Monday, July 17, 2017

The Doctor Falls (spoilers)

When I heard that they were bringing Doctor Who back to TV, I was . . . hesitant. I hadn’t been fond of the people that came after Tom Baker, and I thought the TV movie was terrible. Seeing pictures of Christopher Eccleston in his simple black jacket and black shirt as The Doctor didn’t fill me with hope about the show either.

But I gave it a chance. By The End of the World, I was sold and hooked. When The Doctor regenerated into David Tennant at the end of The Parting of the Ways, I was tremendously disappointed, because Eccleston had surpassed even Tom Baker as my Doctor. But they had earned a lot of good faith with me through 9’s run. So I kept watching. And while I never liked him (or any other) as much as Eccleston, I did become a fan of Tennant, and I thought the stories during his run were largely even better than in 9’s.  It was during Tennant’s run that they introduced my all-time, bar none favorite companion, Donna Noble.

I didn’t love everything they did during 10’s run, but overall, it was successful in my mind (except for the heartbreaking rueful fate of Donna Noble – I’ve never forgiven The Doctor for ignoring her choice with regards to her fate).

When 10 regenerated at the end of The End of Time (a truly excellent two-part finale), I was as surprised and disappointed as I had been with 9 (while I liked 9 more, I had spent a lot more time with 10, so the attachment was almost as strong).

With the regeneration of 10, we were introduced to Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor, and the handing over of the show to Steven Moffat as showrunner. Now, Matt Smith was a pretty great Doctor. I like his performance as much as Tennant’s, if not more.

But with the change to 11, we also got Amy Pond and a dramatic increase in the appearances of River Song. And, frankly, I hate River Song. She never should have appeared in episodes beyond Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead. She was a poorly written, terribly boring character. In today’s terms, she’d be a Mary Sue (because that term has been twisted far from its original meaning, but the current use is spot on for River).

Not only do I strongly dislike River, I also can’t really stand Amy Pond. So that was two big, relatively early strikes against Moffat as showrunner. But the biggest strike against him was the almost complete stripping of fun from Doctor Who.

There was some goofy, stupid shit done on the show under Russell T Davies, but under him, no matter how stupid it got, the show was fun as well as dark and dramatic. With Moffat, it’s like he wanted to go GRIMDARK, but couldn’t do that just like he couldn’t apparently do fun.

So, for the first time in years, I stopped enjoying Doctor Who as much. When a season was close to premiering, I no longer got that tingle of excitement and anticipation that I had through the runs of 9 and 10. It even went from being a “Family Watch” event to an “Eh, I’ll watch it when I get around to it and the family doesn’t even bother now” non-event.

And that’s pretty much all on Moffat.

After a while, we got 11 and Clara Oswald. Clara, while cute as a button, was also a mind-numbingly boring Super Special Magic Girl companion. And the lack of fun persisted.

Eventually, someone somewhere got tired of Matt Smith as The Doctor, and we got Peter Capaldi (having previously been seen as a different character in one of the best eps of the series, The Fires of Pompeii).

I have greatly enjoyed Capaldi as The Doctor. In fact, he might be my second favorite of them all, despite the fact that he’s been saddled with terrible stories and scripts. He’s just that damn good, and his older, sadder Doctor is nearly perfect.

For seven years, Steven Moffat seemingly did everything he could to suck the fun and enjoyment out of Doctor Who (just like he sucked it out of his creation, Sherlock, from the get go). Finally, the time came for Capaldi to step aside. And considering the crap he was expected to work with, I’m surprised he didn’t tap out sooner.

Capaldi’s normal run (i.e., excluding the 2017 Christmas Special), ended this month, with a two-parter consisting and World Enough and Time and The Doctor Falls (both written by Moffat). And though not a direct part of the ending, those were preceded by The Eaters of Light (which was an outstanding episode, more so when compared to everything else in Moffat’s run).

And you know what?  

