Tag Archives: genocide

Buddhism Is ****ed Up Too

This was the image I stumbled across as I was pondering what to write about today:

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Click image above for the actual imgur post.

“The world is not only for Muslims.”

That was the focus of the person who posted this image, but I found his Islamophobic sentiment to be a whole lot less interesting than the way he chose to show it.

There’s any number of pictures out there that could convey the same sentiment, but he zeroed in on the one with men in saffron robes. Why?

“When even Buddhists don’t like you – you know you’ve ****ed up.”

Because they’re Buddhists, right?

Everyone knows Buddhists.

They’re the nice people with the shaved heads and bare feet. The ones with that perpetual look of serenity and profound wisdom. The ones who practically ooze peace and goodwill out of their chakras.

It’s the thing that Jack Kerouac and all the beatniks fell in love with. The thing that melded so beautifully with the hippies in the 60s. Love, altruism, placidity – that’s what Buddhism is, right?

Or maybe it isn’t. Continue reading

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Shame Day: The White Man March

Two nights ago I posted an article to our Facebook page that listed tweets in response to some sort of White Man March. My first reaction upon coming across it for the first time, as I think most most people’s would be, was not so much what is this as why is this. My second was to ascertain that the tweets were in fact funny so that I could share them on social media and use them as a hook to create discussion [which they did not, but what are you going to do].

In coming up with today’s Shame Day post the march came to mind, but it dawned on me that I knew literally nothing about it besides the fact that the internet thought it was ridiculous.

I did what I consider to be the bare amount of research possible and determined that, yes, the White Man March is indeed worthy of its own Shame Day post. Continue reading

Evan and Gordon Kat Talk: First Nations Fracking Protests

EVAN: Denizens of the internet, today brings back your two favourite Canadians as we discuss our home and native land, the true north strong and free. While I most definitely cite Canada as the birthplace and country I am proud to bear on my passport, I truthfully don’t know as much about it as I could.

Taking all that into consideration, Kat provides the topic this week [just like she did last time we did this] that covers a number of topics very near and dear to my heart: Canada, First Nations people, and environmentalism.

KAT: It’s really the full package.

So, those of you in both Canada and the States may be familiar with a new way to harvest natural gas, called fracking.

So, as the video above explains far better than I could, fracking is a risky process that can actually lead to natural gas leading into local water sources. There are even reports of homes near fracking sites being able to light the water coming out of the tap on fire because natural gas is escaping out the line at the same time.

We admit to not knowing how reliable this image is, but it does look pretty awesome.

Continue reading

Biblical Inerrancy

As you’ve already heard from Evan, the post I had initially created was taken down. Quite honestly, it was pretty dang sub-par, and really just a sad attempt on my part to push off the inevitable day when I’d have to conclude my little series on Western Christianity (i.e., Protestantism) with some pretty hefty accusations.

This is going to be a big one.

My past couple of posts on religion (well, general Western Christianity) have dealt largely with complaints regarding the nature of “organized” religion, and can be generally dismissed with a statement like “Well, those people are clearly just distorting the message.” We’re going to be heading a bit deeper today, with some questions about the message itself.

Let’s talk about the idea of “Biblical Inerrancy.”

Continue reading

Shame Day: Efrain Rios Montt and Thein Sein

We try to stay topical here at CWR, and with both of these individuals making headlines, we’ll be splitting up our time railing on both of them.

Let’s start with General Efrain Rios Montt, former Guatemalan dictator. Montt has just managed to get his April 19th conviction overturned by a constitutional court.

What was he convicted for?

Genocide. Continue reading

Slavery and Movies

I recently had a chance to see The Man with the Iron Fists, a gritty Kung-Fu-Spaghetti-Western-70s-Exploitation mash-up film presented (of course) by Quentin Tarantino. I say presented by Tarantino; the creation of the film itself is owed largely to The RZA of the former (and still awesome) Wu-Tang Clan. In addition to co-writing and directing the film, the RZA stars in the epic slug-fest itself, serving as the narrator and titular character.

Now I went into this film simply suspending my disbelief. I assumed all the nonsensical elements in the film would simply be loving jabs at the old-school kung-fu and action movies that Tarantino and Roth grew up on. That’s why Russel Crowe’s character has a gun-scissor-knife weapon, or why (and here’s the big thing) the blacksmith in this fictional Chinese village is black. Much to my surprise however, the movie began offering explanations (though not to the gun-scissor-knife). The blacksmith is, in a flashback, shown having grown up on a plantation and receiving his freedom from his dying master. Despite having papers declaring him a free man, he is continually treated as a slave- in one scene he is told by a couple of dandies that there’s no way he can read, and therefore understand what’s written on his documents. The two men crumple up his paper and proceed to slur and shove him until he fights back, inadvertently killing one of them. He flees west, and after his ship is wrecked, finds himself in China.

Now obviously that whole last bit about him running so far he winds up in the far east is obviously just the movie shifting back into fantasy, but what really got me was the depiction of slavery. Not prejudice, not segregation- slavery. When’s the last time you can actually say you saw a film deal with that? Glory in 1989? Some Little House on the Prairie episode sometime in the 70s? It simply isn’t done (and that one episode of The Boondocks doesn’t count).

And that’s what I want to talk about. Our depiction, or lack of depiction, of slavery. For all our grand talk of freedom, liberty, and American “exceptionalism,” we do tend to gloss over the uglier elements of our history, such as Manzanar, Wounded Knee, and perhaps most notably, slavery. It brings up all sorts of uncomfortable, and frankly unresolved conflicts. It throws a dark shadow over all of our self-reported greatness. Nevertheless, we really can’t shove it under the carpet, and it looks like, at long last, it’s starting to all come out.

AMC’s Hell on Wheels takes place during the years following the close of the Civil War, and like The Man with the Iron Fists is one of the few depictions of slavery I’ve ever seen on film or TV. In addition to its frank depiction of slavery, I want to take a moment to give the show some applause for the historical accuracy it had in general, depicting Northern racism towards the ex-slaves, as well as the racism inflicted to (and by) the Irish immigrants- another nasty little thread in American heritage you won’t find in most history books.

Of course, beyond that, there’s the highly anticipated Tarantino film Django Unchained, which we’re all expecting to be jaw-dropping in how good or bad it turns out to be. Unlike the previous two examples, which depicted slavery only briefly, this is a movie set completely in the antebellum South. That’s another hefty jump, though again, how well this is going to be executed is still very much up in air.

Now I’ve been struggling all night to come up with a conclusion for all of this, but I’m really not sure what to say. I can’t say why we’re suddenly interested in a subject we’ve been ignoring for the past century and a half. I can’t quite figure out if this is some little trend or the awakening of some part of our culture that’s been dormant so long we’ve forgotten it. I can’t pinpoint what’s causing this. I can’t tell you where it’s all going. I can tell you, however, where I hope it goes.

I hope this is the beginning of something that might pass for maturity in our culture or our generation. I hope that movies depicting the reality of slavery become a thing. I hope that they open up the doors for the rest of our small-pox-infected, witch-burning, Japanese-interning, waterboarding history. I hope we can actually learn something from all of this once it’s out there, and hey, maybe we can actually get some racial diversity in our movies for a change.

Maybe.

P.S. I haven’t seen Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter or Lincoln yet, so I can’t say how they deal with it in there.