Opinion, Politics

OPINION: WE CAN’T KEEP EXPECTING HILLARY CLINTON TO SAVE US

Header source: Wikimedia Commons 

She was ready to be our champion, so don’t criticize her because America picked someone else


In a recent interview with Fox & Friends, Kellyanne Conway, advisor to President Trump, had this to say (unpromoted) about Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democrat nominee for President and former New York Senator, after being asked to address those who call Trump mentally unfit:

“Look at the crack-up of the major left. You’ve got Hillary Clinton, who, Democrats are whispering all over this town wish this book [Clinton’s upcoming book What Happened] didn’t happen, that she would just either make herself useful or fade out of the limelight…Where is her bipartisan effort to try to help with infrastructure and meaningful tax reform, or the opioid crisis that I work on in the building behind you every single day? We haven’t heard from her. She failed to make history and she succeeds at making excuses, and that is emblematic of the Democratic Party now that is so bereft of ideas and issues that they have to then play armchair psychiatrists. We’re not going to let it happen; it’s outrageous.”  

There are few people that make me as angry as Kellyanne Conway, the type of person, much like Mike Pence, who would submit people to undeniable tortures and struggles and claim that it was for their own good. I have no doubt that Kellyanne Conway knows how unhinged her president is; I have no doubt that Pence knows his own bigotry towards LGBTQ people and uses religion as a blanket shield. And I have no doubt that they ignore these truths and barrel on in the face of their own interests. Money, power, control.

“Where is Hillary?” Kellyanne wonders, on the opioid crisis, women and children, bipartisan efforts. Well, Kellyanne, she is not president. She does not have to do anything. That Kellyanne would even bring up Hillary’s name, blame her for any inaction or expect her to be spearheading anything is beyond ludicrous, it’s insulting.

Continue reading

Advertisements
Standard
music, Politics, pop culture, Things Happening RN

THINGS HAPPENING RN: OH LORDE, KELLYANNE CONWAY, AND DISNEY’S GOING GAY (apparently)

I was writing a piece about body image that wasn’t flowing, and I have to get this piece up, so I figured I would just round up a few pieces of news and talk about them. So leave me alone, k?

THINGS HAPPENING RN:

1). LeFou Is Revealed To Be Gay in Live-Action Beauty and the Beast:

I think what bugs me so much about this is not that LeFou—Gaston’s little sidekick—is gay but that everyone is lauding this as a watershed moment. Yes, this will be Disney’s first gay character. However, they’re describing him as “openly gay” while in the same breath saying that, “He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings.”

JUST REALIZING your feelings is not being “openly gay.” And going beyond the insulting semantics, the fact that the first LGBTQ character in a Disney movie will be the goofy sidekick of a misogynistic and abusive villain, and that on top of that, LeFou admires and lusts unfulfilled after the heterosexual Gaston, means that Disney is expecting applause for baking a cake when they’ve given the queer community a crumb.

In the case of Love It or List It, I’m gonna List it. Even Frozen did it better, y’all.

2). Jeff Sessions Recuses Himself from Russia Investigations:

Yesterday it was revealed that Sessions had had contact with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign. While he was not directly associated with the campaign yet, he was supportive of Donald Trump and, under oath, claimed to have no knowledge of contact between Russia and Trump surrogates—not true. And a big problem since Sessions, as Attorney General, is the one looking into seeing if there was any illegal activity re these contacts. Sessions faced pressure to either resign or recuse himself from the investigation. And of course, the Trump White House had a million different responses to it. This morning, Press Secretary Sean Spicer that Sessions had no reason to recuse himself. So today, Sessions held a press conference to announce that he would recuse himself from the Russia investigations.

On a side note, he looks like Yoda, no?

3). Lorde released, “Green Light,” the first single off her sophomore album, Melodrama:

YES. Instead of waiting forty days after Ash Wednesday, hunny, our Lorde has chosen to resurrect the day after!!!! The single, described by Lorde, will “make you dance.” It’s fast, loud, weird and beautiful—totally different than the slow-bops Lorde graced us with on her debut album, Pure Heroine. I’m feeling like this might be a 21-25 album set, where the second one is all about how much Lorde has grown in her absence. Very excited—but definitely thought that “Green Light” was a reference to The Great Gatsby, but maybe that’s on me.

 

4). Kellyanne Conway won’t face punishment for ethics breach when she advertised Ivanka’s clothing line:

The real crime is probably that clothing line, but that’s not important right now. Weeks ago, after Nordstroms announced it would drop Ivanka’s clothing line, Trump was upset and on-air, Conway said that she was giving the line a “free commercial” and encouraged everyone to go out and buy it. that’s, like, a no-no. Federal employees are forbidden from using their public office for commercial endorsement. Conway was noticeably absent from the TV for a few weeks. White House deputy counsel Stefan Passantino wrote to the Office of Government Ethics that Conway had acted without “nefarious motive” and did the endorsement inadvertently. Like, k? But hon, that’s still a breach of ethics.

*****

Okay babes, that’s all I could rustle up. Maybe eventually I’ll workshop that body article, or maybe I’ll let it languish in the dust of my document folder. Who knows?

