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Archive for the ‘Pop Culture’ Category

Another national gun tragedy unfolded in the wee hours this morning.  Seventy people were riddled with bullets today in a theater as they prepared to watch the new Batman movie.  Infants, children, adolescents, adults.  Many of them died.

Nevertheless, I have been taken to task today for my various rants on Twitter and Facebook and elsewhere about the way popular culture and the right to bear arms has lead us down this path.  I don’t know how anyone can argue with the premise that we, through popular culture and entertainment, are not just desensitized to violence, but we glorify it.  On top of the dangerous cocktail that is desensitization to and glorification of violence through popular culture, we–through a tortured interpretation of the 2nd Amendment–ensure that instrumentalities of death and destruction are made widely, irresponsibly available.  Not for the purposes of or use by a “well-regulated militia,” as the 2nd Amendment states.  No.  The quantity of guns, their general availability, and their use and mis-use have nothing to do with a well-regulated militia.   They exist simply for the sake of having them, and I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the sole purpose of guns is to injure and kill things.  Mostly human things.

I am not saying that the Batman movie is the cause of the massacre today.  Not at all.  The problem of violence in popular culture is much more pervasive than one film, one television show, one game.  For examples of my premise, however, I think it is illustrative to observe that Warner Brothers has now removed a preview for another movie–a preview shown immediately before the new Batman movie last night–that shows 4 gunmen shoot bullets and throw explosives into a crowded movie theater.  No shit.  I will also point out that the Batman movie itself contains a scene where “a masked villain leads a violent gang into a packed football stadium and deploys guns and explosives on the unsuspecting crowd.”  So, those of you who try to argue that we are not constantly barraged by graphic, horrible violence–both in fact and in fiction–are crazy.  And those of you who think it has no effect on behavior are out of your fucking minds.  From the Kaiser Family Foundation:

Researchers hypothesize that viewing TV violence can lead to three potentially harmful effects: increased antisocial or aggressive behavior, desensitization to violence (becoming more accepting of violence in real  life and less caring about other people’s feelings), or increased fear of becoming a victim of violence.  Many researchers believe that children age 7 and younger are particularly vulnerable to the effects of viewing violence because they tend to perceive fantasy and cartoon violence as realistic.  Since the 1960s, a body of research literature has been accumulating on the effects of TV violence.  Taken together, the studies conclude that TV violence  is one of many factors that contribute to aggressive behavior.  [Internal footnotes omitted.]

Whether you agree with me that pervasive violent imagery has everything to do with an increasingly violent society, you simply cannot disagree that guns are so widely available and gun-control is so lacking in this country that anyone can get their hands on a gun.  Toddlers, gangsters, hunters, collectors, people of all persuasions, abilities, genders, ages, political and religious beliefs, competency, and sanity.  Speaking of sanity, you would have to be insane not to see the writing on the wall, which is captured as brilliantly as humanly possible by Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker today.  You should read the ENTIRE PIECE if you give a damn about any person who has been affected by gun violence or believe, even remotely, that you could be the next victim.  I offer, however, a precious few of Mr. Gopnik’s words because he has captured what I have been struggling to say all day.  Although I wish they were my very own words, I am honored to quote them here because they capture in very few words the intersection between the overabundance of 1) violent imagery in popular culture and 2) guns.

In America, it has been, for so long now, the belief that guns designed to kill people indifferently and in great numbers can be widely available and not have it end with people being killed, indifferently and in great numbers. . . .

[T]he blood lobby still blares out its certainties, including the pretense that the Second Amendment—despite the clear grammar of its first sentence—is designed not to protect citizen militias but to make sure that no lunatic goes unarmed. . . . Make sure that guns designed for no reason save to kill people are freely available to anyone who wants one . . . and then be shocked when children are killed. . . .

