Thursday, July 31, 2008
First They Came For The Homophobes, And I Said Nothing...
There is a phenomenon, noted among the fantasy/science fiction fandom, known as "the Brain Eater." The specifics of the Brain Eater are vague, but many take it to mean when a writer, fueled by success and already bearing at least a few political beliefs that veer off from the center, spirals into full-blown political insanity and starts working these opinions into their writings. This is where you get things like Dave Sim, author of the successful independent comic Cerebus, talking about how women are intellectual voids that drain warmth and creativity from men, or the alleged quote from Anne McCaffrey, author of the Dragonriders of Pern series, where she explained how male dragonriders "turning gay" was based on the fact that anyone could be turned gay by a tent peg up the ass.
Orson Scott Card has obviously already been visited by some sort of illithid (why, yes, I am an absolute geek, how did you guess?), which supped mightily of his brain meats. But if his recent article says anything, it's that the Brain Eater came back for seconds.
Okay, so, it starts out like any other article by him on the topic of homosexuality: gay marriage infringes on straight marriage, legitimizes an illegitimate relationship, those homos are all the victims of sexual abuse who've been perverted in mindset and want to self-perpetuate, blah blah bullshit. Nothing new, I suppose...
Why should married people feel the slightest loyalty to a government or society that are conspiring to encourage reproductive and/or marital dysfunction in their children?
Why should married people tolerate the interference of such a government or society in their family life?
If America becomes a place where our children are taken from us by law and forced to attend schools where they are taught that cohabitation is as good as marriage, that motherhood doesn't require a husband or father, and that homosexuality is as valid a choice as heterosexuality for their future lives, then why in the world should married people continue to accept the authority of such a government?
What these dictator-judges do not seem to understand is that their authority extends only as far as people choose to obey them.
How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.
Biological imperatives trump laws. American government cannot fight against marriage and hope to endure. If the Constitution is defined in such a way as to destroy the privileged position of marriage, it is that insane Constitution, not marriage, that will die.
Yes, you just read a sci-fi author proposing the overthrow of the American government for, of all things, allowing gays to marry. Not torture, not the War in Iraq, not the abuse of civil liberties -- no, Orson has gladly lined up all of these things, as long as they protect us from the dreaded Mohammedans. Nope, righteous rebellion should be triggered because those "dictator-judges" are invalidating marriage by letting the queers get in on it.
Chad, who makes a perverse hobby of following Card's various brain droppings and dissecting them, of course delivers a point-by-point refutation of the many, many instances of bullshit throughout the article. So, really, there's nothing left for me to do here but point and laugh. Which I shall do, with much vigor.
Monday, July 28, 2008
I've Had It With Your Bullshit
So, in case you've missed it by now, a man down in Knoxville, TN, went into a Unitarian Universalist church and opened fire, killing two and wounding several. He did this while the church was putting on a children's production of Annie. When the police searched his car, they found a manifesto blaming his recent ills on liberals, and claiming that since he could not attack liberal leaders, he would attack those who voted for them. A search of his home found books by Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Michael Savage.
I've got a message, for all those glorious pundits on the right, from Ann Coulter to Glenn Beck to Bill O'Reilly to Michael Reagan to Michael Savage to Michelle Malkin. Here's the message:
Choke on it.
These are the fruits of your labors. You pretend to jape and joke, and all the while, men like Jim David Adkisson take your words as gospel. You proclaim that Howard Dean should be hung for treason, and they listen. You "joke" about your desire to choke Michael Moore to death, and they listen. You fantasize about the ways you want to kill liberals, and they listen. You encourage your readers to stalk children, and they listen. You open people up for death threats, only to mock them when they fear for their safety, and they listen. You talked about San Francisco getting righteously destroyed, and they listened. You "joke" about assassinating standing politicians, and they listen. And after a while, they start to think it sounds like a good idea.
