Tuesday, October 21, 2008

the triumphant arrival of fall

It's been far too many days since my last post, but I must say my absence has been well spent.

Fall is here, and that means many wonderful things. Namely, the month of October, which is going very well so far if I might say. Here are some highlights.

--I took a great trip back to Marietta for fall break and visited my family, got to see my sister in her two-time National Champion high school marching band (yeah, I went to Lassiter. Our band is kind of a big deal.), and had delicious homemade food. I also spent a lovely day with my mom, who took the day off of work to do many exciting things like get my hair cut, stock me up on bulk groceries at B.J.'s (always a special trip into Americana), take me to the eye doctor, and plant flowers with me (which made the journey all the way back to Charleston and are now making my porch look absolutely beautiful).

--But before that, I stopped in Athens for an exciting adventure of catch-up with my high school friends, most of whom go to UGA and like football now. We dressed up like Mario Kart characters for a party, went to see Rocky Horror, ate delicious food (thematic of my vacations), watched football, and I even got to go out on the town with some lovely ladies.

--Kaylee came home and she brought me lots of presents from Central America!

--Then she took me to the pumpkin patch and October was officially underway. The pumpkin patch holds a special place in my heart both because it reminds me of fabulous birthday parties I had (because my birthday is so close to Halloween--man, this month really is incredible) and went to at our local patch as a youth, and it is absolutely chock-full of my favorite fall things: pumpkins (duh), scarecrows, hayrides, crisp, sunny weather, and farm animals. Oh, and, on this particular trip, Jay Clifford (not performing, just sighted). Legare Farms on John's Island certainly wasn't any Burt's, but I guess I'll just have to save that for my next trip to north Georgia. And hey, pumpkins are always better than no pumpkins. We carved them tonight and now they are sitting on our mantel in hopes that they do not rot before October 31st.

And, last but not least:

--I will be 21 on Friday.

I promise my next post will be less self-indulgent and more worldly and politically aware.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ketner v. Brown, round 2

Linda Ketner faced Henry Brown again last night in a debate at the local news station in Myrtle Beach. I thought she did a great job, but watch it for yourself here.

There's also an article about the debate in the Post & Courier today. Check that out here, and then you can vote in the poll to see who won the debate. If you want to see a real shit show, click show comments at the bottom of the article and see just how intelligent and informed the loudmouthed portion of the SC-1 constituent base really is. I'm always amazed at the sheer audacity of people protected by an anonymous internet identity.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

self-centered Americans: dangerously typical

This article, about a woman who was raped in plain sight of workers at a subway platform in New York in 2005 who is now suing the shit out of MTA (via Feministing), reminds me a lot of the story a few months back about the woman who died in a hospital waiting room while patients, nurses, and doctors stood by.

Obviously, this sickens me, but it makes me wonder on a more serious level just how far the culture of self-centered ignorance (oh, it's not about me, so I'm not going to bother with it) has gone in American society? Are we so concerned with only ourselves that even watching a woman getting raped, will not prompt a shout of "Hey!" or "Stop!" or even a phone call to proper authorities, god forbid, if confrontation really isn't your cup of tea? There is a "difference between minding your own business" (which has become quite the mantra between American strangers, never mind how this idea applies to every aspect of the lives of celebrities and controversial figures) and just doing what is right.

I realize that having a sort of moral compass in today's society has been taken over with implications from the religious right, not to mention how loaded the term "morality" is right now. And the sense of what may or may not make a "good person"--whatever that might mean--is equally loaded. But do you really have to be moral to say hey, that woman on the floor that has been having seizures for the past 45 minutes in the waiting room might not be doing too well, maybe I should tell someone, or hey, that chick looks like she is getting raped, what's up with that?

I also understand that there are a ton of other factors involved with both of these specific scenarios (and I recognize these are just two extremes of many, many such incidents), such as the state of the American healthcare system, that makes it so that someone would have to sit in a waiting room for 24+ hours before recieving care. And victim blaming when it comes to women who are raped. And deep seated racism and sexism when it comes to both of these situations. But really, what I'm really wondering, is what has to happen for people to get their heads out of their asses? When will we stop reassuring ourselves that, if we don't do anything, "someone else will" or, even better, "if no one else is doing anything, why should I?" Or, the particularly entitled American response, "that's not part of my job."

Of course lawsuits are great, after the fact. Suing someone for essentially just being irresponsible to a fellow human does not prevent rape or change the fact that people die without anyone taking a second glance. And I know it's idealistic to think that people should help other people; that's certainly not all there is to it. But people are getting raped and dying and there is something that can be done--in this case, something that anyone could have done without any training, just a voice.

Monday, October 6, 2008

gratuitous charleston weather post

Today was one of those days that makes me 1)- very happy to live in Charleston, and 2)- even happier that it is now October, the month of all months, in my opinion. It means "fall" is finally here, which, in Charleston, means "crisp" temperatures in the upper seventies and sunny skies without a cloud in sight.

Despite it being Monday, trash day (always makes for an unpleasant bike ride to school...really, the whole city has to put their trash out on one day?), and still not my birthday yet (that would be October 24, start your countdown engines), I was still able to enjoy a little self reflection and a lovely view on my porch this afternoon.

my favorite skirt!

This morning Leigh brought home the October issue of skirt! and I had a lovely time perusing it. I was very excited to see Ms. Linda Ketner gracing the mag's fine pages (see? I told you all the hip people in Charleston know and love her.) and I loved the F-word centerfold.

I love skirt!, and not just because I interned there this summer--though I could go on and on about what a great experience that was. The magazine continues to impress me with every issue because it makes feminism digestible. Even more--it makes it fashionable and fabulous. I have yet to see a magazine that caters better to its readership. They are women--the mostly white, upper-middle-class, often Conservative women of Charleston--great women, but women who care about looking good while they're making as much money as the man sitting next to them. They don't want to be looked down upon for being stay-at-home moms. They are feminists, but would probably never admit it until they picked up an issue of skirt! and saw women just like them all over the pages and read essays that actually appealed to them and saw that it is okay to lust after shoes and still think that the existence of the glass ceiling blows.

I'll admit that I'm usually more of a fan of the dirtier, hairy armpits, loud, Bitch magazine feminism that isn't afraid to get in your face about the misogyny of Judd Apatow, but I like skirt!, too. I'm more for the "brava, brava" and "it's a shame" moments that note triumphs and setbacks for women around the world rather than most of the product pages, but I can honestly say I enjoy it. And I enjoyed every second I worked in the all-female office, surrounded by successful ladies who made it their business to be fabulous feminists. And that's pretty damn impressive for a magazine to appeal to the biggest shoe fanatic and the biggest advocate for reproductive rights at the same time. And--even more--it says hey, why not be both? Women are women. And that's a hugely important message to be sending to people who think that there isn't really a need for feminism in the world right now.

In other news, this crazy lady that has been cavorting all over Central America for the past month and a half is coming home next week... and hopefully she left those socks in Guatemala.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

good news, bad news

As predicted, Linda did an amazing job in the debate last night. She had to put up with a lot of condescension and accusations from Henry Brown, but she definitely solidified her place as the fresh face--and fresh ideas--that SC-1 needs right now. ETV has the debate online if you weren't watching last night at a very enthusiastic watch party like I was.

As far as the bad news, Leigh's post yesterday of yet another crappy interview with an uninformed Sarah Palin speaks for itself. Yes, I am frightened for the future of this country if she finds her way anywhere near the White House, but I am very confident Biden is going to put her in her place tonight at the VP debate.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

change the world: put great women in office

Earlier this semester, a nice young man on campus asked me if I'd like more information on Linda Ketner, a woman who is running for Congress in South Carolina's District 1. "Of course!" was my response, naturally. Not only was I already huge fan of Linda (like most hip, politically aware District 1 folks), I found out this summer that I had been selected as a Ketner Women's Leadership Scholar for activist work in women's and LGBT rights. So of course I would support her--how could I not, knowing that she was actually supporting issues that I worked so hard to get out there, and that I still think need to be represented even more with what's going on today. I signed up for the mailing list, agreed to volunteer, and ended up getting an internship with Ketner for Congress. I'm quickly finding out what a great decision that was; it feels great playing a role in electing an incredible woman to office--who will actually do stuff!

I don't really think that anything can be done in Washington without the right people in office, and, looking at current demographics of political officeholders nationwide, the right people aren't there. Lots of old, white men cannot possibly represent the diversity of the United States accurately, and case in point is Linda's opponent, Republican incumbent Henry Brown. Calling himself a "Republican workhorse," Brown actually has a rating of 7 (out of 100) for Congressional effectiveness, and his attendance record is frighteningly low. He's been in Congress since 2000, and, looking at his voting record on everything from the war to environmental issues (not to mention the 20 acres of national forest land that he burned, and followed up with a four-year fight with federal employees that cost the government $100,000), it is clearly time for a change.

And Linda is ready to bring it. Not only is she a dynamic woman who I can see making waves in Congress (she's already made huge ones just getting her name out in Charleston and throughout District 1), she has amazing plans for the economy, education in South Carolina, and alternative energy, just to start. If you look at her issues pages on her website, you'll probably get just as pumped as I am and want to get her all the way to D.C.

But don't take my word for it--watch her tonight! She's debating (and will most likely kick the ass of) Henry Brown tonight at 7pm on ETV for people in South Carolina, or online at myetv.org, or on C-SPAN.

Watch her, and you'll get what I'm talking about. And, come on, would I really waste my time working for someone who isn't worth it?