December 31, 2015

Chris Hemsworth as a savage Indian

Chris Hemsworth New Year’s Eve costume party sparks outrage, likened to ‘blackface’

By Kristy SymondsHemsworth, 32, and Pataky, 39, posed behind a cardboard “Wanted” sign advertising a $6500 reward, while oldest Hemsworth brother Luke stands to the side dressed as a sheriff.

Many followers of the actress and mother of three, and fans of the Thor hunk, commented their disapproval, deeming it cultural appropriation.

Instagram user kenyakwil wrote: “How about we all dress up as a nationality and ethnicity that none of us are and have fun and make silly faces and better yet lets make joke out of them to because its not like being killed off and oppressed for centuries was enough (sic).”

irenelove_83 commented: “Can’t put into words how wrong this is” and johnpaille said “ … why hemsworths? Why?!”

Another user, bourbonandbabyblues, wrote “This is so disappointing to see. Native Americans are real, their culture is real, and they most certainly not a f**king costume. This is akin to walking around in blackface.”

'Can't put into words how wrong this is': Elsa Pataky and Chris Hemsworth slammed by fans for dressing up as Native Americans at New Year's Eve party

By Alicia VrajlalIn the image, Elsa donned a feathered headdress, while Chris sported a black wig and war paint.

It comes after Native American headdresses have previously been banned from various events including popular music festivals.

Traders at the Glastonbury Festival had been banned from selling Native American headdresses after a petition was established by Daniel W Round on

Daniel said: 'There has long been consensus among indigenous civil rights activists in North America about the wearing of headdresses by non-Natives–that it is an offensive and disrespectful form of cultural appropriation, that it homogenises diverse indigenous peoples, and that it perpetuates damaging, archaic and racist stereotypes.'
And a couple of tweets:Des ‏@DesiMcRae
So disappointed @chrishemsworth Would U dress in blackface, yellowface, as a holocaust survivor for fun/games? 1/2

Des ‏@DesiMcRae
@chrishemsworth Playing NDN for ANY reason=#notokay By this action U perpetrate neg stereotypes of living people 2/2
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Indian Costumes at Annual Turkey Trot and Jenner and Hilton in Stereotypical Costumes.

Leona Lewis in a headdress

PC brigade on warpath over Leona's headdress: Singer branded 'ignorant' and 'racist' on social media for wearing Native American attire

Leona Lewis came under fire within hours of posting photos on Instagram
Singer was branded 'ignorant', 'disrespectful' and 'racist' for the costume
But many social media users came to the defence of 30-year-old celebrity

By Sam Creighton
It was meant as a fun picture, but this harmless image of pop star Leona Lewis wearing a Native American headdress still managed to upset some sensitive souls on social media.

Within hours of sharing the pictures on Instagram yesterday, she was branded ‘ignorant’, ‘disrespectful’ and ‘racist’ for supposedly making light of the headgear’s cultural importance.

One of her 380,000 followers wrote: ‘As a Native American I just lost so much respect for you. The headdress is reserved for our revered elders who, through their selflessness and leadership, have earned the right to wear one. It’s a spiritual garb, not just cultural.’
Comment:  Note that Lewis appears to be making a "woo-woo" gesture with her hand. Thus exacerbating the offense.

Also note the "warpath" stereotype in the headline. And the insulting term "PC brigade." Protesting racism isn't politically correct; it's correct, period.

For more on the subject, see Indian Costumes at Annual Turkey Trot and Jenner and Hilton in Stereotypical Costumes.

December 30, 2015

Atlantic's "influential" list omits Indians

Here's another list of the "top" Americans along with my comments:

Atlantic Magazine Listed the “100 Most Influential Figures in American History” And Didn’t Put a Single Native American on the List

A good list in some ways; a bad list in others.

They seem to have confused "important" and "influential." As these lists often do. They aren't the same thing.

They also seem to have confused the person and the accomplishment. The telegraph may have influenced the course of the country, but Samuel Morse didn't. Not enough to put him on the list.

They gave artists and "pop" celebrities short shrift. And despite Elvis, went mostly for establishment figures. Herman Melville? P.T. Barnum? Stephen Foster? William Faulkner? Louis Armstrong? How about Bob Dylan, John Wayne, Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, or Michael Jordan? I'd put one or two of these choices against all five of Atlantic's choices in terms of influence.

The Native alternatives

As for Natives, who would be the no. 1 choice? Perhaps Geronimo. From both sides--Native and non-Native--he must be the icon of Indianness. Natives see him as a savage resistance fighter determined to be free. Non-Natives see him as simply the ultimate savage.

Who else? Siting Bull? Pocahontas? I'm not sure how much they accomplished, but they were hugely influential as symbols. One or both of them could go on the list also.

Tecumseh may qualify as the most accomplished Native in American history. But his accomplishment--building a widespread tribal coalition--fell apart at the end. So I'm not sure how much influence it had on the course of US history.

Anyone else? Sacagawea? She had one big accomplishment: keeping Lewis and Clark alive during the winter of 1805-6. But that was a single small role in a major expedition, and it's not clear how influential the expedition was. I wouldn't include her.

Jim Thorpe? He was hugely accomplished, but I'm not sure how his accomplishments influenced anyone else. Or changed the course of history. The historians may have been right to limit sports figures to people like Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth.

The code talkers? Maybe if one of them had singlehandedly created and operated the group. But you can't have a group of 400 or whatever in a list like this. Otherwise you'd have to nominate George Washington's or FDR's Cabinet. Or the soldiers who landed at Normandy.

Why Indians?

Despite the "influential" tag, much of this list is about symbolism. For instance, Jackie Robinson didn't integrate baseball or other sports by himself. He's important as the first person to break the color--as a symbol of change. But if he hadn't been first, someone else would've been.

Like Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, Robinson didn't cause the change himself. He represented the forces of change working their way through society. He "influenced" history by being in the right place at the right time.

For the first century, most of America's "foreign" policy concerned the Indian question. Turner's Frontier Thesis argued that we defined ourselves in relation to the wild West--i.e., Indians. Taming the wilderness, turning "savagery" into civilization, is America's founding myth.

Symbolically, Indians loomed huge in our imagination. They played a much greater role than their actual numbers or accomplishments suggested. Therefore, you could easily argue for including one or more of them on the list. They were prominent for half our history, so they deserve some spots.

For more on the subject, see 100 Most Significant Americans? and Indians in the Celebrity 100.

December 29, 2015

Blacks = "threat" to America

As you probably know, a Cleveland cop killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice for the "crime" of being black. Today a grand jury failed to indict the cop for wrongdoing. Two postings on the subject:

Until White America looks at Tamir Rice and sees their own children, there will be no racial justice in the U.S.

He was 12, playing with a toy gun, in a locale with open-carry laws. Tamir Rice was executed for being a black boy

By Chauncy DeVega
Tamir Rice joins so many others, lives prematurely ended by the police, and their bodies put in the necropolis of Black Death in the Age of Obama. When protesters shout “Black Lives Matter” it is a statement of rage, protest and a demand for justice at that ugly national mausoleum.

In reflecting on the myriad of circumstances where the lives of unarmed and innocent black people have been stolen by America’s police—while surrendering; following police orders; sleeping in cars; sleeping at home; seeking help after car accidents; opening up wallets; walking down the street; shopping; playing in a park; standing outside; riding bicycles; asking for help with a mentally ill relative or neighbor; breathing air and just being nearby—it is abundantly clear that there is one unifying factor common to all of those examples.

To be black is to be under assault by American society and its legal system.

It is the stigma placed on those who because of an arbitrary melanin count and America’s ‘one drop rule’ are placed on the bottom of the country’s racial hierarchy.

To be black in America is also to occupy a place of fear and threat in the white popular imagination and collective subconscious: “black people” are “scary”; “black crime” is an “epidemic”; the “black family” is “broken”; “black men” are dangerous, violent, hyper-libidinal “thugs”; and “black women” are promiscuous “welfare queens.”

If you are black in America then preemptive violence by the state, its police, their allies, and white folks en masse under “stand your ground laws,” is presumed to almost always be legitimate and justified. To be black is to be guilty until proven innocent. America’s system of jurisprudence is inverted along the color line.

To be black in America is ultimately a state of existential terror, threat and violence.
The American criminal justice system is guilty of killing Tamir Rice

If, as the prosecutor said, officers followed policy in the killing of Tamir Rice something is horribly wrong

By Daniel Denvir
There are no doubt many instances when officers break the law by beating, shooting and lying.

But the most brutal features of the criminal justice system aren’t a result of the system malfunctioning; the biggest problem is that the criminal justice system often functions explicitly as it has been designed to work by politicians, prosecutors and police chiefs. That’s why 2.2-odd million people were behind bars in this country at the end of last year.
And:Injustice is a feature, and not a bug. America has a formidable gun culture, and an enormous number of guns. The country has extraordinary poverty concentrated in segregated neighborhoods, and lots of street violence. Americans use a lot of drugs and, because many drugs are illegal, a large illicit market to feed narcotic appetites. American politics has for decades fruitlessly tried to solve these problems through mass incarceration and aggressive policing. Police officers are on the front lines of a war created by politicians.

The challenge is not correcting dysfunction in the criminal justice system. In reality, the allegedly textbook shooting Tamir Rice is a chilling reminder that the fundamental problem is the criminal justice system’s very function.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Police Shoot at Black Targets and Stop-and-Frisk = Controlling Minorities.

December 28, 2015

Cultural borrowing vs. appropriation

Someone posted the following article with this note:Curious to know how much of this you'd consider insightful and how much you'd consider clueless. To me, the author seems a bit tone-deaf and has trouble telling the difference between culture and fashion.The Dos and Don’ts of Cultural Appropriation
Borrowing from other cultures isn’t just inevitable, it’s potentially positive.

By Jenni Avins

My response:

I think Avins's seven recommendations are okay. The main problem is her introduction, where she belittles the idea of appropriation before she tackles it.

In her intro, her specific problem is confusing borrowing with appropriation. Appropriation is mainly an issue when people put something on display, to make a statement. This generally happens with celebrities and fashion models, not ordinary people.

In other words, I don't think anyone cares if you wear a kimono or Brazilian sandals or Navajo jewelry. Your choices have no effect on the world at large.

And if you're just eating or using a product from another country in your home, that's definitely borrowing, not appropriation. Appropriation is about claiming something as yours--i.e., in the court of public opinion. If no one knows you're doing it, it's irrelevant to the discussion. No one cares.

My choice

Even on a personal level, I'd think twice about appropriating and displaying someone else's culture. Again, I'm not talking about sneakers that were made in China or wherever.

For instance, Mom gave me a Native bolo tie that a friend gave her. Because Mom told her I was interested in Indians, I guess. It's nice, but I probably wouldn't wear it if I was ever in a tie-wearing situation.

Why not? Because I don't need or want to send a message that I'm "part Indian," "down with the Indians," or whatever. It's false advertising in a way, because it doesn't stem naturally and genuinely from my background.

If I had worked on a reservation for 10 years, then I might've adopted bolo ties as part of my style. And then it would reflect some real aspect of me. But putting it on now, it would make more of a claim than I feel I have a right to make. It would be like pretending I have a Cherokee great-grandmother.

In short, it would be appropriation. To be sure, people probably wouldn't call me on it because I do work in Native areas. But I wouldn't feel comfortable doing it. It's just not who I am.

More examples

Look at two recent examples: KTZ Copies Sacred Inuit Robe and Jennifer Lopez Wears "Tribal" Outfit. Both are arguably examples of adopting another culture's identity as one's own.

If the KTZ designer or Lopez wore the Native-inspired fashions at home, that would be one thing. But the public displays send a message. "These are mine," they seem to be saying. "I own the designs as much as the people who originated them."

If I wear a mass-produced Native t-shirt, it's pretty clear I'm borrowing it. I'm adopting a look for a few hours only. But if I step out with my own Native-inspired fashions, it's pretty clear I'm claiming ownership. I've appropriated someone else's designs as my own.

This may be what distinguishes appropriation from borrowing: the false presumption of ownership.

December 27, 2015

Face of Death in Cisco Kid

I recently caught an episode of The Cisco Kid, an old TV Western that aired before my time. If you're not familiar with the Kid, here's the story:

The Cisco KidThe Cisco Kid is a fictional character found in numerous film, radio, television and comic book series based on the fictional Western character created by O. Henry in his 1907 short story "The Caballero's Way," published in the collection Heart of the West, as well as in Everybody's Magazine, v17, July 1907. In movies and television, the Kid was depicted as a heroic Mexican caballero, even though he was originally a cruel outlaw.Face of Death--Season 3, Episode 6--aired Oct. 19, 1952. You can watch it here.

The basic plot:Cisco and Pancho try to avenge the murder of an archaeologist who was murdered when on the verge of discovering the tomb of an important Aztec.Details

** spoiler alert **

In a prologue cut from the version I saw, an Aztec priest named Quetzal leaves a treasure under the watchful gaze of a god-like "Face of Death."

In the present, a professor type helps a couple of desperadoes locate the treasure somewhere near the Mexican border. They're watched by Tecia, an Indian boy in an Apache-style shirt and headband. After killing the professor, the crooks enter a cave and encounter the Face of Death, which naturally frightens them to death.

Cisco and Pancho encounter the last dying crook and learn the story. Back in town, they tell what they know to the professor's daughter. She's kidnapped by more desperadoes who want the treasure, but Cisco and Pancho rescue her. They all converge in the cave, where they find the treasure and the Face.

A crook shoots at the Face before Cisco corrals him. Turns out Tecia was using the Face to imitate the Aztec god while guarding the treasure with blow darts. He sadly dies and Cisco decides to seal the cave with explosives.

The Native aspects

With his weird beard, Quetzal looks like something out of the Bible. I'm not sure Aztec priests ever wore a vulture headdress like his--but I'm not sure they didn't. At least Quetzal isn't a Plains chief or a generic Indian.

The northern Mexican location isn't a bad place for the Aztec to hide their last treasure. It was within their sphere of influence but away from the Spanish invaders. It's a plausible premise on which to base a story.

Although Tecia appears only briefly, he's a noble character. There's nothing especially savage about him. He dies honorably to protect his people's heritage.

The "Face of Death" is by far the silliest aspect of this episode. It looks more like an African idol than anything Aztec. It conveys the stereotypical idea that Native religion is ungodly and evil by definition.

All in all, Face of Death was a decent effort for television in 1952. We've seen things in the last decade or two that were much more stereotypical.

December 25, 2015

War whoops in Sound of Music

Racism in The Sound of Music!

I recently watched this classic musical, my all-time favorite movie, for the 10th or 20th time. You know the scene where the children are hanging from trees as Captain Von Trapp and the Baroness drive by? Listen closely. Just before the kids disappear from view, you can hear a "woo-woo-woo-woo." The "wild" children are acting like "savage" Indians.

The scene above is as the car is approaching. I'm talking about a few seconds later, when the car is leaving the children behind.

At that moment, the kids are too small to see them clearly on-screen. The most prominent one could be Friedrich, the oldest boy. The whoops seem to come from his vicinity. One of his hands is free and hovering near his mouth, so he could've been doing the war-whoop gesture.

Or it could be Louisa, the second oldest daughter, since she's about the same size. The figure has something on his or her head, which could be the scarf Louisa wore. With its loose end, it looks a bit like an Indian headdress.

The hand gesture and the headdress may be illusory, but the sound is clear. At least one Von Trapp is whooping like an Indian.

Whoops in the Alps?

Someone questioned this, saying:In the Swiss Alps?Sure. Western movies must've been well-known around the world by the late 1930s. Not to mention the Germans' love of Indians in Karl May's books.

War whoops are the universal sign of savagery! That's how we know the children were out of control!

December 24, 2015

Season's greetings!

9 Native Style Christmas Memes and Cartoons

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Ecstatic Eid, Krazy Kwanzaa, and a Wondrous Winter Solstice!


December 23, 2015

Do Dominican totem poles exist?

People are still talking about Miss Universe Canada's costume:

Miss Universe Canada's totem pole dress shocks First Nations people

Torontonian Paola Nunuz Valdez wore the offending dress at this week’s Miss Universe contestIn a statement, Valdez said the dress was a "misunderstanding" and that the design was meant to refer to her own heritage as a Dominican, not to reflect on Canada's aboriginal culture.

She was born in the Dominican Republic, which shares with Haiti the large Caribbean island east of Cuba. While totem poles may exist there, they don't play as prominent role in the culture as they do on Canada's west coast.

Callingbull, in a Facebook post, suggested Miss Universe Canada hire a cultural consultant in the future to avoid hanging an important symbol from a future contestant's crotch.

She also criticized the organization's attempt to cover up its error.

"I'd like to see these so called 'west coast Dominican Republic Totem Poles.' They are really trying to protect themselves and didn't even have the heart to simply apologize," she wrote.

One totem pole online

Someone posted this link and image on Facebook:

Dominican Carnival Totem Pole YAGU-TO2Hand carved and painted Dominican Carnival Totem Pole. Made from the palm trees leaf stem which is called Yauga (pronounced "Jagua").

Approximate size: 8.5x1.5

To which I responded:

This kind of proves the point. There's only one item online that matches a "Dominican totem pole" search. Totem poles aren't a part of that culture or there'd be more of them.

Also, the fact that the item is labeled "Dominican" doesn't mean it's authentically Dominican. It could've been made in Asia for all we know.

More important, it looks nothing like Miss Canada's loincloth. If it is authentically Dominican, her costume isn't.

In fact, the Dominican Creations company is headquartered in Quebec and says it'sServing Canada, United States and the Dominican RepublicThis makes it less likely the company is selling genuine Dominican artifacts. And again, even if this pole were genuine, it doesn't look like the pole on the dress.

Final comment

Someone else added this comment on Valdez's dress:Ummm...totally not the same as Dominican 'totem poles'. And last time I checked she was representing Canada. This would imply that she is misusing First Nations totem culture.Yes, it's ridiculous to say she's honoring her Dominican heritage when that has nothing to do with her role as Miss Canada. Plus her raven costume and the totem pole have nothing to do with the Dominican Republic.

December 22, 2015

Pan gets panned

Many people complained about the casting of Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily before Pan came out. But I didn't see anyone talking about this casting after Pan came out. Amid a welter of bad reviews, the movie quickly sank from sight.

Here are a couple of typical reviews that mention Rooney Mara's role:

'Pan' review: A movie so resoundingly godawful that you have to see it

By Josh DickeyHook and Peter manage to escape the mine pit, but are at cross purposes: Peter has got it in his head that his mother is here, while Hook just wants to get "home." And if everything you've read so far seems like a barrel of hot nonsense, well, buckle up, because you're about to meet Tiger Lily if everything you've read so far seems like a barrel of hot nonsense, well, buckle up, because you're about to meet Tiger Lily.

Rooney Mara's casting as the Native American princess got its share of blowback when it was announced. Politically it wasn't a great move, but creatively it was worse. Mara's icy detachment worked for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but here she just seems weird and slightly mean, the leader of a tribe of mostly people of color who wear ghastly bright rainbow streaks and warpaint and do a lot of coordinated dance-fighting.
Pan Review

By Sandy SchaeferSpeaking of Blackbeard: the character is essentially a tweaked version of the Captain Hook character in Pan, and Hugh Jackman very much chews the scenery while he’s playing the role–sometimes for the better, sometimes not–but ultimately, the Blackbeard character fails to add anything new to the Peter Pan mythology that the (older) Hook before him didn’t (sidenote: Blackbeard also gets an exceptionally weird introduction in the film). Similarly, the decision to make the natives of Neverland a multi-ethnic group, rather than literal Native Americans, helps to distinguish Pan from Peter Pan adaptations past–but only on a surface level. The same goes for the decision to play up the warrior aspect of Tiger Lily’s personality, yet not give Rooney Mara much else to work with.