The horror is touched, inflected, by the way that the killings now intertwine with the everyday details of our lives. The killings will go on; the cell phones in the pockets of dead children will continue to ring; and now parents can be a little frightened every time their kids go to a midnight screening of a movie designed to show them what stylized fun violence can be, in the hands of the right American moviemaker.  [Emphasis supplied.]

I have nothing else to add.  After all, what is left to be said?

PostScript:  Jason Alexander (of Seinfeld and other fame), wrote a beautiful piece along these very same lines yesterday.  You should read it.

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To be honest, I was going to name Tim Eyman our Douchebag du Jour today, for once again trying to blow his TEA Party load all over Washington with another anti-tax Initiative.  Someone must have kicked him and his Initiative right in the festering taco, because it looks like he and it will be losers (literally and figuratively).  Then again, I’m pretty sure this picture of him tonight says it all:

Initiative Whore

Runner Up!

His Douchebag award, I’m afraid, was stolen away tonight by this man:

douche

Douchebag du Jour

Why?  Well, tonight Joe Paterno was fired as coach of Penn State’s football team, a position he has held for 127 years or something.  Why was he fired?  Well, as anyone who has actually stepped out of their alcohol and coke hole in the past week knows, he stood by and did absolutely nothing after his good pal and former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was caught FUCKING A 10 YEAR OLD BOY IN THE ASS IN THE SHOWERS OF THE FOOTBALL BUILDING!  Yep.  Paterno did not report it to authorities or to the President or the Board of Regents of the University system.  He simply called the athletic director to his house and had a private conversation about it with him.  Here is a unbelievably horrific timeline of Sandusky’s (a/k/a Chester the Molester’s) boy banging.

The students at Penn State are rioting tonight.  I guess they want their coaches and athletes to be able to fuck children anywhere they god damn please or something.  So they are Douchebags today too.  But since there can really only be one award recipient, tonight it’s Ashton Kutcher.  Why?  Because he posted this twat on Twitter:

ashton kutcher

aplusk ashton kutcher

How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste

After the Twatter-spher-iverse FUCKING FREAKED OUT ON HIM, he must have called his PR team and forced them to work like child-sex slaves (pun mother fucking intended) to come up with this within about an hour:

ashton kutcher
apluskashton kutcher
Heard Joe was fired, fully recant previous tweet! Didn’t have full story. #admitwhenYoumakemistakes

And in the last 30 minutes he has posted about another 20 twats agreeing with people who have called him everything from an “idiot” to an “asshole” to–and this is my personal fave–a “sick, geriatric fuck.”

Congrats, Ashton.  You’re my little Douchebag du Jour, and for your prize, I have lined up a man 50 years older than you who is going to fuck you in the ass in the shower at the Penn State football building.

UPDATE:  Holy shit, this just couldn’t get any better!  My little douche canoe also posted this:

ashton kutcher

@aplusk ashton kutcher
As an advocate in the fight against child sexual exploitation, I could not be more remorseful for all involved in the Penn St. case.
Which reminds me:  Ashton has done several PSAs about and against child sex trafficking and child slavery.  Sadly ironic.  Too bad he didn’t apparently have the Google like he has the Twitter or he could have checked his facts before going on his little rant.  Oh well.
UPDATE 2:  Ashton has handed his Twitter account over to his “team” at Katalyst Media because he doesn’t trust himself with it any longer.  What a fucking cop out!  He swears it’s because he doesn’t want to take his 8,000,000+ followers for granted, but I can’t help wonder if it is because he doesn’t want to take the time to think or verify information before he tweets.  That’s lazy, and in my opinion, he is taking his followers for granted because he’d rather be intellectually lazy and hand the account over to his people than to continue to post, but in a more thoughtful manner.  Whatever.  I didn’t/don’t follow him anyway.

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I swear to you that I am not lying when I tell you that I have had a Yahoo! email account since 1995 or 1996.  I have had a Yahoo! account since its stock was like $1.98 a share, and if I had the money at that time to buy 1,000 shares, I would be a squillionaire right now.  Alas, I was getting an advanced degree, and debt was was mistress,  not wealth.  Fuck me and my bad decision to get educated instead of whoring myself out on the corner and buying stock instead.  God-fucking-dammit.

