Monday, March 31, 2008

 

We Decide, Not You


From Crackle: Richard Pryor and Chevy Chase - Word Association


You know, after an extended history of utilizing racist sources, browbeating those who question his strange semiotics, and outright lying, I don't think Lou Dobbs is well-suited to serve as our custodian on the race debate. But what do you know, he seems to think he's well-suited for it.



I'm going to ignore the whole "cotton picking" bit for now, because it just speaks for itself. But I'd like to point out the irony of a middle-class white guy -- not just that, but a middle-class white guy with a history of statements on race that could best be categorized as "chronically dubious" -- telling two black people that everything's fine, and if there's a problem, then it's all their fault. According to Lou, everyone else (read: the white folks) have worked out all the issues on race, and the only reason they don't talk about anything is because they fear "recrimination" for people like Obama and Condi (read: the black folks). And of course, there's another white guy there, just nodding his head along and saying, "Thank you."

Nope. No reason to talk about race, people. The white people have it all figured out.

 

I Was Saying "Boo-ush"



"Dick, are... are they booing me?"

"Uh, no, sir, they're saying... uh, 'Boo-ush! Boo-ush!'"

"Tell me, are you saying 'Boo' or 'Boo-ush'?"

"BOOOOOOOOOOO!"



If you ask me, it's something he doesn't hear nearly enough.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

 

Funny Lookin'



You'll have to excuse my brief absence. There's been another academic firestorm.

What makes something funny? According to most people who dissect the essence of a knock-knock jokes for a living, it's the incongruity. It's the element that defies logic, that makes something ridiculous, that makes a joke funny. Freudian analysts split humor into the categories of the ridiculous -- the man acting foolishly in response to events around him -- and the ludicrous -- the man acting composed and slightly snarky as foolish events unspool around him.

Guess what! Apparently, Jay Leno thinks the very act of being gay and in love is ridiculous.

JAY: Can you give me like -- say that camera is your gay lover -- number two --

PHILLIPPE: Wait a second. Wait a second.

JAY: Can you give me your gayest look? Say that -- say that camera is Billy Bob -- Billy Bob has just ridden in shirtless from Wyoming.

(Your sycophantic audience hoots with laughter at the idea of a strapping lad like Phillippe giving a "gay look.")

PHILLIPPE: Wow. That is so something I don't want to do. Are you just going to embarrass me tonight, or --

JAY: No, I got more stuff. This is the least of it.


That's all you have to do for humor, according to Jay Leno. You don't have to put the guy making the "gay face" in an incongruous setting, like a battlefield, a slaughterhouse, or the Republican National Convention. Just being gay is an invitation to being someone's fucking clown, 24/7.

That's all we are, to Mr. All Chin No Cock. We are a walking joke. We are not men and women with loves, jobs, and families. We are not a minority who can still be fired just for being themselves without recompense in several states. We are not a group that has been denied the ability to make a bonding legal relationship with those we love in the vast majority of states. We are not a minority that constantly lives in fear that someone will come after one of us "faggots" with a baseball bat just for being who we are.

We are fools. We are the Stepin Fetchit, the Aunt Jemima, the walking, talking punchlines. And I say we show Jay Leno just the same degree of respect.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

 

Yup, That's Some Liberal Bias



So, as I have noted, John McCain did something very stupid earlier this week: on three separate occasions, he seemed to show a lack of knowledge of the differences between "Shia" and "Sunni", or whose extremists al Qaeda and Iraq were backing. So, in a week of stories ranging from Obama's preachers to Hillary and the blue dress, why the hell didn't McCain's slip-up get more coverage?

It's simple, really; the media loves McCain. No, I am being completely serious here. Everyone from Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post to Ana Marie Cox of Time to Jonathan Alter of Newsweek keeps claiming it was a "misspeak", and that McCain knows too much about foreign policy for it to be an indicator of anything serious.

