Sunday, September 09, 2012

Free-Dumb Fighters

There are two types of people in the world: Thinkers and Believers.

To my overseas readers: If you're ever struggling to understand why Americans behave like we do, it's primarily because our national psyche is fundamentally schizophrenic - we're a nation born in bottom-against-top revolution, and we still haven't quite figured out how to reconcile our self-image ("scrappy underdog") with our post-WWII "Superpower" status.

You can see this divided-mindset in the platform of the Republican Party as embodied (this week, anyway) by Mitt Romney; which bases it's political appeal entirely on telling white heterosexual Christian men - the least oppressed, most culturally-dominant, most unduly-priviliged class of human beings ever to walk the Earth - that other types of people becoming their social/cultural equals or no longer seeing their culture held as the only or most important qualify as acts of oppression against them.

If you've got cable, you've probably seen the trailers for "Last Ounce of Courage" and divined that it's a kind of sappy-looking family movie about the surviving relatives of a dead veteran (angsty teen son and aging-biker grandfather, primarily) getting their shit back together to fight some kind of local corruption. Well... those are the general-release "stealth" trailers - designed to make it look like a real movie when it's actually a Christian-Right propaganda piece. Here's the REAL trailer, in which we learn that the evil our heroes are fighting is one of the favorite boogeymen of make-believe oppression: "The War on Christmas."



I for one can't wait for the innevitable scene where assholes who insist on barking "MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!" back at anyone (particularly service employees) who dares to wish them "Happy Holidays" are lionized like they were freaking' MLK...

Speaking of which, gotta appreciate that they went all-out with "Sinister Black Politician" as the leader of the Christianity-smashing efforts - I can't imagine who THAT'S supposed to remind me of. I also love the little dipshit onstage holding up the American Flag in the middle of a High School Nativity play: A more perfect symbol of present-day religious conservatism I couldn't have imagined.

Film opens September 14th - unsurprisingly, it doesn't seem to be screening for us godless round-Earth-believin' science-lovin' critic types. Ah, well.

82 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did...did he drape an American flag over his motorcycle as a dust cover?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for making all Christians out to be evil bigots, Bob. Your arrogance and hypocrisy know no boundaries.

And no, I'm not a Christian. Just fed up with your smugness and ego.

ConanThe3rd said...

@"Not a christian"

Only the Sith deal in absolutes; he's only going "Hey guys, look at these clowns, screwing it up for everyone else".

Merrick_HLC said...

I really wish these Christians (note: not ALL Christians, this particular subset) would realize that having your special privlidges revoked isn't the same as having rights taken away.

You're being asked to be treated like EVERY OTHER RELIGION is treated, and not be the 'special' one who gets special treatment.

You can put your 10 commandments up when the Wiccan Rede & the 9 Satanic Statements and every other religious ruleset can be placed right beside it.

We don't object to "Under God" cause we hate your religion, we object to it for the same reason you'd object to being in nation that said "Under Odin" or "Under Horus"

E said...

@ Offended commenter:

Bob never criticized all Christians in this post, just those who cling to the Republican party to shield them from things like diversity and tolerance. I'm sure Bob doesn't believe all Christians are evil. Try reading more carefully next time.

Ryan Perez said...

As an ex-Christian, this makes me cringe.

Anonymous dude #2: Bob doesn't have to try at all to make Christians out to be bigots...most of them are.

Not to mention babies; they hold the status quo in this country (big fuckin' time) and still have the audacity and ego to claim they're being oppressed...particularly when the classes they've oppressed for so long are merely coming out of their holes to gain a little piece of that squandered Christian pie.

Nixou said...

I must say, the funniest part of this trailer is the attempt to make a bunch of bullies' tamper tantrum appear like some struggle of epic proportion.

"We will Fight! For our Freedom! to... huh... annoy people during the holidays season with impunity. Because! This is our unalienable Right!"

***

@ Anonymous:

Give credit where credit is due: to the studio who made this unforgettable trailer and who thought smart to give the name of a pagan deity to a christian organization.

ANImaniac said...

This movie looks stupid and this is coming Born Again Christian. MY GOD There is no Anti-Christian conspiracy going on in America. This movies only purpose seems to me to be to troll less intelligent Christians into thinking there is.

Also find it hard to believe that this is getting a theatrical release, It looks like a made for lifetime movie (just with heavier religious over tones)

Anonymous said...

The entire plot of this movie is just dumb, but what if, instead of Christianity that was being oppressed (in AMERICA? *rolls eyes*) What if it was Islam that was outlawed. That feels a lot more probable, in my humble opinion. And a better movie that isn't just bring preachy. I dunno, This movie should just go fuck itself because the plot just wouldn't happen.

Elessar said...

You know, I could mock the RIDICULOUSLY stupid premise (and the overblown politics attached to it) or how there is a trailer that is literally not being shown outside of Churches and how DUMB that makes them look.

