Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Guns, Toxic Masculinity, and Donald Trump's "Death Wish" Politics

The 1980s vigilante movie is a powerful insight into Donald Trump and the GOP's gun fantasies

The 2016 Republican primaries are absurdist political theater with a bizarre cast of characters. Donald Trump is the star of the show. He is a Know-Nothing, a nativist, a carnival barker, a professional wrestler wannabe. The supporting players are equally compelling. Ben Carson is a brain surgeon who believes that “Satan” created the theory of evolution to deceive humankind and that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. Carly Fiorina, in her ghoulish politics, willfully lies about Planned Parenthood “harvesting” organs from babies like witches in a midnight Black Mass. And Jeb Bush, channeling Ronald Reagan’s racism, is a man born into gross amounts of unearned advantage and privilege, yet somehow believes that black people are parasites whoexist to only want “free stuff” from whites.
The Republican Party’s presidential primary debates have befuddled and confused serious political analysts and those members of the public who exist outside of the fantastical world created by the right-wing propaganda machine. The Republican Party’s candidates portend horrible things for the Common Good and American politics. The GOP is selling political meth; movement conservatives are the users.
Last week, Donald Trump gave movement conservatives another hit of his political drug. As reported by The New York Daily News:
Donald Trump whipped a Tennessee crowd into a frenzy Saturday when he declared that he had a gun license and would emulate Charles Bronson in the film “Death Wish” if someone attacked him.
“I have a license to carry in New York, can you believe that?” the tone-deaf Trump bellowed in a bombastic defense of gun rights following the Oregon college massacre.
“Somebody attacks me, they’re gonna be shocked.”
Trump, speaking at a rally in Nashville, professed his love for the 1974 film that depicts a wealthy architect-turned-vigilante — and even led the crowd in chanting its name in unison.
The response is predictable given Trump’s charismatic personality, his simplistic solutions to complex problems, and the authoritarian beliefs of today’s conservatives.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Gun Culture is a Gangrenous Rot in American Society: The Oregon Mass Shooting and Rewatching Richard Slotkin's Genius Analysis of Gun Violence in the United States

Our national momentary outrage about the Oregon massacre has passed. America is numb and indifferent to such violence. It is a type of gangrenous rot in our political culture.

The cone of silence about Christopher Harper Mercer's Satanic/racist/and who knows what else manifesto/diary continues. This is a reflection of a childish news media that refuses to say his name. Mercer's explanations are being treated like the Arc of the Covenant in Indiana Jones. This is more political absurdity as though ignoring a thing will helps us to understand it and somehow prevent said occurrence from happening in the future.

We do know several things about the Oregon massacre, however.

The sheriff who is tasked with investigating the case is a Right-wing conspiranoid ammosexual who believes in the merits of armed sedition and rebellion against the United States. Not surprisingly, John Hanlin is also a member of the brown shirt cadre known as "The Oath Keepers". Is Fate a trickster? One must wonder if that is the case given how Hanlin believes that the Sandy Hook massacre was a "false flag" operation designed to steal his freedom stick--and now such an event has been visited upon the community he is supposed to protect.

Like the good sheriff, Mercer's mother is a fellow ammosexual and conspiranoid loon. Laurel Harper stockpiled weapons in her home in preparation for her battle with "big government". Like Adam Lanza's mother, she believed in the mantra that access to multiple firearms in the home are basis of good "family values". At the cost of nine lives, Laurel socialized the fiend Chris Harper Mercer into the delusion that guns are a substitute and compensation for his crippled masculinity.

As I wrote previously, if Chris Harper Mercer was an "Arab" or "Muslim" he would be a de facto "terrorist" and every bit of known information including the time, date, size, and consistency of his last bowel movement would now be a matter of public record. By comparison, Mercer is a "mixed race" self-hating "black" Nazi ammosexual who is likely an anti-black racist that wallowed in online sewers with other aggrieved, sad, sexually neutered men. Fact is stranger than fiction. The only solution is to throw Chris Harper Mercer down the memory hole until the next mass shooting happens--which will likely be in several day--and the killer is one more easily comprehended (and digestible) by the news media and the American people.

Richard Slotkin is one of America's foremost experts on the country's gun culture and its historical roots. He gave an interview in 2013 on The Bill Moyers Show where they talked about the 1 year anniversary of the Newtown massacre. Their conversation remains one of the most prescient and insightful analyses of mass shooting culture that I have ever seen.

Slotkin, pardon the pun, has Chris Harper Mercer and his murderous ammosexual cabal "dead to rights". Ultimately, it may be much easier to rewatch Slotkin explain this predictable mess than to try to process it on one's own.

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Model Black Conservative: Debunking Ben Carson's Anti-Black Racist Lies About American Politics and History

How black conservatives are human puppets for white racists

Through the first few months of campaign season, one thing has become indisputably clear: The Republican Party is the United States’ largest white identity organization, and openly uses white racial resentment — along with old fashioned racism — to win the support of white voters.
To wit: The Republican Party’s leading 2016 presidential candidates include open racists and nativists such as Donald Trump, as well as “dog whistle” racists such as Jeb Bush, who channel Ronald Reagan by way of “Southern Strategy”-inspired narratives about “welfare queens” and lazy blacks who want “free stuff” from white people.
And then, of course, there is the curious case of Ben Carson, who recently said that black people who support the Democrats are essentially stupid, unsophisticated, hyper-emotional, irrational, and incapable of thinking for themselves. In Carson’s delusional alternate reality, Republicans do not “see race,” and, unlike the Democrats, are the real advocates for racial justice and positive change along the color line in the United States.
Ben Carson is not alone in his twisted fantasy land. He is joined by other black conservatives — a select group of racial mercenaries who are routinely trotted out on Fox News and elsewhere — who, to great approval from white conservatives, also repeat the same anti-black propaganda.
The white racist fantasies given credence by black conservatives consist of several repeated themes.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Weekend Semi-Open Thread: A Refresher. Aggrieved White Male Entitlement Syndrome and the Oregon Mass Shooter Chris Harper Mercer

As is our habit and tradition, please do consider this a weekend semi-open thread.

I am working on a longer piece about masculinity, violence, race, and last week's most recent mass shooting spree by Chris Harper Mercer in Oregon.

The police authorities are being silent about Mercer's purported manifesto. We do know that he likely had white supremacist leanings, may have been a Satanist, and that his writings may have featured virulently racist ramblings about black men and sex. Mercer is a product of the "Men's Rights" and other semi-intellectual sewers where insecure men go to stroke one another.

Guns, race, violence, and masculinity are highly correlated (if not unitary) with one another. The question is not if these variables are in play with Chris Harper Mercer but rather how.

I have written about these questions in regards to both Dylann Roof and Elliot Rodger.

Sociologist Michael Kimmel, who has been a guest on The Chauncey DeVega Show, also has some essential thoughts and insights on matters of race and masculinity to offer:

Joan Walsh, former Editor of Salon, also offered the following comments on Elliot Rodger that will likely also apply to Mercer:

How are you putting together the puzzle in plain sight that is Chris Harper Mercer? Why are the police concealing evidence about Mercer? By comparison, if Chris Harper Mercer was a "Muslim" terrorist there likely would have been a press conference and info dump about his motives, manifesto, and life. Why the difference with Mercer?

Friday, October 2, 2015

Chris Harper Mercer's "Mixed Race" Identity and the Umpqua Community College Shooting

It is a new/old day in America. On Thursday, there was another mass shooting. On Friday, today, and tomorrow, and in the week's thereafter America's politicians will do nothing to stop the plague of gun violence. This is a choice. It is cowardice. The weakness is caused by the grip exerted on America's political elites by the ammosexuals and gun money barons in the National Rifle Association.

Chris Harper Mercer killed 9 people at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. Much will be written about what his murder spree reveals--none of it really new--about toxic aggrieved masculinity, gun culture, ammosexuals, the online Right-wing sewers that gave him aid and comfort, and other matters.

I would like to call attention to one detail about Mercer's personhood, a detail that may be overlooked or not discussed by the mainstream news media out of fear of being called "racist", or alternatively because they lack the conceptual tools (and will not feature experts who possess them) to talk about race and the color line in a nuanced way.

Mercer identifies as "mixed race": his father is white and his mother is black. In America's one drop system of racial hierarchy and identification Chris Harper Mercer is considered "black". During America's centuries-long slave regime, he could have been auctioned off as human property; Mercer would have been subjected to the rules of Jim and Jane Crow.

But in America, there is an odd dynamic when a "mixed race" person does something noteworthy or infamous.

When Barack Obama was elected president, there were many white Americans who could not, and many still cannot, accept that he is a black man. Obama's mother is white. He identifies as black. Obama does something legendary in winning the White House; there are white folks who want to credit claim as white privilege deems that they must always get all the toys. But, if Obama was a young man who was arrested for selling drugs or committing a violent crime, his "whiteness" would be fully ignored and he would just be another "black" criminal.

Elliot Rodger, a mass murderer, driven by aggrieved white masculinity, killed six people. Again, the fact that he is "mixed race" was used by those who do not want to talk about toxic white masculinity to deflect and derail any critical intervention on the topic.

George Zimmerman, a likely sociopath killed Trayvon Martin, and was embraced as a hero by the White Right. As such, white racism and white racial paranoiac thinking allowed George Zimmerman to kill Trayvon Martin with impunity. But again, racial identity as a "mixed race" white Hispanic was used to muddy the waters of justice and public opinion about the role that Zimmerman's (now obvious) racial animus played in this decision to shoot Trayvon Martin.

How will the "stain of blackness" complicate and color the narrative about Chris Harper Mercer's life and his decision to commit mass murder? I am not yet sure. But it most certainly will be present as questions of race, masculinity, and violence are deeply, and perhaps even inseparably, intertwined with one another.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Conversation With Adult Film Star and Sex Educator Nina Hartley

Nina Hartley is the guest on this week's edition of The Chauncey DeVega Show.

Nina is a legendary adult film actress and sex educator who has starred or appeared in more than 650 films since her debut in 1984. She continues to perform, give lectures, and run seminars on sexual health, agency, and spirituality.

She is also a great and enthusiastic conversation partner.

In this conversation, Nina and Chauncey talk about the state of American politics and the psycho-sexual derangement of today's Republican Party, democratic socialism, justice, the Civil Rights and Women's Rights movements, feminism, religion and spirituality, sexual pleasure and health, and her role in the movie Boogie Nights.

On this episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Chauncey gives some love and congratulations to 2015 MacArthur Genius Award recipient Ta-Nehisi Coates, talks about Ben Carson's black conservative shuck and buck betrayal of the Black Freedom Struggle, as well as his magical religious delusional thinking. Chauncey also gives an enthusiastic recommendation for the new movie Sicario.

This episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show can be downloaded from Libsyn and also listened to here. It can also be "watched" on Youtube.

The Chauncey DeVega Show is available on Itunes and at Stitcher as well. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Too Hot To Handle? Sharing My Recent Essay on Donald Trump's Anti-Muslim Eliminationist Rhetoric

I wrote the following piece a week or so ago. It was delayed because some folks most likely thought it "too hot". I did however receive some positive comments from some "journals of record" and like publications I submitted it to--"positive" being a real response and rejection as opposed to being ignored or receiving an automated response.
My waiting for replies meant that I did not share this piece on Trump's coddling and endorsement of anti-Muslim eliminationism and racist conspiracy theories here at Indomitable when the story first broke. Such is life. 
Here, I suggest that eliminationist rhetoric remains a very important issue regarding both Trump, specifically, and the Right-wing hate media, more generally. I also would like to believe that the following essay is spot on. Do teach and help me if you would. 
What have I done well in the following piece? What could be improved? Why do think this critical essay/editorial was passed on? Not tooting my own horn, but I have not seen similar direct writing on the authoritarian racism and obviously eliminationist rhetoric of Trump and the GOP leadership and media in the "mainstream" American news media. Am I mistaken? 
[Even supposedly liberal websites such as the Daily Kos let this piece on eliminationism and Trump die on the vine.]
Or is this essay just not that good...thus why it was declined by more than one outlet?
Eliminationism is a belief that whole groups of people should be killed because of their ethnic, racial, religious, cultural, or other socio-political identity.
As reported by ThinkProgress, during a Donald Trump rally last week in Rochester, New Hampshire, the following exchange took place:

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Am I the Only Person Uncomfortable With President Obama's Choice to Visit El Reno Prison?

I offer an impolitic thought...and one that I believe quite a few other Americans--especially black Americans--may share.

President Barack Obama is the first sitting President to visit a United States gulag penitentiary.

Obama, he who is the first President of the United States who happens to be black, has sat inside the walls of a system that is the embodiment of a racist and classist carceral society and while there talked with the black and brown (and white) people condemned to its bowels.

To the degree they can be separated from one another, my moral sensibilities frame Obama's decision to witness the horrible machine he is the titular head of first hand as both noble and right, yet my intellectual and emotional sensibilities are not comfortable with the symbolism of his making that choice.

I feel that if Obama visited a prison while a former President that would only add shine and luster to his accomplishments and how history remembers his tenure. By visiting as a sitting president, still in office, the contradiction between his power as President and inability (choice) to not dismantle the same system that disproportionately punishes people who look just like him, reveals his impotence in the face of the prison industrial complex and new Jim Crow.

