Kony 2012: This Week’s Money-Grabbing Scam

This is one of the faces of evil. The guys who made him famous last week? They're the faces of unabashed capitalism.

March 13, 2012

A week ago, the Kony 2012 video swept the internet and millions of people posted status updates, shared their views on the tragedy in Africa, and for a while, it seemed everyone was heartbroken over the rape, slaughter and inhumanity perpetrated by this man.

I didn’t buy it.

Not that I didn’t think this was all going on. Far from it. These kinds of war crimes have been going on for years, and we were lucky enough to host a former child soldier at TAMIU who shared his story with us. It’s heartbreaking, to be sure, but something about the Kony 2012 video didn’t smell right. Fighting a warlord by making him popular?

It’s like saying we can beat Al-Qaeda if more people knew about them.

KONY 2012 by ~Friiggi on deviantART

It wasn’t long before others came out and put holes in the video and Invisible Children itself. In short, the organization has had some shady dealings and most of the money goes to the three founders, for travel, and filmmaking. The money that does go to Africa? The organization actually funds the Ugandan military which may or may not be guilty of the same crimes they’ve pinned on Kony.

The video is a 30-minute long commercial for a filmmaker. It’s a non-profit goal kind of how making Avatar was an effort to make the world environmentally conscious. Somewhere, James Cameron is wiping his butt with hundred dollar bills.

It’s not your fault if you didn’t know all this. It took a few days for the information to get out, but there’s a reason some of us waited before saying anything. Things have been bad in Africa for a long time. That’s no secret. It doesn’t get covered in the West as much as it should so when something like Kony 2012 comes along, it almost seems like there has been an explosion of violence where there was none before. We feel guilty for not having paid attention.


KONY SCAM by *ramworship on deviantART

But that’s no reason to throw support at a campaign without really knowing what the campaign is about. In this country, we had millions line up to participate in the Tea Party without anyone really knowing until years later that the so-called grassroots movement was actually funded by the Koch Brothers, two men who have worked for decades to promote a highly conservative and fundamentalist agenda, work to dismantle unions, deny global climate change, and lobby for gas, oil, and chemical companies.

In both cases, the same thing happened: someone offered something positive and tugged at the heart. It appealed to emotion. Don’t get me wrong, though. I think we should do all we can to help Uganda. I think the Lord’s Resistance Army is one the great evils of our time.

My criticism lies solely on the people who sold the video to us as a way to help and what they do with the support they get. Our perception of what they wanted to do is great. Let’s stop suffering. What they actually do, though…

It’s using a tragedy to better their own business. Frankly, it’s sick.

For the sake of preventing something like this from happening later, let me lay out what I do with YOUR support, views, hits, and ads.

I pay the rent. I have internet. On the weekends, I buy a case of beer for our D&D games. I have a fiancé whom I wish to support. I have a few thousand dollars of debt for student loans and credit cards that need to get paid off. I’m trying to become a fully independent contractor by writing gaming manuals, novels, and selling artwork. In an ideal world, that would be my sole job. Any support I receive is to achieve that goal.

There’s my full disclosure.

And now, to clean up that much vileness, here’s the greatest Magic the Gathering freak-out ever. Folks, please remember it’s just a game.

The Fall of the GOP

March 6, 2012

Over the last month or so, I’ve pretty much dropped off the map… and managed to miss the BIGGEST clusterfrak in the history of the GOP. Ever. The whole debacle with Limbaugh and contraception and the hearings with nothing but men talking about ovaries when none of the have been near a vagina since birth…

It’s like when I missed meeting R. L. Stein because I had to work on Saturday. Only worse. And this involves vaginas.

Enough has been said on Current, The Young Turks, Maddow, and everywhere else. Let me just say this.

If you identify as a Republican, please consider that the man who called a woman a slut, a prostitute, a whore, is the de-facto leader of your party. Your political leaders are afraid of him. Even after he mischaracterized birth control and insulted a young woman for wanting nothing more than for her health insurance to cover a medicine that helps balance hormones, he stuck to his guns and insulted her character, insulted women, and made his case that femenists are nothing more than man-hating harpies. Insurance companies, after all, cover things like erectile dysfunction, so why not birth control pills?

An erection, after all, has no point other than to bone. Let us now use bone as a verb…

If a man is allowed to bone on insurance money, why can’t a woman receive a medicine that helps balance hormones and prevents a battalion’s worth of medical problems without being called a slut and a prostitute? GOP candidates were unsurprisingly soft on Limbaugh regarding his statements and subsequent non-apology.

Maybe they need erectile dysfunction medicine for the spine.

