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Saying Goodbye to Whitney February 12, 2012

Posted by Skippy in Music, Observations.
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Yesterday, Whitney Houston died. When I found out, I was shocked—even more so than when I found out about Michael Jackson or Amy Winehouse’s deaths. Both of those singers’ untimely deaths were shocking and saddening. However, they didn’t hit me the way Whitney’s passing did. I followed the news and the tributes springing up on my Facebook newsfeed, and over the course of the evening, I grew sadder and sadder, feeling as though I had lost a loved one. It might seem strange to say this, but I felt like a part of my childhood had died. That’s a rather hoary cliché, but I think it’s quite apropos.

Growing up a black, poor, gay, socially awkward nerd in a place like Tulsa, Oklahoma in the 1980s was difficult–at best. At worst, it was occasionally unbearable. The only awareness about homosexuality came via Reagan’s America: in other words, we were vectors of plague and immorality. To be sure, I was a good church boy, a good son, and a good student—it was what was expected of me. But I felt lonely, isolated—like an outcast. There was this part of me that I couldn’t really define or understand. From every angle, I was told that I wasn’t even supposed to like that part of me; and, like a good churchgoing son and student, I didn’t. This was before YouTube and “It Gets Better” and Gay-Straight Alliances. There were no advocates for gay and lesbian youth in the Tulsa Public School system in the 1980s. And there was no advocate for gays in either the church or my home or in the impoverished neighborhood that surrounded me.

I had probably heard Whitney’s first two singles, but paid them little attention; however, it was her cover of “The Greatest Love of All” that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. It was a song that got into my bones. The lyrics and the passion with which Whitney sang them made me think that I could eventually love myself. To be sure, there wasn’t anything in the song that explicitly affirmed being gay. However, it really spoke to my sense of estrangement and alienation and, in a way, told me that things do get better—if I trusted myself. It would take a while longer for me to actually internalize that message, but I think that hearing this song was a start. Because “secular” music was forbidden at home, I would wait until my mother had gone to sleep so I could watch a music video program in hopes of catching the video for the song. The video itself was a visual representation of what I hoped would be a life beyond those present circumstances.

Soon enough, I got out of the ‘hood, went to college, and eventually came out. I was still a big fan of Whitney’s, but “The Greatest Love of All” receded into the background, replaced by deep house music and acid jazz and neo-soul R&B. Her newer material didn’t move me the way her earlier work had. In the meantime, Whitney had become a punchline, a sad joke in the wake of her drug use, tumultuous marriage to Bobby Brown, and declining career. People like Kelly Price, Faith Evans, and Mariah Carey had supplanted Whitney. And then there was Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and current mega-star Beyoncé Knowles. I’d lament the loss of the old Whitney—or, as I would call her, “pre-crack Whitney.” I’d put Whitney’s songs on my iPod and iPhone, but as part of a “Very Best of” playlist. I’d play “Saving All My Love” and “You Give Good Love,” but hardly ever play “The Greatest Love of All.”

Now, she’s gone. And for the first time in a long, long while, I put the song on. I had forgotten what that song meant to me—it was an anthem of self-affirmation, perseverance, and survival. And it reminded me of why I love music. Songs like this spoke to me in a way that few other things in my life did. And I thought about the person I think I’ve become and how, when I’d listen to the song or see the video, I hoped to be the kind of person who could rely on himself and “never walk in anyone’s shadow.” I think I have become that—and the tears I shed today were for that past that Whitney’s version of “The Greatest Love of All” got me through.

So today, I am mourning Whitney Houston’s death. I am mourning the loss of such a phenomenal voice that could turn ordinary lyrics into classics. I feel like Whitney’s death signaled the death of another part of my past—and while I’m glad that I am the person I want to be, part of me will always miss that past when Whitney’s songs were new and fresh and her voice harbored the promise of better tomorrows.


Rest in peace, Whitney.

Skippy Prejudges The Movies!: “Joyful Noise” January 1, 2012

Posted by Skippy in Movies, Observations, Popular Culture.
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Fig. 1: The Worst Movie of 2012.

I’ve been seeing commercials for this cinematic abomination for nigh unto three weeks now and have either changed the channel with extreme alacrity or have had to take an insulin shot to prevent going into a diabetic coma. I generally loathe “feel good” movies that are this shallow, this poorly written and this nakedly manipulative.

Clearly, this movie is an attempt to capitalize on America’s love affair with Glee—which would mean that this movie should have been released two years ago (and probably not even then). Anyway, this movie appears to feature Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah as parental figures in a “small town” who are in contention for the directorship of a church choir. You have to love movies like this; they are always set in “small towns,” most likely in Alabamanianatuckyssippiennessee. And the church that both Parton and Latifah attend has a “council”—I’d bet good money that this church is as non-descript as the small town in which this celluloidal putrefaction is set.

Apparently, the “plot” of this movie revolves around Parton (looking freshly Botoxed, pulled, and shellacked) and Latifah’s rivalry. Latifah is staid and old fashioned, which means that the choir never wins the Joyful Noise choir competition of WTF? Enter Parton’s grandson, some Taylor Lautner-adjacent boy who can sing and Latifah’s daughter, some poor child who really wants to break into Hollywood. They’re supposed to be Romeo and Juliet, bringing fresh ideas to church choirs…like shaking your ass for Jesus.


Fig. 2: Jesus don’t like ugly. And this movie is U-G-L-Y.

Blah, blah, blah, you’re supposed to plunk down upwards of $11 plus the cost of refreshments to watch Parton and Latifah trade stupid barbs and you’re supposed to go “Oooh” and “Awww” as two totally non-descript younglings have a love affair so boring, even Edward and Bella look interesting by comparison. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to speculate that Latifah learns the error of her staid and boring ways and allows the non-descript church choir to sing some stupid ass-shaking song and then the choir wins and the non-descript younglings go off to Who Gives A Fuckistan to pursue their dreams of having sex.

Skippy’s Pre-Judgment: Kill it with fire.

It Must Be Tough Being Sarah Palin December 21, 2011

Posted by Skippy in Observations, Politics.
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One must really feel for poor Sarah Palin. First, her reality show on TLC tanks–I mean, it’s TLC. They show reality shows about poop drying. Then her poor daughter Bristol doesn’t win “Dancing with the Stars,” a loss which is most likely attributable to the fact that everyone in Not Real America has a massive grudge against Poor Sarah Palin. And then, she’s upstaged by a politician who is even dumber than she is! All Sarah wanted to do was represent Real America, and here comes this crazier-eyed Michelle Bachmann! And her husband isn’t even cute! Or straight! Allegedly! I mean, was Michelle Bachmann ever a grizzly mom quitter governor of a frontier state? No! But Michelle Bachmann did actually make a run for the presidency, instead of doing all this wink-and-nod bullshit that Palin’s been doing since 2008. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t let facts get in the way of one incontrovertible point: Sarah Palin has pretty much failed as a media personality. And when that happens, when an ascendant political celebrity sees his/her fortunes waning, they must do one thing:

Swing for the fences and go even crazier. And with the help of—who else?—Fox News, Palin does just that.

This is what she has to say…about President Obama’s Christmas card:

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin told Fox News & Commentary that she found the card to be a bit unusual.
“It’s odd,” she said, wondering why the president’s Christmas card highlights his dog instead of traditions like “family, faith and freedom.”
“Even stranger than that was his first year in office when the Christmas ornaments included Chairman Mao,” Palin said. “People had to ask that it be removed because it was offensive.”

Oh, honey. It’s a fucking Christmas card, not the Declaration of Independence. What is the card supposed to have? An armed-to-the-teeth Obama parachuting into Afghanistan wearing a Santa suit and busting caps in Osama Bin Laden’s ass while screaming, “Merry Christmas, Unbeliever”?

See, this is what happens when irrelevant people begin to openly slide into irrelevance. Grasping at any chance to find themselves on the front page, they will say or do anything—ANYTHING—just for a taste of that sweet, sweet fame they once enjoyed, until finally, they say something so outrageous and utterly stupid, that even Charlie Sheen is all, “Dude, WTF?”

Oh, and here’s the allegedly offensive Christmas card:


Fig. 1: What, you don’t see the Muslims in the background dancing on the burned bits of the Constitution and the U.S. Flag while Obama is smiling and smoking a doobie?

