Fandango’s Flashback Friday — January 7th

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 7th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

This was originally posted on January 7, 2010 on my old blog.

Liberal Bias

James Cameron’s blockbuster movie, Avatar, is receiving all kinds of criticism from the right. According to ABC News, “From its portrayal of the corporation that wants to take over the natural resources on the planet Pandora — a not-so-subtle allusion to the likes of Halliburton and defense contractor Blackwater — to its distinct religious, anti-war, and pro-environment themes, the film’s political messaging has rubbed many conservatives the wrong way.”

Conservative movie critic John Nolte wrote, “Avatar is a thinly disguised, heavy-handed and simplistic sci-fi fantasy/allegory critical of America from our founding straight through to the Iraq War. It looks like a big-budget animated film with a garish color palette right off a hippie’s tie dye shirt.”

Really, John? Hippies and tie-dyed shirts? OMG, this guy Nolte is so 20th century.

Christian watchdog site Movieguide warns that the film “contains strong environmentalist content and…a strong Marxist overtone.” Quick, hide the impressionable children!

Weekly Standard movie critic John Podhoretz complained about the clearly, in his opinion, anti-American message of the film. “The conclusion asks the audience to root for the defeat of American soldiers at the hands of an insurgency. So it is a deep expression of anti-Americanism.”

Yeah, that’s exactly what I was doing at the end of the movie…rooting for the Taliban and al-Qaida to crush our American military machine. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Some conservative writers say they are outraged by strong religious undertones in the movie. “Like the holiday season itself, the science fiction epic is a crass embodiment of capitalistic excess wrapped around a deeply felt religious message,” wrote conservative writer and blogger Ross Douthat in an op-ed in the New York Times. “Avatar is Cameron’s long apologia for pantheism — a faith that equates God with Nature, and calls humanity into religious communion with the natural world.”

Can you imagine how awful it would be if humanity and the natural world were in harmony?

Of course, there are those who believe that the overarching “message” of Avatar is racist. The movie is being criticized by a small but vocal group of people (isn’t that always the way…some “small but vocal” group) who allege it contains racist themes — the white hero once again saving the primitive, non-white (and in this case, blue) natives.

Okay, so this time it’s not those with black skins, brown skins, yellow skins, or red skins (not the NFL football team) who are being exploited and abused by those arrogant, white, round-eyed bastards. This time it’s those with blue skins (who also happen to be nine feet tall and have tails that plug into horses, birds, and trees) who are the victims of this racist, white sense of supremacy.

The truth is that Avatar, as spectacular as its graphic effects are, is a rather tired retelling of an oft-told story. Like the narratives behind The Last of the Mohicans, Dances with Wolves, or The Last Samurai, for example, Avatar is merely a futuristic variation on those same, previously historical, themes.

Sure, there is a clear analogy in the movie to the 18th and even 19th century U.S. cavalry and its white soldiers and how they invaded the lands of the Native Americans and almost wiped them out as part of the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, but to call the movie racist or anti-American, or to suggest that it’s promoting a liberal political agenda is just silly. It’s a movie. It’s entertainment.

But given how fractured the politics of our society are today, it’s not at all surprising.

Who Won The Week? 07/05/2020

10CC3057-4EEA-4C80-B8C1-700C0FC6C906It’s time for another Who Won the Week prompt. The idea behind Who Won the Week is for you to select who (or what) you think “won” this past week. Your selection can be anyone or anything — politicians, celebrities, athletes, authors, bloggers, your friends or family members, books, movies, TV shows, businesses, organizations, whatever.

I will be posting this prompt on Sunday mornings (my time). If you want to participate, write your own post designating who you think won the week and why you think they deserve your nod. Then link back to this post and tag you post with FWWTW.

Before I announce my selection for Who Won the Week, I need to provide a little background. I was raised in the suburbs of Washington, DC. As a boy, I was a big fan of Washington’s Major League Baseball team, the Washington Senators, and the National Football League’s Washington Redskins.6F611124-B8A9-4A00-8EEF-674E9A164917To be honest, I never really gave much thought to the football team’s name. As a white kid living in the suburbs, I naively looked at the team’s name as a way of paying tribute to Native Americans, not really thinking about its racist connotations.

But for the the past decade or so years, there has been mounting pressure for the Washington football team to change its name, which many consider to be a racist trope.

Yet, even in the face of governmental and activist pressure to change it, Dan Snyder, the team’s owner, has been steadfast in his insistence to keep the name. “We’ll never change the name,” Snyder said in 2013. “It’s that simple. Never — you can use caps.”

But the day could soon be coming when the team will, indeed, change its name. In the last month, since the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, a widespread movement has led to a reconsideration of statues, flags, symbols, and mascots considered to be racist or celebrating America’s racist history.

