Journalism


meghan_mccainI knew when this heifer was on The View and other silly shows talking about the devil bitch Ann Coulter and other uninteresting topics, she was up to something. Well I was right. The New York Observer reports that Hyperion is publishing Ms. McCain’s book and is writing her a 6-figure check for it–like she really needs it.

John McCain’s 24-year-old daughter Meghan has a book deal! Sources say Hyperion has prevailed over at least three other publishers in an auction that began earlier this week, following a round of meetings during which the in-your-face young conservative and the literary agent she shares with her father, Sterling Lord Literistic president Flip Brophy, discussed a number of possible approaches to the book with editors around town.

Several sources said the advance Ms. McCain will receive from Hyperion, which is owned by the Disney Company, is in the high six figures.

While we haven’t quite nailed down what Ms. McCain’s book will be about—no one at Hyperion nor Ms. Brophy returned calls this afternoon—if her recent columns for Tina Brown and Barry Diller’s Web site The Daily Beast are any indication, it will probably have something to do with the future of the Republican party, and how it must change to attract the votes of modern young people.

YAWN! Hey Meghan, why not give that money to the families whose loved-ones are fighting in the war that your senile father voted for. Honestly, don’t we have enough boring blonde women with nothing to say writing books nowadays? I am WAY more interested in reading a book from the other McCain daughter, the Indian one they treat like one of the kidnapped kids from The People Under The Stairs. That would be a page-turner.

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I mean I know that ever since XXL came to be, The Source has become as relevant as Jet, so it would make sense that they would want to sell issues by any means necessary, but isn’t this just a bit harsh?

Do we really need another violent media image of black men? Aren’t O.J and Clarence Thomas offensive enough?

(Disclaimer: I know that everyone is talking about Miley Cyrus. So when in Rome…)

Hannah Montana megastar Miley Cyrus is doing damage control by apologizing for her recent photo spread in Hollywood culture bible Vanity Fair for a semi-nude picture of her taken by famed photographer Annie Lebowtiz. Cyrus claims she was manipulated by Lebowitz while Lebowitz is giving the “bitch please” defense claiming that everyone was happy and approved of the art including Cyrus and her parents.

Lebowitz also stated that people are misinterpreintg her work. So tell me this: When is it ever appropriate for an artist to suggest that a 15-year old girl pose shirtless while being wrapped in sheet rocking just-got-f***ed hair? Never. Shame on Lebowitz for not knowing better, for not falling back for a second and thinking to herself “Now I got critisized for the Jennifer Hudson Vogue spread last year for making her look like a lifeless whale, I got really shit on for the LeBron James-Gisele Bundchen Vogue cover for reinforcing stereotypes of black men being primitive apes…so maybe I should be easy with this little girl and do something that will keep my name out of the news.” Or maybe this was her plan all along.

But regardless of the intent, we as a society cannot forget that although Cyrus may have Julia Roberts’ money, she is still a child.

Now I respect Vanity Fair, but it doesn’t get a pass because it’s Vanity Fair, just like Lebowitz doesn’t get a pass because she is one of the best photographers of the 21st century. A foul up is a foul up and they need to stop hiding behind art’s sake and man up. This picture whether splashed on a MySpace page or on the cover of Time is equally problematic.

And I know that people are saying, “Where were the parents? They should have been there.” Who knows where they were, but if they weren’t there, shame on them for trusting a capitalist magazine to have their daughter’s best interest in mind. Now if they were there and they didn’t say anything, this could be a product of one of two things. Either they don’t give a damn like Lindsay Lohan’s mom aka White Oprah OR they got caught up in the moment listening to elitist folks telling these hillbillies, they don’t know fine art and that this is what is people really want to see. It’s this same mentality that got Andre Leon Talley to talk Jennifer Hudson into wearing that hideous gold lamet shrug-thing at the Oscars in 2007. You keep telling someone, “You’re great, you’re fabulous, give it to the camera. this is what’s up” and POOF! You have a child in tears, embarrassed parents, Disney with their panties in a twist and a major corporation i.e. Conde Nast making millions off of the fallout.

Yet this one incident speaks to a larger problem in this country: the sexualization of young women at way too early of an age. There are 10 year-olds wearing thongs and getting Brazilian waxes along with high schoolers who give better head than Karrine Steffans. We have music videos with naked women having money thrown on them, reality shows with spoiled brats who will do anything for attention, ads like House of Dereon For Girls pimping 3 year olds in f**k-me pumps, commercials like CW ‘s Gossip Girl showing kids riding each other, movies like Superbad that display a teen character begging some dork to put his “cock” in her, the list could go on and on.

Do we have any idea what we are doing to the psyches of young girls in this country? We are telling them that being overtly sexual is more important than being articulate, or being goofy or being smart or being REAL. We are encouraging girls to engage in sexual activities that they are not mentally or emotionally ready for and all we can offer them is abstinence-only education, so they have no idea how to protect themselves. Then we wonder why one in four teen girls has an STD. And parents are just as messed up as the media–stop being your kid’s homegirl and be her mamma.

