Tag Archives: bigotry

My Problem With Ghost in the Shell (In A Nutshell)

I don’t think there’s anyone here who’s unfamiliar with the term “whitewashing” at this point.

It’s been a frequent topic of conversation here on Culture War Reporters, and while certainly not a new issue, it has been gaining wider and wider attention in recent years…


Most recently, the problem reared its ugly head in the form of Scarlett Johannson being cast in the live-action remake of anime classic Ghost In A Shell. Once again we’re seeing a traditionally non-white (in this specific case, Japanese) role being given to a white actor out of fear that audiences won’t watch movies with non-white leads. And if that were the only issue, I might have stuck with my usually political tirades and left this topic alone. But in the past few days, a shocking development has emerged in the story. Allegations have surfaced that the remake’s producers (and I quote) “Tested Visual Effects That Would Make White Actors Appear Asian“.

Or, as my best friend and this blog’s editor recently put it on Facebook:

“We think so little of you that we’d consider changing a White person’s appearance before entertaining the thought of casting an actual Asian.”

So yeah, I’m feeling compelled to write about this…

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And let me tell you what really convinced me to submit the following rant. Continue reading

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Escaping Trump’s America: One Writer’s Harrowing Tale of Survival

trump-011It has been 51 days since Drumpf became president, and I lock the door to my apartment for the final time. It’s a cold day in March, but even my thick coat raises eyebrows as I arrive at the station.

They say Mussolini made the trains run on time, but I’m guessing the strange intricacies that seem to govern the Greyhound buses would’ve sent tears running down the fat, doughy face of the Italian despot. My ticket reads 5:30 to Chicago, No. 302, but the sun is already starting to rise over the desert. All the seats have been taken. I find myself a free spot of ground beneath a leering poster of the president. The bitter morning wind, reeking of diesel fumes and cigarette ash, sends loose papers skittering across the concrete. Discarded ticket stubs, crumpled receipts- a single page that looks like it may have come from some shoolboy’s essay. All decadent, unpatriotic schools have been replaced with Drumpf Universities, where we are to be re-educated to stop thinking like “bimbos” and “losers.”

An hour passes, and the guards return- weak, winter sunlight glittering off of their glossy, golden uniforms. They have proper haircuts- as we all do now. Aryan blonde, brushed forward to cover the parts of our head that absolutely aren’t balding. Any illicit hairstyles will earn you and your barber 80 lashings. They takes measurements our hands, to ensure their proper size. They search my belongings. I’ve prepared for this. Just enough clothes for a three day trip. No money. No passport. Just my mandatory certificate proving native birth and authorized religious beliefs. My papers say that I am going to Houghton to visit a sick friend. I am lucky that I already have documents that show I went to college there- at least, to the Houghton in New York. I do not think I could have afforded to have all my papers forged. Continue reading

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Caucus

Today marks the start of voting in the Iowa Caucus, a crucial stage in the great and bloody pageant that is our Democratic process. And while the tallied results will doubtlessly dominate the news over the next days (until the  New Hampshire caucus steals the spotlight) it should be remembered that, while important, the results are far from deterministic. Plenty of presidential hopefuls have won here only to ultimately lose the nomination. All of which is to simply say that we will not (I repeat, not) be making any foolhardy attempts at predicting the outcome here.

That’s not our job.

What we will be doing is- now that the dust has finally started to settle- is count up the casualties and figure out what the numbers say about us.

The Head & The Heartless

As of the writing of this post, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders are neck and neck for the hearts and minds of their devotees in the Hawkeye state. And that alone should be of note, seeing as how a year ago Hillary’s nomination was being treated as a given, with some even dubbing the primaries more of a “coronation” than a contest.

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Which is probably less pleasing to some than others…

Why It’s A Good Thing:

Look, it’s no secret that yours truly is an avowed Leftist. And as such, I’m still not entirely certain what to make of Bernie Sanders. Part of me, of course, wants to like the guy. I do want to see Universal Healthcare, free higher education, drug legalization, and the like. I don’t want the massive, bloated, intrusive pseudo-socialism of Scandinavia. There’s a lot that goes into it, and maybe we can explore that another time, but for the here and now, I’m just happy that it’s a conversation we can even have.

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If you had told me, just a couple years ago, that a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist would have a significant chance at a major nomination and the presidency, I wouldn’t have believed you. Yet here we are, and for better or ill, we’re the people that have to deal with that. The issues of the working class, of income inequality, of the failures of run-of-the-mill liberalism- these have all found their way to the forefront of our national dialogue and they cannot be dismissed. Even if Sanders fails to clinch the nomination (and that’s still very up in the air), his supporters and sympathizers will certainly not go quietly into the night. From here on out the Democrats (and ostensibly, any major candidate) are going to have to address the increasingly vocal demands for a more equal society.

That, and I love that the eternally smug former Secretary-o’-State is being forced to actually work for this nomination.

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We can probably cover my distaste for this person at a different time…

Continue reading

Black to the Oscars

Well readers, it was exactly one week ago that actress Jada Pinkett Smith announced her decision not to attend this year’s Academy Awards, citing a distinct lack of diversity in the nominees. In a brief video [embedded below], Pinkett Smith expressed her frustration at the apparent exclusion of people of color in the “mainstream”, and declared that “…begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity.”


Upon hearing this, the nation has since had a moment of quiet reflection over the issues Miss Pinkett Smith has brought up, calmly and honestly discussing the root issues facing the representation of-

Nah, I’m just kidding. People went ape****.

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Cue the torrent of self-righteous indignation as folks started positively shrieking about reverse-racism, hypocrisy, and entitlement. And as more and more figures have come out in support of (or at least, sympathy with) Pinkett Smith’s cause, the outrage has only grown with it. It seems that you can’t go anywhere online without running into something like this:

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Or this:

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Or this:

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For the record, the stats on this lead to incorrect conclusions- but we can talk about that later.

Continue reading

Bigotry, Borders, and Beyond

Let’s try a little exercise here-

What’s the first image that pops into your head when I say the word “refugee”?

For many, it will be that of displaced African villagers, perhaps with stomachs bloated from hunger, listlessly waiting in line for water in some desecrated wasteland.

For others, it might be more recent images: those of shivering, terrified Syrians, crammed into boats as they prepare to make a perilous voyage across the Mediterranean.

But how many would think of scenes like this?

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No, that’s not the Balkans or Turkey or Darfour. That’s the Congregational Church of Austin in Texas, barely over a thousand miles from where I’m writing these very words.

The “American Immigration Crisis” has been quietly brewing since 2014, when a sudden surge of migrants- most of them young children– attempted to cross into the US from countries in Central America.

The response by many, as you can probably guess, was less than welcoming-

Across the Southwest (and the country at large), outrage was expressed over these “illegals”, the town of Murietta, CA perhaps serving as the best example. In July of 2014  buses carrying migrant families were protested in a manner that can only be described as repulsive- but I’ll let you watch for yourself and decide:

Continue reading

Benjamin Netenyahu: Holocaust Denier

Readers, we interrupt your regular horror-themed post to bring you news from the Middle East- where, for anyone not keeping up, things have started heating up (even in this cold October).

Past weeks have seen a surge of violence on the streets of Jerusalem, as a spate of stabbings has left 8 Israelis and 56 Palestinians dead. Tensions continue to rise in a cycle of attacks and brutal retaliations, leading many to question if the region will see a 3rd Intifada in the coming days and weeks. With the looming threat of an all-out uprising, many within the region and internally have urgently called for peace.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netenyahu has not been among them.

Speaking at the World Zionist Convention this past Tuesday, Netenyahu proclaimed to his rapt audience that (and I quote):

Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time – he wanted to expel the Jews.”

-BBC World News (I’d link you to the YouTube clip, but I don’t want to give those racists the hits)

Netenyahu would go on to claim that it was only after meeting Haj Amin al-Husseini, the mufti (high-ranking Islamic religious scholar) of Jerusalem, that the “final solution” was implemented- Netenyahu claiming that Hitler only began the holocaust at the behest of the mufti.

And that is…

…just so ****ing stupid that I don’t even know where to begin.

I mean that every single word of that is wrong. And not just wrong but so obviously and categorically wrong. The wholesale murder of Jews/Roma/homosexuals/the disabled/communists/etc. was already well (as in years) underway by the time the mufti met with Hitler. Historians both within Israel and without, and across the full political spectrum, have poured their collective derision on Netenyahu’s barefaced lie.

-Everyone on the planet.

Continue reading

Bernie Sanders VS. Black Lives Matter: How Is This Helping?

I haven’t been this depressed about writing a post since the attack on Charlie Hebdo. Even as my fingers move across my keyboard I can feel my willpower just oozing right out of me. And it’s not that the issues here aren’t worth talking about- they absolutely are. It’s just that the whole affair has been so…

pointless.

Let me just hit you with the hard facts before we jump into this morass of stupidity and futility.

This Saturday in Seattle Democratic-Socialist and presidential-hopeful Bernie Sanders was holding a political rally for his campaign. Shortly after beginning, a pair of protestors from Black Lives Matter (a nation-wide movement speaking out against police violence towards African Americans) climbed up on stage. The two protestors, for some twenty minutes, recounted grievances of the local black community and scolded Sanders for not having been vocal enough about police violence towards minorities. “…Join us now in holding Bernie Sanders accountable…” stated Marissa Johnson, one of the protestors.

Continue reading