But you know what? That's no fun. Can I just mock the production values? I mean, skipping the terrible acting on display and a script which, if it's on the level shown in the trailer, is easily Razzie level, can we just talk about how cheap it looks? It looks like it was shot in a weekend.

Oh and Christians offended by it getting mocked? I'm not mocking your movie for being Christian, I'm mocking it for being stupid, overblown, preachy and poorly made. There are Christian based movies I like, Christian based movies I love even. Like Saved! Or Jesus of Nazareth. Or...well I suppose you wouldn't like me mentioning Last Temptation eh? Well, my point stands.

Timothy said...

This kind of stupid shit just makes me even more convinced that giving up Catholicism is one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Craig The Destroyer said...

In any other movie, I'd automatically assume the guy with the crazy Just For Men hair and the glasses standing on a roof, wearing a flak jacket, spouting rhetoric at spellbound believers, was the bad guy who'd just stolen a nuke or somesuch and would wait to see which one of the Expendables was going to come along and save the day with a machine gun. But no...that guy is the hero. Right.

Also, speaking as someone from the UK here, I will never understand why Christianity in America has adopted the country's flag so heavily, as if it's as much a symbol of their faith as a cross. I've been to plenty of churches over here - and was a Sunday School kid for years - and I've never once seen a union jack or a saltire inside one. It seems incredibly...xenophobic, maybe; "You're not a REAL AMERICAN IN AMERICA unless you're with US!"

P.S. Since nobody seems to have mentioned it yet, HEY BOB OBAMA IS AS BAD AS BUSH AND ROMNEY WHY DONT YOU ADMIT IT SO I CAN FEEL SMUG. There ya go, saved the regulars the trouble! ;)

Aiddon said...

You are giving your own religion a bad name. It REALLY amazes me at how badly a lot of Christians represent themselves.

Markus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Markus said...

@Craig The Destroyer

Obama IS as bad as Bush. Don't give people shit just for pointing out the truth.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else think that Bob has become a left-wing Limbaugh? Because posts like this serve as pretty good evidence that he has gone that route. (Refute this if you can, Chipman).

TheAlmightyNarf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TheAlmightyNarf said...

I've got to thank Bob for bringing this up because it's something I've been think about a lot lately...

I contend that there is absolutely no empirical evidence suggesting that whites, males, or Christians are "privileged" in any statistically significant way. Every relevant study I've seen over the last 10 years or so (basically, as long as I've been paying attention) has suggested that influence is directly proportional to income, income is directly proportional to education level, and that all other factors have pretty much a nil effect.

And, I don't want to hear and BS about how privilege manifests in vague, unspecified ways that are inherently untestable and unfalsifiable. I want to see fucking numbers, preferably from with-in the last decade.

I'm not saying that minorities don't have to deal with shit... everyone has to deal with shit. Forces for social change fought long and hard for equality, and at some point they're going to have to accept that they actually achieved it.

PS - Yes, the movie looks incredibly stupid and not really worth comment or thought beyond that.

Jacob Beck said...

Excuse me while I go bang my head against the wall.

Jay Blanc said...

@TheAlmightyNarf

So you have to ask yourself, which class of people have had an intrinsic better access to wealth and the privileges associated with that due to generations of enforced disparity? And which class is thus better able to "look after their own" by support networks that are targeted at friends and family in the same class?

"Equality of oppertunity" applies only when the playing field is level. And you can gauge that by looking at measures such as Poverty indexes, and Prison Populations (Where the truly desperate often end up)

Anyone who even glances at such measures can quickly tell you that the playing field isn't level yet, and there's more to be done before "they finally achieve it".

Lido said...

it's said when it looks like you could've set the budget for this movie on fire and it would've been more entertaining, seriously the TGWTG.com anniversary specials have a hire production value then this

Andrew said...

How did they go from "dead son/soldier" to "War on Christmas"? Is that just a cheap ploy to win sympathy for this family? Would the target audience not be expected to automatically support them in their crusade?

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Jay Blanc

What did I say about untestable claims?

The issue with "support networks" is that the essentially exists with-in just the upper class... They're no more accessible for a lower-middle class white, male Christian than they are for any one else in the lower-middle class.

Let's put it like this... What if the actual reality of our country was that Asians tended to earn more than Whites; Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists and Jews all tended to earn more than Christians; and that men and women earned with-in a statistical margin of error of each other?

How does "privilege" come into play then?

Anonymous said...

Peace Bob, I'm leaving your blog before "Thinkers and Believers" turns into "Thinkers vs. Believers"

You have become the liberal equivalent of the post 9/11 conservative hotheads who hated every muslim and liberal for the attacks that extremists were responsible for, but instead of Muslims and liberals, its Christians and conservatives.

What Christians did to you I have no idea, I really hope it wasn't something as bad as the 9/11 attacks. From my own experiences, some tend to have a "holier than thou" attitude about themselves, but that doesn't make me angry enough to hate every Christian by default.

