OFF-TOPIC: The Great Debate That Will Never Take Place

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Anyone who watched The Daily Show several years back might remember that Jon Stewart held a half-hour pay-per-view debate with longtime adversary Bill O’Reilly.  It was the debate where Jon Stewart coined the term “bullshit mountain” as a takedown of the way O’Reilly constructs narratives to justify his points of view.

I watched the debate between Stewart and O’Reilly and by the time I got to the end, I couldn’t help but wonder what the point of it was.  I didn’t feel like anything of substance came from the debate besides a couple of funny lines from Stewart (like “bullshit mountain”).  It was just a longer form of the same old debates Stewart and O’Reilly have on each other shows all the time, except now they were asking for money to watch it (I thankfully found an upload on YouTube to watch for free).  The debate wasn’t about enlightening the audience in understanding differing perspectives of points of view.  All the audience was there for was to rally behind whatever side they already supported.  The whole spectacle was more comparable to watching a Dallas Cowboys/Philadelphia Eagles game than a robust, intellectually stimulating debate.

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OFF-TOPIC: The Great Debate That Will Never Take Place

Ralph Wiggum 2020

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Back in 2008, there was a Simpsons episode called “E Pluribus Wiggum” that poked fun at the presidential primaries.  In the episode, Springfield pushed up its primaries before New Hampshire so the candidates in both parties and the press descended onto the town.  Disillusioned by the phoniness and cynicism of the presidential candidates, the citizens of Springfield elected a write-in candidate, Chief Wiggum’s eight-year-old son Ralph, as a mass protest vote.  In response, both the Democratic and Republican parties badgered Ralph in order to convince him to run for president in their party.

The absurdity of the situation is obvious, right?  Both of America’s major political parties seeking to pick not just a second grader, but this second grader as their presidential candidate is obviously ridiculous to everyone, right?

I have to pose this as a question because it feels like a lot of what would have been considered over-the-top absurd sitcommy scenarios back when The Simpsons was at its peak are now within the realm of reality if not already reality.

Who remembers The Boondocks episode “Return of the King”?  Remember the way that episode ended?

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Ralph Wiggum 2020

Pissing People Off as a Political Ideology

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 I may not show it very much on this blog, but I have a sense of humor.  As a matter of fact, my sense of humor is often very dark.  A couple of examples of my dark sense of humor were in the short animated films I created for my undergraduate and graduate degrees in college.  One of those films was about an old tiger in a zoo bitterly retelling the story of her tumultuous life and the other was about an artist’s dive into madness through his dogged attempts to impress a critic with his painting.

I got interested in dark comedy in my early to mid teens.  Around this time, I started watching South Park, I rediscovered Family Guy when it began airing again on Adult Swim, The Boondocks TV series premiered, and I started to get interested in stand-up comedians.  Some of my favorite comedians became, but aren’t limited to, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Sam Kinison, and Rodney Dangerfield.

Some of the examples I’ve brought up have found humor in subjects like murder, suicide, dismemberment, rape, bigotry, psychological abuse, addiction, etc.  Who in God’s name would look at subjects like these and find something to laugh about?

Without getting into comedy’s history or Aristotle’s definitions of it, one would have to understand where this kind of sense of humor comes from.

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Pissing People Off as a Political Ideology

Represent? Pt. 2

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As frustrating as I found the political discourse during the 2016 presidential election, I have found the a lot of discourse after the election very frustrating too.  As part of the Democratic Party’s postmortem after their major loss this past November is that their platform didn’t do enough to address the economic issues of the working class and poor.  I agree that Hillary Clinton’s campaign didn’t do enough to discuss those issues, but almost everyone that has brought up this criticism has mentioned it in opposition to the identity politics that the campaign did address.  In fact, many of them have dismissed those identity politics issues as some sort of trivial “political correctness”.  Goddammit, that’s wrong, wrong, wrong!  Social issues relating to racial, gender, or sexual identity aren’t in opposition to economic issues so framing it that way is so wrong.  They’re not even separate from each other; they’re deeply intertwined.  It made me mad to see Clinton’s wealthy surrogates frame economics as a “white” issue in their criticisms of Bernie Sanders and it makes me mad to see other liberals offering hindsight critiques of Clinton’s campaign dismiss issues relating to identity as “political correctness”, especially because neither side forgot this point in their takedowns of the libertarian “socially liberal but fiscally conservative” philosophy years prior to the election.

I begin with this point to discuss how I think those of us concerned with more multicultural representation in media should approach our advocacy for it.  I think we need to deepen the discussion about it, even if we’re just talking about some cartoon character rather than a particular politician or a specific policy.  This will help us recognize all of the intersections in these issues.

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Represent? Pt. 2

Represent?

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I apologize in advance for the longer breaks I have taken in between posts.  The 2016 US presidential elections disillusioned me as a writer a lot and I don’t think that disillusionment is going to go away.  I was and still am highly offended by the victory of the troglodyte resurrection of P.T. Barnum, but I was just as offended by the cynical way that Hillary Clinton’s campaign misappropriated intersectional politics.  I’m not saying that US electing its first female president doesn’t matter, but I don’t believe such a symbolic goal justifies disregarding the valid concerns expressed towards the candidate’s checkered history within that candidate’s base, or purposely misattributing those concerns as bile from white male bigots.  Her campaign seemed more interested in marketing itself as intersectional rather than actually being intersectional.

The offensive shortcomings of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign don’t exist in a vacuum.  That campaign’s sense of entitlement and refusal towards self-reflection is endemic within the whole Democratic party.  It goes beyond electoral politics too.  I think the most dominant liberal/progressive-minded discourse around intersectional subjects has been effected by the same shortcomings the Democratic party has about them.  Where did it all go wrong?

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Represent?