Where to begin? Locally or nationally, the batshit has hit the fanfare. Pregnancies from rape are an anomaly. Fetuses now masturbate. And abortions used to be “the thing to do” back in the swinging ’70s. It goes on — these were all in just the last week alone. From Arizona to Texas to Wisconsin, the party that has made a sacrament of individual liberty and freedom from big government continues to quite spectacularly demonstrate strident gibberish in the name of contradicting ideology. Read the rest of this entry »
Category Archives: Shit Meet Fan
How’s this for an irony: an independent documentary about the pernicious influence of high-dollar donors gets canceled by PBS due to the influence that a high-dollar donor has on PBS? The rich white man in this case is none other than David Koch, the multigajillionaire who along with his tycoon-harpooning brother, Charles, and their sprawling empire Koch Industries have brought you such popular hits as: cancer, climate denial, media conglomeration, fat cat plutocrats, conservative politics and tea party histrionics — not to mention mosquitoes, ticks, pestilence, boils, botulism, plagues, famine, flat tires, traffic jams, canker sores, migraines, Svengali-like manipulation, basic obfuscation, and general evil — all in the name of a shameless poweropoly the likes of which would make even Mr Burns envious. The documentary in question is Citizen Koch, which showcases the effects of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision on the recall election of Scott Walker as well as the admirably quixotic presidential campaign of former Louisiana governor and congressman Buddy Roemer (whose central platform is campaign finance reform), all while following the lives of three Wisconsin state employees whose lifelong ties to the Republican Party are reconsidered in the aftermath of Act 10. The film was to air on PBS sometime this year on behalf of Independent Television Service (ITVS), the funding and distributing tributary of public television for independent films. But worried that there would be too much fallout — and lack of funding — ITVS backed out of its deal with the filmmakers, which unwittingly proves the whole point of what the film was about in the first place: the influence of money on public resources.
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Never before would I have thought that “boo hoo” and “hue and cry” would come together so seamlessly, much less over something in one sentence combining sea hawks, meat packers, and prayers interceding the virgin Mary that reads in perfect syntax to any American. Or that two such otherwise diametrically opposed figures as Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin state Senator Jon Erpenbach — who almost ran against Walker in the recall election — would be on the same page about something that pertains to unions, workers, and contracts. Then again, it’s not much like me to opine my two cents amongst the inflated currency of the vox populi over a topic in which none other than my own ignorance can rival my actual interest: football. But the occasion is much too infrequent for when I can scribble about Samuel Beckett and the Green Bay Packers in one shot, so here goes…
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Before I step on any toes by inadvertently insulting anyone (great disclaimer, no?), let me hasten to showcase how slow and behind-the-times I myself am: I had not even heard of TOMS shoes until a week ago or so. This in spite of the fact that I used to work across the street from a shoe store here in town that sold and even advertised TOMS in their window display. I saw the unmistakable flag in the window but had no reason to put one and one together. Frankly, the logo conjured nothing in my mind more than the national flag of Argentina…
and an inscrutable curiosity wondering what “TOMS” could be an acronym for, since it was in all-caps and without any apostrophe.
I rather suspect I am not the target audience for any consumer product, much less anything having to do with fashion, but if I had been included in some sample survey or focus group, I would never have guessed in a million years that a flag with two blue horizontal stripes separated by a white one — or a blue field emblazoned with a white stripe — with a corporate logo reading “TOMS” would have anything to do with footwear. Indeed, just for kicks, a quick Google search of “what does TOMS stand for” brings up the following:
1. Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer
2. Telecom Operations Management Systems
3. The male of various animals, such as turkeys or cats.
They b(u)yline of TOMS is “shoes for tomorrow,” so I can only infer that “toms” is short for tomorrow. Still, as a marketing gimmick, the whole thing is lost on me — but not just for abstract advertising purposes: I myself would not buy a pair of TOMS shoes in the first place, in part because I can’t even afford the flimsy-looking things, but mostly because it represents many of the key problems with charitable giving by way of corporate profit, up to and including the irony of the law of unintended consequences together with its hell-paved path of best intentions. Read the rest of this entry »
Each year on the near-south side of Milwaukee a few hundred folks gather together to commemorate the Bay View Tragedy, the bloodiest day — May 5 1886 — in the history of the labor movement in Wisconsin. I won’t bother rehashing the clash right now (you’re welcome to read about it here). Instead, I would like to reconsider it in the context of our contemporary world, from Fox News and Foxconn to Scott Walker and Steve Jobs. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve always liked that bumper sticker that reads “If you’re not OUTRAGED, you’re not paying attention.” (Though of course it can just as easily be stated that If you’re not outraged, you must be paying attention to Fox, but I digress…) Another slogan I’ve enjoyed goes “I’ll believe corporations are people when a Texas jury executes one.” To that sentiment all I would add is this: or until they pay they have to pay their taxes like all the rest of us working stiffs. To wit, today is Tax Day, everybody, so pony up! You, too, corporations — that is what your name means after all: “corporation” from the Latin for corpus and corporare, literally to make into a body. (Think “corporeal punishment” or “Marine Corps.” Or hell, just think corpse, as in the American dream/ social mobility/ public works/ U.S. revenue thanks to tax dodging loopholes.) Read the rest of this entry »
First off, an editorial consideration: the last time a scribble indirectly dabbled in abortion and race the shit hit the fan like a fanatic orangutan with a crop duster but no Pepto-Bismol. From that experience I have not learned that I should not be even scribbling about such emotionally charged issues in the first place, in part because I am by nature a stubborn person, but mostly because it has long been a cherished belief that to elicit a passionate response is generally an indication of doing good work. That said, if I am reaching out exclusively to a certain segment of the population, then I am being a bad writer. This blog is admittedly pretty liberal. But I would regard myself an amateur with written-off irrelevance if I only pissed off some of the people all of the time; far better would it be to piss off all of the people some of the time. For then, at least occasionally, I must be getting something right. Not that pissing people off is my intention; I am not a provocateur. (Actually, I’d like to consider myself a fairly nice guy, who despite a lot of weird stuff was given good manners.) I personally have no interest in taking up a controversial topic for controversy’s sake — I will leave that kind of dare-devil skullduggery to the stirring pots of schlock-jock op-eds and braggadocio bloggers. For me the point is to take up a controversial subject unflinchingly when its moment arises. If I fail to reach out with a requisite amount of tact or only pretend to see things from the opposing perspective so as to seem more reasonable or circumspect, then I am genuinely sorry and I ask that you accept my apology. In this scribble, as in many of my endeavors, I seek only to speak truth to power, and if I happen to piss off anyone, let it be them — those whose vested interests see living things as commodities and codify justice with dastardly and bastardized double standards. Read the rest of this entry »