Pan falls short at being either an imaginative origin story for Peter Pan and/or a satisfying standalone big-budget fantasy adventure, when all is said and done. Director Joe Wright’s usual inventiveness as a cinematic storyteller gets lost amidst the CGI malaise of the film, while the movie’s attempt to craft a more complicated mythology out of the relatively simple Peter Pan story might’ve worked–but would have required a far less conventional and run of the mill approach, in order to do so.

Comment:  Now that the movie's out, we can say a few things about its execution.

1) The multi-ethnic "world tribe" of brown-skinned people is nothing new. In fact, that seems to be the default in Peter Pan productions these days.

Alas, it doesn't solve the racism problem. It merely shifts the problem from Native Americans in particular to indigenous people in general.

In almost every production, the pirates are white and the natives are brown. With their ships and guns, the pirates represent civilization--of the 19th century, at least. With their wooden weapons and half-naked outfits, the natives represent savagery. This is a core message of Western Civilization and the latest Pan merely repeats it.

2) Joe Wright talked about how wonderful Rooney Mara would be as Tiger Lily. No one seems to have shared that opinion. Whether Mara was poorly (1st review) or Tiger Lily was poorly written (2nd review), no one liked the character.

I'm guessing Wright didn't think deeply about Mara's ability to play an indigenous princess. I'll bet he thought, "She's small and sprite-like just like Peter Pan. She won't overshadow him as Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Rodriguez, or Zoe Saldana would. Let's intentionally make her a lesser character so Peter shines as the 'chosen one.'"

Is that how you honor an indigenous character? No, that's how you whitewash one. It's a classic case of how "racebending" a character serves to neuter her.

For more on Peter Pan, see "From Tiger Lily to Green Inferno" and Natives Protest Tiger Lily Casting.

December 21, 2015

How accurate is Longmire?

How accurate is the portrayal of Native Americans in the series of books by Craig Johnson featuring the character Walt Longmire, and the television show Longmire?

By Robert P. CollinsMy impression is that the series has gotten better over time, as some of the Indian characters have become more central to the plot. At first, the character of Henry Standing Bear, Sheriff Longmire's Cheyenne friend, was too much like a sidekick: an updated Tonto to Walt Longmire's Lone Ranger. Some of what we learned about Henry during Season 1 seemed to draw on stereotypes. For example, I laughed out loud at the revelation that Henry was a natural born tracker. The idea of Indians as having a mystic ability to follow tracks is an old, dumb stereotype that rests on a notion that Indians are less fully human than whites, closer to wild animals, with heightened senses. It’s not as if Henry were the greatest outdoorsman around. He earns his living by running a bar.

I also felt that the first season was too formulaic in making Henry the "friendly" Indian who helped the white lawman, while Matthias, the reservation police chief, was "hostile," always erecting obstacles to the white hero's progress. But this too has gotten better over time.
But:White people who hear of the sun dance are liable to be impressed (as I was at first) with the apparent macho exhibitionism of this ritual. That's certainly how Longmire played it: After Walt finds that his only child, Cady, is in the hospital in critical condition, he feels personally responsible and resolves to do something. White people (like me) are known for being spiritually indifferent until disaster strikes; then we try to make a deal with God. Walt decides to make a deal with the Great Spirit. He'll do a sun dance in exchange for his daughter's life, and he'll do it right now, because he needs results. And he'll do it solo, because he's a cowboy and that's the way he rolls.

But white people are wrong about the sun dance. It is not a macho exhibition, and it can't be done solo. A sun dancer needs to prepare himself, and he needs the support of many others or it is believed the ritual won't work. So a sun dancer can't just cowboy-waltz up to a pole and lash himself to it. He has to fast for days, pray with a pipe, and have others pray with him.

So it was hard to believe that Walt's Cheyenne best friend would encourage him not only to perform a sun dance, but to do it now and to do it solo. Sure, I know that Walt is supposed to be the ultimate rugged individualist. But this is ridiculous.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Review of The Cold Dish.

December 20, 2015

Miss Canada in a totem-pole loincloth

Miss Canada and the Free Bin

By Jessica R. MetcalfeWell, I was hoping this wasn't true, but alas, Miss Canada, Paola Nuñez, wore this lil "Totem Pole" number for the Miss Universe Preliminaries held two days ago in Las Vegas. The pageant will be televised live on Sunday, Dec 20, on FOX.

The past costumers for Miss Canada seem to have an identity crisis of sorts, not really knowing how to authentically represent their unique national identity in a flamboyant soundbite of an ensemble.

What makes Canada unique? In the past, they've featured Mounties, maple leaves, and even hockey sticks, but they always come back to old standby: "the Native."
An update:Well, you may or may not like what I have to say. We've found the designer of this costume. He's actually a young Dominican designer who also designed Miss Canada's evening gown and the outfit for her talent portion. In fact, she is also from the Dominican Republic and immigrated with her mother to Canada at the age of 10. As a newcomer to Canada, she was bullied and teased because of her dark skin and big lips. In addition, from reading the designer’s meaning behind this costume, it is clear that he genuinely tried to do research (if only we could all get gold stars for trying) and he found significance in the totem pole; he writes, "honoring these tribes which we pay tribute to the indigenous peoples of these Nations.”

So here we have a young lady wishing to represent Canada in the best way and make the nation proud. We also have a young designer wanting to honor Canada’s Aboriginal population through his garments. Why, then, when we have so many good intentions on the table, do we still come up shorthanded when it comes to representing Native people and our cultures appropriately and accurately? (And, as a sidebar, how does a person, who wants to win a global title, make this kind of cultural faux pas?) What’s the big hang-up? Where’s the glitch in the system? Why are we consistently excluded from having a say in how our cultures are being represented?

Some commenters on Facebook were more scathing than Dr. Metcalfe:This is ridiculous and super offensive...this is an example of why some Canadians need to learn more about our First Peoples...whoever organizes the pageant and chooses the wardrobe is obviously completely ignorant and very disrespectful!

My first problem with this is the use of a designer from the Dominican (as Miss Canada a Canadian designer should have been used). My second problem with this is if they wanted to showcase First Nations culture they should have gone with a First Nations designer. This is offensive!!

Did the pageant committee set her up for fail? Why wasn't her outfit made with a tasty beaded, deerskin dress and head band. I am an Alberta native and the ugly mask outfit is an insult to my Cree heritage. The whiteman wins again.
Dominican totem pole?!

Finally, the Miss Universe Canada organization offered a ridiculous explanation of its ridiculous stereotyping:

‘There’s been a tremendous misunderstanding’: Miss Universe Canada carved over totem pole outfit

By Tristin HopperBut after the 2015 contestant elicited cringes by donning a glittery totem pole costume, organizers tried to head off outrage by explaining that it was a Dominican-inspired totem pole.

“Unfortunately, there’s been a tremendous MISUNDERSTANDING regarding the context about Miss Canada’s National Costume,” reads an official statement by Miss Universe Canada.

“Yes, there are many different totem poles, NOT just First Nations totem poles.”
And:On Sunday, Miss Universe Canada put out a statement responding to “all of the negative comments.”

Despite earlier claims that Miss Canada had been embracing “native culture,” the statement said that they actually meant to say that she was “embracing her ethnic heritage of being a Dominican-born Canadian.”

When a commenter pointed out that the Dominican Republic is not known for its totem poles, Miss Universe Canada responded “her costume was not meant to depict First Nations people but rather the people of the Dominican.”
Comment:  Get freakin' serious, pageant people. The totem pole looks like a touristy version of typical Native totem pole. The animals appear to be an eagle, bear, and wolf--animals not found in the Dominican Republic.

Moreover, the rest of her costume resembles a giant raven--again a clearcut symbol of Canada's First Nations, not the Dominican Republic. If people realized the costume turned this revered being into a sex object, they might be even more upset.

Finally, the designer explicitly wrote that he intended to "pay tribute to the indigenous peoples of these Nations." So he lied? Or he's too stupid to realize what he said? Because his statement blatantly contradicts the pageant's statement.

Somebody's not telling the truth here. I'm guessing it's Miss Universe Canada.

For more on the subject, see Miss Universe Canada in a Headdress.

December 19, 2015

Conservatives enraged at losing power

The gun mania noted in the previous two postings comes from the white man's perceived loss of power. I've posted about this subject before, but it can't be stated often enough. Here's another take on it:

Rush Limbaugh and conservatives revolt! Their hatred for House budget deal could hand Donald Trump nomination

Right-wing media is lashing out against GOP congressmen after the budget deal, which only helps Trump's chances

By Amanda Marcotte
On this much, Limbaugh and I agree: Trump’s popularity is not due to the man having a unique charisma or some kind of major leadership skills. He’s just a cipher for this inchoate right wing rage. It’s hard to express the magnitude of rage that conservatives feel right now, after 7 years of the Obama presidency.

In their minds, this country belongs to them and any Democratic leadership is therefore, by definition, illegitimate. (Obama’s race isn’t helping things, but it’s important to remember they felt this way about Bill Clinton, too, which led to impeaching him under some flimsy pretense.) They keep sending more Republicans—and more and more conservative Republicans—to Congress with the sole mission to destroy Obama and restore the “natural” order of things, where conservatives, predominantly white male conservatives, rule and everyone else is, at best, given token representation.

Republicans don’t actually have the power to do this, but that hardly matters to the conservative base. When you believe in your heart of hearts that the natural order is people like you on top and everyone else under the boot, it feels like it should be relatively easy to get things back to the way you think they should be. So if it’s not getting done, it must be because of a lack of will. And if you have any doubts that it’s lack of will, here’s Rush Limbaugh, who seems like a smart guy who follows D.C. politics closely, telling you that’s exactly what it is. So they believe him.
And:In a sense, Trump didn’t have to do much to exploit this situation. His chest-puffing claims that all he needs to do to get his way is to say what he wants very loudly may make liberals laugh, but it fits right into the fantasy that Limbaugh and his fellow right-wing pundits are spinning out for the conservative base, who is ready to believe it.

Trump’s main talent is saying whatever his audience wants to hear, which he did, by telling Breitbart News that “elected Republicans in Congress threw in the towel.” He probably didn’t even need to know the specifics of what he was talking about, so long as he could imply that all you need is heavier balls and getting your way is a breeze.

There’s no easy way out of this dilemma for the Republicans. The conservative base is completely out of step with the general public on all these major issues. But it’s a minority who believes that their views should be triumphant over the majority’s, and that God agrees with them on this, to boot. Compromise and you lose your base. Give the base what they want and lose everyone else.
Comment:  For more on Donald Trump, see Trump Promises White Male Rule and "Restoring America's Greatness" = Disneyesque Dream.

December 18, 2015

Guns are central to America

White guys are killing us: Toxic, cowardly masculinity, our unhealable national illness

Race, guns and gender--the common denominator at the heart of so many problems--are what we need to talk about

By Chauncey DeVega
[T]here is another little-discussed factor that helps to explain America’s obsessive and near pathological gun culture, unwillingness to treat gun violence as a public health crisis, Right-wing domestic terrorism, and propensity for mass shootings. It transcends all of those issues. But this factor is usually treated as verboten, something to not be unspoken of, because of the rage, threats of violence, and animus it inspires.

The common denominator is white masculinity and the particular ways that it is connected to American gun culture and the color line.

The gun is central to the founding of an American society where hierarchies of race and gender were central to the country’s Herrenvolk white racial settler democratic project. America was born as, and remains, a culture and society dedicated to maintaining the dominance, privilege, and power of white men over people of color and women. This was not an accident, bug, or a glitch. It was a feature.

Guns helped White America to commit genocide against First Nations peoples and to steal land under the doctrine of Manifest Destiny. The gun maintained Southern society as a white over black racial military dictatorship. The gun was also a tool for white elites to control the working classes and poor.
Comment:  For more on gun control, see Guns as Penis Substitutes and Conservatives Let Mass Shootings Happen.

December 17, 2015

Guns as penis substitutes

America’s gun problem has everything to do with America’s masculinity problem

By Elizabeth WinklerAmerica’s gun problem can’t be distilled down to one single issue, of course, but it’s clear that on top of crime and fears of terrorism and insufficient mental health resources and the Second Amendment, America’s gun problem has something to do with America’s masculinity problem.

As Alankaar Sharma, a social worker and researcher, tells Quartz, “Possessing a gun is considered by many men, if not most, as a straightforward way of subscribing to dominant masculinity.” In his view, the patriarchal system, which privileges a certain set of masculine behaviors, values, and practices, provides men with “a clear and justifiable reason to own guns.” It cements their identity as masculine men.

And for many men today, it’s an identity in particular need of cementing. In this May 2015 op-ed for The Los Angeles Times, sociologist Jennifer Carlson argues that men are clinging to guns as a way to address a broad range of social insecurities. Author of a book on the social practice of gun-carrying in America, Carlson found that gun owners often characterized their fathers’ generation as an era when men had important roles to play as providers and breadwinners.

But men’s participation in the labor force has been declining since the 1970s. As The Economist’s cover story, “The Weaker Sex,” explained earlier in 2015, poorly educated men in rich societies aren’t coping well in the 21st century. Changes in the home and the labor force, especially the loss of manufacturing jobs, have created a class of disgruntled, financially insecure men. Meanwhile, women, who now earn more university degrees than men, are surging into the workforce.

