"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
It wasn't singer Susan Boyle who was ugly on Britain's Got Talent so much as our reaction to her
Is Susan Boyle ugly? Or are we?
On Saturday night she stood on the stage in Britain's Got Talent; small and rather chubby, with a squashed face, unruly teeth and unkempt hair. She wore a gold lace dress, which made her look like a piece of pork sitting on a doily. Interviewed by Ant and Dec beforehand, she told them that she is unemployed, single, lives with a cat called Pebbles and has never been kissed. Susan then walked out to chatter, giggling, and a long and unpleasant wolf whistle.
Why are we so shocked when "ugly" women can do things, rather than sitting at home weeping and wishing they were somebody else? Men are allowed to be ugly and talented.
Susan Boyle doesn't really sing my kind of music, but you'd have to be tone deaf not to realize she is a talented vocalist. And contrary to the prevailing opinion she isn't ugly. A little on the plain side, sure. A bit plump, yeah. So what? She's there to sing, not model bikinis. It isn't like she has some kinda massive facial scar or a third eye or anything. She's just sort of ordinary looking. Ever get a good look at Aretha Franklin? How about Ella Fitzgerald? Not exactly beauty queens - until they start to sing. How about Joe Cocker or Bob Dylan or Elvis Costello? Not exactly matinee idols either. But, pretty boy idols aside, men who sing are not rated on their looks while women very much are. Which is pretty stupid.
I don't mean to say we've become less accepting of less talented pretty women - far from it - its just that we have become more accepting of less talented handsome men in recent years.
Another good example - musicians. There are a lot of famous male musicians who are butt ugly, but respected and popular for their musical talent. Popular, highly successful female musicians are almost always singers first and foremost - some accompany their own vocals and write their own material - but the star female instrumentalist is the exception, not the rule and those who do make a name for themselves as instrumentalists - Candy Dulfur and Bonnie Raitt spring to mind - are usually attractive.
Consider this: If John Coltrane, Frank Zappa, BB King or Jerry Garcia (to name only a few) had been born female, we'd probably never have heard of them.
I'm not saying this situation is the way it ought to be, just that it the unfortunate and unfairand flat out stupid situation that we face in the world.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Dear Michael Coren,
Having read your latest column about the death of Canadian Forces Trooper Karin Blais as the result of a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, let me be as polite as I can in saying this: Fuck you, you sexist moron. Try your "women can't serve in combat" horseshit on some of the women in the early Israeli army or the Russian Army in World War II or any of these women. You'll be glad of Canada's universal health care system in the aftermath. Trooper Blais was a soldier like many, many others who volunteered, was trained to do a job and died serving her country with honor. Like Capt. Nichola Goddard, and 115 other soldiers, she accepted the risks involved in doing her job and for you to say she was "dressed up as a soldier" is an insult to every woman serving in Canada's military. Women have been serving in combat roles in the Canadian military with distiction for nearly 20 years. She was a soldier and died like one, her gender had nothing to with it.
Update: Nice to see the Torch weigh in on this one as well. It is nice to see some on the other side of the blogosphere break ranks to slap down such an offensive troglodye.(H/T to Dr. Dawg for the milnet link) If only they would do it more often. Why does the Sun give Coren a platform? Why on earth is such an ill-informed and offensive douchebag on television?
And, yes, I sort of figured this would set the Skipper off, but sometimes you need to call in the big guns to make a point.
Among the many idiotic things in Coren's column is his fear that should things descend to close combat, Trooper Blais' armored vehicle, machine gun and sidearm would be no match for the long knives and heavy clubs of the Taliban. Uh....right.
He also seems very, very worried that such a pretty young thing would be raped as a matter of course. Given the well-documented tendency of the Afghan mujahedeen to take the idea of foxhole buddies to a whole new level, I strongly suspect that raping of prisoners would not be confined to female prisoners. (For further first-hand observation of the hot mujahideen-on-mujahideen action phenomenon, see BBC journalist Phil Rees excellent book Dining with Terrorists")
More updating: Once again proving that there is no situation in which certain right-wing douchebags won't feel they need to score points.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Yes, its that time of the week again - Radio Woodshed time! You should know the schedule by now: 8 to 10 EDT/5 to 7 PDT for the finest in roots, blues, jazz, psychedelic rock, folk, bluegrass and country - along with other, less classifiable things-all hosted by your humble servant. And a vintage movie - This week "The Sweet Smell of Success" with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis.