Thursday, October 31, 2013

Dear Female Friends - Another Halloween Missive

Dear Female Friends,

Happy Halloween! I hope that you found or made a costume you will enjoy. If you bought your costume, I’m sorry that most of the women’s costumes are something with “sexy” as the adjective. Many think I should rail against all the ridiculous “sexy” outfits, from “sexy nurse” to “sexy pirate” to “sexy ninja turtle”. I can’t in good conscience do that, however, because it would be hypocritical for me to say that a woman can do whatever the hell she wants, but then say that dressing like a slutty Scrabble board is wrong. It seems ridiculous that people who nickname Halloween "Slutoween" are the same ones who promote the Slut Walks in cities and rail against people who say women should dress a certain way to not get harassed. Yes, people will talk, but f*** it. Do you, and enjoy the night.

I would likely watch more TMNT as a teen if they looked like this.

First, I’m sorry there aren’t as many sexy surgeon or lawyer costumes as there are nurse ones. They exist, but they are just so much harder to find. Second, I really don’t care if you Rule 34 any of my favourite childhood cartoons characters. I will laugh, though, because they are funny. Sexy Bert and Ernie, Sexy Transformers, Sexy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Sexy Storm Troopers are all too absurd to not earn a few chuckles. Besides, you haven’t done anything worse than what Michael Bay has done. That man is on a mission to f*** everything from our childhood that held held dear with a block of C-4 and a detonator...If I see a “sexy” Cheetarah, I may propose.

Shanghai Surprise Geisha, so it's offensive to two countries!
I do ask, however, that you keep the sexy cartoon characters away from your kids…They can make their own decisions about sexy stuff when they’re old enough to have sex. Bratz dolls may have blurred that line, but you should know. Also, let’s stay away from the racist “sexy” costumes. Shanghai Surprise Geisha girl is wrong in so many ways, geographically and socially. Sexy Hitler is NOT. COOL. EVER. If your costume is “Sexy” [any ethnic group that has been subjugated in the last 500 years], just err on the side of hell no.

Lastly, there is a certain costume that keeps popping up that may be the most despicable women’s costume. It’s called Anna Rexia. It is a skeleton dress with an actual skull cap. Making light of an eating disorder borne from the body-shaming that bombards the psyche of everyone in this country is just f***ed up. It’s not edgy; it’s not dark; it’s just bad. The only way it could be more offensive is if you add a Hitler moustache to it.
Just no.

So in conclusion, dress as sexily as you want, and ignore the slut-shamers. Bring a can of glitter and pepper spray for the misogynistic gropers, and I apologise if you catch me looking at your legs. If I’m laughing at you, please don’t get mad. It is very rare that I get to see a sexified Monopoly board.

Your male friend.

PS- I’m so f***ing serious. NO SEXY HITLER

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dear White Friends...A Halloween Missive

Dear White Friends,

Halloween is right around the corner. I hope you have as much fun as I always have. I’ve been Samuel L. Jackson for the last 4 years, and it has been fulfilling. Unfortunately, I’m down his roles where he’s a either crackhead or slave. It’s like when people have a Mad Men party. I can either be the butler or the lawn jockey, so a break in tradition may have to happen this year. Anyway, as usual, I digress…
Best Halloweens ever.

I don't care how famous you are. F*** you.
I just want to ask something of all my white friends: If you decide to dress as Michael Jackson, PLEASE be post “Bad” Michael Jackson, because if I see anyone in brown/blackface this year, it won’t be a matter of IF I eat your soul; it will be a matter of WHEN. There have already been a few parties and pictures coming out on social networks where white people were in black- or brown- face. Famous people are doing it as well. One person attempted to defend her party
In no way was this party intended to hurt anyones feelings or upset anyone at all. In fact as you can tell from the photos I dressed up as cleopatra, whilst MAJORITY of my guests came as animals, that can be found in africa or wore traditional african clothes or even dressed up as famous people who come from africa. If anything this was to celebrate the amazing country and people.
What the actual f***.
OK, beside the fact that Africa is a COUNTRY, it’s just not funny. And you lost all rights to try to make that funny when your ancestors ransacked Africa and used some of her residents as free labour to help build their home nations and colonies into superpowers. By the way, if your excuse is that you’re being “topical” and trying to be as authentic as possible, I’m not buying that. I’ll promise not to dress up as OJ Simpson if you promise not to dress as George Zimmerman and Dead Trayvon Martin. Asiana Airlines pilots should be off limits as well. This leads me to my next request...