Your "white guilt" is also disgusting. And at the same time exposes you as the racist you really are.

Maybe someday you might be able to comprehend the idea of thinkers believing in something.


Anonymous said...

Peace Bob, I'm leaving your blog before "Thinkers and Believers" turns into "Thinkers vs. Believers"

You have become the liberal equivalent of the post 9/11 conservative hotheads who hated every muslim and liberal for the attacks that extremists were responsible for, but instead of Muslims and liberals, its Christians and conservatives.

What Christians did to you I have no idea, I really hope it wasn't something as bad as the 9/11 attacks. From my own experiences, some tend to have a "holier than thou" attitude about themselves, but that doesn't make me angry enough to hate every Christian by default.

Your "white guilt" is also disgusting. And at the same time exposes you as the racist you really are.

Maybe someday you might be able to comprehend the idea of thinkers believing in something.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bob, grow a pair and ANSWER some of your critics.

Anon1 said...

Can't you just leave James? We all know its you, there is no need for you to post an Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Just to be clear, the 8:02 Anon is not the 7:57 Anon. The 7:57 anon was myself.

Andrew said...

Nobody who posts Anonymously even deserves an answer. It's Bob's prerogative if he wants to respond, but you should stand behind any statement you make by at the very least identifying yourself by a regular name. If you post as Anonymous, you're just a lone voice in the wind; you could be anybody, and you're clearly not someone who cares. So why should anyone care about you?

ogmaster said...

The old man's last name is "Revere." Ugh, I guess him driving around on his bike is a symbolic of the Paul Revere's Midnight Ride.

Anonymous said...

@ Obviously James

Bob doesn't owe you shit. Deal with it.

Jay Blanc said...

@TheAlmightyNarf

"Untestable" claims?

You do understand that there are such things as censuses and records of prison populations?

Interesting "what if" you come up with. "If" it were so, things would indeed be different. But 2006 average income for White families averages to $54,920, Black families earned $33,916, Hispanics families earned $35,000, and Asian families earned $52,000 annually.

The greatest measure of power in 'the west' is indeed access to money. And as we see, White people get more. So your entire proposition that White Privelege does not exist is bunk, and as you can see it was so simple of me to demonstrate that I call into question the basis for your making these claims.

Merrick_HLC said...

AlmightyNarf: I can prove Christians are privileged. Again. "One Nation, Under God" in our pledge.

"In God We Trust" on our money.

The fact that "Should the 10 commandments be displayed in a courthouse?" is even a freaking question.

When is the last time the idea that any other religions major 'rules' should have a monument displaying them in a government building?

Why is that Obama being "secretly muslim" is a common attack obviously meant to be seen as negative to him, but every other candidate in history openly believing Jesus Christ was the savior (even Romney believes that, somewhat) is a GOOD thing?

Christianity IS privileged.

Sylocat said...

Narf, you know, the fact that you are part of an incredibly privileged group does not mean that you, personally, are an asshole.

You're only an asshole if you are an asshole about it. Like, for instance, if you backhandedly insult people with your pathetic efforts to convince yourself that your privilege doesn't exist.

lordoffaceplam said...

@Andrew couldn't have said it better myself, thank you. Also yes James both me and everyone else here know that it is you, so why should Bob indulge your insipid Libertarian bullshit when you don’t even have the balls to identify yourself anymore? So please, just leave us alone and go suck on Gary Johnson’s withered old cock!

BookwormOtaku said...

A movie about the War on Christmas, that time of year where Atheist trolls and Christian trolls scream at each other while all the sensible people (regardless of faith) just ignore them. Would anyone else besides me prefer a Christmas movie about the 4chan trolls instead?

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Jay Blanc

Two problems... First, you're looking at household income and not personal income which I think is much more relevant in this scenario. Second, your not accounting for education level which I clearly specified as the single largest contributor to economic disparity (and on that point, the Hispanic average get's brought down quick a bit by there being far more Hispanic poverty stricken immigrants with little education and poor English skills than any other demographic; their average comes pretty much on par with whites if you take 1st and 2nd generation immigrants out of the equation... then there's the issue that "Hispanic" isn't really a legally defined term and is only counted by self identification, and after a few generations most Hispanics tend to just refer to themselves as "white").

Once you start to take that variable into account, you get a very different picture.

@ Merrick_HLC

But does any of that lead to an actual quantifiable effect?

Ben Toman said...

