[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Friday, 2016-04-08

Petula Clark, Harry Belafonte, and Mizhena

Filed under: Civil Rights,Gaming,Television — bblackmoor @ 07:21

There is a computer game called Baldur’s Gate. It’s a fantasy adventure game based on Dungeons & Dragons, along the lines of Lord Of The Rings. An expansion for the game was released recently, and in that expansion there is a minor character named “Mizhena” who, if you engage with them and repeatedly ask them questions, will eventually tell you that they are transgender. If you are unfamiliar with Dungeons & Dragons, you might not realize that transgender characters have been a part of that game world for 30 or 40 years. It’s not new. It is, however, new to the Baldur’s Gate game.

As a result, a small segment of the Baldur’s Gate fan base revealed themselves to be vile bigots. These bigots created a “controversy”, objecting to the inclusion of this character in the game.

Petula Clark and Harry BelafonteThis “controversy” comes at an interesting time. Today, April 8 2016, is the 48th anniversary of the broadcast of the Petula Clark Show on NBC. Petula Clark was a very popular singer at the time, having fifteen consecutive Top 40 hits in the USA, starting with “Downtown” in 1965. Clark was joined on her special by Harry Belafonte, who had made Calypso and Caribbean music popular throughout the world with his singing in the 1950s. During a duet toward the end of the show, Clark touched Belafonte briefly on the arm. Doyle Lott, a vice president from Chrysler, the show’s sponsor, was present at the taping. Lott objected to the “interracial touching”. He pressured NBC to remove the “forced” contact between Clark and Belafonte, to remove this “social justice” from the show. However, Petula Clark stuck to her guns, and the special was broadcast with the “controversial” touching. When the show aired, it received high ratings.

It’s been over 40 years, and the Doyle Lotts of the world are still manufacturing controversies to defend their bigotry. I think it is right and just that people are enjoying the music of Petula Clark and Harry Belafonte to this very day, while Doyle Lott has been reduced to a footnote in the history of civil rights.

There are many cases where people of good will can and do disagree. That is usually the case, in my opinion. However, these cretins who wail and moan and gnash their teeth any time they see someone other than themselves represented are not people of good will. They are the bartender who says, “We don’t serve their kind here.” They are the prejudiced priest who refuses to heal the half-orc in the party. They are the pig-faced sheriff that says, “We don’t take kindly to outsiders around here.” They are the craven peasant accusing a midwife of witchcraft. They’re the corrupt king who doesn’t want the adventurers to fight the dragon because it’s never his daughter that gets sacrificed to it.

These are not people of good will. They are not defenders of the sanctity of gaming. They are, by their own choice and by their own hand, villains.

Monday, 2015-08-24

Why Dracula has such incompetent henchmen

Filed under: Civil Rights,Movies,Society — bblackmoor @ 09:12

Years ago, while watching The Wraith, I wondered out loud why “cool” villains like Dracula (or Nick Cassavetes in The Wraith) were always surrounded by incompetent creeps and toadies like Renfield (or “Skank” in The Wraith) — people I wouldn’t trust to guard an egg salad sandwich. Her reply was, in essence, because those are the kinds of followers they deserve — that they are not, in fact, “cool” at all.

I am reminded of that conversation whenever I read comments by Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen where they make weak attempts to distance themselves from Theodore Beale without distancing themselves from what Beale says or does. When you find yourself on the same side as the Theodore Beales of the world, it’s time to reevaluate your position.

Tuesday, 2013-08-20

Groklaw takes its ball and goes home

Filed under: Civil Rights,Privacy,The Internet,Travel — bblackmoor @ 14:15
book in chains

Legal Site Groklaw Shuts Down Rather Than Face NSA

I stopped flying years ago, because it offends me to be scanned, groped, and treated like a criminal in order exercise my fundamental human right of travel. Now I am wondering how long it will be before I stop using email and the web. Perhaps I should have stopped already.

How did we become a cyberpunk dystopia without most of us noticing?

Sunday, 2013-04-21

Mind-boggling horror

Filed under: Civil Rights,Politics,Television — bblackmoor @ 10:21

Warning: this video is graphic. It shows dead people. You’ve been warned.

Now for my thoughts:

The first segment, on the Philippines, illustrates the scenario that I think motivates some of the anti-gun hysteria in this country. Ironically, I think that divisive rhetoric and attempts to infringe on other people’s civil rights makes that scenario more likely rather than less. I hope, really hope, that Americans wake up to that and stop with the attacks on each other. Ignorance, hatred, and irrational fear are poor foundations for public policy.

The second segment, on the Taliban and Afghanistan… that’s almost too tragic. I have trouble even wrapping my head around it. It would be easy to blame religion, but the suicide bombers aren’t even being told what their own religion says. They are lied to and manipulated by their Imams and Muftis, who are distorting their own religion to use these children as weapons. The horror of it baffles me.

I am so grateful that I live in a relatively safe, relatively sane country. I hope it stays that way.

Saturday, 2013-04-20

A letter from a leftist to the gun control Democrats

Filed under: Civil Rights,Firearms — bblackmoor @ 11:06
teach gun skills

The author of this letter to “gun control” Democrats is a left-leaning supporter of reproductive rights “who participated wholeheartedly in the Occupy movement and in the national campaign to expose ALEC”. They make six suggestions on how to better present the argument for gun control in the USA. It’s worth reading.

