October 29, 2010

More Examples of the World that Republicans Wish to Live in...

Good LORD.

And here, another comedian friend Jimmy, puts Ari & Friends in their place...

Sometimes people are able to give a different opinion, but they don't seem to last long.  Here, Ari decided that a rally's littering was a direct result of their being socialists.  so, clearly, the message is that Liberals don't give a shit about their country:

I get to read shit like this almost daily:

Shawn will especially enjoy that last one.
Perhaps it is bad for for me to post these discussions in my blog, but he is a very obtuse anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-liberal-in-any-way Republican; he loves discourse or he wouldn't bother with facebook at all.  I haven't even seen a posting of a comedy show or promo for anything related to his career or personal life at all.  All I have seen is political banter.

So I would like to think that, in the same fashion, he would approve of me doing that as well.

Restoring Sanity and my One Republican friend.

So, I think it's pretty obvious that I am not a Republican. 
For one, I am Canadian, but I am also leaning way too far to the left for people to even consider I might be conservative.

But I have a Republican comedian friend on my Facebook friend list, and even if his views (which are, surprisingly, not humourous at all) can be cruel and heartless and slanderous, I keep him on my homefeed and read his opinions daily.


Because I have to know what the other guys are thinking.

They have threatened to burn Muslims at the cross, sterilize gay rights activists, and... I shit you not... poison teenagers who claim to be Democrats.  It is unyielding hatred for "the other side" and I have a hard time reading it all, but I have to.  I have to know what they believe and how they came to be so angry and so defiant of others' will.

I will document some of it so that you can all read it here and perhaps we can discuss why it is that these people have come to be so bloody in their battles.

Today's debate was over this Funny or Die video...

Their comments, so far, are in these screen shots.  Also, it was only 9:30am.  We've barely even begun scratching the surface of comments to this...

And they are upset at the actors being juvenile?  I'll keep you posted...

October 21, 2010

Ballprints in the Butter...

"You know what it’s like when you come home from work and you’re still upset about that whole thing with Jenkins after lunch when he was trying to horn in on your ideas and you were all “Jenkins, what the f*ck?” and Jenkins gave you that goddamn smug smile that makes him look like a rat and if Mr. Avery wasn’t there you would have smacked his smart mouth with a stapler, but all you could do was try to sound smarter than the little bitch and it irked you the whole day? And then on the drive home you got stuck at that red light next to the bar where all the tranny hookers hang out, and the red lasts literally five minutes, so for five minutes you just had to sit there trying to ignore the three trannies who were asking if you wanted to taste some cock candy? And then you finally get home and all you want is to have a drink and make a sandwich and then you go into the fridge and there’s no beer left and the only Coke is already open, and the cheese was left unwrapped so it got that dark, chunky crust buildup that you hate, and when you grabbed the butter you could swear there was a perfect impression of a waxed scrotum in there, detailed wrinkles and all? That doesn’t happen by accident."

October 20, 2010

"Top Homos."

On the front page of a Ugandan newspaper, the country's 100 "top" homosexuals were listed, along with a bright yellow banner that reads, "Hang Them."
It also includes a photo and their addresses.

Four men have been attacked since the paper was published and many others are now in hiding. But this is not new for the conservative African country. A lawmaker introduced a bill last year that would have imposed the death penalty or life in prison for homosexual acts.

Gays in Uganda have suffered harassment and attacks since the bill was introduced. It follows a visit by leaders of U.S. conservative Christian ministries that promote therapy to turn gay people straight.

Ugandan citizen Patrick Ndede:
"Before the introduction of the bill in parliament most people did not mind about our activities. But since then, we are harassed by many people who hate homosexuality. The publicity the bill got made many people come to know about us and they started mistreating us."
Over the last year, 20 gay men have been attacked in Uganda, while another 17 have been arrested or put in prison.

October 19, 2010

M.I.A. IS A FAKE: Some Thoughts on Authenticity, Politics, and Truffle Oil.

So, this morning I happened upon the CBC video page to listen to Jian Ghomeshi talk to M.I.A. about her third album that dropped in July.  July.  I totally forgot about it.  But I didn't forget about that one scathing interview that ran in the New York Times in May.

That piece: It got under my skin. It disturbed me, in many visceral and icky ways. 
It seemed, to me, exemplary of the ways and means by which women who use their voices politically are knocked down, knocked over, and fucked up for the public’s entertainment. 
And people liked it. People I like, people I admire, at least one person I’m particularly close to: They responded, joined in the group-kick, were eager to denounce M.I.A. as a liar and a fake and a fraud and a bitch and a bad activist. 
And over what? Over passages like this:
Unity holds no allure for Maya — she thrives on conflict, real or imagined. “I kind of want to be an outsider,” she said, eating a truffle-flavored French fry.
The fact is, valuable things were uncovered in that piece. M.I.A. has been inconsistent, and misleading, about her father’s involvement with the Tamil Tigers. And I appreciated that voices other than M.I.A.’s were given the chance to speak out, in a widely read forum, about Sri Lankan politics and the Tigers; the allegation that she’s being overly and dangerously simplistic, in her unconditional support of the Tigers, is probably true. What I don’t appreciate, however, is the fact that these things were only brought up as a means of destroying M.I.A.’s political credibility — shortly before attacking her credibility on more or less every other front.

