I have to admit, I had a hard time writing a post this week. It’s not that I feel apathetic—ok, I am graduating soon and it suddenly turned Spring here in Virginia after what felt like a very long winter, but that really isn’t the problem. For the first time while writing for Shout Out, I found it hard to pinpoint just one subject that I really wanted to write about. This is my second to last post of this semester, and I wanted to make it count.
I struggled to narrow down three ideas. Two of the three are current news stories, but I think they warrant additional conversation. What to do? I see only one option…
Discuss all three, rapid fire blog style!
This one wasn’t in the news this week, but I feel it is worth mentioning. If you haven’t seen the horror/action/thriller movies Alien and Aliens, you really should, because they are important. This isn’t just because they had some cool special effects that were way ahead of their time, or because the series spawned countless spinoff games and movies (most of which are very bad). The reason is because the movies are feminist.
Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver) completely changed the roles of women in a number of genres. Her appearance (muscular and toned) and character (strong, assertive, resourceful) completely kicks ass and takes names. In fact, it has been postulated that Weaver’s character in the Alien movies, along with the Linda Hamilton’s character in the Terminator movies caused the backlash of super-macho, hyper-masculine, testosterone-filled muscle fests in 80s action movies. The portrayal of women in non-normative roles was so shocking that they had to be countered by a decade of bulk!
It is 2013, right?
The elephant in the room of America, kept alive by nutjobs who support the party with the elephant symbol. Why can’t this issue just go away? Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. 40 years later and we find ourselves in a week in which three states—Kansas, Arkansas, and Alabama, are each pushing strict anti-abortion legislation. The sad part is that even those passing the legislation know that it is both unconstitutional and destined to fail. But hey, at least a ton of taxpayer money is wasted in court battles, amirite?
The abortion issue is kept alive by a vocal minority. Most people don’t see it as pressing or worthy of change. Yet, we hear about it all the time. It is time for the Republican Party to stop it. Seriously. After a while, this crazy rhetoric made to appeal to extreme conservative minority actually sinks in to the rest of the sheep. Who honestly thinks that our country would be better without legal abortions? Right…the same people who believe that sex is for procreation only, that abstinence is the only education that should be taught in schools, and that sodomy laws need to go back on the books.
Yup, that last one was pushed just last week by Virginia attorney general and gubernatorial candidate, Ken Cuccinelli. Of course, while the enforcement of anti-sodomy laws is near impossible, Cuccinelli really cares about what is going on in your bedroom. Wait…don’t Republicans claim to be all about small government? Another one of the huge contradictions that remained unquestioned by a dying party.
As individuals, we have to be vigilant. This type of thing is buried in the stories of the week. We assume that it will be taken care of. However, we have make sure to call out this kind of stuff and keep these idiots out of office.
Finally, I thought about writing a post about Brad Paisley/LL Cool J’s horrible “come together” anthem—Accidental Racist. As it has been pointed out, Paisley can’t even explain why the song is important to him. While the intention may be good (I tend to think that it is just a money grab /shrug), the song itself is just stupid at best and offensive at worst.
While a number of blogs have broken down the myriad of problematic elements, I wanted to specifically highlight two. First, while the message of “Forget the bitterness. Don’t get bitter, get better” may seem fine; the harms the song equates are not. Southern people getting cast as racist is not equal to the disenfranchisement faced by African Americans due to slavery. It never has been equal, and it never will be. No Paisley, white Americans aren’t “still paying for mistakes that a bunch of folks made before we came.” At the very least, not in the same way.
In addition, no matter what anyone says, the Confederate Flag is a symbol of racism. Period. Saying the Civil War was fought about states’ rights is a load of shit. It wasn’t like the federal government was banning southerners from taking a dresser from one state to another; the “property” in question was human beings. The Civil War was fought about slavery. The Confederate Flag symbolizes states that were so up in arms that, well, they literally took up arms. The roots of the symbol do not change; no matter how many times Lynyrd Skynyrd uses it.
So that’s my post for the week. What does the community think about any of these issues? Have it hit the mark, or am I missing something?