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Somehow I missed this story until I saw it on the headlines of the National Enquirer. Perhaps that's because the "respectable" media has been trying to avoid it. And yet, it has all the elements of a great story: man who was elected president but cheated out of it by GOP dirty tricks then turns moral crusader for the environment attacks a massage therapist in a hotel room. In other words, Al Gore, a massage therapist, and a strange stain on a pair of pants.
According to a complaint filed by the massage therapist in Portland, OR, Gore attacked her in a hotel room where she was giving him a massage in October of 2006. The woman apparently saved her pants as evidence of her contact with Gore which leads to one and only one question: Where the hell was Al Gore when Clinton was impeached for "evidence" on Monica Lewinski's dress?
Of course there are a few other questions circulating too. According to the complaint, the sexual contact was unwanted. But if it was unwanted, why are there rumors that Al Gore left Tipper because of a relationship with a massage therapist? Also, why did the woman describe the former Vice President as a "giggling sex-crazed poodle." What does a sex-crazed poodle look like and how does it giggle? Finally, why did the woman initially refuse to cooperate with police even as she hired an attorney and carefully saved the pants as "evidence." She says she wasn't interested in money, that she didn't want to be labeled a "gold digger," but she simultaneously tried to sell her story to the National Enquirer for a million bucks.
Also, why do Americans continue to care about the sex lives of our political leaders? Why does Al Gore being "happily married" to Tipper for forty years mark him as a good person while Bill Clinton, who is married but has a clearly complex relationship with Secretary of State Clinton, is considered lacking in moral leadership?
Marriage is a property contract between two people, not a sign of moral superiority. It doesn't guarantee that the husband and wife will be better people, take more ethical stances in their lives, or even be nice to the family dog. The only thing "married" guarantees is that both will have a claim to any and all properties, including children.
But because our country is so embedded in the idea that good people are those that discipline their sexual impulses and confine them to marriage, we are unable to actually consider what politicians stand for until we have forced them to prove themselves "good husbands" (and sometimes "good wives"). Until we can stop believing the Disney fairytale that marriage is the only goal, the one path to a good and happy life, we will continue to elect leaders who are actually sex-crazed poodles but stand around waving with their wives tightly by their sides.
And that's too bad. Because a lot of those poodles would be better off chasing sticks than leading this country. And as for Al Gore- his real lack of ethical judgment was when he backed down from taking his rightful role as the elected leader of this country and gave it over to George Bush, leaving us with Afghanistan and Iraq to contend with ad infinitum. Anything else Gore does, moral or immoral, pales in comparison to the horror his lack of backbone visited on this country and the world. Bad dog indeed.
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I know I've been out of the country for quite some time, but I have this sinking feeling that the collective IQ of American politicians has dropped precipitously this year. Maybe I just wasn't paying attention to how bad things are. It's difficult when you live outside the country to really get a sense of what's going on. But somehow I was shocked to find out that our politicians are still debating whether global warming is real.
I thought we'd settled that one. Sure there were the greedy politicians who covered up for big polluters by saying
Let's not worry about global warming now. We'll find technological solutions later on. Besides global warming might mean we can grow citrus in North Dakota."
But were there large numbers of politicians two or three years ago who were so loudly denying the fact that the earth's climate has been getting warmer?
Now I read that the recent snows in the US are giving the "other side" of the global warming debate ammunition. Not the other side as in "greed is good, let's not regulate industry" but the other side as in "there's a big snow storm so I guess there's no such thing as global warming."
According to a piece in the NY Times,
Skeptics of global warming are using the record-setting snows to mock those who warn of dangerous human-driven climate change — this looks more like global cooling, they taunt.... As an illustration of their point of view, the family of Senator James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, a leading climate skeptic in Congress, built a six-foot-tall igloo on Capitol Hill and put a cardboard sign on top that read “Al Gore’s New Home.”
In Virginia, a state where the Republicans tend to be even dumberer than elsewhere,
As the first blizzard howled last weekend, the Virginia Republican Party put up an advertisement on the Web — titled “12 Inches of Global Warming” — criticizing two Virginia Democrats, Representatives Rick Boucher and Tom Perriello, who voted for the federal cap-and-trade legislation last year. The advertisement urges voters to call Mr. Boucher and Mr. Perriello to ask if they will help with the shoveling.
Excuse me if I sound like my 14 year old, but WTF?
85% of Americans think that global warming is "probably happening" and 88% think it threatens future generations. And politicians are now in serious debate on the same "two sides" they were decades ago.
Which part of climate vs. weather is lost on these people.
Weather: a daily event. Climate: long term trend. American politics: dumber and dumberer.
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What if there is a direct relationship between Barbie and the fall of the Berlin Wall? What if Barbie was always an agent of American capitalism meant to destroy the Soviet "Barbie-less" way of life? And what if Barbie's current decline signals the collapse of the American Empire? Certainly there are reasons to believe that Barbie might be more than just a doll.
When the founders of Mattel, the Handlers, traveled to Germany in 1950's, they found a naughty little doll by the name of Lili. Lili, according to the unofficial biography of Barbie by M.G. Lord, was based on a pornographic cartoon and sold to adult men as a pocket-sized novelty (one must assume for masturbatory purposes). And the Handlers thought, "Gee, wouldn't this little masturbatory aid make a great toy for girls? And let's name it after our daughter, Barbara." It is Barbie's dodgy beginnings that give early Barbie a kinda hard and tough look, like a sex worker. In fact, it wasn't until 1971, sixteen years after the introduction of Barbie/Lili that Mattel reshaped Barbie into the blank-expression, Playboy Playmate type face that she still sports today.
Since her introduction, Barbie has become the most popular toy in the history of toys. Barbie is sold in more than 140 countries and every two seconds someone buys a Barbie doll. If you placed all the Barbies sold end to end, they would circle the earth more than 7 times. In fact, Barbie is a $3 billion dollar a year industry. Barbie is an Empire.
But all Empires must fall. Even the most seemingly stable of Empires will eventually collapse under the weight of its own mightiness. A fact found out when the Berlin Wall collapsed and Barbie began to travel East. When the Berlin Wall collapsed I was living in Moscow. A few years later, Barbie arrived in Moscow. A store opened that only sold Barbies as well as books about her, like Barbie in Russia.
Barbie in Russia, like a Bible for the Godless, instructed Soviet citizens on how to consume Barbie. For instance, she's only for girls and also, it's not good to make outfits for her, but better to buy the ones made for her by Mattel. Shortly after Barbie's arrival in Russia, the entire Soviet Empire collapsed. A coincidence, perhaps, but I think Barbie may have been a CIA agent.
Now Barbie herself is threatened and her demise may signal the end of the America Empire. According to an article in the New York Times, Barbie is facing, for the first time, some real competition. Although the Barbie Empire is still worth $3 billion a year, the Liv and Moxie dolls will be worth about $30-40 million this year.
Others maintain that Liv may one day be poised to knock Barbie from her perch. “If I were Barbie, I would be really concerned,” said Lutz Muller of the Klosters Trading Corporation, a toy and video game market research company. “Liv is an excellently constructed doll with much better functionality than most of her competitors.”
Also, and this seems important, these new dolls are not really about celebrating consumption or the lifestyles of the rich and famous.
“Bratz celebrated materialism; we don’t,” said Ben Varadi, the creative director of Spin Master, the Toronto company that makes the plastic Liv dolls, positioned as the anti-Bratz, decked out in denim jackets and tooling around on tiny motor scooters.
Moxie Girlz, too, made by MGA, have turned their backs on gas-guzzling Escalades in favor of a fuel-efficient compact.
Losing the Limo - New Fashion Dolls - NYTimes.com.
What! Motor scooters and fuel-efficient cars are clearly unAmerican and unBarbie. What kind of pro-capitalist propaganda can these dolls be if they don't teach young girls to aspire to the limos, gas-guzzling SUVs and super huge mansions of Barbie and the Bratz dolls? What's next? Vegetarianism and a Ken-type doll that looks suspiciously like Al Gore?
I think the connection between Barbie and the fall of the Soviet Empire is clear. Barbie's celebration of a completely material lifestyle stood in sharp contrast to the grim and drab world of the Soviet bloc. Barbie was the American dream of endless consumption with no consequences through plastic (including plastic money- she was, after all, sculpted of poly-vinyl chloride- the same year that credit cards of the same material were born). But now that Barbie is falling to a bunch of dolls who represent less consumption and more play, well, the writing is on the wall. Barbie's collapse will signal the collapse of the American Empire just like her arrival in the East signaled the collapse of the Soviet Empire.