Shit that Pissed me Off – 1/13
Note: I didn’t write about the work the Senate made to begin the repeal of the Affordable Care Act this week because, while it really does piss me off, it is also an extremely complex maneuver and I’m not sure any of us completely understand what is going on. Least of all the Senators who voted for it.
Let me just say before I proceed, however, that anyone who can, with good conscience, vote to re-establish a pre-existing condition clause, is a complete waste of a human being. It may well be true that they won’t end up re-establishing that clause. A vote still exists in which Senators are going on record supporting just that.
Vaccination Safety Committee To be Headed by Anti-Vaxxer
At least this is the claim made by anti vax proponent Robert Kennedy. We’ll see if it really happens.
Look, I know vaccinations are controversial. And I try to be sympathetic.
Then I remember I have two vaccinated children on the autism spectrum and that every single study about vaccines has concluded vaccines do not cause autism or any of the other things anti-vaxxers claim they cause. And I read quotes like this, which could be referring to my family:
I employed the term [holocaust] during an impromptu speech as I struggled to find an expression to convey the catastrophic tragedy of autism which has now destroyed the lives of over 20 million children and shattered their families
And I stop being sympathetic because this fucker is talking about my kids. My kids who have full lives and are wonderful human beings and whose existence has shattered my family not one single bit. Autism is a hurdle my kids have to jump over. Most of us have hurdles they need to get over. To suggest their hurdle has shattered my family is the sort of thing someone who doesn’t even have the basic understanding of the autism spectrum would suggest because they are an ignorant jackass.
Yeah – this kind of thing gets me pretty worked up.
It is bothersome enough that our President-Elect (fuuuuuuuuck) denies climate change. That he also seems to jump into bed with anti vaxxers suggests that the American People elected someone pretty much willing to believe any crazy conspiracy theory pops up so long as it doesn’t involve him.
You have to give him credit for being equal opportunity when it comes to denial of scientific data. Climate Change denial comes from the right and anti vaxxers typically come from the left. Donald, however, has a big tent and there is room for everyone who thinks scientists reach conclusions just to fuck with the rest of us.
Jeff Sessions Suggests that “Secular” Lawyers Might Not Understand The Truth as Well as Religious People
Jeff Sessions, a career politician who would seem to have waded deeply into the swamp Donald Trump is supposed to be draining, is on track to become our next attorney general. Tough questions in his confirmation hearing aside, it is going to happen.
That he has a history of racism is important to Democrats but they have little control over these appointments unless Republicans find the selection equally distasteful. In the case of Sessions, they definitely do not.
Sessions, who has been in these types of hearings before, basically responded with milquetoast answers intended to avoid controversy. The only time he stepped off script was when he was asked if he would have a problem with lawyers in his office who possess “secular beliefs.” In fact, he was pointedly asked:
And a secular person has just as good a claim to understanding the truth as a person who is religious, correct?
To which he responded “Well, I’m not sure.”
This wasn’t a trap question. In fact, it was a leading question. Almost a softball question. It was meant to point out that Sessions would not dismiss a qualified lawyer for reasons that had nothing to do with law.
And Sessions blew it. As a secular person who has just as good a claim to understanding the truth, this one answer concerns me a great deal.
Is it likely Sessions will dismiss anyone because of their religious beliefs? I don’t think so.
However, his answer clearly shows the fact that while secular members of our society may not be persecuted, they are certainly viewed with a certain amount of suspicion.
British TV Show “Urban Myths” Pulls an Episode in Which They Cast a White Actor to Play Michael Jackson
The show is a comedy in which they are telling what they call “mostly true” stories involving urban myths. So, OK, that’s fine.
And look – when he was alive (and even after his death), I personally have made a lot of jokes about how Michael Jackson’s skin color seemed to change over time. Was it insensitive? Yeah, maybe. But no more insensitive than I was when I made the assumption that accusations of pedophilia were true.
I’m still pretty insensitive about that.
Jackson’s reputed sexual preference for children aside, I think we can all agree that no matter his skin color and no matter the reason it got lighter over time, he was, without question, a black man.
I assume that the choice to cast Joseph Feinnes as Michael Jackson was done in an attempt to be funny. Not clever funny but rather a sort of tired, unambitious funny that comedians resort to when they can’t come up with something really interesting.
“Hey,” they say, “We’ve got this show where we need to make some jokes about Michael Jackson, what jokes could we do?”
“How about we cast a white guy because his skin color was so light?”
“Ha ha ha! I remember that was really funny in the 90’s!”
The casting choice is tremendously insensitive for all sorts of reasons. Not the least of which is the problem the entertainment industry already has with failing to cast actors of color.
As if that wasn’t bad enough (and it is), they were making a lazy joke to begin with. If you are going to be insensitive, your joke had better be brilliant. This one was not.
Donald Trump Has Re-Defined Fake News
If one listens very carefully, one can hear the truth being shouted down by our almost Bully-in-Chief.
This week, Buzzfeed broke a probably false story about Trump and golden showers. Buzzfeed is a click bait web site that doesn’t do a lot of proper vetting and anyone who believes what they find there without actually verifying the information is unlikely to believe a lot of things that are actually – you know – true.
CNN reported some other information that made Trump look bad and at his press conference, he called out Buzzfeed and CNN as “fake news.”
Here’s the problem – Trump’s followers don’t give a shit about truth. They give a shit about what he says is the truth. If he calls CNN “fake news” – even though their article was responsibly sourced – his legions will now believe CNN is fake news.
When Fox News (FOX NEWS) calls out Trump’s claim as bullshit, you would think that a lot of conservatives would get off the Trumpwagon. But that’s not how this works.
Trump doesn’t have to produce proof of anything. Ever.
All he has to do is discredit anyone who says something he doesn’t like. And to do that, all he has to do it say that their reporting is false and even if it isn’t, his supporters don’t care.
Fake news is a problem already. But when we are about to have a President who will call any reporting with which he disagrees “fake news,” we live in a world where “real news” doesn’t exist.
Zootopia Wins a Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature
Given the political horror show, who cares about the Golden Globes, right? Oh right, our President Elect.
But I just gotta call this out because I fucking loved Zootopia. It has a surprisingly smart message about racial profiling without every saying “hey – we are talking about racial profiling.”
Which is subtlety the “hey we cast a white guy as Michael Jackson! A white guy! Get it?” clearly don’t possess.
The film also has a female protagonist with a male sidekick and it resists any sort of love story between them. And a reference to The Godfather.
I think it’s a great film.
But any reality in which someone has seen Kubo and the Two Strings and Zootopia and comes away concluding Zootopia is the better film is simply messed up.
Final note: I wrote a new short story this week. It’s a fairly silly piece about an interstellar bureaucracy and how Earth could totally mess with it. If you are into short fiction and have ten minutes, you could check it out.