3. The New Lead Singer of the Band Journey
I intended to call this one “World Systems Cinderella,” and in it I would have recounted the story of how Arnel Pineda, onetime street performer in the Philippines, was chosen to be the new lead singer for the rock band Journey. He was discovered, they say, on Youtube, performing with his ’80s cover band and rocking out like nobody’s business. Does this story represent a triumphant democratization of fame? The truly talented will rise to the top and be plucked from obscurity and swept to their global destiny? I really don’t know! Some friends and I traveled to see the band on their recent tour, and it really was a great show. It was different from any amphitheater rock show I have ever been to: for example, middle-aged Filipino women were disproportionately represented in the audience – hooting and hollering for Arnel, carrying posters, dancing with glee, and singing along with every word. It was a super-fun evening and Arnel was brilliant. His voice was truly soaring, very Steve Perry, but with its own crystal-clear tone. During the ballads, his face contorted in soulful ecstasy; during the anthems, he was exuberant and powerfully leaped around the stage. He was engaging and charming – a golden, glowing presence in front of the other members of the band – who appeared to be a posse of waxy, static, (LATE) middle-aged white dudes twice his size. They looked pleased and proud, and dare I say, a little bemused. (Or was I projecting?) Arnel’s fans were fervent. An audience member was heard agreeing with her friend that Arnel was so cute, she “just wanted to tuck him into [her] eco-bag” and take him home with her (this is San Francisco, after all, we fantasize about bringing home our eye-candy in appropriate packaging). In an instance of cultural confusion, the phrase, “We love lumpia!”** flashed across the big screen during the break (audience members can text their comments to see them on the giant display). Asked a Euro-American friend, “Who’s lumpia?” Giggle, giggle. Oh, globalization! Oh, technology! On your benign days you do create some humorous juxtapositions…
**Lumpia are a delicious Filipino food that resemble an eggroll.
2. Same – Sex Marriage Rights and California’s Proposition 8
This summer I actually wrote a blog entry about marriage. Thanks to the Supreme Court of California, I had just had the pleasure of performing a legal marriage for two wonderful women friends. It inspired me to want to go public with my own blueprint for a better system, one in which there is no such thing as civil marriage. We just let it be a completely religious/spiritual union, and instead allow all adult Americans to chose one person to be a legal partner. These legal partners would have financial, insurance, medical rights together, but could be any relationship – your grandmother, your brother, your adult child, your college roommate, or your sweetie. You’d file papers and have a variety of legal rights vis-a-vis each other, rights that have traditionally been reserved for husband and wife. We should all get to have a life partner, regardless of whether we feel like having sex with him/her. Now don’t jump down my throat – I haven’t ironed out all of the details, and in the end, that’s why I never posted the blog I was working on. I just think that with paternity (and maternity, if necessary) being determined through scientific means, legally responsible parenting would be pretty much the same without civil marriage, as would divorce settlements – palimony, etc. have made the marriage papers irrelevant. Declare your commitment to God, or whomever you please, leave the state out of it. Until that day, marriage is a critical right, however. Tomorrow, Californians will go to the polls and among the many propositions they will vote on is Proposition 8, designed to overturn the same-sex marriage rights upheld as constitutional by the state supreme court. I will vote no and then come home and bite my fingernails down to the nub as I watch the election returns. Please, oh please, let all of those hours and sections of Anthro 1 taught all over the state pay off!! If Proposition 8 is defeated, I will give contemporary anthropology some of the credit, and if it passes and same-sex marriage rights are revoked, I will vow to redouble my efforts to teach for the appreciation of human difference. There have been some powerful ads on both sides of the Prop. 8 debate, and I would tell you about them – but remember, the gimmick for this list is that it is the things that I have not been blogging about…
1. Any and All Things Sarah Palin
Talk about a made for blogging babe. On the one hand, commentary on her political presence could have been a full-time job, and then some. On the other hand, Tina Fey so nailed her that most of the rest of us felt safe in taking the last few months off. Honest to god, it was like Tina stepped up to the plate and called out to the rest of us, “Don’t worry, I’ve got this one,” and hit it out of the park. I have chosen to address only one of the many things I have not been blogging about when it comes to Ms Palin – the inane idea that women don’t like her because she does not toe the feminist line – that is, *cough*, that somehow she is a maverick feminist, *double cough*. Such a maverick, a reverse double maverick a-la McCain on SNL, that she is just plain not a feminist, you might say. OR you might even say that nobody cares whether she calls herself a feminist or not, or whether other feminists call her a feminist or not…because I simply do not share MANY of her opinions and values. Good lord, people, male/female, black/white, short/tall, don’t like her because she is a completely unqualified vice presidential candidate. She has dubious ideas about dinosaurs, sex-education, funding for sexual assault victims, and foreign policy, to say the least. Apparently there were some folks in the Republican party that thought that the fact that we both have wombs and know how to use them would create an instant bond. I do like her hair. I think she has worn some very nice suits. Her glasses are cute, and they really suit her face. I’d vote for her to get her own reality show – Alaska is a very popular venue for such things, there is plenty of family drama to capture, and interesting careers. Maybe one of the younger Palins can sing?
And just like that I would have so much more to not blog about.