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No postiness for awhile – I was away all weekend for an event in my hometown, and halfway through the weekend, my only two-year-old Vaio went kaput for the second time – and this time it wasn’t under warranty. After hearing that parts and labour would likely cost upwards of $300, I decided to cut my losses, and not an hour ago, I purchased zees, a Studio 17 from Dell:

Shiny!

Shiny!

In red.

Shexay!

Shexay!

As a bonus with my purchase, I got a deal on a Creative Zen media player, which is – I think – the mobile-video device I’ve been looking for forever:

So teeny!

So teeny!

Mama likes her toys. Yes, she does.

But lots of stuff happened this weekend/early this week! And I don’t want it to pass by unnoticed. And so, what Astraea and Melissa said.

Via campskunk @ Alegre’s Corner:

O RLY?

O RLY?

Dear Barack:

Which ‘late-term abortions’ do you oppose, exactly? Those caused by “all those irresponsible, fickle, ninny-brained straw-women who decide willy-nilly they want abortions” when they’re “feeling blue”? Those mythical ones that do not exist?

Pregnancy is not physically comfortable, Barack, nor does society often look kindly upon the choice we make, whatever it may be.  Since women (even the dirty, whorey ones!) don’t often subject their bodies to supporting a fetus for seven months or more unless they really want to, the likelihood that a late-term abortion is done for any other reason than the “health and life of the woman” is slim-to-nil.

A piece of advice? After two presidential terms under which the reproductive rights of half the population have been under steady, unrelenting attack, the year you beat out this woman* to become the presumptive nominee? Is not the year to be fucking around with the pro-choice base of your party. People are likely to get awful… bitter.

In short – get it together, dillweed.

– RKMK

(*In theory, anyway.)
He luffs hiz purse. Luffs.

I has a purse.

The Manface luffs his purse. Luffs.

Really, after the FISA flop, is this really in good taste? At best, IMO, it’s tacky; at worst, it’s politically shtupid.

That concern aside, what’s really been troubling me is the outright corporatization of the democratic process this primary season. No, I’m not talking about the behind-the-scenes by lobbyists and favour-trading and back-scratching and “free speech donations” between corporations and politicians to gain influence in Washington (though I hate that, too), but the growing trend to speak of politics in business-speak terms.

The first time I noticed this was back in March, when Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) was quoted as saying, “You have a very unhappy electorate, which is no surprise, with oil at $108 a barrel, stocks down a few thousand points, a war in Iraq with no end in sight and a president who is still very, very unpopular. He’s just killed the Republican brand.

“Oh, Rep. Davis,” I giggled. “Only Republicans would see civics and politics in such a manner, and talk in such blatant marketing-speak!”

I was so young, then, and naive.

Not long after, I came across a friend’s blog (a personal one, which is why I’m not linking), who – while simultaneously admitting he wasn’t qualified to comment on the quality of either candidate, and was leaving it up to his political-junkie friends to duke it out – complimented Barack Obama, and his branding:

Barack Obama’s branding is really really good. Specifically, his website branding. It’s clean, very uncluttered, and visually pleasing. Hillary’s is quite good, about what you would expect, but Barack has definitely got some sugary web 2.0 (are we at 3.0 yet? I can’t keep track) goodness going on. Note the logo – the big O. Very simple, but nice. Note the my.barackobama.com, which smacks of .mac account level fandom. I don’t really have the interest to sign up and see what it’s all about, but from the outside, it’s genius: a barack dashboard. He has created his own social network! What’s next – a widget for vista/OSX of an “obameter” or a “barameter”?

Again, the political-junkie and civics nerd in me sneered – great marketing and graphic design does not a great leader make. The thing about Barack Obama’s website that jumped out at me the most was that, (at that time) he had no section on women and women’s issues, and the kind of blind spot that overlooked the needs of about 52% of the population.  That, to me, indicated far more about Barack’s candidacy that the “clean, uncluttered” nature of the site. “What about his policies,” I cried (internally). “What is he going to do?”