This tracks with Carlson’s research as well. “As men doubt their ability to provide,” she argues, “their desire to protect becomes all the more important. They see carrying a gun as a masculine duty and the gun itself as a vehicle for a hardened kind of care-work.” Some envision scenarios where they intervene with their guns to save women and children.
Comment:  For more on gun control, see Conservatives Let Mass Shootings Happen and Republicans Allow Guns for Terrorists.

December 16, 2015

My Breaking the Code gif

Progress continues on Breaking the Code, my first effort to make a movie. Here's a gif that tells the whole story in a nutshell.

December 15, 2015

Netflix buries Ridiculous 6

Netflix's The Ridiculous 6 branded ‘unwatchable’ by critics and viewers

Proof Netflix Originals aren't always a safe bet

By Christopher Hooton
At the time of writing, The Ridiculous 6 has disappeared from mine and several others' Netflix homepage carousel, and can’t even be found among many ‘Trending Now’, 'Popular on Netflix' or ‘Recently Added’ sections.

Granted, these are all algorithm-based, but when pushing a new show Netflix will often try to promote its original content even if it doesn't 100% fall in line with what you've watched before, and you'd think 'Recently Added' would work fairly independently from taste.

The film still ostensibly has an average 4-star rating among viewers, but a glance at the multitude of 1-star user reviews paints a different picture.

'Seems like they forgot to put the jokes in this one,' one reads. 'And the acting. And plot. Anything, really.'
Are Netflix trying to bury failed Adam Sandler comedy, The Ridiculous 6?

By Olivia WaringNetflix have removed the Western from their main carousel in exchange for Bradley Cooper rom-com Aloha, which definitely means the situation must be very bad indeed.

Netflix is trying to bury The Ridiculous Six hoping no one notices

Despite being out for a mere three days, it now can’t be found for many on the ‘Popular on Netflix’ or ‘Recently Added’ sections of Netflix–only remaining in ‘Comedy’ and ‘Trending Now.’

Embarrassing. Don’t blame it on the algorithm, guys.
Comment:  For more on Adam Sandler, see So-Called Humor in Ridiculous 6 and Video Response to Ridiculous 6.

December 14, 2015

So-called humor in Ridiculous 6

As with almost every instance of racist entertainment, some suggested that critics should "lighten up" because The Ridiculous Six is "just humor." Here's what's wrong with that attitude:

Adam Sandler may never be funny again: Another unending parade of half-baked, offensive stereotypes disguised as comedy

A donkey-romancing Mexican is just a taste of the stupidity in the comedian's controversial new western spoof

By Matthew Rozsa
While reviewing the comedy “Jack and Jill,” critic Jay Bauman came up with a list of stale tropes that predictably appear in all of Adam Sandler’s movies. Nestled between entries like “general whorish product placement” and “scenes of forced sentimentality to trick the audience into thinking the movie has a heart,” there was one that applied perfectly to the inherently problematic nature of his comedy–namely, “jokes at the expense of physical abnormality or ethnicity,” or as Bauman puts it, “jokes at the expense of people who are different.”

In other words, Sandler movies contain lots of jokes that punch down.

Even before it premiered on Netflix today, “The Ridiculous Six” managed to incur controversy for punching down against Native Americans, who feature prominently in the film’s story. As I discussed last April, several Native American actors walked off the movie’s set to protest what they considered insensitive jokes about Apaches (more on those in a moment). Later a cellphone video leaked in which producer Barry Bernardi told the actors they “shouldn’t be in the movie” if they’re “overly sensitive” about those types of jokes. Shortly after that, another Native American actor from the picture spoke out in Sandler’s defense, observing that there were 150 other Native American extras who happily participated in the production and claiming the leaked video omitted Bernardi’s promise to include a disclaimer noting that the movie is historically inaccurate. He even noted that during a private meeting “the last thing that [Sandler] said before he got up was that the thing that made him feel the worst is that four people got their feelings hurt.”

Watching “The Ridiculous Six,” it’s easy to see how the filmmakers–including director Frank Coraci and co-writers Tim Herlihy and Sandler himself–could believe their movie was harmless. The Apache characters are depicted in unambiguously sympathetic terms, and while there are plenty of racial jokes, the movie seems determined to be an equal opportunity offender, even by occasionally putting white people in its cross hairs. Indeed, numerous white characters are depicted as vicious bigots (and as such worthy of being robbed or in other ways receiving karmic punishment), and one early joke shows an American Indian doing his white people impression by shouting, “Hey, guys, let’s play with our chest hair and eat potato chips.”

Nevertheless, when it comes to its underlying racial message, “The Ridiculous Six” still grates, and there are obvious moments when it appears to be punching down almost without realizing it. To understand why, it is necessary to briefly analyze the kinds of jokes that appear in the movie. Warning: Spoilers ahead.

The difference between telling a decent joke about historically marginalized groups and simply punching down is simple: While both expect the audience to laugh at sensitive subjects, the latter hold no meaningful social insight and go no further than laughing at someone else’s expense for being different.
The Ridiculous 6 Movie Review

By Brian Tallerico[T]hen there’s the broad racism and misogyny of the piece. After the controversial walk-offs, Netflix claimed that this was “satire.” It’s not. There’s nothing satirical about Sandler’s bad Native American accent (which totally comes and goes, by the way) or Schneider’s Hispanic caricature. Saying that this is satire is like the drunk guy at the bar telling you how many black friends he has after telling a racist joke. Don’t fall for it.Comment:  As this image suggests:

you don't need a joke to convey a stereotype. Regardless of her name, Julia Jones's character is the epitome of a "Pocahottie" or Indian princess. Adam Sandler's character is the epitome of the stoic and supernatural Indian. Their buckskin clothing is wrong; most Indians switched to Western clothing during the 19th century.

These things aren't jokes. They're false or misleading stereotypes. Beyond the alleged humor, they convey an erroneous picture of Native people. They're wrong for that reason, not because it's offensive to make fun of minorities.

For more on Adam Sandler, see Video Response to Ridiculous 6 and Scathing Reviews for Ridiculous 6.

December 13, 2015

Adam Sandler's wife in redface

On Facebook, Jacqueline Keeler wrote:Here's a recent photo of Adam Sandler and his wife who played "Wears No Bra." She is Italian American but they obviously painted her brown for the role. She was in #Redface to play a role originally titled "Sits on Face." I heard the entire scene was filmed--where she had to squat and pee while smoking the pipe by a tipi. They only showed the first part in the final cut.

Comment:  For more on Adam Sandler, see Video Response to Ridiculous 6 and Scathing Reviews for Ridiculous 6.

