Ghosts in the Making


Summertime in Ferguson

When it was Trayvon Martin, I pitched a fit.

Michael Brown? Not so much.

It’s fair to ask why, and the answer is to simply look at what is going on in Ferguson, Missouri. The twenty-one thousand plus residents have seen their city torn to pieces, body and soul, as protesters and police battle over the murder of an unarmed black man by a city police officer whose record includes being fired as part of another small police department in Jennings, Missouri, that was disbanded by its city council for being so corrupt and generally awful. The town is in chaos; residents are intervening to slow the most vocal protesters, and are also reportedly attempting to prevent media from covering the events. Ferguson has become the latest incarnation of our nation’s sick heritage of deadly racism, emerged as a symbol of our dark slide toward militarized police, and found itself the butt of one of the worst jokes on the planet after a protester tweeted a comparison of the situation there to what is going on in Palestine, and instead of being indignant the Palestinians tweeted back with good-faith advice.

I first addressed the death of Trayvon Martin with friends on March 13, 2012, some weeks after the George Zimmerman stalked and pursued him for no good reason, shooting the seventeen year-old to death and then claiming self-defense. And when I first mentioned it, I did not expect what was coming. Certes, my gorge rose to learn the story, but like so many Americans the idea that an apparently murdered black man will die under the presumption that he needed to be shot just did not seem all that unusual. That is to say, like many I expected Trayvon Martin would become another forgotten lamb.

And, yes, I was wrong.

This time, the nation did not wait weeks. Before the name Michael Brown finished echoing after the first wave of press coverage the town was beseiged by chaos. Screaming and shouting from my evergreen corner of the country really doesn’t do me or anyone else any good.

And, yet, Justice still seems nearly destined for disappointing failure.

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Men Should Probably Ask the Men’s Rights Movement to Please Stop


“This is something I’ve always suspected about men’s rights activists, but it’s satisfying to see those suspicions turn out to be true.”

Paul Constant

Sigh.

Yes, really.

Keep reading:

The “vast majority” of college women lie about being raped. Men are violent because of their mothers. Feminists are plotting to dominate men.

One thing was ringingly clear among attendees at the first-annual International Conference on Men’s Issues in St. Clair Shores this weekend: Women are becoming an increasing threat and something must be done to stop them.

(Neavling)

Among the sights and sounds Steve Neavling witnessed were denunciations of rape accusations as “buyer’s remorse”, lamentations that, “There’s no stress defense for hitting your wife”, and even lowering the age of consent to thirteen so unwitting men don’t get into trouble for making a “mistake of age”. Janet Bloomfield explained to the conference attendees, “The point being that it can be incredibly difficult to know, just by looking at someone, how old they are”.

Meanwhile, male is the new black Negro, and I have no idea what to tell anyone about Lee DeVito’s astounding account of sexual harassment at ICMI.

____________________

Constant, Paul. “There Are Fewer Men’s Rights Activists Than You Fear, but Those Few Activists Are Exactly as Terrible as You Think”. Slog. 2 July 2014.

Neavling, Steve. “8 ugly observations about conference on men’s rights in metro Detroit “. Motor City Muckraker. 29 June 2014.

DeVito, Lee. “I was molested at the Men’s Rights Conference”. Metro Times. 27 June 2014.

Gemini Spectres


But, yeah, a commenter on Daily Kos called George W. Bush a Nazi in 2004, so … both sides do it, right?

Dan Savage

The Face of Hatred: Scott TerryConventional wisdom often pays homage to the belief that there really isn’t much difference between the two main American political parties; indeed, if one party displays problematic behavior, the response is often to point out that both parties do it.

And it’s true that bigotry is not confined to Republicans, or conservatives in general. But, as Savage notes, it’s kind of hard to find a similar Democratic- or liberal-side episode that rivals reports coming out of Maryland, where the Conservative Political Action Committee endured an encounter that, well, therein arisies the problem. Scott Keyes and Zack Beauchamp explain for Think Progress:

The exchange occurred after an audience member from North Carolina, 30-year-old Scott Terry, asked whether Republicans could endorse races remaining separate but equal. After the presenter, K. Carl Smith of Frederick Douglass Republicans, answered by referencing a letter by Frederick Douglass forgiving his former master, the audience member said “For what? For feeding him and housing him?” Several people in the audience cheered and applauded Terry’s outburst.

After the exchange, Terry muttered under his breath, “why can’t we just have segregation?” noting the Constitution’s protections for freedom of association ….