Please check out Lorde’s new single—it’s vital—and also spread the word about my blog so that someone rich/powerful finds it and helps me out. THANKSZ.

Standard
Politics, pop culture

KELLYANNE CONWAY IS THE VICKI GUNVALSON OF POLITICS AND MEDIA

As a journalist, you spend a lot of your time writing about the news. You spend a lot of time thinking about it, dissecting it, following it. And some people have iron heads and they can handle that constant rotation of news. Others—like me—are too pretty to have iron heads (so unflattering) and are not capable of being news robots.

A lot of what I’ve been writing about—for class, for this blog, for the Odyssey—have been centered around politics. It’s impossible to avoid, and as it became incorporated to my brand, it became more and more important for me to cover. That had negative results—after the election, I was so desperately brain-dead that I went completely off the grid and couldn’t even think about anything. Because as much as we cover it, we are consumed with it and we let it ingrain inside of us.

So maybe in a few weeks/days/hours I’ll decide to boycott politics for a while and just write about my NEW CAMEL COAT (ugh so chic) but there’s still things to be said and things to cover, and, y’all, I’m soldiering on.

Someone on my Twitter timeline posted a link to a GQ article. It was primarily in response to the Chuck Todd-Kellyanne Conway interview where Chuck Todd was desperately trying to understand why the new Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, lied about the easily provable facts of Trump’s inauguration.

“You sent the Press Secretary out there to utter falsehoods on the smallest, pettiest thing,” said an exasperated Chuck Todd.

Kellyanne, twirling those ribbons that rhythmic gymnasts in Russia use, flailed around the questions, whipped the curls of fabric in Todd’s face until they coiled around his neck.

“Our press secretary, Sean Spicer, gave alternative facts,” she said as Todd’s face turned purple from disbelief and lack of oxygen. And when he had slumped out of frame, Conway unfurled the ribbons from around his neck, wrapped them up tightly and put them back into her holsters.

Wiping the sweat of her hands off on her blue dress, the eyeshadow smudging darkly around her eyes, Kellyanne caught a glimpse of herself in the window’s reflection as she left the green screen behind. Her face was hollow, mouth tightly set. She pulled out the tiny list crumpled in her pocket and sliced a line through Chuck Todd’s name with the precision of a French Revolution executioner. Squaring her shoulders and applying more eyeshadow to her lids—obscuring them and hiding the windows to her soul—she slinked off to her next target. And so on. And so on. Forever.

Okay, so that didn’t happen—but didn’t it sound like it could’ve?

In the article, NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen proposed on the Recode Media podcast with Peter Kafka that news outlets should no longer have Kellyanne on.

And the implications of that—what they say about where we are as journalists—are staggering.

To disavow and cut off contact with the White House—willingly—seems unbelievable. And if this were a normal world—and not season three of Black Mirror—it would be unbelievable. But Rosen laid out probably the saddest and more logical argument for it.

“It’s not just lying or spin or somebody who is skilled in the political arts of putting the best case on things or not answering a question, which is a pretty basic method of doing politis. It’s that when you are done listening to Kellyanne Conway, you probably understand less. That’s the problem.”

If I’ve learned anything from Scandal (I’ve learned a bunch, thank you Shonda Rimes), it’s that the press secretary is often put in a difficult position. They have to balance the president, the truth and the press. But Abby was able to do it. Sometimes it involves a version of the truth; sometimes it involves moving on to the next question. But the press secretary always does their job.

So what made Chuck Todd, and I and a lot of people, so incredulous was the fact that this was such minutiae. Spicer was lying about the size of the crowds at the inauguration. He said this was the most attended and most watched inauguration of all time. That’s, like, so not true. And there’s photographic evidence to prove it (side by side evidence of Obama’s first inauguration and Trump’s inauguration). It’s so easily provable that it’s ridiculous.

Spicer could’ve walked in, fielded questions and addressed the attendance. He could’ve said, “President Trump (ugh, gag) has more important things to worry about than the size of attendance at his inauguration. He has a country to run.” THAT WOULD’VE BEEN BETTER. Dickish, but better. But to lie proves that it bothers Trump so much that people aren’t falling down at his feet. It kills him that nobody showed up for his inauguration but the NEXT DAY we had the largest march in modern history.

Rosen’s comment was at the end of a conversation about the typical journalistic efforts for impartiality—impartiality relies on reaching out for comment to both sides. But when one side consists of Trump, Conway and Spicer—three people who will give you radically different answers (all wrong) to the same question, actually not even answering the question in the process—it becomes infinitely more muddled. Why are we doing this? We’re not getting any more information. We’re not getting things any clearer.

And journalists are doing backbends trying to cope with having two sides where one side is just a funhouse mirror.

So the answer is simple: if having Kellyanne on just makes the truth more muddled, then you have to cut it off. We, you, journalists, have an obligation to the truth—above all else. Anyone who gets in the way of that is expendable.

Sometimes it’s not worth it. On The Real Housewives of Orange County, Vicki Gunvalson said her boyfriend, Brooks Ayers, had cancer. Turns out he didn’t, and all the other ladies wanted to know how much Vicki knew. She obviously knew a lot, because they were in a relationship and she never went to any of his doctor’s appointments or chemo treatments, etc. And she lied for him, endlessly. She, to this day, has not really admitted that he doesn’t have cancer. She has not admitted that she knew anything.

And so I have a lot of experience with blonde ladies who have a loose relationship with the truth. And this is what I’ve learned: they won’t change (even when you are mean to them in Ireland) and so at a certain point, you have to refuse to engage. Because what they want more than anything else is attention, and even negative attention feeds that addiction. So you cut them off. You don’t let them spew their bullshit. You shut it down.

But the difference between Kellyanne Conway and Vicki Gunvalson is that Vicki Gunvalson doesn’t have the ear of the guy with access to nuclear codes. Vicki is dumb, but harmless, and infinitely entertaining. But Conway has so little regard for the truth and so little respect for the American people that she having access to Trump—who is proven to be volatile and rash—is terrifying.

So maybe we’ve come to the point where we can’t engage with Kellyanne. Where having her on screen puts more danger into the world than good. And it’s scary to admit that this is where we are as journalists, but we have promises to the American people—we must not harm. (I know that’s the Hippocratic oath but stick with me). And she’s definitely causing us harm.

Standard
Politics

PROTECT THE PRESS: SHOW YOUR TEETH

I can’t really write about Russia right now because diving into that is like diving into a swamp (pun intended) wearing a lifejacket made of bricks.

But I watched Kellyanne Conway’s interview with Seth Meyers on Late Night and I saw Donald Trump refuse to answer from CNN’s White House Correspondent, calling CNN “fake news.” First of all, we need to retire that term. “Fake news” refers to legitimately false clickbait news, typically churned out by Facebook, that says things like Hillary Clinton running a sex ring out of a pizza shop. Fake news is a nasty phenomenon, but it is not whenever you don’t agree with the news.

Media is taking a huge hit right now. We’re being called biased, fake, unreliable, vindictive. We are supposed to be the bringers of truth, the backbone of the country, and we’re becoming a target.

Conway was saying in the interview that the media is not giving Trump a fair shake, that we’re taking him at his word when we should be reading his intentions. The problem with that, Kellyanne, is that there is no way of reading his intentions. He has no intentions. He flip-flopped on every issue, lied about things in plain sight, shut out the media, ranted on Twitter, built his campaign on the backs of issues targeting immigrants, Muslims and other minorities.

So if we’re reading his intentions and his words, both have negative implications towards the media, minorities, and America.

In her speech at the Golden Globes, Meryl Streep could’ve thanked her fans and her team, something soft and fluffy. But she didn’t. She said that Hollywood, foreigners and the press belong to the most vilified groups in society right now. She said that disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. She spoke on the handicapped reporter whom Trump made fun of—something he denies ever happened, despite video proof.

The reporter was someone Trump outranked in every capacity. He has a habit of doing that; humiliating someone who cannot fight back properly. He has that—excuse my language—trump card over all of us. He holds the highest position in the country. No one is able to fight back. And so that is why we need the press. We need the press to shine light into dark places, to unveil corruption, to show abuses of power.

“We need the principled press to hold power to account…Join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, because we’re gonna need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.”

Streep ended with something that Carrie Fisher told her.

“Take your broken heart, make it into art.”

And that’s beautiful and poignant. But there was something that Meryl said that caught my ear. It was when she was discussing the reporter and Trump.

“But there was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good; there was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh, and show their teeth.”

The last three words: “Show their teeth.”

The phrase is an idiom that refers to animals, typically wolves. They bare their teeth when they are angered, when they are showing their true nature.

When they are about to attack.

And even though she said it in connection to the hateful, hating people who laughed with Trump, I can’t help but think of it as something that we—the media, minorities, Americans—need to take onto ourselves.

But animals bare their teeth in other moments, not just attacking. They show their teeth in the defense of something.

Show your teeth.

The media has been under attack for months, but it’s heated up. Trump shut down the CNN reporter, the one person who is allowed access to him. He wouldn’t take his question because he didn’t like CNN. We are being shut out; we are being prevented from doing our jobs.

If the urge in the face of the Trump regime is to normalize him, get on his good side—resist that urge. Don’t normalize. Show your teeth.

We have to be vicious. We have to be fearless. We must continue doggedly in the pursuit of truth. Don’t let yourself be distracted by the petty squabbles he lobs into the media, letting it distract them while he does something even more nefarious. Get angry. Stay angry. Be smart and passionate and educated. Information is not a luxury; it is a necessity.

Show your teeth. Bare them, and don’t back down. Because if we do, everyone suffers. We are the protectors of the truth. Propaganda is a staple in dictatorships; a lack of freedom of the press means that nothing is free. If we don’t have freedom of information, we have nothing.

Do like Meryl; don’t let yourself sit in the softness and sweetness. Push forward; use your voice. Don’t get complacent.

Show your teeth.

Standard