Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Paul Ryan

Fried chicken, watermelons and racism

So...I recently received this piece of rather blatant racially-charged, stereotypical, election year crap that was supposed to double as a joke:

"When devastating hurricanes struck the Gulf Coast , even
houses of worship were not spared.

A local television station interviewed a woman from New
Orleans and asked how the loss of churches in the area had
affected their lives.

Without hesitation, the woman replied, "I don't know 'bout
all those other people, but we haven't gone to Churches in
years. We get our chicken from Popeye's."

The look on the interviewer's face was priceless.
They live among us, AND THEY VOTE.

Now do you understand how we got our president?"

Now, I may have accidentally hit the "reply all" button when replying to this ridiculous "joke", but that's another story altogether. Instead, let's talk about how incredibly dumb this thinly veiled piece of race-baiting crap is.

First, Louisiana tends to swing heavily Republican in elections even though the difference between Democrats and Republicans in this state is barely noticeable. Switching parties is done for election advantages, and rarely for any type of ideological conversion.

Second, while the "joke" never mentions a race, it uses New Orleans and Katrina to frame the story and the common memory of the hurricane's victims recollects the poor black population huddled on rooftops or in the Super Dome. That is what most people from outside of Louisiana think of when they think back to that storm.

Third, the use of fried chicken is often used in the "wink wink, nudge nudge" reference to mean black folks in a conversation without actually saying "black folks". Fried chicken can also be swapped for watermelons, malt liquor, Kool-Aid, grape soda or any other product that is stereotypically linked to people who aren't Caucasian.

Fourth, everyone knows that Church's Chicken is better than Popeye's. I prefer Popeye's biscuits, but Church's has better chicken. This makes me think the person who originally made this piece of propaganda must have been a Yankee who knows nothing about working class Southerners who like watermelon, fried chicken, etc.

Finally, the overall irony of this "joke" is that it is supposed to infer that Obama only got elected because of poor, ignorant minorities who don't go to church. However, I would venture to guess that statistically, in the South, the very people this "joke" is mocking tend to go to church more than the "white and right" people it is pandering to.

Just expect to see plenty more of this crap up to the November elections. They're getting desperate.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I'm not a Christian, more of a very liberal Reform Jew/Agnostic than anything else, but I'm actually a very big fan of Jesus himself. No, I don't believe he was the son of God or anything like that. I do believe in a lot of the things he said which are common sense principles of decency which anyone, of any religion (or lack of) can embrace.

That's why I find it especially infuriating, and hilarious, that most of the people who call themselves "Christians" are so far from his teachings when it comes to their actions. If he were to come back to Earth as they have been hoping for almost 2,000 years now, neither Christ or his "followers" would recognize each other.

Let's go ahead and paint this scenario of Christ returning for shits and giggles. First of all, he wasn't the blond-haired, blue-eyed, clean"Aryan" looking figure that adorns the inside of most Sunday school text books. He was from Israel, not a church choir in Alabama or a modeling agency in Hollywood. He didn't speak American English, he spoke Aramaic and most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference between that and Arabic so they'd just figure he sounded "foreign". Historical Jesus would not only not recognize the people who worship him today, he wouldn't recognize the Jesus they claim to be followers of either.

So, on with the scenario of Jesus coming back...It is Christmas Eve 2012 and he got back just in time for the Mayan Apocalypse. He would have gotten here sooner but it took 3 complete screenings by the TSA at the airport because he looked suspicious. He wanders through the shopping malls of America that are chock full of idiots putting themselves further in debt to celebrate a completely bastardize version of his birthday by buying over-priced shit for people they don't really care about anyhow. He walks through the homeless shelters where most people only go to volunteer on Thanksgiving or Christmas because that's the trendy thing to do these days. He stands in the mega-churches, wondering who this Jesus is that they are preaching about. "This isn't me", he would say. "I didn't say it was OK to be a bigoted asshole and that it was OK to persecute people in my name or worship the false god of prosperity instead of me. I never told anyone to stand on a stage and use my name to make millions of dollars in personal wealth."

