Speaking of Women's Rights: If I Wrote the News

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

If I Wrote the News

Given my obsessions about grammar, vocabulary, and stereotypes, it’s probably no surprise that I scrutinize media reports looking for violators of all types. Sadly, I could make it nearly a full-time occupation. From the Seattle Times repeatedly referring to John T. Williams, the First Nations woodcarver who was shot by a Seattle police officer as a “chronic inebriate” (and that matters why, exactly?) all the way back to the incessant criticism of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s clothes, hair and personality, and continuing today with the unending and unnecessary inclusion of comments about women’s attire:

"Alternatively, history may choose to focus on the words of Conyers himself, who suspected foul play when Rep. Loretta Sanchez (Calif.), the Democrats' point woman on the contempt matter, discovered that her microphone wasn't working. "We'll have to have that investigated to see if it's pure accident," Conyers proposed to Sanchez, who, resplendent in a black outfit with silver sparkles, shifted to her neighbor's microphone."

Representative Sanchez was resplendent. Representative Conyers was just there.

So I started thinking about that old saying, “turnabout is fair play.” And here goes:

Washington D.C. . . . Senate leaders of both major political parties held a press conference today to tout their new efforts to rein in corporate over-reaching. “We’re taking a stand for ordinary people,” said Sen. Mike McMonahan, a tall white man who owns three homes. “It’s a new day in Washington,” chimed in Sen. Jennifer Bartlett, millionaire from Arkansas.

Chicago, IL . . . Advocates for low-income housing took to the streets to protest planned cuts to the city’s budget, in one of the largest gatherings in recent years. Frank Roberts, who is not a member of any minority group, addressed the approximately 10,000 people massed in Lincoln Park. “We won’t stand for this,” Roberts shouted. “Our political leaders need to know that we stand together for those less fortunate than ourselves.” The reaction from City Hall was swift: “We understand the frustration,” said staffer Ben Hanson, who owns a home. “But these are hard times and we all have to share in them.”

Boise, ID . . . The Idaho Legislature today passed a bill that restricts the rights of everyone who is not a natural-born, white, straight male citizen. Despite protests from women, people of color, sexual minorities and Henry Kissinger, an immigrant from Germany, Governor Fred Sutton defended the bill and plans to sign it. Attired in an outdated pin-striped suit that was unflattering to his coloring, Governor Sutton announced his support for the bill backed by his all-male, all-white, all-straight, all natural-born citizen staff. Staff members sported suits both pin-striped and not, accented by red (for red state, not communism) and yellow ties.

Seattle, WA . . . Two telecommunications giants joined forces today, as Mega-Tel Corporation acquired U-Talk in a $42 billion deal. Mega-Tel CEO James Dash, who refuses to disclose her/his gender identity, and U-Talk CFO Dana Simpson, a taller-than-average woman, met with reporters at U-Talk’s dreary headquarters in Kirkland. “We see this as the next logical step in establishing a monopoly,” Simpson crowed. “Through this deal we will be able to confuse consumers and impose new fees while providing no more service than before. Consumer advocates were outraged, but not surprised. “It’s just more of the same,” said a frustrated Peter Galvin, a short man. “We’re getting used to it.”

What’s your story? And while you’re writing it, please pause to consider whether those “fun” and “descriptive” and “illuminating” adjectives and modifiers are truly necessary.

(All names and most of the stories are imaginary.)