Daily WTF: Trolling Other Political Candidates’ Events

This past week, I had the opportunity to hear Hillary Clinton speak. I was very excited about the event and had been looking forward to something like it for months. I’d continuously visited Hillary’s web site, looking for semi-local events to attend, so when it turned out she was going to be speaking not 15 minutes from where I work, obviously I had to go.

Imagine my irritation to have a group of Bernie Bros station themselves right behind me. They were everything the media has demonized Sanders’ supporters into: loud, rude, crude, male, mostly white. They spoke loudly during the early speakers’ times, almost drowning out the local activist who wanted to talk about how strong women like Hillary and her mother, who had died from breast cancer several years previously, had helped shape her as a person. They shoved their phones in your face, proudly displaying memes about Hillary fighting for us from jail. When the crowd chanted, “Who do we want? Hillary!” they inserted a loud, “Anyone but!” When the kids on the stage sang, danced, and waved their glittery posters, they joked, “Those kids can’t even vote. They’re completely irrelevant. Get off the stage!” Continue reading

Adventures in Reading – April 25 – May 1, 2016

What did I read (and finish) this week? Look below to find out!

Until We Are Free: My Fight for Human Rights in Iran by Shirin Ebadi (2016) – This novel is about Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian civil rights activist and former judge and lawyer who was forced out of her occupation, home, country, and even marriage by a corrupt government. Shirin details her civil rights work and the many ways the Iranian government tried to suppress her voice, including intimidating her clients, tapping her phones, spying on her, and harassing her friends and family. This was a difficult read, and sometimes I found it impossible to believe that a government could be so corrupt and cruel. It was an eye-opener and has led me to research more about Ebadi and Iran. I highly recommend it. Continue reading

Adventures in Reading – April 18 – April 24, 2016

What did I read (and finish) this week? Look below to find out!

Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine (2007) – This was Adrian Tomine’s first long-form graphic novel, which centered around Ben Tanaka, a Japanese-American man in his twenties who has a complicated relationship with his race and the way people perceive it. On the one hand, he claims that there’s no prejudice against Asian-Americans, but on the other he tries to fulfill what he thinks of as the Asian-American male dream: to bang a white woman. The disconnect makes him lose his girlfriend (who’s also Japanese-American), irritate his best friend and her girlfriend (both Asian-American), and spiral. The story is a bit predictable, but I did think the discussion of racial tensions, inferiority complexes, and fetishes was interesting. Tomine’s linework was clean, beautiful, and easy to read, and it made the book a pleasure. Continue reading

Daily WTF: Petty Vandalism of Tokens of Political Affiliation

This past Friday was not the best day for me. I felt tired and stretched thin all day, and I was eagerly looking forward to going home, being alone, and reading a truly ridiculous amount of bicycle sports manga. Then I got to my car and found someone had turned my car magnet in support of Hillary Clinton upside down. Okay then.

It was a small, petty act of vandalism that didn’t really cause any harm, but it still irritated me (The intended result, I know.). It was irritating to think that someone had put their hands on my property, and it was irritating to think that someone felt they had the right to judge my political views. It made a stressful, anxiety-inducing day just a tiny bit worse. Good job, asshole. Continue reading

Adventures in Links – May 14, 2016 (Toast Points)

Theme: Toast Points

As some of you may know, The Toast will be closing on July 1. The site will still exist in perpetuity, but it will no longer generate new content. Instead, it will terminate all its contracts, send its employees off, and stop accepting new pieces (which means that I will go to my grave never having gotten them to accept a piece. Sigh.).

In case you didn’t know, The Toast is/was/will always be a humor and writing site founded by Mallory Ortberg and Nicole Cliffe. It featured silly art history and literature-related posts, heavier posts about adoption and surgeries, pop culture posts, and pretty much everything in between. It’s been in operation for about three years and briefly had a sister site, The Butter, which closed early winter 2015. That probably should have clued me in on what was going to happen.

Sad as I am about this news, I’m still trying to keep a stiff upper lip. So I’d like to share some of my favorite articles and segments with you. Feel free to share your favorites in return, and we can all try to console one another. Continue reading

Daily WTF: Refusing to Vote Because the Candidates Aren’t Your Clones

Several weeks ago, I canvassed for Hillary Clinton, an event I can only remember with anxiety. It wasn’t bad, no one yelled at me, and most people were very supportive (Most people also pledged to vote for Hillary, BTW.); talking with strangers just makes me feel anxious. However, one woman did say something that bothered me: she didn’t know if she was going to vote because no candidate aligned 100% with her. So, since she couldn’t support everything any of the candidates did, said, or stood for, she was probably going to stay home.

