South Park and Choosing to Care

I was a late comer to the South Park train. While a lot of kids were watching it all the way back in ’97,  I was aware of the show, but never seemed to see it. Comedy was a big part of my life growing up, though. I remember watching things like Mystery Science Theater on Comedy Central late at night and Comic View on BET when I happened to be over at my sister’s late enough.

I had a healthy appetite for comedy.

South Park was edited and aired in syndication around the time I was in high school, I think. By then I was old enough to get a lot of the jokes and the movie had come to cable, which I had seen a few times. I had a South Park shirt and considered myself a fan of the show. I thought the guys writing it ‘got me’–that they were the kind of guys I wanted to be like. I didn’t just want to not care on a personal, emotional level. Not caring needed to be the default reaction when faced with almost anything.

When you’re fifteen or sixteen it’s easy to see how this world view applies to you. It’s hard to find somewhere to fit in and when you’re already attending a school where graduating classes numbered under fifty students there was a good chance that you might not have the friend group that even outcasts had at bigger schools. Not caring seemed like a good way to deal with the pressure. What you don’t care about can’t hurt you.

South Park takes that to a deeper level. It poked fun at everyone, a thing I once greatly respected. It reinforced my notions about the world, or it reinforced the notions that I figured I should have: gays are weird and okay, as long as they’re not hurting anyone, but you’re not doing any disservice by calling people faggots as an insult. The younger generation is past racism completely, so all that’s left is to let all of the older people die off (there’s no way that racism is still really affecting us!). The choice between Presidential candidates means nothing, they’re both horrible.

From about ages fourteen to twenty I probably held some version of these beliefs and others that lined right up with the show. I didn’t mind when they took aim at targets that I cared about or liked or believed in. It was okay because they were making fun of EVERYONE, right?

As long as you’re indiscriminate in your fun poking, what’s the harm?

Fast forward to I’m thirty and I still love comedy. I still can’t get enough crude humor as evidence by me loving Doug Stanhope, watching Daniel Tosh, and being able to quote Hannibal Burress’s albums like scripture. Until a few months ago I thought South Park had been canceled. No one had mentioned the show in years around me (probably a testament to having friends that are ‘keepers’).

The internet was set on fire by this past years South Park seasonal target. PC culture, the new boogeyman of the Alt-Right, Brocialists, and just your garden variety bigot. This isn’t to say that there isn’t problems with hard-left liberalism, but to hear some people talk about it liberals are to blame for terrorism, the break down of the American family, and pretty much everything else under the sun.

To see South Park make season long antagonists out of PC culture seems less like the brave thing that people always claim that the show is and more like the expected thing for an audience that grew up watching the show. A lot of them became the adamant Bernie Sanders supporters that refer to Hillary Clinton as ‘a cunt’ every chance they get and don’t understand why it’s sexist (and unwarranted). They are the ones who refuse to look at race, sexual orientation, or gender even when it’s undeniably a factor (Elliot Rodger shooting, for instance).

I was a lot more moderate the right leaning when I started watching the show and I would say that I was more easily offended back then.  Me now still has a bit of that don’t care attitude. But I care when it counts. I care when you’re selling me a value system that’s flat out wrong and trying to reinforce views that don’t really work.

Yeah, it’s just a show. South Park isn’t the news or some politically commentary, except that it’s being used that way this past season and people have cited it before in the past to refer to their views. There are still some moments from the show that I can relate to, everyone expecting me to just like Family Guy because of my sense of humor (spoiler alert, I’ve hated Family Guy for almost the entirety of it’s run), but I think that I outgrew South Park years ago. I’m kind of glad that I did.

Some things are important to me and I don’t see that as a fault. Equal representation of all races and genders (at least in the sense of how they’re portrayed, because not all situations would have all types of people there) is important to me. Caring about politics is important to me, being well informed, and who gets elected is all important to me. PC culture isn’t such a dangerous thing that you need to go on about it for thirteen episodes or how ever long their seasons are.

And yeah, maybe the nearly one thousand words I spent on this was too much care, but I think it extends to more than South Park. And more importantly, it’s something that is relevant, because we live in a world where people actually don’t care enough.

