Category Archives: advertising

Hey Conservatives – Could We Talk Real Quick?

Let’s get right to business here, folks.

I’m sure most of you are aware that, last Monday, Late Show host Stephen Colbert joked about Trump’s mouth being Vladimir Putin’s “cock holster.”

This prompted outrage among many conservatives, and lead to the Twitter hashtag #fireColbert, along with calls to boycott CBS advertisers. Today, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission, for our non-American readers) announced it was starting an investigation into Colbert’s joke, “following up on complaints” of obscenity/indecency/profanity. As much as that sucks, it’s not the FCC I want to call up to the dock today. It’s the folks who got them involved.

Conservatives (who might accidentally stumble across this blog) – let me address y’all directly:

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Many of you have cited that the joke was homophobic:

I gotta ask ya, Conservatives –

– since when do you give a **** about homophobia?

A sizeable chunk of the past twenty years has been dedicated to the battle to stop gay marriage, which was – to hear you talk at least – the breaking of the seventh seal. I mean seriously, we have had millions and millions of dollars and countless work-hours poured into this battle. Gays were, as you once claimed, destroying the moral fabric of the nation with the indecent and immoral behavior. To sanction it as a nation was to spit in the face of God!

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Unlike rejecting refugees, widows, orphans, and the poor, of whom the Bible makes absolutely no mention.

Suddenly Colbert takes a swipe at Trump, and you’re all indignant? “Oh, how dare¬†Colbert say something hurtful towards gays-whose-right-we-have-been-actively-and-rabidly-campaigning-against-for-decades!”

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Seriously – the very existence of gay folks has been cited as causing hurricanes. Major conservative figures (in the current ****ing administration) have equated homosexuality with bestiality. The “homosexual agenda” was a baleful warning used by conservatives for years.

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So again, when did this change of heart come about? When did you suddenly start caring about gay folks?

Gimme a break.

But while we’re on the subject of staggering hypocrisy, can we talk about political correctness?

You know- that thing you claim as the bane of modern society. Proof that this generation is weak and pathetic. I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve heard phrases like “Millennial crybaby”, “liberal snowflake”, “there’s no safe-spaces in the real world!”

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Again, you guys support Trump – a guy who does not joke but boasts about “grabbing pussy.” Who has called women “gold diggers”, “bimbos”, and “dogs.” Who grotesquely mocked a disabled reporter.

By any measure or definition, Trump is a foul, loud-mouth ****nozzle. Compared to him, Colbert’s statements would barely register as “locker room talk.” Instead of calling for a boycott, why aren’t you rallying around Colbert for “telling it like it is” or “not being afraid to speak his mind” or any number of the shoddy excuses used to defend Trump’s garbage?

You get why this seems a little hypocritical, right?

Of course, much of this is predicated on the belief that Colbert’s joke was homophobic.

I don’t think it was.

For the joke in question to have been homophobic, it would have had to mocked, stereotyped, condemned, or disparaged homosexuality. We can all agree on that definition, right?
Then show me the part where Colbert did that.

He used the phrase “cock holster.” He suggested that Trump and Putin had a homosexual relationship. Was he attacking them for being “gay”? C’mon. He was attacking them for having a bizarre political alliance in which Trump fawns and swoons over a reprehensible autocrat. Colbert never said “being slavishly enamored with a man is wrong.” Colbert said (at most) “being slavishly enamored with Putin is wrong.” And that’s a sentiment I’d like to think we can all get behind.

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The joke was made all the more biting for Trump’s absurd sensitivity to his sexuality and Putin’s infamous persecution of gays (by the way, Conservatives, where’s your condemnation of that?).

But maybe – for a few of you, at least – it’s not the imaginary homophobia but the crassness of the remark which has you riled up. If that’s the case, well you still don’t have much of a leg to stand on. “Cock holster” is definitely a sharp term, but it’s definitely not new to TV.

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You didn’t call up the FCC then, why are you doing it now?