M.I.A. is a fake, the article more or less says; no matter what she says or writes or records about global capitalism being a bad thing, no matter how fiercely she would seem to defend marginalized people, she’s just a shallow, narcissistic, bossy, stupid woman who only wants your attention, only wants to be famous, only wants to be a star. 
And did you hear that she was having contractions when she sang “Paper Planes” at the Grammys? Shocking! Provocative! Fame-whorey! Regular-whorey! Unfeminine! Selfish! Bad mother!

Although her publicist had a wheelchair ready and a midwife on call, Maya, who has a deep and instinctive affinity for the provocative, knew that this Grammy moment was not to be missed. It had everything: artistic credibility, high drama, a massive audience. The baby would just have to wait. The combination of being nearly naked, hugely pregnant, singing incendiary lyrics and having the eyes of the world upon her was too much to resist.
Granted, there are a few common-sense things to be pointed out here: That it’s not unusual for women to work throughout their pregnancies, that lots of women go to work on the day that they’re scheduled to go into labor, that labor itself is a long process (the profile even notes that M.I.A.’s son wasn’t born until three days after the performance) and so many women often continue to work throughout the early stages of labor, especially if they’re doing something important or time-sensitive that can’t be re-scheduled — like, say, performing at the Grammys. Or, for that matter, the fact that implying that a woman ought to neglect her job because she’s knocked up is the flip-side of the rationale that says it’s okay to not hire or promote women because they will have to neglect their jobs once they get knocked up. 
But never mind all that: I mean, the wheelchair was right there, but instead M.I.A. was up on stage, almost naked, singing her violent lyrics about murdering people, because she cares more about performing and being famous than she does about her poor little helpless baby boy. What a monster.

In fact, the same common-sense issues keep cropping up, as you read the article. For example: Is it really that surprising that a performer, signed to a major label, wants attention? Is it surprising or exceptional that such a person has money? Is it surprising that a person subjected to constant scrutiny from millions of people has crafted a public face, a version of herself that she puts on when she’s being observed by strangers that is noticeably different and more suited to mass consumption than the one she wears when she’s alone, or with her husband and child, or with her best friends? And: If you were trying to get attention at all costs, if you were coming up with a fake personality that was guaranteed to garner acceptance and approval from the largest possible number of people, would “radical woman of color allied with militant groups” really be the one you’d pick? Because I can think of a ton of more palatable personas. I really can. In fact, it seems to me that M.I.A.’s radicalism — which is pretty much guaranteed to earn her much blowback, from many different people, at many points along the line — might be something that she does because she cares about it. It might just, conceivably, be for real. Because I imagine that it’s a fuck of a lot harder to live with than many of her other options.

But not according to the profile. The profile presents a series of choices, a standard of purity, which almost invariably excludes and diminishes the perspective of the woman it claims to be telling us about. I always read M.I.A.’s Grammy performance as a goddamn beautiful piece of synthesis: half-naked, hardcore, and pregnant, telling the world that she could function as a sexual person, as a political person, as a mother, and as someone who was better at her job than anyone else. She wasn’t giving up anything; she didn’t have to; she could be all of it, at once. But no, she can’t, says the article: She had to make a choice, and she made the wrong one, the bad one, the one that makes her a bad woman. I read M.I.A. as a person in a difficult and contradictory position: Someone who’s come into a huge amount of privilege, after growing up without it, someone who’s benefiting from the very system she condemns, and is attempting to use her position of power to bring attention to the problem. But the article says there is no contradiction: She’s privileged, full stop, and as such is a hypocrite if she even attempts to care or speak about people who are in her former position. 
As the sub-hed apparently runs: “Is the Sri Lankan musician’s political rap more than just radical chic?” You never ask that sort of question if you want your audience to answer “yes.”

