Thursday, June 22, 2006

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I saw this poster in a store window today:

Changes: A Science-Fiction Tap Opera featuring the music of David Bowie

according to the press release:
The story of Changes is grounded in science fiction, with the starting point being Bowie’s seminal work Ground Control to Major Tom. From there the story moves to an alien planet ruled by an egotistical leader who forces the populace to work for his own glorification. Unlike some dance works, which count on the audience to apply their own meaning to what can seem quite abstract at times, Chicago Tap Theater strives to present fairly clear narratives while still leaving some room for the audience to interpret.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Yesterday I saw a T-shirt on Michigan Avenue with a large fish, much like those favored by Christians who stick the logo on their bumpers. The shirt read, "Jesus Got R Done" in large, emphatic letters.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Nicholas Minucci, 20 years old, is going to jail and he could be in there for the next 25 years. I'm glad of that.

Last year Minucci, who is white, used a baseball bat to rob Glen Moore, who is black. Moore was walking with friends through Howard Beach, the neighborhood that saw horrifying white-on-black violence in the 1980s. Minucci stole the Air Jordans, Polo Shirt and Prada shoes that Moore was carrying and beat Moore with the bat while using what the attorneys referred to as "the N word."

As far as I can tell, no one is disputing the baseball/robbery part (although the defense argued that Minucci was concerned about auto theft in the neighborhood and was making a sort of vigilante style Citizen's Arrest.) The real concern in the trial is that N word.

If someone spraypaints "I hate you!" on the side of my property, he's a vandal. But if he paints, "I hate you, you faggot." then he has committed a hate crime and the penalties are greater.

From today's NYT:

Mr. Minucci's lawyer, Albert Gaudelli, argued vociferously during the trial that Mr. Minucci meant the word not as a slur but as a benign form of address commonly used today among young people of various ethnicities.

For the sake of argument, let's just agree that yes, lots of folks do call one another Nigga and they don't intend it as a slur. I myself find it distasteful and don't say it but I understand the phenomenon.

But it does seem that hitting someone with an aluminum bat while robbing him kind of mitigates that "benign form of address" notion, no?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Today I arrived at the Punk Planet offices to find Issue #74 back from the printers with my story on the cover.

It's a beautiful day, sunshine with a lot of wind, and Anne brought a dollar-store kite to the office. All of us went on top of our building to take turns flying the plastic illustration of what was either a unicorn with rainbow wings or a rainbow-winged pegasus with a horn on its forehead. Anne christened it "Lollipop." We unrolled almost the entire spool of string and managed to land Lollipop with no problems.

After work I bought a handsome thermos to replace my unattractive and broken one, and went for a jog at the track near my house. The track surrounds a field on which a group of men were playing soccer shirts vs. skins.

6/6/06? Fucking rocks, dude.
I just finished reading the new Joe Klein book "Politics Lost" about how politicians get totally focus-grouped and turn into tiresome automatons who alienate the public.

Which brings me to the Katherine Harris run for Senate in Florida. Katherine Harris, you may recall, was the partisan hack who wore too much makeup throughout all of the 2000 ballot recount and later compared herself to Rosa Parks. Her race is thusfar a disaster and no signs that it will turn around before November.

My favorite line from a USA Today story about the dreadful-though-admittedly-un-focus-grouped candidate is this:
Harris likes tight clothing. Jim Dornan, her former campaign manager, compares it to debutante attire. It's not the type of dress a U.S. senator should or would wear, he says.
She wore a tight peach sweater to Red Belly Day, a festival named for a local fish, and sucked on a lollipop.
"Oh, no," aide Brian Brooks said as a photographer snapped pictures.
I think that Diversity Beans are an especially stupid idea. Six colors of jelly beans, six flavors but the flavors and the colors don't correspond. So you might THINK that a red jelly bean might be cherry but it could be lime or licorice! See?

Obviously the message is "don't judge by appearances." But is that, in fact, the real message of diversity? This seems like a deeply weird metaphor. "Diversity means you could always be unpleasantly surprised or disappointed. Enjoy!"

I guess I'm not convinced that the problem is judging by appearances ("She looks like a lesbian") but rather the difficulties that follow that categorization ("Lesbians only want to talk about fast pitch softball, better avoid her")

How to get people to address the actual person, not the category, that seems like the challenge. And I don't see any candy beans available to fix that one.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

A photograph to support the idea: Seattle is a silly place. For those who are unfamiliar with the city, The Cuff is a leather bar although, for this illustration, that just makes things more confusing rather than more clear.