Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Deconstructing the Riot Acts

I have said before that the people who riot in the midst of the lack of indictment in Ferguson are idiots. That is about as derogatory as I am going to get. There are a LOT of people who will get much more despicably descriptive in their depiction for those who riot. They will definitely lump in every protester with the rioters. None of it is fair, but if we lived in a fair society, Ferguson would not have happened in the first place.

Though I don’t think the rioters are bright, I understand some of their anger. Since civilisation began, those who felt disenfranchised and/or oppressed would take to the streets and do damage. When you feel like you you have hit the tipping point of rage at a societal situation and feel like you have no power to do something about it, you lash out at the closest thing. You feel the rage, and you want to break something. Riots and insurrections are not a new thing. Though many failed, slave insurrections from Spartacus to Nat Turner to John Brown were a result of people being fed up with the conditions that they endured. An insurrection brought about the French Revolution. The American Revolution began with a riot called the Boston Massacre, and Crispus Attucks was the first casualty of it. That’s right: Crispus Attucks was the first in a long line of brothers to die first.

The peaceful unrest that is happening in Ferguson right now is understandable and reasonable. The trashing of stores and shops after dark, though, are not great, and the way some Twitterers and news outlets are reporting such acts, you’d think that the people of Ferguson turned into werewolves and destroyed everything beautiful. There is now a trending hashtag to describe everyone, both protesters and rioters, in Ferguson: #Chimpout. That is disgusting. And this can all be avoided! People nowadays riot all the time. It’s a matter of the when/where. So here are some tips for the people of Ferguson:

  • Do you have a college or professional sports team near you? Well then don the team jersey and other paraphernalia, and flip that car! People will call you a troublemaker, maybe a drunken reveler, but they won’t call you a monkey thug! Here are appropriate times to riot about you sports team:
  • Do you like water sports? If you do, grab a wet suit and a surfboard, and then throw that surfboard through a motherfucking window! You can definitely go to town and break stuff, as long as you have a surfboard in hand.
  • Are you not satisfied with the recent election? Not only can you destroy your school, you can burn the the opposing candidate in effigy! Make sure you chant stuff as well. Then you’ll be fine in the public eyes.
  • America has a long history of welcoming foreigners to her shores, and then beating the shit out of them. Some of these immigrant even came here voluntarily! If someone you don’t know lawfully moved into your neighbourhood, or if you just don’t like your neighbour, you can wreck stuff all day long with near impugnity.
  • It is decorative gourd season, motherfuckers! Let’s smash some pumpkins!...not the band. Put on a festival honouring decorative squash, and then BURN THAT SHIT DOWN. The WORST you’ll be called is a “rabblerouser”.

So remember, rioters, if you’re tearing up your own neighbourhood, I get that you’re mad, but you’re kind of an idiot. If you don’t want to be depicted as a monkey or thug while rioting, then choose any of these reasons to tear up shit, and you’ll be fine! :-D

...Also, you should probably be white.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Same S***, Different Black Kid

I am not surprised that there was no indictment for Darren Wilson, regarding the Michael Brown Shooting. There was too much conflicting evidence. There were three autopsies that yielded three different results. Half of everyone was sure this was yet another open/shut case of a black male being gunned down by a white assailant. The other half was certain that another black “animal” viciously attacked an innocent white man just doing his job, and he protected himself from being killed. It’s doubtful that either of these scenarios is true, but we’ll never know, because there is only one person left alive involved in the incident who can say what happened. These are the facts:


  • Michael Brown was killed by Officer Darren Wilson after the officer stopped them for jaywalking.
  • The Ferguson Police Department did not release any statements, including the Wilson’s name, for days.
  • When the police finally made a statement, they implicated Michael Brown in an unarmed corner store robbery of loose cigars.
  • Demonstrations occurred, because the community felt it was another case of the police targeting the Ferguson area, due to the hue of the residents.
  • The local police used militarised equipment to quell the demonstrations.
  • The riots got almost as out of control as the pumpkin riots of Keane. NH.


