Tag Archives: current-events

Evan and Gordon Talk: The UK Porn Ban

GORDON: Ladies and gentlemen, things are happening in England.

No, no that.

I’m talking about the recent decision by the Cameron government to make pornography blocked by default on British internet service.

EVAN: To segue into us talking about this in earnest, I thought it’d be good to go into our personal experience with this.

No, not that. Continue reading

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Fame Day: Us VS The US

A few weeks from now will see the 50th anniversary of the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom”- the “March on Washington” as it is abbreviated today. Through the sweltering heart, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. boomed out his famous “I Have A Dream” speech. Most everyone is familiar with the beginning, but lesser known is what King had to say later in the oration.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir… It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt.

Now I have a tendency to rail on America. Having been at the pointed end of US foreign policy, I don’t believe I’m unjustified in doing so. But for everything that this nation let’s slide, for everything wrong, I can always count on some American to live out the example described by King and demand the US hold true to the noble ideals it claims it was founded upon. On this 4th of July, I’d like to showcase some of the men and women who I believe are standing up and speaking out. Continue reading

Fame Day: Socialism Conference

I’m writing these words in the last hours of what has been a quiet May Day.

For me, at least.

Elsewhere in the world, red and black flags are being proudly waved as people march through the streets, chanting and singing. In Greece, a nation-wide strike is being carried out in defiance of massive lay-offs enacted by the government. In Bangladesh, thousands are protesting after the collapse of a sweatshop resulted in the death and injury of hundreds of workers. Similar protests have broken out in the Philippines as nearly 10,000 workers march in Manila. Youth in Spain are raging against the nearly 30% unemployment rate. Korea, Cambodia, Turkey, Indonesia- just to name a handful- are witnessing similar turnouts.

Continue reading

Shame Day: Todd Kincannon

There’s an old supposedly Scottish proverb that goes,

“The only reason some people are alive is because is because it is illegal to kill them.”

toddkincannon

This is perhaps truer of no one than former South Carolina Republican Party
executive director Todd Kincannon.

Now you’re probably all saying “Whoa there! Ain’t that more than a little harsh?

To which I respond: no.

This is a guy so twisted I feel perfectly comfortable with slapping the label “evil” on him and not losing a moment’s peace of mind. Let me break it down for you.

This guy makes Rush Limbaugh (the guy who came out in support of the genocidal, child-rapist “Lord’s Resistance Army” terrorist group in the Congo) look like Gandhi by comparison. Here’s what Kincannon posted regarding Trayvon Martin during the Superbowl:

And just to be sure there was no confusion as to his meaning, Kincannon continued on to post this:

Yeah, I’m going to give you all a moment to try to wrap your head around just how vile of a thing that was.

Ready?

Well, we’re moving on anyways.

Now I could spend the entire post breaking down Kincannon’s assumption that some high school kid gunned down by a gung-ho neighborhood watchman was a “thug” or that had he grown up, he inevitably would’ve resorted to “sucking dick” for “drug money,” but there’s oh so much more still to see!

Kincannon’s spent the past few days attacking Iraq war veteran Mike Prysner for his views on recently deceased Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, offering such reasonable and level-headed comments as:

https://twitter.com/ToddKincannon/status/315693128914989056

And:

https://twitter.com/ToddKincannon/status/315697254180728832

Again, it’s kind of hard for me to feel guilty about my statement above when it has to compete with even the mildest of things this guy has to say.

https://twitter.com/ToddKincannon/status/315571885620473856

https://twitter.com/ToddKincannon/status/315673713553059841

https://twitter.com/ToddKincannon/status/315677582668468225

https://twitter.com/ToddKincannon/status/316410543760084992

What makes it all worse is that when this guy is confronted over his statements, he resorts to “free speech” arguments to evade any responsibility. He is correct in that he has the freedom to say whatever he so chooses, just as I have the freedom to stick forks in my own eyes or kick a grizzly bear- just because I have the right to do something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. As far as trying to play off his statements.

In one interview, Kincannon out rightly stated that “If you say something that’s borderline offensive or if it is offensive, the people that attack you and say just the awfulest [sic] things about you, they do the very thing that they accuse you of.”

Evan does try to keep the blog relatively profanity-free, but this was really the only gif I could find that quite captured the feeling…

For anyone wondering, that’s the equivalent of punching a guy and calling him a hypocrite when he punches you back. But there’s more to it than just that.

Even if Kincannon truly does believe he’s nothing more than a witty prankster, he does have a following and his statements do get reactions out of people, including such gems as:

So we’ve effectively jumped from “This vet deserves to have died for holding political views I disagree with” to “every soldier who has come back alive is a coward and a disgrace to the fatherland.”

