Archive for the ‘War’ Category

The Poetry of D.H. Rumsfeld
April 1, 2008


“His work, with its dedication to the fractured rhythms of the plainspoken vernacular, is reminiscent of William Carlos Williams’. Some readers may find that Rumsfeld’s gift for offhand, quotidian pronouncements is as entrancing as Frank O’Hara’s.”

–from Slate

The Unknown
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don’t know
We don’t know.

—Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing


How To Frame Politics?
March 30, 2008


 A New Frame: Strong Communities

It’s a sad, sad state of affairs for the American people when we have to boil our presidential election down to questions of race and gender. And yet, we’ve arrived: Are Americans more racist or sexist? We have to wonder aloud, so that we send the most able opponent up against the Great White Hope, suckled straight from the Bush camp’s teat, John McCain.Why do we wonder? So that we don’t make even more war, kill more of our own soldiers and people from Iraq and possibly Iran, and so that we start looking to the problems on our own turf, like that seriously-disabling fact that we have a nasty FOR-PROFIT healthcare system that is literally to die for if you’re not rich and just happen to get sick (not so incidentally, McCain will take us backward on that issue).

I’d bet my next check that this election is only going to get a whole lot dirtier than we can even imagine yet. The Bushs aren’t going to give up the Strict-Father family model of government without some hardcore down-and-dirty tactics, and I’m not so sure the Dems have the properly “dirty” arsenal to fight back. “The Left must get much better, not just at placing its issues in a compelling moral frame, but at exposing and holding the radical Right accountable for its lies and deception – without, and here is the tricky part, making those who have been manipulated feel ridiculed and put down” [Frances Moore Lappé].

George Lakoff has some keen ideas on leveling the playing field though, here and here.


–Excerpts below from Black Man vs. White Woman” by Drake Bennett in The Boston Globe

“Gender stereotypes trump race stereotypes in every social science test,” says Alice Eagly, a psychology professor at Northwestern University…

As Clinton has discovered, gender stereotypes are stickier. Women can be seen as ambitious and capable, or they can be seen as likable, a host of studies have shown, but it’s very hard for them to be seen as both –

…When psychologists talk about bias, they use three technical categories: stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination. Stereotyping is cognitive bias, the tendency to ascribe people a set of traits based on the group they belong to (e.g., “black people are good at sports,” “Jews are cheap”). Prejudice is an emotional bias, disliking someone because of their group identity. And discrimination is how we act on the first two.

…”We’re finding that racial stereotyping and prejudice are extremely contextual,” says Correll. “You can see real reductions in prejudice, and sometimes it actually reverses,” crossing over into a sort of stereotypic affinity.

And this, Correll argues, works to the advantage of someone like Obama. “You look at Obama, and he represents himself incredibly well,” Correll says. “There are a whole lot of contextual cues that tell us this is someone you don’t need to worry about.”

…The researchers didn’t see a similar effect for gender. According to Tooby, “People can cease to notice ethnicity as a factor in how they conceptualize somebody in a way that they don’t seem to be able to with gender.”

…Women in these studies are typically judged to be less capable than men with identical qualifications, but it’s not impossible for them to be seen as competent. The problem is that if they’re understood to be capable, the majority of respondents also see them as less likable.

“The deal is that women generally fall into two alternatives: they are either seen as nice but stupid or smart but mean,” says Susan Fiske, a psychology professor at Princeton who specializes in stereotyping.

And unlike racial bias, there’s little evidence that these attitudes are softening.

According to Eagly of Northwestern, the problem isn’t that women aren’t traditionally understood as smart, but that they traditionally aren’t understood to be “assertive, competitive, take-charge” types. More than intelligence, she argues, this “agentic” quality is what we look for in leaders, and, as both surveys and experimental studies have shown, we find it deeply discomfiting in women.

“That’s what Hillary Clinton is up against,” argues Eagly. “She’s had to show her toughness, then people turn around and say she’s too cold.”

–From Black Man vs. White Woman” by Drake Bennett in The Boston Globe


  1. andrew lundwall Says:
    February 21st, 2008 at 6:14 pm eindeed! a very sad sad state of affairs!i remember having a conversation with my girlfriend about a month ago about this…i wondered whether america was indeed really ready for a hillary clinton or barack obama…
  2. Amy King Says:
    February 22nd, 2008 at 5:59 pm eI guess we’ll be finding out soon enough … though I’m not an optimist in this regard. Thanks, A~

How to Hate Hillary
March 29, 2008

“You can … discuss this avalanche of misogyny without endorsing her campaign …” –Bill Moyers in conversation with Kathleen Hall Jamieson


Select excerpts from Robin Morgan’s “Goodbye To All That (#2)“:

—When a sexist idiot screamed “Iron my shirt!” at HRC, it was considered amusing; if a racist idiot shouted “Shine my shoes!” at BO, it would’ve inspired hours of airtime and pages of newsprint analyzing our national dishonor.

—John McCain answering “How do we beat the bitch?” with “Excellent question!” Would he have dared reply similarly to “How do we beat the black bastard?” For shame.

—Goodbye to the sick, malicious idea that this is funny. This is not “Clinton hating,” not “Hillary hating.” This is sociopathic woman-hating. If it were about Jews, we would recognize it instantly as anti-Semitic propaganda; if about race, as KKK poison. Hell, PETA would go ballistic if such vomitous spew were directed at animals. Where is our sense of outrage—as citizens, voters, Americans?

—Goodbye to the news-coverage target-practice . . .

The women’s movement and Media Matters wrung an apology from MSNBC’s Chris Matthews for relentless misogynistic comments ( But what about NBC’s Tim Russert’s continual sexist asides and his all-white-male panels pontificating on race and gender? Or CNN’s Tony Harris chuckling at “the chromosome thing” while interviewing a woman from The White House Project? And that’s not even mentioning Fox News.

—Goodbye to pretending the black community is entirely male and all women are white . . .

Surprise! Women exist in all opinions, pigmentations, ethnicities, abilities, sexual preferences, and ages—not only African American and European American but Latina and Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islanders, Arab American and—hey, every group, because a group wouldn’t exist if we hadn’t given birth to it. A few non-racist countries may exist—but sexism is everywhere. No matter how many ways a woman breaks free from other discriminations, she remains a female human being in a world still so patriarchal that it’s the “norm.”

—Goodbye to some women letting history pass by while wringing their hands, because Hillary isn’t as “likeable” as they’ve been warned they must be, or because she didn’t leave him, couldn’t “control” him, kept her family together and raised a smart, sane daughter. (Think of the blame if Chelsea had ever acted in the alcoholic, neurotic manner of the Bush twins!) Goodbye to some women pouting because she didn’t bake cookies or she did, sniping because she learned the rules and then bent or broke them. Grow the hell up. She is not running for Ms.-perfect-pure-queen-icon of the feminist movement. She’s running to be president of the United States.

—Goodbye to some young women eager to win male approval by showing they’re not feminists (at least not the kind who actually threaten thestatus quo), who can’t identify with a woman candidate because she is unafraid of eeueweeeu yucky power, who fear their boyfriends might look at them funny if they say something good about her. Goodbye to women of any age again feeling unworthy, sulking “what if she’s not electable?” or “maybe it’s post-feminism and whoooosh we’re already free.”

—So listen to her voice:

“For too long, the history of women has been a history of silence. Even today, there are those who are trying to silence our words.

“It is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food, or drowned, or suffocated, or their spines broken, simply because they are born girls. It is a violation of human rights when woman and girls are sold into the slavery of prostitution. It is a violation of human rights when women are doused with gasoline, set on fire and burned to death because their marriage dowries are deemed too small. It is a violation of human rights when individual women are raped in their own communities and when thousands of women are subjected to rape as a tactic or prize of war. It is a violation of human rights when a leading cause of death worldwide along women ages 14 to 44 is the violence they are subjected to in their own homes. It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will.

“Women’s rights are human rights. Among those rights are the right to speak freely—and the right to be heard.”

That was Hillary Rodham Clinton defying the U.S. State Department and the Chinese Government at the 1995 UN World Conference on Women in Beijing (look here for the full, stunning speech).

–Select excerpts from Robin Morgan’s “Goodbye To All That (#2)


From “All You Need is Hate” by Stanley Fish:

She is vilified for being a feminist and for not being one, for being an extreme leftist and for being a “warmongering hawk,” for being godless and for being “frighteningly fundamentalist,” for being the victim of her husband’s peccadilloes and for enabling them…

But the people and groups Horowitz surveys have brought criticism of Clinton to what sportswriters call “the next level,” in this case to the level of personal vituperation unconnected to, and often unconcerned with, the facts. These people are obsessed with things like her hair styles, the “strangeness” of her eyes — “Analysis of Clinton’s eyes is a favorite motif among her most rabid adversaries” — and they retail and recycle items from what Horowitz calls “The Crazy Files”: she’s Osama bin Laden’s candidate; she kills cats; she’s a witch (this is not meant metaphorically)…

The closest analogy is to anti-Semitism. But before you hit the comment button, I don’t mean that the two are alike either in their significance or in the damage they do. It’s just that they both feed on air and flourish independently of anything external to their obsessions. Anti-Semitism doesn’t need Jews and anti-Hillaryism doesn’t need Hillary, except as a figment of its collective imagination. However this campaign turns out, Hillary-hating, like rock ‘n’ roll, is here to stay.

–from “All You Need is Hate” by Stanley Fish


And lest you buy into the notion that Clinton is “calculating” while the other campaigns are not, take a peek at “Mr. Obama Goes to Washington“:

That’s the key word in trying to figure out Obama: He seems like everything to everybody, which is not necessarily his fault. Much of the media coverage of Obama has been personality focused, as the story of the son of a Kenyan and a Kansan, the third African-American senator since Reconstruction. Because the media have not looked as closely at his political positions, Obama has taken on the quality of a blank screen on which people can project whatever they like. But he hasn’t discouraged this. A masterful politician, Obama has a Bill Clinton-esque talent for maximizing that screen and appearing comfortable in almost any setting. And, like Clinton, Obama has an impressive control of the issues and a mesmerizing ability to connect with people…

Obama has a remarkable ability to convince you that his positions are motivated purely by principles, not tactical considerations. This skill is so subtle and impressive, it resembles Luke Skywalker’s mastery of the Force. It’s a powerful tool for a Democratic Party that often emanates calculation rather than conviction….

–from “Mr. Obama Goes to Washington


All campaigns and politicians are calculated, especially in terms of appealing to people on an emotional level. If they weren’t, they’d flop. So let’s call out and then ditch the ad hominem woman-hating attacks and start dealing with what really separates Clinton and Obama. Please.


