Pages

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Radley Balko is Mostly Useful

So I'd like to formally apologize to Radley Balko.  I wrote a post once that he picked up on his Twitter feed and some of his followers trolled me.  It was all good fun.

Since that time, I've run into people who absolutely adore the guy and I must say the quality of his work has improved since he joined the Washington Post.  I think we would still disagree on a lot of  things, but he's working a beat now, and the man has got it covered.

So, dude, I'm sorry.  You're mostly useful, which means you're not useless at all.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Found on the Web

A video called Animal Kills People 2014.

The description is simple:  Animal Killing The People



It's a "running of the bulls" and as far as I can tell, no people actually got killed.  But Animal Killing the People is my new band name. 

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Doing it Wrong

The biggest difference between me and the average liberal is that I think there should be some correlation between the goals you have and the actions you take.

For instance, occupying a park will not actually result in bank reform.

Likewise, getting a TV show canceled will not actually result in equality of the sexes.

I mean, I haven't seen Stalker so I don't know if it's a show that "hates women," but such a thing strikes me as rather unlikely.  More likely, it's a show that doesn't conform to feminist expectations, like so many shows out there, and that's why they want to "burn it to the ground."


Try this:  Watch something else.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Asked and Then Answered

In my previous post, I asked:
Will we allow (the NFL), despite their visibility and influence, to remain an organization devoted to the game of football or shall we demand that they be advocates for the social issue of the day?
In a post that attempts to explain why we should go ape-shit over Ray Rice, but not Hope Solo who is also accused of domestic abuse, that question is answered:
Why exactly do we care about domestic violence in the NFL? It’s not because football players are our nation’s leading batterers of women. (In the Atlantic last week, Conor Friedersdorf nominated police officers for that honor.) It’s because domestic violence is a problem bigger than football, one too easily perpetrated in homes across America and excused by law enforcement, and one that is (again) overwhelmingly committed by male partners who exert physical, social, and financial control to keep their victims in their power. Meanwhile, no institution rivals football in its power to exert social and financial pressure on American men and boys. That makes the NFL an awfully convenient perch for tackling this issue.
What utter horseshit.

Just because football is, for the moment, "an awfully convenient perch for tackling" the domestic violence issue does not mean it's an effective one.  Maybe this is one of those situations, like junk food or credit cards, where the convenience of a thing obscures the fact that it's not actually very helpful.

More horseshit:
Domestic violence also serves as a powerful symbol of the toxic masculinity and devaluation of women that football promotes: This is a sport where men are rewarded for beating other men until they can’t even walk or think anymore while women appear solely as sexual objects (a task they perform for a criminal sum) and are systematically underrepresented (to the point of nonexistence) as executives, journalists, coaches, and referees.
Before accepting a premise, one should attempt to challenge it.  It's not clear that the writer of this piece has made that attempt.

What exactly is "toxic masculinity?"  How is "toxic masculinity" different from regular masculinity?  Does football actually promote it?   Can we fairly describe the cheerleaders on the sidelines and the all-male referee crew as "promoting the devaluation of women" or is that just feminist rhetoric?

Frankly, I take issue with the description of football as "a sport where men are rewarded for beating other men until they can’t even walk or think anymore while women appear solely as sexual objects."  Does this demonstrate a keen understanding of the game, or does it demonstrate the exact opposite?

Furthermore, is this misunderstanding the reason why she thinks football is "a convenient perch for tackling the domestic violence issue?"  If she understood football to be the competitive contact sport it is, would she think it so easy to plug domestic violence's square peg into the NFL's round hole?


Probably not.  You have to read all the way to the piece's end to realize it's hopeless.  It's all just bitterness and bad faith and double standards:
(S)pare the indignation about how women’s soccer is somehow doing worse on domestic violence than the NFL. If you believe that, you’re either a raging football apologist, or the commissioner of the NFL.
A raging football apologist?  Hey, if the shoe fits....

Monday, September 22, 2014

Stuff to Think About

Undeveloped thought I must think about more:

Could the NFL's October "Breast Cancer Awareness" pink-fest be a contributing factor to its current "problem with women?" 

That is, by volunteering to engage in non-football related advocacy, has the NFL now claimed responsibilities beyond the scope of football?

The size and scope of the NFL does tend to convey upon it certain social responsibilities.  Players are, for better or worse, role models, and the NFL cannot claim no responsibility to the prevailing winds of social discourse.  If Michael Vick is killing dogs and Richie Incognito is hazing teammates, the NFL must respond.

But do they also have to become an animal-rights or anti-bullying advocate as well?  Will we allow them, despite their visibility and influence, to remain an organization devoted to the game of football or shall we demand that they be advocates for the social issue of the day?


It seems to me that there are natural limits as to what the NFL can accomplish when it comes to domestic violence or breast cancer or animal rights.  Are we setting ourselves up for disappointment when our approach to social issues resembles a PR campaign?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Back To the Drawing Board

I was reading an interview with David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas) about his new book, The Bone Clocks, and a phrase kicked me in the gut.
"the murderous feud between two circles of shadow immortals"
I read that and thought, Oh, you motherfucker.

A story I've been working on, as currently conceived, could be fairly described as being about "the murderous feud between two circles of shadow immortals." 

Now I'll have to read the book to see if I must come up with a new idea.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Thanks For the Clarification

Alyssa Rosenberg says:
Nobody is asking that Marvel and DC stop making movies and television shows about male superheroes until we have enough Black Panther, She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel and Wonder Woman movies to constitute parity or proportional representation. Instead, the request is that, in a market where the appetite for superhero movies seems to be infinite, a few of these non-white, non-male characters get some of the slots in an ever-expanding roster that may stretch as far out as 2028.
The ignorance and naivete of this statement boggles my mind.  I don't even know where to start.

*  "In a market where the appetite for superhero movies seems to be infinite..."

Things are often not what they seem.  The appetite for superhero movies is, obviously, not infinite.  It's a trend, one that's been going for a while now, giving it the illusion of permanence, but it's a trend nonetheless.  The comic book A team is already in the reboot and team-up phase, and it's only a matter of time before the B team is exhausted, too.

No golden age lasts forever.   Just ask the good ole reliable Hollywood western.

*   "Nobody is asking that Marvel and DC stop making movies and television shows about male superheroes"

Well, that's nice, but you have to understand the nature of your request.  We are, despite the "ever-expanding" rhetoric, talking about limited resources.  A movie studio is only going to put out X number of pictures a year.  Depending on its size, that number could be very low.

Would it hurt, in such a zero sum game, to have more stories featuring "non-white, non-male characters?"  Hell no.  Done properly, it would be great.  But this is what I don't get:

If you want to pursue stories about "non-white, non-male characters," why would you mine a canon that contains almost exclusively white male characters?  Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Iron Man, Captain America.  You pick a stable of white male characters and then "request" the complete opposite?

It makes no sense!

Alright, so now that the ranting is done, I will say I agree with (some) of her premise.  But something about it bugged me.
Maybe this is a period of adjustment, and flag-flying geeks and nerds will emerge from this upheaval in a better place. Maybe people will see that the video game industry can survive both expansion and criticism. Maybe “Game of Thrones” fans will recognize that the show’s essence will survive even with fewer naked, threatened women on screen. Maybe the bomb threats will stop.
 She doesn't seem to understand that when people are talking about the "geeks and nerds," they're talking about people like her.  People who get all pissed off at Sons of Anarchy because it doesn't play as an afterschool special. 

I mean, bomb threats?  That's ridiculous.  But some of this "criticism," that is too.
"Maybe "Game of Thrones" fans will recognize that the show's essence will survive even with fewer naked, threatened women on screen."

The show's essence?  R-rated adult content, sex and violence and the F word?  Or are we talking about some other essence?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Does the NFL have a "Woman Problem" or do Women have an "NFL Problem?"

Am I getting old or is our culture getting dumber?   People don't like to think of themselves as herd animals, but Jesus Christ, we're a bunch of cows.

Item:  Ray Rice

In case you've been living under a rock, Ray Rice punched his then-fiance/now-wife, then dragged her unconscious body through a hotel.  There's video.  You've probably seen it more than once.

If that leads you to think that Ray Rice is a piece of shit, a failure of a man and a generally horrible human being, then you're onto something.  It should not, on the other hand, lead you here:

Can you believe in women's rights and enjoy football? Can you be angry about Ray Rice and the NFL's inadequate handling of him but still feel okay about watching the game? The answer, to both, is no.
 A couple things:

1)  Liberals need to figure out just exactly why they hate the NFL and then stick with it.  Is it because of concussions?  Is it because of racist team nicknames?  Is it because the NFL is "awful to women?" I get that liberals want Roger Goodell's head on a spike, but they need to come up with a good reason.

Not 10 dumb ones.

2)  "Can you believe in women's rights and enjoy football?"

It is not as obvious to me as it is to Dr. Peggy Drexler that the answer is "No."  Millions of women, it seems to me, are quite capable of simultaneously believing in women's rights and also enjoying the game of football.  To suggest they are not should be as insulting as the idea that women must choose between their careers and having children.

3)   "Can you be angry about Ray Rice and the NFL's inadequate handling of him but still feel okay about watching the game?"

Again, I don't see why not.  Ray Rice is one man on one team.  And while I agree the NFL's handling of the Rice situation was initially inadequate, shouldn't the later response --rule changes and banishing Rice from the league-- have any influence over our thinking?

Me, I'm going to watch as many games as possible today, comfortable in the knowledge that Ray Rice won't be playing in any of them. 

Monday, September 08, 2014

The Good Things in Life

A Broncos victory.  (They almost blew it?  No way.  The Colts never gave up.  It was gladiatorial combat, the best kind.)

A new season of Trailer Park Boys on Netflix.

My "Friday" and three days off.

Shwarama twice this week.

New book by James Ellroy coming out tomorrow.

A big ass 30 hour audiobook on the history of the ancient world from Audible.

Life is good.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Cops: Ferguson

This is too funny. I love the part where he stabs the basketball.

Basketball is a known gang activity.