Saturday, November 1, 2008

Obama's illegal immigration problem

So Barack Obama has an aunt who's in the country illegally. Obama says he didn't know aunt's illegal status - Los Angeles Times

What's important about this story (to the McCain campaign) is not Obama's connection with illegal immigration. Few people who would otherwise have supported Obama are going to turn on him because an aunt he barely knew outstayed her visa.

What's important is that it reminds people of Obama's Other-ness. Reminding us that his aunt is Kenyan and has a name we can't pronounce--that's something that really can hurt Obama.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Is the Pope Catholic?

According to a story in Reuters, the Pope is being criticized for a prayer that asks for the conversion of Jewish people. Now, I personally have trouble swallowing the idea that wanting others to join your religion is discriminatory. We're not talking about picketing of synagoges. We're talking about praying to God for more people to go to heaven. Now Jews and other non-Catholics can say "No thanks," but is it really offensive?

This prayer is old news anyway--he brought it back as an acceptable version last year but it hit the news again Good Friday. Apparently he even recently revised the prayer to be less condescending toward Jews.

But here's the really disturbing (and rhetorically relevant) part: Charlotte Knobloch, whom Reuters reports as the "president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany," said "The inter-religious dialogue has suffered an enormous setback because of this version and I assume that one will find a way very soon to continue the dialogue, but at the moment I don't see it happening."

That is, because the Pope allows Catholics to openly pray for Jews, Jews and Catholics can't even talk to each other. Knobloch seems to suggest that all this is Pope Benedict's fault, yet she seems to be wielding cut off dialogue like a threat. If dialogue is as important as Knobloch lets on, it shouldn't be cut off at every sign of offense.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

If I Could Say Just a Few Words...

I've been losing my voice for the past three days or so. Tuesday I woke up with a hint of a sore throat and tried to stave it off with a vitamin and some hot chocolate. But after teaching class, not only was my voice in poor shape, I felt sick. I skipped my own class to take a nap and get some ibuprofen so I could make it to a meeting with my thesis advisor.

I made the mistake of going to work at a fast food joint the next day. I wasn't running a fever, so I figured I was okay. But I did still have a sore throat. As soon as I showed up, the shift manager put me on the drive-thru headset. Not what I wanted to do at all. That meant talking and standing in front of an open window. Better yet, nobody saw fit to give me a lunch break, even though I asked for one, so I did this for over seven hours without stop. This was not good for my voice.

Yesterday I felt better. Only I didn't try out talking before I went in to work. Turns out I still had little voice. But I decided it was okay for them to put me on the headset--it meant I was on a speaker, so I didn't have to raise my voice as much. In fact, we've got the headset on a speaker in the kitchen as well, so I didn't even have to shout to the other parts of the store. Still, the constant talking was a problem.

Eventually I was moved up to passing orders out of the drive-thru instead of taking the orders. This requires less talking, but sometimes louder talking. I stopped asking customers if they'd like any ketchup and figured they could ask for themselves. I stopped asking the cook to make more fries and started making them myself. But I didn't stop talking entirely. I had to give the customers certain cues, like "Have a nice evening," so they would know it was time for them to leave. And interestingly enough, I had to chat with my coworkers. My coworkers don't consider me a talkative person, but even when I was conserving my voice, I still commented about the customer who had twice requested a medium drink and then when I gave it to her said, "I asked her to make it medium." Yeah...this is a medium.

On the other hand, I was annoyed when one of my coworkers started asking me about myself--did I go to school, what does "grad school" really mean, and so on. Like, can she not tell I'm losing my voice? But I wasn't going to tell her that. It would've been rude.

At home, I would become annoyed with my husband asking me questions because talking hurt, but then I'd have stories I wanted to share with him anyway. Over and over again, I wonder--what is most worth saying?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Jane Fonda and Words for Vagina

The Associated Press: Jane Fonda Uses Vulgar Slang on `Today'

The AP leaves you guessing what the "vulgar slang" was, but it doesn't take much guessing. Here's what someone uploaded to YouTube.

There should not have been an apology regarding the word. Does the Today Show not know what the Vagina Monologues are? If you find the word "cunt" inherently offensive you shouldn't interview someone about her role in the Vagina Monologues. She didn't even use the word in a graphic way--she simply said she'd once been asked to perform a monologue by that name. What offends me here is that the Today Show promotes the Vagina Monologues while objecting to its content.