Again, if this is all some elaborate prank being played by Kincannon, we can’t ignore that it’s not being taken to lightly by his followers. I don’t think J.D. Salinger should be blamed because a nutcases took Catcher in the Rye to be code for “Kill John Lennon,” but when most everyone reading your work is coming away with homophobic, racist, sexist, and generally reprehensible messages, it’s time to rethink your medium.

If Kincannon’s playing some prank. Between you and me, I don’t think this is all that funny:

https://twitter.com/ToddKincannon/status/316410079152857089

What’s there left to say?

Todd Kincannon, you are an evil human being. Shame on you.

Evan, if there was ever a time to break Culture War Reporter’s no-profanity rule, it is now

Fame Day: Basic Human Decency

I like to rail on our society.

Our blatant disregard for the poor. Our willful ignorance in the information age. Our hypocritical sense of morality. Capitalism. People who have perfect eyesight but wear glasses for “fashion.”

Worst. People. Ever.

But for all of that, I genuinely do think we’re making some (small) progress as a culture. Don’t get me wrong, I fully believe that beneath every person’s thin veneer of civilization lies a seething volcano of barbarism, cannibalism, and baby-punching-ism waiting to be unleashed at any minute. There’s no changing that.

How awesome was this scene?

Nevertheless, we are getting better in some regards. Specifically, I’m thinking about an image I saw not too long ago.

You can’t really argue with that. When something is wrong, it’s wrong. “Injustice anywhere is…”

Well, you get the idea.

Now this guy deserves some applause on his own, but it’s really the bigger picture I want to direct the spotlight to. It’s the simple belief that there’s a basic set of expectations for human behavior. Being morally outraged not simply when the news is covering one story, or during a particularly heinous scandal- but for every act of injustice out there.

Let me break it down a bit.

Chances are, you’ve run into some post on Facebook or any other social networking site in which someone attempts to make a supposedly bold or heroic stand, voicing their support for gay rights or the body positive movement, or something of that nature. While this doesn’t typically happen on any of my feeds, when I do see it, I’m usually pretty underwhelmed. Wow, _____ is coming out in support of gay rights? Brave move, next thing you’ll know he’ll be speaking out against segregation!

I know that sounds needlessly harsh, but more often than not, I feel proclamations and manifestos of that nature are looking for applause more than anything else, and that’s the whole problem. Is it good to be a tolerant, passionate, socially, and environmentally conscious person?

Yes, it is.

What do you want, a cookie?

There’s a 1994 movie by the name of Quiz Show, a drama based off of the true story of a rigged gameshow in the 1950s. While I only ever saw the tail end of the movie (and that was years ago), there’s a scene that stuck in my head. The character who had been cheating at the game is called before congress to testify. Standing up, he offers an eloquent “soul-searching” speech on how he struggled to reclaim his integrity and self-respect after having been a pawn in this entire sordid affair. The congressmen congratulate him on giving such a moving speech- all but one. A congressman by the name of Derounian leans forward and states states that he doesn’t see why the contestant should be commended for simply having told the truth.

And it makes sense, doesn’t it?

We’re patting each other (and more than that, ourselves) on the backs for what? Decrying injustice? Raging against waste and greed? Supporting equality? Should we be praised for this? For briefly rising out of ignorance and selfishness to meet the minimum requirements for human decency?

Seriously, do you think you should feel a sense of pride over not being a racist? Should we applaud ourselves for not clubbing a baby seal to death?

I don’t think so.

And it seems like people are finally starting to get it. Moral outrage for the purposes of fashion are being attacked. Not, perhaps, on a grand and noticeable scale (barring, perhaps, Jon Stewart), but quietly; with caustic jabs like that picture up above. And it’s about time, too.

Best movie of all time.

And yes, I’m fully aware of the hypocrisy of commending basic human decency not being commended. Consider this more of a public service announcement, if you must.

I Want My M16

Today, we’re going to be talking about guns.

Well, I am going to be talking about guns. I can’t speak to Evan’s convictions on the subject, other than that he favors the needler in Halo. I further understand that the word “Reporters” in our blog’s title may make my post seem like it is using journalism as a facade for promoting personal social and political views à la Fox News.

Your source for interchangeable blonde news anchors since 1996.

Despite this, the simple truth of the matter is that here at CWR, we do hold fairly strong views and don’t shy away from laying them out, be it calling out lousy comic book “artists” to demanding greater coverage of violence by the media. Granted, we have Fame/Shame Day here at CWR to more directly bash what we believe to be wrong with society and laud what we think is being done right, but the purpose of this post really isn’t either of those things. This is simply my own take on a current debate, submitted for your consideration.

Let’s get right to it.

I like guns.

And no, not in the obsessive way where I can tell you how many rounds a Beretta Px4 can hold, or why it’s important that the bullets from one hunting rifle travel marginally faster than those of another. I’ve never hunted anything bigger than a cockroach (which isn’t to say those weren’t some big roaches). I’ve never posted a photo of me and my gun on Facebook.

I don’t even own a gun.

So why do I like them? Why, in the face of all the recent atrocities committed with guns, would I voice any support for the alleged right to own a killing device?

I could spout all the old rhetoric and slogans of the gun-nuts.

If we take away guns, only bad guys will have them!”
Guns won this country’s independence!
“My right to  own a gun protects your right to complain about them!”

In addition to just being used-to-death, the simple truth of the matter is that all of those supposedly “tried-and-true” arguments have some holes in them.  There are countries out there with gun control laws more stringent than the US whose gun-related crimes are nevertheless low. Guns did help win this nation’s freedom, but so did the cannon and the battleship, neither of which could be found hanging above the average colonist’s mantle. And if we’re looking to face the facts, the same guns that supposedly protect my freedom could likewise take it away. Let the facts be faced, the gun owners of this nation are not some courageous bastion standing between me and an intrusive, all-powerful government.

So why support guns?

Because I like having a fighting chance.

Too often these debates get painted as black and white. Both sides point at each other and howl that a victory for their opponents would be on par with the rise of Cthulu.

I, for one, welcome our elder-god overlord…

Take it from any Black/Hispanic/Native American/Jewish/Etc. person living in the 1950s- access to firearms is not a guarantee of freedom, justice, and equality. And take it from someone who actually lived in a brutal dictatorship- a society without guns in no ways guarantees safety and security for you or those you care for. A gun is just a gun. It is not a magical freedom stick forged in angel tears and presented to you by the almighty. It is not an infernal, malicious, conscious beast that turns otherwise good people into psychopaths.

You’re thinking of board games

It is just a machine.

Cars kill people. Cars save people. Speaking for myself, I’d prefer to live in a world with cars. Dogs kill people. Dogs save people. I’d rather in a world with dogs. Hammers make good chairs. Hammers make lousy chairs, and I don’t care that it’s been years since I last used a hammer. For good or ill, I’d like to know that if I wanted to, I could walk into the garage and use one.

Same goes for guns.

They aren’t always safe. They aren’t always good. They don’t always protect me, but I nevertheless like to know that I can try to use them to do that.

It’s just something to consider.

This isn’t meant to offer all or even some of the answers- it’s just an alternate take on the situation I think wouldn’t kill us to discuss.

Think about it.

Will The Real Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Please Stand Up?

If you’ve read even a couple of my posts, you’ll probably be able to guess that yours truly is more than a little bit political.

The problem with having political views pretty divergent from the rest of the country is that I often get stuck between two (supposedly) diametrically opposed worldviews who flood my inbox with conflicting petitions. The group whose legalize gay marriage petition I signed fully expects that I’ll jump at a chance to demand a ban on assault rifles, and vice versa.

Today being both inauguration day and Martin Luther King day, the liberal and progressive groups I’ve signed with have naturally been rejoicing like kids on Christmas morning.

Me?

Not so much.

What ticks me off isn’t that Obama is going to be president for another four years (okay, that does tick me off, but no more than any other proposed candidate), it’s all these people attempting to draw lines between what happened earlier today on the steps of the capitol and what happened half a century ago only a short distance away.

Now this certainly isn’t the first time Obama and MLK have been thrown together, and as simple examples of key figures in African American history, there’s really nothing wrong with that. What gets me- what really gets me- is how the two men are imagined as being part of the same great lineage, and nothing could be further from the truth.

What is so often forgotten is that MLK wasn’t simply an advocate of non-violence for the purpose of advancing the cause of civil rights- he was an advocate of non-violence for the purpose of stopping violence. MLK despised conflict, and was one of the staunchest voices of opposition to the Vietnam war. But hey, don’t take my word for it, hear it from the man himself:

Strong words, eh?

Those sentiments of King don’t exactly overlap with those of Obama on the subject of drone strikes and decade-long military occupations. Heck, at 3:40, King straight up declares his views to be biblical- something that the neo-cons and religious right in this country would definitely take issue with. Can you imagine MLK living today?

Well you don’t have to- Aaron McGruder, creator of The Boondocks, already has.

Again- regardless of feelings about either MLK or Obama, you can’t deny that the two of them were/are integral figures in American history, but it’s there that the similarities need to stop. Guantanamo Bay was not King’s dream for the country. Same goes for drone strikes, indefinite detention, record deportation rates, and the White House’s inaction on the wrongful execution of Troy Davis.

I’m just speculating, but I imagine King’s reaction would look a bit more like this.

And not so much like this:

It’s just something to think about…