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Posts Tagged ‘Fred Astaire’

Celebrities have a lot of money. They also like getting political. These two things go together well. A list of celebrity donations was released and, I know, it’s a surprise: most money was given to Democratic candidates.

To start, Hillary made a killing. Everyone from Fran Drescher to Tom Hanks opened their wallet to Mrs. Clinton, dishing out thousands. Hell even Pauly Shore and George Takei donated a grand apiece. Tobey Maguire, with plenty of SpiderMan cash to throw around, gave the legal limit ($4600). Then, there’s Chris Dodd. Poor, poor Chris Dodd. You know your campaign isn’t going too well when all you’ve got is the guy from Third Rock from the Sun and someone named Christy Romano, who is listed as the “voice of Kim Possible.”

Next up, John Edwards scored a good amount, most notably $500 from Oliver Stone, which seems a little strange. I would have guessed he’d give money to Gravel. In fact, the two seem so delightfully loony that one would think they were related. Mike Gravel however, got $700 from Mark Ruffalo, shaving a couple hundred off of the ninety bagillion dollars of debt he’s in. Obama kicked a little ass, even getting the Tom Skerritt donation. As we all know, Tom Skerritt has an incredible influence over the United States. As Skerritt votes, so does the nation. In the political world, this is called the “Skerritt Pull.”

Kucinich gets several actors, including Rosario from Will & Grace (Shelley Morrison), the woman no one liked on Baywatch (Alexandra Paul) , someone from Days of Our Lives (Deirdre Hall) and Hector Elizondo, the prostitute-friendly hotel owner from Pretty Woman. Bill Richardson scored big bucks, definitely getting the “old Hollywood” vote with people like Michael Douglas, Paul Newman, William Friedkin and James L. Brooks.

And finally, Pauly from Sopranos and Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie gave to Giuliani. Meanwhile, all Republican candidates other than Giuliani have not received a dime in donations from anyone, and are collectively breaking open their piggy banks and checking couch cushions for loose change.

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I have already expressed my ceaseless, violent anger at the terms “Daddy Party” and “Mommy Party,” but now political gendering has gone a step further. Salon.com posted an article last week called “Hillary is from Mars, Obama is from Venus,” which basically argued that Obama is a bigger girl than Hillary Clinton, despite the fact that she has ovaries. Admittedly, Brooklyn Skeptic is guilty of regularly reinforcing gender stereotypes, but we’re just trying to be cute. The rest of the world is not cute.

Michael Scherer writes for Salon.com,

Throughout history, American presidents have been men’s men who puff their out chests against evil. Think Teddy Roosevelt on safari, Jack Kennedy in PT-109, Ronald Reagan on his horse, or George W. Bush with a chain saw clearing brush. If leaders show any slackening of testosterone, especially in wartime, they are quickly derided as wimps (George H.W. Bush), a Frenchman (John Kerry) or weaklings (Jimmy Carter). But on the Democratic campaign trail these days, where the first woman in U.S. history is making a serious run at the White House, gender roles are being swapped.

He cites Clinton’s tough-as-nails demeanor and Obama’s exultation to dream together as evidence of their misplaced genders.

I think we’re all just missing the boat here and being lazy with our lexicon. A person who believes he or she should rightfully be the president of the United States is going to have a particular set of personality traits that are not necessarily common in all people. These traits, I suppose, would be a dominant personality, with some delusions of grandeur, egoism, ambition and obstinance. One could also rightly suspect that the candidate would be uncommonly intelligent, personable, charismatic, and good looking. However, these second-ranked traits are not required to be president, and are easier to fake with the right staff.

As our political arena becomes ever-so-slightly more accessible to non-white-and-male Americans each year, we are beginning to see that these traits are exclusive neither to one gender nor to one racial background. Politicians, like members of every other profession that I can think of, can be basically anyone, assuming they have the above mentioned personality traits. So when Scherer talks about the flipped gender roles of the leading democratic candidates, Obama and Clinton, he, too, is being lazy. Scherer quotes Clinton saying that she is “not running because [she is] a woman. [She is] running because [she thinks she is] the best qualified and experienced person to hit the ground running in January 2009.” While Scherer interprets this as another masculine move, downplaying her femininity and underscoring her ambition (so unladylike), I see this as just another example of the presidential power trait (patent pending, jerk). Clinton believes she knows a better way and she thinks she should lead the county there.

Scherer shows Obama

[Singing] an empowerment ballad on the stump that would make most lady folk singers proud. “The decision to go to war is not a sport,” he tells crowds, rejecting the male metaphor. “We can discover the better part of ourselves as a nation,” he says. “We can dream big dreams.”

Sadly, under all of this inflammatory gender comparison (singing vs. sports), what is ignored is the actual power behind his words. While he isn’t clearing brush or womanizing, he’s calling for revolution of our political system. I don’t know if that’s “feminine,” but it certainly betrays his presidential power trait. He also knows a better way. He thinks he should be the one to lead the U.S. out of this shitshow we’re in. There’s no way that any of this is masculine or feminine. This is nothing but total politician. We need a third gender when we’re talking about politicians. Maybe it’s the presence of two assholes instead of typical male or female genitals.

