This young gentleman got sucked into a counterculture of violence

Those are the words of Spokane (Washington) County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich when describing Caleb Sharpe, the adolescent who quite obviously is the person who killed on fellow high school student and wounded several others on Wednesday.

Whether Sharpe is legally guilty of murder, a crime, will be determined later. There is no doubt, however, that Sharpe is factually guilty of killing another human being. Many people believed they saw the potential for violence in Sharpe, though reports that detail any history of actual injurious violence haven’t come to my attention. In short, at least some of his peers perceived him to be vengeful. The tragic case in point that I want to mention here is that confirmed by a number of reports: Sharpe shot the child he killed, whose name is being withheld from some press accounts, when that the adolescent told the armed Sharpe, “I always knew you were going to shoot up the school.”

And yet, nowhere in the press coverage I’ve seen has Knezovich or even any member of the media reminded us that Sharpe is “no angel”.

I wonder why that is.

 

Breaking News: Trump Is Kind of an Asshole

I won’t provide you with a tedium of links because if you’re following along at home with US politics and you’re doing so at least partly through mass media, you’ll have already encountered this multiple times, but I do wish to comment on Jake Tapper, Don Lemon, Kat Timpf, Nicole Wallace, and so many others in the media who are acting surprised at Trump’s behavior.

Trump is a horrible excuse for a human being. He didn’t pander to the White Supremacists in the election or this past weekend, he fucking is a White Supremacist (capital letters intended). To see the media simply oozing concern that Trump would issue a classic bothsiderism talking point instead of saying something simple, like “it’s kinda bad when racists kill anti-racists where and when they openly gathered to speak out against racism” (so that there could be no doubt he was killing anti-racists in the act of countering racism).

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Jeffrey Lord, Sacked: AKA Correcting Someone’s Spelling Is Genocide

For those who don’t know, CNN has terminated their contract with commentator Jeffrey Lord. CNN itself describes the termination as directly in response to Lord tweeting “Sieg Heil” at a progressive who asked that Lord’s recent American Spectator article mentioning him be revised to spell his name correctly.

Media Matters, not a disinterested party (though neither is CNN) described the run-up to the tweet this way:

On August 10, the American Spectator published an attack piece by Jeffrey Lord against Media Matters. The screed lashed out at what Lord describes as “Media Matters Fascists.” Lord then tweeted the article to Media Matters President Angelo Carusone. When Carusone pointed out that his name was misspelled in the headline of the piece, Lord responded with the Nazi salute “Sieg Heil!”

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Spam: Game of Thrones Edition

Every so often it amuses and/or shocks me to see the spam left on a particular post. Usually this is because of the horrible incongruity between the content of the post and the content of the spam. About two weeks ago, I wrote a piece about rape on college campuses, including a bit about how rape at religious colleges is often covered in the media as a separate issue from rape at secular private colleges and rape at public universities. Of note, I concluded that studying the cultures of particular educational environments is fine if you want to understand those culture (especially if you want to use that understanding to tailor a message to be more effective at creating positive change around issues including but not limited to institutional responses to rape and sexual assault), but that the biggest institutional barriers to creating safe campuses appear to be shared across the religious/ secular/ state divides. In particular, schools seem to use criminal court systems as a model for determining whether one student is a danger to others, and the criminal court treats each charge as entirely separate, thus schools tend not to allow a history of credible and/or fully established charges against a student to affect how likely it is that a student’s latest denial is credible.

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I Didn’t Know Historians Have Senses of Humor

Via Rawstory I saw a bit of writing on the political jeopardy to Trump’s presidency and how, in the author’s view, this jeopardy is greater even than what Nixon faced in the time period before impeachment proceedings began. I started reading and in the first full paragraph came upon one of the great historical jokes of all time:

Since George Washington Americans have taken pride in electing honest presidents. Whether the chief executive is rated by historians as great, average, or failure, there has been general agreement that honest men have occupied the White House.

I had to find the History News Network site to examine the quote at its source, it was so unbelievable. Slowly, slowly it dawned on me that in this piece of serious writing, this line must have been slipped in by an editor as a joke. I mean, Holy Historical Humor, Batman, could any student of history ever actually believe this?

 

 

Just Saw Columbiana Last Night

Spoilers ahead, though Columbiana is an older movie:

Colombiana has a relatively standardized plot: professional hitter uses killing skills to take out the people who hurt the hitter’s loved ones. It’s gender-twisted, so the hitter is a woman and the women in refrigerators are actually men in refrigerators…well, mostly. The bad guys kill a lot of people, but her dad is the one that provides her initial motivation and a lot of important psychological background.

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Trash. Pure Trash.

A new comedy called The Little Hours and set in 1349 is based on a book I read as a teenager: The Decameron.*1 That alone was enough to attract my attention. However, when actor Aubrey Plaza’s new film premiered at Sundance it was so well-loved as to get picked up by a significant movie distributor, in this case a subsidiary (specializing in distributing independent films) of a general movie-distribution subsidiary of AT&T. That, too, would have been sufficient to get my notice as a well-funded distribution campaign was sure to put pop-up ads in my browser windows as mainstream release gets closer.

But apparently Bill Donohue at the Catholic League (who was not in attendance at Sundance and thus hasn’t seen the movie unless he’s claiming the Catholic League stole a copy) wanted to make absolutely sure that I saw this movie-set-in-a-convent and based on a collection of short stories that is to medieval Italian literature what The Cantebury Tales is to medieval English literature. And so, without seeing this film about hiding out in a convent while on the run and encountering stereotype-defying nuns who (nonetheless?) are kind and generous with their shelter and the silly hijinks dreamed up by a medieval Italian Catholic that ensue, Donohue released a statement calling the movie “Trash. Pure Trash.”

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Rice or the Media: Whom do I condemn?

And I swear I’m not trying to pick on Newsweek.com, but it was there that I first saw an article on Condoleezza Rice’s new book. I was laughing from the first sentence:

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday that U.S.-led interventions in the Middle East and Central Asia were not about spreading democracy, but about addressing regional security issues.

Her recent public statements both are and are not part of a book tour: it’s likely many would say the tour is to promote her ideas, and the book is part of that effort, though I think that demeans the reasoning and efforts of others who write books, artificially ennobling Rice’s efforts to communicate her ideas and sell books at the same time while implicitly assigning a crass commercialism to others who write books and then accept lectures to speak about the same themes contained within the books. In any case, however, it’s undeniable that the public statements are part of an effort that is equally well reflected by the publication of her book, Democracy: The Long Road to Freedom.*1
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Newsweek Shocked – Shocked! To Find Racism Happening In Dress Codes

I nearly laughed myself silly over this recent piece at Newsweek.com:

Two black female students attending a charter school in Massachusetts were recently kicked off their sports teams and prohibited from attending a prom because they wore their hair in braids. The Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden, about 9 miles from Boston, enforces a strict dress code preventing students from wearing their hair in any unnatural way, which includes braids.

Twin students Maya and Deanna Cook, African-American sophomores, told local news outlets they were first told to take their braids out two weeks ago by school officials. The girls’ adoptive mother, Colleen Cook, told Boston’s 25 News that she received a call from the school informing her that students weren’t allowed to wear “anything artificial or unnatural in their hair.”

“We told them there’s nothing wrong with their hair the way it is. Their hair is beautiful, there’s no correcting that needs to be done,” Colleen Cook said, adding that the hair policy seems to target only students of color, who wear their hair in braids or extensions reflecting their African-American culture.

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