Why the NYT missed the point. Twice.

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The New York Times ran a profile on a Nazi from Ohio. I won’t link it, but you’ve probably read it. It’s a “thought provoking” look. Yes, I quoted that with an eyeroll.

It’s drivel, from beginning to end. Sure it mentions some of the gross beliefs he has, but the entire article points out that he might think white people are better, but he doesn’t look down his nose at interracial couples. Look at his pop culture flavored tattoos! And all his cats. He’s just like us.

As if we should be surprised that Nazis are just like us. To every person of color out there, it’s hardly a surprise that a racist can seem normal. Some of the most racist comments came from people that shocked me. It wasn’t the skinheads, it was the women who we saw all the time at the school. The teacher I thought I trusted. Every POC has stories like this. Heck, most people read anecdotes during school about how Nazis weren’t just villainous monsters – they were neighbors and every day people.

But we love trying to humanize monsters. There’s this mistaken idea that if we understand them, we might be able to catch them. It’s why you see profiles of white shooters or white serial killers, talking about their quirky habits. Like, if we see them as people, somehow we’ll reconcile the rest. People of Color don’t get that luxury, by the way. Even POC victims are vilified, their humanity stripped away. But… that isn’t what this post is about.

Back to the Nazis. I would argue that every white person has seen The Sound of Music at least once. A huge part of it deals with Liesl discovering that the nice young messenger she’s in love with, is actually a Nazi. And that he didn’t care enough for her to let her family go.

And everyone had to read the Diary of Anne Frank, where you read the heart wrenchingly normal diary of a girl, and then at the end the discussion of who turned the Franks in. All of whom were normal people, people they trusted.

When confronted, the NYT posted their response. Which just like the article itself, missed the boat. They said the writer and editors agonized over the tone. That they felt it was important for people to understand the creator of some of the movements.

But the piece itself didn’t even tackle what this group believed. It actually linked to Swastika armbands (though they’ve removed the link, since apparently they realized critics were right and that was in poor taste). There were no hard hitting questions to juxtapose the hatred against the banality of their day to day life.

How on earth are you supposed to believe that this was supposed to do anything other than paint a human face on hate, if you aren’t accurately representing his life… all aspects of it.

Sadly, this isn’t anything new for the New York Times. Back in the 30s, they did the same thing with Hitler. Talked about his quirks and interests. Not the hate he spoke of.

So, think piece writers – if you’re going to tackle a profile on a hateful person, make sure you have at least one POC involved. One person from a group that person actively hates, who can make sure you aren’t writing a puff piece. Otherwise, all you’re doing is normalizing hatred. Instead of pointing out how out of place it should be.

Edit: I’m embedding a tweet thread that raised another point about what the NYT piece missed – and completely misrepresented. It’s worth a read. If you didn’t read the piece (which I know, I didn’t link), they mention the podcast that the profiled man is part of. They refer to him as a white nationalist or a Nazi sympathizer. Never outright as simply a Nazi.

#MeToo: Exposing how deep rape culture goes.

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This has been a couple of wonderful and terrible months – all because of the wave of victims coming forward to talk about their experiences being sexually harassed or assaulted. (Content and Trigger warnings for discussion of sexual harassment, sexual assault and misogynistic responses to accusations)

It is hard to share your story. So many people think it was easy for me to write or vlog about what happened to me, and every time I had to convince myself to share it. Especially the vlog. I didn’t want anyone to see my rage or my tears. I didn’t want to face the inevitable comments from people that I was just trying to make things worse for the other parties involved (which happens every time), but every time I wrote about it or vlogged about it, someone told me they were grateful I shared my story. Which is why I still do it. Because this does feel isolating. (So please, don’t talk to TheBoy or me about how I can’t move on or I’m trying to make their life miserable. I’m literally trying to help people.)

So I am joyful that women (and yes, men and enby’s) are coming forward, because I know how difficult it is.

But all through this, there have been a lot of ugly reactions. The men who wonder how they’ll ever be able to work or date in a world where women won’t put up with sexual harassment. (The answer: if you treat them like human beings, you’ll be fine) And everyone who suggests that victims are doing this for the attention, that they’re making up their accusations for their 15 minutes of fame. And very hurtful to me personally, every progressive white woman who stood by a white woman speaking her mind, who turned their back on any victim who was different than them. Oh, and people believing white women who come forward, while ignoring black women and black men (people largely ignore the accusations of Lupita Nyong’o against Harvey Weinstein or Terry Crews’ accusation against Adam Venit – heck, Wendy Williams tried to say Crews wasn’t brave. He is.). (more…)

Choices and Image Rehabilitation.

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Last night on the Emmys, one of the most talked about moments was Sean Spicer coming out with a podium – ala Melissa McCarthy’s performance of him. The crowd at the Emmys was stunned, but it got laughs. And indeed, a lot of people found it funny online.

And heck, James Corden, tried to kiss him on the cheek afterwards.

But I wasn’t laughing. There’s a lot to be said about giving people second chances – but after Spicer left the administration, people were immediately downplaying his role in the White House. He was just the messenger, don’t you feel bad for him?

No.

This is a man who tried to speak up for integrity prior to Trump being elected. I might not have agreed with him, but he had beliefs – and when offered a chance to stand behind the podium, ditched them to become a mouthpiece. He could have quit as soon as he realized he would be lying day in or day out. Instead he lied, hid in bushes (oh excuse me, NEAR bushes).

It’s nice he can make fun of himself. Laugh at the situation – but we shouldn’t be laughing with him, normalizing the misinformation he spewed.

I’m sorry, did you forget that he tried to say Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons? I sure didn’t.

There is a road to image rehabilitation – but it shouldn’t be a metaphorical 5 minutes after stepping down off the public stage, just to increase social media comments about the broadcast.

I wouldn’t have thought that with all the anti-Trump jabs that this would be the audience to embrace “Spicey” so quickly. But then again, Hollywood is quick to forget a white man’s reputation. It’s rare that ill deeds hurt their career for very long. Heck, actors are lining up for Woody Allen’s next movie.

And yes, I fume about that too. There’s so much talent out there, that you don’t need to keep throwing money at abusive men. Yet, it keeps happening.

But back to Spicer. Would that joke have worked in any other way? Sure, if it had been Melissa McCarthy at the podium. It wouldn’t have actually been blessing Spicer with limelight, sending the message that he’s been absolved of his choices and decisions.

Hollywood, be smart. On a night where so many talented people of all races and genders were honored for smart, sharp work… it took away from how far we’ve come. And frankly, was several steps back.

Update 9/19: Jason Isaacs posted this to his Instagram, and well… I love him for it.

High Functioning, Chronically Ill

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I live with Crohns. I am also ridiculously high functioning when sick – I always have been.

When I was first diagnosed with Crohns, it was because I had a really really low hemoglobin count that sent me to the hospital for a blood transfusion. Literally everyone was surprised that I was standing- yet, there I was, driving around town and taking my kids to school.

I spent a year with cramps and nausea – sitting in parking lots until it passed, because I had things to do and nobody else to have take care of it all.

The good part about being high-functioning is that things get done. The bad part? Literally everyone forgets how sick you are.

I’m not only high functioning with Crohns, but with my anxiety and depression. My brain makes lists of things that Have to Be Done, I Want to Get Done if I still have energy, and the Bonus Things to Do if I Still have energy.

So I go through my day, feeling the weight of everything with me, and people ask me “why are you sad?” “why are you in such a bad mood?” “why didn’t you do XYZ?” (when all I had energy for was getting to IJK) – and I almost always want to break down and cry, because… they forgot.

Somehow they forgot that I’m still sick, that my Crohns isn’t in remission. All because I’m good at sucking it up and doing what needs to be done.

Odds are, if I’m bitchy? I’m having a bad anxiety day. I’m in pain from Crohns or my bad back. Or, I’m just tired of repeating myself. If I didn’t get something done, it just wasn’t at the top of today’s priority list (or my brain was so fuzzy from anxiety it just slipped my mind).

