Pretend Husband of the Day: Jon Hunstman Edition

See this guy?


Why am I smiling? Because I am a spectacular human being.

That’s Jon Huntsman. He’s a former Governor of Utah, former Ambassador to Singapore and China, and a former GOP Presidential candidate.

He is also a badass. And my pretend husband of the day.

“But, Stacey,” you may ask. “He’s a scrawny white Mormon Republican from Utah. I think you and I have very different versions of what the definition of a ‘badass’ is.”

I would normally agree with you. The other white Mormon Republican who ran for President is pretty boring. Good man.  Not very exciting. Very status quo.

But after after Huntsman penned this opinion piece in the American Conservative last week, I changed my mind. Jon Huntsman IS a badass. The subject of his essay? Marriage Equality. As in, EVERYONE should have the right to marry the person they love (with obvious exceptions: you can’t marry your brother, your cat, or a Kardashian).

Marriage equality has been a huge area of consternation for the Grand Old Party. Since the party has been taken over by psychos on the religious right (Hi, Rick Santorum! I don’t miss you! Even though you DO look like Bob Saget), same-sex marriage has overtaken abortion as the single most divisive issue within the Republican Party. In August at the National Convention, convention go-ers adopted a strongly worded platform banning gay marriage, angering more middle-of-the-road Republicans. Opponents of same-sex marriage like Santorum, who recently said gay marriage isn’t in the best interest for the country, and Maggie Gallagher, who started the National Association for Marriage, have been very vocal and have been let to speak for the right as a whole, letting the party of Lincoln and Roosevelt be known as anti-gay, therefore, anti-civil rights.

And that’s not right.

I don’t know where this hatred (and, yes, I’m using the word hatred. It’s not minor disgust or disapproval. This is hatred) of the gay community comes from. Some point to the Bible, screeching “It’s in here! God said it’s a sin.” Not to split hairs or anything, but the Bible also forbids a lot of things that many of us are guilty of doing daily. A sampling? getting a tattoo, working on the Sabbath, women speaking in Houses of God, eating a ham sandwich (this also include bacon. yikes), children disobeying their parents, and (I’ve saved the best for last)–GOSSIP.

Yup, The Bible also forbids gossip. If you’re basing your entire hatred for gays because the Bible says so, you should also probably look at the other areas of your life. Chances are, you’ve probably eaten ham or bacon and I’d be willing to stake a paycheck that you’ve engaged in a little gossip (or at very least, visited Perez Hilton). Should we be banning bacon and ham and forcing Perez, Entertainment Tonight and US Weekly to shut down because “It’s against the moral fabric of society”?

I don’t think so.

So, unless the National Organization for Marriage, Focus on the Family, and the dozens of other Anti-Same-Sex Marriage groups trolling around also want to pick up the “Anti-Bacon” mantle, I don’t put much stock into their opinion. And all that business about how two dudes wanting to get marriage and raise a family is going to be destructive to the country, I say really? I can think of lots of things that are WAY more destructive to society than two people deciding to commit to eachother. Namely, the Jersey Shore, the Kardashians, and every single one of these people.

The point is, somewhere along the way, the GOP became synonymous with being hateful. And if you dared speak out against the psychos on the right wing, you got booted out of the party or labeled a RINO. They liked the status quo and didn’t want anyone to make waves. Publicly disagreeing with “those in charge” meant you’d be pushed off the national stage and left for dead. Instead of meaningful discourse, those that had a different view (be it on marriage, abortion, gun laws, etc.), sat silent while the same psychos on the religious right took over. Having a “liberal” view on social policies, especially, meant certain (political) death.

Which is why Huntsman’s essay on embracing and championing gay rights is pretty badass. Risking a political future because he can’t sit and watch crazies on the right dictate BAD POLICY is pretty badass (in my opionion). A key exerpt:

Today we have an opportunity to do more: conservatives should start to lead again and push their states to join the nine others that allow all their citizens to marry. I’ve been married for 29 years. My marriage has been the greatest joy of my life. There is nothing conservative about denying other Americans the ability to forge that same relationship with the person they love.All Americans should be treated equally by the law, whether they marry in a church, another religious institution, or a town hall.

That was last week. This week over 100 Republicans signed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to declare gay couples have a constitutional right to wed, including Huntsman, former head of EBay (and CA gubernatorial nominee) Meg Whitman, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Former Governor Christine Todd Whitman,  and John McCain’s campaign head Steve Schmidt. The brief was orchestrated by former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman, who came out two years ago and has received some serious media attention.

I say: it’s about time.

Yesterday, Republican speechwriter-turned-author David Frum wrote in the Daily Beast about his decision to add his name to the brief. Frum, who had been a long-time opponent of gay marriage, has had what can be described as a “Come to Jesus Moment”, saying,  “Stopping same-sex marriages does nothing to support families battered by economic adversity. Instead, it excludes and punishes people who seek only to live as conservatives would urge them to live. Treating same-sex partnerships differently from husband-wife marriages only serves to divide and antagonize those who ought to be working together.”

Exactly. It’s heartening to see prominent Republicans like Gov. Huntsman and Frum speaking up and recognizing basic rights. The economy is still in the toilet and thousands of Americans are still out of work. Rather than screech about how Tom and Eddie’s marriage is going to cause the downfall of humanity, we should be focusing on ways to ensure Tom and Eddie have jobs to take care of their children.

And, in case you needed further convincing (which, I don’t know why you would), look at this

if your heart didn't melt, I suspect you don't have one

if your heart didn’t melt, I suspect you don’t have one

*disclosure: I am a Republican. I support the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Coolidge and Reagan. Not the party of Foster Friess, Maggie Gallagher and Rick Santorum.


Oscar Predictions 2013

The 85th annual Academy Awards are scheduled to start in just a few short hours. Some may call them “The Superbowl for people who don’t care about football” (which I suppose makes the Superbowl the Academy Awards for people who don’t care about award shows). In either case it’s basically a bunch of famous people under one roof being all self-congratulatory in front of the cameras.

In both cases, I can’t get enough.

Last year, I attempted to liveblog the event, but got bored halfway through (aka fell asleep). I’m giving it my second attempt this year, but no promises. I’m watching it at the BFF’s house and she has a nine-month old who is MUCH more interesting than ‘Best Sound Mixing’.

So, just in case I get lost in a few (hundred) games of peek-a-boo, I wanted to at very least, give my Oscar predictions. But only in the categories that aren’t boring. Again, sorry ‘Best Sound Mixing’, but I don’t really care about you.

So, without wasting any more time, here’s how I see the Oscars 2013 going:

Best Picture:  Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty

What will win: Argo

What should win: Lincoln

I liked Argo, don’t get me wrong. In fact, I think there were a lot of really great movies out this year. Chuckie from Good Will Hunting made a really excellent film AND was able to convince Alan Arkin and John Goodman to film pretty much all of their scenes together. It is basically a win.

However, I don’t think it was the BEST movie of the year. Despite being a film that was essentially made to win awards, Lincoln was far and away the best movie I saw all year (and not just because I’m a history nerd…although that helps).

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Bradley Cooper, Daniel Day-Lewis, Hugh Jackman, Joaquin Phoenix, Denzel Washington

Who will win: Daniel Day-Lewis

Who should win: Daniel Day-Lewis

Sorry everyone not named “Daniel Day-Lewis”, but you are going to lose. It’s not even a contest. In any other year, any of the other nominees would have had a chance, but DDL just KILLED IT as the 16th President. He was perfect. Almost as perfect as this scene from Last Of The Mohicans

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Emmanuelle Riva, Quvenzhané Wallis, Naomi Watts

Who will win: Jennifer Lawrence

Who should win: Naomi Watts

To be honest, the only performance I saw was Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty and she was quite good. But all of the buzz is surrounding Jennifer Lawrence this year. Personally, I’d like to see Naomi Watts win for no other reason than to stick it to her former (or maybe current?) BFF, Nicole Kidman who was too busy to film a 60 Minutes segment for her bestie after her nominations (Botox injections is apparently a full-time job these days)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Alan Arkin, Robert DeNiro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tommy Lee Jones, Christoph Waltz

Who will win: toss up, but likely Robert DeNiro

Who should win: Alan Arkin or Christoph Waltz

This is probably the closest call in all of the categories. Literally, ANY of these guys could win and they’d all be deserving. I didn’t see Silver Linings, but, like J-Law, there has been mad buzz around DeNiro’s performance. He’s due for a win, especially considering this is probably the best role he’s been able to get in over a decade.

Personally, I’d go with either Alan Arkin. He essentially plays the same character over and over again, but does it with such aplumb and charisma that you can’t help but throw every conceivable accolade at him. If not Arkin, I’d give the hardware to Christoph Waltz, who made everyone want to become a dentist-turned-bounty hunter with a BFF named Django.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Amy Adams, Anne Hathaway, Helen Hunt, Sally Field, Jacki Weaver

Who will win: Anne Hathaway

Who should win: Anne Hathaway

By far the weakest category, but it doesn’t matter. Anne Hathaway will win. I didn’t see The Master or The Sessions, so I have no opinion on Amy Adams or Helen Hunt (same with Silver Linings and Jacki Weaver), but I did see Lincoln and thought Sally Field was nothing special and actually, incredibly annoying as Mary Todd Lincoln. The best thing about Field’s performance? Frank Caliendo’s review of Lincoln as Jim Rome where he called Field “Mary Todd Gidget”.

Best Director: Amour (Michael Haneke), Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin), Life of Pi (Ang Lee), Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell), Lincoln (Steven Spielberg)

Who will win: Steven Spielberg

Who should win: Kathryn Bigelow. Oh wait, she wasn’t nominated.

Spielberg will win. Since Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow were both snubbed, I’d be surprised if anyone walked away with the Oscar that wasn’t Spielberg.

On that note, I’ll leave everyone with the promise to be back later for a liveblog. But, before I do, let’s all watch that Daniel Day-Lewis Last of the Mohicans scene one more time.

*sigh* Perfection.

I still hate you, Christina Aguilera, but you have an excellent song

There’s a scene from Mean Girls (one of my favorite movies of ALL TIMES) that’s pretty poignant (no, not “You go, Glenn Coco” or, my personal favorite “You smell like a baby prostitute”).

Damien is singing at the school’s holiday pageant (not very well), but clearly giving it his all, despite being booed and heckled. Hell, he even gets sassy in the middle of the song and fights back.

While it’s clearly a very funny scene (um, hello, isn’t ALL of Mean Girls basically perfect?), there’s a certain seriousness to it.

Some may not get it.

But I do.

A few months ago, my one of my perennial favorite ladies, Jennifer Weiner, wrote an essay in Allure Magazine called “The F Word”. The dreaded word so many women beat themselves up over (and over and over again)? Fat. After past-his-prime critic Rex Reed insulted actress Melissa McCarthy by calling her “tractor-sized” and a “female hippo” last week, (and his refusal to apologize), I wanted to share J-Wein’s gem of an essay.

Jen gets it. We’re chubby soul sisters.

To summarize (but really, just go and read it for yourself—it’s worth spending a few minutes), Weiner recalls a recent conversation with her nine-year-old daughter, Lucy. Lucy is complaining about a “frenemy” (come on ladies—we all had/have them) and in explaining why she doesn’t like this girl, she says, “She’s mean, she’s bad at math, she’s terrible at kickball. And…she’s fat.”

Weiner, who calls herself “a size 16 on a good day,” then is forced to have a talk with her “blithe, leggy, honey-blonde daughter,” about using the “f word.” Weiner explains, “I’d spent the nine years since her birth getting ready for this day, the day we’d have to have the conversation about this dreaded, stinging word. I had a well-honed, consoling speech at the ready. I knew exactly what to say to the girl on the receiving end of the taunts and the teasing, but in all of my imaginings, it never once occurred to me that my daughter would be the one who used the F word. Fat.”

Weiner then recounts her own struggles (and shame) with her weight. In reading it, I saw myself. In recalling incidents from her life, I cried. I cried for Jennifer. I cried for every girl who has ever been taunted, mocked or made to feel she’s ugly, unworthy or unlovable. And I cried for myself. But, in truth, I didn’t need to read Jennifer’s accounts of her life. I’ve lived it.

I’ve struggled with my weight for nearly as long as I can remember. And, like Jennifer, I’ve never been at a point in my life when I haven’t been keenly aware of my size. A particular passage of her essay stuck with me:

There are five girls named Jennifer making their way across the Promised Land with my group that summer. “Oh, not the fat Jennifer,” I hear one of my tour mates saying matter-of-factly to another as we hang out by our kibbutz swimming pool, holding his hands out a good foot away from his hips to indicate my girth, “the other one.” So that is me: not the Jennifer who loves to read, or who listens to the Smiths and is the most sought-after babysitter in town. Not the Jennifer on the honor roll, the one who can swim a mile without stopping: the fat one.

I am incandescent with shame, knowing that fat is, by far, the worst thing you can be. Fat is lazy, fat is gross, fat is sloppy…and, worst of all, fat is forever. Michelle has a full-on Frida Kahlo moustache. Kim has terrible skin. But Michelle could wax and Kim could go on Accutane; I am going to be fat—and, hence, undesirable, unlovable, a walking joke—for the rest of my life.

It’s like Jennifer got into my brain, pulling out all of the fears, insecurities, and feelings I had supressed for most of my life. And she nailed it. I’m not Stacey with a killer sense of humor, who loves to read, and listen the Black Keys and Grace Potter and is great at her job. No, those things aren’t important. I’m Stacey—the fat one. That’s the only identifier that matters. And, for a long long LONG time, I believed that.

Jen managed to put down what every girl struggling with her weight is afraid of: I am going to be fat—and, hence, undesirable, unlovable, a walking joke—for the rest of my life.

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