All Kinds Of Wrongness

« September 2013 »

Memo to the Associated Press, Richard Cohen, and Charles Shelton: YOU ARE DUMB.

Oh, what a week it's been. Japanese radiation, American freedombombs, John McCain's p-p-p-poker phone. Don't forget, tomorrow's a bonus column day - only a few more months of tri-weekly bonus columns left in the year! I've got a backlog of the week's events, so it's time to pile them up and knock them out. SPASTIC TOPIC MONKEY FRIDAY!

So, earlier this week, the AP reported on a New York court case, and it got picked up far and wide for reasons that are about to become clear. You see, normally, nobody would give a shit about an employment harassment case where a boss was accused of abusing his employees by yelling at them. As I discussed on Labor Day, that's not a thing we care about.

But the employer was black, and the employee was black, and part of his defense was that it was OK to yell the N-word at the employee because they were both black, and the court rejected that argument. Or, as the AP put it, "The case against Rob Carmona and the employment agency he founded, STRIVE East Harlem, hinged on the what some see as a complex double standard surrounding the word: It's a degrading slur when uttered by whites but can be used at times with impunity among blacks."

Yeah, no. I realize white America has a desperate craving to see this, as most headlines put it, a case where the "use of N-word among blacks is on trial", but that's not what happened. Here's what happened.

Like any word, there are contexts in which the word is appropriate and contexts where it's not. In the case of this word, that context is usually, but not always, dependent on the race of the people involved. This was an employer yelling at an employee, and thus an inappropriate context. It's not a test case for street corners, rap songs, comedy clubs, or anywhere else white racists complain about black people using the word. So shut the fuck up.

Longtime column participant Richard Cohen used his prime real estate in the Washington Post to blame Miley Cyrus's ass for the two Steubenville football players being convicted of rape even though they didn't put their penises in a victims vagina. Fingers in vagina, yes. Penis in mouth, yes. But not penis in vagina, which is when it becomes rape, according to good old Dick Cohen.

Now, we could go into Richard Cohen's historical troubles with the concepts of consent and harassment. Or the Washington Post could just move his office away from young women again. I'm sure that'll work. But if I were Jeff Bezos, new owner of the Washington Post, and I received a product in a smiling but ugly box, and that product was clearly defective, because it was claiming it wasn't a "gang rape" because there were only two dudes (not a 'gang') and the violation didn't involve pairs of genitals (not a 'rape'), well, I'd take a page from Amazon and arrange for a swift and liberal return policy for the product. And maybe stop doing business with the 'company' that keeps producing such shitty 'products'.

West Virginia minister Charles Shelton claims to have caught an angel on his security camera. Then he showed people the footage. It's a fuzzy ball of light. Apparently, even though we live in the age of 20 megapixel cameras, we can't get a clear picture of an angel and have to settle for something that looks like an outtake from the worst ever episode of "In Search Of".

Nobody's seized on the obvious explanation - the LightAngel! The infomercial-based portable LED lamp. It looks like a big glowing ball, it's called "angel", and unlike angels, it's a real thing, or at least as close to a real thing as they sell in infomercials. And, hey, if Shelton wants to pray to it, it won't hurt any more people than his other praying. Plus, he said he doesn't care what critics say, so it's not like I'm going to convince him otherwise.