Hipster racism(A Reply)

One cannot write with any degree of credibility about topics one doesn’t understand or hasn’t properly experienced.  A journalist sitting at his desk sipping a chardonnay and wearing a cardigan, cannot depict the horrors of war the way a journalist in the field with bullets whizzing past his head can.  You’ll never hear Justin Bieber sing about heroin addiction and Colin Farrell will never write a book about how hard it is to get laid.  Therefore, a writer observing the behavior of others and forming conclusions based on his or her own subjective prejudice tends to raise an eyebrow with me.  You simply cannot write about racism from the outside.

In her piece for Jezebel, Lindy West writes about “hipster racism”; a seemingly new phenomenon of racist remarks in the guise of wanting to seem edgy or, in most cases, down with – what my 1980s film upbringing would call – the street.  This piece focuses on racist statements and actions from those who may not even understand what they’re doing wrong.  West uses her keen eye to catch this insidious shadow of insensitivity and as a pattern seeking mammal, if you look hard enough, you will see it too.

I’m not one to bash sensitivity and I’m certainly not interested in trashing West as a writer or a human being.  I enjoyed reading her article and I’m sure as bipedal primates go, she’s probably one of the less awful ones.  The content of her piece, however, lost me at Zooey Deschanel and got worse from there.  I might be biased.  I like Zooey Deschanel.  Besides having the unique quality of looking like Katy Perry without being Katy Perry, Zooey’s racist tweets are fairly innocuous.

Covers of hip hop songs and the use of the word thug within white middle class suburbia(which is not so much white anymore) is just a by-product of the popularization and the capitalization of hip hop culture.  At this point in our history, everyone who wears pants that don’t fit is a thug.  Furthermore, “thug” has never really been a term for black criminals.  Initially it was simply for mindless toughs who look like they do crime.  It was in the late 1990s when I first heard it to describe black criminals.  And it was black rappers – some of them criminals – who started using it.  Now that hip hop is in the main stream, the word and indeed the artists themselves are subject to just as much ridicule as anything else in popular culture.  And bands cover hip hop songs for the same reason that they cover any song: for satire, tribute, or just to put their own spin on it.  Sometimes they’re terrible, but sometimes they’re flaming tits awesome.

When I first read West’s article, I thought back to a conversation involving myself and a couple other coworkers.  Black Dave(there were two Daves) and I were talking about kickboxing because we both have trained(him way more than me).  I told him I heard he was a bad ass and our coworker Tim – who has been friends with Dave since childhood –  said “Yeah, Blackie Chan over here,” and we all laughed.  Someone listening in might have taken offense, but we can’t very well be bothered to give a shit.  Conversations between friends can get pretty foul.  Friends make fun of each other.  I have one friend with type one diabetes that I once gave a bag of sugar as a birthday gift.  At a restaurant when I was running late, that same friend once told the waitress that I was a special needs adult that he helps to take care of.  She talked to me like I was 5 years old when I got there.  When paint balling, everyone was trying to get our Vietnamese friends on their team because Charlie knows the jungle.  All bets are off with good friends, even the occasional racial slur has it’s place.  It’s been said before by people better than I, but it really is all about context.

Racial slurs rarely come up in conversations involving civilized people unless we’re discussing the words themselves or making a right proper joke.  In writing, slurs come up based on what the writing is about.  You can’t write a story about the Crips and not have any of them say “nigga.”  And as an aspiring writer and avid first amendment purest, if there was a potential ban of the n-word, I would start up a new blog and every single word in in every piece would be “nigger.”  The right to say it and the need to say it are of course, very different animals.  As free thinking and considerate adults, we should be able to differentiate.  The word in and of itself does not actually offend me but I generally won’t use it around those who might be bothered by it; unless it was useful to whatever point I might be trying to make.  Much like Lindy West, I too am annoyed with white people who complain about n-word exclusivity and with privileged white kids slumming it at the ghetto dive bars.  The former because it’s impotence driven spinelessness and the latter because I don’t want those little twerps in my bar.  On the other hand, it might do privileged white kids a service to see how the other half lives.  Watching cocky sheltered kids slowly realize that getting stomped for no real reason is a very real possibility just warms me up inside.

West, like most educated middle class white people, does not understand real racism.  I get the whole “plucky liberal out to save the world” bit, but because of her refusal to go slumming like those awful skinny jean donning children she is so irritated by, she can’t speak from any kind of authority on the subject.  The problem is that it’s safe.  The piece is written mostly for people she complains about, and it’s a good way to get those little PBR swilling dip shits to maybe think about the language they use, but as someone in the trenches, I can’t help but roll my eyes at some of her observations.  She is correct in saying that everyone is bad at talking about race and racism.  Educated liberals are most interested in solving the problem, but they lack the qualifications to do it.  But being educated and liberal is what motivates them to want to help.  Hipster racism is not real racism, it’s simply a case of people being ignorant or, far more importantly, not funny enough to pull off their ironic racism schtick.  But that’s bound to happen with kids who are still trying to find their voice.

Racism these days is  a bit more in the shadows these days, but it’s still obvious.  You find it in the pants shitting terror of conservative America when they see a black man become president, sure, but it’s ultimately a by-product of the same problem we’re all dealing with: class warfare and poverty(and often fueled by religion).  If you want to know racism, you have to feel it.  Work at a restaurant in Minneapolis that caters to the after bar crowd, and then tell me how non-racist you are.  Walk past the corner with black dealers slinging dope and get harassed.  Bask in the impotence of walking to a predominantly black school knowing that you’re going to get beaten up, you aggressors will tell the principal you called them niggers, and they’ll get away with it.  Experience the slums where poor people are encouraged to blame each other for their plot in life; not by the government, but by generations of back and forth contempt.  “You got beaten up again, well you should know better than to go near those niggers, son.”  At some point, you’ll see some guy with his pants around his knees, smoking a blunt, hollerin’ at shorties, and your ideology will crumble when that faint whisper begins to cross your lips…nig….  That’s a good thing.  Let the hate flow through you.

Learn and freely admit your own racism and then we can sit down and talk about race.  In order to do that, you need to know how you react to that powerlessness that can turn a lot of us into racists.  But once again, we suck at admitting our own prejudices.  We also tend to frown upon people who don’t.  Juan Williams admitted his own prejudice, and even contrasted it with his writings on civil rights and was fired from NPR for it.  The whole thing spawned a huge fiasco about the “liberal media” but the fact is, NPR exercised poor judgement in firing someone for taking the first step in discussing prejudice and racism.  Perhaps we all should take an example from Williams and not be so niggardly when it comes to admitting our emotions.

-Scott

Chickens

To a few Creationists currently ranting on Youtube. Which came first the chicken or the egg? This is not a decent basis for a Creationist rant, it is a silly riddle akin to the sound of one hand clapping etc. Why did the chicken cross the road? God made him do it you fool, chickens were hatched without free will. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound? Only if it hits the chicken. I hate poorly developed theological arguments based on poultry.

Wisconsin Recall Blues

So Governor Scott Walker managed to keep his seat despite pissing off half the people in Wisconsin and even more in surrounding states.  Tom Barrett managed to get 1.13 million votes.  Now, if you consider the number of people who signed the petition to do a recall, that should give Barrett and automatic one million votes.  One million people felt strongly enough to sign the petition, means one million people should show up to vote for Barrett.  After that, there should have been at least 200,000 voters who walked in merely to get the I Voted sticker, and looked at the names of the candidates and thought to themselves, “Well, Barrett rhymes with Garrett and I sure do hate that Billy the Kid.”  So there you have 1.2 million votes for Barrett.  After that, it should have been a cake walk to get another 300,000 ballots cast in Barrett’s favor, what with Walker’s record of pissing everyone off and everyone he’s ever met being indicted.  So what happened?

In the week before the election, reports of foul play began to surface.  Apparently, many Wisconsinites received robocalls explaining that if they signed the recall petition, they didn’t have to vote.  As an optimist, I have to think that anyone who could have been fooled by that wouldn’t have been able to get out of their footy pajamas in time to go vote anyway.  No, they would have indeed been too engrossed in making macaroni art to even consider heading down to the polling station.

I’ve also heard tell of the voting machines tipping the scales in Walker’s favor, but if you’re going to tell me that there’s a conspiracy of that magnitude, don’t be wearing a Guy Fawkes mask while doing it.  It somehow diminishes your credibility when you claim to be an anarchist and you’re wearing a mask bearing the likeness of a militant Catholic.  And no, vaccines don’t cause autism, dickhead.  An anarchist who takes medical advice from Jenny McCarthy.  Fuck you!  Sorry, where was I?  Oh yeah, Wisconsin.

So, they went ahead and ran the guy who lost to Walker last time; the guy who resides over the fourth poorest city in the country.  After all this nasty business with the unions, they do a recall and dangle Barrett in front of voters saying “Hey, are you sure you don’t want him?  Really sure?  I mean, if you had any doubts last time, here’s your chance.”  Perhaps the rest simply reconsidered.  After all, Walker won in the first place fair and square, it would hardly be sporting to boot him out now.  And maybe the protesters had such a good time in front of the capital two years ago, they wanted an excuse to do it all again.

So I guess what I wanted to say is, thanks for wasting everyone’s time, Wisconsin.  Now get back to making cheese and stay the fuck off my TV.

-Scott

Of Dinosaurs and Critical Thinking

I have recently become fascinated with the site for Genesis Park, a website that is devoted “to showcase the evidence that dinosaurs and man were created together and have co-existed throughout history.”  Look, I don’t really care what you believe, if you gotta believe in creationism, believe in it if that’s what gets you out of bed. Yet, I plead, I beg, nay, I implore you, stop making dumb people dumber. I have spent hours on this site reading the essays and “evidence” of man and dinosaurs walking the Earth together and I have pushed beyond the headaches and strain that emerge when a critical mind tries to find logic in the illogical. There are several Professors and college educated people that submit to the Genesis Park site and that is supposed to lend to their credibility, which I suppose it does, to anyone that wants to believe that our planet is only a few thousand years old and would like to avoid the mountain of evidence that points to a few billion years instead. These people really want us to believe that we existed along side dinosaurs. Okay, so in the interest of science, reality and above all, comedy via parody, I would like to show you, using critical thinking, why these folk are foolish as a monkey with an impossible to peal banana. I will make with the critical now, using the six tests for critical thinkers to utilize.

Example 1, Falsifiability; Man lived along with dinosaurs: Really, you think that man could have survived and thrived using primitive tools in a world populated with millions of really big, nasty creatures?  In the early days of man it would have been an eat or be eaten scenario, especially since you would be being hunted by, or be hunting, very large creatures. Sure, the Bushmen in Africa can take down an adult elephant but it takes a few men and a lot of work and calories. So what would a tribe of Bushmen use to take down, let’s say, an Allosaurus? Could they, would they even attempt to take on a forty foot long, three ton beast with six inch, razor sharp teeth that could nail a dead run over 25 miles per hour? Sure, the believers will say that the early folk would have avoided hunting the bigger, more deadly animals, or have been a gatherer society. That doesn’t really work in a world dominated by the largest, fastest predators that have ever been on the planet. Usain Bolt is currently the worlds fastest man and he tops out at about 26 to 27 MPH but not for a long time, meanwhile, his hunting party would be screaming and being eaten.

Hypothetical test (meaning it didn’t actually happen but if I pretend really loud, maybe). In a secret lab near Juarez, Mexico, we recently genetically modified four North American Grizzlies to grow to five thousand pounds with three inch teeth, twelve inch claws and a three inch thick, armor plated hide. We then took a group of twelve people, armed with bow and arrows, spears, and stone knives and gave them two weeks to study the habits of the bear monsters. Their mission was simple, using primitive weaponry and human adaptation, they needed to kill one bear monster. Of the twelve men and women there was one survivor, well half of one, well okay, none.

Example 2, Logic; Your rather large extended family of inbred, pre-flood mouth breathers decides to begin a small colony in the fertile crescent, a lush and plentiful landscape. Here they can plant crops and begin a small town where more relatives can move in and make more chromosomes meet other chromosomes that they would be better off not knowing. (The settlement size comes from the size of current, prehistoric style civilizations around the globe and the chromosomes comment comes from the idea that people on the Earth have been inbreeding nonstop since Cain and Abel took momma to the Spring cotillion) Your society plows the field, plants some crops and then… The crops get crushed, the neighbors get crushed, eaten or both and everything just roundly sucks; why? Because you have done the illogical thing of trying to build a society in less than two thousand years in the heart of a territory that would also be a migration path for one hundred and sixty five million years worth of dinosaurs, as well as several million years worth of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians and let’s not forget all the damned bugs. I have been looking for the math on how many people would have lived on the earth preflood and have found estimates from the tens of thousands to several million. There are no estimates on dinosaurs anywhere that I can find because of how many, freaking millions upon millions there would have been. People that think we coexisted have a hard time understanding large numbers and large animals.

Example 3, Education; They are trying to teach using faith. One definition of faith taken from our much beloved Dictionary is ” Belief that is not based on proof”. Teaching should be based on evidence and proof, ask your physics teacher. I don’t think I need to pick this one apart too much.

Example 4, Reproduction; The site uses artists to reproduce what it was like when man walked with dinosaurs. So, can I just draw something and it will be a reproduction of an actual historic event? The other day I was writing and I got bored and doodled some stick figures having an orgy on a box of cereal. Did I somehow stumble upon the knowledge of  an ancient sexual rite of horny, skinny, bubble headed, puffed wheat devotees? No, I drew something and I don’t have a magic pen, unlike that cocky Simon prick. Drawing something doesn’t make it any more real, that’s what scientific testing does also sometimes peyote.

