Friday, August 1, 2008

News Stories of Interest

First and foremost, there is the story about how "federal agents may take a traveler's laptop or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrong-doing". They are apparently allowed to copy the contents of the hard drive, and it does not matter if the person in question is a US citizen. Well, I can't possibly see where this violates civil liberties or how this is an abuse of power, or how it only further highlights how much of our freedom and our rights we will casually part with in the name of security. No, authoritarian states never begin like this; no, George Orwell and other distopian authors never described how governments slowly strip away a citizen's rights until the yoke of oppression is tied too tightly around them. Obviously, there is no need to worry.

Then there is the first of two real zingers from The Wallstreet Journal; Wal-Mart is "mobilizing its store managers and department supervisors around the country to warn that if Democrats win in November they'll likely change federal law to make it easier for workers to unionize". Those damn unions, fighting for better wages and actual health care plans for the workers. How distinctly un-American. Almost as un-American as using corporate power to tell employees how to vote and who to vote for.

The second piece from The Wallstreet Journal is probably my favorite of the day, because right away it starts off with "John Kerry ran for president as GI Joe (or his naval equivalent), the war hero. This fell apart when the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth called attention to Kerry's history of slandering his fellow servicement". What is intensely funny about this is that much of what the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth stated has been contradicted by naval records; by accounts of people who were, you know, actually there; and by John Kerry's own statements over the years. So, great job reporting there, Wallstreet Journal! Excellent job; especially when the overall point of your article is to suggest that Obama may have his halo tarnished by the end of the campaign season!

The Wallstreet Journal does have a point somewhere in their crappy tale of political woe, and that is that the John McCain political ad featuring Britney Spears and Paris Hilton isn't racist. I have my own problems with the ad, but it isn't that it is "trying to plant the old racist seed of black man hitting on young white woman" as stated by the Huffington Post (renamed the Puffington Host by the Wallstreet Journal). But my reasoning for not believing that was a part of the ad is not, as the Wallstreet Journal offensively suggests,  that "the invidious old stereotype has to do with black men as a threat to feminine innocence, and it is hard to imagine two less innocent symbols than Hilton and Spears". It is because the ad doesn't suggest that Obama is going to take advantage of white women but that Obama has the same superficial fame as Hilton and Spears. That is the obvious reading of the ad, and the right one. 

If the ad was one against Hillary and Bill Clinton was juxtaposed with young women, then a sexual reading of the ad would be grossly apparent. But the ad doesn't have Obama leering and isn't sexualizing him (or even Hilton and Spears) at all. Merely comparing fans of the two celebrities with the fans of Obama, and the talent and skill of the two celebrities with Obama's talent and skill. It is insinuating that Obama is empty calories and nothing more. And had The Wallstreet Journal taken that route, and left John Kerry out of it (or at the very least not insinuated like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were in any way an actual fact-driven organization), then they would have had something meaningful to say on the matter. But as it is, they came off as offensive on so many different levels it would be almost impossible to count them all.


mikhailbakunin said...

Does that mean that DHS can comb through all the shirtless images of Josh Hartnett that I have saved on my computer?

That should, uh, be unconstitutional . . . !

petpluto said...

That's EXACTLY what I'm saying!