Saturday, July 26, 2008

Summer Can't Last Too Long

Okay – I am not inclined to have the last post as the “most current” one at CoG, particularly since I don’t update like I used to update. The whole queer blogosphere needs to move forward and allow time to work its magic potion of forgetfulness.

In the meantime, I thought that since summer is over half over we could check in with the plans that I made for myself way back in May. How much has GayProf accomplished? Here are the goals that I wrote and how far I have come:

    * Complete the Never Ending Research Project of Doom. Yeah, this has been on my list consistently. This time, though, I really mean it.

    Progress is being made – Edits being accomplished. Will I make it in time? Ugh -- So much stress! We'll keep this one in the "active" file.

    * Ruthlessly exploit friends and colleagues by having them proofread drafts of the Never Ending Research Project of Doom.

    Sadly, two of my friends are now blind, one is institutionalized, and at least five others won’t return my calls or e-mails. And yet I am still finding typos. Ugh.

    * Invent a new cocktail and name it the Gravitas.

    I am thinking of making this into a blog contest. What do you think? Otherwise, I do have a cocktail idea in mind.

    * Attend an all-day meeting to discuss matters deemed critical for the direction of my academic department.

    Yes, I did this thing. It really was all day long. The good news: They served lunch. The bad news: The lunch did not include cyanide.

    * Single-handedly heal the wounds of the Democratic Party once they finally decide on a candidate. The key will be baking enough delicious Bundt cake for everybody.

    You know the effects of that delicious Bundt cake would take effect sooner if Obama would stop swinging to the right.

    * Lose eight pounds. I am at that awkward stage where my regular clothes are a tad tight, but my fat clothes are still too large.

    Hey, I actually accomplished one of these goals! Eight pounds and more have been shed thanks to my secret diet plan: Strep Throat.

    * Take my Honda Civic for much needed service. It’s odd that at the point that I finally paid it off, I decided to see if I could destroy it by not bothering to get its oil changed.

    My Civic is fully serviced with a top lube job. Huh – It’s funny how the metaphor for sexual activities still sounds sexual even when it's not a metaphor.

    * Quash my environmentally dubious desire to purchase the insanely hot Dodge Challenger. I am not ashamed to say that I would probably have sex with that car. I would do it on camera too as long as I could keep the car afterwards.

    Well, gas reaching $4.26 in MFT probably did kill some of the desire. Still, it is a hot car. Nobody from Chrysler has yet to approach me about that video deal.

    * Vigorously shake working-class whites until they realize that the Republican Party is their worst enemy.

    See my comment about the Bundt cake.

    * Spend ample time in the sun to obtain a much needed tan and to stave off rickets.

    I got a tan – Then it faded. Then I got a new tan, then I got strep throat. Now I don’t have the leisure time to restore the tan once again. So, I think that I have staved off rickets, but have a slight problem with skin cancer. And I still don't have a rosy glow.

    * Travel to New Mexico for research purposes.

    Ugh – When will I have time for this? This might be pushed into the fall. And it would so help my tan, too!

    * Enjoy refreshing TaB cola.

    It’s TaB-ilicious. Ow, my kidneys!

    * Enjoy even more refreshing tequila.

    If you are thinking about a potential Gravitas cocktail recipe, let me offer some advice: TaB and tequila do not mix. Actually, I think that combination produces a toxic vapor.

    * Travel to Philadelphia and New Jersey for an event on my mother’s side of my family.

    I did this as well. Good times were had by all. I also learned that the Midwest is not the only part of this empire nation that is crumbling and falling apart. I am amazed that a bridge didn’t land on our car as we were driving.

    * Contemplate just how much worse traveling by air will become if we allow Delta and Northwest Airlines to merge. Do we even remember that this nation once had anti-trust laws?

    I wrote this before they started charging for baggage. The airlines are screwing us. If they raised their fairs a little bit, instead of charging for baggage, it would be a temporary raise in price. Once they go down the road of charging for such “frills” as baggage, however, it will never be revoked. Let’s start trimming the salaries of those CEO's. They are the ones who drove their companies into bankruptcy, why are they still making so much money?

    * Solve the mystery at Lilac Inn.

    The maid did it. Now I am off to Red Gate Farm.

    * Use my federal tax stimulus check to buy a single week’s worth of gasoline.

    Sometimes I forget that I can be pretty funny on this blog. That check couldn’t possibly stretch far enough to buy an entire week’s worth of gasoline.

    * Update CoG more often (Unlikely if I want to accomplish the first thing on this list).

    Um – Pass. Next item...

    * Remind the nation that allowing John McCain to assume the presidency would be to install somebody who has no moral conscious; enjoys war as a pastime; voted against the federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.; has promised to continue the disastrous economic policies of the Bush presidency; and smells like Bengay.

    Alas, I would still take a right-wing Obama over a right-wing (and incompetent) John McCain.

    Hey, nation, John McCain literally doesn’t know how to turn on a computer. This is no joke. Use a mouse? Forget about it. Do you really think that he is touch with the lives of working Americans? Or this economy? Wake up and smell the old person.

    * Watch films that center on an alcoholic industrialist with a metal suit; a cowled misanthrope with abandonment issues; and an aged archeologist who probably also smells like Bengay at this point.

    I saw one of the three films listed here.

    * Wonder aloud about why Gwyneth Paltrow has a screen career. Conclude that it has to do with the U.S.’s incredibly low standards for acting.

    Unfortunately, the one film of the three that I saw involved Gwyneth Paltrow.

    * Change my currency into something less likely to lose its value than the U.S. dollar – Like the Colombian peso.

    Well, I am going to need to do this before going to New York. I think that they only accept Euros there now.

    * Purchase a new bed and/or couch – Depending on whether I imagine that I will have more house guests or overnight guests.

    I decided I should look for a couch that turns into a bed.

    * Laugh at the fact that the media/government is trying to spin the loss of jobs in the economy as a sign of growth. Hey, we didn’t shed as many jobs as we expected, so things are looking up. That’s a great strategy that I am going to start using with my credit card companies. Hey, my check wasn’t nearly as late as I thought that it would be, so, really, we are ahead.

    I would laugh, if only I wasn’t living in a state with crushing unemployment. You might have heard of my state's new license-plate motto: The Land that Democrats Forgot.

    * Completely redesign the syllabus for one of my fall classes (Unlikely if I want to accomplish the first thing on this list).

    Looking over my evaluations for my classes from last term, I noticed that students complained about the reading load. Huh – Maybe I shouldn’t have increased the number of books that I am assigning in the Fall.

    * Wrestle control of the Federal Reserve Board away from the incompetent and dangerous Ben S. Bernanke and the other conservative white men who currently staff it (Yep, all conservative white men on the Fed – Nobody else seems to have noticed that).

    Hey, nation, did you know that the Federal Reserve Board is supposed to have seven (7) members? Did you also know that the current Board only has five (5) members (one of whom's term has expired)? In the midst of an economic crisis, do we really think this is a good idea to be short staffed? I mean, couldn't we call a temp agency or something?

    * Spend some quality time playing with my Mego Wonder Woman doll.

    I like her blue wrap-around dress the best.

    * Convince my friends that spending quality time playing with my Mego Wonder Woman doll is not evidence of the long anticipated mental breakdown.

    I could be more convincing if I hadn’t made that statement about her blue dress -- or if I wasn't in the middle of a long anticipated mental breakdown.

    * Celebrate the genius of Dolly Parton.

    Why – WHY? – Why didn’t I go with my friends and see her when she was in Decaying Midwestern Urban Center? Damn you, NERPoD. Damn you!

    * Be grateful to Guadalupe that I don’t have to move this year (unlike the previous three years).

    I am grateful. Man, I haven’t finished unpacking from the last move.

    * Start a movement to finally dump the 1789 Constitution and replace it with a parliamentary form of government for the U.S.

    Maybe I’ll stick with reforming the Federal Reserve for the time being.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Blogger in Question

The gay blogosphere is a buzz with the recent revelation that (yet another) blog turned out to be an elaborate fraud. Because of these recent events, I feel it is important to offer up some honesty about my own blog. Knowing the pain and destruction that has come about from this other revelation, I feel it is only right that I am finally honest.

Here is the truth: I don’t actually look like Wonder Woman in real life. There – I said it. I hope that the healing can begin for all of us. What a weight off my back!


Such is the problem with the internets. They are more fantasy than reality. In the end, I was suckered into the fantasy of the phony blogger more than most.

I don’t want to rehash all of the details, but it basically boiled down to an individual creating an elaborate blog persona that s/he used for both a blog and private correspondence. We all marveled at how “somebody so young” and “so inexperienced” could create such dramatic and captivating prose. It turns out that “somebody so young” couldn’t. Instead, s/he cobbled together prose from other bloggers, newspaper columns, and short-stories on the internet, claiming them as hir own. This wasn't plagiarism in the sense of borrowing a clever turn of phrase or taking a writing shortcut. This blogger claimed other people’s experiences and memories as hir lived reality.

Blog readers became invested in hir stories and the appealing autobiography s/he created. Indeed, s/he walked away with some small departing gifts thanks to the generosity of hir readers.

Many people on the blogosphere are angry, most are sad, and everybody is very, very confused. The constant refrain is a desire to know the “truth.” Who is the “real” person behind the fictional one? There is evidence that this is not the first time s/he created a fake blog persona.

Conveniently, an explanation has been offered that involves, among other things, a type of dissociative identity disorder. There is also the statement that there is “one blogger out there” who can confirm the details of this new story. Perhaps this new story is the “truth,” maybe (most likely) it is not. I am not entirely sure it matters or solves the unanswered questions. The “one blogger who knows the truth” sounds like another internet phantom to me, but such is the way it goes.

Some people, though, have written me asking if I am that “one blogger” who can confirm the “reality” of the situation. They ask this question because I did have an extended e-mail correspondence with the blogger in question. Indeed, GayProf was more duped than most. With substantial embarrassment, I admit that not only did I care a lot about the nonexistent blogger, but I even developed an internet crush on that persona. Pathetic? Yes, a bit. I had no insight into the depth of deception at play. (Update: Based on comments on other blogs, it also seems that I was not alone on this).

Since the revelation has come out, I have read the comments and responses. One of the most telling pointed out that there was a certain will-to-believe among bloggers. No matter how fabulous, internet people are never “real.” Even when we do the best to present ourselves on-line, there is always a certain act of persona creation. We choose to accept these internet personas as truth because they fill some type of gap in our daily lives.

Certainly, this was the case for me. In retrospect, if I piece the story together, I notice that I was most drawn to the fabled person when I was also feeling the most lonely in my real life. I created a person in my mind as fictional as the one that the blogger created online. It was easy to fill in the missing bits of the story or to skip over the obvious inconsistencies (Of course, I have also done this same thing in real life. I am surprisingly willing to overlook untruths).

Yep, I was deceived, but I also wanted to believe at the time. I used some mighty poor judgment to be sure. In the end, though, a fake internet persona is hardly novel. If anything, the internet is supposed to be a place where we can experiment with such fantasies. I am sad that the blogger appropriated other people’s stories to live out that fantasy. That, to my mind, is the really dreadful part.

About a year ago, I started to wise up a tiny bit when things about the blogger just weren’t adding up anymore. Plans to meet in real life fell apart on two occasions, certain elements of the story were inconsistent, and I became convinced that the person on the other side of the e-mail was dishonest (though I still never imagined that the entire persona was fiction – It was that good). I stopped reading the blog or corresponding, but kept a link to the blog on my own blog because I figured the person involved was basically good, just really immature and inexperienced. That is where my (limited) knowledge ends.

Apparently the blogger continued to develop elaborate stories and events, most of which I don’t know. The blog made it again on my radar when it was supposedly the subject of an internet attack (It later turned out that the plagiarism had simply been exposed). I never knew anything about the second blog until recently.

So, where does that leave me/us? Alas, hopefully it leaves me/us a little wiser. We all like to imagine that we either have too much “street smarts” or too much “book smarts” to be fooled by such a scheme. In reality, people who pull off such elaborate masquerades have much more experience creating them than we have in detecting their deceptions. And, let's be honest, it doesn't even take all that much cleverness to pull off such a masquerade on a blog.

It reminds me of another such event in my life when I was in college. When I worked as the switchboard operator for a hospital (No, the switchboard didn't look anything like the one in the picture below. It was really just a giant phone), a new employee arrived in the accounting department. Let’s call him “Tim.”

Gosh, everybody just loved Tim. He had time and a joke for any one: secretaries, administrators, nurses, doctors, patients. His supervisors constantly praised Tim’s work and I think (though I could be wrong about this detail) that he even dated some of the women who worked there. Tim also had a sob story about why he was so grateful for his job at the hospital. You see, he had been through a messy divorce in some other state. His wife, that cruel harpy, was keeping him from seeing his own children! His job at this hospital meant so much because he was just putting his life back together. Everybody wanted to help Tim. We gave him gas money or bought him lunch. He was, after all, a great guy.

One morning the secretary in the accounting office opened the doors to find that the place had been ransacked and all of the cash that the hospital kept on-hand had been stolen. At first, everybody believed it was a simple breaking-and-entering. Well, we believed that until Tim didn’t show up to work that day or ever again. Tim, it turns out, had skipped town.

Many weeks later, the police revealed that “Tim” had stolen his real-life brother’s identity. Tim had worked in many offices across the southwest. He followed a common pattern of sticking around for a month or two, then robbed them blind. Nobody, apparently, ever imagined that Tim would do such a thing.

In terms of the blogger, I am not angry at all. In many ways, the recent events are simply a coda to disappointments that I discovered some time ago. The blog and e-mail correspondence that I had, though obviously fake in retrospect, served a purpose for me at the time.

None of the “truth” is good, of course. I hope, though, that s/he finds what ever it is that s/he wants. It would be nice, too, if s/he wouldn’t drag people into a nest of fabrications in that process. Hopefully hir motives in this case were not malicious.

In the meantime, don’t take any wooden nickels, people.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Call Her Back

For the past several days I have been in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for a family reunion. This involved my mother’s side of the family, the Irish-American side. My relationship with this family always felt more distant because they seemed so far away. They probably seemed that way because they were far away.

As a contrast, my father’s family were almost entirely in New Mexico when I was growing up. We saw them almost weekly, if not daily. None of my mother’s family, though, were in New Mexico. They were divided between California and the Northeast. At most, we saw them annually and, among other reasons, they always seemed less familiar. Perhaps to remedy this situation, they have worked to build periodic reunions in particular locations now that we are all adults. This time around, it was a return to the communities where that side of the family lived in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

It has been some time since I have traveled. Alas, my fragile economic circumstances (an on-going result from my breakup of two years ago -- sigh) has kept me mostly grounded with the exception of the occasional work travel and holidays in New Mexico.

Maybe because it had been some time since I traveled, but certain things about this nation struck me. First, and most obviously, this is an obscenely obese nation. On my flights, the number of people who were overweight by twenty or thirty pounds easily outnumbered the people who were a healthy weight. I used to only notice this when I flew from Texas. Now, however, it is the case universally (including children). No wonder the airlines are paying so much for fuel. Lugging around our extra poundage has to be costly. Each passenger is now 1.5 of a passenger from twenty years ago.

The other main insight involved cell-phone culture. This technology has seemingly loosened the divisions between public and private space. As a I waited in an unending airline customer-service line (I use the term “service” with irony), the man behind me in the queue became increasingly agitated during a telephone conversation with his wife. Among other things, he accused her of infidelity, grand-theft auto, alcoholism, abandonment, and general dishonesty.

I felt sympathy for the man as things were clearly going badly for him. All the same, the ubiquitousness of cell phones has meant that these types of conversations are no longer restricted to the privacy of office, homes, or even phonebooths. It made me wonder at what point we decided, as a society, that such tings were best discussed while in the middle of a crowded airport? I appreciate the need to multi-task, but do you really want to initiate a divorce at the same time that you are calculating the mileage on your frequent-flyer account? I wondered if he was going to carry on this conversation straight into the jetway.

In another instance, I went into a men's room at a restaurant where a man in his twenties was talking with great animation. "Why?" he pleaded into his cell phone, "Why did you tell my brother that I got drunk and slept with that girl? I am at dinner with him now and he asked me about it. . ." As I emptied my bladder, I learned much more about his familial and romantic relationships than I really needed to know. Call me old fashioned, but I think that men's rooms should only involve two purposes: peeing and creepy, closeted Senators cruising undercover cops. Even then, the latter should only be around to expose the hypocrisy of the Republican party. It's not the place to debate your past judgment or to consider entering AA. Do we imagine that cell-phones generate a cone-of-silence as soon as we dial?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Obama's Fiesta Platter

HistoriAnn recently had a snarky critique of Barack Obama’s not-so-sudden swing to the political right. Maybe it was more snark than even I dare give out, but she had a point. Given that I never really imagined Obama as the “progressive candidate” that people claimed he was, this move does not surprise me (I was not, as I am sure you all remember, a Clinton supporter either. I would likely be as displeased with her had she been victorious – Remember: gravitas).

Certainly, though, I have been less than impressed by Obama’s ill-advised attempts to attract white conservatives to his cause. Moreover, I was literally made nauseous when Obama announced plans to continue the “faith-based” shit initiated by George W. Bush. Why? WHY would he support the faith-based initiatives when even Republicans didn’t really care for them? Actually, given that George W. Bush is the most hated president that we have ever had, why would any candidate endorse anything that he has done? If I were running for president, I wouldn't even admit to wearing the same brand of shoes as George Bush. Whatever the case, collapsing the distinctions between religion and government makes both worse.

As a gay man who has seen the religious right use their faith as an excuse to eliminate my basic civil rights, I am particularly horrified to see any politician wanting to give religion a bigger role in government (plus tax money). It made Obama look like he was wants to get into bed with the bigots. Yuck! And if he knew anything about their religious beliefs, Obama would know that they are strongly opposed to being in bed with him.

While I still intend to vote for Obama, support for such measures is making it difficult for me to do so. After that faith-based nonsense, it is only my fear of John McSame that keeps me in the Obama camp (for the time being). McSame is a bitter old man trying to buy power with his wife's beer money. The nation won't survive another four years of that horror. Push me a bit further, though, and I might not be able to stomach Obama's right wing tendencies either.

If I feel this way – Somebody who will support the Democrats for pragmatic reasons despite being much more on the left than they – I imagine that he is in danger of alienating a great number of the voters who would be most likely to bring him to the White House.

Pandering to those who would rather die than see him take power is a one-way road to doom. Talking to people who want him to succeed is a better choice.

Obama would be well served to remember that conservative white men are the minority in this nation. A real winning strategy for the Democrats (and I often wonder if they actually want to win elections) would involve getting out the majority of voters in this nation. Yep, the majority of voters are the combined strength of left-leaning racial minorities, women of all backgrounds, and the racially-diverse GLBTQ community. Do all of these groups vote 100 percent Democrat? Obviously, no. But majorities in all of those populations do -- which, when we combine them, means a majority of the nation does. If we all voted (or were allowed to vote honestly (which is a topic for another post)), we would easily defeat the right wing over and over again. Mysteriously, appealing to these groups, the core of the Democratic Party and the nation, seems to be Obama’s biggest failure right now.

This problem didn’t appear out of nowhere. Obama showed that he had serious problems during his never-ending primary with Hillary Clinton. He never could get the gays on his side, for instance, despite the fact that his and Clinton’s position on “queer issues” were virtually indistinguishable (and equally offensive). Even more telling (and even more foreboding) was his failure to attract Latino/a voters.

The media, of course, spent considerable time discussing the “Latino Community’s” support for Clinton. Yet, despite the many hours of wasted video tape that went into the issue, they never offered any significant reasons about why Latino/as preferred Clinton. That would have involved talking to actual Latino/as -- and the major networks really prefer not to do that.

Part of the answer, of course, is that there is no such thing as a monolithic “Latino Community” or consistent bloc of “Latino voters.” Cuban Americans, Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and the various other groups that fall under the racial umbrella of “Latino” have distinct histories and interests that result in different voting patterns. Cuban Americans have more often voted Republican, for instance, than other Latino groups (despite the fact that Republican victories have cut or eliminated things that are critically important to Cuban Americans like affirmative action or bilingual education (poor whites don't have a monopoly on voting against their own best interests)).

Any attempt to attract Latino/a voters requires a recognition that they have a diverse set of concerns. Puerto Ricans and Mexican-Americans in New Mexico, whose concerns center on a century-plus of U.S. imperialism in their homelands, might or might not connect their concerns with second-generation Mexican Americans or Colombian American voters. Economic class, likewise, can be as divisive within the “Latino Community” as in any other segment of the population.

So what is the key for a political victory among “Latino/as”? Hell if I know. If I did, I would rule this nation with an iron fist. Alas, though, I can only comment on how pitifully Obama has been in his efforts to this point.

I am surprised that Obama has found it so difficult to understand the complexity and diversity of Latino/as in this nation. His own personal history reveals a greater diversity within the “African American” community, another group that is often imagined to be flat and monolithic. Why has he been unable to transfer his personal experience and identity to his political message to minority groups?

Instead, Obama depends on the most broad statements possible. Recently I visited Obama’s campaign web page to see how he tailored his message for Latino/a voters. It turns out, he really can’t be bothered to do so. There is a paltry Spanish-language section that was seemingly last updated weeks ago (!). It offers a fraction of the information that is offered on the Anglophone site.

In addition to the pitiful Spanish-language section, there is also a separate English-language “Latino” section comparable to his sections for “women” and “environmentalists” (because politicians still prefer the notion of separate and easily distinguished marketing niches). For Latinos, his staff apparently could only come up with half-a-page of text to explain why Latino/as should support Obama’s campaign. Compare that half-of-a-page with the 12 pages of text devoted to "Americans Abroad" or the 7 pages of text under the "Women" section.

