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Culture Tag

You gotta love the Oscars. It's one of the best nights to watch Hollywood revel in its self-importance. As customary, at least one award recipient had to wax poetic about something political. Winning Best Supporting Actress for her role in Boyhood, Patricia Arquette took the opportunity to make a pitch for wage equality. "To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else's equal rights. It's our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States." Arquette's pitch for equal rights may have been relevant in 1869, but hardly seems to resonate in 2015 -- the age of the stay at home father. Not to mention that when celebrities complain about wage equality, they're squabbling over a discrepancy of millions when most Americans won't see that much cash in a lifetime. At least Arquette got a rise out of Meryl Streep (who looked fabulous, by the way).

BROWN PEOPLE, Hispanic Politics and the Disunited State of Amigos by Javier Manjarres is an entertaining and eye-opening look at America's Hispanic community, and the author's personal experiences as a citizen activist and conservative pundit. This spirited book is essential reading for those who want an enhanced understanding of the complexities of this expanding group of voters. Manjarres, the son of Colombian immigrants, is the Managing Editor of The Shark Tank, which offers "biting commentary on anyone and anything that comprises Florida Politics." He was voted 2011 CPAC Blogger of the Year and was acknowledged by FreedomWorks for his efforts during the 2010 election cycle. He was credited as being the "tip of the spear" of Senator Marco Rubio's campaign for U.S. Senate in 2010, and helped lead Rubio to victory over sitting Governor Charlie Crist. Here is a recent appearance by Manjarres on Newsmax TV in which he discusses the evolving relationship with Cuba:

O RLY? Wednesday, while speaking at a White House Conference on countering violent extremism, Obama claimed, "Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding." "Generations of Muslim immigrants came here and went to work as farmers and merchants and factory workers, helped to lay railroads and to build up America. The first Islamic center was founded in the 1890s. America's first mosque, this is an interesting fact, was in North Dakota."

Earlier this week, President Obama sat down to promote Obamacare interview with Buzzfeed and Vox.
That the President chose listacles, cat memes, and explainer 'journalism' was not unnoticed by Right leaning media, and thus outrage ensued. Many, like Fox New's Greta Van Susteren simply want our president to be SERIOUS. ISIS is crucifying and beheading their way across the Middle East, Yemen is in shambles, thanks to Senate Democrats, DHS could potentially start the month of March unfunded, Montana is trying to ban yoga pants, Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show, and the whole world is going to hell. And here's our President turned gif, wielding a Selfie Stick, striking his best Tom Cruise in a dirty mirror.

This story hits a little too close to home. Yesterday, Republican state Rep. David Moore introduced House Bill 365 in the House Judiciary Committee. The bill would redefine "provocative clothing" in such a way that the wearing of yoga pants in public would be outlawed. According to the Billings Gazette:
A Montana legislative panel has moved to kill a bill that would tighten the state's indecent exposure law and consequently ban some provocative clothing. Members of the House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to table House Bill 365 Wednesday. Republican Rep. David Moore introduced it on Tuesday. The proposal would have expanded the definition of indecent exposure to include garments that give the appearance of a person's buttocks, genitals, pelvis or female nipple. Moore said the bill could outlaw some provocative clothing, and later said he thinks yoga pants should be illegal in public.

Berg-dog. Club Gitmo. Feeling so...ISIS right now. Every year, the city of Tampa, Florida gathers at the Gasparilla Pirate Festival to soak in a little sun, a little more music, and one too many of those gigantic frozen margaritas. Not exactly the best venue to discuss pressing issues of foreign policy, but still---you'd expect the attendees to have at least a basic awareness of the things that threaten their country at any given moment. Or would you? Maybe not after today. Fox News' Jesse Watters traveled down to Gasparilla to see just how many attendees he could coax into revealing a rudimentary grasp on current events. The results will not shock you. From Fox News Insider:
“Do you think [the administration] should keep Gitmo open or close it?”
“Open, so we can have fun.” “Club Gitmo?” “You know it!”
No. Surely not.
“Do you know what ISIS is?”
“Being alone.”
This is real. This is a thing that is real that has happened and if I have to deal with it, then so do you. Watch:

What is going on in the Left Coast? Reader and frequent commenter LukeHandCool, a resident of Santa Monica, sends along this note and link:
What happens when the blackboard jungle comes to two of the most progressive high schools in America? How could this possibly happen in Utopia when all the kids are taught they are unbelievably special just for breathing? I'll tell you what happens. You get long, long hand-wringing emails from the principal on an almost daily basis.
Here's the link, Video Emerges Of Nasty Brawl Between Rival High Schools:
Video of a nasty fight between rival high schools last month — touched off by basketball games — has now emerged.... The teams involved were Santa Monica High and Beverly Hills High. The fight broke out at Santa Monica High on Jan. 23 following a sweep of the JV and varsity boys’ and girls’ basketball teams by Beverly Hills....

Every once in a while, fortune favors those who work hard enough to earn it. This is one of those times. Last week, the Detroit Free Press ran a story about a man named James Robertson. For the past ten years, 56 year-old James has dealt with a 21 mile commute back and forth between Detroit, Michigan and a factory in Rochester Hills. 21 miles doesn't seem like such a big deal---unless, of course, you don't have a car or available public transportation. When James' car died a decade ago, he kept going to work; only now, he had to walk. James' situation began to catch the attention of the community after the Free Press went to print; since then, his story has taken on a life of its own. A complete stranger started a GoFundMe account with the intent of raising a couple thousand dollars towards a "beater" car to help lessen James' burden. As of about 6 am on February 8, this is the balance of that account: Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 5.54.09 AM

When San Diego's talk station KOGO AM600 announced they were going to chat about obnoxious Super Bowl ads, they asked listeners to call in with the ones they wanted to discuss. Instead, I sent a producer I knew my piece, I am apologizing #LikeAGirl for Super Bowl Ads’ #WarOnMen. As a result, their independent-minded host, Bob "Sully" Sullivan, invited me to chat with him about the commercials, as well as my work at both Legal Insurrection and College Insurrection related to the challenges men face today. Here's a video with the exchange:

The race relations debate in America has become a caricature of its former self. What was once a serious conversation about ending discrimination and hatred has become a three ring circus of hand-wringing and recriminations over whose office, TV show, or university has the largest representation of minority members. It's not a question of sharing cultural elements, or learning a new language; all that really matters to the race relations brigade these days comes down to hard numbers---how many of you are there?---and regular reminders about the dangers of "cultural appropriation," making it nearly impossible for America to enjoy its status as a world class melting pot. This is why I fully endorse any and all attempts to lampoon the Very Important Concerns© of those who make it their mission in life to question my commitment to love and equality. In his latest edition of "Pedestrian Questions," comedian Jimmy Kimmel did just that---and managed to make his own point about race relations in America (even if it happened by accident.)

In 2015's America, no one expects greatness from a romantic thriller starring Jennifer Lopez; but every once in a while, something makes its way into the genre that is so incredibly ridiculous we can't help but serve it up for censure and recriminations. Lopez's latest flick, "The Boy Next Door," has all the makings of a movie I'll eventually catch on Netflix after a glass of wine or two:
When a handsome, charming teenager named Noah (Ryan Guzman) moves in next door, newly separated high-school teacher Claire Peterson (Jennifer Lopez) encourages his friendship and engages in a little bit of harmless -- or so she thinks -- flirtation. Although Noah spends much of the time hanging out with Claire's son, the teen's attraction to her is palpable. One night, Claire gives in to temptation and lets Noah seduce her -- but when she tries to end the relationship, he turns violent.
Obviously ridiculous---but internet snarkfest WTFark found something tucked into the many layers of this catastrophe that takes us beyond "ridiculous" and into the realm of "America is over." Behold: First edition "Iliad." First. Editiion. "Iliad." I can't. Oh my god is right. As in, "oh my God, we are literally doomed."

If you were hoping to dust the snow off the lawn chair to start working on your tan, you're going to have to wait a few weeks, at least according to Punxsutawney Phil. Phil the groundhog saw his shadow today, so six more weeks of winter it is. Punxsutawney Phil is no stranger to controversy though. According to the Washington Post:
Last year, Phil also saw his shadow — the final nail in the coffin for what was one of the most brutally long winters in the U.S. The unrelenting winter dragged on through March in many places in 2014. Around D.C., many locations accumulated more than 30 inches of snow last winter, and Phil chalked another one up in the “verified” column.

In Oakland, California, one alternative scout troop is far more socially active than their counterparts across the globe---and they're not affiliated with the Girl Scouts. They call themselves, "Radical Brownies." Their mission? "The Radical Brownies empower young girls of color so that they step into their collective power, brilliance and leadership in order to make the world a more radical place." There are no badges for stitching, taking care of pets or being a good neighbor. Radical Brownies "badges earned are custom-made," and "reflect our social justice and culturally-inclusive values." Badges include Radical Beauty Badge, Food Justice Badge, Radical Self-Love Badge. This social-justice version of the girl scouts is a relatively new endeavor by group organizers. In the video below, co-founders Marilyn Hollinquest & Anayvette Martinezco discuss why they decided to create the group. In short, their goal is to show young girls what the world would look like if it were free of "isms":

While Professor Jacobson was surfing the Twitter stream during the Super Bowl, I was savoring the free market creativity of American advertisers. The runaway favorite commercials feature cute puppies and horses. One particular ad, however, brought out an entirely different animal in me: The Mama Grizzly. I have a serious recommendation to T-Mobile executives: Fire the idiot feminists and their beta-male minions who came up with this commercial: The dialog for one of the scenes, in which Sarah Silverman & Chelsea Handler characters duel over first-world lifestyle quality, has Sarah Silverman's insipid character inform a newborn's mother: "I'm sorry, it's a boy." It was a real piece of #WarOnMen propaganda. As a mother of a son, who is a 100% all-boy alpha male that I have been delighted to raise as such, I was appalled by the crass anti-maleness of the statement. Let's play a game of substitution, shall we?

I don't know about you, but after a wild week in politics, I'm more than ready for a little queso, a few silly commercials, and maximum football saturation. For those of you who, like me, have chosen to forego an expensive cable TV subscription in favor of a long term relationship with Netflix, NBC sports is offering a free livestream of Super Bowl XLIX, pre- and post-game coverage, and the halftime show. Katy Perry, Tom Brady, and Gronk---oh my! Although commercials will not be streamed, you can watch them here immediately after they air. A few have already been released, including this piece of adorableness involving not one, but TWO cats and their antics:
Enjoy the game---and the break from politics! UPDATE: Halftime report, brought to you by puppies and dads!

Michelle Obama made waves this week with her decision to not wear headscarf during her visit to Saudi Arabia. Although reactions to her decision were mixed, the reaction on social media gave birth to a hashtag accusing the first lady of immodesty---a heady violation in one of the few remaining countries requiring women to cover their heads in public. Via Politico:
On Twitter, Saudis used a hashtag that translates to “#Michelle_Obama_Immodest” or “#Michelle_Obama_NotVeiled” to chastise the first lady for being disrespectful to Saudi traditions. ... Some on Twitter noted that Obama had covered her hair during a visit to a mosque in Indonesia and wondered why she hadn’t done the same, Egypt’s Ahram Online noted, while one woman urged fellow Saudis not to “make Obama angry at us.” The first lady’s office had no comment on her attire.
Twitter is still chirping about it:

Egypt has three icons that symbolize its ancient glories: 1) The pyramids 2) The Great Sphinx 3) The golden mask of the boy king, Tutankhamun. And while the pyramids and Great Sphinx are safe from the threat of destruction at the hands of Muslim extremists, the famous mask has been damaged by too much care and concern. There are many versions of how the damage happened, but it seems the beard was accidentally knocked off and epoxy, which is designed for use on stone-work and not metal, was slathered on in the repair attempt. Additionally, the mask was scratched in an attempt to remove excess glue that had smeared. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="540"] (Photo: Mohamed El-Shahed, AFP/Getty Images)[/caption] However, it seems that one of history's greatest treasures can be properly restored to its original glory.