No Rich White Guy Privilege Here!

9 08 2010

The undeservedly wealthy, white Glenn Beck calls President Obama’s America in which workers have dignity and good jobs, “the damn Planet of the Apes” but Tokyo Rush is even richer and whiter and more mindlessly privileged, with even more tough guy bully spewing forth: the beautiful, brilliant and astonishingly popular First Lady and her beautiful little black daughter in bright summer cotton, could never deserve a few days traveling with old friends and luncheon in a Spanish palace on their own merits, nope, nope,it must be white liberal guilt for SLAVERY
and why don’t they slink back to it before they and all the other black apes who support health care and a non-white president, ruin America?

Well, so much for the rich white gal’s Mama Grizzly “leave the families alone!” refrain (will she tweet her fierce defense of little Sasha and threaten to shoot Rush in the face from a helicopter or waterboard him or at least demand an apology as she did from David Letterman, any minute now? Ri-iight.)

The increasingly pissy and disturbingly disproportionate Maureen Dowd was bad enough, implying that even in the third millennium with a law degree and impressive accomplishments of her own, the President’s wife should stay home and do nothing but make him toast (?!) , not have her own life even as a strong mom.

This was btw a mother-daughter trip, the likes of which any First Lady is entitled by the People (of America) to make as she chooses — unlike all those ritzy daughters-in-tow trips Palin herself was making on the public dime from Alaska to NYC and Rodeo Drive WITHOUT the People (of Alaska’s) approval.

But I was ranting about Rush today, not the lipsticked pit-bully bear. Didn’t the childless (there’s one bit of good news!) Tokyo Rush himself vacation in Hawaii last winter, playing golf and then paying out of pocket for his luxury hotel getting him to a world-class hospital, for his non-heart attack heart-attack?

Limbaugh: “I got no special treatment whatsoever.”

And then didn’t he throw a lavish million-dollar-plus wedding with Elton John as bought-and-paid-for slave for a day, compared to the wedding of another First Daughter whose mother and father could have matched him for flash and trash but brought family values to the party instead? Chelsea’s was a real traditional first wedding too, not fourth or fifth or whatever who’s-he-to-preach-about-optics number Rush has run up so far . . .

In closing, if you’re tempted to defend Maureen Dowd, don’t bother. She’s been attacking Michelle Obama for years, for not being a docile enough wifey and gets in a swipe at her husband as a child, a two-fer! Privilege is a mote in the eye of the beholder:

APRIL 2007 —

Maureen Dowd Attacks Michelle Obama:

Maureen Dowd turns a critical eye toward Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle, and how she teases her husband in public to make him seem down to earth: “Many people I talked to afterward found Michelle wondrous. But others worried that her chiding was emasculating, casting her husband — under fire for lacking experience — as an undisciplined child”

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22 responses

9 08 2010
JJ

Just came from the new branch of my credit union. There’s an inviting open circle of seating like a hotel lobby, sort of, in the center as you come in, with teller stations tucked around the outer perimeter. The central space is ringed with large flat screens at eye level when seated, most of which have local loan rate slides or little credit union graphics, but one had FOX “news” on, with sound and all its crawls and colors and rapid-change visuals. No one was watching; no one was listening.

It reminded me how their ratings got so inflated and stay that way: Corporate cash combined with acting like they own the world and making it too costly for most to object, before Citizens United ever got to SCOTUS. Burning the civic space to save the civic space, like the Brian Ross “car-chase-punctuated, bimbo-model-hair-pulling, right-wing infomercial from Hell” it feels like when forced on you.

So I came home and Googled up a new website, Turn Off Fox News:

I was moved to develop this website while traveling the United States on a college speaking tour. Whether I was in airports, hotel lobbies, or restaurants, I often found myself subjected to TVs tuned to Fox News. These experiences often left me feeling tense, even angry. Looking around the television area, I could tell others shared my feelings.

Just changing the channel or turning off the TV isn’t as easy as it sounds (but this pdf handout will make it easier). Airports seldom give their patrons an option, and taking over the remote in a hotel breakfast room or lounge can lead to a nasty confrontation (with loyal Fox News viewers). No—channel control is ultimately the management’s responsibility.

With TurnOffFoxNews.com, my goal is to empower people to speak up to the management wherever Fox News is forced upon the public. Once business owners and managers realize that Fox News on their television says “only the far right are welcomed here,” many will realize that the courteous thing to do is change the channel.

In addition to Fox News being offensive for many, captive audience locations, such as airport terminals, make it easy for the network to add new viewers. A large percentage of these viewers simply aren’t politically aware enough to realize they’re watching the broadcast news equivalent of professional wrestling. For them, Fox’s concoction of fear and hate become an irresistible and addictive drug.