Ladies, you don’t deserve this. Limbaugh is not a man. He is a semblance of a person made of oxycotin and lard. He is a man-child who would not know how to treat a woman if you showed him a manual written by the combined forces of 3 billion women. He is everything that is wrong with the Republican Party. He is a misogynistic, racist piece of crap that deserves no pity. Once he is gone, conservative Americans might actually be able to move past this windbag’s rants and actually say something substantial.

As much as I rail against the GOP, it’s not that conservatism by itself is a bad thing. Holding on and remembering the past is a good thing. I think the past should be looked at fondly, but it should not be the only thing that matters. Conservatives of old might have had some points, but today’s GOP is run by Fox, Limbaugh, and the voices of unrelenting hatred.

Maybe this vitriol, as painful as it was, will serve to topple that trinity of evil conservatism.

With that in mind, here’s a video of our medicated puppy trying to get through the day.

Divine by Zero: I’m a Racist!(?)

I'm not. It's just a dramatic way of introducing it.

February 10, 2012

It seems the last video got a lot of attention and a fair amount of heat for a lot of Hispanics going after a single white woman. Except we didn’t do it because she was white. Let me explain the concept of “racism” and “bigotry” and why I will not st

Troll Hunting

February 8, 2012

This whole YouTube vlog has really opened a lot of avenues of critique and condemnation. I’ll admit I was nervous. People are more active in places like YouTube that, say, a blog like this. More people are willing to comment and criticize a vlog than a blog. That being said, I got a chance to engage in one of my favorite pastimes.

Troll hunting.

The troll is a skittish creature. It jumps into a comments thread and leaves a badly-spelled jumble of words that should probably be an argument to what you’ve just written or said. The traditional strategy for dealing with trolls is to ignore them. Feeding a troll is like giving food to a stray animal. That animal will stay and love you. In this case, the troll has found a new source of food and you are its unwilling vending machine.

Of course, I feed the trolls. I leave little morsels of comments for them. I let them have a taste.

Then I poison them and burn their bodies behind the shed. Sort of.

Internet Trolling Demotivator by ~novaburst16 on deviantART

The recent video on Sarah Walls got a lot of attention, but a percentage of the comments on the video were by people who comically missed the point of calling out a racist for being a racist. They insisted she was right. They brought out things like their own dislike of Mexicans, how being a Navy veteran meant you could not be dumb, and how Mexicans are the real racists because they refuse to admit they come from a culture of violence and rape.

And no, none of those are exaggerations.

I answer back. I ask questions. I poke holes in their theories. After all, THIS little ol’ Mexican-American never killed or raped anyone and, as far as I can tell, is eloquent and can string together a coherent, logical argument. Faced with this and other facts, a troll will usually try and justify his or her prejudice and previous observations. This backs them into a corner. They get defensive. At this point, the troll will do one of two things.

It will end the conversation (sometimes launching one last volley of self-righteous anger), or it will launch into a full-blown attack.

Either one is a good thing. If it leaves, game over, but you had the last word. It if attacks, it shows its weakness. It exposes its hatreds and prejudice. The angrier it gets, the more it shows what it really thinks. It’s your job, though, to keep a level head. Maintain composure. Don’t give in to the hatred.

Focus it. Like a laser. Powered out of spite. That targets the idiot.

bowels of bigotry by *sketchoo on deviantART

I enjoy answering trolls. I’ve got three heads on my wall from the last three days. One admitted he was racist but claimed he had a good reason. Another insisted he couldn’t have an intelligent conversation with someone unless his opponent could speak English because Mexicans can’t think critically. The third basically said I was racist for pointing out a racist critique.

I do this for two reasons. Bursting people’s racist world-view and exposing them for the angry, ignorant pricks that they are brings me infinite joy. I can’t stand someone trying to justify prejudice, no matter how good their “rationale” may be. For anyone who stands by and lets this happen in the real world, there’s one more bigot who gets away with demeaning entire cultures. Secondly, it’s good practice. Even though, as the saying goes, you should never argue with idiots because they will take you to their level, it’s good practice for my teaching job. Every class, there is at least one person who wants to try and make a point and relies solely on hearsay and bad evidence. Quickly pointing out the holes in arguments like this keeps me sharp.

Besides, do you honestly think I’m going to let some closeted bigot get away with insulting my friends and family and try to justify it with “science?”

Oh. Hell. No.

That being said, I’m going to wash away those thoughts with a beatboxing baby.

Conservatism and Low IQ Link?

I wasn't about to waste an egg on this. I like eggs.

February 3, 2012

You know that stereotype that you have to be really dumb to be racist in a world as connected as ours? That it takes a really thick skull to not accept that we are all more alike than different? Even better, there’s my theory that you have to be purposefully ignorant to vote Republican when the entire party’s mission is to give more money to rich.

We now have proof that not only are conservatives dumb, but racists are also dumb. And we did science!

