Archive for the 'General Bullshit' Category

25
Apr
13

Too Much Power in Those Pages!

I’ve always been a big fan of comic books and comic book-based (or inspired) movies and TV series. This love goes back to even the cheesy movies and television shows of my childhood and young adult years when the special effects weren’t special at all (unless you’re a lover of “cheese”).

One thing I’ve never liked in any of these superhero/supervillain venues, though, is the uber-powered hero. Now, I can deal with uber-powered villains here and there, because the heroes need special challenges at times and in my opinion, if you have the powers of, essentially, a god…well, you’re likely to behave badly or to misuse your powers for what you think is the “greater good,” no matter what anyone else thinks or whose rights you trample in the process.

But I can think of few things more boring than heroes with vast, vast powers and few vulnerabilities.

So, Superman (the classic example of this) is not among my favorites (though the supermanupcoming film rebooting him for the cinematic world looks promising). Nor Captain Marvel/Shazam or Icon. Nor, on the Marvel side, such clones of those DC characters as Sentry or Blue Marvel.

I don’t want a hero with the “power of a million exploding suns.” I just don’t.

Green Lantern has vast power, but his body itself is vulnerable and if you get in a good cheap shot, he’s toast. Wonder Woman has vast strength and can take a major hit, but she’s not bulletproof. A sniper who shoots her from behind so that she can’t deflect the bullets with her bracelets could take her down. Even the Hulk, whose strength and invulnerability are legendary, has (usually) been limited by the fact it is anger that unleashes him, his mind is easily messed with, he can return to human form if you quell his rage, and his feral nature makes him as much a threat to innocents as he is a potential hero. Plus, the Hulk doesn’t have flight, heat vision, X-ray vision, freezing breath or other weird extras—he’s simply raw physical power.

I could go on, but why subject you to a case of extreme geekery? It might be contagious.

My point is that if you have a hero who can hardly ever be hurt and has a vast array of powers, you end up with boring storylines. You have to keep bringing in enemies on a regular basis who are so powerful that it seems ridiculous that the Earth wouldn’t already have been utterly stripped of life or that civilization, at the very least, would crumble. How can a hero with a vast panoply of powers be truly challenged without resorting to anti-deus-ex-machina devices frequently? He or she cannot.

This is one of the reasons I shy away godlike powers in the stories at my Tales of the Whethermen blog. Some heroes and villains are very powerful in my fictional world, but they’re all, ultimately, human and while they may be less vulnerable than normal folks, they can all be hurt or killed in a number of ways. The closest thing I have to a “Superman” is the very troubled and ethically changeable Doctor Holiday, and even though he has access to a limitless selection of powers, he can only express a few of them in any given appearance.

We need to stop with the godlike superheroes. We just need to. Fans of Superman, Sentry, Icon and all the rest may not like what I’m saying, but it needs to be said. These characters present such daunting challenges to making them be challenged that storytelling suffers. At the very least, if we’re going to have heroes who can level mountains with ease, can we at least confine them to cosmic adventures where there is a vast landscape they can tear up, instead of pretending that the Earth would still be livable after a few similarly powered enemies showed up to take out our godlike hero?

Not all heroes need to be a Batman or Punisher, for example. Spider-Man has lots of power but still gets loopy if you knock him in the head or limps if you break a few of his ribs. Iron Man may be kick-ass, but if you hack his armor’s systems, he’s in trouble. These are the kinds of heroes who can amaze us and still we can relate to them.

How can I relate to Superman? In my opinion, he’s less mortally understandable than Jesus Christ. And Jesus brought people back from the dead and rose from death himself.

When I can identify less personally with the Son of Krypton than I can with the Son of God, we have a problem.

20
Apr
13

Hey, I’m Racist Against Whites, Guys!

As most of you know by now, not only did the Boston Marathon get bombed in the past week, but the act was carried out by a pair (so far as we know right now) of white guys. Of course, many white folks are trying to claim these guys aren’t really white because they were born in Chechnya, which is that Russian part of Europe; and even though they have white skin and come from the Caucuses (the original “Caucasians”) growing up here doesn’t make them true whites (i.e. white Americans); plus being Eastern European they’re actually “ethnic” rather than “white” people; plus, to top it all off, they were raised Muslim, so that automatically removes them from the land of whiteness.

*cough* bullshit! *ahem*

So, seeing as these terrorists were white, and pretty much homegrown, and non-Christian, I realized something. And so I tweeted this:

Rather than point out how most terrorists in this country are white, Boston bombing/shooting will probably lead to more Muslim-hating 😦

One person who follows me…well, “followed” me, anyway…I blocked her when it was clear she was going to go on a continuing pointless rant against me like any good conservative white bigot…anyway, she made a sarcastic tweet in response to mine about how nice it would be if whites were hated even more than they already are in this country.

Because, of course, whites, who hold most of the wealth and power and don’t get profiled by police, are somehow one of most the most persecuted groups within the United States.

*cough* bullshit! *ahem*

When I probed her response a bit more, she informed me of the following, both by direct accusation and by implication:

  • I was clearly sad that whites aren’t hated more (because of the sad-face emoticon)
  • I’m clearly delusional because most terrorists in the U.S. aren’t white
  • I’m racist against white people

Regarding point number two, I’d argue that most domestic terrorists are white, since white supremacist groups, violent nationalists, eco-terrorists and the like are overwhemingly white and if they aren’t currently in the terrorist majority on U.S. soil on an individual basis, they far outnumber black and/or Muslim terrorists when combined. Some data from the 1980s to early 2000s seems to suggest Latino terrorists were the single biggest group, but I suspect that has more to do with crap along the U.S./Mexico border involving the drug wars. In any case, the biggest problem isn’t black and Arab people, and certainly not the Muslim ones. Also, I think a lot of racist organizations full of whites don’t get noticed as terrorists because their terrorism is more localized against nearby blacks, Jews, etc. and not against institutions or carried out in a dramatic fashion against many people at once.

But really, mostly what bugs me about my Twitter exchange with this woman was how my original tweet’s meaning was twisted into “proof” that I, a white guy, am racist against my own fellow whites and that I want people to hate them.

No.

My tweet starts by wishing that what could have come out of the Boston bombing was a realization that, with most of the people in this nation being white, they account for most of the bad stuff, whether petty crimes, major crimes or terrorism. We have had many white terrorists in this country who somehow get conveniently forgotten when brown or tan ones pop onto the scene.

I would like people to stop seeing terrorism as belonging to one group (Arab Muslims) because the reality is that people of all colors commit acts of terror and to fail to recognize that is what allows us to demonize certain groups of people and leads to members of that group being subjected to discrimination and violence they don’t deserve and didn’t invite.

Pretending that whites don’t commit a hell of a lot of terrorism, here and abroad, is simply delusional. We are part of the problem. The biggest part of the problem in white-majority countries, in fact, and a potentially significant part of the problem elsewhere (though probably not the biggest threat outside of largely white areas). Just as Arabs and Muslims are a big part of the terrorist problem in Arab and Muslim parts of the world, and can be a significant threat elsewhere (though not generally the major threat when they go farther afield.)

Also, the second part of my tweet is a lament that what will happen, instead of white Americans realizing whites represent most of the bad guys in this country, is that Muslims will continue to be seen as the only real terrorists, because the brothers who carried out the Boston Marathon bombing were raised under Islamic beliefs.

Hence why my sad face follows the second statement. I am saddened that people will continue to point their fingers in one direction and target a lot of innocent people because of their religion, while letting a lot of guilty folks of non-Muslim backgrounds slip by.

I think that was pretty clear in my tweet. But again, it shows me how much jingoism, white privilege and fear rule many people in the United States. They get defensive when the truth is pointed out, and start accusing you of being an evil person for pointing out reality to them.

It’s ugly out there.

The Boston Marathon bombing was ugly. Too ugly.

But sometimes I fear the aftermath of American attitudes and perceptions of Muslims and who is “really” white will be even uglier.

05
Apr
13

I Will Never Surrender My Geekdom

So, my birthday was about two weeks ago, but I just want to make note of the very appropriate symmetry for someone as fundamentally nerd- and geek-inclined as me.

