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Oct 01, 2003

Mr. Grumpy Ventures Out Into the Public

"Hey you in the small, horned rim glasses! You don't have to laugh out loud at the esoteric jokes. We already know you're pretentious. You came to an Art house theater on a Saturday night for God's sake.

And you talking on the cell phone 2 feet behind my head on the train! You don't have to raise the volume of your voice to let everyone else on the car know you're taking a business call. It just makes you sound like an ass kisser.

And you, gaggle of nerdy freshman college kids out for their first night out in the big city with no parental supervision! If you look forward 8 years you'll notice that you guys are the ones with the good jobs because you were born smart. There's really no need to walk through town using the "F" word as if the rest of us weren't also walking down the street. You're still not cool. Fuckers.

All right then. Everybody got that?! I'm going back inside and watch M.A.S.H."

02:10 PM in a brown paper bag | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Oct 02, 2003

Racist Constructs and The National Agenda

skinhead.jpg

[Link found via prattle]

from the Washington Post article Redskins Can Keep Trademark, Judge Rules:

U .S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly threw out a federal board's 1999 decision to cancel six highly lucrative Redskins trademarks. She said she was not opining on whether the word "redskin" was insulting or not but concluded that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's board had relied upon partial, dated and irrelevant evidence submitted by the activists.

The judge also said Native Americans had little legal grounds to complain because they waited 25 years after the first Redskins trademark was registered to formally object to the team's name and images.

The ruling protects millions of dollars in sales of Redskins paraphernalia. With a federal registration for Redskins trademarks, team owner Daniel M. Snyder continues to hold exclusive rights to use the team name and logo on T-shirts, caps and other merchandise worth an estimated $5 million a year.

The finding is also posted on the team's official website:

Judge Kollar-Kotelly noted that even in its own ruling, what the (trademark board) found was that during the relevant time periods, the use of the term redskins in connection with (the teams) marks was used in a respectful manner.


For some Anglo-American males the socio-political implications of racism will never fully be understood. Before I go any further I would like to emphasize the word some as not to generalize the intelligent members of that group into with who I consider to be the arbiters of racism and discrimination. I would also like to clarify the gender biased male to note that women are usually sympathetic to issues of discrimination having suffered a history of it themselves; as have also anyone who is gay, elderly, or physically, mentally or economically disadvantaged. For these groups the issue may not be one of race, but the oppression of discrimination is still the same. With these people I am empathetic.

Racism is a sophisticated mechanism that people of color experience on a daily basis. The agenda of the dominant culture has constructed meanings within the collective consciousness that regularly promote discrimination against other cultures and histories. This callous disregard of other cultures, I believe, is a result of not only egocentricity but a need to keep the dominant culture established as dominant.

When the Chinese basketball phenom Yao Ming entered the NBA, hardly anyone had a problem calling an opposing basketball team's marketing ploy of handing out forutne cookies at a game a racist gesture. Sportscasters and reporters, however, that refer to Yao Ming as "Mr. Ming" still fail to recongnize that in Chinese culture the surname is first. In other words he would be more respectfully refered to as Mr. Yao. This could be written off as a simple case of ignorance, but the lack of conscientiousness on the part of the sportscasters and reporters, who in any other case would normally do the homework, shows an apathy that suggests the other culture is just not that important to worry about. I assume this would be rectified if China's tv viewing audience boycotted watching NBA games in protest, this meaning a loss of advertising revenue and international exposure. But that's just my conjecture...

Now this might seem like one very minor incident in the totality of the collective consciousness. "Who cares?" you might ask. Actually it is a minor incident. The problem is not the size of the incident. The repercusssion of the small incident hardly goes noticed. The problem is the frequency of these small incidents. A big incident would be blatant and cause everyone's head to turn, but small incidents like this fly under the radar of most people. The frequency of occurance is what reinforces the discrimination, the racism.

It happens every time an Asian woman is depicted as "exotic". It happens every time a female athelete's sexuality is made relevant. It happens every time an elderly person's adept computer skills are marveled at, or when the successful entrepreneur is pointed out as being a successful "black entrepreneur". It happens every time a peoples history and culture are reduced to the equivalent of an animal or occupation through the caricature of a corporate logo. All this over and over again, infinitely, and flying under people's radars of social acceptability.

It happens every time I tell people that my ethnic background is that I'm 3/8 Chinese, 1/4 Filipino, 1/4 Portugese, and 1/8 Hawaiian and that I'm originally from Hawaii, and someone remarks that they find this "exotic" or worse they immediately go to their memory bank for "that Brady Bunch episode where Greg hits his head on the surfboard" and asks if I ever "saw that one." Yeah? That's the only reference you can come up with to make conversation? You can't ask me about my experience as a human being? Well fuck you.

In the Author's Note of Stolen Continents: The "New World" Through Indian Eyes author Ronald Wright points out this quote:

In 1927, the Grand Council Fire of American Indians told the mayor of Chicago: "We know that [school histories] are unjust to the life of our people.... They call all white victories, battles, and all Indian victories, massacres.... White men who rise to protect their property are called patriots — Indians who do the same are called murderers."

In the essay "Geronimo!" by Jimmie Durham from the book Partial Recall: Photographs of Native North Americans, the author writes:

The American myths about who the Apaches are, and who Geronimo was, involve such well-worn cliches that it is difficult to re-address the reality. Schoolboys and military men are taught to yell "Geronimo!" when they jump into the swimming pool or into battle. So at least we can begin by asking why that is. Why don't those children yell some other name? They do not admire Geronimo or the Apaches. In the American myth, Apaches are a symbol of inscrutable cruelty. Is Geronimo's name invoked because he evokes American fear — a fear that has been "conquered"? If so, then the fearsome "object" has obviously not been "conquered at all.

In these respects, the language and images used to construct an attitude towards other cultures such as the Native American culture are devious and unquestionably racist. As long as Native Americans are to be depicted through images of sports logos efforts toward a truer understanding of Native American history and culture will be hindered. The corporate greed that hides behind legalities does not prove any kind of respect. If the Native American tribe in opposition to the use of the trademarked logo does not have a legal chance of reclaiming their identity, then the fucking law should be changed.


Addendum: The BIG INCIDENT today about racism in sports is that Rush Limbaugh resigned as ESPN commentator after making a highly publicised racist remark about quaterback, Donovan McNabb.

McNabb released the following statement on Thursday: "I said all I have to on the topic at the press conference. I spent more time on the subject than I expected to. Its time for me to concentrate on the Redskins and try to win a football game with my teammates this weekend."

04:49 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oct 03, 2003

Offense

In response to the article Defending Limbaugh: No, the hype surrounding McNabb has to do with him being a quaterback that runs. Fans like to see quaterbacks run because they think it shows character. It has nothing to do with wanting to see a black QB do well.

The NFL covets the size of the NBA's fanbase. One way to gain the attention of the audience is to contrive a simulated scandal so everyone will talk about the league. That's why ESPN hired Rush Limbaugh.

11:10 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oct 04, 2003

Refrigerator Magnet Messages

I can't remeber where I found this link from, but this is a Flash based site that lets you send animated refrigerator magnet messages to someone via an email. The recipient clicks on a link in the email and it takes them to the site where your message is spelled out in those blocky magnets from your childhood. (Give it several seconds to load even with a high speed connection, also it requires the Flash 6 plug-in.)

Nicely done.

12:50 PM in When the Web Works | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Oct 05, 2003

What Are the Politics of Sidebar Linking?

I'm not sure what has become the point of the TypePad People's List in my sidebar. It started out as a bunch of weblogs I found interesting, but now the list of interesting blogs in my bookmarks list is about 3 times as long as the People's List. No way is all that going to fit in there. Seems pointless to list every interesting blog I come across.

Some of the links are to weblogs I read several times a week because of an ongoing conversation I'm having with the writer or just because I like the writing style. I access these blogs off my site so if the writer checks their referrers list they'll know when I last read their blog. Of course this poses a problem when someone else links to their blog off my list, so really its pointless.

I've been thinking of creating another kind of list. One that would: a) keep a record of posts that I really liked for some reason, and b) let the links help to indirectly describe who I am by virtue of what I choose to read. I was reading unbillable hours a while ago and in a post he alluded to the same need for a different type of list:

I'm thinking that there is no way to fairly say what blogs I like without offending people who linked here in good faith and who I like equally well. So... I'm thinking that I am going to change the format of my sidebar links. I'm happy to link to anyone in the "Shepard's Citation" portion of the sidebar. However, I think I'm going to change the format of the "Regularly Cited Precedence" to link not to sites, in general, but to specific posts that I like.

