Johnny Cash was born on February 26, 1932. That's today – except, 86 years in the past.
When Cash died back in 2003, I was pretty shaken up. I grew up listening to his music. Once I had my own home, his music was in constant rotation, along with bands like The Clash, The Pogues, and James.
Most of the people I know remember him from his latter day works, like his cover of "Hurt," or for Joaquin Phoenix's portrayal of him in Walk the Line. When I think of Johnny, it's for the fact that he never missed a chance to call bullshit on power or to highlight the plight of the less fortunate in the music that he wrote. "Man in Black" is a fine example of that.
Cash was no saint, but he tried hard to be a better person than he really was. I suppose, being something of an occasional turd myself, I still look to him in that regard. Read the rest
I've been following BurritoGate, the story of two white women in Portland who went to Mexico (barely, they went to Puerto Nuevo,) and liked the burritos. The pair decided to learn to make flour tortillas, ran into some language barriers, and then came back to Portland to serve breakfast burritos one day a week from a taco cart. Social Justice could not stand the 'cultural appropriation.' Read the rest
On her YouTube channel, Riley J. Dennis breaks down the case against the frequently used argument “there are more important issues to talk about.” Read the rest
Depending on whom you ask, a crazy lady got bent out of shape over a dad joke, or a pro-cop token sexually harassed a peaceful protester. Below are both versions of this modern-day Rashomon. Like Harambe, the Hugh Mungus meme works for all political persuasions.
(image: Block The Bunker Facebook event)
Seattle held raucous City Council meetings over plans to build an expensive new police precinct opponents call "The Bunker." Emotions ran high. This much everyone agrees on.
During the chaos, local news teams were interviewing attendees, including resident Rudy Pantoja. Pantoja expressed appreciation and support for the police, who had helped his daughter get help with her personal and legal problems. Protester Zarna Joshi felt the press was not covering the event proportionally, and began to film Pantoja's interview to show that his views were not representative of the protesters. After the interview, Pantoja saw Joshi was filming him. What happens next is an Abbott and Costello routine for the modern era. The transcript below honors Pantoja's nom de guerre, "Hugh Mungus."
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Billy Corgan, of the Smashing Pumpkins, laments the fact he can't say a certain word without becoming unpopular, which is the result of social justice groups shutting down free speech.
"It's pretty remarkable that I could say one word right now that would destroy my career," he said, as the screen displayed images of Michael Richards and Paula Deen, both of whom faced derision after using the N-word. "I could use the wrong racial epithet or say the wrong thing to you or look down at the wrong part of your body and be castigated and it's a meme and I'm a horrible person. Every day through the media, through advertising, we see people being degraded, we see people doing all sorts of things that we should be horrified at as a culture. So we've normalized all sorts of things, but we live in a world where one word could destroy your life but it's OK to, if you're a social-justice warrior, spit in somebody's face."
Yet, he says, such groups "don't have power." The epiphany: always hovering just out of view. Good luck sticking to the right racial epithets, Billy. Read the rest
Caitlin Flanagan has written the funniest and most incisive glimpse into what it's like for today's road hacks whose livelihoods depend on navigating the treacherous waters of the college comedy circuit. Read the rest
“This is a watershed moment for civil rights that finally brings the dream of living in an equitable society one tiny fraction of a step closer to reality,” said civil rights lawyer Helene Najjar, adding that the country could now turn its attention to closing the income gap, ending racial discrimination in law enforcement, and providing equal educational opportunities for all children, among tens of thousands of other issues." Read the rest
The Reagan era kicked off a project to dismantle social mobility and equitable justice. This trenchant, angry, gorgeous graphic zine launched in response.
Oakland's troop of Radical Brownies are girls of color, aged 8-12, who learn about the Black Panthers and Brown Berets, and who campaign for body-acceptance and an end to police violence. Read the rest
Vi Hart and Nicky Case created a brilliant "playable post" that challenges you to arrange two groups of polygons to make them "happy" by ensuring that no more than 2/3 of their neighbors are different. Read the rest
On Tor.com, author and reviewer Jo Walton has an insightful look at why so many science fiction readers and writers are discussing David Graeber's Debt: The First 5,000 Years, a book that is already a darling of the Occupy movement:
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One of the problems with writing science fiction and fantasy is creating truly different societies. We tend to change things but keep other things at societal defaults. It’s really easy to see this in older SF, where we have moved on from those societal defaults and can thus laugh at seeing people in the future behaving like people in the fifties. But it’s very difficult to create genuinely innovative societies, and in genuinely different directions. As a British reader coming to SF there were a lot of things I thought were people’s amazing imagination that turned out to be normal American things and cultural defaults. And no matter how much research you do, it’s always easier in the anglosphere to find books and primary sources in English and about our own history and the history of people who have interacted with us. And both history and anthropology tend to be focused on one period, one place, so it’s possible to research a specific society you know you want to know about, but hard to find things that are about the range of options different societies have chosen.
