I’m sure you’ve read about Ahmed Mohamed this week. He built his own clock and made the mistake of bringing it to school and showing his teachers. He was proud of himself because he made something cool.
His teachers were concerned he’d built a bomb.
Because, you know, most kids who want to blow up their school show the bomb off to their teachers first.
So this kid was cuffed and interrogated by police and then suspended for three days. Because he built a clock.
Now if Ahmed had been white, I somehow think this situation would have turned out differently. Strange given that most of the school shooters I know of were white. Maybe school bombers are different.
As of right now, two important things have happened. On the positive side, President Obama invited Ahmed to the White House, MIT invited him to their campus, and about five dozen tech companies already want to hire him. Because fuck the people who got scared by a Muslim kid with mechanical skills.
On the negative side, he says he has learned his lesson and he won’t bring his inventions to school any longer.
Which is precisely the lesson he shouldn’t have been taught.
Apologies to regular fans of my Friday blog. I’m going to do things a little differently today.
I’ve been writing Shit that Pissed me off most Fridays for the last three years. I enjoy it as an exercise in writing humor and in exploring my opinions about what is happening in the world around me. Since I’ve started writing the column, it has never coincided with my birthday.
Well this year, it has.
So I decided instead of spending my birthday thinking about stuff that annoys me, I’m going to write about things that make me happy. I’ll post this week’s shit that pissed me off on Monday. Because even on my birthday, there are things that piss me off.
I begin my 48th year today and in honor of that, here are 48 things that make me happy.
1. I’ve been married to the same amazing woman for the last 25 1/2 years. She is brilliant, courageous, thoughtful, sexy, and supportive. She laughs at some of my jokes. She listens when I’m in a bad mood. She corrects me when I’m wrong. There is not a night that goes by where I am not happy we share a bed, a home, and a life.
2. I’ve got one fantastic mother. She loves math and has spent her life finding ways to help others love it too. She loves being an amateur artist. She is a fun travel companion. Any day I know I’m going to see her is automatically a good day.
3. My oldest son is great. He’s clever, cheerful, fun, and affectionate. He grew several inches in the last year and is starting to show signs of facial hair. Pretty soon, he’s going to learn how to drive and get a job and start looking at colleges. I’m not sure I’m ready for any of that.
4. My youngest son is wonderfully creative. The way he builds new Lego structures and describes ideas for new games or parks or dinosaurs shows boundless inventiveness. His head must be such an interesting place to live.
5. My Brother is full of passion and energy. He has been remarkably successful in not just the field he has chosen to pursue, but most anything he decides to accomplish. We have a great relationship hampered only by the distance that separates us.
6. My Sister-in-law has a sharp sense of humor, an infectious positive attitude, and seems like a perfect partner for my brother.
So, OK. I see what they are trying to do. They are trying to help poor people eat healthier.
I mean, it’s great that we want to spend a lot of time
convincing forcing poor kids to eat brussels sprouts but isn’t being poor bitter enough?
It seems like we are punishing poor kids and single moms for being poor kids and single moms. If they are getting a little government assistance (and food stamps are a little government assistance), why not let ’em use it to buy ketchup if they want some?
No, poor kids! If you want to eat some french fries, the most you can put on them is a little bit of salt!
Also, they need to be sweet potato fries because we aren’t going to let you buy potatoes.
Kim Davis, a clerk in Kentucky, has been on a religious crusade for a while now. Steadfastly refusing to issue marriage licenses because her conscience (and the Bible) won’t allow her to “condone” same-sex marriage, she has been fighting for her
right to discriminate against people she doesn’t approve of religious freedom in the courts.
And she has lost. Time and again the courts have told her “this is the law. You have a sworn duty to uphold it even if you don’t agree with it.”
This week, after once again refusing to do her legal duty, she has been jailed for contempt of court.
There are so many things that bother me about all of this.
First of all, she is abusing the court system. There has never been a time when she would have abided by the court decision if she lost. Never. Sure, she probably believed she would win but so what? If you are going to use the court system and you lose, lose with some dignity.
Second, if she can’t do her job for moral reasons, she needs to quit. Instead of using her religion as an excuse to deny people a legal right with which she doesn’t agree, she needs to accept that she can’t fulfill the function of her office. Because she
Third, can you imagine the issues should the court eventually side with her? Devout Muslims could refuse to issue drivers licenses to women. Devout Jews could refuse to serve McRibs at a McDonalds. Devout Buddhists could ruin a concert by clapping with only one hand.
Fourth, this isn’t about her personal beliefs being under fire. She isn’t doing this so she personally doesn’t have to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Told she would be released from jail if she allowed her deputies to sign same-sex licenses, she said she would not. In other words, even though she would not be issuing the license, she won’t allow one to be issued by anyone in her office. That means she is enforcing her own belief on those who work with her. Which is exactly what she claims to be fighting against.
Finally, I have a real problem with Christians who are casting stones. Because Jesus was pretty clear on this point:
Kim Davis cheated on her first husband with her third husband. Which is adultery and one of those commandments fundamentalist Christians are so anxious to put in courthouses.
I’m not judging her for that. She screwed up. People screw up all the time. I’m judging her for the fact she has the temerity to deny a legal right to others when she, by her own religious beliefs, has no right to judge them.
Earlier this week, Curt Schilling was suspended from ESPN for tweeting something really stupid. In case you are wondering, it was the following meme.
It’s said only 5-10% of Muslims are extremists. In 1940, only 7% of Germans were Nazis. How’d that go?
So we are using Godwin’s law to compare all Muslims everywhere to Nazis.
The problem isn’t even the logical fallacy involved. It is the fact that Schilling works for ESPN and some of the people who watch ESPN are Muslims. ESPN could give a fuck about Schilling’s politics. In fact, I’m guessing sports fans skew slightly conservative so that probably isn’t an issue.
However, the fact that Muslims could choose to stop watching ESPN because they employ someone so publicly Islamophobic is going to be an issue.
Enter Sarah Palin, who apparently still gets to talk into microphones. Any time a conservative gets punished for doing anything, she figures it is because the liberal media hates conservatives. And she says so. And for some reason, she keeps getting air time.
So let’s make this really clear: Schilling didn’t get suspended because he’s a conservative. He got suspended because if ESPN didn’t do anything, his tweet could have cost them money.
Seems like a reason Republicans should be able to get behind.
Personally, I don’t like guns. I don’t like to be around them. I have never wanted to shoot one. I don’t want a gun in my house.
I also don’t like the almost sexual obsession we have with guns in America. The desire to carry our guns out in the open because IT IS OUR RIGHT is just silly. You don’t need an AK-47 to shop at Wal-Mart. All you need is a lack of self respect.
My dislike of guns, however, should not be misinterpreted as a desire to take away the rights of responsible gun owners. At least not all of their rights. Just a few limitations, maybe. When I ask questions about gun control, I mean exactly that.
I’m talking about controlling access to guns in some cases. I’m asking how we keep guns out of the hands of people who are truly dangerous. Because I think that is something we’d all genuinely like to do. Pro-gun and anti-gun alike, we all want to stop bad guys from shooting up theaters. Or killing two people in the middle of a news broadcast.
As a friend of mine pointed out online, Duggar’s apology about being “addicted” to online porn and looking for adulterous affairs was pretty good. He took full responsibility and admitted he was a hypocrite. So good for him.
I mean, he’s still an adulterer and a hypocrite but at least he realizes it.
But we all remember that he had some issues with sexuality in his youth as well, right? And his ultra-religious parents used some sort of faith-based counseling to “fix” him, right? It seems like he wasn’t fixed, doesn’t it?
But what if he was never broken? I’m not talking about sexually assaulting his little sisters. That’s fucked up.
But what I’m asking is this: if he didn’t live in a household where sexual repression is the norm, is it possible he wouldn’t be so sexually confused right now? Is it possible he would have gotten involved with a woman who was interested in an open relationship so he could have had extra-marital sex in a supportive environment?
What will happen in the wake of this scandal? No doubt Duggar will get more religious counseling aimed at “curing” him of having a sexual appetite that is deemed improper. And it won’t work.
Because Josh Duggar likes sex. And he lives in a community where that is not OK.