“Persist,” modeled after Wall Street’s “Fearless Girl,” atop party HQ in Sacramento
Last year, public opinion was split over a symbol of feminism that turned out to be a symbol of corporate power. Of course I am referring to Hillary Clinton. But the Democratic candidate for president found a robust analog in Fearless Girl, a statue of a five year-old defying Wall Street’s iconic charging bull. That statue was nice, right? It encouraged young women to be strong, and perhaps it inspired adult women working in the financial district to carry a little of that defiance into their traditionally male-dominated workplaces. It seemed like art was finally improving people’s lives, but then we found out that it was a marketing stunt by State Street Global Advisors. Here’s State Street Executive VP Lynn Blake:
“We placed the Fearless Girl there to be a partner to the bull, to represent the power of women. We certainly never expected her to be a challenge…It was not really about the social or political issue, it was absolutely about the investment issue and the benefits of having women in the corporate world.”
Ah yes—the power of women not to challenge the corporate world, but to partner with it. Along with their expressed opinion that “the image of the girl would be more relatable than one of an adult woman,” comments like these suggest that State Street’s commitment to feminism might be problematic. Even if you regard Fearless Girl as a net good, its complications leave a bad taste in the mouth. But one mouth remains as ready to partner with the bull as ever: the California Democratic Party’s. On Friday, CADEM unveiled its own variation of Fearless Girl called She Persisted, which now stands atop its San Francisco headquarters.
Sen. Jon Tester before the tragic events of Operation Mayhem
Back in 2010, Montana’s Senator Jon Tester voted in favor of the Dodd-Frank Act and its authorization of the federal government to create a fiduciary rule. The fiduciary rule is dry, but it’s important. Generally understand as a response to financial advisors’ tendency, before the 2008 crisis, to push clients toward investments that paid high commissions rather than ones that suited their needs, the fiduciary rule would require advisors to put their clients’ financial success ahead of their own.
That makes sense, especially after you’ve watched subprime mortgage derivatives wreck the world economy. Lawyers are required to prioritize their clients’ interests, and so are clinicians. Maybe that’s why the fiduciary rule is overwhelmingly popular—except, of course, with the financial services industry. It has also recently become unpopular with Sen. Tester, who joined Republicans in attempting to block implementation of the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule last month.
In unrelated news, the financial industry has donated $2.3 million to Sen. Tester this year, bringing his career receipts from that sector to $3 million. Maybe he just wanted to give us all an object lesson in how conflicts fiduciary of interest work. Either he has reaped monetary benefits at the expense of the Montanans whose civic investment he manages, or he knows a really good reason why the fiduciary rule is bad that he should explain to us right away. You can read all about it in this week’s column for the Missoula Independent. I’m going to make scrambled eggs and oatmeal for lunch, because I’m sick, and I demand pastes.
A tractor pulls a pickup truck out of the mud.
Should children be exposed to the sounds of sodomy? That’s the (presumably rhetorical) question that an Irish anti-gay group asks in this pamphlet urging voters to oppose adoption for homosexual couples. Won’t somebody please think of the children while he’s railing hot twinks? And sure, people have a right to do things that we find unpleasant, but we shouldn’t have to confront any evidence of it. Today is Friday, and one man’s hot action is another’s clarion call. Won’t you try something a little different with me?
MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan, telling people what's what
MSNBC political and financial commentator Dylan Ratigan went all me-after-four-drinks on Representative Kevin Brady (R–TX) Monday, delivering a long rant while the latter clung to GOP talking points and smiled like a man invited over for a big slice of crap cobbler. Props to Pete for the link. Let me first say that I do not usually have truck with MSNBC, for reasons exemplified in Ratigan’s interview style. He begins his segment by pointing out that Wall Street and high finance is one of the few sectors of the economy that is hiring again, which seems kind of ironic given that they were, to borrow a phrase from Shakespeare, the dildo of our original clusterfucktion. Ratigan then advances the thesis that the stock market, originally conceived as a means of encouraging investment capital to flow to new ventures, has become a “giant sucking machine” that draws money from real industry and into a realm of computerized abstraction. Cue Kevin Brady.
Tea Party protestors outside the Missoula post office, where I heard the phrase "blacks and Democrats" three times while trying to mail my taxes
When I was a kid, I used to love reading Cal Thomas. For those of you who did not grow up with the Des Moines Register, your premiere newspaper for stories about pie and dogs that saved their owners from fires through barking, Thomas is a syndicated political columnist who combines the confidence of a small-town minister with the intellectual curiosity of a small-town minister. As near as I can tell, he hasn’t been right about anything in 30 years, and a surprising number of his columns begin with dictionary definitions, but I couldn’t stop reading him. At the risk of oversimplifying my fascination, getting angry at Cal Thomas made life feel important. Some perverse quadrant of my fourteen year-old brain knew that the baffled, sputtering indignation I experienced trying to follow a Cal Thomas argument expanded the sum total of my consciousness.* As a series of girlfriends would later remind me, the more you feel, the more you are alive—even if that feeling is bitter, frustrated anger. Today is Friday, and soon the weekend will enfold us in its boozy, maybe-trying-to-tell-us-something-and-maybe-just-being-affectionate arms. It will demand from us a new, more vibrant mode of living, and as usual five days of drudgerous toil will have deadened us until we feel somehow unequal to the task. As a palliative—by which I mean an irritant—Combat! blog offers a collection of links to things that enrage us, whether by their ignorance, their audacity, or their audacious ignorance. Sure, they’re horrifying, but we can’t look away. What separates us from the animals, after all, if not our love of lingering upon what separates us from the animals?