Friday, January 28, 2005

In-Style Celebrity Weddings

So last night I watched "In-Style Celebrity Weddings," because I simply can't get enough of that kind of thing, and I was fascinated/horrified by their feature on Star Jones' wedding. First of all: who the hell is this woman? I had never heard of her before that "View" show came on the air. But according to the In-Style people she is also an "attorney and author." (If I could find a law firm that allows its attorneys to parade around in gigantic hair extensions and extremely flamboyant eye makeup, I might actually go back to legal marketing.) Anyway, she apparently had one of the most alarming weddings in history, rivaling the famous Celine Dion nuptials. She supposedly had the longest veil ever -- she deliberately had it made two feet longer than Princess Diana's. Classy.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Cabin fever

Now I understand why women go slowly insane being trapped in the house with their kids in the winter. We had 24 inches of snow on the ground already, and today it's been snowing all day again. I'm watching it through my third floor windows as it blows sideways. Earlier I bundled Little Peanut up in one of her many pink snowsuits (90 percent of the clothing I've received as baby gifts has been pink) and we went downstairs to stand in front of the house for 10 minutes, watching the snow fall. That was the first time I'd been outside the house in days. Then it was time to go back in so she could spit up on me some more.

I also understand now why so many mothers gain tons of weight and never lose it. Exercise? You've got to be kidding me. Does brushing my teeth count? I suppose theoretically I could pace the length of the condo 9,000 times in a row -- that might add up to a decent amount of walking. In the meantime, I'm trying to come to terms with my disturbing post-pregnancy stomach fat roll and my expanded new ass. Pregnancy is like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." When you give birth, you expect to get your old body back, only to find that it's been replaced by one that you have no recollection of.

Luckily Little Peanut is exceptionally cute. Mr. Fraulein and I both thought so anyway, but many unbiased observers have confirmed this. She has luxurious eyelashes and a little bow-shaped mouth. Her latest thing is blowing raspberries, and she smiles a lot. So she's not the worst person to be stuck in the house with.

31 Marines killed in Iraq

31 killed in Marine chopper crash in Iraq
By Sameer N. Yacoub

Jan. 26, 2005 BAGHDAD -- A U.S. military transport helicopter crashed in bad weather in Iraq's western desert Wednesday, killing 31 people, all believed to be Marines, while insurgents killed five other American troops in the deadliest day for U.S. forces since the Iraq war began.
Militants waging a campaign to derail Sunday's election carried out at least six car bombings and a flurry of other attacks on schools to be used as polling stations, political party offices and Kurdish sites, killing or wounding more than two dozen people.
While al-Qaida warned Iraqis to stay away from the polls -- saying they would only have themselves to blame if they are hurt in attacks -- President Bush called on people to ‘‘defy the terrorists” and cast ballots in the crucial election.
A Bush administration official said the cause of Wednesday's crash was not immediately known but that there was bad weather at the time.

These people's families will undoubtedly believe they died advancing the cause of "freedom," whatever the hell that means. It seems everyone's too polite to point out that they're actually dying for nothing whatsoever. Well, except for providing business opportunities for Halliburton.

A couple of weeks ago, after another bunch of American soldiers was taken out (I forget whether it was another accident, or a roadside bomb) I saw one soldier's mother speaking on a network news program from her home in Nevada. "He died to keep us free," she said. "They were going to overrun this country. If we didn't go into Iraq, I'd be wearing a burqua right now."

This is what these people actually believe. That Saddam's army was on the point of marching into Las Vegas when the courageous Bush administration declared war on Iraq. Believing these lies is the only thing that keeps them going.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

123 years ago today

...Virginia Woolf was born.

"Is it not possible that if we knew the truth about war, the glory of war would be scotched and crushed where it lies curled up in the rotten cabbage leaves of our prostituted fact-purveyors; and if we knew the truth about art instead of shuffling and shambling through the smeared and dejected pages of those who must live by prostituting culture, the enjoyment and practice of art would become so desirable that by comparison the pursuit of war would be a tedious game for elderly dilettantes in search of a mildly sanitary amusement -- the tossing of bombs instead of balls over frontiers instead of nets? In short, if newspapers were written by people whose sole object in writing was to tell the truth about politics and the truth about art we should not believe in war, and we should believe in art."

-- Three Guineas

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Boston Globe Right-Wing Whore of the Day!

Some days, it's going to be pretty hard to choose, because there are oh so many right-wing whores at the Boston Globe. But today's whore is Brian McGrory, who wrote a particularly asinine column Friday about the Larry Summers flap. Summers, the Harvard president, asked a very stupid question recently about whether women are somehow biologically disadvantaged when it comes to math and science. McGrory, who's obviously been reading the Bill O'Reilly Republican media whore talking points handbook, is shocked (shocked I tell you!) that people were offended by this.

To see why such a question is offensive, let's imagine how a portion of McGrory's column would read if you used, let's say, the word "blacks" where he uses the word "women," and where he discusses men in general, we could focus on "white men." For example:

"What did Summers do? He addressed the obvious, that blacks have a harder time achieving success in math and science careers than white men. And he posed a thorny question: Are blacks somehow innately, meaning biologically, inferior to white men in these fields?"

It's still a technically true statement, right? I mean, it's literally true that there are both fewer women, and fewer black people generally, than there are white men in the very loose category of "math and science careers" (assuming we're defining this category as including jobs such as engineering jobs). But when you phrase it the way I have here, you can see that the very question of whether black people are "biologically inferior" is racist. So too is the question of whether women are "biologically inferior." But at the Globe, it's like the 1950s (hell, the 1920s) never ended. Any obnoxious right-wing bullshit is acceptable to publish, as long as it's criticizing alleged "political correctness."

Friday, January 21, 2005

"...I'll write, from this day forward, to please myself."

Welcome to Purple Ink! After 10 years as a journalist, during which I was required, all too often, to write to please editors who had little clue what was happening in the real world, and several more years as a marketing writer, which requires one to write to please a staggering array of overpaid, not-terribly-bright corporate overlords, this is an experiment in writing what I want to write, the way I want to write it.

In the second chapter of Virginia Woolf's novel "Orlando," the title character is reeling from his interaction with the famous but cash-strapped writer Nick Greene. Greene, after initially sucking up to Orlando in an attempt to gain his patronage, has publicly trashed the aristocratic Orlando's poetry. Traumatized, Orlando gives up on his pursuit of literary fame: "'I'll be blasted,' he said, 'if I ever write another word, or try to write another word, to please Nick Greene or the Muse. Bad, good, or indifferent, I'll write, from this day forward, to please myself.'"

I've been thinking about this quote from "Orlando" a lot lately, given my latest career transition. Reporting was fun, but it was the rare occasion when I got to cover a topic I was actually interested in. My experiment in corporate marketing writing only succeeded in convincing me that when marketing directors say they want to hire a writer, what they mean is that they want to hire someone to type up their boss's ideas and to tell him what a brilliant guy he is, even if he is in fact a drooling jackass.

That can get kind of old. So three months ago, shortly after giving birth to Little Peanut, whose adventures will be detailed here, I quit my last marketing job. (And I do mean, my last marketing job.) Now in addition to being Mommy, I'm going to be a person who writes for myself. I'm going to write about politics, journalism, literature, parenthood, and whatever else comes to mind.

Oh, about the title: Virginia Woolf wrote her novels in purple ink because she loved the color. It just made her happy.