Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

An Elegant Solution

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Everybody knows the insanity of governor Jan Brewer’s suicidal* new law that basically gives Arizona police not only the right but the responsibility to demand citizenship papers of anyone they suspect may be illegal immigrants (read: All Latinos). Duncan Hunter, republican congressman from California, suggests they go one further and deport children of illegal immigrants born in the United States, despite being legal US citizens themselves.

I suggest a simple, elegant solution to the Wehrmacht surreality of Arizona: Give the state back to Mexico. It solves so many problems:

For starters, it was Mexico’s to begin with. The Latino population has more historical right to be there than their Caucasian counterparts.

Then, it rids America of a large swath of radical assault rifle-toting vigilantes (and ASU graduates), who will soon find that the Mexican Policia Federale are somewhat less forgiving, not to mention an end to the political scene that gave us John McCain and Barry Goldwater.

It’s perfect!

*Alienating Latinos, a third of the state’s voting population, is a brilliant idea for the GOP, especially since they can’t get Black votes either.

More Muppets

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To speak of token Black shills for the evil empire, Ken Blackwell went on The Daily Show to make the basic statement, “I wrote a book calling Obama an anti-democratic tyrant… to start a debate. I like liberty,” which is, of course, more of the same disingenuous slander that Fox News, the propaganda arm of the GOP, peddles. Of course, this is on the Daily Show, where Jon Stewart has basically made a name for himself gleefully hacking such dreck to bits.

This is exactly what he did with Blackwell. But disingenuous media ploys aside, could Blackwell really believe that Obama’s “FDR-like” power plays are disastrous for the country? FDR, the architect of some of the most popular public programs and policies this country has ever seen?

There’s a reason the GOP was never able to get rid of Social Security: People like it too much. And while it certainly takes a very big government to enforce minimum wage laws and bank regulation, look what happens when it’s not there.

Of course, what should I expect from a man who claims that Obama is subverting the will of the people when he, himself – Blackwell – along with Diebold CEO Patrick O’Dell, colluded to deliver Ohio to Bush in the 2004 presidential election through systematic voter fraud?

The Muppet Speaks

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Michael Steele, the first African-American chairman for the RNC, said the GOP “has lost its historical link to African Americans.”

What, slavery?

Too Fat to Fight

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In what must be a surprisingly from-the-right screed on MSNBC’s Slate, Daniel Engber contents that the fat epidemic in America should not exclude tubbies from the army.

That train of thought is all manner of wrong, and brings up way too many questions, most of which can be distilled into one primary one:

Of all the reasons Americans have to get into shape, who said “because the army needs recruits” was anywhere near the top?

But really, any particular aspect of the article’s insinuations is fucked up in its own right:

  • The premise that there are people who still, after these years-long quagmires in ill-conceived offensive wars, want to join the army but can’t because they forgot the “able-bodied” part.*
  • The idea that this poses a problem because then the nation couldn’t pull from a large enough pool of Americans to pursue yet another war, because that’s all they’re good for anyway.**
  • The assertion that this problem is not the fault of their obesity but, instead, is the fault of the government for using “outdated” requirements – because standard measurements in the populace at large should change dramatically over the course of two generations.

Each one of those is insane. Abso-fucking-lutely insane.

* Picture your average Michigan militia, or better yet: Canadian Bacon.
** Cue a Dead Kennedys song.


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as art?

A very chipper Kellee Santiago at the University of Spoiled Caucasians says yes. Roger Ebert says no. Santiago replies. I’m inclined to side with Ebert’s logic, thought that puts me at odds with the established computer gaming writers. Fuck them.

Personally, however, I subscribe to Scott McCloud’s rather inclusive definition of art, being any activity not essential to survival or reproduction. Of course, this definition almost completely blows away any attempts at qualifying the term, but quite frankly anybody who attempts to elevate their particular interest with said term is guilty of at least some form of masturbation.

Another point of fact I find myself at odds with the gaming writers is with Ubisoft’s DRM (again), now that a collective called SkidRow have torrented a sort of Crack For Dummies of their latest DRM iteration, for everyone who wasn’t smart enough to figure out how to use the server referral loop the previous cracks depended on. Shamus Young suggests to Ubisoft that they go one further: Don’t put just some content online, make all content online, making each end-user a mere client on a “cloud” gaming platform, each “purchase” a mere fee for entering into a subscription.

The concept is abhorrent to me. I’m sure all companies would love to just have a direct connection to my credit card info, regardless of whether or what they produce and when, how or even if I partake in their product.

Sorry, did I say “product?” I meant “license,” abridged, qualified and revocable at any time.

Somehow the right to free enterprise became a moral obligation for consumerism, lest we be accused of “not supporting” our creative types (when they themselves are just as often thrown out when inconvenient). Somehow copyrights became the new feudalism. However, I’m not in the habit of allowing purveyors with such unvarnished, abject hostility to their patrons to have their cake and eat it too.

Plus Sized

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Tracy Clark-Foley on reports on the “controversy” over Lane Bryant’s plus-sized ads being pulled from Fox and ABC, with the insinuation that the broadcast networks didn’t like the girth of the model. Then the comments explode in a sort of collective back-patting over how pretty the plus-sized lingerie model looks in the 30-second spot, calling her “curvy” and “voluptuous.”

Quite honestly, I didn’t see very many curves in that ad.

There was only one full body shot of the model, where-in she was donning a black overcoat. It was almost as if – gasp – they were surreptitiously editing out the curves! I mean, I saw that she had large breasts. I saw a close up of a little bit of stomach pudge over her ‘supporting’ briefs. But curves? It was a tasteful edit of a large woman, meant to sell lingerie to large women.

That’s fine: It’s a good business decision – as the average weight of the American rises, it would behoove clothing manufacturers to change their ads to sell to the average – but that decision is purely business. They don’t answer, “should I be this weight?” They answer, “can I feel a bit happier at this weight?” (Sure, if you buy Lane Bryant.)

“Curvy” is a euphemism. “Full-figured” is a euphemism. Once those get similar stigmas as the previous terms for large women, we’ll move onto “voluptuous” or “statuesque” or whatever, and pull out Marilyn Monroe’s corpse for another go-around to show how great curvy women are and why “larger than the norm” can still be considered sexy.

Marilyn Monroe was 120 lbs. That’s 20 lbs less than the average American woman nowadays. Consider that.

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