“Things Old White Men Probably Shouldn’t Write” and Thomas Sowell Go Together “So-Well” (See What I Did There!!!!)

From the “Letters to the Editor” page in the Altoona Mirror, I bring you today’s installment of “Things Old White Men Probably Shouldn’t Write, ” submitted to the Mirror by a John K. Coyle (NOT THE SPEEDSKATER!!!) from Bedford, Pennsylvania.  (Bolding is mine as always)

Award-winning syndicated columnist Tom Sowell’s column on “racial representation” is a must read.

In it, he offers his opinion on whether the black race should be continuously complaining of how they are not equally representative in every phase of “what matters.”

He writes with “tongue-in-cheek” of how even the NFL comes up short, with his perfect example of “failure to represent.”

I quote Sowell, “I have seen hundreds of black players score touchdowns, but I have never seen one black player kick an extra point.”

I’m surprised there wasn’t a group of professional protesters at the Super Bowl.

And as always, Tom says it “So-well.”

– See more at: http://www.altoonamirror.com/page/content.detail/id/630747/Sowell-makes-his-point-well.html?nav=737#sthash.p016CZLe.dpuf

Oh God, what is that “black race” complaining about now?  I bet it’s something really petty, amirite?  Let’s go to The Jewish World Review to check out the column in question, shall well?

The latest tempest in a teapot controversy is over a lack of black nominees for this year’s Academy Awards in Hollywood.

Wait, what?  That’s the controversy Sowell is writing about?  Is Mr. Coyle misrepresenting Mr. Sowell’s column by only quoting that eye roll worthy joke example of NFL placekickers?  I mean, I admit that I don’t really like Thomas Sowell’s political and social ideas, but he is a nationally known columnist.  Surely he wouldn’t dismiss the lack of nominations for blacks at the Academy Awards the past two years, while the nominations are decided by a voting body that is overwhelmingly white with just that weak ass example.  Right?  I mean, just because he never saw a black place kicker in the NFL doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  At the time this article went to press there had been 4 black NFL place kickers.

I doubt whether any of the guys who grew up in my old neighborhood in Harlem ever went on to become ballet dancers. Nor is it likely that this had anything to do with either genetics or racism. The very thought of becoming a ballet dancer never crossed my mind and it probably never occurred to the other guys either.

Oh, okay.  See?  I knew good old “So-Well” wouldn’t just bring that one sad example.  He has two sad examples.  It took me two clicks on Google to find this story featuring 2 black male ballet dancers from Brooklyn.   I really have no idea what Sowell is playing at by bringing up these two examples.  There are non-racist reasons why some fields (such as NFL place kicking) have lower than normal participation by African Americans.  As the 2012 article said on place kicking:

The Rooney Rule requires NFL teams to interview minorities for coaching jobs. The difference is there were plenty of candidates being ignored when the rule began.

Black kicking prospects aren’t being ignored. They aren’t turned into defensive backs or wide receivers, like promising black quarterbacks used to be. Nobody’s pulling a Jimmy the Greek and saying they lack the leg strength or other “necessities.”

There simply aren’t many out there.

“The hard part is finding a kid who’ll stick with it,” said Oglesby, who runs a kicking camp in Atlanta. “I come across kids who have the talent, but either they’re not interested or don’t have the money to attend camps. Or they play on a team that doesn’t put any emphasis on it.”

Almost all young kickers played soccer, which is not popular in black communities. They get specialized training and don’t depend on high schools developing their skills.

That’s a good thing, since kicking is often an afterthought on the high-school level. And even if a kicker is a young Sebastian Janikowski, the position doesn’t have much sex appeal to an impressionable kid of any race.

As for the ballet dancing, I must admit that I also didn’t know any male ballet dancers growing up.  The thought never crossed my mind, and I doubt it really ever did for most of the guys I went to school with.  Yet I grew up in a school that was 99% white.  How can that be?  Shouldn’t I have been swimming through future ballet principles?  Could it be that some forms of dance, like, ballet maybe, are favored more by girls growing up than boys?  The stereotype when I went to school, which was ages ago, granted, was that little boys played sports while little girls did gymnastics and dance.  Was it sexist as all get out?  Hell yeah.  It wasn’t as divided as I make it seem, girls did play basketball (soccer had yet to catch on) and eventually softball, but the now common sight of a girl playing Little League certainly didn’t occur during my childhood.  The point is that although not the common path, some little white boys and little black boys do decide they want to do ballet.  And if Mr. Sowell, or Mr. Coyle seriously think racism isn’t an obstacle for those black children who want to dance ballet, then they have never done any research into ballet.  Ballet has a serious obsession with “the look.”  Women must be lithe, flat-chested, and delicate while the men must fit their own mold.  The ballet company, the director, and the audience all have an image of what a ballet dancer should look like, and all too often that mental image is of a white person.  Look at Misty Copeland’s rise to Principle dancer and the pitfalls she had to face in spite of her unquestionable talent because she was black with a body outside the classical image of a ballerina.