They were damned good episodes. The dialogue was sharp, snappy and witty. The story was compelling even when you could predict was going to happen (and if you remained unspoiled, MAN there was a YUGE surprise!)

They were so good that I was forced to ask why in the Hell did Moffat wait for SEVEN FUCKING YEARS to finally bring his A game to the table? If he had put into the previous years what he put into these two episodes, his run might have gone unsurpassed as the best in the show’s history.

Everyone delivered in these, from Capaldi to Pearl Mackie (who had largely been pretty dull to this point) to Michelle Gomez (Missy was absolutely terrific once they toned her down just a bit) to the extras and guest stars.

When 10 was regenerating, at one point he said “I don’t wanna go” and it was heartbreaking.

Capaldi’s Doctor fought like hell to not come back! He was done. He didn’t want to come back and do it all again as someone else. And his performance was equally, if not more heartbreaking than Tennant’s.

This also marks the passing of control from Steven Moffat to Chris Chibnall. And I won’t miss Moffat. Instead of bringing us the greatness that he clearly has inside, he brought us 7 years of meh. In the final analysis, he’s done far more harm to the show than good, and his drek was a huge disservice to what Capaldi brought to the table.

I hope the door hits him in the ass on his way out.

Peter Capaldi was a truly great Doctor and I’ll miss him.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Review: Lucha Underground

Recently Watched:

Lucha Underground
Seasons 1, 2
(Luis Fernandez-Gil, Matthew Kaye/Striker, Ian Hodgkinson/Vampiro; 2014-2016)
I went into this with no expectations other than "Eh, this is probably going to be like TNA level stuff." That, by the way, is not a compliment. But I was bored, and I'll be honest; I miss watching wrestling. I quit watching WWE programs after several wrestlers died as a result of their lifestyle (greatly influenced by their work schedules), but the final blow to my viewing was the murder-suicide by and of Chris Benoit and his family, quite likely a result of a type of dementia suffered from his years in the ring. I didn't just stop watching WWE at that point, I pretty much lost all my interest in wrestling, and couldn't, in good faith, support it.

But eventually, the WWE and other promotions started making some efforts to improve the conditions for their workers, and at this point, everyone going in knows the risks, and I'm far more comfortable with people making clearly informed stupid life choices than ones made without all the information. And the newer wrestlers are doing a better job of taking care of themselves.

So after several years, I finally watched a WWE program on Netflix or something. And I recognized maybe 2 of the wrestlers. Which is okay. What wasn't okay was that the matches were *boring as fuck*. I mean. . . yeah. So I tried another one, same thing, and basically gave up on finding good wrestling.

Which brings me back around to this show. As I said, I didn't have high hope for this, but at least it was lucha, which I am not too familiar with, so even if the quality was iffy, it would be new and different to me. And make no mistake; for the first 5 episodes of season 1, the quality was *very* iffy. But I stuck with it, mostly because I was bored, needed background noise, and didn't feel like watching and simultaneously commenting on anything (yes, I'm lazy).

And it slowly started to get better. I mean, the ring performances. The between-match bits were still pretty terribly acted, especially by the "owner/promoter" of the show. But the matches were getting better, the commentary was amazingly solid (kudos to Matt Kaye/Striker and Vampiro). But then it occurred to me that I was watching the show all wrong (yes, you can watch a program incorrectly). I came into it like it was any other wrestling promotion on TV; a wrestling show that was on TV, but I figured out that it's *not* just another wrestling promotion. It's not a TV show *of* wrestling, it's a TV show *about* wrestling. Once I realized that this was just like any other genre fiction that I watch (except that the violence isn't nearly as tightly choreographed), it all made so much more sense. The between-match spots, the violence-filled promos for the wrestlers, the telenovela-esque mustache twirling villain, the dragon that thinks he's a wrestler, the boy born from death and possibly imbued with supernatural power. It all made sense.

And it was pretty fucking glorious.

