Devoid of all Reason and Heart

3 10 2007

This is an example of why I find it difficult to follow my rule of not completely hating people.

Is this f-ing nightmare over yet?


Global Problems, Reality Show Solutions

23 03 2007

There’s an article in the NY Times today about a Manhattan family living an experiment to have “no impact” on the environment.  Well, no impact whatsoever would be nearly impossible, but they are focusing on eating locally, organically, producing no waste (thus the tittle of the article), using no fossil fuels, and not buying anything new.  The article was quite interesting, and the family’s blog further details their year-long adventure.

There seems to be this sort of individualistic-environmentalism craze going on – where suddenly a wealthy liberal sees “An Inconvenient Truth” and decides to drastically change his/her lifestyle.  And, of course, publish a book and documentary as well.

I suppose this sort of thing could be seen as opening peoples’ eyes to the  disproportionate harm the American lifestyle puts on the environment.  If more people are aware of the environmental harm caused by agra-business, fossil fuels, and the amount of trash we produce, I suppose a real movement and change might follow.

But I would rather see real lifestyle and policy changes from our political leaders and policymakers.  How about Bush actually signing the Kyoto protocol?  How about federal and state funds to actually make it as cost effective to recycle as it is to top off a landfill?  How about some real teeth to stop manufacturers from packaging with so much plastic in the first place?  I fear that without these real changes, our progress will stall at a surface-awareness that can easily be ignored.  And some entertaining memoirs and documentaries.

To be fair, perhaps I’m being too cynical.  After all, if this reality-show-like “look at how environmentalist I can be” phenomenon can really educate people and inspire them to action, then perhaps real change can happen.  But I wouldn’t bet my toilet paper on it.

7th and Final

1 02 2007

Now all the Harry Potter-crazies (myself included) know when the 7th and final book will be released.

It will be a long wait until July 21…

On Hillary

20 01 2007

In case you haven’t heard, Hillary Clinton has officially announced she will be running for president in 2008. It seems like every news story I hear about it claims how “controversial” she is. I’m reminded of an excellent piece by the always right-on Katha Pollitt. This piece from last November forever changed how I hear news reports about Hillary. Here’s a sample:

“In her essay Eisenstein argues that HRC is a “female decoy” whose election would harm women because it would put a pink pseudo-feminist gloss on militarism and neoliberalism. There’s something in this, but it comes close to holding Senator Clinton’s femaleness against her: Logically, a man with the same positions would be less bad, because he couldn’t use feminism (or female stereotypes of caring and nurturing) to disguise them. But since anyone with a realistic hope of becoming President will necessarily have made all sorts of unsavory bargains with the statusquo, this amounts to saying we’ll never have a woman in the White House. We’ll continue on as now: “expecting more” of women and tacitly expecting less of men.

Well, count me out. The contemporary women’s movement is almost forty years old, and after all that time exactly one woman has managed to reach the point where she can make a credible run for the White House. And I don’t see another one around the corner, do you? Polls consistently show the “castrating satanic robot” way ahead of her potential primary rivals. In general election match-ups she trumps every Republican but Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. Maybe Barack Obama will alter the dynamics, which would be amusing, since I’ll bet few of his fans can name even three positions he holds. But right now, if HRC were a man, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. But then, if she were a man, she wouldn’t be almost universally perceived as unelectable.”

You can find the full article here.

I’m also not saying I’d necessarily vote for Hillary in the primary. But Pollitt touches on a lot of interesting and important points: are the ways in which we judge Hillary Clinton gendered? How would we view a male Democratic candidate with her politics? Just something to keep in mind as she’ll no doubt be all over the media until the race, and will no doubt continue to be under ridiculous scrutiny just because she’s a woman.