I am struggling with this one. Help me clarify my thinking if you would. How did you make sense of Obama's visit to El Reno prison in Oklahoma as documented on HBO's news documentary show Vice?

Monday, September 28, 2015

He is a Traitor: Ben Carson has Betrayed the Black Freedom Struggle

Like other black conservatives he lives in a fantasy world

The Black Freedom Struggle began in America when the first Africans were brought to Florida in 1581. It continued onward through emancipation and reconstruction as black Americans “built a nation under their feet”, resisting chattel slavery, self-manumitting, taking up arms, and then building political and social institutions across the South and the rest of the United States. The Black Freedom Struggle would reach its peak with the Civil Rights Movement and be seared into American public memory with the Great March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and iconic speeches by Dr. King and others.

The Civil Rights Movement continues today with Black Lives Matter and the centuries-long fight by black and brown folks against police thuggery, for a more equitable society, dignity, and full human rights for all peoples on both sides of the color line. The Black Freedom Struggle inspired other groups—women, gays and lesbians, the differently-abled—in the United States to resist and fight Power. It has also been a source of inspiration for people’s movements around the world.

Of course, the individuals who led (and lead) the Black Freedom Struggle are not perfect. They, like all of us, are flawed. Black resistance to white supremacy occasionally (both necessarily and understandably) involved moments of fleeting flirtation with racial chauvinism.

And one cannot overlook how political stagecraft and cruel realpolitik tried to erase the leadership role played by gays and lesbians in the Civil Rights Movement–this is a shameful blemish on the radically humanistic and transformative vision of American life offered by that glorious struggle.

But in all, the Black Freedom Struggle has been a source of inspiration; black Americans are the moral conscience of a nation. Black America has earned that title even as much as it has been unfairly forced upon it. In that idealized role, black Americans are called to defend the weak against the strong, speak truth to power, and force America to live up to the promise of its democratic creed and vision.

This obligation can give strength, clarity of purpose and energy to Black Americans and others who honor that legacy. Being part of a community that is “the miner’s canary” and “moral conscience of a nation” can exact a heavy burden. As such, some black folks have decided that the burden and obligation are too great to carry. Their shoulders are too narrow and weak.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Weekend Semi-open Thread: Ta-Nehisi Coates and the "Black Panther" Comic Book

Ta-Nehisi Coates will bring new readers to comic books. Where do you think they should begin?

As is our habit, please do consider this a semi-open weekend thread.

Last evening, I saw the new film Sicario. It is excellent. Sicario makes the audience complicit with the violence that is depicted in the film. We are all culpable. Like the under appreciated film The Counselor, Sicario is indifferent to the audience's pleasure or approval. For that reason it transcends being a mere "movie" and is more properly described as a "film". Do seek it out if you have the opportunity.

You likely read elsewhere that The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates is going to be writing a run of Marvel's comic book Black Panther. Coates keeps on winning. I envy him. I will continue to throw out my wish to the universe to write a run of The Punisher (and on that point yes, my first graphic novel project is still in the works. A Kickstarter will appear at some point in the near future).

I want Coates to succeed. I worry that, like others before him who lacked a background in creative writing and the graphic novel form, Coates may fail. But then again, there are lots of folks with tons of experience in graphic novels and comic books who routinely produce hot garbage and are compensated quite nicely for doing so.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of the most high profile public intellectuals in recent memory (omitting the novelty of a black person in that role) to ever be given a shot at writing a comic for D.C. or Marvel. Coates is going to bring lots of new eyes and readers to the genre (which had to be part of Marvel's decision-making process).

Thus some questions.

1. What pitfalls and traps does Coates need to avoid in writing his Black Panther story? What are some common errors that you have seen when writers try to work in a new storytelling form? Has Coates ever written fiction at a professional level?

(Coates has already given a wink and Easter egg of his intellectual bonafides and creative inclinations by naming the story after historian Stephen Hahn's book on the Black Freedom Struggle.)

2. For those people who may start reading comic books because the hobby is made legitimate and new to them by Coates doing Black Panther, do you have any suggestions for where they should start? Go next after reading Coates' take on Black Panther?

At present I am reading Southern Bastards, American Vampire, Elephantmen, Saga, Manifest Destiny, some of the new Star Wars titles, and (still) The Walking Dead. I want to start reading Ms. Marvel, Midnighter, Bitch Planet, and Astro City.

What are you reading?

And of course, do you have any matters of concern, public or private, that you would like to share?