Monday, August 17, 2009

Racewars 2.0!!! [or: Credibility Issues 1.0]

[note: I had wanted to write about Andrew Breitbart's latest intellectually dishonest column, but I felt like I needed to write about this one first, for the sake of context. See you next time!]

Andrew Breitbart, in addition to operating breitbart.com and bighollywood.com and writing for the Drudge Report, has his own little column in the Washington Times (not helping your credibility there, pal). He would seemingly like to think that he has fresh ideas about the race issue in this country, but there are a lot of aspects of that issue that he doesn't really quite seem to understand. He's of the school that believes that [of course, it's possible that I'm being reductive] the whole racism problem in America ["c" not "k." Don't worry, I got it!] would simply vanish if those darn liberals cut out all that politics-as-usual "identity politics" and "affirmative action" bullshit! Now let's be clear. I am certainly no fan of identity politics. I do agree that it's bullshit [not that Republicans or conservatives ever play identity politics. Certainly not. You can just ask Sarah Palin, Michael Steele, and Piyush "Bobby" Jindal]. Also, there's obviously a difference between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome. Government actions always have unforseen consequences. Affirmative action based on race has probably engendered at least a bit of bitterness and resentment among those who saw it as being at their expense. "Hey! I never owned slaves or discriminated against minorities, or even had the opportunity to do so," some might have asked, "so why am I being punished!?" My concern right now is not whether or not those poor, unfortunate souls suffered actual damages due to affirmative action. My point is that it's not necessarily the fault of most white people alive today that racial inequalities are still such a problem in this country. But that's not even the real point. The real point is that you don't even need the racism of ordinary Americans to perpetuate a state in which there are gross inequalities. It so happens that most of the people in charge of this country today are white males. This is largely because of racism, definitely that of the past, although it is far less prevalent now, yet it still exists. There are, of course, other factors (including classism and sexism, and, sure, whatever reasons conservatives say there are), which I don't feel the need to address at this time! But now that the system is set up this way, you no longer need racism to "keep the black man down" because this state is "self-perpetuating." Is this not a "self-evident truth"? Could anyone perhaps present an argument against this? I'm sure you would at least agree that people have to realize that, if nothing else, this has been the case until very recently.

So a few weeks ago, this black dude got arrested for being loud in his own yard, and maybe being a bit disrespectful to a [white] cop. I would like to remind you that nothing this guy did was actually a crime! I cannot emphasize this strongly enough! But not a big deal. Happens all the time. Oh wait, turns out this guy was a well-respected Harvard professor. Should the cop have thought twice before arresting a partially disabled [basically] senior citizen for a non-crime? No. Of course not. The police in this country have the authority, nay, the obligation to tase first and ask questions never. So then, someone from the press did a "man in the white house" interview of another black guy, and he was all, "gee, I wonder if race had anything to do with this." Totally a legitimate question. For example, it's a commonly-known statistic that black people use drugs at a rate similar to that of white people, yet 2/3rds of the people in jail for drug offenses are black. Hm, I wonder why that is. But it turns out that, no, the cop actually taught a class on racial profiling, so, maybe race didn't have anything to do with it. Maybe the cop was simply being a major dick-hole. Again, not a big deal. This sort of thing happens all the time. But then again, as author/genius/"blowhard demagogue" Michael Eric Dyson pointed out, maybe things would have been different if it had been a black officer arresting an older white man in his own home for a non-crime. This too is a legitimate question to which I know not the answer. It's something for us all to consider on our own. This is, I think, the difference between Dyson and, say, Al Sharpton: Instead of asserting that race had something to do with the incident, Dyson asks that we examine what race may have had to do with the incident. In any case, when this revelatory information was revealed, that the police officer was probably not a racist, merely a dick-hole, the president, for political reasons, had to back away from his perfectly legitimate criticisms of the man. Of course, the officer's co-workers came to his defense. This was to be expected. Just as Obama came to the defense of Gates, who he said was a friend. I have heard some say that Obama should have simply kept his mouth shut on the issue until he knew all the facts. I personally think we shouldn't have invaded Iraq until we had all the facts, but that's beside the point. What, are these people going to tell the president that he shouldn't excercise his own 1st Amendment rights simply due to a lack of information? Was Obama wrong in his assessment of the situation? I think not. I understand that there was a lot of hatred poured out against poor Officer Crowley and this might possibly have had something to do with Mr. President's refusal to stay silent on the issue like some kind of submissive dhimmi. But how do we know that similar feelings were not directed at Professor Gates? What is the complaint of those who [most likely before they had full knowledge of the circumstances] sided with the officer? I don't understand.

To me, Andrew Breitbart lost more than a little bit of credibility on the race issue in his [predictably intellectually dishonest] post-Gates-gate column in the Times, in which he makes some claims that I find difficult to understand. First, he claims that Obama wanted "to protect the status quo." What status quo is that? The one in which less than 1% of Fortune 500 CEOs are black? I find it difficult to imagine that the Democratic party is so greedy for black votes that they'd be willing to keep this "status quo." Breitbart also writes, "Any serious discussion would have put multiculturalism on trial." I don't really know how he defines multiculturalism here. I, for one, think that multiculturalism is fine as long as there are no burqas involved! As long as we're all under the same set of laws! As long as we're not terrified of offending people in certain groups! To me, it's not "seeing people in terms of the color of their skin" or anything like that. It's embracing the freedom of others to be different. That's what America is all about, right? Breitbart then spends a couple of paragraphs of the column trying to argue for some kooky conspiracy theory about Obama taking classes from far-left professors in college or something like that (oh no! Far-left professors!? Anything but that!). Then there were a couple of statements in the rest of the column that drew my attention. First, Breitbart points out that mediocre college grades didn't seem to be a problem for Bush II, Gore, or Kerry! Obviously, college grades don't matter if you're a white, upper-class, heterosexual male. But could we say the same of anyone from a different background? This is a question that Breitbart seemingly fails to consider, though it stares him in the face. Then, he makes the odd declaration that Obama and Gates wanted "to end a national discussion on race, not begin one," that they had initially "played the race card," which "proved unpopular," and so "orchestrated" the infamous 'beer summit' so that they could "have their frosted malt beverages and get outta Dodge." Wow! Nothing racist about that statement! Nope! Move along now, nothing to see here...

Breitbart's problem is that he seems to ignore or at least downplay most of the factors in our country's race/class/gender problems [some of which I mentioned earlier in this column!] and focus on the following issues: (1)What are the black-studies departments at our Ivy League Liberal Elite Universities teaching? (2)The Democratic Party, in order to keep its lock on the black vote, tells black people that they have to be afraid "of cops, of Republicans, of conservatives, of 'Uncle Toms,' and even of Tiger Woods, who proves that America, while still imperfect, is clearly heading in the right direction." Right. None of the things I mentioned previously in this column are part of the problem. We can apparently ignore all of that stuff. It's all Liberal Elitists and Black-Studies Departments that we should be concerned about! Alright! Glad you shared that oracle with all of us unenlightened masses! Thanks!

Sorry, but the rest of us live in this foreign land called "reality." You are always welcome to join us, if you are so inclined.

EDIT: I'm pretty sure that if you wanted to "accuse" someone of being an "Uncle Tom" you couldn't find a much better target than Obama, himself. To act like he hasn't been critical of this attitude within the black community is ignorant at best. I don't know. I don't want to read too much into that... or do I?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

New YouTube Video: "Fuck Her Gently"

This is my cover of "Fuck Her Gently" by Tenacious D. I'm sure I would have otherwise made my first video one in which I attempt to expound "deep thoughts" or whatever as I [attempt to] do here in my blog. It just so happens that I finished this first. Oh well. I'm sure I'll put up "real" videos later. Anyway, enjoy!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Silent Treatment

Once I had this friend who I loved very, very much (I still love her, but not quite in the same way). It might be more accurate to say that I was completely obsessed with her. She didn't like me any more than any of her other friends, but she tolerated me for quite a while. She didn't completely stop talking to me until about a year and a half ago when I temporarily moved to a location within 70 miles of where she lived, although she didn't cut me off from all contact with her, or "excommunicate" me, as she would say.

After this, I would sometimes talk to her on instant messenger when she was online, but she would never respond. Sooner or later, I realized that the way I felt when I was talking to her on IM was the same way I felt when I prayed, and I had to ask myself,"Is it consistent with my view of God that he would [permanently] give me 'the silent treatment'?" I then realized that I had never felt or perceived that God had "spoken" to me, figuratively or literally.

The whole thing made me kind of sad, although I've gotten over it since then. It was just one step out of many on the road to atheism, [in addition to everything else it was. I would never reduce such an experience to just one thing].