If it’s okay to do this to M.I.A., it’s okay to do this to anyone. And the good news is, you basically could do it to anyone. Speaking out about politics is tricky; as anyone with even marginal self-awareness knows, it requires you to be more or less constantly opining on morals and an ideal future world, while also being a person with moral failings (I have them, God knows) who has made plenty of compromises or choices about how to live in the world as it presently exists. Hence, my flip-the-fuck-outery over being interviewed; being regarded as an authority is a little hard to take, given how familiar I am with my own imperfections. But lots of people on this here planet are privileged in one way or another, including people who speak out against privilege. Lots of people are inconsistent, incapable of being hardcore moral vegans at all times; pretty much everyone has unpleasant aspects to her personality. 
If we make personal perfection a prerequisite for speaking out, the result will be silence. It simply will be. There will be one woman, living alone and off-the-grid in a yurt, eating nothing but pickles, interacting with no-one but the squirrels, who walks out to her favorite pooping tree every morning and delivers a brief monologue to it about social justice. She will be the Perfect One, the Chosen One; she will be allowed to speak. And it won’t be a problem. Largely because no-one will actually hear her.
I learned … years ago that women had always been divided against one another, self-destructive and filled with impotent rage. I thought the Movement would change all that. I never dreamed that I would see the day when this rage, masquerading as a pseudo-egalitarian radicalism, would be used within the Movement to strike down sisters singled out… I am referring … to the personal attacks, both overt and insidious, to which women in the Movement who had painfully managed any degree of achievement have been subjected. These attacks take different forms. The most common and pervasive is character assassination: the attempt to undermine and destroy belief in the integrity of the individual under attack… If you are [an achiever] you are immediately labeled a thrill-seeking opportunist, a ruthless mercenary, out to make her fame and fortune.
That’s Anselma Dell’Olio, giving a speech on the state of the women’s movement. In 1970. If things have changed at all, it seems, it’s only insofar as the lingo has penetrated the mainstream. You can’t attack M.I.A. head-on. You can’t say that it’s a problem that she is being heard. But what you can do is attack her reasons for making herself heard; you can take her to task for being selfish, for being ambitious, for not being pure or authentic or poor or unknown or selfless enough: Call her a thrill-seeking opportunist, a ruthless mercenary, out to make her fame and fortune. 

I should be clear: I don’t think that the interviewer was somehow doing this on purpose, trying to silence M.I.A. or shut her down because she consciously perceived her as a political threat. I just think it was inevitable that our cultural discomfort with someone like M.I.A. would eventually surface, in a piece that looked very much like hers. She was the one to write it — and to get her phone number Tweeted, which: BOOOO, bad pool Maya — but it had been a long time coming. It was inevitable. And that’s what makes me sad.

Because no-one, in the wake of this piece, is talking about the Tamils. No-one’s talking about Sri Lanka. No-one’s talking about M.I.A.’s most provocative belief, the one that’s really threatening: The idea that violent oppression can and should be met with violent resistance, which is a complicated and scary proposition, one that people have been evaluating and fighting over for a long-ass time, one that we’re nowhere near figuring out as yet. 
No-one is talking about that; no-one, to be blunt, really cares. 

What we did talk about, instead, was a plate of fucking fries.

October 11, 2010

Isaac Katz, Son Of 'Proud Bigot' Professor Jonathan Katz, Comes Out.

When I was perhaps 10 years old, my brother called me a faggot. Neither of us was old enough to understand the concept of sexual orientation; he was merely teasing in the way older brothers do and using a word that had surely passed from the public sphere into his vocabulary via sheer osmosis. My father overheard him, however, and reacted in a manner I had never before seen. He was genuinely angry: not with violence (he never has been violent), but with pure, unadulterated offense. Profanity was rather strictly forbidden for us children, but the word "faggot," to my father, was simply beyond the pale.

Why was the slur so offensive to my dad? Not because the anti-gay slur is so contemptuous but, rather, because to merely call another person homosexual is to insult him or her in the worst way. My dad was angry not because my brother used a curse word — but because, simply and literally, he said that I was gay.

In the past month, a 13-year-old Minnesota boy named Seth Walsh, who had been taunted for being gay, died in the hospital days after hanging himself from a tree; a 13-year-old Houston boy named Asher Brown shot himself after repeated homophobic bullying; 18-year-old Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge after his roommate secretly filmed him having sex with another man (though it is not clear that the roommate was specifically homophobic or would have done the same if Clementi were with a woman); and a 15-year-old Indiana boy named Billy Lucas hanged himself in his barn after being tormented by classmates.
After Lucas' death, advice columnist Dan Savage launched an online campaign entitled "It gets better." Countless gay men and women have now posted videos on YouTube, telling — and demonstrating — that life does get better for gay teens.

More than a decade has passed since my brother used that notorious homophobic slur. I am now 22, and, as it happens, I am gay. Further, I, personally, was depressed throughout much of my adolescence. Although anti-gay bullying was never a problem for me as a student at Clayton High School, being in the closet hardly helped my mental well-being. I was hospitalized for depression the summer after my sophomore year in college and tried to overdose on pills later that fall.