To my great dismay, this sort of talk didn’t abate as the primaries went on; in fact, it got worse. After Barack “won” the primary, a post by zuzu at Shakesville asked Obama’s supporters why Clinton’s supporters should vote for him in the general, and a well-meaning commenter responded:

To all of the substantive points I raised, I will finally add Obama’s brilliance in marketing.

He has managed to associate his brand so indelibly with “hope”, “change” and “inspiration” that his opponents and naysayers are forced to criticize those words and concepts, which rarely works out well. Regardless of whether he actually does represent hope change and inspiration (I personally believe he does), don’t we want our Democratic presidential candidate to be a hella good marketer?

I had a visceral reaction to reading this – I hadn’t been lurking at The Great Orange Cheeto or any other pro-Obama site, and hadn’t actually seen people arguing that this sort of thing was a positive; before I could respond, however, Shaker kidlacan was on it:

“perverse as it probably sounds, for me, the quality of obama that last of your posts highlights is the thing putting me off him the most. i’d give anything to have a break from the marketing. it sets my teeth on edge. i’ve been wishing since january that his website would tell me the sorts of things you’ve told me, in your posts, and shut up with the Hope and Change and Hope and ooh web 2.0 lookit! already. it’s a relief to me to hear reasons for supporting him which haven’t got anything to do with ‘the zeitgeist.’ “

Jerseyboy quickly followed up with:

“I agree…Zoe has enunicated succinctly what we never get on TV from him, from his supporters in general or from his website…the marketing stuff is a monstrous turnoff for me…we dealt with that garbage from Bush and Co. for nearly eight years…I hated it from the right, I don’t want to see it from the left…it’s nauseating from any part of the political spectrum.”

There’s been a lot of pop-psychology running around the media and the ‘net about the tensions between whom supports whom, via age (Boomers vs. Echo-Boomers/”Generation Y“), the “waves” of feminism (second vs. third), and classes (Creative vs. Working), and geography (urban vs. Appalachia).  I’m personally starting to see another thread of preference (which surely intertwines with each and every one of these divisions),  that is,  which kind of “consumer” each voter is: those who enjoy “buying into” concepts, and those who don’t like being “marketed” every. last. thing., especially not democracy.

For example, I’ve often commented that while I’m part of the “demographic” that is supposed to be overwhelmingly pro-Obama (young, educated, urban latte-sipping liberal), I’ve pretty much rejected the entire kit’n’caboodle. This is perhaps in part because I identify more with second-wave feminism, which in turn may partly be because I both get along fabulously with my boomer-generation mother and because I don’t particularly share my generation’s resentment of the boomers.

But I’m also someone who’s reknowned as a “hard-sell.” I hate telemarketers. I hate going into stores and having salespeople flutter at me, because I know what I want, and I resent someone trying to sell me otherwise. I rarely buy something just because the commercial appealed to me, aesthetically or otherwise; I enjoyed the Joe Canada commercial back in 2000, but I never bought Canadian –  because I don’t enjoy the taste of beer.  I really liked the Pepsi/Britney campaigns of the same era, and could appreciate their zip and style, but … I prefer the taste of Coke, and that’s what I buy.   Right now, I’ll fully admit to being addicted to my Starbucks, but it’s not a status/brand thing to me – it’s that their hazelnut/cinnamon dolce/chai lattes are fooking delicious. The only time a commercial speaks to me, like, enough to part with any money, is when it happens to speak to me on a functional level, that the product that’s being sold to me will actually solve a problem I have or I truly enjoy it.

That Generation-Y link says the following about my generation:

They represent more than 70 million consumers in the United States. They earn a total annual income of about $211 billion, spend approximately $172 billion per year, and considerably influence many adult consumer buying choices. They also face a greater degree of direct corporate marketing than any other generation in history….

A 2008 survey by UK recruitment consultancy FreshMinds Talent in partnership with Management Today suggested that Generation Y are generally more ambitious, brand conscious and tend to move jobs more often than ever before.