7 Responses to “How to Hate Hillary”

  1. Jim K. Says:
    February 7th, 2008 at 10:39 pm eaaauuuuugh! Evil lizard-brain bastards…
    they have no clue they are reverting to livestock.
    WTF century is this?
    Great interview…it really is a primitive
    fetishistic thing. Astonishing.
    To see a collection of sayings more
    cringing and primal than even Freudian
    theory is depressing. The animal still
  2. Jordan Says:
    February 9th, 2008 at 1:54 pm eShe makes little kids cry:
  3. Amy King Says:
    February 9th, 2008 at 9:47 pm eOh no! Going for the stomach … how could they? How could she? Arggh!
  4. Greg Rappleye Says:
    February 10th, 2008 at 12:39 am eAmen.

    Thank you for this post.

  5. Amy King Says:
    February 10th, 2008 at 3:02 am eMy pleasure. Thanks for stopping by!
  6. Paula Delaine Says:
    February 26th, 2008 at 11:46 am eThe Misogyny of Hillary Hating

    What I have to say has nothing to do with which Democratic candidate would be a better president: Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. It has to do with the contest between Hillary, a woman who seeks to be our next president, and the “Hillary Haters”, people who have been relentlessly poisoning the public imagination with negative personal attacks against her. They don’t attack her politics, policies, intelligence or capacity to be president – only her personality.

    Hillary’s personality is no different now than when she held a comfortable lead in public opinion polls a couple of months ago and was favored to win. Recently, though, you’d think that she’s morphed into evil itself the way Hillary Haters on the radio talk shows, for instance, relentlessly portray her as: “evil Hillary”, “witch”, “ball-busting”, “prostitute”, “that bitch”, “mean-looking”, “untrustworthy”, “doesn’t know how to run her own home”, “she stuck with Bill just so she could use him for her own political ambitions”. These attacks (made mostly by men and some self-deprecating women) are unfair, sexist, and hateful. None of the male candidates are being demonized in this way. For those of us who have worked for women’s equality for so long, it’s painful to watch a qualified female candidate being trashed in this way.

    Here are some other examples of what has been said about her, but not the other candidates:
    • “I don’t trust her. She’s calculating and manipulative.” – What candidate isn’t calculating and manipulative when they want to sway public opinion and gain support…even the ones who are perceived as “honest”. It’s the nature of politics. Why berate Hillary for doing the same thing the male politicians do?

    • “I don’t know why I don’t like her. I just don’t. I mean, she’d probably be a good president, but she just rubs me the wrong way.” We’re supposed to be seeking someone who’s capable of running the country – not a personal relationship. Hillary Haters are being rubbed the wrong way because she’s a woman seeking power, going out of bounds of her expected sex role.

    • “I don’t like the way she talks or looks.” This is a personal projection having nothing to do with her ability to be an effective president. “Like-ability” is not the best measure of leadership. After all, George Bush was well-liked, and look what we got…twice.

    • “She’s a Washington insider, part of the Establishment. We need a change in the way things are done in Washington.” As members of Congress, all three of the leading primary candidates are Washington insiders…Hillary, Obama, and McCain. But a candidate’s status as an “insider” or “outsider” doesn’t guarantee we’ll get what we want. Uh, didn’t the “outsider” George W. Bush run for president with a promise to change Washington politics? He did, but not the way we wanted.

    In another example: when Hillary showed a little emotion in public – moist eyes – the media grabbed hold as if here was a true sign of her weakness and inability to be a strong president. Yet when Bill Clinton and George W. Bush shed a few tears while in office, they were perceived as positively human. It is mostly men who are concerned about Hillary’s emotions. Most women do not believe the public expression of natural human emotion is a weakness – especially when it’s as self-controlled display as Hillary’s was. In fact, it’s perceived as a strength.

    One could easily assume that curtained Republicans and/or corporate media moguls are injecting the virus of Hillary Hating into the media for ulterior purposes. So much of American media is now owned by a few people, most of whom are white, male Republicans. But I think the success of such a tactic points to a deeper problem than dirty politics or how a media message is skillfully crafted to favor one candidate over the other. If fear of Feminine Power weren’t so rampant in our hyper-masculine culture, and if the American public weren’t so susceptible to media manipulation and idol-worship, the Hillary Haters would not have found their seeds of slander so quickly bear fruit in the public imagination.

    Hatred of the Feminine is not always easy to see when you’re swimming in it. But thanks to blatant media bias during this long primary season, the non-objective choice of words and images that were fed to the public about Hillary and Obama starkly reveal our resistance in being fair to women. Why do we still silently stand by and accept this? Will our media be able to silently get away with racial bias against Obama if he wins the Democratic primary and challenges John McCain for the presidency?

    I’m glad that both a woman and an African American finally have a good chance to become president of our country. But misogyny should not be any more acceptable to Americans than racism. Reflect on this: if nothing other than gender changed, would Obama be able to gain as many votes if he were a black woman (unless, of course, he is Oprah)? Could Hillary Haters skewer Hillary’s character in the media as successfully if she were a white man?

    Barack Obama may inspire us because he speaks to our frustrations and longing to be better than we are. But If Hillary is a polarizing figure – as Hillary Haters claim – it’s not because of her politics nor even her personality. She’s a pioneer, a woman who dares to take on the most powerful leadership position in America, the provence of men. Pioneers always encounter resistance from those most frightened at the prospect of real change.

  7. Amy King Says:
    February 26th, 2008 at 6:12 pm eWell put, Paula. Thanks very much for this. The fact that only a handful of self-identified feminists are discussing this bursting, publicized misogyny is shameful for us as an “advanced” nation. We claim to be purging ourselves of such hatred, but the truth is that those who attempt to even point it out, or even not to play along, get called names in an attempt to shut us up. Damn shame our advanced society is so backwards.

