Fame Day: BDS

UN Officials report having warned Israel “17 times” that the school was housing refugees and children.

I’m writing this after one of the deadliest days in the recent bombing of Gaza. As of right now, estimates place the Palestinian death toll for the past 24 hours as being over 100, with many lost after the IDF (“Israel Defense Force”) bombed a UN school-turned-refugee shelter. With the total death count standing at 1,336, it can be tough in such times to feel that there’s any hope- but readers, there is a way to fight back.

It’s called “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions“.

Continue reading

[Insert Witty Filler Name Here]

I realized we just started the Surprise Witness feature, but my mom leaves for Thailand tomorrow and I also start my first day of work [look at me!] so no post today. Honestly I’m so tired I don’t even have time to tag this, though I will later, probably.

Here’s an adorable gif for your troubles.

Shame Day: Whitewashed Bible Movies and the Christians Who Watch Them

I think it only fair, given the current situation in the Gaza Strip, to shout-out the West’s general view of the Middle East today as having honorary Shame Day status [you can check out yesterday's post for what that's all about]. Cue my flawless segue into today’s actual topic, which is in regards to the West’s general view of the historical Middle East.

This retreads some pretty well-worn ground for me, because it’s about Hollywood and race. I’ve spotlit problems with the “one size fits all” approach to casting minorities, heavily criticized Hollywood’s attempts to whitewash their remakes of groundbreaking animated films, and outright condemned producers who cite the inevitable change in the industry while stolidly refusing to have any part of it. The difference here is that this time it’s heavily tied into Western Christianity.

It’s been almost 60 years since The Ten Commandments, and I want to say we’ve come a very long way since then. Again note that that’s something I want to say. To be truly and completely honest there is almost nothing I want more than to be able to write to you all and tell you that in six decades we are so, so far from the time when Charles Heston and Anne Baxter were cast as Moses and Nefertiti, respectively. You know what they say, though, you can’t always get what you want. Continue reading

Why Palestine Can’t Use Nonviolence

I’m sticking with this topic because I was asked, somewhat indirectly, to cover the tactics Hamas has been using. I don’t think I can do that without sounding like an apologist for Hamas- which I’m not a fan of, in spite of my constant proclamations of solidarity with the struggle of Gaza. Still, I wanted to deliver on some level, and the more I thought about it, the more I found myself returning to a quote of JFK’s- that “those who make peaceful protest impossible make violent protest inevitable.”

Whenever any conflict flares up enough in Palestine for the West to take notice, we’re inevitably going to encounter the idea that the Palestinians are to be blamed for not using “peaceful protest”. Such comments usually come from folks who can’t deny the plight of Palestinians but who can’t yet bring themselves to actually take a stand for them- but we’ll get to that in a minute.

At times like these, we tend to cite our own “peaceful protests”, conveniently only talking about the white-washed portions of it. We’ll talk about MLK Jr. all day long, and forget that even such “nonviolent” civil rights luminaries as Fannie Lou Hamer kept herself armed to the teeth. Heck, Hamer herself declared “I keep a shotgun in every corner of my bedroom and the first cracker even look like he wants to throw some dynamite on my porch won’t write his mama again.”

Yes indeed. And only one of many such examples within the “non-violent” movements of the 50s and 60s.

Continue reading

Quebec Pt. III: 4 Things You Inadvertently Learn in French Immersion

1) There are muscles in your mouth you’ve never used before

I’ve never thought much about language, at least not beyond trying to figure out what to say next. Even then I don’t really think things through. If you never had much of an interest in linguistics (like myself) it can come as a surprise when you start to learn about the basics of how spoken language works.

Here at Trois Pistole one of the French Teachers is a linguist and, incidentally, an anglophone. This gives him a lot of insight. As an English Speaker he has first-hand experience with the kind of mistakes we are likely to make while learning French. Then, as a linguist, he has a good idea of why exactly we make those mistakes. Luckily for us, he also hosts a phonetics clinic once a week to teach us the little details of pronunciation. Last week he focused on how French vowels work. The image I’ve included below is meant to represent where French vowel sounds come from in our mouths.

The French “i”, which sounds like an English “e”, is formed at the front of the mouth when the jaw closed (antérieure, fermée). In contract, the French “ɑ” comes from the back of the mouth and requires a wide open jaw (postérieure, ouverte).

Continue reading

Please Don’t Kill the MAGIC!: A “Rude” Apologist Speaks Out

There’s a lot that I could have written about given that San Diego Comic-Con is in full-swing, but lately I’ve been flooding the blog’s Facebook page with so much superhero-related stuff I think I can pass on it. Instead, I refer all of you to the following music video, which you should watch before reading further:

“Rude” is a song by Canadian reggae band MAGIC!, and given their place of origin I was surprised to see that the track hit the top of the charts in the States. That kind of airtime is going to get you a lot of attention, which in turn is going to lead to a variety of different responses.

Before moving forward with those, however, we should probably make sure we’re all on the same page.
Essentially this is three minutes and
forty-five seconds of frontman Nasri Atweh asking the father of the woman he’s in love with if he can marry her and being denied over and over. He then tells the aforementioned dad that his approval is not actually needed, and that he will “marry her anyway”. Alright, let’s move on. Continue reading

Fame Day: The One-State Solution

This was originally going to be my topic for Monday, but I decided to put this discussion off for a few days and showcase it here. Our “Fame Days”, after all, aren’t just about celebrating achievements but include shining the spotlight on noble issues or events we believe should have more attention, and I’d be hard-pressed to think of any idea more deserving than the “One-State Solution”.

Chances are that you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, and that’s fine. Normally I rail against what I’d consider self-imposed ignorance when it comes to politics or foreign affairs, but this is a really, really obscure concept (heck, that’s the entire reason we’re talking about it today).

When we’re talking about either the “one-state” or (more common) “two-state” solutions, we’re referencing the debate over the future of Israel and the Palestinian territories. Pretty much every so-called “road map” to “peace in the Middle East” revolves around settling the question of the borders of Israel and what would eventually become the state of Palestine. Who gets what land, access to which resources, authority over which sites- you get the idea.

Continue reading