Tough Enough

I'm halfway through TV Turnoff Week and I'm still alive! In fact, the most TV Turnoff-resistant member of my family, my husband, has sort of gotten on board. In a show of solidarity, he's cut back significantly on his viewing, even while grumbling about it being the NBA playoffs.

How did this miracle happen? Well, it's a mystery to me because after Monday I didn't say anything else to him about the no TV thing. No evil looks. No self-righteous glances. I didn't even threaten to withhold sex or stop cooking dinner. Only the wives on the TV sitcoms I never watch do that sort of coercive crap, right?

While that's marinating in your mind, let me tell you how not watching TV is proving to be a lot easier than I thought it would be. Sure, some of it could be that I have the Internet as a backup form of entertainment, and where else but the Internet can I read insane stories that start off like this:
"Police in Congo have arrested 13 suspected sorcerers accused of using black magic to steal or shrink men's penises after a wave of panic and attempted lynchings triggered by the alleged witchcraft."
Uh huh. Not kidding. Penis theft panic hits city. Somebody make a sitcom out of that insanity instead of showing Seinfeld Friends Sex and the City Gossip Girl. I mean, do we really need yet another fantasy of life in New York City featuring nothing but white folks running around doing ignorant stuff (with nary a Boricua in sight)?

Yes, stepping away from the veil of cable news channels and reality TV has been good for my sanity. I mean, the Pennsylvania Primary was the other night and I didn't even get a headache because I wasn't listening to all the ridiculous commentary, half-truths, flat out lies and racist code language.

Speaking of racist code language, have you thought about why it is that Obama has to be the only black man in these 50 States, and however many U.S. Territories, that isn't "tough" enough? Strange as it sounds, the Congolese penis stealers/shrinkers got me thinking about how in our culture a man's penis size = masculinity = toughness. Why else would I get 200 "grow your penis 12 inches longer" emails every day?

That means the subliminal message is that a president needs a big penis (military aggression) in order to get the job done. But if I connect the dots, someone wants me to think Obama only possesses a small penis (words) and so he's not tough.

Should we attribute this small penis thing to the genes of his white mom? I mean, every other black man (with their ginormous penises) is sooo tough that folks are scared of them unless they speak really softly and do all the little things black men have to do to make sure their colleagues at work don't feel uncomfortable.

By the way, heaven forbid someone black gets accused of being militant at their job! That's the ultimate kiss of employment death -- which is tricky because if you're black, you can pretty much guarantee that someone at some point is going to try to discuss your company's diversity policy with you. They'll tell you it's to get feedback and see if the company's on the right track, but if you are stupid enough (or big penis tough enough?) to express that you don't think the diversity policy is adequate, well...

Anyway, right now, big penis militancy isn't the spin on Obama. The media sort of tried that, but it didn't quite work because Obama knows the "Must Not Make Uncomfortable" rules very well. He didn't bite the bait. That means that he gets sold as not "tough"and not "fully vetted" and he "can't close the deal", which is all secret code language for, "We're afraid of what that black man with his huge penis will do if elected."

When reporters ask him, "Senator Obama, what are your plans for your 100 days in office?" folks are really thinking Obama's going to secretly give all the black folks he says "hi" to on the street reparations for slavery. And after that he'll single-handedly impregnate all white women in America with his huge, black penis in order to create even more people who happen to have white ancestry but identify as black.

Okay, I'll stop being sarcastic because if this is your first time visiting, you might be thinking I'm totally crazy. (And, um, I plead the 5th on that one.)

I just wonder, how long America will act like all these racial code words and phrases don't bubble underneath our merry, Wal-Mart surface? The words and phrases are playing on a racial record I've been hearing since I was a child. The needle is skipping in the same place, over the same phrases, over and over again. I'd be a fool to act like I don't know what it all really means.

And I guess I can't laugh too much at the literal penis stealing story when we've figuratively got the same thing going on here. I guess that story doesn't sound too crazy after all.


Anonymous said…
Thanks for that, Liz, all that anti-Obama sub-text had completely escaped me! I'm sure there are plenty of twisted minds out there making just those weird connections. The fantasies flying around about black men (and black women for that matter) are unbelievable. Glad the No-TV plan is going strong btw.
I would love to know what MIchelle and Barack really think about all this nonsense.

Did you see Bill Clinton act all indignant about being calling out on his code words BS? He replied "I have an office in Harlem." So big freaking deal. It's because the rent was cheaper than the place he originally wanted to get in midtown.
Mango Mama said…
Liz, what a timely post! Last nigh on CNN, Jack McCafferty broke it down and simply spoke what millions of us know is true---mathematically, Hillary cannot win, and if/when the Democratic machine make their move to wrangle this nomination away from Barack, it's going to tear this country apart. I also believe that it's not as if the Democratic power structure doesn't know this, it's just they don't care. It's about to get really hot in here!
Liz Dwyer said…
Oh yes, the fantasies that have flown around for the past few hundred years are totally ridiculous and so offensive. With the way our elections usually work in this country, the real shame is that it's spotlighting our insane racism even more. How shameful that the reality is that people are too racist to vote for him and to scared to go ahead and make him the nominee. It just spotlights that our whole election process is steeped in something that's not about democracy, not about doing what's right.

I'd love to know what they think, too. I read the text of the Bill Clinton ridiculousness about saying Obama played the race card on him. He seriously is deranged but people will agree with him, no doubt -- and besides, we're supposed to be unaware that he only moved to Harlem because it was cheaper than where he really wanted to go.

Mango Mama,
Exactly, she can't win so what in the world is going on? It's total racism and it's clear that the so-called democratic, fair process of our election is not being followed. Do they really think Americans are going to swallow this whole? Oh wait, we swallowed Al Gore being cheated so I guess there's precedent. It makes me glad I am not registered to any political party. This is so clearly not about issues, not about justice.
Jameil said…
lmao! you're nutty. maybe he's watching less so he can be around you more since you're not gonna be in the room if he's watching the telly.
Anonymous said…
You know, there's so much infertility now that he would probably get elected with that 100 day plan.... :) You are very funny in your TV withdrawal stage. But, erm, I always thought you were crazy! ;)

How's the book??
Unknown said…
Liz, You had me laughing, but it really was to keep from crying!

Girl, you know how I feel about Obama the candidate, but Obama the man is a whole 'notha thing. Really, I had picked up on how the pundits were attempting to demasculate him and somehow give the balls to Clinton. They are also always trying to masculinize her. What is up with that???

I am thinking it is an attempt to allow McCain to win. Notice how he is always silent, stalwart, and now he is now a brigadier of fairness and what's right because he tried to get those Obama ads pulled. I'm going on a tv strike too. I am really so sick of it all. We're all in deep, deep, caca if this all is allowed to continue!

I say we start an online petition to stop the crap and just report the numbers and the issues! Is there anything wrong with that Washington???

I don't think any of them are fit to win at this point. Los Angelista for President!

Thanks for bringing this up, great post as always!
none said…
Racial discrimination suits and white guilt have people running scared and afraid to have any rational dialog about Obama or black issues in general.

It seems that anytime a non black person says "boo", the media, government and every special interest group swoops down screaming "hate crime" 'racism' "lawsuit"

I't even worse for blacks that question or challenge the status quo.

As for the congolese penis stealers... What? do they wear them around their necks like a rabbits foot? ;)
Tafari said…
Hillary is tough or so she says. Does that mean that she has the clit of a Hottentot???

Talk to me.

Anonymous said…
@los angelista, I am considering doing a few less hours of TV but good luck keeping up the no-TV! It is absolutely ridiculous how Obama haters are trying to discount him for not being tough. Is "tough" a better quality than "clever", "discerning" or being "shrewd"? He is not applying for some stereotypical role on what masculinity should/shouldn't be. He is applying to a nominee for president. I think this tough rhetoric is extremely dangerous. Especially since it is not the kind of outlook that will aid foreign policy at all.
Felicity said…
I had a good laugh about the penis stealer/shrinkers in Congo. The problem with the Clintons, is that they believe all their lies and it still is not working.
1969 said…
I see the lack of tv hasn't dimished your wit. LOL

And you missed the best episode of LOST.
See what no TV does? Keep talking.
Miriam said…
woo hoo! Liz. Way to go.

Can you let us know how sensitized you got after the turn-off TV time. That is, if you go back to it, lol.
Lola Gets said…
You would bring up the Hottentots!

Liz Dwyer said…
I commented on him not watching too soon. He disappeared all last night to watch playoff games. But I felt a little gratified though because the team he wanted to win ended up losing.

I wrote for an hour on Wednesday night. Nothing yesterday. Nothing so far today. But starting Monday I'm determined to make myself do 6-7 AM every morning without fail.,
Oh, yes, Saint McCain descending on New Orleans to declare it a forgotten town. AAGH! It makes me want to throw up. I guess our media can't talk about how it's forgotten because of legislation McCain voted against that would have helped the city and the people.

You ever read the People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn? I always wonder what a very recent modern history version of that book would say about these times.

I don't think Obama's the return of Christ like some people seem to and I don't think he can solve everything going down in our world, but I am really sick of the not-so-thinly veiled racial politics being played.

It seems like even if the penis is still there, folks think it's been stolen anyway. The story was just so insane that I could feel my reading comprehension abilities going down the drain.

Anyway, I don't think white guilt has anybody running too scared in this country. There's lots of real racism that goes on and it flies under the radar or is just accepted -- take our unjust, unequal school sytem as one example. In Obama's case, I think Democrat party leaders are pushing the blame for their own fear of letting a black man be the nominee off onto "working class whites" which is code speak for white racist bigots. I don't believe that the DNC leadership is soooo powerless that they couldn't have shut Hillary Clinton down at the end of February. Nope, I'm not buying it. They're scared to let a black man run so they're hoping the great white hope, Hillary, will come in and "steal" the nomination or travel her "narrow path to the nomination" or whatever other narratives they want to sell us. But the truth is that sometimes it seems like Obama was a cute idea so we could all pat ourselves on the back and say, "See we're really not racists in America. We're post-racial!" And now when it comes down to it, our true colors are showing.

I am not even going there, LOL! The Hottentots!!! But the media seriously wants us to believe that she has a penis underneath that $109 million dollar pantsuit. Or else that we're going to get Bill's penis back to help her out once she gets elected.

On a second thought. Maybe that ain't such a good idea.

Amen! I'd take honest and compassionate over toughness. I'd take the ability to influence and motivate people to a positive outcome over this stereotypical masculine, we'll come and bomb you if you don't do what we say type of mess.

Isn't that just the craziest story? It's the power of people being convinced that they should believe something's true that actually isn't. I guess that's the case in every culture though. In theirs, it's penis stealing/shrinking. In ours, it's the lies that get told all around during our political process and then some!

Sitting in all the meetings I sat in yesterday did much to diminish any vestiges of wit I might have thought I could claim. By 5:00 I was ready to cut somebody!

I heard that the Lost episode was good. Someone else told me she cried at the end.

Yes, I think this is going to be a permanent layoff. Definitely I'm done with the TV news. Robin Hood comes back on BBC on Sunday night so I might just have to watch that one show. The rest of it though, I don't miss it at all.

I do feel much more alert than I did at this time last week. And much less depressed as well. I want to know what's going in the world, but it was making me feel so angry and yet so helpless too. That's not a good combination.

I know! He's killing me with that.
Jen said…
I think Obama's proving his toughness by the fact that he's NOT rising to the bait. Keeping your cool in the face of this nonsense takes a REAL man.

I'm glad he's sticking to who he is. It must be hard having to be all things to all people. It's never been asked of any other candidate, and it's not being asked of Hillary.
Tafari said…
Speaking of Hottentots, we do not need any more of Bills penis, we had enough of his HD&Ns!

Anonymous said…
Wow, I really enjoyed reading this post, me being a black man and all. There does seem to be a fear that somehow there will be barbecues on the front lawn of the White House with Katrina victims drinking forties, blond haired Playboy Playmates, Kim Jong Il, and Mahmoud Amandinejad dancing in Hawaiian shirts.

I don't have cable and watch very little TV. And ever since the writers strike I don't have any interest in returning to my once favorite shows. Cheers to TV in moderation!
Liz Dwyer said…
I totally agree. Why is there this weird sexist thing that being able to consult with others and listen and communicate without being psycho and aggressive is somehow weak? I certainly have more respect for being able to talk things out instead of constantly saying, "I'm a fighter!"

I fully believe that Bill hasn't changed his spots. He must just be making folks sign confidentiality agreements.

Exactly. It's like folks think that then Michelle's Harvard educated self is gonna be on the cover of King and then Obama will appoint 50 Cent as Secretary of Defense and The Game will be Secretary of State and a brand new East Coast/West Coast feud will erupt with shootouts on the White House Lawn.

Actually, I don't think they think any of that will happen. Barack doesn't have to do anything but be Black and that's the main problem.

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