Logo, RuPaul’s Drag Race Respond to Antitrans Slurs

From The Advocate:   http://www.advocate.com/politics/transgender/2014/03/29/logo-rupauls-drag-race-respond-antitrans-slurs

The network and producers behind RuPaul’s Drag Race have issued statements responding to harsh criticism lobbed their way after the show featured an episode many trans people found offensive.

BY Parker Marie Molloy
March 29 2014

Earlier this month, RuPaul’s Drag Race featured a segment titled, “Female or She-male.” The segment’s use of the antitransgender slur was widely panned as transphobic. In the days that followed, a number of publications — including The Advocate — ran pieces documenting the online backlash aimed at the show, Logo TV, and media advocacy organization GLAAD.

The show has long been viewed by some transgender individuals as transphobic, making use of slurs explicitly labeled as “defamatory” in GLAAD’s trangender media reference guide. For his part, RuPaul has long defended the use of such slurs — specifically the word “tranny” — going so far as to speak out against celebrities who have apologized for public use of the word in a 2012 Huffington Post interview.

“It’s ridiculous! It’s ridiculous! I love the word ‘tranny,'” RuPaul told Huff Po when asked his opinion on Lance Bass apologizing for using the word. “I hate the fact that he’s apologized. I wish he would have said, ‘F-you, you tranny jerk!'”

Nearly two weeks after the “She-male” episode first aired, the producers of RuPaul’s Drag Race issued a statement responding to allegations of transphobic rhetoric, while media watchdog organization GLAAD also provided insight into the work it’s been doing behind the scenes with Logo and Drag Race.

“We delight in celebrating every color in the LGBT rainbow,” the show’s executive producers wrote. “When it comes to the movement of our trans sisters and trans brothers, we are newly sensitized and more committed than ever to help spread love, acceptance and understanding.

The channel which hosts RuPaul’s Drag Race, Viacom-owned Logo TV, also responded to criticism, promising to improve its coverage of trans individuals, though stopping short of admitting any wrongdoing.

“We have heard the concerns around this segment,” Logo’s statement reads. “We are committed to sharing a diverse range of trans stories across all of our screens and look forward to featuring positive and groundbreaking stories of trans people in the future.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.advocate.com/politics/transgender/2014/03/29/logo-rupauls-drag-race-respond-antitrans-slurs

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This is the way the world ends: Once-in-a-millennium drought a wakeup call for America

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2014/03/30/californiapocalypse_once_in_a_millennium_drought_a_wakeup_call_for_america/

California is buckling under the strain of an environmental catastrophe — and it’s only going to get worse

In a 90-year-old mansion built of hand-carved stones, my host lamented the dire water situation in Montecito, the millionaire’s haunt near Santa Barbara, Calif.: All of the Golden State was in a mega-drought. Things were so bad that not even the State Water Project, which serves 25 million people in Southern California, would deliver a drop for the first time in 54 years.  Things were so bad that 17 small cities of field hands and trailer-park residents will have to truck in water by Thanksgiving. In fact, it was so bad that in Montecito — a lair of hedge fund managers, corporate tycoons and Hollywood producers — there may be no water come July. As our host went through this litany, my dinner companions picked at their food and politely murmured assents. Yet we all avoided the issues staring at us in this quasi-desert.

Finally, someone blurted. “Did you know that three mansion owners in Montecito use as much water as 300 homes in Goleta, a middle-class suburb 10 miles away.”

“We should print the names of those people,” said one woman.

“Yeah,” the man next to me agreed. “Shame them publicly.” Clearly only our host lived in this picturesque hamlet but the rest of us looked at one another in horror while trying to keep our jaws from smashing into our plates.

Was water about to become the next status symbol of the uber-wealthy?

* * *

There’s an old saying in the West. “Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over.”

This year, water fights are breaking out in private dining rooms and public meeting halls throughout the West. Federal officials have designated drought-stricken parts of 11 western and central states as natural disaster areas. They stretch from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, to California, Oregon and Hawaii. But few spots are thirstier than the Golden State, where 62 percent of the state is now in an “extreme” drought.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2014/03/30/californiapocalypse_once_in_a_millennium_drought_a_wakeup_call_for_america/

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How To Annoy A Street Preacher

The real secret to making it as a writer: Be fabulously wealthy before you even start

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2014/03/30/the_real_secret_to_making_it_as_a_writer_be_fabulously_wealthy_before_you_even_start/

The sad fact of literary life is that it overwhelmingly rewards people with privilege. So much for diversity!

Sunday, Mar 30, 2014

In a recent Salon article, Noah Berlatsky argued that to be a successful writer, while one might need “work ethic, knowledge, skill, perseverance… none of them is as important as the one, single most important thing. Which would be luck.”

Berlatsky’s piece suffers from what Daniel Dennett calls deepities: “A proposition that seems both important and true — and profound — but that achieves this effect by being ambiguous.” That is, if we take Berlatsky’s assertion as he intended it, hyperbolically, it is banal: We all know that luck affects us in all parts of our life. And if we take it at face value, it is manifestly false. Does Berlatsky really believe that luck is more important than work ethic, knowledge, skill and perseverance?

That’s a hard case to make, although it does correctly note that those latter qualities alone (work ethic, etc.), while to varying degrees necessary for success, are too often insufficient. So Berlatsky wasn’t wrong there, he just picked the wrong culprit. The real problem in writing isn’t luck, it’s money.

Reading, writing and thinking are all tasks that are nearly impossible to cultivate while performing manual labor. As Plato first noted, when discussing education, “sleep and exercise are unpropitious to learning,” and therefore students should avoid intense exercise as they pursue educational endeavors. Writing is what Veblen would call “conspicuous consumption,” a task primarily done by a “leisure class” uninhibited by manual labor.

As Oscar Wilde wrote, “under existing conditions, a few men who have had private means of their own, such as Byron, Shelley, Browning, Victor Hugo, Baudelaire, and others, have been able to realise their personality more or less completely. Not one of these men ever did a single day’s work for hire. They were relieved from poverty.” Because Byron and Baudelaire were free from the need to perform physical labor, they could invest their time in culture. In contrast, the poor, “having no private property of their own, and being always on the brink of sheer starvation, are compelled to do the work of beasts of burden, to do work that is quite uncongenial to them, and to which they are forced by the peremptory, unreasonable, degrading Tyranny of want. These are the poor, and amongst them there is no grace of manner, or charm of speech, or civilisation, or culture, or refinement in pleasures, or joy of life.” The luxury of comfort is still denied the poor and working class and it’s difficult to read Shakespeare after hours of drudgery. Far easier to drink a beer and watch the game. In his book, “Masscult and Midcult,” Dwight MacDonald notes that “the great cultures of the past have been elite affairs.”

In a recent interview with Longform magazine, New Yorker staff writer Evan Ratliff said, “I don’t think it’s feasible to work a full-time job and be able to do this type of reporting … it really requires dedicated time.” And time, as we all know, is money. Success at writing means taking unpaid internships, low-paid fellowships or writing almost for free for years.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2014/03/30/the_real_secret_to_making_it_as_a_writer_be_fabulously_wealthy_before_you_even_start/

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Abbott on the Defensive on Equal Pay

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