It’s time to end Fox News’s free ride! Please join me in the Turn Off Fox News movement.

More thoughts discussed here.

UPDATE: might need to turn off TLC next.

9 08 2010
COD

I, for one, will not welcome our flat screen TV Overlords.
http://www.odonnellweb.com/?p=8498

9 08 2010
JJ

Awesome! How did I miss that the other day??

9 08 2010
Crimson Wife

I do think a public official jetting off on a high-profile luxury vacation while so many people are hurting economically is tacky, whether it’s Mrs. Obama or Mrs. Palin when she was Governor of Alaska. Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer so it doesn’t bother me as much. My tax dollars aren’t going towards paying his salary or (in Mrs. Obama’s case the cost of having her own staff at her disposal & an extensive security detail).

Doesn’t Pres. Obama have any decent political advisors to help him avoid these kinds of PR disasters? Even if the President and Mrs. Obama have the kind of resources to easily afford a luxury European vacation, that doesn’t mean they ought to be flaunting it.

9 08 2010
JJ

I can see your mote! It’s so big and rough-hewn, can’t you at least feel it in there??

9 08 2010
COD

The only costs the taxpayers are incurring are the security costs – which are out of the Obama’s control. The Secret Service decides on the security posture. This entire thing is much ado about nothing. Just another baseless, fact-less attack manufactured by right wing hate radio.

10 08 2010
Nance Confer

It was a dumb move but hardly worth a mention on the news. Not an issue but something to fill the air.

Heck, I think Ms. Obama and her children just looking so darned beautiful all the time is in bad taste. Couldn’t they have a bad hair day or something?

Anyway, my bank no longer shows Fox crap. They seem to flip between CNN and MSNBC. I know that I bitched about Fox being on constantly one time. I wonder if others complained or they just got a clue.

Here’s the news any of them might cover though — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ssIhiD8kKM&feature=player_embedded — but it does last a whole 38 seconds so probably too long for network coverage.

Nance

10 08 2010
JJ

Nance! You’re back! Missed you, your fans have been asking for you. 😉

10 08 2010
JJ

Corporate-orchestrated black ape/slavery broadcasts spewed to cripple the public sphere and laugh all the way to the bank, is hardly “entertainment” and so far past merely “tacky” that it’s hard to believe anyone could honestly understand the context yet zero in on a traveling mother and nine-year-old daughter to criticize instead. The blindness of privilege is the most charitable explanation I can see, not the worst!

Sasha and Michelle Obama are public figures but not public officials, btw, although I get that it’s confusing what with a First Dude directing government staff to fire and stalk state troopers, Bristol and Willow reportedly given special treatment when in juvenile legal troubles, little Piper Palin flying coast to coast with a paper slurpee cup and a Louis Vitton bag (talk about tacky!) Baby Brother asleep on TV in a thousand dollar presidential campaign onesie. . .

(ABC News)

DE NIES: They’re traveling with old friends from Chicago. All staying at this five-star resort. Its website boasts lush gardens and luxurious suites.

ROBERT GIBBS: It’s a private trip and is being paid for that way.

DE NIES: She’s not the first first mom to jet set with her daughter. Hillary Clinton brought Chelsea around the world. Jenna Bush joined her mother in Africa. ABC’s Ann Compton covered it all. And says, there’s value to these visits.

ANN COMPTON: Whether they’re sitting on a beach or meeting with a king in a palace, it is bringing forth the American culture, the American people, representing the United States of America. It’s never really just vacation.

DE NIES: America’s littlest ambassadors have toured Russia’s Kremlin, Rome’s Coliseum. Even met with Queen Elizabeth. On Sunday, mother and daughter will lunch with the Spanish king and queen, a royal finish to this summer vacation. For Good Morning America, Yunji de Nies, ABC News, the White House.

So how about this? Anyone who on principle stands against ALL mother-daughter First Lady trips abroad because it’s just tacky, on apolitical economics or as an ideological isolationist even, please chime in and explain your reasoning. That could be fascinating.

And anyone who consistently decries tackiness by all public figures of all sorts who are wrestling for power in what’s left of the greatest nation on earth, especially anyone who doesn’t argue in every other conversation that the whole point of America is to get rich and stay that way, keep it all for yourself and tell the victimized, poor, infirm and disquietingly different to eat cake because their kids are no concern of yours, is BEGGED to speak up.

If you dare. Remember this is a long-running serial soap opera and as CW says “entertainment”, not a two-day “news” story, and some of us tuned in way back.

