2.9: A Political Rant about the Media

I’m going to rant about so-called fake news here for a minute. In doing so, I’m going to give a shout out to BBC and BBC America. I cannot recognize your target audience and that is cool. That means that you are casting words to a large net and hoping to, at least in spirit, report in an unbiased fashion. I truly feel like other news outlets are quickly closing ranks and targeting specific political or demographic audiences with how they report and what they say. It is all politics and profit, of course. I’m not just talking about FOX news. I’m talking CNN as well as MSNBC–all of them are in this strange ‘not fight’ for viewers. By that I mean that they are not competing news networks. Each carves out its own niche and speaks directly to that audience with the news and ‘truth’ it feels it ought to report and will get the viewers to return. FOX has its pro-republican slant, CNN has its grounding in ‘liberalistic’ storytelling and globe hopping. I say ‘liberal’ in quotes because I don’t know what that means other than not republican. It is the basis of this binary exclusionism that is core to the American political process–us and not us. Defining the not-us as a catch all category is as important as gerrymandering to preserving the strength of the ‘us’.

Okay there, I ranted.

 

Some Thoughts:

  1. The hardest thing for me to accept is that I might not be right or might not be enough, which in turn means that I might wind up alone. I think that is my greatest fear. Not to die alone, because I have family and friends who will be around me. No, to live alone. I want to experience the world and explore and make connections globally. The act of doing that alone is a far different venture than the act of doing it with another person who you care about and want to be with every day of your life.

2579. On Black Privilege

I have privilege.

Whenever I step on a court or a field there is a level of respect offered to me that doesn’t go to non-black players. Without knowing me and despite the pregnant-like gut, I am considered a top athlete. I have access to scholarships and opportunities that others will never have. I am looked to in order to join circles that lack faces that look like my own, so those circles may be able to say they know my people and my plight and, above all else, my privilege.

It has been this way since I’ve gone to predominantly white schools. There remains a baseline assumption that I can ball, no matter the sport. This is often accompanied by an assumption of a skillset that I largely do not possess. No, I cannot hotwire a car. No, I don’t know how to find a dealer. No, there is no cousin in prison (anymore). These assumptions afford a certain level of privilege and respect in certain environments. As I said before, I am never the last one picked for a pick up game though I often should be. Instead I am looked to as a natural leader, a captain among inferior men.

Thus is my privilege, one born of athletics and a presumed toughness that makes me right for the court. After all, weren’t my people bred to be bad ass? Did we not survive some of the worst persecution and torture known in the history of man? don’t our ancestors bear the scars of whips, the PTSD of the master’s touch?

Are we not children of the oppressed?

I write these words as an echo of recent quarrels. Listen to a middle class white student and you will here a constant refrain: They are the oppressed and we, the minority, are the children of privilege and handouts and opportunities that they were never afforded.

Perhaps in a sense they are right. There is no minority scholarship for middle class whites. There is no expectation of Physical prowess or street smarts. They lack the privilege into which I was born.

But this does not mean they lack privilege themselves. Perhaps they ought to acknowledge theirs as I have mine.

941. Reflections on a Monday Afternoon

Finals week is hell. The week before finals is a worse hell. Yet none of these things trouble me. It must be because I’ve learned to take the bite out of the month. A long time ago I was an angry college student. Angry because I spent the last two weeks of each semester studying like a madman to recall everything I’d been taught in detail over the past few months. It is a wonder that more students aren’t driven to weed.

Everything comes down to the final, which is sometimes one of two exams you get for the entire semester. This antiquated style of teaching was outmoded then, but struggles along to this day. In my day the school sprang for stress seminars, hallways massages, and study halls. All of these contrivances were for the benefit of the student and ignored the teachers who would be forced to grade (I won’t go so far as to call scantron grading) the work in an extremely limited time window.

I went a different route. We work hard in the beginning and taper off towards the end. By then the competencies have been long since satisfied and students can reflect on what they learned without the specter of grading hanging over their head. Yes they produce work, and yes it is graded, but the grade is not terribly significant in the long scheme of things. In some ways they cannot fail at the last few weeks. They can only fail if they quit in the tougher early goings. Isn’t that how writing is supposed to be?

 

Some Thoughts:

  1. It takes a parent to understand a politician. Recently I’ve been following the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ debate and watching one group of politicians conflate a whole lot of issues into one. Children do that. You take away someones toys and suddenly you are declaring war against a child’s ability to grow and learn and be spontaneous. No, you just removed a very specific toy that made a lot of noise. The fiscal cliff stuff is centered around one party’s desire to raise–in the sense of letting cuts expire–taxes on the wealthiest 2%. The other side is willing to do that provided the medicare and social security problems are fixed today. Lord knows that is going to take time to fix and furthermore, while both are entitlements that is all they have in common. Stop making it seem like all or nothing. There are better ways to negotiate.
  2. Jets won by dumping Sanchize to the bench. YES. At least something good came out of a historically bad pick weekend.

914. Super Tuesday

This is the night of the big election and I voted for Obama.

I did the same thing 4 years ago in the hopes I would contribute to hope and change. Unfortunately that change bread fear and backlash. We have seen a four year roll back of many of the rules that guarantee equality with the ruling white male class. The reason is because a significant portion of the group that holds on tightly to those advantages is aging, and losing control of the voting block.

They worked very hard this term to make Obama a failure. When that didn’t work as planned, they created new truths to define him as a failure. He didn’t do enough. He didn’t do it fast enough. Our guy woulda done better. This list goes on.

Obama was not a perfect president by any means. He did not do all he promised, but he did do a lot and did respond to the problems he faced. I think he led the country well and would for another 4 years. I think he is a better person and a better leader than his opponents, and he has the intelligence to lead our country onward.

I say this as I watch the timer click down to zero on the direction the country takes these next four years. Maybe it matters because I am more mature now. Maybe because I have kids I am starting to think less about what is best for me and what is best for them. I want the best of both worlds, of course. The main difference between me and the imaginary voter than pundits speak of is that I am patient enough to wait for it.

We fell off a fiscal cliff and Obama yanked the ripcord to slow the fall. Maybe he wasn’t the billionaire type to have a golden parachute, but I think we all know by now that those things don’t support the weight of the many. They support the weight of the few and the wealthy. After all, that is what the Grand Old Party is really all about.

887. Waiting for Superman: The Myth of Barack Obama

When I think of America I think of hope. I think of a place where the people are successful, and in most ways better than the rest of the world. I am programmed that way. It started in preschool when they told me we were better and I could be everything and anything I wanted to be. The problem deepened when I entered sports and my modicum of talent meant opportunities to go further, to escape and bring what I had gained back to the place where I lived. People pinned their hopes on me. They thought I could represent them, even save their perceptions of themselves with my own success. When I started to deconstruct a lot of these memories they aligned with what I was seeing from the political response to Barack Obama. Wrapped in my own failures are the answers to why Barack Obama will never be as good as the hype.

We Americans want to be saved. We invest in Lottery tickets and penny stocks. We gamble voraciously, participate in sweepstakes, and apply for more game shows than seems possible. We want that quick fix. We want to put out minimal effort and get maximum return. Of course we do. This is the business model of corporate America. Corps minimize risk and maximize returns, which is why the insurance corps don’t want to insure people who have been or already are sick. It is a bad bet. It will cost them money and effort. Why not take the easy route?

For most Americans, 2008 presented an easy route, or so it seemed. We elected Obama with the promise of hope and change. If you follow the present election it seems like we expected all of that change and all of our hopes to be fulfilled in 4 years. We expected to elect Obama and instantly see America back on top. In other words, we were waiting for Superman to come along and save the day. Only, Superman does not exist. Real change, real reform from centuries of practice takes longer than 4 years. Because of our get it now mentality, we are unwilling to wait for change. The smartest politicians take advantage of that and they remain in office because they can produce immediate and visible results, even if the results are flash without any substance.

As a kid, people treated me lie I would be Superman. They felt my good fortune would come back upon them instantly. It takes time to give back to the community. It takes time to invoke change. The problem is that people can no longer wait for change. They want it now. They want Superman. Well, he isn’t coming,

817. Politiblog

Mondays tend to be reserved for self-reflection as Wednesdays generally belong to football blather. Tonight is different. I watched Fox News channel’s Hannity show for a few minutes. In that short time I watched Hannity air an anti-Obama commercial in its entirety. Not as part of a commercial break, but as part of the actual show. He then went on to misrepresent the facts as part of a segment that defended the commercial and took the points made one step further. He called it analysis.

Just a week ago I was watching an episode of the Colbert Report online and watched Colbert do the same thing. I found it funny on Colbert, because it is a comedy show on comedy central. I found it disingenuous on Fox News, because they fallaciously claim to be both fair and balanced as a broadcaster. Neither is true, as evidenced by the above Obama bash.

Look, I get it. We have a quickly vanishing white class in America. The people being born today and over the last thirty years are largely separate from the old style white America. See, the new white America can be defined as a separate culture, while the old white America can only be defined as American. As strange as it sounds, that older breed is how the world saw us (and largely still sees us). That older breed is not who we are anymore. Like Britain before us, we are coming to be defined in a multi-cultural context and the picture of the American is no longer, well, Tim Pawlenty. We Americans are still us first materialists with a marginal grasp on world politics, religion, and economics, but we look different. This is what is so radical; so scary to that Good ‘Ol Party. They want things back the way they were at the very height of that image. They want the Reagan Years.

I’m not talking about Republicans as a whole. I think the elected Republicans are merely seeking strength in numbers in order to survive a world that has turned hostile to them. I don’t object to it. I think it eliminates individualism in the face of moving forward the most important issues, but there is nothing inherently evil about that. I get pissed about how they conduct their business.

Earlier this month I quoted Alfred from the new Batman trilogy when he said, “Some people want to see the world burn.” I believe the elected Republican leadership has become that beast. They are willing to sabotage any progress in order to create an opportunity to install their preferences. They are willing to lie on a galactic scale, and defend that lie as though it is truth. Worst still, they play the victim so easily should any of their tactics be turned back upon them.

Tim Pawlenty called the outrage towards Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay stance an attack on the first amendment. Now, it is both ironic and moronic for someone to call free speech (which is what the outrage is after all) an ATTACK on free speech. UNLESS you believe free speech should only exist where you agree with the speech being freely given. It is important to note here that Pawlenty was at the head of the pack of people attacking the people responsible for trying to open a Muslim community center near ground zero. He went on to dismiss the religion and the right of the religion to be practiced openly anywhere near that zone.

Of course, the right to practice religion where you want is a tenet of free speech–UNLESS you live in the world of the Republican leadership where “free” is subjective.