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Ketchup, Steaks, Classism and Barro

[ 188 ] March 21, 2017 |

Recently had a weird experience reading Matthew Continetti column on the hubbub over Trump’s steak-related fake pas; I actually agreed with some of it. Expecting to sneer my way through the column, I instead found myself cringing a little at some of the distinctly classist critiques of Steakgate he catalogued.

The idea of eating a steak well-done and topping it with ketchup sounds really unappealing to me. But I like to eat my steaks cooked medium and I sometimes eat them Bearnaise. I imagine some people would find that offensive. So, the bottom line is that I’m sometimes a tad squeamish about harshly critiquing people’s food choices, especially if there’s a classist bent to the critique. In other words, have fun making fun Trump’s (pretty gross, to me) habits, but for crying out loud, don’t pull a Barro:

Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 4.40.54 PM

 

Of course, Continetti gives away the game later in the column:

“Trump eats $50 steak with ketchup, foodies aghast,” reports SFGate.com. It is hard to read stories like these without coming to the conclusion that so much of our elite’s abhorrence of Trump is a matter of aesthetics, of his not fitting in, of his stubborn devotion to practices and ideas deemed retrograde by opinion leaders but that still appeal to, oh, about half the country.

This is, of course, Kobe-grade, dry-aged bullshit. People–even most elites–don’t dislike him because he’s tacky and crude. They dislike him because he is petty, childish, stupid and cruel, all perfectly legitimate reasons to dislike someone.

That being said, I had to address the Barro tweet, because he is sometimes right, but when he’s wrong, he’s spectacularly wrong. It comes with being spectacularly privileged and being a Democrat for about 2 minutes. His tweet is classist, ugly and cruel. (Oh, and fat-shamey!)

I have issues with fast food. I don’t mind it existing and partake of it myself from time to time. But I do think it’s palate-perverting empty calories and I wish people didn’t subsist on it. That being said, I understand why people do–it’s cheap and easy.

Eating good food can be expensive and time-consuming. I’m a stay-at-home mom and even I sometimes just DON’T. FEEL. LIKE, COOKING. Then I remember there are people who cook while working outside the home, while working and having kids, while being a single parent, while doing it on a tight budget. And I get my ass in the kitchen.

So do I understand the lure of fatty, salty, quick (tasty, sometimes) food? You bet I do. So let’s try to create a world where fast food is a once in awhile treat (or necessity), not a way of life. We probably can’t do that by posting nasty, judgmental, classist, shitty tweets. There is good snobbery and bad snobbery and my god that is THE WORST kind of snobbery.

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Trump Voters. Again.

[ 99 ] March 19, 2017 |

 

I imagine some day someone will paint a picture of Trump voters that will not be infuriating. Maybe it’s something that will have to come with time and distance. Maybe when Trump is out of office I’ll be able to read about Trump voters without  feeling a seething rage. Maybe I’ll even get my snark back. It seems to be depleted these days. Some day I may be able to read about Trump voters without wanting to throttle everyone in the MSM or the Bernie-or-Busters. But today is not that day.

 

After the election, I decided to talk to 100 Trump voters from around the country. I went to the middle of the country, the middle of the state, and talked to many online.

The TL;DR quote is this:

“You all can defeat Trump next time, but not if you keep mocking us, refusing to listen to us, and cutting us out. It’s Republicans, not Democrats, who will take Trump down.”

In other words, “we’ll vote for someone we dislike and even find unfit for office out of spite.” INCREDIBLE.

 

“He is anti-abortion.” Note: This sentiment came up a lot. A number of people I spoke to said they didn’t care about anything else he did and would always vote for whichever candidate was more anti-abortion.

You buried the lede. You buried it bigtime. This is a huge admission. An admission that Trump voters are–fundamentally–conservative Republicans and they–surprise surprise!–vote like conservative Republicans. It’s also a tacit admission that many Trump supporters are avid misogynists.

“He is anti-immigration.” Note: This sentiment came up a lot. The most surprising takeaway for me how little it seemed to be driven by economic concerns, and how much it was driven by fears about “losing our culture,” “safety,” “community,” and a general Us-vs.-Them mentality.

Yeah. They’re racists and xenophobes. This isn’t news.

“I am socially very liberal. I am fiscally very conservative. I don’t feel I have a party — never have. I grew up in a more socially conservative time and picked the “lesser of two evils” during elections. Now, the more socially liberal side supports bigger governments, more aid and support, and that money has to come from somewhere. I see what’s deducted from my check each week. I’m OK with never being rich, but I’d like more security, and that doesn’t come from more government spending.”

Actually, that’s exactly where it comes from and now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go bash my head against the wall until I lose consciousness.

“I’m willing to postpone some further social justice progress, which doesn’t really result in loss of life, in favor of less foreign policy involvement, the opposite of which does.”

Well, betting on a toddler with personality disorder who surrounds himself with white supremacists seems like a poor way to achieve this result. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go bash my head against the wall until I lose consciousness.

“Brown people are always the out-crowd. I think subconsciously, part of the reason I supported him was a way to be in the in-crowd for once.”

Translation: “I was willing to shit on other marginalized people so I could feel like part of the cool crowd.” Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go bash my head against the wall until I lose consciousness.

 

“The way he talks about women is despicable.”

“Everything about his style. We only voted for him because this election was too important to worry about style.”

“I don’t like most things about him. The way it worked is we got to choose one of two terrible options.”

“I think our nation needs Trumpism to survive long-term, and to me, that supersedes almost every other reservation I have. My issue is with Trump himself — I think he’s the wrong vessel for his movement, but he’s all we’ve got, so I’m behind him.”

“I think the rollout of the immigration executive order is emblematic of a clusterf—, to be completely frank.”

“I now believe the Muslim ban actually makes us less safe.”

“Isolationism and protectionism at this point is insane. We’ve done that before.”

“I, too, worry about the dishonesty. His relationship with Russia, his relationship with women. His relationship with questionable financial matters. These all worry me, and were they to continue, I would lose all respect.”

“He continually plays into a character that he has created to rile his fan base. Accepting anti-Semitism, white nationalism, or hate emanating unnecessarily creates a vacuum of fear on social media, on television, and around the dinner table. Even though the policies may be similar to that of any recent Republican president, the behavior to act so immaturely sets a bad example for children and undercuts many cultural norms, which more than anything causes disruption to our sociological foundations.”

“I hate that he discredits the press all the time. That seems to forebode great evil.”

I just want to thank every media outlet, every activist and every pundit who made sure to hammer home how flawed Hillary was. How there was a “cloud” over her. Who implied that she was hugely corrupt. Who implied that her flaws were in any way commensurate to Donald’s. You did a great job.

Why did the chicken…?

[ 121 ] March 16, 2017 |

I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Well, that happened

[ 88 ] March 15, 2017 |

 

As soon as Rachel Maddow announced she had “Trump taxes” last night, I knew there would be a caveat. “Trump” taxes didn’t mean Donald’s taxes, necessarily. And it also didn’t mean recent tax papers. Or a lot of tax papers. So I braced myself for disappointment when she–after a 20 minute build up–revealed that she had two pages from a 2005 return. But I obviously didn’t brace myself enough because it’s hard to put into words how angry I felt after the nothingburger reveal. Because honestly it simply wasn’t news.

It would have been one thing if she had obtained enough records to paint a complete picture of Trump’s financial dealings; she didn’t. She had two stinking pages from one stinking year. A mountain of exonerating proof would have been news. A mountain of incriminating proof would have been news. This wasn’t. This was the Capone’s Vault of taxes and honestly I’m kind of embarrassed for everyone even peripherally involved in the segment or anyone who actually got excited about it.

