Friday, March 28, 2008


Wanna know why there are so many more Liberal blogs than Conservative? Simple: we's got the yobs.

In any case: today I am meeting with a young man, SF soldier, just returning from Iraq--and exiting the military--looking for some advice.

What do I tell him? That flying a desk is SO much more satisfying than tramping through some god-forsaken (and I mean that) wilderness? Praise be this guy has a fiancee, so I can at least use THAT hook (the military is NOT the life for a married man, at least one that aims to stay so).

How do I tell him that, in the civilian world, NO ONE will understand what he is talking about, what or how he is thinking and, worse, eventually, neither will he. That is, I can still TALK about duty/honor/glory, I remember those concepts INTELLECTUALLY, but they no longer have meaning outside my family, and even there they are but echoes of what it means to and honest-to-goodness soldier...

Well, we'll see; I look forward to the converstation, to his insights.

I wonder what HE will tell ME.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My Bum's Back

My bum is is back. He got thrown out of his housing. No excuses, no self-pity. He considers his time there a vacation.

What to think?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Clinton the Racist Fear Mongerer

I have often maintained that Liberals are intrinsically more racist than Conservatives (Conservatives hew to the ideal of individual merit, regardles of extenuating factors; Liberals think those less privileged than them are bozos in need of their--and only their--rather self-important and certainly condescending most-extra-special-extra-help).

Thus, it was interesting to read this NY Times article asking whether Hillary's infamous "Red Phone" ad was racist (I know that *I* certainly found it so). No, not in the blogosphere way (where a racially offensive subliminal slur is imputed), but along the lines of Willie Horton or the darkening of OJ's skin or those ubiquitous ads for home alarm systems...

Indeed, the first time I saw the Red Phone ad I was expecting a criminal to be breaking into the room (versus the Mom figure), and I was half expecting, from the tone of the ad, for that criminal to be black.

So, as much as I feel dirty agreeing with the NYTimes, in this case, I do.


Ah, reading the responses makes me realize why I agree with the article: because the NYTimes doesn't! Many respondents are outraged, declaring that the author Orlando Patterson(a Harvard Sociologist--not my fave clique by ANY means) is "hypersensitive," "projecting," and "seeing racism even where there is none." However, THIS comment pretty much captures my reaction:

March 11th, 2008 7:46 am
I am so glad that someone else has said this publicly.

Ten seconds into the ad, my brain started screaming "burglar!" I immediately read it as aimed at the portion of the white electorate that would visualize that burglar as a tall, skinny, young black man, and I trembled again for my country.

Then I watched it two more times on my computer and ordered an Obama yard sign to mark my house as one where we fear evil, not our neighbors.

— Sporcupine, Kentucky

So little is said that the observer is free to project ANY and ALL fears onto the scene; middle-class, white-mom Ohioans likely reacted just as the above poster (and, indeed, were likely the target audience).

While the good prof indeed goes a bit far linking the ad to D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation, I think what DOES come across (and this is clear in marketing/advertising) is that certain images, over time, have become "stock," and are used to immediately create certain reactions (a la Pavlov's dog), whether or not the overt message has anything to do with the reaction. Indeed, aren't complaints regarding "negative Hollywood images of African Americans in media, movies, and print" Liberals' stock in trade? And then they DENY the effects of that barage when it suits their Clintonian purposes?

So, sure: critics can claim such knee-slappers as "most viewers haven't eveen SEEN Birth of a Nation" or point out that Obama isn't named or that they can identify no racial over- or undertones in the ad; however, CLEARLY some (honest) ppl KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT from the voiceover, tone, and imagery (whether or not the expectation is realized is irrelevant; indeed, by NOT delivering upon set-up expectations, the ad-maker can offer "plausible deniabilty" to the Clinton Klan).

In other words, even if the ad itself is not racist (and, indeed, it is not), it cleverly plays into and manipulates its target audiences range of fears, among which are included racial fears; all this is based on years of conditioning, stretching back (in Professor Patterson's view) to the earliest racially inflammatory films, e.g., Birth of a Nation.

I think he's right.


What does this have to do with being a man? Dunno, really: mostly about giving a fair shake to any and all individuals, regardless of classification along gender, sex, or racial lines, or any other line beyond an individual's control (leaves me free to mock religion, given that religion is, eventually and ultimately, an individual choice; how 'bout them new Seven Sins? "Excess Wealth" anyone?).