ThinkProgress spoke with Terry, who sported a Rick Santorum sticker and attended CPAC with a friend who wore a Confederate Flag-emblazoned t-shirt, about his views after the panel. Terry maintained that white people have been “systematically disenfranchised” by federal legislation.

When asked by ThinkProgress if he’d accept a society where African-Americans were permanently subservient to whites, he said “I’d be fine with that.” He also claimed that African-Americans “should be allowed to vote in Africa,” and that “all the Tea Parties” were concerned with the same racial problems that he was.

At one point, a woman challenged him on the Republican Party’s roots, to which Terry responded, “I didn’t know the legacy of the Republican Party included women correcting men in public.”

He claimed to be a direct descendent of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

At some point it seems nearly comical, like the easiest agent provocateur gig in history; just get up and play whatever bigot caricature comes to mind, and find people in the conservative audience rallying to the cause. And it is true; there are times when one would be forgiven for thinking they were not dealing with a genuine conservative, but instead some overzealous, half-witted provocateur trying to discredit a movement.

One of my favorites was a conservative associate who reckoned that Obamanoia had nothing to do with racism, but rather that a fantasy president Obama was victimizing good, decent people by forcing them to resort to racist slings and arrows. “Race is absolutely not the motivation for opposition to Obama,” he explained, “but it is used by some as a tool in the fight against him.”

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Update: Lindy West takes her Twit and goes home


Well, nobody could see that coming. Before I had time to get up the preceding post discussing Lindy West’s arrogant histrionics, she took the drastic step of blocking me from her Twitter account.

My crime?

@thelindywest It’s @SethMacFarlane, FFS. Who expects PC or feminist humor? Don’t presume nobody notices. It’s just part of the expectation.

No, really:

Gosh, Lindy, whatsamatta?

Even better, Ms. West offered me an animated picture of someone named Alithea making a masturbatory gesture.

Briefly, then: You’re doing it wrong, ladies.

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Something about nothing, or, the question of advice columns


It is not that I disdain all advice columns, but sometimes I really do wonder about the purposes they serve. For instance, Carolyn Hax, whose column appears in The Washington Post:

Dear Carolyn:

I am 1½ years into a relationship and I have lost my libido. I have gone from wanting sex about three times a week to about once every two weeks. I’m young, I still like my boyfriend and I still find him attractive, but I find myself more interested in falling asleep than any other bedroom activity. Of course, he is still interested in having sex and has started to notice my indifference. I’ve been giving in to keep him happy, but I rarely really enjoy it. I think that’s been making the problem worse. I’m afraid this will ruin my relationship, but I have no idea how to fix it.

Adapted from an online discussion—and perhaps this should be our first clue—the resulting exchange is revealing, including the two cents we hear from other participants. Continue reading

National Review Online: Conan the Barbarian should be PG-13


Conan the WannabeDid you ever have one of those moments when something so obvious sticks out that you nearly lose an eye to it, but at the same time it’s so damnably stupid you almost don’t want to tell anyone about it because, well, it’s just that stupid?

Such is the case with John J. Miller’s lament about the newly-minted Conan movie:

As a fan of Robert E. Howard and his character Conan, I’m of course looking forward to seeing the new Conan film. But I can tell the producers already have made one major mistake: It’s rated R. How dumb is that? My son, who has read and enjoyed dozens of the old Marvel comics, almost certainly won’t be seeing it now. The film should have been PG-13. My guess is that it will struggle commercially just because of the rating–and old-timey fans of the original stories will grumble for another generation about how Hollywood messed up.

I mean, where do you even start with that?

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In case you haven’t yet heard of the Walmart wanker


It’s a story that has been making its run around the internet, and, well, why shouldn’t it? But the way Ciena Madrid tells it strips bare the insane sense of non sequitur between proposition and resolution:

Walmart logoSpeaking of parking lots trolled by the unappreciated, today brings the story of Travis Keen, a 28-year-old Louisiana man arrested and charged with obscenity after a witness reported seeing him driving around a Wal-Mart parking lot with his penis out and at full salute. When confronted by police, “Keen stated he was trying to see if he fixed his power steering in his car,” the police report says (courtesy of the Smoking Gun). “I advised Keen about what I was told by the witness. Keen then stated that he did have his penis out because of past experiences he had at Wal-Mart. Keen stated when he comes to Wal-Mart, he gets aroused.”

I mean, sure, we have before encountered the idea of pastaphilia, but no, I have nothing for this. I mean, think about it this way: everyone else is chuckling about the idea of a Walmart fetish, and I’m still trying to figure out the connection between the power steering and the Walmart in particular.

Unfortunately, the arrest report posted at The Smoking Gun doesn’t help settle the question.