Saturday, December 17, 2005

Ruth's Morning Edition Report

Ruth: Let's start out by noting CounterSpin. A guest this week is community favorite Naomi Klein. I'm glad to know that Diego listened Friday. He e-mailed to ask if it were "Ny-o-mee" or "Nay-o-mee." I believe that would depend upon how she pronounces her own name since either pronuciation is acceptable. Diego wrote that he loved the entire broadcast and intends to listen each week. If, like me, you listened Friday to WBAI, you may want to listen online at FAIR's site since the interview with Ms. Klein was interrupted.

The beginning of each program addresses recent headlines and I enjoy both the critiques and the humor offered in those. Steve Rendell and Peter Hart covered them this week. Diego asked that I please note Bill O'Reilly's falsehoods. Mr. O'Reilly, as most already knows, sees a war to worry about everywhere but in Iraq which explains both his priorities and why he has so much difficulty with facts. Mr. O'Reilly is convinced that there's a war on Christmas.

He has announced that two cities, Plano and Dodgeville, are strong centers of this supposed insurgency. In Plano, Mr. O'Reilly maintains, combat has grown so fierce that the schools have barred red and green clothing. No doubt Toby Keith is strumming his guitar and preparing a ditty. But before anyone air bombs the city of Plano, it should be noted that red and green clothing is not banned in Plano schools nor has it ever been. In Dodgeville, Mr. O'Reilly maintains, children are not allowed to sing Christmas songs and that the songs have been rewritten in this extreme attack on Christmas. Hold the white phosphorus. The reality is that the children do sing Christmas songs and they also sing, as part of a musical the children put on, their own words to the melodies of traditional Christmas tunes.

As a reliable informant, Bill O'Reilly's record is matching up with Ahmed Chalabi's.

On the war,
CounterSpin noted that until the Bully Boy used the 30,000 figure for Iraqi casualities, the press was not very interested in the topic. The press was so disinterested that the question that prompted an answer on this topic came not from the press, but from a citizen at one of Bully Boy's speeches. The number itself is based upon tabulating civilian deaths reported by the media and other studies have placed the fatality count for Iraqis at a much higher number.

Richard Bernstein and the New York Times' attack on playwright Harold Pinter was noted for its linkage of the Sandanistas with al Quaeda. The linkage was a dubious one and I'll trust that we all grasp that and move on to Juan Williams.

Juan Williams enjoys sitting around on for the Fox "News" cameras. It is apparently an easy job that does not require that Mr. Williams be fully awake. Which would explain why, as CounterSpin pointed out, Mr. Williams made no real effort to correct William Kristol's fales claim that Richard Pryor was a "Reagan-ite." Mr. Pryor, who attended a function at the Reagan White House in honor of MLK, was on record as saying that obscenity to him was the Ronald Reagan claimed to be fighting communism by killing people. Those do not sound like the words of a Reagan-ite and, more curious, Juan Williams had reported on those statements for NPR following Mr. Pryor's death.

For those interested in the creation of a Department of Peace, please check out KPFT's
Open Journal from Friday. Treva was en route to New Orleans, I believe, when she phoned to ask if I was listening? I was not until she gave me the heads up. Congress member Dennis Kucinnich has introduced a bill for the creation of a Department of Peace since 2001. Currently, there is a proposal in the Senate as well. The proposal is discussed in great detail and, unless I am mixed up on this, during this program a wonderful live version of John Lennon's "Imagine" was also featured. I usually prefer to focus on news in my listening choices; however, I was busy thinking of issues raised by Open Journal and dealing with an unusually active Elijah who was opposed to a nap on Friday, loudly opposed. He was strongly in favor of the music played on KPFT's Radio Active which was reason enough to listen but I also enjoyed the host bringing on his daughter to introduce a favorite song.

KPFT's After Hours is a favorite program of my grandson Jayson. It was airing in the early morning hours of Sunday but now has switched to late night Fridays. (Jayson, let me know if I got this wrong.)

KPFA's The Morning Show featured strong programming all week. I think my favorite discussion was on
the issue of the out of control rent in the San Francisco area and how it effected families, traffic and so much more.. While a subject that does not effect me directly since I do not live on the west coast, I found it to be highly informative and involving. For me, that is a key factor in why I listen to The Morning Show. The discussions can cover any topic and they always involve me regardless of topic. A topic that they addressed throughout the week was executions with a focus on the excution of Stanley Tookie Williams.

Jayson pointed out that Andrea Lewis was spelled "Andre Lewis" two Saturdays ago. That was my typo and not a letter lost when C.I. spaced my copied e-mail into an entry. Dallas got the spelling correct for the tag but neither he nor C.I. noticed it in the entry. My apologies to Ms. Lewis. Ms. Lewis hosts The Morning Show with Philip Maldari who did a strong job this past week in the discussion on the coast line.

Monday, WBAI's twice a month hourly program Law & Disorder aired. I wish this were a weekly show because the issues tackled are important ones. If you have not sampled this program yet, I will note a comment Tracey made. She was not feeling well Monday and spent the day. This was her first time listening and she enjoyed the interview style which involves the hosts handing off to one another throughout an interview.

A number of e-mails came in on KPFA's Sunday Salon expressing praise for
the discussion on Iraq so I will note this Sunday's program. If you are seeing this after it originally posted, remember that Sunday Salon is archived:

Tomorrow at 9:00 am
Sunday Salon
This week on Sunday Salon...

In our first hour...
We'll follow-up 2 hours of live wrap-up coverage from the World Trade Organization's meetings in Hong Kong. Our guests will analyze what inside and outside the meetings, and what it all means moving forward.
In our second hour...
Author Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz joins us in-studio to talk about her new book Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War. Plus, an interview with poet, artist, libertarian theologian, and Nicaraguan Catholic Priest Father Ernesto Cardenal.
Listen to past shows, get contact and reference info for guests, see announcements of upcoming programs, and more at:

A number of e-mails also came in regarding the report I pulled last week. C.I. has a natural tendency to grab all the blame, and none of the glory, so to be clear, I made the decision. I was not asked to pull it. I did address, for most of the report, the issue that has been a topic in the community all week and most of last week. I was not asked to take that out. C.I. phoned Sunday morning to explain that an e-mail had come in and shared the e-mail with me. Based upon the contents of the e-mail, I decided to pull the report. I did not have the time to rethink the report and this was a large portion of the drafts I had already done on legal pads.

The sentiment of the community is that the e-mail was not a genuine one. I do not know that I can support that sentiment. I think it may have been genuine. Bear with me. When words have so little meaning, as I feel the person in question grants them, you can write anything and mean it at the time. So I am not sure that, at the moment she wrote the e-mail, she did not mean it.

I am sure of a few things which I will share now.

As part of the sixties wave of feminism, I do not know any woman who felt she was speaking out so that someday a show akin to Gidget could be praised at length. Gidget was a silly show with entertainment value perhaps. Certainly Sally Field went on to many genuine accomplishments.

But as war raged in Vietnam, as women sought to give voice to issues that society felt were "personal problems" (two examples: rape and domestic abuse), we had some serious battles on our hands. I do not think those battles are over.

I think the battles are just as serious today and I do not believe that feminism benefits from silence on the issue of the current war or in uncritical "shout outs" to TV shows. While anyone, feminist or not, is welcome to write about whatever topic they choose to, writing about a topic with the platitudes that were to be found in the "women's magazines" at the time was the reason Ms. and other magazines were needed.

In my (college) days we spoke of "contributions." Were you making a contribution or not? If someone is offended that her (or his) silence on the war is questioned, they would be better served (as would be their readers) if they attempted to address the issue of the war instead of hiding behind hurt feelings.

It also bears noting that a show starring a woman is not necessarily a feminist program nor is it necessarily good for women. Tracey and I watched both Commander-in-Chief and Veronica Mars this week together. I wanted her perspective in case my age was an obstacle to recognizing some noteable advancement. Neither of us saw anything praise worthy in terms of feminism with either shows.

What I saw was some fluff pretending to be serious and I did not grasp how either show could be seen as empowering by feminist. Tracey saw nothing of value either so I doubt my disinterest was due to my age alone.

Women's magazines of the period were happy to cheer uncritically this form of entertainment and, as stated before, one of the things feminists of my generation were taking on was that sort of journalism.

A woman or man is entitled to pursue any path they desire. However, if they identify as feminist, the label requires some grasp of feminism and the application of that grasp in their writing otherwise they are just churning out "copy." From television to children's literature, from movies to professions, women of my generation were dedicated to examing and addressing a variety of topics from a feminist perspective.

To remain silent on
the issue of a Veronica Mars now false claim of rape would not have happened with women of my generation. We took issues like rape very seriously and we railed against harmful portrayals and harmful coverage. Someone who feels her feminism has been questioned might be better served in focusing less on her hurt feelings and more on her silence regarding the war and a lack of any critical examination in her "Here is what to watch! And it stars a woman!" advertising copy.

In closing,
Kat is a wonderful writer. Never having been afraid to challenge conventional wisdom or sacred cows, she is also a brave writer. The demand, by a male, that she "correct" her opinion was offensive enough. When a woman stays silent on that or endorses it, she calls her own feminism into question. When she decides that the template for Kat's own writing is the criteria defined by a pedestrian writer, a male writer, she calls her own feminism into question.
Kat's writing is full of life and full of passion. Most importantly, she writes from a feminist perspective. That is a perspective that women of my generation fought hard to have heard so I will not support anyone, male or female, feminist or non-feminist, criticizing her for not playing it down the middle of the road in accepted, mainstream terms.

Having checked out the woman's site, I felt I was reading any paper USA's generic Sunday arts coverage. I saw "writing" that was a few sentences stringing together a bunch of links to other people's writing on TV portrayals of men in prison. I saw no feminist perspective in that "writing." I saw no thought in that "writing." It read like someone attempting to hop on the bandwagon and win approval from the mainstream by repeating claims coming from the mainstream. It would not have passed for feminism when I was a young woman and it does not pass for feminism today.