I'm sorry, what? When Hillary showed one moment of unvarnished emotion in New Hampshire, the media quickly leaped down her throat, trying to use it as a symbol of whether or not she was too "emotional" or "sensitive" to serve in the highest office of the land. But when John McCain makes a fundamental mistake about our involvement in Iraq on three occasions over two days -- the same mistake the people he's supposed to be replacing made, and a mistake on an issue that is crucial to his platform -- the media decides it's just fine to ignore it. They rationalize it away. "It was an error," they say. "A small slip-up. A goof up."

Right. Just remember it was a foreign policy "goof up" from the guy who wants to be President of the United States and whose best buddy has been making threatening gestures towards Iran. There's no way this can possibly backfire.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

 

Bringing You The News That Matters



Really, ABC? Really?


Hillary At White House on 'Stained Blue Dress' Day
Schedules Reviewed by ABC Show Hillary May Have Been in the White House When the Fateful Act Was Committed


This is what's pertinent to the campaign? Our little war in Iraq is going into Year Six with no clear plan for making anything better, one of Wall Street's biggest investment banks had to be bailed out of bankruptcy by a $30 billion (that's with a "b") emergency infusion by the federal government, there are former homeowners living in fucking tents in LA, and apparently, your news bureau thinks it's vitally important that we know that Hillary Clinton was in rough geographic proximity of her husband spooging on an intern's dress? Is there any reason at all why this story might affect Hillary's positions on the war or the economy, or any reason to doubt why this might make her a worse leader than the man who played a guitar while New Orleans drowned?

Y'know, if people in the media are sick of hearing that there's some sort of misogynistic bent in the reporting on Hillary Clinton, then perhaps they should stop feeding into it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

 

An Unhappy Anniversary



Five years. Today, we have been in Iraq for five years. Our war was "over" in months, but the peacekeeping action that ensued blossomed into what could politely be described as a "hot mess." Three thousand, nine hundred and ninety-two American soldiers dead. Four thousand, three hundred Coalition soldiers dead in total. Estimates on the number of Iraqi civilians who have died range wildly, with "official" body counts approaching 90,000, while the Lancet study estimated 655,000 Iraqi civilians dead due to causes directly and indirectly related to the occupation, from conflict to illness to starvation.

Back when the war was first declared, I was actually in favor of it. I did not for one minute believe Bush's claims of weapons of mass destruction or secret deals with al-Qaeda. I supported the war because I thought it could do some indirect good. Our intervention in Kosovo had helped stop the ethnic cleansing, I thought back then; couldn't it be possible that we could liberate the Iraqi civilians from tyranny and set up a fair government?

Yes, I was naive then. But there probably could've been a stable reconstruction, had things not been bungled horribly. If someone in charge had made it clear to all involved the differences between Sunni and Shia, and why a destabilized central government might lead to strife amongst extremists of both sects. If someone in charge had bothered to make sure that the infrastructure stayed in tact, so that Iraqi civilians could have electricity and clean water. If someone in charge had actually taken it upon themselves to make sure that Humvees and soldiers were properly armored, and not considered such things luxuries that could not be included in such a dire war.

If, if, if. All these ifs have added up. American soldiers are dead for a war whose very cause turned out to be built on falsehoods. Iraq is liberated for Saddam, but the government cannot get its act together, and we make deals with the same extremists who were firing on soldiers not months before to ensure temporary stability. Out of eighteen benchmarks that the Iraqi government was supposed to meet to ensure stability, only three were met.

And there is little remorse over all that has taken place -- at least, coming from those with the most stake in it. Bush still thinks that we're on the track for victory. Paul Bremer, who headed the Iraqi provisional government, said he'd pretty much go back and do it all again. Dick Cheney doesn't care that two-thirds of the American populace opposes the war, calling American opinions fluctuations in the polls. And McCain, the guy the Politico tells us can win the election on the issue of Iraq, can't even distinguish the differences between Sunni and Shia. The first three are idiots who will soon be thrown headfirst into the dustbin of history, but McCain's the man who is trying to convince us that he knows what's best for the nation and, most importantly, he'll keep us in Iraq if he gets into office, no matter what the American people say.

