Mass Shootings… I’m Confused

The Oregon shooter was a British, IRA-supporting, biracial, neo-Nazi, anti-theist, self-proclaimed conservative Republican… Color me confused.

And this obviously mentally ill person was allowed to purchase three handguns and an AR-15. There have been 45 school shootings this year. Texas Legislature recently voted to allow guns on campus (idiots) and other Teapublican law makers don’t even want to talk about gun control.

Again, color me confused.

Undercover Sistah Day on Suits

On Wednesday night, two of my guilty pleasures came together… well, three, actually. Suits + Pretty Little Liars + two of my favorite undercover sistahs, Meghan Markle and Troian Bellisario.

Claire and Rachel face off (Getty Images)

 

 

picture courtesy of Getty Images

I know I’ve mentioned many times how I enjoy being the “Biracial Whisperer.” PLL‘s Troian Bellisario and Suit‘s Meghan Markle are two of my favorite examples of biracial incognegroes — beautiful biracial women (each has a black mother and white father—like my girls; Troian’s mom is actress Deborah Pratt) who many people are shocked to find out are black [though at least Suits has helped uncover that mystery by revealing in season 3 that Rachel Zane, Meghan Markle’s character, is biracial].

In a Yahoo Entertainment interview this week about Claire’s return to Suits, the interviewer mentions to Troian how much she and Meghan look alike, which adds an interesting layer to the story that Rachel and Claire have dated the same man [“Mike Ross,” Claire’s ex and Rachel Zane’s current fiancé on the show, who is played by Patrick J. Adams, Troian’s fiancé in real life. Wrap your mind around that one]. They kind of do. Observe:

Meghan Markle on Suits (Getty Images)

 

Troian Bellisario

 

It was both awesome and weird seeing these two share screen time together. I was still riding off the high of the Pretty Little Liars summer finale [OMG, was that crazy, or what???], and in waltzes Claire / Spencer / Troian. Wild! Although I would love to see more of them together hanging out, becoming BFFs, braiding each other’s hair, whatever), I won’t hold my breath, seeing how Troian’s a little busy running from some new A every season.

I am the Biracial Whisperer (or Maybe I have Biracialdar?)

I was watching ‘Suits’ this morning and actually paying close attention for a change. There was a close up of Rachel (played by Meghan Markle) taking the LSATs. I saw her freckles and hair and immediately and excitedly blurted (out loud, sadly), “OMG! She’s biracial!” For some reason, I always had assumed she was Hispanic, even though “Zane” (her character’s last name) isn’t a particularly Latino name. But there wasn’t any mistaking the HD closeup. I Googled “Meghan Markle biracial,” and BOOM, there it was. Just like my kids, her mom is black, and her father is white of Irish descent.

Meghan Markle and her mother (from her Instagram)

Mariah Carey… Jennifer Beals… Rashida Jones… Soledad O’Brien…  Vin Diesel… Wentworth Miller… and now Rachel Markle. Even before seeing some “OMG! She looks white, but SURPRISE!!” article, I could tell they were biracial. Look, I know I am not the only one. There are probably a lot of you reading this going, “Duh! I knew too!” But, just like when a celebrity comes out as gay or lesbian, there’s something oddly wonderful and fantastic to me about finding the closeted (whether it is simply because the issue has never been raised or addressed because here’s no necessity to it or because a record company or TV producer intentionally wanted to leave the impression that the performer is white) biracial people.

I also get people who don’t understand my excitement about these discoveries. But for those people, when someone asks you if or implies that you are the nanny of your own child, you’ll get it.

 

 

 

 

Yet Another Moral Outrage


I had some other things planned for today’s post… some lighter, fluffier, hopefully little-bit-funny things… then I found out about Judge G. Todd Baugh in Montana, and all those plans went out the window.
 
On Monday, Judge Baugh sentenced a pedophile… a then-49-year old teacher who two years ago raped his 14-year old student… who from the pressures brought on her by both the “relationship” and the trial killed herself in January of this year… to a month. I guess, to be more accurate, I should say that he sentenced this stain on humanity to 15 years, but then decided to give him time served for the one day the d-bag actually spent in jail and reduced the entirety of the sentence to 31 days. I’m not making this up.
 
