Monday, November 28, 2011

You Make It Really Hard To NOT Point Out Your Blatant Racism

After Alabama passed HB56, their own version of Arizona's SB1070 (the "show me your papers" bill), it was roundly criticized as racist by those opposing it (as was Arizona's). Yet defenders of the bill(s) were quick to point out there was nothing racist about the bill(s); after all, the bill(s) don't make it illegal to be hispanic, they say, they only increase the attention paid to people who are in this country without legal documentation. Now, if it happens to target Hispanics more than any other group, they claim, well then maybe those darn Hispanics should keep their noses clean and stay out of trouble.

This is a classic racist ploy -- as long as you dress your racism up in neutral language, you always have plausible deniability. After all, there's no way to prove either HB56 or SB1070 were designed to harass and intimidate Hispanics. But in practice, it seems Hispanics continue to bear the brunt of these measures -- remember, about half of all undocumented immigrants in American hail from Europe, and yet somehow very few Europeans are being arrested or harassed under these statutes.

But sometimes events happen that just really pull the curtain back on all of these shenanigans. Events like when a German executive of Mercedes-Benz in the states for a meeting at one of the company's manufacturing plants near Tuscaloosa is arrested. The officer at the scene did what was required of him and brought in the executive to be detained while his immigration status was investigated.

So here's a perfect example for the it's-not-racist crowd: a white person, nay, a rich white person, was subjected to detention and search under this apparently not racist law. What a chance to trumpet the law as color-blind and status-blind! You see critics? It's not a tool to harass and intimidate (largely poor) people of color, it's applied to everyone!

And yet, their reaction could not have been farther than that. Rather than see this as one of the many examples they love of their law in action, a group of Republican representatives has already called for rewriting portions of HB56. Presumably to include the direction that even though this is not a racist law, it's not supposed to apply to white people...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dear Police Brutality: Zing

This photo has caused quite a bit of shock lately to people who don't regularly follow issues in American policing (to those of us who do, it's neither surprising nor shocking). It's a member of the UC Davis campus police casually point-blank pepper-spraying a group of non-violent and non-confrontational demonstrators who had not left when told to disperse. I say it's not a surprise to people who follow such things because many police have gone on record already saying this is  standard procedure.

Amid calls that the officer, his superiors, and even the university president should be fired or step down over the incident, the internet has sprung to action to get a more immediate, if somewhat less satisfying, retribution on the officer responsible. His phone number and address are now widely-available public knowledge, and he's become an internet meme -- the casually pepper spray everything cop.

And while this is what it is -- fairly juvenile mocking of someone who arguably deserves it -- it shows one of the internet's greatest collective powers these days. While retribution of any meaningful kind will probably never come to this guy or those issuing the orders (police have such incredibly strong unions that firing them is nearly impossible), at least we can take comfort in the fact that this guy is now a world-wide punchline and poster boy for police abuse. And that's something...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Christmas is Coming

And I have found the only present I ever want. If you buy me this Whiskey dispensing machine, you officially win the abstract concept of "friendship" for now and all time:

The Happiest Person Ever Photographed

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jeffy Calls Meatballs "Meatbulbs"

Bill Keane, the creator of Family Circus, died this past week. Not to speak ill of the dead, but from a young age, I've always thought of him as one of the greatest con men to have ever existed. After all, he took one of the most bland and unoriginal creations ever and spun it into a life long job and million-dollar empire. Somehow he was able to keep getting paid in exchange for cranking out trite and repetitive comics of children pronouncing words wrong and their creepy grandfather spying on them from a heaven in which everyone inexplicably wears potato sacks and rope belts.

The small solace we can take in this travesty of a man making millions for being actively stupid while we work actual jobs for much lower pay is that it is both easy and fun to mock this shitty comic mercilessly. One of the best examples is the Nietzsche Family Circus, pictured above. But even better is this classic list of reviews of one of the Family Circus books. Coming from the era before Amazon tightly controlled the reviews and comments on its website, these little gems represent some of the earliest (and best) snarky destruction the web has become so good for.

At least Keane's survivors can take solace in the fact that these comics both seem to write themselves and people somehow keep reading them, so they will be wealthy for generations to come...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ha, ha! Suckers!

As regular readers know, I'm a Ph.D. candidate in the tail end of my degree program. This means I'm supposed to start looking for a job. But applying for and interviewing for academic jobs is not like most jobs. It's like another job in and of itself in terms of the sheer volume of documents and proposals and whatnot they expect out of you.

Since it's such a big process, I decided to try it this year, just so I could learn how it was done when I went back and did it for real the next year. Well, somewhere along the way I must have learned it well enough, because I actually have a job interview. This was completely unexpected.

And while it's mostly terrifying, because I rarely if ever feel prepared for big life events, it's also pretty damn good news. So this is what Dog and I sounded like pretty much all morning after I got the e-mail inviting me out for an interview:

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The Simpsons Predict Reality Again

As I've noted before, the Simpsons is quite adept at predicting the future. The ol' "life imitates art," if you will. Well, it turns out they've done it again.

As any Simpsons fan will know, there's a three-eyed fish (or multiple three-eyed fish, it's unclear) swimming the waters near the Springfield nuclear power plant. In one episode, Bart caught this fish, which Mr. Burns, in an hilariously apt take on standard pr practices, named Blinky and claimed he had an evolutionary advantage with his third eye.

Well, whether an actor portraying Charles Darwin will come forward an suggest this fish is somehow superior to others, but fishermen in Córdoba, Argentina have caught a three-eyed fish near a nuclear power plant.

This really leaves us no other option than to spend the rest of the day contemplating what other Simpsons episodes will soon come to pass...

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Sigh...Long Break Again

Oh wonderful and intelligent blog readers, how I have failed you. This fall has been particularly busy as I attempt to start writing my dissertation, and as such, incredibly important things like blogging have fallen by the wayside. But I make this commitment to you dear readers -- there will now be pretty regular content on this here interwebs site.

As regular readers recall, last month was Healthy October. Having now mastered completely every form of healthy living, I turn to my scholastic endeavors with Studious November. Gone are late nights watching t.v. or playing video games. Gone too are weeknights spent with friends or doing anything remotely enjoyable. For if I am to finish this dissertation any time in the near future, I need to get back to working an absurd amount every day.

But on the plus side, all of this sitting frustrated at a computer will give me both the time and material to pump out regular blog posts again. So please, cancel your suicide plans and ignore your family, job, and all other appointments. This blog once again exists and demands your attention.

In the meantime, here is a picture of a literal Wall Street fat cat: