Sunday Star Wars: I find your lack of dancing…disturbing

Darth Vader vs Emperor Palpatine dance-off – this is a thing now.

[Video description: from a new console game, there is a scenario in which Vader and Palpatine disagree and decide to settle the matter with dance moves.]

Please treat this as a general whimsy and weirdness thread – what have you spotted in the wild recently that you feel you just have to share?

Otterday! And open thread

These snuggly otters are brought to you by The Daily Squee, via a comment by Julie on the last Otterday thread.

Two baby otters, snuggling

Two baby otters, snuggling

Please feel free to use this thread to natter about anything your heart desires. Is there anything great happening in your life? Anything you want to get off your chest? Reading a good book (or a bad one)? Anything in the news that you’d like to discuss? What have you created lately? Commiserations, felicitations, temptations, contemplations, speculations?

Friday Hoyden: Kathrine Switzer

In 1967 Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon. The first woman to unofficially run the race was Roberta Gibb in 1966. Roberta was not registered and hid in the bushes until the race began.

Kathrine and her coach checked the rule book and there was nothing there forbidding women from entering, so she entered. She warmed up with the other [all male] competitors and started the race without incident. It wasn’t until a bus full of officials followed by a bus full of journalists drove past her that the furore errupted when the media started taking photos of her. A male official leapt of the bus and grabbed hold of her, shouting at her to ‘get out of my race’. Her boyfriend, also running the marathon, tackled him to the ground.

[Her coach] Arnie’s eyes got huge. He said: “Run like hell,” and down the street we went.
I was crying, I was so terrified that my boyfriend had hit this official. I was embarrassed and really, really scared. I realised at that moment that everything had changed. Suddenly it became a contest of proving that women could do it. The official was trying to throw me out of the race simply because I was a woman. He didn’t believe I was serious or that I was entitled to be there. He had shamed me so much in front of the whole world. And then that turned to anger and I was so determined that nothing was going to stop me. I thought: “I deserve to be here. If I can do the distance then why not? It’s a public road.”

I grew up during the race. I started the Boston Marathon as a young girl, and came out the other end a grown woman. About 20 miles (32km) into the race, I came to the conclusion that when I finished, I was going to try to be a better athlete and try to create opportunities for women so they would experience the same sense of power, strength and freedom that I had. When I crossed the finish line, it wasn’t like “Wow! I did it – I did my first marathon”. It was like “Wow! I’ve got a life plan!”

This was the first of 35 marathons for Kathrine, she won the New York Marathon in 1974 and campaigned to have the Women’s Marathon added to the Olympics – it was added in 1984.

Can you imagine what it would be like if someone like Kathrine hadn’t come along and insisted on a woman’s right to run. Something so simple as run?

Role Models – what can we expect?

Yesterday on Twitter a fan tweeted to the artist concerned a link to a Letter to the Editor regarding a concert the letter writer had recently attended with her daughter. The concert was an all ages gig, and her [early teenage] daughter was a huge fan of this artist and looked up to her as a role model, so they decided to go along. At the gig the letter writer was horrified to see the artist and band come onto the stage with wine glasses in hand, which they drank from during the gig and there was apparently also some profane language. The letter writer was so upset by this that she has banned her daughter from attending any more concerts by this artist, told all her friends and written to her local paper. The artist, upon seeing the tweet, responded ‘Eek’.

I haven’t named the artist in question because I don’t think it really matters who they are. What I’m interested in is the Letter Writers’ reaction and her beliefs about what makes a good role model. I have to say that had the artist in question, or indeed any anyone on stage, come out with a lit cigarette and smoked for the entire performance I would have been outraged too. But that’s just one of my little foibles and I will spare you the lecture on how smoking affects other people in ways that a glass of wine doesn’t because ultimately that is beside the point.

But really, what right to we have to expect other people to be role models anyway? Is it because this person is in the media that they must behave in a way we consider appropriate? I would argue that they should not behave in ways that are illegal but where do we draw the line? Is it inappropriate for an adult of drinking age to consume alcohol in a public place during a performance? Should we be attempting to shield all our children from profanity (sorry [my] kids Mum and Dad fail on this one badly)? Who’s cultural/religious/personal beliefs do we base role modelling on? Is there a standard? Who decides who is a role model?

I’m also wondering if there is a gendered dimension to this. Are women held to higher standards as role models? Is there an expectation of some sort of purity? Do you think the letter writer would have been so upset had it been a bloke they had gone to see? I obviously can’t speak for POC or people with disabilities or any other group of which I am not a member, but if anyone out there has a perspective on that as well please chime in.

Quick Hit: Hey it’s about HAES

I was shocked when I read this article. Not by the actions of the mother described, but by the positive HAES focus of the article. Surely there will be someone in there saying ‘eat less move more’ I thought, but there isn’t. Hallelujah! Finally there is some sense happening around the whole ZOMG Zombesity crisis. Thanks to the hard work of all the activists out there I should add.
As always, read the comments at your own risk, although the first few were okay.