But none of it goes away. It’s all still there.

Lot’s going on

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There’s a lot going on in the world right, but I thought I’d share a couple of things.

The ACLU of California said that White Supremacist Violence is not free speech. The National ACLU said they agree with this statement, but will protect their speech until it turns violent. It’s a little disappointing- since in my opinion, hate speech is inherently violent. You don’t need to be wearing weapons for their words to harm others.

If you’ve heard people talking about “sheetcaking” and are lost, you missed Tina Fey’s appearance on the special edition of Weekend Update. This post is a pretty good summary of what the sketch was (and there’s an embedded video) and why it wasn’t funny.

I hadn’t seen it live, and I’d only seen reactions online. So I was pretty disappointed when I actually saw it. The linked post above sums up my thoughts pretty well.

Nick Spencer, the head writer for Marvel’s Secret Wars (and the man who made Steve Rogers be an agent of HYDRA all along), took to twitter to complain that people were missing the whole point of his story arc.

As a writer, I have to say that if you need to explain what the point of your story is? You’ve failed. Could this have been amazing? YES. But the problem with corrupting Captain America in the current political climate has been well established. It’s all too easy to pull out one issue, one image and turn it against its’ purpose. (And it’s succeeded, people spotted white supremacists wearing HYDRA shirts) The other problem is that this is happening in the main timeline for Marvel. Sure, things will change and fix it. That’s how comics work – but if you want to tell a political story like this, make it an AU storyline that’s not just reconned the second it’s over.

And put it in the hands of someone who can handle the story. I have zero faith in Spencer based on the execution thus far.

Terms & Conditions, Right to Privacy and Freedom of Speech

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There’s a lot going on in the world right now. The Daily Stormer, a White Supremacist site is now homeless on the internet after first GoDaddy terminated their hosting and then Google denied to host their domain as well. And the White House is trying to subpoena Dreamhost for the IP Addresses of people who visited a site designed to coordinate protests against 45.

And there’s a lot going on here – and I’ve seen some confusion how one person could be against a website saying no to Daily Stormer, yes to protecting private information…. and support free speech.

First, Freedom of Speech is that you are entitled to speak your opinion freely and the government cannot stop you. It gives you the right to assemble to protest, too. It’s not that you can speak your mind everywhere – private companies are private property. They can set their own terms.

Which is where I’m going with Daily Stormer. When you sign up for a domain name or web hosting, you agree to follow that company’s policies. And 100% there is something in there that you won’t be using that site to incite violence or commit crimes against others. The reason a lot of hate/fringe groups have websites is that they’re generally cautious not to cross the line of actually inciting violence. It’s all theoretical. (It’s gross, but that’s what happens) So, this particular site crossed a line and companies are saying no.

As they should.

Should we be terrified that the Administration is going after people who want to protest 45? Absolutely. Because one of the fundamental rights that we have in the US is the First Amendment. That we are allowed to speak out against the president, we are allowed to assemble, to protest. It’s part of our political freedom. And so long as people aren’t actively using that site to incite violence against the President and his Administration – they are legally protected.

You’ll notice, nobody’s subpoenaed for lists of white supremacists who visited certain websites. Yes, people have been posting pictures of people who were at Charlottesville hoping that they’ll be identified. Because these were men who showed up, showed their faces… and believed they were bulletproof enough to be able to go back to work after revealing themselves to be white supremacists/Nazis.

Compare that to people who protested Michael Brown’s shooting, and marched knowing that they would be arrested and possibly blacklisted from their work.

There’s a huge difference there. I’ve seen some people try to compare my response to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville it with my defense of Black Lives Matters protests – but there’s a marked difference. A huge difference. The people in Charlottesville were there to express their hate. People at Black Lives Matter protests were asking to be respected and given the same protection that white citizens gets. Free speech comes with caveats. You aren’t allowed to say things that could bring harm to others – it’s why you can sue someone for libel. Because saying whatever you want can harm someone else. (And if you cannot see that the BLM protests were about protection – you need to reexamine your own personal biases)

Hate speech is not protected under the First Amendment. And spouting off Nazi rhetoric would certainly qualify as hate speech.

