Wednesday, August 20, 2014

this was real

An article has been making the rounds on facebook recently, and the title of that link is: 11 Things White People Should Stop Saying to Black People Immediately.

Anyway, I know a lot of racists, assholes, and racist assholes, and this isn't even stuff we talk about, even when we're drinking. In fact, I'd hazard a guess that these things come across the minds of reasonable white folks very rarely, at any time.

Let's take it from the top and see what these 11 things are:

1. "Why do black people have to make everything about race?"

This is a valid question, validated when one @1EGOTRIPPINDIVA tweets that she will stop talking about race, when white people stop benefiting from white privilege. Please reread the title of the article, check the picture of the author, and then reread this first one here, and watch as a black person makes it all about race. Then get grossed out.

2. "I don't have white privilege. Stop saying that I have white privilege."

Here and I thought the reason that I have been able to not commit crimes and avoid incidents similar to what is happening in Ferguson is because my parents did a pretty decent job of raising me!

Turns out, it's just because I'm white. Sorry Mom and Dad, but thanks for being white, apparently.

3. "I'm not racist. I have black friends."

In the year 2014, this is actually a hipster meme, and hasn't been uttered with sincerity since the mid 90s. Bonus LOLs for the HUGE picture of Donald Sterling. Racism is stupid, but crucifying a senile old man for being old and senile (and white), seems pretty stupid too.

4. "These protesters speak so well, but they're such violent people."

I don't know if those two sentiments together have ever been said by a white person, but I'm sure independently each has. Just so we're clear here, this article says that when you, as a white person, compliment an African American on speaking well, or presumably any other thing he or she did well, that is underhanded and you are racist, end of story. This is what's called "just can't win".

The latter part isn't that unfounded, even as the HuffPo link somehow tries to turn the alarming amount of black violence into an anti-gun diatribe. "Dude wouldn't have gotten so pissed and murdered those other dudes if that gun wasn't taunting him, sitting there on the table, in his periphery, begging to be used. That gun, what an asshole".

5. "You probably voted for Barack Obama just because he's black."

Well, if you're black, you probably kinda definitely did just that. For as much as the black community seemed to dislike Bush's presidency, I'm at a loss for reasons, relating to policy, that the black community would vote for a second Obama term. 

6. "It's not fair that you all can say the n-word, but we can't."

Is the idea of reclamation and constant usage of a racial slur stupid? Possibly. 

Maybe put another way would be better: does the usage of a word by one race, a word seen as a racial slur by all other races, does that make my life any better or worse? Nah.

Keep on fighting that good fight for the right to regularly use a racial slur, and I'll keep on having an awesome life, independent of its usage, fair or not.

7. "I'm clutching my purse or my wallet when you walk past, because I think you might steal from me."

Here, intelligent tweeter, @BroderickGreer eloquently tells it like it is, while making it about race: "Armed white men can walk through Target with no consequence, but unarmed black teens are routinely murdered by white police. #Ferguson"

I don't know the technical term for this particularly insidious type of logical fallacy, perhaps it is just a non sequitur. But I would totally be cool with black dudes walking around Target with concealed weapons. Unfortunately the qualifier at the end of the tweet, "routinely", should be substituted for rarely, as that's more accurate, and pales in comparison to the black on white crime stats.

Back to the tweet though, I've never heard of armed white men in Target causing trouble. Have you? I think we can all agree that unarmed black teens getting murdered by anyone is indeed bad. Though you'd think unarmed black teens would be more wary of armed black teens.

Either way, however right or wrong, stereotypes come from somewhere, and when your stereotype is derived from rap culture, which uh, glamorizes violence, crime, and misogyny, that's not awesome. Apologies for preferring not to associate with those that look like they just stepped out of a rap video.

But there are white stereotypes that should be avoided, like white dudes in white robes, or white people that look like juggalos, though statistically I would probably be less likely to get assaulted.

