24 October 2008

Campbell Brown Rules

I don't pay much attention to the relatively interchangeable pretty people who read the "news" on the 24 hour channels, but lately Campbell Brown has been rocking my world. First, she called out the real Palin-related sexism (that she was being shielded like a fragile flower from the big, mean media) amid all the wolf-crying from the right. Now she proves she's objectively calling it like she sees it by putting her foot down about the ridiculous storm that has sprung up around Palin's very expensive wardrobe. Both Feministing and Broadsheet has some interesting dissection of the wardrobe and Brown's point.

As usual, I tend to agree with Rebecca Traister of Broadsheet

I didn't think it was sexist when it broke as a mini-story (see also: Edwards' haircut, Kerry's botox, McCain's 15 houses) but the four-day fetishization is pushing me to: Move along, folks, the lady bought too many expensive clothes. Nothing to see here. And can't help but feel that the gawking would be less intense and prolonged if it were about a man's wardrobe.

I was really surprised (and annoyed/bored) at the fact that this was a big story for days. I mean, seriously? I understand it's highly symbolic of the gross hypocrisy of Republican pandering to "Joe Six Pack" while all the while supporting legislation that hurts the average American on taxes, public services and health care. But, seriously, that's what they are literally doing - so we don't need to harp on the symbol. How about actually harping on the facts? How about the fact that misogynistic rage dripped out of McCain's mouth as he snarls "health of the woman" in the last debate? How about the fact that McCain dismisses a tax package that benefits the vast majority of working Americans as "socialism"?

Then again, the so-called comedy stylings of the candidates got at least as much press, so I guess you can't expect much when you have to fill 24 hours a day.

04 October 2008

Local Drivers

I spent the past week in Tampa, FL and noticed two big differences between driving around Boston and driving here. First, the vehicles are MUCH bigger. I saw more Hummers on Monday alone that I see around Boston (excluding the limos) in a month. I rented a compact, so it surprised me to find a Jeep Compass waiting for me. I guess compact is a relative term.

The other big difference is that everyone was just so polite. People respected appropriate following distances and let you change lanes or make your turn without all the hurry, hurry rage we have up North. It was particularly interesting, since I had just been discussing local driving habits with a couple of New England transplants to California. In particular, left hand turns. Around New England, most people expect the first guy in line to gun it to make a left hand turn ahead of oncoming traffic, while in Los Angeles, everyone waits patiently, but then up to 5 cars will take the left on red while all the other lanes sit by, knowing this is the deal.

While each of these examples is technically going against the rules of the road, they work because everyone follows them. This is why I contend that Rhode Islanders are much worse drivers than we Massholes. MA drivers may be jerks, but we are consistent jerks. Around Providence, the only time I ever see a turn signal is in the middle of a dangerous and illegal manouever (such as taking a left hand turn from the far right of 3 lanes with plenty pf traffic in the other two) and it's always a gamble as to whether the car in front of you will go through the green light or stop and wait to go after it turns red.