A few days ago, signs emerged that a change to Snyder’s intractable stance may be in the works. One day after two prominent corporate sponsors, FedEx and Nike, began backing away from the team’s name, and which prompted other sponsors to follow suit, the team published this announcement on Friday:

“In light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community, the Washington Redskins are announcing the team will undergo a thorough review of the team’s name.”

So, I am proclaiming that Native Americans won the week with the probably fall of the “Redskins” nickname for the Washington NFL team.

Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves, you’re next.

Now it’s your turn, folks. Who (or what) do you think won the week?

Thoughts and Prayers My Ass

64157FDE-D25E-4EC1-84A0-088AE79282A1I’ve been pretty angry and upset over this whole thing over the past three or four days. But in the scheme of things, it’s small potatoes compared with what’s going on in the United States.

At least 53 people were shot dead and many more were wounded by separate mass shooting incidents in just this past week.

Within 13 hours of the El Paso shooting, where 20 people were shot and killed yesterday, another 10 people were shot and killed in Dayton, Ohio last night. In both cases, high capacity, military-style, semiautomatic assault rifles were used to inflict maximum casualties.

A mass shooting is “an incident where four or more people are shot in a single shooting spree. This may include the gunman himself, or police shootings of civilians around the gunman.”

As of August 4th, 2019, 251 mass shootings that fit that definition have occurred just this year.  As a result, more than 1,000 people have been shot, and more than 280 have died.

When is enough enough? When will our elected representatives in Congress and our elected officials around the country stop sending out their thoughts and prayers, which do no good whatsoever, and take meaningful action to address this epidemic?

Republicans keep repeating the NRA mantra, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” But guns do kill people, and when you have more guns in this country than you have men, women, and children, and a divisive President who sows the seeds of racist and nationalistic hatred, what the fuck do you expect?

Republicans continue to blame anything but guns. One former Republican senator, expressing the NRA screed that “the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” blamed the El Paso massacre on not enough gun-carrying shoppers at the Walmart. Another current Republican congressman blamed violent video games. Are you kidding me?

Wake the fuck up, America. It’s time to do more than to send useless thoughts and prayers. It’s time to take definitive action to pass common sense gun control legislation on the federal level. Otherwise, mass shootings in America will be an everyday occurrence and we risk becoming numb to this deadly assault against our fellow citizens.

Photo credit: Andres Leighton / AP.9D556121-5A3F-4C86-9803-C16CFD8FDEDF

Stand Up and Be Counted

095367B1-7B2B-48F9-A71A-CC25BB07E032“It doesn’t take having a college education to see the danger that this brood of naive and gullible Trump supporters is having on our society,” Edward lamented.

“You’re a highly educated, sapient man,” Carla said. “There must be a way to get them to see what a con man Trump is.”

“You know,” Edward said, “I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell of getting his rabid fans to change their almost fanatical support for him. They think he’s the second coming of Jesus, for crissake.”

“But don’t you feel,” Carla said, “that the racist things he’s been saying over the past month are starting to snip away some of his support?”

“Well,” Edward said, “we are seeing a few random Republican Congresspersons making a tentative transition away from blind, unequivocal support for him. But we’re going to need more than a handful of Republicans to be willing to stand up and be counted.”

“And were going to need the Democrats to start a formal impeachment inquiry,” Carla added.

Written for these daily prompts: The Daily Spur (education), Word of the Day Challenge (brood), Nova’s Daily Random Word (sapient), Daily Addictions (chance), Your Daily Word Prompt (snip), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (random), and Ragtag Daily Prompt (transition).

X is for Xenophobe

4F6BB380-E9BD-4736-9808-50345B95CBA7Let’s see. There’s xylophone. Nah. There’s Xerox. Nope, I did that last year. How about xfinity? No, that’s a made up word that serves as the brand name for Comcast’s cable and internet service.

Oh wait. I know. Donald Trump.

I know what you’re thinking. Donald Trump doesn’t start with the letter X. Actually, though, Donald Trump is America’s Xenophobe-in-Chief.

A xenophobe is a person who fears or hates foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers. And based upon what Donald Trump says and does, he is definitely a xenophobe.

He wants to spend billions of dollars to build a wall on the border between the United States and Mexico because, according to Trump, Mexicans “have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. They’re killing us at the border and they’re killing us on jobs and trade.”

And it’s not just Mexicans that Donald Trump hates. He hates people from what he calls “shithole” countries. “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” he wants to know.

Shithole countries in Africa, like Nigeria, or island nations like Haiti. Trump said that Nigerian immigrants would never “go back to their huts,” and that Haitians “all have aids.” “Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump asked. “Take them out.”

Instead of people from Central America with brown skins or from Africa with black skins, Trump spoke of taking in immigrants from “great European countries like Norway.” Could skin color have anything to do with that. Well, that would be racist, wouldn’t it? And for the purpose of this post, I don’t want to talk about Trump the racist, even though he is one.

Nope. This post is exclusively about Trump the xenophobe.

Previous A to Z Challenge 2019 posts: