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Tiger Woods Shows Us: There is Something Very Wrong with our Society

(WARNING: Some content below may be offensive to the Self-Righteous!!!)

Interesting Fact: Before Thanksgiving 2009, if I had been at a party in search of a booty call and Tiger Woods had walked up to me and suggested we mess around, I would have accepted.

Like most folks, I think it is trashy, counter productive and despicable to get involved with a married person unless I am getting paid to do so. But prior to Thanksgiving of 2009, I didn’t even KNOW Tiger Woods was married with children. I obviously don’t give a shit about sports, but getting hit on by a multi-million dollar Golfer is pretty flattering. How many girls can say they hooked up with Tiger Woods? (A lot.)

Of course, bragging about a star studded sexcapade to your friends is a lot different than talking about it on Oprah. But in hindsight, I can see how some of Tiger’s mistresses were so willing to tell their stories after having CNN dangle big fat checks in front of their faces.

Tiger Woods is an athlete. He is famous for being able to hit a little white ball into a hole with a stick. Like most athletes and movie stars, he contributes absolutely nothing useful to society, save for a tiny, obligatory portion of his millions to some causes and charities.

But unlike movie and porn stars, athletes do not have the luxury of being able to date other athletes, assuming the majority of them are heterosexuals, because there are no famous female athletes that aren’t tennis players. In fact, athletes, besides being mostly male, sell their bodies to large multimillion dollar Corporations. We tut and cluck our tongues at porn stars, hookers, strippers, and models for doing exactly the same thing, and yet athletes are like modern day Gladiators. They are paid obscene amounts of money to play games that are sometimes violent, and we tell our children to look up at them as heroes so that they too can one day be rewarded the equivalent of the budgets of some small countries to jump on each other and chase around pig skins. (And really, if your child is looking up to athletes instead of you, than you’re doing something wrong. Yeah, I said it.)

So why the Hell does anyone CARE that Tiger Woods got caught cheating with practically every woman in the country (I mean, really, how do you know I HAVEN’T slept with Tiger Woods? You don’t know me like that!)?

Joseph Cannon said something about this earlier that I think bears repeating:

“But he represents…” Bullshit. Don’t bother trying to finish that sentence.

Nobody “represents” anything. Not even royalty and presidents. We’re all just people. As Robert De Niro said in The Deer Hunter: “This is this. This ain’t somethin’ else: This is this.”

Much of our low media infrastructure — Jerry Springer, the tabloids — has existed to humiliate people for unapproved sexual activity. But why do we care about the private kinks, errors, oddities, unconventionalities, betrayals and ecstasies of others? Are our lives really so small?

Its John Edwards, Mark Sanfords, Ted Haggards, Larry Craigs and George W Bushes of the world–those who bathe themselves in hypocrisy while fancying themselves more than just human beings, those men who believe themselves to be Gods and use their positions to claim moral superiority, justifying their own errors by condemning the mistakes of others and passing sexist and homophobic laws that keep those of us who are self aware on our knees– those are the men that deserve our attention and our scorn.

But lets look on the bright side: Tiger Woods’ sex scandal has been thoroughly entertaining. (Thanks to him, I now know that there’s someone out there with just as many sexual fetishes as me.) Most athletes behave the same way he does, they just don’t get caught. I live in Cleveland and LeBron James is like the second coming of Christ around here. But I know of a lot of women who have had less than fortunate encounters with him and other Cavs players, and I hope he crashes and burns. Yeah, I said it. And really, why would anyone even WANT to marry an athlete? You’d have to sit there and listen to them go on and on and on about twenty yard lines and bogeys and three pointers and other endlessly boring crap, and as a trade off they probably wouldn’t even be faithful. Lets hope Elin’s learned her lesson.

This can also teach us a lesson about the undeserved importance our society gives sports. We can not only talk to our children and remind them that pitchers and quarterbacks and point guards are just as lame and ignorant as the rest of us, we can also take the time to break it to them that the likelihood of them become professional athletes are slim to none: Daddy got that football scholarship a long time ago, and he’s not going to get it back by trying to live vicariously through them.

PS: And you know what? Tiger’s squeeze was right. Those golf balls were offensive.

UPDATE: Pandagon also has a wonderful, highly recommended post about this:

But my frustration with this is about more than just that. And it’s about more than the fact that there’s a double standard being employed in this—be it because Woods is an icon, or because of his race, or because of whatever—where he was singled out for a “scandal” for behavior that is more typical than not of golfers and athletes in general. It’s that holding Woods out to be a freak show implies that his behavior is unusual, and that his attitudes are freakish works to conceal the larger cultural support for his behavior and attitudes, especially in sports. But I would argue he’s typical, with the attitudes he almost surely has about women to inspire such epic cheating on his wife and apparent disregard for the well-being of his other partners. I’m not saying most or all men have his attitudes, of course. But a big enough chunk of them that it’s a joke to pretend that Woods’ behavior was anything to write home about.

Cheerleaders or lynch mob?

Which one should I choose?


Lately we have had a few self-appointed guardians of liberalism and feminism declare we should have our credentials revoked because we are cheerleaders for Sarah Palin. I guess they’re correct, but only if you define “cheerleading” as “speaking out against the lynch mob.”

This is a liberal blog and the front-pagers here range from “left” to “far left” in our politics. Most or all of us are or were Democrats. Some of our commenters are more centrist, and we have a small group of self-identified conservatives who visit occasionally.

We do not support conservative policies or candidates, nor do we support the Republican party or the Tea Party movement. We do not tolerate racism, racists, sexism, sexists, misogyny, birthers, truthers or Kool-aid drinking.

Sarah Palin is a mainstream conservative Republican politician. We don’t agree with her nor do we support her. When I say “we” I am referring to the front-pagers here at The Confluence – some of our commenters have indicated that they support her. That is their right to do so.

But just because we don’t support Sarah Palin doesn’t mean we have to demonize her or join in the attacks against her. Nor does it obligate us to sit silently while others launch unfair, dishonest and/or sexist attacks on her. Sarah Palin is not a stupid bimbo, nor is she really a liberal feminist posing as a conservative.

If you haven’t seen it yet please go read The Unresolvable Paradox by Violet Socks at Reclusive Leftist. Here’s a taste:

I see this almost irresistible urge to resolve the paradox from both sides. People who detest Palin’s politics seem to feel compelled to conclude that she’s also a bust in terms of representation — she’s no good for women in any way at all, not a feminist, certainly not a role model, that her election wouldn’t represent anything special, that her running for office isn’t anything special, etc., etc.

On the other side, people who acknowledge Palin’s role as a representative and pathbreaker seem to feel compelled to conclude that her politics are also good — or at least okay, or at least not too bad.

In both cases, I think what’s really going on is that people are trying to resolve the paradox.

My personal view of Sarah Palin is that she is one of the “not-crazy” Republicans but she is still a loyal member of the GOP. I’m not going to be shocked and dismayed when she engages in partisan politics or says conservative things. That’s what politicians do.

The election in 2012 will be a referendum on Barack Obama. Whether he is elected to a second term or not will depend primarily on his approval rating with the voters, not on who runs against him. But I guarantee you this: the winner of the election will be either a Republican or a Democrat.

If the winner is a Democrat it will almost certainly be Obama. But is the winner is a Republican it could be Sarah Palin or it could be someone like Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich or even Bobby Jindal.

There are far worse possibilities than a “President Palin.”


UPPDATE:

This is an example of why I think Sarah Palin has an excellent chance of winning the GOP nomination. NASCAR is huge in the red states, and this kind of celebrity attention is worth millions in advertising.


Is Sarah Palin a feminist?

sarahpalin_200908_477x600_1

My mom dropped by to visit this afternoon and the subject of Sarah Palin came up. I mentioned to her that a number of people in the blogosphere have been arguing that Sarah Palin is not a feminist because she is pro-life. My mom looked at me like I was crazy.

That’s not unusual, she’s been looking at me like that for a long as I can remember, but she asked “What’s that got to do with anything?”

I told her that according to some people “pro-life feminist” is an oxymoron and anyone who isn’t pro-choice is anti-feminist.  My mom said “Some people are idiots” as she stole my last beer from the fridge.

