Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The News and “Dead Negro Season”

The news cycle goes through major seasons. Last season was "Legislate Uteri and Campus Rape" season. Before that, it was "Foreigners Are Going to Take Our Jobs and Nuke Us" season, and before that was, "Why is Our Government Oppressing Us and Gridlocked???" season. Then, of course, there is "Dead Unarmed Negro Season". DUN season is in full swing, and right now, the focus is in Baltimore. My home town is on fire!...not really, but there's a lot of damage. You would think that if you turned on any news outlet in the last week. When Freddie Gray died in the custody of the Baltimore Police, all of the news outlets played their role.


 

Fox News discussed what heroes the police were. Half, if not most, of the cops in Baltimore were black, and Fox News is not great at saying good things about black people, so this was likely a difficult feat. As per protocol, they explained how the late Mr. Gray and the protesters, whether peaceful or not, were dirty thugs. "Thug" is the closest anyone on television news can get to saying "nigger" now, but kudos to Fox for getting away with "black gorilla", as they were more than happy to discuss the activities of the organized crime syndicate, the Black Guerilla Family. Even the Black Guerilla Family colloquially call themselves "BGF". They rounded out the their coverage with the usual blaming of Obama, although the President's comments were nearly in line with what Fox News would say, except for the part where he said we had to do some soul searching and get to the root of the problem.


 

MSNBC and Huffington Post went the other way and asked vague questions about whether this is a sign of an ongoing systemic problem in our justice system that unfairly treats minorities, women, and the poor to undue detriment. If they really cared and listened, they would know that the answer is yes. There was much call for Cumbayas, as well as all expense paid flights for Al Sharpton to come in and use his statement-making superpowers to make everything better. Al Sharpton may mean well, but for a lot of us, he is like a reverse Daredevil, where when he comes to town, not many people want to see him.


 

CNN made a computer simulation of the incident starring Teletubbies instead of the actual video and looped it…not really, but they sent Don Lemon to Baltimore to cover everything, which is less productive than the computer simulation.


 

Over the weekend, this demonstration of 5,000 to 10,000 evolved into days of violence, and 200 people were arrested. If we make the faulty assumption that all 200 were actually part of the initial demonstration and were all guilty, that means the media is now painting the entire movement based on the actions of 2-4%. How did the violence start, though? One could surmise that it was the drunken sports fans who turned on the protesters. One could surmise that it was the frustration of school kids who were stuck at Mondawmin Station, because all of the buses, the ONLY way for public school kids with no cars to get home, were cancelled, and police in riot gear were blocking the major terminal. None of these reasons make for good news.


 

If you are claiming that the demonstration is nothing but a bunch of people who want immunity from penal punishment (or other idiotic misrepresentations of nonviolent protest), then you are just as much a fool as the 2% of the people who are using destruction of property and violent retaliation against the police. If you think that the violence is justified base on previous actions of a corrupt system, then you are wrong. Understand that some of the violence is coming from people who have no other outlets to vent their anger, because the city, state, and nation failed them in ways of education, employment, and general social respect. This still does not make their violence justified or condoned. I have not heard anyone ask, "Well, what about black-on-black crime?", so I have not had the pleasure of telling anyone to shut the unholy fuck up.


There weren't 200 arrests and wall to wall press coverage when Kentucky students rioted when their team won games, or when Ohio State students rioted when their team lost, or when Penn State students rioted because they have a team. For that matter, there weren't 200 arrests when Penn State students rioted when their coach was fired for covering up years of sexual abuse by his co-worker. There weren't 200 arrests and wall to wall press coverage when people rioted during a Maine town festival for pumpkins. Apparently, #GourdLivesDon'tMatter either.


 

We can delve deeply into what is happening now, and how it could be avoided. I do recall many times growing up when violent mayhem occurred in the Baltimore. I remember one particular time when Baltimore County police (NOT CITY) dispersed a line trying to get into a sold out roller rink, not by telling everyone that the rink is at capacity and that they should go home, but by spraying mace and pepper into the crowd of mostly 14-18 year olds. Some of it went directly into a 12 year old's eyes, who was choking and spitting while all out chaos ensued. I remember this well, because one of my friend's back was sliced open with a box cutter, and I was pulled out of the car from whence I came and spent a night in jail, right before the K-9 Unit arrived. This was all pre-cell phone camera, so we can't Youtube search the blurry details, but if you've seen Picasso's Guernica, you have a good idea of what happened.