You know how for years, people have been saying "Professional wrestling is just a soap opera for men" (which is pretty sexist if you think about it)? Well, Robert Rodriguez and the other creators basically said "Hey! That's a pretty good idea! Let's do it!" And the result is a relatively goofy, often spectacularly cheesy show about an illegal underground fight club where anyone can try their hand, but everyone largely uses a mishmash of wrestling styles instead of MMA. There's corruption, there's intrigue, there's supernatural evil underneath, the owner of the Temple may be using the violence of the fighters to usher in the end of days, there's women who wrestle the men just like the men wrestle the men (and they always get a moment to shine, even if they're gonna lose), there's a mini-Lucha who has the heart of a lion, maybe a space or time traveling lucha. There's a commentator who likes to point out that they don't bash you over the head with gender equality but just show it instead (which sounds stupid every time he says it) and at the same time, the commentators tell the audience to stop using a homophobic Spanish slur, because, while they may not hit the mark 100% of the time, they're really, genuinely trying to be inclusive and diverse.

It's kinda batshit crazy, but in a good way, not a Misery Loves Company way.

If you're a fan of wrestling, check it out sometime. If you're a fan of wrestling and genre fiction, you *have* to check it out. Just remember that those first few eps are rough. But it's well worth the watch.

IMDB Lucha Underground

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Light in the Dark

For a long while now, I’ve been trying desperately to find a bright point, something good in the elevation of 45 Orange to POTUS. And the claims of “Think of all the great art/music/whatever it will produce” don’t cut it. People were making great art and music before 45, because the government is the government and will always be engaged in something that sparks anger that then fuels art.

Some of us have known (and tried to explain to others) for a long time that a significant percentage of the U.S. population and especially the right-wing branch of politics are fundamentally anti-American. And by “anti-American”, I mean actively against the ideals that this nation supposedly represents (though let’s be honest; even the oft-faux-revered Founding Fathers frequently ignored the document they created, the COTUS, as have the majority of people in power for more of our history than not) and puts forth as an example to the rest of the world.

Hell, one could make a pretty solid argument that we didn’t even bother to start trying to live by those alleged ideals until well into the 20th century. Even in the 20s and 30s, there were SCOTUS cases involving 1A, that sided against the exercise of free speech. If brought before SCOTUS today, a significant, loud contingent of people (including politicians and orange embodiments of fail masculine egos) would be calling for blood, siding with the state, all the while continuing to whine about Twitter and Facebook censoring them and impinging on their freedom of speech (again, let’s be honest; if Facebook stakes a position on that, it’s usually on the side of hate speech and incitement to violence, so long as no one is showing any titty). Even in the 19 mother fucking 60s, SCOTUS was upholding clearly unconstitutional laws against free speech.

Where was I?

Right, the bright spot (which, in this case, is more akin to the wet spot).

The closest thing to a bright spot from this election and the results of the Electoral College is that it has emboldened these anti-American elements to step out from the shadows, to come out from behind their closed doors, to step into the light and proclaim their anti-American beliefs (though they do so not boldly, but under a bulwark of false patriotism). “How is this a bright spot?” you ask. Bright is relative. This is bright the same way one of those incredibly dim night lights are bright when viewed from across the house:

It’s bright only because it’s shrouded in darkness.

But it’s still a light that can help you get to where you need to be. You’ll bang your shin on the coffee table, trip over the dog’s chew toy, and step on the practically invisible LEGO bricks that someone left in the floor.

You’ll get where you’re going, but you won’t enjoy the trip or come out of it unscathed.

That’s much how I view the current state of the United States. Someone turned out the lights, and we’re only just now banging our shins on the coffee table. We’ve got a long way to go. But as we continue our arduous quest to the barely illuminated bathroom and our waste-collecting god, we can now see who the enemies truly are. And by “we”, I mean those of you who didn’t believe us when we tried to tell you about the right-wing, about POTUS 45 (not a fine malt liquor), about the impact of Fox news and the right-wing mouthpieces like Limbaugh, Hannity and Beck.

