Archive for the ‘society’ Tag

Opie & Anthony Host Fired After Racist Twitter Rant   Leave a comment

Couldn’t happen to a nicer…piece of garbage.

SiriusXM announced today that it has fired Anthony Cumia, co-host of the popular radio show “Opie and Anthony,” after a he published a racist tirade on Twitter. The outburst occured after Cumia alleged he was assaulted by a black woman on the street. He called the woman an “animal b—-” and “savage,” among other things..(Think Progress)

..and when they say ‘other things’ in the quote above, trust me when I say Cumia’s tweets escalated very quickly in both tone and derogatory nature. Think Progress has all the sordid, nasty details of Cumia’s racist twitter screed but suffice it to say, I seriously doubt we’ll be seeing him around radio anytime soon, if ever again.

Then again, he might have a future over on Fox News someday, so who the hell knows…

Posted July 5, 2014 by Matthew in Uncategorized

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An Unlikely Friendship   Leave a comment

At first glance, one would be right to assume that Hustler magnate Larry Flynt and the late evangelist Jerry Falwell were not the best friends…and for a long time, they weren’t, but one would also be wrong to then assume that they never eventually became friends, as evidenced in an article over at Real Clear Politics.

The background: back in November 1983Hustler magazine published an ad for Campari liquor featuring a parody of Jerry Falwell; the ad detailed Falwell talking about his “first time”…now, most of these parody ads talked about celebrities “first time” drinking Campari liquor (which also included subtle & not-so-subtle sexual double entendres. In Falwell’s case, his first time involved an incestuous sexual encounter between him…and his mother.

Now, Falwell sued Hustler and the case eventually made its’ way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where in an 8-0 ruling, the High Court ruled that (among other things):

“At the heart of the First Amendment is the recognition of the fundamental importance of the free flow of ideas and opinions on matters of public interest and concern. The freedom to speak one’s mind is not only an aspect of individual liberty – and thus a good unto itself – but also is essential to the common quest for truth and the vitality of society as a whole. We have therefore been particularly vigilant to ensure that individual expressions of ideas remain free from governmentally imposed sanctions.” (Hustler Magazine v. Falwell)

Now, fast forward 15 years: when the movie The People v. Larry Flynt, the two – the porn magnate and the televangelist found themselves sitting side-by-side opposite talk show host Larry King…and it was there that this unlikely friendship began; as Flynt put it following Falwell’s passing in 2007:

“I disagreed with Falwell on absolutely everything he preached, and he looked at me as symbolic of all the social ills that a society can possibly have,” Flynt would write 10 years later, on the occasion of Falwell’s death. “But I’d do anything to sell the book and the film, and Falwell would do anything to preach, so King’s audience of 8 million viewers was all the incentive either of us needed to bring us together.(Real Clear Politics)

While the two never really cared for one another, even after that, they remained friends through the rest of Falwell’s life, especially after Falwell made an impromptu visit to Flynt’s Hustler headquarters in Beverly Hills proposing that the two of them travel the country debating First Amendment issues, a proposition Flynt agreed to.

As I read the article, I couldn’t help but think that if these two people, as opposite as they were on everything imaginable, could become friends at some point, doesn’t that give us hope in other areas also?

Posted February 24, 2014 by Matthew in Uncategorized

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Nonconformity & Freethinking Now Considered…Mental Illnesses?   1 comment

Maybe its’ just me but I think the psych community has way too much damn time on their hands…

Is nonconformity and freethinking a mental illness? According to the newest addition of the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), it certainly is. The manual identifies a new mental illness called “oppositional defiant disorder” or ODD. Defined as an “ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile and defiant behavior,” symptoms include questioning authority, negativity, defiance, argumentativeness, and being easily annoyed.

The DSM-IV is the manual used by psychiatrists to diagnose mental illnesses and, with each new edition, there are scores of new mental illnesses. Are we becoming sicker? Is it getting harder to be mentally healthy? Authors of the DSM-IV say that it’s because they’re better able to identify these illnesses today. Critics charge that it’s because they have too much time on their hands.(The Unbounded Spirit)

And they would be right, especially given what the DSM considers to be “oppositional defiant disorder”…

New mental illnesses identified by the DSM-IV include arrogance, narcissism, above-average creativity, cynicism, and antisocial behavior. In the past, these were called “personality traits,” but now they’re diseases.(The Unbounded Spirit)

Think about that bolded part in the quote above…for reasons known only to God (and the psychiatric world), what the average person would consider to be personality traits or quirks that individuals possess are now considered mental illnesses? 

WTF? No, really…..what the fuck?

Given the nature of how mental illness (and the treatments thereof) has been used as a societal cudgel to force people into conformity, this should scare any honest, freethinking, nonconformist to no end…

…and to the psych community: what’s next? Forced commitment for anyone who’s a non-conformist? A freethinking, creative person? What’s next?

Posted December 29, 2013 by Matthew in Uncategorized

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Stuart Varney Is An Idiot   Leave a comment

You know, someone should remind that ye’ ole merry Englishman that there is a special place in Hell for Sunday Christians such as him…quoting:

Capitalism, in my opinion, is a liberator. The free choice of millions of people is the essence of freedom. In my opinion, society benefits most when people are free to pursue their own self-interest. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but it is not. When individuals are free, we collectively are better off in every way, financially and spiritually.”

