Archive for October, 2017

challenging challenges

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

I’m on record as throwing “Banned Book Week” under the bus (item #5) …

But the “challenging” list — which somehow slope off into “banning”s — does offer a look-see into public perceptions.  And with that what’s being bunted about in Oregon — worth a look-see.  There kind of isn’t much kvetching going on.  Like, is there anything wrong with this sentiment:

Comments: Patron requested the material be moved from juvenile to teen due to disturbing content and dark/scary themes.

… and with that, this book (look down the list to find out what it is – I’ve never heard of it) goes onto this much vaunted “banned book” list.

The list gets dominated by some patron who hates the gays hiding away seven videos.

The “Har de har har” groaner of the year appears to be someone objecting to Curious George, because… (first thing that pops up when I do a google search for Curious George and racism)

The series’ celebration of the oppression of an abducted monkey parallels the oppression of black Americans, making the books’ fame seemingly contradictory to the atmosphere of innocence in which modern society has deemed it necessary for children to appropriately and healthily develop. …

When we draw George W Bush as Curious George, it’s fine.  When we draw Barack Obama as Curious George, it isn’t.  All true.  But the bigger problem comes in to the current president, who can’t be caricatured as Curious George because it would imply a smidgeon of curiosity.

For no clear reason, this isn’t brought into the list list.

This year included a nationwide campaign to remove Teen Vogue magazine from at least two Oregon libraries because of a sexually explicit article in the July issue. The campaign by Elizabeth Johnston of Ohio, known as the ‘Activist Mommy,’ asked parents to demand that libraries, grocery stores and other businesses remove the magazine.

Quick looksee, and we have the article “How to do Anal Sex” — which I guess is partial to why the local big bookstore has a note next to Teen Vogue praising its “surprising feminist outlook”.  (It’s, I think, where Cosmopolitan would once focus on “how to please your man” and now is praised somewhat for shuffling to “how to please yourself”).  I think there was a pro vibrator article somewhere in the mist, if I recall some kvetching from some conservative magazine writers.

The magazine on the list is Maxim.  “The patron objected to a lack of intellectual content, misogynistic world views, and objectification of women.”  I don’t know which of the three is most strenuously objected to.

“Anomalisa” by Charlie Kaufman (video)
Objection: 1. Sexual (sexually explicit, unsuited to age) 2. Values (anti-family)  Comments: Patron objected to the age difference between two characters who engaged in sexual activity, and that one of those characters was a family man.

If the character was a family man and he was getting it on with someone of his age, would that be suitable?

Running with Scissors” by Augusten Burroughs (recording)
Objection: 1. Sexual (sexually explicit, unsuited to age) 2. Values (anti-family, offensive language)
Comments: Patron concerned material is child pornography and promotes child sexual abuse.

Patron is insane.

Recently the “Rape Rock” act The Thermals played Portland.  It drew protest organized by the feminist book store parodied on Portlandia. And a few articles in the larger of the two “alt weeklies” — for the band to add to their scrap book, as there’s probably not much there since they drew the attention of the PMRC in the 1980s.  Half of me thought it would be neat to see a footnote of music and cultural history, but the problem is… then I’d have to endure some schlocky trying hard for offensive bad music.  Anyway, the protest called their actions a success for “alerting” everyone to an “unsafe band”.  Cool, as I’d not have noticed the band otherwise.  Not cool, as they don’t look very interesting.

The “challenged list” is boring, as I don’t see anything offending people worth looking at.


peppermint patty

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

You joke about it (or Jim Rome does)…

… and not digging too deeply into the comments, there’s some kvetching about this as a cultural warrior subtext…

… and, I have read in an introduction to a collection of romance comics an introduction from someone who spotted relating to the relationship between Peppermint Patty and Marcie as an early showing of her sexuality…

Brush it aside, and I doubt this is where Charles Schulz was ever going with anything — at least not consciously — (he was going here) —

But read the Peanuts reprinted on Sunday, and I have to say…

… this is straight out of an Alison Bechdel memoir.

on footnotes of footnotes

Sunday, October 1st, 2017

Hugh Hefner’s passing away makes me wonder…

So.  Does this mean that Jimmy Carter is in the news again?

