May 04, 2005

When is politics not politics?

When it's cultural criticism. I've gotten kind of bored of the election cycle coverage and legislative sparring over at kos and eschaton. Why? Because that's not where the politics I'm interested in happens.

If CNN basically covers this story all Saturday, it's news. It's not a debate. It is news, and malaria isn't. Instead of wishing it wasn't news, we need to subvert it. We need to discuss it in wider terms, class, race, sex. We need to bring depth to the debate. I mean this story gets weirder by the day. But if you don't engage it, bring different perspectives to it, the media gets away clean again. When people say 'you don't cover this story' people think 'liberal whiner'. If they want to talk about runaway brides, let's talk about runaway brides, but intelligently, questioning the sex roles of men and women and the economic cost and pressure in a large wedding. There is fertile ground for smart people, but they have to seize the target and change the debate.

There's a second wave feminist slogan, 'the personal is political'. Winning elections and negotiating partial victories is important, but it can start to feel very disconnected from the daily lives of most people. The point of the feminist slogan is that our daily lives aren't disconnected from the political realities of our society, and looking at the one can lead us to question the other. I don't care about Michael Jackson or the woman who skipped out on her ridiculously expensive wedding. But talking about those gives us a way to talk about more important stuff, race and gender and sex and class. That's why I find Pandagon so much more interesting than Kos, and Amanda more interesting than Jesse.

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