I mean those of you who insisted on believing that all of this was “politics as normal” and that “all politicians are the same”. They are not. Do not misunderstand me; I certainly do not think that the Clintons, the Democrats, or Sanders are saint. No, I think each has their own form and ways of corruption. I think that’s something inherent to those who seek office (even if they don’t realize it when starting out).

But there’s a fundamental difference between the mild corruption that serves to line the pockets of one and one’s friends and allies, and the corruption that seeks to undermine the essential fabric of freedom for everyone who isn’t a member of a select group (in this case, that group consisting primarily of affluent white Christians).

There’s a difference between receiving oral sex and lying about it, and attempting to slowly, methodically turn the nation into a Christian theocracy that –will- enact a version of the Sharia Law that they seem so afraid of (because they fear they will be done to before they have the power to fully do to others).

Yes, this election (in which I must remind, as I feel it is my duty to do so, Clinton won more votes in) has made the forces arrayed against us and Lady Liberty far bolder, but it will open some eyes to the truth of our nation. One of the most potent weapons the Right has used over the last 20 years has been subtlety. They’ve been slowly increasing the water temperature on all us frogs.

But all of a sudden, they’ve turned the stove knob dramatically, and we can feel that heat. We can see what they are trying to do to us know.

And that means we have a better chance of fighting back.

But we can’t fight defensive engagements. The anti-American elements are begging for an open fight these days, instead of slinking in the shadows. And we need to give it to them on every damn front possible. We need to fight them in the media, the press, the voting booths, the Twitters, the Facebooks; everywhere.

Though they decry the Left as soft, weak, delicate snowflakes in need of “safe spaces”, they crave such spaces more than anyone else, and we (and I don’t just mean the Left, I mean every person who loves, if not the execution, the ideals of a free nation that stands example above the rest) must show them that there are no safe spaces.

For too many years, we let these people hide in the darkness while “we” claimed “victory” over bigotry, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, transphobia, and so many other social ills. That was a mistake, and now we’re paying for it tenfold. This time, when we drive them back into the darkened corners where they feel most safe and secure, we must step forth, and light that darkness up. And like the cornered rats they are, they will lash out with a particular viciousness.

And we’ll take those hits. Because we deserve too, for lettings things regress. Because we have too, in order to sculpt a better future for ourselves and those who come after us. Because America is about doing the right thing, not for reward, or a good feeling in your belly, but because it’s the right thing to do.

So when you’re sitting alone, in the dark, afraid of what’s going on around you, seek out that dim, yet bright spot this has created, and remember that we only started trying to be the nation we yearn to be a mere half century ago. We’re so, so very young. And we’ve long to go, in the dark, over the slippers, pet toys, and LEGO bricks.

But we’ll get where we’re supposed to be, though we be battered, bruised, and bloody.

We’ll get there. But only if we fight the whole way. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

"Moderate" Republicans

Someone just posted something about "moderate" Republicans. It wasn't anything new, instead being mostly the same "Stop being mean to us! We're not like *those* Republicans! We should all be respectful and engage in civil debate!" So I thought I'd post some of my thoughts with regards to "moderate" Republicans (because I know your days aren't complete until I share my thoughts on things!)

1. "Civil debate" is a rallying cry of the oppressor, of the person who doesn't have a dog in the fight, of the person who is in the dominant position. 9 times out of 10, when you see a "moderate" Republican calling for civility, it's a white man doing so. Typically, a middle class or greater white man. That other 1 out of 10 times is a female, or a male POC Republican (yes, they exist). But really, most of the time, when you see such a demand/request, it's an attempt to shut down a conversation, often accompanied by some variant of "Why are you getting so emotional? We're just discussing this", "I'm not going to discuss this with you if you're going to yell at me", or "I'm just playing 'Devil's Advocate'".

2. "Moderate" Republicans often like to frame these "discussions" as some kind of debate. A debate is a formal method of presenting arguments (and rebuttals). Debate is an intellectual exercise that allows you to put forth whatever ideas with no recognition of the real life consequences. That's one of the reasons they love the claim. A debate is also something that you can *win*, and make no mistake, more often than not, when a "moderate" Republican wants to "debate", what they want is to *win*. The winning condition is typically achieved when the other person explodes in anger or simply leaves the conversation (for whatever reason; it will be declared a "win"). What do they win? Nothing. But they *think* they win something by "making the liberal cry" or that doing so adds inches to their e-cock in front of the other "moderate" Republicans that view the exchange.

3. "Moderate" Republicans are like "good cops"; sure, they exist (they aren't unicorns), but they are less common than you think, and the ones claiming it, aren't. Did I just bag on good cops? Yes, I did. As with "moderate" Republicans, you don't have to be an actively corrupt cop to be a bad cop. All you have to do is contribute to the culture that allows the "bad" cops to get away with being bad. The same applies to "moderate" Republicans.
Did you vote Republican party? The same Republican party that:
----- Is actively working to disenfranchise poor and minority voters in order to game the system?
----- Is actively working to make it impossible for women to make safe, healthy choices concerning their own bodies?
----- Is actively working to make basic health care for the poor, minorities, the old, and largely everyone who isn't wealthy difficult, if not impossible to acquire without life crushing debt?
----- Is actively working to alter educational standards in such a way as to render future students even more ignorant than their predecessors?
----- Is actively working to make higher education far more expensive and difficult for the unprivileged to acquire?
----- Spent eight years doing nothing but wasting money on repeated investigations of a subject that was thoroughly dealt with and attempting to obstruct any progress in every field championed by the Democrats?
----- Spent the last eight years promoting and supporting racist ideologies in the population?
----- Is actively working against the 1A rights of citizens, while lying about said rights in regards to right-wing and hatemongering individuals?
----- Is actively working to load SCOTUS in an attempt to rubberstamp their policies when they are inevitably and rightly challenged?
----- Is actively working to enshrine discrimination in law under the guise of "religious freedom" and morality, contrary to the ideals of COTUS?
----- Continues an active individual and group campaign of lies and disinformation in order to manipulate and dupe their voter base?
----- Continues to adhere to, and advocate for standards that are good enough for them but not for the citizenry?
----- Continues to refuse to disavow the "extreme" elements of their party and supporters?
----- Is actively working to curtail the basic civil rights of citizens?
----- Continues to do nothing about gun violence (note that most gun violence is a poor or lower class phenomenon)?
----- Has repeatedly worked to rape as, if not acceptable, the fault of the victim?
----- Continues to be engaged in illegal, unethical, or immoral activities while accusing detractors and opponents of those same activities?
----- Continues to try to implement an American Christian version of the Sharia Law they so despise?
----- Continues to wage an economic war against the poor, through various methods ranging from the reduction of systemic benefits and aid to the use of a broken court system and private prisons by disproportionate incarceration?

I could keep going, but frankly, I'm tired now. The point, if you haven't guessed it, is that by supporting a party that continues to support these and other anti-American, anti-poor, anti-minority activities, you lose any right to call yourself a "moderate". There's no "debate" to be had over basic civil rights, over the autonomy of women with regards to their own bodies. There just *isn't*. You can "debate" the tax rate. You can't debate whether or not discrimination is a good thing that the law should protect. The only way you get to call yourself a "moderate" Republican is if you are *actively* working against your party in order to change it, and that entails NOT VOTING FOR OR PROVIDING FINANCIAL OR MORAL SUPPORT TO YOUR PARTY.

If you're still supporting the Republican party, despite all this, you are not a "moderate"; you're a coward.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Gun Freedom!