It seems a new study shows that low IQs are linked to racism and conservatism. Let’s make one thing clear, though: IQ tests are very controversial. They don’t account for cultural or socioeconomic background. That being the case, I should also point out that it’s almost impossible to completely account for every variable in a study dealing with people over such a long stretch of time.

A Decaying Mind by ~snowbean on deviantART

However, it looks as though the researchers did a pretty good job, and they’re not claiming that all conservatives and racists have low IQs. I think this gentleman here put it best. Correlation is not causation. It’s too early to tell if a low IQ really does link to conservatism and racism, but for me, I’ll take it.

What? I’m ignoring the scientific method in order to broadcast my own beliefs about someone? Have I gone over to the dark side?!

No. I’ve lived. I’m basing this on my own first-hand experiences.

Losing My Mind by ~57RIK3R on deviantART

One of the early articles on this site explained that most liberals had a college degree. This, conservatives claimed (and still claim) meant that universities were indoctrinating students into a liberal mindset. Another likely explanation, though, is that an education and being forced to live and work with people of varied backgrounds help people to be more open-minded. Exposure to new ideas allows us to see that there are more than just simple answers to complex problems. From my experience, such an environment can change a conservative into a liberal, or at least make a conservative more centered.

The crux of the explanation is that a low IQ can translate into low critical thinking skills. Lacking such skills, someone tends to gravitate towards simple solutions and simple worldviews. Conservatism and racism both offer the easy view that things are the way they are or entire groups of people can be classified by a few simple stereotypes.

This IS USA by ~tim-grave on deviantART

America is great (if we ignore the genocide thing).

All Mexicans are lazy (except they do the back-breaking labor Americans won’t do for the same price).

We need to defund Planned Parenthood because they do abortions (even though abortions are a tiny percentage of the health care Planned Parenthood provides to women who can’t afford that healthcare otherwise).

This is a Christian nation because “In God We Trust” (ignoring the fact that our founding principles are actually counter to key Judeo-Christian beliefs).

Lack of critical thinking is a terrible thing, but the Right’s actually turned it into a positive trait to have. Don’t go to college. Don’t read liberal websites. Don’t think about it too much. Be as the children. Also, don’t expose the children to any new information or else they’ll start question the beliefs we’ve forced on them.

Does a low IQ mean you’ll be conservative or racist? Not necessarily. But it helps.

See you all on Monday, and don’t forget to visit the Youtube channel, share those videos, and keep sharing links!

Let’s all now share some Jason Statham playing the same character he’s played in 95% of his movies.

Star Wars Makes You Gay?

After Don't Ask, Don't Tell got repealed, many of the Empire's finest felt comfortable coming out.

January 30, 2012

A long time ago, in a Galaxy far, far away, Star Wars had more humane marriage laws than we do in modern America.

And the Right is not happy.

It seems that Star Wars: The Old Republic, the latest Star Wars video game, will allow players to enter into homosexual relationships as part of the plot. That’s great! In a modern world where many young people have embraced the idea of gay marriage and gay relationships, it makes sense to give that part of the fan base and population an opportunity to be themselves, even if it is in a world of turbolasers and lightsabers.

Of course, you know what this means?

Star Wars is going to make your kids gay. I know, I know. But now, to my eternal delight, someone has summoned the poor, innocent children. Won’t someone think of the children?!

Can I? by ~NoctisLiberi on deviantART

By the way, the group that is protesting this? It’s the same group that called for a boycott of Girl Scout Cookies. The Family Research Council really has a knack for going after things that are trying to help children or just provide entertainment. I love how they’ve got their tighty-whities in a knot over the possibility of kids seeing a digital gay couple that won’t be able to do anything besies announce its gay and they don’t bat an eyelid over the fact that, in a Star Wars game, starships filled with hundreds or even thousands of people get blown out of the sky on a regular basis. There’s also the little fact that you can have a high Dark Side score by committing questionable acts.

Like murder.

This is what I love about anyone spinning like a top over something like a gay character in a game somehow corrupting the youth. Said critics never seem to be worried about the MASS MURDER going on in video games. It might be the sci-fi aspect, and it’s not like people didn’t complain about killing and guns in games like Grand Theft Auto. But add sex to the equation?

It’s like yelling Frau Blücher. Somewhere, a horse is going to bray.

Star Wars Funnies: Han Solo by *kevinbolk on deviantART

We live in an interesting culture. We can show Starship Troopers on TV and no one bats an eyelid when humans get mangled and torn to bits. Have someone say a curse word or show a boob?


All I’m saying is…

Actually, I’m not saying anything. Let’s just point at the Family Research Council and laugh at them for wasting time trying to warn us of the gender-bending dangers of Star Wars.

And now, let’s watch a sleeping dormouse and start the week off with something cute.