 

Violence and a dead black man at the hands of authority make for very good ratings. What doesn't usually make for good ratings is what I see on my Facebook and Twitter feed: dozens of friends in Baltimore asking who has time to help clean up the mess that was made this weekend. Surprisingly, it DID make the news that people are taking days off of work and buying hundreds of dollars of cleaning supplies with no expectation of reimbursement to clean up hurt shops in neighbourhoods that are not their own. Students, employed professionals, fire fighters, police, and unemployed people (who may or may not have a criminal record) go through parts of my hometown and help each other tend to the scars of the week's events. I know that what WON'T make the news is that all these people are working together. It also won't make the news that the reason everyone is pulling together to clean up the affected neighbourhoods is because the city likely will not, as it has had well over 40 years to clean up the remnant of the 1968 riots, and that has not happened. What also will not be covered is how tenuous the situation is when Baltimore spent millions pushing out poor residents to make way for ridiculously expensive condos, essentially trying to make a mini Manhattan in the middle of the city. The endemic complacency and lack of care for public education, safety, and recreation will not be seen in the news. This is not the fault of individual police officials, legislators, or the mayor of Baltimore. This is the fault of Baltimore. We are all culpable. We are failing our least advantaged citizens, and we need to do better.


 

None of this will be covered, though, because it does not make for good news. Don't worry, though. Summer is coming, and that means "Dead Unarmed Negro" season will be over, and "Scary Faux Epidemic" season will be afoot.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Good Will Hiding: Ben Affleck and other LOSERs UPDATE

This may well be the grittiest Lego Batman movie ever.
Due to Ben Affleck’s activity off screen and his seemingly good-natured personality, I was willing to overlook his part in Daredevil movie, and in Gigli, and in Paycheck, and Pearl Harbor, and Jersey Girl, and He’s Just Not Into You, and Boiler Room…and possibly Batman v Superman: Lawsuit of Justice. He is quite active in his hometown and abroad, founding or supporting progressive causes, from A-T awareness to community-based support in Central Africa. Sadly, though, I must revoke all passes for Mr. Affleck, as it seems he is a coward. "Man without Fear", my ass.

It came out that Ben Affleck sought censor the part of the PBS show Finding Your Roots that indicated that he had a slave owning ancestor. This did not have to be a big deal. One’s family history is solely his business, and deserves some modicum of privacy. However, once you go on a show whose sole purpose is to investigate celebrities’ histories and broadcast the results on air for the world to see, you relinquish that modicum. White celebrities have been on Finding Your Roots and found out that their ancestors owned slaves, and they dealt with that dark spot (no pun intended) in their history. Hell, Don Cheadle found out some of his ancestors owned slaves! If you are American, and none of your great-great-grandparents came through Ellis Island, there is probably a 50/50 chance one of your ancestors owned slaves or was involved. I already know that I came from a long line of bastards. I didn’t get this light-skinned through some recessive gene in a line of pure light-skinned Angolans. Someone in my lineage is the bastard child of someone who owned him. It happened. We know it. Stop denying it.

This is not the big deal, so it is disappointing that Mr. Affleck sought to hide this information from the broadcast, as if he was sweeping it under a rug so that no one would know. This would not have tarnished his image. It would have tarnished his image if after learning of his people-owning skeletons, he responded with, “WHOO! Wicked pissah! I’m gonna call every darkie ‘Toby’ from now on and high-five Paula Deen!” THAT would have been a good reason to push the producers of the show to omit that segment.

Ben Affleck’s actions speak to a point of contention I have with a number of white liberals and the wielding of their inherent privilege, even though they rail against it privilege. Some like to say all of the left things: they will say they’re pro-choice, pro-marriage equality, pro-equal pay, pro-minimum wage hike, etc. Maybe they’ll throw some money at a colour run that donates money to a charity that helps gay lumberjack couples adopt straight poodles. Perhaps they’ll vote…every four years. Maybe they will stand up and FIGHT for everyone’s rights in front of their local town hall…Facebook page.

The second anyone wants to delve into WHY such causes are necessary, though, they clam up. They repeat the mantra that slavery is over, so we need to look beyond it, or claim that the women’s equality battle is over since the Lilly Ledbetter Act was signed, or they will overuse the phrase “trigger warning” the second that a conversation gets too deep. Mr. Affleck is just richer than the rest of us, so he can throw a little bit more money at that lumberjack colour run than most people. If you are going to call yourself a progressive person, then you need to look back at from whence we came, or else you have no direction in which to progress.

It’s possible that Mr. Affleck’s push to censor was a knee-jerk reaction at the horror of his past. Sadly, the producers accommodated him. That act right there is an example of him exerting rich and white privilege to suppress something he didn’t like. Looking at his philanthropy resume, one would think he would be railing against that type of execution of power. He needs to own what happened in his past; his past involved some people owning other people. I don’t believe in the whole “sins of the father” idea. I highly doubt that Ben Affleck is bad person because of a great-great-grandfather’s bad ideas. Mr. Affleck is probably not a bad person at all. He is, however, a wimp for not following through with a show whose purpose is to possibly show some ugly bits of history. I feel like there should be a term for people who are like this, who claim all the liberal things, but don’t want to get too deep about it. When conservatives are accused of betraying deeper principles of their convictions, they’re called RINO (Republican In Name Only) or “rational human being”. Perhaps we should do the same for liberals who do this. Perhaps “Fiberal”, or “Liberal Only So Everyone Respects” (LOSER).

