side of the country or in a committed queer relationship but sick and bloody tired of all the time, energy, and money the struggle for marriage equality has absorbed in the past few years?
Look, we know times are tough and you're all way too cool to succumb to the wedding-bell blues, but here are Five Excellent Reasons You Should Contribute to the Cause of Saving Same-Sex Marriage in California:
1. Because it will piss off the Mormons, who are spending huge sums of money in support of the ballot measure that would overturn same-sex marriage.
2. Because Brangelina can't do it all by themselves. Itselves. Wev. Pitch in.
3. Because Obama is already outspending McCain 3 to 1 on television advertising as the campaign moves into its final weeks. How much does he not need your money? Dude is outspending the Wild Bunch in Moose's home state of Indiana, which hasn't gone Democratic in a presidential election since 1964. Polls give McCain a slight edge, but it's a freaking miracle that the state is in play. Even the most Obamaniacal among you can relax and shake loose a couple of bucks for other good causes.
4. Because the bicoastal arrogance that gives coherence and meaning to the myth of progressive politics in this nation requires that at least two states situated on opposite sides of the country offer a haven for sexual deviants who wish to commit to stable, long-term perversion opportunities. In the privacy of their well-appointed homes.
5. Because you are a fighter for justice, and the very idea that a right finally achieved could be taken away offends you to the core of your precious soul. You are sick and tired of LGBT rights being subject to popular votes and losing. You long to strike a blow against the meanies, zealots, and hypocrites determined to write their narrow sexual code into law and impose it on consenting adults whose morality differs from their own.
That's way more than five reasons and they are all really, really good, so what are you waiting for? Click here, or click here. Don't do it because June Star and I told you to. Do it because you know it's the right thing to do. Do it because you forgot to get Ellen and Portia a wedding present. Do it because you would like to honor the memory of Del Martin and protect the widowhood of Phyllis Lyon. It doesn't really matter why, kids. Just do it.
Peace out, and here's a vid of one of the No on 8 ads:
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Why We Drink (Tuesday Edition)
We think it's possible John McCain's jaw may well explode within the next hour, and so we will drink.
We can't stand that Barack Obama is now dropping "g"s off the end of his words, in a blatant attempt to be as folksy as the moose-hunting former mayor of Wasilla, and so we will drink.
We suspect that what is left of our retirement income will be gone by the end of the week, and so we will drink.
We are reasonably certain that a perfect Tom Brokaw imitation will get Moose through tomorrow's lecture on Three Guineas, because perfect imitations of George Bush and Sarah Palin got her through Monday's lecture, and so we will drink.
Join us, children. Bartender Peter Coffin is serving up a fine bordeaux here at Ishmael's, the cozy yet seedy bar around the corner from the global headquarters of RW Enterprises, LLC. Come drown your sorrows or celebrate the chope and hange that will soon be unleashed upon our broke and broken-hearted land. What else could you possibly be planning to do?
Special Note from the Department of Say Something Nice: Obama is wearing a gorgeous suit, and Goose, who is something of an expert on such matters, wholeheartedly approves of his tie.
Monday, October 06, 2008
Thought for the Day
I harbor no grand illusions about Obama, he isn't my messiah (I don't have a messiah, the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson supplying more than enough transcendence to last a lifetime), and I'm still not sure how much he comprehends how gravely this country has been gutted over the last decade. My rooting interest is less about Obama himself than about how big a hurt he can put to the Republican Party. I don't want the Republican Party simply defeated in November, I want to see it smashed beyond all recognition, in such wriggling, writhing, anguished disarray that it can barely reconstitute itself, so desperate for answers that it looks to Newt Gingrich for visionary guidance, his wisdom and insight providing the perfect cup of hemlock to finish off the conservative movement for good so that it can rot in the salted earth of memory unmissed and unmourned in toxic obscurity.Even for the unaligned and unexcited Dems of Roxie's World, that last sentence's Dantesque vision of the electoral hell Republicans will likely face on November 4 is pleasing to contemplate. And it's nice to have something to look forward to as the grim realities of Great Depression 2.0 become clearer every time a stock market opens -- with a crash -- somewhere around the world. The moms went to a block party last night and were joking with the neighbors that we'll all lose our shirts and be working into our nineties -- but, hey, at least Democrats will be in charge for the rest of our miserable lives.
Hillary in 2016! Chelsea in 2024! Sasha Obama in 2036 (when she will be 35 years old). Perhaps sister Malia will want a term when Chelsea is finished in 2032, or maybe one of Pelosi's granddaughters. Who cares, as long as the hideous progeny of Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and Grover Norquist will never get their hands on the ship of state?
It's pretty to think so, isn't it, lovelies? Here's to seeing all these bastards unmissed, unmourned, and unemployed.
Oh, and if Obama is upset that he still hasn't earned the endorsement of America's favorite dog blog devoted to politics, pop culture, and basketball, he can console himself at having gotten the nod from a publication whose audience is about the same size as ours and very nearly as sophisticated. Take heart, Senator. Somebody loves you, and we may learn to yet.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
(Photo Credit: James Estrin, New York Times; Sarah Palin and Joe Biden chat at the conclusion of the vice-presidential debate -- or fight over who gets custody of Palin's adorable daughter Piper, 10/2/08.)
Weekend Updated: Scroll down for SNL debate parody, featuring Queen Latifah as moderator Gwen Ifill.
You have to admit she’s perky. Spunky. Fetching. Winsome. Winning. Plucky. Chipper. Pick pretty much any adjective that roughly translates to “assertive but in a friendly, girlie kind of way designed not to threaten, um, patriarchy,” and it applies to Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who calmed Republican nerves and surprised a lot of caricature artists by not catastrophically failing in her debate against Senator Joe Biden on Thursday. (Transcript and video here.) It’s true she didn’t actually answer most of the questions that were put to her and that Biden was far more effective in performing the veep nominee’s job of using the debate to demolish the opposing team’s arguments on behalf of itself. Nonetheless, The Sarah and Joe Show made for 90 minutes of excellent television – far more compelling than the soporific John and Barack-athon of the previous week – because Palin and Biden played well together. They were relaxed, at ease, at some moments even genuine in their looks at and responses to one another.
Credit Palin for setting a congenial tone with her opening “Hey, can I call you Joe?” to Biden as the two shook hands at center stage. Even if the move was designed to tempt Biden to use an informal mode of address that would no doubt have been interpreted as sexist and condescending, it broke the ice and established a friendliness that never really dissipated. If Palin’s energy and aura of breezy self-assurance could be bottled, the proceeds from the sales of the drug could bail out the financial industry, pay for all the wars George Bush has started, and build all the bridges to nowhere we could possibly want. Whether it can get John McCain into the White House is, of course, another question. Palin saved herself from complete ignominy on Thursday night, but polls show Biden won the debate and that voters are continuing to move toward the Democratic ticket. It could be Dems will win – even without the coveted endorsement of America’s favorite dog blog devoted to politics, pop culture, and basketball.
The resurgent Palin finally has an explanation for why she failed so stupendously in her pre-debate interviews with Katie Couric. She was “annoyed.” But how could this be? What flapped the unflappable mighty huntress? What bugged the unbuggable VP nominee? Oh, you know, that a pesky reporter was daring to ask follow-up questions designed to get her off her talking points and offer something more than folksy platitudes about kitchen tables and soccer games and tax cuts and mavericks. According to a Wa Po report on a less annoying interview Palin did with Fox News, Palin was annoyed in the CBS interviews because she felt she was going to "get clobbered" no matter what she said in response to the also perky and winsome Couric:
"In those Katie Couric interviews," Palin said, "I did feel that there were lot of things that she was missing in terms of an opportunity to ask what a VP candidate stands for, what the values are, represented in our ticket." Those subjects, Palin said, included Barack Obama's positions on taxes, spending and Afghanistan. "So I guess I have to apologize for being a bit annoyed, but that's also an indication of being outside the Washington elite, outside of the media elite, also," Palin said. "I just wanted to talk to Americans without the filter and let them know what we stand for."Democracy – Yeah, it’s annoying. That’s why George Bush has on occasion expressed a desire to be a dictator. That’s why Dick Cheney has operated pretty much as a dictator for the last eight years, which makes Palin’s creepy hat tip to the current vice president’s theory of his office on Thursday night deeply annoying to anyone concerned about the dangerous expansion of executive power that has occurred during the reign of Shrub and Darth. She may be a Washington outsider (you picked up on that, didn’t you?), but apparently the governor has a copy of the Constitution in her kitchen drawer up there in Wasilla, along with a copy of the collected sermons of noted Puritan divine Ronald Reagan (you remember him, right – the guy who first declared [according to Palin’s attribution in the debate] that America would be “as a city upon a hill?”). In an effort to prove that she does in fact understand what the vice president does, Palin indicated she was “thankful” that “the Constitution would allow a bit more authority given to the vice president if that vice president so chose to exert it in working with the Senate and making sure that we are supportive of the president's policies and making sure too that our president understands what our strengths are.” Moderator Gwen Ifill followed up with a question about whether Palin agreed with Cheney that the executive branch may not entirely control the office of the vice president because it resides partly in the legislative branch. Palin offered one of her more expansive and, um, responsive responses of the evening to this question:
Well, our founding fathers were very wise there in allowing through the Constitution much flexibility there in the office of the vice president. And we will do what is best for the American people in tapping into that position and ushering in an agenda that is supportive and cooperative with the president's agenda in that position. Yeah, so I do agree with him that we have a lot of flexibility in there, and we'll do what we have to do to administer very appropriately the plans that are needed for this nation. And it is my executive experience that is partly to be attributed to my pick as V.P. with McCain, not only as a governor, but earlier on as a mayor, as an oil and gas regulator, as a business owner. It is those years of experience on an executive level that will be put to good use in the White House also.Roxie’s World has a question for Gov. Palin: Is there a “there” there? By which we mean: What exactly is it you are trying to do with the word “there,” which pops up in your speech as frequently as moose poop on a forest trail? As in, “I think we need a little bit of reality from Wasilla Main Street there, brought to Washington, DC.” And, at the risk of annoying you, we have a follow-up question with regard to the word “that.” What’s up with “that,” Governor, another favorite term in your lexicon? As in, “that world view that John McCain and I share.” We have a hunch that such placeholder words, such vague non-referential referents, are signs not of ignorance but of obfuscation, of a conscious effort to say as little possible in an effort to appeal to as broad an audience as possible. They are the rhetorical equivalents of those cute little winks you kept flashing to the camera. A cynic might say the vagueness is an effort to conceal the far right wing nature of the program Palin would seek to enact, but there are no cynics here in Roxie’s World, just an old dog with her ear to the ground and a couple of grouchy English profs who have spent decades crusading against vagueness in the margins of their students’ papers.
One more point to make about Thursday’s debate. Ifill brought up the subject of “granting same-sex benefits to couples.” (Speaking of vagueness, one could argue there is a fair amount of that there in Ifill’s question. Is she asking the candidates to weigh in on whether all couples should be afforded the benefits of being of the same sex? Hmmm, is Ifill calling for a program of mass sex-reassignment? Hey, why not?) Anyway, perhaps flummoxed by the fuzziness of the question, Biden launched into a murky response that momentarily sounded as if the Democratic ticket supported a right to same-sex marriage:
We do support making sure that committed couples in a same-sex marriage are guaranteed the same constitutional benefits as it relates to their property rights, their rights of visitation, their rights to insurance, their rights of ownership as heterosexual couples do.When Ifill came back to him later and asked directly about support for same-sex marriage, Biden was emphatic but still not much clearer: “No. Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage. We do not support that. That is basically the decision to be able to be able to be left to faiths and people who practice their faiths the determination what you call it.” Huh? And they say Palin verges on incoherent at times? For her part, Palin claimed she and McCain would support traditional marriage but would do nothing to prevent same-sex couples from having hospital visitation rights and the right to set up contractual agreements around property and insurance – exactly the kind of rights Biden had focused on in his torturously nuanced response. Go read the transcript. This post is already getting too long.