The worst part is that the “leak” so obviously came from a Trump surrogate or Trump himself. It’s the perfect little nugget of good news for him–“See, he’s RICH! See, he pays taxes–A LOT OF THEM!” And the precious admonition that they were illegally obtained and the sniffing about the low rate he payed was–honestly–a pretty good touch! And, no, it doesn’t portend more “leaks.” So put that out of your head now.

How will this play in Peoria? It will play like this: He’s a super-rich guy who payed a shitload of money in taxes. Fantastic.

A Few Tuesday Links

[ 93 ] March 14, 2017 |

The Stock Photography of White Supremacists

[ 258 ] March 13, 2017 |

Yesterday I ended up on the timeline of the mayo-based baby-chute, Wife With a Purpose. (Thank you, Shakezula?) I scrolled through a bit of her timeline, noting that–after she had the grossly-distended ovaries to deny the charge she was a white supremacist– proceeded to RT a bunch of memes that have probably been featured on this twitter feed: White Motivation.

I used to hate-follow White Motivation, but its combination of unabashed hatefulness and megawatt dumbitude convinced me that’s life too short. But this–and other–timelines have left an impression. I’m fascinated the photographs they use to cosplay whiteness. The women are mostly blonde, always blue-eyed. But beyond that, they are clearly models. The men–when featured, because there is a very clear premium put on white chicks reproducing–are also clearly models.

So I guess that–in addition to being white–you should also look like you stepped out of the pages of Vogue or Esquire. I have sour news for the white supremacists, but this is going to leave A LOT of them out of this whiteness LARPing.

I’m also fascinated by their portrayals of children, which are often little girls with their hair done up in a style that I think is supposed to evoke countries like Germany and its nearby Scandinavian neighbors. These little girls aren’t just white–they’re the whitest of the white! They are the supremist little baby-factories-in-training!

 

I wonder if in 10 or 15 years Erik will be teaching about the photography and memes used during this ugly period of our history. This is, of course, assuming this shittiness has mostly fallen out of favor by then.

Gaming as an Inherently Male Space

[ 122 ] March 11, 2017 |

Thursday Links

[ 98 ] March 2, 2017 |

What do we want? Winning Freedom-Jobs! When do we want it? Last night!

[ 31 ] March 1, 2017 |

My Favorite is Problematic

[ 35 ] February 28, 2017 |
St. Taylor, the world's skankiest man, and Brooke

St. Taylor, the world’s skankiest man, and Brooke

I figure that most LGM readers aren’t soap fans, but that I might persuade many of you to stick with me through this entry if I look at my favorite–The Bold and the Beautiful–through the prism of gender, race and class. On that score, my favorite has lots of problems.

My favorite character is Brooke. In fact, she’s  the only reason I’ve continued to watch this mess of a show for half my life. I’m waiting for her to get her happy ending. (Or at least the closest you can come to one on a soap.) She’s a controversial character, but I don’t know why; she’s just a prototypical “scrappy, immensely-flawed, heart-of-gold” heroine.  (She just happens to be the best one. ;))

It’s been hard to be a Brooke fan because when the show’s head writer and producer handed the reins to his son it was akin to leaving the show to a monkey with a typewriter; and it’s clear he had a very different vision for Brooke than his father did. The Taylor vs. Brooke rivalry was very much in swing when he took over, but Jr. made it into a Madonna vs. Whore spectacle, with Taylor playing the role of Madonna. It didn’t matter how much of a passive-aggressive hypocritical liar or manipulator Taylor was: Brooke was “the slut from the Valley,” so she was always on the losing end of every storyline. And Jr. took this to ridiculous heights, often having Brooke be the recipient of verbal and physical abuse. It was deserved because Brooke was an impetuous slut. (In reality, Brooke had slept with two men–to whom she’d been engaged–when this dynamic kicked in.)