Everything else is pretty much speculation, but we can figure out what will happen next:


  • Twitter and Facebook are about to get REALLY racist for the next few weeks.
  • Darren Wilson will not be able to go on patrols again, since his credibility is ruined, and he will not be trusted by anyone on his old beat.
  • MSNBC and Media Matters will show statistics showing how disproportionate the arrest and police action is for black and brown communities compared to their white counterparts, thereby proving that blacks SHOULD be apprehensive about police interactions at all costs.
  • Fox News and the Drudge Report will show statistics showing how disproportionate the arrest and police action is for black and brown communities compared to their white counterparts, thereby proving that black people SHOULD be avoided at all costs.
  • Shit is going to get REALLY racist in ALL the news comment sections.
  • Someone is going to say that we need to have a conversation about race. Instead of having an actual conversation, people are going to call the police Gestapo pigs, white people privileged crackers, and black people thug niggers.
  • Someone on Fox News will blame either Obama or Al Sharpton of race baiting.
  • Someone on MSNBC will accuse ted Nugent or Sean hannity of race baiting...they’ll be correct.
  • I am so serious; shit is going to get REALLY racist REALLY quickly! I'm not even Christian, and I'm praying to Baby Jesus to deliver us from it all.
  • All the armchair forensics detectives and lawyers who were arguing on comments sections of news articles about the whole incident will eventually forget about this whole thing, because by then, ANOTHER unarmed black teenager will have been shot.


Maybe it is my cynicism, but I highly doubt much will change before the next black teenager is shot, be it by a police officer or a civilian. Trust will not be restored. The root of the problems that helped bring about this whole thing will not be identified and addressed. These, though, I believe to be true:


  • Two individuals with chips on their shoulders got into an altercation, and the one with the gun finished the argument.
  • Contrary to what you will hear on various news sites, Michael Brown was NOT a thug, an animal, an amoral monkey, or whatever horrible combination of veiled bigotry you will hear to describe him. He was a teenager on his way to college. Everyone knows that teenagers, no matter what ethnicity, are very impulsive balls of hormones who sometimes exercise poor judgment. The only difference is that white teenagers don’t usually die because of their raging hormones.
  • Contrary to what you will hear in blogs and FB posts, Darren Wilson is NOT a secret member of the KKK. He is a police officer who worked in an impoverished, high crime area. He likely was more aggressive and dickish to everyone on his beat, which only escalates situations that may have been able to be resolved had some respect for people as human beings instead of presumed felon subhuman imps.
  • The idiots in glass houses who rattle off names of white people who were killed by black assailants will neglect, not only the long history of black people being regularly lynched for so much as allegedly looking at white people the wrong way, but they will also ignore the fact that most white people are killed by OTHER WHITE PEOPLE, usually people they know. Talk shit about others when you acknowledge your own issues.
  • The idiots who bring out stats on the amount of black-on-black crime and claim that black people don’t seem to care about that will ignore the fact that we’ve BEEN harping about that for YEARS, with gang intervention programs, with recreational programs, with gun turn-in programs actually COOPERATING with the police, with education programs. Those just don’t make news, and usually don’t get enough funding to stay afloat.
  • Nothing is going to change until less money and energy that are put into programs that give local police departments MRAPS and other military grade weapons, and more money and energy are put into programs that help educate and employ the impoverished instead of attempting to seal them off from the rest of the world. If you have a small mold problem in your house, you don’t just paint over it, and you don’t shoot it with an M-16. you address it.
  • Anyone who demonstrates peacefully in Ferguson has a right to be there and has a right to publicly assemble.
  • Anyone who riots and destroys property and businesses in Ferguson is an asshole.