I'm going to clutch my purse when a person that appears to characterize a certain stereotype enters my vicinity (note that the other day I decided I was born a woman, so I am now carrying a purse).

8. "I don't understand why you people..."

OK yeah, this is a pretty stupid thing to say, but I can't help but wonder what the author means by "white people" when he lists the things they need to stop saying to "black people". 

9. "When I see you, I don't see race."

Here, the writer argues that by rejecting and seeing past race, you are still racist. The creative, if not backward ways this writer imagines in which white people can be racist would boggle the mind of even the sadly not late and definitely not great Reverend Jesse Jackson.

10. "If black men don't want to get stopped by police, maybe they shouldn't dress that way."

Hey no fair, this is the same thing as number 7! 

11. "Racism ended in the 1960s. Stop making such a big deal out of nothing."

Said no cracker jack motherfucker/white person ever. I live in Northwest Wisconsin, which is in the Midwest, and I'm white, so clearly I'm racist, and I've never heard anything like that uttered. 

But seriously, stop making a big deal out of nothing.

Monday, August 18, 2014

delivery man: the movie

On Friday night, the missus and I crushed a fish fry, and get this: the baked fish was baked in Hidden Valley Ranch. So American/lol. But prior to the fish fry crushing, we hit up the local Redbox at the sketchy gas station in the unsavory part of town. Seriously, as we were pulling out of the parking lot, we watched a dude leave the store, twelver of Natty Light under arm, cross the street, and cut through a yard between two houses lol.

Serious visual stench of scum permeates that couple of blocks.

So yeah, we rented a movie, Delivery Man, starring Vince Vaughn. I remember seeing the preview for this movie in a theater, while waiting for Bad Grandpa to come on, and my friend commenting about how stupid this movie looks, while I secretly thought it looked sweet.

Long story short, I was kinda right: it was wholly unnecessary, but pretty good for a quick PUMP.

The premise is that Vaughn's character, David Wozniak, a loser meat-delivery driver for his family business makes bad decisions (poor investments, owes money to the mob, is a bad boyfriend, etc.), and when he was younger, donated so much sperm to a sperm bank that he was one half of producing 530-something bastard sperm bank babies.

Finally one day, those babies, mostly grown, filed a class action lawsuit, wanting to meet him. It gets national press, he goes on a heartwarming mission to meet those kids, helps them out in some way, finally the lawsuit gets its day in court, and you can probably guess the ending is super PUMP-filled and PUMPY.

If you're looking for a mindless feel good movie, this is your flick, bros.

One thing of note is the Libertarian bent the movie sort of took on. Despite Hollywood, and the mainstream media in general, loving anything Democrat/Liberal, this movie managed to kind of buck that trend. See, Vince Vaughn is a pretty big movie star, and he's also a Libertarian, so it was nice to see the hints at sanity throughout.

A couple plot points of the movie could, in real-life, be rallying points for big-government Democrat types. Instead, the plot follows a more or less Libertarian philosophy, and says, "hey government, let me fix this mess you created". And just like in real-life, when that philosophy is allowed to play out, it works.

First, and maybe the most glaring issue, is that the lawsuit - the premise of the movie - was not quickly dismissed upon a judge reading the first couple sentences. But, no garbage lawsuit, no movie. Still though, it's hard not to empathize with the kids wanting to meet their #BioDad.

Second, the class action lawsuit against Wozniak is brought on not because the children want money or punitive rewards, rather, they just want to know the identity of their biological father. Of note is that the children are generally in their mid-20's, and it's kind of cool to see Hollywood display these kids/young people not as a parasitic mass of government teet-suckers, but as able-bodied and able-minded young adults that want merely truth, and not constantly chasing the federal dollar.

Third, the meat of the movie, and the source for much PUMP is when Wozniak is secretly meeting his bastard children, with them having no idea who the old weirdo is. Obviously it's a movie, so the probability of Wozniak appearing right when a life-altering act of kindness is needed most, is pretty low. But the sentiment is still there: you don't always need the government to give you or your kids money, you should probably try to be a decent person first. It's sad that being a good parent is shown as a Libertarian value, when it should be universal.

Finally, the court ruling in the movie reflects fairness and sanity: the anonymity documents signed prior to sperm donation uphold Wozniak's right to anonymity. Oddly, here in modern reality, the court would likely rule Wozniak is not just responsible for revealing his identity as the biological father, but also monetarily liable in some weird way.

It's funny, if you ask any Democrat or Republican, he or she would likely tell you that Libertarians want to eat your children, or something equally as absurd. However, when you look at Libertarianism through the lens of its application to real situations, no matter how far-fetched, it sure seems pretty reasonable.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

i'm that idiot

My birthday was in July. It was awesome. People showered me with gifts, both lavish and shitty.

On the lavish side, my mom bought me a really nice bike computer from Wheel & Sprocket in CrAppleton. Turns out, that bike computer was meant to actually fit into the frame of only a select few hyper-douchey road bikes. Kinda cool, the speed/cadence sensor fits right into either the chainstay or somewhere in the fork. But I don't have one of those bikes, because fuck Mary Burke (she worked for Trek, who owns Bontrager). So it needed to be returned. For those keeping score, it was the Bontrager Trip 300/DuoTrap S Combo. No shit, that's the actual name. Looks like an awesome product though.

Note here that the packaging is poorly labeled, and there is no way my mom would have known that it was compatible with only three different bikes. And of course the asshole at the counter isn't obligated to ensure a solid customer experience.

Anyway, the return sounds easy: proprietary technology + my mom not being cheap = probably a hefty return value. My mom bought me this awesome bike pump too.

So when my wife was back in the Fox Cities area, she kindly went to the Wheel & Sprocket shop location in OshCrap, as she agreed to exchange it for me. Ah, but the forgotten variable introduced by a highly intelligent and business savvy woman: the cost of doing business. See she needed a helmet, and bartered her way into a new one, using a superior brain and assumed surplus return value, and her good looks. I put a post it note on the box, explaining what I needed: a bike computer that will measure everything, with sensors that are universally compatible, and a helmet for you (not you, but for my wife).

Now we have: (proprietary technology + my mom not being cheap) - a new helmet = goddamnit.

After the transaction went down, a recap over the phone sounded benign enough. She went and got a bike computer that will work on my bike, really any decent one would do, and she got herself a nice little helmet for that nice little head of hers. All is well.

A week later, the beautiful woman reappeared at our house with the bike stuff! And other stuff!

Her return brought me this, the Bontrager Trip 300 computer. Notice it is the same computer from above. Upon opening the box and discovering that it was labeled exactly right, with only a computer and no sensors, I could feel the pangs of #ragesweat.

So I did what any sane person would do - called the bike shop to make sure I wasn't missing something. Luckily they were still open. I gave him a brief run down of what happened, and explained to the dude what I was holding in my hands (not a wiener, weirdos), so he went and grabbed the same product to compare with me. Turns out, he confirmed that yeah, I simply have just the computer and would need the sensors.

Here's the kicker, he went on to say I would need the DuoTrap know, the one I just told him was JUST FUCKING EXCHANGED BECAUSE IT IS NOT COMPATIBLE WITH MY BIKE.

I detected confusion.

Naturally, I went in a little bit more detail to explain to him what happened, almost exact verbiage here: my mom accidentally bought the wrong computer, and the turd at the counter didn't say anything about this product being compatible with only a few bikes, and then my wife exchanged the Trip 300 DuoTrap S Combo, and the idiot at the counter gave her the same goddamn computer, though minus the sensors. Wouldn't the computer need sensors so it can COMPUTE!?

His response? A meek, "I'm that idiot".

At least he was nice about it.

What is the takeaway here? The Wheel & Sprocket chain is like the Kohl's of bike shops.