December 12, 2015

Video response to Ridiculous 6

Native Americans Dispel Stereotypes in Response to Adam Sandler Movie

The actors who protested Sandler’s ‘The Ridiculous 6’ speak out in a new video.

By Jennifer Swann
The actors who walked off the set of an Adam Sandler movie in April to protest its portrayal of Apache culture are back on screen together for a new project, but this time, they’re telling their stories. In a nearly three-minute video shot in New Mexico and released this week, four Native American actors who ditched Sandler’s production speak about their pride in their heritage, the importance of positive representation, and why they want to set a good example for the next generation.
Comment:  For more on Adam Sandler, see Scathing Reviews for Ridiculous Six and Adam Sandler Defends Ridiculous 6.

Anchor babies in Saturday Night Live

Will Ferrell as George W. Bush: "The way I see it, unless your name is Running Bear or Chief Two Rivers, we're all anchor babies. That's something to think about."Comment:  For more on Saturday Night Live, see Peyote, "Firewater" in Saturday Night Live and Blackhawks Logo in SNL's 40th Anniversary.

December 11, 2015

Scathing reviews for Ridiculous 6

The early reviews of Adam Sandler's The Ridiculous Six weren't good:

Review: 'The Ridiculous 6' Starring Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, Taylor Lautner, Nick Nolte, Will Forte, Vanilla Ice, More

By Nick SchagerHumor is murdered over the course of 119 deathly minutes by Adam Sandler in “The Ridiculous 6,” a Western spoof that, like its protagonist’s feats of magical heroism, is best described as “some mystical shit.” Mired in pre-release controversy over its supposedly offensive characterizations of Native Americans—which drove some extras to abandon the project—Sandler’s first of four exclusive features for Netflix turns out to be distasteful in every regard, an abysmal riff on “The Magnificent Seven” in which hoary stereotypes and oater clichés are exploited for equally groan-worthy gags. Without an amusing instinct in its cowboy-hatted head, this painfully protracted, puerile effort meanders about the Old West as if it were making up its nonsense on the fly. The result is a torturous genre joke that marks a new low not only for the star, but for the art of cinematic comedy.

Boasting a stoic countenance and monotone voice that vacillates between Native American broken-English and cowpoke-y American twanginess, Sandler is Tommy, aka White Knife, a white man raised by the Apache, who taught him how to both handle a blade and fight with superhuman speed.
More on Sandler's stereotyping:Native American women possess names such as “Wears No Bra,” “Smoking Fox,” and “Beaver Breath;” Ramon talks about the deliciousness of tacos; and white people are ridiculed for being bad dancers—Sandler and co-writer Tim Herlihy’s script performs cultural mockery with all the incisive skill of a blind surgeon wielding a hammer. Not helping matters is a cavalcade of Sandler pals appearing in dim, one-note cameos. Will Forte is the leader of a gang of eye-patched bandits who utters things like “Kemo-slobby” and “Poca-hot-tits.”'The Ridiculous 6' Review: Should You Watch Adam Sandler's New Netflix Movie?

By Alex GarofaloFor "Aloha," "Entourage," "Mortdecai," and others, the arrival of Adam Sandler's "The Ridiculous 6" on Netflix Friday must seem like a Christmas miracle. Those films are off the hook. "The Ridiculous 6" is the worst movie of the year.And:Everything that has been written about the movie's clumsy treatment of Native Americans is pretty much true. That several Native American actors and a cultural adviser walked off the set of the movie in protest is well documented and it is not easy to see why they were offended. The reliance on stereotypes and the blunt novelty of Sandler playing a borderline mystical Native American warrior wear thin quickly and feel awfully dated for 2015.

Stereotypes galore

The reviews that followed weren't good either. Most of them mentioned the racist stereotyping:

The Ridiculous Six': How the West was wan with Adam Sandler

By Richard RoeperYeah, one can see that, given Sandler is playing a white man named White Knife, a.k.a Tommy, who speaks like a 1940s-movie version of the American Indian because he grew up with a tribe of Native Americans, including Screaming Eagle (Saginaw Grant), who is like a father to Tommy.

One of the women in the tribe is named Never Wears a Bra, because—well, you get it. In the world of “The Ridiculous Six,” Native Americans whoop it up and dance at night, and don’t seem to do much of anything in the day other than wait around for White Knife/Tommy to bring them supplies.

Tommy has mystical powers, including the ability to move at the speed of light, turn himself into a tumbleweed and literally castrate a buzzing fly with a knife. Sure. Why not.
Adam Sandler Keeps On Offending Everyone In The Ridiculous 6

By Courtney E. SmithWe meet Sandler's wife, the dutiful Smoking Fox (Julia Jones), a Native American woman with a name that manages to be both racist and sexist. That's the theme for all the Native American women we meet, who get one-note lines of introduction. They include Screaming Eagle, Never Wears Bra (a woman in the tribe who desperately wants to do it with Sandler for no apparent reason), and Beaver Breath (a woman whom a rival gang finds unattractive). The objections of the Native American community to this movie were well documented while it was still in production.Adam Sandler’s ‘Ridiculous Six’––so, how racist is it?

By Larry CarrollIs the film racist, is it harmless—or is it just business-as-usual Happy Madison?

Below is every instance of racism in “The Ridiculous Six”—read on, and then you make the call.

Year's worst movie?

Adam Sandler's 'The Ridiculous 6' Is Getting Some of the Year's Most Hilariously Scathing Reviews

Don't watch Sandler's two-hour Netflix slog, but enjoy reviews funnier than anything in it.

Comment:  For more on Adam Sandler, see Adam Sandler Defends Ridiculous 6 and Adam Sandler's History of Racism.

December 09, 2015

White fundamentalism breeds violence

The all-American terror of Donald Trump: Inside the nightmare ideology that’s made him a hero to white fundamentalists

Trump abandoned the GOP's traditional dog whistle for a megaphone—a successful strategy, and even more destructive

By Brittney Cooper
Using the extreme acts of a few to condemn the peaceful lives of the many is a hallmark of the American script of racism. White Americans do this to Black people when they suggest that Black intraracial violence justifies the overpolicing of all Black people. Americans do this to Muslims when we demand that key Islamic religious leaders step forward to quickly condemn the violence, so that we will not mistake lack of censure for allegiance.

Yet, we did not require or expect conservative white male politicians and religious leaders to issue statements after the Planned Parenthood shooting affirming that Christian social values are anti-violent and condemning the actions of the shooter as an egregious mischaracterization of Christian values and principles. We did not ask all white men to feel shame over the actions of the shooter. The myth of white individualism absolves white people of a collective reckoning with the ways that white fundamentalism breeds violence against people of all colors and social backgrounds.

