Sunday, November 30, 2014

Open Letter to Elizabeth Lauten, Communications Director for Rep. Fincher

Dear Ms. Lauten,

This letter is to register my disgust over the smearing tactics you employed in your "Open Letter To Sasha & Malia".
This is what I see after having seen and then replayed the video and gone over the stills of the event:

1.  Teen girls dressed appropriately for their ages:

Sasha wore hose and bobby socks to accessorize her dress with it's neckline hitting the collar bone, and a long cardigan.  Her hands were gracefully composed in front of her in a classic, modest pose.

Malia wore dark tights with her plaid skirt and grey crew neck sweater.  Her body posture is more guarded as she hugs herself and has a slightly tilted hip. 

Neither is a big deal.  They're dressed as appropriately as many government and diplomats adolescent children dress in Washington.   Their fashion is appropriate. 

2.  Fresh faces.  Not a hint of make up. This is nice because it doesn't mask their expressions.  Now, as I'm not a big ol' smiler normally, I don't see their expressions as sullen.  Their eyes are cast in the direction of their father.  Not away from him.  This is important.  If they were being sullen, IF they were being disrespectful they would have been looking away from him.

3.  Their eyes roll as their dad made a lame joke about the turkeys.  Yes they did and it's ok.  Teens do this.  They roll their eyes at dumb jokes.  So do children younger than they, adults, middle aged and elderly people.

4.  The Turkey Pardon is theater.  It has been Presidential theater for many decades.  But it is not a high solemn event.  It is not a matter of state.   So what if they didn't want to pet the turkey!   In my 30s, we had a friend who raised one and it was unpredictable as hell.  Anytime I tried petting it, its reaction and flapping around was unnerving.  This isn't the Obama daughter's first rodeo with the Turkey Pardon, so I reckon they've already learned that birds do not react in picture perfect ways.  Better to eschew the petting entirely than have the bird react less than calmly. 

What offends me about your bilious spew was the character assassination of their parents with  "Then again your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the ‘good role model’ department" combined with the racist undertones about black women's perceived sexual availability:  "Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar."

Our President's daughters, Malia and Sasha, have never behaved disrespectfully in any capacity where they've appeared in in the public eye whether here in the US or travelling abroad.  They are always observably modest and respectful, not only to the public, but their parents as well.  If rolling their eyes over a lame joke is a horror show of disrespect, then your standards of teenaged civility are impossible to meet in the first place.

It is also clear that these are girls who love and are loved by their parents.

And I bet that is really what chaps your butt.

Shame on you.  Your apology was made because you got caught being cruel to people who didn't deserve it, but don't think for a minute that folks don't see it for the political face saving gesture that it is.  Prayer?  Regret?  Unbelievable!

Morgan Sheridan

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Cos

I'm sad about the Cos.

Real sad.

He was hip and cool when I was growing up.  His comedy about growing up with his brother and the mystery of kids and parents and enduring in the world created not just empathy but a sense of common ground.

At some point, I heard a rumor or two, but they didn't affect me and he was the Cos.   Cool and avuncular.

Rumors get forgotten and then all of a sudden they get uncovered and thrown into daylight again.   But as more voices speak up, a pattern emerges.  And the avuncular man who showed us common ground and the understandings of that common ground becomes both tawdry and corrupted.

The pattern of voices is too large to ignore.  And while my path never crossed his, my experience has intersected with the women's voices saying "He did this thing to me."  and I know they're honest voices speaking, too.   There is a point where settlements and statutes of limitations expire and the sordid reality is finally revealed.

I'm sad that one of my beloved icons turned out to be unworthy.   At my age, I know can't dispense with the lessons I learned from feeling elements of common ground or intersectionality (which is a kind of new concept I'm learning about at 60).  The lessons learned are in my bones at this point.  On the other hand, it sucks that he turned out to be so much less.