We have fallen pop stars, knocked up teen idols and hairless vaginas plastered in every magazine. And when young girls finally have someone they can look up to, we ruin it by letting greed take over common sense and decency. Oh well, VF will get what it wanted: to sell more copies than Suri “Alien” Cruise’s debut and Jennifer Aniston “Boo-hoo Brad left me” issues combined. I hope it was all worth it.

Yesterday Ross Douthat of The Atlantic Monthly had a debate on the New York Times website about how he doesn’t quite like Michelle Obama’s anger and wonders if she’s entitled to it:

There’s something about Michelle Obama’s anger that rubs me the wrong way… It’s not like she doesn’t have the right to be angry on behalf of the people still living in poverty, blacks on the South Side of Chicago … It’s when she gives the impression that she is angry on behalf of her self. There is something that rubs me the wrong way, I guess.

First, I am upset, because this critique of her is not an isolated incident-other members of the press are having a field day in making her the angry black woman. I just want to know what about Michelle’s anger screams entitlement? He must be thinking about Hillary. Who in the hell is allowed to take things personally then, only the worse off? Well Native Americans it is your time to shine.

Anger is not a privilege, it is a right. Now having Starz, HBO and Showtime as part of your cable package, that is a privilege.

What really bugs me about his statements is that they are based on the notion that black people who have achieved the American Dream—thanks to affirmative action of course—can’t personally be upset about what is going on with people in their own racial community nor can they understand the plight of others.

If you are black, you know oppression point blank. It may not be the same exact thing that Erica who lives in Brownsville, Brooklyn experiences, but I am pretty sure that Michelle came face to face with some real nonsense at Princeton. Class doesn’t trump race, never has, never will. What you do to Erica is what you do to Michelle. Also, experiencing discrimination doesn’t stop because your husband is about to be the first black president. Oppresion, no matter how subtle or in your face, plays a DAILY role in the lives of all black folks.

Douthat, I’m going to let you in on a little secret that is called RACIAL SOLIDARITY. I know that white people are hip to the game of how black middle class speak badly about poor blacks—Chris Rock’s whole niggas versus black people. But do not get it twisted; we are one when it comes to injustice. We take it real personal like family. You hurt my mother, we are going to have some serious words.

I didn’t sit at home during Hurricane Katrina and say “Sucks for them po’ folks.” I got pissed. I don’t have to live in the South Bronx to be irate that the asthma rates are triple that of predominately white suburbs because of illegal dumping of toxic waste.

You should be able to have an Ivy League law degree, rock St. John’s suits, sport a Gidget flip and still be an activist without being looked at sideways.

It amazes me how people continue to label her as being unpatriotic. Why? Because she refuses to be coked up smile like McCain’s wife muttering how great it is live in this hellhole. Please, no one truly loves this country, unless you are the part of the 2 percent that owns everything.

How can you a love a nation that lets people with AIDS die while they wait on a list to receive life-saving medicines that cost nothing to make? How can you love a nation that allows for millions of people to be uninsured and have to rely on the ER for their main source of medical treatment? How can you love a nation that allowed for Full House to be on for a damn decade and cancelled My So-Called Life after 12 measly episodes? Patriotism is a farce.

If you ask me, anger is the best thing in the world. The greatest accomplishments that ever happened—the end of separate but equal, Roe vs. Wade, the right to vote for all people, etc.—came from anger. People who reached that breaking point and said, “Oh hell to the naw!”

We could all benefit from being more pissed off if you ask me.

I am not one to agree with Spike Lee–we all know he has issues with black women. What black woman’s role in any of this movies hasn’t been problematic? I’ll give you moment to think about it. (The little girl in Crooklyn doesn’t count, she’s a child AND Betty Shabaz from Malcolm X doesn’t count because she is not a fictional character) Couldn’t think of one, that’s what I thought.

Well in an interview with New York Magazine about his 1989 Oscar-nominated masterpiece Do The Right Thing, Lee spit some serious knowledge on slave mentality black folks and their undying love for the Bubba and Co. I am happy to say that I can finally co-sign on something that he has said:

The Clintons, man, they would lie on a stack of Bibles. Snipers? That’s not misspeaking; that’s some pure bullshit. I voted for Clinton twice, but that’s over with. These old black politicians say, ‘Ooh, Massuh Clinton was good to us, massuh hired a lot of us, massuh was good!’ Hoo! Charlie Rangel, David Dinkins—they have to understand this is a new day. People ain’t feelin’ that stuff. It’s like a tide, and the people who get in the way are just gonna get swept out into the ocean.

He does have a point. Don’t love Hillary because you think we owe her husband something, love her because you’re into ball busting bitches into her policies and her vision for this country. Her husband has done nothing but allow for men to continue to believe that getting head is not really cheating.

FYI Black people over the age of 60: It’s okay to publically disagree with white people or support Barack Obama. You will not get fired or lose your house to a mysterious fire. We are free now–sort of.

In the October issue of women’s mag Glamour , Ugly Betty’s America Ferrera graces the cover for the very first time. Although her face looks utterly flawless, that cropped and digitally enhanced body that WE ALL KNOW IS NOT HERS, looks a hot mess.

So, just as I wrote to Terrence Howard, it is now Glamour’s turn….

Dear Cynthia Leive (Editor-In-Chief) and Suzanne Donaldson (Photo Director),

I am writing to inquire why in the hell and who in the hell approved the October cover of Glamour? We all know that this is not America Ferrera’s beautiful and curvy body–that is Nicole Ritchie’s emaciated corpse with America’s fierce face. This is insulting for many reasons: one, because you assume that this is what your readers want to see and two, that we are so stupid that we were actually going to believe this nonsense. Try again. Look at those arms!

If a celebrity does not fit your backward ass standards, then DO NOT BOTHER PUTTING HER ON THE COVER IN THE FIRST PLACE IF YOU ARE JUST GOING TO EFF IT UP. What’s next, you will put Venus Williams on the cover and make her as light as Beyonce? I mean, Photoshop can really do anything.

Let me be clear: You are not doing us women of color or curvy women a favor by putting us in your publication. It’s not like Ugly Betty just came out–it has been on for a year and now after the Golden Globe and the SAG and the Emmy nomination, she gets to be on the cover. It is bad enough that we are barely represented, but PLEASE represent us right or not at all! (Pass this message on to your fellow Conde Nast EIC Anna Wintour because March 2007 Vogue’s cover and spread with Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson looked as if Ms. Lebowitz took the photos with her eyes closed.)

And you have the audacity to call it the 1st Annual Figure-Flattery Issue.

How do you think America feels about this? You don’t think that being brown, short, and weighing over 100 pounds has been a roadblock in her career? You don’t think that she realizes that roles that she should have gotten have gone to the same boring cookie cutter actresses that you seem to love to plaster on your pages. I find it very ironic, that America’s character Betty represents the beauty on the inside and sadly your cover perpetuates that inner beauty is just another word for “ugly.”

Glamour has really been messing up lately. Last month, you all had that little slip up with your racist editor who referred to twists and dreads as “political hairstyles” and claimed that they “had to go,” now this. Please get a grip on things over there at 4 Times Square, because I would hate to cancel my subscription, especially since I need to write it off on my taxes.

Much Love,

KT

On Saturday, during an interview for a documentary about HIV and black women, the director asked me “What would you like for black women to know about HIV?” I took a deep breath and said, ” Stop expecting a man to save your life. Protect yourself. Buy condoms and use them all of the time.”

Instead of hearing much-needed messages about self-empowerment, we are bombarded with tips on how to sniff out a down low brotha’—“Does he iron his clothes with a lot of starch? Does he cut his eyes to the left when he is telling lies? Is he really friendly with your male cousins? Well if he does girl, run for the hills, he is on the low!”

Why are we so gullible to believe this nonsense? Why do we listen to authors such as J.L. King (opportunist) and Terry McMillan (bitter silly woman) for advice on love, dating, and HIV? Why do we buy into the myth that the AIDS epidemic would be under control, if we only banished the sinister DL men to Pluto?

Because we need someone to blame, even if it doesn’t make any damn sense.

The wildly popular and highly profitable “down low” phenomenon has been everywhere—Oprah, Law and Order: SVU, The New York Times, black thug lit, R. Kelly’s hip hopera, black gossip blogs, you name it. But allow me to show you where it is conveniently absent—when referring to closeted white men.

In my newest published piece, “Cheat Sheet,” I discuss how former Governor Jim McGreevey and evangelical leader Rev. Ted Haggard were never labeled by the media as being on the “down low.” Never were their wives asked publicly if they had taken HIV tests once they discovered their husbands’ indiscretions.

I wrote:

“Society has perpetuated unhealthy perceptions that blacks are pathological,” says Chandra Ford, PhD, of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Adds Rod McCullom, African-American political and pop culture journalist: “Historically, black men and women have been portrayed in the media as promiscuous; it is easier for us to believe it [for fact].” The DL has become, in essence, the millennium’s version of the plantation bodice-ripper Mandingo and the stereotype of the brutal black buck, itching to bed a “pure” white woman.

A new report in the March 2007 issue of Annals of Epidemiology, “Black Sexuality, Social Construction and Research Targeting ‘The Down Low’” reviewed epidemiological studies from 1998 to 2004. Its conclusion: The DL phenomenon is not the principal cause of disproportionately high rates of HIV infection among African-American women. Nor, the report says, is being on the down low unique to the black community. Columbia’s Chandra Ford, the study’s leader, tells POZ, “By focusing on the DL, we are creating divisions within the community, which are very counterproductive in terms of HIV prevention.”

Until the real experts, David Malebranche, MD (Emory University) and Chandra Ford, PhD (Columbia University) tell me that this ridiculousness is the real deal, I am going to bank on using my fellow Trojans–not my Nancy Drew tendencies–to keep me STD free.