One of the more contentious topics in U.S politics is gun control (or gun freedom, however you want to phrase it). Backed and lied to by the NRA (and the politicians they keep in their pockets) and certain media outlets, there is a contingent of American citizens who believe, to the core of their being, that Big Government and dirty libruls are scheming and plotting to take away all the guns. One of the more popular conspiracy theories for the entirety of the Obama Presidency was that he was going to take all the guns away, and that lie was repeated throughout Clinton’s campaign. Everybody knows that Big Government is for regulating vaginas and bathrooms, not guns.

I’m not going to rehash all of the arguments here (blah blah blah militia, blah blah blah) because we’ve all seen them countless times and it goes the same way every time. No, I’m simply going to tell you what my views on the subject are.

I like guns. Hell, I might even love them. I think they’re a fascinating evolution of the sling, and I enjoy shooting them (even though I couldn’t hit a barn I was standing next too). I do not own any guns, however, because I’m. . . lacking in the mindset to own one safely. If I owned a gun, there’s a good chance I would have already eaten a bullet (suicides would drop if we didn’t have guns; the more determined would still take themselves out, but many people wouldn’t be able to succumb to that snap decision to self-terminate).

But that’s just me. Luckily, I’ve got enough self-awareness to know that I shouldn’t own a firearm (plus, at the end of the day, I do prefer the melee weapon, probably because I can actually hit the target with those). And I do wish countless others had that same self-awareness.

I’m also a believer in “gun control” (a terrible phrase that has done more harm than good to the cause). I think if you buy a firearm from a Wal-Mart, a gun shop, good neighbor Joe, or that guy on the street corner, there should be a background check, and a waiting period (3 days or so, can be waived by LEA in circumstances such as a restraining order that has been repeatedly violated or the like, to be determined by the lawyers).

If the background check reveals one of the following, you should be subject to greater restrictions, as described below (note these are only rough ideas):
  • One conviction for a violent crime committed with a gun: 60 day waiting period; Right to own a firearm is voided for 1 year from time of release or end of probation; any convictions for felony crimes in the next year results in a lifetime voiding of the right to own a firearm.
  • Two or more convictions for violent crimes committed with a gun: 60 day waiting period; Right to own a firearm is voided for 5 years from time of release or end of probation; any additional convictions for felony crimes in that time period results in a lifetime voiding of the right to own a firearm.
  • One conviction for a non-violent crime committed with a gun: 30 day waiting period; Right to own a firearm is voided for 1 year from time of release or end of probation; any convictions for felony crimes in that period voids the right to own a firearm for 1 year.
  • Two or more convictions for non-violent crimes committed with a gun: 30 day waiting period; Right to own a firearm is voided for 2 years from time of release or end of probation; any additional convictions for felony crimes in that time period voids the right to own a firearm for 2 years.
  • One conviction for a violent crime with no gun: 30 day waiting period; Right to own a firearm is voided for 6 months from times of release or end of probation.
  • Two or more convictions for violent crimes with no gun: 30 day waiting period; Right to own a firearm is voided for 1 year from time of release or end of probation.
  • Involuntary commitment for mental illness: 14 day waiting period; notarized letter from a mental health professional required.
  • Voluntary commitment for mental illness: 14 day waiting period.

I also think every gun owner should be fingerprinted, and every purchased weapon should have a ballistics test run, with the data from both held in a Federal database, accessible freely by state, county, and city LEA.

None of this would stop bad people from acquiring and using illicit firearms. It would, however, help to track the firearm back to its source and aid in piecing together a timeline for the firearm. Many of the pro-2A supporters would balk at these. But I wouldn’t care, because in my anecdotal experience, most of them are painfully uninformed (how? Because they’ve bought the lie that 2A is under serious attack, when it’s other amendments that are under actual attack).

So, yes, I am in favor of some degree of gun and owner registration (go ahead, start screaming at me in the comments, I don’t read them, so have a blast).

However, I also support a citizen’s right to purchase just about any damn firearm they want to purchase. Derringer .22? Go right ahead. Barrett .50 AMR? Yep. Full auto AK-47? Sure. Browning .50 HMG? Hells yeah. Scary looking “assault weapon”? Okay. Minigun? Yep.

If I were to draw an arbitrary line, it would probably be right around 15mm ammo size. Bigger than that isn’t really a gun anymore.

“But why do you need a fully automatic rifle to go hunting?” You don’t. “Need” has nothing to do with any of this. “Want” is more than adequate.

Well why not flamethrowers and grenades and mortars and bombs then? Because those aren’t guns, don’t be disingenuous.

The simple fact is that 2A isn’t going away anytime soon, and case law largely supports gun ownership. After that, it’s just negotiating the details. No one is going to use the registry to take away your guns (that would require a smaller, more consolidated nation and a truly inconceivable gun tragedy). And there’s no compelling reason to prevent the government from knowing who owns the guns since they are stolen and used in criminal enterprises.

At the same time, there’s no compelling reason to stop average people from owning the firearms they want and can afford to own.

Anyway, now you know my thoughts, so your day is a little better.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Donald Trump Racist? Does It Matter?

If you’ve paid any attention, then you’ve learned that one thing you can say to a Trump supporter that will really make them angry is that Trump is a racist. Say that to one of them, and they will (collectively) provide a host of defenses, no matter what evidence (tweets, video, whatever) you present to them.

I am absolutely willing to accept the possibility that Donald J. Trump the man is not a racist or a bigot (though I will continue to believe that he is a classist).

So let’s go with the idea that Trump isn’t personally racist. Then I ask “so what?”

If Trump isn’t a racist that means we’re looking at one of two possibilities:

The first possibility is that he’s not a racist, but then he has
  1. Knowingly used racist rhetoric in his campaign.
  2. Provided moral support to racists and white supremacists in social media (his re-tweeting of racist propaganda is well-established).
  3. Provided material support to racists by appointing Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller to notable, powerful positions in his administration.
  4. Encouraged a national atmosphere of fear, hate, and xenophobia.

And all for the advancement of his personal interests in business, ego fulfillment, and the business interests of his fellow capitalist entrepreneurs. That’s not even touching on the possible Russian connections and conflicts of interest concerning the job of POTUS and his business dealings.

All of the above does mean the man is morally and ethically unfit for the office of POTUS. This would mean that at best, he’s an amoral opportunist, and at worst, a possible criminal.

But I mentioned two possibilities, didn’t I? So, if Trump is not a racist, and the first possibility isn’t the reality of the situation, that leaves us with this one:

Trump did all of the same things described in the first possibility, but is literally too stupid or myopic to know what he did. It would have to mean he did all of those things without understanding the potential ramifications. This possibility is highly unlikely, but if it’s the case, then the man’s lack of intellect and basic insight makes him unfit to hold the office of POTUS.

This brings us back to the possibility that Trump actually is a racist and knows exactly what he’s done and has done so willingly and with bigoted enthusiasm. That would make him a Nazi-supporting racist scumbag unfit to hold the office of POTUS.

The next time a Trump supporter tells you that Trump isn’t racist, try to explain all of this to the person. They probably will not acknowledge it, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Whatever the case, the end result is that the man is simply not fit to hold the office of President of the United States. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Stealing Words and Throwing No Fists

So this time, we’re going to ramble just a little bit about appropriation of words and non-violent protest. Yay!

Something I’ve seen surprisingly often in the wake of Ferguson is white people (almost always, about 99%), usually middle class or better (again, I’d guess 99% in my experience) tsk tsking the protestors for the way that they are protesting, using the images and words of (mostly) Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.

So many white people shaking their heads in disappointment because Rosa Parks did it sitting quietly on a bus, and these young people today are just violent thugs. These same white people like to tell everyone how Martin Luther King Jr. would be oh-so-very disappointed in the savage behavior of these people.

Now, personally, I think both the U.S. government and the SyFy channel should be all up in the business of these white people, who are clearly mediums and channeling the voices of dead civil rights leaders. I mean, that has to be what’s happening, right? There is simply no way that all these white, affluent people would have the arrogance to appropriate the names and words of these people in order to chastise those seeking justice and equality, right? That’s pretty unheard of, isn’t it?