That looks nice. Ben Affleck is a LOSER.

And he’d better not do to Batman what he did to Daredevil. THAT would be something he should suppress.

UPDATE: Ben Affleck wrote on his Facebook page that he was sorry for trying to hide his ancestors' slave-holding past. Perhaps I deemed him a LOSER too soon. This whole situation is a microcosm for the battle we as humans must make when we express pride for our status and culture, but must also acknowledge that where we are now may have been at the cost of the blood of others earlier. Hopefully there will be a lesson learned from this mess. Ben Affleck is learning that now, with the rest of us.

But he still hasn't apologized for Daredevil, so he's still on one more shit list.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

50 1st Dates: Profiling Your Dating Site

I have been single for quite a long time. Partly, this is because I have chosen to be autonomous and don’t very much give much thought to the idea that a person who is single is somehow not “complete” or there is something inherently wrong with single life. Mostly, it is because I have a two remote control Lego trains in my living room, and for some reason that is not a libido riser. Being single for so long, I have had the (dis)pleasure of using dating sites and apps as an avenue for finding kindness in the company of strangers. Some think dating sites are creepy, but they are no more creepy than going to a bar or other public venue and talking to a complete stranger. At least with online dating, you have a little bit more of an idea of who the person is. It is like going to a bar, but you have that Terminator vision, where you can see your subject's skills, weaknesses, whether he/she is a Level 5 Night Orc, etc. Yes, it can be a sea of tiger selfies and duck mouth bathroom pics and very rude asses with a sense of privilege, but weave through that, and you may meet some nice people. I met some of my best friends online. So this is what I learned about five for which I’ve had success/failure...mostly failure.


PLENTY OF FISH (PoF) is a free dating site. It is very simple. You post your pictures, write a little summary, and fill out your profile, much like any other dating site. Fun fact: PoF has the highest amount of profile summaries with requests to leave your drama and your baggage at the door. Apparently, most people on PoF hate stage acting and packing heavy for trips. The main feature of Plenty of Fish is its “Meet Me” section. Here, you are shown flashcards of people’s main profile pictures with the buttons NO, MAYBE, and YES under them. Why MAYBE? I don’t know. It’s as if they programmed in the Fade-Away before one can even meet a person. If you would like to know who would like to meet you, you have to pay. This is a new feature. You can pay anywhere from $38.70 for 3 months to $82.00 for 12 months. Would that be worth it? I couldn’t tell you. While the phone app is a little bit dynamic, PC website looks like it was built on an Angelfire backbone. Perhaps if more people paid, they’d make a better looking site. The only other way to find out if someone wants to meet you is if you two “mutual meet” or if they reach out to you.


Unlike other dating sites, though, when you search, you have a narrow filter: You set age range and distance. Because of this, Plenty of Fish is the dragnet fishing of dating sites. Your search WILL yield EVERYTHING. You will get tall people, short people, high school dropouts, PhDs*, Holocaust-denying Jews, ultra conservative hippies, a dolphin trapped in an inner tube, dead mob snitches, etc. I have only gone on two dates via PoF. They were not promising, and sure enough, nothing came of them. I have, however, been emailed many times, by people who don’t know much about punctuation or spelling. There were a lot of women who wanted to date black men for the purpose of dating black men. I am not the black man they are looking for. Much like white men with yellow fever, I usually steer clear of white women who have…brown fever (I hate the term “jungle fever”). I am not an object. If you have a fetish, get an account on FetLife. Also, PoF is the only site where I was trolled, twice, by the same “woman”, nearly on the same day a year apart. This was AFTER I blocked her the first time. So if you’re not picky or want to get trolled or fetishized by people who undoubtedly have not read your profile, PoF will work for you.

TINDER is app only. It is similar to PoF in that the parameters for searching are age and distance. Also, you are limited to about 400 characters on what you can say in your summary. You are also limited to four pictures, so choose wisely! The ONLY feature is the flash card “Meet Me” style interface, but without that pesky MAYBE button. In fact, it’s not even YES or NO; it’s a checkmark or an X. If hitting buttons is too complicated, you swipe right for yes or left for no, leaving a nice smudge on your phone screen if you forgot how greasy your lunch is. Tinder is essentially Plenty of Fish for illiterate people!
My competition...


Many tout Tinder as Hetero-Grindr and say it is a hook up app. I think that is silly, because ANYTHING could be a hookup app. Also, of the few people who wrote a blurb beyond a few wine glass and plane emojis, the most common sentence you’ll see is, “Swipe Left if you’re looking for a hookup!” This does not deter some people. For a good laugh in horror, look up @byefelipe on Instagram…oy…


Most recently, Tinder created Tinder Plus, its premium service where you can undo left swipes, look for people in other areas, and get UNLIMITED SWIPES! The latter used to be free, but now you have a limited number per day, so you’d better choose wisely who you are judging strictly by headshots. Tinder Plus is only $9.99/mo, unless you’re over 30; then it’s $19.99/mo, because fuck old people!


All that said, the swiping can be fun. Of the actual dates I’ve had thanks to Tinder, we were so incompatible that it was laughable. It is as if only going by looks for your dating criteria is a bad idea!


OKCUPID is another mostly-free app and website. It does have the superficial swipey interface, called Quickmatch, as well, but you have a LOT more that you can fill out beyond the obligatory, “I’m not here for games; leave your baggage at the door”. There are profile questions that kind of guide you through what to say. Give a brief summary. What are your favourite things? What to people notice about you? What is the most private thing you are willing to divulge to complete strangers on an online platform? What is that on your shoulder? At what are you really good? What are you doing with your life? The latter is usually answered, “Living it!” This is great, because you can tell immediately that this person has very little imagination, and you can immediately pass him/her by! OKCupid also has the highest concentration of pictures of women doing yoga dangerously close to the edges of gorges and canyons in the world.
No.


The good thing about OKC is that in your search, you can specify MANY more fields than simply distance and age. You can choose education, gender, marital status, drug/alcohol/smoking preference, job type, diet, height, eye/hair/skin colour…If you would like to date an athletic Bangladeshi polyamorous pansexual trans woman twin vegan chemist who smokes marijuana and pops ecstasy when walking her blue-eyed corgie, you can make that search.
Maybe.


Additionally, there are thousands of user- and staff-generated questions that you can elect to answer that range from dating to politics to sex to religion and beyond. When your accepted answers match up with another person’s accepted answers, a percentage grade for chance of match and enemy is generated. This makes the Quickmatch more enjoyable. The more questions one answers, the more likely those grades will be accurate. So yes, she may be hot, but we’re a 13% match and 75% enemy, so no.
-_-

A sensible answer


The grading percentage system is both a feature and a fault. If one pays attention to it, you will likely have a good time with people who match from 80% to 99%. That is a solid B- to A+! You can’t go wrong with that, right? One flaw, though. Just like straight A students in school, The ARE great, and they ARE very close to matching with you, but like many straight A students, there is likely one little thing slightly amiss about them. You will not know what it is, until one day, you put the dinner forks in the lunch fork tray, and suddenly, they turned from perfect angel to egg-beater wielding harbinger of punishment, and ironically you have to jump out of a second-story window to escape bodily harm. Either that or you will be listening to the Jackson 5, and you’ll mention how much you like Jermaine, and they’ll turn with fire in their eyes and tell you, “You like Tito now. You ONLY like Tito”, at which point you realize the reason for the missing 10% of your 90% match rate, and you ironically have to jump out of the second-story window to escape bodily harm.


MATCH is not free. There is ad hoc pay. You want Match to write a profile for you? Fuck you; pay Match. You want to show up on top of all of the searches? Fuck you; pay Match. You want to send a message to that pretty lawyer? Fuck you; pay Match. You want to know if she read that message? Fuck you; pay Match. You want to “go incognito”, so that when you’re writing a message and looking at her profile, you don’t look like a creep? Fuck you; pay Match. However, if you pay for 6 months up front for the basic service and you do not find a match within the 6 months, you get 6 months free. This costs about the same as a really sweet Lego train. Alternatively, there is a free “Wink” option, where you can just wink at a person you like, similar to poking on Facebook. I am not sure why this is a feature. I am of the mindset that if you wouldn’t do it in real life, you probably shouldn’t do it online. I cannot imagine that anything good has come of a man walking up to a woman at a bar, not saying a word, just winking at her, and then walking away.


Wink for free in a Starbucks.
With the exception of the user and staff questions of OKC, all of the features of the aforementioned sites and apps are present in Match. The filtering is nearly as specific as OKC, with a few exceptions. Most of the profiles indicate that they are looking for their soulmates, or the ONE, or the “key to my lock”. They are looking for the person that they can let into their hearts. That is all well and good, but I am of the train of thought that fervently looking for a person to “complete” one will lead to feeling emptier in the end. One should be able to handle autonomy and not be so explicitly dependent on another person. This feeds into the myth that a single person is not a whole person or that he/she has a fatal flaw or is immoral until he/she is hitched to another human. If you are just dating to date and meet cool people, or if you are poly, you likely will not have much fun on Match. And that is fine.