Cars and Their Idiot Owners November 9, 2011

Posted by Skippy in Observations, Rants.
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Fig. 1: I wonder which pretentious douchebag will get this in the divorce.

Children, I hate when people turn their cars into outward displays of their inward douchebaggery. I’ve probably ranted about idiot owners’ propensity to turn their car into a festering boil on the ass of society, but I’ll give this another go-round—especially with the car pictured above.

1. Bragging to the world that you successfully pair-bonded is just begging for the universe to fuck your shit up.
I mean, really? “And they lived…happily ever after”?!? Do you two douchebags think that life really is some goddamn fairy tale? I don’t care if your wedding was an atrocious re-presentation of every cloying Disney cliche, real life has a way of intervening and telling you to shut the fuck up and deal with the real. So, keep it up, pretentious douchebags. Check in in about ten years after one of you has gained twenty pounds and the other is going bald faster than you can say “going bald.” Check in after one of you has lost all that sexual vigor because you’ve got three rugrats demanding your attention left, right, and center. And just wait till one of you starts that affair with the officemate. We’ll see how that gaudy stencil on your car fares.

2. Your pretentious douchebaggery is not going to win new friends and influence enemies.
The stencil screams, “We’re awesomely ignorant fuckwads who don’t give a shit about being low-key and will take any and every opportunity to be awesomely ignorant fuckwads. IN YOUR FACE, SINGLE PEOPLE!” Again, just because you successfully pair-bonded (for the moment) doesn’t mean that you have to use your car as a battering ram of douchebaggery. If you assholes are really happy, people will know it. In the meantime, everyone will just think, “What a bunch of fucking assholes.”

3. The Jesus fish really adds to the pretentious douchebaggery.
Just looking at this car, I am fairly confident that these pretentious douchebags are the type to loudly and obsequiously thank Jesus for any and everything. They probably live in a McMansion and go to some “blab it and grab it” church where their blessed union was blandly celebrated. They probably think that Jesus had something to do with their pair-bonding and looks down upon their sweaty, commercial-length sex as something awesome, as it will likely produce a bunch of dumb offspring who will contribute fuck-all to the world. Of course, since Jesus was responsible for them hooking up and them driving a shitty SUV and living Where In The Fuck, Georgia, I guess they think he deserves some kind of shout-out. It’s more likely they also want to show the world of Where In The Fuck, Georgia that they too, believe in Jesus, unlike the other heathens of their small burg.

Seriously, people. Think before you put pretentious assed stencils on your car. Not everyone gives a flying shit about you. In fact, no one gives a flying shit about which particular deity you choose to pay obeisance to, or whether or not you successfully contributed to the overpopulation of the planet. Just drive the damn car and get out of my way.

News You Can Use: Karl Lagerfeld Thinks It’s Hard To Have Ugly Kids August 24, 2011

Posted by Skippy in General Weirdness, Observations, Uncategorized.
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It’s amazing when the super-rich open their mouths about the mundane problems of the proles. It’s always so entertaining to find out what fetid thoughts fester in their foolish minds. Fortunately, super-rich people who are also famous tend to not keep those fetid thoughts to themselves, so we get the “pleasure” of being treated to their mental and verbal diarrhea. Today, we get to find out what Karl Lagerfeld, “fashion” designer thinks about “ugly” children:

In the new issue of Interview Magazine, designer Karl Lagerfeld chats it up with former French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld. The fashion big shots commiserate about wealth (“You’re in your jet—you don’t have a grip on reality. We can lose touch with reality quite easily.”), and being oppressed by jobs.

And then there are Lagerfeld’s views on kids.

Regarding Roitfeld’s children, Julia and Vladimir, Karl comments: “You’re also lucky because they are very beautiful. It would have been difficult to have an ugly daughter.”

Luckily, the former Chanel guru was spared the horrors of raising an unattractive daughter, as he is childless.

“If I were a woman, I would love to have lots of kids,” Lagerfeld opines. “But for men, I don’t believe in it.”

(source)

As they say, “What is this? I don’t even.” Karl, dear, let’s deal with a couple of things.

1. You’re ugly.

Karl, dear, I know it’s been a while since you’ve looked into a mirror…and frankly, I’d be surprised if you were able to see your reflection in the mirror. Anyway, you kinda look like death warmed over and kicked in the balls. I just thought you should know that. And you dress like Dracula. Also, your personality sucks. Actually, your personality contributes significantly to your ugliness.

2. In what way would it be “difficult” to have ugly children?

As far as I know, having kids is pretty difficult regardless of their subjective attractiveness. But Karl seems to think that there’s some additional burdens to raising putatively ugly children. What would those burdens be, Karl? Do tell, you shriveled fossil of a humanoid.

3. What do you mean when you say that you don’t believe in men having kids?

Karl, dear? Can we get some clarification? Are you saying—are you actually saying that you don’t think that men can raise children? Also, dear, saying that you “don’t believe in it” doesn’t actually make any sense. Men raise kids all the time; are you saying the you don’t agree with men raising children? It would help us all greatly if you’d be more specific in your analysis. As it is, you sound like a sexist, self-hating homophobe…on top of being an elitist shriveled fossil that is completely out of touch with anything remotely resembling reality.


Fig. 1: I’d rather take fashion advice from someone who is not undead, thank you very much.

Skippy’s Got Some Words About “The Help” August 7, 2011

Posted by Skippy in Black folks, Observations, Popular Culture, Racism, Rants.
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Fig. 1: The White Lady’s Burden

I’ve seen commercials for this movie every time I turn on the television. I’d heard about the book, but then when I heard they were making this book into a movie, I knew this would be yet another in a long line of movies that revolve around The White Man’s Burden and/or The Magical Negro.


Figs. 2 & 3: Hollywood loves this shit.

Hollywood loves crap like this because it allows producers of this tripe to think that they’re being all liberal and shit. What pisses me off about “The Help” is that the black women in the movie become the vehicle by which The White Lady achieves self-actualization. To me, it’s the rankest form of Hollywood racism; shitfilms like this make Hollywood whites feel good about themselves (“Look at us! We’re so liberal, we made a movie about them darkies the African Americans and how we helped them not be so backward/forgotten/mistreated! We’re awesome! Let’s give us an Oscar!”); at the end of the day, the movie isn’t about African Americans at all. These movies wind up being about white people…and their burden.


Fig. 4: Starring Emma Stone and a bunch of Black women!

If There Were Four, There’s Probably More (A Hit Dog Hollers, Part 8) August 1, 2011

Posted by Skippy in Observations, Religion.
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Fig. 1: Yup, still wrong.

Y’all. Just when you thought there would be no more news or speculation about New “Birth” and Fake Bishop Eddie Long. There was a fifth accuser in the Eddie “You So Damn Wrong” Long sexual misconduct case. Back in May, Long settled with the four young men who publicly accused him, but, according to Atlanta’s Fox5, Centino Kemp secretly joined in the lawsuit (though he never sued).

So now, that’s five guys. Five men who’ve accused Long of sexual misconduct. Five men who’ve been involved with a virulently homophobic so-called “pastor” who claimed he’d fight these allegations…but wound up settling out of court. Now, if you ask me, I’d bet good money there’s a sixth and seventh young man out there who gained the attention and favor of Long.

Oh, and Long might have been involved in mortgage schemes that cost some of his parishioners their homes. Awesome. Maybe that will be the wake-up call to the benighted members of that so-called church.

Superman Isn’t Shakespeare (A Rebuttal to io9) July 18, 2011

Posted by Skippy in Comics, Observations, Science Ficton.
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As you all know (or should know by now), I am a huge Superman fan. This should seem obvious as I’ve written about Superman or mentioned him no fewer than four times on this blog—so if you’re not a Superman fan, you should probably skip this blog entry. Anyway, over on io9, there’s this hackneyed attempt at comparing Superman…to Shakespeare. Apparently, Dan Venning isn’t a fan of either, or something. I don’t really know, because I skimmed as much of this tripe as I could tolerate. Here’s the very first paragraph:

I have to confess, I’ve never really liked Superman. I find DC Comics’ flagship enterprise to be, ultimately, boring. Some of you will probably feel (and this is correct) that I just haven’t read enough of the series, or found the proper arcs. But my main problem is that Superman, himself, seems too perfect: he’s profoundly moral, a pure do-gooder, and utterly invincible.

Are you kidding me? First, Venning says that he “never really liked Superman”—fair enough; Supes isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But then to say that he hasn’t read enough of the comics to even really justify his argument? That is absolute nonsense. It fairly screams, “I’m hip because I just totally shat on a fictional character that a lot of people love. Aren’t I hip?” I won’t even get into the non sequitur of comparing Superman to Shakespeare in the Park.

If that’s not douchetastic enough, he goes on to say what is chief problem is with Superman: he’s just too good and “utterly invincible.” That is usually the argument proffered by people who are familiar with the general existence of Superman and have probably only watched the 1978 movie, but then feel it their duty to denounce Superman as though they are experts on the character. I’m going to enumerate what’s wrong with Venning’s moronic assertions:

1. What the hell is wrong with a fictional character being good?
Seriously, when did we get to the point that our heroes all have to be like Batman or Wolverine? I swear, when I meet fanboys who sniff at Superman as though it’s personally offensive that a superhero would act altruistically, it makes me think these are just sociopaths who want a fictional character to justify their own anti-social stupidity.

2. Superman is a symbol of our own aspirations towards a better humanity
As many comic writers have explained—most notably in Action Comics #775, Superman repeatedly uses his powers to inspire humanity, not to rule over them. He fights for the weak and defenseless in order to inspire humanity to fight for the downtrodden. And what could be wrong with that? Oh, right; if you’re a fan of grimdark bullshit, you’ll find that “corny” or “cheesy.”

3. Superman is not invincible.
Geez. This Venning sounds like the hordes of idiots who have gotten their grubby, unimaginative mitts on Superman and have thought (or worse, said in interviews), “Gee, Superman’s too powerful. I’ll ignore his vulnerability to kryptonite, magic, or the dozen or so stronger villains in the DC Universe and have him go on a fucking year-long walk across America! Nevermind that Superman hasn’t had the power to move planets in, oh, decades; I’ll just have him cry or be mopey about something.”

Venning’s screed has another gem:

The one time I’ve been even slightly interested in Superman was near the end of Kill Bill (Part II), when Bill himself, played by the late, great (and kind of kinky, apparently) David “Caine” Carradine, expounded on the comic. What Bill –- here, clearly speaking for Quentin Tarantino -– finds interesting about Superman is the hero’s implicit critique of humanity. Superman is the real guy: it’s Clark Kent that’s the costume. And Clark Kent is foolish, fearful, indecisive, and a silly glasses-wearing intellectual. Kind of like me. And that’s how Superman sees humanity.

Personally, I’m much more interested in darker comics that portray frayed heroes who struggle to avoid being overwhelmed by the evil that they themselves fight. Until its recent bizarre space-alien arcs, I’d gotten a kick out of Mark Waid’s Irredeemable because it asks the question we all wanted to know about Superman: what the hell would we do if he went crazy, or decided to kill us all? This is the real problem with any immense power, whether it be an authoritarian government or spandex-wearing alien with a perfect jawline.

The wrong and the stupid in the above paragraphs is vast. Superman does NOT see humanity as “foolish, fearful, and indecisive.” Clearly, this fool hasn’t read a Superman comic…ever. Since 1986 and John Byrne’s awesome “Man of Steel,” Superman has been the disguise and Clark Kent has been the “real” person. If there’s a critique of humankind to be found in Superman, it’s here:

Superman sees humanity as possessing the capacity for good, the ability to solve their own problems. That is not a critique that presents humanity as foolish, or stupid. Perhaps Venning should ask himself why people wear shirts bearing the “S” shield or why Superman is easily one of the most recognized fictional characters in the world. Failing that, Venning should, I dunno, actually read more than two Superman comics in order to get a sense of just who Superman is. Also, if you’re getting your understanding of Superman fourth hand from a Quentin Tarantino movie, you really should reconsider the validity of your argument. Last I checked, Tarantino hasn’t written any Superman comics or movies (and for that, we should breathe a collective sigh of relief).

The whole point of Superman is that he is bright, optimistic, and good. Simply compare his origin story with that of, say, Batman’s.

Compare this:

to this:

Batman’s origin is clearly based in fear and trauma. Now, Superman’s origin is no less traumatic—after all, he’s the sole survivor of his entire planet and race. However, he doesn’t let that trauma define him, while Batman is completely defined by his trauma.

Venning completely misses the point. The point is that Superman has all this power, this vast, earth-shaking power. What does he do? He chooses to do the right thing. He chooses to use his powers to help humankind. He chooses to do all these things without reward. He doesn’t demand anything in return from the person he rescues from a fire or from humanity when he thwarts another of Brainiac’s schemes. Up until very recently, Superman didn’t mope or wonder why he was doing what he was doing—he simply did it. In sum, it’s the clarity of Superman’s moral vision that makes him an appealing character. Take a look at the world around us: would we be in the economic mess that we’re in if investment bankers, loan officers and everyday people had thought about the consequences of their actions. Look at News Corp and how the publishers of The News of the World ran roughshod over people’s privacy. Look at the venal politicians we have in Washington and tell me that we couldn’t use a hero who, instead of being grimdark or mopey, is bright, optimistic and good.

Skippy Goes To The Movies!: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” July 15, 2011

Posted by Skippy in Music, Observations.
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Verdict: Suitably entertaining, but not a home run.

Writing a review of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” is a bit difficult for me. For one, I think that Part 1 has to be taken into account. As the second part of a movie, I think it functions quite well. It doesn’t require the viewer to catch up…too much. Of course, if you’ve never seen any of the other movies or read the books, you’ll be lost—that should go without saying at this point.

Also, I think that, like the “Lord of the Rings” movies, one has to consider how this movie functions as part of a larger narrative. As part of the entire Harry Potter franchise, this movie acquits itself well. It hits all the high points and strikes most of the right chords—however, there just seemed to be something missing. It seemed as though getting to those chords and moments felt rushed. Having read the final book, I knew there were two scenes that I wanted to see (Molly Weasley’s confrontation with Bellatrix Lestrange and Neville Longbottom being the hero of the day)—and while I did see them, they weren’t nearly as satisfying as they were in the book. I will say that the development of Snape’s character was as powerful as it was long overdue and served to be the strongest part of the movie.

Oddly enough, I found myself far less interested in Ron, Hermione and Harry and more interested in the other characters—I can’t say that this is a fault of the movie, however. It was a reaction I had when reading the Deathly Hallows as well. That said, Harry as a character has finally grown up. We see that he has learned the lessons taught to him in the seven previous movies (and six books), and frankly, it’s a good thing. I was getting a little tired of the last couple of movies’ penchant for turning into a Harry Potter Mopes About extravaganza. In this movie, Harry is determined, focused, and yes, grown-up.

I think that, like the aforementioned “Lord of the Rings” movies, it is necessary to evaluate this movie as ending a particular phase in popular culture and entertainment. Frankly, I think that that last consideration is far more interesting than the first two points. As such, I don’t really think of this as a movie review. I think of this as more of a reflection on the passage of time and our investment in sagas.

Ten years ago, two movie events happened that I had absolutely zero interest in. My friends dragged me to both “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” and “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” If memory serves me, “Sorcerer’s Stone” came out before “Fellowship.” After the Harry Potter movie, I thought, “Well, that was nice. Cute.” After “Fellowship of the Ring,” I couldn’t shut up about how much I loved it; after dinner, I raced to Borders (amazing what changes in ten years, right?) and bought the books as well as Howard Shore’s score. I devoured the books in the span of about a month and spent the next three years writing my dissertation to the music from the LOTR movies. I was as much a fan of the LOTR movies as my friends were of the Harry Potter books and movies and while Harry Potter didn’t “do it” for me the way the LOTR books/movies did, I understand what was happening. You see, both of these fantasy books and movies came and went during a time of great change. Obviously, we all know that during the latter part of 2001, the United States was dealing with the terrible events of September 11. I think that both “Fellowship of the Ring” and “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” came along when people needed a simple yet fantastical narrative to take their minds off of the shock, the grief, and the anger.

When I say that the Harry Potter movies are fairly simple, it’s not an insult. These movies and the books upon which they’re based address simple themes of love, good versus evil, and loyalty. Further, I think they serve as a form of wish-fulfillment. We watch these movies and we the viewer begin to inhabit the stories presented. For me, I could relate to LOTR and often characterized graduate school as “bearing the One Ring” or “going to Mount Doom.” Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, has to learn how to be a decent human being—certainly, the world of Harry Potter is a world of magic, but it is still a world to which we can relate. His story is the story that we all think we’re in, especially as we grow up and—as in the case of 9/11—are forced to deal with a radically changed and frighteningly uncertain world. While I may not have thought this finale to be as emotionally satisfying as the end of the Lord of the Rings movies, I do understand that for millions of people, this finale represents the end of an era.

Idiot Racists Are…Well, Idiot Racists. July 5, 2011

Posted by Skippy in General Weirdness, Observations, Politics, Racism, Xenophobia.
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Fig. 1: A racist picture is worth a thousand racist words.

Ok, so you all are probably familiar with the proverb, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” I suppose that we must now add a corollary: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to wear a stupid T-shirt and remove all doubt.” Apparently, the Kentucky Tea Party (read: modern form of the KKK) decided it would be tres’ cool to produce and sell—on the Fourth of July, no less—T-shirts bearing the phrases “Yup, I’m a Racist” and “Infidel: Everything I Need to Know About Islam I Learned on 9/11.”

Just when you thought clothing couldn’t get any douchebaggier than the “Affliction” Ed Hardy T-shirts, here comes the Kentucky Tea Party to take the cake and put a KKK cake-topper on it! I suppose these good folks still want to see the long-form birth certificate, love Michelle Bachmann, and think that The Homosexual Agenda actually exists. I also suppose I shouldn’t be too upset—frankly, if I see someone wearing such a T-shirt, it tells me everything I need to know about them in delightful brevity. It tells me that this person is extremely stupid, for the following reasons:

1. It tells me that this person is, in fact, a racist.
You see, if this shirt is supposed to be “ironic,” then it fails miserably. As we all know, the Tea Party gained a reputation for being racist, as the “party” formed in response to the emergence of Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee for President of the United States, and members of this party have been caught on tape spouting some pretty bigoted nonsense and tomfoolery. Leaders in the party have tried to extinguish such perceptions by occasionally letting the odd (and I do mean odd) Black person in the party speak and say, “Hey, we’re not racist.” Also, they tend to focus on economic issues, by claiming that Obama is a Socialist. Just don’t ask them what a Socialist is. They can’t tell you. Anyway, anyone who has to go out of their way to tell you they’re not something usually is that something.

2. It tells me that this person is given to allowing T-shirt slogans and bumperstickers to represent complex issues.
To me, there’s something awfully juvenile about these shirts. But then again, I think there’s something awfully juvenile about message T-shirts. If you see a man or woman over the age of thirty wearing such a shirt, question their maturity. Question it early, question it often. The same thing goes for bumperstickers. I have grown sick and tired of seeing people “sloganize” their damned cars and their torsos. Frankly, I don’t care if you eat vegan or buy local or think that Obama is a baby-raping Socialist devil from the ninth circle of Hell. I really don’t care to be stuck behind your stupid Prius or stupid Land Behemoth and looking at a damned stick stencil of your monuments to overpopulation, nor do I care to know just how much you LOVE Jesus or your wife or your Yorkshire Terrier. Complex issues in this world cannot be reduced to puerile T-shirts or bumperstickers. And if the Tea Party wants to dispel the assertions of racism, then perhaps the leaders need to get a better grip on their brand messaging. This T-shirt doesn’t help.

3. It tells me that this person is willingly ignorant.
When you see a douchebag wearing this shirt, that should tell you that this is a person who is perhaps spoiling for either attention or a fight. This is a person who is proud to be in an organization that is polarizing and ill-informed. They most likely have very black-white views of the world and their membership in this “party.” Do not engage them. Hell, don’t even look at them as you pass them by at a public event, for this kind of idiot—much like other kinds of idiots whom you might find on YouTube or the comments section of CNN.com—prides themselves on being woefully ignorant about a great many things.