Aug 14, 2009

Pro-Lifers Say the Dardenest Things

After reading an article on abortion, Injecting Sanity and Reality into Debate about Abortion on the care2 site, I scrolled down to the comments section. This is usually the place where one can find the most ridiculous responses against abortion.

The myths and outright lies that are perpetuated by some anti-abortionists is disturbing. As a pro-choice woman, the things that piss me off the most about anti-abortionists are as follows:

Making it seem as though every fetus that is aborted is a full-term baby who is sucked out of the womb, killed, and thrown out.

Saying that women who abort, do so because they don't want to be "inconvenienced." (Pure bullshit meant to demonize anyone who decides to have an abortion. It also trivializes the stress and pain these women go through in making the decision, an extremely hard one, to abort.)

Bringing Christianity into the mix. In particular, anti-abortionists love this quote from Jeremiah: "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you...." As if this is some kind of proof that an embryo is a person and should have the same rights as the mother. And seriously, quoting from the Old Testament is as bad as quoting Hitler. (I'll refer you to other passages where the Bible condones fetuses or babies, whatever term you prefer, being ripped from the wombs of their mothers, not to mention infanticide.) They are: Hosea 9:16, 2 Samuel 12:14, Numbers 31:15-17, Numbers 5:21, and countless others. So, please refrain from quoting the Bible in issues of morality.

Lastly, when anti-abortionists claim that women use abortion as a contraceptive. The inanity of this statement is such that only someone who has never had an abortion can utter it. Women who have abortions as a result of contraceptive failure have the right to do so. The fact that they were on contraceptives proves that they did not want to become pregnant. They took all the necessary precautions but they still ended up pregnant. And if they decide to abort, it is their decision and not up to anyone to judge.

Also, saying that contraceptives are a choice and that women who were not protecting themselves made a choice is just as inane. I'm sure there are careless women out there but most women that do not want to get pregnant take precautions. But sometimes, they are unable to get their hands on contraceptives because of retarded governmental programs and religious groups who want to keep condoms and the pill out of their reach. Failing to take into account levels of poverty and the cost of birth control pills is inane as well. If anti-abortionists and everyone else wish to see a decrease in abortions, then contraceptives need to be freely available to anyone, and that includes teenagers, as well as comprehensive sex education. Abstinence-only programs have miserably failed, and I for one am not the least bit surprised.

Aug 12, 2009

Homophobes Are Idiots

I recently read an article titled "Heterosexual Anxiety and Gay Media Visibility" by James J. Dean. In the article Dean summarizes results of a study he conducted on heterosexual perceptions of gay visibility in the media. Dean interviewed sixty people (15 African-American females, 15 white females, 15 African-American males and 15 white males) and analyzed their responses to a variety of questions relating to media exposure of gay characters on television.

Most of the participants' responses that Dean included in the article were completely ignorant not to mention retarded, to me, anyway.

One woman explained her anxiety in terms of her future children seeing these images on TV and 'internalizing' said images and 'choosing' to be gay. I would expect some dumb hick to say such a thing but not a college student. Why would anybody choose to be gay given the ill treatment of these individuals by society. So much for believing a college education will lead to progress and rational thinking.

Another participant remarked on the high number of gay images in the media and how it gives an impression that a large percentage of the US population is actually gay. He seems to think that the gay population in the US is around 5% and that the media's portrayal of homosexuality makes it seem as though the percentage is much higher than it actually is. This is beside the point. When TV was in its infancy, I would estimate that 99% of characters on TV were heterosexual. This did not mean that 99% of the population was heterosexual too. By this person's logic, it would seem that TV programming should only devote a certain percentage of airtime to gay images that corresponds to the percentage of gay people in the population.

By the same token, since white people account for approximately 74% of the US population, this figure should be reflected in the media. This is probably what is already happening or at least it used to be like this. You mostly see white people on TV and this is discrimination. I don't care about the population figures. I believe that there is a lot of room for multiculturalism in television and the media should reflect this.

According to Media Awareness Network, "[m]ost mainstream media content...reinforces white privilege by featuring white characters and addressing white interests and experiences. When programming does feature non-white characters, they usually appear in supporting roles."1

It is because of this inequality that we shouldn't look at population numbers to determine the ratio of programming.

Some of the participants had a problem with Jack's character on Will & Grace. Jack's flamboyancy and femininity made some of the heterosexual male participants uncomfortable. (I for one thought he was hilarious.) One woman expressed concern over Jack's stereotyping. But she, as well as two other participants, felt that gay characters on TV should be more like Will, who seems pretty 'straight' relative to Jack's character. They also seem to think that every gay character on TV has to fit the mold of a role model. Is every heterosexual character on TV required to do the same? It seems to me that only minorities are expected to be role models. That's probably because the media has often portrayed them in stereotypical fashion, if at all.

The heterosexual anxieties expressed by some the participants borders on paranoia. Worrying about their children becoming gay, worrying that a constant gay presence in the media will make it seem as though being gay is normal (what? of course it's normal and people should see it as normal), and feeling uncomfortable with gay people who express femininity is downright intolerant.

Get your heads out of your asses, you homophobes, and evolve already. We've been waiting for you for too long.

1. White Authority in the Media

Aug 6, 2009

Cell Phone Genocide

High-Tech Genocide by Sprocket was the #5 article of The Top 25 Censored Stories for the year 2007. Project Censored is an ongoing project by the Sonoma State University Foundation. I hadn't heard of this story until I picked up a number of Project Censored's books.

According to the article, the DR Congo is rich in resources (diamonds, gold, cobalt, copper, coltan, niobium) that western powers want to get their hands on. Coltan and niobium are minerals that are used in cell phone production as well as other electronic devices. These gadgets are made by companies such as Nokia, Motorola, Compaq, etc.

Mining coltan in Congo by the Rwandan Army during the high-tech boom in the 1990s generated an average of $20 million dollars per month. (In the 90s, one pound of this mineral cost $300.) Around 1997, the DR Congo was invaded by Rwandan and Ugandan armies, which were sponsored by the United States.

According to a May 2006 article in Time Magazine, "...a peace deal signed more than three years ago [2003] was supposed to halt a war that drew in belligerents from at least eight other countries, producing a record of human devastation unmatched in recent history." (my emphasis)

You really don't have to wonder what all these countries wanted in the DRC. They sure didn't come to bring peace. Even though the war ended in 2006 with democratic elections, there's still conflict and thousands continue to die every month. [New York Times]

With all the country's resources, it's sickening that the lives of Congolese people have not improved at all. We in the west are the ones who are benefiting through the exploitation of Third World Countries. And for those capitalists out there who may argue that boycotting certain products will only make the lives of these exploited people even worse are just trying to justify further exploitation. What's worse than extreme poverty, starvation, sexual slavery, child soldiers, HIV/aids, war and an infant mortality rate of 81.1/1000? How's that cell-phone of yours looking now?

Sprocket suggests placing a warning sticker on cell-phones:
Warning! This device was created with raw materials from central Africa. These materials are rare, nonrenewable, were sold to fund a bloody war of occupation, and have caused the virtual elimination of endangered species. Have a nice day.
Maybe more effective would be a picture of a starving child or a pregnant woman being raped by a group of soldiers.


Aug 3, 2009

Amanpour & CNN: Biased Reporting

Christiane Amanpour should be stripped of all awards she received for her reporting on the war in Bosnia. Her one-sided and often dishonest reports from Sarajevo and elsewhere are crimes against objective journalism.

In February 1994, during the Siege of Sarajevo, a massacre took place in a bread line. You probably know the story. There's an article on Wikipedia about it that puts the blame on the Serbian Army. Most other sources blame the Serbs too. While the massacre was taking place, Christiane Amanpour was sitting in a cafe in Belgrade. This didn't stop her from placing the blame on the Serbs.

The following quote is from one of Amanpour's colleagues, printed in NY Times Magazine by Stephen Kinzer in 1994:
I have winced at some of what she’s done, at what used to be called advocacy journalism. She was sitting in Belgrade when that marketplace massacre happened, and she went on the air to say that the Serbs had probably done it. There was no way she could have known that. She was assuming an omniscience which no journalist has. There was a lot of controversy regarding the massacre (called the Markale Massacre or the bread-line massacre). A secret UN report blamed the Muslim army for the shelling but the report was suppressed.

Deutsch Presse-Agentur (German Press Agency) reported in June 1996:
For the first time, a senior U.N. official had admitted the existence of a secret U.N. report that blames the Bosnian Moslems for the February 1994 massacre of Moslems at the Sarajevo market.

What did Amanpour do with this new information? Ignored it, of course. The Bosnian war was already over by then and she had moved on. She did her job of demonizing the Serbs and there was nothing left for her to do. According to Stella Jatras, this massacre justified the bombing of the Serbs that followed.

This incident wasn't the worst of her lies. Early in the war, Amanpour reported the murder of two "Muslim babies" on a bus that bombed by the Serbs. Video footage of the funeral was shown on CNN. The video edited out a Serbian Orthodox priest that conducted the funeral. These were not Muslim babies; they were Serbian. Amanpour never set the record straight. The same story aired on a French TV station where the priest could clearly be seen.

In a July 29th, 1998 advertisement in the Washington Times by a Vietnam veteran's group, they had this to say about Christiane Amanpour:

Now that the Sarin gas fraud has been exposed -- what about Bosnia coverage by Christiane Amanpour who fed the American people a nightly diet of slanted reports and chilling images? Her biased reporting promoted the "We Must Do Something" approach that enabled President Clinton to send American GIs to Bosnia without facing the hard questions from American taxpayers and their elected representatives: What national interests justified that decision?
Amanpour's disturbing record of deceitful reporting makes me cringe. Seeing this liar on the series finale of Gilmore Girls nearly ruined that wonderful show for me. Amanpour was Rory Gilmore's role model. How disgusting. Looking at all the awards Amanpour has received for her reporting makes me want to projectile vomit, preferably in her face.

Vancouver Pride Parade

The 31st annual Vancouver Pride Parade & Festival took place yesterday on August 2nd. More than half a million people lined the streets of downtown Vancouver to watch the festivities. Vancouver Pride Society spokesman, Alan Pronger, was quoted saying, "pride is the time to display your inner sparkle for the world to see." But sadly, there are idiots out there who would do anything to deny unalienable rights to the LGBT community. On Saturday, two people who happened to be gay were murdered in a club in Tel Aviv, Israel. Eleven others were injured during the shooting. Israeli police are still hunting for the gunman.

I curse all homophobes with gay babies. Only then will they realize that gay people do not choose to be gay and that nobody has a right to treat them as if they were second-class citizens who don't deserve the same rights as everyone else.

About This Blog

Commentary from an atheist/humanist/rational/anti-capitalistic/sometimes-bitching perspective on politics, media bias, religion, society, history and anything else I feel like venting about.