October 10th, 2003

(no subject)

I have been trying for two days to make a livejournal post on Michael Moore, Flint Michigan, and passion in politics. Today I had the whole thing written out and the entire network crashed on campus, and I lost every bit of it. Last night I had most of it written out, but I got distracted by this woman who saw me reading his latest book Dude, Where's My Country? and began a discussion that pretty much took up the next two hours straight, so I was unable to post it then.

As you probably know, the book came out Tuesday; I bought my copy last night before shift, and I've been really amazed-- all over Bloomington I've been toting this book around and people, especially students, have been dying to see it. Everybody's been asking me how it is. I tell them it's more of the same brand of investigative, sarcastic journalism we got in Stupid White Men, only up to date and with more serious, perhaps more urgent, a voice.

Michael Moore's voice is a funny thing. By many accounts he may in fact be a belligerent asshole--but if he is I have to say it doesn't matter much to me, because he's also one of the most sincere, most determined, passionate voices for political change and reform I've ever seen. His voice is the single most important thing the liberal left has going for it. His voice is a populist voice--in touch with the people that the republicans are shunning and the democrats have forgotten about, strong, loud, obnoxious, and tireless. It's the kind of voice that gets heard above the crowd, and it is being heard.

I went off yesterday on the poor gentleman who took issue with my tone and style of voice in my last post. I thought his main gripe was because I was, according to him, being "perfervid" and getting lost in grand hyperbole instead of utilizing reasoned rhetoric. This really pissed me off, and I told him why.

Ever since then I've been thinking about what passion is—what it does when it's channelled correctly, and what breeds it.

Particularly, I've been thinking about Michael Moore's brand of passion. I think it's because he came from Flint, the city with the highest crime and highest unemployment of its kind in the nation, the city that was devastated when GM shut down and laid off 60 thousand people in the 80's. I think it's because he had to watch that happen, because he grew steadily more and more outraged and fed up until he reached the point where he just ceased to give a fuck about tact, about discretion, about politeness, and just began to focus on getting the word out, about making people aware, about getting people to listen and getting them to act.

He's like Moses, in a way.

ca. 2000 B.C.:
Moses to Pharoah: Let My People Go!
Pharoah: *yawn*
Moses: *kills firstborn*

ca. 2000 A.D.:
MM to GM: Give My People Jobs!
GM: yawn.
MM: *Roger And Me*

It's all about using your voice. Okay, technically Moses used Aaron's voice. And Mike Moore uses a camera crew. But close enough. Mike Moore's voice is one of the most important voices in America right now, because it's starting to reach people who have never really been exposed to leftist or populist thinking before. If Mike Moore were any less impassioned, any more reasonable and tactful, America wouldn't be listening.

Do you guys remember me talking about this? The IU business professor who posted blatantly homophobic statements on his blog, which was hosted on a university-sponsored web page? My comments appeared in the opinion forum of the IDS (the student newspaper) the next day. Yesterday, out of the blue, a journalist from the Chronicle of Higher Education emailed me. He was writing an article about the controversy over the blog, and wanted to know if I would grant him an interview. When I called him back today he said that he’d been looking through the op-ed pages, and wanted to talk with people “who had something to say.”

It was pure coincidence that I happened to pick up the IDS that morning and read the front page headline. When I fired off that letter to the editor, I wasn’t thinking about anything other than that this was an outrage and I had to say something about it. My comments were sandwiched in with a bunch of other comments on the back page of the paper, it’s not like it was a big deal. But instead I was interviewed by a reporter from a prestigious academic journal. Now there’s a chance that people all over the country might read what I have to say.

People are listening. There are people who want to hear what you have to say. All you have to do is speak out. Trust your voice. Because dude, you never know.

The last day I was at Nimbus I decided to sit next to a group of ladies I had never met before, because I thought it would be interesting. One of those ladies was Eliza Dreseng, the chairwoman of the Newberry Committee—the people that decide the Newberry Medal. Before she was on the Newberry Committee, she was on the Caldecott Committee. She had been attending the convention as part of the panel of librarians, along with ALA director Judith Klug.

Somehow, during the course of the conversation I wound up telling one of the other ladies there at the table with me about fan fiction. The lady was polite, but hostile to the idea of fan fiction—she felt it was more about the fan fiction writers than about the source material.

I responded by basically giving her an impassioned speech about how fan fiction was the ultimate compliment to the source material, because it was about expanding upon a world that they created, about taking it further, and about building a community around what we loved.

When I was through with this speech all of the other women were pretty much staring at me, and Eliza Dreseng said in a quiet voice, “and where can I read your fan fiction?”

I blanched and then told her awkwardly that I wrote slash. I received blank looks all around. So I carefully explained what slash was.

The other woman who had been hostile about the idea of fan fiction itself made her excuses and dragged her companion away from the table. Rapidly.

So it was just me and Eliza Dresang and her daughter, and I was just abashed and still blanching.

Then Eliza Dreseng said still in that same quiet voice, “so where can I read your fan fiction?”

I will treasure that moment as long as I live.

People want to hear what you have to say. Don’t be afraid of your voice.


Link courtesy of yvonne_b: the Vatican apparently has decided that safe sex is worse than no sex at all. They're telling Catholics that condoms further the spread of HIV, despite the evidence of the WHO and every scientist and health official in the entire world to the contrary. What this article doesn't mention is what the Catholic Church is preaching as an alternative to condom use. Abstinence? Going ahead and doing it anyway, because if you're screwed, you're screwed? Unbelievable.

Also, speaking of unbelievable, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who has for years been my favorite Republican Senator--and yes, I realise that's not saying much, but it's true--has introduced a bill that would allow people born on foreign soil to run for President. (thanks to keyweelimemime for the heads up).

Orrin, dude. Are you so far steeped in bitterness from losing out on the 2000 nomination that you're willing to turn over your party's political hopes to Arnie? Would you really? And here I thought you were one of the last members of that party with sense. I should have given up on you when you voted for the Patriot Act, I suppose.

Edit: Just to clarify, as several people have pointed out, the stipulation that to be American you must be American born is a detriment to the principles of our nation. It's not the bill itself I'm objecting to, not at all--I should have articulated that more explicitly. It's the timing. I would be much happier with Senator Hatch if I believed he proposed the bill on the behalf of all naturalized American citizens and not just the *blech* Governator.


Another thing I’ve been trying to post for two days now is a response to a poster on Heidi’s journal, who thinks that Dick Cheney’s refusing to grant his daughter a legal marriage is just tough love, really.

I really like my response so I am putting it here, on my own journal, for convenient access whenever I run across the next person with the ‘why do they have to have a *marriage*, for christ’s sake, why can’t they just be content with a ceremony?’ mentality. Collapse )

Just one more thing I’ve been trying to say for days and then I’m done: H/D fans, if you need something to make you smile—and who doesn’t these days?—check out jenicomprispas’s latest ficlet. It’s adorable.

Love you, LJ. *collapses into bed*
  • Current Music
    some stupid pop song

(no subject)

Congratulations, Chiya, on finishing Choices!

Be sure to check out novembersnow's latest fall drabble.

This, a run-down of the new model Republican party platform, is something everyone should read. Especially if you're a Republican or even a moderate-conservative. Thanks, Toby, for the link. :-*

This was sent to me by suaine. I have to share an excerpt for those of you who may not have an nyt online subscription:

No administration in memory has made paeans to the president's character - his "honor and integrity" - so central to its political strategy. Nor has any previous administration been so determined to portray the president as a hero, going so far as to pose him in line with the heads on Mount Rushmore, or arrange that landing on the aircraft carrier. Surely, then, Mr. Bush's critics have the right to point out that the life story of the man inside the flight suit isn't particularly heroic - that he has never taken a risk or made a sacrifice for the sake of his country, and that his business career is a story of murky deals and insider privilege. In the months after 9/11, a shocked nation wanted to believe the best of its leader, and Mr. Bush was treated with reverence. But he abused the trust placed in him,
pushing a partisan agenda that has left the nation weakened and divided. Yes, I know that's a rude thing to say. But it's also the truth.

Why have we been letting them get away with this for this long? Why?

Perhaps it's because people like me have simply waited too long to get involved. The day I made that post with all the links, on the 6th, I also printed and filled out a new voter registration form, courtesy of the handy thing on the Human Rights Coalition website. I didn't even know I was supposed to fill out a new form. Whoops.

I meant to take it to the Voter registration office that day, but i've been so distracted and busy that I didn't get a chance to do it until yesterday. So yesterday, I turned it in.