I give it about two more weeks before the cycle begins anew. We should rename the country the United States of Sisyphus.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Zib-Bop, Roofy Pops! & the Perils of StarF***ing

You what I LOVED when I was a kid? The Brown Hornet on the Fat Albert cartoon. You know what I HATE? Serial rapists who never saw justice and will not address allegations brought against him. Now imagine my conundrum: the creator of my favourite cartoon calendar is a possible multiple sex offender. Thus far, 15 people have come forward, claiming that Bill Cosby assaulted him. These are not new allegations. In 1997, Shawn Upshaw came forward as Cosby’s mistress back in the 1970s. She claimed that her daughter is his illegitimate Puddin’ Pop®. That was all settled out of court with a $100,000 worth of hush money.  In 1984, he said privately that he needed to stop his womanizing in advance of “The Cosby Show”. In 2005, Andrea Constand filed a suit against Bill Cosby, claiming that she was drugged and assaulted by America’s Dad. Another woman, Tamara Green came forward with the a similar allegation, but this happened back in the 1970s, nearly identical modus operandi. Then TWELVE MORE WOMEN CAME FORWARD as anonymous material witnesses for the Constand case. The Constand case was settled out of court 2006, and a few of the anonymous women were outed and interviewed.


Then everything died down, and everyone forgot, until in the middle of October 2014, when Hannibel Buress pointed out in a stand-up routine the hypocrisy of Bill Cosby telling black people to pull their pants up and act respectable when he raped 14 women. That is not a respectable thing to do at all. Now we are in the middle of what most meteorologists would categorise as a Class 5 shitstorm. Let’s call it Blizzurricane Cos™.


Blizzurricane Cos™ swept the nation. We’re still in the middle of it! It dumped 6 feet of drama all over parts of the internet, clogging routers and stopping traffic (Too soon, Buffalo?). Blogs were lit up for weeks! Cos aggravated the storm by going on interviews and not addressing the allegations! In a pathetic PR attempt, Blizzuricane Cos™ thought it would be a good idea to tell people to post #CosbyMemes, because apparently he didn’t learn from #AskRKelly and #AskThicke campaigns. 

Look, If you are a sexual predator or sing about sexual assault while ripping off a beloved R&B legend, then you were asking for it. You put it out there like that, you can't get upset. You are responsible for whatever those Twitterers gave to you...so fitting…


Well, Blizzurricane Cos™ has reached the most dreaded level: black people claiming he was set up and “they” are trying to cut successful black men down. I hate this level, because there was a time when successful black men WERE actually being cut down by the “they”, and this is NOT it, and people saying it now are disgracing the honour of those who were actually targeted by the J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, or by Hollywood execs, or by the closeted KKK members who were policemen and judges by day who secreted black men away and tortured and murdered them in the name of their false god.


Someone actually said, “Leave that old man (Cos) alone!” Would you have said that same line to Emmitt Till’s surviving family after they found the men who lynched him, or a Holocaust survivor whose previous jailor lives up the street from him, or a victim of the Khmer Rouge while Pol Pot was still alive? If not, then shut the hell up.


The best is the conspiracy theory: The government is trying to cut down every single successful black man.


-_-


Yes. “They” are trying to cut down everyone successful and brown. Women are getting themselves assaulted by these powerful men who have a better opportunity to abuse said power than the women do to escape them. This was the plan all along. First Special Agent Rihanna jumped in front of Chris Brown's fist, and then Agent Janay Rice went unconscious in an elevator just as Ray Rice was very swiftly putting a brooch on her lapel. Agent Under Age GAVE R. Kelly a gallon of water and then dodged in front of him when he was innocently trying to release it. Then Agent [ANONYMOUS] had the nerve to get herself roofied in front of Cee-Lo and wake up naked next to him. Now they are going after the Cos. The FBI must hate all of a sudden hate Pudding Pops and Fat Albert. THAT must be it.


The only “They” who is trying to cut down these “men” are themselves and their own actions. Cee-Lo Green pled no contest to drugging a woman, and then went on a Twitter based mansplain campaign to give his definition of what consent and rape are, both of which show that he definitely drugged and raped someone. Ray Rice was CAUGHT ON CAMERA knocking out his wife, just as R. Kelly was on camera urinating on a minor. And Chris Brown...Well, fuck Chris Brown, so many ways until Sunday. In Blizzuricane Cos™, Hannibel Buress brought it up in his stand up routine, but these allegations were out the open for years. The public just glossed over them or wilfully ignored them for 8 years. The real conspiracy in this case is that the general public ignored this for so long in order to maintain Cosby's idol image, and that it took a man, not the victims, for this to finally be treated seriously.