Speaking as a Christian engineer this is interesting. I have followed Bob's online career since he debuted on the Escapist and I like many of the points he brings up, if only for the debate in my own mind and I dare say such debates have improved me as a person. I find this movie trailer mildly offensive and as a Christian would not want to associate myself with it. I have noticed for years that there is a Christian culture that assumes that the Christian point of view is the way things should be for everyone. They treat faith in Jesus as some kind of intellectual assent. Having faith in something implies that there is no evidence for it. I do not expect Christianity to make sense to anyone who does not have faith. The same culture treats every move for equality of faiths under the law as an assault on Christianity. I know Christianity isn't for everyone. I live my life respecting others decisions while having an answer for anyone who ask about what I believe and faith I have. I am tolerant in that while I do not agree with some people, I do not wish to silence them. I tolerate annoying conservatives, I tolerate annoying liberals, I tolerate people who say that in order to be a good engineer I need to believe evolution. I would like to have a debate with Bob over this if his schedule allows.

Jake said...

@Narf
Do you have links to those studies? They sound interesting.

Smpoza said...

@Narf
Yeah, that makes sense. If you just remove the significantly large number of people that prove you wrong you're not as wrong. Okay, solid. Also I'd like to question how, say, Jose Martinez would decide "yeah, I've got grandparents who were raised by immigrants from Mexico and it was a huge part of their lives. When we visit the extended family it's a giant fiesta. Sounds caucasian to me." Unless, of course, there was some sort of stigma to NOT being white, almost like prejudice or privilege or something...

Anonymous said...

"white heterosexual Christian men - the least oppressed, most culturally-dominant, most unduly-priviliged class of human beings ever to walk the Earth"

...
History includes more than European middle ages, Bob.

Jim said...

@TheAlmightyNarf, I'm surprised to hear you claim women and minorities do not have institutional disadvantages compared white, Christian males. Here's a couple of studies I found after looking around for, like, two minutes on the topic of women's pay:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-16/shining-shoes-best-way-wall-street-women-outearn-men.html

www.aauw.org/learn/research/upload/simpletruthaboutpaygap1.pdf

Here's an article on the advantages of being white when it comes to jail sentencing:

http://www.allgov.com/news/top-stories/black-americans-given-longer-sentences-than-white-americans-for-same-crimes?news=843984

If you want to talk numbers, why don't you tell me how many hate crimes have been committed against white Christians since 9-11? Or how often the construction of a church or synagogue in NYC get protested? How white people in AZ get arrested for not having proof of citizenship? How many white people get stop-and-frisked in NYC? How many minorities are lead actors in movies or TV shows?

I'm not even going to get into the inherent advantages of being straight, because...c'mon, no one seriously denies this, right?

All these matters aside the structuring of your comment does not take into account the scope of these social problems. While in the last ten years things certainly have gotten better, that doesn't change that fact that not everyone around right now wasn't born in a time that was so egalitarian.

Let's say, hypothetically, starting in 2001, everyone was hired and paid based on education. Great, but what did it take to get a good education before 2001? Well, having rich parents to pay for your schooling sure helps. And if you were rich before the nineties, you were probably white because your parents generation wasn't so open-minded. Simply put, that fact that society is more free and open this decade doesn't change the fact that a lot people get a head start by coming from a more privileged (white) background.


So, yeah. It's pretty awesome to be a Christian white guy.

Zeno said...

"Film opens September 14th - unsurprisingly, it doesn't seem to be screening for us godless round-Earth-believin' science-lovin' critic types. Ah, well. "

You're not a type, Bob.

Anonymous said...

There is a real war on Christmas Bob! I started it last year when I didn't get a PS3! That fat bastard Santa will pay! Luckily I got a rocket launcher for my birthday.

Benfea said...

Bob, I think you're wrong about the source of Republicans' culture of victimhood comes from. This is a feature of most if not all conservative political movements that people in a position of privilege insist that they are being oppressed or persecuted by the very minority groups they oppress or persecute.

The Nazis insisted that they were being persecuted by Jews. Apartheid South Africans insisted they were being oppressed by blacks. Islamists in Muslim-majority countries insist they are being persecuted by religious minorities.

So of course conservatives insist that rich people are being persecuted by the poor, whites are being persecuted by racial minorities, men are being persecuted by women, Christians are being persecuted by homosexuals. They're just doing what every conservative political movement ultimately does.

As for why this happens, just look at the history of the South. Every time rich white Southerners stoked the fires of the racism of poor white Southerners, it's because they were doing something to screw over poor white Southerners and needed something to distract them. "Help! You're being persecuted by nigrahs!" turned out to do the job perfectly.

Andrew said...

I think, in simple terms, that there isn't a wide societal "oppression" of minorities. At least not in the sense that they are actively held back as they have been in the past. I think what we're simply looking at is a scenario where our cultural mindset has outpaced our system.

In a technical sense, sure, every person has the opportunity to go to school, do well, and rise above poverty if they're in it. But access to that opportunity is harder to come by. Is that a result of the government specifically oppressing minorities? Or is it a result of an education system that hasn't budged an inch in at least a century. We still use the most outdated methods of teaching and learning of any developed nation.

I believe that if we were to do a serious overhaul of education, and fix that, then many of these issues start to come into greater focus, and be more manageable. Yet both sides of the political spectrum want to focus on band aid solutions, not to mention railing on each other rather than fix the issues.

