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23 November
media chicken, media egg
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I saw a slightly retro commercial this morning. It frustrated me. Here's why: it's a re-use of a jingle from when I was a kid. Something to the effect of "Momma" having the magic of detergent - Clorox, I'm pretty sure.

There are, I'm sure you know, a large volume of American commercials that assume all things household and child are handled by women. There are also a large number (quite likely the majority) of American households in which that is true.

But I remember being promised, back when that jingle was first sung, that I could have anything and structure my life however I wished. I'm fairly certain that at least some of the households where the Clorox jingle rings true today are headed by women and men who heard those same promises.

It's not a new question, but it bears somewhat constant evaluation: how much do media shape our perspective, and how much do we dictate what media show? [That sentence sounds awkward, doesn't it? I'm trying to avoid the boring collective "The Media" and its disturbing singularity, but the plural seems almost archaic.]

It's not a new question, but it's still a troubling question. Does public opinion have to be completely reversed in order for media to reflect it? Seems that way. You can, of course, also argue that the Corporations who control The Media have an interest in maintaining the status quo - but it wouldn't be entirely true. Those Corporations (aka The Man), even when considered in such stock terminology, still have an interest in producing whatever it is that we desire. You know, so we'll buy it.

The Clorox thing (part two) bothers me on another level - is it implying that the eighties are an idyllic time for which we should pine? Or are the jingle-writers just on strike? In any case, I think I can speak for the rest of the class when I say: Put the eighties back in that can, already. Thank you.


the old mac
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Ah, most of the time I wonder why I even keep my old iMac around. [I'm an early but infrequent adopter; our backup computer is one of the 333's (the second release) and can't even handle an Airport card.] It's fairly klunky, I've never installed most of the current versions of my design software on it, etc.

But, wow. This thing has an exquisite display. It's "smooth fonts" thing works beautifully. The colors are true. This is all about why computers that aren't Mac's suck. Seriously. The fact that this much care went into the design and polish of what I see when I turn on what is essentially a low-end computer...

This kicks the ass of even the nicest PC monitor I've had. And it's not the best a Mac can do, not nearly.

Just had to share. If you design for the web, and you don't do it on a Mac, you're missing out. If you disagree, it's only because you're unenlightened. [All the strong political opinions I have, and this is the one area in which I won't broach argument. Go figure.]


18 November
recommended for ages twelve and under
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To continue on the play theme, let's talk about Barbie.

I saw a holiday Barbie (you know, the one with the big velveteen dress) yesterday and almost cooed. I have an abiding fondness for Barbie.

I grew up with a lot of Barbies. This didn't damage my self-image or teach me crazed notions about gender roles. In fact, I think it was quite useful.

but wait! there's more »


15 November
democrats, huzzah
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There are tons of articles out there about Nancy Pelosi taking over as House Minority Leader. I like this one; it has a nice "just the facts, ma'am" quality about it.

I'm also more than a little amused at a Washington Post article that tells us, essentially - "No, she's not just a hippie - she's a real politician". I think part of Pelosi's appeal is her odd Mom quality. You really can see a bit of your own mother in her, whether your mother is a homemaker with 5 kids, a wacky liberal, or a career girl. [Is it hip and retro of me to use "career girl" in a sentence? Or just offensive? I can never tell.]

In any case, I'm glad Pelosi's advancing. She just seems to deserve it. Oh, and she's the first woman to lead a party in the House. I think that deserves a quiet "huzzah".


13 November
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Something on Caveat Lector started me thinking about feminist perspectives on aggression, particularly on boy-play as aggression.

Says she:
Another part of it, though, strikes me as plain old ordinary aggression using ěplayî as a shield. This is a classic kindergarten trick. ěI was just playing! I didnít mean nothiní!î

I've personally come to feel very strongly that play needs to be a shield. Not just for men, but for women.

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12 November
internet politics
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I've seen one depressing response to this week's collab topic already. Although I suppose it wasn't a formal response, as I just happened upon it. Ironically, only one person has actually posted a response to the question. Sometimes I wonder if anyone is listening.

So, here's the question:

How has your participation in the internet changed your participation in and your perspective on politics and activism? How could the internet be used to improve the global political environment?

but wait! there's more »


11 November
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The problem of anti-consumerism is that it seems to be entirely an upper class phenomenon.

Not unusual, right? Leftism is sometimes a necessity for the poor and working class, but always an option for those with money.

but wait! there's more »


butterfly wings
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I got an email from a news service run by one of my old team members in which the word "hoser" appears.

This is funny primarily because, on a certain project, I covertly referred to one of the people on our client's team as "The Hoser". The retro-eightiesness of it led to great amusement on the part of - and the eventual adoption by - the team.

So now thousands of people are seeing the word hoser again, all because of me.


07 November
portrait of the witch as a feminist
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This is my long-overdue response to an older We Have Brains question about witches. Very Halloween appropriate (and as we all know, I missed Halloween).

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rush is right... wing.
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I know this was an honest, if silly, mistake, but it's still funny.

See, a few days ago, Rush Limbaugh was accusing (by implication) the New York Times of being a liberal media outlet, out to suppress pro-Republican reports that would, ironically appear in the Times that day (the Times article requires you to register, but it's not really that fascinating, so you don't really need to bother).

A long time ago, I talked about my youthful fondness for that sort of boy. And Rush, while he comes across so often as clever but misguided [er, "misguided" is me adding my personal perspective, a little flamebait for you Rushphiles], is one of those boys. Rush cannot wait for the chink in the armor; he will make one himself if he must. His words will bully you into sounding stupid.

Or, as in this case, he'll just seem like a snappish little boy.

I find this immensely satisfying and funny.


06 November
i suck, but so do you
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Consider this my juvenile unsent letter to the Democratic Party.

I didn't vote yesterday for the first time since I turned eighteen. I didn't vote because I suck, which means that when we moved, we changed our addresses with the DMV but failed to submit the additional paperwork to re-register to vote. In Virginia, that means you can't vote anywhere - you don't live where you're registered, and you're not registered where you live. This is stupid (not the rule, my failure to follow it).

But I don't think it matters that I didn't vote. Because you suck. In my local house race, you put a Dukes of Hazzard cast member against popular representative, in a race where neither of them had any actual opinions.

You didn't even bother to run anyone against the Great And Powerful John Warner.

And. Most of you wimped out on Iraq, and then you turned the Republican's whining about delaying the vote into a griping opportunity. Rather than diplomatically stand your ground, you folded like aluminum foil. Sure, there were some of you who made a point to find out what the people you represent wanted, and some of you who took and kept a position. But most of you floundered.

Don't even ask me about my residual bitterness for those of you who blamed Ralph Nader for Al Gore's fake loss two years ago.

A young Republican with terrible hair was on CNN this morning talking about the Democrat's lack of vision and definition, saying that the Republicans know they're the party of capital, and you don't know what you're the party of.

He was right.

Also, the undergrad who ran for city council in my old district lost. That might be your fault, too.


02 November
i missed halloween
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This is sad.

You see, I've been sick. Really sick. For the past four days. Yesterday was the first day I got out of bed for more than fifteen minutes (er, if you don't count time spent on the floor of the bathroom).

I missed Halloween. Also, four days of work and a load of things I should have done. Bleh. Bleh.

Monday should be fun.


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