Don't tell me you didn't know this was coming. You've known this was coming for a long while. Hell, when it happened, and when one of your fanboys started thinking it was time to scare the shit out of those measly liberals, you cracked wise about it.
Well, ha ha. What a funny joke it was. But the joke's over. Now's the time when you show that you've still got something, tarnished and rotten as it may be, resembling a soul. Now's the time that you realize that people listen to what you have to say, and what that leads to may not be good. Now's the time when you realize that us liberals aren't just fucking targets, but your fellow Americans with lives, loves, and dreams. We are not waste. We are not traitors. We are American citizens, just like you.
And if you continue on this path, then that's good. That means I get to treat you as the piece of waste that you obviously consider me to be. Makes it easier for both of us.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Amazing What A Donut Gets You These Days
As I may have noted in the past, I am not a big fan of CBS News under the aegis of Katie Couric. Her time on the program has been characterized by a general lack of questions -- barring the occasional expose, she and many of the reporters under her will not look critically at whatever info is handed to them by a politician, pundit, or lobbyist, and instead pass it off as truth.
But honestly, I never thought it would go this low:
So, McCain absolutely blew a question on the surge and the Sunni Awakening (the general he mentions discussed the start of the Awakening months before the surge had even been announced). But it's not enough to just let the blunder go unquestioned; no, CBS cut the interview so that McCain appears to answer the question with a pat response about how Obama would be willing to lose a war to win a campaign (which, while low, does not make McCain look like someone who knows shit about Iraq). This, in turn, violates the Standards and Practices of CBS News by making it appear like McCain answered Question A with Answer B.
It's bad enough that we have a media that's lying down on the job. Does CBS News really have to go all Ministry of Truth on top of it?
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Next We Ask Wolves Why Sheep Don't Want To Be Eaten
Clayton Bigsby - The funniest videos clips are here
There's an unfortunate tendency in the media to listen to any voice that has enough money and influence behind it on a controversial issue, no matter how ill-suited to talk about the issue or, well, just plain batshit insane the voice in question might be. Some good examples in the past include taking William "Anal Sex!" Donohue seriously when he alleges "anti-Catholic bigotry" and asking David Duke what he thinks about Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial conference.
CNN's airing a special called Black In America, which, one might think, would indicate that they've learned a lesson from the Imus scandal, the various monkey T-shirts, the coverage of Katrina, and so forth -- namely, that racism exists in America, and one should be careful in making sure it doesn't get adopted as mainstream dogma.
Steve Sailer, a columnist for The American Conservative magazine, wrote last year that some whites who support Obama aren't driven primarily by a desire for change.
They want something else Obama offers them: "White Guilt Repellent," he wrote.
"So many whites want to be able to say, 'I'm not one of them, those bad whites. ... Hey, I voted for a black guy for president,' " Sailer wrote.
Sailer cited another reason why many whites want Obama as president:
"They hope that when a black finally moves into the White House, it will prove to African-Americans, once and for all, that white animus isn't the cause of their troubles. All blacks have to do is to act like President Obama - and their problems will be over."
In case you're curious, that would be the same Steve Sailer who writes for VDARE, an organization that argues for closing the borders to keep America "pure." He's also put forth the particular argument that blacks just don't have the same capacity for judgment as whites. That's right; CNN just let a white supremacist tell them why whites are primarily motivated to vote for Obama so that they won't be seen as racist.
But he has money behind him and writes for a nice respectable organization, so that means he get a voice. They're just not going to pay attention to what it's saying.
My Friends In Big Tobacco Tell Me Cigarettes Cure Polio
So John McCain has decided to follow in the steps of Bush once again and endorse the plan for off-shore drilling. And on whose credible testimony is he basing this policy?
“My friends, we have to drill off shore. We have to do it. It’s out there and we can do it. And we can do that. The oil executives say within a couple of years we could be seeing results from it. So why not do it?”
Yes, those would be the same oil executives who funneled cash into global warming denial groups until it became unprofitable and gave each other $400 million retirement packages while the country paid $5/gallon after Katrina. And they're only throwing their support behind a program that would, at the very least, provide them with a new source of government welfare even if it doesn't yield sufficient amounts of oil. I know, I'm amazed, too.
But then again, we all know that it's Obama who's to blame for high oil prices. Classy, John. Why not blame him for Crocs while we're at it?
Monday, July 21, 2008
No Cure For Cancer
So, back in spring of 2007, Howard Dean appointed Leah Daughtry, a Pentecostalist minister, as chief executive of the Democratic National Convention. Daughtry's appointment is obviously part of an effort to bring more evangelicals to the Democratic party, and I honestly consider the effort to bring in evangelicals who believe in social justice a good thing. I am, of course, a little pissed off by the distribution of official party packets that run counter to the party position on abortion and same-sex marriage, but by now, I'm pretty much used to the DNC talking out of both sides of their mouths in an effort to get the evangelical vote.
No, what really bothers me is this:
Dancing down front, in an aisle between pews, was a woman in an elaborate dress with a lace corsage whose breast cancer had been eradicated, Daughtry had said, through the prayers of her church sisters: “The eggheads will say her chemotherapy worked, but everyone who uses chemotherapy isn’t cured.”
“The intellectuals, the egghead types — Pentecostalism is incomprehensible to them. They don’t understand the spirit-driven. I can make the trains run on time, and they have a hard time reconciling that with my religion.”
For the love of God, can we please, please put a stop to this anti-intellectual bullshit? I was tired of it when right-wing talking heads pushed it as a reason why you shouldn't trust those high-and-mighty scientists. I was sick of it when Chris Matthews painted college-educated Americans as "the other." I could've vomited when Paul Begala willingly gulped down the Kool-Aid.
But now it's a hand-picked member of Dean's efforts to ensure victory for Obama in '08 who's pushing the idea that a reliance of science and reasoning is wrong and abnormal. I'm getting really goddamn tired on the DNC thinking that the best way to win over voters is to imitate the GOP.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Can't We All Just Get Along?
If it works for soft drinks, why won't it work for the abuse of civil liberties?
If there is one word I am utterly sick of hearing from the mainstream press, it's "bipartisanship." Now, I am not adverse to the idea of both political parties getting together and actually getting good stuff done. It's just that, with Congress currently consisting of an obstructionist Republican minority and a diffident Democratic majority, "bipartisanship" is more often than not taken to mean, "Just shut up and bend over for whoever holds power." It doesn't matter what the government actually does, just as long as it goes smoothly.
Take, for example, this article in Newsweek, as written by Stuart Taylor, which explains that the best thing we can do for this whole torture imbroglio is to... pardon everyone involved and then invite them to tell us what happened, so that we can help those affected and just put the whole thing behind us. Otherwise, it could "touch off years of partisan warfare."
Now, I agree with Taylor's general idea -- a body does need to be set up that will expose just how far our disastrous torture policy has gone and how many people have been hurt by it. But when he cites South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, he forgets to mention that pardons were promised only after testimony was shared and the crime in question was judged to be politically motivated. Here, he talks about handing out a blanket pardon before hand and then hopefully, maybe, getting an answer or two out of the Bush Administration.
And therein lies the problem. Because the Bush Administration is not going to do shit if it knows it won't get punished. Cheney learned a lesson from Watergate, and that lesson, twisted and malodorous as it may be, was, "If there's someone to make it better in the end, then the crime pretty much never happened in the first place." Even today, the Bush Administration has been served with subpoena after subpoena for misdeeds ranging from political interference with federal attorneys to the Plame scandal and has responded at every turn with, "I'd like to see you try." By offering an escape plan, practically gratis, there's an even greater chance of everything vanishing straight down the memory hole. Furthermore, there's little disincentive for when the next abusive twit takes office and decides to play merry hell with the Constitution.