Tom said...

Wolverines!

Chris said...

Next time someone claims that saying "Happy Holidays" is taking religion out of Christmas, ask them what day it is.

If it is Dec. 23, you are WRONG in saying Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays & Seasons Greetings cover all of the holidays/and general season during December. When it is actually Dec 25, then it is the correct time to use Merry Christmas.

Joe said...

So the old guy's a pharmacist, eh? Can't imagine how that will be relevant. Seriously, it's amazing the selective rationale that says an individual shouldn't be forced to do something against their personal beliefs even if it's clearly in their job description, but a retail corporation shouldn't be free to promote to a diverse marketplace with inclusive language like "Happy Holidays".

Craig The Destroyer said...

@Markus:

My point isn't whether or not the statement is true - it's that fact that the statement or a variation thereupon HAS to appear on every. Single. ****ing topic posted by Bob here irrespective of whether or not the subject at hand has anything to do with it, and I for one find that to be pointless and deeply tiresome. Thus, I mock it, for that is all it deserves.

Why is Bob's political opinion - which is just that, an opinion, and thus of course bound to personal biases that may well not have real basis in fact - worth getting butthurt over anyway? "Oh no, an internet movie critic doesn't like Republicans! Clearly this could swing the vote in multiple otherwise-red states!" Do you believe that? Of course you don't believe that. No-one believes that. And yet every time a new post comes up here, the same persistent group of largely-anonymous commenters gather around to heckle Bob as if they've made it their life's mission to convert him to their political beliefs. And even if they succeed, what difference will it make? Zilch, basically, except the next bunch of posts will be biased in a different direction, one that these people, whoever they are, find more agreeable.

And now I just spent 2 paragraphs being angry about right-wing politics when I should still be angry about self-entitled Christian whining, which isn't political at all.

Joe said...

Also, Americans, you really need to learn your own history. No one other than George Washington fought a War on Christmas, literally. Instead of spending Christmas Day thinking about the "reason for the season", he marched his men out in a blizzard and crossed the Delaware.

@ Anonymous 4:17:

Did...did he drape an American flag over his motorcycle as a dust cover?

Do you ever notice that self-identified hyper-patriots always show the biggest contempt for national symbols?

The United States Flag: Federal Law Relating to Display and Associated Questions:

7. Position and Manner of Display.

(b) The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle or of a railroad train or a boat. When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff
should be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.

Sam Robards, Comic Fan said...

Wow, this movie looks horrible. Not only because the premise is ridiculous, but because it looks horrifically cheap. Seriously, I thought it was a Lifetime movie the first time I saw the trailer on TV.

As for the subject matter, I'm a Christian, but I don't think there's any "War on Christmas." Even if there were, it certainly wouldn't stop me from celebrating it.

Switching topics, I really want to see more cheetah robots. 'Nuff said.

Andrew Eisen said...

It's entirely possible I simply have my head up my own ass on this issue but I spent most of this trailer wondering what the hell the guy was talking about.

Seriously, what is he talking about? Specifically.

-Where is the bible outlawed? I know of no public school that prohibits students from having a bible. Is that a private school? If so, why are your kids going there?

-"Freedom and taking back what was stolen from us." Huh? What the hell are you talking about?

-Where the hell is Christmas a crime?

-"Our rights are being destroyed, perhaps forever." What rights?

-"Our freedoms are being taken away from us, one by one." What freedoms?

-"We can't let the enemy take one more inch..." What enemy? What inch?

What the hell is the conflict in this movie?!

Andrew said...

@Andrew Eisen

Many people like to feel outraged, or even victimized. It makes them feel powerful, oddly enough, and united in a common struggle. You can sell a population - especially an insecure one - on the idea that some group out there is trying to destroy their values, and they'll take you seriously. They'll close ranks, and they'll feel like part of a group, which will make them feel bigger than if they were just their lonely selves, and above all, they'll feel righteous and morally superior in the face of a malicious enemy with antithetical values.

There's no reason why American Christians should feel persecuted. 98-99% of all politicians are Christians (and they feel very free in expressing it), and Christians dominate the economic sphere and the military. The most insecure, xenophobic Christians tend to live in parts of the country that are almost devoid of any other religion (which is standard for any xenophobic group), namely rural areas. People who aren't exposed to other peoples or beliefs are generally much easier to scare with some boogeyman than are people who actually know other peoples and can see that they're regular folks like them.

Political leaders love being able to exploit this fear, so they play it up. It's really easy too. "Some clerk at the post office said 'Happy Holidays' to me yesterday. What the hell's going on here? December is Christmas, it was Christmas when I was a kid, and it's always going to be Christmas to me. I guess I'm just a traditional guy that way. So why are THEY saying 'Happy Holidays"? Are THEY not Christian? Are THEY trying to take Christmas away from us? And take it from OUR children too? I don't know why else THEY'd be doing that unless THEY hated Christmas. How dare THEY!!! THEY're trying to destroy something WE love, and trying to force THEIR values on OUR children. Shame on them! Vote for me, and I'm going to make sure we make Christmas the official religion, and THEY have to accept that. WE shouldn't have to tolerate this. Just forget about that bribery thing from last year. And that gay airport thing. I'm a good Christian. You can tell because I'm making a really big deal about this. I'm just a simple small-town family man who wants to protect Christmas for our children. And I guess my opponent just doesn't understand that."

Omegalittlebob said...

Seriously? This is a real movie? *Facepalm* It looks like a direct to video movie made in the 80s.

Anonymous said...

This is one of those topics on which there isn't much room for debate. Christians pretending that they're being victimized are being douchebags. White people, and men, and Christians, possess a number of privileges that other people don't, and if you don't know that, you're either a child or willfully ignorant. The people making this movie are either cynical assholes looking to make a buck or sincere idiots looking to make a difference. Gross.

James said...

BTW Bob, you're a believer also. It's just that your beliefs aren't motivated by religion, but by ego and narcissism.

Anonymous said...

I'm still trying to figure out why Fred "the hammer" Williamson is in this, is he really that desperate for work.
But I do think Bob, needs to lay off the political rants on his movie site.

Anonymous said...

Yay, James found his password. Clap... clap... clap...

RKissoon said...

Folks, the tagline under the banner reads "Film. Gaming. Politics." If that doesn't adequately spell out the subject matter of this blog, then nothing else ever will. Stop saying that he needs to layoff politics because this is supposed to be a movie site.

And may I say, what may seem like ego to some is probably nothing more than dismissal of the American religious right which by now has become a parody of itself. So even though I may not agree with Bob much of the time, I still have to say: Right on Bob, write on.

yamato-0 said...

wait, I don't recall seeing a nativity play in that trailer. Time-marker, anybody? I'm curious to know what Bob was talking about when he made the comparison.

biomechanical923 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
biomechanical923 said...

Sorry I'm a little late to the party. Here's my 2 cents so far.

1. It doesn't matter that this is a website you like to come to. This is first, and foremost, Bob's PERSONAL blog, and he can say whatever the hell he wants regardless of how relevant you think it is.

2. Regardless of my first point, keep in mind that people also have the freedom to come here and disagree if they want to, until such a time that Bob declares his blog a "safe space" from dissent. This point is being made in response to all the whiners that say things like "why do you come here just to disagree?"

3. I agree with Almighty Narf to a certain extent regarding the subject of empirical evidence. More importantly, evidence needs to be statistically significant. For example, there was an argument about income disparity. Were the incomes within one standard deviation of eachother? What was the margin of error, etc... If you're gonna argue statistics, at least do it right.

4. Check out 1:44 of the video. So he's a pharmacist? How much do you wanna bet there's a scene where he becomes a "hero" after refusing to sell birth control to somebody??

5. I think there should be an addendum to Godwin's Law that states "the first person who accuses his opponent of being mad or butthurt loses by default"

see: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Internet_law

Anonymous said...

I just don't think people should get the benefit of the doubt indefinitely. For example, the religious right is simply a bad group of people who want bad things so that America can be more bad. There's nothing deep to think about here - if they like it, you should assume there's something wrong, automatically, even if they say they want a chocolate ice cream and blowjob appreciation day. No credibility. Assume the worst, always.a

TheAlmightyNarf said...

Sorry it's been a few days. Very busy time of year for catering. I'll try to hit some of the more interesting points.

@ Jim ... and several others, I guess

Ok, I think we need to clarify "privilege" here.

As far as I understand it, white privilege (and male privilege, but I'm going to focus on race for the moment) asserts that in an other-wise identical situation, a white person would be at more of an advantage than a non-white person. So, we're not talking about how a white ivy-league business man would have more privilege than a non-white high-school educated factory worker... The assertion is that a white ivy-league business man would be more privileged than a non white ivy-league business man, that a white high-school educated factory worker would be more privileged than a non-white high-school educated factory worker.

I'm counter-arguing that when you actually compare apples to apples like that, it doesn't show that whites are in any way inherently privileged over all non-whites races.

"Well, having rich parents to pay for your schooling sure helps."

Which is "wealth privilege". And, sure... that exists. But, you know what?

MOST WHITE PEOPLE AREN'T WEALTHY!

There are more white poverty stricken or unemployed people than every other race combined.

Don't project the privilege you get from being wealthy onto me just because we happen to have the same skin color. I'm lower-middle class, and so were my parents, and so were my grand-parents. We're about as fucking far from the privilege of wealth as anyone.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ biomechanical923

"5. I think there should be an addendum to Godwin's Law that states "the first person who accuses his opponent of being mad or butthurt loses by default" "

That more or less falls under "Danth's Law".

cdstephens said...