Much of that measly text aimed at Latinos, moreover, is entirely boiler-plate. If you deleted the word "Latino," you would have no idea that it is supposed to be addressed to a specific group.

In his “[Latino] Education” paragraph, Obama does not endorse bilingual education, address Latino/a dropout rates, discuss access to higher education, or the need for diversity in the curriculum. Instead, he promises a vague English-only policy as he will “hold schools accountable for teaching English-language learners.” English-language learners? Does he mean like George W. Bush?

Such calculated prose seems designed to cater to skittish white voters who fear a multilingual nation rather than actually providing real bilingual education (which, btw, would help white students as much as Latino/a students compete in the global market (if that is our goal)). He doesn't even come close to addressing Latino/as' real frustrations with their place in the U.S.-education system (the Latino dropout rate hovers around 20 percent -- Meaning that one-fifth of Latinos in the U.S. education system will not graduate from high school(a dropout rate three times higher than whites)).

Obama also touts his Health Care plan and his Iraq policy in the Latino section, but offers nothing specific about why Latinos would see those issues as important. In terms of Iraq, he might have mentioned a 2003 Pew Hispanic Center study that indicated that Latinos serving in the U.S. military are over-represented in the categories that get the most dangerous assignments (infantry, gun crews) -- and make up over 17.5 percent of the front lines despite being only 9.5 percent of the enlisted forces. Or he could have even noted a study that showed that nearly half of all Latino voters have somebody close currently serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

As for health care? “You Latino people get sick, right?," the site might as well say, "I mean, we aren’t certain about that as the market research hasn’t come back. But we are pretty sure that you get sick. If you elect Obama you will be marginally less likely to be completely devoid of health insurance.”

Finally, Obama offers vague wording about immigration that promises to fix “our broken immigration system” and “enforce our laws" and "reaffirms our heritage as a nation of immigrants.” The rabidly xenophobic Lou Dobbs could just as easily support that empty statement as Latino/a voters. Hell, Lou Dobbs could have written that statement.

Here is a hint to the Obama campaign people: When the words “fix” “immigrant” and “problem” appear in close proximity to each other, Latino/as are almost always left with the assumption that this is going to involve a program of racial profiling and police harassment regardless of citizenship status. Why? Because that has been the history of such rhetoric in this nation for the past 160 years. It doesn’t help matters that Obama signed onto the same immigration bill as John McSame.

Now, I am not na├»ve. I understand that modern politics is about building as vague a message as possible to attract the greatest number of voters. In the case of Latino/as, though, I get the impression that Obama isn’t even trying. This is supremely foolish.

Latino voters could potentially swing a number of states, including places like Michigan and Ohio (The Mexican/Mexican American section of Detroit, for instance, is one of the few places in that urban wasteland that has experienced economic growth). Instead, Obama seems content to either ignore Latino/as entirely or to depend on crude stereotypes and assumptions.

Let’s take a look, for example, at the campaign ad that he ran during the Texas campaign:

Really? Mariachi singers? Really? For real, that is all that Obama came up with for tejano voters? Could he have aimed for a bigger stereotype? Was Speedy Gonzales unavailable that day? Did the Frito Bandito declare in favor of Clinton?

Who on the Obama campaign decided to get the costumed mariachi singers? Alas, it wouldn’t totally surprise me if some Latino in his campaign came up with this idea, but they should be fired for doing so.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually like mariachi music a great deal. It is just one of many musical genres unique to the Mexican-American community. Trotting out costumed mariachi singers, however, raise red flags when they are deployed by somebody who obviously has no connection with Mexicans/Mexican Americans. Mariachi singers suggest that Obama thinks very little about Latino/as beyond stereotypes. Tell me, how much different was that Obama ad verses a recent Taco-Bell campaign?

Was Obama really surprised that Mexican Americans rejected such ploys? Sorry, Barack, we've been served those same old beans and cheese since ¡Viva Kennedy! in 1960. We expect more.

If Obama really is the “savior” candidate that his self-created hype promises, I want to see a new vision of the United States from him. A Democrat who tries to sound like a Republican is neither progressive nor likely to enter the White House. A Democrat who sounds like he spent more than two seconds thinking about the diversity of this nation could make me feel a lot better about having to vote for him.