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Leroy the Redneck Reindeer

How is it that I lived my entire life except for the last 2.5 years in the south and never heard or even heard of Leroy the Redneck Reindeer? My attention has only been brought to the song today by Joanne Jacobs and Joe Kelley, who point to a controversy surrounding the song; a school in Texas is planning to perform it in the Christmas show, and a parent -- the white mother of a biracial child -- is complaining, citing embedded racism in the lyrics. There is, for example, a reference to a Confederate flag. Jacobs and Kelley reacted the way one might expect given their political affiliation; they're disgusted at what they perceive as PC's having gone too far. I find a couple of things interesting about this case. First, the Houston chapter of the NAACP is apparently supporting the parent, Jennifer Scott. Second, the story doesn't really give us any context, and I have all kinds of questions that need to be answered before I can form an opinion about this case. Is this boy the only child of color in the school? If not, can we assume the other parents are fine with the song? Have the children already been rehearsing the Christmas show and singing the song? Has the singing of the song contributed in any way to the little boy's getting teased (which I can imagine would be heart-wrenching for any parent, so perhaps she was desperate for recourse?)? Putting the song aside for the moment, do the school and its employees have a history of racist remarks and practices? Are any of the parents of the other children members of the KKK, and do they feel that their views are somehow approved by the inclusion of this song (yeah, I know that's a long shot, but I'm wondering)? How are the Civil War and the Confederate flag presented to the children in history class? And so on.

Oh yeah, and Charlie has just upgraded me to Drupal 4.5 (thanks, Charlie!). I'll have this default template for a while until I can carve out a little time to tweak the style sheet.

Spotted in Journals

The latest issue of Rhizome has a report on blogging, and there's a special issue of Logos devoted to Election 2004. I'm going to try to read all the essays in the latter if I can; problem is, I don't know where to start. Any suggestions?


Feministblogs.org is an aggregate of weblogs about feminist and politics from a feminist perspective. Check it out! So far, the contributors (not including myself) are:

Here's how to get your feed in there. I forgot to tell Rad Geek, who started this project, that he could just use my category-specific feeds for feminism and politics, but I can do that now, I guess. :)

Election 04 and Blog Silence

After the election and the emotionally-charged reactions to it, Michelle and Cindy have started afresh, deleting their old blogs and starting new ones. I don't quite understand the motivations, mostly because they've done it for personal reasons I can't possibly know. While I'm dismayed to lose the old posts, I respect their decision, and they don't owe anyone an explanation. I'm more concerned about the likelihood that some will stop blogging completely, like Rana, who has announced that she's going on hiatus indefinitely, and now Jeanne, who is thinking about taking Body and Soul down.

I know it's awfully melodramatic, but images of self-immolation on a pyre of virtual burning books keep coming to my mind. I might as well say it -- suttee -- because I can't pretend not to notice that these are all bright, eloquent women. It should be obvious that I have nothing but respect for all of the bloggers I've mentioned, I certainly understand the desire to retreat and reflect for a while, and I'll support any decisions they make about their blogs, but it's precisely because I hold them in such high regard that I must object to the decision to stop blogging (in the case of Rana and Jeanne, that is).

NB to Cindy, Michelle, Jeanne, and Rana: Please correct me if I've misrepresented your motivations. People have assigned motives to me before that hadn't even occurred to me, and I don't want to do it to anyone else. I sincerely apologize in advance if I have.

100 More Things About Me

I want to start the sequel meme! I mean, after the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, they released "More Dirty Dancing." After "Songs from Ally McBeal," they released Heart And Soul: New Songs From Ally McBeal Featuring Vonda Shepard. If they can do it, why can't I? :P Here are 100 more things about me:

  1. I have never bought or sold anything on eBay.
  2. My least favorite household chore is cleaning out the microwave.
  3. My second least favorite household chore is ironing. For years I bought only clothes that didn't require ironing.
  4. About twelve years ago, I wanted to be a writer for Soap Opera Digest. I mean it was my dream job. Ugh.
  5. I love almond butter and jam and honey sandwiches on stone ground wheat bread.
  6. I prepare and eat such sandwiches in a ritualistic manner. I put the honey on the bread first, so that it can absorb into the nooks and crannies. Then I apply thick layers of almond butter and jam. When I take a bite, the almond butter and jam ooze out from the crusts of the bread, so in between bites, I constantly run my tongue around the crusts of the bread to catch the excess, like I'm eating an ice cream cone on a hot, windy day.

Chun's Reaction?

I wonder what Chun is thinking right now about the current political climate. I typed his old URL into my address bar, hoping he had come back to say something about the election and the aftermath. Come on, Chun! Make a cameo appearance at Crooked Timber or at Michael Bérubé's or somewhere! (I will, of course, feel like an idiot if he's already done this. Please point me to it if he has.)

Open Letter to the Democratic Party: How You Could Have Had My Vote

As a lot of you know, after the outcome of Decision 2004, there's been a lot of outrage and subsequent screeds from Democrats and other left-leaners. I've said elsewhere that, while I understand the anger, I don't think it does any good. Today, via Jill's del.icio.us feed, I found a well-written, insightful letter by a Bush voter that everyone ought to read, regardless of political orientation. It's a much-needed lesson in rhetoric:

It's been two days since John Kerry conceded, and all I am seeing, hearing and reading from the Democratic party is that you guys think you lost on "moral values." You seem to think this means nothing more than opposition to gay marriage. You seem to think that Bush voters waited in line for hours to stick it to the queers, to tell those faggots how much we hate them!

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Many Bush voters, like myself, were not happy to be voting for the President's re-election. Many Bush voters agonized over our decision and cast our vote in fear, trepidation, and trembling. Many of us would have given our left arms for a Democrat we could have supported.
Because I am too young to be as disillusioned as I am, and because I know that one-party rule is not good for my country, and because it is my deepest wish to see the Democratic party change into one I can give my whole-hearted support, I am going to explain why you didn't get my vote, and how you can get it in the future.

Read the whole thing now.

What We Need in Order to Have a Culture of Life

Lauren asks her readers, many of whom are feminists and Democrats, to define three terms from their perspective: morals, culture of life, and values. I've been thinking about these, and I'm reading George Lakoff's Don't Think of an Elephant, so Lauren's prompt dovetails nicely with what I've been thinking about lately. However, the thoughts that have been buzzing around in my mind aren't of defining "culture of life" exactly. Instead, I've been thinking about what we need in order to have such a culture. I'll start by stating what should be obvious if you know me: I'm pro-choice, and I think abortion should always be an option for women, especially in cases of rape and incest. That being said, though, I would much prefer it if women were spared altogether the helpless, anguish-filled, alienated-from-the-body experience of unwanted pregnancy (when they probably tried to prevent it). For women's sake, it should be prevented. So here's my seven-point (so far) plan, in no particular order. These ideas are nothing new; I just wanted to get them all out there so I can see them. I want to stress that these ideas don't only apply to teenagers, but to every man and woman of procreating age:

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