The Flâneur on Torture
March 29, 2008


“The Question (torture), when considered as the art of discovering the truth, is a barbarous stupidity; it is the application of a material means to a spiritual end.”

– Charles Baudelaire, Intimate Journals

I Lied
March 29, 2008

“By helping us understand how fear is being actively cultivated and manipulated by the current administration, Hijacking Catastrophe stands to become an explosive and empowering information weapon in this decisive year in U.S. history.”
Naomi Klein | Author, No Logo

“The Media Education Foundation has been carrying out vitally important work on major issues of the day, in a highly meritorious effort to raise public awareness and understanding, work that is particularly crucial in advance of the coming election, which may well cast a long shadow over the country’s future.”
Noam Chomsky | Professor of Linguistics, MIT

The above is Part 2 of 10 in the series. View the remaining here on Youtube.


Here are a few more excerpts from recent Poetics List postings.

Ann Bogle excerpt, “It seems increasingly that many women don’t like women very much, that liking women is too obvious, that one has to pretend one doesn’t notice us. There is no out and out acceptance of Feminism as necessary to humanism” Read the rest of her post here.


3 Responses to “I Lied”

  1. Jim K. Says:
    October 3rd, 2007 at 4:05 pm eahaha…the righteous-idea bites will grab you
    like the muse does..
  2. Amy King Says:
    October 3rd, 2007 at 5:45 pm eIndeed, Jim!!
  3. Timothy Caldwell Says:
    October 4th, 2007 at 12:16 am eShe lied.

    I’m glad.

    Thank you!

December 11, 1922 – August 22, 2007
March 28, 2008


I love her stories, which I still teach in my classes, and her pacifist activism was an absolute inspiration.

Peace to Grace Paley and much gratitude.


Interview at Salon.

Another interview at Salon.

NY Times on Paley’s books.

Listen to Paley read and a conversation at UPENN.


“Let us go forth with fear and courage and rage to save the world.”

“You know the mind is an astonishing, long-living, erotic thing.”

“. . . people will sometimes say, ‘Why don’t you write more politics?’ And I have to explain to them that writing the lives of women is politics.”

–Grace Paley


2 Responses to “December 11, 1922 – August 22, 2007”

  1. Jim K. Says:
    August 24th, 2007 at 12:08 pm eHey….she made the yahoo headlines yesterday.
    Any excerpts of her poetry?
  2. Amy King Says:
    August 24th, 2007 at 7:35 pm eI didn’t really follow her poetry much. I was a fan of her short stories … I’m sure her verse is online.

Dick Cheney ‘94: Why We Shouldn’t Invade Iraq
March 28, 2008

And if Cheney bores you, go out with Borat and find out what the owner of the hunting ranch *really* would like to hunt!


2 Responses to “Dick Cheney ‘94: Why We Shouldn’t Invade Iraq”

  1. Collin Says:
    August 15th, 2007 at 7:33 pm eIt’s amazing how reasonable and sane he sounds here. Maybe all the heart medication and Karl Rove messed with his head.
  2. Amy King Says:
    August 16th, 2007 at 6:13 pm eOr the profit projections …

This Is Not An Indictment
March 27, 2008

For a few years now, I’ve used the 30-minute version of Maggie Hadleigh-West’s film, “War Zone“, in my basic writing course (excerpt above). I also used to work in Manhattan for about five years, and often found myself with a female co-worker navigating our lunchtime walks around construction sites or generally wherever men are known to gather, to avoid catcalling or worse. If we didn’t respond, the “compliments” immediately turned to aggression, “You’re ugly anyway” or “snobby bitches” & similar rebuttals to our silence. Hadleigh-West’s reaction was just the opposite of the standard: she took a video camera back in the early nineties and turned it on the men who, as strangers on the street, felt compelled to ‘innocently’ publicly appraise women’s bodies via a range of remarks. In turn, their responses range, as seen in the film, from curious engagement with the filmmaker to actual physical confrontation.

Now, I recently discovered that there is a movement in many cities called “Holla Back” – a flip on the urban street term, “Holla Back Girls” – that takes Hadleigh-West’s idea to the next level of engagement as a mass movement. The websites encourage women and men to use their cell phones to document instances of harassment and send it in with the accompanying story. I’d like all of my students who claim that ‘a polite compliment on the street is harmless’ to see that there is a context, an actual consistant level of harassment on the street that they are feeding into and that women deal with on a daily basis. The context affects our mobility and our sense of safety. The Holla Back New York City site has enough examples to line the garbage cans for years to come, especially for those who think such a harassment culture is a figment of our imaginations because you are not one of those who become aggressive.

Special note: This is not an indictment of men. This is not an indictment of you, particularly if you aren’t a participant in the public spaces of harassment.

P.S. I’m happy to see that Maggie has a new documentary film coming out, “Player Hater“. Looks revealing …


7 Responses to “This Is Not An Indictment”

  1. Timothy Caldwell Says:
    July 8th, 2007 at 10:46 pm eWhen I’ve called out men on the street for saying inappropriate things to women passing by, most of the time the situation becomes a confrontation, as if I attacked their manhood. I’ve had to squelch this impulse because one time it got me surrounded by a moving company worth of young men who decided that this “four-eyed faggot” should shut. They were not very polite. I’m embarrassed for my sex when I see men behave this way. Thank you for clarifying that you are not indicting men. At times, however, a good number of men act indefensibly bad.
  2. Rachel Mallino Says:
    July 10th, 2007 at 2:50 pm eIt’s such an act of dominance and the moment the hecklers are confronted they are shocked that someone would challenge that dominance. I was especially amused by the old dirty white men who seemed to become much more irritated when confronted than the others.

    I received your package, by the way, and it made my day!!! I’ve got something coming back at ya.

  3. Kate Says:
    July 10th, 2007 at 11:33 pm eI’m so curious how your students respond to this film. Is it difficult to keep the discussion fruitful and generative?
  4. Amy King Says:
    July 12th, 2007 at 9:05 pm eThanks for speaking up, Tim — every little resistance has its merits. Sorry the aggression turns on you though.

    Rachel, You’re most welcome!

    Kate, I get the regular person who feels they’re being attacked, usually because they hit women up on friendly terms only, so to speak. In fact though, many men and women tend to speak up against the defender, and on the whole, discussions have been fruitful. I can’t say that any have been primarily negative. I’m often surprised by how many women tend to speak up after the film. The worst that happens consistently is a guy or two will comment on how unattractive Maggie is, clearly missing the whole point. But I’m usually not alone in clarifying the point – actually, never have I been. It’s a worthwhile classroom tool for sure. I also use it in conjunction with a film called, “Tough Guise”, by Jackson Katz, which is an excellent documentary on many levels. You can discuss the way an argument is constructed and organized, how the evidence supports or illustrates the claim/s, etc. It is also a way into talking about how a violent masculinity is normalized and enforced.

  5. Corin Says:
    July 15th, 2007 at 5:00 am eI have a confession to make– I am male and I check people out, in all kinds of places. There is a fuzzy line, but still a line, between sexual harassment and appreciation of somene’s beauty. I stay on the latter side, I believe; I never make “catcalls”, etc. and if I do remark on the beauty of a woman, I don’t say it in earshot of her. But sure, if she passes and I turn my head around to look at her ass, what’s so bad about that?

    First: some women obviously want people to look at them, otherwise they will not dress in such a sexy way. That doesn’t make it OK to harass though.

    Second: I’m sure that as a woman you would not want all men to not look at you when they’re attracted to you, ever. If the kinds of looks are purely sexual, and you feel “reduced” to a sex object, you still might acknowledge that sexual attraction is part of life.

    Third: If you want the cute ones to be interested in you, then be sure that the not-so-cute ones are also going to be interested–the old, the fat, the dirty, etc.

    I am getting tired of people who complain of “dirty old men” who probably are as clean as the rest of us, who simply happen to be “old” (age discrimination?) and still have sexual interests. It’s as if being old and having a sexuality were something to be ashamed of.

  6. Amy King Says:
    July 16th, 2007 at 8:40 pm eNot sure where you’re getting the “dirty old men” reference in here, or if you’re just bringing it in, Corin — but you’ve pointed out the distinctions that no one is disagreeing with; there’s a big difference between leering and saying things to women in public, and covertly or subtly checking someone out. I imagine we all agree that each human is curious about the other, and in some way, sexualized or not, checks others out. The problem enters when strange men in public feel free to act, verbally or more, towards other women in a way that makes them uncomfortable — what we call the “unwelcome” approach, I suppose. In the south, we say hello to folks on the street regulary, but women are often subjected to that moment when the friendly hello becomes something of a pursuit that they did not invite, thus putting them in the position of saying no or worse. Of course, there are also social settings where the approach is more expected such as a bar scene or party, but that’s not the same as walking down the street in a culture that becomes increasingly violent when women don’t respond in the affirmative. Subtely checking out? Yes, expected. Trying to get a date or some sort of rise from strange women? No, not welcome at all in most cases. Save it for the “pick-up scene” or a friend’s blind date set-up, etc.
  7. Corin Says:
    July 18th, 2007 at 7:20 am eI am glad that you can see where I am coming from. I think I mentioned the “dirty old men” because it was apparent in the movie, and I had already overhead some fairly young (25 or so), saccharine-sweet, really privileged-looking woman talk disparagingly about men who hit on her who are not of her preferred age and class status.

    I am sorry that my comment came a bit defensively. I recently also had a female friend complain about being harassed in her neighborhood. I also believe that the problems of having been rejected or ignored, which results from not sufficiently fulfilling women’s definition of appropriate “masculine” roles, leads men to express their hopelessness in gender relations by acting in this way.

    I also think that most of the time when you may hear such remarks, they’re made by the same small percentage of men while the majority are standing by without necessarily intervening, because it would reveal themselves as “faggots” or whatever.

    Either position isn’t acceptable to me, but I do not know what I would do if I were in a position where I was trying to maintain my masculine advantage due to sexism; for street credibility or at Wall Street. Luckily I am the person I am, and will not have to state my opposition to people who have long been my neighbors, coworkers and friends.

Smorgasboard of Virtual Immortality
March 26, 2008

Though I would like to imagine my election last night to the post of Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere is due to my incredible blogging skills, I certainly must acknowledge that if one considers the other nominees (as well as many who weren’t on the list), it becomes clear that my election was, at least in part, a popularity contest, as Billy, the Blogging Poet and election founder himself notes in his congratulatory remarks here. There are blogs out there that provide so much more poetry-worthy information and enthusiasm that, well, just check out the blog roll to your right and find that I am far from alone or superior in my promotion of poetry and poetics. Obviously, the election of this position has not been widely spread, since just 872 people voted in total. That said, I vow to send word out and promote the next election, as well as think aloud about the possible responsibilities the title might hold in light of the incredible activities that have and continue to take place at the hands of the former laureates, Jilly Dybka and Ron Silliman.

But now that I have achieved virtual immortality, or mortal virtuality, my first act as laureate is to declare power, as we know it, bankrupt. I realize I am among the choir, but I find it important, especially now, to point a finger at the war the U.S. began, and maintains at extreme cost, on false pretenses and without the support of the countries seated at the United Nations’ table, since we are nearing a voting period. The “Policeman” of the world has ridden its course, and we have to start an articulate buzz about the demise of this kind of brute, money-motivated power – among ourselves — so that we can begin re-building our international diplomacy skills, and most vitality, engage the next generation of U.S. citizens in the process.

I listen to NPR some mornings and report war details, including death tolls, to my students now and then. Once in awhile, a handful will get flustered and demand to know why “we didn’t know these details before,” especially in relation to the genesis of the war. These outbursts are common enough that I think, If just a few more adults were talking to young adults about the specificities and the perils the war will provide for their futures, maybe these Millennials won’t be so easily media-duped once they truly become the voting majority.

An indicator of such change has appeared in the form of one Governor Spitzer, coincidentally, today. Generation Y (or the Millennials) are known for their socially-conscious interests, which bodes well for Spitzer’s proposed legislation in the last 24 hours, which includes civil marriage equality, election law reforms, and a fundamental right to privacy for women. Spitzer is following through with his campaign promises, “because it’s a statement of principle that I believe in, and I want to begin that dynamic.”

In one fell swoop, Spitzer has shown why the last guy lost his state seat (and receives my cheers in the process). He is doing what any good politician in this stage of the game should do: he has noticed this very large young generation of up and comings, along with their sympathetic parents who are persuaded by their “live and let live” attitudes, and has begun cultivating a socially-conscious history devoted to egalitarian principles that may one day win him a presidency. The old conservatives of stalwart religiosity will fall away if they carry on with their proclamations; this generation is not swayed by threats of hell, impositions on their beliefs, and demands that they behave according to a higher authority.

Related to the above news but on a personal note and in line with the smorgasbord title, I would now like to call attention to some hypocrisy related to myself, though I fear me and my colleagues here at NCC are not alone in the campaign against it. In a world where such conservative companies as Morgan Stanley, Wal Mart, American Express, Motorola, etc. provide domestic partnership benefits to their employees, how can I acknowledge that in the supposed bastion of liberalism, academia, I do not benefit from the same basic allowances provided to my married co-workers? Acknowledge and publicly protest I must, especially since I haven’t been as active as I’d like in the efforts so many on my campus are in engaged in, demanding civil rights for all – thanks especially to Elizabeth Wood for maintaining this blog about Nassau Community College’s battle for those rights!

Last but not least, I must adamantly thank Robin Reagler for nominating me, the other bloggers whose good company I enjoy, and those of you who voted for this poet. I hope to live up to the title, or at least, find a way to fill the shoes with each of you now and then!

p.s. Post on a poet coming soon …

15 Responses to “Smorgasboard of Virtual Immortality”

  1. kathryn l. pringle Says:
    April 30th, 2007 at 10:17 pm efinally. someone i voted for wins.
  2. Robert Says:
    April 30th, 2007 at 11:20 pm eCongrats, Amy.
  3. Timothy Caldwell Says:
    April 30th, 2007 at 11:26 pm eI second that…I cannot remember the last time I voted for something and I was with the winning ticket. Congratulations, Amy King Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere. (If ever there was a word that was not poetic, blogosphere is it.) You do realize that now that King is, uh, Queen (?), everybody will be gunning for you.

    It can be lonely way up there…look down on the rest of us with mercy and grace.

  4. Dustin Brookshire Says:
    May 1st, 2007 at 1:35 am eCONGRATS on the win!
  5. Kate Evans Says:
    May 1st, 2007 at 2:43 am eCongratulations on being popular!

    Because you won, I found you. So connections are to be made via your new title.

    I teach creative writing but also comp–and I just taught Riverbend’s book based on her blog ( in my comp class as a way to talk about the Iraq War. It completely opened many of their eyes about the reality that war = people being killed, and Iraqis = human beings who are suffering.

  6. evie Says:
    May 1st, 2007 at 2:50 am ewoooo-hooooo!!!!! congrats, p.l.b.!!! i’m happy to say i voted for you! i look forward to a great year of poetry (and stuff) on your blog. if you at least do more with your platform than gluck did with hers (not hard), i’ll be pleased… : )


  7. Sherry Says:
    May 1st, 2007 at 2:47 pm eCongratulations from me, too. Very nice inaugural speech. I’m with you.


  8. Alexander Dickow Says:
    May 1st, 2007 at 2:51 pm eTres bien, Amy, tres bien. Toutes mes felicitations…et bravo pour le commentaire politique….
    A bientot,
  9. Sherry Chandler » It’s May Day Says:
    May 1st, 2007 at 5:14 pm e[…] To commemorate that event, I give you words from the inaugural address of our new Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere: But now that I have achieved virtual immortality, or mortal virtuality, my first act as laureate is to declare power, as we know it, bankrupt. I realize I am among the choir, but I find it important, especially now, to point a finger at the war the U.S. began, and maintains at extreme cost, on false pretenses and without the support of the countries seated at the United Nations’ table, since we are nearing a voting period. The “Policeman” of the world has ridden its course, and we have to start an articulate buzz about the demise of this kind of brute, money-motivated power – among ourselves — so that we can begin re-building our international diplomacy skills, and most vitality, engage the next generation of U.S. citizens in the process. […]
  10. ashok Says:
    May 1st, 2007 at 9:29 pm eCongratulations, it was a hard-fought election, and I think all of us learned a lot about the other candidates and points of view and have come out for the better because of it.

    And yeah, it does feel good to vote for a winner )

  11. The Daily Haiku, and the New Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere « Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 5:24 pm e[…] Amy King has been elected the third Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere. I have to admit that I don’t care for sentences like this: “this generation is not swayed by threats of hell, impositions on their beliefs, and demands that they behave according to a higher authority” (lifted from its context in her acceptance or inaugural post, or whatever you want to call it, here) […]
  12. Collin Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 7:23 pm eGreat acceptance speech, Amy!
  13. Amy King Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 8:37 pm eThanks very kindly to each of you — I’m shooting for American Idol next, and I hope you’ll be there to back me on that one too. With my voice, I will certainly need such excellent support, so really, I am very greatful for each of your votes of confidence … I feel like a winner just for that alone!
  14. Lee H. Says:
    May 4th, 2007 at 4:39 am econgratulations, amy! well-deserved.
  15. Margaret Ruth Says:
    May 5th, 2007 at 4:02 pm eWell you know, as I was on the USS Trent, evacuating from the Port de Beyruth….I was speaking to a spry group of young men enlisted in the US Armed Forces.
    Brilliant group of kids you know…bright eyed and so eager to do something nice for the refugees. They were trying to console us and one of them said to me, “At least you are going to a place where there is no war.”

    And I said to him, “You (America) are at war in your heads!”

    When we landed in Newark (a place I never hope to return to) we were confronted with truly paranoid people, people who wanted to flee the US themselves (a ticketing agent), a baggage checker who said that they (as in “she”) “knew things we didn’t know” (about all the terrorist threats)….I was, so to speak, SCARED OUT OF MY WITS of America. And gosh, I’m an American!


    The war between the muslims is a legitimate war you know and as a muslim who knows pretty much the whole story behind it all….well….Allah knows all about the whole darn thing. Allah didn’t write this grand epic drama and portray himself as the loser. Good will prevail but the time between the onset of such things and the end of such things (wars) can be a real heartache to us ALL, regardless of our skin color, the side we have chosen or our actual participation in it. We call it a “fitna” in Islamese. And this is a great big one but it is true that Allah wanted to get the attention of everyone. And Allah has but it seems that it is time to settle the score and we don’t have a whole lot of control over it.

    My advice is to be kind. Just try to be as kind as you can. Give charity, as much as you are able and take care of your:

    1. Parents
    2. Your family
    3. The orphan
    4. The wayfarer
    (in that EXACT order)

    And say your prayers. Learn some if you don’t know any and Allah will take care of the bad guys. Allah is much better at that sort of thing than most of us are.

    Good luck to you and salaams.

On the Issues
March 26, 2008



“Homosexuals should relinquish their right to protect our country along with their right to earn a living wage for the able completion of such service. I mean, whenever I think of them doing the ‘do’, I get a funny feeling down deep, below the waist, and then my morals start to burn and ache.”


“General Pace’s comments are outrageous, insensitive and disrespectful to the 65,000 lesbian and gay troops now serving in our armed forces,” the advocacy group Servicemembers Legal Defense Network said in a statement on its Web site.

“I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts,” Pace was quoted as saying in the newspaper interview. “I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way.”

“As an individual, I would not want (acceptance of gay behavior) to be our policy, just like I would not want it to be our policy that if we were to find out that so-and-so was sleeping with somebody else’s wife, that we would just look the other way, which we do not. We prosecute that kind of immoral behavior,” he said.

In a newspaper interview Monday, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had likened homosexuality to adultery and said the military should not condone it by allowing gays to serve openly in the armed forces.

Of those who said they were certain that a member of their unit was gay or lesbian, two-thirds did not believe it hurt morale, according to the poll published in December.

–from the Associated Press


Speaking of how to use (& count the troops), killing willy-nilly for big business is totally on the moral highground, yes, Mr. Pace?


9 Responses to “On the Issues”

  1. CharlieJ Says:
    March 13th, 2007 at 5:17 pm eAn AOL News poll showed nearly 240,000 votes as of 1:00pm EDT. The margin is two to one in favor of SUPPORT for General Pace’s comments regarding gays in the military.

    How do you feel about Pace’s comments?
    Agree 65% (more than 156,000)
    Disagree 33%
    Not sure 3%
    Total Votes: 238,800

    I applaud General Peter Pace for taking the correct stand on this matter. His comments are right on target. There is NO REASON for him to apologize to anyone. His personal beliefs are his own and NO ONE need apologize for their personal beliefs. While I agree that he should be loving and respectful in his statements and (more importantly) actions, being forced to accept and celebrate the choice of homosexual behavior is NOT something anyone should be confronted with — military or civilian.
    These gay advocacy groups need to sit down and shut up! There is NOTHING “outrageous” or “insensitive” in what General Pace said in the interview. I listened to part of his comments. He was soft-spoken and respectful, but also firm in his resolve. Pace answered one question with a very straightforward and truthful answer, “The US Military’s mission fundamentally rests on the trust, confidence, cooperation amongst its members, and the homosexual lifestyle does not comport with that kind of trust and confidence and therefore is not supported within the US military. I’ll leave it at that.”
    Homosexuality *is* an immoral act. It is NOT natural, normal or moral. The lifestyle choice is rife with promiscuity, predatorship and infidelity — all matters that point to trust, confidence and cooperation. General Pace should be applauded for standing his ground and speaking the truth.
    I, personally, plan to be active in the fight against these homosexual advocacy groups as they seek to villainize General Pace. Here’s hoping you will join the fight as well. It’s high time conservatives (especially Christians) stand up for our beliefs and convictions.