Example 5, Honesty; Do I really have to explain honesty to anyone? Here’s a thing, when you take facts and pretend like they are not actual facts because something you believe in, yet you have no actual proof of, would be woefully contradicted by them, you are lying. Lying is a sinny type thing that sends you to that Helly type place. Say you are married to a lovely lady that one day walks into your shared bedroom and finds you in flagrante delicto to your earlier vows of celibacy and respect. She screams , ” get out of this house”! You say “baby, it ain’t what you think it is, we were practicing a new kind of CPR”. Well, maybe baby wants to believe you so badly that in the face of all the nasty balls in the eye sockets facts, she takes you back and says to herself that it wasn’t what she doesn’t want to believe. That person would be lying to herself, when she talks to her friend Monique, she will lie to her and so on and so on. Bullshit, no matter how well received is still bullshit.

Example 6, Evaluation: Alright, does any of the evidence collected hold up enough to create a fact?

Well, no. Genesis Park is full of people that are just guessing and telling stories that they think are not that far fetched, which is the basis for most scientific discovery at its birth. They never give you real evidence though. They show you pictures of dinosaurs that were drawn by ancient man and say that it is proof. Ancient man dug a lot of holes to build their ancient man houses and a great way to discover fossils is digging holes. I would be willing to bet that when you dig something up that doesn’t make sense to you, you pull out the old Samsung and get a damn picture. ancient man didn’t have cameras but they had stone walls and paint. they would definitely document that discovery.

GP also has a few bible verses that they claim show the existence of dinosaurs. They have several versus they say point to dinosaurs and though I would dearly love to rip them all to pieces on at a time I think I have written too much already. I will just point out that the biblical scholars were not really that science minded. The book is full of hoodoo and magic and it seems, a lot of people that didn’t really get out in the oceans and really look at these nasty monsters they discuss. Getting up close to a shark can be a pretty shaking experience, or coming too close to a gator or any of the worlds vipers. How about a bear in the woods or a moose? These things can freak you out and scare you half crazy in the right circumstance and we know what they are. Could you imagine what your brain would make up if you saw a sixteen foot Crocodile come out of the mud and you had no idea what a croc was? You would shit clowns for a week and your brain would make up something really nuts to help you deal with what you saw.

Ahead of all the biblical and pictorial silliness however, GP also has a section they call “Cryptozoological evidence”. Fuzzy pictures and equally fuzzy story telling of such fabled monsters as, Loch Ness Monster, Lake Champlains Champ, Ogopogo and so on. Isn’t Cryptozoological just another way of saying you don’t have any reasonable evidence but you still believe in it? The answer is yes. Once you pull out the Cryptozoology token you may get kicked off the reality bus.

Anyway, thanks for reading the tirade, it went on too long but that can happen when faced with so much silliness.

Joe

Rock Bottom

A few years ago, I was laid off from a job I really liked and got myself a DWI two weeks later. Right after that, I noticed a weird growth on my arm that I, as a total nut, assumed was cancer(turned out to be a fatty corpuscle). Putting together a well worded rant usually makes me feel better so I wrote an email to my uncle. The next day, I received a phone call from my very devout Christian aunt.

I love my aunt and I enjoy calls from her even if it is to try to convert me. She has on occasion offended my sensibilities but overall, she a good person and she means well. I answered the phone and she told me to keep my chin up and stay positive. Then she went on to explain how she still believes God has a plan and I should consider looking to Jesus. She believed my uncle took so long to find Jesus because he just didn’t know any better. I, on the other hand, do know better but I’m choosing to rebel for whatever reason. But many people, when they are at their lowest, choose to come to the Lord and of course He is always waiting for that time. All it takes is for someone to hit rock bottom.

Imagine you meet someone who is instantly attracted to you and wants you to love them. Unfortunately, you’re repulsed by that person. They’re too fat, too skinny, smell bad, scrape their teeth, listen to Limp Bizkit, whatever. But they stick with it and one day, after the love of your life has left you, your car is repossessed, you suddenly realize you’re too fat and old to make any life affirming changes. Fuck, you’re going to die alone. And along comes this hideous wart of a human being asking you out for drinks for the thousandth time and you break down and say yes. Next thing you know, you’re walking down the aisle with this boring troglodyte. But hey, you’re not alone anymore and he/she makes fairly decent macaroni and cheese.

That was the thought that ran through my head when she was explaining Jesus to me. Jesus is that unattractive dullard you break down and date because you’ve reached a point in your life where you’re too pathetic to find something better. Jesus is the girl you bring home at 1:59am because you’re drunk and the bar is about to close. He’s pizza that’s been sitting in your fridge for three weeks that you eat because you don’t have enough gas to go to the store. He’s the infomercial for cock enhancing pills that you watch because you can’t find the remote control.

Anyway, I thought this was a very degrading way for her to describe her Lord and Savior.

-Scott