The New Yorker gets a 0 on the Swift-o-Meter

Racism is satire when “progressives” do it!

I am not a regular reader of The New Yorker, but I have never been a huge fan of their cartoons. Some of them have made me chuckle, some of them have made me roll my eyes, and many more have just provoked a, “Okay…” kind of blah reaction. But, I am sorry to say that they have joined the ranks of all those other jerks who create something bigoted, present it without any obvious criticism, and then dare to call it “satire”.

That cover is not satire.

I understand the reasons why people are calling it satire, but their explanations fall flat when you’ve seen the same arguments used to defend insulting articles/pictures/etc that only serve to reinforce the status quo.

Satire isn’t a synonym for “mockery”. It isn’t something that is easy to do right, and it certainly isn’t accomplished by simply rehashing elements that have been used by a group that’s in political opposition to the person doing the satire. It’s not enough to say it’s satire because “everyone” knows the object of mockery is ridiculous, especially when there are plenty of people who obviously don’t.

The thing that the satire is mocking needs to be blatantly and obviously ridiculous and wrong. And not just to people who already see the subject as ridiculous and wrong. Satire needs to expose the logical fallacies of the object of ridicule, not simply summarize them.

If the satire can reinforce a person’s conviction as easily, if not easier, than it can shake it, then it is not satire. It’s just mockery, and mockery whose target is ambiguous at that.

Via Feministe.

If you have to say "i'm not racist" chances are you are

A trend that you can’t help but notice if you follow any sort of racial issues is that when white people do something racist, they almost always include in their apology, “I’m not a racist”. Most of you should know the Michael Richards “but I’m not a racist!” protest in his apology after he was caught on tape being racist. But it’s not just the celebrities who pitch this line, it’s average people as well.

Case in point: a bunch of white people posted pictures and a video of them performing a reenactment of the Jenna 6 incident while in blackface. If that weren’t bad enough, when the woman who posted the media on her Facebook page got caught, this is what she had to say [emphasis mine]:

Smith, who did not respond to a TSG e-mail sent to her school address, apologized for the images in several recent Facebook postings. “We were just playin n the mud and it got out of hand. I promise i’m not racist. i have just as many black friends as i do white. And i love them to death,” she wrote. She added in a later message that her friends “were drinking” and things “got a lil out of hand.”

People who aren’t racist would own up to their racism in their apology, not try to erase the reality of the racist act with the “I didn’t mean it” plea. People who aren’t racist wouldn’t use excuses like “some of my friends are black”, “we were just playing”, and “we were drinking” in order to try and downplay the impact that such displays of racism have. People who aren’t racist would not have thought to do such a ‘reenactment’ in the first place, much less thought it was ‘funny’ enough to post on Facebook.

So, yes, Ms. Smith, you are racist. But, you know, that in of itself isn’t a damnable offense. I’ve said and done racist things before, as have all white people. It’s an unfortunate product of our culture, because — by virtue of our whiteness — we are both enabled and encouraged to enact out varying forms of racism in our everyday lives.

But what separates the allies from the racists is that, when the allies fuck up, we admit it. We don’t try to minimize what we did, but we own up to our own mistakes, fully and without reservation, and then we go educate ourselves in an effort to not fuck up again. We don’t insult the people who we’ve hurt by saying things like, “I’m not racist” because we realize that, especially after committing a racist act, we are the last people who have the authority to decide such a thing.

So, to Smith and all the other white people out there who think “I’m not racist” is an acceptable thing to come out of a white person’s mouth: if you have to say it, chances are you are, in fact, harboring a lot of unaddressed and unacknowledged racism. If you truly don’t want to be seen as racist, then the first thing you need to do is to take a hard look at yourself and the world around you, and then start educating yourself on what it takes to be anti-racist. The information is out there, but you’re the only one who can get yourself to take that step and use it.

Via stoneself’s LJ.

Early sex education

Is the vocabulary to properly talk about our own bodies too sophisticated a topic for children to be introduced to as early as kindergarten? Bill O’Reilly seems to think so, at least in regard to the word “uterus”, which apparently the mere knowledge that a woman has one is enough to “blast” a child out of their childhood.

It’s interesting how taboo words get rationalized by terms like “sophisticated” and stigmatized as being harmful for kids, especially when a basic knowledge of the term (that babies come from a part inside a woman called a uterus, for instance) is something that can help build a strong foundation for us to know our own bodies and what they do.