And if you think this is the crassest or most foul thing on television, then hoo-boy, you need to watch more TV. Hell, go to FOX and you’ll get a whole bowl of curse salad with raunch dressing.

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At your own peril – some thing cannot be unseen.

But maybe you’re none of those people.

Maybe you’re part of that small group who do have a modicum of self-awareness are at least arguing “If someone said this about Obama, they’d be fired within the hour.” That is at least a coherent argument.

It’s also a really bad one.

Regardless of alleged hypocrisy of the networks (more on that in a minute), do you really and truly want the FCC to get involved here?

I don’t think you’ve thought it through.

Invoking the FCC is invoking a federal regulatory committee. Not exactly the greatest move for folks whose platform has “get-the-government-out-of-our-business” as one of its oldest planks. Do you really and truly want the FCC – the government – to actively decide which jokes do and don’t count as “appropriate?” Go ahead and lock in your answers – whatever you say now can and will be used against you at a later date.

When Huckabee is serving as a voice of reason, you know things have gotten weird…

Of course, if you do want to demand the government dissect and analyze all jokes, I still don’t think you’ll have a leg to stand on. I mean, why would a host get censured for making the same joke about Obama instead of Trump?

One about Obama wouldn’t make sense – not a “Putin’s cock holster” one, anyways. While I don’t think anyone – particularly not Obama – should be exempt from ribbing or ridicule, Obama didn’t have a strangely close relationship with a violently homophobic Russian tyrant. If he did, then yeah, that joke would work. Out of that context, it’d just be plain weird. And for the record, folks did take shots at Obama.

O-bomb-a:

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Barack Osama (alternatively, “Barack Husein Obama”):

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“Not Born In America/Secret Muslim”:

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Presented not as satire but as serious speculation

Limbaugh’s use of a song titled “Barack The Magic Negro”:

Glenn Beck’s insistence that Obama was a Socialist:

As a Socialist myself, please stop calling Obama a Socialist. We don’t want him either.

Again, you don’t exactly have the high ground here.

But you know what? You don’t need to have it.

I’m not a liberal or a conservative (and no, that doesn’t mean I’m moderate or apolitical – there’s more than two flavors out there). Other than keeping the FCC at bay, I don’t really have a horse in this race. While I thought Colbert’s joke was damn funny, I don’t think you have to, and I even think you should boycott if you so choose (as much as I disagree). Just don’t pretend to be doing it because Colbert was “homophobic” – he wasn’t. Don’t pretend that you care about gay people – you don’t. Don’t pretend you’re championing the cause of etiquette and decency – you aren’t.

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You want to influence the flow of our culture to reflect the values and opinions you hold personally. That’s fine. That’s your prerogative. It’s OK to be upset by characterizations you find to be unfounded, unfair, or unrepresentative. That’s what I do every single time I sit down to churn one of these rants out.

But if you¬†are gonna do that, then for ****’s sake, own it.

Otherwise shut your **** holsters.

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If you were to have told me eight years ago that Pam Poovery would be one of my favorite characters, I would’ve said “Yeah, that makes a ton of sense – she’s awesome.”


Images retrieved via BBC World, Twitter, WordPress, YouTube Imgur, The Boston Globe, Tumblr – Fair Use.

 

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Violence And The Feminine Mystique (This Is Why We Can’t Have Terrible Things)

Well, readers, it’s another sweltering day in June, and here in the trenches of the culture war accusations of “misogyny” and “political correctness” are being fired back and forth. And what’s that out there in the middle of the no-man’s land? Well, it’s the photo that started this latest skirmish:

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Image retrieved via Telegraph.com, fair use

That right there folks is a billboard for X-Men: Apocalypse, and it’s got more than a few people upset. So much so, in fact, it’s being reported that Fox has issued an apology for the ad– caving to arguments made by some that the advertisement promotes misogyny.

And in all fairness, they are some compelling arguments.

Now ads featuring violence towards women exist, as evidenced in Jean Kilbourne’s famous documentary Killing Us Softly. Critics of this ad have cited (though I am paraphrasing for the sake of space) that the inundation of these images in our society leads to the normalization of violence. Show enough ads featuring women getting choked out and people will start assuming that it’s the natural way of the world.

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Image retrieved via BusinessInsider.com, fair use

Even if the person doing the choking is the bad guy (and Apocalypse is), the simple fact that it’s a yet another man committing an act of force on a women should be enough to elicit outrage from us all.

Like I said- a compelling argument.

Let me tell you why it’s bull****. Continue reading

Hulu: The Greatest Argument For Piracy I’ve Ever Seen

I should probably state two things right off the bat, just to set the stage. The first is that editing¬†anything, whether it be a weekly all-comics print publication or a blog that floats a measly few thousand views a week [not¬†a humblebrag, I know what good site traffic is], is difficult. The second is that I consider fellow Culture War Reporter¬†Gordon¬†one of my best friends on this planet. It’s for those two reasons that I find covering the issue of piracy, of the copyright infringement variety, so harrowing.

In writing this post I forced myself to do my due diligence and read over my co-writer’s others two articles concerning the topic, and it was truly an ordeal. While in his first¬†there are some fairly reasonable assertions like¬†“Some People Will Never Buy” they’re coupled with¬†others like “Anti-Piracy Hurts the Environment”, a point that ignores outlets like Netflix and other similar legal streaming services that harm God’s green earth just as much as The Pirate Bay. The second covered the “Vindication of Piracy”¬†predicated on an article published by the BBC. All I have to say about that is . . . covered in the lengthy comment I left on that very post, if you’d like to check it out on your own.

As you should be able to tell based on how the above paragraphs are written, I feel very strongly about this. Which should make it particularly notable when I say that due to recent events in the past week I almost agree with Gordon.angrymanfist-2400px copy

And it’s all because of Hulu.

Hulu is the most compelling argument I have ever come across that piracy is both legitimate and possibly even necessary.

Now it’s going to look like I’m talking down to you, but I just want to make everything as clear as possible.

When we watch TV we are bombarded by commercials because the networks need money [as we all do] to survive. Some of that money makes its way to showrunners and the like, and the more successful their programs are the more money, ostensibly, the network will give them, because you want to spend money on that which makes you money. Hulu is an American streaming service that allowed you to watch TV shows the day after they aired, but had them accompanied by ads, for obvious aforementioned reasons. Continue reading

The Problem with Leaks [And the People Who Want Them]

So I missed my window with last month’s Comic-Con, but there’s always something going on and thankfully the D23 Expo, a biennial Disney convention, this past weekend has given me a chance to take another stab at this topic. I’m too lazy put¬†any effort into coming up with a pun involving plumbers, but today I’m going to be discussing leaks.

Here’s an image to kick things off:

To provide a little context, the screenshot up top is a tweet from Marvel Entertainment that was posted shortly after the trailer to Avengers: Age of Ultron leaked last October. Hours to minutes later they released the official trailer themselves, days earlier than originally intended.

The second screenshot is the text that accompanied the full trailer to Warner Bros.’¬†Suicide Squad that was posted to the film’s Facebook page. It was penned by Sue Kroll, the¬†President of Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution for the company. Similar to Marvel Entertainment this was done after another leak, though in this case¬†the source was an unknown individual who had¬†illegally recorded a trailer screened at Comic-Con.

As you¬†might be able to tell by the way the image was put together,¬†the internet populace in general thinks much more highly of one reaction than the others. While the context surrounding each leak is important I’m going to be discussing why at the end of they day it’s all the same, and how I think the entire attitude surrounding this sort of thing is weak and selfish and I don’t respect it. Continue reading

Can A Feminist Wear High Heels?

And that’s a weird question to ask- especially coming from me.

Yours truly, for any new readers, is a dude. I’ve never worn high heels, and with my long and elegant (if somewhat hairy) legs, I’ve never had cause to.