Bottom line? Dems may offer somewhat broader rights and protections to same-sex couples, but their nervousness about the issue and their refusal to speak the M-word opens up space for Republicans to claim they are being “tolerant” as long as they’re not quoting Leviticus and chasing queers out of town with pitchforks. It’s a gutless position, and it won’t pick up a single vote – or the coveted endorsement of America’s favorite dog blog devoted to politics, pop culture, and basketball.
Update: Because we love you and know you want it, here is the SNL debate parody that opened last night's show. It's long and not as hilarious as some of the previous Palin-odes, but the writers seem to share our view of the discussion of benefits for same-sex couples. It's around the 8-minute mark:
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Pre-VP Debate Pub Crawl
The crowd is settling in. Peter's got the new plasma TVs turned on to Ugly Betty because none of the regulars can stand Keith Olbermann. There's a lot going on. One group is huddled around a laptop playing a lively game of Palin Bingo:
(Image Credit: palinbingo.com, via GlassPen)
In the back room, where there's a rickety old stage, a bunch of grad students (the moody kids in dark glasses, as Peter thinks of them) are holding a poetry slam. They are doing choral readings of The Poetry of Sarah Palin, a stunning new collection put together by noted literary scholar Hart Seely and published just yesterday in Slate (H/T to Eitan). Seely pored over the transcripts of Palin's recent interviews and discovered therein some of the most extraordinary found poetry since somebody opened Emily Dickinson's desk drawer. (Goose would object to this comparison, but she is out of town tonight, so there.) The grad students don't have Tina Fey's gift for mimicking Palin's voice, but they've got a feeling for the poetry and a teacher's passion for reading aloud, so imagine their stirring performances of Palin's "poems" (as compiled by Seely):
You really must run over to Slate and read the rest of Palin's poems. "Small Mayors" will make you weep from the intensity of compressed emotion and meaning. I defy you to get through it without shedding a tear. Moose is going to try to talk Goose and the Candy Man into doing a special seminar on the collection once the election is over.
"On Good and Evil"
It is obvious to me
Who the good guys are in this one
And who the bad guys are.
The bad guys are the ones
Who say Israel is a stinking corpse,
And should be wiped off
The face of the earth.
That's not a good guy.
(To K. Couric, CBS News, Sept. 25, 2008)
"You Can't Blink"
You can't blink.
You have to be wired
In a way of being
So committed to the mission,
The mission that we're on,
Reform of this country,
And victory in the war,
You can't blink.
So I didn't blink.
(To C. Gibson, ABC News, Sept. 11, 2008)
Finally, Moose and Mark Twain are deep in conversation at the bar, trying to formulate rules for the drinking game they'll be running during the debate. They've come up with a few, but we invite you all to add more in comments. Consider this an open thread, kids. We're not clever enough to live-blog, but if we all hang out here together, won't that amount to pretty much the same thing?
Rules of the VP Debate Drinking Game:
1. Every time Palin drops a "g" on the end of a word, drink -- but just take a tiny sip or you will end up with alcohol poisonin' before all is said and done.
2. Every time somebody says "Hillary Clinton," take a healthy swig and raise your glass to the girl who almost made it.
3. Every time Joe Biden smiles so big you think his face is going to crack right open, take two drinks and tell Peter you really wish he had crab cakes on the menu.
4. Every time somebody mentions George Bush in a positive context, take the biggest drink of your life, because it may be your only chance.
5. Every time somebody mentions feeling the pain of single moms and middle-class homeowners and parents trying to get their kids through college, use one hand to raise your glass and another to cover your wallet, because you'll be the one paying for that bailout. Even if you'd rather say "thanks, but no thanks" to it.
Your turn, kids. Send us your rules, and tell us what your drinkin'. Peter is ready to serve.