Cinderella Meets Toyko Rose in GOP Fairy Tale:

. . .There are two modest, hard-working Christian candidates with families in this election, who grew up among diversity learning to get along with differentness, one white and one black, both male, well-educated by their own merit and then choosing to work hard with that education to serve working people throughout America, help them to get good jobs and education for their families. They have one home apiece and intend to shape society so that every working-class family could do as well. They are on one ticket together. That can’t be the classist ticket!

Then there is a white man of enormous privilege and family connections, an American favorite son who like English princes was groomed within his own class to lead and sent off to war as an officer, returning to hero status and a series of castle-intrigue dalliances resulting in marriage to a beautiful but child-like blonde heiress with dependency problems who wants to love all the little children, casting herself as a saintly and self-sacrificing Mother Teresa except with jewelry and designer clothes and bodyguards and private jets and too many homes to keep track of, a bottomless fortune and various public titles (bestowed by family status, not her own hard work and merit) supporting her ethereal Diana-ness. . .

10 08 2010
JJ

Anyway, my bank no longer shows Fox crap. They seem to flip between CNN and MSNBC. I know that I bitched about Fox being on constantly one time.

Lol, no, they probably posted a customer relations lookout just for you, and then it’s, “Quick, here’s she comes again! Where’s the remote??”

11 08 2010
Crimson Wife

Mrs. Clinton and Mrs. Bush took their trips during economic booms, not the worst recession we’ve had in over 6 decades. I seem to remember Nancy Reagan getting plenty of flack for her designer clothes during the milder 1980’s recession, and rightfully so.

I’m puzzled by the “mote” barb since I have *NEVER* taken a luxury vacation in my entire life to Europe or anywhere else. Our last vacation was a road-trip up the Pacific Coast in June ’09 in our economy Toyota mostly crashing at friends’ places with the indulgence of a rustic cabin near Crater Lake for a couple of nights. This summer we did a “staycation”. Next summer’s grand plan is road-tripping to LA & San Diego. The cost for all 3 combined is likely less than 1 night at Mrs. Obama’s Spanish villa.

11 08 2010
Crimson Wife

And given that the Mrs. Obama has a staff of 26 (vs. 13 for Hillary Clinton and 15 for Laura Bush) at her disposal with a total cost to taxpayers of $1.75 Million not including the cost of her Secret Service detail, that makes her a “public official” in my book (even if she got her position via marriage rather than election or appointment).

11 08 2010
JJ

The whole point is once again, we don’t see the same point. In fact to me all of that sounds purposely pointless, distinction without difference with the practical effect intended or not, of protecting monsters while targeting victims.

I am pointing out a mother and daughter while in the public fishbowl, who haven’t done anything legally or morally wrong in public or even private life — they haven’t been pimping out love and marriage, pregnancy and custody, shilling for the next million on a cable reality show or even rolling their eyes at “teaching”, as any clear view of Palin public figure tackiness this week shows — and yet the good, beautifully behaving mother and daughter are being savaged in a corporate-funded, calculated dog-whistle political smear led by professional bigots trumping up brutes to take up arms against our elected government and its Constitution.

So your tacky-tacky response hits me upside the head with what does feel like a mote: they asked for it by being family members of the president, and deserve it for being tacky? (less inflammatory than outright saying it’s because they are black apes and slave descendents, but it feeds the same flames and burns the same victims.)

CW, isn’t the power of story in motes and splinters widely understood to be how much easier humans see small faults to pounce on and criticize in the Other, than the much larger and more problematic faults in ourselves and our own tribes? White conservative privilege snuggled into home ownership, health insurance and a tax bracket high enough to complain about after Wall Street careers – with or without lavish vacations, that’s a sure set of risk factors for visual impairment.

But maybe “straining at a gnat” would have been more literally apt? Lynn?
Sam?
Daryl?

11 08 2010
JJ

Btw — again, so not the point imo — the idea that “public official” includes non-governing private family members who get secret service protection is not constitutionally correct. They are not governing and have zero authority over me or you in our system. Throwing that idea into political commentary isn’t helpful to understanding what’s really going on in America right now. It obstructs our view.

(Some nations still are governed through family member officials, young adults and even children. But nine-year-old Sasha obviously isn’t a public official nor was baby Trig when his mom was getting secret service protection in late 2008.) More seriously and significantly, Hillary Clinton wasn’t a public official as First Lady although she overstepped, trying to exert power in policy and personnel, just as First Dude Todd Palin did. So this difference between public official and public figure is much more important than any distinction between First Ladies based on their personal staff budgets and where they vacation with their daughters.

11 08 2010
COD

In Hillary’s defense, all first ladies are way more involved in policy and personnel than we like to believe. No married man lives in a vacuum, not even the POTUS.

