Friday, May 27, 2016

Forget Elsa

Get Idina Menzel a girlfriend.


But seriously, she's gorgeous.

ps - For background on today's post

pps - This is what I sound like when I try to sing along to people who actually know how to sing.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

2016 Election Thoughts of the Week

Welp, I made a sort-of promise to myself to not post too entirely much about Election 2016.  There is literally something new on Twitter to be irritated about every 10 minutes or so, so I'm really trying not to be as reactive as I could be.

So, I'll address the following points only because I keep seeing them come up.

One, and this seems like a fairly obvious point, so I'm not sure why so many Sanders supporters keep parroting it, but let's discuss the polls showing that Sanders would do better in the general election against Trump than Clinton would.

Well, okay. But, via The New York Times:
"...Sanders just hasn't faced any major attacks on his record. The Republicans have cheered him on against Clinton, whom they realize they're inevitably going to face. Clinton never really attacked him either - no big television ad buys, for example - in no small part because she didn't want to alienate his supporters."
The Democratic Primary is effectively a contest between the most vetted and attacked candidate in the race and the least vetted and attacked.  The way I see it, the Republicans would not play fair against Bernie Sanders and, instead, are probably itching to compete with a candidate against whom they could engage in red scare tactics, who wrote a bizarre (at best) gang rape fantasy piece in his 30s, and who could be framed as having a sketchy slacker job history for much of his adult life.

What fun nicknames might Trump come up with for Sanders?  Bernie the Pervy, perhaps? Bernie the Bolshevik?  His supporters are naive if they think this polling lead would last in any significant way once Republicans actually began targeting him with large-scale attack ads.  Come November, the media and the Republicans would have many in the electorate believing that they were casting a vote for, like, the lesser of two evils or something.

Which, of course, we would be. Just not to the extent presented.

Two, I'll also note that it seems Clinton is now battling on at least four fronts:
  • Sanders in the Democratic Primary;
  • Trump, who is already looking to the General;
  • Jill Stein of the Green Party, who has been attacking Clinton since at least Mother's Day and who, over the weekend, Tweeted that she would be "horrified" if either Trump or Clinton were elected. That she has not criticized Saint Bernie despite the fact that he, too, is not perfect, leads me to believe she's attempting to pick up his supporters after Clinton wins the Democratic nomination. We'll see how that goes. I guess for those who would definitely vote for a female candidate "just not Hillary," this is their big chance to do so.
  • The media. Clinton receives more negative media coverage than all candidates. Even Donald Fucking Trump.
What? You didn't think being the leading contender to be the first female President would be easy or something did you?

(Ha ha, of course you didn't. You read Fannie's Room).

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

David Brooks Mystified By Dislike of Hillary

Gee.  If (sexism) we (sexism) only (sexism) had (sexism) some (sexism) explanation (sexism) as (sexism) to (sexism) why (sexism) so (sexism) many (sexism) people (sexism) dislike (sexism) Hillary (sexism) Clinton (SEXISM).

True fact: I only know when David Brooks posts some new piece of shit column when Melissa at Shakesville points it out.  Otherwise, I usually take a hard pass on reading his columns.

But, this one was too delicious not to go read in its entirety. In it, he gazes at his navel, speculating about the "paradoxes" of her likeabliity: Gee, uhhh, she was more popular before she decided to run for the highest Executive position in the USA, but now fewer people seem to like her. Whatever could have happened?! Is it, hmmmm, that people don't know what she does for fun? Or, I don't know, could it be something else?

Now, obligatory disclaimer time: People may and do have non-sexist and legitimate reasons for disliking Hillary Clinton. But, to not once reference sexism as a contributing factor is the worst kind of gender-blindness that ignores the historic nature of what she is seeking accomplish.

You know, those with the biggest mouths and platforms in the media are great, I guess, at pointing out Trump's misogyny. But, when it comes to acknowledging any sexism or misogyny that might be negatively impacting oh, only the first viable female president in history, it's crickets all the way.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Progressive Nonprofit Opposes New Overtime Law

As you may know, new federal regulations will go into effect which make more people eligible for overtime pay, specifically by increasing the threshold for eligibility to those who make $47,476 annually (compared to the previous threshold of $23,660).

The left-leaning (and Ralph Nader-founded) Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) has issued a statement opposing this new regulation, saying in part:
"Doubling the minimum salary to $47,476 is especially unrealistic for non-profit, cause-oriented organizations. Organizations like ours rely on small donations from individuals to pay the bills. We can’t expect those individuals to double the amount they donate. Rather, to cover higher staffing costs forced upon us under the rule, we will be forced to hire fewer staff and limit the hours those staff can work – all while the well-funded special interests that we're up against will simply spend more." (emphasis in original)
I am sympathetic to the argument that it will cause hardship for many nonprofits to comply with this new regulation, as by definition, nonprofits do not operate to create profit, they operate to implement a purported social benefit. They generally operate on revenue from donations, grants, and special events (and at times earned income).

However, I strongly disagree that nonprofits should be exempt. Many nonprofit employees already have lower salaries and fewer benefits than those working at for-profit entities, a state of affairs which workers choose to self-sacrificially accept for "the greater good." Yes, it's a somewhat dysfunctional model that nonprofit management also accepts, in some cases due to economic necessity and, in other cases, because they intentionally exploit workers.

Studies consistently show that women make up the majority of the nonprofit workforce, at around 70-75%, although men (of course) hold most of the top-level, highest-paying positions.  Any exemption of overtime pay for nonprofits would thus undoubtedly impact women to a greater degree than men.

Now, PIRG has been critiqued throughout the years before for its labor practices, with one employee who sued the organization calling the group the "Wal-mart of nonprofits."  Which, if true, seems appalling and profoundly hypocritical.

To speak more broadly, feminists have long said that "the personal is political."  For instance, those who deny that a wage gap exists or who explain it away as a result of "personal choices" ignore or do not understand that "personal choices" can never exist in a void.  Outside, institutional, and political forces usually at least partly influence personal problems and hardships, as well.

And yet, this simple slogan becomes relevant time and time again with respect to leftist movements, doesn't it?

The personal is often dismissed as subjective, irrational, and/or as "identity politics" - which is contrasted with the real, authentic, universal work of the movement, which is usually just whatever a majority within a movement or those with more power say the real, authentic, universal work is.

To argue that nonprofits should not have to pay overtime to their employees would impose upon those employees a personal economic hardship for a purported greater political good of allowing these nonprofits to fulfill their missions (in PIRG's case, combating special interests). We see, in other words, a compromise of sorts. A break in ideological progressive purity.

Political movements usually do have to make compromises, so my intention here is not to disparage compromise.  Compromise is often the only way to actually accomplish things in the real world. My point is, instead, to serve as a reminder to be on guard as to (a) how the greater good is being defined by any given movement and (b) who is continually being asked to compromise, to assume hardship, and to sacrifice for this greater good.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Gender Role Friday

Hey, remember But I'm a Cheerleader?

Made in 1999, the movie remains one of my favorite queer films to this day.  Not only is it an apt parody of the "ex-gay" conversion therapy, it's funny - more in a dark humor sort of way, if you're into that.

Despite her gender conformity (she's a stereotypical feminine cheerleader), protagonist Megan is actually a lesbian and therefore is forced to go to straight camp.  At this camp, we see the anxious gender policing behind so much anti-LGBT advocacy.  For instance, the "patients" are to become heterosexual mostly by learning how to conform to gender stereotypes and force themselves to be attracted to people they aren't attracted to.

As you can imagine, all of that goes swimmingly.

The joke, of course, is that Megan is already "properly" "feminine" but is still somehow, inexplicably attracted to women. That doesn't change by the end of the movie. The other characters have a range of gender presentations, and mostly the film shows the absurdity of trying so hard to force people to be what they inherently are not or do not want to be.

Oh, and did I mention the film stars Clea DuVall (mmmm) and Natasha Lyonne?  Most importantly. I mean, Clea DuVall playing a broody soft butch is like lesbian/bisexual catnip. More please.

Enjoy this fan-created music video of the film, below: