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The most awkward Q&A ever with Kim Gordon

Kim Gordon's awkward Q&A at the Music Box Theater, Chicago

Everyone understates themselves. Everyone wants to be someone else. Even your idols.

That was the take away from attending a Q&A with Kim Gordon at The Music Box Theater, an event sponsored by the Chicago Humanities Festival. The event was sold out, the front half of the venue packed with journalists. Kim had just released her memoir Girl in a Band, following a sticky break up with her band mate and husband of almost 30 years, detailing the bands build and break. I was expecting to see Kim as a triumphant and ambitious artist and woman, post Sonic Youth and post husband. That wasn’t quite the case.

Sitting on stage in a leather jacket and jeans, Kim Gordon, the former bass player, lyricist, singer and co-founder of Sonic Youth, awkwardly answered the interviewer’s questions, as if she were surprised that she was onstage it all. It was unclear whether the interviewer had read the memoir, or if she knew who Kim was before that night, and she kept mentioning how she hoped that the interview would get less awkward as the conversation went on. It didn’t.

“When you are taking a selfie, do you try to look bad ass or sexy?” The interviewer asked.

The audience was silent as Kim thought about this for a second. Not inexperienced with the press, she was probably ranging around for something tactful to say.

“Uh, there are things I don’t care about as much as some people,” she said, kind of chuckling.

The crowd echoed her, laughing in response, and then there was silence again, until the interviewer realized that Kim wasn’t going to continue talking.

She nodded and shuffled her notes.

Pulling strings, the interviewer asked another half-researched question that didn’t apply much to Kim as an artist.

“So what do you think about the 90s?”

“Uh, I don’t know? As an era? I guess it was kind of underwhelming.”

What did these questions have to do anything with Kim’s book or career? Had the interviewer not seen the trending Ask Her More Campaign? I was outraged.

I was hoping to hear about the process behind her visual art. I wanted to know about her upcoming art exhibits.  I wanted to ask her about the controversial comment she made about Lana Del Rey’s feminism (or lack there of). I wanted to ask her what Sonic Youth album she was most proud of. I wanted to know about the future of Body/Head and her other projects.

If there was anyone I idolized more as a teenager, it was Kim Gordon. She gave me the permission to pick up a guitar. She gave me the permission to create what I wanted to. She was one of the first female performers who inspired me to play, write, and sing free of conventional forms. Because of Kim, I realized that I didn’t have to be a classically trained musician, writer or artist. Writing and playing became enough for me, regardless if I had an audience for it, or if someone thought it was “good” or “bad”.

So to hear that Kim didn’t think of herself as a musician really got me thinking.

Towards the end of the event, I was able to ask her a question about how she handled criticism.

“I don’t deal with it very well,” she said. “[In regards to writing Girl in a Band] I thought, I’m just going to do it. Of course I really thought about who I would offend, but I didn’t want to over think it. It was just my story.”

What can we really do as artists except for that? Maybe it’s just a matter of taste- some interviewers and audiences are going to connect to certain media and subjects and some won’t. Disinterest is the most subtle and distracting form of criticism, and Kim Gordon handled it with an admirable amount of humility and grace.

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Black Friday at Walmart Brings More than Deals

Many of you have probably noticed that stores are opening earlier than ever for the craziest display of consumerism in America. Many praise this change as a solution to the aggression and injuries that plagues many stores’ workers and customers during the scramble for holiday deals. There is, however, a significant backlash against this decision made by many of the stores. With Walmart’s deals beginning at 6pm on Thanksgiving, many labor activists state that the “Black Friday” craze has gone too far.

While to many Walmart is known for its unbeatable deals, it is known to others for its poor working conditions and pay of employees. The superstore has maintained its low wages across the board by arguing that it is necessary to keep wages down if the consumers want the same lower prices. And while this seems like a reasonable argument, it is not the case.

Business Insider crunched the numbers for its article “Here’s How Much A Wal-Mart Pay Increase Would Cost Shoppers Per Trip” and found that the increase from federal minimum wage to a living wage of $12.50 per hour, would only raise total consumers costs about $12 per year or $0.46 per trip. This small change shows that the increase of wages is wholly possible, but until Walmart feels the push from within, they can and will continue to deny that the increase is necessary.

Walmart has been staunchly anti-union from its conception and continually busts any unions and organizing interests in their company. This year with the start of Black Friday deals on Thursday evening, many unions and workers have had enough. They say that pulling more workers away from they families on Thanksgiving highlights the disregard that Walmart management has for its employees. Calling for a change, the UAW has called on support from many other unions and labor oriented groups for support. While some workers have already organized strikes at their stores, a superpower like Walmart will need to see a nation push for unionizing and change in order to feel the pressure necessary to cause a change.

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Protesters in Vista, CA

By organizing picket lines and protests all across the country, the main goal was to educate shoppers about the struggles of the workers who serve them and to reach out to workers about the possibilities that unionizing could bring to them. Because Black Friday brings out many more consumers and workers, the message has the chance to really make an impact. If Walmart begins to feel the pressure from these protests, change may be closer than expected. For now, we can only hope that this Black Friday shoppers left with more than carts full of low-priced goods and workers left with new feelings of determination to change their workplace.

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4 ways to support the black lives matter movement in the wake of the Ferguson ruling

On November 25th, a grand jury decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown, an 18-year-old who was caught jaywalking with a friend in Ferguson, Missouri this August. Since the ruling, many americans have voiced their frustration with the racism still deeply ingrained in today’s law enforcement. As a result, non-violent protests have cropped up in almost every major US city in support of Michael Brown and his family as well as the black community. Here are a few things we can do to support the Ferguson community and collectively end racism because, even though it should go without saying, black lives matter.

1. Comment and Unfriend

Social media is a breeding ground for heated conversation and debate, but racism is never socially acceptable. If you find a comment offensive, say so. If you are uncomfortable with this and would rather take a more non-confrontational approach, simply unfriend or unfollow. Chances are, they will privately message you wanting to know why you unfriended them, so be prepared and don’t shy away from telling them exactly why you wanted to remove their ignorant comments from your feed.

2. Donate to Ferguson Public Library

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The Ferguson Public Library has already received almost $200,000 in funding over the past 2 days. Despite the Ferguson public school system closing, the library remained open the day before Thanksgiving. Through their Facebook Page, they’ve been a reassuring voice in the midst of anguish, posting contact information for counseling services and information on learning how to file insurance claims for businesses damaged in the riots.

You can still donate…

Online through Paypal.

Directly via post:

Ferguson Municipal Public Library
35 North Florissant Road
Ferguson, Missouri 63135

Or by selecting a book from the library’s wishlist at  Powell’s.

3. Follow Black Lives Matter on Facebook and donate to the BlackLivesMatter Bay Area Legal Fund.

donate black lives matter

4. Send Your Support to the Brown Family through the NAACP

Unfortunately, the Brown family will be going through this holiday season without their son. The NAACP has a form where you can express your condolences and support for them during this difficult time. Even though the death of Michael Brown has become a national concern, he had family behind him and a life ahead of him that was tragically cut short.

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Have You Seen Taken?

In less than a month, this coffee bitch will be on a plane headed for Belgium, where I will live, and study for a year. One of my biggest pet peeves that I have dealt with for my pending exchange (besides sitting at the door like a puppy every time the mail comes in vain hopes that my visa will be wedged in-between grocery store coupons),  is the one question that is asked when I mention my exchange. I don’t know if you can handle a question this deep, coffeebitches, not to mention something this original.

The conversation goes like this:

Person: So you’re going to Belgium?

Me: Yeah, I can’t wait!