In addition to this T-shirt I received on my birthday, which certainly involves some geekery, because…well, The Big Lebowski or really any Coen brothers movie? Hello?

the-dude-abides

There was this gift (in the form of a DVD) that my wife ordered the day of my birthday and I got about a week ago, and therein begins the true odyssey of my geekery:

avengers-movie-poster

Because that gift of Marvel’s The Avengers was preceded by a few days with this gift from my son when he arrived for a quick Spring Break visit (with his girlfriend along for the ride to meet us all [read: meet his mom]) just a couple days after my birthday:

iron-man-vans

That would be a fine-ass pair of comfy Vans with classic comic book Iron Man on ’em. Because I love me trilogies and trinities and triads, I completed the tripod (triangle? triumverate?) by buying this to decorate my office:

iron-patriot

That would be an Iron Man- and Avengers-themed individual known as Iron Patriot. He’s in good company, of course, with this on a wall above my primary work desk:

action-figures

And then the Hulkbuster Iron Man and Ironmonger on top of my secondary work desk:

hulkbuster_iron-monger

And yes, I am very much looking forward to seeing Iron Man 3 this summer. If you want to ensure I can buy a ticket for myself and perhaps my son, too, if he’s home then…as well as ensure ample snack purchases…as well as show love for my blog, you can feel free to email me for my PayPal info and drop me a tip (or complaints, or suggestions for the blog, or a guest post so I can be lazier around here). 😉 After all, I gotta get my superhero action on, right?

I did mention I was a nerd and a geek, right?

But never a dork…

10
Jan
13

Unrestrained Geekery: Darth Vader vs. Magneto

I’ve never made any mystery of the fact I’m a nerd and/or a geek (depending on the circumstances, the subject/topic and the point of view of anyone observing me; I have never, however, ever been a dork…let’s get that straight).

Despite this, I try not to let it hang out too much here, since most readers coming here probably aren’t all that nerdy or nerd-subject-sympathetic. To expound nerdily too often here would kind of be like a porn star whipping out his nine- or ten-inch erect dick frequently—under the right conditions, it makes perfect sense, but in most circumstances, it would just be rude.

However, I broke up violently with Facebook last year, and thus no longer have an account there, so I cannot comment at this thread on Facebook about who would win in a fight between Magneto and Darth Vader. Since I cannot comment there, I will discuss this all-important issue here until I have it out of my system. Feel free to leave now if you wish. If you are a nerd or geek, however, please read on and then respond in the comments.

Darth Vader vs. Magneto

General characteristics of the combatants:

Magneto – Control over magnetism. Can lift and manipulate ferrous metals and objects containing significant concentrations of ferrous metals. Has a helmet that blocks psychic powers. He’s a genius, strategically and scientifically. Has incorporated metal fibers in costume so that he can levitate and fly.

Darth Vader – Control over the dark side of the Force allows him to employ telekinesis, read surface thoughts and emotions of others, increase strength and agility, employ limited precognition, mentally influence the actions of others at times and possibly generate “Force lightning.” Also, very skilled in hand-to-hand combat, particularly with the lightsaber.
___________________________________________

Analysis of combat scenarios:

Much was made in the Facebook thread I linked to above about how much of Darth Vader’s body is cybernetic…that he is “more machine now than man” as Obi-Wan Kenobi put it. I think that’s probably overstating the state of his body and might be somewhat metaphorical as well, but let’s assume that much of Darth Vader’s body is now metallic, and utilizing steel or some other ferrous metal.

In that case, Darth Vader is at a serious disadvantage. Magneto could literally twist the metallic parts of Vader’s body and cripple or kill him in seconds. Given his powers, Magneto could sense the metal in Vader’s body and know of that vulnerability, whereas Vader would have no way to know of Magneto’s powers. Even if Vader were trying to peer into Magneto’s mind, psychic powers via the Force don’t allow literal mind-reading, and Magneto’s helmet protects him from psychic intrusions.

That said, let’s not forget that before his body parts had to be replaced, Vader (when he was still Anakin Skywalker) survived for quite some time after having both legs severed and falling into molten lava. Likely he was in that predicament for hours before he was rescued by Darth Sidious, and given that ability to endure pain and injury, it is possible that Vader could survive an assault on the metallic parts of his body long enough to telekinetically crush a vital organ in Magento’s body or slice him in half with a lightsaber. Even doing a “force choke” by squeezing Magneto’s windpipe telekinetically would seriously inhibit Magneto’s ability to concentrate and use his magnetic powers.

