Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Is this revolutionary or what?

In comparison with other countries, the United States' women's movement has been stagnating. We've fought to liberate women in Muslim societies, but we're still a minority in our own country. I'm not denying the fact that the women's rights movement has made much progress; women are filling more and more powerful positions in the government and private companies. But can anyone recall the name of a single female presidential candidate? No. Partly because of the small number of female candidates and partly because of our Republican/Democrat bipartisan system- and neither party has endorsed a female candidate for the presidency. There was only one woman of either party to run for the vice-presidency office: Democrat Geraldine Ferraro in 1984.

There are many woman leaders; some in countries you wouldn't expect, like Bangladesh, Mozambique and Germany.

So what prompted me to write on this topic? I was reading the January 19 City on a Hill Press, a UCSC student-run newspaper, and came across an article on Michelle Bachelet, a socialist who was elected to be Chile's first lady president. I hadn't known about the election or Chile's government, but I'm amazed that Bachelet was elected- politically, she has so many strikes against her: she's female, a single mother, an agnostic, and less conservative than the preceding regime (though that may be a plus, in the eyes of the citizens).

Chileans Elect Female Agnostic:
Michelle Bachelet embraces her past, promises bright future
Laura Chiriboga, Co-Editor-in-Chief

In a move to reshape the country's leadership, Chileans elected their first female president Sunday, putting their faith in socialist Michelle Bachelet, a single mother of three and survivor of the brutal violence carried out by Chile's past militant dictator.

The election of Bachelet, who was imprisoned and tortured during the 17-year dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, represents a progressive new era for a country long-considered one of the most conservative nations in Latin America.

"I'm very moved [by her elction]. I started crying when I found out,: activist, filmmaker and professor Zita Cabello-Barrueto told City on a Hill Press during a phone interview.

Cabello-Barrueto, a professor of international relations at San Francisco State University, herself a victim of torture during Pinochet's rule, met Bachelet six years ago. Cabello-Barrueto was in Chile conducting research on her brother's death for a lawsuit against the death squad secret agent responsible for his murder.

Many people at the top tries to forget [about what happened to him], but she wasn't one of them," Cabello-Barrueto said.
(two paragraphs omitted)
Cabello-Barrueto is hopeful that Chile's new leader will correct some of the falsities surrounding Pinochet's victims. "With her, we will rewrite history with the truth of what happened."

During a victory speech in Santiago, Bachelet addressed the suffering of her past, "Violence entered my life, destroying what I loved. Because I was a victim of hate, I have dedicated my life to turn hate into understanding, into tolerance and, why not say it, into love."

Bachelet is the third woman directly elected president in Latin America and the first to do it without garnering fame and popularity because of a husband. A single mother of three and a known agnostic, Bachelet starkly contrasts the highly conservative, Roman Catholic image long-associated with Chile.

"[Bachelet] embraces the alternative family struggle," said Professor Rosa-Linda Fregoso, chair of the Latin American and Latino Studies department at UC Santa Cruz. "She represents a new model of the family--a new image of woman hood."

Cabello-Barrueto was in Chile in December when legislative elections gave Bachelet's center-left coalition control of the majority in both houses of Congress for the first time since 1990. She is not as surprised by Bachelet's success in collecting 52 percent of the vote as others.

"There is this joke in Chile. They say 'Michelle is the tortoise on top of the electrical pole,'" pausing mid-joke to laugh, she continued, "no one knows how she got up there and no one knows how to get her down."
Bachelet, who has announced plans to fill half of her cabinet with women, posits hope for equality for Chilean women and feminists worldwide.

"Her election is a signal for women's rights movement," said Fregoso who is teaching a Gender, Transnationalism, and Globalization class this quarter. "It will be very positive for the global movement."

However, as a woman, Bachelet enters office under greater scrutiny.

"When I was in Chile last December 2005, I asked many people who their favorite candidate was," Cabello-Barrueto told CHP via email. "Those who didn't support Michelle consistently answered the same: she is a woman, she will be easily manipulated by the politicians so she will not be able to control the government. I'm afraid that [in] any decision Michelle will make, she will be accused of being controlled by political parties."