Would really wish the kinds of people promoting this video would stop making people like me look bad.

And as far as privilege etc goes, as far as I've seen I haven't noticed "white privilege" in the sense that ceteris paribus whites have more privilege than other races in terms of seeking employment, their income, etc. Not all minorities are poor and not all white people are rich (I can personally attest to that one) and vice versa.

Now do people exist that treat others different based on race and gender? Yes. Do these people affect society greatly? I wouldn't know, because I haven't met very many people like that and if I have I disassociate myself from them.

Could things be better? Yes. But things are not as bad as they used to be, and white people are certainly not being "oppressed".

The only area that I have personal experience with that might have some issue of racial equality is applying to college, where the general consensus from my friends is that racial minorities other than Asians have a greater chance of getting into college than Asians or whites. I don't have conclusive evidence for this though, so I'm skeptical of the idea.

maninahat said...

With these sorts of movies, I always end up wondering how sincere the team behind them are being. On one hand, they could be sincere idiots, pounding their chests without the slightest sense of self-awareness. On the other, they're cynical, cunning types who are out to profit from prevailing anxieties.

It's like a really scummy version of Poe's law, and I don't know which concerns me more; moronic and well-meaning, or smart and exploitative.

maninahat said...

@ TheAlmightyNarf

That's not what is meant by the term "white privilege". The term just refers to the various advantages being white brings in a society that should treat people equally. For example, a white guy in the US can be pulled over by the cops, and never have to worry that it was because of his skin colour. He can be late, and not have it associated with his race. He can turn on a tv, and see diverse and plentiful representations of his race. Just check online for "white privilege checklists" for many more examples. There are US christian and male privilege checklists too.

NB, note that these lists aren't out to blame white people, they're just there to point out their advantages for the sake of greater self-awareness.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys hold up. Was that...Fred Williamson? What the hell, guess he needs the money.

biomechanical923 said...

@maninahat

But you're falsely assuming that all white people HAVE privileges, and furthermore, I think you're grossly overestimating those advantages (if any exist).

I'm a white man, and I've been pulled over by the cops whist driving home from work, multiple times, just so they could ask me "What the fuck are you doing out at 3AM?" So I really think that has nothing to do with race, and more to do with cops being assholes trying to play "gotcha" at 3AM.

Insisting that "life is automatically better for you, because you're white / male / cis" is only done by ignoring, discrediting, and marginalizing all of the evidence to the contrary. (Ceteris Paribus, of course)

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ maninahat

See, all those fall into the "unquantifiable" and "unfalsifiable" thing I was talking about back in my original post... Can you actually show me exactly how more often non-whites are pulled over specifically for racial reasons than whites? And, assuming no racial bias, by shear random selection about 75% of people on TV would be white... is it statistically more than that? Is there any empirical evidence for any of this?

Failsafe said...

Playing the victim is over rated. Typically when I have been pulled over, it's because I have been doing something dumb. Like speeding.

maninahat said...

@ biomechanical
You kind of missed the point of what I was saying. White Americans who have been stopped by police, can be safe in the knowledge that their ethnicity played no part in the reason for why they were stopped (much like yourself). This is a society in which blacks and muslims are seen as "suspicious", for literally no reason other than being black or muslim. It is a privilege to not be stereotyped in such a manner.

@ TheAlmightyNarf
"Can you actually show me exactly how more often non-whites are pulled over specifically for racial reasons than whites?"

Let me guess. If I can't show this highly specific study, you won't entertain the posibility that I might be right. Yes?

What I am saying is falsifiable. The statement "white Americans don't have to worry about racial profiling" can most certainly be disproved. But you seem quite willing to handwave the subtleties of racial prejudice, just as long as there is a lack of data. A hypothesis that hasn't been tested is not automatically invalidated. You're not being empirical, you're being dismissive.

biomechanical923 said...

@maninahat
"White Americans who have been stopped by police, can be safe in the knowledge that their ethnicity played no part in the reason for why they were stopped (much like yourself). This is a society in which blacks and muslims are seen as "suspicious", for literally no reason other than being black or muslim."

You kind of missed the point that you have no way of knowing whether "profiling" is based on race or not, because there's no empirical evidence to suggest that it is.

This reminds me of some reverse version of the XKCD comic.

http://xkcd.com/385/

So if a cop pulls ME over at 3AM, only to ask what I'm doing... its because cops are just assholes like that.

But if a cop pulls over somebody else at 3AM to ask what they're doing, and that person just happens to be non-white... its because cops are racists, not assholes?

This ridiculous double standard does nothing except perpetuate a culture of perceived victimhood.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ maninahat

Well, the obvious question would be... Why on Earth shouldn't I just dismiss it? To be completely frank, burden of proof is not on the skeptic. There's simply no reason for me to just accept that "white privilege" exists with out hard evidence supporting it.

If there really is a problem there, we should be doing everything we can to understand exactly what the problem is, exactly what the symptoms are, and exactly what the causes are so that we can make a concerted effort to solve it. But, none of the "symptoms" (that can be shown to actually exist) seem to be directly linked to race, and all the "causes" are just convenient racist stereotypes.

I'm becoming increasingly convinced that there simply isn't anything there.

maninahat said...

@ TheAlmightyNarf

A hypothesis begins with an observation - you yourself have probably seen plenty of news stories on controversial cases of racial profiling. That is a leaping off point for people to discuss the possibility of wider spread racism. Knowing that individual examples exist, it is foolish and unscientific to then dismiss the possibility of it being a wider issue, even if we haven't yet studied it extensively.

That said, there are immediate ways to prove some subtle forms of racial bias. Here is a thing you can actually try out yourself. Go on a stock photo website (such as istockphoto.com) and do searches for "man singing" or "person posing" or whatever. In the descriptions and tags of the images that come up, you might notice a peculiar pattern. With photos of white people, the descriptions will simply say things like "man singing into mic" or "woman dancing in street". But when it is of a non-white person, the description more often tends to say things like "African American woman singing" or "Asian man smiling". Apparently, whiteness is taken for granted whereas non-white ethnicities are duly noted.

Moviebob once even brought this up on his other blog; the idea that white people are (subconciously) depicted as a tabula rasa, even though that shouldn't be the case. There might not be any real harm in omiting the word "caucasian" from a description of a snow boarder, but that's the perfidity of such subtleties; in a society that considers its people to be equal, why is this quiet racial bias still happening? Does it exist else where? And what do the sum of these elements add up to?

biomechanical923 said...

@maninahat

Three things:

1. "Whiteness" is not an actual thing. A hundred years ago, nobody considered Irish, Italian, or Jewish people as "white" now, even many Latinos are self-identifying as "white", so you're complaining about the privileges of a group that doesn't actually exist, or at least doesn't have any clear, universal definition of what it means to be in that group.

2. I google image searched "singing" and "dancing". The ethnicities of the people pictured in the results were incredibly diverse (although I'm not sure why you're concerned about such an absurd criteria anyway), so your complaint that everybody sees "white" as the "vanilla" flavor is outdated at best, and biased at worst, especially considering that nobody makes these complaints in other countries. I'm sure that Japan has more Japanese news anchors, and Kenya has more black news anchors, but we don't run around calling them a bunch of racists for it, or whine about "microaggressions" or any other things that Americans are so fat and happy that they have time to worry about.

3. We, ("we" meaning people who don't buy into the concept of race-shaming "whiteness", a diverse group of people who don't even share a skin color, and may or may not even come of some European descent), we are not the ones making racial distinctions here, you are. Before you start throwing around accusations of "privilege" (as if the people that you arbitrarily categorize as "white" automatically have lives that are more awesome than those of their "non-white" countrymen), maybe you should stop and think about the paternalistic "white-man's burden" bullshit that your feminist, pseudo-marxist indontrinators are pulling on you by suggesting that people of darker skin colors somehow have less moral agency, and need some nanny state to protect their interests from the boogeyman of "white privilege".

It's 2012, and like it or not, this is a post-racial society. You can point at all the Zimmerman's you want to, and all I see is the death throes of an angry, old, dying ideology by angry, old, dying men.

The world gets better as old generations of voters die.

Smashmatt202 said...

I think what's the most hilarious thing of all is that both ratings and comments were disabled.

But, uh, yeah, some people...

Personally, I feel like saying Merry Christmas, not so much because I feel oppressed (Heaven forbid), but because I grew up a certain way, and it feels weird to just say Happy Holidays instead. Still, I respect people of other beliefs, and, you know, spirit of the season and all that.

maninahat said...

@ biomechanical
1. "Whiteness" is a colloquialism, but I'm sure you could figure out what it means for yourself.

2. I didn't tell you to use google. I said stock image websites. Try again.

3. If you hold off with the pigeon holing for a while, you might actually hear what I'm saying. "White people have privileges" doesn't mean "white people always have the bestest lives".

You think America is as post racial society, as though racism isn't a serious issue anymore. Huh. Goodbye.

biomechanical923 said...

Maninahat:
Location: Yorkshire.

Well that certainly explains a lot. You've had the "atone for your ancestor's sins" Liberal guilt bullshit shoved down your throat by teachers since the day you were born. My apologies.

www.lifelineexpedition.co.uk

Chris said...

@ mostly Narf

I don't think anyone is/was arguing that this discussion is about someones skin pigment giving them some immediate advantage over someone else with the exact same circumstances (save their ethnicity being the only variable).

However people who happen to have access to these other advantages (wealth/education) have a stronger likelihood of being white.

I feel we can extend the term privilege to mean " people who haven't had national or local government legislation specifically leveled against them or that happens to negatively impact their ethnicity or cultural group disproportionately"

I think that's probably what we're talking about.