RSSCategory: hypocrisy

Is this painting obscene?

July 15, 2011 | By | 3 Replies More

I’m in London on vacation, enjoying many of the museums, including London’s National Gallery.   Today I spotted the following painting, which is part of the National Gallery’s collection:

This is a painting by Palma Vecchio (painted around 1520).  The art gallery is open to all ages, including small children, and there were plenty of young children in the vicinity of this painting today.  The description next to this painting announces that the woman displays a “sensuous beauty” characteristic of Roman courtesans.

Frankly, I find the woman in Vecchio’s painting to be quite fetching, and I find the painting itself to be most excellent. To my eye, it is not in the least obscene.  But seeing it today made me think of Janet Jackson’s “nipple” incident at the Superbowl XXXVIII.  What an incident that was, ending up with a fine of more than 1/2 million dollars for the TV network, and America ending all up bent out of shape because somehow . . . somehow . . . the sight of Ms. Jackson’s nipple harmed children.   I strongly disagree with the attitude that the naked human body should be seen as perverse.  I have never seen any evidence that any child has ever been harmed by seeing a nipple; I’ve never seen any scientific evidence suggesting that it is harmful to view a nipple, despite millions of protests to the contrary (As to why so many Americans are so terrified about the public viewing of female nipples, I have a theory).

Seeing this painting reminded me of  Dan Dennett’s comment that people in American don’t believe in God, but they believe in belief.    Likewise, we don’t really believe that children are harmed by mere nakedness, but we believe in the belief that children are harmed by mere nakedness.

If we  Americans really believed that mere images of nakedness and sexuality harmed children, we’d pass a law to remove quite a bit of art from our own museums, and we’d also take down quite a  bit of our suggestive advertisements currently on billboards and storefronts.

It’s incidents like Jackson’s that make me think that we Americans are not even capable of having meaningful conversations anymore, unless the topic is sports, TV, movies, or consumer electronics. On important issues we’d rather yell at each other in tribal ways.

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Vitter went a whoring

June 8, 2011 | By | 8 Replies More
Vitter went a whoring

I wrote the following poem to commemorate the ongoing rampant hypocrisy.
Tim Hogan

Rep. Vitter (R-LA) went a “DC Madam” whoring, he was elected US Senator and the GOP found it boring.
Rep. Weiner tweeted his clothed wang, the GOP made it into a big thang!

Sen. Craig (R-ID) had a “wide stance” but, the GOP said; “so what?” to his advance.
Rep. Weiner tweeted his clothed wang, the GOP made it into a big thang!

The National Republican Campaign Committee twice went a Vegas sex clubbing, the GOP gave it no drubbing.
Rep. Weiner tweeted his clothed wang, the GOP made it into a big thang!

The RNC youth went to club featuring bondage and had its fill; the GOP didn’t blink an eye paying the bill!
Rep. Weiner tweeted his clothed wang; the GOP made it into a big thang!

Gov. Mark Sanford (R-NC) went a “hiking;” the GOP still kept its liking!
Rep. Weiner tweeted his clothed wang, the GOP made it into a big thang!

Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) preyed upon a married staffer; to the GOP, it was a laugher!
Rep. Weiner tweeted his clothed wang, the GOP made it into a big thang!

Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-NV) pushed and threatened a server when rebuffed, the GOP elected him Governor, the charges were stuffed!
Rep. Weiner tweeted his clothed wang, the GOP made it into a big thang!

Reps. Bunn (R-OR), Burton (R-IN), Calvert (R-CA), Dan Crane (R-IL), Chenoweth (R-ID), Gingrich (R-GA), Hyde (R-IL), Scmitz (R-CA) and Sherwood (R-PA) cheated and lied; the GOP just sighed.
Rep. Weiner tweeted his clothed wang, the GOP made it into a big thang!

Sen. Thurmond (R-SC) had knowledge of his family’s “colored” maid, had a child and about the races the Senator ranted and raved; the GOP and the South were saved!
Weiner tweeted his clothed wang, the GOP made it into a big thang!

The Republicans have cheated, whored and upon women and children preyed, all the while politics they’ve played. Me, I’m just dismayed.

[And here’s a one-stop source for Republican sex scandals]

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Selective separation clause application

May 21, 2011 | By | 1 Reply More
Selective separation clause application

Imagine if a group of Muslims wanted to seek state tax breaks to build a Muslim theme park.  You’d hear a lot of squealing.  In fact, you heard lots of squealing regarding the “ground zero mosque” (which was not primarily a mosque and was not at ground zero).

Now consider this news from Think Progress:

A group of private investors and religious organizations is hoping to build a Bible-themed amusement park in Kentucky, complete with a full-size 500-foot-by-75-foot reproduction of Noah’s Ark, a Tower of Babel, and other biblical exhibits on a 800-acre campus outside of Williamstown, KY. Their effort got a shot in the arm yesterday when the state approved $43 million in tax breaks for the project. In addition to the tax incentives, approved unanimously by the state’s tourism board, taxpayers may have to pony up another $11 million to improve a highway interchange near the site.

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Chinks III

May 17, 2011 | By | Reply More
Chinks III

Since writing Chinks II, I’ve felt uneasy about calling the Vietnamese workers in that nail salon ‘racists’. It’s true that they pigeonholed an African-American patron as a lazy welfare recipient who was unwilling to get a job. They seemed to take pleasure in voicing all the hurtful stereotypes that could be applied to a total stranger. I found their behavior cruel, terrifying and ironic.

The barb at the heart of Chinks II was minority on minority hate. Yet I described their hate speech as “tittering… nonsensical verbal massaging.” Even if the taunting was meant to be indecipherable, wasn’t I being a bigot myself by writing about it this way?

I can’t think of more alternatives to the pronoun “them.” That’s probably because I don’t know much about the Vietnamese women who taunted a black woman that day. (Here again, I resort to the roughest of rough sketches: “that black lady”). I don’t know their names. I don’t know where they live, although it’s probably not far from my own neighborhood. They are caricatures precisely because I have so few details with which to draw my group character sketch. And what would my cartoon self-portrait look like?

Qipao1

On the day of Chinks II, I was the most socially normative minority in the room. Being light-skinned, speaking with an American accent, growing up in a solidly middle-class household and earning a professional degree all help me to appear more “white” and inviolable. Who knows? It could have been my blessed-in-every-way-second-generation-Chinese-American presence that precipitated the verbal attack that I describe so vehemently. It’s not that I think I am the center of every story; though this story – all the Chinks stories – are about me and my perception of race. Chinks II simply exemplifies the pervasive, insidious, contagious nature of bigotry. This is a barb that hasn’t stopped pricking.

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The “free market” is as free as a bee

May 2, 2011 | By | 6 Replies More
The “free market” is as free as a bee

Bees look free. They seem to dance capriciously from flower to flower. No one seems to be telling each bee what to do. Anyone who has carefully studied bees, however, knows that they are not “free.” The health and welfare of bees and their hives are highly sensitive to a great many factors. Here are a few:

A) Excesses and deficits in rainfall and temperature;
B) The survival and location of plants from which bees gather nectar;
C) The prevalence of parasites and viruses;
D) The existence of rival hives and predators;
E) Human encroachment, including pesticides and destruction of habitat;

Whether bees thrive is subject to these and many other factors. If any of these factors is changed, the bees will be affected. “Free as a bee,” is an expression I have heard from time to time, but it turns out that bees are not actually very “free.” Hard-working bees and hives are often killed for factors beyond their control.

[more . . . ]

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Cutting the debt and war-mongering

April 21, 2011 | By | Reply More
Cutting the debt and war-mongering

I figure I should just put up a banner ad urging all DI readers to go read Glenn Greenwald every day. He is that good at identifying important issues of the day and making sense of them. Today he pointed out the hypocrisy of the conservatives who are urging that we need to cut the debt, but who are wiling to run the economy into the ground with endless warmongering.

[I]t’s vital that we continue to splurge for military spending that is almost equal to what the entire rest of the world spends combined, and that we continue to spend 6 times more than the second-largest military spender (China). Why is that? Because we may need to fight our fourth, fifth and sixth wars (not counting the covert ones) and must remain ready to start those wars at a moment’s notice. There are many things one can say about someone plagued by that warmongering mentality; that they are serious opponents of borrowed spending and debt financing is most assuredly not one of them.

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Translated: “Because we are torturing Bradley Manning and we don’t want people outside the prison to know about it.”

April 16, 2011 | By | 1 Reply More
Translated: “Because we are torturing Bradley Manning and we don’t want people outside the prison to know about it.”

Why is it so hard for the public at large to learn how Bradley Manning is being treated? You won’t hear a straight answer from Mark Toner, spokesman for Barack Obama’s State Department.

Here’s a translation for all you are hearing: “Because we are torturing Bradley Manning and we don’t want people outside the military prison to know about it.”

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Anthony Weiner calls out Republican hypocrisy on Medicare

April 13, 2011 | By | 2 Replies More
Anthony Weiner calls out Republican hypocrisy on Medicare

Representative Anthony Weiner nails it with this short statement:

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Election Day Separation

April 5, 2011 | By | 5 Replies More
Election Day Separation

Today was a local election day. We have a new polling place in our ward. Instead of the school to which we walked for years, it is now in a nearby church basement. It seems a good use of the space on an off day.

But as I deposited my ballot, I had a creepy feeling. Suddenly Jesus was in my personal space, uninvited. How well does this mesh with the separation of church and state?

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