I’m working on a play right now involving lycanthropy. As part of that, I’m trying to create legends that will be woven in as support of the main narrative. I’ve been researching some Native American myths that could be considered sources for modern werewolf stories.
What I wrote this week is stylistically a sort of bedtime story that could have vaguely Native American origins. It is inspired by an existing myth but really retains very little of the original.
With a story like this, I worry a little bit about cultural appropriation. I am not Native American and I am not trying to write a story from the perspective of a Native American. Rather, I want this story to feel like it comes from universal source of tales passed down verbally before they were written.
As with all my stories, I hope you enjoy, think, share, and comment if you are so moved. Read More…
One Very Misleading Map
I’ll get to the map in a minute. First, I’m going to spend a few paragraphs being frustrated that it is going to be nearly fucking impossible to talk about Donald Trump for – well – at least four years. I thought this week I’d try to avoid talking about him. I wanted to find other news items to fill my blog.
Problem is, right now all the news is about Donald Trump. And that pisses me off in itself. I am definitely pissed that his cabinet and staff looks like it’ll be comprised almost entirely of old white dudes. Some of whom are racist. I’m not surprised, mind you. I’m just pissed.
I’m pissed that Trump still sends out late night tweet storms because he’s the same fucking asshole he was before he was elected. And now he feels like he’s been vindicated. He doesn’t have to change who he is at all.
But I’m going to try to avoid talking about Trump for the rest of this week. Let’s focus on this map, OK?
Let’s let this map sink in, as the meme encourages us to do.
I mean, this is all about the tyranny of those 57 bully counties. They are just forcing their will on everyone else and that is horribly unfair!
Never mind that population wise, a lot of people live in those blue counties. And if counties had to have equal populations we should split those 57 blue counties into a number that would, roughly, be the equivalent of those 3084 red ones. Suddenly it doesn’t seem so uneven any longer, does it?
Here’s the other problem – when you make a county all red or all blue, you ignore the fact that there were people who voted for Clinton in those red counties. And people voted for Trump in the blue counties. So anyone in a red county who voted Clinton is basically shit out of luck as their wants/needs/desires are considered to be “red” while the wants/needs/desires of Trump voters in the 57 blue counties are considered to be “blue.”
The reality, of course, is much more nuanced. By using counties as your measuring stick and turning them red if Trump won by even one vote, you turn the electoral map into something that completely ignores the differing needs of our population.
We’ve read endlessly about how rural and urban populations want and need different things from our government. And that’s true. We don’t talk a lot about how rural populations are a lot more socially conservative and a lot more religious, which probably has more to do with all those red counties than the economic policies of a particular party.
This map and the commentary on the map suggests that because there are more rural counties, their wants/needs/desires are more important that the urban counties.
Tyranny of the majority is a phrase people in America like to throw around all the time. Especially when they win. The electoral college is there to stop the tyranny of the majority. Hell, the person who posted this map talked about tyranny of the majority even though their own math suggests that the tyranny is actually coming from the 3084 counties that voted for Trump.
But tyranny of the majority can be determined in a lot of ways. For instance, the majority of Americans are Christians. Almost every elected official is a Christian. That could be interpreted as tyranny of the majority as well, couldn’t it? Because it actually is.
More people like Marvel Movies than DC movies. More people think the original Star Wars trilogy is better than the prequels.
The majority can be tyrannical. It can also be right. And right is typically measured by whatever we already believe to be true.
So this map is not meant to point out that 57 counties are pushing around the rest of the country. It is meant to point out that Donald Trump should have won because look how many counties wanted him to be President.
It is meant to tell everyone annoyed by electoral college math that the math was fair because counties.
The electoral college argument is a complex one that cannot be boiled down to a few simple bullet points. In my lifetime, the electoral college has picked a President over popular opinion twice. It is troubling, to be sure.
Those on the losing side will use a bunch of math to show why the electoral college is unfair. Those on the winning side will use a bunch of math (and misleading maps like this one) to argue that it is fair.
In the end, though, all of this is an effort to simplify something that is extremely complex.
I think the electoral college should be more representative of the popular vote. But this map doesn’t argue for that. It argues that whoever turns more counties a particular color should win. If that’s how we want to solve things, we should just provide both candidates with a whole lot of paint.
Todd Starnes writes opinion pieces for Fox News. I can understand if you don’t want to read this one.
He’s an asshole, by the way. He’s smug and self-satisfied and completely incapable of recognizing his own bias.
Someone says I’m the same way in 3…2..
Anyway…a radio station in Madison, Wisconsin recently dumped their liberal talk show format for something different. Christmas music.
It makes sense, actually. I mean they will probably get more listeners that way.
One of the shows dropped to make way for endless renditions of The Little Drummer Boy was a show called “Freethought Radio” by the Freedom from Religion Foundation. The show is still out there, by the way, it just isn’t being carried by that station.
Starnes wrote an opinion piece that is basically making fun of atheists for losing their radio show in Madison and it is basically the tone of the piece that is infuriating. He says things like:
Let’s be honest – would you rather listen to Rush [Limbaugh] and Sean [Hannity] or a gaggle of man-hating feminists in Birkenstocks warbling about the virtues of organic gardening.
Can I ask what it is about Birkenstocks that is so fucking liberal? I mean, don’t conservatives like comfortable sandals? Help me out, here.
And I don’t think he understand atheists very well since most of us are skeptics who are, in fact, pro GMO.
Anyway…Starnes is smugly reveling in the victory of Christmas music over a one hour atheist talk show. I mean Rush and Sean are a lot more popular anyway and they have been for a long time. They will continue to be well into the future.
So who cares if one atheist show is pushed out of one market because a radio station wants to be more profitable?
Todd Starnes does.
His side won this year. And they have been winning for a while. So why not just keep kicking the other side to remind them who is on top? Talk about the tyranny of the majority.
I banged this one out pretty quickly this afternoon. I’ve not posted a new short story in a few weeks and I decided I just needed to write and post something without worrying so much about how the final story turned out. I’m happy with the result, though.
The idea for this story began with the first sentence, “Mars exploded on a Thursday.” I like that opening. It provides a what the fuck kind of beginning. From there, the story gets pretty strange.
So for the few people who have been reading my stories, I’m sorry for the delay. I’ve had trouble getting off the horror theme I was working on in September and October. Thanks for bearing with me!
As always, feel free to share, comment, read, or ignore!
I’m not happy about the outcome of the Presidential election. This should come as no surprise to anyone. I feel we, as a country, chose a narcissistic, sexist, xenophobic, racist, bully to lead us and that feels like an extraordinarily bad choice. In addition, we kept the houses of congress in control of the Republicans and that means there is, effectively, no-one to temper the agenda of our bully-in-cheif.
It would be easy to point fingers all sorts of directions. Could Bernie have beaten Trump? Maybe. We don’t know that but maybe. Should the electoral college be fixed? Sure, but not before we fix the gerrymandered districts that work so heavily in the favor of Republicans that proposals to “fix” the system may well have given Trump more electoral votes and make it nearly impossible for a Democrat to ever win a Presidential election.
Protests against President-elect Trump (I hate typing that) are fine. They remind the Republican “majority” that there is a large swath of the country they do not serve and that is important. The protests themselves will not change much. They help us vent some anger, which is valid. They will not change Trump’s agenda (because he doesn’t really know what it is).
But look – there are things that we liberals can do over the next four years that can help everyone. Including the people who voted for Trump. It seems to me that progressive, positive actions can make a difference. I know these suggestions don’t represent everything we can do. They do represent a lot of very simple (and a few very difficult) things that will have an impact. Read More…
President Elect Trump
Well yeah, I kind of had to lead with this, didn’t I?
For the last several weeks, I’d been hopeful that come election day, I wouldn’t have to write about Donald Trump any longer. Maybe one more column about how much of a sore loser he was, as we all expected. Instead, he is going to be our President for at least four years.
As a comedian, I should be happy. Hillary isn’t nearly as easy a target as Donald Trump and the parade of people he is going to include in his cabinet. They will say and do things worthy of ridicule on a nearly daily and certainly weekly basis.
I’m a little bit worried, though, that while I’m making jokes about Trump and his cabinet, they will be working on ways to take rights away from same-sex couples in the name of “religious freedom.” I’m a lot worried that they will be creating a country in which Hispanics and muslims are treated with mistrust and hostility simply because of their race and/or faith. I’m a lot worried that my transgender friends will face a supreme court openly hostile to their identity.
But let me tell you what has me super worried – that people who are upset with this outcome will throw up their hands and say they can do nothing because the DNC screwed them out of the candidate they wanted. They will blame others for the fact this happened.
We are all to blame. When almost 50% of eligible voters stay home rather than vote for anyone, we are to blame. When we allow people to say “they are both terrible” when one of those two people is President because he spouted a racist and xenophobic agenda, we are to blame. When we whine because our perfect candidate isn’t on the ballot instead of recognizing that 75% of what we want is far better than 10% (if that) of what we want, we are to blame.
When we angrily shake our fists at a system in which we refuse to take part because all we ever do is vote once every four years, we are to blame.
Donald Trump won because people who have never been excited about voting got off their asses and turned up. I don’t care why they turned up. The fact is they turned up.
If you read my blog, you probably voted. Odds are you didn’t vote for Trump. Some of your might have voted Stein or Johnson but you didn’t vote Trump. You are as upset as I am right now, I would imagine.
So once you stop being angry, you have to ask yourself, what am I going to do now?
I’m probably just including this story because given how many words I have devoted to my distaste for Donald Trump, I want it to be known that at least one dude dislikes him more than me.
But seriously, asshole, vandalism isn’t the answer. It makes people who support Trump look more reasonable than those of us who know he’s a bigoted, misogynistic, narcissist, who would probably be the worst President in the history of our country. Which is saying a lot since Buchanan set the bar pretty low, not even George W. Bush was able to limbo under it.
I’ve read people likening it to the destruction of statues of Lenin or Hussein but the thing is: Trump hasn’t been elected yet. And hopefully he’s not going to be. Does it make sense that we should destroy a statue of John McCain simply because we don’t like his stance on using the Senate to blockade the Supreme Court?
Or destroy a statue of George W. Bush because he was a terrible President?
I don’t think there is justification for this kind of behavior. If you think it would be wrong for someone to destroy something that says Hillary Clinton (or Gary Johnson or Jill Stein), it is just as wrong to destroy something that says Donald Trump.
If you’ve got a problem with Trump, how about you work your ass off to make sure he doesn’t get elected? Read More…
This week is actually a non fiction comedy piece I wrote for a political show last week. The piece was supposed to be about third-party politics and I didn’t want to bash third parties even though I’m not voting third-party this year.
I came up with this piece which was, surprisingly for me, not particularly partisan one way or the other. Instead, it is about one of my greatest pet peeves about American politics and America in general.
It’s fairly silly. I hope it makes you laugh or at least it doesn’t make you cry.