Tag Archives: New Mexico

On speaking ‘American’ and being inspired by Trump and Palin to brush up on my Spanish

Brainiac Sarah Palin “interviews” billionaire presidential aspirant Donald Trump on her television “news” show last month. Both fascistic jingoists (note their prominent wearing of the American flag just in case there is any doubt as to their strict allegiance to a white United States of America) believe in scoring points by making brown-skinned immigrants from south of the border into scapegoats for all of the nation’s problems.

It’s interesting how the fucktards on the right (I know: redundant) who demand that only English be spoken in the United States of America are not able to speak their one and only mother tongue correctly.

Sarah Palin, who apparently is angling to be Donald Trump’s (or perhaps another Repugnican Tea Partier’s) running mate, stated yesterday:

“It’s a benefit of [Jeb] Bush to be able to be so fluent [in Spanish], because we have a large and wonderful Hispanic population building America, and that’s a great connection he has with them. On the other hand, I think we can send a message and say, ‘You want to be in America, A, you’d better be here legally or you’re out of here. B, when you’re here, let’s speak American. …”

She apparently then corrected herself, adding, “Let’s speak English, and that’s a kind of a unifying aspect of the nation is the language that is understood by all.”

“English” is fine. “American English” is more exact for the dominant language of the U.S.A., just as you’d say “Mexican Spanish” instead of “Mexican,” as there is no language called “Mexican” or “American.”

Sarah Palin and her ilk just don’t want to have to learn another language. Again, they struggle to speak just one language correctly. That’s part of it.

But they also equate speaking “American” with being white (just as they equate being “American” with being white); in this case, as so often is the case, language and race are linked. The United States must remain white, you see, and a rising tide of people speaking the brown language of “Mexican” threatens that “God”ly whiteness!

Of course Palin’s “outreach” to Latinos is proved to be bullshit A, when she refers to Latinos as “Hispanic,” a term that many if not most Latinos don’t like, just as most of us non-heterosexuals hate being called “homosexual” and as you don’t call Asians “Oriental.” And B, it’s another sign of Palin’s disordered and passive-aggressive “thinking” when she first praises Jeb Bush for having “a great connection” with Latinos here in the U.S. but then immediately follows that up with the threat of mass deportation and the command that Latinos here in the U.S. speak only “American.” (You know, for her comfort and the comfort of her fellow jackbooted Aryan nationalistic fascists.)

Give Palin props, however, I suppose, for acknowledging that we have a large population of Latinos “building America,” something that I can’t imagine that her audience of mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, chromosomally damaged fucktards (a.k.a. Donald Trump’s target audience) really wants to hear.

I mean, aren’t the brown-skinned, “Mexican”-speaking hordes from south of the border just here to suck up our tax dollars in human services and drop their anchor babies? When they’re not too busy raping our pristine, young, lily-white women?

Many years ago I took Spanish (not “Mexican”) in junior high school, high school and college, all in Arizona. If memory serves, it was the only foreign language that was available to me in junior high school, and in my smallish high school I had only two options for foreign-language study, Spanish or German. As I view German as something like the dark language of Mordor (you know, the Nazis…), and as I never saw myself ever needing to speak German, of course I took Spanish.

By the time I was in college, I was at least semi-fluent. (To me, “fluent” means the near-perfect mastery of a language, a high bar for someone like me whose first language was “American.”)

Later this month I start a Spanish class to brush up on my skills; I’m quite rusty. I have all of the basics of the Spanish language down, but it would be great to be anywhere near fluent in Spanish one day.

Not only is Spanish a beautifully sounding language (perhaps especially compared to German and probably even English), and not only is learning another language great exercise for your brain, but here in California, Latinos now outnumber us whites, so I have another compelling reason to brush up on my Spanish.

It’s awfully interesting, though, how Latinos now outnumber whites in the blue border states of California and New Mexico, but here in California and New Mexico this is not considered to be a problem by the majority of the electorate. But in the red border states of Texas and Arizona, it’s considered to be a huge fucking problem, even though in Arizona and in Texas, whites still outnumber Latinos, especially so in Arizona.

So it’s not the Latinos who are the problem; California and New Mexico demonstrate that amply. It is the white supremacists, who claim that they’re “Christian” yet who hate those who don’t look, speak, believe and act like just like they do, who are the problem.

So thank you, Donald Trump, for quite unintentionally being one of my inspirations to brush up on my Spanish-speaking skills. And thank you, Sarah Palin, for chiming in; even though you chimed in after I’d already signed up for my upcoming Spanish class, Usted es una inspiración también.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

No queer duck for the American Taliban!

Interview Creates Controversy For Duck Dynasty Star

Culture war heats up over 'Duck Dynasty' controversy

“Duck Dynasty” “patriarch” Phil Robertson looks a bit like Osama bin Laden to me, which isn’t that shocking, I guess, given that you could call him and his ilk the American Taliban — “Christo”fascists instead of “Islamofascists.”

I’ve never watched A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” and probably never will. A “reality” show is bad enough, but a “reality” show about rednecks is even worse.

Go into a Wal-Mart (yes, I’ve seen the insides of a Wal-Mart — recently) and you’ll see “Duck Dynasty” merchandise all over the fucking place, and given Wal-Mart’s main target audience — the redneck — you don’t have to have seen the show to have a good idea about what it’s all about.

So, was I shocked to learn that the “patriarch” of the show, 67-year-old Phil Robertson — who, on top of being a redneck, is a baby boomer — is a homophobe?

Um, no.

Does Robertson, who has been suspended indefinitely from “Duck Dynasty” apparently primarily or entirely for his homophobic remarks to the magazine GQ, have the First Amendment right to publicly vocalize his bigoted views?

Absolutely, yes, he does, just as the members of the Ku Klux Klan do, but does A&E, which is a joint venture of Disney and the Hearst Corp., have to keep Robertson in its employment, especially if Robertson, as I suspect he did, violated the terms of his contract with A&E?

Fuck no.

The Associated Press notes:

… Sarah Palin posted a picture on her Facebook page of her with the reality show clan with the message, “Free Speech is an endangered species.” And Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal also lamented the suspension on free speech terms.

“It’s a messed-up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended,” said the governor in a statement [today] (the show is filmed in his state). …

Well, of course, to my knowledge, Miley Cyrus never publicly made an offensive, bigoted statement about an historically oppressed minority group — she might be a bit skanky, but I’ve never heard that she has uttered hate speech publicly.

But Bobby Jindal is a stupid fucking piece of sell-out shit who can’t lick the asses of the whiteys who hate him because he isn’t white ardently enough — you know, in order to “show” them that he’s one of them — so that’s to be expected from the likes of him.

But what about the whining and probably-faux hand-wringing about “free speech”?

The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Fact is, only the government may abridge your free-speech rights as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Did Phil Robertson have to accept a gig with A&E? No. But he signed some contract, I’m sure, and when millions of dollars are at stake, I can’t imagine that the team of lawyers who drew up his contract did not cover what A&E and/or its parent companies may do in the event that Robertson should make public statements and/or commit certain actions that A&E and/or its parent companies deem damaging to them.

If Robertson has been legally wronged, then, of course, he can sue his employer. (I wish him luck with that…)

I find other comments of Robertson equally as interesting as his homophobic ones, which include his apparent assertion that the definition of “sin” begins with “homosexual behavior.” (Wow! Does he really think of “homosexual behavior” that much? I, a gay man, don’t think of heterosexual sex all that much, so why would an alleged heterosexual man think of male homosexual sex so much?)

According to the AP, Robertson also stated in an interview published in the January issue of GQ “that in his Louisiana youth he picked cotton with African-Americans and never saw ‘the mistreatment of any black person. Not once.’

“‘We’re going across the field. … They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, “I tell you what: These doggone white people” — not a word!’ Robertson told the magazine.”

Wow. 

So blacks in the South didn’t need the Civil Rights movement because they all loved whitey? They were all “singing and happy”? Really?

Assuming that Robertson’s report is true — that he heard “not a word” uttered by a black person against “these doggone white people” — could it be that they were so powerless and so terrified of retribution that of course they were very careful about what they uttered around whitey?

Could it be that Robertson’s memory is faulty? (He does, after all, admit to having done his share of drugs during the Sixties.)

Robertson also reportedly said this to GQ: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God.”

Um, did he omit female prostitutes from his list of the hell-bent on purpose? What about heterosexual “offenders”?

Straight white men seem to benefit an awful lot from Robertson’s selective list, don’t they?

What’s most shocking of all, I think, is that A&E ever decided to put this man and his family on the tay-vay in the first fucking place.

P.S. In more good news for equal human and civil rights, it’s great to have heard today that former Olympic figure skater Brian Boitano finally came out (we all knew, but it’s great that he now has talked about it openly), and it’s hilarious that he and out lesbian athletes Billie Jean King (the tennis great, of course) and Caitlin Cahow (a medalist in women’s hockey) will be part of the United States’ delegation to the homophobic Russia’s 2014 winter Olympic games in Sochi, of which no high-ranking members of the U.S. government will be a part. (The Associated Press notes that “For the first time since 2000, the U.S. will not send a president, former president, first lady or vice president to the Olympics.”)

And, of course, today the state of New Mexico became the 16th state to institute same-sex marriage.

The “Christo”fascists and other assorted haters can slow progress down, but they cannot stop it altogether. It marches on!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

‘Lone Ranger’: Bloat on the range

Film review

'The Lone Ranger' and the Trouble with White Horses

In what probably is the film’s funniest scene, Johnny Depp as the Comanche Tonto confers with the “spirit horse” Silver about the equine’s taste in heroes in director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s “The Lone Ranger.”

Reviews of “The Lone Ranger” have not been kind. As I type this sentence, rottentomatoes.com gives “Ranger” a “rotten” rating, with just 24 percent of critics having liked it — but tellingly, 68 percent of the website’s users have given the film a thumbs up.

“The Lone Ranger,” to be sure, is flawed, but its moments of brilliance make it worth seeing.

“Ranger’s” biggest flaw is its bloat. It’s OK to make a tw0-and-a-half hour film if you can keep our interest the whole time, but “Ranger” sags seriously in the middle. It would be interesting to see cuts of films that are improved not by restoring footage that was cut from the original releases, but by tightening up overlong films like “Ranger.” Sometimes less is a lot more.

The carnivorous rabbits in “Ranger,” for instance, could go. Even the scorpions. Hell, the filmmakers even could have stripped the Lone Ranger’s love interest (his brother’s wife) from the movie entirely and it wouldn’t have been a huge loss. (The actress who plays her, Ruth Wilson, does a fine job, but why the “mandatory” love interest? Might we mistake the violence-hating and book-loving Lone Ranger — who at the end of the film goes off with his same-sex companion Tonto — for a gay man otherwise? [Horrors!])

And as much as I like Helena Bonham Carter, she’s not given nearly interesting enough stuff to do in “Ranger” to justify the inclusion of her character. In “Ranger” Helena Bonham Carter is wasted as a one-trick pony, and she doesn’t have to appear in every film that Johnny Depp is in.

Speaking of Depp, “The Lone Ranger” more aptly might be called “The Lone Comanche,” because, as others have noted, this is Tonto’s and Depp’s film, not the Lone Ranger’s and Armie Hammer’s.

As adorable as the promising young actor Armie Hammer is, his Lone Ranger is not a born stud, but is a bookwormish nerd who stands in the shadow of his older brother (who is a born stud) and who needs Tonto’s guidance.

Indeed, without Tonto’s guidance, in this new version of the Lone Ranger, the Lone Ranger wouldn’t be the Lone Ranger. Tonto is not the Lone Ranger’s servile sidekick in this reboot; he is the Lone Ranger’s Yoda, the young, clueless hero-to-be’s reluctant mentor (although Yoda wasn’t this reluctant).

On that note, while some have dismissed Depp’s version of Tonto as a condescending and thus racist parody of Native Americans — I’ve even seen Depp’s Tonto compared to Stepin Fetchit — Depp’s Tonto is not a buffoon, but is a mixture of the shaman and the trickster, two important Native American archetypes, as I understand the Native American culture.*

And that is a definite promotion from the Tonto of yore. In Lone Ranger 2.0, Tonto is the hero, and the white man is not portrayed as the brave pioneer, as he was for decades in Westerns, but is portrayed as “wendigo,” the term for a Native American belief in a cannibalistic, demonic entity.

True, there’s only one actual cannibal in “The Lone Ranger” — its effective villain Butch Cavendish (played well by William Fichtner) — but “Ranger” makes the point that you don’t have to be an actual cannibal to be evil nonetheless, a point that is played out with its villain behind the villain, the railroad tycoon Latham Cole (played by Tom Wilkinson), who in his own hypocritical way is a cannibal much worse than Butch Cavendish.

Indeed, that is what the white man did to the Native Americans, so to speak: ate them up, consumed them, so that they were (and are), to a large extent, no more.

Again, this portrayal is progress, it seems to me, from the cowboys-and-Indians movies of before, in which the white men were always the brave heroes, the good guys, and the Indians always were the bad guys — standing in the way of what “rightfully” was the white man’s, you know, manifest destiny and God’s will and such (in a word, wendigo).

That said, in “The Lone Ranger” we get plenty of nostalgia from the Westerns of yesteryear, even if the story apparently is to take place entirely in Texas yet the film actually apparently was shot mostly in New Mexico, Utah, Arizona and Colorado. Indeed, Monument Valley, which is a prominent backdrop in “Ranger,” is not in Texas (but is in Utah and Arizona), and the transcontinental railroad was completed at Promontory Summit in northern Utah, which is quite a distance from Texas, where “The Lone Ranger” very apparently has the transcontinental railroad completed.

But while “The Lone Ranger” mixes up the entire Southwest into one generic mass that’s supposed to be Texas (where it apparently barely even was filmed), it does apparently pay attention to some historical details, perhaps especially where the history of the transcontinental railroad is concerned; “Ranger” portrays the exploitation and the abuse of the Chinese immigrants who did so much of the hard, dangerous labor for which the white men, at the railroad’s completion, congratulated themselves with pride, pomp and circumstance.

And “Ranger” gives us a sense of what was lost when the white settlers decimated the Native Americans. Non-native Americans sorely could use the wisdom of the Native Americans right about now, but with the misinterpretation of Johnny Depp’s Tonto as a buffoon rather than as a hero in his own right (as a shamanistic trickster), non-Native Americans appear to be no closer to getting it now than they never have been.

Unfortunately, the worthwhile messages in “The Lone Ranger” do get a bit buried in all of the busy and loud action sequences that we inevitably are going to get in a Jerry Bruckheimer production released in the summer.

I want to see more Westerns like this, but I want them leaner, without all of the fat that is in the current version of “The Lone Ranger.”

I, for one, am up for a low-fat sequel.

My grade: B

*On that note, as to whether or not Native Americans should be outraged that the character of Tonto is played by Depp and not by a full-blooded Native American, I’ll leave that decision entirely to actual Native Americans.

I hate it when people (usually guilty white “liberals,” it seems) are “outraged!” on behalf of another group of people with whom they have little to even no actual contact.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized