Friday, April 22, 2011

Feeling Unfairly Persecuted for my Political Beliefs Again.

Would you like to know why?

Of course you would, I mean, come on, you're reading my blog. Clearly this is the kind of post you are here for.

So my latest political angst was caused by an article on Jezebel.com. Interesting website, a heathen, like myself, has to appreciate the biblical connotations of the name Jezebel and many of the posts are quite thought provoking, if terribly liberal. (I keep telling myself that if I just stopped reading liberal news websites I would feel a lot less crazed, but then I realize that would make me a terribly one sided blogger and a horrible journalist when I finally get my degree.)

This particular article was about Professor Ellen Lewin, a professor of Anthropology and Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies at the University of Iowa. She hit 'reply all' to a mass email from the College Republicans and told them "FUCK YOU, REPUBLICANS." (I'm suddenly getting flashbacks to a paragraph in this blog that I wrote on the 19th.)

Was this a responsible or adult way to respond to an email? No, it was not. Especially not when the woman replying is a professor at the college and the people she was responding to were students. The quickest way to lose my respect as a teacher is to prove that you can't see shades of grey and refuse to have rational discussions about other people's political, religious, or social ideas.
Good going Professor Lewin. I wouldn't touch the University of Iowa with a 10 foot pole now, even if they offered me a full ride scholarship.

The mass email in question was one that informed people at the college of
"Conservative Coming Out Week." Planned events include an "Animal Rights BBQ" and an opportunity for students to "pick up your Doctors' Notice to miss class for 'sick of being stressed', just like the Wisconsin public employees during the union protests.
 Okay, possibly a tad bit offensive, but I've always hated being politically correct anyway and I find the idea of an "Animal Rights BBQ" to be hysterical. What can I say? I've never been a fan of PETA. I'm not a fan of the unions and so I find the idea of calling in "sick of being stressed" to also be amusing. And being that I'm a Lesbian Republican and occasionally feel more in the closet about being a Republican than being a Lesbian...well I have to say that having a 'Coming Out Week' isn't such a bad idea. It's like Gay Pride, only nerdier and probably more clothed...but also probably a good place to look for a date.

One of Professor Lewin's later responses (a follow up after having admitted that they language she used was inappropriate, not apologizing mind you.) is as follows.

"I should note that several things in the original message were extremely offensive, nearly rising to the level of obscenity. Despite the Republicans' general disdain for LGBT rights you called your upcoming event 'conservative coming out day,' appropriating the language of the LGBT right movement. Your reference to the Wisconsin protests suggested that they were frivolous attempts to avoid work. And the 'Animal Rights BBQ' is extremely insensitive to those who consider animal rights an important cause. Then, in the email that Ms. Ginty sent complaining about my language, she referred to me as Ellen, not Professor Lewin, which is the correct way for a student to address a faculty member, or indeed, for anyone to refer to an adult with whom they are not acquainted. I do apologize for my intemperate language, but the message you all sent out was extremely disturbing and offensive."

I've emphasized a couple of statements in that quote that I would like to respond to, though I'm certain Professor Lewin will never read my blog. 
1.) "general disdain" here is another case of a liberal not understanding the difference between the Religious Right and the rest of the Republican party. Or perhaps I'm wrong, perhaps the College Republicans at UofI were actively protesting gay rights. If they were doing so, then I agree with Lewin. Co-opting GLBT terms was a shitty thing to do. However, if they were (for the most part) 'moderate' Republicans then I find no problem with it.
2.) "frivolous attempts to avoid work." I can't claim to know an extreme amount about the Wisconsin situation. I do know more about the situation with the Teacher's Union there, because I have a friend who is a teacher. We are both in agreement that if teacher's were doing their jobs then they wouldn't really need the unions to keep them from being fired. I've had a lot of bad teacher's over the years, they kept their job because of the unions. No one could fire them. Bad teachers love the unions, they don't really have to work as long as the union has their back.
3.) "Animal Rights BBQ" No more offensive than lumping me in with the Religious Right or calling me racist because I dare to criticize the president and his ridiculous inability to actually govern a country effectively.

And as for the responses Lewin has received (mentioned in the Jezebel article), yes, there are always going to be morons in the world, we can't get rid of them. However, Lewin can't say she's justified in her comments because of rude commentary she's received as a result of her words. She's a teacher, someone that students look up to and respect. She has a pulpit to teach from that is almost, or perhaps more, powerful than any preacher. She is expected to hold herself to a higher standard and responding in such a fashion to an email, that was not personally harmful in any way, destroys her credibility as a teacher in my eyes. I would never respond to an email of that type in that way. I would delete it if it offended me, but there was no need to respond at all even if she was having "particularly bad mood" that day.

Hell, I've had more offensive things leveled at me personally. You might remember a couple of posts I did back in February (1 and 2) that, yes, did involve some vulgarity on my part. Understandable considering I was being personally attacked for no reason whatsoever, but I never allowed myself to stoop to the level that Professor Lewin's stooped to and I had far more reason to tell those particular people to fuck off, than Lewin's had to say that to the College Republicans.

And people wonder why I feel more closeted as a conservative than I do as a lesbian...