So, a significant edge goes to Magneto in this scenario, though his victory isn’t assured. Much depends of who attacks first and with how much vigor.

But there are serious flaws with even believing this scenario would be accurate. Why would Vader’s cybernetic body parts have any significant amount of metal or perhaps even any metal at all? Given the use of hyperspace travel, blasters and other high-tech in the Star Wars universe, it seems far more likely that to prevent being weighed down and to provide maximum longevity and flexibility of the cybernetic components, they would be made of polymers, hardened ceramics or even more exotic materials. Even with 21st-century Earth technology, we’re rapidly moving beyond metal in prosthetics and such.  Also, remember that in Star Wars major healing is handled through bacta tanks, which use a healing liquid suspension rather than surgical or medicinal intervention, and lightsabers are based on crystalline technology. The use of exotic materials is widespread.

Also, Darth Vader’s armor (and that of the stormtroopers he commands) is clearly not metallic. This also suggests it is unlikely that his internal parts are metallic. Even his lightsaber probably uses little, if any, metal. Given the size of blaster rifles and the ease with which they are hefted, I suspect they don’t even use metal or use very little.

Yes, droids are metallic, and are often restrained or retrieved magnetically. But that’s a control issue. They are already mechanical, so carrying extra weight and having more rigidity isn’t as much a problem as with a living creature. And in order to move them around easier and to keep them from escaping your control, you’d want them to be manipulable by magnetic forces.

So, Vader probably isn’t metallic. Which means Magneto, in a best-case scenario, can only fling metallic objects at Vader. Vader will, of course, bat them away with the power of the Force or slice them to ribbons with his lightsaber.

Some have suggested that Magneto’s helmet will protect him from Force-choking and other telekinetic attacks, but this is ridiculous. The helmet is designed to block telepathic and mind control powers…things that reach into the psyche (not that the Force could influence his mind directly anyway, as it can only do that to the “weak-minded”). Telekinesis is the physical manipulation of objects with the power of the mind. And even if the helmet kept Vader from using a Force-choke somehow, Vader could drop a ton of debris on Magneto or fling him into a wall until he was pulp. Assuming, of course, he didn’t just slice him in half with the lightsaber. Remember, Vader is going to surpass Magneto for physical strength, endurance, speed and agility thanks to his ability to tap the Force.

So, chances are that Magneto is toast.

12
Sep
12

‘Tis the Season…for Hurt Feelings

I’ve seen a number of people on my Twitter timeline who are lamenting all the political talk and sometimes arguments online as we near the U.S. presidential election in November.

While I understand that they want Twitter to go back to being a fun place, with talk of bacon, sex and cute LOLcat videos, among other things…well, that’s not reasonable. This is a major election, with major problems still happening in the United States and worldwide, and tensions are understandably high.

So, you need to suck it up until probably February, when maybe post-inauguration people will calm down a little.

Sure, I say this in part because many of my tweets have been politically oriented. I’ve also balanced that with more general snark and humor, so I’m not exactly on a soap box all the time. But, frankly, what did you expect? This is social media. Twitter still tends to be more fun than Facebook, which seems to be getting increasingly infested with bitter, shallow people who just want to fight…but it’s still a place to talk.

And politics is a valid and important point of discussion. People are understandably concerned about a party on one side that doesn’t seem to have clear solutions to the problems we’re facing (or are working on the problems too slowly) and on the other side a party that’s given up on honor and just makes stuff up now and passes it off as facts then gets mad when fact-checkers dare to call them on it.

This isn’t a recipe for positive change. People are worried, and on both sides they feel this election is pivotal for America’s future.

Are relationships going to be ruined by this?

Yes.

Are some fun times going to become awkward as humor is interrupted by policy talk?

Yes.

But that happened over drinks with co-workers and dinner with the relatives long before social media existed.

Twitter and all the rest are not your havens from the real world. They are places to communicate.

If you don’t like what’s being said, move on to the next tweet. You’ll find the sex and bacon before long, I’m sure.

12
Aug
12

I Murdered the Tooth Fairy

I sit here now, glittery sparkling blood on my hands as I type. I can’t wash it off, any more than Lady Macbeth’s incessant hand washing could remove the memory of what horrors she had unleashed and sins she had committed. *Sigh* Where do I begin? I suppose with a simple fact. A simple statement.

This afternoon, I killed the Tooth Fairy.

Granted, I wasn’t trying to. I wanted to save her. I wanted to preserve her. But her death is now laid at my feet.

Such a sudden thing it was, too. I took my darling daughter, who just a couple weeks ago turned 7, to the children’s museum in Portland, Maine, so that our favorite grown woman (her mother, my wife) could have brunch with some people she had wanted to meet for a while. We had barely finished paying for admission and then walking to the first room in the museum when Little Girl Blue said, calmly and without preamble, “Daddy, is the Tooth Fairy real, or do you and Mommy put the money under my pillow? Please be totally honest.”

In that moment, I realized I had been asked a question only slightly less distressing to parents than “What is sex?” or “Can I get a belly button piercing?” I did not pause, but simply led her to a small bench somewhat away from the other kids, sat down with her, and asked, “Do you really want to know?”

“Yeah.”

“You’re sure you want to ask this question, even though the answer may change things in your life?”

“Yes. Please be honest.”

Twice now she had stressed honesty, and so there was no other path. Before, when a Kindergartner in her first year of school had told her the Tooth Fairy wasn’t real, Mrs. Blue simply asked, “What do you believe? What do you want to think? That’s all that matters.” My wife’s words (and clever ploy) were enough then, and they were true words, and Little Girl Blue continued to believe. Now, though, she was pressing me to be honest. I’m not sure why I drew this short straw, but I don’t think it would have been any different had my wife been the one with her at that moment; Little Girl Blue knows we’ll speak truth when asked, and most other times as well.

“Well, Honey, before I answer your question, let me ask you this: If it turns out Mommy and Daddy are the ones giving you the money, and I confirm that, do you think that there will still be money under your pillow in the future?” She was still young enough not to realize that I had essentially admitted the Tooth Fairy wasn’t real, but I was banking on that childish naivete so that she could still have an out if she wanted it.

She muddled over that for a few moments, then said, “Yes! …um, maybe not. I guess no. But I want to know.”

“I’m going to ask you one more time: Are you sure?” I queried, quietly but intently. “Sometimes, getting an honest answer to things changes things in ways you might not like. Do you still want me to answer?”

“Yes. I do.”

I put my arm around her and leaned in close, and said in almost a whisper, “No, Honey. The Tooth Fairy isn’t real. That’s Mommy and Daddy.”

“OK, Daddy,” she said after a short pause to let that sink in. “Thanks for telling me.”

“You’re welcome,” I said, and then played my last card to let magic be in her world a bit longer. “Frankly, I don’t know if any fairies are assigned any tooth-related duties. And they sure wouldn’t be carrying human money around, now would they?”

“No, they wouldn’t. I still believe in fairies, Daddy. Just not the Tooth Fairy.”

“That’s good, Honey. There are all kinds of strange and wonderful things in the world, even if they haven’t been proven they exist and even if we’ve never seen them.” Then I lowered my voice even more, and looked at the other kids in the room in a way that she couldn’t help but notice. “Don’t tell other kids, honey. Kids have told you the Tooth Fairy isn’t real, when you would have figured it out yourself someday. And you found out earlier than you probably needed to. But don’t ruin it for another kid. Let them ask the question when they’re ready to ask their parents. Some parents and kids don’t think about that; some purposely want to end that belief for other people because they think it’s stupid. So please don’t do it to anyone.”

“I won’t, Daddy.”

I thought I was done until later in our children’s museum visit, when we were sitting down to a snack and she asked, “Are there any other magical things in my life that you and Mommy have told me about that aren’t real?”

Shit. So soon? The dominoes all ready to fall, all at once, on the same day?

“Do you have a specific question?”

“Are any other magical things in my life that aren’t real?”

“No, do you have a question about some specific thing?”

“I can’t think of one right now. But are there any other things?”

I paused only a moment, torn about what I should do, and then said, “I’m not going to answer that question. It’s too broad. Honey, we’ve had to tell you about horrible things sometimes, like people who hurt kids and people who kill people for no good reason. We’ve had to let you know about some bad things in life, and I think you should have as much magic as you can in life. For as long as you can. If you have a question about a specific thing, you can ask Mommy or me about it, and we’ll be truthful. But I won’t answer the question you just asked. But you can ask the questions about each thing as you want to. When you want to.”

“OK, Daddy. Thank you for being honest.”

And so, Santa Claus, the Birthday Fairy (Akimahs), the Leprechaun and the Easter Bunny have a reprieve. Not sure how long, but for a little while, at least.

It may seem weird, but I do feel guilty about the Tooth Fairy’s demise. My honesty killed her, and no matter how much that honesty was needed then, I still feel bad. That bit of magic is fun for the parents and the kids. The loss of that magic is a sign of my daughter’s maturity, and that’s a good thing; it warms my heart. But at the same time, it’s bittersweet. It makes me mourn for her childhood already, knowing that it is fast receding the closer she gets to tween and teen years.

But she still believes in fairies; that’s good. Mrs. Blue does, too, more or less. And we all believe in angels, because we’ve known at times when they’ve moved in our lives. So, it’s not all bad.

But Santa, Leprechaun, Easter Bunny and Akimahs: Draw up your wills and settle any unfinished business now.

You may not be long for Little Girl Blue’s world.

11
Jul
12

Shutting Down the Other Side

I’ve often addressed the issue of privilege, particularly white privilege (since I’ve come to understand just how much of it I have…and even white people less privileged than me have…in the 16 years I’ve had a black partner/wife and a biracial son…and in the past 7 years, a biracial daughter, too).

I’ve done this at this blog, I’ve done it on Twitter, and I’ve done it in responses to various people’s articles and posts complaining about being “made to feel guilty for being white.”

First, I’d like to direct you to this web page my wife tweeted about yesterday, which is pure gold and if you read this and still don’t get why denying privilege and/or telling people in various groups that they’re wrong about their own experiences is a bad thing, perhaps you never will get it:

Derailing for Dummies

Now, back to my own mini-rant…

I’m not saying white people (and I’m going to pick them because they’re the largest and most privileged group in the United States, particularly the heterosexual ones, but this applies to anyone who is privileged in comparison to someone else)…well, I don’t think they should be guilted per se. But I do think they need to pay attention, get out of their own boxes, listen to others, educate themselves and stop making assumptions. In short, white folks do need reminders about their privilege, because it clearly hasn’t sunk in. America’s going back to bad habits (or worse habits) and everyone who’s “other” is getting shat upon instead of people shitting on the government, business and social forces that allow discrimination, bigotry and all their cousins to exist.

Too many people think there is equal opportunity and fair treatment in developed parts of the world, particularly the United States, Canada and Europe. They think that racism is dead. But looking at the rates of arrests of non-whites, non-white profiling and harsher punishments for crimes by non-whites, those figures alone show a picture that proves society is not fair to people of color (blacks and Latinos, in particular). Also, housing and employment continue to be areas of huge inequities. Oh, and education.

And yes, I have tons of examples if you really want them. Call them anecdotal and dismiss them because of that if you like, but I think 16 years of seeing this shit up close as a white person with brown people in his life makes me more an expert on discrimination than anyone who plugs their ears (conservative or liberal) and says, “I’m not like that!” or “That’s not true!”

Change comes through awareness. And I mean awareness of the people who perpetuate the bullshit. Who continue to benefit from privilege and never work to share it with others and make sure others can have the same access. When we are aware some people aren’t treated fairly, we can begin to chisel away at racism, homophobia, sexism and all the rest.

It’s the only way. Be aware of your part in it. I have to be, because it’s the morally correct thing to do, and I try to do my small part. Please do yours, too.

15
Jun
12

Cutlery Conspiracy

Good thing it’s the end of the school year, because I see there’s a conspiracy afoot to make me waste money.

My daughter loves having a bagel and cream cheese when I send her with cold lunch. This requires a knife. Since I don’t want to lose the real cutlery in some elementary school mishap, I buy disposable plastic knives. I also buy disposable plastic spoons for things like apple sauce and pudding in her lunch.

I don’t buy plastic forks because I don’t need them and don’t want to stockpile them. If there is a zombie apocalypse, alien invasion or nuclear holocaust, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be saying, “Damn, I’m SO glad I have 5,000 plastic forks in the barn. Those will really help in fending off the undead/extraterrestrial commandos/rampaging rapist-cannibals.”

