Archive for the ‘Snarking’ Category

Remember that question (asked of Miss Teen USA South Carolina) about how American students were having trouble finding the United States on the map? 

(Via David Kurtz at TPM) Here’s President Bush talking about Southern Louisiana: 

“[T]he taxpayers and people from all around the country have got to understand the people of this part of the world really do appreciate the fact that the American citizens are supportive of the recovery effort.”

“I come telling the folks in this part of the world that we still understand there’s problems and we’re still engaged.”

“We care deeply about the folks in this part of the world.”

In other related news, Bush announces his plan to negotiate a free trade agreement with the state of Louisiana. 

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I think I’m going to start a semi-regular feature here at Yellow is the Color.  Every time I watch an incredibly embarrassing YouTube video that makes me laugh and ashamed to be a human being, I’ll post it here as a part of the newly established Put the Video Camera Down! feature.  Because some people should never ever put themselves in front of a camera.  Ever. 

This week’s installment is a guy who takes it upon himself to respond to the Miss Teen USA South Carolina brain-freeze which has gone viral all over the internet.  Enjoy. 

(Found courtesy of The M Zone)

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I just got an invitation via facebook to join the “Climate Emergency Fast,” which is basically a thing where you agree not to eat for a day, from wherever you are, in order to raise awareness for global climate issues.  The day for this fast is September 4th. 

 I support activism as much as the next guy.  And I’m all for raising awareness on global climate issues.  But seriously will anyone really notice if I don’t eat for a day? 

I think the better idea is to eat something really disgusting like centipedes or cockroaches.  And to do it at the most crowded time possible in the cafeteria.  People will come up to me.  “Why the hell are you eating that?” 

And I’ll say, “Well, I’m glad you asked…” 

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I’ll admit it.  I saw the headline of this column (“Pretty Formidable in Pink“) and I was so ready to pounce with my snark claws extended.  Here comes another vacuous article about the fact that Hillary is a woman and whether the country is ready and the other day we saw cleavage and did we mention she’s a woman? 

But then I read it.  And laughed.  And nodded my head.  And thought, amen. 

[Elizabeth] Edwards’s specific criticism of Clinton was misplaced, but her general point is important. Clinton has a three-decades-long record of working on issues related to women and families, and she’s seeking the presidency at a time when national security is paramount. If she’s talking more about Iraq than family and medical leave, that’s less about trying to overcompensate for the inconvenient fact of her gender than what issues are at the top of voters’ agendas.

But as a columnist who happens to be a woman — you may have noticed, there aren’t too many of us — I understand what Edwards means. In fact, I initially resisted writing about her comments, reluctant to be pigeonholed as a “woman columnist” and not taken seriously by the Big Boys.

Clinton faces that challenge on a grander and more complex scale. Any woman in the post-Sept. 11 world faces an extra hurdle in convincing some voters that she’s strong enough to be commander in chief. Clinton has the extra challenge of appearing simultaneously formidable and likable, commanding and not cold, smart and approachable.

Indeed, even as Clinton was getting slapped by Edwards for playing down her gender, she was being dissected by Post fashion critic Robin Givhan for showing cleavage: “It was startling to see that small acknowledgment of sexuality and femininity peeking out of the conservative — aesthetically speaking — environment of Congress.” Givhan contrasted Clinton’s decolletage with the more abundant display by Jacqui Smith, the new British home secretary, and her complaint seemed to be that Clinton was showing too little, too unassertively.

Might I suggest that sometimes a V-neck top is only a V-neck top? As a person of cleavage, I’d guess that Clinton’s low-cut shirt simply reflected a few centimeters of sartorial miscalculation, not a deliberate fashion statement.

Breasts may be an advantage in certain settings; the Senate floor isn’t one of them. If you’re giving a speech on higher education, as Clinton was, you don’t want Ted Stevens thinking about — and you certainly don’t want to think about Ted Stevens thinking about — your cleavage.

The upside of all the attention Clinton gets as the most serious female presidential candidate ever is all the attention Clinton gets as the most serious female presidential candidate ever.

I do not know many people who consider Clinton to be their top choice but I do know many who are starting to respect her on a level they never did before. 

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Sloooow news day. 

Oh, sure, there was that debate last night. 

The Attorney General is testifying before the Senate amidst numerous constitutional controversies. 

Six medical workers in Libya were finally freed after 8 years. 

And there’s that war somewhere over there.  And over there.  And maybe, possibly, eventually over there

But isn’t there something else we can talk about?  Something, you know, interesting? 

Oh, goodie.  Lindsay Lohan

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Because of school projects, my printed word diet lately has consisted solely of a strange combination of articles about copyright and 1990s issues of Us and People magazines (and, as a break, Elements of Style by the late great Wendy Wasserstein), but today I finally got around to catching up on some news/blog reading. Things that I have found particularly interesting:

1. Via Kerry Howley at Reason, Camille Paglia, professional misguided orator of cultural wonkery, blames the Virginia Tech shootings on “the crisis of masculinity in America” and “the snobbery of the upper-middle-class professional.” Apparently, according to Ms. Paglia, Cho wouldn’t have shot all those people if only he could have worked in a factory or hopped on a freight train, and if those uppity girls he was stalking would have just been flattered by his attentions and had pity sex with him, and maybe it’s somehow tied to Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears.

Julian Sanchez points out that “hidden amid all this swill is actually a moderately interesting question, to wit: How does greater sexual openness in a culture affect those who, for whatever reasons, aren’t getting any?

The problem is that the least productive imaginable way to approach that sort of question, guaranteed to yield precisely zero generalizable insights, is to use a deranged mass murderer as your starting point.

2. Rainbow Girl provides a useful misogynist/trolls guide to talking to feminists.

Step one: Cite Essential Difference.
The conversation may have started on unequal pay, sexual violence, or discrimination, but it is your duty to immediately direct the conversation to the fact that women are inherently different from men. This first step is crucial, because everyone knows that essential difference legitimizes and therefore neutralizes oppression.

Step Four: Incite Fear.
Ok, she may be have reasonable requests, like not to get raped, or not to get called a slut for getting raped, or whatever, but don’t forget about those other feminists. You know, the real man-hating ones that are really militant and violent. They are true representatives of the movement and The Feminist, by sheer taxonomy, must be part of this group if she defines herself using that word. Be careful not to actually cite specific examples of man-hating feminists, firstly because it will expose the fact you don’t know of any, and secondly because it could create an uncomfortably detailed tangential argument for you in which you are exposed to even more feminist theory.

3. Snarkery at its finest: This American Life Completes Documentation Of Liberal, Upper-Middle-Class Existence

In what cultural anthropologists are calling a “colossal achievement” in the study of white-collar professionals, the popular radio show has successfully isolated all 7,442 known characteristics of college graduates who earn between $62,500 and $125,000 per year and feel strongly that something should be done about global warming.

“We’ve done it,” said senior producer Julie Snyder, who was personally interviewed for a 2003 This American Life episode, “Going Eclectic,” in which she described what it’s like to be a bilingual member of the ACLU trained in kite-making by a Japanese stepfather. “There is not a single existential crisis or self-congratulatory epiphany that has been or could be experienced by a left-leaning agnostic that we have not exhaustively documented and grouped by theme.”

4. Addison from Grey’s Anatomy is getting her own spin-off. This guy says its a good thing, because all the other characters have begun to suck:

The backdoor pilot for the spin-off, which will also feature Tim Daly, Taye Diggs and Amy Brenneman in its cast, airs next week. While I’m naturally skeptical of spin-offs, I hope this one is good, and that Addison can bring the chief, Callie (Sara Ramirez) and Karev (Justin Chambers) with her, so I no longer have any reason to watch “Grey’s” proper. What began a few years ago as a fluffy, entertaining mash-up of “ER,” “Friends” and “Sex and the City” has become a show so deeply in love with itself that it no longer notices or cares how the rest of the world views it. It’s still the hottest thing on television that doesn’t involve Ryan Seacrest, but the emperor has no scrubs.

He points out that Meredith’s character is too self-absorbed and “was never that interesting or appealing to begin with,” and that Izzy is currently “shattering all TV records for irrational, judgmental, horrid behavior.” I like Meredith, but that’s because I always fall for the spoiled, narcissistic waifs.

And, yes, I know, I’m ending on a Grey’s Anatomy note here. I said things I find interesting, not earth-shattering, okay?

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My current apartment building is like a mini United Nations, there are so many different races and ethnicities living here. What’s strange, however, is I don’t see these people around the neighborhood, only in the building. The neighborhood I live in — upper NW DC — is one of the whitest, yuppiest places you’ve ever seen, full of women in yoga pants sipping lattes outside starbucks midday and nannies pushing babies around in elaborate strollers and little children in private-school uniforms clamoring and giggling down the street every day at 3:15 p.m.

Before moving to DC, however, I lived in a neighborhood that was much more racially mixed, at least between black and white. It was the kind of historic “streetcar suburb” that was once all white until all the white people fled to the further suburbs and it became all black until all the 20- and 30-something white hipster types (including significant numbers of gay male couples) decided it was the cool part of town and moved back in. At least that’s the most simplistic storyline, and I’m gonna stick with it for now.

Anyway, the neighborhood is now in the process of becoming “hip” (although it seems to be a very slow process). I don’t know why, but talking about the neighborhood like this always struck me as a bit strange and insulting, for some reason. Still, other than that, I didn’t much think about it. There were abandoned corner shops on every corner, so maybe some new business moving in would do some good. Housing in the area was still very cheap, so I don’t think neighborhood families were getting priced out. There would be an act of violence — a body showed up in the dumpster behind our neighbor’s house — and we would worry for a few days. There would be development plans that residents didn’t approve of — a Wendy’s moving in, for instance — and for a few days, everyone would get up in arms about just what kind of neighborhood this was going to become. Mostly, the old residents and the new residents just sort of co-existed, and everyone seemed to have respect for what really was a truly lovely neighborhood.

Now I know H-Street NE here in the District is a bit different. We’re not talking about one hipster bar moving in (as in my neighborhood), we’re talking about a whole slew of them. We’re not talking about a smattering of kids — maybe 50 on the busiest night? — hanging outside said bar, but hundreds trotting up and down H-Street, or smoking outside of Rock and Roll Hotel.

This whole long introduction, however, is really just my incredibly convoluted way of leading up to my statement that I think this Washington Post writer covering the whole H-Street gentrification process is being just a bit too precious about it:

Do the newcomers shop at Murry’s: Your Neighborhood Food Store, where you go in one day looking for white grape juice and a clerk asks whether he can help you? And you tell him what you want and he says they only have what they have and what they have is not white grape juice. And you turn to leave and he yells, “But I can make some for you if you want me to.” He smiles. And you wonder whether the newcomers would catch that kind of humor, appreciate that kind of street wit that doesn’t come with a degree.

Oh, us college kids, with our irony and intellectual humor! Couldn’t possibly understand the simple street wit of an H-Street grocer… gag. I’m not sure who the writer is trying to insult more, the newcomers or the residents. Although, really, what can you expect from an article that opens with this:

If you were eight blocks past uncertainty, three steps from neglect, five houses down from hope, and you just saw a white man with ear buds rollerblading past a crack house without looking up, would you know what street you were on in the City?

I have to admit, it draws you in, I guess, and seeing as that’s what leads are meant to do and all that, I suppose you might call this one good. But really …. five houses down from hope? Yet towards the bottom of the first page, the writer, DeNeesh L. Brown, finally brings up some interesting points (I suppose I buried the lead in this post; I can’t get too mad at Brown for doing the same).

Change bringing with it newcomers, who want to fix things, change them into their own image. Bringing issues: stratification, generalizations, classism, police presence, rising rent, rising taxes, two-way streets becoming one-way, an invisible squeeze on loiterers, pushing them gently but insistently until they are no more. And the new neighbors push for a “quality of life” ban on single-sell alcohol, and the request turns into a discussion about race. And someone is complaining about Cluck-U Chicken, arguing it was not the kind of sit-down restaurant they wanted. Some neighbors say war has been declared on black Washington. And the neighborhood school gets new landscaping. Giant metal flowers grow. And there is a man hired to sweep H Street. So there he is on a sunny afternoon, trying to sweep the street with a broom.

The article goes on to give some interesting anecdotes about race and class tensions on the street, and seemingly random violence. But then, just as you’re getting into it, more preciousness (emphasis mine):

Courtney Rae Rawls, 26, a bartender at the Argonaut Tavern, is one of those enigmatic people to whom lonely souls gravitate for conversation, inspired or not. She pours drinks, integrating brown liqueurs and white liquor.

Brown liqueurs and white liquor? See? Different colors? Like the people on the street? See? Get it?

And the short white man laughs.

And the tall black man walks east on H Street.

He stops.

He bends to pick up a dime on the sidewalk, and 13 pennies fall out of his pocket.

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