Even with his pitiful examples, the most audacious part of Sowell’s column is his attempt to obfuscate the  actual argument against the Academy Awards.  Black actors point out the complete white-out for acting nominations, two years running, and Sowell does some quick slight of hand and is suddenly talking about professions where African Americans are underrepresented.  But that misses the point entirely.  Acting is not a profession that is void of black talent.  There were legitimate candidates for nomination the past two years.  This isn’t a case of “well, maybe black folks don’t act, ” or “maybe black folks don’t like to kick balls,” or “none of my black friends danced ballet.”  It’s more “gee, isn’t it funny that this incredibly white voting bloc keeps giving all the nominations to white people, even though there are deserving candidates with differing skin tones.”  It has much more in common with the old “so if white people and black people use drugs at similar rates per capita, then why does such a massive amount  more black people wind up getting arrested?” than Sowell’s sad sack examples.

For Thomas Sowell?  I know, it’s not hard.  As a black conservative columnist, you can pretty much say anything and your intended audience will lap it all up.  But judging by your CV, you are not a stupid man.  So come on, out of intellectual integrity at the least, a bit less baiting, and a bit less switching.

And Mr. John K. Coyle (Not the Speedskater!  Seriously, don’t mess with the speedskating guy, he didn’t say anything.)?  As a fellow white person, although a few decades your junior, I urge you to refrain from ever telling “the black race” what you think they should do.   Especially in a public forum with your name attached while possessing a non-private (not mean enough to link it, it’s easy enough to find.) Facebook account.  I assure you, they do not care what you think, and you sound like your next words will be  “I’m not racist, but…”

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I’ll Take Race Baiting for $1000

You know, as a skeptic I really don’t give much credence to most conspiracy theories.  Once I hear one I normally take the time to do enough research to figure out if there’s anything to the theory, and for the ones I find most interesting I’ll learn enough to be able to hold an intelligent argument (well…as intelligent as possible) with any conspiracy theorist who I run into.  (Note, I said “hold” an argument instead of “win” an argument because, in my experience, you don’t “win” arguments with conspiracy theorists.  Any proof you use to counter their arguments just becomes further “proof” of the conspiracy.  It’s exceedingly difficult to use logic and evidence to get people to give up a conclusion they didn’t use logic and evidence to reach.)

That being said, sometimes I look at current events and have to wonder if there is a bit more below the surface than it seems at first.  Take Dr. Ben Carson (please.  *rimshot*) and the fact that he is still a candidate for the 2016 GOP nomination.  He has to have noticed that he has absolutely no chance of winning the nomination by now, yet in the race he stays in spite of the GOP’s desperate need to shrink the field to have any chance of stopping Trump from claiming the nomination.   So what gives?  Applying Occam’s Razor to the question results in me assuming that his entire presidential campaign was nothing but an over-promoted book tour, in which case why would he drop out until he absolutely has to?  The publicity you receive running for the presidency is literally priceless.  But then I stop and wonder if the real reason isn’t his ability to say things like the following without immediately being Photoshopped into a Klan robe.

Dr. Ben Carson is questioning the authenticity of President Barack Obama’s connection to the black community, arguing that it’s “a bit of a stretch” for Obama to claim he identifies with black Americans, because he was raised by a white mother.

“He’s an ‘African’ American. He was, you know, raised white,” the Republican presidential candidate said of Obama in an interview with Politico’s Glenn Thrush published on Tuesday.

Or who could forget this gem:

(Carson once said Obamacare was the “worst thing to have happened in this nation since slavery,” for instance.)

The theory (okay, hypothesis really) falls apart when you realize that it would probably be much more useful for the GOP to still have Carly “If my daughter was still alive, I’d fire her as well!*” Fiorina in the race to take potshots at HRC than having Dr. Carson hang around to throw barbs at a lame duck.  Of course, the GOP could just be much more worried about offending African Americans than they are of offending women, since it is a bit difficult at times to figure out if the GOP considers women full people, so take that reasoning how you will.  I still find Dr. Carson’s Endless Book Tour to be a more likely reason for his continuing presence in the race over any other, at least for now.

 

* I dedicate this Carly Fiorina’s daughter joke, tasteless as it may indeed be, to Eli Bosnick.  Love your work, Eli.

Insert Comment About Inmates, the Asylum, and Who Happens to be in Charge Here:

From ThinkProgress:

Two-thirds of North Carolina Republican voters would support immediately impeaching Hillary Clinton if she’s elected president, according to a poll released Tuesday.

Conducted by Public Policy Polling, the survey drew from the responses of 425 self-identified Republicans likely to vote in the 2016 presidential primary. Along with various questions about the Republican candidates, it asked voters if they would either “support or oppose impeaching [Clinton] the day she takes office.”

Sixty-six percent of respondents said they would support immediate impeachment for Clinton, while only 24 percent said they would oppose it. Ten percent said they were not sure, according to the poll.

This follows, of course,  congressman Mo Brooks (AL-Guess) making the following statement in a radio interview on The Matt Murphy Show:

“In my judgement, with respect to Hillary Clinton, she will be a unique president if she is elected by the public next November,” Brooks said. “Because the day she’s sworn in is the day that she’s subject to impeachment.”

