Huffington Post

The Year in Review (Banner Sexism)

Suou's Reflection: Detail of frame from Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor.

Catherine Pearson recalls for HuffPo twenty-four high-profile sexist moments over the course of the last year, and we might offer only two criticisms.

To the one, the year isn’t over, yet, and a bunch of Republicans are running for president.

To the other, we would humbly recall the occasion Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) explained that his faith governs his use of intrauterine devices and emergency contraception.

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Pearson, Catherine. “24 Times Sexism Was Very, Very Real In 2015”. The Huffington Post. 9 December 2015.

Clowntastic

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

“The truth is that Republicans are at a crossroads. What we are seeing is a surrogate battle to determine whether the GOP will be a sort of populist/protectionist party, or a more cosmopolitan and compassionate one. And if those are the two world views that will eventually clash, Cruz and Rubio are much better representatives than, say, Trump and Bush.”

Matt Lewis

Conservative stalwart Matt Lewis offers an intriguing commentary considering the real potential of a marquee showdown between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. The junior U.S. Senators from Florida and Texas respectively enjoy competitive positions in the polls, and thus stand out as leading candidates to ascend as Dr. Ben Carson tumbles and pretty much everyone else wonders when Trump will follow. The Roll Call op-ed opens:

“The two people to watch are Cruz and Rubio,” Charles Krauthammer declared on Tuesday’s episode of Fox News’ “Special Report.” Call it wishful thinking or conventional wisdom (or both), but there is an assumption that this clash of titans might eventually occur—and I, for one, am rooting for it.

And we can skip ahead to the ending, a pretense of obvious afterthought―that both Cruz and Rubio can win the general against Hillary Clinton―long enough to remember that Lewis is, after all, a conservative pitch man. Cruz can’t win; Rubio has a chance if he can overcome the deer and headlight air of youthful inexperienceα he often demonstrates so aptly when rattling through talking points that thoroughly defy his comprehension. That is to say, we can attend the pretense of afterthought long enough to dismiss it.

Nonetheless, Mr. Lewis offers an insightful analysis that includes the benefit of also sounding reasonable:

Most people I know think a Trump candidacy would be disastrous, but there is division regarding just how freaked out we should be. Some, like statistician Nate Silver, argue that we are putting too much stock in these early polls showing Trump ahead for a variety of reasons, including the fact that “the vast majority of eventual Republican voters haven’t made up their minds yet.”

Others argue that this is fantasy. All the previous predictions about a Trump collapse were premature, and besides, he’s a paradigm-shifting candidate; the old rules no longer apply.

Having said all that, it’s not absurd to believe that voters will finally come to their senses, and that Cruz and Rubio might eventually emerge as representatives of their various “lanes” to face off in a sort of championship battle to determine who will represent the GOP in the general election.

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Baked Lettuce, and the Decline of Western Civilization

This is a human weakness.Who cares if the internet is really mad at Nigella Watson?  Detail of Huffington Post sidebar, 17 November 2015.

In the first place, I loathe badly-written headlines, and Huffington Post specializes in that.

There is also the pedantic fact that “the Internet” doesn’t get angry at anyone. Naturally, we get what they mean, but still, it’s a really, really dumb headline, and HuffPo ought to be embarrassed; its editors would probably do the site―and the rest of humanity―some good by filing their resignations.

Additionally, we might offer the following consideration:

People really feel strongly about putting lettuce in the oven.

The Internet wept as they watched Nigella Lawson bake some lettuce leaves and subsequently add insult to injury by placing a fried egg on top.

The chef made her version of a Caesar salad on her BBC show “Simply Nigella” and it did not go over easy with fans. Her recipe consisted of lettuce baked in the oven with anchovies and garlic, all topped with the aforementioned egg. This strays from the traditional formula, which involves fresh lettuce, croutons and a white dressing.

Outraged viewers took to Twitter, decrying Nigella for her offensive, senseless actions.

Speaking of being embarrassed, we can only wonder if writing about people wringing their hands and losing their minds because Nigella put lettuce in the oven is what Samantha Guff had in mind when she undertook her editorial fellowship at Huffington Post. Much like being relegated to penning articles about plot holes in Star Wars, we might wonder if Ms. Guff finds herself enduring those excruciating moments in which she wonders if her parents were right, and she should have skipped journalism for something more useful.

To the other, I was dumb enough to click the lettuce link, and it doesn’t help to suggest I did so fully expecting to write a blog post about it. (No, really, one need not be a scholar to recognize wasted journalism from afar; promoted content is a particular sensitivity of mine, and the Hufffington Post sidebar is particularly odious. Something about dead fish in a barrel goes here.)

Look, bad journalism is one thing. And, yes, HuffPo’s need to suggest godawful content is the sort of thing Arianna owes her readers fiercely for. The age of the internet has brought us tremendous informational resources; unfortunately, our market priorities demand we squander them. Seriously, as much as I might pick on Sophie Bartholomew, Anisa Subedar, Marion Edney, and Danny Beckwith for being hilariously useless human beings, I also acknowledge it’s a thin pretense for wasting my own time. So, you know, let’s blame Samantha. And she, in turn, can point to her editors. And they, in turn, can tell Arianna what a wonderful person she is, and how her shit doesn’t stink. Honestly, who looks at a potentially infinite idea and sets up a business model to waste as much of it as humanly possible?

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Guff, Samantha. “Internet Is Mad At Nigella Lawson For Putting Lettuce In The Oven”. The Huffington Post. 17 November 2015.

A Disappointing Discussion

Detail of 'Ampersand' by Barry Deutsch, 1 September 2010.

This is not none of my business:

And even though I wanted to reply, to put each of those scared little baby men in their place, I held my tongue, I privated my account, and I waited in my car outside Ralph’s daycare until my hands stopped shaking and my heart slowed down.

I did this because unlike these men, with online pseudonyms, it’s me online. My face, my name. And because I am afraid of retaliation, I had to hide on the Internet the same way I’d have to run and lock my front door if this man had said that to my face.

That. Is. Rape. Culture.

It’s a group of men who are so threatened by the existence of female opinion that it’s nothing to them to toss off a tweet like that. Because, can’t I take a joke? Because, why am I such a bitch when a man just wants me to smile? Because, what business do I have posting a *gasp* selfie and telling men how to treat me?

This exchange, in the big scheme of things, is nothing. Really, these people are nothing to me and I could just keep ignoring it and pretend it never happened and hope that they let me slide out of their part of the Internet and stay on the sunny side. I’ve watched my husband die in my arms so on the scale of Shit That Matters, a few tweets… don’t.

Even in the big picture of the cesspool that is Twitter (Jack, dude, get it under control), this is nothing. Women experience worse. Every day.

That’s why this matters.

And this is stupid.

No, not what Nora McInerny Purmort has to say. No, no … that’s not what’s stupid. That she or anyone else still needs to say it is what’s stupid.

And, yes, I get to be disappointed that we must have this discussion.

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The Ben Carson Show (Pervert’s Pride Memo)

Ben Carson speaks at the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Convention on Jan. 18, 2015, in Myrtle Beach, S.C. A variety of conservative presidential hopefuls spoke at the gathering on the second day of the three-day event. (Richard Ellis/Getty Images)

MEMORANDUM

To: Dr. Ben Carson

re: Pervert’s pride

On Thursday, 5 November, Dr. Carson, you advocated segregation in American society.

GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson suggested creating separate public bathrooms for transgender people in an interview with Fusion’s Jorge Ramos Thursday.

When Ramos asked Carson if transgender men and women should be able to use any public bathroom they choose, Carson responded, “How about we have a transgender bathroom?”

“It is not fair for them to make everybody else uncomfortable,” Carson added. “It’s one of the things that I don’t particularly like about the movement.”

(Mellen)

Actually, Dr. Carson, would you like to know what really makes everybody else uncomfortable, whether in restrooms or anywhere else? Bigots. Hateful people such as yourself.

Still, though, Ruby Mellen, in her Huffington Post report, includes mention of the supremacist campaign against the transgender in Texas―

One particularly sinister TV ad showed a man following a young girl into a public restroom while a woman’s voice said, “Any man at any time could enter a woman’s bathroom simply by claiming to be a woman that day.” (It’s already illegal to sexually harass women, with or without HERO.)

―that provides us a constructive avenue, since it’s already quite apparent that truth, reality, honesty, and dignity have no place in your allegedly Christian heart.

This is very simple, Dr. Carson: Prove your point.

Put on a dress and show us how easy it is.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee waits backstage before speaking during the Freedom Summit Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)Put on a dress, use a women’s restroom, and prove your point. Because here’s the thing: All you or, say, Mr. Huckabee accomplish broadcasting these deviant erotic fantasies is telling us all about the eye of the beholder.

That is to say, Dr. Carson, sure, so now we know what you would do in a women’s restroom. We know what Mr. Huckabee would do in a women’s restroom.

And it really is grotesque that you should assign your own exploitative sexual deviance to other people just in order to complain about them. Still, though, it is possible to demonstrate your point; the only question is whether you’re actually willing to.

And if not, Dr. Carson, then shut your filthy mouth.

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Image notes: Top ― Ben Carson speaks at the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Convention on Jan. 18, 2015, in Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Richard Ellis/Getty Images) Right ― Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee waits backstage before speaking during the Freedom Summit Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Levine, Sam. “Mike Huckabee Belittled Transgender People In February Speech”. The Huffington Post. 2 June 2015.

Mellen, Ruby. “Ben Carson: Transgender People ‘Make Everybody Else Uncomfortable’ In Restrooms”. The Huffington Post. 5 November 2015.

An Important Difference (Play Like a Girl)

United States Women's National Team forward Abby Wambach celebrates victory at the 2015 Women's World Cup in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 5 July 2015, with her wife, Sarah Huffman. (Detail of photo by Elaine Thompson/AP)

“Abby said that she wanted her final World Cup to be like a fairytale. And I’m not sure she could have written a better ending: a world champion at last, draped in the Stars and Stripes, showing us all how far we’ve come―on and off the field―by sharing a celebratory kiss with her wife.”

President Barack Obama

This is an illustration of the difference.

President Barack Obama, on Tuesday:

President Barack Obama holds a jersey and poses for photographs during a ceremony to honor the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup champion U.S. National Soccer Team, Oct. 27, 2015, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Detail of photo by Evan Vucci/AP)This team taught all America’s children that “playing like a girl” means you’re a badass. Perhaps I shouldn’t have used that phrase. Playing like a girl means being the best. It means drawing the largest TV audience for a soccer match―men or women’s―in American history. It means wearing our nation’s crest on your jersey, taking yourself and your country to the top of the world. That’s what American women do. That’s what American girls do. That’s why we celebrate this team. They’ve done it with class. They’ve done it with the right way. They’ve done it with excitement. They’ve done with style. We are very, very proud of them.

Two days later, over at the Capitol:

On Thursday, Senate Republicans blocked a resolution that called on soccer’s global governing body to “immediately eliminate gender pay inequity and treat all athletes with the same respect and dignity.”

“It is a shame that in the Senate, we cannot even agree to pass a resolution that calls for the equal treatment of male and female athletes. If we cannot even pass a non-binding resolution, how can we ever achieve real pay equity for women?” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who introduced the resolution this summer.

Earlier this year at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the pay disparity between male and female soccer players was put into sharp focus when it was reported that while the U.S. Women’s National Team received $2 million for winning the championship, men’s teams who lost in the first round of the 2014 World Cup, including the U.S. men’s team, received $8 million.

(Gibbs)

Remember this, when people tell you there is no difference, that they’re all the same.

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The Mike Huckabee Show (Republican Virtue)

Mike Huckabee: "I trust @BernieSanders with my tax dollars like I trust a North Korean chef with my labrador! #DemDebate" (13 October 2015, via Twitter)

In truth, given the terrible rhetoric earning Ben Carson rewards, why wouldn’t Mike Huckabee, go out of his way to throw down a racist jab that only invites reminders about the time his son sadistically killed a dog.

This is Mike Huckabee, after all.

And this is your 2016 Republican presidential clown car.

Oh, right. That. You’re going to love the follow-up.

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Image note: Composite ― Detail of photo by Charlie Niebergall/AP; tweet by Mike Huckabee, 13 October 2015.

Huckabee, Mike. “I trust Bernie Sanders with my tax dollars like I trust a North Korean chef with a labrador!” Twitter. 13 October 2015.

Lavender, Paige. “Mike Huckabee Got Pretty Racist While Live-Tweeting The Dem Debate”. The Huffington Post. 13 October 2015.