What do y’all think? Should we introduce children to the correct terms for their bodies, even the taboo parts, early on, or should we use/invent sanitized words that mean the same thing (like “wee-wee” instead of “penis”)?

Via Iris forums.

Campus Violence is Institutionalized

Folks talk about campus violence like it’s perpetuated by a few bad apples, tgise disenfranchised men and boys who play too many violent video games. What the mainstream doesn’t talk about is campus violence like violence against women or police brutality by campus police. Why? Because these forms of violence are institutionalized, and unfairly biased against people because they are women and people of color.

Professor Angela Davis spoke on my campus yesterday about the Prison Industrial Complex and prison abolition, and at a question and answer with students she talked about yesterday’s shooting. I’ll share a bit here, typed from what I took on my digital recorder.

I’ve always been interested in what I call circuits of violence, the ways in which certain modes of violence feed into and reproduce other modes of violence. We like to think of domestic violence and intimate violence separately from military violence, or separately from state violence. I think it’s really important to think of these forms of violence together and ask how they mutually reinforce each other and how the individual agent of violence, situated in a larger context where violence is so easily used by the state, has a certain level of comfort, a certain level of feeling that this is the way things are supposed to be done.

It is a tragedy anytime anyone is murdered. I don’t know what experiences fueled Cho Seung-Hui yesterday at Virgina Tech, but he was an immigrant and a person of color living in a country where those communities are routinely victims of institutionalized violence. That doesn’t justify killing, but I don’t think we can understand one form of violence without looking at the greater culture and institutions that normalize and perpetuate it.

New Blog: First Woman

Ragnell has created a new group blog: First Woman.

In her own words:

Saturday morning, Hillary Rodham Clinton officially announced her candidacy for President.


So, I’m finally starting a political blog, so I can follow the media coverage and the public reaction to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and examine the sexist attitudes that surface during the Democratic primaries (and beyond, should she get the nomination). I’ll also probably blog about how people regard other women in American Politics.

If no sexist attitudes surface, this should be the last post of the blog.

More likely, though, there will be way too much sexism for one person or one blog to analyze.

If you want to help out with the blog, she’s requested that you get in touch with her. More details here.

The War on Non-Christians' Newest Soldier: Spam

So, December is right around the corner and it seems like it’s that time again. Yes, time for the fundamentalist Christians who are hell bent on giving all Christians a bad name, interpreting “freedom of religion” as “freedom for my religion only“, and in general asserting their Christian privilege in an attempt to oppress non-Christians.

In the past two days, I’ve gotten two pieces of near-identical spam hawking the same product.

Here’s the first one:

A new comment on the post #93 “The War Against Non-Christians” is waiting for your approval

Author : Bruce (IP: ,
E-mail : [xxx] URI : [don’t want to accidently advertise for them] Whois :
Speaking of the war on Christmas, Best Buy has just dug their heels in and returned to the trenches by banning the greeting, “Merry Christmas” from their advertising campaign this Christmas.

I’ve been fighting back with this song (feel free to use it in your campaign if you like it):[cut because I’m not actually endorsing the spamming]

Here’s the second one:

A new comment on the post #186 “When will I get arrested for “driving while atheist”?” is waiting for your approval

Author : Dr BLT (IP: ,
E-mail : [xxx] URI : [don’t want to accidently advertise for them] Whois :
Thanks for keeping the spirit of Christmas alive. Believe it or not, blogs like these empower soldiers fighting for Christmas. I’ve been fighting on the Best Buy front on the war on Christmas with an original song that seems to be generating lots of interest.

As you may know, Best Buy banned the use of “Merry Christmas” in their ads this year. It caused me to wonder what kind of an Inn Best Buy would be if it were an Inn, and not a department store, back in Bethlehem when Jesus was born. That thought gave birth to this song: [cut because I’m not actually endorsing the spamming]

I’m very glad to hear that my efforts to expose the “War on Christmas” as the oppressive, anti-freedom of religion BS that it actually is “empower[s] soldiers fighting for Christmas”. Onward Christian soldiers! Fight against those fundamentalists besmirching your good name! Fight for inclusive language such as “Happy Holidays” that acknowledges that not everyone is a Christian, nor does everyone celebrate Christmas! Go, fight, win!