11 08 2010
JJ

Absolutely, I agree and I’m a married woman still very involved in policy as well, in m own actions and hopefully influencing others. Not governing, however. So that doesn’t make me a public official (any more.) Michelle Obama was a public official as a lawyer in Chicago; now she’s not. She is like Hillary Clinton as First Lady, a smart partner to her president husband who could be/has been/will be again a public official in her own right but as first spouse, is not.

This maybe matters more to me because I worked so many years as appointed public official with/for an elected board of public officials, who have the slightly different but equally difficult problem of being NOBODY as individuals. They can’t make a decision, head a working committee or task force, wield the least executive, legislative or judicial power at all, tell anyone in the system what to do even, unless they are acting as one body. They sure try though!

11 08 2010
JJ

Think back to the vicious criticism of Mama Obama and her husband as private married couple too, when they first moved to the White House and needed to decide on education options for their own daughters. White conservative Christian-homeschool privilege criticized that with a mote in their own eyes the size of Texas, some quite shockingly in the same breath they use to defend their own absolute parental rights to do anything short of murdering their own daughters — cover them up, keep them from doctors and vaccinations, indoctrinate and infantalize them, beat them with a bible rod and say it’s for their own good, force them to bear children even as young teens, to marry, to serve their own fathers and brothers not as partners but literally domestic slaves . . .

I remember all of that, see it all as integral to the actual power of story in what’s happening here. This isn’t really about tacky mamas and daughters. For wealthy white male-dominated conservative (corporate) privilege the Obamas are not American officials or even American period. They are foreign enemies who must be destroyed at any price, if the privileged are to hang onto their own dominance. WWJD indeed. Whose side would be more New Testament?

12 08 2010
JJ

Is this celebrity entertainment or news being made by public “officials” and is it merely tacky or dangerous to what’s left of the real America?

“Sovereign Citizens” Believe They Can Secede As Individuals:

COLUMBUS, Ohio — They call themselves sovereign citizens, U.S. residents who declare themselves above state and federal laws. Many don’t register children’s births, carry driver’s licenses or recognize the court system.

Some peddle schemes that use fictional legal loopholes to eliminate debt and avoid foreclosures.

A few such believers are violent: Two police officers in Arkansas died in a shootout in May after stopping an Ohio sovereign citizen and his son.

As many as 300,000 people identify as sovereign citizens, the Southern Poverty Law Center found in a study to be published Thursday that was obtained by The Associated Press. Hate group monitors say their numbers have increased thanks to the recession, the foreclosure crisis, the growth of the Internet and the election of Barack Obama in 2008. . .

I just found the report published here: Sovereign Citizen Kane

12 08 2010
JJ

Because they reject American governance as a nation and declare themselves individually sovereign, shouldn’t they be individually targeted by anti-immigration politics, rounded up by law enforcement and armed vigilantes and be deported, to, hmmm — Somalia!

12 08 2010
JJ

The press to Michelle Obama — be more like Laura Bush!

And how were the “optics” when First Lady Laura Bush got a $700 haircut for the 2005 Inauguration? Or when Laura Bush went on vacation with her girlfriends along with an entourage of 25 in tow? And how were the “optics” when the taxpayers spent more than $20 million flying the Bushes back and forth to their vacation retreat in Crawford, Texas?

How were those “optics”? They were just fine because nobody in the Beltway press corps ever cared about Laura Bush’s “optics.” Instead, for eight years she was, without question, deemed off-limits to any sort of sustained scrutiny. First Lady Bush was off-limits in a way that her Democratic predecessor, Hillary Clinton, was not. And she was off-limits in a way that her current Democratic successor most certainly is not.

Yes, the press uses a different, snarkier standard when covering Democratic first ladies. And frankly, all hell would’ve broken loose on the Right if anyone in the press even thought about putting Laura Bush under a partisan lens, let alone questioning her intentions.

14 08 2010
Nance Confer

The press treated all the Bushes with extreme deference at times — 9/11 and all judgement went out the window.

Nance

15 08 2010
JJ

Speaking of ranting white guys trumping up violence against public officials, oh, and “judgment” :

“There is no place in society for threatening federal judges with violence. Period. We are grateful that the jury saw these threats for what they were and rejected any notion that they were acceptable speech.”

[Conservative shock jock and blogger Hal] Turner was convicted Friday for making death threats against federal appeals court judges in Illinois. Turner’s defense had argued that his rants were “political trash talk” protected by the First Amendment. Two previous trials ended in hung juries.

Turner, who was previously free on bond, was taken into custody pending sentencing, according to the FBI. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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