Monthly Archives: January 2009

Michael Steele Elected Chairman of the RNC; Black People Now Rule America.

Apparently, the RNC isn’t as shortsighted as I thought.  This afternoon former Maryland Lt. Gov Michael Steele was elected chairman of the Republican National Committee (and as such, official leader of the Republican Party) after several rounds of voting.  This is doubly significant: not only is Steele the first African-American to hold the position, but we are now at a moment where both of the nation’s major parties are led by an African-American.  It’s pretty remarkable. More…

Reading Group Reminder.

Just a reminder for everyone interested in discussing Oscar Wao with us: we added a tab to the top of the page for the reading group, so that the posts on the book don’t fall and nobody accidentally stumbles upon spoilers.

The comments will open on Feb. 15, and we’re going to alternate between fiction and non-fiction each month.

It All Makes Sense Now.

Amnau Eele, credited as the co-founder of the Black Artists Association, has made headlines by criticizing Michelle Obama for not wearing any African-American designers during the inauguration in a report to Women’s Wear Daily. This does not mark the first time Eele, a “divination artist” has made headlines with unusual claims.In 2007, Amnau Eele and her brother Clifton Mallery (a/k/a Enjai Omaa Eele), filed a lawsuit claiming that the idea for the NBC show “Heroes” was in fact stolen from a 777-page handwritten novel they had written along with a short film and series of paintings on the same subject.

Their concept hinged on the idea of twins (they also refer to themselves as “The Twins”) who could paint the future. The lawsuit was dismissed as “absurd” by the judge, who also found that they were liable for NBC’s court fees, which totaled nearly $100,000.

The Eele siblings have also claimed that they predicted the events of September 11, notified the authorities and were ignored. They are reported in the Jewish World Review as “regular and sometimes unsettling sight in front of the Tribeca Film Co. headquarters.”

No records or news stories relating to the Black Artists Association that Eele claims to be the co-founder of could be located.

I sort of wish they had created Heroes, so I would know whose ass to beat for concocting Mohinder.

[h/t Snob]

The Grown Progeny of Single Moms.

slb wrote an essay on what being raised by a single mother (mis)taught her about the male-female dynamic. Matriarchy, she said, taught her not to invest fully in men. Conversely, a matriarchal upbringing taught one of the men she dated to rely too heavily on her. Her piece read like a blanket statement with which G.D. took umbrage.

So… the two of them decided to open the discussion to the rest of you.

Our question: If you were raised by a single parent, how has this informed your romantic relationships?

We also want to hear from you if you’ve dated someone who was singly parented and their rearing had any discernible effect on your relationship.

R.I.P., ‘Rabbit’ Writer.


John Updike

John Updike

Another really famous and important author we’ve never got around to reading has died. Goodbye, John Updike. It seems like only yesterday we skipped your latest short story in the New Yorker. It’s not personal. We never get around to reading that stuff.

Revisiting a Bad Mel Gibson Movie.


The New York Times  decided to delve deep into the juicy depths of female sexuality. Meredith Chivers, a 36-year-old sexologist, has probed the subject long and hard, wrapping herself into contradictions trying to answer the question posed by Freud a century ago: “What does a woman want?”

Ok, sorry. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised, but the story is the Times most e-mailed today, and it is being chattered about everywhere. Is the work discussed ground-breaking? Sexist? Great discussions, but I warn you now: You won’t find any of them here.

The article poses a lot of ideas that ring true with me, because of my life experiences, and some that don’t. I confess, though, these were the most pressing questions my mind raised as I read the article: How did the women insert the little probe used to test vaginal blood flow? Were they naked when they took the test? What kind of calisthenics was the woman doing (and is there more than one kind)? Do bonobos have sex face-to-face (I thought it was only humans and chimps)? How did the women in the fMRI scanner masturbate (toys, or the trusty-old right hand)? And who volunteers for tests like this, anyway? And I thought, of course women like the idea of being pinned up against the wall. I can’t even write about it without my mind going. . .  elsewhere.

Maybe my mind’s dirty. I also think it poses what I find a fatal flaw in the piece: I just don’t think female desire is all that mysterious. I also don’t think it’s necessarily bad to posit the idea women might think of being submissive during sex. Just because that might be true doesn’t mean they can’t also be in control of their sexual destinies, or view women as sexual objects rather than sexual subjects. We’re assigning submission a negative quality.

It’s not to say these inquiries aren’t worth it. But the increasing medicalization of desire (researchers are working on a female Viagra-type drug) was one of the topics discussed in the book “Sex in Crisis,” (which is not good, but I just finished anyway); it posited the way we think about sex today as a dangerous new revolution. And one of the things I took from the book is that the Christian Right has changed the way we think about sex because it treats our sexual behavior as something at odds with the way we want, or ought to want, it to be. I think this article does as well. This is sexist, but I kind of wish it had been written by a woman. Its gee-whiz quality annoys me.

But this post was meant to find out what you all thought about the article. So please, do tell.

Not Saving Newspapers.


I’ve been meaning to go on a rant for sometime about Henry Blodget’s really dumb idea to “fix” the New York Times. Among his ingenious new ideas: cut the staff, raise subscription rates, and charge an online fee. Gee, cutting staff! No one’s thought of that! Newspapers haven’t been cutting staff for the past couple of decades or anything! Charging online! What a great idea!

Blodget’s been rightly pilloried, but I’m mostly annoyed that he  must believe no one has ever thought of those three very basic things. Everyone seems to think newspapers are run by journalists who are very doltish about running a business. The opposite is true; newspaper companies are run by business-people who don’t know anything about journalism. If they did, they wouldn’t keep making their products worse. When newspapers started moving to the web, they hired journalists who could write on it and programmers who could make it pretty. They didn’t hire the innovators who could harness it’s powers into a money-making machine. And that’s why I’m sick of all these staff cuts at newspapers. Reporters are doing their jobs. The Internet’s as old as I am. The allegedly smart people who make millions at these companies should have figured it out long ago.