Sure.  But just barely.

Harvey Kurtzman is a bigger footnote upon Hefner’s death.  Or a few more mentions.  (Always oddly fascinated by the vortices Kurtzman has with the world of Hefner here — he creates a short lived magazine — Trump — published by Hefner, and moving on to another of his financial failures of a magazine with Help, has Gloria Steinem as an employee –  before Steinem moves on to her big expose and Kurtzman moving on to his big boobed cartoon character for Playboy.)

nothing’s going to change right now

Sunday, October 1st, 2017

From the interview with Bassem Youssef by Justin Monticello in the lastest issue of the libertarian magazine, Reason.  Youssef being “Egypt’s Jon Stewart”, and was essentially exiled out of the country to stateside under the new military government, spotting one Trump victory as not being deadly but one backed up by a mid-term result, perhaps…


JM:  Over the course of the Egyptian revolution and the Arab Spring, the heroes have become the villains.  So the Islamists come to power and they’re aligned with the military, and then the military takes them out and everybody switches places.  Do you see a similar thing happening here, where America’s political parties don’t have a real ideology behind them and it’s just tribal warfare?

BY:  It is tribal warfare.  Truth doesn’t matter anymore.  It’s like:  I’m voting for this guy because I hate the other guy.  There is absolutely no reason for people to vote for Trump other than they just hate the liberals.

JM:  Is it on both sides of the aisle, or do you think the Republicans are more susceptible?

BY:  I might sound biased, but at the end of the day, it is the right wing who are waging a war against minorities, against people’s orientation, against people’s right to choose what to do with their bodies.  They constrict people’s access to information.  They interfere with the education system.  They’re taking away health care.  So, yes, maybe there are also authoritarian tendencies on the left, but… maybe the difference is they are more liberal with people’s personal liberties, which I think is most important.

JM:  The Democrats are more focused on the civil liberties.

BY:  Yes.  I mean, both of them bomb the Middle East very effectively, so there’s no difference there.

JM:  Obama was a great Middle East bomber.  It’s on his resume.  Do you think that Donald Trump represents a unique authoritarian threat in this country?

BY:  It’s a threat if the system doesn’t hold him back.  If the midterms come and there is no tangible change in the Congress and the Senate, that’s a problem.  He will just do whatever he wants, unchecked.


The problem with that last line… as the Democratic look up from a vantage point of being in electorally the worst spot they’ve been in since 1929…

First of all, the five special elections that just passed in the House where the Democratic challenger went down to defeat, picking up ground against the Republican but coming right up against the heavily Republican voting pool, with aid of a commercial here or there tying the candidate into first Nancy Pelosi and then anarchists breaking Starbucks windows to stop them short of victory…

Does not bode well to do much more than win a handful of House seats moving from Republican to Democrat.

Then the Senate.  Coming out of 2012, coming out of 2006… and... there’s a reason West Virginia’s once Democratic governor just switched parties to Republican, so…  Joe Manchin just might be felled out of Trump’s coat-tails and the vaguely aligned “cultural” concerns.
I have an unsettling thought that a likely outcome is the same 52 – 48 split, with at the very least one Republican moving from whatever brand of conservative you can call Luther Strange to the brand of Roy Moore… and ditto to the retired Bob Corker.  (Can Robert Wicker in Mississippi survive a challenge from the “Bannon Machine”?  Probably.  All Wicker’s done wrong is not yell a lot.)

I suppose in this scenario, the “Center” — represented by Maine’s Susan Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski becomes ever more frayed against the ever more right ward (of a sort) shift of the Republican caucus.

Meaning… if that’s the formulation of Bassem Youssef.  Any major shift in the national government is not in the cards.  So you’d have to watch or wait elsewhere.