Monday, December 12, 2005


Remeber to check out Mike's take on the two headlines from Democracy Now! by visiting his site Mikey Likes It!

Stanley Tookie Williams Scheduled to be Executed Tonight (Democracy Now!):
In California the state Supreme Court has unanimously denied an emergency request by lawyers of death row prisoner Stanley Tookie Williams to halt his execution. Williams' life now largely rests in the hands of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. If he is not granted clemency, Williams is scheduled to be executed a minute past midnight tonight pacific time. Williams is a co-founder of the Crips street gang who became an advocate against gang violence while on death row. We'll have more on Williams' case in a few minutes.

This is what we do. You're found guilty of someone, we kill you. That's how simple we see things.

This isn't the way it necessarily is in the rest of the world. But here we just think we're right and we can only see it from that angle.

I look the issues of the case being raised and I see what looks to me like an innocent man.
Others are quite sure of themselves and not at all concerned that an innocent may be exceucted.

Ex-Iraqi General Says Shiites Torturing Sunni in Prisons (Democracy Now!):
Meanwhile a former Iraqi general told Agence France Press that he witnessed horrific scenes of torture while he worked in Iraqi-run prisons. He showed the news agency videotapes recorded inside the prison. Men were seen with whip marks and acid burns. One prisoner had lost an eye. Another prisoner had nails driven into his body. The general -- Muntazar al-Samarrai - said at least three people died as a result of torture at the prison, The general - who is a Sunni now living in Jordan - said the abuse is being carried out at nine secret prisons run by pro-Iranian Shiite militias who work for the Interior Ministry.

Every day something else. Yet even so, some people still can't find their voices. After awhile, you seriously do begin to wonder if anything can reach them?

They'll tell you about something they "read" in In Style but if you bring up Iraq, they get a blank look on their faces. If you mention Falluja, watch the confusion spread across their faces.

There are periods in anyone's life where things will be so stressful that they truly do need to shut out the world. But there are people content to veg in front of the TV and "escape" from something they can't name.

They isolate themselves. On an issue as serious as war (or peace), you need to engage.

That's my opinion.

Which brings us to the issue of opinions.

I intended to blog Saturday. That's not an apology. I participated in an all night marathon on Thursday night/Friday morning but that's not an excuse. I will have something up when I can.
On Saturday I intended to blog. Then I saw Cedric had and knew Rebecca had. Kat always blogs on Saturday.

So I thought I would save my voice for Sunday.

I hadn't thought we would end up with a more than all nighter at The Third Estate Sunday Review; however, that is what happened. It will probably happen again.

Tonight I'm blogging.

I am, of course, bothered by what happened to Kat.

I want to avoid naming anyone but obviously we're speaking of Kat. I'm refraining from naming otherwise because C.I. believe we have some sort of peace agreement. Far be it from me to ever be accused of breaking a peace agreement unintentionally.

I don't wish to break it intentionally.

However, I do wish to pick up on thoughts C.I. and Kat have both voiced but I'm not sure the point has gotten across. That will be my attempt at a contribution.

Kat's entire entry that bothered someone is about "can." The ability to do something. She's referring to the ability to hold an opinion in favor or opposed. The argument she sets forward in her post that bothered some people was that a contrary opinion was voiced and there was a dog pile from other posters. It is clear to me from the post Kat did that she was speaking of "can."

"Can" is key to her entry and it is why so many have focused on the fact that, once the responses began, "can" would be left out of a quote she made.

The point Kat was making was that we all have the ability and right to have an opinion. No one has to agree but we have that right to have one.

Dropping the "can" wasn't just missing a word, it was missing the message.

On their end, I don't think they ever grasped Kat's message.

Hopefully, on their end they were attempting to figure out where the breakdown was.

I know on our end, C.I. was trying to present their opinion, as C.I. understood it, all last week. Present it. Not agree with it or endorse it.

What it came down to, besides the message, was the style. Kat's style is not common today. There aren't many women writing about music at large outlets and when they do, they provide an NPR/PBS style of commentary. Kat doesn't speak in that voice.

Her reviews, her writing on topics other than music, are written with passion.

It is too much passion for some people because, while we're used to men arguing passionately about sports, music, film and go down the list of topics, we really don't get that from many women. Maureen Dowd writes like a lazy tiger. I'm not calling her lazy. But I'm saying she's like a tiger lying down that will still send that arm out at the most unexpected place. You may think, "Oh, pretty tiger" and that's just about the time the arm shoots out. But the tiger's not prowling.

A number of people have a problem with Dowd's writing. So it doesn't surprise me that some might have a problem with Kat's. Though she belongs to a long history of women writing about rock, most people today aren't aware of rock criticism. If they do know it, they can usually tell you Lester Bangs' name. But there's a whole history of women doing criticism that they've never heard of or read the work of.

I don't have a problem if another site doesn't like Kat's style or if they disagree with her opinion.
I do have a problem with the implication that Kat can't write as well as someone. Especially when one appears to be presenting a cool, detached look and that's held as the standard.

Kat doesn't have to meet anyone's standard but her own.

Her success, the fact that so many enjoy her writing, is due to her utilizing her own voice.

I don't feel that I do that. I feel like I come off, online, as the most monotone, drab voice in the world. That is one of the many reasons I didn't want to start my own blog. But some people enjoy this site and I'm flattered.

You may prefer me to Kat, but that wouldn't make me better than Kat. Our styles are too different to be compared.

So I think the difference of opinion stems from the fact that Kat is clearly not the style of the other site. That's fine and they can (can) pursue any style of criticism they wish to. They can disagree with Kat's opinion.

But what they cannot do is downgrade the quality or the opinion because they disagree with it when their standards are not her standards. It's not as though she wanted to write like the man involved. Kat would hate writing like that as much as he would hate writing like her. They are both entitled to feel that way.

I don't want to go into what happened but I will note that clearly I felt Kat was wronged.

But the thing that saddens me the most, if there's a peace and apparently there is now, is that I still feel Kat was graded by standards she's never tried to meet, standards she has rejected. In writing, she has rejected them. I am saddened that instead of just noting that she is pursuing a different path than they are, there was a need to downgrade Kat's abilities and talents.

I think that all stems from the same area that makes someone think "can" is just a word that Kat used in a sentence which they forgot to include in their quoting. "Can" isn't just a word. It is the whole point of Kat's writing in pretty much everything she writes.