The Bare Minimum

I’ve been hearing more and more about the wealth gap in this country and how it affects the poorer, majority of Americans. I hate to dwell on it and really go off on this long rant about what’s happening, but basically there are people out there who think they deserve to make more than they do right now.Federal-Minimum-Wage-1

And these people are absolutely right. The price of everything has gone up, but the cost of making it seems to have either gone down or stayed the same while the pay for those doing the making…has stayed the same. Just look at gasoline—do you think that modern refineries work harder to produce a product?

The price of gas in just the years I have been driving has gone up 400%, yet the minimum wage still hovers around seven dollars for a vast part of the country. Value meals at fast food places, the cost of living in general—it’s all gone up. Inflation is kind of expected, but the minimum wage should keep the pace with it. Issue is that it hasn’t.

My problem in this post is less with the wage itself and more with the people arguing against others getting a higher wage. There seems to be this overwhelming sentiment that others shouldn’t get a wage that’s higher because “I work my ass off and I’m not getting paid more”.

Then your problem should be with the employer, not with the others trying to do better for themselves. As Americans it seems we’re cultured and trained to think that sick days, vacation, pensions and unions are for the weak or the lazy and that if you’re a true, red blooded patriot that you’ll work your job and if you don’t like how you’re treated you’ll find somewhere else to work. I’m not sure how we started to think we were the greatest place on Earth or how we collectively got so stupid as to be duped into a way of thinking that makes us expendable basically sets us up to be shit on.

I’m reminded of a line from one of my favorite shows “Louie”:

“The only time you should look at your neighbors bowl is to make sure they have enough.”

The Most Endangered Species on the Planet

antiracisthitlerIn the wake of the George Zimmerman trial I got into a fight about the idea of racism in general. I don’t remember the exact details of the exchange that brought about this topic. That was an eventful week on the Internet for me, to tell the truth. I don’t think I can remember a time where people so blatantly made racist remarks.

Somehow the idea of interracial dating came into question and I posted my thoughts on it. Another person linked me to this video by White Rabbit Radio.

I had never heard of White Rabbit Radio, but that could be because I don’t hang out on racist forums like Stormfront or attend any Klan meetings. What I came across was a lot of things about White Nationalism and a “mantra” of beliefs that I’ve been hearing for years now and never realized were from a single source.

It happens from time to time that we come across something that seems too rehearsed and planned out to just be a coincidence. Like if Aliens were to land in three Catholic Churches in three different countries and hear the Nicene Creed. They would be able to automatically recognize that these people share a common source for their belief. They might not know where that source was instantly, but it’s clear that everyone repeating that, though it might be in different languages is related in faith.

That was how this looked. And to someone who doesn’t realize what they’re reading, it can look like this type od thing is everywhere and it’s engrained in people. This repetition of the mantra not only gives these racists a common goal to work toward. It gives racist non-whites a common enemy and a reason to believe that all whites feel this way. Why else would these simple ideas be so prevalent?

It’s not uncommon to be around non-whites when you’re not white and have them strike up talk about how someone white was racist, even if you witnessed the same event and there’s a far more reasonable explanation. Racist ideologies drive a wedge between races from both sides.

You might have witnessed the mantra yourself in some form. It’s basic main idea is that: “Anti-racist is code word for anti-white.” It goes on to point out that diversity is bad and it’s only ever forced on white people. Most of the text reads like:

“Everybody says there is this race problem. Everybody says this race problem will be solved when the third world pours into every white country and only into white countries. … Everybody says the final solution to this race problem is for every white country and only white countries to ‘assimilate,’ i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites. … But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews [sic].”

The idea is almost sound and the man who wrote it, Robert Whitaker, claims to be a genius who worked on Regan’s staff and is partially responsible for the fall of Communism. And these ideas were said to be part of the motivation in some violent crimes, the most noteworthy of which is the shooting perpetrated by Anders Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist who slaughtered 77 people two years ago in his home country.

This article outlines a lot of the things I’ve said here and it goes into the details about the background of the whole situation. On the surface even the video has huge issues that anyone who looks at it with a non-biased eye will see it. For instance, the video seems to think that Israel only has Jews in it. It doesn’t there are Arabs living in Israel peacefully. The other issue is that these arguments seem to make the claim that simply allowing diversity is the death of a race. The only issue is that people will still choose to marry within their own culture and race some of the time. No one is being forced to marry outside of their race.

