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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Progress or just a new flavor of BS?

Not appearing in any Disney movie anytime soon

Jen here--doing a little Saturday catching up. Will try to get a hold of Gilly's Mom but I suspect she's already at the hospital. Anyway, having said that:

Call out the marching band; apparently having run out of other swarthy colored folk's cultures to plunder (Alladin, Mulan, Pocahontis), Disney is now having to stiffen its upper lip even more and roll out its very first Black princess.

As a Caucasian female who was never a) a victim of the whole "Princess" culture (I never wanted to dress up as a princess or balerina--I played at being a cop, a fireman, or a chef even when I was 3), b) racially marginalized by my plaything options (unless you count the fact that Barbie is rail-thin and I was always a little porker), and c) don't have kids and never will, I don't feel I have a lot of valid stuff to say on the subject. So, I'd like to turn this over to folks with more (dark) skin in the game, especially those with girl-kiddies in the house.

You can read some of CNN's readers' comments here, and I have to say I was a little surprised at them. The question that keeps getting danced around: Is more carefully tailored market exploitation better than being cut out of it altogether? I can understand (sort of, I guess) a little girl wanting to say "I can dress up just like PricessFairyGirlPerson!!" or whatever, but the fact that this seems to be the ONLY play option widely put out there for girls is disturbing (and its own thread whatsoever).

FWIW, Gilly has a niece that just turned 10. Thank G-d she got past the whole "princess" phase and is now actually sewing and knitting her own fashions--no kidding. At least she'll have her own sense of style and a GREAT skill for the future (when she goes to college, she will get zillions in pocket money from her dorm-mates hemming and fixing their stuff--I saw this firsthand when I was in college). She won't need a prince to "rescue" her.

Of course, this thread wouldn't be complete without mentioning a lot of Disney's past flirtations with serious racism and sexism. Zippety-do-dah anyone? I mean, could you picture Disney doing a mixed-live-animation film on stories from the Mishnah with a hooknosed, untended-beard Rabbi, his fat, hysterical, always-cooking-something wife, and his scrawny, neurotic, bespectacled kiddies dealing out platitudes to a group of scrubbed, healthy, gingham-clad golden-haired Aryan Ideal children? Oh, wait, bleh, I COULD see that.

Rant on.