“I go to church to save my soul. It’s got nothing to do with my vote. Pope Francis has linked the two. He has offered direct criticism of a specific political system. He has characterized negatively that system. I think he wants to influence my politics.”(Crooks & Liars)

And what was it that set Mr. Sunday Christian off? Oh, this, for instance:

In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.(Evangelium Gaudium – Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, 2013)

Having read Pope Francis’ words there reminds me that there are, to quote something I heard once, two kinds of Christians in this world: (1)those of us who take our Christian faith seriously and (2)those who say the right words but then live as if their words mean absolutely nothing…IMO, Varney’s of the second group; my hope is that Pope Francis will continue down the path he took here with his exhortation above, regardless of what the critics say.

Posted November 29, 2013 by Matthew in Uncategorized

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Gene Simmons Is An Idiot   Leave a comment

…an obscenely rich, rock-star of an idiot, but an idiot nonetheless…why? This:

Gene Simmons, the legendary rock star and frontman of KISS, came to Tim Tebow’s defense, saying the press has treated him unfairly because of his religious beliefs.

“He’s got a religious passion, as well he should, we’re in America,” Simmons told Radio.com this week. “He’s proud to be a Christian, what’s wrong with that? And yet, with sports media and pop culture media, they make fun of his religion. Really? In America? If he was wearing a burqa, they wouldn’t dare say anything. But if you’re a Christian, you get to be picked on? What the hell?”

He continued on his pro-Tebow rant: “The guy’s got family values. I never saw the media picking on Michael Vick for torturing dogs. Or this other football player, who’s alleged to have killed, committed murder. That’s ‘cool.’ But a guy who’s religious and has got family values isn’t ‘cool?’ He’s cool to me.”(The Blaze)

To borrow a quote from Generation Kill…”there’s multiple layers of idiocy in Simmons’s words here.” For starters, most of Tebow’s critics (myself included) could honestly care less about Tebow’s religious values…the fact of the matter with Tebow’s football career is that the guy can’t play worth a damn; he was a great collegian but other than that stint with the Denver Broncos’ in late 2011, his pro career has been a Heisman-sized bust. And the thing with Michael Vick has me confused as well: does Gene Simmons not know how to use Google? I know I’m not the sharpest tool in the damned toolshed but even I seem to remember no one referring to what Michael Vick did at the time as “cool”…I also seem to remember a lot of people who complained vociferously when Vick was released from prison and came back to the NFL; I also remember defending Vick when he came back to the NFL (my defense of Vick was simple: Vick paid his debt to society for the crimes he committed, so quite frankly, he doesn’t owe society a g–damned thing..) and some of the verbal blisterings I got for defending Vick’s return to the NFL. (Ironically, it looks as though I was right to defend him; by all accounts, Michael Vick’s actually honored his end of the plea agreement that he entered into following his arrest and trial back then).

Like I said, Gene Simmons is an idiot…maybe he should just, to borrow an oft-used phrase of the Right, “shut up and sing”…then again, I never really was a fan of KISS, so he can go jump in a lake for all I care.

Posted September 14, 2013 by Matthew in Uncategorized

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The Myth Of Equal Opportunity   Leave a comment

If there is one enduring myth in America, it is that anyone can make it, that anyone, on their own, can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and make it in this world without help from anyone, anytime…It…is..a.myth, as Joseph Stieglitz points out in a New York Times Opinionator article today.

How can this be? Well, there’s a couple of reasons…..

  • the growing class stratification of America; its’ getting harder for those at the bottom to move upward and even harder to bounce upward into the top strata
  • persistent discrimination that, while no longer legal, continues in other, more insidious ways
  • increasing amounts of student debt that are beginning to present a Morton’s Fork decision: either decline a chance to go to college and be forever stuck in the lower stratas’ OR go to college and be saddled with inordinate, soul-crushing debt for years(something I know from experience: I graduated from UNC-Charlotte in 1997 and owed around 12,000 or so in student loan debt, which took over 11 years to repay)
  • growing disparities in education have begun to consign working-class children to ever-decreasing quality schools while their well-to-do counterparts continue to benefit from everything that comes down the proverbial pike

Put simply, as Stieglitz puts it(and as I’ve come to believe)…to paraphrase:

…(the) cherished narrative of social and economic mobility is a myth. Grand deceptions of this magnitude are hard to maintain for long — and the country has already been through a couple of decades of self-deception.

So, what do we do? What do we do?

  1. We must begin promoting polices that emphasize equality of opportunity: while not everyone can catch the brass ring, everyone should, nay..must, at least have the opportunity to catch said brass ring by improving the conditions that children face and by providing additional educational opportunities, beginning in pre-school and continuing onward
  2. Making sure that all children have adequate nutrition and health care: nothing, as my parents, both of whom worked in the public schools for years would tell you, kills a child’s soul than to go to school hungry; how in the heck are they supposed to learn if they’re hungry?
  3. Put more money into the schools; yes, money isn’t and shouldn’t be a panacea but it wouldn’t hurt, especially if you’re sending more and more children into the schools to start with
  4. Finally, we should make it easier for high school graduates to afford the chance to go to college; the more who are able to do so, the better and more robust our society will be in the long run.

Yes, equal opportunity is a myth….but it doesn’t mean we can’t strive for it.

 

Posted February 17, 2013 by Matthew in Uncategorized

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