So, I don’t buy the picnic-oriented packs with all three utensils. That’s just an invitation to end up with unused and unusable plastic forks, and then next thing I know I’ll be featured on “Hoarders” or some similar TV show.

Yet I go to Walmart several days ago and try to buy a new box of knives, only to find no sign of them.

Spoons only? Yes! Forks only? Yes, but who cares? Knives only? Well…ummm…no.

I thought maybe they were just out of stock, but it didn’t seem as though there was a space for them anymore.

Today, I stop into the local grocery store to get fixings to make my wife and son breakfast burritos this morning. I decide to stop into the paper plate/plastic-ware aisle, and find that even there, I see neither knife-only boxes nor a spot for them anymore.

What’s up with this? Is it like the whole over-the-counter allergy medicine shit? A few assholes make meth with the allergy meds that have decongestants, and the rest of us have to show ID and be rationed because of that? What…are schoolkids suddenly stabbing each other in the eyes with plastic knives at lunchtime in some sort of pseudo-gang violence and now the rest of us must pay the price?

Besides, local stores, haven’t you considered the most basic fact?

Plastic knives will be much more useful in the apocalypse. Get on that. Now. Reorder and restock.

Or I’ll start stabbing your execs and your purchasing people with all my leftover plastic forks.

07
Apr
12

I’m Sorry, White America! I See the Truth Now!

So, for a bit of time now in this blog and on Twitter, I’ve been taking many in the white segments of the American population to task for wanting to put blame on Trayvon Martin (the victim of a shooting) and dismiss the culpability of George Zimmerman (the shooter).

Now, via my association with The Field Negro (http://field-negro.blogspot.com and @thefieldnegro on Twitter) comes to me this story of a poll suggesting most white Americans don’t really believe Zimmerman is guilty of anything, despite the preponderance of evidence that he at the very least disobeyed police instructions and provoked a conflict with an unarmed black teen.

You know, even though even a casual reading of the facts of the case so far indicates that Martin was minding his own business and Zimmerman was at the very least criminally negligent, most of my fellow white folks apparently see some other truth.

So, it couldn’t be that they’re afraid of the specter of racism and are denying reality to rally around one of their own, right? I must be wrong. And so, I think I have finally figured out what happened that night. Black and white America…and everyone in between…you can thank me later.

The Real Story

George Zimmerman, dutiful neighborhood watch captain, is patrolling in his SUV and spots Trayvon Martin skulking through the area wearing a hoodie and menacingly brandishing a pack of Skittles and a soda as he leered at helpless and terrified citizens through the windows of their homes, mouthing threats to them silently through the glass.

Calling 911, Zimmerman reports suspicious behavior and is told that police will handle it and he shouldn’t continue to follow Martin.

Sensing something in the tone of the 911 operator’s voice that suggested possible collusion with the hulking Negro beast marauding in his neighborhood, Zimmerman continued to pursue Martin, knowing he was the only hope of his fellow residents against a fearsome threat fueled by candy and soft drinks.

Suddenly, Martin turned and saw his pursuer. Knowing it was a valiant neighborhood watch captain (for how could the youth even conceive the person following him in an SUV might be a molester, stalker or even a violent racist!), he snarled and began to lunge for the vehicle, scrabbling at Zimmerman’s windows and then cocking back a fist to plunge through the glass and pull the other man from the safety of his SUV.

Realizing now the terrible danger he was in, and suspecting perhaps the 911 operator actually had his safety in mind after all, Zimmerman backed his vehicle away, dislodging Martin and then preparing the leave the scene so that police could do their job properly.

But despite reaching speeds approaching 35 miles per hour in a residential area (and oh how Zimmerman dreaded doing such a lawless act!), Martin was keeping up with him, and used strange mental powers to open the locks on Zimmerman’s doors, pull him out of the vehicle and begin pummeling him.

With no choice, and his heart sick with the thought of it, Zimmerman pulled his pistol, and shot the horrid villain dead.

Now, the only reason we’re not getting this story, and instead getting an ever-changing and increasingly illogical tale from Zimmerman, his legal team and his well-connected judge father, is because of a vast conspiracy in the White House. Yes, “President” Barack Hussein Osama-bin-Obama is spending trillions to turn black youth into genetically enhanced, superpowered Muslim agents of destruction, and Zimmerman unwittingly discovered one of them.

I’m so glad that I know the truth now.

Again, my apologies, “White America.”

21
Mar
12

Zombies and the Right Wing

All right, despite the fact it was a week-and-a-half ago that I wrote a silly piece related to a series of zombie movies…and now my first post since then also talks about zombies…I promise this blog isn’t going to become “Zombie Sh!+ from Deacon Blue.”

But zombies do play an important role in me making a point which, as usual, I will get to in a highly roundabout manner.

A couple weeks ago, I made some (theoretically) humorous response to something my wife said in which I referenced “the coming zombie apocalypse.” Rather than laugh (which often doesn’t happen where my jokes are involved anyway), my wife asked very seriously and gravely, “What is it with you and zombies?”

It was asked in a manner along the lines of, “Why would you hit yourself in the face repeatedly with a meat tenderizer?”

Now, it should be noted that my wonderful wife is a bit of a literalist. She likes fiction in video and written form, but she deals with concrete, real-world things. Fantasy and science fiction rarely appeal to her at all; if it doesn’t relate to things she can see and imagine in her day-to-day, she often won’t understand the appeal. She’s been trying very hard to continue to create an atmosphere for our daughter to believe in magic and let her imagination soar, but she’s somewhat less willing to sympathize with my love of things fantastic and out there in fiction.

After explaining to her that I’m not personally all that much into zombies except with some specific tales out there, I did my best to point out that zombies are a meme, and a metaphor for a lot of things in society. Yadda yadda yadda. She still doesn’t understand, and I now avoid using the term “zombie apocalypse” in her presence.

But it did get me to thinking: Why are zombies such a big thing right now in novels, TV series, movies, etc.?

Sure, they’ve been around since “Night of the Living Dead” made such an impact on our collective psyches and launched an entire franchise for George Romero on the big screen. But in the 1980s and 1990s, a lot of zombie stuff wasn’t apocalyptic. It tended to be a problem that was solved by the end of the movie, with just one zombie surviving to create a sequel in which the same pattern led to another sequel…and so on. But zombies rarely destroyed civilization entirely.

So that got me to thinking about apocalyptic fiction. That’s also nothing new. But in the past, a lot of it was around the idea of nuclear war, at a time when we were either still reeling from the aftermath of having nuked two cities in Japan just to be assholes or…more importantly…when we were in the midst of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

But even then, the apocalypse was rarely the focus. It tended to be a backdrop to let folks like Mad Max run around in leather shooting bad guys.

Today’s apocalyptic fiction and film (with zombies or without) seems to me something entirely different. Because now it’s often about civilization collapsing and people having to fend for themselves and try to survive when there’s little hope around them.

Gee, sounds a lot like the state many of us are in here in the United States right now, especially since the economic meltdown.

And that brings me to my right-wing ranting. It brings me to the thought of how conservatives with money are all too willing to let the entire nation suffer for their own gratification and the mutual support of the wealthy and privileged, and damned be the consequences. They seem willing to let everything burn down or collapse around all of us just so that they can get their way or make a point or come out ahead.

And that is why people have the zombie apocalypse on their minds.

Because deep down, most of us know that the people in Washington, D.C., who control so much of our lives (and on Wall Street, for that matter) are self-centered rich assholes who don’t care whether we live or die as long as they make a profit. The conservatives are most guilty of this heartlessness, but there are “moderates” and “liberals” aplenty who also don’t really care about much past their own comfort and their own wallets.

The thing is, many of them would be happy to see the world end. They’d be happy to seal themselves in well-stocked bunkers with soldiers and key staff to support their needs and rub their feet and suck their dicks while zombies are devouring the last few decent people left wandering about. They would be thrilled to know that they no longer have to deal with anyone needy or unattractive or poor or who isn’t white.

A safely sealed world to themselves, with few women trying to exert influence and no damned minorities and where they can eat, drink and be themselves without consequence.

The right wing wants shit to fall apart, as long as they still have access to the guns and resources.

That way, when they come crawling back to the surface, they can rebuild the world they want, with an angry, loveless, narrow-minded God at its center and all the non-white, non-male folks safely in their places playing their assigned roles.

And providing the distractions for the occasional zombie still left wandering around, while the fat cats waddle back to the safety of their bunkers for a little while longer.




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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Jeff Bouley

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