The format of Match is such that you can line up your match criteria with another person’s to see if there actually is some compatibility. Things that do match are highlighted. One thing I noticed of Match: like all other sites, you can choose your ethnicity (or ethnicities), and you can choose which ethnicity (or ethnicities) you would like to date. You can choose from black/African descent, white/Caucasian, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, East Indian, Middle Eastern, Vulcan, Dead Rabbit, Other, etc. Let us ignore that EVERYONE is of African descent and they list three different synonyms for Asian. A lot of people choose only their own identified ethnicity. I call these the Basic Breadth. A lot of other people choose either all of the ethnicities or leave that preference blank, which is promising. A few who I call the Fetishizers choose only one or two ethnicities outside of their own. And then there are some who choose absolutely every ethnicity EXCEPT for Black/African descent. What on earth have they heard and internalized about black people that they would date absolutely everyone BUT black people? Are they just streaming AM talk 24 hours a day? Do they really think a Dead Rabbit or an Other is going to be much better of a partner? That is disappointing and confusing. Oh well.
This is pretty much every ethnicity EXCEPT black.


eHARMONY has a very specific formula for how they determine matches. Yes, you can browse, but your matches are more based on a slew of questions that you must answer, and you will receive notices of people they think will be good for you. Because of this, I wager that the only reason eHarmony is called that is because someone already owns the rights to eYenta.
There are a few issues I have with eHarmony. You cannot use it if you are separated. You MUST be divorced. You also cannot use it if you are polyamorous. Most annoying is that if you are gay, lesbian, or transsexual, you cannot use eHarmony. The excuse that eHarmony claims is that the meticulous formula that they concocted was only made for heterosexual coupling, that they just did not think about gay individuals. Right, because gay people come from a different galaxy, and therefore no one really knows what they would want in a relationship. Including them in the eHarmony formula might create a fissure in the space/time continuum! You MUST be a CIS-gender heterosexual strictly monogamous man or woman who legally has no marital ties to play. This excuse is utter bullshit. What kind of shitty formula are they using that it is so fragile that adding the variables X or Y where X= “Guy Who Kisses Boys” and Y= “Recently Separated Individual Strong Enough to Put Him/Herself Back Out There” will throw it off? I know eHarmony might work for me, but by virtue of the fact that they choose to exclude an entire demographic, no matter how small that demographic may be, fuck eHarmony.


There are hundreds more dating sites out there; some cast wide nets and some are honed down to one specific subject. You can look up InterracialMatch.com, FarmersOnly.com, JDate.com, Gk2gk.com (Geek to Geek), FurryHump.com**, etc. this is just an assessment of the ones I have tried. Now, I am going to get back to my Lego trains.

*There are no PhDs on PoF. Stop looking.
**FurryHump.com is not a dating site. Yet.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Twilight Zone: #WalterScott Edition

What an odd situation...We all know that Walter Scott was killed by Officer Michael Slager. That is not the odd part.

According to a police report of the incident, Officer Michael Slager stopped him for a broken tail light, things got heated, and Mr. Scott was shot dead because he tried to take Officer Slager’s taser. Officer Slager feared for his life. According to the camera video of the incident, Walter Scott was running away from Officer Slager, when Officer Slager shot him in the back 8 times, handcuffed Scott’s inanimate body, dropped a taser-shaped object next to him and reported shots fired. See, black men are so scary, when they’re running away from you, they look threatening. When we’re dead, you STILL have to lock us up! So Slager likely falsified his police report to exonerate himself from punishment. That is not odd either.

Here is the odd part: Slager was fired, arrested, and charged with felony murder. The other odd part: contrary to the regular protocol whenever an unarmed black man or a woman is the victim of violence, Walter Scott’s character has not been assassinated in any major news sources*. Yes, his arrest record and problems with paying child support have been reported, but they are part of a broad picture of who Walter Scott was. He was also engaged to be married. He was also in the US Coast Guard and was honourably discharged. The only pictures I have seen of him are of him in his military uniform or a suit. Not one old mug shot has been posted.

Another odd turn of events: Michael Slager’s character is being scrutinized QUITE harshly. For a while, the only picture of Michael Slager one could find was that of his mug shot. Usually, news sources go out of their way to find a nice, clean cut picture. Many are talking about the report brought against him in 2013 involving another unarmed black man. Not many people are talking about his time in the US Coast Guard. Even his lawyer abandoned him.

Right now, the media is treating the deceased like a human being, and the accused like a human being who did something very bad. No one is hailing Walter Scott as an angel, and no one is demonizing Michael Slager. They are both being treated quite fairly by news outlets**. We may have all entered the Twilight Zone.

Here is the problem: That is all we wanted! We want to be treated like human beings, not feral animals! That was the point of all the protests last summer. That was the point of all the voter drives, the die-ins, the highway blockings, the chants in parks. We never hated the police. We hated the brutality.

