Monday, July 30, 2012

are you man enough?

the 2004 election was the first presidential election i felt really invested in. I was living in London and working as an intern for the Associated Press Television Network. Even though I was abroad, the whole world was watching the US presidential election, and i was especially exposed, working at the APTN.

one theme of election coverage that really stood out to me was the issue of the candidates' MACHISMO. one of my favorite media exposés was the "candidates doing athletic things." and the candidates absolutely took part in the media's efforts to display their athleticism. we associate physical strength with general strength, and because strength is something most americans revere in a presidential candidate, the candidates give us what we want!   

but when an election becomes about strength, one candidate is ultimately framed as weak. thats largely because our simplistic media only work in dichotomies--black/white, fat/skinny, smart/dumb etc. and as media frames tend to do, they stick! and the candidate dubbed the weaker of the two suffers, as a result. 

the latest presidential association with strength/weakness is the most recent cover of Newsweek, which has the word WIMP in huge letters next to a pretty unflattering photo of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.  and so now media moves our public discourse to issues of wimpiness and strength, pretty early on in the election. 

in addition to hurting a particular candidate, by focusing on his/her weakness/wimpyness, news media contribute to the perpetuation of gender value distinctions, by representing masculinity as superior. this gender value distinction then not only hurts candidates framed as less masculine, but also the idea of females as powerful leaders, because women are not automatically associated with masculinity. the trail of my logic might seem too circuitous, but i think its valid. its the topic of a paper i started in grad school, that i am thinking of picking back up. in sum, media's reverence of physical strength subverts anything outside the realm of masculinity, including female candidates, and more feminine men. This is unfortunate, because not all masculine traits are appropriate for politics, and some feminine traits and characteristics are.

if you have any thoughts, or articles, whatever emailed me, or leave a comment.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

olympic mania

i love the olympics!

perhaps it has something to do with its constant presence in my life. my dad has always been involved with the USA weightlifting team, as a coach and now as a director of their operations. the olympic rings have always been up around my house and adorning sweatshirts and coats in my closet. in high school, my dad hooked up my varsity volleyball team with the same adidas warm up sweats as the olympic volleyball teams' sweats. we looked pretty cool.

unfortunately, the US isn't known for our weightlifting skillz, so my dad's event doesn't get too much coverage. but my favorite event has always been swimming. as a kid i watched Gary Hall Jr. and Ian Thorpe dominate, and in more recent years i have become enamored (like many people) by MICHAEL PHELPS. he holds the record for most medals won in a single olympic games, and has the opportunity, with this olympics, to be the most decorated olympian of all time. The record is currently held by a Soviet Union gymnast from the 1950s; she has 18. Phelps needs 3 more to beat that record, and he has 7 events to compete in this year, so its possible. YOU CAN DO IT, BRO!

one time, in 2006, michael phelps and i exchanged a few facebook messages. i'll never get over it.
The first event he will compete in is tonight--the 400m individual medley. this morning he BARELY advanced to the final of this event, as the 8th (and final) seed. AH!! SO TENSE!! im so so excited to see if he medals in his first London 2012 event. Oh, but look at his olympics headshot... he looks like he was just arrested. ha. i think it is a reflection of how he probably feels going into this olympic games. he's tired, and reportedly bored with swimming. in fact, he announced his retirement barely a year ago. he did some stuff that suggested he was finished competing, such as the bong incident, and he allegedly put on 25 + lbs not too long ago.

apparently, the reason he came out of retirement and decided to compete is because of this Ryan Lochte fella. Lochte was getting close to beating some of Phelps' records, so Phelps got the motivation he needed to reawaken his competitive spirit. which is also good tv--everyone loves a rivalry!

lochte. whatever.
but this Lochte? he just doesn't impress me (as i write this from my couch eating cheese and chocolate). i'm not saying he is going to lose... i'm just saying he's not the articulate, composed, handsome Phelps. but i am glad he is threatening enough to woo Phelps from retirement. is it obvious im a fan of Phelps? in fact, if i could meet anyone, dead or alive, he would make my top 3 (along with Bill Clinton and Stephen Colbert).

so anyways, ill be turned into this rivalry, and hoping Phelps beats Lochte in the 2 events they share, and that he gets those three medals to break another record.

go team USA!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


this comic made me laugh, but i actually don't agree with the statement. perhaps because all of my collegiate teaching has been done in the liberal arts, where student participation is expected.

nonetheless i love the snarky

Monday, July 23, 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Honey Boo Boo

A while back i posted this video of Alana AKA Honey Boo Boo, who was on an episode of Toddler's & Tiaras. That show is already out of control, but Honey Boo Boo was ESPECIALLY crazy/entertaining/confident. 

WELP, as things tend to go now-a-days, SHE'S GETTING HER OWN SHOW. and, I THINK I HAVE TO WATCH. i mean, i just MUST know the environment that produced honey boo boo. 

The show is called "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" and will consist of 6 episodes on TLC starting in August that will give us an inside look into her life... because we don't already know 'nuff bout this kid.

Monday, July 16, 2012

life update

so ive been on my death bed (slightly hyperbolic) for the past week. A stint with the flu accompanied by tonsillitis straight up knocked me on my back for a good 7 days straight. 7 days of dizzy, nausy, stiffness, headache, throat pain, cramps, and fever sweats has left me a new woman! Maybe. But it does feel good to be able to get out of bed and move my body. This is a picture of bowser trying to help soothe my pain.

I took these photos in the hospital in case no one believed the seriousness of the matter.

I'm just happy i am getting betterrrr.

But before I got sick I did a few fun things, so here is an update:

At the end of June I went home to Idaho for a visit. Once in Boise my mom and I loaded into the car and headed to Paul Idaho where her sister and my three cousins grew up. My closest cousin, Kirby (a girl, people) has had 2 kids since I'd last seen her and we decided that was unacceptable so that was some of the motivation behind the trip. Well, it was so fun in be back in the country!! This about sums up the lifestyle of my radical Idaho cousins: I've never really driven a four wheeled (cept in the sand dunes of pismo) but Kirby was like you drive let's take the dogs to the canal for a swim. So with me at the wheel, and Kirbs on the back--with her 2 year old daughter, her niece, and a dog!!!!---I. I tore up the dirt roads to the canal.

Here I am with Kirby's newest potato bug, tayte. Look at those arms!!

Then it was the fourth of July and I was back in Orange County. Huntington Beach really is THE place to celebrate bc they have an awesome fire works display they shoot off from the pier and they also shut down the PCH so the place is over run with bikes. Also, this was the first year since the early 90s that HB has allowed people to set off their own fireworks. So my good friends supplied our own show, before the big thing.

beach sky lit up from the fireworks show.
And then I got Bubonic Plague.

Alright, that's a wrap.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Reading evaluations of my teaching from students gives me what I can only describe as heartburn. But once in a while a comment soothes ;) thanks to this anonymous college kid!