My father is a physics professor at Washington University. Years ago, he wrote an article on his personal website in which he justified homophobia as a "moral judgment" about a person's actions. Even if one does not accept Judeo-Christian morality, he wrote, gays should be shunned because they are physically and morally responsible for the AIDS epidemic. Any person "cursed with unnatural sexual desires" should suppress those desires. Further, even if gays are thoroughly safe and monogamous, they are still morally culpable for the promiscuity that spread AIDS in the past, just as people who join the Ku Klux Klan without physically engaging in violence still share the responsibility for past Klan actions. Though one should "not engage in violence against homosexuals," my father argued, one should 'stay away from them." The last line of the essay is as follows: "I am a homophobe, and proud."

It is harder to stay away from homosexuals, I would imagine, when your son is one. When I told my dad I was gay, his immediate response was, "No, you're not." (My mom, by the way, was and is more supportive.) When my insistence finally overrode his denials, he echoed his online essay that I should deny who I am rather than to engage in an act so abhorrent as to love another man.

At the height of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill this past summer, Energy Secretary Steven Chu nominated my father to a small and elite group of scientists working to help plug the gusher; when gay rights groups protested, he was forced out of the position. As it happens, I don't believe that anyone's personal opinions have any impact on whether they can help fight oil spills. At one point in the summer, engineers used a procedure called "top kill" to try to stanch the oil spill; my father predicted that it would fail — it did — and suggested an alternative, later tested successfully on a small scale, that might have worked. Would my father have helped stop the gush of oil if only he had remained on Chu's team? That's presumptuous. To me, though, it is undeniable that removing him from the team for reasons unrelated to his scientific knowledge, academic credentials or intellectual capacity was a mistake.

I can't change my dad's thoughts about homosexuality overnight. Underlying his opinions and those of other homophobes is the belief that homosexuality is not ingrained within gay men and women, that someone attracted to people of the same sex should simply choose not to be a "practicing homosexual." That this idea is absurd should be obvious to all straight people, unless they can identify a time in their lives when they chose to be straight and not gay, and would gladly become intimate with a same-sex partner if only they chose to.

Last spring, almost three years after attempting suicide, I graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania. Once I accepted myself, coming out to my parents was a rather easy thing to do. Telling them that I wanted to use my outrageously expensive college degree to move to Los Angeles and try to make it as a screenwriter was rather more difficult for me to work up the nerve.

Americans' increasing acceptance of homosexuality is proof that, indeed, it does get better. I still live in St. Louis and am hopeful and optimistic that I will begin film school next fall — my parents did manage to convince me that hurrying off to LA with little more than the clothes on my back and a dream would probably not be the best way to break into an industry as insular as the film world. I am happier than I have been in many years. To struggling gay and lesbian teens in St. Louis and beyond, then, as a young gay man I gladly repeat Dan Savage's words: It does get better.

— Isaac Katz

October 6, 2010

‘I like it on the…’ Kinky Facebook Meme For Breast Cancer.

October’s only just begun and I’m already getting pink overload. Pink football games, pink water bottles, pink can openers, irons and blow dryers all over the shelves of my Bed Bath & Beyond.

Breast cancer awareness month has bugged me for years– I imagine the cheap plastic factories overseas churning out all manner of things, rubbing their palms over how quickly women open their wallets to anything pink or emblazoned with the Susan G Komen ribbon. I may be the biggest cynic in the free female world, but it’s a marketing charade I just can’t get behind.

Before I’m lynched, I’ll put it out there: I am not anti-breast cancer research.

I’ve known too many women lost to the disease and their families devastated to be that cold-hearted. Like everyone, I pray that a cure is found for breast cancer.

It’s just the bullshit I can’t abide.

Not surprisingly, when I found out that this whole “I like it on the…” Facebook meme was a flirty trend that somehow was meant to “raise awareness for breast cancer,” I was equally grossed out.

“This time, ladies are telling us how and where they “like it.” For example, “I like it on the bed.” A sampling of recent “I likes” include: the kitchen table, the backseat of a car, my nightstand, the floor, in the closet, on the stairs, on a bar stool and on the washing machine. This is meant to raise awareness — not about kinky female fantasies, but, inexplicably, breast cancer.”

The thinking behind this anonymously started trend (which, in the end, is supposedly where ladies like to put their purses, and not, surprisingly, their breasts)  is to get guys thinking about sex (silly boys, always thinking about sex!), and then the not-so-surprising leap to breasts. And from their love of breasts to “breast cancer” to, I guess, “I should donate some money to breast cancer research,” or “maybe my girlfriend would like a pink can opener for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”

This Facebook phenomenon is an echo of January’s “bra color” campaign. It seems to me, that, especially when it comes to bra colors, or where you “like it,” the impact on the actual fight against actual breast cancer is actually nil. People are well aware of breast cancer. Who are we converting?

I may be ranting, and I may be making enemies of even my own Facebook friends, but as a girl who owns no “pink” gear and doesn’t plan on it anytime soon, I stand my ground.

I think it’s marketing disguised as altruism. What about you?