May 2008

Is Barack Obama Black?

The answer is Yes, No, There’s No Such Thing as Black. This is the problem with being a pluralist.

Well, he’s certainly black enough for the media. You’ll notice how rare it is that anyone discusses his heritage on his mother’s side, that being boring European standard issue. It’s pretty simple, you look at the guy, and he looks black, and that, for better or for worse, is what being black is. It means people are already worrying about things like assassination. There are people, disturbingly many of them, who will refuse to vote for him BECAUSE of the melanin in his skin, and the country his father was born in. The man is black.

Barack Obama is not a Black man. Being a Black man in America means something. It means something about where you grew up, where you went to school, and what your parents, and your parents’ parents were able to do for a living. It means something about the images you saw on TV that represented, or failed to represent, your life. Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, and did some of his growing up in Indonesia with his step-dad because apparently Ann Dunham has jungle fever. He does not, and cannot represent the Black American.

There’s No Such Thing as Black:
The point of all this is, of course, that “Black” isn’t one thing. How Black is Obama? Is he Half Black because of his heritage? Is he All Black because of his looks and the One-Drop Rule? Is he Not Black Enough because he didn’t grow up in the same lifestyle as the average Black American? “Black” by itself means so many different, often contradictory things that it doesn’t mean anything. Does a person’s heritage give you a head start in making some guesses about their history and culture? Sure. So does knowing that they grew up in a mountainous region. So does knowing if they’ve ever been a member of a country club. So does reading their bumper stickers. The terrifying thing is the degree to which we tend to allow information like this limit our views rather than expand them. A person’s heritage, region, culture and political views should serve to deepen the picture, not to define it in totality.

The movie has aliens in it. If that bothers you, you probably won’t like it. Otherwise, it was pretty fun.

Personally, my guess is a lot of the distaste comes from the aliens, and people thinking Spielberg sneaks aliens into his movies constantly. Here’s a rundown.
Number of Spielberg movies with aliens

  • 4

Number of Spielberg movies about alien invasions

  • 1 (War of the Worlds)

Number of Spielberg movies about benevolent alien visitors

  • 3 (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, E.T.)

That’s it. It’s not exactly excessive. If you are claiming that A. I. had aliens, you are wrong. Those were robots. JESUS FUCKING CHRIST THEY WERE ROBOTS IT WAS THE WHOLE POINT OF THAT PORTION OF THE MOVIE. All the humans have died, but the A.I. that we created lives on beyond us. They have screens for faces!
Why would aliens care so much about a robot boy?
I do blame Spielberg, since it was bad visual story telling that allowed so many people to see aliens where the plot was about the legacy of humanity. But seriously, if they’re aliens, how can they turn a robot on by waving their hand over him, and why would they share his memory by touch. Don’t tell me psychic aliens, were dealing with databanks, not memories.

Anyway, Indiana Jones was pretty good. I had fun.

Maybe one or both of them is related to Stickman or Carl? Sure. Why not.
These guys aren’t Stickman or Carl. I don’t know who they are, but they live in a future that is CRAZY. People will sell you things you don’t need there! And the politicians are corrupt! And corporations have too much power! And the children are poorly educated! What a wacky world full of startling parallels to Our Own!

Ian VS. A Strawman is a new feature where-in I pose myself a question or argument that I disagree with, then, because the question is a simplistic and narrow interpretation of an position, I win. I’ll be great

People are stupid because The Bible is dumb and believing in God is absurd. The book is full of contradictions and obvious falsehoods, and it makes people ignorant. Faith is choosing to believe something you know is wrong.

WRONG Strawman. “Choosing to believe something you know is wrong.” is insanity, not faith. People who believe The Bible (or any holy book for that matter) word for word are either crazy, or willfully uninformed of the contents. Faith, on the other hand, is a very fine thing. Faith is choosing to believe in something that cannot be known. That means cannot be known EITHER WAY. It’s not insane, it’s a core component of hope, which is both noble, and a core component of human survival.

Also, Religion does not make people ignorant, it exists because people ARE ignorant. We don’t understand things, so we create structures that explain them. But it’s more than that. Consider that every culture in the world has a religion of some kind. That’s not a fluke, it’s an innate coping mechanism for human beings. Religion creates unity among a people, giving common ground that allows them to work together, and as anyone who pays attention has noticed, people can’t accomplish much of anything unless they work in groups. More-over, religions up until a few thousand years ago all incorporated sacrificial feasts, usually focusing on taking care of that ever present protein quest all of mankind appears stuck on.

Of course, most of those functions have been lost, leaving us with a sort of vestigial form of religion, one which often seems to do more harm than good. Where does this leave us? I’m personally of the opinion that ritual and faith are hardwired enough into the human brain that we need some outlet, but we certainly don’t need the Sky Daddy present in most modern religions.

Bonus Rant: Dear Christians Who Think God Wants Them to Have a Bunch of Money,

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

-Jesus (as reported in Mathew 6:24 AND Luke 16:13. It’s in the book TWICE guys. It’s not tricky.)

These words are a link to another page. This page is about the aesthetics of the counter-culture, and the failure there-of.

If you are not interested in that, we will also be discussing The Reflex by Duran Duran, the best band ever to get their name from Barbarella*. Here are the lyrics. They are insane.

You gone too far this time
But Im dancing on the valentine
I tell you somebodys fooling around –
With my chances on the dangerline
Ill cross that bridge when I find it
Another day to make my stand, oh..
High time is no time for deciding
If I should find a helping hand, oh..

So why dont you use it
Try not to bruse it
Buy time dont lose it


The reflex is an only child, hes waiting in the park
The reflex is in charge of finding treasure in the dark
And watching over lucky clover isnt that bizarre
Every little thing the reflex does leaves you answered with a
Question mark

Im on a ride and I want to get off
But they wont slow down the roundabout
I sold the renoir and the tv set
Dont want to be around when this gets out

(chorus) (chorus)

The reflex is an only child, hes waiting by the park
The reflex is in charge of finding treasure in the dark
And watching over lucky clover isnt that bizarre
Every little thing the reflex does is an answer with a
Question mark

(chorus) (chorus)

The reflex is an only child, hes waiting by the park
The reflex is in charge of finding treasure in the dark
And watching over lucky clover isnt that bizarre
Every little thing the reflex does leaves me answered with a
Question mark

Oh, the reflex what a game hes hiding all the cards
The reflex is in charge of finding treasure in the dark
And watching over lucky clover isnt that bizarre
Every little thing the reflex does leaves you answered with a
Question mark

What the fuck is that song about?

*Fuck You Matmos!