May 22, 2014 § Leave a comment
New column by me in today’s Lompoc Record, ends with a call for both local high school teams to change their crappy mascots.
In a week of headlines dominated by Michael Sam and Donald Sterling, one of the most frustrating responses has been from commentators and fans who wish we could “away from all the politics” and “just focus on sports.”
Not only is their wish for a politically neutral entertainment world impossible, it would ruin sports.
If openly gay NFL draft pick Michael Sam makes the NFL, it may not be a Jackie Robinson moment, but he will undoubtedly add a new thread to the tapestry of personalities that make up the landscape of sports. Similarly, when NBA forward Kevin Durant, in tears, thanked his mother while accepting his MVP trophy, it was an inspiring moment for me and thousands of other sons of single parents who grew up poor.
We watch sports not just for the times when our team wins, or the pure aesthetic marvel of top athletes doing things no one else can do. We watch to follow stories like those of Kevin Durant, Michael Sam and even Donald Sterling and the players working for him. And in cases of identity politics, like that of Michael Sam, the personality and the politics are inextricable.
September 8, 2011 § Leave a comment
For those of you who are subscribed to this blog by email and got a message telling you that I was doing a liveblog of the Republican debate — then tuned in and found no such thing — I sincerely apologize.
I started out liveblogging diligently, but there was just too much going on. I found myself going for easy jokes and none of them were very funny.
I ended up watching the whole debate anyway. It was actually pretty strange –the main thing that jumped out at me was how nervous they all looked. Rick Perry especially. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but his head never ever stops moving while he’s talking. When his mouth is shut he’s doing some Zoolander-esque pose, but then he starts yapping and he’s like a goddamn bobblehead doll.
Anyway, that’s basically all I have constructive to say about the debate, or anything, really. On the car ride home today, I considered not blogging directly about the election at all anymore and I’m kind of keen on the idea.
My reasoning is this: who a candidate is during their campaign as has almost nothing to do with who they are while governing. Why should it?
As far as I can tell, these are the rules of American politics:
1) The more power you have, the better.
With a corollary: Always do whatever it takes to get into office, to get that power. What you do once you’re there is by definition a lesser priority.
2) Never piss off a major donor.
3) Don’t worry yourself with policy, or what position you should take on something. We have focus groups for that.
4) Always have fantastic hair.
So, what does it matter what lies a presidential candidate tells to the people to get himself elected? Shouldn’t the last two presidents serve as a shining example that who you are during the campaign has almost nothing to do with who you are when you’re in power?
And once again, it all comes back to power. I’m getting pissed off by the truism “power corrupts” because I think it’s backwards. Power is not some dark force sealed in stone at the end of the earth that possesses and corrupts the good and honest person who with the best intentions happened to seize it; those who seek individual power as a means to an end will simply continue using and increasing individual power as a means to an end. Any corruption was there to begin with — if anything, it was a precondition to taking power.
On a meta note, I just bought a bluetooth keyboard with money from my jorb, I synced it up to my phone, and I wrote this whole darn post on the phone. The keyboard folds up and fits in my pocket. I’m envisioning using my phone as a newfangled kind of typewriter. I’m envisioning blogging about a riot on this thing from the roof of a strip club. I may have stolen every single idea in this paragraph, including the idea to get a bluetooth keyboard and write on the phone, from Warren Ellis, god bless his soul.
Good night, my little antelopes of impending doom.
August 22, 2011 § 2 Comments
Dear Governor Rick Perry,
Hi. My name is Steve. You are a fifteen-thousand term Texan governor, running for president. I am a twenty-something community organizer anarcho-nerd punk living in the only cold house in Southern California in the middle of August. Obviously, we have a lot in common. But you want to look like a political outsider for your upcoming “prez-o-dential, look it me ma, I’m on TV!” election campaign like the one Sarah Palin’s been living for the last three years so you can steal her demographic, but stay the fuck away from her formal endorsement. I just got a new job and, as a result, I feel generous. I’m going to give you some campaign advice for free. Let’s talk here for a sec.
You recently said you want to try Ben Bernanke for treason. For fucking treason. Usually those kinds of charges are reserved only for my kinds of folks. You said it about one of your folks. This makes me think that maybe Ben Bernanke and I might have something in common instead. But let’s talk a little bit, here. I think you just could be on my side after all.
You don’t actually want Mr. Bernanke for treason. You want him for witchcraft.
I know you’re a big thinker, Rick. You want to go all snippy snippy on the constitution (and the Men’s Bodybuilding community sounds off on their reactions). I’m saying, let’s cut to the chase and bring out the torches!
Of course, you’ve heard of Clarke’s third law. The one that says “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Far as I can tell, more people know have read that quote than know enough about high-level macroeconomics to run the country. Hell, from what we know about the fed after Alan Greenspan’s Holy Papacy, more people will read this blog post than are qualified for that job. If we can’t understand his job well enough to know if he’s doing his job well enough, and we assume that nobody else can understand it either, then he may as well be casting Reparo on a dollar bill at his desk in his office on Constitution Avenue.
Unless, maybe he isn’t. Ohmigod, maybe he’s casting the cruciatus curse instead! Is he a good witch, or a bad witch? Ohmigod, we don’t know!
All we see is our god’s displeasure with us. We’re still unemployed. We can’t get ahead. The ‘comony just won’t work right. Maybe this Pope Bernanke is actually a heretic. A Secret Economancer, high up in a tower, wearing his dark hooded robe and stirring bubbling cauldron. What we need is somebody righteous and just. Someone through whom we may hear the word of god. What we need is a Holy Paladin. Someone like you, Rick Perry! With your square jaw, and your chiseled abs, and… oh my.
God bless you, Grand Inquisitor Perry! An auto-da-fe on the Fed! Politically, it’s the only move you’ve got. If you stick with only treason, you’re left with the small problem of, hm, perhaps he isn’t actually plotting to take down the US government. Boy, would you look stupid then. Aim higher. Point with your pitchfork and find something you can prove. Say it out loud. The Fed, all of them. They’re witches, and goddamnit, whether they’re good witches or bad witches, witches gotsa burn.
Or you could just point out that they’re Jews. That’s been politically expedient plenty of times before. And it accounts for their knowing the dark arts. You see, after studying Talmudic law and the Sefer ha-Zohar, these economy people have learned Qabbalistic magic, and this is how I know. I took one of the magic scrolls made by the Fed and gave it to one of their golems. It sprang to life and gave me a can of Coca-Cola.
I guess I’ve known for a long time that money is a magic spell. It confers benefits and privileges on those who possess it. It acts as a fetish for all the things it could buy. And it only works insofar as all the people believe in it — a concept that should be familiar to you, Rick Perry, as you seem to think that the country would be better off if more people believed in your god.
So go, Grand Paladin Rick Perry! Go forth and smite that foul magic spell that is money. Go forth and destroy capitalism! Go forth and… replace it with your creepy ideal fully privatized government that operates without any income taxation from the people and yet has power over their life and death and ability to reproduce? Uh oh.
On second thought, Rick Perry, stay the fuck away from my campaign advice. I’m sure my folks’ll do fine smashing capitalism without you.