Saturday, December 31, 2016

I Feel an Ever Widening Gulf Between Us

A revolutionary bangin' on my adversaries
And I love Dr. King but violence might be necessary
'Cause when you live on MLK and it gets very scary
You might have to pull your AK, send one to the cemetery. 

I keep imagining a scenario wherein a man goes into a corporate job interview wearing an Eyes Wide Shut t-shirt. When asked by his obviously flustered potential employer, "Why in God's name are you wearing that, boy?" He responds, "I JUST LOVE THE CORPORATE LIFESTYLE!"

We all act like this confused interviewee as we construct our identities, especially on the internet. There exists an entire political identity based around opposing identity politics. Here there is no why.

I do not exclude myself from my own criticism. This is something that self-aware people need to make clear to people who are not so self-aware, lest offense is taken. #NotAllDumbFucks. Politics is mostly a game, nay, a sport for us privileged folk. Corporate news media goes to great lengths to present it as such. If you watched any of the recent presidential debates within the last year, you could not escape the feeling that you were witnessing the pay-per-view mixed martial arts bout of the century.

In my last post, I talked about how sports can be inherently political. We want our sports to remain apolitical, but we can't help viewing our politics as sporting. For the privileged, it really is a game. What do you stand to lose?

This isn't going to be some tripe about how we all need to come together. We don't. Some of us are Nazis. This is not hyperbole.

Nazis did not spontaneously goose step into the streets of Berlin in their sexy Hugo Boss uniforms, convincing millions of Germans simultaneously, "yeah, that's definitely who we are now. I loved Jews before, but look at those shiny skull pendants. How can you not want to gas a few kikes after laying eyes on that?"

Consider this a plea to try to consciously visualize the real world ramifications of your beliefs, or ponder more carefully the consequences of whatever means you seek to realize your ideological ends. This is not a game.

Maybe we all want to curb stomp some fascists, but boots are expensive. Take self-defense classes, read books, and pursue happiness with diligence.

Happy New Year.






Monday, August 22, 2016

Football is Political


It's a common refrain that "politics has no place in sport."

I guess it's comforting to people. The idea, I'm told, is that sports should be about coming together, setting aside our differences, and enjoying a spectacle. It sounds nice.

More fun, however, is screaming "GO HOME YA BUMS, GO HOME!" at visiting fans.

So long as football is controlled by corporate interests, we can't really have those "nice" things (not that we'd really want them, as channeling our primal, territorial rage into sport would remain preferable to most alternatives). We do, however, get an inexplicable Michael Jackson statue, insipid adverts for insipid products, and a man who is much more rewardingly and disproportionately adept at dodging defenders than he is taxes. If you want politics out of business, cool. But help us get business out of politics. Otherwise, you're complicit in something you may very well claim to hate: the government censors political banners to control how you think and feel. Rather, the governing body of every major sport censors political expression. It's a business, after all. Politics is a bad look. Some people may feel alienated and profits may go down. Some people may also stab each other, but that's always a risk in football.

Here's a fun tangential thought: A lot of the same people who rail against "political correctness" seem to hate having politics in sports, entertainment, and pretty much everywhere except for their own regimented safe spaces (unless it's their politics). I know, there's nothing remarkable or profound about merely mentioning that hypocrites exist (*eighth grade mind BLOWN!*), but it feels relevant here.

This brings us to last week. Members of Celtic FC's Green Brigade supporters group held Palestinian flags during a Champions League match against Hapoel Be'er Sheva in a showing of solidarity. As this is a brazenly political act, UEFA has a problem with it. Of course, displaying a national flag is not necessarily political (though a nation's flag is always political in the more literal sense), displaying a Palestinian flag during a match against an Israeli opponent is undeniably pointed.

And none of this is shocking. Celtic itself is inherently political (even more political than Israel's presence in a European competition). The club has represented one side of a bitter sectarian divide for most of its history. It was founded to provide aid for the starving children of immigrants. You can't just fucking gloss over that in the hopes of having neat and clean marketable entertainment. You also cannot gloss over the fact that a minority of Celtic fans occasionally sing and chant terrible things, especially toward their bitter rivals, Rangers. This goes both ways in The Old Firm (which doesn't excuse the behavior, but it is what it is). If you disagree with the Green Brigade on the issue of Palestine, that's fine, but you're disagreeing with something fundamental to the club.

As football is a business, even the club sometimes disagrees with itself.

Part of what makes football truly beautiful and fascinating is that so many clubs and their supporters have distinct identities. Ideally, I suppose, the playing styles and personalities of the players and managers come to define those identities. It's timeless drama. However, players come and go. Chasing absurd salaries, very few ever stay put for prolonged periods of time. The people who remain most loyal are the ones paying money instead of making it.

I am not arguing that UEFA shouldn't fine Celtic FC. We have our forms of political expression, the right wing have theirs, and St. Pauli have whatever the hell they're up to. Everyone gets a fine.*

The idea that clubs and their supporters groups should be impotent, colorless, and quiet is what disturbs me. Every supporters group has electrifying apolitical chants and songs, but if football is to remain an art, it must remain a little dangerous.

*St. Pauli don't usually break the rules, I just wish more people knew about this club.

Cheers?



Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Geyser of Shit Receives Key Endorsement

WAYCROSS, GA - Leading Rib-rub-rican presidential candidate and presumptive nominee, Geyser of Shit, received another major endorsement today.

Speaking during a press conference at the Murphy Family Hog Farm in Waycross, bubbles of methane gas expressed their support for the presidential hopeful.

"He really speaks to us," said the near toxic levels of methane, "and he does this by simply spraying whatever is on his mind. He's authentic. But he's also a great politician. So he also sprays things to get votes. Basically, he's very reliable. Literally, he's everything we'd want him to be. He's a Geyser of Shit, after all, what else would you expect?"

Geyser of Shit accepted the endorsement and thanked the methane bubbles live at a nearby rally via webstream-of-feces.

"FFffffffuutttt pufftttt tupppp pllllurrrrrrrrrrrrd. Great!"

The speech was briefly interrupted by a scuffle between protestors and the Geyser's supporters. Consisting mostly of flies and dung beetles, the audience applauded vigorously as Geyser of Shit ejected putrid fecal matter in the direction of everyone in attendance.

"They're haters! They're haters! They're haters! They're haters! Glooooorrrryyyyyy to the booowwweeeellllllsssssss fffffffuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrddddd pllllffffftttttt."

Meanwhile, at the press conference, Seamus Murphy took the stage to speak glowingly of the candidate.

"Sure, he sprays some vile stuff. It's spewed all over the country, it gets in our faces and even our mouths, and the stench of it permeates our homes and almost every waking moment of our lives. It's nightmarish, and at this point, inescapable. But have you looked at his tax plan?"


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Outsourced Dream Labor

I realize the title of this post reads like a very early, feeble attempt at SEO, but bear with me.

Pinterest: Sebastion Crider
This is my new recurring nightmare: I wake up and realize I have to get to the airport immediately. My phone battery is charged to a scant 4%.

That's it. That's all that happens.

And this follows a fairly standard pattern for all of my "new" recurring nightmares: I'm trying to get a thing done, but I can't, because I keep getting distracted, or I forgot something. Fucking riveting, right?

Is it a good, healthy thing that my nightmares are so banal? The nightmares of my childhood had a rich, fantastic complexity. There would be giant beasts, crazy contraptions, psychotic people, and exotic locales. They were inspiring, my nightmares, and upon waking up and finding myself in the safety of my bedroom, delightful to recall and reflect upon. They'd stick with me for days.

The nightmares of my teen years were grittier and more realistic, but still thoroughly confusing and necessitating deep introspection. As I entered my twenties, my nightmares no longer required consulting a dream dictionary. And dreams? Non-nightmare dreams? Those are a welcome rarity.

I suppose it's an improvement to have far less frightening experiences while I'm trying to get some damned sleep. Maybe my brain is choosing function over form. But do my uninspired dreams mean that I myself am uninspired? Or are my problems now just very simple and plain for me to see?

Is my subconscious slacking? Have I allowed it to become lazy? Am I a bad subconsciousness curator?

Maybe my subconscious operations have been outsourced to a country with cheaper labor and more human rights abuses. I've tried turning it off and turning it back on. Now I have to call someone in another country and have them walk me through fixing something that someone else in their country (or a separate country that's similar enough to where I don't really care to make the distinction, but they'd probably nuke each other if given the option on a bad day) who is working sixteen hour days and barely eats, worked hard to build as quickly as possible.

Are there suicide nets at the factory where my dreams are made? Is it right next to the factory where they manufacture aspirations? Do they also produce whims?

Is the American dream™ imported from China?

How can I reclaim my dreams, my aspirations, and my whims? I suppose one solution is to stop buying insecurities. They're cheap, so I wouldn't be saving much money, but at least I'd reduce my carbon footprint. Maybe then I could clear the air for a triumphant resurgence of American dream™ manufacturing. Chinese air is filthy anyhow, isn't it? Is that the fault of my shitty dreams and my shitty aspirations and my shitty shitty whims?

Did you hear that they're installing self-serve kiosks in Wendy's restaurants? I always felt something like that made more sense at Chipotle or Panera, but I guess the only way to freely double up on a side of suburban smugness and self-satisfaction is to order it directly from another human being. You wouldn't want to upset corporate.

Great. Now I'm hungry. Where to, whims?



Friday, April 29, 2016

Clinton Voter: "Progressives are the real misogynists," basically.

I got into this brief, frustrating exchange on Facebook yesterday. I think I made my point pretty clearly, but that was at the expense of burying my rage and fury. I suppose this is the healthiest outlet for it.


I'll start by saying that I understand where this person is coming from. Those are some trying life experiences. How they relate to this presidential race, however, seems tenuous. But that's where this person's anger comes from, and that's why I held back.

I take exception to the Trump fear mongering. One of Clinton's biggest selling points going into the primaries was that she'd be the best possible candidate to go up against Trump. However, if the primaries have proven anything, it's that this is not true. 42% of the electorate is independent (no party affiliation), and Sanders is favored amongst this group. This group, by the way, was barred from voting in most primaries because most primaries are closed. I've always thought this was silly. The whole point of a party system is so that all Americans and their ideas are represented. The parties are not supposed to be exclusive clubs. Even if you identify and are registered as a Republican, you should still have the option of deciding which Democrat best represents you, and vice versa. If we really wanted our presidential elections to be a respectable and intellectual battle of ideals, and less of a cult of personality popularity contest, I think this would be a great start.

And while we're at it, let's get corporate money out of politics. That would also help a lot.

So please, for the love of democracy, don't you (mean lady on Facebook, or anyone else who agrees with her) dare blame progressives for Donald Trump. If anything, to "piss away your vote" would just as much be to vote for the primary candidate who is less likely to defeat him in the general as it is to vote in the general for the candidate who best represents you and your ideals (despite the apparent unlikeliness of their victory). It is inherently anti-democratic to shame people for voting for who they legitimately believe is the best candidate. I'm sorry that I'm not interested in playing a game of political ass-fuckery.

You make Trump possible by supporting a system that perpetuates this ass-fuckery, election after election, by not taking a stand for yourself and your fellow citizens. I don't really care what activism you've engaged in for what specific cause, you're presently perpetuating the oligarchy, and as far as I'm concerned, all our other troubles stem from that. You could try to convince me otherwise, that these issues are not as intertwined as I see them, but all you did was whine and bitch about how tough it used to be and how today's women aren't afraid enough of a single orange douche in a suit.

And yeah, Trump is pretty deplorable. But he'll veer toward the center in the general election, as most candidates do, and we'll forget about a lot of what makes him so ugly. This is America, after all, and we citizens have the collective memory of gold fish. I'm not saying this in defense of Trump, but I think we're overestimating exactly how much he'd be capable of accomplishing in four years. You mention "his cronies," but I'm not sure who those are. Are we talking about his potential cabinet? Do we believe a substantial amount of congressional candidates will label themselves as "Trump candidates"? Aside from Trump's own lack of experience and political ineptness, we generally overestimate the power of sitting presidents.

Besides, some shitty women-harming* laws were recently passed in Oklahoma. What is Hillary Clinton going to do about that, exactly, beyond mere lip service? What can a president do that the current president hasn't already done regarding equal pay?

So while I view Hillary Clinton as a president who would engage in needless conflict around the world, do nothing to make college more affordable, do nothing to address income inequality, do nothing to make healthcare more widely available (and that includes women's healthcare, ya stooge), and pat herself on the back for the kind of "incremental change" that only ever really benefits a fortunate few, you view her as someone who simply won't fuck up what we've achieved so far with regards to women's rights.

There is a reason why the majority of millennial women do not support Hillary Clinton. It's not because they're not afraid enough. It's because they're living the lives you are privileged enough to only pretend to care about. It's no surprise you view mere lip service as something substantial, because that's all you yourself have to offer to women who aren't exactly like you: old (by your own admission), white, and probably upper-middle class (I get to make an assumption about you after all the nasty ones you made about me). Young women do not need "incremental change," they need their change to be drastic. This is what someone like Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein actually offers. This is why we support these candidates. But I must just enjoy lording over women. That's why I'm so pro-woman, right, ya twunt? That must be why so many women my age feel exactly the same as I do, because they're actually men. I didn't say it, you did. The armchair psychoanalyst inside me is having a ball with you accusing me of wanting to feel smug.

The DNC can continue to ignore young people at its own peril. We owe them absolutely nothing, because, again, it's not a club, and elections are not games.

*Apparently, at least one Oklahoma lawmaker views this as a loophole.


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Where is my headshot? Also, comedy.

Seriously, where is my headshot?

When I post links on Facebook, I'm given the option of using a thumbnail image preview. I'm no SEO or social media expert, but I'd wager that a photo improves an article's "clickability" quite a bit. I used to have this option when I attached links to my blog. This is no longer the case. If you found this article on my Facebook page, you probably noticed it was absent an image. I'm not saying my smiling face is what brings anyone to this blog, but it certainly helps make the link look less like spam.

So for that reason, along with a few others, I'm probably going to be changing platforms soon. Where should I go? I have some ideas, but I'm interested in hearing yours. Let me know in the comment section of this post or on Facebook.

---

Since I moved to Portland, I've been hitting the comedy open mic circuit. This is noteworthy because there actually exists a comedy scene here, and I previously tried really hard to be a comedian while doing as little standup as possible. Longtime readers of this blog will recall how frustrating an experience the Comedy Walk was for me. Knowing what I know now, that was one of the dumbest and bravest things I've ever done. I don't regret a second of it. 

Okay, I have a lot of regrets, mostly in the form of "what I should've said was..." fantasies. But you know what I mean. Starting off with what was arguably the toughest and stupidest way of trying to make people laugh gave me a thick, calloused skin. 

Tangent -- the weird thing about the internet is that I'm nowhere near what I would ever deem as successful, but here I am talking like a pompous ass about something educational and bold I did to further myself. Maybe this will fizzle out and I will ultimately fail. Sure, I've had some victories along the way, but maybe I won't have accrued enough points to stay near the top of the table by the end of the season. 

Oh well. I'm having a lot of fun. 

I may carefully select which photos and links I share on social media, but I have no interest in fooling you about who I am or where I'm at. That's my "brand," so to speak, and I can't think of any better medium or platform or art or whatever through which to build this brand than comedy. I'm glad I have friends and family who are genuinely supportive, or who are at least curious. That's really the only reason I'm sharing any of this right now; I want to let you all know what's up. 

So I'll leave you with an anecdote about my aspirations. Last weekend during Bloody Sunday Comedy Night at Rose & Thistle, a nice looking family was finishing their dinner as the comedy started. I was surprised at how long they stayed, and how respectful they were to the performers. However, you could tell the older members of the family were uncomfortable. Why wouldn't they be? There were rape jokes. People told plenty of other gross jokes, but, like, come on, rape jokes are doing the "offensive material" heavy lifting here. That is, after all, what Bloody Sundays is (are?) all about, not rape jokes, per se, but otherwise unacceptable blue and black humor. 

A few comics made light of the awkwardness before and after the family left. One comic mentioned how the oldest looking lady heard a vagina joke and promptly pushed away her Scotch egg plate. To paraphrase, "that had to be hard, because Scotch eggs are delicious." (If anyone remembers who this was, I'd like to give proper attribution.) 

Most comics probably dream of selling out theaters around the country, landing a sweet late night gig, or moving on to a more "respectable" profession like acting or pitching biscuits and gravy in the frozen section. I have a more inclusive dream (and yes, that makes me a little better than you). I dream of a day when old ladies and their families not only laugh at Elizabeth Teets while she talks about vaginal tearing, but stay for the whole show, *and* finish their Scotch eggs. 

Meanwhile, there was a booth of young people closest to the stage. They were loud and disruptive most of the time. By the time I got onstage, one of them remained. She felt like she had something to add to my opening joke. She did, but not in the way she expected

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Disingenuous J. Trump

Focusing on rhetoric, it's obvious that a lot of large demographics are the enemy to Trump and his supporters. Mexico isn't sending "their best," Muslims might need to be barred from entering to country until we can "figure out what's going on," and now the attention is turning to Bernie supporters (for once, he isn't pretending that Clinton is the only Democratic candidate).

For weeks, we've seen protesters forcibly removed from Trump rallies. According to him there are some "bad people" who attend. He even flippantly offered to pay the legal fees of anyone bold enough to go out of their way to assault those "bad people." Unsurprisingly, protesters have been assaulted. Now the chickens are coming home to roost. Protesters are coordinating and being proactive. They know they're gonna get punched and kicked, so they're turning up in larger numbers. Some have even, however irrationally, resorted to preemptive self-defense.

Prior to Chicago, Trump was given ample opportunities to walk back his violent rhetoric. But he doubled down. So who does he blame for the fact that his rallies routinely erupt in chaos? Bernie Sanders, of course.

Nothing could ever be Donald Trump's fault, and he'll sue you if you try to prove otherwise. No, really, he "joked" about changing our libel laws. Our jobs are going to China, and he wants to fix that, never mind the Chinese labor he's outsourced. Mexicans are criminals just for being here, but never mind the migrant labor he utilizes. Personal responsibility is for everyone else.

Have you ever argued with, or been witness to an argument with, a Trump supporter? How quickly does it devolve into them implying that you're jobless, or that you're on welfare, or that you're some kind of irresponsible leech, or a whore? Yeah, you must just want what's best for everyone because you're selfish. That's it.

I think these are pretty obvious examples of projection. The leading candidate for the "party of personal responsibility" displays nothing of the sort, and panders to people who wish to check their responsibility at the door as well, both of the social and personal varieties. It works because so many of them already have so very little of everything else anyway, and Trump has so much. If they abandon any remaining shred of decency and responsibility, like their leader, they too can prosper. America will be great again (for them).

The complaint I also hear a lot is that those of us who criticize Trump don't focus enough on his policies. Okay, I'll focus on the nuance and substance of his policies as soon as he does.

He does have a tax plan, and a healthcare plan. I have some plans. I'm sure you have plans as well. But there are extenuating circumstances disqualifying us from being elected to the highest office in the land. You cannot separate the rhetoric from the supposed substance. It is a package. By asking me to ignore everything else that is wrong with Donald Trump, you're asking me to ignore that he is, in fact, Donald Trump. You're asking me to ignore everything that is wrong with you, as a Trump supporter, and focus on everything that is bad about everyone else. He isn't arguing for his healthcare or tax plans in a vacuum. They're intertwined with the desire to build walls, homogenize, and isolate. These have been the prevailing themes of his current campaign from the very beginning. They have not ceased, and neither has he.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

THIS! IS! AN ELECTION! *Leonidas kick*

Do Bernie Sanders supporters seem angry? Why is that problematic? Are they being mean? You claim you're seeing it. I don't claim to see it myself. Where do we go from there? Perhaps we simply have different standards as to what constitutes meanness. What you call "harsh" or "over-the-top" I might simply call passionate argument. And why wouldn't supporters of the underdog, the candidate whose record points to a genuine agenda of fighting for the people, be fired up in supporting their candidate? 

The "Bernie Bros" myth has been thoroughly dismantled and debunked, but the seeds of propaganda have already taken root. The Clinton campaign has crafted a narrative spin, or as she herself may call it (with questionable accuracy) an "artful smear," so that every time the former Secretary of State is criticized, no matter how legitimately, it comes across as a bit harsh. Any challenge to Hillary Clinton's entitlement is viewed, through the lens of the nauseatingly polished establishment media, as a radical threat. 

We're chastised whenever we mock the former senator and First Lady. Meanwhile, she insults our intelligence by insinuating that she can't possibly be part of the establishment because, hey, haven't you noticed, she's a woman. 

And haven't you noticed that Sanders is a secular Jew? 

The spin is most likely this, I think: Clinton and her supporters viewed her ascent to the presidency as inevitable. That's the entitlement I'm referring to. Then, to the shock of everyone with a severely impaired memory, Bernie Sanders started to present a serious challenge that entitlement. Suddenly, the underdog was an enviable position. Clinton began echoing Sanders' message of tearing down the establishment, which was brilliantly satirized by Andy Borowitz. 

This leads us to Clinton using her gender as proof of her outsider status, and her insults to the average Democratic voter's intelligence. 

And if it seems desperate, that might be because it is. Clinton supporters want her to win the candidacy, obviously. But they didn't expect to actually have to try. What they portray as degrading and vitriolic offenses from Sanders supporters, I again view as passionate banter. Because, after all, apparently the perspective of one or two people is enough to paint an entire base of supporters as one despicable thing or another (oh, we're all sexist douche bags? Well you're a bunch of political casuals who are entitled enough to very rarely ever suffer the consequences of being completely and utterly fucking wrong). 

So what is it? Is Hillary Clinton more "electable" (what the hell does that even mean, really?), or is she an outsider? Is that a false dichotomy? Isn't that what Sanders supporters have been saying from the beginning? Is Hillary Clinton a strong leader, a feminist not at all hindered by her gender? Or do we need to tone down our rhetoric, despite the fact that we're deciding on the future leader of the free world? 

Electability is expensive. Clinton's campaign has a lot of wealthy donors, and to draw attention to this plain and simple fact is not a "smear." Sanders' base of support is not wealthy, but it's by and large quite young, politically inclined, and LOUD. Perhaps, when we curse, make flippant jokes and remarks, and seem impossible to really deal with, it's because we're compensating for that very expensive electability. 


This is an election. Nothing is guaranteed. Since we're going to judge and prescribe each other's behavior, perhaps it would behoove you to actually act like it's an election. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

East Oregon Occupation Draws to a Close

HARNEY COUNTY, OR - The standoff between the Malheur Wildlife Refuge occupiers and federal officials came to an end on its 22nd day.

Citing a radical change of heart, Ammon Bundy and his armed supporters put down their weapons. The end of their occupation, however, was not entirely peaceful.

“Well, what happened was we realized that we were mostly in the wrong. See, mandatory minimum sentencing is a huge problem. That much we still believe. But we now understand that the complexities of the issues extend far beyond an oversimplified big vs. small government dichotomy,” said Bundy.

“We really need to turn our attention to getting money out of politics, and making corporations pay their fair share of taxes. It’d be a lot easier for us to focus on these issues if we’d stayed in our home state and gave this refuge back to the people who we’ve been pretending to speak for,” he continued.

At 11 a.m. local time, members of the militia lined up in front of the refuge building, set their weapons down, linked arms, and sang an a cappella rendition of “What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes. Before even making it to the second chorus, the group was besieged by riot police firing tear gas canisters and rubber bullets. Several militia members were beaten with batons before being cuffed and arrested.

Reports suggest that Ammon’s brother Ryan could be heard repeatedly shouting “black lives matter!” as he was forced into the back of a police cruiser.

In an attempt to justify the violent tactics, officials alleged that as soon as the Bundy group began harmonizing on the second verse of “What’s Up?” the field agents and officers involved feared for their lives.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Reverse Godwin: "We're just like MLK!"

What fascinates me almost more than the man, Martin Luther King, Jr. himself, is how people in positions of power attempt to co-opt his image.

This phenomenon isn't exclusive to King. In fact, just yesterday, Ted Cruz claimed that John F. Kennedy would have been a Republican today. But it seems more frequent, especially within recent years (as far as I personally can recall, mind you) that Republican politicians and their supporters claim not only that MLK would be a Republican today, but that he was a Republican back in his day as well.

At least the irrelevant argument that any deceased socio-political figure from decades ago would belong to any particular party today lends credence to the fact that political parties generally do change and adapt over time. Otherwise, again, it's irrelevant.

I'd written a joke a while back about how almost every city is apparently required to have an MLK Blvd. It's more noticeable in the south. After you notice it, it feels contrived. It's as if they're saying "HEY, we're not racist. Look, our best STREET is black! Argument settled."

When politicians do it, claim that MLK would share their worldview, it comes across as a kind of reverse-Godwin. "I'm not saying I'm the best known American advocate for racial justice of all time, but Martin Luther King would totally agree with me on this."

So why do they do it? Rather, why do they feel they need to do it? Is it because it's naturally ridiculous? It would defy common sense, so maybe that's the motivation; they need to change the common sense view. Does associating Dr. King with war-hawking, systemic injustice apologists serve as a means of justifying violence and hateful rhetoric? Is it as simple as King = Good and We = Good, therefore King = Us? The only thing I can see that Dr. King has in common with any far-right modern day Republican is that their views are purportedly based on their Christian faith.  I could tell you everything MLK and MLK Day mean to me, but then I'd simply be repeating facts and peppering them with boring, nostalgic stories of how I was gradually and softly introduced to the reality of racism from a place of privilege.

In Crimes Against Logic, philosopher Jamie Whyte decries the Motivation Fallacy and its prevalence in politics. Too often, he argues, we fallaciously attempt to discredit a political argument not based on its substantive weaknesses, but by the malicious motivation of the arguer. Good things can be done for bad reasons. While this is all well and good, I don't think Dr. Whyte considers just how abysmally shallow American politics can be (he was, after all, a New Zealander in the UK at the time of the book's publication). So maybe I'm committing the dreaded fallacy of motivation, and my questioning here is, at best, irrelevant to the issues. But sometimes all that really exists in American politics is motivation. I cannot argue substance if there is no substance at hand to be argued.

So what, again, is the merit of jettisoning who King was as a person, and the reasons why he is revered as such a prominent figure, when associating with his name?

Also, what is this Orwellian effort to change the definitions of "racist" and "race baiting"? By this new Orwellian order, my entire post so far would be deemed "racist," and I myself guilty of "race baiting" for questioning any of this. How dare I bring race into a discussion about a civil rights leader, and politicians who overtly pander to people who hold prejudicial views? This seems to me a more sinister and conscious effort to censor and stymie legitimate concerns regarding race relations.

Meanwhile, in Arkansas they're still debating whether or not they should continue celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. on the same day as Robert E. Lee. The funniest part of that sad situation is the bit in the linked article about how proponents of having two separate days have to appeal to the business sense of their opponents. It would be better for prospective business if the state of Arkansas didn't appear to be so outlandishly backwards and insensitive, instead of it simply being better for Arkansas to not be backwards and insensitive. I propose that instead of separating King and Lee, Arkansas should add General William Tecumseh Sherman to complete a very festive historical trinity. Why wouldn't they want to do that?

I think all of this speaks to a core problem with racists that should seem obvious, but is so obvious that it's easy to overlook. Racists don't understand why racism is bad. They understand the simple fact that racism is considered bad, and it looks bad, and is not something to be openly embraced. But they can't understand, or don't care to understand just exactly why. It's important to remember that even the KKK claims not to be racist.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

World Collectively Confronts Mortality as Beloved Celebrities Die in Quick Succession

PORTLAND, OR (AND EVERYWHERE ELSE ON EARTH) - Following the deaths of Lemmy Kilmister, David Bowie, and Alan Rickman, all of which occurred within an unfavorably short amount of time, citizens the world over have been forced to collectively grapple with the fleeting nature of existence.

"It's like, damn, man. If they can die, God, it could happen to anyone," opined Tim Rasmussen, a jelly donut filler from Baton Rouge, LA.

The pangs of existential dread hit arguably closest to home in the United Kingdom, where the three stars in question were all born.

"It seems like it was just yesterday we were mourning Bowie, and now we all have to get back together and mourn Alan Rickman. I'm almost as tired of standing outside in the rain and holding hands as I am of my favorite celebrities suddenly dying," said Sadie Murphy, a packing tape inspector from Brixton.

Sources confirmed that most people go about their daily lives pushing all thoughts of death and doubts of an afterlife to the back of their minds, instead choosing to focus on more trivial matters such as the infinitesimally small chances of winning the Powerball, the few highlights of the otherwise inane industrial circle jerk that is the Golden Globes Award Ceremony, and whatever the hell kombucha is.

In related news, cancer is still a pervasive cunt.