  2. Jim K. Says:
    March 13th, 2007 at 5:49 pm eAmerican Taliban
    The epistemology is infantile.
  3. Amy King Says:
    March 13th, 2007 at 8:16 pm eAnd Charlie, you fully believe in imposing your belief system on every other person in the world, no? Until we eventually bow down to your god, your will, and your image. We shall all become little conservative Charlie robots, where no one executes any unapproved behaviors, and no one shall diverge from your cookie cutter replica of a “human”, no?

    This country was founded on the principles that no one shall force their belief system on anyone else, especially in the name of any god. You see, we can’t all be the same, Charlie, and in this country, there’re bound to be people who behave as we would not. In some cases, we might not even like the way they behave. However, the guidelines for controlling behavior (& establishing laws and policy) are pretty clear: as long as your behaviors don’t infringe on my permitted behaviors or hurt others, you are free to act and think differently than me.

    What gets me is that just because you don’t like what homosexuals do, even when it’s not done unto you (& even when you try to authenticate what you don’t like by labelling it your “moral values”), you think you have the right to banish such behavior **basically on the premise that you don’t like it.** So the fuck what? I don’t like the way you eat your cereal or fuck the person you fuck; I don’t think you do it well or properly, but that’s not my bag or concern to dig into and fix — because your actions are not about me, Charlie. And the hurried, tasteless way you eat your cereal or fuck someone doesn’t infringe on my life or hurt me in any way. Get it? Why do you feel the need to control homosexuality, Charlie? Why is homosexuality *your* cause, Charlie? Why is it about you, Charlie? Unless it actually is about you and what you’re trying to beat out of yourself …

    In my brief history on this planet, I’ve found it’s always the advocates of this type of “moralistic” behavior that are actually repressed homosexuals. And there’s not much that’s more dangerous than a repressed homosexual with a cause that’s personal-turned-public …

    So when does your crusade to save everyone begin?

  4. Amy King Says:
    March 13th, 2007 at 8:18 pm eOh and good thing AOL voters told us ‘what for’, Charlie — not like they’re speaking for actual enlisted men and women there, Charlie. Did you happen to catch the Associated Press poll that actually queries the viewpoints of enlisted military folks?
  5. Amy King Says:
    March 13th, 2007 at 8:23 pm eOne more thing, since I let your comment appear here — I just re-read it and really enjoy the way you characterize General Pace as “soft-spoken” and “firm”. That’s so sweet of you to notice! And very telling–are you sure you’re not in love?

    But really, what’s with this list of adjectives, “The lifestyle choice is rife with promiscuity, predatorship and infidelity — all matters that point to trust, confidence and cooperation.”? Heterosexuals can certainly be those things, just as gay couples can be and, as often, are not. Those are the hazards of any relationship, regardless of its orientation, Charlie. To tell yourself that it’s just gays who behave promiscuously is to live in a very naive world of “denial will get me the everyone’s-just-like-me vision I seek”.

    But the logic here re: “matters that point to trust, confidence, and cooperation”? What in the world are you trying to conclude? Or did you just throw those words in because you heard Pace use them and thought they sounded pretty and strong?

  6. Amy King Says:
    March 13th, 2007 at 8:48 pm eI just re-read Pace’s statement (& I promise, I’m leaving the computer after this), “We prosecute that kind of immoral behavior.” Since when does the military prosecute anyone for adultery??
  7. evie Says:
    March 13th, 2007 at 10:12 pm emy “morals start to ache and burn” when i hear that military personnel with injuries that make them unfit for service are being reclassified as fit, without real physical examinations, and shipped off to iraq. this is the case right now, at fort benning, and possibly other military bases as well:

    as for sexuality, if everyone in the armed forces who has had premarital, promiscuous, adulterous, homosexual, or kinky sex (all of which i see as well within the range of “normal” possibilities, in terms of what most folks are likely to do [and should be left alone to decide about] in their lives) — not to mention everyone who has had incestuous, non-consensual, or pedophiliac sex (which are where i draw the line, because they are by definition about huge imbalances of power and destroying people’s relationships to intimacy) — if *all those folks* were kicked out of the armed forces, there wouldn’t be *anyone* left to fight.



  8. Michael Says:
    March 13th, 2007 at 10:31 pm eCharlie, I checked out your blog. Thanks so much! It gave me a new understanding of what it means to be a conservative Christian in the 21st century — an eye-opening lesson on how to read the New Testament in the light of the New Materialism. I had forgotten that Jesus had a wishlist of products he wanted, complete with pricetags. The table at the Last Supper must have been full of techie goodies!
  9. Kevin Says:
    March 14th, 2007 at 5:04 pm eOh geez! This Charlie dude just cut and pasted his comment from what he wrote on his blog.

    You’ve never been to this blog before, Charlie. I suspect you’re just watching Technorati and posting the same nonsense on every blog you find. (Hell, I’m not sure why I’m even writing this since you probably won’t be back to read anyone’s response to you.)

    Last I checked, nearly half of heterosexual marriages end in divorce. So, I’m not getting where you get this idea that heterosexual relationships exist in some la la land of perfection and morality. Wasn’t it your buddy Newt Gringrich that just confessed to having an affair while actively trying to impeach Clinton FOR THE SAME DAMN THING? But that’s ok because he’s heterosexual, a Republican, and he confessed, right? Where’s your outrage at a potential Presidential candidate who has admitted to infidelity?

    Yeah, that’s what I thought. Hypocrisy abounds.