It Almost Seems Deliberate


MEMORANDUM

To: YouTube

re: Really? I thought this part was obvious

So … you know that little thing you have where we click for the option to say we don’t want you promoting this or that kind of video? Why does it not work? No, really, when I tell you to not show me this, don’t turn around and promote the same damn video again.

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Notes on political correctness


A question that seems to arise frequently in my circles is whether or not the idea of political correctness is inherently evil. Perhaps I need new circles.

The thing about political correctness is that it is just a form of polite discourse. And some people resent any sense of obligation toward being polite.

Jen Sorenson, Slowpoke, 2005Viewed through a hostile critique, political correctness is simply a modern term for euphemism.

Most men can recall learning all sorts of nifty words, for instance, denoting women’s breasts. Titties, gazangas, melons, rack, and so on. But in my youth, if the question of a women’s breast size came up in the presence of elders, one might speak in terms of endowment. Large breasts were described as “well-endowed”. I would not, at age twelve, have used the phrase “mondo gazangas” in the presence of my grandmother. It’s not some yoke of social slavery, but, rather, being polite according to the company I was in, and also avoiding a distracting family scandal.

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The magic of Herman Cain


Cain 2012 LogoTo what degree is the maxim true, that there is no such thing as bad press? Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain may well be putting it to the test.

Recent days have witnessed what might be the official beginning of the public discourse debate about Herman Cain’s outlook on Islam and Muslims. The Hermanator has already challenged conventional wisdom by arguing that because of his race—i.e., black—we should vote for him because he takes the race card off the table against Obama. And then he went on to prove his point by arguing that President Obama is not a strong black man. When pressed, he acknowledged that he felt President Obama is not really a black man.

So there are plenty who have been watching with interest as Cain has repeatedly challenged conventional wisdom in terms of religious identity politics. Perhaps it comes down to the notion that Herman Cain is simply not going to win the GOP nomination, and it really does seem a safe bet.

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Hermanating the First Amendment


Herman Cain is playing for the bigot vote.Some years back, before the internet beat every dead horse into a mudhole, a New York professor, Dr. Leonard Jeffries, stirred controversy by asserting that black people cannot, by virtue of empowerment balance, be racist. And while one can construct the argument in a way that it makes abstract sense, it’s kind of hard to translate that abstraction into practice. When a racist, or any sort of bigot gets in your face, it really doesn’t matter what color their skin is.

However, Herman Cain is working hard to demolish Jeffries’ assertion.

One would think that’s an easy job, since maybe twelve people in the whole country ever agreed with Jeffries. But Cain is putting some serious effort into it.

In 2010, he argued that Republicans should vote for him because he’s black, in order to take the race card off the table. No, really, he did. Of course, he said it to World Net Daily, so it’s a safe bet none of the faithful readers and supporters of the site noticed the contradiction.

And while religious bigotry isn’t racism, well, I still can’t see how the first paragraph of Tim Murphy‘s article for Mother Jones, covering Cain’s latest episode of outrageous bigotry, could possibly help make Mr. Jeffries’ point. Empowerment issues aside—

GOP Presidential candidate Herman Cain has an Islam problem. The former Godfather’s pizza godfather put his foot in his mouth early in his campaign when he told Think Progress he wouldn’t appoint any Muslims in his administration (which would be unconstitutional), and again when he said Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) wasn’t loyal to the Constitution because he’s Muslim, and again when he said he has never encountered an American Muslim who is loyal to the Constitution, and then again when he denied ever saying any of those things and blamed the media.

—that’s just not a paragraph anyone should ever want to read about himself. Continue reading

Memo to Mississippi


A memo to the Magnolia State, a.k.a. the Hospitality State, a.k.a. Mississippi:

    The flag of MississippiTo: The State of Mississippi
    From: B. D.
    Date: April 28, 2010
    Subject: Wesson Attendance Center

    Dear Mississippi:

    Hurry up and secede, already. Please?

The Socialist prophecy


So they say, so they say:

The restructuring of society taking place, in the direct interests of the corporate-financial elite and at the expense of the working population, is not occurring unnoticed. The American and international working class will inevitably find itself drawn into struggle against the present, untenable form of social organization.

Hiram Lee invokes a recurring fantasy of the left, and while I do not scorn the underlying sentiment, I admit to a certain cynicism. Perhaps in other places around the world, populist anger might bring down governments, but the prestige and wealth of the United States is such that Americans are wary of risking it all for an unproven thesis.

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Sonoma’s Disgrace, or, What Hatred Brings


What hatred bringsI feel nothing. I must feel nothing, else I remember what hatred feels like. It’s easy enough to forgive, or, in my case, just let certain things be. I’ve long said that judgment, at a certain valence, isn’t mine. Thus, there is nothing to forgive.

But not this.

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.

If the sleeping beast awakes, I will never forgive those whose hateful call has roused it.

This is what the bigots won in California. This is what they fought for. This is what they wanted. And now they have it. Nor is it just Proposition 8. This is what every homophobe in the country fights for when they reject gay marriage.

Via the National Center for Lesbian Rights:

Clay Greene and his partner of 20 years, Harold Scull, lived in Sebastopol, California. As long-time partners, they had named each other beneficiaries of their respective estates and agents for medical decisions. As 2008 began, Scull was 88 years old and in deteriorating health. Greene, 11 years younger, was physically strong, but beginning to show signs of cognitive impairment. As Scull’s health declined, it became apparent that they would need assistance, but the men resisted outside help.

In April of 2008, Scull fell down the front steps of their home. Greene immediately called an ambulance and Scull was taken to the hospital. There, the men’s nightmare began. While Scull was hospitalized, Deputy Public Guardians went to the men’s home, took photographs, and commented on the desirability and quality of the furnishings, artwork, and collectibles that the men had collected over their lifetimes.

Ignoring Greene entirely, the County petitioned the Court for conservatorship of Scull’s estate. Outrageously referring to Greene only as a “roommate” and failing to disclose their true relationship, the County continued to treat Scull as if he had no family. The County sought immediate temporary authority to revoke Scull’s powers of attorney, to act without further notice, and to liquidate an investment account to pay for Scull’s care. Then, despite being granted only limited powers, and with undue haste, the County arranged for the sale of the men’s personal property, cleaned out their home, terminated their lease, confiscated their truck, and eventually disposed of all of the men’s worldly possessions, including family heirlooms, at a fraction of their value and without any proper inventory or determination of whose property was being sold.

Adding further insult to grave injury, the county removed Greene from their home and confined him to a nursing home against his will—a different placement from his partner. Greene was kept from seeing Scull during this time, and his telephone calls were limited. Three months after Scull was hospitalized, he died, without being able to see Greene again.

“Because of the county’s actions, Clay missed the final months he should have had with his partner of 20 years,” said Greene’s trial attorney Anne Dennis of Santa Rosa. “Compounding this horrific tragedy, Clay has literally nothing left of the home he had shared with Harold or the life he was living up until the day that Harold fell, because he has been unable to recover any of his property or his beloved cats—who are feared dead. The only memento Clay has is a photo album that Harold painstakingly put together for Clay during the last three months of his life.”

I feel nothing, because I must.

(Greene v. Sonoma, via NCLR.)