- 5 months ago
- 552 notes
“Well, son, what happened was that some of the senators in Texas wanted to pass a law. And this law would mean that not all women could choose when and how they would have a baby. And lots of women would not have the safe health care they need.”
"That’s not fair!" Six year olds are very quick to grasp concepts of fairness.
"I know, it’s not. And so what happened next was that this senator, Wendy Davis, decided to argue. And if she can debate the law for 13 hours straight, the law will not pass. But she has to talk about it for 13 hours in a row. And she can’t eat. And she can’t drink- not even water. And she can’t sit down or lean on her chair. And these people are going to try to stop her. They are going to look for any chance to get her to sit down."
At this point, the feed had gone quiet while they debated some point of order. Either it was the back brace or the paper vs. iPad debate. Nathan sat in my lap and looked at them talking and looked back at me.
"I don’t like this. This is scary." Again, six year olds are pretty sharp. I turned the feed off to take care of the business of parenting- sneaking out to check Twitter while fixing supper and returning to see what I missed after bedtime.
In the morning, I asked Nathan if he wanted to hear what had happened. And on the ride to summer camp, I told him.
"After 11 hours, the Senate President decided that Senator Davis had broken three rules and that they could pass the law. But Senator Davis’ friends starting asking questions. And they asked more questions. And more questions."
"Her lady friends came to help her?"
"Some ladies. And even some men. They asked questions and pointed out what wasn’t right about how they were passing this law and kept talking. Until there was only ten minutes left before the deadline. And then— the Senate President tried to call a vote."
"And the bad guys won?"
"What happened next, son, was that all the women and all the Texans in the audience started yelling. And they yelled. And they shouted. And they would not be quiet. AND WENDY DAVIS WAS STILL STANDING.”
“So then Wendy won?”
"But then, son, the Senators voted anyway. Even though it was after midnight. They voted and said it counted."
At this point Nathan didn’t even know what to say. Neither did I. I had gone to bed myself thinking we were in for a long court battle and that despite it all, the fix was in.
"But then— the people stayed. And they waited. And they let the senators know they were watching. And do you know what happened?
The law didn’t pass. And the whole time— Wendy Davis was still standing.”
We talked a lot, my son and I, about what went right in Texas last night. We talked about the people who did right things, and hard things- about Wendy Davis’ tremendous stand. About Leticia Van De Putte, who missed her father’s funeral to stand up for Texans even when the Senate President tried to ignore her. About Judith Zaffirini, who is not pro-choice but is pro-women’s health and who fought for what was right even when it meant supporting someone she disagreed with.
And we talked about the people. The people of Texas, who would not be silenced last night. And who are still watching. And who are still paying attention.
"I like these stories, Mom. I am really listening to them." Good job, Nathan, I told him. Pay attention. "That’s our job. We get to listen, and we get to watch, and we get to speak up when something isn’t right. We don’t just get to speak up. If we have to, we can shout. We can stand. And we are still standing."
- 5 months ago
- 2 notes
- Landry Clarke: The problem is that they keep comparing you to Jason Street. That's like comparing my music to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I'm not the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I mean, I'm my own thing. I'm not any better or any worse. It's just different.
- Matt Saracen: You're definitely a whole lot worse.
- 7 months ago
- 37 notes
- 7 months ago
- 0 notes
I had pretty low expectations for Seth MacFarlane- ok, I predicted he would be worse than Franco-Hathaway- but I have to admit that in terms of fulfilling the role of Oscar host- standing up and keeping the show moving- he was competent. In terms of the content of his delivery, though, he was banal. What has puzzled me the most about the during-and-post-show commentary were the descriptions of his humor as “edgy.”
This is 2013, y’all. Jokes about Jews controlling Hollywood, “oh my god you might think I am gay! Tee hee,” older actors dating younger women and actresses starving themselves are not cutting edge. I was reminded of nothing so much as when my son Nathan discovered the word “butt” at age 3, and stood in the living room, shaking his rear and singing “butt butt butt butt butt” over and over. It was that level of envelope-pushing. (Except to be honest Nathan was much funnier.)
However, just because anti-Semitism, homophobia and misogyny are nothing new doesn’t mean they’re okay, either, and that was what left such a bad taste in my mouth. “We Saw Your Boobs?” Really? These women are here because they are being honored for their work- years and years of incredibly hard work and amazing performances, and we’re going to reduce them to boobs?
I thought of 9 year old Quvenzhane Wallis then, and wondered if she noticed. If she noticed that even if someday she plays a character who is being raped, for pete’s sake, some idiot is taking note of the exact time stamp because, hey, boobs. If she noticed that even if someday she is as accomplished as Meryl Streep, the Academy may still think reducing her to “boooooobs” is an appropriate accolade.
How could she not notice? MacFarlane made sure to point out exactly how long was left until she would begin to be boob-tracking-worthy…. and reminded us all that time would be fleeting. Sally Field, you may be nominated for a third Academy Award, but let’s not forget that the time when your boobs were of interest has long passed.
My main gig is raising two boys, so I always come back to what I want them to learn- and not learn- from moments like this. They both have girls they know and admire- S. is the best reader in kindergarten, C. does first grade math, the other S. tells the funniest jokes. In preschool H. loves bugs and reptiles, C. swings higher than even the 4 year olds. I wonder when and if their peers will stop judging these girls on their merits- when my sons will find themselves confronted with the choice to objectify them. How do I help them remember women are just as human as they are? How do I show them how wrong so much of our culture is?
I don’t know the answers, but I do hope that by the time they hit adolescence, Seth MacFarlane will have outgrown his. I’m not holding my breath, though- his unimaginative riffs on 3 year old “butt butt butt” humor have made him a lot of money. He’ll keep going with “boobs boobs boobs” until the market for that dries up. It’s a long road ahead.
(The two things I *do* hope Quvenzhane noticed were:
1)Of the six young filmmakers chosen to carry the trophies, three were women and two were women of color.
2) Shatner’s joke about Amy and Tina- in a very short time we’ve gone from a time where you could get paid to argue that women aren’t funny to a time when the conventional wisdom is that the funniest, best hosts would have been two women.
We’ve come a long way, Quvenzhane. But some of the men are having a hard time keeping up.)
- 9 months ago
- 6 notes