August 16th, 2010


Hey, what else can we do? Wrong is popular this election cycle.

Republican strategist Ed Rollins: "Intellectually the President may be right [about the Manhattan mosque]. But..." we're making political hay while the bigotry shines.

I've just had it with this issue. In the stupider end of the atheist communities on LJ, atheists supporting the right to build the mosque are being attacked for being inconsistent (being pro-Islam but anti-Christian). Yeah, right, because I'm always ranting about why people can't build churches.

Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin

50 years ago, journalist John Howard Griffin used pharmaceuticals, UV exposure, and make-up to turn himself black. He hitchhiked and bussed his way through the Deep South, passing as black, ultimately turning his experiences into a pretty damn famous book.
It's pretty much as awful as you'd expect, laced with the occasional episode that doesn't make you want to smite all of humanity. Fortunately, after the book was published, whites everywhere were forced to confront injustice and rose to the occasion to address these ills and try to stop being assholes. Oh wait, actually Griffin received death threats and was hanged in effigy in his Texas hometown. Way to not be assholes, folks.
A couple observations. Although dark skin brought with it the automatic treatment as an inferior by white society, it also served as an automatic passport to a certain solidarity with other blacks. They knew this poor bastard, fresh off the bus, wasn't going to be able to get a drink of water anywhere in town, much less a place to sleep for the night. In many instances, Griffin gets food and shelter entirely through the kindness of (black) strangers, who have little enough for themselves much less to share with some strange drifter, but know that a cold night's sleep on a roadside is nowhere near the worst thing that could happen to him. There's a touching scene where a family takes him in for the night, and they pool their food, with Griffin slicing his Milky Way bar into thin sections to share with the children for dessert.
Another thing I noted was some sub-sub-subtext in a passage about hitchhiking after dark in one region, and the whites that pick him up ask him all manner of salacious questions, predicated on their 'knowledge' of the black man's anatomical gifts, loose morals and animal appetites. Griffin makes no explicit comment about it, but I get the feeling he found the stretch of road where white guys went cruising for dark meat.
The boy ended up wanting me to expose myself to him, saying he had never seen a Negro naked. I turned mute, indrawn, giving no answer. ... "I wasn't going to do anything to you," he said in a voice lifeless with humiliation. "I'm not a queer or anything."

Sure, maybe it's just clinical curiosity.

For those short on time, here's the TL;DR version of the book, in the form of a 1960 article in Time Magazine.

Makin' shit up

Yesterday, ian_tiberius hosted one of his 'improv' RPG sessions. It was good clean fun with shad_0, richardabecker, rizwank, and neo-Morgan.
We started by confabulating together, with Ian asking us each to add various details to a fraction of an image that he seeded us with. It was an interesting process, as it slowly spiraled out from concrete detail into character, dialogue, and ultimately a 'situation' that needed to be addressed, a 'plan' (ha!) to address it, and a roster of characters to execute the plan.
I'm always leery of you-had-to-be-there war-stories, but there were lots of excellent moments. I despair of even setting up the situation so it would be comprehensible. It would take five paragraphs to explain why it seemed like a minor victory to get two characters correctly sorted into appropriately gendered bathrooms (though it was a very very minor victory since the porcupinoids were pretty well and truly screwed).
But hey, Des pulled off the heist, got well rewarded, and there was only Lin left to share with by the end. Des may even remember to send a few credits Marissa's way, unless the diversions of the pleasure planet distract him too much. But yes, in all honesty Des' happiness is colored with a twinge of regret at seeing Gilly sacrifice herself like that... mainly because Des was trying to work it so that the porcupinoids would take the fall.

Of course, the epilogue made it clear that Des might not get to enjoy his life of luxury without at least one more future meeting with his erstwhile companions.

Yay Ian! Yay us! We are the tellers of the story. We are the music-makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.

playing in the superhighway

As I've mentioned before, I post on a Christian forum with an extensive TOS and active mods hunting for stuff they don't like. My latest run-in with the mods was in a thread about whether Allah and Yahweh are the same. Although they never really explicitly explain why they delete a post, apparently my post that linked to this Wikipedia page broke rule 15. So I guess it either promotes teachings contrary to those of Christianity, or promotes false religions. I dunno.

Anyway, no problem with saying, "I would submit to you that "Allah" of Islam is in fact the demon of Antichrist."

ETA: Wow, they just nuked the whole thread. (Or possibly it's temporarily in a 'review & hold' limbo)