This is likely a rambly post, but I hope it at least clarifies what does/doesn’t count as protected – and why you should be terrified at what the White House is attempting right now.

#NoConfederate, bad ideas, and a lack of censorship

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If you’ve been on Twitter the last two Sundays, you probably saw the hashtag #NoConfederate trending.

Confederate is the next show announced by HBO and the men behind Game of Thrones. (Well, the non GRR Martin guys behind the show) It aims to show an alternate universe where the South wasn’t defeated and slavery exists in modern times.

And people are upset. Both those who object to the show and those who think the objectors are trying to censor television.

Why object to the show? After all, The Man in the High Castle is on multiple seasons and discusses what might have happened if the Nazis won. Well, the difference there is that while there are still Nazis and white supremacists… by and large as a society we recognize that Nazis are bad.

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Teen Vogue: Won’t Somebody Think of the Children

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Bear with me. I just wanted to use that for a headline. And use this GIF

via GIPHY

So Teen Vogue has recently become an awesome place for journalism, and published a guide on anal sex on their website. And let me tell you, parents from all over were upset. The general consensus was that they didn’t want their teens to have access to that information because, god forbid, they use it. (more…)

Pirates, change and the redhead.

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It shouldn’t be news to anyone that I’m a fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. Annual Disneyland trips were a big part of my childhood and there were a select few rides that were always my favorite.

Pirates being one of them.

I had an intense pirates phase as a kid. I’ll be honest, it’s something I never actually grew out of.

So when the news broke that Disney is going to change the Pirates of the Caribbean again, I figured I would write a post instead of writing my thoughts on everyone’s FB feeds.

This isn’t the first major change to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. The first was changing the scene where the men chase the women so that the women were carrying plates of food or jewels – changing the vice from lust to greed or gluttony. A lot of people decried it as being too PC, and then people forgot about it.

After the popularity of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, they added Jack Sparrow, Barbossa and Davy Jones to the ride. Nobody really complained at that. (more…)

I hate Cinco de Mayo

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There. I said it. I hate Cinco de Mayo.

I also hate St. Patrick’s Day, and it isn’t just because I hate excessive drinking. It’s because neither “holiday” is really rooted in celebrating anything cultural anymore. It’s just a flimsy excuse that white people snagged from another culture as a reason to drink. (And both are rooted in smearing other cultures)

Let’s go with St. Patrick’s Day first. So when the Irish came over during the famine, there was a lot of racism. Established white people were like… they’re stealing our jobs! They don’t belong here. So in building on the stereotype of Irish people being drunks, they turned a saint day (that yes, was celebrated here already) into the ultimate drinking holiday. Leprechauns dressed like Irishmen of the time showed up and they literally just doubled down on every stereotype they could. (You can always tell the cities with actual Irish populations because they actually do celebrate actual Irish culture)

Cinco de Mayo? It’s the date of the Battle of Puebla. It’s commemorated in Mexico with ceremonial parades. Here, it’s about cheap booze and tacos. And sombreros and like all sorts of racist garbage.

Now, I love tacos – probably more than the next girl. But it’s an excuse to drink.

Both of these holidays remove anything real associated with it, as an excuse to drink and celebrate stereotypes.

You might say that I’m overly sensitive (being Mexican AND Irish). But it’s how I feel. It’s obnoxious to watch white people get excited every year, talk about busting out sombreros and drinking cervezas. The same people who talk about “my people” taking their jobs, and building a wall to keep “my people” out.

Wanna know how I celebrate St Patrick’s Day? I stay home, make Irish food and drink real beer. Not dyed green nonsense. Real beer. And for Cinco de Mayo, I just stay home.

Newsflash: you can drink to excess any time you like. Keep your hands off someone else’s culture. (And if you’re going to celebrate, have a DD or call a taxi)