Like this, only more so.

In spite of my obvious lack of experience, compounded with a whole gamut of cultural-historial-societal variables, I’d still wholeheartedly call myself a feminist. As such, I still feel compelled to ask-

Can a feminist wear high heels?

And I know this isn’t a new issue. For years, folks have generally agreed that high heels are uncomfortable and impractical. There’s not shortage of studies demonstrating the range of health issues they can cause: calf cramps, chronic (and permanent) pain, pelvic issues, callouses and corns, inflammation, pinched nerves, tendinitis, and a host of others which I could spend this entire post just listing.

I’m not going to do that.

According to science and common ****ing sense, no one’s are…

High heels are bad for you. That’s a cold, hard medical fact, and one that most everyone’s familiar with by now. Still, women continue to wear ’em, which again begs the question of “Why in heaven’s name would they put themselves through this?” Continue reading

The Hoarder Vs. The Purger: How Do You Appreciate What You Own Without Letting It Own You?

This will be a shorter post than usual because I am visiting my family for the week while John and I transition from “school home” to our “summer job home”. In the spirit of moving, I wanted to touch on a question that might occur to anyone who has ever had to pack up their belongings: How much stuff is too much stuff?

This is an example of what too much stuff looks like.

This past Saturday John and I handed back the keys to the basement suite we called home for our last two years of university life. Despite storing¬†our books and dishes at a friend’s house,¬†we¬†still ended up with way¬†more¬†bags and boxes than our small car could possible hold. While I struggled to decide which pants I wore least often and how badly I would need those mason jars for canning,¬†John had no qualms throwing out pretty much anything that he knew he wouldn’t need in the immediate future. He also jokingly called me a hoarder, knowing that it would get under my skin.

As I sat on my suitcase (in an attempt to keep as many of my clothes as possible), I thought back to a couple years earlier when almost all of my earthly possessions could fit into one suitcase. What is it that makes me hold onto things now so much more dearly than I did a few years ago? Continue reading

Explaining American Politics To Non-Americans – Part I: Why We’re ****ed

It’s been my ambition for some time now to dedicate a series to explaining American politics to our substantial audience of non-Americans. While this blog is comprised 50% of Canadians (our frosty neighbors north of the wall), the simple fact of the matter is that the land-the-free has long been the front line of culture war. What happens here affects the rest of the globe.

With the already hotly contested primaries underway and prospects for the 2016 election being widely debated, what better time could there be than now to explain just why it is that we the people are fundamentally screwed.

Let me break it down here.

I. The Person Who Wins Isn’t Always The Person Who Gets Elected

In spite of our praise for democracy, the American republic does not have a one-man-one-vote policy. Every four years, there’s a decent chance that the candidate with the most votes will still lose to his opponent.

See, we have something called the “electoral college”- a staggeringly complex system that not even this succinct TED video can completely cover. At its simplest, the system boils down to states having “points” assigned to them on the basis of their populations and number of congressmen and senators.

This system means that a political candidate doesn’t necessarily have to get a massive number of people to vote for him- just a majority. So long as he or she gets that majority, no matter how slim, they still takes away as many “points” as if they had won a landslide.

What that means is that a person can get elected president in spite of his or her opponent getting more actual votes. Just look at this image below:

While the majority of votes cast in this example are blue, red still wins by virtue of this system. While supposedly protecting states with smaller populations (preventing them from being drowned out by heavily populated states), the result is that a person’s vote can very well be rendered utterly pointless. Plenty of folks simply don’t even bother voting, especially in states dominated by one party. Alternatively, states with greater electoral power (more points, that is) and a habit of swinging between parties (Ohio and Florida, most famously) get disproportionate amounts of attention.

In spite of being viciously despised by folks on both sides of the political spectrum, there’s really very little hope for any reform on this point. While part of that can be blamed on tradition, plenty of it also boils down to a little thing called- Continue reading