As is our habit and tradition, please do consider this our Sunday semi-open thread.
The Iowa caucuses are this week. This gives the commentariat something to talk about. I have little interest in the opinions of a small number of people in a sparsely part of the United States. Moreover, there is an on-going debate about how and if success in Iowa is predictive of a given candidate being their respective party's presidential nominee. And to be honest, the political scientist part of my brain has never found campaigns and elections very interesting.
Ultimately, there are other matters that hold far more entertainment value for me on a rainy and 50 degree Chicago winter afternoon.
There is apparently a civil war of sorts within the online "furry" community about the relationship(s) between social media, harassment, sexuality, and comportment. Lovers of Tony the Tiger and Chester the Cheetah are not of the same mind. Tony is a bit of a prude it seems; Chester is a cheesy, sticky, dirty boy. Sometimes, I just have to smile and admit that I love these Internets and how they have provided a space for folks to fly their freak flag.
What follows are two of my favorite paragraphs in recent memory. From Slate:
In 2014, Salon called furry culture a “craze,” though it’s more like social media and a burgeoning convention scene has helped it become more visible to people outside its limits. In earlier years, furries had to be deeply committed to the scene to even find it; now that it’s mainstream accessible, it can be a casual hobby or one-time-only affair. It’s not a fetish, some furries told Buzzfeed in 2014—it’s a community, and a community that thrives online. Tony Tiger-gate is what happens when that community grapples with its own definition and its members’ diversity of opinions on respectability, protest, and degree of public sexuality.Remember, this is why ISIS and Al-Qaida hates America!
It’s easy to see why furries landed on Tony as a favorite “daddy”: He’s got a hulking upper body, a catchphrase perfect for sexual wordplay, and a red hanky that’s flagging for fisting partners. Chester is a different kind of dreamboat: a wily sleazeball with ‘90s-era sneakers and cheese all over his fingers. But to the willing go the spoils.
There was a boxing match last evening. Sergey Kovalev beat the hell out of Jean Pascal. This bout also had a great build up with Pascal lobbing accusations of racism at Kovalev. Sergey Kovalev is a very tough and bad man. I like him. After he brutalized Jean Pascal, he mocked him during the post fight interview, explained that he punished Pascal for being disrespectful, and said that Pascal was not a real man. Sergey Kovalev is Ivan Drago from Rocky IV...except he keeps winning.
The Japanese have a "new" "stealth" fighter plane. And double cool points, the X-2 looks like its designers were inspired by Gatchaman or Gundam. The Americans will soon have Star Wars stormtrooper inspired battle armor. The Japanese draw on their manga and anime roots. Will the Mexican military and police have luche libre inspired uniforms and training?
[Random professional wrestling factoid. Che Guevera was rumored to be a huge fan of Mexican professional wrestling and ordered his commandos to be trained in that style of "combat".]
I love shilling for great podcasts. If you are a serious fan or aficionado of hip-hop culture--or popular music, more generally--you should be listening to Combat Jack. His interviews with hip-hop legends DJ Kool Herc and DJ Red Alert are graduate level Hip-Hop Studies seminars. Combat Jack also has a 3 hour conversation with Ice T. Again, amazing storytelling about the early years of hip hop, gang culture, "crossing over", Hollywood, and the music business. I was also reminded by Combat Jack's conversation with "Uncle" Luke Campbell that the latter is one hell of a businessman, all around smart person, and more of a "race man" than many of us suspected.
What interesting, curious, important, or other matters of public or private concern do you have to share?