But Yahoo! and I have had our words, and tonight, I have had it.  I have stuck with them through thick and thin, even when they have clearly not kept pace with the likes of Microsoft or Google or any of the other email/news/search competitors that have flooded the market in the past two decades.  I am loyal to a fault, but when you keep editorializing like a fundamentalist Xtian, then we are going to come to ugly, hair-pulling, blows.

Tonight’s insult?  Yahoo! has referred to sexual orientation as a “lifestyle” choice.  Wait.  Let me be more specific.  Tonight, Yahoo! has referred to being a lesbian or gay as a lifestyle choice.  What the fuck is this?  1977?  A mother-fucking lifestyle choice.  Riiiiiiight.  So then we’re all in agreement that being straight is also a lifestyle choice and that, if I promised not to tell your wife or your co-workers, you’d let me blow the living christbaby out of you behind the dumpster in the alley outside of your downtown office building, right?  No?  Not that kind of lifestyle choice?  NO, OF COURSE NOT YOU FUCKING DOUCHE!

A lifestyle choice is living on a god damn golf course, buying a ski chalet or a bungalow on a beach, having a gaggle of children, moving to France, occupying fucking Wall Street, or being a RABID FUCKING HOMOPHOBE.  Being a dyke or a fag is as much of a lifestyle choice as having a vagina or balls or blond hair or blue eyes.  In this day and age, insinuating that being gay or lesbian is a choice is not only irresponsible, it is homophobic, dangerous, and contrary to medical science.  Furthermore, it is contrary to basic human understanding, even among the most right-wing, bullshit haters.  The continued insistence that my sexuality is a deliberate choice designed to be provocative is so unbelievably stupid that not even 3 year old children understand it.  Do you know how I know?  Because I have a VERY GENETIC connection to two perfect 3 year old children who have 2 mamas and 2 papas.  Do you know what?  All they know is that the mamas love each other unconditionally and so do the 2 papas. They have never questioned our relationships to each other or to them.  And they won’t until someone plants the seeds of doubt about their parents in their innocent little heads . . . .

Perhaps that “someone” will be Yahoo!  Why, you ask, do I think that Yahoo! might be responsible for corrupting the innocent minds of my beautiful, loving, sweet babies?  Let me tell and show you.

Today, there has been a whole bunch of fucking non-sense about Kelly Clarkson, who has been “accused” of being a lesbian (to which I say, “Good for her”).  Amongst all of the insanity is Yahoo!, which entitled its headline story in a manner that CLEARLY SUGGEST THAT BEING GAY OR LESBIAN IS A CHOICE:

Lifestyle?

A lifestyle, like golf or skiing or macrame.

“Lifestyle” rumors.  The fact that Yahoo! has entitled the story thusly only adds fuel to the rumor-fire.  PLEASE FUCKING STOP THIS NON-SENSE!  The country wonders why bullying has become such a problem and why innocent teen-agers are KILLING THEMSELVES because they are different.  Trust me as a gay man:  Subtle homophobia is as dangerous as overt homophobia.

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Seattle.  Of course it is.  I mean, have you looked around this dump?

Pasty, white zombie people (not even the caffeine helps perk us up any longer).  Cargo pants.  Teva/Chaco sandals and wool socks.  XXL sweatshirt emblazoned with UW or WSU.  Bed head. 

Decidedly not hot.   

Thank baby fashion jesus for me, for I am fairly certain that I single-handedly saved us from being closer to the top. 

 

Fashion Plate

Me = Lesbian Chic

 

 

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Today, the cock shot has emerged.  No, I do not have a link.  The only version of it that I’ve seen is from a picture of a picture on someone’s iPhone, and it isn’t high enough quality for this high quality blog. 

Actually, I just don’t have time to post it because I need to get dressed and get to work.  Plus, imagine in your mind an aroused man part.  Perfect.  See, you had a link to it in your head already!

