To the senators who want to be president
October 11, 2008 | 2008 campaign,Afghanistan,Barack Obama,Debates,Iraq,John McCain,Media,Politics,PR,SLBTM
Oh, wait. It is easy to decide who to sell out and who to bail out.
Sell out: A taxpayer with one measly vote.
Bail out: Friends in high places with bags o’ cash, like, oh … AIG.
Sen. McCain, you got $43,275 from AIG employees and $7,634,378 from the securities and investment industry.
Sen. Obama, you got $88,099 from AIG employees and $10,847,652 from the securities and investment industry.
And you’re looking out for … me?
And those debates. Are you kidding me? We’ve got troops dying in two wars that neither of you plan to end, even though the American public told you loudly and clearly two years ago that’s what it wanted. We’ve got people losing their jobs, their homes, their retirement savings. We, as a country, are broke, thanks to failed policies both of you supported. And this is the best you can do?
Sen. Obama, would you please call your Hollywood friends? The ones who patronize average Americans with reverse psychology because, you know, average Americans are stupid like that. The ones who made this:
Know what I say to them? Shut up. Give me a viable candidate, and I’ll vote. Until then? Shut it. Well, you go ahead and tell Leo he can come over here and lick my face … then I might think about voting for him. Or … maybe I’ll just let him lick my face.
C’mon, Senators. Level with me. Neither one of you wants or needs my itty-bitty vote. The first one who stands up and publicly admits that? Gets my vote.
Books: Rumors of our Progress have been Greatly Exaggerated by Carolyn B. Maloney
August 7, 2008 | Advertising,Books,Breast cancer,Colbert Report,Colin Powell,Economics,Ethics,Family,Health,Media,Movies,MSM,Music,Parenting,Pink,Politics,PR,Race,Research,SLBTM,Statistics,Television,U.S. government,Verizon,Work,Working Mother
I just finished reading Rumors of our Progress have been Greatly Exaggerated: Why Women’s Lives Aren’t Getting any Easier and How We Can Make Real Progress for Ourselves and Our Daughters by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y. I received a review copy from the publisher, Modern Times, an imprint of Rodale, Inc.
As I was getting ready to write something about the book, I ran across Maloney’s July 29, 2008, appearance on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report. At first, I thought I would just include it with other links, but the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me.
|The Colbert Report||Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Better Know a District – New York’s 14th – Carolyn Maloney|
Is it really funny that women get fired for lactating?
Here’s a quote from Maloney’s book.
I also heard numerous stories about difficulties in the workplace, including one woman whose male colleagues mooed outside the door as she expressed milk to take home and another woman being banished to do so in her car across the street from her office.
I didn’t laugh once while reading her book, but maybe I missed something. Exactly which issue that she wrote about was funny? Rape? Domestic violence? Burkas? Breast cancer? Or maybe prostitution? That link goes to a 2007 feature in Prism magazine, which Maloney reprinted on page 246 of her book and said it made the strongest case against sex trafficking she had ever seen.
Depictions of prostitution in the media and popular culture (including the movie Pretty Woman) can be grossly misleading, even glamorous. In fact, street prostitutes are typically trafficked, exploited, battered, and often force-fed drugs by slavemaster pimps. This series of mugshots of street prostitutes, which documents their first arrest to their eighth, illustrates the reality of life on the street, which more closely resembles a descent into hell than a Hollywood movie.
Is that funny? If not, I’m confused about why one of the first places she went to discuss her book was Comedy Central.
The blurbs on the back of her book are written by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Gloria Steinem, Pat Schroeder, Ellie Smeal and Arianna Huffington. (Geraldine Ferraro was also included in the online “praise” section for the book.) Were they slapping their knees and giggling at the sight of Colbert using a breast pump while Maloney smiled and kept her cool? If not, does that mean they just can’t take a joke?
I’ve written about the blurred lines between celebrity and politics. It’s as if something has shifted. Instead of looking back as former government officials (elected or not), they now have to prove they don’t take themselves too seriously while they’re in office, no matter how “serious” the positions they hold. They have to prove that they get the joke. Hey, they’re even in on the joke because so many things that happen in Washington are, well, a joke. Is that it?
Maybe I just don’t get the whole Inside the Beltway atmosphere. Is it really just a non-stop college kegger where everyone has to hit the beer bong and slam shots until they puke their guts out to prove they can keep up?
Maloney’s book is a fairly comprehensive list of women’s issues — what’s been done, what’s been undone and what still needs to be done. For those who regularly keep up on these issues, not much of the information is new, but it’s interesting to read about the issues from Maloney’s perspective as a policymaker.
She put a “take-action guide” at the end of each chapter, providing contact information for some of the groups and organizations working on specific issues. Her goal is to convince readers to do something, anything: “I hope to persuade you that any action in support of your beliefs matters, whether it is large or small, brief or time-consuming, successful or unsuccessful.”
She included women’s personal stories as well as her own story and a wealth of information from other sources.
She draws upon the work of Martha Burk (Cult of Power: Sex Discrimination in Corporate America and What Can Be Done About It), Ann Crittenden (The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World is Still the Least Valued), Jody Heymann (The Work, Family, and Equity Index: Where Does the United States Stand Globally?), MomsRising (The Motherhood Manifesto: What America’s Moms Want – and What To Do About It), Evelyn Murphy and E.J. Graff (Getting Even: Why Women Don’t Get Paid Like Men–And What to Do About It), Joan Williams (Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What to Do About It), Marie Wilson (Closing the Leadership Gap: Add Women, Change Everything), among many others.
She also included some of her own research and highlighted inconsistencies between cultural myth and everyday reality.
Maloney mentioned Morgan Stanley, which settled a class-action sex-discrimination case for $54 million and then another one for $46 million, yet it consistently appears on Working Mother magazine’s 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers list, a topic I have written about many times.
You might think that Morgan Stanley would work especially hard to eradicate sex discrimination after so costly [$54 million] an episode. But the firm settled another class action sex discrimination suit in 2007 for $46 million — bringing its overall sex discrimination price tag to an even $100 million. That sounds like a lot, but it only amounts to a few good days of trading.
Despite these incidents, Morgan Stanley has been cited numerous times by Working Mother magazine as one of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers. That makes me wonder how bad things are at other companies.
While she pointed out the inconsistency of the companies that appear in Working Mother with their employment track record, she listed in the take-action guide the National Association for Female Executives, which might be a perfectly fine organization. But it falls under the umbrella of Working Mother Media, which publishes Working Mother magazine, whose 100 Best list is — well, let’s just say I’m highly skeptical of the whole thing.
She also gave this example.
If you drive your Mitsubishi to the airport after filling its tank at Sunoco, board a Boeing-built plane for a United Airlines flight, use your Verizon cell phone service to call your spouse before you take off, and then bite into a Krispy Kreme doughnut, you’ve just enriched six household-name companies that have settled or lost sex discrimination cases and lawsuits in recent years.
Right. At least one of those companies — Verizon — makes Working Mother magazine’s 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers list year after year.
In the take-action guide at the end of the “Health Care That’s Always There” chapter, she recommended (among others) Dove’s Campain for Real Beauty as a way to “start health education early by teaching our young and teenaged girls about issues that affect them.” If you scratch the surface of Dove, you’ll find a wee bit of image manipulation of its own.
Unilever is the maker of Dove products (and major “research” funder), which are the basis for the Campaign for Real Beauty and its self-esteem education for young girls. Unilever also makes and markets Axe products, which exist in a parallel universe where the V.I.X.E.N.S. (Very Interactive Xtremely Entertaining Naughty Supermodels) and Bom Chicka Wah Wahs don’t have “real beauty” or self-esteem issues.
In “The Pretty Woman Myth” chapter, Maloney wrote about misleading portrayals of prostitution in popular culture and mentioned that the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2006 went to ‘It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp,'” whose lyrics include:
Wait I got a snow bunny, and a black girl too
You pay the right price and they’ll both do you
That’s the way the game goes, gotta keep it strictly pimpin
Gotta have my hustle tight, makin change off these women, yeah
I remember when that happened, thinking, what?!? There was George Clooney, smugly patting himself on the back for Hollywood being “out of touch” for “giving Hattie McDaniel an Oscar when blacks were still sitting in the backs of theaters.” That was in 1939. Just how long was it, dear George, until the next black person was so honored? That would be 1948, then 1964, then 1982, then 2002. And just how far has Hollywood come, George, by glorifying “the black man” … as a pimp, not to mention portraying women of all colors as simply a venue for making money? Hollywood’s out of touch, George. Ya think?
Which brings me back around to the Comedy Central appearance.
