The Snark Knight Sensationalizes

One of these is a megalomaniac who ingests drugs to give him the power to keep going in a tough fight. The other one fought Batman.

July 19, 2012

Ladies and gentlemen, I know I am known for my verbosity. I have a love of words and sometimes that takes the better of me. I think my YouTube videos should attest to that. However, please record the time and place. As of right now, I am speechless.

Behold.

There are so many things wrong with that speech that it would be easier to list the things that are correct. Let’s start.

“Bane” and “Bain” are homophones. That means they sound the same.

There. We’re done. That’s all that was the same.

No, really.

Bane was introduced to Batman comics in 1993. He was a formidable foe, just as smart as the Bat but more ruthless. In fact, Bane figured out Batman’s secret identity within a year and put together a plan to finally defeat him. It ended with Bane fighting an exhausted Batman in Wayne Manor, then snapping Bruce’s back like a toothpick. The event was mentally and physically traumatic and it was only through sheer will that Batman eventually recovered. Over the years, Bane has been a recurring villain, and sometimes ally, of Batman.

For The Dark Knight Rises, Bane is re-imagined as a terrorist of sorts. I haven’t seen the movie, but from interviews and promos, it seems he is just as cunning and fearsome as his comic book counterpart and not the movie we will all pretend never happened.

Oh, and did I mention Dark Knight Rises was drafted back in 2008?


The Dark Knight Rises by ~RyanLuckoo on deviantART

That’s right. Four years ago. WAY before this election cycle. Does Rush honestly believe this was planned out on the off-chance that Romney ran for president? Did Nolan magically intuit that Romney would be the presidential nominee and that the Bain Capital would be ammunition from both Republicans and Democrats? And before someone says, “Well, Romney ran in 2008, too, so this must have been relevant back then,” let me remind you of something…

ROMNEY WASN’T CRITIQUED FOR BAIN CAPITAL LAST TIME.

Did I mention the sheer divination powers needed in order for this to make sense? Seeing a conspiracy where none exists with a character that’s been around for 19 years is a sure sign of lunacy. Let’s apply this kind of Right Wing logic to other comic book characters. Here are a few more conspiracy theories…

  • Batman is some rich guy who takes his own money to help others out of charity. He even gives jobs to people in low-income areas. This is obviously a dig at rich people who know how the market really works. Batman is an attack on capitalism.
  • Captain America embodies the ideals and spirit of the Greatest Generation, but he’s not the strongest or fastest superhero. In fact, he’s just a man. This is clearly an attack on American exceptionalism.
  • Superman is an illegal alien who fights for the American way. He’s also the most powerful being in the comics. Whenever he is gone, things go badly. This is obviously a metaphor for illegal aliens being the backbone of this country, even though they’re not here legally.
  • Wonder Woman comes from an island populated by women, and you know what THAT means. Making her super-strong is obviously meant to imply that women don’t need men in their lives. This is obviously an attack on the family.
  • Green Lantern is an obvious propaganda film for the United Nations and usurping control from local governments. An American gets drafted in a galactic police force and does THEIR will on Earth? And he saves the day when Earth can’t? This is obviously an attack on American sovereignty.


Not-turnal by *Tragic-Ballerina on deviantART

So, no, Rush, Bane is not a stealth smack against Romney. And the Bain debacle? It’s not a made-up conspiracy. It’s real. Romney keeps running on his supposed economic intelligence and ability to fix the economy.

He sent jobs overseas. He SLASHED jobs to make money for executives. John Stewart said it best, so I won’t rehash it too much. The point is that Romney is getting hammered from all sides, Right and Left, because he’s a job-killing ape who couldn’t fix a bendy straw if he tried. It has nothing with him being rich and more with him not realizing his success and wealth came at the expense of others.

Leave Nolan and Batman out of it, Rush! If you were a Batman villain, you’d be the current Penguin. You’re not TECHNICALLY a criminal, but damn if you’re not asking for it.

Sure, Rush. We obviously have a time machine that let us do this. First, we planted the birth announcement. Now, we modified the third in a film franchise that’s made over a billion dollars JUST to poke fun at Romney. If liberals really had a time machine, we would have made George Bush Senior pull out.

Duh.

Let us now enjoy something far more entertaining: the final trailer for Dark Knight Rises. And if ANYONE spoils this movie for me, I will hunt you down like the dog you are and turn you into barely-recognizable human play-doh.

Bill Nye vs Texas and Conservatives Try Science

It's clearly Photoshopped. There are no stars! (and if you need me to explain why that's so stupid, please consider why you can't see stars during the DAY)

May 4, 2012

Now that “Elves With Shotguns” is in the final stage of production and all I have to do is wait for RPGNow to approve the pdf for publication, I can finally sit back and enjoy the fruitful political and social discourse streaming through America’s media.

By that, of course, I mean foam at the mouth at the utter lack of comprehension at 3rd grade science. Three instances in the last few weeks have left me wondering why conservatives want to gut education since, besides a mountain of evidence that shows a strong public education would help our country, conservatives themselves show their own glaring ignorance of basic scientific concepts.

Limbaugh’s Concept of Science

Rush “Hindenburg of Sexism” Limbaugh is no stranger to denying climate change. He took it a step further recently when he claimed that global climate change created by human interference was a fraud because so many scientists agreed on it. It must be heard to be believed.

Here’s Rush’s argument. Science is not based on opinions. He has that part correct. No self-respecting scientist would agree with a new theory based solely on popular opinion. Here’s the part Rush left out: so many scientists agree with climate change because they have analyzed the data or otherwise performed their own experiments based on repeatable observations. That’s what scientific consensus means.

Scientists get behind a theory when a LOT of them can replicate experiments or verify that data and experiments were accurate. It’s not a popularity contest. By this logic, here are a few more things Rush must not believe in:

  • Evolution
  • The Big Bang
  • Geologic models of the earth
  • Gravity
  • The existence of extra-solar planets
  • Pi
  • The effectiveness of modern medicine

It does, however, reflect modern American conservative thinking: if there is evidence you are wrong, the evidence itself must be wrong.


abortion by ~marsmar on deviantART

Arizona Protects Imaginary Babies

The debate over abortion and taking away abortion rights is part of the larger war on women the GOP has been waging in recent years. Arizona also has the distinction of having some of the dumbest lawmakers in the country. Now that’s something to be proud of. This one, though, takes the cake.

From the Huffington Post:

Aside from banning all abortions after 20 weeks, defined from the date of the woman’s last period instead of conception except in the case of medical emergency, it will force women considering abortion because of fetal abnormalities to have counseling [sic], and for women having an abortion to have an ultrasound.

It also says the age of a foetus [sic] is “is calculated from the first day of the last [woman’s] menstrual period.”

Got that? In Arizona, you can be legally pregnant before you conceive. It’s a Christmas miracle!

Aside from the morally reprehensible act of denying women a basic medical treatment that is legal in the rest of the country simply because one ideology is against it, let’s consider the ramifications of this, okay? A woman can now retroactively be considered pregnant when she wasn’t. This opens up a whole can of legal worms. If they’re so set on making sure the potential for life remains, why not make it illegal to have wet dreams while they’re at it?

Seems as logical.


Bill Nye funny by ~Irish156 on deviantART

Bill Nye vs Texas

Bill Nye is one of my childhood heroes. The man made science fun and he’s been going and teaching for years now. The man will become a legend in his own right.

But Texas doesn’t like him. In fact, it seems Texas doesn’t like science.

Nye was in [Waco] to participate in McLennan Community College’s Distinguished Lecture Series. He gave two lectures on such unfunny and adult topics as global warming, Mars exploration, and energy consumption.

But nothing got people as riled as when he brought up Genesis 1:16, which reads: “God made two great lights — the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.”

The lesser light, he pointed out, is not a light at all, but only a reflector.

At this point, several people in the audience stormed out in fury. One woman yelled “We believe in God!” and left with three children, thus ensuring that people across America would read about the incident and conclude that Waco is as nutty as they’d always suspected.

Yes, folks. It appears that pointing out the moon does not glow, a fact we can prove because we have PICTURES TAKEN ON THE SURFACE, is now an affront to Christians. Let me tell you something… if your beliefs are so fragile that having someone call out a two-thousand year old document that uses poetry to describe the world as being a two-thousand year-old document that uses poetry to describe the world… you need help.

And Bill Nye, I know I wasn’t there, but being a resident in this state, I feel I should apologize. Please come back. We have beer and brisket and Mexican grandmothers that know how to cook.

And now, let’s enjoy a trailer for a horror movie that actually looks interesting. See you Monday, and stay tuned for more updates and news on Randomology Games and the upcoming “Elves With Shotguns.”

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: Vampire Helen Mirren vs Rick Perry

September 1, 2011

It’s not that I’m ungrateful for getting a teaching job this semester. I just wish I got more than 20 hours with which to prepare. Still, I’ve done a class like this before, so it should be pretty easy. And now, to catch up with the week’s stories and everything else I can’t cover in regular posts, here are the links.

You’re welcome, internet.

  • George Lucas can’t help himself and is making MORE changes to the original trilogy. This time, he’s given Vader an extra “NOOOOO!” at the climbatic fight in Return of the Jedi and he’s altered Kenobi’s krayt dragon call. What else? For my money, if I’m going to shell out money for remastered movies, how about getting all the dialogue redone for the prequels? I mean the words themselves AND the delivery.
  • Forget Cliffnotes. THIS is how you condense a literary classic.
  • I want this library. Now. I know I had a birthday a week ago, but I still want this. Seriously, if you all get together, you might afford it if a third of you donated a kidney. You can decide who.
  • Rick Santorum, the man who really wishes he wasn’t on Google, now thinks the gay community is on a jihad against him. Make up your mind, man! Are they Muslims or gays? Or gay Muslims? Or gays who turn Muslims? Why not just say their communist Muslim gays?
  • Rick Perry has to do a lot of damage control… especially about his own book. Here’s a tip for anyone planning to run for public office: if you’re going to regret it, don’t say it or do it. Me?  I could never run for president, but I think I’ve guaranteed with this website I’ll never hold public office.
  • And finally, if you can text, text “PRETTY” to 69491 every day this month, I would love all of you. I’d have your baby. One collective baby. Anyway, check out Pretty Visitors on Facebook, Youtube, or if you’re in Texas, try to catch one of their gigs. Tony, the front man, is one of my oldest friends, and he and the band deserve the exposure. I will work to help expose them to the world. See you tomorrow so we can discuss the wackos from this article a little more. Apparently, we didn’t get their argument.

Juarez, Numa Numa, and the Return of Doug Funny

And you smell like Funyuns!

March 2, 2011

Nothing beats strapping on that AK-47, getting in the Kevlar-lined car, and driving down the street while gunning down a few dozen people for points, right?

Of course, it changes when it’s actual people gunning down innocent bystanders in one of the most violent cities in the world. And it becomes very personal for me when said city is in my home country and is, in many ways, the best evidence in the world against drug prohibition.

Call of Juarez: The Cartel is already drawing sharp criticism in Mexico and here in the US. Very few details have been released regarding the game. All we know is that the city of Juarez will play a central role and cartels will be involved, but that alone is so offensive that Mexican legislators are looking to ban the game.

Why the outburst, you ask? After all, the Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, and other franchises have used glorified violence before right? Sex and violence sells, and this will be just another entry into a market filled with genocidal aliens, mobsters, and terrorists.

So what exactly is Ciudad Juarez?


Juarez by =Robowan on deviantART

Well, it’s one of the most violent cities in the world if you don’t count official war zones. Last month, the city averaged eight homicides a day. In 2010, the city had more than 3,000 homicides, more than double what it had two years before. A series of female disappearances and sexual murders totaling between 400 and 5,000 have rocked the city for years. The Juarez Cartel, also known as the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes Organization, is brutal to the point that it makes the deaths in Saw look like a Disney Channel movie of the week.

Short version? Ciudad Juarez and the cartel wars are a bloody, constant nightmare for millions of people.

I know people who have been kidnapped, not necessarily by the Juarez Cartel, but kidnapped nonetheless. I’ve walked the streets of Mexico as soldiers patrol in jeeps armed with fifty-cal machine guns. I’ve seen my beautiful Mexico reduced to a police state just to maintain some semblance of stability…

And I’m fine with this game getting released.


juarez by ~juanjosee on deviantART

Don’t get me wrong. No one knows as of this writing whether or not the players will play as cops, cartel members, or just unaligned badasses on the warpath. The very idea that someone thinks the violence in Ciudad Juarez is appropriate for a video game frankly sickens me.

But I’m all for Ubisoft releasing this game.

Will it influence people to join gangs? No more than Grand Theft Auto increased the stealing of cars or Mortal Kombat increased fights to the death. Medal of Honor didn’t make people join the military in waves. The only people who would be swayed to join the drug war on the side of the cartels because of this game are the people who are already sure they want to do it and are looking for a flimsy excuse.

I’ll tell people who play the game just what it’s based on. I’ll make sure they know that real people die those situations in the game. I’ll make sure people understand the drug trade is responsible for hundreds of thousands of ruined lives.

But I won’t call to ban it.

Let’s face it. What is one video game going to do that decades of the Drug War and heavily armed paramilitary cartels who decapitate their victims can’t do?


You Are Supposed To Protect Us by ~blackophelia on deviantART

  • I’m not sure how I feel about Nickelodeon making new episodes of shows like Doug, Rugrats, and other classics. Maybe they’ll be good, but I doubt it. They’ll have to fit them to today’s audience. and, let’s face it, my generation has different tastes. Speaking of which, when are they going to release Pete and Pete on DVD?
  • And finally, I hope this is a real movie, or at least a short film. Imagine every meme you ever watched on Youtube… in one movie.

Divine by Zero: No Mexicans, Kick-Ass Darwin, and Drinking Through Your Eye

I had, at one point, another blog called Divine by Zero. Sadly, it never really went anywhere, but I like the name so much that I’m going to keep it for these alternating posts. So, what’s going on in the world? What can we gleam from these insights of madness?!

Or these links…

  • Did you know that a trend is sweeping the UK that jumped the pond from the US? Soon, it will be socially acceptable to drink vodka through your eye-ball! Or so the Daily Mail will have you believe. Needless to say, some people doubt this is happening, Gawker among them. Personally, I think that if you want to get drunk that fast, just buy a bottle of Everclear and go for it.
  • Someone give this man a medal or something for finally letting me hear Ian McKellen recite the poetry that is the theme to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And yes, he does the themes to Duck Tales and Saved by the Bell, too. Now if we could only find someone who will do lines from Jay and Silent Bob as Christopher Lee.

  • This has to be one of the greatest sermons I’ve ever heard. It’s from David Garcia, one of the pastors at the Crossroads Church in Laredo, Texas, giving a sermon with a twist, like always.

So when I was younger and I was living with my uncle, who was a preacher, I went out one day and said, “I’m going to the movies.”

“The movies?” he asked.

“Yes, the movies.” Of course, I went to this party and came home drunk. When my uncle caught me coming home drunk, he asked me where I’d been. I told him I was at the movies. He said I was lying, and he knew it. I asked him how he knew and he said that God had told him I was going to lie. And that really changed the way I saw God.

That night, I prayed and I said, “God… I only have one thing to ask you… stop telling my uncle when I lie.”

  • You know Farmville? Oh, those annoying little status updates you have to block and the hours my students wasted away on planting digital crops. Now, some modern-day Christ has designed FarmVillain, a Facebook application that lets you post status updates on your feed such as “You can now grow hemp on your farm, you know, for making rope,” and “Gift received! Claim your ten illegal farm workers to work on your farm.” That’s it. You click on the story you want and it gets put on your feed. You choose which updates to put up. I’m fond of the “You can now breed wookies on your farm” story, if only for the hilarious shocked wookie graphic.
  • Remember that little thing with Arizona and its law that will encourage racial profiling and cast suspicion on anyone who looks like a foreigner? Well, Rush Limbaugh, champion of the people, is here to quell those concerns. We can’t racially profile, he says, because “Mexican” isn’t a race. Therefore, no racial profiling of Mexicans can take place… It’s one thing when talk radio deadens the political debate. It’s another when it says something so utterly stupid that you have to wonder if the speaker didn’t shove his toothbrush in his ear that morning, scrub around for a minute, then remove it and a substantial amount of brain matter.

And with that, I’ll see you all tomorrow. The Texas Board of Education voted on the final curriculum changes. To put it mildly, they took a piss on the history books before pleasuring themselves with an American flag. It’s… not pretty.

Ah, crap! Now I can’t get that image out of my head!

How to Fight the Lizard People

Get your tin foil cap. This one's going to hurt.

May 17, 2010

I have a love-hate relationship with conspiracy theories.

When I worked as a legislative correspondent in Congress, it seemed like 10% of the mail we received was for legitimate concerns and questions, 30% was rehashed party lines and mass mailings, and the rest were paranoia and craziness from South Texas. You wouldn’t believe some of the theories I read, everything from a secret president ordering mass executions, the end of world brought on by the economic crisis knocking Venus out of orbit, to the Jewish cabals seeking to control us.

And that’s just dumb.

We all know it’s Dick Cheney, in the patented Cheney-Cave, who’s controlling the world.

barack obama and dick cheney
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While theories like this are dangerous because they rely either on illogic or false information, they are also quite fun. What can I say? I get a thrill from watching people jump like Chicken Little at the slightest things.

Lately, though, from Obama’s birth certificate to the allegations that global warming are a scientific hoax, it seems that conspiracy theories are more rampant today than they were even when the X-Files was still airing new episodes. Just for laughs, here are two of the funnier theories I’ve heard.

Eco-Terrorists

Oh you know me… I can’t start my day until I listen to good ol’ Rush Limbaugh. Man’s like a shot of caffeine right to the eye, and in the last few days, he’s been accusing Obama of blowing up the oil rig that has now created one of the worst ecological disasters in history.

Why?

It’s very simple. See, Obama and his radical left-wing progressive sociocommunazi friends want to force environmental protection regulations that will save us from that fakey global warming hoax. Control carbon emissions today… world government tomorrow! Blowing up the rig, says Limbaugh, gave Obama and the eco-terrorists the ammunition they need to pass bans on off-shore oil drilling.

This disaster serves as an example of just how bad things can get if we don’t act now.

So… environmentalists polluted hundreds of square miles of ocean, killed several workers, killed untold amounts of plant and wildlife, and have created a gaping wound in the ocean floor that still floods the water with toxins… all in an effort to save the environment?

By conservative estimates, the oil spill is worse than the Exxon-Valdez accident. There will be repercussions for decades. Entire ecosystems are destroyed. This is a bit like saying that Saddam Hussein secretly instigated the Gulf Wars in order to boost tourism to Iraq. Also, did you notice how Rush ended his segment? He’s just “asking questions.” Yeah, but you have no answers. Asking the question is not the same as addressing it. Hey Rush, did you take so much OxyContin that your ability to use higher brain functions has been destroyed?

I’m just asking.

Okay, that one was fairly easy and could be attributed to political paranoia, so let’s look at another theory that’s… special.


save the world by ~TenshiMoon on deviantART

Two Suns

Did you know Earth actually has two suns, just like in Star Wars, and NASA is spraying chemicals to hide the fact from us? Oh yes. Our sun actually has a twin star and, if conditions are right, you can see this elusive second star.

Nibiru, which the cameraman mentions, is an object that is supposed to collide with Earth and cause mass devastation.

The theory for this video and others like it is actually very simple. See, the government is trying to hide this from us because… wait, no, it’s the GLOBAL government! It has to be since this has been viewed as far as Russia. Yeah, they’re spraying chemicals in the sky to hide the second sun from us because…

Uhm…

Yeah, this one is stupid to the extreme. While there are videos and photos of these two suns, it’s actually a very simple effect called a sundog. And if you honestly believe that NASA is hiding evidence of a second sun… where was this second sun, oh, say, the last five billion years? Even if there was a star with one percent the output of our parent star, we would see it and FEEL it! For it to be that far in the sky, it would have to be on a large orbit!

Dear gods, people… a second sun and the government is hiding it?!

fail owned pwned pictures
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Why do people buy into this stuff? Part of me wants to just say that people are stupid and will believe anything. I want to blame a lack of education. I want to blame it all on the laziness to investigate, to really use the scientific method as it was intended instead of coming to a conclusion first, then finding evidence to support it. If you follow that route, you can justify almost anything. Combine it with a public that is frighteningly ignorant of basic science, history, and critical thinking and you get little nuggets of laughter like this woman:

It’s fraking refraction and reflection through water, lady! It’s not a government conspiracy to sterilize you, although, seeing this video, I would endorse such a measure for you!

Conspiracy theories do have one thing in common. All of them have some small basis in truth. They also rely on information that is either wildly contested or on the fringe of data sets. For any scientific experiment of report, there will be lots of numbers, and geniuses like Beck and his “research” team and others looking for the “truth,” any slight inconsistency in the data means that it’s not reliable in the least.

Let me put it this way. Say you want to measure the height of a building and you have a ruler, a yardstick, and a tape measurer. You use all three and come up with 350 inches, 310 inches, and 333 inches. Most people would see these numbers and simply assume, rightly, that there are imperfections in the method used to gather information, but all methods point to a rough height between 310 and 350 inches or about 30 ft.

It takes a special kind of nut to say that the building must be 500 inches high because someone told you that was the height of the building and no one can prove you wrong, so you must be right.

Personally, I love deflating these little conspiracy bubbles. There are few things I hate more than misinformation or the bastardization of science for these kinds of things. I’m all for keeping an open mind about the world, but people, please, learn to think critically. I know the best conspiracy theories have the big bad villain(s) lying to you, forcing you into blind obedience, and making you the victim… but come on!

Next thing you’ll be telling me is that Kennedy and Michael Jackson are hiding in Puerto Rico with Tupac.

If you have any conspiracy theories you’re fond of, share them in the comments below. I’m always on the lookout for more crazies.

Prove Me Wrong

Most of the regular readers on this site are fairly open-minded about a lot of things. Either that or they like to watch me like I’m some liberal Punch and Judy show. Either way, this article is geared towards people who may not share this point of view. I don’t want to say it’s geared towards “conservatives” because not all conservatives need to hear this. In fact, several “liberals” need to hear some of these things as well, so enjoy, and if someone you know could do with reading this article, just point them in this direction.

March 24, 2010

I had a very interesting conversation with someone a few days ago regarding the Texas educational overhaul. When I mentioned that Thomas Jefferson was going to get taken out, he said that it was a good thing.

A good thing?

As the conversation dragged on and we discussed the merits and flaws of both liberalism and conservatism, his arguments became more and more incoherent. Yes, there was alcohol involved, but he finally admitted that he had no idea what “conservative” and “liberal” meant. He didn’t even know what Jefferson had done until I brought up his achievements. I had to stop right there.

teabagger
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This wasn’t the first time I’d encountered someone passionately arguing for something he didn’t understand. Some time ago, a student wrote an argumentative paper that said we should not use nuclear energy because it was dangerous. Fine, I said. However, once we started reading over his evidence, I quickly discovered he had no clue, no working idea, on what nuclear reactor did or how it functioned. Essentially, his whole argument relied on pop culture references of what nuclear reactors did and how they functioned. To put it another way, he would have been better off saying we shouldn’t use nuclear energy because we’d create another Godzilla.

At least that way we could have talked about giant monsters.

Over the last several months, we as a country have had agonizing debates, and I hesitate to call them that. They’ve been shouting matches. The town hall meetings were interrupted by protestors with nothing more to say than what they’d heard on the news, the radio, or what someone had told them.

Basically, we have people mad, fuming even, over changes that are going on in the government, and yet they really can’t explain or don’t understand why they’re mad.

This is the problem with both sides of the political spectrum. We keep calling this a debate, and yet we’ve been deadlocked for months. Am I saying one side is 100% right and the other 100% wrong? No, but one is more right than the other. However, both sides should come to the table with relevant, accurate information, not talking points. There’s a reason smart people don’t usually go into politics. They can’t stand the illogic of it. Someone who has to resort to illogic and outright lies to make a point usually has an agenda.

In other words:

Recent studies have shown that many liberals have a college education. Whether they were liberal before or after they went to a university is beside the point, however, since this means that a lot of people on the left are taught critical thinking and analysis. They can see through straw man arguments, circular arguments, bad citations, bad sources, or quote mining, and will jump on them like Rush Limbaugh on an OxyContin tablet.