Edit: One last thought, how is this going to effect the students in her classes? Will the Republicans taking her class ever feel safe enough to speak their opinions now, having seen the vitriolic hatred she has for them? I would be worried if I was her student, I would be worried for my grade. This is going to silence the opinions of students on that campus, students who should feel safe to express their political ideas in classes. She has taken that away from students. That, in and of itself, is unforgivable Professor Lewin.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Us VS. Them

I'm noticing more and more lately that people have this 'us VS. them' mentality about politics. Republicans VS. Democrats, the fight to the death. People have ceased to see politics and, in fact, the world in shades of grey and you must forgive me, but I find that when people treat the running of our country as a grudge match between two political parties (instead of honest debate on each separate issue) that they end up looking like the biggest morons on the fact of the planet. Republicans and Democrats are both capable of having good ideas, ridiculing one and expecting salvation from the other is never going to work.

This is worse than house rivalries at Hogwarts and significantly more childish...which is really saying something considering the maturity level of the students in those books.

The government has stopped serving the people, instead it's a staging ground for petty battles between two, increasingly ineffectual, political parties. They stopped learning to cooperate and now all we here is "Fuck Republicans" from one side and "Fuck Democrats" from the other. It's neither constructive or appealing to see our countries politicians, who should be working together to help American citizens, fighting over who gets the most space in the sandbox.

I think kindergarten students understand how to share and cooperate better than the people we have elected.

And that's right, we did elect them. The voters are partially to blame for this mess, but that's a topic for another night.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Weekend Adventure Blog: "I spend most of my time in this store with an expression of complete incredulity on my face." "Only you would use that phrase while shopping at Dillards."

Yeah, my day has been kinda like that.

Use of large words aside, this weekend (specifically today) has been as close to perfect as I have gotten in a while. Actually...the use of large words probably helped. There is nothing better than standing in a Dillard's outlet shop with my brother and one of my friends and using the phrase "complete incredulity" to describe my facial expression at some of the terrible offenses to fashion that were on those racks. I'm not even what I would call extremely fashionable and I was almost in physical pain from laughing so hard at this stuff.

Perhaps I should rewind and explain.

Saturday night I said I was going shopping today with my mother and sister. That expanded into a family shopping trip of sheer hilarity.

At some point my brother (Skeptimus Prime) and my friend (Anti-Avenger) and I, all got separated from the rest of my family. Probably because A-A and I were too busy mocking the horrible clothing (we know why things get sent to the Dillard's outlet now, no one in their right mind would pay the original price for that crap) and so we moved from one area to another, finding the most ridiculous clothing possible and mocking it unceasingly. (We did find some great stuff today though and we laughed a lot and had a ton of fun, that's what counts).

Here is a sampling of some of the things we mocked. Though a few times we found ourselves thinking that we should come back to that store for clothing for D&D LARPing costumes. I even got a few shirts for use in Steampunk costumes.

There are too many sequins here for even a Vegas showgirl costume and it's not even sexy...

As if the color wasn't bad enough, someone decided to attach a fishing net to the bottom. The dress weighed a ton as well.

A-A called this the "Gold plastic chiclet dress" I have to agree.

We are fully convinced this could be used for LARPing. I can see an elf wearing this...maybe...

I would wear this for LARPing...


As for anything of actual use, well I bought several pairs of opaque tights. All are in crazy colors and I love them lots and lots. Somehow A-A and I ended up buying the same sweater dress and pair of tights, we will have to make sure to never wear those same things at the same time...seriously, it would be weird.
I also got this.
It's reversible and came with pillow shams! I'm such a girl...
 I stole my sisters comforter set when I moved out last August and I have been meaning to buy one of my own ever since. This one was just too pretty and it was marked down about 70%, I had to have it. It's on my bed now. The comforter is so soft and poofy that I just want to make a cave out of it and never come out. I feel all of 6 years old at the moment.

We also found this in the men's section.
 Size 10 heels, left in the men's section...size 10 denotes fairly large feet yes? So either a girl left them there because she decided she didn't want them or...well the other option you can figure out and it is much more amusing.


Tonight, after I got home, I went for a walk. The weather was perfect, the city was peaceful and quiet around me and I stopped to buy a sandwich and soda for dinner. As I walked home I saw this and had to take a picture. When I saw it, I remembered a certain section from the first chapter of Atlas Shrugged.
The clouds and shafts of skyscrapers against them were turning brown, like an old painting in oil, the color of a fading masterpiece. Long streaks of grime ran from under the pinnacles down the slender, soot eaten walls. High on the side of a tower there was a crack in the shape of a motionless lightning, the length of ten stories. A jagged object cut the sky above the roofs; it was half a spire, still holding the glow of the sunset; the gold leaf had long since peeled off the other half. The glow was red and still, like the reflection of a fire: not an active fire, but a dying one which it is too late to stop.     No, thought Eddie Willers, there is nothing disturbing in the sight of the city, it looked as it had always looked.   
I'm not entirely certain whether thinking of that passage in conjunction with my city is depressing or not. I haven't even decided if Eddie Willers impression of his own city was depressing or not yet. Maybe when I understand him and understand this book I will be able to understand this world?


Last of all, I came home. This church spire is always a safe landmark at night. I see it and know I'm headed the right way. For a person who left Christianity a long time ago, that's a bit ironic isn't it?

Oh well, my weekends have become increasingly more interesting in recent months. I think these Weekend Adventure posts may happen a bit more frequently.