What could have possibly made the judge believe that 31 days is a sufficient punishment for a teacher betraying the trust of a young girl in his care, grooming her to be a sexual partner, violating her, and then dragging this thing out until she could no longer take the emotional pressure [the sentencing was prolonged while this jerkwad underwent a three-year treatment program… which it turns out he wasn’t really attending, and during that time he was supposed to be in treatment, he continued to—in violation of the terms of the program—have contact with minors and entered into a sexual relationship, resulting in him eventually getting kicked out of the program]? Well, because the child was much “older than her chronological age” and was “as much in control of the situation” as her 49-year old rapist-teacher with respect to the relationship. ‘Scuse me??? She was a child. And this child was in this man’s care. He was supposed to be someone she could trust. And he violated her. She was not in control. She was 14. I don’t care how sexually experienced she was or was not or how much makeup she wore, he was still the adult here, he was still in a position of power, and he knew he shouldn’t be touching a 14-year old girl. Period.
 
The “judge” was also persuaded by the rapist’s pleas for leniency, because he was going to be “branded as a sex offender” for the rest of his life and has had his life ruined by the “scarlet letter of the Internet.” No, buddy, your life was ruined because you raped a child. You had a choice to make here which would have prevented you from being “branded as a sex offender” and having your life ruined—that choice was to not rape a child. But you did, and under normal circumstances, with a normal judge, you should have been required to pay the consequences.
 
All of this slut-shaming of the victim while feeling sorry for the perpetrator eerily reminded me of CNN’s coverage of the Steubenville rapists, wherein Candy Crowley, Poppy Harlow, and others harped on and on about how the guilty verdict and maximum fine would affect the poor rapists and showed not one minute of concern for the girl the “two young men” had raped. Poppy was practically on the verge of tears talking about how it was “incredibly difficult” to watch “as these two young men—who had such promising futures, star football players and very good students—literally watched as they believed their life [sic] fell apart.” Seriously. She said that. And it went on and on. Contributor Paul Callan weighed in on what such a verdict meant for these 16-year olds who were crying in court and how they would be punished for the rest of their lives: “There’s always that moment of just… Lives are destroyed. But in terms of what happens now, the most severe thing with these young men is being labeled as registered sex offenders. That label is now placed on them by Ohio law. That will haunt them for the rest of their lives.”
 
Yes. That happened. That was said. Are you outraged? If you aren’t, you should be.
 
These boys (like this teacher) will be “haunted” by the “label” of sex offender for their entire lives, because they made a conscious decision to become sex offenders. Sure, when each of these three men decided to pursue the act of raping a teenage girl, it never occurred to them that a consequence might some day be that they would be registered sex offenders… but it should have. Honestly, I would hope that the act of having sexual intercourse with someone too drunk, too unconscious, or too young to legally, knowingly, or rationally give consent should be enough of a deterrent to this kind of behavior; but for those fools who are somehow not motivated by morality and a conscience like the rest of us, I would hope that the legal system doing its job would be enough of a deterrent. For those who persist, then I’m happy we have the legal system there as a backup. At least it worked in the case of the Steubenville Rapists [I hope]. But this teacher? Where’s his motivation to stop?
 
“Judge” Baugh said he believed the Teacher-Rapist wasn’t a likely repeat offender. He had no basis for this really. I mean, the man couldn’t even successfully comply with a three-year treatment program after being caught raping one of his students! So now we’re just supposed to trust that he—after being given the lightest of slaps on the wrist—is supposed to prevent himself from diddling with young girls in the future? Not likely. And, I’m sure if someone was motivated to poke around a bit more, they would find that he’s poked around with a lot more students than this one.
 
If you’re curious of Judge Baugh has had anything to say since the backlash for his sentencing started, you’re in luck. Turns out he totally had something to say on Tuesday:
 

I think that people have in mind that this was some violent, forcible, horrible rape … It was horrible enough as it is just given her age, but it wasn’t this forcible beat-up rape.

 
Oh…. I get it! Not one of those “legitimate rapes”? Well, I guess we can’t be upset then, can we? Cuz, ya know, it’s not like those rapes where you don’t get beaten up at knifepoint actually count, right? Enjoy your re-election efforts this year, Braugh. Should be an interesting political season in Billings.
 
As for the rest of society, those possibly capable of learning, when are we going to learn to stop feeling sorry for the perpetrators and stop blaming the victims? When someone gets carjacked, you never hear, “Well, what did you expect driving around in a nice car like that on the open road where anyone could see you? You’re just asking to get it taken from you at gunpoint.” When a company is hit by embezzlement, no one argues, “C’mon now! It just had all that money sitting in its bank accounts! What did the company expect an employee would do??” But there are certain types of situations—those usually involving the already powerless (like rape, sexual orientation-based hate crimes, or racial/gender discrimination) where it’s perfectly normal to hear the victim getting blamed rather than holding the perpetrators accountable for their actions, even by people who are themselves similarly situated as the victims. We have seen it in Poppy Harlow and Candy Crowley sympathizing with the rapists over the rape victim. We saw it when Don Lemon blamed blacks for racial discrimination perpetrated against them. We hear it when a transgendered person or a gay person who is thought of by (those with issues) as “too flamboyant” is killed or beaten.
 
Perhaps its because we’ve let the powerful dictate the treatment of the powerless for so long that the powerless have started to believe the propaganda? I’m not sure. But I do know it’s time we put an end to this. Victimization is rarely (if ever) the victim’s fault.

People Will Apparently Believe Anything (Odd Baby Names)

I was listening to a replay of an earlier episode of Lance Bass’s Dirty Pop the other day, and Lance and his co-hosts were talking about the Tennessee judge who changed a child’s name from “Messiah” to “Martin.” This topic lead into a discussion of weird baby names people have heard, and several people called in with some whoppers. And when I mean whoppers, I mean these were outright lies.

What is it about you teachers and nurses (the biggest offenders) that you apparently think your job isn’t interest enough on its own that you have to make up names of students? I’m not saying teachers and nurses don’t have interesting jobs. In fact, most of the teachers and nurses I know have much better war stories (assuming any of them are true) than pretty much any other profession I’ve met. But either you people are so greedy that you want to have a lock on “In addition to all the crazy stories I can tell you about my day, let me tell you this name I heard!” or you for some reason think that the rest of the world finds your job so boring that you’re just making up stuff. Either that, or you’re pathological liars. I dunno. But nearly everyone of these obviously fake “baby names” that are easily debunked by anyone who wants to spend 10 seconds on Google come from a nurse, a teacher, or a person who heard the name from a nurse or teacher. Heck, even my own mother used to make up these, “There’s a child at my school named [insert name that’s never appeared in the U.S. birth records ever]. Her mom is so uneducated she didn’t know what it meant!”

So what were the baby names (and how they were pronounced) reported by teachers, nurses, and friends of teachers/nurses to the Dirty Pop crew? Shithead (shah-threed), La-a (lah-dash-ah), twins named Lemonjello and Orangejello (lu-mon-jah-lo and oh-ron-jah-lo), Placenta (play-ceen-tah), and Meconium (mek-oh-nam). Seriously?! Not only have everybody and their grandmothers heard these urban legend child names before, but Snopes has debunked Every. Single. One. Of. Them. The only name missing from this “common urban legend” list was Female (fem-uh-lee; rhymes with “Emily”).

There were a couple of reported names that were probably real, like Dick Wiener (Richard Wiener is easy to believe. Not to mention, there was once a mayor in Indiana named Harry Baals, and the “First Lady” of my home state of Texas was named Ima Hogg). And there was at least one name that I completely called bullshit on, which turns out is actually real… because people suck [that name, in case you were wondering is Abcde (ab-sa-duh), which, while apparently a real name, is claimed to belong to someone actually known to the reporter more often than the vital records would support. That’s just lazy, people! (and stupid)].

Overwhelmingly, though, these names were clearly and lazily made up. Just the fact that Snopes has two articles on them, and I’ve heard no less than a dozen comedy routines using a number of these names is proof positive that people need to find new material. If you’re going to make things up, at least be original! Though, really, I would prefer people just didn’t make these things up. There are enough people in the world with unbelievably horrible names because of their parents’ stupidity, that you really shouldn’t even need to make up names. Not to mention, as the Snopes writer points out, many of these names have their origins in racism. Even if these urban legends aren’t thought of as racist in today’s times, they are, at best, classist. Personally, I don’t find it particularly amusing to make fun of people because they are poor and have low education.

Now, a note about Messiah:
Look, it’s no secret that I loathe kr8v names. But that judge was way over the line. In addition to the complete overstepping of her bounds [the only issue before her was the baby’s last name, not his first], her reasoning for the name change really bothers me. “There’s only one Messiah” smacks the legal system stepping its bounds into religion. Since the government shall establish no religion, and there’s only one religion that believes there has been the one Messiah, it sure looks like that judge was establishing a religion in violation of the First Amendment. I don’t foresee this withstanding appeal. I’m not a fan of naming a kid Messiah, but that wasn’t this judge’s call to make.

(Heidi Wigdahl / Associated Press)
Sorry, little guy. Whatever your name is, you sure are cute.