Archive - Jan 15, 2007

Who Wants Popcorn?

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Memo to racism: YOU ARE DUMB.

This is why tradition sucks, by the way. The tradition here at You Are Dumb Dot Net is to celebrate Martin Luther King day by plugging the word "racism" into Google News and taking a long, sober look at how far we haven't actually come since the days of separate water fountains and non-dictatorial lynchings.

This tradition operates on a simple assumption - that racism is rampant enough in America that several horrifying or funny things will happen in the news over the span of a couple of days. It's a good assumption, except that the bigger Google News gets, the tougher it is to search the past couple of days. And if you wait too long to do your research, you end up with nothing but articles about Martin Luther King day.

Articles that ask incisive questions like "Is racism alive or dead?" or "Is there still racism in [Location X]", where Location X is equal to the circulation area of the publication. The answer to which is ALWAYS YES. You know, guys, if any location manages to eradicate racism, I'm guessing someone will cover that when it happens, not wait until the third Monday in January to roll around. Because it'll either be a brilliant sociological triumph trumpeted loudly, or the local genocide will have finally achieved its goal.

The other problem is that, because of news websites getting into the blog-hosting business, the search turns up all kind of stupid shit that doesn't actually qualify as legitimate news. I mean, if Men's News Daily had actually published a news article titled "Islamophobia Is Not Paranoia and Profiling is not Racism", it might have been worth a mention, even if it's just the same old bullshit about how they all wanna kill us, even the ones who live here, with a dose of "those damn flying imams had it coming" for good measure. Mainly because of the opportunity for dick jokes a site like Men's News Daily offers.

But it turns out it was just another balding, middle-aged douchebag right-wing blogger, Will Malven, who goes by the moniker "The Houston Conservative", which I think is a blatant misuse of the definite article, and just another reason Malven is beneath my concern.

Some Turkish soccer player was accused of making racist comments during a game, but nobody's actually reporting what he's accused of saying, and the only people who seem to have heard him say it are the people making the accusations. So that's boring twice, plus it's about soccer, so that's the boring trifecta.

Of course, there's always James Sherley. But it seems a bit impolitic, on this of all days, to openly mock a man accusing his employer of racism, and the means he's using to combat that racism.

On the other hand, the employer is M.I.T., the issue is tenure, the professor is a biological engineer with strong pro-life views against embryonic stem-cell research, and his tactic is threatening a hunger strike.

Threatening a hunger strike. Against the Massachussetts Institute of Technology. Over tenure. You know what? I don't think it actually cheapens the decades of struggle for equality to mention, in passing, that this guy's a fucking loon. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"I will either see the provost resign and my hard-earned tenure granted at MIT, or I will die defiantly right outside his office." - Sherley, in a letter. I can't help but think that actually dying outside the office of the provost is, on the list of likely outcomes, near the bottom. And that things like "officials remove Sherley from premises", or "students fill office with raw popcorn, then shoot the popcorn with a laser, causing the office to explode and the hallway around Sherley to fill with delicious, irresistible, life-giving popcorn" are much more likely.

Overall, a pretty disappointing Martin Luther King day. But less disappointing for me than it is for all the people of color who'll get passed up by taxis, watched closely in stores, or put through extra security at the airport, so I really don't get to complain.