There is a portion of the Republican party that doesn’t care anymore about democracy, the will of the people, or the United States’ system of government.  We’ve already seen members of Congress such as the House Freedom Caucus who oppose any compromise with the opposition party, which effectively breaks a two party non-parliamentary system of government, and we’ve seen congressional districts that will use primary elections to punish any Republicans not seen as “ideologically pure” enough.  (Ask Eric Cantor, former House Majority Leader, among others.)  This cycle we have seen even the “mainstream” GOP presidential candidates go overboard opposing church-state separation.  Several have spoken out against the 14th Amendment as a side dish to their race-baiting xenophobia while others claim that the president is free to ignore Supreme Court decisions with which he  or she disagrees.  So much for that document the conservatives all claim to love so much.  I guess the second is the only amendment they care about.

The current GOP takes every possible opportunity to move forward with the backdoor elimination of reproductive health services.  Pro-life advocates, emboldened by their success, move the goal posts suddenly start moving against multiple forms of birth control that they claim act as abortifacients.  (Just like we said they would.  And we were told we were crazy.)  They don’t want to stop abortions, they want to punish women for being sexually activeLook at Colorado if you don’t believe it.

They continue to push for voter ID laws, the stricter the better, in spite of study after study showing the laws disenfranchise large numbers of minority and lower income voters practically exclusively, some say by design, without any evidence that the law is needed or indeed, that the crime it is set up to stop, in person voter fraud, even happens outside of exceedingly rare cases.  Pennsylvania Republican House Leader Mike Turzai openly admitted the laws are a partisan political strategy and they still push these laws.  (Although watching the current US Congress, I guess that isn’t much of a surprise.  *cough*Benghazi*cough*)

Why would they accept a Hillary Clinton election victory?  Obama won twice and they never treated him as the legitimately elected President of the United States. They impeached her husband over a fucking blow job.  Why wouldn’t they use their power in the gerrymandered House to ignore the results of a legitimate election?

Two Quick Things.

First off, greetings m’lord, how’s the fog and  rain?  Not sure what caused the rather large influx of visitors from the U.K., but I’m not complaining.  Some of my fondest memories occurred on the British Isles.

Of course, that’s not enough to warrant a post, so….

Progressives, liberals, or whatever you prefer to call yourselves.  Can we please get off Ahmed Mohamed‘s underage dick?

He built a clock.  Yeah, the school’s response was idiotic, especially since they knew damn well it wasn’t a bomb (cause if they actually would have any doubts, you can bet the school would have been evacuated and the bomb squad called in to make sure), but it isn’t like this is the first time a school has responded idiotically to a zero threat situation.  Yeah, a lot of the stories the right’s outrage machine cranks out are false.  Kids don’t get suspended for reading the Bible, or praying silently at their desk.  But a girl did get strip searched over an Advil and a kid did get suspended for chewing his Pop Tart into a gun like shape.  I don’t remember either of them getting invitations to the White House, though the right did admittedly try to make the Pop Tart Bandit into a poster child for something or other.  (Which was every bit as ridiculous as the left making the Clock kid into a celebrity.)

Let’s be honest.

Photo provided by the Irvine, Texas, Police Department of the digital clock that 14-year-old Ahmed Mohammed made from a pencil case.
Photo provided by the Irvine, Texas, Police Department of the digital clock that 14-year-old Ahmed Mohammed made from a pencil case.

That is awesome.  When I was 14, if I would have built something like that I would have been proud as well, and I would have also wanted to show it off.  But in a post-9/11 America, where people are on edge and taught to report any unattended package, can you kinda understand how someone may look at that and get a bit freaked out?  Hell, first time I saw the picture, with no background information, I thought it was a fake bomb.  I would have still brought it in to show my science teacher, but I first would have explained to him/her what I was bringing in before hand.

Was the school’s response colored by a healthy dose of Islamophobia?  Yeah, probably.  Is it sad that we live in a country where I would urge any young person, no matter their race or religion, not to bring an awesome science project to school if anyone could possibly mistake it for a bomb?  Yep, definitely.  National paranoia doesn’t make us safer, just less free.  Depending on racial/religious profiling to prevent terrorism just increases the likelihood that the people behind the next attack don’t fit into those categories.  Protip: Not every Islamic terrorist looks like the stereotypical Islamic terrorist.  Do you think they can’t read or listen to the news?  That they are unaware that we pay special attention to those who “look terroristy?”That all, or even most terrorists are Islamic?  *cough*OklahomaCity*cough*

Ahmed Mohammed never should have been put in handcuffs.  The school’s reaction was insane.  But all “zero tolerance” policies are insane, just like mandatory minimum sentences are insane.  But he isn’t a “hero,” just another victim of the “zero tolerance” society we are creating.  I’m reluctant to do any victim blaming here, because I am far from convinced the school would have had the same reaction if he would have been Christian and white.

So yeah, feel free to continue bitching about a “zero tolerance” system that routinely treats kids like criminals for nothing.  But get off this kid’s dick already.  He’s underage.

Hey Bigots! Can I Have Some Bigot Cake as Well?