Tuesday, 2013-04-02

Which side are you on?

Filed under: Civil Rights — bblackmoor @ 21:16
I love free speech

Folks, if you are fighting to infringe on the civil rights of other people, you’re on the wrong side. That means if you are for *any* of these, you are on the wrong side: “gun control” [sic], marriage discrimination, censorship, *any* religion being given preferential treatment by the government, warrantless wiretaps, warrantless searches at airports, warrantless surveillance, detention of civilians without a trial, assassination of civilians without a trial… I’m tired of typing. You get the idea.

Friday, 2013-02-01

‘US a police state, Obama consciously allows torture’ – CIA veteran John Kiriakou

Filed under: Civil Rights,Politics,Society — bblackmoor @ 13:16

Ten years ago, the idea of the US government spying on its citizens, intercepting their emails or killing them with drones was unthinkable. But now it’s business as usual, says John Kiriakou, a former CIA agent and torture whistleblower.

Kiriakou is now awaiting a summons to start a prison sentence. One of the first to confirm the existence of Washington’s waterboarding program, he was sentenced last week to two-and-a-half years in jail for revealing the name of an undercover agent. But even if he had another chance, he would have done the same thing again…

(from ‘US a police state, Obama consciously allows torture’ – CIA veteran John Kiriakou, RT.com)

Friday, 2013-01-18

Ignorance, prejudice, and irrational fear

Filed under: Civil Rights,Society — bblackmoor @ 16:09

Most anti-civil rights legislation is based on the argument, “I don’t like the way you live, even though it harms me not at all, and therefore it ought to be illegal.” Give that some thought before you advocate legislation to criminalize behaviour that does you no harm. Ignorance, prejudice, and irrational fear are a poor foundation for public policy.

Of course, it doesn’t help that some of the people exercising their civil rights are assholes.

Monday, 2012-11-05

Musings on “race”, culture, and the President

Filed under: Civil Rights,History,Politics,Society — bblackmoor @ 18:41

I am, by ancestry, as white as white can be. However, I grew up in a black neighborhood — I was the white boy on the school bus. My family was on food stamps from time to time, and I was on the hot lunch program at school. So it’s always struck me a little surreal when people brag or bitch about our “first Black President” when he had one white American parent and one foreign parent (not an “African-American”, but a plain old African — a senior governmental economist from Kenya), he was raised by his white mother and grandparents, and he lived a life of privilege that I never saw anywhere but on television. In every way that matters, I think Barack Obama (who was called “Barry” most of his life) is just an ordinary, affluent, career politician. I don’t think he has anything in common with any of the people I grew up with.

I am not supposed to say any of this, because, as I mentioned, I am as white as a slice of Wonder Bread. But on the eve of his re-election (he’ll get approximately 64% of the popular vote) (* see below), I was just thinking about all of the important things that I wish people were taking into consideration when they vote (like the erosion of our civil rights, the lack of accountability of corporations, the insane expansion of our military, the fact that we incarcerate more of our population than China does, and so on), and all of the trivial nonsense that they talk about instead. Like who the candidates’ ancestors are.

What is the controversy? It’s not his culture and upbringing. Is it because, like a great many completely ordinary Americans, Obama’s ancestors are from multiple continents? Is it literally the color of his skin that makes a difference? Is the big deal not that he’s our “first black President”, but that he’s our first President who isn’t as light-skinned as I am?

Apparently I am the only one who finds this obsession with Obama’s pedigree peculiar.

I’ll be voting for Gary Johnson, because I think he would do a decent job. I know that he won’t win. I am not betting on who will win: I am voting for who I want to win. But even though I’m not voting for President Obama, I do wish him good luck on his next four years. Who knows? Maybe he will end the expensive and bloody Drug Prohibition, attempt to scale back our military expansion, reduce the amount of spying his administration does on American citizens, and support fair and open trials for everyone detained under the color of law.

Or maybe he won’t. We’ll see.

One thing I don’t expect from President Obama’s second term is a miraculous resurgence of our economy. The President is not the Wizard Of Oz. Despite the sound bites from both Romney and Obama, we have neither recovered from the depression, nor are we still at the bottom of it. Actual unemployment is around 14%-16%, but it’s getting better. The housing market still sucks, but it’s getting better. The price of gasoline is still over $3.00 a gallon, and it’s not going down by much, if at all, ever again. None of this is Obama’s fault. He didn’t break the engine of our economy, and he can’t fix it. He might deserve a little credit if he doesn’t do anything to disrupt the current recovery process. We’ll see.

* 2012-11-07: I was way wrong on the popular vote. I said Obama would get almost 2/3 of the popular vote, and he barely got 50%.

Saturday, 2012-08-25

Satire is having trouble keeping up with reality

Filed under: Civil Rights,Politics — bblackmoor @ 13:21
Onion vs Republican

POP QUIZ: One of these articles is satire, and one of them is factual. Can you tell which is which?

1) ‘Pregnancy Begins 2 Weeks Before Conception’ Now The Law In Arizona

2) Ann Romney: “Why should women be paid equal to men?”

I am of the growing opinion that our state and federal governments are all just an elaborate prank.

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