Your Minor Heretic has been busy lately with various projects intended to make him a living. Simultaneously, the inspiration to write a 1200 word essay on something has been generally absent. Here are a few short takes on topical subjects, in no particular order.
There has been much ado in the media, especially the right wing media, about a crime called “The Knockout Game.” The idea is that gangs of black teenagers pick out a white victim and one of them walks up and sucker punches the person. You can imagine, if you haven’t actually witnessed it, the media hype. This is now apparently a huge epidemic of black-on-white violence, except that apparently it isn’t when a reporter actually does some investigating.
What it reminds me of is something told to me by a guy about my age at a party I was at about 35 years ago. I had just met him and out of nowhere he started telling me about a pastime he and his friends enjoyed called “broomsticking n----rs.” It involved a group of white teenagers riding around in the back of a pickup truck with a broomstick, picking out a black victim, and hitting that person with a broomstick as they drove by. If the guy with the broomstick dropped it he was thrown out of the truck and had to go retrieve it, facing the wrath of the injured party. Aside from the use of a weapon and the added cowardice of doing it from a moving truck, it was much the same as the knockout game. At the time I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe that the guy was serious. I think the look on my face told him what he needed to know because he found other people to talk to. I guess stupid, angry, bored young men are, and always have been, stupid, angry, bored young men.
I was pleased to see that Federal Judge Richard Leon found that there was actually a constitutional amendment in between the one about quartering troops in people’s houses and the one about not incriminating oneself, and that going on a fishing expedition is only constitutional if it involves a rod, a hook, and bait. He ruled that the NSA’s mass collection of data was unconstitutional and noted that the government had failed to prove that this method of collection was actually effective. He called the program “almost Orwellian”, winning him the Minor Heretic’s Understatement of the Year Award.
I would also like to note that the author of the so-called USA Patriot Act, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., stated publicly that James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, should be fired and prosecuted for lying to congress about the extent of NSA surveillance. I seem to remember recommending that myself a few posts back.
Perhaps the lumbering beast of public opinion is raising its head, blinking, and saying, “Everything? You mean, like everything I do on my phone and the internet? As in ‘everything’? Wait a sec….”
On the seasonal front, I must point out that Paul Bibeau at Goblinbooks nails the “black Santa” issue. Saint Nick and Jesus would both get the squinty eye from the TSA. Be sure to check out the link in his article from the Saint Nicholas Center. Some forensic scientists x-rayed the actual skull of St. Nicholas and did a reconstruction of what he probably looked like. It’s the jolly old elf as you have never considered him.
A thought about the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia: Given the homophobic tendencies and oppressive laws of that nation, I’m hoping for a touch of 1936 and 1968. Jesse Owens won four gold medals in the 1936 Berlin summer Olympics, a kick in the teeth for racists all over the world, but especially for Herr Schickelgruber. In 1968, at the Mexico summer Olympics, medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their black-gloved fists on the podium while our national anthem was played. Along with Australian silver medalist Peter Norman, they all wore symbolic items to make statements about racism, poverty, and solidarity. They were sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, but the gesture had impact.
Any success by homosexual athletes would be a smack upside the head of Russian bigots. I’d like to see athletes from all nations make gestures of solidarity with those on the sharp side of Russian law. Perhaps they could go Godwin on the Russians and all wear pink triangles during the opening parade. Rainbow emblems on the podium would also be appropriate. The IOC would have a tough time sanctioning every last athlete in the games.
Happy Saturnalia from your Minor Heretic. Celebrate Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (the "Birthday of the Unconquered Sun") and party like a Roman.