I think my generation is definitely more brand-conscious than ever before, but I think there’s a bit of a dove-tailing effect: there’s a split between those who are marketing-skeptical (like myself) –  those who can recognize marketing tricks for what they are, and have fused it with the previous generation’s anti-capitalist sentiment – and those who have embraced corporate branding and marketing as an art, and make their judgements based on the brand, the marketing itself, who buy into the “logic” that the person who can manipulate the message the best is, ipso facto, the person who would lead best.

Which, to me is a logical non-sequitur, but it seems to follow to the latter kind of person, and (terrifyingly) that the latter seems to be far more prevalent. But what kind of “consumer” one is seems to both correlate with and explain the cross-section of voters that Clinton and Obama appeal to, respectively, across those urban/rural, generational, and class divides: those who are likely to appreciate and buy into gloss and glitter, and those who are wary about throwing their money and support behind something without there being a little substance to back it up.

Assorted giggles for your workday enjoyment:

“How It Works”

Juno Taught Me

“Duty Calls”

(Of course, the point may be moot after tonite, as early reports indicated not-fabulous support for Clinton in New Hampshire. Nonetheless.)

So, like, did you guys know that Hillary Clinton is a stone-cold bitch, a manipulative harpy, and an emotional wreck? Did you know that she is both too serious and that her laugh is a shrill, nerve-grating cackle? (Not unlike a witch! OMG coincidence!)

And did you hear about how she CRIED? She cried! Like a big girl, with a breastesses and a vagina and everything! (Except that she didn’t.) (And when she doesn’t cry, she’s “screechy.” VAGINA.)

Know what didn’t make the news? How she handled a stunt from two shock jock flunkies:

On a day when no one can stop talking what a huge, hysterical girl Hillary Clinton is, because she got choked up talking about her passion for this country and what she believes is best for it, Hillary Clinton also had to stand there while a misogynist fuckwit chanted “Iron my shirt!” at her, and then she had to laugh if off like it didn’t matter, didn’t affect her, didn’t trip her stride in the slightest; she had to keep on doing her job in spite of some insignificant piece of shit trying to humiliate her just for being a woman, and she gracefully turned that vicious attempt to demean her into a chance to note something she ‘loves’ about campaigning.

That, friends, is a tough fucking lady.

Of course, after the event, there were the inevitable rumours that she had staged the entire incident. Because, manipulative! Witch!

And, today when confronting Chris Matthews (who, if you’re not aware, nearly wets his pants every time they discuss the possibility of Hillary in the White House in an executive capacity):

During a press availability on the campaign trail in New Hampshire this weekend, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews was pressing Sen. Hillary Clinton about how her plan to bring U.S troops home from Iraq differs from her competitors. Then it got weird(er):

Matthews: “Please come on the show.”

Clinton: “Yeah, right.”

Matthews: “Is that an answer?”

Clinton: “You know, I don’t know what to do with men who are obsessed with me. Honestly, I’ve never understood it.”

Later, Sen. Clinton walked over to Matthews. He pinched her cheek. She grazed his with her hand and said in a mother-to-child tone, “Oh, Christopher. Baby.” Matthews mumbled, “It’s not an obsession.”

[Video]

As a commenter at Shakesville marveled: “I love the way she treated him like a little boy and then moved on as if he were a nobody…which he is.”

For fucking serious.

Look, I’m not thrilled with everything HRC has said or done, or what she’s voted for, etc. But 80% is fucking close enough, and if I add in bonus points for sheer grit and overwhelming evidence of the fucking ovaries of steel this woman has had to have to get through 30-odd years of sexist bullshit in the public eye? I am so fucking down with the idea of her as president. That woman is badass.

More on why fighting this sexist bullshit matters, from Melissa McEwan. (Hint: It’s not just about Hillary. Which is why I’m writing about it regardless of her performance in the New Hampshire primary.)

Edit: 10:52 pm – Fuck that noise, they’re calling it for Hillary! This is what I get for passing by the blog of some asshole liberal white dude who was crowing about how Hillary hadn’t any votes as of noon. Lesson: never listen to liberal white dudes on political blogs, at least when it comes to HRC.

Solidarity, sister.