Person: Have you ever seen Taken? Watch out…

I guess I should feel special that so many strangers are concerned about my well being abroad, however, this pisses me off like no other. Part of the reason why this sly comment bothers me, is that I have never seen anyone try and use this to scare male exchange students, just us ladies. It’s almost like they expect every young woman that goes abroad to be sold into sex slavery.

I feel like people are more concerned about me going over seas because I’m a woman, and that is just fucking uncalled for. When I was going to be sent to Brazil instead of Belgium, my own father, who raised me to take care of my self, told me that it was no place for a young lady. What the hell?!

This just in world, female travelers are not porcelain dolls that spend the whole trip smothered in packing peanuts,  left to stay at the resort. There is nothing on an adventure that your gender, male or female, should inhibit you from experiencing. Life is too short to let assholes try to scare you out of an experience that may only come around once in a lifetime. What are we going to let people scare us out of doing next, going to the store, going to work, voting? I don’t think so! Stand up and live your life to the fullest.

If you’re smart, you will have a safe and fun trip abroad. Keep tabs on your passport, and wallet. Don’t take opened drinks from strangers. Most importantly, please make sure to learn key phrases in the native language, people will be more willing to help and accept you if you make an attempt at speaking their language, it shows respect for their culture.

What I’m trying to get at is, please, please, don’t let petty people try to crush your wanderlust with fear.

Two Vetoes

NPR recently ran an article highlighting the unusually low amount of vetoes President Obama has issued during his time in office.

Speaking more specifically, President Obama has used the presidential power of the veto only two times during his over 4 years in office thus far.

The article goes into detail about the reasons for this number being so low, but in this post I really just want to highlight how meaningful “two vetoes” really is.

“Two” doesn’t seem like particularly significant number, that is until you compare it to other modern presidents. For example, Reagan used his power of the veto 78 times during the 1980s, while Bill Clinton used this power 37 times during his time in office.

At this point some of you may object saying “Hold on, that’s not really a fair comparison! Reagan and Clinton both had 2 terms and used the veto more frequently in their second term!” which is a fair objection to make, however even ol’ George H.W. pulled out his trusty veto pen 44 times during his single term in office.

If modern comparisons doesn’t make “two vetoes” significant, here’s some historical context: every president since Martin Van Buren, who served as our president almost 175 years ago has vetoed more legislation than President Obama (with the exception of those that did not complete a full term in office)

Now, it’s important as a matter of journalistic and personal integrity for me to admit that you could have received any information I just told you from the article I talked about, however, I’m not sure even the writer of that article understands the significance of having the least amount of vetoes since Van Buren.

Allow me to explain.

You see, while Van Buren doesn’t really stick out in most Americans’ minds as being an particularly consequential president, he really and truly is an important milestone in American political history. What’s significant about Van Buren you may ask? Well, Martin Van Buren was the last president to hold the traditionalist view of the veto, the view held by the presidents of the 18th and early 19th centuries.

What I mean by the traditionalist view is simply this: from George Washington up until Andrew Jackson presidents long had the view that the presidential veto was a constitutional power meant only to uphold the Constitution. In other words, it was their way of shutting down legislation that they believed to be unconstitutional.

Now in all technicality the Constitution doesn’t concretely lay out the justification a president can use for a veto. In fact, the words “presidential veto” don’t appear once in the United States Constitution, the clause the power comes from simply states:

“Every Order, Resolution, or Vote … shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.”

– United States Constitution, Article One, Section 6

There is no statement as to what constitutes a “valid” veto. However for decades most people viewed the veto as the presidential last resort to unconstitutional legislation (at least until the Supreme Court sets things straight)

That is until Andrew Jackson revolutionized how we see the presidential veto in 1832.

You see, one of the biggest debates in American politics in the 19th century was whether the United States should have a national bank. It was essentially the Healthcare debate of its time.

Critics of the establishment of a United States National Bank cried that it was unconstitutional, until the Supreme Court ultimately ruled that Congress was constitutionally allowed to establish a national bank under the Necessary and Proper Clause in McCulloch v. Maryland in 1819.

However did that close off debate? To answer that question, let me ask another, did critics of Obamacare quiet down after the Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate was constitutional?

And Andrew Jackson was the leader of these critics of the National Bank, and it is one of the biggest issues that he ran on when he ran for the presidency in 1828.

So when the Charter for the 2nd Bank of the United States came up from renewal in 1832 and Congress renewed it, Jackson found his chance to shut it down.

On July 10th, 1832 Andrew Jackson issued his veto to the renewal of the Charter of the 2nd Bank of the United States.

He made no claims of vetoing it on constitutional grounds, after all, the SCOTUS had already ruled the bank constitutional over a decade earlier, he made it very clear it was on political grounds.

This veto was revolutionary in how it shaped American politics, the power of the presidency, and the view of the veto. In essence, Andrew Jackson inaugurated the modern veto.

So what does all this have to do with Martin Van Buren and Obama’s “two vetoes”?

Martin Van Buren was Andrew Jackson’s successor. That’s why.

And unlike Jackson, Van Buren subscribed to to the traditionalist view of the presidential veto, perhaps the last of the presidents to do so.

This is where you might expect me to come out with “Until Obama”, but that’s not true. The NPR article I keep mentioning lists several reasons for why President Obama has used the veto so little. I’m also not going to pass judgement on whether the Obama administration’s non obstructionist attitude is a good or bad thing.

I will however say this: when NPR highlights President Obama’s use of less vetoes than any president since Martin Van Buren, they’re actually highlighting that President Obama has used the veto less times than any president in the history of the modern presidential veto other than Van Buren.

That’s why “two vetoes” is significant.

This Just In

A radical leftist terror group has claimed responsibility for Friday’s suicide bombing at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, which killed a Turkish guard and wounded a television journalist.

In a statement on its website, the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party, or DHKP-C, said “E. Alisan Sanli has become a martyr after accomplishing the action on the American Embassy in Ankara.”

The governor’s office on Saturday confirmed his identity through for forensic testing.

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Fifty Shades of I Don’t Even Know, Crap Perhaps?

This weekend, I felt a burden lift off of my shoulder. That burden was EL Jame’s Fifty Shades of Grey, after a solid month of reading, I finally finished the entire trilogy. You can not look at television screen or open up a news paper without seeing some reference to the novels, so I decided to give it a go. The book that is comfortably perched upon the top of the New York Times Bestsellers List, is everywhere and it is about time that it found its way onto NotYourCoffeeBitch, for better or worse.

Personally, I had a weird love/hate feeling for the books, namely the reason why it took me a month to get through. Honestly, I only read the books, because I heard it was so taboo. For the same reason, I also read Lady Chatterly’s Lover by D.H Lawrence over the summer, and I would say that it is much more exciting, the writing is five million times better, it is philosophically intriguing and it is not nearly as sexist. The only thing that they did have in common was the fact that neither of the novels were as naughty as they were made out to be by society. Needless to say I was disappointed with the trilogy, and shocked that women are eating this up. I am not referring women enjoying the use of BDSM in the book’s sex scenes, I am referring to the way that Christian Grey treats Anastasia Steel like a child, and a material possession.

In the first book we meet Anastasia Steele, who is 22, has never been in a relationship and has never been touched, not even by herself. Which, come on, is not realistic at all. Oh and she says “geeze,” “crap,” and when she feels a little risky, she might drop a “double crap.” So really, Anastasia Steele acts 12 when she is supposed to be 22. She also has the spine of a jelly fish, and probably couldn’t define assertive if her life depended on it.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of Kristen Stewart while reading the…um novels (should I even call them that?). Anastasia was just dull, and uninteresting. I felt awkward just reading about her. Ana was one of those girls that tried to be awkward because she thought it was cute. I’m starting to notice a trend, instead of girls dumbing themselves down to seek attention, they pretend to be painfully awkward. CAN’T YOU JUST BE YOUR SMART UN-AKWARD SELF LADIES!?