But I did want to post a link to this great blog post, which I think is spot-on about the story, the “scandal,” its generational implications, and the gay perspective.  Bravo!

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Today’s irresistible scandal?  Congressman Anthony Weiner’s weiner.  In short (pun not really intended, but what the hell), a picture of a penis IN. A. PAIR. OF. UNDERPANTS. was apparently sent from the Congressman’s Twitter account to a young woman who goes to college at Western Washington University.  Oh screw it.  Here is the picture you pervs. 

A penis in a pair of underpants? UNHEARD OF!!

Scandalous, isn’t it?  I mean, in this day and age, you’d have to turn on the television or open Vanity Fair magazine or turn on the Internets to see this kind of CRAZINESS!!!!

He denies that he sent it, and there appears to be no connection between him and the single recipient.  He says he does not know for sure if it is a picture of his junk or not, but it may well be.  He says it is a hoax perpetrated against him, and a rather obvious one at that. 
 
Too many people are in an uproar because he simply does not want to discuss this nonsense and this non-issue and has been evasive, preferring to direct the media’s attention to mundane issues like the economy, the Middle East, tornadoes, oil prices, and other shit that apparently is less important than a cock shot.  I don’t blame him for about 1 million reasons, which I will summarize in 3:
  • His name is Weiner and people have been teasing him about his name and his weiner for his entire life.  Literally.  Can you imagine?  And then imagine that Wolf Fucking Blitzer wants to ask you about your namesake (sorry) on TV, along with about 3,000 other “journalists” and media types.  Jesus H. Christ.  I’m surprised he hasn’t killed himself already.
  • MEN HAVE PENISES!  Sweet baby jesus!  Shocking, I know.  They have a somewhat distinctive appearance, even when concealed by underpants, pajamas, swimwear, chinos, jeans, a fig leaf, the newspaper (sorry neighbors), a mesh jock strap (you know who you are), a pair of ridiculously hot leather chaps (I’ve heard), or even duct tape (don’t ask).  The appearance of the outline of a man’s penis does not a scandal make.  Actually, I’ll go one step further: the appearance of a penis does not necessarily a scandal make.  There are about 3 billion of them hanging around the world, and occasionally they will appear in the open without malice or ill-will.  Fair warning. 
  • Let’s assume it is Weiner’s weiner and the Congressman meant to send it.  And it was hard as a rock.  Angry.  With a bulging vein (concealed, of course, by his undies).   Probably not an ideal exercise of discretion.  Nevertheless, this uniquely crazy American notion that our elected officials and public figures should be neutered is fucked up.  Americans are stupidly devoted to the notion that our elected officials and public figures aren’t allowed to be people.  They aren’t allowed to curse, laugh at a politically incorrect joke, feel stressed, express sadness or GOD FORBID CRY in the open, blow their nose, get sick, take a piss, possess genitals, feel horny,  or have . . . oh lord forgive me for uttering the word . . . sex.  I can already feel the scorching flames of hell tickling me in my own naughty parts just by virtue of even suggesting that public officials might actually be people, too. 

In closing, let me say that if the outline of a penis is an important, national story, then I have breaking news IN MY PANTS right now, and it is big news, trust me.  Wolf Fucking Blitzer has not yet called, but I am sure he will at any moment (knowing him, he  and Anderson Cooper are probably looking at any number of pictures of the outline of my penis in my bike shorts or a speedo or those unfortunate linen pants that I was wearing while standing in front of a spot light one time).  In the meantime, can everyone just shut the fuck up?  I realize that as a nation, our collective IQ is too low to deal with or understand the important issues of the day so we distract ourselves with stuff everyone can understand, like dicks, tits, and fart jokes. 

Distraction complete.  Thankfully, as a nation we also have the attention span of hyperactive 8 year old who has been on a candy and Rockstar binge, and this will pass quickly.  But I am warning you:  the penis–or at least an outline thereof–is going to reappear one of these minutes where you most expect it and you need to brace yourself.  Oh shit.  Don’t look now but . . .