So this is a thing now

Newswithnipples has started a great new comic called “Feminist Dad”. Check it out here. Even better, she is taking ideas for Feminist Dad comics, so if you have something you think would make a great comic, let her know. You can also follow along on Twitter @newswithnipples.

SotBO: Feminist men – if this isn’t you, this isn’t about you. It is about those men who come over all ‘feminist’ once they have a daughter, but still fail to treat women as they would like their own daughter to be treated.

LNP staffer quits after anti-feminist rant in email

Read the story in the Brisbane Courier (the link to the text of the email is separate).

An LNP staffer has resigned after sending an email to a Queensland feminist about the superiority of men, telling her to “get a life” and calling her a “sourpuss” for writing an opinion piece about the need for more women in parliament.

Max Tomlinson, the then media adviser to Liberal National Party Senator Ian Macdonald, wrote to Dr Carole Ford after she penned a newspaper column criticising the lack of female representation in Queensland’s parliament.

In his email, Mr Tomlinson tells Dr Ford “like most women, you probably don’t possess the necessary drive, determination and decisiveness that men innately possess.

“It’s not a personal criticism; it’s a fact of biology.

“That was part of nature’s grand design to enable men to be stronger, more fearless and more determined than their sisters. Sorry, Carole, fact not fiction.”

This morning, Mr Tomlinson told brisbanetimes.com.au that he had resigned from his job with Senator Macdonald because of the publication of what he described as a private email.

Here at HaT yesterday we received the text of that email from a third party, and while we were discussing a plan for doing due diligence on the authenticity of the email and the parties involved, Crikey published on it quoting Tomlinson as acknowledging that he had indeed written the email in question to Ford (now updated to reflect his resignation).

We appreciate that we were sent the story, and wish we’d been able to verify the details more quickly, but I’m glad that other publications were able to get the story out and publicise this. Some media advisor, eh?

Roseanne Barr wants the US presidential debate back on topic #righteousrant

From The Daily Beast: Roseanne Barr on Ann and Mitt Romney and the Mommy Wars

Hilary Rosen should not have attacked the Leisure Class’s women—does Romney pay her, too? What a great opportunity she has given the vast right-wing conspiracy—suggesting that their women don’t work, when everybody can see that the Women of the Right are large and in charge. The picture of Ann Romney “manning” the phone banks in front of a campaign poster that reads “Mitt Romney is good for business” tells me all I need to know about her contributions to her family, her church, and her country—convincing other privileged white women that defeating feminism is necessary to save the confederacy of dunces called the GOP, which steals bread from the mouths of widows and orphans and workers’ retirement funds as it congratulates itself for dismantling all that social-safety-net, entitlement, nanny-state load of socialist insurrection and places that money instead into private hands, so that the filthy working sluts can’t get any of it for their selfish selves. They will just use it to pay for abortions and other fun things if given half a chance.

As my friend Gail Zappa pointed out: what we really need now is a party that likes women.

But why bring out this fake issue again now? Could it be to divert the conversation from the continued restrictions being placed on women’s reproductive rights and make us forget that both parties are socialists for their own causes whose joint policies of redistribution of wealth have made it nearly impossible for anyone to “choose” the stay-home option and not feel that the system is rigged against 99.9 percent of the population, no matter how hard they work?

Let us not be dragged back into the “working mom versus stay-at-home mom” dialogue. Let us stay on topic, working to create new solutions that work for the majority of all people…

screenchot of Entertainment section header above heading for Roseanne Barr political op-ed

Click to see larger version - Roseanne Barr political op-ed placed in Entertainment section

It’s a great rant, read the whole thing. This is why Barr is running for president of the United States this year – not because she thinks she can win, but because she wants to highlight real issues rather than spin scandals.

So why has The Daily Beast put this righteous rant in their Sexy Beast Entertainment and Fashion section instead of in their Election Beast Campaign 2012 section? Hm?

Children and tantrums

As anyone who has ever been in a supermarket would know, children throw tantrums. Tantrums happen for a variety of reasons, but generally involve a child who has reached the end of their tether and for whom other forms of communication are not working. We’ve seen them, we’ve probably all been that child.

A few weeks back I blogged about it being my child. Things have since improved and it is unlikely that those tantrums will have a lifelong affect. Unlike this poor child. I don’t care who you are, you owe a child in a school duty of care and that does not include handcuffing them. Call the police if you must, although that does seem like an overreaction to what reads like a fairly standard tantrum. The behaviour I read about in the article was familiar. The consequences weren’t.

Salecia Johnson is six. How adult teachers can’t deal with a six year old, or call her parents without getting the police involved is beyond me.

Look what I found: a picture of mass murderer Breivik that doesn’t play to his script

Anders Breivik listens to proceedings in courtAnd it took me less than 3 minutes to google it*, crop it and post it after I read this tweet:

Why can’t you do better, media? Why are you enabling this guy’s “heroic” narrative? Why are you publishing the shot that he wants people to see?

*Note that I didn’t go for a cheap shot of the one where his eyes are looking shifty-sideways or the one where he’s rubbing his head in his hands, either. It’s easy enough to choose a neutral shot and just let the journalism (remember that?) speak for itself.