Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Check this out!

Commenter SarahB has a cool site featuring lots of clothes and merchandise bearing my name! (Lipstick Republican, not Jamie.) (And naturally they're about Gov. Palin, not me, but still...) Check it out. For Lipstick Republican stuff particularly, go here: www.cafepress.com/papersalad/6025444.

But look, there's more at CafePress's GOPGirls.

Here's to beautiful conservative women! We know what we're about.

(And lest anyone wonder, there's no cognitive dissonance between this post and the Twilight one... really. Bella might be a seventeen-year-old in love with love, but she does what she believes is right and lets the chips fall where they may, she always pays the price for her decisions, and she doesn't press too hard to get into hanky-panky-ish trouble with Edward. Sounds like a conservative-in-training to me...)


My book club has been reading Twilight, heaven help me. If you don't know it, you may not have a teenage girl either in your life or in your head. It's the first in a four- (possibly one day five-, which has me all excited) book saga, which I shall try to summarize herein. Okay. Here we go.

We have Bella, a high school girl recently moved from Phoenix to Forks, Washington, a town so obscure that in our seven years in Seattle, even my geography-obsessed husband never made it there. Forks has the distinction of being one of the rainiest places in the country, which is intrinsic to the plot for reasons that will become clear.

We have Edward, a high school boy of strange and compelling mien - or so we think. (Dum-dum-daaaaaahhhh....)

Cutting to the chase, he's a vampire, she's not. He and his "family" of vampires, however, call themselves "vegetarians," having chosen to live more humanely than most of their kind, slaking their thirst with the blood of animals rather than humans. Edward likens it to tofu and soy milk, and throughout the whole series we're left with no doubt that animal blood is not NEARLY so tasty or satisfying as human - which I think is really funny, since when I was a vegetarian long ago, I tried hard to convince both myself and everyone around me that vegetarian fare was just as yummy as my formerly (and again, now) omnivorous diet. Back to our story: Bella's blood, for some reason, is terribly appealing to Edward; he can barely restrain himself from killing her when he's near her.

But he falls in love with her, and she with him. Trouble, and a lot of very G-rated yet heart-pounding non-sex, ensues. Lather, rinse, repeat, for four (maybe five!) books.

This is the real deal in the line of teenage-girl romance. There's minimal physical contact, but what there is is described in terms that conjure "seventeen" pretty much flawlessly - at least, my seventeen. There's loads of talk, loads of soul-baring. There's courage on both sides, and a commitment to one another that adults would call "obsession" but that seventeen-year-olds understand perfectly is just the hallmark of "true love." It's FABulous, if you (a) are seventeen, or (b) remember seventeen with any kind of fondness.

Why I remember seventeen with fondness is beyond me. My seventeenth year spanned two horrible "true loves": the year of my long-distance relationship with the very devout Catholic boy who said he loved me, took me to the brink of all kinds of sin (but never beyond), and then said he thought he wanted to be a priest; and the turbulent beginning of the ultimately monotonous hurricane whose passing marked the end of my brief first marriage. (Ultimately monotomous monotonous (sorry): a hurricane is a lot of wind and rain for a long time, right? Dangerous, destructive, but ultimately monotonous. That was my six years there.) Yet I read Twilight and its sequels in the space of about nine days, and have been rereading them ever since. Why?

Because I never got older than seventeen, of course. And I never stopped looking for the fairy tale of Edward, though I didn't know his name yet: the boy, or man, who couldn't resist me but never stopped trying, because he knew that being with him could destroy me. And this is Twilight's flaw, if you want to look at it that way: Bella says, and acts as if, she's in love with Edward, but what comes through most clearly is that she's overcome by his love for her. He really does love her, though his love is a little inexplicable (the fifth book, a retelling of Twilight itself from Edward's point of view - its draft first third or so was leaked, and now the author has released that manuscript because the cat's out of the bag - attempts to right this shortcoming). But Bella? She's just this girl, you know?

Except that the author, Stephenie Meyer, really really likes her. In this book, in this series, Bella is a giant Mary Sue. (I'm not linking to anything in this post because it's kind of embarrassing that I'm writing it at all, but I recommend to any reader unfamiliar with the term the enlightening Wikipedia entry on Mary Sues.) But here's the thing: I like Mary Sues, as long as they're sympathetic. So I don't mind. Bella's falling in love with either (a) Edward or (b) Edward's love for her (did you follow that?) makes perfect sense to me, and I've thoroughly enjoyed my foray into my own past.

Next question: how do I get back to my present? Final question: Why would I? Sigh.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The ONLY explanation?

Ever since the "Palin effect" began to be measurable (which is to say about three hours after the announcement that Gov. Palin would be McCain's running mate), I've perceived an effort to frame a possible Obama loss. An effort, that is, on the part of the news media. We have NPR, in a piece entitled Does Race Matter in '08? The View From York, PA":

Most voters say they won't decide between Barack Obama and John McCain on the basis of race. But, in a question that is more subtle than the standard questions in a poll, can a decision be based on the racial experience of the voter?

There's Harvard's Randall Kennedy writing in the Washington Post:

If Obama loses, I personally will feel disappointed, frustrated, hurt. I'll conclude that a fabulous opportunity has been lost. I'll believe that American voters have made a huge mistake. And I'll think that an important ingredient of their error is racial prejudice -- not the hateful, snarling, open bigotry that terrorized my parents in their youth, but rather a vague, sophisticated, low-key prejudice that is chameleonlike in its ability to adapt to new surroundings and to hide even from those firmly in its grip.

There's Gov. Kathleen Sebelius's claim in an AP article initially entitled "Sebelius says GOP using racial code language" - self-evident, that claim. But an excerpt anyway:

"Have any of you noticed that Barack Obama is part African-American?" Sebelius asked with sarcasm. "(Republicans) are not going to go lightly into the darkness."

And overall, a widespread sense that, with Pres. Bush's approval rating in the 30s, if Obama isn't up in the polls by at least a dozen points nationwide, something fishy must be going on, and by "fishy," I'm using GOP "code language" for "racist." (They give you a code book when you register Republican. Really. You know motor-voter registration at the DMV? If you register Republican, the person who takes down your information gives you a little wink and a head-jerk toward the restrooms. You go into the stall on the right - of course! - and a little door opens up in the back wall and there's a little book inside. Now that I've squealed, you can expect never to hear from me again.) I wish I could find the cite for an op-ed - I think it was an op-ed - I just heard quoted on the Limbaugh radio show, in which the writer, or the person being interviewed if it wasn't an op-ed, said again that the Democrat ticket ought to have taken this election in a walk; that it's a dead heat can only be explained, he said, by racism.

Really? ONLY by racism?

One question: why are the Democrats so sure that Bush's approval rating is "historically low" because he hasn't been acting left enough?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Yay! My moniker has meaning!

So there I was, just letting this blog languish and perhaps quietly die so I don't have one more thing to feel guilty about not keeping up with, when Barack Obama decided to try his hand at stand-up. You've heard it by now:

"You know, you can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig.” Followed by the wrapping-old-fish-in-newspaper comment, which pretty much makes mincemeat of the "argument" that Obama just "spoke hastily" or "was using folksy language." If it'd been just the pig-lipstick bit, it would've been technically possible that Obama didn't mean to reference Palin's Republican convention joke about hockey moms and pitbulls being identical except for the lipstick. But juxtapose it with a comment about an old (smelly) thing - and you've got the Republican ticket, presented in unsavory metaphor.

And now, the calls for response or lack of it. My favorite possible response, and I'm sorry that I can't recall where I read it this morning, was for the McCain campaign to release a statement along these lines: "We're pleased to note Sen. Obama's developing sense of humor, and we hope to see more of it over the next two months." Second choice: the entire McCain-Palin side rolls its collective eyes and gives that weak grin that parents give when their child announces loudly at a party or in a shop (as indeed our oldest did, on the named occasion), "I just went poopy in the potty!"

Dismissive. Indulgently dismissive. That's the tone this silliness calls for, and I trust that if Gov. Palin is allowed to play it her way, that'll be the tone that's taken. That there's been no demand for an apology from the McCain-Palin folks so far suggests to me that either Gov. Palin is being allowed to play it her way, or that her way and McCain's way are the same - and both are what I'd do, which is both personally gratifying and suggestive that maybe McCain won't be as nose-holding a President for me as I'd feared.

But the whole point (the blog world being as inwardly focused as it is) is this: a commenter to Roger Kimball's excellent piece of advice to the M-P campaign suggests:

I think the female constituents might do something subtly funny like t-shirts that say “lipstick republicans” or “read my lipstick” and just kind of own it.

(The commenter blogs at Argghhh!.)

Yippee! I knew it'd catch on... eventually.

Update: The McCain liptick ad? I thought it was funny, not affronted. Katie Couric commenting on sexism in politics, whether with regard to the Clinton-Obama contest or the Democrats' response to Palin's candidacy? Hahahahahahaha! Hoist on their own petard!