Seriously? No exclamation point.

If you think all is fine and dandy with this world, then you better stop reading this.

It all started on Twitter. After reading tweets of Erin Burnett this and Erin Burnett that, as anyone else would, I googled her name. The first link that caught my attention was Hollywood Life’s “Meet Erin Burnett & Her Hot News Show ‘Outfront’!” Yes, exclamation point. I know.

This is what she said about her show! Exclamation point. Exclamation point.

“She plans to be “tough, hard and firm in the dealing with issues and getting answers”, she tells But she also wants to contribute to “making America as great as it can be.”
Erin doesn’t want to just be criticizing the politicians and other movers and shakers in America. She wants to point out “how we can constructively contribute,” to making America better as a country.”

Those are all lofty goals and ideas, of course putting theory into practice is tres, tres difficile as her first show clearly demonstrated. Actually, it’s not so difficult, it’s just not going to get you good ratings, and this following video and its consequent proliferation online has stirred things up quite a bit.

I don’t want to make this about Erin, though. (This is where I link to an article all about her, because it is really, really good. Thank you Salon.) This is about quality journalism.

After watching her “Seriously, protesters?” segment, I may or may not have ranted on Twitter.

The inflammatory tweet: After Erin Burnett’s condescending usage of “Seriously?” re: #OccupyWallStreet protests, I’m boycotting the word AND her. #seriously

A minute later, I received a direct message from an exec producer at CNN. I had exchanged tweets with this person only once before, so this caught me by surprise.

The person asked me about my tweet, saying “No? Where/When?” I wasn’t sure if the producer was referring to my tweet, so I asked. The producer said it had piqued his/her interest because it involved his/her network. So, I explained:

“Well, her segment on the OWS protests undermines the point that this is all part of a larger narrative–the Great Recession. It’s as if she’s mocking those who are unemployed for being unemployed, when the real issue is, why aren’t companies hiring? It just struck me as offensive and unprofessional. I don’t blame CNN. These things happen.”

But do these things really happen? I didn’t want to be unpleasant and continue my rant. After all, the producer was gracious and even thanked me for caring and told me he/she would look into matter. I’m not going to blame him/her for all of the network’s problems, but it got me thinking how, in this day and age, despite the innovations in social media and the increasing importance of citizen journalism, we still have these big, powerful news networks that can easily sway public opinion, whether it’s with truthful information or with pure bias.

I’m not saying she should have sided with the protesters, but she shouldn’t have treated the Wall Street protests like a circus and its advocates like animals. After reading the Salon piece on her background, I rolled my eyes and thought, no wonder she has such scorn for the 99 percent. But she’s not the only one who makes decisions when it comes to broadcast shows.

There is a team of producers, bookers and interns who all have a say in molding the direction of the show’s daily segments. I’m sure she didn’t just go to the protests and interview that one unemployed software developer. But, she and the producers decided on that footage, therefore making it seem as if all protesters are unemployed ignorants.

Everything else about the phones, the “catered” food, the lululemon reference, and so on was all just wasted space on the teleprompter.

What she doesn’t understand is that the protests are part of a bigger story, a story that may be only 2 minutes long on air but that lives in the minds of millions of people every single day. These protests that have spread nationwide are the symptoms of the disease that has gripped the nation since 2008 and even before, all because of decisions made by the few political and financial leaders, whom we so blindly trust.

My best friend’s dad lost his job to education cuts. After sending out hundreds of resumes to hundreds of companies, my older brother had to go back to school–to undergrad, to get an engineering degree because his business degree is worthless, even if it is from McCombs.

Recently, the Dallas Morning News laid off a big chunk of its staff, as the DMN Cuts blog reported. The blog also posted an article on the earnings of top execs at the DMN and Belo, as shown below:

Among the other four top executives, Dallas Morning News Publisher James Moroney earned $1.3 million in 2010, up from $478,090 in 2009; Morning News President and General Manager John McKeon earned $1.3 million in his first year on the job; Chief Financial Officer Alison Engel earned $800,001, up from $276,765; and Senior Vice President Daniel Blizzard earned $575,000, up from $211,228.

Granted, the journalism industry isn’t faring well. But, this sort of high-five-the execs-and-pink-slip-the-workers attitude is toxic and yet widespread. High unemployment and high profits simultaneously is also toxic. As one Merrill Lynch broker told me, companies aren’t hiring until Obama is out of the picture. Um, come again?

There’s so much to report on, so much to investigate, so many opportunities to be “tough, hard and firm in dealing with issues and getting answers,” but no, CNN has to resort to mocking protesters and their plight. Seriously?

And The Young Turks’ response to the segment–applause:


September 17

I’m the type of person who asks for permission because I can’t imagine a world where you do what you want with complete disregard for the person next to you. I’m very much conscious that my actions will have consequences, whether positive or negative, and that I won’t be able to immediately gauge these actions.

On September 17, I did something uncharacteristic. I attended the #occupywallstreet protests. I informed my boss and colleagues that I would be in New York that weekend so I might as well go and see it for myself. My tools were a borrowed flipcam and my iPhone, and, well, my boyfriend to carry my bag. That Saturday afternoon, I descended to the financial district, made my way to Wall Street and looked for protestors and posters. The area was blocked off by the NYPD. One of them let me in when I showed him my makeshift press pass (the badge I use to get into my workplace). He told me the demonstrators were on Broadway and that they were blocking the area because it was private property. I didn’t ask questions, just directions. But then I came across another police officer and, empowered by God knows what, I asked him why they were blocking it. He wasn’t as nice as the first one. He told me in an authoritative manner, which I guess is granted by wearing a uniform and carrying a gun, that he was just following his boss’s orders. I retorted, “So, you don’t question these orders?” My boyfriend gave me “the look.” I left before he could think of an excuse to arrest me.

Then I encountered the protest, and dozens of police officers obstinate and observant. It was an eclectic crowd, to say the least. My Twitter feed said they were all young. Not quite. There were many old folk, people whose soles had made a mark on modern history before I was born. There were characters in costume, sporting the now infamous”V for Vendetta” mask or personifying capitalism in some creative way. Just to be clear–there were people wearing jeans and shirts and dresses and coats, too. Some weren’t even wearing clothes. But the clothes weren’t the point.

They were there for a common concern–why is trying to live the American dream a nightmare?

One need not look any further than the hashtag #occupywallstreet to understand their anger and whom it’s directed at. It has to do with money and jobs, or lack thereof, and the reckless decisions of the powers that be. It has to do with not being able to afford their necessities. It has to do with justice and injustice. It has to do with a laundry list of grievances that a minority of the population never has to think about.

That day, not many people were paying attention. I knew there was potential in this “occupation,” and that’s why I went. Now most news outlets have covered it, some have even been implicated (journalists arrested, the NYT’s controversial change of perspective).

It’s a shame that people in this country cannot get the attention they deserve. There must be arrests, there must be pepper spray, there must be a celebrity, there must be some element of scandal or stardom that drives news outlets to cover an event. Isn’t angst enough? And considering that this is a product of the Great Recession and is a crucial part of the narrative, how was it not covered as soon as it happened?

Is social media the answer to this gap or this bias in choosing what and what not to cover? Maybe. I just know that it’s what prompted me to go to the protests. I now wish I would have camped out a la Gonzo and developed a thorough understanding of the story by getting to know these people who have sparked a mass movement instead of just having interviewed a few protesters and taken photos.


For now

It’s been at least two months since my last post. I wholeheartedly apologize to my 1.6 loyal followers.

To be completely honest I stopped writing on my blog for security reasons (this was when I was back in Mexico). Catch my drift? I’ll leave it at that.

Now I’m in Washington D.C., watching my scattered ambition and aspirations fall into place and meeting people who, I believe, will be invaluable in further understanding my purpose in life.  So far, so good.


Two stories

So many stories, and yet only a few I can publish.

Yesterday evening I spent time at my grandma’s going over our family’s history, of which I know trop peu, and from this I gleaned two peculiar stories. One pleasant, the other tragic.

The first one I didn’t listen to very well (at least, I didn’t follow the details). All I know is that my grandma’s grandfather (or some male figure in her family) did not like to eat alone. So whenever he’d get home and his family had already eaten, he would take a little trip outside his house and look for the first person who’d walk by, proceeding to invite him or her for a free meal.

The second one I really thought strange and unfortunate.  Apparently, my grandma’s mom had made a type of superstitious covenant with God by dressing little Geronimito in white every day for five years (and she showed me pictures as evidence). The day of his fifth birthday he was going to wear a cowboy outfit. That day never came. The day before his change of attire a tornado took the lives of both my grandma’s father and brother.

So there are the stories I can tell you. The rest will have to wait!


La pelea

It only takes an episode or two of Mad Men to remind you how far women have come in carving out a place for themselves in the previously male-dominated landscape.

Today did not display that. And who am I kidding–men still dominate many spheres of life.

To celebrate their prodigal son’s (my brother) overnight stay at home, my parents decided to have a carne asada, or a barbecue. As if on cue, the men (my dad, brother and an uncle) sat down at the table while the women (my mom and aunt) got to work. The men watched a lousy fight on TV. The women sliced the ripe avocados. I, however, observed.

I don’t like watching fights, in person or via a screen, and I don’t like slicing things. I also don’t like shifting my behavior or my actions to take on pre-defined gender roles. Hence the intentional distancing of myself from this typical gender bender, this collision of expectations and inclinations.

I sat there taking mental notes. The women didn’t even eat with the men. They ate outside, where they were grilling the meat. The men stared at the TV. At one point, my brother asked the women “Why don’t you eat?” (He hadn’t noticed that they already had.) I, in my deliberately snarky way, answered “Why don’t you cook?” Nobody heard me. The TV was too loud.

It reminded me of when I came back home after my first year of college, and having taken a sociology class on race and gender and having learned what the “F” word meant to me, I was a changed woman and not afraid to stir things up a bit.

An opportunity quickly presented itself when my mom asked me to make my brother’s bed, in addition to mine. What, doesn’t he have hands? I thought. And then I voiced it. I told her that in instructing me to do so, she was further perpetuating these gender roles that we were conditioned to play since birth. I told her how she was a victim of it, and how I, because of her own ignorance of her situation (think Beauvoir’s La Femme Rompue, think Plato’s Allegory of the Cave), had been subjected to live up to these nonsensical expectations.

She was taken aback by my brazen explanation (most likely because it was a bit impassioned, which is common for me because my beliefs and emotions are inextricably linked). Since then she’s been much more aware of her own servile condition, the one her mom and most prominent women in her life taught her and the one her father, her husband and other important male figures only served to reinforce. Fortunately, because of this little incident, we’ve talked about it and debated it at length in a cliche girl-power type of way as well as with a more serious tone.

She’s no longer the naive 21-year-old she was when she got married. Yes, today she cooked and served the men present, but I must admit my mom LOVES cooking, so it’s not really a burden for her.

But she’s come a long way.



Thoughts lurking in my head today:

1. Did I ever believe in their mission? Maybe yes, but not the organization. I didn’t feel at ease with their propaganda in the end.

2. Rifle sightings today: 3

3. This is Facebook on steroids.

4. Did he really just say that companies are not employing people because the execs are waiting for Obama to leave the White House?

5. What would I do without my mom’s tiramisu?

6. Ugh, I’ll miss my mom’s cooking.

7. Am I supposed to use all of these three social networks at the same time? Kind of a pain.

8. Lentes!

9. I really admire how well she takes care of her mom.

10. Why aren’t their handles popping up? Maybe they blocked me.

11. Thanks, Dad, for ruining the ending to “The Old Man and the Sea. ”

12. I didn’t know he worked there.

13. I hope they don’t misunderstand my LUsers circle. Can they even see how I label my circles?

14. Que es esto?

15. How did he think my name was spelled Liss? Has he never heard of the name Liz?


Today, I’m just the messenger

I’m incredibly overwhelmed with thoughts about a number of topics and now I don’t know what to write about. I’d even planned out one post, but I’m just lacking motivation (and it’s one of those you-have-to-feel-it-in-the-moment type of posts, if not, there’s just no point in writing.)

So, instead of me doing the talking, I will leave you with two messages from two drastically different people–one from Yemen (or at least based there), one from Mexico.

I wish I were the one to have said what you’re about to read or listen to, as many do when in awe of powerful and truthful words and actions. But, I realize that if I try to explain their messages in my words, I will be doing a disservice to you and I will not do them, the writer and orator, justice, and so I leave you this:

From Raja Althaibani, retweeted by Andy Carvin :

Ive heard a lot of jokes about Saleh’s appearance tonight: “he looks crispy” “next time we’ll ask that he’s not medium rare but well done” “looks like he came from a jersey shore audition”.. these all are funny. But I can’t help but feel uncomfortable while reading them. We shouldn’t celebrate moments like this. It is unfortunate and a travesty that turning to violence has become the answer for us. No matter who they are or what they’ve done. Violence should not offer relief. What we are fighting for is justice. And the truly just understand that true justice is achieved in the face of violence and in the face of retribution.When u are offered the choice to avenge and u refuse it, for the sake of peace and justice. To truly reject this as a solution. To be convinced it isnt the solution. If we can set aside our desire of vengeance, we will truly understand what it means to be peaceful. Being peaceful is when even in the face of your enemy, you don’t wish them harm. Peace is where violence and pain are no surrogate for grief. Peace is consistent and should never falter. I pity president Saleh, and I hope this experience will help him empathize for those who have faced his violent repression. I would have rather he found empathy under less brutal circumstances.

From Emiliano Salinas:

After reading and listening to this man and woman, what are your thoughts on violence?