Well, I woke up this morning, flipped on my laptop, and had this image waiting there to greet me.
For ****’s sake, people.
Alright, lets get to it. Continue reading
There’s a prevailing idea that the Middle East and its history is nothing but a quagmire of conflicts and wars too ancient and complicated for all but the most scholarly. This simply isn’t true, and 9 times out of 10 it’s just a flimsy excuse for one’s ignorance on the people and politics of civilization’s cradle. The truth is, the Middle East isn’t anymore complex than any other part of the world, and by the end of this post, I’m hoping to have proven that.
This is as simple as it gets, people.
Let’s talk about a little stretch of beach called Gaza.
A fifth of the size of Los Angeles, and with a population of 1.7 million, the Gaza Strip is the world’s largest open-air prison.
That’s right, a prison. We can call it a “territory” or a “reservation” or dress it up any number of ways- at the end of the day, a gigantic holding cell is all that it is.
In the week leading up to the Super Bowl my Facebook feed was exploding with information regarding sex trafficking.There were articles like this one, which included first-hand accounts from victims, as well as videos like this one and the one below.
I was excited to see the increase in awareness around the time of the Super Bowl because I hoped that it would prompt a crack down on trafficking activities. In fact, that’s actually what ended up happening. For example, Attorney General John Hoffman of New Jersey “assembled a task force, which, among other things, aim[ed] to teach the public how to identify and assist trafficking victims.” Additionally, “this year’s host, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie [was] tweeting frequently about sex trafficking at the Super Bowl and his state’s commitment to stop it.” Continue reading
Readers, as I was in the middle of researching my originally intended Fame Day I was interrupted by the sound of pounding outside my door. It was the cops, interrogating my next door neighbor about the last time he saw someone. I stood by the door, listening- though the primary cop speaking was yelling so loudly I really didn’t have to. Of course, it just made me extra sure I got his exact words:
“I hate this fucking complex.”
“I will give you shit until you give me what I want.”
Other, similar statements followed- though I try to observe Evan’s general rule of keeping profanity to a minimum. The neighbor repeatedly said that he hadn’t seen they guy they were after, which only resulted in both more shouting from the cop and, from the sound of it, him stomping into the apartment. Without a warrant or the consent of the my neighbor, which constitutes a violation of his 4th amendment rights.
Where exactly do you start when talking about Cornel West?
I mean, the man’s a brilliant academic. Dr. West had an illustrious career at Princeton and has just recently begun teaching at Fuller Theological Seminary (when he’s not teaching at the university of Paris). On top of that, he’s written over 20 books (and by books I mean tomes measured in weight rather than pages), appeared on countless national news panels, and somehow still found time to have a bit part in a couple of The Matrix movies.
Or perhaps I could talk about the man’s political work. West has been one of the few figures to consistently call out the Obama administration on its hypocrisy and atrocities- exemplified best by his outrage on Obama being sworn in on MLK Jr.’s bible.
I’ve always had a rough time with Fame Day posts. I’m a generally dispassionate guy, and the things that I do like either aren’t around anymore (good rock, for example) or don’t have much to be said about them (beer is good, that is all).
Bitter cynic that I am, it’s a lot easier (and more fun) to rail on things I despise (which is a lot of things) than make a case for what I enjoy. That issue is only compounded by the simple fact that at the end of the day, it’s really just all the little things which get ya.
With that in mind, today’s Fame Day [in lieu of the usual Shame Day] will not be spent dedicated to a single person or group or trend, but rather to a number of things which deserve some recognition, even if it’s just a little.
Even with a better understanding of history and geography, portrayals of Jesus are still pretty much limited to the fair-skinned, flowing-haired images of the Middle Ages. Even if we are, at the very least, keeping away from the blonde hair and blue eyes, we still have a long way to go. That’s the reason it’s always so refreshing to see Jesus portrayed with a stocky build, dark skin, dark hair, and a beard one would sooner associate with an Al-Qaeda commander.
For everyone portraying Jesus as something more like that below, and less like this above- thank you.
PFC Bradley Manning:
In retrospect, I could’ve simply dedicated this Fame Day to saluting Bradley Manning, the young American soldier who leaked a massive number of documents to Wikileaks. Inevitably however, such an attempt would have simply devolved from a round of applause for Manning into a vitriolic diatribe against the increasingly Orwellian US government. Heck, even here I’m gonna be tempted to do so. Better just keep it short and to the point.
Included in the footage Manning leaked was video of a strike by American forces on targets they mistook for combatants, but who were in reality journalists and civilians. This footage would have doubtlessly been suppressed, as would similar information PFC Manning leaked, and kept from the public eye, perhaps forever. Rather than being given a medal, Manning has been arrested, imprisoned, intimidated, and presented with a host of charges, including “aiding the enemy,” which carries the death sentence. Again, I’m tempted to run off into a wild condemnation of this entire farce, so let’s throw PFC Manning a round of applause and our wishes for his speedy release.
In our paranoid world, we have a tendency to attempt to control and protect our loved ones- kids in particular- from any possible harm or danger, no matter how minor. You’ve probably seen it in some form or another. Loading the kids down with every imagine medication, drilling the idea of “stranger-danger” into their disproportionately large heads, heck, even tracking phones or school IDs is viewed as just a logical move in this chaotic and evil world.
I guess that’s why it’s always good to see parents who are okay with their kids getting a little dirty and scraped-up, or even view such things as a healthy part of development. I’m not talking about neglect, mind you, but rather an understanding that keeping kids penned up inside a house or wasting away in front of a TV is just as bad- if not worse- than having to liberally apply the iodine after Jack and Jill fall down some hill.
And there you have it folks- a grab bag of things worth nodding your heads at. Be sure to check in tomorrow for a new installment of “Evan and Gordon Talk,” and Free Bradley Manning!