Tennessee as a Comedic and Allegorical Reflection on What It Really Means to Be a Christian in the American Political Discourse (Smitastic Sanctity Mix)

The Blount County Courthouse, Blount County, Tennessee.

Okay, and then there is this:

A Tennessee county plans to take up a resolution begging God for mercy and asking that the deity not smite their community “like Sodom and Gomorrah” because of the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing gay marriage.Serrano, Piss Christ (detail)

The “resolution condemning judicial tyranny and petitioning God’s mercy” was written by Blount County commissioner Karen Miller and will come up for consideration at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Miller’s resolution claims the “so help me God” part of the oath taken by lawmakers means they are committed not only to upholding the U.S. Constitution but also “higher Natural Law.”

As such, the resolution calls on lawmakers throughout the state “to protect Natural Marriage, from lawless court opinions, AND THE financial schemes of the enemies of righteousness wherever the source AND defend the Moral Standards of Tennessee.”

(Mazza)

So, truth told, I really thought the religious right would have moved on by now; I have no idea what made me think that, other than maybe they saw an easy target in transgender youth, or something.

More fool me, to the one. To the other, they’re handing out rewards for public displays of piety for the sake of being seen by others, which is well and fine since these are the rewards they seek.

And Tennessee? Let us be honest; if God is going to smite the Volunteer State or not, there are plenty of things on His list before He gets around to the homophobia, and all things considered―you know, since these are allegedly Christians we’re talking about, and Christ Himself is generally absent from their hatred―it seems a dubious proposition that being terrified by queers is going to help the Volunteer State’s case for mercy.

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Mazza, Ed. “Tennessee County May Ask God To Spare Them And Smite Someone Else”. The Huffington Post. 5 October 2015.

The Ruckus on the Hill

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA23), speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Monday, 25 February 2013. (Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty.)

“This is serious. McCarthy’s words matter in his current leadership position in the House and will matter even more if he is elected as speaker. He needs to raise his game, collect his thoughts, be very sure-footed and display some measured, informed and thoughtful leadership. In the weeks ahead, he will be called on to explain his worldview and you can bet our allies and our enemies will be watching. Republicans need to be sure we are introducing a new serious actor onto a very troubled world stage. Now is not a good time for verbal bumbling or embarrassing ignorance.”

Ed Rogers

To the one, Ed Rogers is not exactly a proverbial Rino; his right-wing bona fides are well established.

To the other, that’s the point; there are already conservative challenges afoot, including House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT03), fresh off his magical mystery tour aboard the S.S. Colonoscopy, an extraneous metaphor, since he managed a self-exam earlier in the week, but, hey, why not follow up a monumental clusterdiddle with a run for the Speaker’s gavel?

Ed Rogers of BGR Group, in undated photo; credit unknown.And to a third, regardless of where the challenge is coming from, they do have a point. The effect of the would-be Speaker in Waiting’s poor oral discipline has been devastating. Republicans already gamble on a do-nothing Congress; they do not, as Mr. Rogers notes, have any real need for that institution’s equivalent of an old-tyme geek show.

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Image notes: Top ― House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA23), speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Monday, 25 February 2013. (Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty.) Right ― Ed Rogers of BGR Group, in undated photo. (Credit unknown.)

Bendery, Jennifer. “Watch Jason Chaffetz React As He’s Accused Of ‘Beating Up On A Woman’ Over Her Pay”. The Huffington Post. 29 September 2015.

Hess, Hannah. “Inspector General Reopens Secret Service Probe of Chaffetz Leak”. Roll Call. 5 October 2015.

Rogers, Ed. “Republicans fret over McCarthy’s skills”. The Washington Post. 2 Octoer 2015.

A Celebration

Rose Gladu, left, celebrates with her daughter Gabrielle Diana Gladu after the younger's petition for a legal name change was recognized.  Photo via Instagram, 27 October 2015.

“I knew at that moment my child came back to me. She was on her way to who she had been from birth.”

Rose Gladu

Welcome, Gabreille. It is our honor to wish you the best of adventures in the life that presents itself unto you.

Thank you, Mother Rose. It really is that important. Thank you.

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Mosbergen, Dominique. “Transgender Teen Left ‘Speechless’ After Mom’s Big Surprise”. The Huffington Post. 1 October 2015.