Tuesday, April 17, 2007

that whole don imus thing

So why is it that South Park is funny, but Don Imus isn't? I'm as willing as the next guy to laugh at jokes made about groups I identify with (which is to say, not if I'm cranky or it's not funny), so what's different here? My first reaction to the news report I read about his remark was "wow, that's a dumb thing to say in front of a hot mic, but whatever" but after I heard an audio clip of it, my perspective changed. Cause you know how sometimes when someone's telling a joke, there's an edge in their voice to show they're not really kidding? That's what the clip sounded like: a guy who thought that the women of the Rutgers team maybe didn't deserve the success they'd had that season, a guy savoring his own alliterative cleverness in causally dismissing their accomplishments. If he'd said something similar about a group of white male NBA players, it might have been funny. Or at least less ... serious.

I guess I'm willing to laugh at a offensive joke that's about my group as long as I think the room is laughing with me, not at me. Because if they're laughing at me, then it's pretty stupid of me to play along - it'll entrench the underlying stereotype. Which is why South Park is funny: the writers don't take anything seriously, and the offensiveness is equal-opportunity. If everybody's a target, nobody's a target, in some sense.

Monday, April 09, 2007

the benefits of being marginally in shape

I can't decide which was the coolest thing to happen since I last posted. This:

or figuring out how to link tight turns on a snowboard. (Which there are totally some pictures of somewhere, but not yet online.)

I spent five days skiing in a snowstorm in early February, which was awesome and not at all crowded. Especially on the days it was raining below 7000 feet, in which I discovered that my gear is not nearly as waterproof as its tags claim. A few sunny weeks later we were up at Sierra with Agi and Kelle, who snowboard, so I figured I'd rent a board and hopefully not fall on my butt too much. A definite upside to six months of yoga and belly dancing is increased core strength and balance, and returning to snowboarding was easier than I thought it would be. By the end of the day I was linking turns all the way down the hill, traversing without serious difficulty, and on the just-the-right-steepness parts actually doing the thing where you don't actually turn, but just sort of lean back and forth to bleed off speed. That must have a name.

Fast forward a few weeks weeks (past lots of cold weather, sorta meeting Hillary Clinton, finally getting a new bike, and belatedly getting gloves to wear while riding said bike in said cold weather), and we went to Cancun for Andrew's spring break. In my first 24 hours in Cancun, two different organizations tried to sell me timeshares and I fell into a gaping pothole and twisted my ankle; some cheap beer later, Andrew also tripped on a pothole. Fortunately, the week went uphill from there, as we visited seven archaeological sites in eight days. (And on Day Nine we rested - see above picture - because Andrew finally got tired of pretending his newly-sprained ankle didn't hurt.) Anyway, the whole week had super nice weather, lots of tacos, and I picked up at least a few dozen spanish words. The piles of rubble began to blur together at some point, but my favorite was Ek-Balam, where they actually let you climb up on the ruins. (Not so at Chichen Itza, which was packed full of tourists for the equinox.) The least impressive piles of rubble were the ones on the island of Cozumel. The guidebook is totally right: spend your time in Cozumel in the water with a snorkel mask on. If you must venture inland 12 miles to the ruins, rent a car instead of the crappiest bicycles you have ever seen, because it will be hot in the middle of the day and there will be completely unpaved chunks of "road" to clog up the "gear" on the "bicycle".

vacation photos