This is why we must begin to understand whiteness as a kind of violent fundamentalism, one at the heart of the American project. Fundamentalism is always a struggle over values and an attempt by those who feel marginalized to order the universe through a set of moral absolutes that not-so-coincidentally also concede power to their particular worldview. Donald Trump is not particularly religious, despite his meeting with Black pastors. But he deploys whiteness as ideology with the fundamentalist zeal of the worst kinds of religious zealots and proselytizers. His rhetoric about protecting the U.S.-Mexico border—rhetoric that has been unfortunately taken up by two misguided Black female Trump enthusiasts—is just one more example of the kind of power laden demands for purity that adhere to fundamentalist ideologies. Whiteness as a fundamentalist ideology frames all others as enemies of the project of white supremacy. It authorizes violence against all who divest from the project of whiteness. It uses a narrative of marginalization and the need to regain power (to take America back) to justify aggressive and violent acts towards non-white groups. And it values and seeks to perpetuate whiteness as a way of life.

Until we dismantle white fundamentalism, no people of color will be safe. All fundamentalist belief systems view other belief systems in zero-sum terms. Evangelical Christianity believes that the truer it is, the less true every other belief system is. White/American fundamentalism and Islamic fundamentalism also engage each other in zero-sum geopolitical terms. They will be locked into an endlessly violent battle of wills. To make it more plain, on the homefront, white Americans respond so strongly to acts of Islamic terror and with such fear, because they recognize this same capacity for fundamentalist rage in themselves. In a zero-sum battle of fundamentalism, either we are invading their shores or they are invading ours. Game recognize game.
Comment:  For more on conservative Christians, see Planned Parenthood Shooter = Radical Christian and Conservative Christians Aren't Good Samaritans.

December 07, 2015

Coke pulls racist hipster ad

WATCH: Coke Pulls 'Racist' Hipster Ad, Issues Apology

By Jonathan WheelhouseThe Coca-Cola Company has a issued an apology for its new Christmas video showing young, jubilant white hipsters distributing Coke bottles to a community of indigenous peoples in Mexico.

The video opens with shots of sullen indigenous peoples, young hipsters happily quaffing Coke, and statistics, specifically that 81.6-percent of the indigenous peoples of Oaxaca, Mexico, feel marginalized because they don't speak Spanish.

Coke has since pulled the video from its YouTube channel, though it is still available online.

"Our intention was never to be insensitive to or underestimate any indigenous group," Coke said in a statement, Latino USA reported. "We have now removed the video and apologize to anyone who may have been offended."

Or as one tweeter put it:

Comment:  The stereotype here is that poor Natives want and need the help of white folks. It's a variation of the age-old belief that Natives are children who can't take care of themselves.

December 05, 2015

Conservatives let mass shootings happen

After the San Bernardino shootings, people are talking about how conservatives have nothing to offer but empty words and gestures. The Daily News conveyed this idea with its provocative cover:

A good cartoon made a similar point:

"Who cares? Let 'em die," said every Republican to himself. "That's fourteen fewer votes for Democrat candidates, and $14,000 more in NRA donations for us."

"Prayer shaming"

Conservatives started crying about "prayer shaming," their latest attempt to silence people pointing out their lies and hypocrisies. The following posting puts that argument to rest:

It’s Not “Prayer Shaming.” It’s Hypocrite Shaming

By Rebecca WatsonI don’t think that the New York Daily News is “prayer-shaming.” To think that is to miss the point entirely: these politicians aren’t just praying for the victims, if they’re even actually praying at all. No, they’re Tweeting about praying for the victims of a circumstance that they themselves could prevent but choose not to. That’s not being a good Christian—that’s just being a huge hypocrite. That’s like praying for your aunt to recover from skin cancer while stuffing her in a tanning bed. “Stop struggling, Agnes, this is going to give you a healthy glow!”

And to really make the analogy work, in this case the tanning salon would be paying you to bring your aunt in. Because that’s the big problem, here: the National Rifle Association’s ridiculously wealthy and powerful lobby that has the GOP on the payroll. Gun control is the fastest way to fix this problem—it’s what Australia did in 1996 just days after a gunman murdered dozens of people. They cut gun homicides by nearly 60% and gun suicides by 65%, with no increase in other kinds of homicides and no increase in robberies and home invasions.

Of course, if we want to know more about the science of what works and what doesn’t work with regards to gun violence, we’ll have to lift the current ban on the CDC studying it. Oh that’s right, 20 years ago Republicans passed restrictions on gun violence research to make sure that no money accidentally went toward gun control advocacy.

So please remember all that the next time you hear a politician whine about prayer-shaming after citizens beg them to do something about the unbelievable rash of mass shootings happening in the US. It’s not prayer-shaming—it’s hypocrite-shaming.
For more on gun control, see Republicans Allow Guns for Terrorists and The Magical Power of Guns.

December 02, 2015

Planned Parenthood shooter = radical Christian

There's been a lot of talk about "radical Islam" recently. Meanwhile, radical Christians are shooting up America like it's the Wild West.

Here's a portrait of a typical radical Christian:

Accused Planned Parenthood shooter charged with rape in North Charleston in 1992

By Glenn Smith and Melissa BoughtonyDear has a history of arrests in South Carolina out of Colleton and Beaufort counties, records show. A background search completed by The Post and Courier found that Dear was arrested in 2003 on a cruelty to animals charge but was found not guilty in 2004. He was charged under the state’s Peeping Tom law in 2002 but that charge, too, was later dismissed, according to a background search.

In 1997, Dear’s then-wife reported that her husband assaulted her, according to incident reports released Saturday by the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office. She declined at the time to file charges against Dear.

Beaufort County sheriff’s deputies charged Dear with operating an uninsured motor vehicle in 2004 and he was later convicted and ordered to pay a fine, State Law Enforcement Division records show.

Dear, described as a loner by neighbors in Colorado and North Carolina, has been married at least three times and has four children.

His second wife, Mescher, described Dear in divorce papers filed in 1993 as a controlling, abusive, womanizing man who liked to gamble but was tight with his cash when it came to supporting his family. She stated that he threw her around the room by her hair during one argument and beat her head on the floor. She also said in a sworn affidavit that Dear “erupts into fury in a matter of seconds,” and she “lived in fear and dread of his emotional and physical abuse.”

“He claims to be a Christian and is extremely evangelistic, but does not follow the Bible in his actions,” Mescher stated in the affidavit. “He says that as long as he believes he will be saved, he can do whatever he pleases. He is obsessed with the world coming to an end.”
Comment:  Multiple wives, arrests, assaults, rage, abuse, cruelty to animals...and he's a Christian. He terrorizes women, children, and animals and kills them if he gets angry enough. If he was a millionaire, he could run as a Republican for president and get 25% or 50% of the vote.

For more on Christian terrorism, see Conservative Christians Aren't Good Samaritans and Let's Deport White Men.