Tag Archives: america

Social Media and Tragedy

Image via wcvb.com

It’s a sad state of affairs that it is no surprise when the news flashes with violent images and death on a daily basis, that acts of terrorism and mass death occur every few months, that phrases like “the new normal” are tritely used to describe life in this hyper-sensitive time of televised brutality, hate-mongering and fear. Monday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon was another reminder of the finite nature of human life, the unexplained way that occurrences happen, and that acts of violence can happen close to home.

It’s also no surprise, unfortunately, when reactions to said violent images, terrorism and death are broadcast on social media in ways that are predictable, crass and trite. This is not to discount what has happened; the loss of life is tragic and unjust. But it’s sad when a religious group of people has to fear the response every time a destructive act of rage is broadcast; when many pleaded that said religious people should not be grouped together with a minute minority that brought harm to several American; when blowhard, attention-seeking wastes of human life stir up prejudices for a few more minutes of press. The cycle starts anew when a disturbing, grisly news story hits the media, and it’s a matter of time before the racists name the usual suspects. As comedian Chris Rock once said, “that train’s never late!”

It’s natural for people to grieve when presented with horrific events that call their own mortality into question. The loss of life due to unexpected tragedy is sad, and we all have our ways of coping with that loss. But I wonder if the nature of social media, to connect with others, feeds off of that need for validation through socially acceptable ways to express that feeling of loss. Mere minutes after news broke of the bombing, my Facebook News Feed slowly populated with thoughts and hashtags praying for those harmed in the blast. JPEGs (varying in quality) honoring the fallen victims spread like a virus. A few hours later, an eloquent Facebook post by comedian Patton Oswalt was circulated en masse in link and (poorly made) JPEG form. A smattering of user avatars took on Boston themes.

Like the Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut shootings or the death of Roger Ebert, the ways we communicate our sense of loss have happened before, and the next tragedy will ensure that these patterns of behavior will happen again. And despite the varied shades of intelligence, education, culture, race, religion, and upbringing, human nature and American society’s connection to digital media means that we will feel the wild-swinging emotions that come with death, filtered through a social prism of self-expression that begs for acceptance and affirmation from peers–online and offline.

I realize in typing this that I might come across as an unfeeling or cynical robot, an automaton that looks down on those mystifying “emotions” that “humans” emote with their fleshy arms, limbs and brain holders. This is partly true; I’m just a love machine with human skin, and I don’t work for nobody but the collective “you.” Like everyone else (aside from unfeeling sociopaths), I’m trying to make sense of mortality, especially when these adverse things happen far away but are brought to the collective forefront by technology and empathy. There is a need to communicate those feelings of loss, but I hate thinking that there are opportunists that use such moments of emotional frailty to get a few website hits or a Liked Facebook picture. As social media is the prime way for people to reach out to each other nowadays, our Facebook and Twitter accounts are our microphones to the rest of the world.

So are we communicating what we really feel, are we expressing a culturally sanctioned version of that grief, or a strange hybrid of the chaos that comes from being knocked off-balance by the fleeting nature that is life through pics and platitudes? God, who knows. But I do know that continually burying the innocent is as banal as the racists that see a virtual soapbox in breaking news, or those that flash a bitmap for acceptance with no real emotional connection.

I hope that these grim reminders of the primal aspects of mankind become less frequent. I also hope that we let our real feelings dictate how we act on social media, but like the wish for world peace, this may be a pipe dream. But maybe I should be quiet and not care about what people do. I hope that I don’t have to ponder this often.

“We just don’t have the money right now,” America tells Public Radio

Courtesy of Poorrichardnews.com

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (AP) – National Public Radio stations across America launched pledge drives this week in an effort to raise funds to continue broadcasting. Listeners sighed in frustration as the mild-mannered hosts solicited monthly and one-time donations

“It’s just not a good time,” mused America as Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep rattled off statistical facts the percentage of listeners that support local NPR affiliates. “Christmas was really expensive.”