“Martin Luther King said ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent on things that matter.’”

That was Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick at the start of a press conference about a bathroom privacy bill that he supports. An affluent white man trying to use the words of the most well-known civil rights leader in the United States to promote a bill that is based on nothing but fear, lies, and bigotry. And there’s not even any proof that King said those words, so he fucked that up too.

Oh, I guess I forgot to mention that many of the affluent white people stealing the words of civil rights leaders are politicians doing so in order to promote bigotry and hatred.

I’m a lower-class cis white guy. It would be the height of arrogance for me to tell others how to protest or fight for their rights in this nation. It would be even worse if I tried to use the words of those who fought and died to do so. How much more arrogance does it take to do that when you’re legitimately in a position of power to restrict the liberties of others?

What does this have to do with non-violent protest and resistance? Recently, I ran across a post doing exactly that; saying that the protestors of today are doing it wrong by not following in the non-violent steps of King and Parks. This ignores that the majority of protests around the nation are non-violent, but the more egregious flaw is that doing so ignores the history of protest in this (and other) nations.

Don’t get me wrong; non-violent protest is great. It’s a very potent tool in the toolbox. Know what else is a potent tool in that box? Violence.  For non-violence to work, there must be

1.    A fear that someone on the side of the protestors (but not necessarily the actual non-violent protestors) will use violence to make a point.
2.    Violence perpetrated by the oppressors.

Those are the minimums. What am I talking about? Well, again, let’s go back to the 60s. These people say “You have to do it like King! Non-violent! Whargarble!” What these people have forgotten, don’t know, or don’t want to acknowledge is that the non-violent protests of the 60s Would. Not. Have. Worked. If not for the riots across the country. That violence, while it turned off many white people who weren’t actually allies, helped bring national attention to the cause.

The non-violence protests did not exist in a vacuum. They existed in a context that was rife with violence and (in the back half of the decade) a genuine fear held by many that there was actually going to be a straight up race war (heck, that’s what Manson was counting on). It can easily be argued that the true fight for LGBTQ rights began with the very not peaceful Stonewall Riots.

To advance your cause, you have to get attention. And nothing – NOTHING – gets attention like violence.

I’m guessing most of the people using King and Parks to chastise haven’t thought much about this, but it’s downright silly to think that King and the Freedom Riders didn’t know what effect the violence used against them would have on public perception and awareness of the cause. If LEO and observers hadn’t committed acts of violence (and murder in some cases) against the protestors, the cause of civil rights would have been set back years, if not decades.

Violence is a tool. Applying it and taking it. Tactically, they absolutely knew what they were doing. That’s why they trained to go limp. They were fully aware of what some people were going to do.

To advance a cause, you absolutely must have a friendly hand in a velvet glove to extend to the oppressors and the observers. But you must also have a mailed fist willing and waiting to strike. Because rights aren’t given, they are taken. That’s the story of humanity, that’s the way we work. You have to use every weapon in your arsenal to either bring the mildly neutral observers to your side, or at least so they support the cause in order for it to stop interrupting their daily routines.

Alleged allies will tell you that you’re doing it wrong, that you should do it like King, like Parks. A lot of them will tell you that if you don’t do it the way they’re comfortable with, they just can’t really help you.

Guess what?

Those people aren’t real allies. Allies provide support and suggestions. They do not dictate procedures and tactics. As I noted, I’m a lower-class cis white guy. In a lot of fights, I have the least to lose. It’s not my place, or the place of these other people with no real dog in the fight to tell others how to wage their battles. It’s my job to help so long as it doesn’t violate my conscience. Note I said my conscience, not my fucking comfort level.

It’s not about us being comfortable. It’s about us helping others to demand and take what they should already have in this so-called land of the free, home of the brave (so long as you’re okay with the tactics).

 Until next time.