Category Archives: language

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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Polygraphs and Monotheism: More Complex Than Expected

I am a Christian.

That’s more or less exactly how I began a blog post way back in 2013, when I attempted to combat a very prevalent and largely Christian argument against gay marriage. While it’s rarely ever stated as explicitly I also like to think that this fact isn’t something I’ve obscured or tried to keep secret.

On that note, the topic of Christianity also isn’t anything new here at Culture War Reporters. While the majority of these posts have focused on art that willingly bears that descriptor, my co-writers have also delved a little deeper into that belief system and morality. While the former may seem more at home given what we typically cover, a review of our About page readily sums up why the latter is just as appropriate as anything else.

In it we touch on culture wars as a “a conflict between societies with different ideas, philosophies, beliefs, and behaviours,” as well as how we are both individually and collectively wrestling with them. It’s the concept of two vastly differing perspectives that solidified whether or not I should do a brief write-up on my recent experience with a polygraph test. Continue reading

Running the Race on The Bachelor [One Year Later]

Almost exactly a year ago today I wrote a little about race and my latest obsession at the time, ABC’s The Bachelor. At that point we were in the middle of its 20th season, which had the very affable Ben Higgins as the pearl of great price 28 women were striving to attain.

While both that show and its spinoff, The Bachelorette, have never had stellar track records as far as racial diversity, things came to a head when Jubilee Sharpe, the final Black contestant remaining, was eliminated on the first day of February [AKA Black History Month]. Cue soundbites from higher-ups that “[they’re] doing a whole lot of tweaks”. Not that that’s anything new, as a lengthy interview that NPR conducted with host Chris Harrison back in 2015 reveals they’ve long been aware of the issue, and that they want to do something about it. Harrison also used the exact words “we really tried” after surmising that a previous previous star was “1/16th Cherokee Indian”, if that’s any indication of what we might expect.

Those of you who follow both shows will be well-aware of the events that took place at the beginning of this week, but before I get into that I want to fill in the gaps between that last post and this one.

So, What Happened After Ben’s Season?

The cyclical nature of franchise means that the The Bachelor premieres every January, with The Bachelorette following not too long afterwards in May. ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee, the man who hinted at the “tweaks” up above, also told reporters at the time that:

“I’d be very surprised if ‘The Bachelorette’ in the summer isn’t diverse. I think that’s likely”

He also made reference to something called the “farm team” which a) I recently found out is sports terminology and has nothing to do with animals or actual farms and b) is the term for the contestants featured on each season of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. Variety notes that the norm is for the next Bacheloron [a gender neutral term for the star of either program that I took from an article I’ll link to later] to be from the previous season’s “farm team”. With that in mind both fans and critics of the franchise saw the 12th season of The Bachelorette as the perfect opportunity to make that much-needed change. Continue reading

“Hello, I’m a Stand-Up Comedian.” “And I’m PC.”

After the events of this past week [and given the temporary resolution] now is as good a time as any to have a little bit of fun. With so many of us actively fighting for both our rights and the rights of those who cannot speak for themselves a momentary reprieve is needed, a way of recovering in between bouts. It may even be a good idea to turn to comedy, to try laughter in the face of the shockingly grim edicts being rained down by a particular governmental administration.

For a broad number of reasons 2017 appears to be the only year where the current POTUS could ever have been inaugurated. It’s not just our contemporary political landscape that has become so dauntingly complex, however, the same can be said of the comedic sphere as well.

Back in 2015 comedian Jerry Seinfeld was a guest on the ESPN podcast The Herd with Colin Cowherd where he responded to the host commenting about other notable stand-up comedians opting to steer clear of performing on college campuses.

“I don’t play colleges, but I hear a lot of people tell me, ‘Don’t go near colleges. They’re so PC.’

He elaborated on that a bit, saying-

[College students] just want to use these words: ‘That’s racist;’ ‘That’s sexist;’ ‘That’s prejudiced.’ They don’t know even know what they’re talkin’ about.”

-before agreeing with Cowherd that these people are “hurting comedy.”

My favourite thing about this is the

My favourite thing about this is the “PRESENTED BY PROGRESSIVE” right at the bottom.

Continue reading

Overwatch‘s Doomfist, Terry Crews, and Fan Culture

This blog isn’t even supposed to be back on until next week but you know what they say: strike while the iron’s hot. For some of you at least the first two parts of this title have been flitting back and forth across the internet. “Terry Crews!” whispers one corner excitedly, “wants to play Doomfist!” murmurs another. Because of my search history and their All Seeing Eye Facebook even brought to my attention that thousands of their users were discussing that very subject.

So here I am on a Saturday morning, sitting in front of my laptop determined to bring you literally every piece of information I can find about Terry Crews, Overwatch, and the yet-to-be-released hero Doomfist. Oh, and I’m also going to discussing fan culture so if you want to stick around for that as well that’d be cool.

Who Is Doomfist?

So before I even get into that you should know that Overwatch is a team-based multiplayer FPS [first-person shooter] by Blizzard Entertainment that has a lot of playable female characters [and has been snapping up awards like they’re a limited resource]. Doomfist, as I mentioned in the last paragraph, is predicted to be the newest hero in the game, bringing the roster up to a full 24.

That character has also been hinted at as early as the Overwatch cinematic trailer, which came out November 2014. That’s roughly nine months before the ill-fated ARG [alternate reality game] that Blizzard used to hint at and lead up to the release of Sombra, their 23rd hero.

If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, which is ridiculous because it’s only six minutes long and painfully good, the trailer revolves around two kids witnessing a villainous duo [Reaper and Widowmaker] try to steal an artifact only to be thwarted by ex-Overwatch agents [Tracer and Winston]. The item in question is, like the younger one says, “Doomfist’s gauntlet”. Apparently by wearing it the user “could level a skyscraper.” Continue reading

Five Requests Of An Angry Young Man

I’m not going to pretend that I speak for all Millennials.

I grew up overseas. The 90s nostalgia over cartoons, cereal, and toys was never part of my life. I’d made plenty of trips back to the US, but never really spent any time in the culture until I was 17, arriving on the shores of the new world like the opening of some cliched immigrant story.

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Not quite so dramatically, but I was still very much a stranger in a strange land…

So maybe I’m looking at things through a strange, distorted lens. Maybe I’m alone in feeling that I’ve been seriously shortchanged on my future in the land of opportunity.

But I don’t think so.

Still, as I was writing this, I was starting to have second thoughts. Maybe my tone was too harsh, my criticisms to generalized, my frustration too warrant-less.

And then I watched this SNL skit titled “The Millennials”

“Beautiful twenty-somethings (Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson, Miley Cyrus, Jon Rudnitsky) search for the love and success they’re entitled to on The Millennials.”

We watch a couple god-awful caricatures of Generation Y make outlandish demands of their sensible, long-suffering precursors. Near the end of the sketch, one of the smarmy Millennials threatens to jump out of a window. The two older workers stand back and say:

“Just do it.”

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Cue the applause and cheers from the audience.

So yeah, **** being nice and measured here. Let me break down what I’m sick and tired of hearing from Gen X and their Boomer counterparts:

I. Kindly Ease Up With Demanding That I Get Married/Have Kids

Yes, Millennials are getting married later than previous generations, but the average has only only gone up by a couple years. Yet to hear some folks talk, you’d think Millennials were actively attempting to dismantle the institution of marriage entirely.

I guess I just don’t understand what the big deal is.

Right along there with the pressure to get married is the pressure to spawn offspring- though again, the exact why isn’t ever really covered.

It almost seems to be presented as some kind of civic duty. That establishing the nuclear family is vital to ze velbeing of ze fatherland.

And I could deal with that.

I disagree with it, but I could deal with it as an argument. Just not one presented by the Boomers and Gen Xers.

I mean, seriously.

Boomers? Continue reading

Having Put The Martian on Blast, Let’s Talk Briefly About Intersectionality

Last Friday was such an outpouring of emotions [alongside a fair amount of research] that even with roughly 2,700 words there was bound to be something I missed. While I had initially planned on making room for it, an omission was made starkly apparent to me once I began sharing the post. As those of you who read it [and you should, before continuing on with this one] it ended with a call to action: kickstarting the discussion about diversity and representation through asking others to read what I’d written [or however else they felt led].

That’s a risky thing to ask of anyone, for obvious reasons.

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One of my friends shared the post on Facebook, and was immediately faced with another friend of theirs who had an issue with a small section that I’ve since amended. Here it as it was originally written:

“Chiwetel Ejiofor is an Academy Award winning actor. He’s also a Black [not African American] man, part of a demographic that has not struggled in Hollywood compared to many others.”

Going back you’ll notice that it now refers to Ejiofor as being “Nigerian English”, which is of course much more accurate. The issue that the person had with the original was that by going so far as to state that other actors were “Asian” and even “East Indian” I was snubbing Ejiofor’s own background. I was even accused of doing racebending of my own by overlooking this fact. Continue reading