Fans rebelled. We still loved Brooke no matter kind of shit Jr. flung at her. So he upped the ante, eventually having her sleep with her son-in-law. It was out of character, but unfortunately when you’re a fan, you don’t get to say “This doesn’t count.” So we continued loving the character, despite this immense flaw, ’til after nearly two decades of tying to establish Taylor as the resident saint by trashing Brooke he finally gave up and wrote the character off. But this whole gross chapter was so emblematic of the gross misogyny that taints of this show. Brooke was a successful chemist, inventor and CEO, yet Jr. clearly viewed her mostly through the prism of her sexuality. Brooke was “bad” because she had poor romantic judgement; this badness trumped all sorts of disturbing chicanery in Jr.’s world.

This brings us to B&B’s extremely troubling classism. The voice of morality on this show– always passing judgement on Brooke–was Stephanie. Stephanie could be abusive (seriously, horrifyingly) –and often was. This was allowed because Stephanie was wealthy, a “strong” woman of “class.” Stephanie was allowed to do all manner of disgusting things to Brooke in the name of “family,” up to and including physically assaulting Brooke and taking away her children. There was no act that was too outrageous or petty or cruel that couldn’t be excused because Stephanie was the noble matriarch of a wealthy family.

The classism runs far and deep in B&B. Take the show’s rival fashion house. It’s made up of “scrappy” idiots who are too rough-hewn to design their own stuff, so rely almost solely on stealing designs from the wealthy Foresters. The message is clear: the Foresters take a refined, intellectual approach to the art of fashion, while those dumb Spectras just hope to steal their way to glory. The Spectras are frequently portrayed as bumbling jokes, while the Foresters are portrayed as portraits of class.

And so we move to race. This is the part that really really disappoints me: I think B&B’s gravest mistake is not creating a fashion house that actually rivals the Foresters in a meaningful way. Lately the show has been putting forth a solid effort to make the cast more diverse. So, they’ve brought on a black family. Good, right? Nope. Here’s what they should have have done: they should have made the Avants a fashion powerhouse, folks with immense wealth and power to really rival the Forester brand. A gorgeous, glamorous family that would give the Foresters a run for for their money. Instead they made them a barely-middle-class family with very, um, oddly-cast parents.  (They are not, uh, glamorous. In fairness, the daughters are gorgeous.) For a spell, they had the Avant parents camping out in a tiny, cramped hotel room while the mom tried to get a job at the DMV. I was actually embarrassed for the show because the show didn’t have the good sense to be embarrassed for itself.

Mind you, there are 0 things wrong with being middle class, and there are 0 things wrong with seeking employment at the DMV, but since when are soaps centered around this kind of mundane real-life shit? Never. Oh, except when Jr. brought a BLACK family on. And don’t get me started on their shoddy, insulting attempts at Latino inclusion…dad was a firefighter and daughter was an intern. The message is clear: Latinos and Blacks aren’t wealthy power-players; they’re middle-class background players. It’s infuriating. (Interestingly, its sister soap, The Young the Restless is MUCH better on this score, making the Winters clan major movers and shakers and in their fictional town.)

The Bold and the Beautiful has the potential to be a really fun, juicy, glamorous soap. But on so many counts I am still waiting for my happy ending.

Nick Kristof Didn’t Get My Memo

[ 202 ] February 24, 2017 |
Portrait of me, vacuumslayer

Portrait of me, vacuumslayer

Because here’s article number *mumble mumble mumble thousand mumble testicles* imploring us to cut Trumpkins some slack. For the last time…no.

THIS JUST IN: Flamboyantly Evil Dumpster Fire of a Person Loses Book Deal

[ 280 ] February 20, 2017 |

 

Milo has lost his book deal and been disinvited to CPAC. Apparently if you’re down for harassment campaigns and doxing and are rabidly misogynistic and transphobic you can still go quite far in this world, but advocating for pedophilia is a bridge too far. And, hey listen, I’m glad folks decided to draw the line somewhere. But this line shoulda been drawn as soon as this Bedazzled young Frankenstein-looking-motherfucker burst onto the scene.

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