But, no. Everything needs to be done properly. Everything needs to be done politely. No one must ever face punishment for the fact that they have blatantly violated the rule of law. Because to do so is partisan, and that's the last thing anyone wants to be these days.
Hell, some people would rather be the guy who let a torturer get off scot free than a partisan.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Next Will Be The Andrew Jackson Center For Native American Welfare
I was out of the country when Jesse Helms died, and by the time I got Internet access again, it was a little late to comment. Now, a while back, I said I would hold a big fuck-off party when he died. Then, some time later, I said that I'd realized it was wrong to celebrate the death of any one person.
So, now that Helms is dead, all I can say is: Good fucking riddance. Yes, look at me, I changed my mind again. That's one of the few benefits of being young and trying to figure out where your ideology lies. But seriously, fuck Jesse Helms. Fuck that racist, homophobic piece of trash. If he hadn't fought for the Klan vote so fucking hard, integration might have gotten here sooner. Hell, if he hadn't treated us gays like lepers, who knows how many people could still be alive because they'd gotten AIDS medicine. But no, we were disgusting little fags, and he was proud to watch us die.
Which is where we come around to what really drives me fucking crazy when little shit stains like Helms die: There will be people who aren't willing to admit that their ideological allies were pathetic little trolls. Instead, they will eulogize, nay, canonize their brothers in politics, no matter how bigoted, how twisted, how fucking disgusting they were.
But I've got to admit, it takes some fucking gall to want to stick Helms's name on an AIDS relief bill. But Elizabeth Dole has that gall, or just the general cluelessness, to attempt it. Dole, who has never seen her people decimated by a plague that everyone else wanted to ignore, thinks that it's perfectly appropriate to honor a man who helped that plague spread to every corner it could by sticking his name on a bill meant to help its victims.
I say we let her know exactly what we think about that, don't you?
Monday, July 14, 2008
Four More Years
Four years. It's been about four years since I started this blog. That's the time between presidential elections, Summer Olympics, and leap years... all of which we will have, or had, this year. Funny how that works.
When I started this blog, I just wanted to have a place to comment on weird news articles, bitch about politics, and share events from my daily life like most of the other bloggers and LJers I read. After a while, I guess the blog started to veer towards politics and pop culture, and lately it's been mostly politics, with the occasional bit of pop culture.
Of course, it's not like I've been at the top of the game all this time. When I started the blog, I took the position of the "ostrich centrist," the kind of person who thinks, "Oh, both sides have good points, why can't we find a balance?" After a while, of course, I came to realize that playing centrist isn't the most logical position in the world when the majority of one party's insistent on tearing up the Constitution and the leadership of the other party seems to keep saying, "Thank you, sir, may I have another?" I've made incredibly specious arguments on this blog, some in the past year. I've acted like a self-entitled fanboy when it comes to pop culture, passing premature judgment on events or shows that took a slight downturn or did something that seemed disagreeable at the time (though I still hold true to everything I said about the death of Captain America).
But over all, I just want to look back at everything that's happened. When I started this blog, I was fearful about what the next school year, my last year at high school, would bring. And I guess the phenomenon's repeating; next year, I graduate at Emerson, and fling myself into the weird, wild world of screenwriting. And this blog will still be here, of course. To record all my fears, my outrages, and my hopes.
It's been a good ride so far. Here's hoping it keeps going.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Reality Has Jumped The Shark
Sometime Tuesday night, Irony was found dead on the floor on his apartment in Bed-Stuy. He was found clutching a note that said, "Oh, fuck it."
That would be the Lady (yes, Lady, as in, wife to a Lord) Lynn Forester de Rothschild, wife of British banking financier Sir Evelyn Robert Adrian de Rothschild and generally filthy rich socialite, describing how she will not vote for Barack Obama because he is "elitist."
