This week, I wrote a piece for NewsReal about filmmaker Kevin Smith getting tossed off a Southwest Airlines flight because the crew determined he was to fat to fly in the single seat he had purchased. I enjoy Smith’s films and think he’s a talented writer, but his huge sense of entitlement rubbed me the wrong way.
After making the case that flying is a privilege, not a right, I wrote:
Right now we only have Kevin Smith’s side of the story, and it’s unclear whether the flight attendant used appropriate discretion in approaching him about her safety concerns. I certainly have no desire to see an overweight person shamed for being fat, and I hope that wasn’t the intention.
But a little personal responsibility goes a long way. If Smith had simply paid for a second seat as required by airline policy, he could have avoided the embarrassing situation. And according to Southwest’s “Customer of Size Q&A,” there’s a 98 percent chance the price of the extra ticket would have been refunded.
Smith went on to complain that because of the airline’s “size-ist policy” he was “being profiled.” I guess flying while fat is the new breaking-and-entering while black. Beer summit, anyone?
You can read the rest at NewsReal.
The piece received a lot of traffic, and comments were pretty evenly divided on the issue. Several people made the case that the airplane, owned by a private company, was actually public transportation (thus proving my point about people feeling overly entitled.) One of those comments was particularly despicable:
According to your unscrupulous logic, Rosa Parks should have moved because it was the Bus drivers choice. Like you said – public transportation “is a privilege, not a right”.
Yes, this person actually had the gall to equate a hero of the black civil rights movement with a fat celebrity demanding that he be allowed to potentially compromise the safety of other passengers on a private airplane.
There’s no comparison between Rosa Parks and Kevin Smith. It just isn’t there.
And you know what else? Being fat isn’t the same as being black.
I can’t believe I had to write that. This is why I don’t spend too much time reading comments – if you’re not careful, the trolls will make you lose your faith in humanity.
Okay, confession time. At some point in my youth, it’s entirely possible that I thought I was pretty hardcore with my Misfits Fiend Club button fastened to my black leather MC. And I just might have spent hours on end combing through used record stores for additions to my collection of The Misfits on vinyl.
The Misfits are still my favorite band of all time, so I’m excited that Bobby Steele, one of the first guitarists for The Misfits, is now writing for Parcbench. And not only that, he’s conservative on health care.
It’s like Halloween in February!
Anyway, check out Bobby Steele’s piece on health care reform, and how his childhood experiences as a spina bifida patient gave him firsthand insight into the insurance and medical industries.
This fangirl moment has now concluded.
Bloggers and commenters in the “progressive” feminist blogosphere were almost giddy with excitement last week over a young woman’s proposal to bring feminism into the elementary school curriculum. I’m all for making sure women’s historical contributions are well represented in school curricula, but controversial ideologies that promote far left ideas like “social justice” have no place in public schools.
Here’s what I wrote at NewsReal:
In 2009, Ileana Jiménez asked her class of high school juniors and seniors to write letters to President Obama about “the ways in which feminism might be addressed in the curriculum.” Earlier this week she shared one letter on her blog, Feminist Teacher.
It is understandable that teachers cannot be expected to cram decades of struggles into 12 years of study. I just feel that there should be more time in the curriculum starting in the lower grades (if they can learn about the slave trade, they can learn about feminism) dedicated to learning about feminism and the goals behind it.
To do that, I propose that by fourth grade, students be exposed to basic feminist ideas.
Note that the student’s interest isn’t in ensuring that women’s experiences are adequately represented in history texts. She’s proposing the indoctrination of nine-year-old children into a political movement.
She doesn’t define “basic feminist ideas,” but here’s a list of the top priorities of a representative feminist group, the National Organization for Women:
- abortion rights/reproductive issues
- violence against women
- constitutional equality
- promoting diversity/ending racism
- lesbian rights
- economic justice
How many of those “basic feminist ideas” would you teach to a fourth grader?
Visit NewsReal to read the rest of my thoughts on this kid’s letter.
Did you know that Planned Parenthood was deeply wronged when CBS chose to air the pro-life Super Bowl ad featuring Tim Tebow and his mom? That’s what one editor at The Nation thinks.
From my article at NewsReal earlier this week:
Incensed by the completely innocuous Tim Tebow Super Bowl commercial, sports editor Dave Zirin blogged his fury at The Nation yesterday. He admits the ad was “about as vanilla as an Andy Williams Christmas Special.” But it’s not the actual content of the ad that angers Zirin.
It’s the pesky free speech.
He’s infuriated that CBS would even consider offering a platform to Focus on the Family, an organization Zirin says has “shadowy connections to to open hate groups.” He believes allowing Focus on the Family to pay for “this kind of a mammoth public forum is an absolute disgrace.”
So what’s his solution?
Zirin insists CBS execs should have to make amends for their complicity in advancing the pro-life agenda. “They should offer free commercial time to Planned Parenthood,” he proposes.
My latest article at NewsReal looks at when it’s okay to question a woman’s femininity. Check out the double standard:
Last week, noted feminist Keith Olbermann implied that the women of Fox News are only hired because they’re attractive. In response, The Daily Caller’s Jim Treacher posted a photo gallery of women who work for MSNBC. When he got to Rachel Maddow, Treacher wrote, “Whoops, how did that one get in there? Sorry, man. I mean dude. I mean Rachel! Sorry, Rachel.”
Similar jokes have appeared in a column by Treacher’s colleague Matt Labash, prompting a writer at Jezebel to lecture “Tucker Carlson’s minions” that they must never, ever suggest that a woman looks masculine in appearance.
Making fun of women for looking or acting mannish is a time-honored way of belittling them, of trying to keep women out of both men’s clothes and men’s roles, and just because the woman in question is an out lesbian doesn’t mean jokes about her aren’t part of this misogynist tradition.
But if a Jezebel writer wants to insult Ann Coulter’s femininity? Oh, that’s totally cool:
Please visit NewsReal to read the rest.
In my latest piece for NewsReal, I wrote about a feminist diversity cop who complained about the dearth of “colored women” in Vanity Fair. Yes, she actually used the phrase “colored women,” as in, “There is not a single colored women [sic] gracing your pages this year!” Welcome to 2010.
After my piece appeared, her editor issued a correction. I hope the change would have been made with or without my prodding, but let’s just pretend that my mission was successful. That way I can gloat.
If you get a chance, please check out my other NewsReal pieces from this week:
Introducing the Naomi Wolf Award
I take feminist writer Jill Filipovic to task for her defense of the burqa as a mere article of clothing rather than a tool of subjugation.
Lord of the Rings Commentary by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky
A quick link to a very funny satire at McSweeney’s.
Slate Magazine Reintegrates Womenfolk
Nine months after Slate’s women writers went off to the virtual menstrual lodge, the magazine has found that separate but equal doesn’t pay the bills.
Comments are always appreciated.