Remember Melissa and Aaron Klein?  They are the owners of Sweet Cakes By Melissa, an Oregon bakery that shot to national infamy by refusing to bake a cake for the local Satanic cult’s 3rd Annual Fetus Cook-Off.  The cake was to celebrate the addition of Planned Parenthood as a Gold level sponsor of this year’s event, and….  Yeah, actually they refused to make a wedding cake for two women because Jesus said very plainly in that book the bigoted Christians really wish existed:

“And Thee Sayeth Onto Thou, Skip a bit, brother, and thee Woman folk I command thusly; Touch no man but thou husband; be pure and chaste in all, but slut in the bed of marriage; enjoy thee not sex, but suffer through it whenever your lawful husband, your master, wishes it; know that if your husband strays, it is your fault, oh woman, once tempted led to the fall of man; God created fellatio, as a way for woman to worship her superior, and you should provide your husband nightly; cunnilingus however, is the work of Satan, never ask it of your husband; and now woman, pay close attention, for this is the key to your salvation.  Thee are permitted, encouraged even, to lick, kiss, touch, feel, fondle, poke, rub, hug, and/or suck on any part of another woman ONLY for the entertainment and pleasure of your lawful husband.  For a woman marrying a woman robs two men of their rightful property.  So spoke Jesus the Christ.  Seriously.  That is what I said.  Jesus.  That’s me.  And that is what I said.  Honest. ” – The Book of “God We Wish We Had This,” chapter 5, verses 11 to 73.

See?  It’s right there in that made up quote from that imaginary book about the mythical sky daddy who tells these people to be bigots.  It’s not their fault!

So anyway, Sweet Cakes by Melissa refused to bake the nice couple a wedding cake and possibly also told them they were abominations in the eyes of god*.  The nice couple sued, and since our judicial system doesn’t base their decisions on what they think a 2000 year old mythical figure would do, Sweet Cakes by Melissa lost and was ordered to pay close to 150k.

So everything worked out alright in the end, right?  The couple, who just wanted a wedding cake, got compensated for being discriminated against, which kinda makes up for their unwanted infamy among the Christian right wing lunatic fringe, the courts did court stuff lawfully, and the cake bakers who refused to bake cakes for people in relationships they did not approve of had to pay a hefty fine.  All’s right in the world!

Until you read this:

Sweet Cakes by Melissa was kicked off GoFundMe earlier this year, but has since raised more than $350,000 on the crowdfunding site Continue to Give. The growing total, which far exceeds the couple’s $150,000 goal, is the largest individual campaign in the history of the three-year-old site, the Washington Times reported. The couple previously netted more than $60,000 from Go Fund Me before that campaign was taken down.

What good are fines at stopping discrimination when there are a whole bunch of bigots out there all too willing to send their bigot bucks to whatever bigot needs bigot bucks at that particular moment?  It’s practically an encouragement to discriminate, a bigot safety net, there to catch bigots who face complaints and lawsuits in a big pile of bigot bucks.**

Which leads us to our next chapter in this story; what the Klein’s decided to do with the leftover cash.

This week, the owners of an Oregon bakery ordered to pay $135,000 for refusing to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple sent out 10 specially made cakes to LGBT groups.

Sweet Cakes By Melissa sent the cakes, which say “We really do love you!” in white writing over a red heart. The packages also included a DVD copy of “Audacity,” an anti-gay film, according to The Advocate. The film’s website says it “delivers an unexpected, eye-opening look at the controversial topic of homosexuality.”

“Our purpose is to express our love for them as a Christian,” bakery owner Melissa Klein wrote in an email to the Oregonian. “We don’t hate them. We also included in the package the movie Audacity. I feel it is a well done movie that shows what being a Christian is about. My hope is that they will watch it and maybe just understand our heart.  We want to show them that it’s not about not serving them it’s about not being able to partake in an event.”

audacityPic credit: Equality California

Okay, three cheers to the Kleins for a textbook example of the second definition for “audacity”:

au·dac·i·ty
ôˈdasədē/
noun
noun: audacity
  1. 1.
    the willingness to take bold risks.
    “her audacity came in handy during our most recent emergency”
  2. 2.
    rude or disrespectful behavior; impudence.
    “she had the audacity to send GLBTQ organizations a cake with the hate flick Audacity.”

I mean, spot on use of language there.  Very impressive.  Second, you fucking sent them “Audacity”?  While claiming that you love them?  Holy mixed messages, Batman.  That’s like giving your kid a kitten then running the cute, cuddly ball of fur over on purpose,  then replacing said kitten with a puppy because puppy rape is what gets you going.  “Audacity” has an incredible amount of audacity (first definition) in even calling itself a film.  Half the damn movie is Ray Comfort clips from Youtube.  My feelings on “Audacity” can be summed up as follows; if Ray Comfort came up to me with a video camera and started asking idiotic questions about sexuality, I would fuck with him like no other.  But that’s not fair, I know who he is.  If a random stranger with a video camera came up to me and started asking me insane questions on sexuality in the same tone of voice and manner of speaking as Ray Comfort, I would say whatever I thought he wanted to hear to shut him up and get him away from me before he started to shoot or stab people.  If you torture yourself into watching “Audacity,” put everyone of his interviewees in that frame of mind.  If you want the full scoop on Ray Comfort’s masterpiece of Christian cinema, Eli, Noah, and Heath review this gem on The Scathing Atheisthere. (Review starts at the 23:45 part if you don’t like well written comedy. Not that you’ll like the review then either, but I still wanted to include the time stamp.)