Shortly thereafter, there'd be a 2012 version of the time he drove the money changers from the temple. There would be a Fox News breaking story as helicopters hovered overhead and Sean Hannity would pontificate about this story as proof of "the liberal War on Christmas". The riot police would be called in and after being beaten and peppersprayed, Jesus would be handed over to Homeland Security. There'd be a trial and he'd be crucified once again but figuratively, not literally before being indefinitely detained and shipped to Guantanamo Bay.

Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’45He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me."

Matthew 25, 44-45

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The "good old days" aren't gone forever

Recently, I created a photo with a quote about an idealized memory of childhoods past that has gone semi-viral. As I write this, it has been shared on Facebook over 90,000 times. I see the comments from people saying how it made them remember their childhoods and how they wish their own children could have the same experience, or how "things were so much better back then".

First of all, we can still do this. Second, we tend to remember our childhoods as "the good old days" in an idealistic mental picture that could have been painted by Thomas Kinkade. I have some great memories from when I was a kid, but I also have some really bad ones that I will carry for the rest of my life.

However, let's go back to the whole "those days are gone forever" mentality I see so many people respond to my picture with. Those days may be gone, but it doesn't mean we can't get them back. We can teach our kids the joys of swimming in the creek instead of sitting on the couch or how to catch lightning bugs instead of Pokemons.

Our problem is that we have been so completely and utterly sucked into a culture of materialism that we are almost unable to disconnect from the machine we are part of now. We've traded our time with our kids for new cars, HD televisions and the latest "must-have" item. We don't let our kids run outdoors because we can't be there to supervise them because we're at work trying to make the money to pay for the electronics we use to babysit our kids while we are at that very job that keeps us from our families.

The media constantly runs scare stories which keep people from letting their kids doing anything fun and in between "news specials", we have advertising which has us believe that our lives are not complete without whatever it is they have to sell. Yet, the more we consume, the less free we are. We are giving up liberties and memories in exchange for a false sense of security and fulfillment. There is no money for companies to make off taking your kids to fish in the creek or teaching them how to make a garden or bake a loaf of bread from scratch. They actually stand to lose money if people were to grow or procure their own food.

I listen to folks who say they don't let their kids play in the yard or down the street "because it is too dangerous". 20 or 25 years ago, you'd see children outside, now it is a rare occasion to find them outdoors at all. Our world has always been "dangerous" and it is far more scary now, not because somehow people became more twisted and evil in one generation, it got more dangerous because we stopped getting involved in our kid's lives and in our neighborhoods.

The answer is, work less, spend less money and stop trying to make your child's life "perfect" by giving them every material thing. I see so many people try to ensure their kids or grandkids have "everything we didn't have as kids" that they forget that they should be focusing on giving them what they did have as kids. Don't worry about giving your kids the newest and nicest clothes or gadgets, spend time with them, help them create memories. Those tend to last much longer than the latest iPhone.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

There is no Messiah

For the whiny ass "liberals" who sit on the sidelines, wringing their hands about "nastiness" in politics and "not wanting to stoop to their level", how far has that gotten you?

Remember the history books, the Jews who sat in the ghetto and just assumed that some Messiah would come along and deliver them from the Gestapo? How well did that work out for them? Who survived better, those who got into the railroad cars, or those who were defiant and fought back?

Many of my relatives, the intellectuals, the socialists, and the pacifists...They thought it best to find a way to try to reason with fascism. They reasoned all the way to the showers, and the ovens.

We've gone past the point of reason. This isn't getting turned back by Facebook posts and petitions. Stop trying to reason with fascists. For intellectuals who have "learned from history", you haven't learned jack shit.

The time has come to get off the sidelines, take off the kid gloves and put on your big boy or girl pants and fight back. Stop thinking that reason will beat fraud, manipulation or brute force. Our time is now, which side are you on?