Other than that the video is downright offensive and the whole thing about the people running the websites and spreading this message let it be known what is really going on here. People are afraid of diversity, even when it’s to the benefit of everyone and even when it’s what some people want. They seem to think their culture is being wiped out when in many cases it’s being spread around the world through mediums like the internet at an alarming rate.

And even if a culture melds into another that’s what things are supposed to do. That’s the natural evolution of things.

Realistic Racism?

Zero Punctuation does some of my favorite game reviews. Ben Croshaw, or Yahtzee as he is known, does an excellent job ripping into games. I don’t think I can remember a single review I’ve seen that wasn’t funny and I have seen a lot of them. A few weeks ago in his review of Bioshock Infinite he said that while the game was great that he had a problem with the villain and how he’s basically irredeemably racist in an unrealistic way. I don’t want to give too much background on this in case people haven’t played the game yet. But here’s a pretty spoiler free piece of a recording featured in the game. These are the words of the villain himself:

What exactly was the Great Emancipator emancipating the Negro from? From his daily bread. From the nobility of honest work. From wealthy patrons who sponsored them from cradle to grave. From clothing and shelter. And what have they done with their freedom? Why, go to [area of the game], and you shall find out. No animal is born free, except the white man. And it is our burden to care for the rest of creation.

When I heard this in the game it was like a kick in the nuts. I was in combat and I got so distracted I think I even died. I had to go back and listen to it again to make sure that I heard correctly.

I’m not here to gush about the game again, but the game does raise several serious topics and this is probably the biggest of them. Race plays a huge role in America to this day and to say that race doesn’t matter and that racism is dead is straight bullshit.

urlThere are some common lies about racism we need to all get out of the way before I even go on. 1. There is no such thing as reverse racism. Any race can be racist against any other, the idea of reverse racism is in and of itself racist. If you think that your race has to be separate from ordinary racism to the point of having their own term, that’s a problem. 2. Racism still happens. I don’t know how many times I have watched people try and claim that it doesn’t on TV and in person and online. But it still happens, end of story.

The idea presented in the above quote from the game used to be the standard rationalization for slavery. This excerpt by James Oakes speaks of paternalistic reasoning behind slavery and even goes a little bit into the idea of “Christian Stewardship”. These ideas, while not prevalent today, still exist in the minds of some and there have been issues where they reared their ugly heads in back-handed ways.

An American Pastor, Pat Robinson, is super famous and known around the country for being this revered man of God. A few years back when Haiti suffered their devastating Earthquake he made a remark that this had come to fruition as punishment for their deal with the Devil.

The deal to which Pat Robinson refers is the idea that the slaves held then by the French couldn’t have revolted against their white owners and won without the aid of the Devil. Similar allegations were made about the flood in New Orleans. It’s funny that whenever mostly black, mostly poor people are suffering from natural disasters we call it the Devil. When it’s done to other people here in United States we call it God testing them.

I don’t think Ben Croshaw will ever read this little blog, but if he did I would want him to know that it may be because he’s from a country that has grown past a lot of the racist issues. Issues that still plague the States and he doesn’t realize it. This kind of racism did exist and the traces of it can be found today.

Election Eve Observation

For those of you that don’t know I’m not a fan of Shakespeare. I don’t worship him like most writers seem to. Though I will give him where credit is due and I don’t hesitate to use his writing as an example in political debates. this is a short excerpt of a post I made on a forum the other day. I needed to fill my “post something for the day” quota and I felt this might fit here.

A lot of the qualification that is happening seems to be that Romney is “the white guy”. People are saying shit like he looks more presidential, he made that comment about no one needing to ask him for his birth certificate, and the whole election seems like Othello playing out in real life. Here’s this black guy that his enemy can’t even give straight reasons for hating and they keep changing their narrative and at the end of the day the only real reason that he’s hated so much is because he’s the Moor, an outsider, the black guy.

No one wants to be accused of being so openly racist, but there’s a very thin veil over it. Those who don’t realize it and who are weaker willed are bombarded with stories of Obama being an outsider and it really started during the last election. Things are being said that would never be said of a white candidate and really I think that if there was any doubt how much a problem racism is in this country, Obama’s presidency should be proof that it still is.