All challenges considered, Bachelet's rise to presidency symbolizes forward motion for a country still recovering from years of human rights violations under Pinochet.

"She is not forgetting the past, she is giving meaning to it," Cabello-Barrueto continued. "She will have dialogues with those responsible for what happened, not because she wants to justify events, but because she wants to understand them, so we don't repeat them again."

City on a Hill Press. January 19, 2006. Volume 40, Issue 12. Page 11.

Is this revolutionary or what? In one election Chile overthrew a conservative military ditatorship and voted into office a single female non-Roman Catholic. Feminists should take note of this. Maybe it'll put some life back into the women's movement.

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Monday, January 23, 2006

Features from some of the RSS feeds I subscribe to

"Of Governments and the fact that my toof hurts" by Catspaw. Aw, it's so cute; the Canadian Conservative minority loves puppies.

"Meet the Presidential Speechalist" curtesy of GVOTD. Apparantly, there's genius behind the stupidity. Oh, wait. The "speechalist" is Andy Dick. I guess that means there isn't genius behind the stupidity.

Stuff On My Cat features some pretty disturbing images today.

"Family-planning advocates must push use of contraceptives" by Cynthia Tucker. Curtesy of WorkingForChange.

Last, but not least, 5ives has been updated!

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Am I coining the term "Neo-Puritanical"? Eh, whatever. It's 3 am and I feel smart.

It seems that our country is becoming a majority of neo-Puritans. With the majority of national political power lying primarily in conservative right-wingers' hands, there's been a push toward Christian morals and old-fashioned values; women are on the verge of having the fate of their bodies put into the government's hands, homosexuals are losing the ground they've gained in the last few decades, and privacy laws are getting more restrictive. I admit that my perspective has been, to a good extent, shaped by the society I've grown up in- liberal California- but the fact is that American society is regressing.

It's probably- hopefully- a cyclical thing; I mean, I'm extremely new at following politics. And I actually don't read too much of the news, skipping over the "fluff" and elaborate details of stories. I read the major headlines every day and turn on the news at least every other day, but I'm mainly interested in the effects the government is having on society and groups of people. Minorities' rights, for instance; justice for white-collar criminals; sweatshop and slave labor; religious and ethnic persecution; citizens' responses to crises; that kind of stuff. And while I know Alito's nomination and the Abrahamoff scandal affects all this, but those affairs don't hang over my head and influence my daily life. At least not yet.

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Friday Night

Went downtown with Curtis and Cristie this evening. Curtis and I were late meeting Cristie at Streetlight Records because I had left my wallet on the Core shuttle. The TAPS office was closed, but Curtis and I were standing in that parking lot as the shuttle I had ridden pulled up, so I managed to get it back tonight instead of waiting till tomorrow.

After eating dinner and doing some shopping, the three of us came back up to campus and went to a stand-up comedy show at the Porter/Kresge dining hall. It was quite as funny as the show last quarter, but I had fun. They're doing another show next Friday night.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Watch these and laugh. Laughter makes one happy and burns calories.

Last week the Colbert Report had the funniest segment- "Stephen Colbert's Balls for Kidz", in which Vermont bear hunters explained to kids why bears should be killed. (If you watch the show, or even the Comedy Central video clips, you know that, according to Mr. Colbert, bears are viscious and evil. Hence their frequent appearances on "The Threatdown".) While I sadly couldn't find a clip of that segment online, OneGoodMove, one of my favorite blogs, has a clip from tonight's episode in which Stephen Colbert confronts people who criticized last week's "Balls for Kidz" segment.

While I was searching for that video clip, I happened upon this. Of course, I had to pass this disturbing link on to you. (For those of you not brave enough I shall summarize: Colbert fanfiction, including a mature-rated story featuring Stephen Colbert and Bill O'Reilly. I must admit; I, myself, was only courageous enough only to scan through "Shorts Weather" and declined the opportunity to skim through either of the other stories.)

