A Few Quick, Mostly Unrelated Things

1. Here’s the thing I really don’t understand about when Mitt insists that, you know, Steve Jobs did build Apple and Papa John did build Papa John’s, etc. Mitt ran Bain Capital. Even if he won’t acknowledge that roads were built not by him and government programs funded half of what he did with Bain and all the rest, he knows he has administrative staff, right? He knows he has janitors and an HR department (presumably) and an Accounts department and all that, right? And he knows he needs them in order for Bain Capital to be successful? And all companies need their staff and CEOs can’t be CEOs of shit without them? Right?

2. I know this is going to get me kicked out of the club, but please bear with me. I know that all of the anti-abortion bills being kicked around, in the U.S. Congress for D.C., and in various states, are very anti-woman, sometimes include provisions against hormonal contraception, and are not doing enough to protect the health of the mother. And even if all this weren’t going on, I’m still very much pro-choice, because it comes down to, you can’t legislate when life begins so you have to allow women/people and their doctors to decide when an abortion is called for. But. I don’t think that the people taking the position that abortion is not okay even in cases of rape are wrong on their own premises. If the premise is that life begins at conception and therefore abortion is murder, then you really can’t make an exception for rape. You can make an exception for the life/health of the mother, because you do have the right to kill in self-defense, but not for rape, because the fetus didn’t/isn’t raping you, so you don’t have the right to kill it.

I get that the person holding the position of, “I sincerely respect women and believe in feminism BUT I also believe that life begins at conception and therefore abortion is murder so as much as it pains me to think of a woman traumatized by rape having to also bear the child of her rapist, I can’t justify allowing for the murder of that child” is, like, a figment of my imagination. But if that person exists I respect them.

I think people who ARE pro-life but make exceptions for rape are holding one of two positions. The more respectable one to me is, “Look, abortion isn’t quite murder and a fetus isn’t quite a person and I don’t know really when life begins, but it’s morally problematic enough that I think it should be outlawed except in extreme circumstances.” And that’s okay. I still disagree, because I’m still pro-choice, and I still think that the question of when life begins is fuzzy and nebulous enough that you shouldn’t legislate it, but I can respect that person. The one I can’t respect is the one who is going, “Slutty whores who willingly have sex deserve whatever happens to them as a result, up to and including babies. But innocent virgins who were raped [because, let’s face it, most of the people who hold this position have a pretty narrow definition of ‘rape’, too] don’t have to bear the baby because they are not the ones who sinned.”

3. I’m thrilled about the new Obamacare provisions kicking into effect this week. But I want to reiterate: Contraception is not just women’s health care. It’s people’s health care. Gentlemen, do you want to have sex and not have babies? Then you need contraception, too. Just because the women are the ones who physically take the pill (or whatever), doesn’t mean that women are the only beneficiaries of the effects.

4. I know that maybe I’m only feeling this way because my main news source is Rachel Maddow and my more moderate, balanced news source is Jon Stewart, but I’m starting to get the feeling that Mitt Romney is secretly super-liberal and involved in some sort of conspiracy to ensure that Obama stays President. He can’t possibly be making all these dunderheaded mistakes and be seriously running for president, can he? Making all these shady comments about his non-released tax returns? Insulting the London Olympics AND Palestinians AND Mexicans? Being the stereotypical Clueless Rich Guy from some 1930s cartoon? This has to be some sort of performance art that’s not only going to allow Obama to win in a landslide, but to actually push through some of his most liberal programs because they’ll look so much better than whatever Romney is promoting this week? I mean, think about it. Mitt was for Romneycare, then when it became Obamacare, he hated it. He was for abortion, even raised money for Planned Parenthood, and now he hates it. He was pro-gay rights, now he hates that, too. But what if it’s all a scam? What if he still loves all those things and is doing his best to ensure that Obama is in a position to protect/promote those very things?

You want to check my eyes? Why?

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Fast and Furious

Have y’all heard about this plan? I heard it from Rachel Maddow and I heard it from Jon Stewart and I heard it from Bill Maher. If you haven’t heard, the deal is this. The ATF was selling guns to people they knew to be taking those guns to Mexican drug cartels. They were doing this in order to follow the chain of those guns to the higher-ups in the Mexican drug world. Then, in no surprise to anyone, they failed to do that thing. At least one US agent is dead, many Mexicans are dead, and they’re dead with our guns.

Donkeys are braying about how this was really a Bush plan, and the elephants are being really hypocritical and also crazy, and wouldn’t they be dead even without our guns (which, hello, is a sort of anti-gun-control statement to make). Elephants are bellowing either about how dare Obama want to keep a lid on this, or clearly this is some twisted conspiracy on the part of Obama to make gun policy that results in a disaster so epic people start calling for gun control, and then he can push through the gun control legislation he wants. Which is obviously nuts. Because a) it really did start in the Bush administration, which is not me crying, “Hey, this is all Bush’s fault,” because Obama let it go on for three years of his administration so, you know, both are to blame, but still invalidates the conspiracy theory, and b) do the Democrats really seem this capable of organization, forethought, and the control of public discourse to you? Come on now.

I am really annoyed that this has become so partisan so quickly. I’d rather focus on how stupid this plan was in the first place. Because when I first heard about this, I couldn’t believe this was an actual thing that happened and not the plot of a Bruce Willis movie.

Here’s how I see it:

Opening credits over a series of scenes of the violence and decadence of Mexican drug gangs and the news they are making there and in the States and maybe some footage of kerfuffles at the border and whatnot. Some of the footage is shot for the film and includes our actors; some is taken from actual news footage.

Then we swoop to the ATF field office in Phoenix, AZ. Chris Cooper is a muckety-muck at the ATF. He presents this plan to his field agents. His field agents are mostly too scared of him to argue, so they pursue this plan with varying levels of enthusiasm. We’ve got one guy (Scott Caan?) who is very “I follow orders because that is my job and my job is not to think.” One guy (Channing Tatum – obviously) is all, “Whatevs, I’ll finish my shift and then hit the bar where all the honeys flock to me.” Then there’s the guy who’s super-smart and really dedicated to his job and believes in Chris Cooper because he believes in The System. He’s played by Ryan Gosling, if we can get him.

But then something goes horribly wrong – like, I don’t know, a US patrolman (Bryan Greenberg) is shot with one of our guns. His mother (Ellen Burstyn) and his wife (Hayden Panettierre – she’s old enough to play a wife now, right? A young wife? She could be pregnant!) start screaming into any microphone they can find, demanding justice. So they send in Bruce Willis, who looks around with his smirk and his boulder of a face and sneers about how could you be so f-ing stupid as to think this was a good plan in the first place? And Chris Cooper snarls at him and he snarls back and then Bruce takes his team into Mexico.

Bruce Willis’s team contains a young, sassy black woman, played by Rosario Dawson, for whom he has paternal feelings. And Rosario Dawson is married to ultra-supportive, manning-the-home-front James Marsden, because I don’t think you’re actually allowed to turn on a camera if James Marsden is not standing in front of it. And he’s also got Jorge Garcia, who is kind of afraid and is in charge of the tech/translations/comic relief. But then, somewhere at the forty-five minute mark, they go to this village where an America gun was used in the murder of an old woman, whose son the drug lords were tracking down because he owed them money. Only it turns out that old woman was Jorge Garcia’s abuela! The son is Jorge’s daddy! Jorge’s mom took him to the U.S. when he was a young teen to get him away from the pernicious influence of his drug-dealing dad! So now, after much pursuing and fighting and detecting across Mexico, when they confront that particular murderer, Jorge Garcia doesn’t hold back; he shoots the guy. Which sets them back for a minute because they needed to question him but then Jorge does some computer magic (Thugs who work for Mexican druglords all have MacBooks, right?) and gets them the evidence they needed anyway.

So the team follow the trail of these guns and it leads them to one particular drug kingpin (Edward James Olmos) and they find out, oh my God, that Edward James Olmos and Chris Cooper were working together the whole time! It was all a conspiracy to get the guys working for Edward James Olmos more guns! Oh, and then Ryan Gosling is so distraught because the whole time he was helping Chris Cooper at the expense of Bruce Willis but it turns out Chris Cooper was evil. So Ryan Gosling is the one who compiles the necessary documents to prove that Chris Cooper is evil and sends them to the higher-ups. And then he gets Chris Cooper’s job.

And then critics would pan the movie because, well, OF COURSE Chris Cooper was in bed with the Mexican drug kingpin, because otherwise, WHY WOULD YOU EVER THINK IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO SELL GUNS TO VIOLENT CRIMINALS? It would do a respectable if not spectacular job at the box office and later be considered a good movie to Netflix if you’re looking to turn your mind off and look at some gun fights, some beautiful Mexican scenery, and some Rosario Dawson in skimpy shorts for a couple of hours.

(Hey, any Hollywood types reading this right now? This shit is copyrighted. Well, it’s copyrighted by virtue of me having written it. And then the registered copyright is pending. Will be pending. So if you think this is in fact a good idea for a movie? Show me the money.)

Homophobia

My “Glee” post will have to be late this week. We’re not watching tonight and Wednesdays are my crazy days. I know this is enormously disappointing to absolutely no one and a relief to my sister because she doesn’t have to keep up.

But in the meantime, and I guess in honor of National Coming Out Day, I want to write about Bill O’Reilly’s reaction to Jon Stewart’s joke that Jon found Bill’s use of Spanish “arousing.” (Start watching at around minute 5:45 if you just want to see that.) (Yeah, I’m ignoring the rest of the interview, especially the nonsense bullshit about the goddamn $16 muffin.) Anyone else would have laughed. Everyone knows Jon Stewart’s patter. But Bill O’Reilly glared at him and then backed way up. He backed up so far the camera couldn’t see him anymore, which I would think would produce some sort of allergy in Bill O’Reilly, being that far away from a camera lens. (I kid because I love! I love kidding, I mean. Not Bill O’Reilly.)

And this reminded me of a thing I always think. If you are a straight guy, you know how you react to being attracted to a woman. And if your reaction, upon hearing that a man might be attracted to you, is to treat that man like a threat to your person, well, that tells me a lot about how you treat the women to whom you’re attracted.

“Oh, that’s not it, you don’t get it, see, when I hit on a girl, she’s straight, whereas I am NOT GAY NOT GAY NOT FOR ONE SECOND GAY so it’s different.”

Okay. But . . . you know that just because she’s a straight girl and you’re a straight guy, it doesn’t mean she’s attracted to you, right? Just because you’re attracted to a given gender doesn’t mean you’re attracted to every member of that gender.

“Well, heh heh, guys are. We totally are.”

Um, believe me, you aren’t. You just only see as “female” the women you’re attracted to. Ever see that episode of “Coupling” where we’re seeing a flashback of how Patrick and Sally met and we see that, in reality, he was talking to Susan, Sally, and a heavier-set, less skankily dressed, more ordinary woman (and it’s British TV, so the woman actually looks fairly ordinary, not just as gorgeous as the other two but a brunette with glasses), but in his memory, he was talking to Susan, Sally, and a dude? (No? Then go watch.) That’s how men like you operate.

“It’s still totally different. Because I’m NOT GAY.”

It’s not different. If you react to a man expressing (even joking) attraction to you by treating him as a threat, it tells me that you treat the women to whom you attracted in a threatening manner. And, in Bill O’Reilly’s case, I already know that to be true.

Nothing makes me happier than to have the suspicions I hold confirmed.

Not being gay doesn’t mean you react like that to a man expressing attraction to you. Know how I know? My husband didn’t. When Jason and I got engaged, a friend of mine, who is male and gay, said something to the effect of, “Wow, congratulations. He’s really good-looking.” (I should mention that this man was a nice Jewish boy from nice Southern Savannah and had manners that would make Emily Post feel inferior. ‘Good-looking’ is as vulgar as he was ever going to get.) I told him I would pass on his compliment. He got nervous. “Oh, no, then he’ll act weird around me; he’ll be mad; all straight boys are.” I said, “No, seriously,” and then predicted how Jason would react, which was exactly how he did react: He made this cocky motion with his head and gave a smirk with which those of you who know him are very familiar and said, “See? I’m a catch. You are lucky to get me.” And I got to be extraordinarily pleased to have my choice of spouse validated like that. And, of course, to have my prediction confirmed.

Sophia would like a word:

I must agree entirely with my twin here, darlings. I could never be sexually compelled by a man who could not handle the attraction of other men – or of anyone to whom he was not attracted – with grace and aplomb. Such behavior as this Bill person displayed is the mark of an immature ape and it makes my insides positively arid.