Once upon a time, there was a chance we could have improved life for the Iraqi people. Now we're left with a hard choice between keeping our soldiers in an unstable situation that will most likely cost more American lives, and pulling out and likely accelerating the inevitable collapse. But the American people have spoken, and it is clear that they favor withdrawal. We need someone who can make this happen, not someone who tries to convince us he knows what he's doing while fucking things up worse.

Monday, March 17, 2008

 

Holy Orders



So, if you've been paying attention to the media at all these past few days, you'll notice that Obama's pastor has said some things that people in the media consider a bit untoward. Namely, on the nature of the racial divide in America and God's relationship with our country. Now, I can understand why these comments, while justified, are seen as inflammatory, and I can understand why Obama would wish to distance himself from the issue. I've just got a simple question:

Why is this news? I know, yes, one of our presidential candidates has a direct relationship with a religious figure who says outrageous things. I mean, this kind of thing usually has the punditry rampaging down one side and up the other... oh, wait.

Yes, the issues are apples and oranges, to a degree. I just want us to objectively compare the two. Obama has been pressured by the media for days to separate himself from Rev. Wright after the latter made comments about God looking on America with shame for racially-divisive practices, and Obama explained how he had grown distanced from Wright's beliefs by that point. By comparison, a brief media flurry ensues when McCain gets the endorsement from Rev. Hagee, who believes that America needs to wage full-out war in the Middle East to bring about the apocalypse, and McCain feebly claims that he doesn't believe everything Hagee says, but he's glad to have him on the team.

Now, I've seen it argued that these are different matters, that Obama being associated with a "religious extremist" is different from McCain "playing to the base." Is this how far the narrative's shifted? That it's become perfectly reasonable for one of the candidates for the highest office in the land to pal around with a man whose plans for Armageddon make him sound like a rejected Buffy villain? Am I supposed to look at that and say, "Eh, what can you do, candidates will be candidates"?

Come back to me when someone digs up a sermon of Rev. Wright talking about nuking Dixie. Then I might see some reason for all of this.

Friday, March 14, 2008

 

Good Riddance To Bad Garbage



First Tucker Carlson was banished from the world of televised news... again. Now, everyone's favorite recently-dead-actor-ridiculing, white-baby-production-advocating, tiny-dicked sorrow-mocking cockbag John Gibson got booted from FOX News. If you followed any of those links or just watched the video above, you'd know that this guy is a grade-A asshole, and I see his canning as a minor cause for celebration. Who knows, it may even make FOX News look slightly more legitimate.

I said "slightly."

 

Poisoning The Well



I've been busy the past few days on a desperate search for a summer job (downturned economy; you have to start early), so I haven't been covering the Geraldine Ferraro clusterfuck for all it's worth. In fact, by now, it's all over but the shouting. Well, and the fallout.

There's nothing I can say about this that Keith Olbermann doesn't say up above. Geraldine Ferraro made a very stupid mistake when she claimed Obama only won because he's black. She committed the political equivalent of setting off a suitcase nuke while clutching it to your body when she claimed she was only being targeted because she was white. Finally she stepped down, but by then the damage was done.

And the saddest part of this was, Hillary practically did nothing. Yes, she distanced herself from Ferraro's comments, but Ferraro was still on her staff. Compare and contrast with the Obama staffer who called Hillary a "monster", who didn't even last 24 hours after the statement came out. Here was this toxic statement which just... hung in the air, while Hillary just vaguely tried to distance herself from it but didn't do much else.

At this point, there are two ways for Hillary to even remotely have a chance to pull out of this: either declare, from the highest mountain on down, a severance of all ties with Geraldine Ferraro and a repudiation of her stupid statements, or drop out of the race so that another one of these suitcase nukes does not get dropped.

Monday, March 10, 2008

 

Oklahomophobia



And Sally Kern wins this week's Dumbass Award. Take it away, Sally!



So, to recap that: we are a bigger threat to America than terrorism "or Islam" (it's two, two, two bigotries in one!), we're going to hasten the destruction of America, we go after kids as young as two for indoctrination, and we're a "cancer" (hey, does that remind you of everything?). I also love how she says she's "not gay bashing" at the start of the whole thing. It's like the "no punch backs" of bigotry.

So, do you think Kern's any bit sorry? Oh, you've got to be kidding me.

Rep. Kern said the gay community, especially in Oklahoma, should not be surprised by her comments because she's made similar statements in the past.

Kern said the attention isn't necessarily wanted, but she says she won't shy away from her opinions and beliefs, either.

"What is wrong with me as an American exercising my free speech rights on a topic that is a very big issue today?" she said.


Nothing wrong with that. But you're an elected official. You're someone who has been chosen by the people of your state to help all the people, not just the non-gay, non-Muslim ones. You're on your state's education committee. You have authority over votes that protect kids from bullying, malice, and suicide based on their sexuality. And when you come out and state that you would consider any of those bills to be in support of a "cancerous" threat to America, it matters.

Then again, I highly doubt this woman cares if her actions have consequences.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

 

Muslims Are Aliens. This Is Truth.



Can we stop this garbage? Please? I am getting absolutely and utterly tired of "Muslim" being thrown around as if it's of equal gravity and danger to "did drugs" or "killed a guy." I'm tired of what is, at its very root, an ugly and bigoted rumor pushed around by the Swift Boat crowd getting play in the national press over, and over, and over again. I'm tired of journalists thinking this is one of the most important things to ask about Obama.

But even more than that, I'm tired of Muslims being treated like this "other" by the media, day in, day out. I'm tired of America's first Muslim politician being asked to prove he's not with the terrorists with no consequences for the fucktard who asks him. I'm tired of the fact that the most likely reason for a Muslim character to show up on an American TV show is to either a) be a terrorist, or b) show up once so that a token message can be made about not everyone's a terrorist, only to fade into the background. I'm a little bit sad that there are apparently only two recurring Muslim characters on TV these days: Sayid from Lost and that kid from Aliens in America, and the former's become an assassin and the latter's most likely headed for cancellation.

I'm just ranting, of course. But I have a feeling that things might maybe be just a little bit better if the media actually looked at Muslims as real people, rather than potential threats or walking PSAs.

EDITED: Cancellation =/= assassination. Kids, don't drink and blog.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

 

Slaying The Dragon



As I've made clear many times on this blog, I'm a geek. Particularly, a gaming geek. I was a bit socially awkward in high school; I was still trying to work around my Asperger's, and while I talked to lots of people and hung out with folks of all sorts of crowds, I felt like I had acquaintances, not friends. It was only after reading a certain webcomic that I saw how games like D&D could help me exercise my imagination (crucial for any wannabe screenwriter) while exercising my social skills (yes, yes, I know, "learning social skills from D&D", very funny, and if that's your response, please go kindly fuck off for the rest of this piece).

Of course, being me, I really got into D&D about two weeks before I graduated high school. But when I came to college, I ended up joining gaming groups and making some very solid friendships through them. D&D helped me strengthen my skills at forming relationships with other people, and actually gave me a bit more self-esteem about my social skills.

So, it's with a heavy heart that I announce the death of Gary Gygax, godfather of D&D and, by extension, a buttload of geek culture. Sure, there's a chance that a different kind of roleplaying game could have evolved out of the social maelstrom of wargaming in the '70s. Yes, a lot of D&D was taken wholesale from Lord of the Rings. But D&D established the roleplaying game as a genre, and by extension, ushered in everything from GURPS to Call of Cthulhu to Vampire: the Masquerade to Shadowrun to HERO.

And it's not just the tabletop game, either. If you've played any sort of video game where your character has levels in a class that are earned through experience, you can thank D&D. And yes, this includes Final Fantasy (hell, a lot of spells from the first Final Fantasy game were taken wholesale from D&D), World of Warcraft, and most other video game RPGs. D&D served as a forefather to all of them, no matter how indirectly.

Godspeed, Gary Gygax. When we roll natural 20s in the future, it shall always be in your name.

Monday, March 03, 2008

 

I'm Every Woman - Every Stupid, Foolish Woman



As we all know, the Washington Post hasn't exactly been a bastion of quality lately. First of all, they've continued to hold on to Howard Kurtz, a diffident, equivocating media critic who sees no difference between gossip about Obama's flag pin and the Abu Ghraib leak and hearts Michelle Malkin. Second of all, Fred Hiatt, the paper's editorial page editor has abandoned any semblance of objectivity and come out swinging for the Bush Administration. Third of all, I'm sure we all remember when the paper tried to hire a conservative blogger to "balance" out their editorial department, never mind the fact that the newspaper had an equal number of conservative and liberal columnists and was making no plans to hire a liberal blogger. The paper's managed to showcase some outstanding pieces of reporting, but it's obvious that there's something a little bit off about the editorial board.

Still, I'm wondering which one of them was so addled in the brain case to allow this outdated piece of sexist garbage on the editorial page. In case you're unfamiliar with the author, Charlotte Allen writes for the Independent Women's Forum, one of those organizations that tries to hide the fact that it seeks to undermine feminism by having women talk about how they're all stupid and don't need equality. And in this article, Charlotte basically abandons any semblance of trying to hide her agenda and just goes right in for the sexism:

I can't help it, but reading about such episodes of screaming, gushing and swooning makes me wonder whether women -- I should say, "we women," of course -- aren't the weaker sex after all. Or even the stupid sex, our brains permanently occluded by random emotions, psychosomatic flailings and distraction by the superficial. Women "are only children of a larger growth," wrote the 18th-century Earl of Chesterfield. Could he have been right?

"Women are getting passionate about politics in a way I don't agree with. Could what some rich white dude from the 1700s said be right about us women not having two brain cells to rub together for warmth?"

I'm not the only woman who's dumbfounded (as it were) by our sex, or rather, as we prefer to put it, by other members of our sex besides us. It's a frequent topic of lunch, phone and water-cooler conversations; even some feminists can't believe that there's this thing called "The Oprah Winfrey Show" or that Celine Dion actually sells CDs.

"I know a woman, who knows a barber, who knows a postman, who knows some feminists who say they can't stand Oprah Winfrey!"

But, lest you think Charlotte's talking about how she has all the self-esteem of a wet piece of tissue paper, let's ask her what she thinks about her husband:

And obviously men do dumb things, too, although my husband has perfectly good explanations for why he eats standing up at the stove (when I'm not around) or pulls down all the blinds so the house looks like a cave (also when I'm not around): It has to do with the aggressive male nature and an instinctive fear of danger from other aggressive men. When men do dumb things, though, they tend to be catastrophically dumb, such as blowing the paycheck on booze or much, much worse (think "postal"). Women's foolishness is usually harmless. But it can be so . . . embarrassing.

So, you've got that right? Men, when they're foolish, are assertive and act physically. What do women do that's foolish?

What is it about us women? Why do we always fall for the hysterical, the superficial and the gooily sentimental? Take a look at the New York Times bestseller list. At the top of the paperback nonfiction chart and pitched to an exclusively female readership is Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love." Here's the book's autobiographical plot: Gilbert gets bored with her perfectly okay husband, so she has an affair behind his back. Then, when that doesn't pan out, she goes to Italy and gains 23 pounds forking pasta so she has to buy a whole new wardrobe, goes to India to meditate (that's the snooze part), and finally, at an Indonesian beach, finds fulfillment by -- get this -- picking up a Latin lover!