There are still quite a few “ethnic” costumes that you probably shouldn’t where. The Mexican Bandito, The “sexy” geisha, the Chinese delivery man complete with buck teeth, the myriad of Native American of these are funny, and even if you really wanted to be any of these, ditching the brown, red, or yellow face makeup, tape near your eyes, and bottles of hooch would make it a LOT less offensive. I’ll tell you what: If you choose not to do these, then I won’t assist my brown, red, and yellow friends force feed you quarts of Magnesium Citrate as though you were a foie gras goose. Don’t worry; it’s not poison. You’ll just wish it was after about 20 minutes.
Not only too soon, but holy s***.

How do you realise this is not cool?
I dressed up as plenty of white people in the past, from Captain America to Alex from “A Clockwork Orange”, and I never used “whiteface”, and plenty of people got it. If fact, one person identified me as Isaiah Bradley when I was dressed as Captain America, and we high-fived because we each got an obscure reference...and both realised we were likely not getting laid that night. If you REALLY want to be Blade, ditch the make-up. The worst thing that will happen is people will mistake you for a Ginsu knife salesman with an overbite. Ask yourself this: Does your costume require brown or black makeup or tape on your eyes? Yes? Well, are you going as a tree or a silhouette from an old iPod advert respectively? No? LEAVE IT HOME!...there is no feasible reason for you to tape back your eyes, unless you want to get punch in the face by an Asian person. The bottom line is that you have a myriad of people you can portray. You can do it and be edgy without being a f***ing dick about it. Leave the face paint and tape at home, or we can’t be friends anymore. Why do you even have face makeup anyway?
Cosplay done right.

Your Black, Brown, and Yellow friends.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Slave-Baiters Gonna Bait...

There’s a trend in political hyperbole that is getting tiring. I call it slave-baiting, where one compares a policy or law to slavery. It reminds me of slut- or cray-shaming, except with more brown people involved. I heard it used by a few lawmakers during the new gun control debates, after the Sandy Hook tragedy. Apparently their arguments were effective, since no new national gun policies were passed, and we had the opportunity to have at least four more school shootings and plenty more people dead from gun violence. Good job, guys. Thanks for keeping our kids safe. -_-

Throughout the government shutdown, I heard a lot of slave-baiting in House GOPs and pundits’ arguments against the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, to those who forgot that it’s really the brain child of a conservative think tank and Mitt Romney. The one that points out the most was Dr. Ben Carson, surgeon from Johns Hopkins, who said that the ACA is the worst thing to happen since slavery.

So…The worst thing to happen since slavery is this law that basically makes healthcare mandatory and affordable? Does that mean that Jim Crow laws, sharecropping, exploitation of Chinese immigrants to build a transcontinental railroad, anti-Chinese immigration laws,  the formation of the Ku Klux Klan, the 9-11 WTC tragedy, Sandy Hook, women’s inability to vote until the 20th Century, WWII Japanese internment camps, the Birmngham church bombing, The Great Depression, the LA Riots, child kidnappings, Plessy v. Ferguson verdict, and the fact that SLAVERY STILL EXISTS IN THIS COUNTRY are all walks in the park compared to this law?

In the time of slavery, a runaway slave would lose a limb if he was “lucky”. He would more likely be killed, and there are many ways to die, from simply getting shot or hanged to being eaten alive by dogs or burned alive or slowly being cut open until he bled out. If someone violates the ACA, you pay $100. That’s so terrible. A whole C-note. Oooooh. A free black man in America was at risk at all times of being captured and enslaved, even if he lived in the North following all laws of his state and had papers proving his freedom. Under the ACA, if you live in a state with a government that is emphatically against the law, you still get health care. A black man who could read may have his tongue cut out or be executed. If your county refuses to give you information about the Affordable Care Act, you can go online…theoretically…
People who compare anything to slavery are about as insensitive as people who make light of rape. I would expect this of most of the talk show pundits and congresspeople who regularly play the victim blame game. It is a little more hurtful that Ben Carson, a man to whom I looked up most of my young life as proof that I could get out of my dire straits, would make such a statement. I lost respect for him when he stated he didn’t believe in evolution. I lost even more when he compared gay people to paedophiles and practitioners of bestiality. This comparison of a law that was passed by two houses of Congress, signed by the President, and then validated by the Supreme Court to slavery shows how much of a complete moron an educated person can be. Forget the fact that as a black man, he should not be oblivious to the ghosts of slavery in this country that can still be sensed every once in a while. As a human being, how can one compare a rule that requires one to essentially stay healthy for the benefit of everyone with being owned by another human being, literally working oneself to death for the benefit of one person? Slavery was a slow genocide. Millions died just in transit to the West. It’s estimated that nearly 10,000 people die in this country a year due to lack of good health care. That is something to which you can compare slavery. At least the Affordable Care Act attempts to remedy a problem, as flawed as it is. Slavery only planted seeds of hate that still flourish with every trivialisation of the system that is fuelled by the blood of de-humanised people who built an economic superpower where it is now OK for Benjamin Carson to say whatever dumb s*** he can.

I would say that people who trivialise such an institution should read some slave narratives, or perhaps research the human trafficking that goes on today. Don’t think it’s just in Southeast Asia or Eastern Europe. We have slaves in this country as well, used for cheap labour, sex, or both. Unfortunately, I highly doubt that anyone who would make such a claim would understand what he is reading. Carson needs to stick to being retired.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Living in a Welfare Paradise

I cannot believe I missed this...about a month and a half ago, William D. Tanner of the Cato Institute put out a report that claimed that in many cases, a person on welfare Would actually benefit more than a person with a job, highlighting that in Rhode Island, a single mother of two can receive $39,000/year in aid, more than the average RI  teacher’s salary. For this reason, he thinks we should pare down the welfare system that we have now, that includes housing and food assistance for poor families. This, he and his ilk think, is what will spur people to go to work and earn for themselves. I could get on board with his idea, but for a few things:
  • First, F*** you, dude!
  • Second, just because a person can get certain benefits doesn’t mean he/she is privy to ALL the benefits.
  • Third, most people on assistance right now are on BECAUSE they couldn’t find stable jobs.
  • Fourth, F*** you, dude!
All these people who cling to this idea that government is a thorn in our sides need to take a year and live in government assistance. They should put all their money in escrow, lock up their cars in storage, move out of their houses, and just try to live on welfare for 12 months. Then they can see how “easy” it is. After that year, they should spend another year trying to live with no assistance at all. We’ll see how many of them survived or didn’t turn to drugs.

They should do this, but they STILL wouldn’t get the full experience of what it’s like. Imagine waking up every morning wondering when you’d be able to eat a satisfactory meal with fresh ingredients, since the nearest grocer is too far to walk, and you need to save their bus money to get to work. Your kids wouldn’t be made fun of because their clothes are slowly falling apart and you can’t afford to replace much more than just underwear. You experience eventually getting evicted from your home when you miss one too many  rent payments after the unemployment ran out. You would get to see what few belongings you have thrown out in an alley, ripe for anyone in the neighbourhood to take. And honestly, who can blame them for vulturing the valuables? They are in as much dire straits as you...but they’re YOURS...but spend spend 2 years homeless, one of which being the last year of your high school career, and the first year of your university career. This is all because you are now on a waiting list for subsidised housing (Section 8), so you have to couch surf until your welcome is worn, and then you have to either go into a homeless shelter, or use what little cash you have to stay in a really cheap hotel with leaky gas pipes. Try filling out financial aid forms with no home, by the way. Most federal agencies don’t accept “wherever I can sleep” as a permanent residence.

People like Tanner and his “libertarian” think tanks are doing nothing but trying to give an excuse to not help people. They claim that they want to help people help themselves, that they are just following the tenets of Christianity. If they really want to claim that, then they should be honest about which version of Christianity they are following: Calvinism.

I’m not saying the government is perfect, but we should not be a country that makes the oldest, weakest, and youngest suffer. This government shutdown is going to literally kill people. It just takes one person who can no longer reside in a shuttered homeless shelter who dies on the street, or a woman who can no longer feed her child, and then the blood will be on the hands of every person who voted for the people who listen to anything these “think” tanks say.

Seriously. F*** that dude.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Cray-Shaming: Slut-Shaming's Uglier Cousin

Someone brought me to task the other for saying that a woman in a commercial who had HUMONGOUS pupils had “crazy eyes”. This is a physical condition seen in most Looney Tunes cartoons, comic book supervillains, and people who have very, very large round eyes, and usually larger-than-average pupils and irises. I believe the term is called mydriasis. My protester’s objection to my use of the term is that many men use this to describe women with extra large eyes, who may look somewhat surprised all the time, and that this is a physical feature that let’s you KNOW that a woman is probably “crazy” and will do something that will drive you nuts. Urban Dictionary coins the term crazy eyes as “When you look in a girl's eyes and you just know that b**** is f***in’ crazy.” -_- ...never use Urban Dictionary.

She went on to say that the only times she has heard this term is when it is attributed to women, and the accusers were bros. At that point, I was a little bit offended, because I attributed “crazy eyes” to men and women alike, like James Holmes…(s***)...She also said that when said bros describe their past experiences with the “crazy eyes”, it was usually things like, “She kept hounding me! We met a week ago, and I got a text from her EVERY DAY!” or, “Why would she want to know what’s going on with us? We only f***ed three times!”. It was not anything like, “She poured tar and feathers all over my car when I said I thought her chicken french was a little dry!” or , “It was only a week, and she made an anatomically correct life-size model of me with rabbit ears on the genitals!” or even, “She broke up with me, but then showed up at my door at 2:00am. How did she get in? YOU HAVE TO BUZZ INTO THE BUILDING!!!”...that last one definitely happened...Hearing her point, I had to think about how/when I used the term “crazy eyes”, and now I am subjecting you to my introspection.

I first started using the term “crazy eyes” after the 2005 runaway bride case of Jennifer Wilbanks. She got cold feet about her wedding in Duluth, Georgia, ran away, and then called from Albuquerque, New Mexico, saying she was kidnapped by a now-known imaginary Hispanic dude and his girlfriend. The media ate this story up. It had everything: a pretty white woman missing, a countdown to a special event, and even placing blame on some brown people! As soon as the story broke that “a Hispanic man and his girlfriend” kidnapped her, I knew the story was BS, and sure enough, she fessed up a few days later. Oh yeah, and she had HUGE eyes. Every picture she took looked like she was a deer in the road, accidentally sitting on a fusilli Jerry. A physician came on CNN, and explained that the “crazy eyes” could have been a tell that Ms. Wilbanks was prone to poor and extreme judgement in her actions, and one should be careful of people with this feature. Since the physician was a woman, I thought that she MUST have known her stuff and would never just say any tripe to get on TV. Now it’s a few years later, and I realise that EVERY minority group has its Alan Keyes, and this physician was one for women.

There is a long, prickly history between women and scientific, medical, and psychological institutions. Both industries, since their inceptions, have treated women like vulnerable, incoherent animals, not humans of the same species as the practitioners. This goes back farther than just turn-of-the-century hysteria and nymphomania diagnoses. Go back hundreds and thousands of years. Woman have been put in asylums for just speaking their minds, or trying to read and do math, or question what a man says, or wanting their own land, or wanting to vote. There is no telling how many women have been deemed witches and drowned or burned at the stake because they just asked a simple question in church or strived to learn more than cooking and cleaning. How many women were diagnosed insane because they liked the feel of pants compared to corsets and dresses? I’ll bet you that millions, possibly billions, were killed because of things like this. I’ll bet you that any “doctor” who examined them deemed them insane or “over sensitive” or something ridiculous. The Crazy eyes diagnosis reeks of this. Now, how could I, as a black and Hispanic man in America, two groups who ALSO have had a long, prickly relationship with the scientific, medical, and psychological communities, NOT see the bulls*** for all the trees? We have had almost as bad a relationship! Scientists have tried to classify us as another species, attempted to deem us physically inferior and too simple-minded to operate complex tasks, and have LITERALLY made us test animals for testing diseases and vaccines! Amidst all this, we Jesse Owened the f*** out of the Berlin Games, Tuskegee Airmanned the Air Force, and Mae Jemisoned motherf***ing SPACE! Yet and still, there are “scientists” who try to claim that black and brown people are either physiologically or psychologically different from white men. The only difference is a little bit more affinity for Vitamin D...maybe more rhythm…

The same thing still happens with women as well. Routine practises for women are being legislated upon in nearly every state at some level. The treatments for women, if they DO get access to, say, birth control, sometimes do a lot more to mess with their chemical balance than if they never got treatment. Side effects of some forms of birth control are insane! The people who created them honed in on one issue and did not care one bit about the possible side effects. I hear complaints from women all the time, even female physicians, that when they go to their GPs, it can be like a woman going to a mechanic. The dismissive tone is ridiculous and dehumanising. I should know, because the last old white male doctor to whom I went had EXACTLY the same tone with me.

So this is somewhat of an apology to the woman I offended, and will hopefully see again to apologise in person. The whole correlation of “crazy eyes” and mental instability is about as valid as phrenology. The only “phrenology” to which people should take heed is the Roots’ 5th studio album. With terms and phrases with bad ethnic histories getting thrown around nowadays as if they wouldn’t bring up ghosts of the past, I should have been more aware of the use of “crazy eyes”. Crazy eyes connotes cray-shaming, an ugly cousin of slut-shaming. One attacks a woman’s mind, and the other attacks a her body. Both attack her character though. A “man” uses the term “crazy eyes” when a woman is explaining her emotions and actions, and instead of him reciprocating if he doesn’t feel the same way, he just armchair diagnoses her cray and runs away. From now on, I’ll only call people crazy who make anatomically correct papier mache models of me with rabbit ears on the genitals. And even then, it could be just an art project! Who am I to judge?

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