My mom is old school – she was a feminist back when they were called “women’s libbers” and married women were called “Mrs. Husband’s Name.”  I learned to drive in a car with a bumper sticker that said “A Woman’s Place is in the House – and the Senate”

No college diploma, she spent her life in the “pink collar” working class.  She’s not much for “feminist theory,” her life is applied feminism.  When she was a single mom raising me and my older sister she had to deal with the fact that “women’s jobs” didn’t pay enough to support a family.  (Back in the sixties women were supposed to be housewives and men were supposed to be the breadwinners.)

Before she retired my mom was active in NOW, BPW and LWV, and was the local chapter president of the latter two for a while.  Now she’s on the board of the local AARP chapter.

She’s also a devout Christian who thinks abortion is morally wrong.

Feminism is about equality for women.  That encompasses a lot of issues, including gender discrimination, domestic violence and reproductive rights.  Abortion is one issue, but it’s not the only issue.

Conservative women have just as much at stake as liberal women when it comes to job discrimination and sexual harassment.  To exclude them as allies on common issues because they disagree on abortion is absurd.

Caveat – not all conservative women support feminism.  I’m not talking about finding common ground with Phyllis Schlafly.  But when you have a successful “self-made” woman who self-identifies as a feminist  you should keep an open mind.

Right now feminism is perceived by most people to be part of  liberal ideology.  That also means that it is a “Democratic” issue – feminists generally vote for Democratic candidates.  How does that work in practice?

The GOP either ignores or opposes feminist issues.  There are no votes to be had supporting feminism so why not cater to the reactionaries?  But the Democrats take feminists for granted beccause “where else are they gonna go?”

Finding common ground doesn’t mean making compromises.  It means setting aside your differences temporarily to work together on an issue you agree on.  Unless the issue you are working on is abortion why bring it up?


BTW – Not everyone who opposes abortion is an Operation Rescue nut-job. Demonizing or ridiculing people who hold sincere beliefs that are different from ours is not only a waste of time, it’s counterproductive. We can treat their beliefs with respect without agreeing with them.


UPDATE:

Violet Socks seems to be on the same wavelength as me. If I was her I’d be worried.


Socially Unacceptable

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Remember a couple weeks back when Barack, Michelle and their media entourage flew to New York City one Saturday night for dinner and a show?  Imagine what would have happened if the following week David Letterman did a “Top Ten” list of the worst moments of their trip and said this:

Number 2 – Finding out that the restaurant didn’t serve fried chicken and watermelon

Not only would Letterman be retired right now, but so would the writers and producers of his show and the head of CBS would be offering profuse apologies to the Obamas. There would be protests, advertising boycotts, and denunciations of Letterman from the leaders of both parties. You can be sure Keith Olbermann would be ranting “How dare you sir!” and he wouldn’t be blaming the Obama’s for political opportunism. People would be outraged, and rightly so.

Not that long ago racism was socially acceptable and racial discrimination was legal.  Academics prepared scholarly treatises asserting the superiority of the white race.  Many (white) people believed that it was the “white man’s burden” to exercise control over the “lesser” races for their own benefit.

Senator Robert Byrd of West Virgina is a former member of the Ku Klux Klan. That was in 1942.  He is now third in line of succession to the Presidency. Former senator and Supreme Court justice Hugo Black is another prominent figure who once belonged to the Klan.

At it’s peak in the 1920’s the Klan had millions of members from all levels of society:

Indiana’s Klansmen represented a wide cross section of society: they were not disproportionately urban or rural, nor were they significantly more or less likely than other members of society to be from the working class, middle class, or professional ranks.

Once upon a time the Klan had major political influence in the South and Midwest. Nowadays the Klan is a fringe group that is viewed with disgust by the vast majority of the nation.

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Hullaballo – A Fauxgressive Freeperville

(Do not watch the above video unless you have a strong stomach – I’m not even going to describe what’s in it.)

Last week we discussed Digby’s role in last year’s meltdown of progressive blogosphere.  Digby was one of the most well respected bloggers until last year and Hullaballoo used to be one of my favorite stops in Left Blogistan.

Not anymore.  Digby discusses Palin vs. Letterman in her post “On Nuts ‘N Sluts” and starts out pretty good:

First of all, Sarah Palin does not look or act like a “slut” and it’s nothing more than a sexual fantasy to think of her that way. She married her high school sweetheart and has five kids. She’s a born again Christian. She does not dress provocatively, and she has said that she put her hair up and wore glasses specifically to take her looks off the table as much as possible. She’s an attractive 40 something politician, she’s not a Playboy model (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and it would be nice if she didn’t have to put up with that stuff. She’s not trying to “sex herself up” for the camera or anything else. There’s enough to criticize her for.

But she soon takes a right turn onto WTF? lane:

And making Palin into a feminist hero because of this cheapens feminism. This woman is defending herself and her own daughter, but as Governor she never quite finds the voice to defend other women who have average real life problems, like workplace discrimination, rapes or unwanted pregnancies. Her complaints are not coming from feminist principle but rather political opportunism.

Yeah, we all know that Sarah Palin doesn’t care about feminism because SHE’S AN EVIL REPUBLICAN CONSERVATIVE!!!!

If Sarah Palin were exactly the same person with the same opinions but she had gone to some Ivy League university and had a “D” instead of an “R” after her name she would be the darling of the progressive blogosphere despite her stance on abortion. The A-listers in Left Blogistan would fall all over themselves rationalizing her conservative moderate views because she comes from a red state.  UInfortunately for her she’s a Republican with a degree from a state college so she’s a “hillbilly from Wasilly”

But it it’s the comment thread to Digby’s post that is sickening:

With Sarah Palin in charge, by the way, if her daughter did get raped, she’d have to pay the police for the cost of a rape kit.

—————————————————————————

That Bristol was the subject of the joke was clear. Palin and her husband are either

1) Incredibly stupid or

2) Incredibly dishonest and just using this as a way to keep the camera on themselves.

I’m voting for number 2 personally. I don’t think there’s the slightest bit of honest outrage on the part of the Palins here.

—————————————————————————

Sarah Palin is using the supposed insult to her 14-year old daughter to pick a fight with a media elite, singing to her victimology-loving base. Letterman’s jokes were in poor taste; he’s admitted that.

But that this story remains aloft is entirely due to Sarah and Todd Palin, who have proven (yet again) that they will use their own children to advance the Governor’s political ambition.

Who’s the exploiter now?

—————————————————————————

Yeah, well, I’d still tap it…….

—————————————————————————

Sarah Palin does not look or act like a “slut”

Yes, she does. She talks and sparkles and winks like a cocktail waitress with a table of out-of-town convention-goers.

—————————————————————————

Digs…puh-lease. You say Ms. Palin does not dress provocatively. I demure: her skirts are always ass-hugging tight, her jackets tailored to show off the boobage, and don’t get me started on those little fuck-me pumps with the painted toenails.

Now, it is true that Sarah’s ass, tits, and toes are very Christian, but she does thend to, as Rupaul would say, “work it.”

Are we to think this is professional attire for a vice presidential aspirant? Maybe Barack should have worn low hangers to the debates to work his ass crack for votes too.

Sarah Palin is a hypocrite and a light weight media creation; Letterman was and is spot-on. I salute his bad taste; his “apology” was more entertaining than the original jokes. And anyone who thinks he was actually apologizing is not hearing the words and the tone.

—————————————————————————

And you’ll remember the Clintons didn’t parade their daughter out all the time as a model for all children, etc.

Not that I ever loved the Clintons, but c’mon people, you know they didn’t ask for it like Palin has.

—————————————————————————

Sorry, but Palin does look like a slutty airline attendant. She acts like one as well. She cakes on the make-up, and the joke was about buying make-up. She works her looks to attract GOP males. She is fair game.

Change “Sarah Palin” to “Hillary Clinton” and “slut” to “lesbian” and the crap thrown at Sarah isn’t much different from the wingnut slime of the nineties. Crap like that is why we moderate comments. Hit the delete button and let the sexist slugs and low-life misogynists go exercise their free speech rights somewhere else.


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This is what a feminist looks like

Spare me the “she’s an anti-choice conservative” bullshit.  So is Obama.

Sarah said more in defense of women than NOW did.