This is the kind of literature that countless women soak up like biscotti in a latte cup: food, clothes, sex, "relationships" and gummy, feel-good "spirituality." This female taste for first-person romantic nuttiness, spiced with a soup┬┐on of soft-core porn, has made for centuries of bestsellers -- including Samuel Richardson's 1740 novel "Pamela," in which a handsome young lord tries to seduce a virtuous serving maid for hundreds of pages and then proposes, as well as Erica Jong's 1973 "Fear of Flying."


So... men are strong, assertive, and acting out of an irrational yet still protective instinct while scared, but women "sop up" sentimentality and tenderness. According to Charlotte, women are stupid because they act the way the traditional gender constructs portray them to be. It's like unintentional feminist performance art.

But, just when you thought this work couldn't plumb the depths of self-parody any more than it already does, she says this:

I am perfectly willing to admit that I myself am a classic case of female mental deficiencies. I can't add 2 and 2 (well, I can, but then what?). I don't even know how many pairs of shoes I own. I have coasted through life and academia on the basis of an excellent memory and superior verbal skills, two areas where, researchers agree, women consistently outpace men. (An evolutionary just-so story explains this facility of ours: Back in hunter-gatherer days, men were the hunters and needed to calculate spear trajectories, while women were the gatherers and needed to remember where the berries were.) I don't mind recognizing and accepting that the women in history I admire most -- Sappho, Hildegard of Bingen, Elizabeth I, George Eliot, Margaret Thatcher -- were brilliant outliers.

Wow. I take back what I said about the self-esteem of a wet piece of tissue paper. A wet piece of tissue paper holds up a little more.

"I think I'm stupid, ergo, I think that most women out there are stupid"? Jesus fuck. I might as well write an editorial that says, "I'm socially awkward, so I think that most gay men are also socially awkward." Fred Hiatt will be knocking down my fucking door. But, hey, it's not like the paper decided to take the point of the editorial and run with it, right?



Oh, right. That would be the image the Post originally ran on the website to designate the piece, which was later changed after they noticed that there was a shitstorm a-brewin'.

Of course, now the Post is back-spinning and trying to pass it off as just a joke, claiming she wanted to make fun of the contents of the first paragraph -- women screaming at Obama rallies like Beatles fans. Now, I might buy that excuse if the people at the Post had taken a look at, oh, the rest of the piece and say, "Hell no." But, they decided to let a piece go to print where a writer called all women stupid, and told them to just lie back and embrace the soppy sentimentality that apparently defines the gender one hundred percent.

I think it's safe to say that this shit is inexcusable in this day and age. Women have gotten the vote, the right to choose, a permanent position in the workplace, and some degree of control over their own lives. A major metropolitan newspaper should not be hosting an editorial that treats them as emotionally-stunted Barbie dolls. At least, if it really wants those young mothers between the ages of 18 and 34, that is.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

 

Yes, But He's My Agent Of Intolerance!

Hey, remember when John McCain actually had principles, and some of us liberals considered him a man who would stand up against the crackpots in the religious right? Yeah, that was fun while it lasted.

Yes, this is the same John Hagee who's at the forefront of the Christian Zionist movement, a movement dedicated to bringing about the end of the world. Yes, this is thee same John Hagee who views the Catholic Church as "the Great Whore of Revelation 17" (hey, McCain, weren't you vaguely Episcopalian back in the day?). Yes, this is the same John Hagee who said New Orleans had it coming for hosting a gay pride parade.

Y'know, I think the most startling part of this isn't that McCain's sold out his prior principles to accept an endorsement from Hagee (I mean, it's a month with a vowel in the name, right?), but the fact that I'm actually agreeing with William Freaking Donohue on something. Looks like the apocalypse is coming.

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