Guess when the cutoff date was for registering for next month's elections? October 6th. If I'd turned it in the day I printed out the form, I'd be able to vote in the city elections next month. But because I didn't, I can only vote for county, not municipal, elections this year--and of course there are no county elections this year.

I am so mad at myself for this. I should have known, I should have been more informed. I kept asking the lady at the office if there was anything she could do, any loophole--I mean, after all, I hadsigned and dated the thing on Oct. 6. She was apologetic, but firm. There would be no circumventing democracy for me. I wanted to ask her, why, if George Bush could break the law and prevent thousands of votes from black Americans in Florida from being counted during the 2000 elections, couldn't I break the law and backdate my vote by a measley 3 days?

Sigh. Not to mention that it took me over an hour researching the elections online to even find out where to turn in my registration. I could have called but I was thinking, 'no, i'm not near a phone, it'll be faster to look it up this way'-- I was wrong. In fact everything I found pertaining to local elections, candidates, procedures, was a confused muddle of vague unmarked district maps and links that went nowhere. Yeesh. Ever since Bush took the 2000 election, I've been trying to be more politically active. But dude. How am I supposed to be an informed voter if I can't even find out where to go to register to vote?

In other news, I've been trying for weeks to come up with something interesting enough for this four truths, one lie meme, but I've been reading all of yours and it's intimidating because I feel like all of my truths are either totally obvious or totally boring and uninteresting. Be that as it may, here goes:

(This is like Balderdash for LJ, isn't it? Which reminds me--members of Soulstice, you are not allowed to play. :D)

Which one is the lie?

The first and only time I went to visit my relatives in Delaware, I was pushing my aunt in the porch swing when I accidentally stepped off the back of the porch and took my aunt with me. She fell into a rosebush. Oddly enough, I was never invited back.
My first job was working at the world's first free-standing Chic-Fil-A.
I learned how to square dance at the home of the architect who designed the White House.
When I was in 8th grade I was in the National Spelling Bee.
I once wrote a short play for a contest. When it was performed, the audience threw tomatoes.


edit: What?! *points to resmiranda's post and splutters*

According to SunnComm's CEO, 'No matter what their credentials or rationale, it is wrong to use one's knowledge and the cover of academia to facilitate piracy and theft of digital property.'"

I wish I could say I was baffled by this, but I'm just outraged. We live in an environment where this kind of rationale, of censorship and corporate doctrine, is rapidly becoming the norm.

Ugh. It makes me want to go burn a cd on principle.


edit: And still one more thing I think everyone should read.

As most of you know our government's claims of "proof" that saddam was involved with al Qaeda or in making weapons of mass destruction, are very, very shaky. One of the president's strongest claims, made in his state of the union address, was that Hussein had ordered uranium and other materials from Nigeria.

However, this claim was an outright lie. There was no such sale. The documents had been forged, and the official from Niger who had supposedly "approved" the necessary papers for the sale and supply of these WMD materials, had actually been dead for more than a decade.

So, government official Joseph Wilson investigated the claims, found it to be false, and reported back to the government. Which totally ignored his findings and stonewalled him after he went to the NY Times with his assertion that the Bush Administration was lying through their teeth.

You may have heard about the recent and mysterious outing of a CIA agent, apparently by someone within the government. What I didn't know is that the agent who was outed was in fact Joseph Wilson's wife. This article makes the connection plain, and implies strongly that whoever outed the agent did so in order to intimidate others like Wilson from coming forward with other truths to dispel this myth of Hussein and his WMDs.

Okay. Done now. Promise.


Okay. I lied. Read. thanks to kerrikins for the link.
  • Current Music
    the october project, "something more than this"

(no subject)

Dude! Michael Moore and I both love Iris Dement.


childoffire has re-posted an absolutely shocking article from calpundit.com about the treatment of gay republicans during the 2000 texas convention. i can't believe this didn't get more attention from the press.

I promise I'll stop making every post about politics, haha, I'm just on a kick and can't seem to help myself. :) It's Mike Moore, he always does this to me. Plus--my mom is coming to visit me next weekend. I'm doing my homework, because I'm sure the subject of politics will come up.

Not to mention I have an entire wall full of blatant slash fanart in my room.
  • Current Music
    hotter than mojave in my heart