For fuck's sake, woman, you are technically British nobility, and you are pushing forward the meme that Obama is an elitist. Now, I don't know a lot around Lady Rothschild's early background -- from the interviews I've dug up where she discussed such a thing, she says she worked hard at her summer jobs while living in Jersey, which at least rules out the possibility of "indolent rich." But still, she's married into nobility, works at Estee Lauder, holds swank Manhattan parties, and acts like she has the proper class consciousness to describe Obama as an "elitist."
God, class warfare has never seemed so appealing.
Friday, July 11, 2008
With My Luck, I'd Get That Fucking "Heart" Ring
Our president has what could charitably be described as a fucking abysmal record on environmental policy. From altering NASA's mission statement to remove that whole "protect the planet" bit to having Cheney allegedly censor reports to climate change to the EPA needing to be told by the Supreme Court to get off its ass and handle carbon emissions and still doing nothing, Bush has gone out of his way to make sure that the planet rots under his administration.
And guess what? He feels absolutely no shame about it whatsoever.
The American leader, who has been condemned throughout his presidency for failing to tackle climate change, ended a private meeting with the words: "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter."
He then punched the air while grinning widely, as the rest of those present including Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy looked on in shock.
You. Rancid. Piece. Of. Dog. Shit.
That does it. Somehow, I have taken a wrong turn, and ended up in an episode of Captain Planet. And I don't even have the ability to control the primal elements. Or a monkey. At this point, I'd settle for a monkey.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Kneel Before Zod
So, yesterday a good number of the Senate Democrats followed the lead of the House and capitulated to Bush. No, why use a word like capitulated? They bent over fucking backwards to give the administration what it wanted. They could have killed this legislation. They could have scrapped the provisions that effectively say, "It's not a crime if the president says it isn't." But they went along with it. Hell, even the media doesn't doubt for a minute that this was anything but a surrender.
Of course, it's an oversimplification to say that they surrendered, or that they were afraid of it. That is very likely the case for some of them; after months of being wrung up and down by Republican pundits and politicians as traitors and naive fools, they must have quaked before the might of a lame-duck president and the minority party. But there's another possibility, as John Cole brings up; maybe the Democrats who voted on this bill actually see it as necessary. Maybe they see it as necessary to cede more power to the executive branch, a branch that already says, "We don't have to comply with your subpoenas, ha ha ha ha." Maybe they think it's a good idea to give telecoms an easy out from betraying the trust of their customers all because their fancy lawyers didn't realize such a thing as the Fourth Amendment exists.
And that may be the one thing scarier than a party packed with cowards.
Justin Cognito's European Vacation
No, I'm not dead. That's the bad news.
On Tuesday, the Cognito Clan set out for two weeks on an European vacation -- three days in Italy's Cinque Terra region, six days in Tuscany as part of a family reunion, and four days in Amsterdam. There were plans that I would get regular Internet access at the villa in Tuscany, so I thought I would update there.
Yeah, right. We brought along Brother Cognito's laptop so he could use Skype to call his girlfriend. Yeah, well, the villa had DSL, and Brother Cognito's laptop had no ISP, so we were SOL. And nearly all attempts to get Internet access failed miserably (this Internet cafe was full, that Internet cafe was closed, the other Internet cafe had moved...).
So, how was the vacation? Not bad. We had a long slog to get to our town of Riomaggiori on the first days (no, first two days -- we took off 5:30 PM EST Tuesday and ended up in Riomaggiori 3 PM local time Wednesday), but there was some good stuff there. Tuscany... well, it's always nice to see Siena again, especially in the run-up to the Palio, but after a while, all the charming Italian hill towns start to blend together. Amsterdam was definitely cool, though. If I should, for some unseen reason, have to flee the country, Amsterdam would be a good destination. It's a place where you can see both sweet little ducklings on your average stroll and prostitute under glass. Yes, I walked about the Red Light District with my parents. That should be weird, but it really isn't.
And then we got back Tuesday night, and the reason I posted absolutely nothing about this was because, after being denied the Internet for most of my vacation, irony of ironies, my Internet got blocked off. The problem's fixed, though... for now.
So. Back to work.