Crucial Minutia
it's the little things...

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Felice Belle
Stakes Is High: This Week’s Wow Award
1 Comment | posted April 22nd, 2007 at 09:12 am by Felice Belle


Every now then I hear a piece of news that leaves me speechless. Not that there are no words to say, just that in the moment I cannot find them.

When this happens my default response is, “wow.”

Short, simple, to the point. Communicating just the right amount of shock, awe and/or wonder.

This week, I’d like to present my first ever Wow Award to a German Army training video. According to the BBC, “during the filmed training session, an instructor tells the soldier: ‘You’re in the Bronx, a black van pulls up in front of you and three African-Americans get out and start really insulting your mother… act!’”

(On so many levels).

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Jennifer Gandin Le
Beauty in a Wicked World: The “Other” in Your Family
4 Comments | posted April 18th, 2007 at 09:23 am by Jennifer Gandin Le

Gandin LeLast September, I married my dear friend and roommate, Chris.

Fifty years ago, we could have been arrested in 24 states for doing so.

Now, we’re part of a trend.

From last week’s AP article entitled “40 years after landmark ruling, interracial marriage flourishing in U.S.”:

Factoring in all racial combinations, Stanford University sociologist Michael Rosenfeld calculates that more than 7 percent of America’s 59 million married couples in 2005 were interracial, compared to less than 2 percent in 1970.

Later in the article, Rosenfeld says, “The racial divide in the U.S. is a fundamental divide. … but when you have the ‘other’ in your own family, it’s hard to think of them as ‘other’ anymore.”

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Theo Gangi
National Pastimes: Just Leave the College Kids Alone.
7 Comments | posted April 13th, 2007 at 09:08 am by Theo Gangi

Isn’t there a war somewhere? I mean one not between activists and a week-old comment?

I would like to stop talking about Imus. The problem with that is, I watch the news. Unless I quit, it’s the Imus-Rutgers-a-thon.

There is something about this comment that will not go away. My father mentioned that the Rutgers girls’ team press conference is what put the final nail in the Imus coffin. People saw who was attacked, and how undeserving they were. Race issues jump a hypersensitive notch when dealing with college kids. Look at how the media/public condemned the Duke Lacrosse players on hearsay.

The media frenzy at Rutgers took my back to an incident I was involved in back in college.

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Theo Gangi
National Pastimes: The Criminalization of Racism
3 Comments | posted April 10th, 2007 at 11:02 am by Theo Gangi

“It happens to be Mr. Imus. But behind Mr. Imus it’s all of us.” –Rutgers Coach Vicki Stringer.

Not again. E Tu, Imus

I’m not going to get in line to take shots at Imus. The repugnant idiocy of his comment is self-explanatory. Whether or not he should be fired is another issue.

Unlike Mel Gibson and Michael Richards, Imus has done a ton of good with his celebrity. He championed Harold Ford Jr.’s run to be the first black senator of Tennessee. He regularly promotes a line of green safe cleaning products and a ranch for kids with cancer. Politicians go on his show to expose issues neglected by the media. Unlike Mel Gibson, his slur came in the midst of a comedy act. Unlike Michael Richards, Imus wasn’t in a primal rage.

So who wants Imus canned? Many rightly outraged black leaders. Also the same man who wants to charge the cops in the tragic Shawn Bell shooting with premeditated murder. It’s not that Al Sharpton invents issues. It’s that his hellfire approach terrifies white people, and does nothing to address the racism behind their revelatory gaffs.

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Felice Belle
Stakes Is High: The Flavor of Love
2 Comments | posted April 08th, 2007 at 11:47 am by Felice Belle

Flavor Flaaaav!

With 3.3.million viewers, Flavor of Love 2 was the highest rated series debut on VH1 until it was bested by its spin-off I Love New York, which netted 4.43 million viewers.

Clearly VH1 hopes to strike ratings gold with the newest addition to the franchise — Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School.

Charm School will follow thirteen of the “breakout stars” from Flavor of Love, seasons one and two, as they compete in self improvement and etiquette-based challenges. The last woman standing will win $50,000 to help her achieve her life’s dream.

According to the video blogs on the VH1 website, Serious (not her real name) hopes to start a non-profit called Be A Role Model, while Smiley (also a fake name) aspires to “teach all of America […] to be their sexy selves” through the art of pole dancing.

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Theo Gangi
National Pastimes: A Racial Conversation About Nothing
4 Comments | posted March 30th, 2007 at 12:21 am by Theo Gangi

Conversation about race today is about nothing. It belongs on Seinfeld.

The sitcom has an interesting history regarding race. Even at the height of its popularity, its ethnocentricity and racism was widely overlooked. Minorities who appeared on the show were hypersensitive rants impossible not to offend. The writers were smart enough to recognize this, and played to it in a brilliant episode where George, in order to prove that he isn’t racist, tries to make friends with every black person he sees.

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Theo Gangi
National Pastimes: Political Theater
1 Comment | posted March 23rd, 2007 at 06:09 pm by Theo Gangi

The problem with Hollywood’s recent Historical action flicks is the marginal interest in history. At the top of the box office last weekend, 300, based on a Frank Miller comic book, tells the story of a famous Spartan last stand. What’s troublesome is that the movie surgically removes the strategic reason for this sacrifice—to save the lives of the 6,000 other Greek soldiers who would’ve been slaughtered. Why this fact is left out isn’t exactly clear, but it is disconcerting that somehow it’s easier for an audience to swallow a sacrifice for a vague, undefined ideology than for a strategic purpose.

It reeks of Bush logic. The Spartan king goes off to war while the Greek people are either too corrupt or too stupid to know it’s time to fight. This king represents only 300 of his constituency, the way our president only represents 30%. This king kills the Persian diplomat for suggesting a negotiation. Why mention that the Greeks destroyed an important Persian temple just years before? No, these ‘ambassadors’ are people of color coming for our freedom. Can’t talk, gotta kill ‘em. Git ‘er done. But most shameful, the movie pretends the 300 Spartans didn’t go to war with 6,000 other Greeks because then they would’ve looked like pussies. The filmakers also removed the Spartan’s body armor. I’m surprised they didn’t remove the spears and shields as well, and go into battle swinging their genitals.

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Felice Belle
Rest for the Weary
3 Comments | posted March 21st, 2007 at 07:19 pm by Felice Belle

Aunt J Rockin' Pearls and a Perm

During my lunch period, I go to the local bodega to get honey turkey on roll with jack cheese and mayonnaise. No lettuce. No tomato.

Waiting by the register I notice Aunt Jemima pancakes in the frozen food case. I am outraged.

When I get back to school, I immediately email my friend Robb, “Why is Aunt Jemima still a brand?”

Robb responds, “Don’t even get me started on Uncle Ben.”