Friday, April 30, 2010

Why am I awake already

  • The Chee-Bone: this is when one gets literally or physically erect as a result of cheese or the idea of cheese.
  • IWHSS: the Infinite Wiper in a High Stress Situation is a common occurence when moving one's bowels directly before important events. As the old adage goes, life is but a series of infinite wipers in high stress situations (IWHSS).

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  • I was laying by a cat that will start purring if you barely touch her, and I farted pretty loud, the bed vibrated, and she started purring. This really happened.
  • I just found out that Jessica Biel and Jennifer Beals aren't the same person. This breaks my biggest Similarly-Named-Celebrity-Conflation (SNCC) since I successfully differentiated Mickey and Andy Rooney in late 2006.

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  • What if Harold Ramis decided to make a movie about two men from the year 1 A.D.? One of the men would be really awkward, and one would be portly, hyper, and prone to flights of fancy, both cast by the leading actors of those varieties. What if a fried chicken chain restaurant decided to make a sandwich where the bread was fried chicken breast and the inside was bacon and cheese? Answer: of course it's gonna be pretty funny, of course it's gonna be pretty delicious, these are not ground-breaking ideas here, more like reverse alchemy, start with gold and end up with I guess gold of a lesser carat but still quite desirable.
  • On the other hand you got your surprise combos. Chicken and waffles. Popcorn and Good-n-Plenties. John C. Riley movin' to comedies, Bill Murray to dramas.

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  • Now that I am a little older and a little wiser, I think my favorite line in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is at the end of their history report, when Ted says "Thanks to great leaders such as Genghis Khan, Joan of Arc, and Socratic method, the world is full of history."

Friday, April 23, 2010

Not the way to fight prejudice

  • When your super race-sensitive friends are describing someone to you who you know but don't know you know, they will tend to say stuff like "oh, he's pretty tall, he's got black hair, um, he wears a hat sometimes, hangs out with so and so," and either not mention "oh he's black/latino/asian" or else they will kind of squeeze it in between other identificatory variables like in the olden days when you were embarassed to buy a porno mag so you'd get like a candy bar and a newspaper too. That's not being open-minded, that's just being really bad at describing the salient properties of something. Like say I left my bright green jacket at your house. I don't call you up and say, "hey, I left my jacket... it's like a men's medium or so, got a zipper on there, a collar, I think there's a little tear in the sleeve."
  • "People-first language" is this thing I've heard about from a few different places where institutions try to get their employees to always say "person with mental retardation/intellectual disability/learning disorder/whatever" instead of "mentally retarded/intellectually disabled person." The idea is that by changing the word order you highlight the fact that they are people first, and their disabilities are secondary. As if the arbitrary fact of word order in the English language, the result of years of conventional shifts and circumstance and practice, has some massive effect on the meaning of a sentence. As if the tall man is different from the man who is tall.

What these two strategies have in common is that they are easy. Too easy. The real actual way to overcome prejudice is to work through common ideas and learned beliefs slowly through education and exposure to the various cultural "others" we're talking about. This is hard, it takes time, it takes mental re-programming, it takes constant effort and constant attention to unique details of each day's situations. I mean, I guess people's hearts are in the right place when they take the above roads, but I think the main effect is just cluttering up the language and exhausting oneself trying to thwart vary basic perceptual principles of discrimination (not the bad kind of discrimination), and, more perniciously, giving people an outward reason to assume their journey to open-mindedness is over and done with rather than ongoing.

Jeez, I can't believe I wrote about race in my blog. I must be hurtin' for funny anecdotes or comedy food recipes lately.