“What do you think of when you hear the word colonial?”
That was the question posed to me and others by a Black interpreter, a title that the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has chosen to use over the more popular “historical reenactor.” It’s also one I had asked myself in the months leading up to the one-week vacation my spouse and I would be taking in Williamsburg, Virginia. To be perfectly honest, my answer before visiting didn’t amount to very much at all. Leftist internet circles and the odd Key & Peele sketch had helped me arrive at the conclusion that the Founding Fathers were a problematic bunch, but having eschewed American History in high school my familiarity with them was limited to binge-listening to Hamilton.
In spite of, or maybe due to, the level of my ignorance, I was excited to take a trip back to the 18th century in what I would later learn was the first permanent English colony in the Americas. While the City of Williamsburg owns the public streets that the restored Colonial-era buildings can be found on, buying tickets allowed the two of us to enter several of them and join walking tours. (Lifehack: teachers receive a 25% discount, so either marry one or finish a years-long education degree to save a little money!)
The interior of the Governor’s Palace, with portraits of Queen Charlotte and King George III bordering the doorway.
Posted in America, Culture War Report, government, history, morality, race
Tagged America, Colonial Williamsburg, culture war report, freedom, history, interpreter, justice, slavery, that the future may learn from the past, USA, Virginia
There’s a tendency in this country to speak of ex-presidents with the same generosity one would use to speak of the recently departed. A “funeral parlance” (if you’ll forgive the awful pun) that leads folks to look on the old administration with rose-tinted glasses. Considering the replacement, that’s going to be doubly true this year.
Not at Culture War Reporters, though.
Here’s our final grade for Obama,
Note: The issues selected here are based upon the principles we here at CWR seem to touch on most frequently. We hope to make this a regular tradition, provided the United States still exists in four years and that this writer will not have been imprisoned or sent to work on a lunar penal colony.
Advocates of the president will be swift to point out that the unemployment rate at the beginning of the president’s term was in the double digits, and has since fallen to about 4.9% after years of slow but steady recovery. And there absolutely should be credit where it’s due- the Obama administration has seen the recovery of the economy. Can I whine about it not being enough though? You bet I can.
While many Americans are finally back to work, the positions they find themselves in are often low-paying with little to no security. While that’s not entirely the president’s fault, the president himself has been agonizingly slow (and bafflingly conservative) in advocating a raise for the minimum wage. While the extremely wealthy are paying slightly more in taxes, taxes have also risen for folks making less than $250,000 a year (which is the overwhelming ****ing majority of us) with the majority of the president’s proposed reforms having ended in defeat. All in all the extremely rich continue to enjoy unrivalled luxury and unchallenged control of US politics and wealth.
Final Grade: D+
Posted in America, Economy, environmentalism, government, history, morality, politics, race
Tagged ACA, affordable care act, Barack Obama, BLM, Chelsea Manning, civil rights, Dakota Access Pipeline, deportation, disparity, Donald Trump, drones, economy, environment, Equality, healthcare, hispanic, israel, justice, legacy, Liberty, minimum wage, NDAA, Obama, obamacare, palestine, president, Snowden, Standing Rock, Syria, Troy Davis, Trump, TSA, wealth
By now you’ve probably heard that Stanford student Brock Allen Turner was sentenced to only 6 months in prison for raping an unconscious woman at a party. You’ve probably also heard his father shamelessly attempt to downplay Turner’s actions as “20 minutes of action”.
Hopefully, you’ve also read the letter written by the rape survivor. In it, she breaks down many of the myths around rape, myths Turner’s defence used to attack her testimony and represent Turner as some kind of victim instead. Her heartbreaking personal account has broken down the defences of almost everyone who has read it (except Turner and his father, it would seem). According to Buzzfeed, one of the main sites to release her letter, her words have “gone viral” in a way few conversations about sexual assault ever do.
And as the word has spread, almost everyone has gotten behind this brave woman. Her story has brought light to the problem of systemic injustices, like light penalties for many cases of sexual assault and disproportionate penalties based on racial or economic background.
More than anything her story has prompted a united public outrage. Every comment I have read expresses distain and anger towards Turner and sympathy for his victim. Even internet trolls who would normally find a reason to challenge the victim’s story (i.e. some members of the Men’s Rights Reddit page) admit that “outrage over this issue is legitimate” (although their comments inevitably lead back to criticizing feminism).
In some ways it’s encouraging to witness the attack on Brock Turner. It seems like we’re experiencing a massive shift in the way we talk about rape and sexual violence. As this story has unfolded we’ve seen few if any attempts to slut shame or victim blame in the media or public conversation.
As glad as I am that this conversation has come out in favour of the victim, I can’t help but wonder if the public condemnation of Turner actually signals for a yearning for justice, or if perhaps other factors are at play. I’ve been struggling with two questions in particular. Continue reading
Posted in crime, media, morality, news, politics, race, sex
Tagged 20 minutes of action, abusive, Anonymous, athlete, attitude, backlash, blood, Brave, Brock Turner, conversation shift, crowd, cultural shift, economic, father, hospital, hypocrisy, inequality, Judge Persky, justice, letter, media, Men, men's rights, mob, penalties, physical assault, prison, questions, racial, rape, representation, revenge, Sexual Assault, slut shame, stanford, Stanford rape, stanford rapist, survivor, systemic injustice, testimony, trauma, victim, victim blame, witnesses, woman, women
43 years ago, a picture was taken. It captured the moments after a napalm attack on a Vietnamese village. Against a backdrop of smoke a nine-year-old girl runs towards the camera, naked and screaming.
The shock that image’s managed to elicit is credited as having helped end the war, and that photograph has become perhaps the most powerful pictures of the horrors of war ever taken.
Until last Thursday.
That is the body of Aylan Kurdi, 3 years old.
Refugees from the Syrian civil war, Aylans family’s had attempted to escape to Vancouver, only for their application to be rejected by the Canadian government. With nowhere else to turn, the Kurdi family fled to Europe in a final effort to escape. While the Kurdis found passage on a small boat bound for Greece, the vessel was far overloaded with refugees and tipped a few miles off the Turkish coast. Aylan, his brother Galip, and six other passengers (all but one of them children) fell overboard and drowned, their bodies washed ashore to where this heartbreaking picture was taken.
Once again, there are no words. Continue reading
Posted in Canada, Christianity, Europe, media, morality, news, politics, race
Tagged Assad, Aylan Kurdi, Bashar el Assad, Bryndis Bjorgvinsdottir, Canada, Christian, Christianity, conservative, Galip Kurdi, German, Harper, Iceland, immigrant, immigration, Islam, Jose Mujica, justice, media, middle-east, Migrant, morality, Munich, Napalm, news, photo, photography, picture, politics, Pope Franics, race, racism, Refugee, Syria, Syrian, Turkey, uruguay
Friday saw a federal jury sentence Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the culprits behind the horrific bombing of the 2013 Boston marathon, to death by lethal injection. When I saw the headline pop up on my news feed, all I could think to myself was-
What’s the point?
Readers, no one- even the defendant- disputes Tsarnaev’s guilt. Tsarnaev’s cowardly attack murdered three innocent people and wounded over a quarter thousand others. That Dzhokhar and his brother, Tamerlan (killed in a standoff with police shortly after the bombing) are monsters is likewise not in question.
But with all of that in mind- the guilt, the heinous nature of the act- what’s a lethal injection going to solve?
Now this isn’t the first time I’ve talked about the death penalty on this blog, but I think there’s hardly a better example of how fundamentally useless the thing is. And don’t for a minute think this is some bleeding-heart outcry against killing- I’ve got no problem with that, and I actually think we don’t resort to violence nearly as fast or often as we should.
I. Just. Don’t. Get. It.
What are we trying to acomplish here?
It’s Not Justice
Tsarnaev murdered three people and mutilated hundreds of others. If we take a balance-the-scales approach to justice (which I don’t- but that’s another discussion), then we’d have to find some way of killing and reviving him three times and subject him to years of physical and emotional torture.
We can’t do that.
Morally or practically.
You can pick whichever you want, but it’s just not going to happen. If you want to you make justice your sticking point, then fantastic. And I don’t say that with an iota of sarcasm, I really and truly to laud that. But again, this isn’t justice. Continue reading
Posted in America, bizarreness, morality, news, politics
Tagged Boston, boston bomber, Boston Bombing, Boston Marathon, Can't Hang Them Twice, Cost, death penalty, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, execution, family, justice, lethal injection, life, Life without parole, Loretta Lynch, Martin Richards, prison, prosecution, recant, regret, Repent, revenge, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, victim, Violence