I couldn’t help but think that this woman was misunderstanding how to be supportive. Most of us cannot say that we support our significant other, children, family, friends, and coworkers 100%. There is always something they say, do, or stand for that we either can’t understand or oppose. However, who they are is important enough to us that we decide to support them anyway. What they stand for is close enough to our values that we can fudge the rest. It’s pretty much the basis of every long-lasting relationship. Continue reading

Gun Laws, State by State – Delaware

Note: As mass shootings gain more media attention, more and more people are discussing gun control. While many seem to believe that registering all guns, requiring background checks for all purchases, and preventing identifiably dangerous people from purchasing guns are all good ideas, just as many seem to be afraid that any gun control law will mean the loss of all civilian guns. Organizations like the NRA play on these fears, telling people that guns are already too regulated and any further action will mean the loss of the much cherished 2nd Amendment (which is more for well-regulated militia than civilians, but that’s an argument for another day). 

So I wanted to see what exactly the gun laws are in each state. Are guns too regulated? Do states with tight gun laws have more gun violence or less? What does it even take to get a gun nowadays? With these questions in mind, I’ll be starting a new weekly series – Gun Laws, State by State. I will try to document the most up-to-date gun laws in each state as well as provide facts on gun deaths in each state. Hopefully, by the time I get to the last state, we will all be better educated on gun control and gun deaths. If you have any additional information on the state in question, add it in the comments.

Previous post: New York Continue reading

Daily WTF: Subtly Sexist Gentlemen’s Clubs for Kids

An antiquated idea of how we should grow up is that we should all aspire to be “gentlemen” and “ladies,” even from a very young age. “Gentlemen” open doors for women and take care of them, and “ladies” guard the appearance of their virtue through a series of complicated social rules like crossing your ankles, keeping your knees together, wearing a dress, not showing too much skin, and never really getting dirty or exerting yourself. Despite the fact that it’s 2016, these definitions persist, remaining largely unchanged for the past sixty years. And, instead of letting them die, our society insists on bringing them back.

Take Raymond Nelson of Memminger Elementary in South Carolina. This past year, he decided to create a “Gentleman’s Club” whose motto is “Look good, feel good, do good.” The point of this club is to provide boys with a good male role model, to learn politeness, improve how they treat women, and encourage them to dress well, all of which sounds mostly fine. It’s a bit problematic to encourage boys to join “gentlemen’s clubs” (which, as we all know, is just a pseudonym for a strip club), but, hey, kids need role models.

The problem starts when you bring it to Kentucky and the club’s motto morphs from self-improvement to “SWAG – She Wants a Gentleman.” Then it gets decidedly creepier. Continue reading

Adventures in Reading – April 11 – April 17, 2016

What did I read (and finish) this week? Look below to find out!

Comics Dementia by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez (2016) – This graphic novel contains various shorts featuring some of the characters from the Hernandez Brothers’ massive Love and Rockets world, including Princess Anima, Roy, and Errata Stigmata. It’s an exercise in absurdity with the stories drawn by Gilbert Hernandez having no discernible plot, point, or beginning. I didn’t really like it. I found it confusing, pointless, and unfunny. I enjoyed Jaime Hernandez’ forays into Princess Anima, but there was so little of that that I basically gave up around page 120 and started skimming. Pretty disappointing. Continue reading

Adventures in Reading – April 4 – April 10, 2016

What did I read (and finish) this week? Look below to find out!

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon (2014) – This book centers around the death of Tariq Johnson, who was unexpectedly killed when a white man, Jack Franklin, pulls up in front of him, gets out of his car, and shoots him multiple times. However, no one in the story is quite sure what exactly happened — was Tariq hassling someone else, did he have a gun, did Jack fear for his life, was this just a random act or part of a larger moment in time? The writing is excellent, haunting and even surreal at times, and though Magoon tries to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, she still manages to sneak in what “truly” happened, forcing the reader to examine their own biases. I really liked this book and read it very quickly. Absolutely recommend. Continue reading