Despite the contest giveaways local NPR affiliates offered its audience (like tote bags, Apple iPad minis and trips to foreign countries), America just could not swing a monetary offering.

“We just don’t have the money right now,” America lamented, looking through its credit card bills in frustration. “If someone [points at husband on the couch] would get off their ass and get a job, we could swing it.”

NPR station programmers are sympathetic to their listeners’ troubles, and they include incentives for donation–such as lifetime contest entry and pledge matching from underwriting companies and employers.

“America has been a good supporter of our numerous, diverse programs throughout the years,” said KJZZ newscaster Steve Goldstein, based in Phoenix. “They even tolerate Whad’ya Know with Michael Feldman, and that is painful to listen to.”

With the economy on the upswing, NPR and America are confident they will be able to afford to help sustain public broadcasting for years to come.

“They’ll be back as soon as they get on their feet,” Goldstein noted.

Stupid MSN News for 2012 (SO FAR)

With news coming out today that Microsoft and NBC News are dissolving the 16-year relationship that brought the world the MSNBC cable television network and MSNBC.com, I was reminded of the fact that NBC provided many of the news articles that I’ve mocked over the years on this here blog. I’ve had fun making light of the vague phrases and poor grammar exhibited on their news sites, but like Windows Vista, the end of an era doesn’t mean that you can’t pretend that the once-mighty reign isn’t over.

While NBC will still provide stupid articles with stupid headlines to Microsoft site for a bit longer, I thought it would be fitting to look back on some of the more insipid links of this year that MSN wanted dumb-ass readers to click. Here we go!

Microsoft was preying upon middle Americans that hate welfare, fatties and themselves. And they succeeded.

That “product ingredient”? That kind bud, dawg! (You holdin’?)

Maybe she was “in tears” because the media has been circling her and Katie Holmes like assholes at a Daniel Tosh show.

Who knew that the world wide web gained sentience AND snark powers?

That’s a HELLA lot of weed, bro. (You holdin’?)

That is one life-like bottle!

“This ‘winner’ was called such in quotations because I bullied her in high school” – article writer

SOMEONE’S getting a booty call!

“You’re DEAD, brain! DEAD! Now FUCK OFF!”

I dunno. Can he throw a baseball? Can he mask his steroid use and blow his money right after retirement? Looks like a big-leaguer to me!

I mean they REALLY blow it, dude. They fucked that shit UP. And me and Duff laughed our ASSES off, bro.

His hair is so odd, it’s not even there!

***

I have enough material for several more blog posts, so look forward(?) to future threats being realized!

America is NOT Post-Racial

If you have been living under a rock or in a cave since… forever, don’t believe anyone that says that America is no longer a racist place.

Example: this story from Racialicious.

Here’s a video of an exchange with two kids about their experiences:

racialicious-no-more-n-word

This subject is close to my heart for many reasons. My first experience with racism came in first grade when my teacher ostracized me for my skin color and introverted nature, having me put in a special ed program before a conference with my parents and good grades got me pulled from the program. (My brother had similar problems with the same teacher a year later.) As pre-teens, my brother and I were called the n-word while on vacation in Orlando, Florida, by a group of kids (as least teenagers) in a passing car.

In sixth grade, I was confronted by a police officer in front of my homeroom, questioned for a crime I didn’t commit. The supposed person fit my description, which was suspect because I was a chubby kid with a Kid ‘N’ Play haircut, and I was clad in an orange smock and large green coat–my uniform for a school safety patrol where I watched the bridge to prevent trouble. That year, I was again called the n-word by a classmate that I had known for years; the girl was in a troubled home, perhaps acting out because of a horrible stepfather.

So I’m a bit sensitive when it comes to kids being attacked due to the color of their skin. Hell, anyone being discriminated against for something they cannot control is an issue for me. But to think that people can put their heads in the sand regarding racism because we have a black president (*well, we’re done with this racism argument!*) is a liar and more than ignorant.

There is no arguing that racism exists, and people can justify their beliefs due to not having reason to change. There are media outlets, political parties and organizations that breed and cultivate that ignorance for their own gain. Racism is still institutionalized in the workplace, education and government. Society rewards those that are not minorities in those sectors, from financial to interpersonal relationships; look at the statistics for those of color doing the same work as a white person or try to adopt a white child in comparison to a minority child.

Things are stacked against EVERYONE ELSE. And it is heartbreaking that children learn this at such a young age. Perhaps articles and videos like these will get people to confront that unfortunate truth and finally get some real dialogue going. I can only hope this happens.

Random Truth Nuggets

I have a million thoughts rambling through my head in a given minute of the day. Some of these find their way to social media–including random observations of daily things, my hatred/self-hatred of watching ESPN daily, my disgust for the Kardashians, and my hatred/self-hatred of watching a Kardashian-starring show. Others are stored away in the part of my brain that is at odds with my sanity, fighting it out until I unleash the thoughts on a blog much like this one.

And then there are times when there’s so much that happens repeatedly that it needs to be unfurled like a party favor, which I also occasionally do on this here blog. And so in an effort to unpack the crazy from my brain holder, I’ll foist my rambling thoughts on you fine folks. They might not make sense, they might seem inconsequential, and they might not have a shred of truth, but HEY! Don’t you be judging my thoughts!

  • I don’t get why people brag about their lives, whether it’s in person or on social media. Should I be impressed? WHY should I be impressed? The efforts come off as insecure and make me like the person less.
  • The phrases “Do you, boo,” “It is what it is,” “Shut up!” and “I know, right?” are conversation fillers that do nothing to enhance dialogue. Much like jeggings and Ryan Seacrest, they are irony-free, charisma voids created in a Los Angeles back alley by rogues that did not know the evil they would unleash.

Does he FEEL?

  • Doctor and TV personality Dr. Drew could retire if he put the casts of Basketball Wives on therapy for 2 years. If nothing else, he can be paid mercy money from insurance companies for not having property damage at their fancy restaurants.
  • I’ve been emotionally affected more often the past few years when listening to certain songs or watching particular TV shows. I pin it on getting older, but those pesky “feelings” things bubble up every once in awhile. (I was shaking for a good half-hour after watching the season 2 finale of Veronica Mars. Great show, by the way.) I actually like the fact that I can feel things, though that might get my “man card” taken away.
  • Sometimes I feel like an oddity. Being an “articulate” black man (the fact that “articulate” is still said in surprise when talking about black folks from around the way to President Obama shows how far we have to go regarding racial relations) with a love of absurd humor and rock music is like hosting a Will & Grace reunion special in Mississippi–a curiosity at best and grounds for a hate crime at worst.

WHY do you hate "Real Americans," Will and Grace?

  • Actress Olivia Wilde has been in quite a few crappy movies. Kate Beckinsdale and Milla Jovovich have been around longer and have the market cornered on turd cinema, but Wilde might best them yet.
  • Fall weather! It’s slightly cooler in Arizona, so nights of 40-50 degree weather mean that I can curl up in a duvet like a human taco, throw on a jacket or zip-up sweater to go out, and leave the air conditioning off at all times. It’s one of the few things I like about Arizona.
  • We should not be disputing someone’s ethnicity or racial status based on whether or how they conform to stereotypes; it is two-thousand and eleven, after all. And yet it is common, even encouraged, to question and degrade someone because they do not measure up to the preconceived notions that ignorant jackasses have branded them with. Whether it is a white person questioning someone’s blackness or Japanese Americans making fun of a peer because they don’t act or talk like them, it is shameful, asinine, cowardly and an sad insight into their witless minds. Right, Herman Cain and others? No one’s ethnicity can be measured by whatever has been drilled in your head by lame jokes, racist relatives and stupid TV shows, and know that I respect you that much less for thinking otherwise.

I was once called "Urkel," a highlight from my high school years.

  • Between air conditioning issues, clogged drains, a broken deadbolt, garage door issues and a termite infestation in my new place, I’m imaging the next problem. My money is on a roof cave-in from torrential frog storms.
  • There is a lot of crappy TV on lately. It’s not that the amount of terrible shows have appeared suddenly (right, Last Man Standing?) but there are so many good programs (Breaking Bad, Community, LouieMad Men, Parks and Recreation, and Sons of Anarchy, for starters) that the lousy ones stand out that much more–not to mention potentially horrific sitcoms coming from Dane Cook, Fred “YEAH!” Durst of Limp Bizkit and Snoop Dogg.
  • The Proactiv or whatever acne-treatment commercial with the woman bragging about now being the “hot mom” is everything that is weird with America, if only because it means that she is probably a teacher and will carry on an affair with her history student.
  • I talked with someone recently about becoming a foster parent. It wasn’t an official chat (it was with someone on Facebook) but they gave me contact information and things to consider. While it will be a few more years before I feel in a stable place to really do it, I am planning on it.

* * *

So that’s what’s swimming up in my ol’ noggin. I’ll understand if you avoid my tweets and de-friend me on Facebook. I have operatives on the inside, anyway. MWAH HAH HAH HAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

FINALLY, U.S. Veterans are Recognized

The post-traumatic stress disorder is SO worth it, y’all.

The Book of Statham: The Essence of Statham

Movie star, ex-footballer and sexual conquistador Jason Statham transcends mere categorization. His tough-as-nails persona is a front for his even tougher-as-more-nails inner psyche, crushing the emotional states of the world’s most intelligent minds with a mere thought of them being “tossers.” His machismo is enough to turn America’s red states gay; his sexual charisma whips through vaginae like tornadoes through trailer parks.

Jason Statham, emerging from the "Sea of Fucking"

In other words, Statham is the pinnacle of Stahamnosity.

Thanks to the combined efforts of archaeologists and relics of Variety magazine, we have pieced together accounts of That Which is Statham — translated from stick figures engaging in strongly suggestive content by Stathanmian sociologist “Arran,” himself bold in the boudoir and jet ski arts.

Excerpts from Book XVI:

New York Times Arts Critic Ben Brantly once said of Statham: “That guy makes Charlie Sheen look like the cast of Will and Grace.” Leaving out the fact that Brantly’s comment was in a review of the 2011 theater performance of Macbeth,  Statham’s legendary masculinity was the stuff of love nectar legend.

Statham has had sex with many men, but it was not gay because he was Statham. The world is infinitely pliable to his whims. If he says it ain’t gay, it ain’t gay. When Statham said that being gay wasn’t gay, his words reinterpreted history: the Bible no longer says that a man could not lay with another man, but that man could lay with Statham; history books touted Nazi Germany as the “Sausage Nigels” party; “the gay condition” was known as “Statham Fever”; and actor Tom Cruise rented out his house for Craigslist sex parties.

Statham didn’t really like being subject to regular human labels, but if pushed (something you don’t want to do, of course), he acquiesced to the following:

Gender: Statham
Sexuality: Stahosexual
Religion: Statheism

The one reported case of someone mocking Statham was a teenage internet user that ironically claimed to be a Statosexual. Statham, sensing someone using his name in vain, reached through the user’s smartphone [an ancient form of wireless communication -- Ed.], grabbed him by the neck, punched his penis off (through the kid’s pants) and said “Next time, I’ll deflate all your balls, friend.”

The incident resulted in a change to the Obama Administration’s much-vaunted net neturality rules – ISPs do not have the legal right to filter content through their service, however the Statham Amendment to the bill allows providers to voluntarily block access to anything Statham related in order to protect customers’ safety. Apple was ahead of the curve – Steve Jobs personally blocked the Statham App from the iTunes App Store in order to avoid complaints of iOS devices overloading due to sheer machisimo, while the iOS autocorrect facility automatically changes “Statham” to “state of ham” to avoid the possibility of arousing Statham’s ire.

Excerpts from Book XVIII:

The Statham Amendment would become its own amendment in the Constitution in 2014 after a Senate meeting incident to vote on the changes to the Net Neutrality bill. On the Senate floor, after John Boehner rolled his eyes when reading the motion of the bill to pass, Statham crashed his Land Rover — otherwise known as his “Fuck Truck” — into the U.S. Capitol building, hurtled himself through the windshield at full screen and tackled Boehner, beating him with his gavel until the orange skin tone was removed from his face.

A real-life event filmed for Crank 2.

The Statham Amendment incident was the start of Statham’s involvement in bureaucratic service. Statham immediately removed the Senate and Congress from Washington, leaving the Legislative Branch in the hands of Statham. The Supreme Court, fearing hostile takeover, vacated their spots. President Obama promised to relegate himself to Vice President. (Joe Biden was kept on as Statham’s White House jester.)

The national tragedy was immediately challenged by Statham as a “National Correction.” Fearing similar government incidents, foreign countries enacted similar measures of Statham-blocked internet information to prevent his wrath.

Despite the measures being purely for the safety of the citizenry of the world and not a slight against Statham himself, Statham worked from within the system to remove all restrictions on the world gettings its dose of unchecked, uncensored, grade-A fuckworthy Statham. He had only appeared to support the amendment from the outside because he was bored and felt like a challenge in getting it repealed (“challenge” being a relative term when it comes to Statham; being something which takes him using just 1% of his immense brainpower).
He worked to both undermine and publicly support the Amendment through means of democracy and the power of the vote and…

Just fucking with you; he totally boned Nancy Pelosi.

Excerpts from Book XIX:

The magnificent bonetude of Pelosi gave Statham an immediate dosage of political savvy and knowledge — partially from absorbing Pelosi’s chi and literally blowing her back out. (Pelosi’s spinal fluid worked as a stem cell-like supplement that also gave Statham Pelosi’s past memories and feminine attitudes, which he mentally eradicated from his brain with the thought “I’ll give you five seconds to remove your pussy thoughts.”)

Statham, emerging from the "Fuckorghini"

With decades of political knowledge, Statham managed to uproot all America knew of democracy, running afoul of political friends and foes alike. Political pundits fell into step, praising his name in reverent tones like Gregorian chants.

FOX News [a former broadcast television network for Conservative political propaganda, hosted by retired strippers -- Ed.] was the first, with the cable news leader changing their name to “FOX Statham” and the slogan to “Statham and Balanced.” Glenn Beck, fearing not getting a ratings boost by not having him on his show, offered himself up as a Stahosexual conquest. Statham took that as a challenge, strapping Beck to the hood of his Fuck Truck and driving it around Australian prisons while having a seven-way with the female anchors.

Excerpts from Book XXIX:

After conquering FOX News, Statham took over every single cable news and television network in similar fashion. Americans could not turn the channel without seeing Statham riding his jet ski in Fuck City, yelling and pointing at the sky, or having graphic sex with the WNBA league while shouting “You know you won’t understand it, but it’ll be good practice for me!” CNN became known as Statham News Network. MSNBC changed the meaning of its initials to be “Motherfucking Statham National Broadcasting Company”. Even the Onion News Network changed to “Statham Statham Statham!”

The former country of the United States of America wondered how its airwaves became a haven for Statham porn programming so quickly. Once-professional networks such as CSPAN and MTV4 were reduced to clearinghouses for Statham’s “Fucking from the Fuck Palace” recordings. His bedroom trysts with models and supermodels were top stories on televised news; his bonings of super-duper models were prime-time shows on NBC’s “Must Fuck TV” lineup.

Statham’s book-publishing companies — Statham Books, Lil’ Statham Kids’ Books and Statham’s Adult-Time Monographs — celebrated Statham’s sexual exploits in printed form, with his biography, 20,000 Fucks: Tales from the Set of Crank 2, winning the Mark Twain Award. Statham’s reach extended itself to the internet, with academic and carnal material re-purposed for shrines in his honor.

His reach over all communication channels went unmet for 12 years. Meanwhile, a small group of counterculture radicals, calling themselves “Alarmists to Subvert Statham,” plotted to overthrow their ruler. And the time for revolution was nigh.

Obama Designates ‘Air Horse One,’ “Partisan” Equestrianship

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s administration has added the traffic control call signal “Air Horse One” to air traffic controller terminology, overseen by the Federal Aviation Administration. The decision comes hours after the Obama family purchased a 12-year-old Shetland pony.

The pony,  codenamed “Patches” by eldest daughter Malia Obama, was a present from her father for her academic performance “at the margins that’s going to increase” her educational prospects for cutthroat, private junior-high recruitment.

Malia Obama (right), recipient of "partisan" pony

“I have make a firm pledge, under my educational reward plan, no daughter of mine will see a childhood without a horse. This horse was a gift; it was not bought with your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes,” said a reassuring Obama.

Obama’s efforts to beat media outlets from spinning the fatherly gesture were picked apart from right-wing pundits.

“As Obama’s horse rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where does it go? He’s made a horse a liberal. A liberal, partisan horse! Not in my America!” said FOX News analyst Sarah Palin on yesterday’s The O’Reilly Factor broadcast.

“I think if you go back in history and if you ask that question of many horses, they may have the same answer that I just gave you. Paul Revere’s horse: Republican. George Washington’s horse: Republican. Both were beautiful, deliciously patriotic horses. That Mr. Ed: liberal. Only un-American, non-grassroots horses talk that good of English.”

Palin, discussing the political loyalties of horses, on The O'Reilly Factor

FOX News colleague Glenn Beck offered his take on his national radio show today:

“‘Please stop teaching my children that everyone gets a thoroughbred just for participating. What is this, the People’s Choice Awards? Not everybody gets a goldfish.”

The signal addition by the FAA was uncharacteristically fast tracked by the president, anticipating a Christmas ride at Camp David.

“This is an unusual move for this administration,” said FAA Administrator J. Randolph Babbitt. “It wouldn’t be out of place in Bush’s White House. The stories I picked up from [former Administrator Marion] Blakey… did you know that Bush once made us clear airspace so he could fly to Iraq in a stealth bomber? Luckily, [former Vice President Dick] Cheney hung up his phone. Bush was notorious for making calls from random phones.”

A similar signal measure, “Air Horse Two,” is tentatively scheduled from Obama for a Christmas date.

“A good compromise, a good relationship, is like a good collaborator; or a good piece of steak. Everybody can recognize it. They say, ‘Thank you, Daddy. Thank you for also giving me a pony.’ I hope Sasha will enjoy her steak,” Obama noted.

Longevity

A few months ago, I decided to shop for a pair of shorts. Exciting, right? I had not bought shorts in years, and living in the harsh heat of Arizona, I figured that it would be nice to have more than one wearable pair. I figured that I would have a wide selection to choose from, again, because of living in America’s boiling armpit (literally and figuratively); what I didn’t expect was my search for short pants to become a journey of introspection.

The shorts that started the panic.

Facing a long rack of shorts of different colors — khaki, plaids and mellow colors —  and sizes at Banana Republic, a panicked thought hit me: I will have these shorts for several years. Whatever I picked would be measured against my age; 33-year-old me would be wearing the same shorts I picked as a 30 year old. People would wonder whether I am a mature adult or a man-child dressing younger than my years. It made me think twice — and thrice — about my decision, and I froze. It was too much responsibility for me.

After several more shopping trips over several weeks with similar results, I decided not to buy any shorts. “Shorts are for kids,” I told myself. But I also reflected on many other things in those weeks. The shorts were the tip of the iceberg of my deep dive into adulthood; the shopping trips forced the issue about my thoughts and feelings on growing older. And it made me wonder how others perceived me as an adult and as a man, how I compared myself to peers my age and where I was compared to where I had been. The shorts were a metaphor for my perspective on longevity.

My feared perception of shorts

It helped me to remember and realize certain things about myself. For the most part, I’ve been a practical person. I had a savings account since grade school thanks to the urging of my parents, and that money came in handy for my video game habit — splitting the cost on a new Super Nintendo and Mega Man III for the NES — and my first car. I bought a pair of brown leather sandals after college based on their classic style, knowing I would use them for years.  (I still own them.) My sense of style hewed more classic than in-the-now. I bought my second home in Arizona at the age of 25, thinking it would be a good investment and a home base for a feeling of security. (The investment part was off, but I’ve lived here for 5 years.)

Longevity has been a central part of my decisions without knowing it. But it was based on my own internal compass of expectations. I didn’t figure the perception of others into most of those decisions; after all, a group that largely has and continues to ostracize me was one I could hardly relate to. But I am often mistaken as a college or high school student, mostly when dressed at less than business casual. I wanted to age myself up to become the mature person on the outside that I felt that I contained — perhaps attract a more mature woman than what I seemed to find myself gravitating towards.

The opposite of how I wanted to be perceived

That led me deeper down the introspective rabbit hole. I looked at my interests, my friends, my clothes, my car: was my sense of maturity limited to those practical acts of self interest? Some people still think of video games as kids’ toys. Hatchback cars, though nearly as practical as a SUV or wagon for storage, weren’t seen as attractive to the opposite sex — as my mom mentioned before I bought my Volkswagen Golf (which I’ve owned for almost 8 years). And graphic t-shirts skew younger than a polo or long-sleeve, button-down shirt. Those perceptions from others, the same that I disliked, weighed on me, and I needed to get the monkey off of my back.

The answers, as it turned out, were in my reflections.  Sure, I made a conscious effort to age my clothing a little bit, trading out my Threadless t-shirts for a few polos and button-downs, but I’m not opposed to a new graphic tee in the future. The perceptions from others would be on them: whatever I divulged in — from clothing to video games and life essentials — have and will be based on whether I can see myself using them several years down the line. The knowledge that I am aware of and in control of perception of longevity is one bit of info that won’t hamper future decisions, let alone shopping trips.

“Do They Know It’s Racist?”

On this historic day, Aug. 28, 2010, the 47th anniversary of the day that Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his landmark “I Have a Dream” Civil Rights-charged speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., I am not in the mood for celebration. In fact, I am baffled, shocked, angry and appalled.

The reasons for these emotions are many, but they can be summed up in one image: as I pulled up to a Walgreens pharmacy in Gilbert, Ariz., I saw a sticker on a back of a pickup truck that read “Take Back America 2010″ with a website listed on the bottom. I almost lost my shit.

It’s no secret that racism is still alive and well. Whether it is the “Ground Zero Mosque” Muslim community center raising their ire and causing a hate crime on an innocent taxi driver, the un-clever use of the word “Canadian” for bigots to talk about African-Americans, or FOX News dickface Bill O’Reilly talking about lynching parties regarding First Lady Michelle Obama or pretty much anything he has ever said, the right to say whatever they want is used to spew hate-filled rhetoric that would make a Klu Klux Klan grand wizard nod in agreement. Groundswell gatherings like the Tea Party Patriots (complete with racism), asshat Congressional hopefuls like Dr. Chris Salvino campaigning on the fear-based cry to “Stop Obama,” and the whites-only basketball league are examples of that silent fright being taken advantage of and gaining momentum. Hell, President Barack Obama can be called a “socialist,” “communist” and “Hitler” without any pretext of thought involved.

Uhh... NO.

And yet because they know it is not considered to be proper manners nowadays in 2010 America, there is enough backpedaling to cover up their statements as not being the hostile tirades that they are to finish the Tour de France backwards. Or they believe that having a black man in the Executive Branch is a reason for post-racial slips of the tongue (hi, Chris Matthews!). News flash: Racism is racism is racism, no matter how you paint it.

The spotting of the sticker happened mere hours after fellow FOX News host/blathering dickface Glenn Beck decided that America’s honor needed to be restored by staging his own “historic” event on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the same location of King’s monumental lecture, to preach to his slack-jawed pulpit about how he and they should reclaim the Civil Rights movement. The lack of irony and subtlety in bigoted, lily-white dopes wanting to convert a crusade for equality for minorities and women to suit their own rage-fueled, terrified-felt, thick-headed needs is as absurd as a Juggalo being made valedictorian of Harvard University’s graduating class.

It’s funny (horrifying) that while past presidents put measures into law and marched the country into war — Clinton helped boost CEO pay, George W. Bush’s tax breaks for the rich and George Bush Sr. and his tax cuts/bringing the U.S. into Iraq — with the public outcry being protests and Kenneth Starr being unleashed on Clinton’s sexual escapades, it took the clamor over pork spending (oh, sweet Jesus, Mesa, Ariz.) to sow the seeds of the current Tea Party movement — around the time that President Obama took office. Funny how people decided to take action as soon as the presidential portrait darkened by a few shades.

Wipe off the paint and you have a Tea Party gathering.

Though I’ve mocked Beck and the “Tea Party Patriots” in the past with swipes of passive-aggressive humor, it has been tinged with increasing frustration and exasperation at how these attempts from people like Beck and the drug-addled Jabba the Hut impersonator Rush Limbaugh to mask their subtle racism and growing fear with participating in and fanning the fear-mongering flames. And while a single person is reasonably of sound mind and not bound to cause harm, people are prone to groupthink, peer pressure and mob mentality.

By tapping the vein of a seething group of people that feel abandoned, hopeless and superior to the man in charge of the country due to his skin color, we have let hate-based entities like FOX News, Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Sarah Palin unlock the cells of the weak-minded asylum. (The fact that Palin defended Schlessinger’s racially-charged tirade as a free speech measure instead of the brazen, hate-filled tirade of a supposed “joke” that is was tells me that they missed the last 60 years of minority advancement in America.)

He just wants his country back. From what threat, I think I have an idea.

Quite simply, there is an increasing mass of people that are using their right to say and gather as they wish to unleash their outdated, hate-filled beliefs on the airwaves and in their communities. And as the First Amendment lets them communicate in such a manner, I should be able to do the same. And frankly, I am tired of being mild-mannered and diplomatic towards these people when they are most likely berating me and other African-Americans when I’m out of sight.

So you have the right to protest mosques being built in New York City because of those “horrible Muslims” in your town in this country, assemble to “protest tax cuts” with racist banners and slogans, or call Obama “Hitler.” I have the right to call you a gaping, pus-filled, fecal-encrusted asshole. And if I’m in a place where it is not public decorum to utter those words when confronted with your shit, keep in mind that I am thinking it. This is not an immature tirade but me exercising my right to say, think and feel as I wish.

So now Glenn Beck has had his chance to restore honor to the U.S. that has supposedly been tarnished by some unspoken entity (Obama). The clean-up from hate-mongers of his ilk to foster decency, respect, intelligence and a sense of equality to the country will take a considerably longer period of time. And the grassroots movements to unite like-minded people won’t come from a pudgy, pale-faced pied-piper, but from a look in the mirror and a long, hard look at what the inmates of the asylum have done.

The anger and frustration will have to be put aside, and that hope that Obama campaigned on will have to be put to a new use to overcome the negativity. King would have wanted it that way.

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