On to funnier (and slighty less disturbing) videos. I need to get to sleep, so you just get the links and no descriptions. If you're curious and want a good laugh, simply click.

Channel 101 has a lot of random funny independent television series. I've only seen a few, but recommend Brently and Mrs. Gould, Six Months to Live (crude humor warning), and Adventutous und Magick Haus.

I highly recommend The 'Bu, parody of The O.C. (I'm assuming, since I've never watched The O.C.) which I discovered a few days ago on the site The Lonely Island. Much to my surprise, the next night I turned on Saturday Night Live and discovered that Andy Samburg (one of the guys of The Lonely Island) is a cast member. (I usually watch SNL reruns, not the current episodes or seasons.)

Anyway, I've gotta get to sleep. Luckily I have one (relatively) late class tomorrow.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Today just happens to be Thursday

Interesting news stories I've come across today:

Dutch Open 'Big Brother' Prison (CNN): America seriously needs to take some lessons on human rights from the Dutch.

Republican leaders say they're reformers! (WorkingForChange): Oh, those rascally Republicans! They're up to their hijinks again.

I found a couple Sims 2 Star Trek parodies yesterday: The Picard Song and Sim Trek, Episode One.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

More Randomity

I finally received my new power cord for my laptop! *rejoices* I also ordered a couple DVDs as a birthday gift to myself: Dragonhead (which I haven't seen or read much about) and the first Battle Royale movie. I finished reading the BR novel; it's different from the movie, obviously, because it goes into better detail about (most of) the peripheral characters. Each POV shows the different perspectives and thought processes of the different students; some of them totally lose their grip on reality, some are arrogant, and those who decide to "play the game" have distinct rationales and reasons- like Mitzuko and Kiriyama.

I liked that Kiriyama's actions and personality, which weren't developed in the movie, were explained in the book. And Kawada (my favorite character, in the film and novel) had slightly different stories in each version.

I just finished reading several chapters from Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex for one of my classes. I found her style of writing to be quite humorous at times, as evidenced in one of my favorite quotes from her book regarding how culture and stories shape a girl's perspective of love and the role of the woman:
She learns that to be happy she must be loved; to be loved she must await love's coming. Woman is the Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow-White, she who receives and submits. In song and story the young man is seen depating adventurously in search of woman; he slays the dragon, he battles giants; she is locked in a tower, a palace, a garden, a cave, she is chained to a rock, a captive, sound asleep: she waits.
...she takes delight in a masochism that promises supreme conquests. St. Blandine, her white body blood-streaked under the lion's claws, Snow-White laid out as if dead in a glass coffin, the Beauty asleep, the fainting Atala, a whole flock of delicate heroines bruised, passive, wounded, kneeling, humiliated, demonstrate to their young sister the fascinating prestige of martyred, deserted, resigned beauty. (page 291)

The blog Google Video of the Day brought my attention to a one-hour mockumentary called Auto Destruct: One Man's Obsession with William Shatner. Very funny, and I highly recommend it. But if you don't want to watch the whole thing, at least watch Warp Factor Love, the music video done by Auto Destruct's subject.

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Saturday, January 07, 2006

Inspired by Monty Python

I've found a few great videos made using sound clips from Monty Python sketches and films. These are a few of the notable ones:

TileToad's "French Guard" and "Caerbannog". Sound: Holy Grail, Animation: The Sims 2.

Aawen Elliled's "Lumberjack". Sound: Lumberjack Song, Animation: Dark Ages of Camelot.

South Park's tribute to Monty Python. (Parody of "Dead Parrot" sketch.)

IronEdge's "Camelot". Sound: Holy Grail, Animation: World of Warcraft.

Snoken's "Mine". Sound: various, Animation: Battlefield 2. alternate link

I don't know where this clip originally came from, but it's very Python-esque.

And, of course, my all-time favorite sketch: Bicycle Repairman! alternate link