So let’s see, we have spot on use of language, and inflicting a film that makes God’s Not Dead look both like  Oscar bait and a subtle, nuanced work of apologetic.  We’ll add that together, carry the one, divide by the square root, multiply by the ………

I got it!

Dear Melissa and Aaron.

Please take your bigot cakes, paid for with bigot bucks, and shove them as far up each of your bigot assholes as you each can reach, you passive aggressive, condescending, holier than thou, asshatted bigots.  While Jesus has surprisingly little to say about homosexuals, considering how much time and effort Christian bigots dedicate to all things gay, your god* could be the most homophobic deity in the pantheon and it still wouldn’t give you a legitimate excuse to not bake the cake.

When you bake a cake for a wedding, you are not giving your blessing and/or seal of approval on the match being made.  No one is asking that of you.  When they ask if anyone has any objection to the wedding, they don’t frantically look around to make sure the cake baker is in the room and giving consent.  It is the same as a county clerk, except even less vital; the clerk is also not approving or blessing the union, they are just verifying that the couple is eligible to get married according to the secular law, while you are just providing a decoration that will probably be shoved into at least one of the couple’s faces.

Melissa, you are a bigot.  Unfortunately, you happen to live during a time period in America where being a bigot pays.  You may have to move to a more bigoted location, or open up a mail order business, but it is beyond certain that while many talented and driven small cake shops will fail in the coming years, you will make a decent living either baking for bigots or speaking to bigots.  But do not let yourself be fooled.  Do not buy into the lie, that you are the one being oppressed, and that you are somehow fighting a fight for religious liberty.  You are not.  You are a homophobic bigot.

Why am I so comfortable in making that statement?  Well, partially this:

When one of the reporters called and asked if the business could make two identical cakes to help a friend celebrate the grant she received for cloning human stem cells, a Sweet Cakes employee simply laughed and said, “It’ll be $25.99 each, so about $50 to start.”

A request for a cake to congratulate a friend on her divorce was also happily accepted, with a Sweet Cakes worker saying, “We can definitely do something like that.”

Sweet Cakes was even happy to take orders for cakes for a pagan summer solstice fete — complete with a green pentagram decoration — and celebrating babies born out of wedlock.

But even more than that is the simple fact that all of you “traditional marriage” people are bigots.  No one is kidnapping the men off your block and forcing them into gay marriages.  You argue for biblical marriage, yet ignore the polygamy running rampant throughout the book.  Marriages were arranged for decent chunks of history, and while clans like the Duggars long for the days when women were passed like property from one man to the next, something tells me that even most Christians are not willingly going to accept arranged marriage.  While we’re keeping things traditional, are we bringing back the dowry as well?  I’ve recently been fascinated with medieval history, and the rare cases where a King or dowager Queen marry for love are often seen as scandalous.  (For one example, the dowager Queen Katherine and Owen Tudor. Or if we’re speaking of dowry, the marriage of Henry VI to “a Queen not worth ten marks”***, Margaret of Anjou.  Ah, traditional marriage.)  If you are that concerned about “traditional” marriage, why aren’t you freaking out about interracial weddings?  Cause you’re fifty years too late?  Cause that type of bigotry isn’t acceptable in polite, Christian circles anymore?  I guess it depends on what “polite, Christian circles” you run in, does it not?****

What about divorce?  You will bake divorce cakes, and something tells me you gladly bake cakes for people’s second (and third, and fourth, and….) weddings when Jesus, your whole fucking reason for refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding, was quite clear (for once) on divorce(my bolding):

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.

10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”

11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it. Matt 19

See, Jesus’ opinion isn’t “be fruitful and multiply,” it’s “keep it in your pants, but if you absolutely can’t stay celibate, which you definitely should, but if you can’t, I guess you can get married.”  And since he starts the chapter talking about how marriage was totes awesome according to god, who’s the enemy of traditional marriage in this story?  I’ll give you a hint.  It’s the same guy who’s on the other side of the glory hole.

Invariably, about this deep in any anti-marriage equality article, after the author has exhausted the weak arguments available to them, you find the anecdote about the author’s child (or friend’s child) finding out about gay marriage through tv/a magazine cover/ a newspaper cover/ an assigned book in school and that person having to explain something they are uncomfortable talking about to the child, and…..  Well, and then I’m not really sure.  I see this argument all the time I’m really not sure what they want.  The ability to hide reality from their child until that child is of legal age?  Here’s one recent example, from Right Wing Watch (although Wonkette covers it here as well.)

Ruse said that he started to worry when he realized that one of the chefs on Chopped “looked like a butch lesbian” and put his finger on the remote just in case he got exposed to gayness. “But this is the Food Network so we don’t have anything to worry about, right?” he said.