Serious Post Script:  On June 6, Weiner came out with the truth.  Listen to me, and listen hard:  I was disappointed that it came to this.  I don’t like lies, and I don’t like to see an otherwise honest, hard-working, talented person brought down over lies about his personal life (mistaken post to Twitter notwithstanding).  I also don’t like that the media and Americans cannot, for some unknown reason, differentiate between a public person’s public life and job and his or her private life.  I also don’t understand our collective belief that we have a right to know, let alone judge, other’s personal choices.  Weiner, you made a bad choice and you handled it poorly.  America, stop holding public figures, particularly our elected officials, to standards that you can’t maintain yourself.

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Oh yes, it’s true.  It’s not just your iPhone, your iPad, and your mother.  You are being watched.  Case in point:  Moi (of course).

Today, I was twatting from work.  Really, I was watching My Green Lake (hey, shout out to you, sister!) tweet live about a fire in my ‘hood.  I load up the Twitter, and out of the corner of my eye, at the bottom right corner of my screen under “Who To Follow,” I see her.  Just sitting there.  Smiling at me.  Looking all innocent.  Acting like she isn’t paying attention to me.

Who, you ask?  The milque-toast receptionist at the front desk of my PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT!  Lest you think I am a dunce who doesn’t understand how Twitter allegedly makes follow suggestions, let me fill you in on a little secret:

Horseknuckle not only doesn’t work, he has no place at work.  He’s rude, belligerent, offensive, and rubs people the wrong way.  He’s almost 100% always right, but his delivery sucks.  Horseknuckle is the alter ego of a fine, upstanding, professional gentleman who must use diplomacy, flattery, and brains in his day-to-day dealings with his public.  And his public doesn’t really need to know about his alter ego. 

Why do I tell you this?  Because Horseknuckle doesn’t post about work-related issues, follow others who post about work-related issues, or give a shit about work-related issues or people or places.  He follows some friends, the weather, local happenings and news, global happenings and news, wine-makers, the homosexual agenda and its adherents, and not less than two dozen dirty gay porn stars.  Nothing about the subjects that Horseknuckle spouts off about or the people or things he follows have anything to do with work or would lead Twitter to conclude that he should or would be interested in following the 65 year old receptionist at the front desk with 5 cats, a Christmas sweater collection that would give you hives, a 1993 Toyota Corolla with a dent in every quarter panel, and a collection of “miniature” everything.  A nice, grandmotherly woman who hasn’t actually sent a tweet since 2010.

First Question:  Do you know what that means?  Answer:  It means that Twitter connected us BASED ON OUR IP ADDRESS! *

Second Question:  Do you know what that means?  Answer: It means that when you are in a place where you are getting your tweet on–whether you want others to know you are there are not–you are probably showing up in the “follow” suggestions of the people around you. 

And now you ask, “What do you have to hide?”  To which I answer, “Not a damn thing.”  Remember, however, the first rule you learned when you finally got your first job:  Don’t bring your personal life to work, and don’t bring your work into your personal life.  Furthermore, as a BIG GIANT GAY, I have issues about other people outing me, no matter the circumstances.

So, Twitter, STOP FUCKING OUTING ME!  I don’t want to appear miraculously in the “Who to Follow” section of my co-workers’ Twitter page.  I don’t want them to think, “Horseknuckle?  WTF is that?” only to click and discover that my alter ego and the guy down the hall might be the same person.

Long story short:  Unless my 65 year old receptionist with the cats, the Corolla, the sweaters, and the miniatures has a penchant for hot, dirty, gay pornstars, Anderson Cooper (is that redundant), and Green Lake news [NTTAWWT], then Twitter:  We have a problem.

*And no, I do not use the “Add a Location” function when I tweet.  The baby jesus knows that I don’t need you bitches all up in my grill all the time.

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