So what? So maybe we should start listening to the actual ideas and strategies and stop trying to put every fucking thing into these circumscribed categories of acceptable gender behavior. No Mommy Party and Daddy Party. No bitch. No man’s man. No brush clearing. No Indigo Girls.

**Update: Scherer responds to readers tearing him a new one…

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Dear Advertising Agencies,

I remember when I saw my first Fred Astaire movie. It was Flying Down to Rio, which was Astaire’s first movie as well. And his first pairing with Ginger Rogers. It was delightful. I also remember when I was flipping through the channels once, and saw Fred Astaire dancing around with a vacuum cleaner. I remember thinking “Huh, that’s weird, I thought Fred Astaire died a decade ago,” and “I don’t remember Ginger Rogers looking like a vacuum cleaner.” Apparently, the use of dead celebrities in advertising is quite common, and has, of late, come under fire. Saatchi & Saatchi, a British advertising agency who were employed by Airwair who make Dr. Martens, released a series of photos of dead rockers Kurt Cobain, Joey Ramone, Joe Strummer and Sid Vicious wearing togas, standing on clouds, all happily clad in Dr. Martens boots.

Now this is just shitty. First of all, I don’t think any commercial featuring a dead person is going to make me want to rush out and buy a product. Seeing a re-animated Orville Redenbacher listening to an iPod and eating popcorn did not give me a hankering for his salty, buttery kernels (I’ll take Paul Newman’s sexier and more alive brand any day of the week). I’m not running to the Gap to pick up a pair of black skinny jeans just because Audrey Hepburn danced around to an AC/DC song. Why do you think that having dead people promote your product is going to make us want them any more than having living people do it?

And do you really think you are somehow paying homage to these people by using their image against their will to push a product on people? And of all people, these four rock stars? I mean, if Smash Mouth all died in a plane crash, I would guess that they would be okay with their image being used to advertise a brand of, I don’t know, Tempur-Pedic Mattresses (the only mattress endorsed by NASA!). But somehow I doubt that four rock stars, known for their anti-establishment punk rock sensibilities would agree to be posthumous spokespeople for a brand of shoes. And let us all not forget what is possibly your most shameless effort:

In a word, dear advertising CEO’s, it’s not cute. It’s fucked up and disrespectful. I don’t care whose permission you’re getting to advertise what, unless the celebrity’s corpse reanimates itself to sign some contracts, leave it alone. There are plenty of living celebrities out there willing to push your products for you.

Love,

Plainclothesman

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MoveOn.org is inviting all of us to a virtual town hall to talk about Iraq with Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich, and Joe Biden. Earnestness is not my forte, but I think this is genuinely good.

Virtual Town Hall: Iraq
Tuesday, April 10
7:15 PM

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Myspace could not have asked me a more appropriate question this morning as I hastily added four presidential candidates to my extremely exclusive friends list. Sometimes politicians have a hard time recognizing the difference between irony and genuine support. So I didn’t add Mitt Romney. If I did, I’m pretty sure that would legally bind us in holy matrimony. I’m not really ready to settle down, Mitt. And I can’t share you with my sister-wives.

So, let me introduce you to my new friends:

obama.jpg mccain.jpg dennis.jpgrudy.jpg

Like peas in the pod of my “Top 8”

 

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In a move that is totally 2007, the Barack Obama campaign team has set up a social networking site called My.BarackObama.com. You can think of it as Facebook‘s really, really timid cousin. You know, with fewer pictures of underage drunk girls and racist parties.

I, for one, am really happy about the development of this site. It’s another demonstration of Obama’s forward-thinking ways. Not only is he creating a community for his young supporters where they have a safe space to dialogue about their dreams for America, he’s making it just a little easier for me to find a husband.

Now, I like universal health care, peace and unions as much as the next guy. I’ll stand beside Obama as he takes on the Halliburtons and the Rangers and all the other ultra-right-wing organizations. But at the end of the day, I’m looking for one thing from my President and that’s easy access to potential suitors or at least drunken, liberal hook-ups.

I can just picture it now: I log into My.BarackObama.com and see I have a new message from HackeySacks1980. “Hey cutie… U R so liberal. U wanna chill 2nite??!”

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So the half-assed, luke warm political insult slinging has begun. Sigh. I wish they would just all get together and have a nice slapfight and settle this like adults.

McCain is definitely pulling out ahead in this one if only because he has literally no shame. Case in point:

“Some minutes later, after the news conference had ended, Mr. McCain, unbidden, said to the reporter, ‘Sir, I stand by my comments about Secretary Rumsfeld, by the way.'”

Really, really, Mr. Reporter sir. I don’t like that man one bit! Take me seriously! Unfortunately what he said about Rumsfeld wasn’t too salacious. It was along the lines of Rumsfeld being a bad Secretary of Defence. At which point all of America slapped their foreheads and said, “duh.”

 

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