I think its a good idea [and not because he linked to me ;-) that's only how I found him.] You Are Here also does a nice job of this, and I'm sure there are others. I'm going to call mine "He Said, She Said".

Now of course there may be a tendency to think the combination of writers in the new list have something to do with each other. So far this would only be true if one had college age kids, was working in an ad agency, once got mangled by a bull, got fired AND is now trying to become a weblog-journalist. In other words these writers have nothing to do with each other except I read their post once and thought it was interesting, I — keeper of the blogging cannon — Carried Away.

One more FYI: the list is set to display 15 links. This means on the entry of the 16th link, the 1st link will rotate off the weblog but not off the TypeList itself.

02:44 PM in Questions | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Oct 06, 2003

Oh, and by the way...

cubswin.jpg

...holy cow!

10:08 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Oct 07, 2003

The Wisdom of Ted Danson

Actor Ted Danson, who played fictional Red Sox ex-pitcher Sam Malone on Cheers, has a standing bet on Long Bets against an editor Mike Elliot.

The bet:

The US men's soccer team will win the World Cup before the Red Sox win the World Series.

Elliot's argument:

As immigration and technology continue to make the US a more international nation, so the quality of its soccer team will continue to increase. Already, American teenagers can hold their own with players from more established countries, while players like Claudio Reyna and Kasey Keller have become acknowledged international stars. The Curse of the Bambino, on the other hand, is one of those mystical truths that are beyond the reach of human intervention. Cheers, Ted.

Danson's argument:

The Red Sox have had such bad luck in the 20th century, I have to believe that in the new millennium it can only get better. Besides, statistically, scoring goals is harder than hitting a home run, and in the World Cup, you have the whole WORLD against you, in baseball, but the Red Sox only really have to beat the Yankees.

Well maybe Ted doesn't but proofread, you get the idea.

08:40 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rocktober or Operatober or Cubtober

On an unseasonably warm October night tonight, Chicagoans had 3 things to choose from. The Lyric Opera was performing something called Regina for those who are fancy enough to want to go see opera. The rest of us had to choose from Sting's free concert in Grant Park, or watching the Cubs.

I'll admit it, I still like Sting. I'll also admit that I sometimes listen to his version of "Someone to Watch Over Me" and wish I could sing like him, all awkward and punky. I saw the very last American concert the Police gave about 20 years ago. Wait! 20 years ago? That can't be right. Early 80's... this year is 2003... shit. Wow, Sting is old. I wonder how many hours in a row he can still have sex for. I bet its less than 6 now.

Well, although I didn't have tickets to the free concert, I contemplated going down to Grant Park and standing outside the fence for free in the free park and listen to the music for free. But then I didn't go. I'm watching the Cubs instead. Sammy just hit one to the street to tie it up, and in the bottom 9th no less. Finally Sammy.

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10th

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When I started this weblog I vowed to never write about the War or sports. I think talking about sports can be a crutch for conversation. All the built in vernacular and reciting (regurgitating) of stats and highlights makes it easy to have opinions. There's a narrative that everyone knows that comes from the history of any given sport. All you have to do is follow it and you'll have something to talk about with other people who follow the same sport. Then again its a great social lubricant. Team loyalty has the ability to bind complete strangers together in solidarity. Its one of those things.

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11th. Ouch. They blew it. Damnit, I should have went to the concert.

11:15 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Oct 08, 2003

English Man to Tie Sausages to His Head

[Link found via A Complete Waste of Time]

Look out David Blaine, there's a new artist in town:

"I suppose I am the British alternative to David Blaine but sitting in a plastic box is nothing compared to what I will be doing."

I've had English food. Its not so bad. What the hell is a "monkey nut"?

11:03 PM in That's Funnny... | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Game 2: Same Teams, Different Day

In an old fashion ass-whoopin'...

CUBS WIN!! CUBS WIN!! CUBS WIN!!

I have to say, the Florida Marlins seem like a cool bunch of guys. Down 8-0, I saw one guy congratulate Sammy on his rocket of a home run. In the 8th inning when they knew it was over, they were joking around about their pitcher throwing a pitch into their dugout. That was funny. I could've pitched that ball.

Anyway, I'm always warmed by good sportsmanship.

11:34 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack