A lot of people bring up the following when I discuss Bernie Sanders with them, so I feel it's important to address directly.
"I don't feel like he's going to win."
The point that Bernie has always run behind is that it doesn't matter if he wins this race or not, because in the end it's what he's running for that matters. His ideals have been accepted and praised by the younger generations, because they mirror how the younger generations see the world. He's brought out record numbers of younger folks, helping make the point that the younger generations are not apathetic about politics, but actually quite actively engaged in the internal processes of our government. The younger generations in our country are tired of the policymakers who have been running the country into the ground, and Bernie has shown us that there is an alternative. Bernie has managed to spread his points to the minds of millions of young people who want to make this country, and the world, a better place to live - and who are recognizing that the previous couple of generations did a really poor job of handling things. This is what matters.
Bernie may not win the Democratic nomination. But that doesn't subtract in the least from the validity and poignancy of his messages. One way or another there will be a political revolution in this country, and Bernie Sanders has already played a dramatic and incredible role in bringing that about.
I recently got asked the following question:
"how exactly is adam sandler racist? genuinely asking..."
So I thought that I'd respond to it. My response started out small and quickly blossomed into a full-fledged post, so I decided to put it here - it seemed like good material for my blog anyhow. Read it below.
The following is in response to this article.
First, I'm generally with Patton Oswalt in saying that all comedy is good. In fact, I love it when a comedian is blatantly racist or misogynistic, because then I know who he really is. If someone stays in the shadows it's harder to see them for what they really are - in Adam Sandler's case of course this has never really been an issue: he's always been a piece of shit.
You don't think comedy needs to walk a line in terms of who it attacks or what it represents though? Hmm. I'd say that the line was described pretty damn perfectly here by a Navajo named Alison Young who was working on this film. "I didn't want to cry but the feeling just came over me. This is supposed to be a comedy that makes you laugh. A film like this should not make someone feel this way."
Here's a clip from a piece Patton Oswalt wrote on a subject very close to this - rape jokes:
"See if any of these sound familiar:
There’s no “evidence” of a “rape culture” in this country. I’ve never wanted to rape anyone, so why am I being lumped in as the enemy? If these bloggers and feminists make “rape jokes” taboo, or “rape” as a subject off-limits no matter what the approach, then it’ll just lead to more censorship.
They sure sound familiar to me because I, at various points, was saying them. Either out loud, or to myself, or to other comedian and non-comedian friends when we would argue about this. I had my viewpoint, and it was based on solid experience, and it…was…fucking…wrong.
Let’s go backwards through those bullshit conclusions, shall we? First off: no one is trying to make rape, as a subject, off-limits. No one is talking about censorship. In this past week of re-reading the blogs, going through the comment threads, and re-scrolling the Twitter arguments, I haven’t once found a single statement, feminist or otherwise, saying that rape shouldn’t be joked under any circumstance, regardless of context. Not one example of this.
In fact, every viewpoint I’ve read on this, especially from feminists, is simply asking to kick upward, to think twice about who is the target of the punchline, and make sure it isn’t the victim."
That's exactly what Adam Sandler and his ilk do - they make the victim the butt of the joke. They're not in it to try and illuminate anything more than their own vapid egos and restrictive little viewpoints. I think "dark side" humor can be a really good, positive thing. It can be a way to deal with things that happen in our world which are otherwise too massive in scale, or simply too troubling, to touch otherwise. They can be a way to level the playing field and allow everyone to gain a glimpse into the dark world they've been afraid to look at - because again, if something is blocked off from sight you don't know where it's going or what it's doing, and you can't arrange any defense against it. I've never made a rape joke, because on several fronts that's too close to parts of my personal reality, especially in several women I've known and cared about. But I've made jokes about death and murder - including mass murder. Made jokes about animal cruelty. Appreciated jokes about racism even - because sometimes you just have to find a way to comprehend and deal with the fact that racism really does exist, and it has damaged and utterly destroyed not just individual lives and families, but entire ways of life and entire continents of people. So you don't think that this discussion is "worth having"? You think that the only point of comedy is "to be funny"? Well I've got news for you. Words hold incredible power, and laughter holds even more power, and what a comedian chooses to do with those tools says a whole hell of a lot about the comedian - and a whole hell of a lot more about the people who are laughing. Keeping in mind that there's a difference between "HAHA stupid indian's name is BEAVER" and that nervous laughter that comes from facing the uncomfortable truth that some people will say anything if they think they can get away with it, simply because they really believe what they're saying. A rape joke can be made to combat the suffocating darkness of the issue, or to spur on conversation, and that's fine. But it can also be made by a comedian for an audience that honestly see's nothing at all wrong with it, and will violently defend what they see as their right to see rape as normal. If this discussion is too damn confusing for you, maybe you should take a moment and think about just who you want to be, and who you are, way deep down inside.
“At this time there are too many people afraid for their jobs, there are too many people buying cars, TV sets, homes, educations on credit. Credit and the eight hour day are great friends of the Establishment. If you must buy things, pay cash, and only buy things of value – no trinkets, no gimmicks. Everything you own must be able to fit inside one suitcase; then your mind might be free.”
— Charles Bukowski
Just stop doing it.
It’s not helpful. It’s not heroic. It’s not edgy. It’s not groundbreaking. It’s not revolutionary.
It’s stupid. It’s small-minded. It’s ignorant. Worst of all: it’s counter-productive.
Stop justifying things based on an either/or, us versus them mindset. Let go of the hatred and the fear, at least long enough to realize who it actually is you should be fighting. At least that long.
Stop making snap decisions - don’t spread aggression. If you spread aggression, ask yourself why you are spreading aggression. Ask yourself what the targets of the aggression feel when they receive it.
Question all of your beliefs. Question your morality. Question your ties to history, to family, to society.
Think before you speak. Think before you type.
Do not make assumptions about other people. Assumptions are likely to be misleading.
One post does not display the whole of the person behind it. Neither does one word.
Violence begets violence. It begs for violence. Violence feels good - but does it feel good to the victim?
Imagine yourself in the position of others. Imagine being scared. Angry. Frightened. Imagine their life.
Imagine your life. How scared have you been in your life? How angry? Imagine that everyone else feels just like that. They all experience the exact same fears and hatreds, joys and loves.
Belief does not define someone. Action does. Words can be actions. Actions can be words. They do not have to be.
Treat people with respect - especially when they are aggressive.
Trust in a better future. Trust in better humans. Work for a better future. Help build better humans.
Use your mind for better. Use your life to make the world better. Even if it’s just one person at a time - you can make the world better. You can choose to make the change.
Or you can remain angry. Filled with hate. Afraid.
The choice is absolutely up to you.
So in two days we could forever lose the concept of free internet to companies whose sole goal is money-grubbing. Granted, it's not like the internet is free from the capitalistic model right now (take a look at the history of Tumblr to learn all you need to about how the internet functions on an economic model - hint: we're the commodities), however for all intents and purposes, the internet is still largely unrestricted, and arguably the greatest achievement in human history - the modern equivalent to the library of Alexandria. Well, the cable companies want to reenact history and burn the fucker down.
The concept of net neutrality is simple enough to grasp: the internet should have no restrictions on who can access it, and aside from the most basic service fees it should never be a costly thing to access - it should certainly never be split into multiple "lanes" of speed, restricted by pay. I'm simplifying here, so if you want to read further you can check out the articles I'm linking at the bottom of this post.
One of the somewhat terrifying things I've noticed lately is the support against net neutrality, primarily from a libertarian base. They say that the internet is a prime example of a working free market - I say it's much, much more than that. They say that the FCC and government in general shouldn't have their hands on it - I'd rather have the government (a publicly accountable institution) in charge than a private company (whose only accountability is to profit). However there are some larger issues to address as well - some of which we mutually agree on, though I think the good folks of the libertarian base are missing some crucial points.
Now I don't trust the FCC's Tom Wheeler as far as I could throw him, but they are doing some pretty great things lately - from fighting to maintain internet transparency and neutrality, to fighting for the rights of local governments to implement their own local ISPs (something which the big corporations really don't want to happen. For me, the anti-FCC libertarian base is missing a large part of the picture - namely, they seem to be willing to exchange public control through government, for complete control of autonomous corporate entities. While the government is very far from perfect, I'll happily take its clunky system over the private sector monopolists any day.
If you agree with me, go ahead and call your local representative now to fight for Net Neutrality - Tumblr is making it easy for you, just click that little yellow button at the top right of your page.
New Yorker on Tom Wheeler
Excellent National Journal article on the issue
While CommonDreams is pretty damn dubious as a good news source, this article is pretty concise and legitimate.
The "lowdown" on the subject, courtesy of Obama
Good, seemingly neutral article that literally explains the entirety of the current situation.
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