Category Archives: journalism

Ginger Genocide in Born Free Splits Viewers

As a redhead with a blog about the fairer-skinned people, I am usually forwarded articles, photos and videos about carrot-top content. Par for the course, I received the heads-up that musical provocateur MIA made a video for her new single Born Free that deals, graphically, with ginger genocide.

The first time I watched this 9 minute video I was flooded with conflicting emotions about the images I was seeing. But more than anything . . . I wanted to watch it again.

The video was clearly filled with graphic images that evoke very different emotions from each person that views it. But I was especially interested in what other people were saying about this controversial mini-movie.  A movie so “graphic” that YouTube pulled it less than a week after it was uploaded online.

The internet is filled with articles and blogs debating if this was a political statement or a well-crafted album sale catalyst. Some think that the use of redheads as the persecuted is hilarious while others find it insulting. But no one is left without some reaction to the shaking camera following SWAT officers rounding up redheads and abusing, maiming and murdering them in internment camps.

Some of the critics of this video have claimed that the violence is “beneath” MIA and unnecessarily gory. While I appreciate the varying sensitivities of people and visual imagery, I challenge them to think about when the depiction of genocide and maiming of a group is necessary? I think that Born Free is challenging the definition of who the enemy or the persecuted can be.

Could some view this depiction as preposterous because the wronged group is categorized by hair color? Could it be because they are white? Would people feel the same if MIA chose Jews or Muslims or Japanese people? Is it really that absurd when you look at the history of genocide and discrimination?

The images that director Romain Gavras chose to use to portray the total militarization of Los Angeles with the war on red echoed the public outcry against the Draconian law proposed in Arizona and offered and unapologetic look at what irrational panic the public gets caught up in when fear is inserted into the marketplace.

I see this video less of a graphic mockery of police-state action and segregation and more of a cloudy mirror being held up to the ease with which governments and people use moral panics to dehumanize groups of people.

I encourage people to view Born Free and judge for themselves.

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Ginger Shout-out to Other Gingers

So I was surfing through the interwebs in search of redheads discussing their pride on St. Patrick’s Day and came across some really great blogs/columnists that I can’t help but support.

The first is a redhead on the Roanoke Times staff by the name of Lindsey Nair.  She wrote this article about her new love of Guinness.   I might have to follow this carrot-top and see what else she churns out.

Then I found a blog (Raising Redheads) written by a redhead, Ramee, who is chronicling her pregnancy (of a possible redhead) and the upbringing of two copper-top toddlers Nora and Braden.  Her heartfelt blog is compelling to read and I’m sure my mother would have loved this type of outlet when raising her redhead.

But one of my fav’s thus far is RubyMutant: This is Ginger Nation.  Written with all the humor and flippant style that a redhead can truly enjoy. I recommend checking out her points of view on redhead history and fabulousness.

I also found The Quirky Redhead, Redhead Fashionista and Redheads and More Redheads.

http://rubymutant.blogspot.com/

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The Luck of the Irish was with Me

I have to admit that there is something magical about Saint Patrick’s Day.  I don’t know if it’s the shamrocks or the rainbows or the emerald green found on every person on the street, but around this time of year I feel the luck of the Irish flowing through my veins.

Today I was scheduled to go to court for an obstruction of justice charge against me.

[In the early hours of Jan. 31 I was called to a Mission warehouse, by the managing editor of my school paper, to shoot photos of police breaking up a party where SF State and other students were celebrating their freedom after some political protesting.

I rushed to the scene and clearly identified myself as press but was nonetheless arrested for “impeding an ongoing investigation” and was hauled off to the police station. As a journalist, I felt that these charges and the whole event was a reminder that smaller media outlets still have to fight to prove their validity and I am still looking to bring more attention to that concern. *]

But I think that St. Patrick was watching over me and the luck of luck of the Irish was with me today. The charges against me were dropped and I am free to celebrate the closest holiday that I can find to celebrate being a redhead.

*I hope to write more about this controversial event soon.

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. . . Then there was Conan

At 2:54 p.m. on February 24 Conan tweeted two sentences that resonated with thousands of twitter patriots: Today I interviewed a squirrel in my backyard and then threw to commercial. Somebody help me.

That was all it took.

Twitterers and Twitterettes jumped at the opportunity to help him by following his every tweet.

And that Twitter photo.  So clearly provocative and seductive

Nearly 48 hours later he had grown a following of more than 400,000. The currently stuck-in-limbo redheaded maven has proven that his absence has left people waiting, wanting.

And his Twitter bio.  So clearly filled with pain and absence — but full of irony and technological humor: I had a show. Then I had a different show. Now I have a Twitter account.

As with countless other people and professions, Conan has not simply embraced the new ways of communicating with masses but he has turned it on its ear by mocking it and keeping his following alive.

Bravo Conan — at least one redhead is paying attention. What will you do next?

Post script: As I spent 20 minutes writing this blog post, Conan gained 800 more faithfuls on his Twitter page.

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Gold is rather flattering on red

Wednesday night Shaun White, fellow carrot-top and epic snowboarder, won the gold in the Vancouver Olympics with his signature Double McTwist.  This was a great opportunity for the world to the success that red-tresses can bring when you let your hair down and embrace it.

The ratings also showed the commanding power of the red against American Idol. I guess AI should think about adding a little more crimson to their judging panel — I’m just saying . . . its a suggestion.

At 23, this athlete helped keep the dream alive that redheads can do it better than anyone else — and helped show how flattering gold can be on a pasty complexion.  So little gingers around the world felt a little less alone and a lot more empowered to throw on a helmet and hit the half-pipe.  And bonus: winter sports are more forgiving on our fair faces (but still don’t skip the sunscreen.)

One troubling rumor I did hear about Shaun was that he has a hard time finding dates.  From one redhead to another Shaun — wear the gold out to bars and be shameless about it (redheads aren’t known for subtlety so embrace it.)

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Kathy is a page turner

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Kathy Griffin has pissed off a lot of people in Hollywood for outing their addictions, marital screw-ups, crazy family members and public failures.  And in her new book Official Book Club Selection: A memoir according to Kathy Griffin, she does more of the same – but the joke is usually on her. The always vivacious and opportunity-seeking Kathy has proven that she isn’t afraid of turning the tables on the major missteps and struggles she had clawing her way up the D-list.

Book Club is written in the same hair salon conversational storytelling language that Kathy is known for in her stand-up.  The title, alone, marks the attitude Kathy has trademarked – an idea that if I label it like an Oprah Book Selection then people will buy it and Oprah will have to recognize it: $$$.

Each, shocking and bluntly titled, chapter exposes more of the comedienne’s trials – from the difficulty of growing up as an awkward, gawky girl in rural Chicago (They Barked, They Laughed) and failing miserably as a stand-up comic (To Live and Bomb in LA) to cosmetic surgery mishaps (Nip/Fucked) and a pathological husband who stole a chunk of her wallet on the way out (My Marriage Ends). Kathy prepares for full disclosure and manages to poke fun at a celebrity or two in the process. Sorry Brooke Shields and Helen Hunt – what were you expecting?

Like any performer, the quintessential talk show question is, “When did you know you wanted to be in show business?” And Kathy isn’t shy about her ravenous thirst for attention at all costs.  She spent most of her early years telling neighborhood parents about the questionable discipline in her household and how she would host late-night talk shows in her living room.

But it was The Mary Tyler Moore Show that truly inspired Kathy to think about a life in the world of entertainment as a viable future.

“I’ll never forget that awesome apartment with the big M on the wall, and how beautiful Mary was.  But when Rhoda burst through the door in her Gypsy hairscarf, billowy caftan, and hilariously abrasive delivery, I was like, ‘Who is that? Oh my God!’ That’s when I fell in love with wanting to be a sidekick.”

A sidekick.  That would set the bar, questionably low – but attainable, for the ginger gal who would go on to become one of t.v.’s memorable sitcom comic reliefs.

Despite breaking through and becoming a name in show business, Kathy has become a regular inside-outsider.  She may have an IMDB page, but her ratings are never stealer. She gets invited to the Emmy’s, but she usually has to show up for the daytime show with the less renowned awards.  She is always one velvet rope away from the “real party.”  But that’s what keeps her sharp and honest to her fans.

Kathy is unapologetic about her disdain for actresses who are comfortably seated behind the elite velvet rope, equipped with ass-kissers and bottle service.  She doesn’t hesitate that her stomach turns at the sound of actresses re-telling their hardknock sob-stories to Oprah.  That means you Jewel. And you Hilary Swank.

“Cry me a fucking river, Hilary.  You star in a Karate Kid movie at nineteen, and win two Oscars by thirty. Go fuck yourself.”

She calls these performance gods out on the carpet and reminds them that they can’t weep poverty and hard times with gusto in Ferragamo and Dior.

While her tell-all book is surprisingly light on drug addictions, unplanned pregnancy or rehabilitation centers –especially for a mainstream comedienne, her story is truly inspiring and humorous. Hopefully she is taking notes for the follow-up which could undoubtedly be titled, The Pulitzer-Prize-Winning Memoir: According to Dr. Kathy Griffin. Hint, hint.

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The importance of the San Francisco’s election . . . and who noticed?

** Once again I disclose that this entry will have little or no reference to redheads and all their glory . . . but you might want to read it anyway **

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Courtesy of Flickr

This past Tuesday there was an election in San Francisco but you’d never notice if you looked in the local papers, watched Bay Area news channels or even did a google search.  Essentially, the 5 proposition election with a side of unchallenged attorney general and treasurer thrown in hardly set the pundits, newspapers and airwaves ablaze, as past elections in the state have (or even the same day elections in New Jersey, New York, Virginia or Maine).

Four of the propositions passed without much comment. And Proposition D, the advertisement signage ban lift in the downtown Market Street area, failed (assumedly due to beautification fears that San Francisco would become the next billboarded conglomerate city).

The other 4 propositions, also filled with budgetary promises and plans passed.  Each of them were about . . . well who cares, they passed.

More importantly, Maine became the 31st state to vote against the right for gays to marry. The slim majority still ruled in Maine where 53% of the state said that marriage was not a civil right to all people. Five U.S. states do allow same-sex couples to marry starting with Massachusetts in 2004, and followed by VermontNew Hampshire,Connecticut and Iowa but each of the state extended those rights through state legislation and not popular vote.

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Courtesy of Flickr

This election brought with it a tremendous reminder that much of the public is not ready to move toward a more equal society.  It is so easy for people to cry reform and change and progress but in the voting booths they use those tattered curtains to hide their fear and bigotry.

As important as propositions and budgets are for voters to notice, I can’t minimize the fact that the voters scare me.  They usually don’t vote informedly.  And they usually are more easily influenced by talk-show pundits, prime-time commercial slots and fear. Until I start to see the voters care more about the result of the issues and not their fear of the unknown I’ll just put my head down and mail in my ballot.

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