Okay, cheap shot.

The point is that if you want to argue with a liberal, a well-educated liberal, make sure you know what to expect. It is, at the most basic level, a scientific, rational debate. Or at least it should be.

There is a time and a place for emotion. Emotion works best because we can feel it. It taps into the oldest, most primal parts of our brain. Intellectual arguments based on reason are solid and difficult to “feel” unless you’re a hardcore fan of reason and logic.

Or Spock.


team spock+mccoy by ~J0j2 on deviantART

However, once you’ve laid out the logical groundwork, you’re more than free to engage in emotional arguments. Tell a personal story. Mention the hypothetical consequences of our liberal actions to your heart’s content. You might sway some people if you actually have a grounding in reality. That’s what scientific minds look for. A grounding in reality.

At least in my case, if someone has an argument to make, I’d like for that person to at least make the effort to bring rational thought to the table. I may change my mind. If you can show facts and present a clear understanding of the concepts, show how my interpretation of the available data is flawed, or if you can put forth a new hypothesis or proposal that works better than my point of view, I’ll go with it.

The problem with the right is that it’s allowed its most vocal, most hateful, most irrational members to become its representatives.

Limbaugh. Bachmann. Beck. Palin.

If these are the examples, the leaders the Republicans look to, the party will die. People will start associating conservatism with these vacuous fungi with suits and, in the end, conservatism will die on its own.

Much of the anger I’ve heard over the last several months stems, I firmly believe, from some conservatives’ inability to align their world-view with reality. We have a black president. We elected Democrats to a majority in both houses. We passed health care reform. These things aren’t supposed to happen, so they come up with wild ideas, conspiracies, and soon the lie becomes the accepted reality. You can’t disprove a conspiracy, so it becomes the perfect explanation. Their world-view isn’t wrong! It’s reality that’s become corrupted!

It’s a mass delusion for many. If you are a conservative and you don’t fall into this group, if you’ve gone through your beliefs and know why you believe what you believe, and you can make an argument for them, I applaud you. I would be more than happy to discuss these things with you. New data makes for new understanding.

I would also encourage you to explain your points of view and your justification to fellow conservatives who are not as enlightened. In the end, conservatism, which is not inherently a bad thing, will die out in the political arena because radical elements in this country will have tainted it.

We still have people who believe the Earth is flat. They’re on the outermost fringe of society, a joke. They simply became irrelevant, like Zeus, Hera, and the rest of the gang, and so conservatism may be gearing up for an apocalypse when, by its own hand, it will die in a whimper.

Palin Hates Babies

Target acquired. Unleash the fury!

February 19, 2010

WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the Family Guy episode “Extra-Large Medium” (Season 8, Episode 12), originally aired 2/14/2010

It’s been famously said that dying is easy, but comedy is hard. It’s true. Ever told a joke that went flat? Your elation at possibly making someone feel good turns to ash as you realize everyone is looking at you like you just pulled a dead rat out of your nose and started giggling like a madman. It also takes a sharp mind to get comedy, especially complex jokes, or, for some people, anything more confusing than a joke about a chicken and a road.

Enter Sarah Palin.

Sarah Palin is a mother who loves God and country and family. I’m still not sure on the order of the first two, though. On Valentine’s Day, Fox aired an episode of Family Guy that featured Chris trying to and eventually going on a date with a girl with Down syndrome named Ellen. I highly recommend you watch the full episode. The… and I use the term loosely… offending clip is at 16:02.

Basically, Ellen makes an off-hand remark about her mother being the former governor of Alaska. Palin is the former governor of Alaska. And she has a child with Down syndrome named Trig. Seth McFarlane and the Family Guy writers are obviously making fun of her child and everyone with Down syndrome. It’s an outrage. It’s inhuman! Won’t someone think of the children! On top of all this Rahm Emanuel went and called someone “retarded” behind closed doors, insulting the entire mentally handicapped community.

And yet… not a few days after the Family Guy incident, Palin goes and does THIS:

Yup… Satire. Let’s wind the clock back and pull out the ol’ dictionary. Satire is the use of comedy to point out some vice either in a group or individual, usually with the goal of making people aware of the fault so it can be fixed. The tone of the work may be playful or abrasive, but it has the same goal. Satire uses a strong dose of sarcasm, parody, contrast, and other literary tools to make the point as obvious as possible. Satire goes all the way back to ancient times, to both the Egyptians and the Greeks. It’s older than Christianity. Its purpose has always been to point something out we would otherwise miss or might be too scared to accept by showing us the ridiculousness of our situation, going to extremes to highlight the absurdities of life.

Good satire teaches us.

Bad satire is simply parody with delusions of grandeur.

Which was the Family Guy episode? If you actually watched it, and I wonder if Palin herself did, you know Ellen was not teased because she had Down syndrome. Stewie made a few short quips when he met her and in his musical number, but nothing terrible. It looked as if it was more shock that Chris went for the non-traditional girl, that he picked Ellen over the other girls around her.

In fact, he and Chris are convinced that she is a good person, sweet, and is simply handicapped. Stewie helps Chris get ready for his big date, but once the date starts, Ellen makes several snippy comments at Chris, becomes highly demanding, then at the end of the night demands an ice cream Sunday, saying that if Chris wants access to her “temple,” his tribute should be much better. Chris, rightly so, points out that, despite having Down syndrome, she is just like every girl he knows: conceited and demanding.

Did they make fun of her for having Down syndrome? Not really. Like I said, Stewie got off a few snide remarks when he first met her, but he seemed to like her. The only reference to Palin is the one line early in the date where she mentions her mother is the former governor of Alaska.

What was the point of this satire, then? Chris summed it up. We treat others with disabilities as though they were special, wonderful, kind people simply because they are handicapped. Did the show imply that all people with Down syndrome are like this? Only if you believe that a single example is indicative of the whole, which is a logical fallacy. If they’d meant to imply that all people with Down syndrome were mean and conceited, Chris would have said that ALL people with Down syndrome were like this, not just Ellen. Instead, he was referring to her specific behavior.


bitchy little tiger by ~loveshugah on deviantART

Then, to top off this little hypocrisy sundae, Palin went on to defend Rush Limbaugh. Is she really upset over the show? Maybe. She seemed visibly upset, but it couldn’t have been because of the way the character was treated. Ellen was treated fairly, though she did end up being the villain. She was treated like a normal human being. Maybe there’s something else at work here…

Remember a few years ago when no one was allowed to mention that Dick Cheney had a gay daughter? Mary Cheney has been in a committed lesbian relationship for years, and yet when the same-sex debate heated up a few years ago, no one could bring her up as an example of the Right’s hypocrisy. While they railed against the destruction of American values, the daughter of the Vice-President was not only in a loving relationship with her partner and parents, but she soon had a child with said partner. It’s almost as if they were ashamed to acknowledge her existence. Tricky Dick Cheney himself dodged the question in interviews.

Wait a minute…

Palin hates her son.

Think about it. Either she completely missed the episode’s theme or she is embarrassed to be reminded that she was a son with Down syndrome. It’s likely that she just didn’t get the satire in the show, but at the same time, if she is reacting only to the fact that they made a reference to her son having Down syndrome, this isn’t outrage on her part. It’s shame.

She is ashamed of him and being reminded that her son, a child not even able to walk yet, is not perfect. After Limbaugh used the word “retarded” and she didn’t call him out like she did Rahm Emanuel, she showed she wasn’t willing to speak against her political allies. Going after Family Guy after they didn’t even make fun of a character with no physical or gender resemblance to any of her children shows her sensitivity with the issue, but not her commitment to actually protecting Trig. There was nothing, NOTHING for her to complain about. They made an ALLUSION to her.

But, like I said, it’s just as likely that she didn’t get it.

It’s one thing to peddle your daughter across a stage and use her unwanted pregnancy to further your agenda. It’s what any good politician would do… but it takes a special kind of icy evil to do the same to a child who is not only going to face hardships later in life, but can’t even speak out yet.

And what have we learned from this?

Trig Palin has Down syndrome. His mother’s the retarded one.

Big Brother’s Little Sister

Obey. Obey. Obey. (wink)

February 10, 2010

A key component in any argument, in virtually every piece of writing, is the ability to not contradict yourself. You have to make your case and use facts, and occasionally emotion, to sway the reader to your side. These past few years, as I watch conservatives go on about how society is evil, how things are falling apart due to everything from the Democrats being in control, the acceptance of homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle, to violent video games, I can’t help but marvel at the utter set of contradictions I’ve been hearing.

The most recent is Palin’s apparent horror and shock at Rahm Emmanuel’s use of the word “retarded” as an insult, then her apparent joy and support for Rush Limbaugh for decried the incident and used the SAME word in the SAME context.

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Oh, I’m sorry. It’s the R-word now. Maybe I’m being simplistic. Or maybe I like picking on Palin because she’s what the military would refer to as a target-rich environment.

A lot of conservatives, not all of them, but enough, seem to hold on to various apparently conflicting ideas while believing a common cause. Another example I’ve heard a lot in the last several years is this phrase, said in one form or another: “Yes, gays are people too, but as a Christian, I don’t believe they should be allowed to get married.”

…Say what? Also, it’s apparently not fair to point out that Dick Cheney has a lesbian daughter. If you talk about her, she’s real…

How about this one? Conservatives want less government intervention in their lives, yet they also believe government should regulate things like prayer in schools and what gets taught using public money.
We should abolish the death tax because the children of the rich shouldn’t have to work if their parents already have money, but we shouldn’t give money to people who need it through government welfare programs.

Liberals hate the troops but conservatives love them, yet Republican presidents have made more cuts in wages and benefits for soldiers.