But it was too late. Despite his best efforts, Ruse and his daughter were forced to see a lesbian couple:

So I didn’t have my hand on the trigger fast enough when they did a hard cut to a backstory about this lesbian chef and don’t you know it she’s got her arm around her ‘wife,’ she refers to her ‘wife,’ and I was too slow in fast-forwarding. My eight-year-old Lucy, sweet Lucy, turned to me and said: ‘Did she say wife?’ And I said, ‘No, I think she meant girlfriend.’ And Lucy said, ‘I think she said life.’ God bless the innocence of this child. But they will not let us off the mat, the ideologies who want to cram this thing down our throats no matter where we go.

And it gets worse. Ruse laments that unwitting children may have had their vacations ruined by an edition of USA Today that featured a gay couple kissing:

The day after the decision of the Supreme Court was a full page photograph of two men kissing on USA Today. This is a paper that lands in front of hotel room doors all over the country, this is vacation time, families open that door, children may have opened this door to see two men kissing. They are making us explain things to our children that we don’t want to explain and they know what they’re doing, they absolutely know what they’re doing.

While Ruse complains about being persecuted by the Food Network, let’s remember that this is same anti-gay activist who condemned the United Nations for investigating “discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

I mean, I get the urge to protect your children.  If I had kids (and I do have nieces, a nephew, and a young cousin who’s pretty much a niece) I would want to protect them from Confederate battle flags, neo-nazis, Fox News, Westboro Baptist Church, Catholic priests, The 700 Club, guns, and poster sized pictures of aborted fetuses.  But these things all exist, and at age appropriate times, I think it is important to introduce children to the concepts.  I do not want the first time my daughter hears about a poster sized picture of an aborted fetus to be when she’s walking into a Planned Parenthood for her well-woman check and some protester is shoving it in her face.  “Traditional marriage” supporters will throw my own “age appropriate” comment right back in my face, but we aren’t talking about hardcore gay porn here.  We are speaking of the existence of a group of people who most certainly do exist.  Everyone knows a homosexual.  If you do not know a homosexual, it is more than likely because you are a bigot and the homosexuals you do know just aren’t telling you.  Chances are a few of the kids at your child’s school have gay parents.  A lesbian couple on Food Network is not an endorsement of that lifestyle.  A lip to lip kiss on the cover of a newspaper is not a religious statement.  They are just holding a mirror to society.  What evil lifestyle is the couple on Chopped displaying?  The one where you love someone and commit to them in marriage?  Those bastards.

Marriage equality is about love, consent, and equal rights under the law.  Freedom of religion means you do not have to get gay married.  Your church doesn’t have to perform gay weddings.  You and your pastor/priest can bitch about how gay marriage is going to lead to the end of the world all day long, and twice on Sunday.  You are even free, as sick as it is, to raise your kids believing that homosexuality is a sin and that gay marriage is wrong.  (Hopefully you’re not one of those bigots who will throw their child out of the house if they come out as gay.)

What you don’t get is the ability to force that belief on others.  No anti-gay prayers in school (or any prayers for that matter….and note, I am referring to official prayers, not non-disruptive silent prayers by individual students.)  If you hold elective office (or appointed office) you don’t get to refuse to do your job because Jesus.  You took an oath to obey and support the laws of our nation, not those of your book or church.  If you can’t do your job, then quit.  Save us all the trouble of firing you.  Especially when you are more than likely a “fiscal conservative” as well, and it is tax dollars you are wasting grandstanding for martyr points.  If you are a business, then you serve everyone or no one.  Simple, is it not?  Think that isn’t fair?  Well, how would you feel if I had a business and I refused to serve Christians?  Could you imagine what Bill O’Reilly would say about me?  He’d probably have David Silverman on as a guest, show the one picture of me posing with Silverman, and spend the whole segment yelling over David about how much of a treasonous bigoted scum sucking commie I was. But that whole thought experiment is meaningless to you, is it not?  Because you can not place yourself in another person’s skin.

Enjoy your bigot bucks.  Enjoy sending out your condescending cake with the bigger waste of a disc than “Free AOL” software.  Because on this front of the culture war, you lost.  You can pretend that you will out breed the progressives all you want, but most of your children will end up rejecting your bigotry.  The “Sweet Cakes by Melissa” kerfluffle will be a dark family secret, with their great grand children shockingly discovering those bigot were their ancestors, wondering what went wrong, eventually chalking it up to a different time, just as those of us did with ancestors who protested against things like interracial marriage, women’s suffrage, or ending slavery.

Now, get back to shoving that cake so deep in there that you see it in your santorum for the next year.

*While I never really thought of it before, after listening to this week’s diatribe on The Scathing Atheist, I am making a conscious effort to not capitalize “god,” except when it appears at the start of a sentence.  This is a habit I have had for ages, so please don’t mind the inconsistency as I retrain my fingers.

**Dude, I can not be the only atheist who’s retirement plan looks like this:

  • Fake conversion
  • Plead poverty/persecution due to my new found faith
  • Rake in the bigot bucks
  • Write book on my experiences in the Christian fringe movement.

Fucking ethics and morals.  I wonder how “psychics” and alt-med practitioners get rid of those pesky things.

***From the title of chapter 7 in The Wars of the Roses by Alison Weir.  Also from this book comes my personal favorite nickname for the future Queen of England, “la petite creature.” (pg 107)

****Bigotry against an “outgroup” is fascinating.  While I was growing up and during my teen years, bigotry against homosexuals was seen as the standard in my area.  It was the default assumption.  Unless you spoke up, everyone assumed you hated the “fags.”  Those who were different at all for any reason were labeled “fags.”  (Before Nirvana went mainstream, I think I was called “leather fag” more often than my actual name for a while.)  There was also a really strong undercurrent of racism, just not as automatically assumed as the homophobia.  Perhaps because while my school had (I believe, I am not getting out my yearbook) one African-American (in 1994!!!)  and two Indian-Americans in my graduating class, we were just outside of Altoona (and all hung out with people from each school) which had a much more diverse racial make up.

Now, with outright racism largely frowned upon by society and the acceptance of GLBTQ community members as actual normal people, we’re witnessing a strange outbreak of bigotry across multiple fronts as, I don’t know, bigots look for an acceptable place to release it?  From the resurgence of anti-black racism (see the comment thread on any story dealing with Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown) to the last gasps of those who desperately wish they could choke on a nice hard cock (see Brian Fischer, Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron, et al.) to the shockingly counterproductive anti-Mexican immigrant hate coming from the GOP’s field of presidential candidates (see. well…all of them?) to the confusing issue of actual post 9/11 anti-Middle Easterner racism being lumped together and equated with legitimate criticism of the tenants of the Islamic religion, it seems society is determined to prove those who claimed we had moved beyond race, beyond bigotry as wrong as possible.  What’s the next group?  It can’t be women, although the GOP has made a go of it over the past couple of years, but women simply have too much voting power.  My guess, and we’ve definitely seen it in action before, I just think it will get much more mainstream: bigotry against the poor.  A group with almost no political power, with no money to buy politicians, that is so easily demonized (they buy steak with food stamps!  They get free phones!  Welfare mommas!  Your hard earned tax dollars, Rabble Rabble Rabble!!!)  It’s coming hard, from your local GOP candidate.  Bet on it.

***** Just a note here.  The piece on Jindal is over half done at the moment.  It hasn’t been the best week as it goes with my family and health, so I’ve been a bit behind.  I’m also just about to become unemployed,  hopefully for a very short period of time, which has been cutting into my time.  I will work on getting it up on Monday.  Thanks all for reading this!

Oh, Snap!!!! The Ball’s in Your Court Now, Donald.

In a side competition of the 2016 Goat Rodeo (hiya Mock, Paper, Scissors), the contest to say the most outlandishly offensive thing without offending the lunatic fringe base of the GOP (Imagine what it would take to offend them at this point.  Scary, no?), we have a new candidate in the top spot who somehow managed to dethrone The Donald.  That candidate?  Mike Huckabee.  From ThinkProgress:

“By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven,” he reportedly said.

*blank stare* *dropped jaw* *blink* *slow face palm*  Does it even matter what he was talking about?  No, not really, but in case you were wondering, he was talking about the Iran deal.  Of course.

You know, I used to think it took a lot of chutzpah when the radical anti-abortion activists would compare legalized reproductive health care to the Holocaust.  But damn, if that takes shameless audacity what the hell does a comment like this from a “mainstream” candidate seeking the Presidential nomination of one of the two major political parties?

And do not let that “reportedly said” bit fool you.  He said it, and his campaign is running with it.

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Well now, Mr. Huckabee, since I can see you are thinking about this rationally, I am sure we can have a fruitful discussion on US/Iranian relations.

This is seriously what politics has become in the US?

 

So Wait… All That Stuff With Mr. T Was Just an Act? Next You’ll Tell Me the Matches are Scripted..

Stay in school kids!  Say your prayers, eat your vitamins, and someday you may have 24 inch pythons as well.

Yeah, its not a direct quote, but it may as well be and it is still seared in my memory evermore.  I am not ashamed to say that I grew up with professional wrestling.  While I was much more interested in NWA (later WCW) wrestling on TBS every Saturday and Sunday night as a kid, I watched the WWF (now WWE) as well (back in those days with no internet and only the new born cable television industry, we watched whatever was on.)  I had the toy ring, which I used so much it was duct taped together, had countless figures, scavenged a Nerf Ping Pong set to build a steel cage, read all the Apter mags (wrestling magazines that treated wrestling as an actual sport, never breaking kayfabe), and even owned a wrestling game that was almost my first pen and paper role playing game.  (Yeah, it be a stretch to actually call it a role playing game, but you got invented wrestler character sheets and played out matches with dice rolls, so it was on the spectrum.)  I abandoned pro wrestling as I moved into my teens, which was probably for the best since wrestling, a business that runs on boom/bust cycles, was definitely on the downside after the huge boom in the 80’s.  I returned to the business with the rise of ECW and the national popularity of the Monday Night Wars between WCW and WWF, with groups from the restaurant I worked at attending every local event and throwing rotating monthly PPV parties for the whole staff.  I had several pieces published at 1wrestlingdotcom, at the time the premier site for “smart” wrestling fans, including one, if I remember correctly (1wrestling went through a lot of changes over the years, which included the apparent destruction of the archives.  I still go looking for those pieces every now and then, because other than a poem for a contest that I believe actually publishes everyone’s poems, they were my first published writings.), dealing with Hulk Hogan and why wrestling needed him to retire immediately.  I even toyed with the idea of trying to become a referee, sending out feelers to several wrestling schools and doing some basic training learning to take bumps.  (Yet another dream I shot into my arm instead of fulfilling.)  To be honest, I would probably still be watching and writing about wrestling, and working to remove its more nationalistic and misogynistic tropes if not for Chris Benoit.  I met him, I met his wife, I spent a good 45 minutes talking to him.  He was my favorite, a wrestler who got famous because of his ability to work a match in the ring, not because he could talk a good game.  Then he killed his wife, his son, and himself.  His brain, which was examined post-mortem by experts in the field, was pretty much swiss cheese from all the concussions.  I couldn’t bring myself to watch after that.  Its bad enough watching American football knowing the risk the athletes are putting themselves in, but the whole point of pro wrestling, in theory,  is making it look real while not actually hurting yourself and your opponent, yet I know it was fans like me, who loved the violence of ECW, who praised wrestlers who worked “stiff,” who exploded over the most dangerously insane moves possible (ever see Mick Foley’s unplanned fall through the top of a Hell in a Cell cage? Or Mick taking 11 steel chair shots to the head with his hands handcuffed behind his back? ) who drove the performers to actually almost kill themselves in the ring night after night.  I can still watch some of the really old 80’s classic matches, but from the mid 90’s on, every time I see someones head hit the mat hard I shudder. That’s wood under the canvas, by the way.  Its not a trampoline.

I think I may have just set a record for my longest tangent introducing a story.  What was I writing about?  “Say your prayers, take your vitamins…” Hulk Hogan!

Yes, well, thanks to the previously released Hulk Hogan sex tape, we found out that all those rumors about the effects of steroids are actually true, and that The Hulkster looked like a pretty awful lay.  Now, thanks to the apparently released audio of the tape, it appears that the proud owner of two 24 inch pythons (which, according to rumors, never surpassed 22 inches.  What is it with us men and exaggerating inch counts? “No, it really is 10 inches!  You just have to stretch it out and measure from the back of my thigh.” or “You say you have 9 inches?  Wait, flip the ruler around and what does it say? 3.5? As I thought. No, no reason why.” <The Scathing Atheist would be so proud, I just made a metric to US Standard dick joke.>) has an unhealthy affection for a certain word that begins with the letter “n.”  (And surprisingly for a pro wrestler, that word is not “narcotics.”)  First off, we had Complex reporting that WWE had mysteriously seemed to cut all ties and scrub most mentions of Hogan from their website.

Late last night, the WWE reportedly distanced itself from one of the biggest stars in the history of the company when it wiped any mention of Hulk Hogan from its website. Hogan’s Hall of Fame page and all of his Hulk-related merchandise appear to have been removed from the site:

Then the other shoe dropped the smackdown all over Hogan’s future career, as Complex once again reported.

The National Enquirer just published an explosive report in conjunction with Radar Online claiming that Hogan was caught using the N-word on numerous occasions during a conversation with Heather Clem, the wife of Hogan’s former friend Bubba “The Love Sponge” Clem and the woman that Hogan was caught having sex with in a video that was posted on Gawker back in 2012. The sex tape is part of a $100 million lawsuit at the moment, and transcripts from it have been filed in a court in Florida.

The National Enquirer and Radar Online obtained a handful of quotes from the transcripts and verified them with multiple sources. They reportedly feature Hogan discussing his daughter Brooke Hogan and her music career.

Well, it probably isn’t that bad, right?  I mean, remember Wrestlemania?  Where he teamed up with Mr. T to defend God, the American Flag, Steroids, and everything good about America? It can’t be that bad.  All he wanted was for us to say our prayers and take our vitamins.

Umm.  For those of you who really don’t like seeing racist language, this is an official trigger warning.

Trigger Warning for Offensive Language!  <————— SEE!

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Okay, don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

“I don’t know if Brooke was fucking the black guy’s son,” Hogan reportedly said. “I mean, I don’t have double standards. I mean, I am a racist, to a point, fucking niggers. But then, when it comes to nice people and shit, and whatever.”

Later, Hogan allegedly continued by telling Clem that he would prefer for Brooke to be involved with a rich athlete.

“I mean, I’d rather if she was going to fuck some nigger, I’d rather have her marry an 8-foot-tall nigger worth a hundred million dollars!” he reportedly said. “Like a basketball player! I guess we’re all a little racist. Fucking nigger.”

What are you going to do, Hogan, when words you once said come back to run all over you… and your future career?

At least all the money he’s going to win from Gawker will keep him stocked in tissues to wipe up all his tears.

And just wondering, do any of my readers have a problem when I write a 700 word introduction to a story like I did in this post?  I mean, I can’t promise I will change, but for those of you (we both know who you are) who are regular visitors here, if it is an issue I will definitely attempt to keep the tangents to a minimum.