People think these women came forward because they want money. Bullshit. The women who came forward, I surmise, because of there is strength in numbers. Women, just like brown kids and intersex individuals, are routinely blamed for the crimes committed against them. They are automatically accused of trying to "ruin" a man, or that they're only after money, or that they should not have worn something different. This would make it very difficult to muster courage to speak up, not to mention all the dirt people will bring up from their pasts. If a woman so much as kissed a boy on the cheek in kindergarten, she's labeled a whore. Who the hell would willingly put themselves through this type of verbal and social abuse alone? When more women come forward, it must be the affect of knowing that they are not alone. Again, just my theory.


Here’s a valid conspiracy theory: the American public is a giant herd of starfuckers. We see someone famous, and we turn them into messiahs and prophets. I’m surprised there isn’t a Church Of Cos already. We do it ALL THE TIME, whether black or white. Everyone famous is a deity in someone’s eyes, and as soon as we learn that they are nothing but humans with drug problems and gambling habits and porn stashes and aggressive power issues, we treat the people who bring us this information like the way the Church treated Copernicus or Joan of Arc. They’ll either be berated to the point that they recant the truth, or they’ll be socially silenced. Lance Armstrong actually got people FIRED for telling the truth about his indiscretions. Try saying in public Beyonce is just “okay”. You will be convicted of heresy and burned at the stake. The second a sex charge comes out against an athlete, no one can believe that their knight in shining Under Armour would EVER touch a woman that is not his wife. Name a celebrity, and there is a star being fucked by the public.


So, anyway, I still REALLY like The Brown Hornet. I just can’t stand the man who brought him about. I’m done starfucking my favourite celebrities. You should stop starfucking yours. They don’t give a damn about that goat you’re about to slaughter for them.


...Except Angela Bassett. You can sacrifice for Angela Bassett.


In Bassett’s name, we pray…

PS- If you’re on Cosby’s side for this, then you’re on Glenn Beck’s side as well. Do you really want that? Glenn. Beck.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

On Gamers Who Gate, Cats Who Call, & Mans Who 'Splain

Imagine that you are in a kitchen making dinner, and your roommate comes in and says, “Hey, you’ve been doing the cooking for the last 30 years, and I kind of need a change from steak. How about I help you out with dinner from now on, so that we all enjoy a hearty meal?” Instead of taking this offer of help with grace, you say, “Fuck you, Trevor! Cooking dinner is MY thing! Say another word about this, and I’ll cut out your tongue and feed it to you! You’re already a corpse, motherfucker! I also leaked photos of you sleeping with a teddy bear to the internet!” When Trevor notes how much you overreacted, you say, “I’m always being criticised about EVERYTHING, and the kitchen is one of my only safe places! I’m being attacked! WAHHHH!!!!...I’m gonna shit on Trevor’s bed and set it on fire while he’s sleeping.”

That is pretty much #GamerGate.

We all know that gaming is a male-dominated hobby/job. Though there are a few female heroes in gaming, not many are wearing clothes. I see a lot more Dead or Alive Tina Armstrongs than there are Assassin’s Creed Aveline de Grandpr├ęs. Even on the side of designing, there are few women making decisions. This yields messed up things in games like that fact that you human traffic in Red Dead Redemption or that you can have sex with and kill prostitutes in Grand Theft Auto. Also, games can be more than just first person shooters and open world beat-em ups. Think Journey or Flower.

Saying all this will not garner me any animus from anyone. However, were I a woman, I would have a slew of death threats thrown at me before I hit the “publish” button. Just ask Anita Sarkeesian. She is not the first to bring up the need for more gender diversity in gaming, nor is she the latest person to receive of violent rape and death threats due to her willingness to speak up about it. I’m certain, though, that she is the first to have to cancel a speech because there was a viable threat to her life, and she genuinely feared that she might have been murdered while talking. Even Felicia Day, one of the most famous of female gamers, was the target of hate speech and had her personal contact information compromised because she spoke up about the controversy. All the while, gaming Mansplainers are claiming that they are once again being “nerd-bashed”, but this time in one of their sanctuaries.