What Debt does is to focus on a question of morality, first by framing the question, and then by examining how a really large number of human societies over a huge geographical and historical range have dealt with this issue, and how they have interacted with other people who have very different ideas about it.
CBC's long-form/big think radio program Ideas recently featured a lecture called "Feeding Ten Billion" from Raj Patel, an Africa development scholar formerly with the World Bank, and author of The Value of Nothing. Patel's perspective on global agriculture and social justice is incisive and contrarian. I've never heard anyone talk about the demerits of the "Green Revolution" in agriculture like this, and it was an eye-opener. A perfect hour-long listen for the weekend's chores. MP3 link Read the rest
[video link] US-based Egyptian blogger, speaker, and journalist Mona Eltahawy was released today after spending 12 hours detained by Egyptian security forces in Cairo. According to her tweets, she was arrested by riot police while observing the ongoing protests in Tahrir Square, where thousands of Egyptian citizens are calling for the military junta SCAF to be disbanded, and a representative, democratically-elected leadership to take their place.
While she was held, Mona managed to tweet from a fellow detainee's Blackberry that she had been beaten and was in prison. When she was released, Mona tweeted more details: she had been sexually and physically assaulted, and sustained a broken arm and a broken hand from beatings inside the interior ministry in Cairo, in the early hours of Thursday morning.
"The whole time I was thinking about article I would write," she writes, "Just you fuckers wait."
A number of journalists and well-known voices from Twitter have been detained in the last few days, including Egyptian-American documentary maker Jehane Noujaim, and Maged Butter, shown below (WARNING: graphic image): Read the rest
Webcaster Tim Pool of "The Other 99."
In recent weeks, one source of live news coverage for the Occupy Wall Street movement stood out above all others. Not a cable news network, not a newspaper, but a 25-year-old guy named Tim Pool. He packs a smartphone with unlimited data, a copy of Ustream's mobile video streaming app, and a battery pack to keep it all going — which he has for 21 hours straight, on big news days. Soon, Tim and team plan to have have their own hacker-made flying camera-drones, to provide aerial footage TV news chopppers can't. The guerrilla web stream "The Other 99" has reached more than 2 million unique viewers over the last two months, and become a source of eyes on the ground unmatched by big media. The project runs solely on donations. Is The Other 99's webcast the start of a new news normal, and could Pool be one of many DIY backpack broadcasters to come? I tracked him down in New York between streams to find out what he thinks, and how and why he does what he does. — XJ
Xeni Jardin: Break down your current gear setup for us, would you?
Tim Pool: The backpack I use is just a regular backpack. My gear is a Samsung GALAXY S II (on Sprint, because they offer unlimited data) and an Energizer XPAL 18000, and I literally slide the external battery into my back pocket and I plug my phone into it. Read the rest
Photo: Ramon Solis
Hard to estimate numbers, but by some accounts, well over 15,000 students and supporters are gathered at UC Davis for a rally and Occupy GA right now, following an incident Friday in which a police officer pepper-sprayed peaceful, seated student protesters at point blank range.
Here's a Twitter list to follow. Reporter Cory Golden from the Davis Enterprise is there, as is Doug Sovern from KCBS radio.
Above, a photograph by student journalist Ramon Solis, who has been tirelessly covering the events at UC Davis: a bouquet of carnations, bound together with #OWS tent-poles.
And below, again shot by Ramon just now: Occupy Lulz-themed signs carried by protesters, with image macros making fun of the grim scene just days ago at the very ground on which they're standing. Recursion overload.
You should follow Ramon, too.
Update: Katehi apologizes but doesn't resign.
Photo: Ramon Solis
Interview with a pepper-sprayed UC Davis student
Police officer pepper-sprays seated, non-violent students at UC Davis
After pepper-spraying incident, UC Davis redesigns website
One day after pepper-spraying, UC Davis students silently ...
After police violence, UC Davis students plan large rally Monday ... Read the rest
[Video Link, by terrydatiger, and Video Link 2, by jamiehall1516].
At the University of California at Davis this afternoon, police tore down down the tents of students inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, and arrested those who stood in their way. Others peacefully demanded that police release the arrested.
In the video above, you see a police officer [Update: UC Davis Police Lt. John Pike] walk down a line of those young people seated quietly on the ground in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience, and spray them all with pepper spray at very close range. He is clearing a path for fellow officers to walk through and arrest more students, but it's as if he's dousing a row of bugs with insecticide.
Wayne Tilcock of the Davis-Enterprise newspaper has a gallery of photographs from the incident, including the image thumbnailed above (larger size at davisenterprise.com). Ten people in this scene were arrested, nine of whom were current UC Davis students. At least one woman is reported to have been taken away in an ambulance with chemical burns.
This 8-minute video was uploaded just a few hours ago, and has already become something of an iconic, viral emblem accross the web. We're flooded with eyewitness footage from OWS protests right now, but this one certainly feels like an important one, in part because of what the crowd does after the kids are pepper-sprayed. Watch the whole thing. Read the rest