Links, Anthropology Edition

Lots of cultural musings today, flavored with laughs:

When politics make me laugh: I try to avoid all things political, but if you have access to the Internet or cable TV these days, that appears to be impossible. However, this Huffington Post piece circa 2008 about Hilary Clinton’s likability, with a quote from my favorite pop-culture show that will rise again, is really, really great. In case no one remembers, this is not the first time Hil Dog has thrown her hat into the ring for presidency. I’m not endorsing her, but I did find this quote hilarious and could it probably relate to some candidates from either party (I’ve marked the essential quote in bold and italics)


“Gilmore Girls,” Season 2, first aired Tuesday May 21, 2002:
In this segment in question, high-strung, overbearing but highly intelligent Harvard-aspirant Paris Geller is running for student body president. Her two friends, Louise and Madeline, polled a cross-section of 150 of their fellow high school students to predict her chances.

Madeline: So we added the votes up… when asked which of the three candidates is the most qualified for the job of president, 90% said you.
Paris: Really!
Louise: And when asked who of the three candidates would be the most competent president, overwhelmingly the answer was once again you.
Paris: So that’s it! I’m in!
Madeline: Not quite.
Paris: How is that not quite? Most competent, most qualified. What else is there?
Louise: Well, we also polled likability.
Paris: And?
Madeline: And while people think you are smart —
Paris: And competent
Louise: And competent, they also find you, well, a tad —
Madeline: Scary.
Louise: Someone thought a Halloween mask of you would sell big.
Paris: Well, fine. They don’t like me. Big deal, right? I’m still most competent.
Louise: Yes, but when asked if likability would affect their voting choice, almost 100% said yes.
Paris: That’s crazy. People would rather vote for a moronic twink who they liked over someone who could actually do the job?
Louise: Sad, but true.
Madeline: Hope for a sex scandal?

(I tried to find a video of this, but no luck)
Also, I do remember some Hilary masks being very popular 8 years ago.

I’m not a feminist, but this makes me want to beSo about 2 weeks ago, I was at a friends house watching The Bachelor. If you’re not familiar, its a reality TV show that’s essentially a really painful mating ritual where one successful, often wealthy bachelor with impossible good looks and tailored suits chooses from a harem of impeccably groomed women to be his wife. And from the comfort of your living room, you get to watch a couple of dozen females throw themselves at a man they just met. This was my first viewing since college, and I forgot how biased towards men the show can be. For example, on the partner show The Bachelorette, which is essentially the same show but swap the genders (males vying for the affection of one female) the hopefuls are usually well educated and gainfully employed males with fancy jobs in great places. Except on The Bachelor, the hopeful females are usually just attractive, with average to low paying jobs, hoping for this man to save and validate them. If they have a career (think lawyer, doctor, etc) they usually don’t make it through to the end. You hear the line “will you give up your career for me and move/have children/alter your life/think for yourself?” and if they hesitate/refuse to cast off all career endeavors which I’m sure they spent loads of time and money on, off the island you go!* They may as well line the halls with self esteem counselors on the way out. In this most recent season, two very attractive blonde females, who just happen to be identical twins, have no career listed, instead have the word “Twin” where a job title would normally be. Seriously? I’m sure these girls have more to them than their DNA that enables their similar appearances. I’m certain parts of this show have to be scripted and it’s good for a shallow laugh, but there are a lot of people who watch this and seem to love it. I’m sure its not all bad, but would the ratings really go down that much if they starting showing more respect to women? Food for thought (which is funny, see, because this is supposed to be a food blog)

*my limited research on this topic comes from my polled audience, which consisted of me and two friends who regularly watch the show. Take it as you will.

Paging Eric BrockovichFlint, Michigan. You can read a story here via NPR that’s from September, about the lead-in-the-water crisis that affecting the city of Flint. That’s at least how long a major news source has been reporting this (maybe longer), but it seems the story has only gotten widespread national attention in the past few weeks, which is especially sad because this has been going on for over a year. When I worked as a nurse at a pediatricians office, we would screen for lead at checkups. Its a simple finger prick and we ship off the test and sometimes it would take weeks to get the results back (not sure if that was an us or them thing- this is a state run type of test). I couldn’t find the original broadcast, but on a late night drive a couple of weeks ago, NPR was interviewing one of Flint’s pediatricians, who raised the alarm for about the high lead levels, apparently her claims were ignored/scoffed at for quite some time. She reported that lead poisoning can cause your IQ to drop and is associated with aggressive behavior. This is especially troubling, because apparently Flint is mostly impoverished (a whopping 41% of its population) so that means children born into a low income household already have numerous disadvantages to overcome, now they have the tragedy of lead poisoning facing them. What kind of lives can we expect these children to have when their bodies and minds have been damaged, all because an administration was trying to save some money? You can also read here and here about how Flint Michigan is the most dangerous city in America. One of those articles is from 2013, so I’m sure things have only gotten worse because of the water crisis.  Flint’s pediatrician also noted that lead poisoning can be traced through three generations (affecting a pregnant mother, her child and grandchild) so that means this tragedy is not only affecting the citizens of Flint currently, but could affect them for at least 3 more generations. I’m also curious if this leaded water problem has been going on for years unreported, contributing to aggressive behavior, thereby increasing Flint’s astronomical crime rate? I could be reaching, but its an idea. Another reason this is so troubling to me is this article, about the aging water systems the US has nationwide, which is something my hometown of Jackson, MS struggles with DAILY.
You can go here for a nice list of articles about the Flint Water Crisis, if you want more, although it’s only updated through December.


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