Now, Imagine that you are eating a salad at a restaurant, and the server brings you a free olivewurst sandwich. You thank the server but tell him that you didn’t order olivewurst sandwich, and you’re just trying to eat the salad you ordered. The server gets indignant and says, “Stop being a bitch, Trevor. It’s a free sandwich. Eat it.” Just as you’re about to chew out the server for assuming you would just take an unordered sandwich, another two servers come and bring you second and third sandwiches. You just want to eat your salad; you don’t even like olivewurst! Another server waits for a thank you, and when you don’t say it, he tries to ram the sandwich into your mouth and says, “EAT THE FUCKING SANDWICH!” You are now very angry, but you still have to finish your salad. More servers come and put olivewurst sandwiches in front of you, each more pungent than the last. You’re numb to the growing pile of sandwiches in front of you. You try to ignore all the servers, but then one gets REALLY pissed that you won’t eat his sandwich, and he follows you through the restaurant, violently throwing salad dressing and rocks at you. That is street harassment. It’s a bunch of olivewurst sandwiches that you don’t want, but turning them down can be dangerous.

Trevor was not hurt in either of these scenarios, but sadly, a lot of women have been hurt or killed due to responding to both types of harassment.

We likely have all seen the catcalling video that was contracted by the Hollaback! group, a group that focuses on showing how the dignity of women is stripped away when men yell out to them and harass them on the street when they are going about their day. The video would have been poignant but for one problem. They basically made a talkie version of Birth of a Nation. In a video filmed in Manhattan, a population of 45% white people, the video showed 2% white perpetrators. The makers of the video claim that there was a diverse group of harassers, but somehow all the white harassing footage was edited out due to bad sound quality and video time constraints. That would be believable, but they SUBTITLED the whole thing. The Internet went crazy about the video, much less for the subject that really needs to be discussed, but because of the lack of racial diversity. Racists everywhere are using it to justify their hatred of brown people. Mansplainers, besides saying, “Just take the compliment”, are adding, “Well, look, these guys were brought up wrong, because they’re coloured! Now let my don my golden fedora and make some people with low self esteem weep! Douchebag, AWAAAAAYYY!”

In both #GamerGate and the catcalling video, People are trying to defend themselves by throwing others under the bus. This strategy never works. It just creates a new “other” that will be the next target for derision and hate. In the case of #GamerGate, the violent reaction to a few people pointing out that they’re not okay with a rape scene in a video game further proves the NEED for a more diverse workforce in game making. If you’re not scared of a little diversity, then why are you threatening people? The KKK did that to suppress blacks’ participation in society, and like cowards, they did it behind masks. If you are threatening a woman who is voicing her opinion, then your new mask is just a computer screen. You are still a coward.

In the case of the catcalling video, it’s a matter of perpetuating the same poor reasoning a few suffragists and women’s rights advocates of the late 19th and 20th Century by ostracising a group of people who know something about harassment and being treated like less than human: black people. The idea that the fight for equality for one group is not the fight for for the everyone’s rights is flawed. One cannot stovepipe human rights. We can’t say, “Well, all of our issues aren’t solved, so I can’t work on yours yet”, or worse, “We’re all created equal, except THOSE people”. All issues will never be resolved with that mindset. There is common ground, but not when one makes a short film that basically perpetuates the stereotype that brown people are horny mongrels that cannot/will not control themselves. Editing flaws is not a good excuse, especially since Jessica Williams of The Daily Show did a street harassment piece in New York City, and it showed assailants and victims from every hue of our constructed race spectrum. If she can do it and do it better, then why couldn’t the good people of Hollaback? Street harassment, and how women respond to it, can be dangerous.

Saddest thing is that most black teenagers know that sensation of feeling violated when a squad car pulls up on them to question them about nothing when they’re just trying to walk to work or school. Now imagine that sense of social violation, but from EVERYONE YOU PASS, and you essentially know how street harassment works. Dismissing one group or freaking out when someone wants to broaden your environment to make it more everyone-friendly is not a good way to go about things. We need to do better.

Mansplainers just need to shut the hell up, though. That’s all I have to say about that.

Friday, October 31, 2014

We're Getting ROC-Rolled by Wegmans

This post will make little sense to people outside of Rochester, but it should be said. I'm starting to think that the voting for City Newspaper's Best of Rochester is rigged, or that, or the people of Rochester just have low self esteem. The reason I ask is because I have lived here for six years, and for six years, Wegmans has won Best Place to Take an Out-of-Towner.

It is a grocery store.

Rochester is the epicenter of pivotal events that helped shape this country, from the American Revolution to the Underground Railroad to Women's Suffrage to the Industrial Revolution. The main cemetery likely has the most iconic historical figures in American History buried in it than anywhere else in Upstate NY. There is a Great Lake less than 10 miles north of us. The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is world renown. Rochester's International Jazz Festival draws in people from all corners of the earth. The Hungerford has some of the best and innovative artists and artisans rotating through it. University of Rochester has the nation's first educational program focusing exclusively on Optics. Both Rochester Institute of Technology and University of Rochester are doing research on things and making innovations that cause not just ripples, but WAVES across the world of academia and science. That is just on Wednesday. Yet you expect me to believe that the readers of an independent newspaper, the residents who should have their fingers on the pulse of what makes Rochester great, think that the best they have to offer an expatriot from Baltimore is a grocery store?

Have you seen High Falls at dawn or dusk? Have you been on the roofs of any buildings on Water Street and been able to see BOTH the Brighton AND the City Independence Day fireworks simultaneously? Have you rode a bicycle up Arnold Park at the dawn of spring, right when all the trees are flowering and the wind is blowing the petals around the Zen Centre. I saw the best roots reggae show at Water Street Music Hall. It was a local(ish) band playing: Mosaic Foundation. Not once did I think, "Man these are all great! But you know what would be REALLY great? A place where I can buy a pound of chicken AND cheese!"

I have heard many defenses regarding my disappointment at Wegmans winning Best Place to Take an Out-of-Towner.

"But it has so much food, and it's so fresh!"
It has lots of fresh food because it is a grocery store. It is probably the law that they sell fresh food. If it had lots of rotten food, then it would go out of business. 

"I have not seen anything like it! I moved away from Rochester, and I have been all over the country, and I must say I miss Wegmans."
I understand that moving from your home town will make you miss your local stores. That is just homesickness. I miss Superfresh in Baltimore. However, I don't yearn for it or take my out-of-town friends there claiming it it the best thing about Baltimore.

"There is a bulk food/sushi/sandwiich/pizza/prepared food bar in it. Where else do you see that?"
Yes. In Albertsons (CA), Meijer (MI), Whole Foods (Everywhere), Superfresh (MD), Giant (MD), Kroger (NC)...I could go on. That there are bulk bins and specialty food bars in a place whose business is selling food is not unique or amazing.

"Whenever I bring my friends from [INSERT COUNTRY HERE], they are amazed!"
Your [INSERT COUNTRY HERE] friends are likely either amazed at the grandeur of American extravagance and abundance. Western European countries may have a Tesco or something similar, but not on the scale of US stores. Our stores are more spread out, but they still sell food. In other parts of the world, there simply is not a venue where one can get all types of food in one place. they may have a specific meat market, fish market, produce market, but not all under one roof or run by one entity. They would be just as wowed at an American pharmacy, where one can get both carcinogenic high fructose sodas and cigarettes and the prescribed medicine that are used to treat the effects of those items.

If when I came to town on 2008, someone blindfolded me and said they were going to take me to the best place to take an out-of-towner in the city and they took me to a grocery store, I would likely take a swing at them, and then I would immediately pack my things and move far, far away. Wegmans is a very good place to get food. However, for all reasons stated, I am convinced that either the vote for this category and Best Place to Meet Singles are rigged, or the residents of Rochester have low self esteem, or they are astonishingly oblivious of amazing things are happening in this city.

If Wegmans wins Best Drag Show next Year, then I will KNOW that the contest is rigged.

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