Abstinence is the only way to prevent teen pregnancies, yet pointing out that Sara Palin has a grandchild through her unmarried teenage daughter apparently doesn’t count. Not my fault Levi Johnston was doing exploratory drilling of his own.

Marriage is sacred, yet the states with the highest divorce rates are the ones with the highest concentration of admitted religious citizens.

The easy answer would be to just say that conservatives don’t want to flat-out say, for example, they believe all other faiths are false and theirs is the true one or that if they speak out against homosexuals, they’ll be branded as bigots if they don’t hide behind the sanctity of religion. It’s not me, they’ll say. It’s the rules. Follow the rules or Hall Monitor will tell the principal. They want something because of bigotry, ignorance, or whatever you want to cook up, but they want to look like the good guys.

That can’t be it because many conservatives will flat-out read the party line without caring who they hurt. They just believe the contradictions, heart, soul, and whatever they have that passes for a mind. It’s probably a nerf football in heavy syrup.


Brain Damage by ~Bolarg on deviantART

This idea of believing contradictions is familiar to anyone who’s read something beyond the Fox News ticker. In his novel 1984, George Orwell showed a dystopia where the population was taught to doublethink. Doublethink is more than just hypocrisy. It means the ability to not only see the contradiction, but to ignore it and forget it ever existed. You could erase a historical text, input a new one, and believe the new text was all that ever existed.

Conservatives will disregard facts when they do not fit the narrative they have created for themselves. Fox News, for example, has done a great job of creating this story where liberals are the evil foot-soldiers of the Morning Star and Glenn Beck is smart. It’s a bastardization of the scientific method. You’re supposed to first ask a question, do research, experiments, and whatnot, then see if the evidence backs up your hypothesis. Many conservatives have their conclusion first, then look up facts that will support it. Any evidence to the contrary is either a lie, from an unreliable source, or otherwise the result of liberal propaganda.

Damn liberals and their research.

Do many conservatives subscribe to doublethink? The internet, whatever its faults, is full of people ready to do the research. Much like the scientific community, it looks for new data, new things to process. Hoaxes, and they exist, are often uncovered in a short amount of time. Today, with millions of people connected to millions more and endless databases and resources, we can say, with certainty, that our president was born in the United States, comprehensive sex education works to prevent venereal diseases, and you can’t actually buy bonsai kittens.

How did doublethink occur? Are so many conservatives simply hell-bent on following an ideology to its end, no matter what is said and done? Maybe they all hate gays, Muslims, and non-Christians and their policies are designed to crush these groups while exalting Jesus and country.

Possible, but unlikely. People have never been shy about expressing hatred. I can’t help but think that this doublethink goes back to religion, though.

Many conservatives say, nay yell, from the mountaintops that God is the one true source of morality and goodness in the world. All things are possible through Him. When Jesus comes back during our lifetime, He’ll send the sinners to the hot place and the good little Christian boys and girls will grow angel wings and go to Heaven and play with unicorns.

That’s assuming he comes back after the last time.

Where does this morality come from? Christianity is built on the belief that all power and morality flows from God. He can do no wrong, and His wrong is absolute law. The Ten Commandments, an endless source of debate when someone places them in a public space, are the cornerstones of Judeo-Christian morality.

However, American law is very much counter-Biblical. We can worship whoever or whatever we want. If we so choose, we can use the name of God Himself to blaspheme. The Bible says not to covet my neighbor’s possessions, and yet wanting something is not a crime.

All this is true, so why do so many people still follow this or any other religion? Many in the 19th century saw science as the cure for religion. They would look at today’s world and argue that this borders on insanity, that believing something you know to be blatantly untrue is a sure sign of madness. Are conservatives insane? Many of the claims made over the past several years, from the reasoning for the invasion of Iraq, the health care fiasco this year, and even the belief that interfering with business is bad while decrying big business for taking away American jobs, hinge on believing mutually exclusive thoughts. What fuels this?

Faith.

Helen of Troy launched a thousand ships. Faith moved religions. Most of us hold faith to a high ideal. We say that faith manages, faith will suffice, and faith is what lets us keep going when everything else seems lost. Some people mock it. Others live by it.

However, faith is also dependent on having an incomplete understanding. It means you believe in something without knowing all the facts. It’s the opposite of trust. People can earn and lose trust. Faith is blind.

Could this be the key to doublethink? Do some conservatives have so much faith in the ideals of their party, of their families and communities, that they can ignore facts and logic in favor of the narrative? It could be. I’d love to know the percentage of conservatives in this country that are active members of churches. Does having faith in the narrative, that liberals are evil, gays are abominations, and Obama an extremist Christian Kenyan fundamentalist Muslim, allow some people to ignore facts, to not hear the words coming out of their mouths?

Do these people need the facts spelled out for them?

Holding on to blatant contradictions is not strength. It’s stupidity. Ignorance is the absence of knowledge. Stupidity is the ignoring of gained knowledge. I reserve the right to call these people stupid. To their faces. Their stupid, stupid faces.