I am not naive to think that this will be the ultimate turning point, because that is not how the world works. When there is an established modus operandi, turning 180 does not happen overnight. The fact is that had someone not shot video of the incident, Slager would be free right now, and the media WOULD have been playing up Scott’s paltry arrest record. For each incident caught on camera or recorder, there are likely three more that go unpunished.

Juries and trial dates have not been set, so it would not be wise to claim that justice is served quite yet, but this is one of the few times that the system has gotten this for so quickly. The fact that these events are “major progress” is fucking pathetic. There is so much more work to do.

*I don't consider Fox News a "news source".
**Again, Fox News.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

#CornHoleRandPaul

Is it the US Constitution, or his own Constitution?

RAND PAUL IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT! This is exciting news to all Bro-dudes out there. Rand Paul IS the voice of the moderately privileged white frat dude who will most likely ask you if you lift, bro.

You may think this is a broad statement, but look at the merchandise on his site! There are Rand Paul beer cozies. You can get Rand Paul shot glasses. Rand Paul beer steins!  If you have $1,000, you can buy an autographed US Constitution, because if you support Rand Paul, you likely have as warped a sense of history as he does and think he wrote it anyway! You can get a shirt that says, “Don’t Drone Me, Bro!”…that is only available at Yemeni campuses, actually. Want to know who your REAL bro-dogs are? All of you need to get the Rand Paul dog tags! It’s not gay if we ALL buy them! If you want to get all the bitches, get the “Unleash the American Dream” t-shirt! It’s got a dog wearing sunglasses and Rand Paul dog tags, holding an American Flag! It’s Broception©! Get the Rand Paul flip-flop sandals for Spring Break. You like music, bro? Get the Beats By Rand!..decals for your Beats by Dre headphones. Cold? Get yourself a Rand Paul Hoodie (not available for African Americans in Florida)!
   


The Pièce de résistance…sorry. This is an AMERICAN post…The King Shit is the Rand Paul Corn Hole game! CORN HOLE! Is your brorection© raging right now? You can DESTROY your friends via corn hole and stand with Rand at the same time! YOU can be the corn hole king, bro!




Corn Holing with Rand is the next big thing. Rand Paul has the bro-dude voting bloc on LOCK!
So get all that sweet merch, bro, and the next time you go corn holing, think of Rand Paul!


#CornHoleRandPaul2016, bro! WHOOO!













Thursday, April 2, 2015

#Adapting to @IWashington

I was somewhat done with Isaiah Washington after his homophobic rants that got him fired from Grey’s Anatomy. When I saw he got a new gig in The 100, I decided I would give him and it a chance. Maybe he had changed. Maybe he realized how callous what he did and said was.

He definitely changed. The dumb shit he says is now directed toward black people. In response to Chris Rock chronicling his multiple police stops within 7 weeks via Twitter selfies, Mr. Washington tweeted to Chris Rock this:

“I sold my $90,000 Mercedes G500 and bought 3 Prius’s. because I got tired of being pulled over by police. #Adapt @ChrisRock”

No.

First of all, you sold a $90,000 car, and you only got THREE Priuses??? You got ripped off, brother. You should have been able to get at LEAST four. Maybe the dealer assumed you had bad credit and would only finance three. Call it the #Adapt tax. And why three, anyway? Did you just want to waste as much money as possible? Do you harness them in a line and attach a chariot to the rear one and drive them that way? I am asking seriously; I don’t know how hybrid cars work.

What Isaiah Washington is saying is that to avoid further scrutiny by the public, specifically the police in this case, black people need to adjust themselves in order to dissuade negative attention and suspicion. So if you are a successful black man, and you got to where you are honestly through hard work, don’t get a nicer car, because people will think you are up to something illegal. This puts the blame on the black Mercedes owner, not the police trooper who thinks that a brown person could not have had such a nice car.

That is such a good idea! Don’t call out the inherent prejudice ingrained in society. Cow tow to it! Here are a few other things we as black people can do to #adapt:

  • When you go shopping, give the security guards a GPS tracker to make it easier for them to find you in in the department store. #Adapt
  • Are you walking on the street and you see a white person approaching? Pepper spray yourself so that you assuage her of any suspicion that you might rob him/her. #Adapt
  • When going to the bank, bring your own “REJECTED” stamp, just in case you want to apply for a loan. #Adapt
  • Are you a musician and won a national award for your work? Give it to Macklemore. Do it. NOW. #Adapt
  • When your white friends come over, replace your picture of Martin Luther King, Jr. with one of John Wayne or Ronald Reagan. #Adapt

This idea of “adapting” is obviously familiar to female readers. The same type of rhetoric directed at women when they are sexually harassed at work or school or walking or breathing.  Besides what they dress, women will be blamed for their own body types, as though a person has the power to make her breasts or butt larger by blowing hard into her thumb like in cartoons. “Maybe you should wear something less distracting” is the trope instead of, “That guy’s an asshole and needs to learn self-control”. Even if she makes the decision to surgically augment herself, it is still not a deserved invitation for the type of aggression that she will inevitably receive. Just as women cannot stop being women, black people cannot stop being black. Sorry Clarence Thomas.

So Isaiah Washington’s 3 Prius chariot may be a resolution to avoid borderline illicit police stops, but hiding from the root issue resolves nothing. No unfair ideology was remedied by just letting it happen. The “keep your head down” rhetoric just delays your head being cut off.  If we stayed keeping our heads down, there’d still be segregation in the South, women still wouldn’t be able to vote, and gays would not be able to marry in the US…okay, we’re still working on that last one, but they didn’t get as far as they did by #Adapting.

Also, The 100 is only mediocre.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Indiana Jones and the Men of Straw

The only “Indiana” I ever liked in life always had “Jones and the” following it…except for “Crystal Skull”. Blech.

The state leaves much to be desired. I’m sure there are phenomenal people to meet and things to do in Indiana, but a state whose capital translates to “City of Indians”, which refers to indigenous people of the land who were NOT from India, I am not too inclined to look. Besides, Indiana is the home of the White Aryan Resistance. Also, the Ku Klux Klan was so prominent in Indiana that they just called it the Indiana Klan. How are you so Klanny that you that your Klan gets its own name? Well now, Indiana’s lawmakers and Governor respectively passed and signed the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (RFRA), a bill that is touted to preserve its residents’ prerogative to follow their religious beliefs free of government interference. It is really just a bill that allows people to deny business to groups of people they don’t like. Good news, though, everyone: This is not a bill to discriminate against black and brown people. Indiana has moved on to homophobia! This RFRA has the same wording in it that people used to use to justify laws against miscegenation and business owners’ “rights” to refuse service to black people.


In response to people from all over the nation threatening to pull their business from Indiana, governor Pence went on what can only be called a straightsplaining™ tour, where he feigned incredulousness over businesses pulling multimillion dollar projects out of his state. He claimed it was strictly to protect Hoosiers’ personal rights, but he quickly followed that he had no agenda to push for an LGBT protection rider for the bill that would have allayed any appearance of discrimination. If you set your Google Translate app to go form Bullshit to English and input his statements, you yield, “The Bigotry Justification Act is intended for people to discriminate against anyone they want. I could do something to keep that from happening, but fuck gay people. ‘Merica.”


As we all know, the next step in justifying idiocy is bringing out the straw men. The first and easiest one was the “But this guy you like passed the same thing!” straw man. In 1993, Bill Clinton signed a bill called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Also, 19 other states have similarly named acts on their books. The difference with the previously passed laws and the Indiana’s is that in the former laws, it was stated that the government cannot burden a person’s exercise of his/her religion. Indiana’s law refers not to government, but to private citizens. This means a business owner can call it out if he does not like that a woman is wearing a head scarf in his office. A pizzeria owner can refuse to make a pie for someone perceived to be gay. It does not matter if the pizzeria owner is right, or that the holy book used is grotesquely mis-referenced.

My favourite straw man, though, is the Kosher Straw Man. Whenever the exercise of religion in the free market is debated, someone pulls out this gem: “Kosher deli has sign that says, "We can obtain other meats. Just ask." I ask for bacon. Can they refuse to serve me?” It is not refusal of service on any grounds if the firm has never carried or dealt with the product. If you go into McDonald’s and ask for a $5 Footlong and they do not provide it, you are not being discriminated against. You are being an idiot.


Worry not, though. Indiana doesn’t like to make it difficult for the LGBT community under the veil of “religious freedom”. They also make life difficult for women! Purvi Patel is the first woman to be convicted of feticide, because she had a miscarriage. She came into an ER bleeding heavily after a miscarriage, and now she must serve 26 years in prison! The prosecutors quite literally lied in court, saying she was farther along in her pregnancy than she was, and that she took abortion inducing drugs, even though a toxicology report showed that nothing of the sort was true. Because who needs to burden the courts and legislatures of Indiana with “facts” and “truth”? If you go to Indiana and you’re a woman, you’d better damn well control your body’s involuntary functions, or you’re going straight to jail!


Based on this “religious freedom” law and the one that would convict a woman for miscarriages, it seems that the Indiana government is a great fan of George Orwell. Expect the name of the state to be officially changed to Oceania, with capital renamed Airstrip One. The Department of Education will be renamed the Ministry of Truth, tasked with creating names of laws that are exactly the opposite of what they actually do, and revising their history so that they can justify said laws. Though the business backlash was swift, I would not hold my breath for Indiana to change much. Boycotting Indiana may not help much, because what the hell is in Indiana to see? This will blow up in their face though. Regardless, here’s to hoping for a better future.


Indiana: The Midwest’s smellier armpit (Sorry Ohio).

The Daily Woes with Trevor Noah

Internet angrections™ are swift and dangerous! Barely 24 hours after it was announced that comedian Trevor Noah would be taking over as anchor of The Daily Show after Jon Stewart leaves, stories came out about “troubling” tweets that he sent as far back as 2009. So before the ink dried on the stories questioning whether he had the experience to host a fake news show, and before people could lament about him being non-American and brown and therefore Comedy Central was pandering to the politically correct, stories started running that he was a misogynistic anti-Semite obesophobe. I assume people couldn’t find any pictures of him holding toy guns as a child, so they could not run with the “he’s a thug” narrative. I just had no idea the second false narrative for brown people after “thug” was “misogynistic anti-Semite obesophobe”. I would have guessed “welfare kings/queens”.

I saw the tweets. A lot of them were from 2009, when he first got a Twitter account. They were NOT funny. They were schlocky, crude one-liners that I would expect of a first-time open mic comedian. One was about almost accidentally hitting a Jewish guy with his German car. One was about Jewish women’s…”oral”…talent. There were quite a few “no fat chicks” style tweets that were recycled tropes that I’ve heard come from the mouths of idiots who thought that no women were listening. There was one about Jews controlling music industry:

“Behind every successful Rap Billionaire is a double as rich Jewish man. #BeatsByDreidel”.

I’m sorry, but as a black man and a Jew, that actually was kind of funny. I want a Jewish rapper to come out and make a platinum album. Wait...Drake. Nevermind.

Looking at the breadth of the tweets, it looks like what a budding comedian would do. He was testing jokes to see what was funny and what was not. So many comedians use Twitter as their notepad. Look back at any big comedian’s Twitter feed, and if you have no life as I gather the people who were looking 6 YEARS BACK to find something on Mr. Noah, go all the way to the beginning. Amy Schumer, Patton Oswalt, Aziz Ansari, all have some rotten ones amidst their truly funny insights. Look at their live performances, though, and you’ll see what they polished off to present to the real world. Look at Trevor Noah’s standup specials. Judge him by that as well. Many likely won’t though, because as Trevor Noah tweeted in October 2014: “Twitter + Sarcasm = Disaster”.

It is interesting that this nontroversy™ and digital public flogging is stemming from South Africa. It is similar to the case of Justine Sacco, who was heading to South Africa. Just before boarding the plane in 2013, she tweeted to her 100 followers, “Going to Africa, hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding! I’m white”. By the time she landed in Cape Town, she was out of a job. The tweet was a terribly unfunny joke, and probably would have been better shared with her close friends, but since some people do not understand sarcasm and irony, she got off the plane, and was met with hundreds of thousands of raging angrections™ online. I feel sorry for Ms. Sacco. A misplaced attempt at humour cost her job. She slowly recovered, doing work in Ethiopia and getting a PR gig in the states, but the world judged her based on one tweet, not the breadth of her character.

So this is another case of a black man and a woman being targeted in the public circle, based on a very narrow bit of information about them. We in the United States call this phenomenon “Tuesday”. Is Justine Sacco a racist? Highly doubtful. She is definitely a horrible comedian. Is Trevor Noah an anti-Semitic misogynist? Well, he was born in South Africa to a white Swiss man and half-Jewish Xhosa African woman in Apartheid South Africa. He was literally born a crime. If he walked with a limp and kissed dudes, he would have free reign on ALL the jokes. He made some very bad jokes back in 2009 on the #1 platform for very bad jokes. I hihgly doubt he believes what he wrote.

One thing is for sure: while everyone was waving around their angrections™ at Trevor Noah, people seem to forget that BILL COSBY IS STILL ON THE LOOSE. Two more women came forward Monday alleging that he raped them back in the day! Meanwhile he is doing a comedy show called “Far From Finished”. Why didn’t he just call it “I Still Know Where to Get Roofies”? Can we stop beating up this young black comic who made some bad judgment calls on what to write, and talk about this old black comic who more than likely got away with horrible things? Can we stop pretending to be “conscious black people” and bending over backwards to cling to conspiracies about the nebulous “man” trying to systematically take down successful black men, and Bill Cosby is the latest target? Can we focus on the ACTUAL systems that are taking down black men, like the War on Drugs, and the for-profit prison system, and the Ferguson police department, and people who watch Empire un-ironically? Let’s leave Trevor Noah alone, and take Bill Cosby to task.

Yes, this entire article was a trap to get you to stand up against people who get away with serial rape. You’re welcome.

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