If it’s a matter of reaching a younger audience? C’mon, they deserve more credit than that. It’s not only “the kids” watching Comedy Central, and “the younger audience” is watching much more than just Comedy Central. And there are tons of young, vibrant, intelligent voices on the Internet. Dust off the mouse and start clicking.
Besides, there’s not a damn thing that’s funny about this book. Just like the issues Maloney discusses in the book — the media and popular-culture myths that harm the efforts to improve the lives of real people — Maloney’s Comedy Central appearance did nothing but belittle and mock some very serious societal issues. The people behind the stories about sex discrimination, prostitution and unacceptably high infant-mortality rates (to name just a few) deserve much more than to become the butt of a comedian’s joke.
Politics: All the world’s a stage
Colin Powell goes from class act to class clown
Rumors of housekeeping have been greatly exaggerated*
Categories: Working Mother
Know your Working Mother press releases
What Working Mother magazine won’t tell you, part 1
Will you let Working Mother magazine speak for you?
What Working Mother magazine won’t tell you: Abbott
Psst! Scientists prove girls prefer pink! Pass it on!
SLBTM: Unilever/Dove’s ‘real beauty’***
Revisiting Linda Hirshman
Why did New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer cheat? Because his wife was an “opt-out revolutionary.” She “quit her day job.” And it’s all her fault. Right. Because husbands whose wives don’t opt out? They never cheat.
SLBTM: Unilever/Dove’s ‘real beauty’***
October 14, 2007 | Advertising,Ethics,Parenting,PR,SLBTM
You’ve probably seen this advertisement, brought to you by good global citizen Unilever, maker of Dove products and mastermind behind the Campaign for Real Beauty, which launched in September 2004. Not only did ads show not-size-2 models to inspire positive self-image in women, they were supposed to “support a wider definition of beauty.” The campaign started a program with the Girl Scouts of the USA to “foster self-esteem among girls ages 8 to 17.” And, oh yeah, the ads were supposed to sell skin-firming cream. Hence, the slogan, “Stand Firm and Celebrate Your Curves.” Stand firm. Get it?
Then came the viral video Evolution that Unilever placed on YouTube. Then there was Pro-age. Now we have Onslaught, which warns, “Talk to your daughter before the beauty industry does.” Yeah. Or before Unilever does. Watch Onslaught carefully. It will look familiar in a minute.
Unilever has your cake and eats it too
Apparently for boys ages 8 to 17 (and beyond), however, Unilever uses the “Axe Effect” — complete with V.I.X.E.N.S. (Very Interactive Xtremely Entertaining Naughty Supermodels). After watching the introduction by the naughty maid, who spanked herself with a spatula for being bad (oh, and I can make her spank herself again … and again … and again …), I tried to download the interactive video game, which comes with voice recognition so you can “command” the V.I.X.E.N.S. to do what you want. Either they can tell I’m not a 12-year-old boy or every 12-year-old boy in the world is trying to download it at the same time.
I did get to the point of getting the application on my computer, when “Naomi” and friends chatted with me for a bit.
“Hi, I’m Naomi. And you know what that spells backwards.” (Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.)
But to make up for not getting the video game, I was able to enjoy the Bom Chicka Wah Wahs, who don’t need no stinkin’ self-affirming firming cream because they’re already a size 2. They don’t need no stinkin’ Campaign for Real Beauty because they’ve already perfected the “O” face while pole dancing, shaking the tassels on their lingerie and crawling like cats. Meow.
***SLBTM = Smells Like Bullshit To Me
Updated to add: Bob Garfield wrote a review in the Oct. 8, 2007, Advertising Age, “‘Onslaught’ is a triumph — if you don’t count the hypocrisy.” That’s the headline in the magazine. Online it’s “Dove’s New ‘Onslaught’ Ad a Triumph.” He sings the praises of the ad, saying that it “should get an Oscar,” and “Standing ovation here.”
A worthy cause, a brilliant strategy, a flawless video. It all amounts to something very close to perfection. So, yes, absolutely, four stars.
Just when I started squirming, he dropped this bomb.
Damn, if it just weren’t for the nagging hypocrisy of it all.
He went on to explain that Dove is a brand from Unilever, which also manufactures and markets the Axe/Lynx brand and Slim-Fast. As for the public-relations firm that produced the video, Ogilvy & Mather, “in a bit of horrifying/delicious irony,” he said, is the U.S. agency for the Barbie doll (Mattel).
(Originally posted Oct. 11, 2007)