From Transcript (unofficial):

Here’s the problem, Matt – the double standard that has been applied here. One, let’s talk politically, the double standard. First, remember in the campaign, Barack Obama said the family’s off-limits – you don’t talk about my family. And the candidate who must be obeyed – everybody adhered to that and left his family. They haven’t done that on the other side of the ticket, and it has continued to this day. So that’s a political double standard. But here again, the double standard when it comes to acceptance of a celebrity being able to get way with a disparaging comment that does erode a young girl’s self-esteem and does contribute to some of the problems that we have in society.

[...]

He doesn’t have to apologize to me.

I would like to see him apologize to young women across the country for contributing to that–kind of that thread that is throughout our culture that makes it sound like that it’s okay to talk about young girls in that way. Where it’s kind of okay and accepted and funny to talk about statutory rape. It’s not cool. It’s not funny.

FIRE DAVID LETTERMAN

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The Zombie Tribe

Obama!  Obama!  Obama!

Obama! Obama! Obama!

What’s so hard about condemning sexism and misogyny?  Does it really matter who the victim is?  John Cole gets it:

You know, I have no idea what the hell David Letterman is thinking or what he thinks he is accomplishing with crap like this, but this was inexcusable. He should be ashamed of himself.

And I’m not trying to sound like some politically correct scold, and I have no problem with comedians being comedians. There are lots of reasons to dislike Sarah Palin, there are lots of reasons to not be impressed with her leadership, her beliefs, or, well, anything about her, but when you start with the “slutty” crap, or are making jokes about her daughter getting “knocked up,” you’ve crossed a line. I have no problem attacking Palin for her idiotic proposals and all the stupid things she has said, but this just is the kind of nonsense that is no good for anyone.

Maybe I’m over-reacting, and I know I’m not always perfect, but I’m really losing my patience and tolerance for this kind of stuff. There was no place for this kind of stuff with Hillary and Chelsea, there is no room for it with Michelle and their kids, and the same standard should apply for Sarah Palin and her kids. Hell, it should apply to all women.

But some of his readers don’t:

She worked that slutty angle —and no way in hell can anyone say certain men didn’t respond. Starbursts, remember? It was an image she carefully presented and I don’t get all the vapors people here get for her getting called on it.

By the way, this whole ‘insulting to women’ chorus of protest is so fucking misplaced. You people seemed to missed that the very real and much more damaging diss occurred when Palin ran for VP using her best MILF act.

Part of the reason conservatives loves them some Palin is she is an anti-feminist. What could be a bigger diss than to get where she is because she has a vagina and men like her because she’s hot?

She made herself into the lapdance the rednecks couldn’t buy (while pushing her high heels into the face of every woman who ever fought to get their due for their competence, intelligent and capability, and not for being a hot mamma). And somehow, amazingly, a comedian joking about Palin’s carefully cultivated Fuckable Me image is the thing that is over the top.

Sheesh. Some of you really missed what Palin was up to. Palin was the manchurian candidate for feminism.

The hot fuck-me chick who can’t be fucked. Like a slutty stewardess. She’s got the fuck-me thing going on but what can you do? Bend her over one of the seats? Unobtainable Sex Object. Akin to the Hot Librarian with the Big Glasses. (Another stock male fantasy character Palin more than hints at as well). Cuz guys, you know when she takes off those glasses and lets down her hair she’ll fuck you so hard on the book stacks your dick’ll be bruised.

Sure that’s stereotype that demeans women. Hell yes. But Palin is totally reinforcing that one. She’s projecting it: This is the modern Conservative Woman.

It’s a feature not a bug that it’s undermes feminism. Why do you think conservatives love this exemplar of Woman? And where’s the vapors over that?

It’s actually interesting that Letterman said ‘stewardess’. No flight attendants for conservatives. Women are stewardesses. Waitresses in the sky.

You can get pissed at Letterman but I think he’s noticing something here. It says more about how conservatives see women than Dave does.

Letterman did wasn’t nice. But comedians often say harsh shit. A difference between comedy and a comedian making gratuitous insults is whether it was true or not. Good for Dave for calling her on it. She doesn’t get to have it both ways.

That was one of many comments in a long thread (361 comments) where numerous people defended David Letterman’s misogynistic comments about Sarah and Willow Palin.  What was so hard about denouncing something that is obviously wrong? Why would these people defend the indefensible?

The answer is tribalism

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