The love of her life is the weirdest fictional character that I have ever read about. He is… A DOUCHE BAG! WHY DO YOU LOVE HIM MOMS OF SUBERBIA, WHY? Since I don’t want to ruin the book for anyone who is reading this and saying, “I just want to find out for myself,” I’m going to try my hardest not to rant too much about why I HATED Christian Grey, and to leave it as vague as I can.

First of all, he keeps warning Ana to stay away from him because he is a vampire sexist douche BDSM loving millionaire. The first time they kiss, he tells her that he wont go any further without the paperwork. WHAT? Upon hearing this I would think he is a weird egotistical psycho, but not Ana. The list of demands that he gives to her is just absurd, and I wanted to punch myself in the face for reading it. If you ever are in a situation where someone has to say, they aren’t into doing stuff with animals and children, you should just leave. I would think that is an obvious no, but apparently not in Christian Grey’s world.

All throughout the book, Christian has a problem recognizing that Ana is not a blow up doll, but a human. He has trackers in her phone, hardly ever lets her drive her car, and bought the company that she works for all to “protect” her. Honestly, he treats her like a child. The one time that she wore a skimpy dress to a club, he made sure that she knew her body was not hers, but his. Not to mention the fact that Ana was always worried about the mood that Christian would be in. Not because she cared about him, but because she didn’t want to be yelled at/have the shit beat out of her again. This is why, at no point in this book did I think, “I’ll have what she’s having.”

I guess that the biggest problem that I had with the book, was that Ana was not a person, but a possession. But past that, I don’t know why women liked that. I don’t think that women have fought this hard, to want to go back to square one. I felt that the books were a complete slap in the face of the equal rights movement.

Before I read Fifty Shades of Grey, I thought that the novels would be empowering to women. I thought that this would be a piece that embraced female sexuality. After, I was shocked that a woman would fantasize about such a thing. We haven’t worked this hard to be treated like children. We haven’t worked this hard to have people view us as indecisive pieces of property.

Simply put, I don’t understand it. Women of today are strong, powerful, and independent, nothing like Ana Steele. This is refered to as “mommy porn,” but would any parent want their child to be treated like Ana? Certainly no parent would want their child to treat people how Christian treats them. With this sort of abuse being called fantasy, I fear the direction in which we are headed as a society.

If you want a more in-depth view of this crap, please visit this blog, http://bizzybiz.blogspot.com/2012/06/50-screams-of-hate.html. I loved it as much as I hated Fifty Shades of Grey.

Photo Credit: Salon.com

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Australian Prime Minister’s Speech Heard Around the World

Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia, gave a speech to parliament about sexism directed towards her opposition, Tony Abbott. After going through two weeks with sexism and misogyny as the hot topic in the Australian political media, she finally felt the need to address the issue herself.

Tony Abbott began attacking Peter Slipper, the Speaker of the House and demanding that he step down from office. Slipper was accused of sexually harassing an openly gay male staff member in a series of text messages, where he crudely compared the female sex organs to various aquatic animals.  Abbott said that if the Prime Minister Gillard defended Peter Slipper in any way she would be just as sexist as any “gay man that talks shit about vaginas.”

Gillard was very offended by his statements accusing her of being sexist. She attacked him in her rant about sexism in parliament on October 9th. Her voice rose to command everyone’s attention as she proclaimed that she “will not be lectured about misogyny by this man… Not now, not ever.”

Gillard then went on to point out his own hypocrisy by mentioning various campaign slogans that utilize sexist phrases like ‘Ditch the Witch’ and describe her as a man’s bitch. “If [Abbott] wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he doesn’t need a motion in the House of Representatives, he needs a mirror.”

Gillard’s speech has now reached fame for her display of passion. As she points directly at Abbott and looks him in the eye, she made a statement. Sexism is a problem in modern day politics, but a worse problem is hypocrisy. It’s safe to say that Abbott’s support rating has plummeted since the “misogyny speech” given by Gillard.

Link to video: http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2012/10/10/sot-gillard-sexism-parliament.savo?iref=allsearch

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Church and State

Paul Ryan, I respect your views on abortion. Surely, not everyone believes in abortion, it is controversial, that is why not everyone gets an abortion. There are other options available to pregnant women, besides abortion. I, as an American, respect your catholic faith.

However, I am not catholic, not all of America is Catholic. Likewise not all Americans are Buddhists, Baptists, Jewish, Muslim, Christian or atheists. That is why the founding fathers made it crystal clear that there is to be a separation of church and state. Also, one of the reasons that colonist came to America was because of zero separation of church and state in England, therefore, a need to practice religion freely and to escape religious persecution.

That is why Paul Ryan is, in my opinion, not fit to hold high office. He is clearly incapable of putting the needs of the people above his own faith. If he is so against abortion, then why doesn’t he put a focus on sexual education in public schools so abortions are not needed?

To take a pro-life stance that is also pro-American, you can not repeal Roe v. Wade. There are other ways of pushing your agenda without taking away a woman’s right to her body. After all, not everyone believes that life begins at conception.

I applaud Biden’s stance during the debate. Even though he has a strong catholic faith, he believes that you can’t take away a women’s right to choose. He understands that there is a separation of church and state. Also, he reminded people that for the same reasoning, you can not force catholic run health intuitions to provide contraceptives and perform abortions.

Can we trust someone who puts their personal beliefs ahead of the needs of the people? I don’t think that we can. We need leaders that govern based on the needs and wants of the people, not the leader. After all, what is right is not always the easiest.

Photo Credit: salon.com

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Really Bill?

Attention, attention: Bill O’Reilly hates “fashion people” and the “idle rich.” This fact was crystalized when he sent Jesse Watters to explore Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. The story was filled with girls with thick Russian accents, and people who aren’t well-informed, and people who don’t watch his show (the last two items are in no way related). There were also movie clips slathered through the bit to bring some humor to the already malicious piece.

To say that these women represent every fashionista, is like playing someone Zoolander, and telling them that it is a documentary. We must question how many  intelligent fashion week goers were interviewed only to be left stranded on the cutting room floor. If I do say so myself, everyone here at NotYourCoffeeBitch is very stylish, and we are all well-informed on American politics. Bill O’Reilly’s piece on fashion week is like saying that all gay men are flamers, all blondes are dumb, and all upper-class white males are ignorant. Anyone who has yet to receive a lobotomy knows that these stereotypes are not true. I find this kind of scum bag journalism offensive.

Not only were Bill O’Reilly and Jesse Watters blatantly stereotypical, but they were very ignorant. Apparently fashionistas are “idle rich” that spend money frivolously because of our “little dresses” that cost thousands of dollars, and because Katie Holmes is selling a $3,100 cape. However, he forgot to mention the jobs that the fashion industry creates. From retail jobs, to more lucrative careers in P.R, fashion stimulates the economy more than anyone from Fox News ever has.

Photo Credit: Crushable.com

I think that the duo were a tad hypocritical as well. I’m sure that a man who has had the top rated cable news show since 2001 and is a New York Times best-selling author isn’t buying his suits at K-Mart (not that there is anything wrong with K-Mart). I would assume that Bill O’Reilly’s wardrobe is filled with pricy duds that the fashion industry played a large part in. No one is exempt from the fashion industry, not the bag lady on the corner, and certainly not Bill O’Reilly. It touches everything that we do, everything that we see. It provides and outlet for creative minds, and helps to express who you are. So Bill, listen to what Meryl Streep has to say, because we are all thinking it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LVptO7o4L8

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