Activism, Football, LGBT, Love, News, NFL

Why I’m Pulling For the Ravens…

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I am pulling for the Baltimore Ravens to win it all this Super Bowl Sunday! Why? One reason is I am not big on California sports teams. Call this a natural prejudice born of being an Chicago sports fanatic. I just hate to see California teams win! I hurts me deep inside…

The main reason though is two contrasting stories on how members of the two teams playing in the Super Bowl view LGBT people and their rights. This week 49ers player Chris Culliver had this to say about the possibility of Gay NFL players: “Ain’t got no gay people on the team. They gotta get up outta here if they do. Can’t be with that sweet stuff.” 

This bit of unenlightened stupidity was followed by his wish that gay players only come out “10 years” after they play in the NFL. How big of you Mr. Culliver. This oaf will be playing in the Super Bowl this sunday. I will boo whenever I see his jersey. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-400_162-57566801/49ers-culliver-sorry-for-anti-gay-comments/

On the other hand Baltimore Raven’s Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo is a huge and vocal supporter of gay rights. He publicly campaigned for the marriage equality law recently passed in Maryland and has spoken out in favor of marriage equality and LGBT families for years. In an interview posted by Huffington Post Brendon is quoted as saying that Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti told him “keep doing your thing. We believe in you. This is not a team that believes in discrimination in any way, shape, or form. You have this tremendous platform here. Use it. And go ahead and continue to be you, and grow and shape and change the world while you have the ability to do it.” 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/12/brendon-ayanbadejo-baltimore-ravens-gay-marriage-homophobia-jamie-kuntz_n_1877048.html

After I read this I knew I had to support this team. It is a rare thing for an athlete to so publicly lend his voice to the LGBT cause and even rarer to have a team and team owner back that player up!

This Sunday I will be a Ravens fan and I hope that Brendon gets a chance to hoist the Lombardi trophy over his head and gain a national audience for his open-hearted and loving views in favor of equality for all

GO RAVENS!!!

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Immigration, Michelle Malkin, opinion, Politics

Michelle Malkin is a Terrible Hypocrite Part II

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Michelle Malkin is a raging hypocrite. If you remember I got a lot of attention from Mrs. Malkin last year  for exposing her rant against first responder’s union rights WHILE first responders were busy saving her neighborhood and home from fire in Colorado Springs http://tinyurl.com/abmpd3n 

Now she is at it again

Today on her hilarious blog Malkin posted an essay in which she calls proposed immigration reform “shamnesty”. She howls about (and has howled in the past) “illegals” streaming into the US and committing all sorts of crimes and shit and presumably punching puppies. She also attacks “anchor babies” the conservative wet dream/nightmare scenario wherein immigrants come into the US and give birth to a child who automatically has American citizenship. She does not support this practice and demeans the families of children with American citizenship who want to stay with their children and work hard for their new home. The funny thing about this…Michelle Malkin, by her and her Conservative friend’s own standards IS an “anchor baby”!

You see Malkin’s parents (who I am sure were wonderful hardworking people) came to the United States on a worker sponsored visa (mother was a homemaker and father was a physician in training) and had Michelle in 1970. She was of course given immediate citizenship as required under the 14th Amendment. So far so good. Fast forward 4o years and we have that self-same Michelle Malkin and her allies attacking immigrants and the proposed path to citizenship for immigrants and their children. She is even a supporter of repealing the part of the 14th Amendment that GAVE HER CITIZENSHIP IN THE FIRST PLACE!

In a blog post ( http://michellemalkin.com/2004/06/13/no-more-drive-by-citizenship/) Malkin writes about Mexican and Korean migrants coming to the United States and delivering babies who are automatically citizens. Malkin says, paraphrasing her intellectual mentor Rush Limbaugh, “The time is ripe to reassess drive-by citizenship and what it means to be an American.”

So let us recap: Michelle Malkin, a woman bornan automatic American citizen to non-citizen migrant workers, wants to eliminate automatic citizenship to children of non-citizen migrant workers. No this is not an Onion article. This is her actual position. And I am also assuming she also has arguments with herself in the mirror. Does she want to revoke her own citizenship? Does she want to deport herself? Did her parents “game the system” like she accuses thousands of immigrant parents of American citizens who are NOT her parents?

The 14th Amendment includes this provision because we believe that it is not to much to ask that your own status in society not be dictated by the status of your parents. This is part of the American philosophy. Michelle Malkin benefited from this wisdom. Apparently she wants to shut the door behind her.

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Conservatism, essay, Free Market, Politics, Socialism

Laissez [Un] Faire

MILTY

“When you buy something at the store are you keeping my or somebody in China’s interests in mind?” Without intending it or realizing it my good friend hit upon what is perhaps the central problem facing contemporary socialism. All the more fitting, then, that this question was asked of me by a self-described Randian libertarian. I presume my friend expected me to come up with an answer that denies any thought on my part for others when it comes to my purchases or my participation in the “free market”. I fear I did not supply the answer he wanted or expected to hear. But what was my answer? Was my answer up to the standard set by the fantastic question? My friend believes, or rather knows to be true but must as a concession to tact and modesty if not intellectual rigor, that the market is made up of billions of individuals acting in their own individual i.e. selfish interests. I do not agree with this view of the matter. In fact I find this conception of the market perverse, if not utterly abominable. But what do I argue in contrast to this view? Are my conceptions any less based on faith in a universal ideal of human agency?

The ideal my friend holds to, the faith he adheres to, is that of laissez faire and the beneficial self-interest of individuals in a market. The faith of laissez faire is essentially un-provable and un-falsifiable, as it would require the evacuation of all human bureaucratic and societal pressures and influences in order to be observed in all its “natural” truth. Popper would find enough there to dismiss the doctrine out of hand, but then how would I measure my own ideas against it? As to beneficial, even enlightened, self-interest in the market, one would have to define what it means to be an individual in a market of billions, what it means to act as an individual, and how would one act otherwise? There cannot be an individual in the market if there is no antithesis inherent within the system. But this letter is not meant to tear apart capitalist pretensions (I have done that elsewhere), but to enlighten myself as to my own pretensions and beliefs about the market, and the question posed by my friend.

When I buy something, do I keep the interests of others in mind? The answer to that question is of course a simple yes and no. No, of course I am not totally and thoroughly aware of ever ramification of my purchase, that would require the sort of omniscience claimed by certain Near Eastern deities and Friedrich Hayek, but I am aware that there is indeed a ramification. I fully admit I am not aware enough about my purchasing power and my “choices”. But I am not so arrogant as to claim that my ignorance is proof positive of the absence of my power and choice or lack thereof. Is it in my best interest (and therefor by the logic of laissaz faire and Smithian capitalist theory in everyone’s best interest) to buy a cheaply priced consumer good? Well, that depends. In the immediate sense it may seem nice to “save” money, but these savings are in the end an illusion. Consumer goods are priced at levels that are conducive to large corporations that sell consumer goods to amass capital, award management bonuses, and further reduce prices on the  backs of their employees and the workers who make the goods in question. It is a vicious cycle.

The laissaiz faire theorist will tell you that the market dictates prices, and the market is driven by the self-serving choices of individuals. Maybe this would be the case in society where your economic vote is as equal man to man as your democratic vote. But this is of course a utopia, and the reality is a world of corporate interests that create and sustain themselves on the principle of thwarting the desires and market opinions of so called “self-interested” individuals.

Many libertarians and free market theorists postulate that the market is akin to an enormous democracy, the purest form in fact: everyone can participate and by participating steer the market and dictate economic fortunes for all mankind. There is one glaring problem with this postulation however: a democracy is based upon the concept of one person one vote. In this view of the market as great democracy we forget that in the market a man or woman is only as powerful as their vote, and that vote is a dollar, and a man or a woman can have anywhere from 1 to 1,000,000,000 or more dollars, and hence the same discrepancy in voting power. And this voting process is not influenced by merit or inherent value within a social contract, but based on who can exploit capital, labor and manipulate political circumstances with the most guile and skill. This is the antithesis of a democracy. Mass participation in a system does not give that system the legitimacy of a democracy nor does it give that system the imprimatur to make change and choices on the behalf of the mass of people.

I must say, I have no quarrel with evil if it forthrightly states its’ purpose. The free market as a democracy, and the illusion of choice hoisted upon us by corporations of self-interested and powerful individuals acting in concert are both damnable lies, made all the more so for their proponents failure to come out and admit this self-evident truth. So, what do I think of when I buy something at the store? Well, I now think about how what I am buying is not just a shirt, or a new gadget, or a piece of fruit but the product of someone’s labor that I am now consuming. I owe it to those people who have supplied me with these goods, and I do not mean the corporations that exploit that labor, I owe it to them to think before I purchase something: to think about the price and what it should be versus what it is, and to think about whether or not this product is worth the abuse of labor it took to produce it. As I said before, I am not a perfect consumer, or a perfect socialist. What I am, however, is someone who will no longer knowingly consume the un-reimbursed and exploited produce of labor. I go without things I once wanted, and I look to less exploitative sources for what I need. I am not perfect, and I will not always make the right choices, but it is better to be imperfect and err then to be ignorant and exploit out fellow human beings.

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extremism, Feminism, Politics, Women, Writing

White Guy Confidential

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What I am about to tell you is top-secret and may get lead to me being found bound, gagged, and beaten in the alley behind a Olive Garden: white guys are idiots. I should know because I am one. Well I am ¾ of one…my father is half Ecuadorian and I have spent my entire life wishing I was as well. Of course there are endless benefits to being a white male in US society…I am not pulled over in my car for being a certain color, I will never be stopped and frisked in NYC, I will always have a leg up over almost anyone in a job search situation. Oh, and my ilk have controlled 97% of government since the beginning of our Democratic Republic. I recognize my privilege and cannot really imagine what it would be like to live without it…but I am not conceited enough to think that it is good that I have this privilege. I am a liberal, atheist, feminist, unemployed, LGBT loving, gun hating white male. Next to a Cubs World Series win I am the rarest thing that can be found in the Midwest where I was born and raised. I want to make it so that my future nephews and possibly children never GET to experience that privilege. I want them to experience the world as MLK wished it to be, and I want them to be judged on the content of their character. Not the melanin content of their skin. That future is a long way off but I feel that future gets closer every time a white guy wakes up and realizes how fucking easy they have it and how wrong that is. It is a small contribution to making the world a better place but it is a positive step I believe.

Why are white guys idiots? That would be because so many of them act like victims. This is not apparent in everyday life with every white guy, of course, but being a white guy myself I am often inadvertently mistaken for a member of this “fraternity”. You would (not) be surprised by what many white guys say when they think they are among fellow white men who agree with them. I wrote a blog entry months ago about a pawn shop owner I know who always sees fit to share with me his disgusting views about how women should be subservient to men in every aspect of life. Well that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to white guys assuming I am “on their side” because I share their skin hue.

I have been told that all politicians, especially Obama, Jesse Jackson, MLK and Malcolm X are/were “race hustlers”. This is angry/scared white guy code for “they point out that white men exploit everyone else”. I have been lectured at about how white Christian men are the REAL victims of racism because some friend of someone’s dad once knew a guy who’s coworker didn’t get a promotion because of “affirmative action”. It is also apparently “racist” towards whites to ban the KKK while not banning the NAACP. Really. I have actually been told this before by a person who I assume was not intoxicated. I have also been told that women are paid MORE than men, not less, that rape accusations are just another way to control men, and that women abuse men at a greater rate than men to women. Seriously. Oh and it gets better!

According to scared white men I have met “homosexual activists” run the NFL, the MLB and of course MLS. And don’t even get them STARTED on Hollywood! I have been told that that “democrat [sic]” party is the party of lazy black people and “sluts”, that the military is controlled by the illuminati and that every gun massacre in the past 20 years was staged by liberals to take away white men’s guns. According to terrified white men all black women are on welfare and all victims of violent crime are white. All taxes are paid by white men, and all wealth comes from white men as well. Oh and history is only ever made by white men. If you are told otherwise this is just the ACLU out to corrupt your mind with multi-culturalism. Oh and according to shivering and hysterical white men it is possible to fight off the coming “tyranny” of the federal guv’ment with a 12 gage and an AR-15.

Whew.

Everything I just related was actually said to me, face to face, within the past year. I expressed my disgust at the time to everything that was told to me,  and I was able to refute all these disgusting memes with barely any effort at all, but this only served to entrench them in their views. I was just a” tool” of women/gays/ACLU/Communists/Blacks/Hispanics/Big Bird. I may LOOK like a white guy, but as soon as I open my mouth and disagree with their fever dreams I become one of the “other”. And you know what? That is just fine by me. I would rather be hated by those who hate then loved by those who cannot find it within themselves to love.

UPDATE

Oh…and my new favorite weird white-guy-ism of the night comes from former Senator, and drunk tweeter, Scott Brown: Bqhatevwr.

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Ancient Greece, art, Drawing, essay, Philosophy

Didi: Portrait of an Artist

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Didi does not consider her-self an artist. She sees herself just a human being who uses expression to explore her own feelings and personal pathos. Like many innovative minds her creations seem to come from a deep longing to make physical the ephemeral aspect of herself. She tells me that her art is “carbon lines of pain trying to be pretty” and I can all but see the smile in the digital script we are using to communicate as I read the words. It is not often that I come across contemporary art that actually moves me in an emotional sense. Didi’s art moves me and it inspires me as an artist to push my own creative endeavors to their limit.

Her work is ethereal and light in a way that inspires a sort of waking reverie. It is so delicate as to be almost a momentary play of shapes and faded color, like the play of dawn-light on a clean white bedspread. Most of her compositions depict young women in dishabille or nude, many with whispy hair and enormous eyes that convey an enormous array of emotions depending on the subject of the piece. Some of the girls take on other exaggerated features and even possess animal attributes; antlers, feline eyes, tentacles. Nature plays an important role in all of her pieces and a nymph-like air is apparent in all of her characters.

Hers is a unique style and this is never more apparent than when one takes a closer look at the bodies and faces of her figures. The women are almost all mouth-less, and when they do possess this physical feature it is de-emphasized so much as to make it almost a physical imperfection or blemish. The story of the character is told through her eyes and through her exotic and often erotic poses and accouterment. In the work entitled “ojo de dios” (God’s Eye) Didi decorates the brown locks of her subject with handmade god’s eyes made from sticks and colored string. I small bird pulls on one of these strings and lifts it up and away, given the surprising headdress a connection to the airy world of spiritual thought and contemplation. This woman does not possess a mouth but she has eyes aplenty; she can see beyond herself and the limitations of her simple world beyond to a more transcendent realm. All the while there is a folk charm to the piece that grounds it in the real world of a young Mexican woman and her hopes, fears, and personal pain.

This pain is evident in most of the pieces I have had the pleasure to contemplate. It is not a desperate pain or a self-pitying agony; rather it is a mature exploration of the everyday throbbing of a heart that feels almost too acutely the world around itself. Few of the figures look sad or forlorn themselves but many exhibit signs of physical trauma; holes where heart and lungs should be, bruises and cuts, broken noses and swollen eyes. These women have been through a physical ordeal but they seem empowered and strengthened by whatever travails they have had to deal with. One gets the feeling that these women gave much better than they got.

I asked Didi what her favorite piece was. She directed me to a lovely piece based upon the mythical story of Narcissus and Echo. Narcissus, the vain youth who rejected all love in favor of self-worship is approached by the beautiful nymph Echo, who is known to be a talkative and lively creature. He rejects her as he has everyone else and she melts away into a ghostly form and then eventually nothing is left of her but her soft beckoning voice. The composition consists of a young womanly spirit gliding through a solemn forest, her hair billowing about her like smoke. Her hands grasp her own throat, choking the life and the voice from her spirit form.  Tears stream from her oddly pensive eyes and her cheeks are ruddy against her pale skin. Her heart is visible to all through a gaping black wound in her stomach; the heart takes the places of the stomach, the area of the body where emotional pain takes its most acute form. As with most of her women the breasts are exposed. They are small and firm and youthful, drawn lovingly and with a clear reverence for and love of the female body. Echo is a real beauty and a compelling character and the piece is truly a joy to behold.

Didi herself is a special woman. She has a point of view that is profoundly simple and honest a midst a sea of shock-and awe graphical depictions of women and pain. She is a sea breeze in a balmy room, and a refreshing example of introspection not abused as a form of self-conscious self-exploitation. She is honest and she is kind and she shows her love for the world and for herself with an imaginative oeuvre that can challenge jaded art aficionados who have seen far too much self-pity and artistic violence. Hers is a kind sadness, a gentle torment. She is a remarkable talent and like Frieda Khalo or José Clemente Orozco she is a true representative of a unique Mexican art scene that continues to evolve and challenge our assumptions. Beyond that she is a beautiful person who I know will continue to move and inspire me. I am happy to count her among my friends.

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art, Atheism, Hedonism, history, Literature, poetry, Politics

A Toast

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A toast to culture

Can’t you see

The importance of society?

The blushing priest

The bumbling bride

The half-crazed Czar

And the restless cries

Of the old and hungry

Sick and worn

Their clothing tattered

The dreams forlorn

The gelding princes mince and sway

Across the boulevards and public parks

Performing farces wherever they stop to shit

Urchins gather round their ankles

Lapping up the drippings of high art

The rich eat prose and shit out rhyme

Aesthetic effluvia gobbled up by time

Behold! Hordes of barbarians

Dressed as prime society men

Drinking gin and sniffing snuff

Voting down the rights of man

They grin and lift their boney hands

Up to the distant vaulted roof

Cracks appear

And down it falls

The only people left to peer

Upon the ruins of democratic resolve

Are the rats and capitalists

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