Equality versus veterans

The most recent incarnation of the culture wars have contorted a perfectly legal and Constitutionally underpinned form social activism into a logically maligned attack on Veterans. #TakeAKnee never, ever had anything to do with Veterans and yet using predictable racist dog-whistle tactics groups on the Right have initiated a backlash against protests about institutional inequality in the Justice System by morphing the cause’s actions into an “us-versus-them” conversation about patriotism and by extension veterans.

Vets unfortunately then became caught in the middle of a culture war that had nothing at all to do with their service. Rather, they became a pawn of the right to use patriotism as a cover for bigoted beliefs by pitting one group’s love of the flag and of the uniform against another group’s desires to raise awareness about inequality.

If you aren’t sure how we got to the point where to things that seem to have nothing to do with on another, it’s pretty simple:

A black man protests other black men being incarcerated and killed at a much higher rate than the general population. He, as a black man, uses techniques used by a myriad of protesters, some dating back more than 50 years. He, as a black man, happens to have a fairly high profile position in society playing sports which also provides some financial well being.

Queue the “racists” even if they don’t realize that their responses are racist: There are the Conservatives who dispute the systemic injustice and twist statistics to try and demonstrate how Whites Citizens and/or the Police are actually the victims. There are the White Working Class who dispute social injustice in general, claiming their failing socio-economic state isn’t of their own making and they actually don’t have privilege, but rather minorities are ruining their lives. Then there are the traditionalist football fans who have no choice by to accept some black stars in the league but generally have treated black Quarterbacks different than their white counterparts. And, of course, since the protests are during the Anthem which is part of a Flag Ceremony where white male solders have been the face of American military strength for generations there are some traditionalists who see this as an afront to the foundations of America.

Their responses are typical, predictable and fairly well trod dating back to the mid-last century during the birth of the Civil Rights movment.

Either because they willfully ignore the underpinning of the original protest because of ideological beliefs or they lack the intellectual ability to understand the #TakeAKnee protests for what they actually are, these people reframe their counter-protest position to be about something else entirely.

Knowing they cannot counter-protest #TakeAKnee from the white point of view without proving the protest’s point, and because they actually cannot fight the factual reality of what the protests are about with anything but unsubstantiated opinions of their own, the counter-protest leaders reframed it not to be about injustice but disrespect.

Not just any disrespect either. The specific attachment of it to the humanity of Veterans as opposed to a more amorphous idea Constitutionality and to the physical attributes of the Flag and Anthem rather than the more vaguely conceptual patriotism. This was a very calculated attempt to hijack the conversation and turn the act of black men exercising “free speech,” “freedom of assembly” and “freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievances” as it pertains to Amendment 6, for example, which requires a fair an impartial trial by jury rather than death by cop, or Amendment 14 which guarantees due process rather death by cop, or Amendment 8 which guards against the cruel and unusual punishment such as of death by cop, and so on.

This sets up an “us-versus-them” approach leveraging Authoritarian beliefs against the broader idea of protests that challenge the status quo. Continue reading

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A Helpful Helper

You never know how much you really know until you can teach it to someone else. Or, alternatively, sometimes you don’t realize how much you take for granted until you need to explain it to someone else.

Working as a mentor with high school and college kids proved to be a very good lesson in just such a dynamic. But, even that is offeset by being a father to a toddler!

Thankfully, Padawan is a great learner. And, a great teacher.

Me, on the other hand? You can still teach an old dog new tricks. So to speak.

Several weeks ago when playing the shoes & socks game to help Padawan learn to get themselves ready for daycare I stumbled upon the idea that they were already comprehending aspects of pretty complex sentences.

Follow this string of consciousnesses for a second: I talk aloud to myself anytime I am working through any kind of routine checklist so I don’t miss anything. The process helps me internalize the process and externalize the results. With so many things to keep track of getting Dexter, Padawan and myself ready in the morning, it’s a fairly long, drawn out affair. Over the last few months Padawan picked up on the idea of “daddy’s shoes” always being picked up from the same place, going on at the same time in the process and so on.

So, one day recently, I’m mumbling to myself about “Daddy’s Shoes” and lo-and-behold, Padawan by themselves goes over to the door, grabs one of my Doc Martins and brings them over to me. Continue reading

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A, B, Cs

As my Padawan continues to obtain a better grasp on language I continue to find myself revisiting a great many aspects of it I’d taken for granted over the years.

The most recent perplexing one is the A, B, Cs. The song itself is a simple little diddy that is designed to help remember the order that at the moment both my Padawan and I hate for different reasons.

Maybe hate is a strong word, but sometimes for them it’s difficult to get out the sounds and the pitches and the rhythm by memory at this point. It’s more fun to just sing other things.

For me, it’s a pointless exercise in learning something in a way that serves little actual purpose. After all, the names of the letters are vastly different than how they sound in actual phonics. And the order of the letters is generally arbitrary – since it’s not grouping them in ways that represent phonetic usage.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love when Padawan gets through the first few letters without prompting correctly and then realizes it and cheers themselves on. I love when I start singing and suddenly stop that they are able to pick up where I left off (or at least get marginally close).

So, why is that order the order of the English alphabet and moreso, why do we pronounce the letters completely different from how they sound in actual phonics? Continue reading

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The Fictitious War On Christmas

Oh, it’s that time of year again.

A bunch of ‘Murikan Christians bitching about how there’s this so-called “War on Christmas” mucking up their lives. They claim there’s all kinds of ways their so-called holiday is being trampled upon by “social justice warriors” and “political correctness” and how “progressives” and “libtards” are trying to undermine their traditional celebration.

Funny thing is, the complaint is rarely about the over-commercialization of Christmas as a capitalistic secularization that undermines the solemn Biblical implications of the Birth of Christ.

Rather it’s always about politicizing one’s personal, irrational and often unsubstantiated opinions, mutating to the generic use of “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” into a trampling their deeply held beliefs, and turning even the simplest of decorations and holiday displays into potentially divisive political statements.

Only in the United States, where a majority of identify as some Denomination of Christianity and a plurality identify specifically as of Denomination Mainline Protestantism, would individuals feel there was a war on a holiday whose theme begins to proliferate social interaction as early as the day after Labor Day and completely dominates nearly every aspect of cultural norms beginning on the commercially devised Black Friday culminating in full month of full on Christmas debauchary.

And, the Republican Right worries about the left being a bunch of snowflakes?

Even if one isn’t Christian, Christmas is a ubiquitous cultural phenom with such a far reaching influence that overshadows the more identifiably American holiday Thanksgiving and the American culturalized rendition of Halloween. It’s been so overzealous in its need for attention that Crazy Eddie used to celebrate it in July and it’s not uncommon to find trees and trimmings in Sears and other retailers as early as post-Independence Day.

The Conservative, Religious Right has never been able to defend this wholly fictious “war” well because it is mired in hypocrisy. The conundrum being, of course, that the Americanized Secular version of Christmas as a Cultural Celebration is, in many cases, already in direct contradiction with many of the Religious teachings associated to the theological roots of the holiday. Simply put, to be Christian celebrating Christmas and to be an American who celebrates Capitalism means your two identities are inherently at odds. One cannot espouse the traditional, humble values of the Birth at the same time as openly embracing overt, greed-driven commercialization that drives modern US society. And, even within the Religious teachings supposedly being at the forefront despite the aforementioned duality the Denominational disparities make it difficult to really know what religious Christmas should be universally acknowledged. Basically, universal cultural appropriation occurred to create the social celebration it’s became along the way.

The reality is the version of Christmas these Christian Crusaders long to defend is a narrow set of self-interpreted American Cultural Norms. They want to oppress other’s with this self-radicalized set of norms using a nostalgic, rose-colored, revisionist history of the 1950s iconography as the basis to which we need to revert back. This, of course, is ridiculous because what these politically driven commentators want to return to never existed in the first place.

What’s more, Christmas is but one manifestation of this retro desire. It’s but one corner stone in a long running cultural war that fundamentally began during the Goldwater “Southern Strategy” era and was furthered by the Reagan “Moral Majority” movement that set out to push a specific sub-set of White Christian “values” in an us-versus-them supposition. The “War on Christmas” is a symptom of this victim mentality they harbor and there are many treatises on why many of them, despite being in a majority, wish to perceive themselves as oppressed.

Much of it has to do with an intentional misrepresentation of history that subsequently has resulted in a new generation of historical ignorant plebs regurgitating falsified talking points. Specifically, in this case, nearly everything they reference as “wanting to go back to” is already a highly bastardized version of Christmas to begin with.

Thus, lets go back to the “beginning” and find out about Christmas:

The birth of Christ is only covered in two of the four modern renditions of the Gospels and both Luke and Matthew take different approaches on the subject. Furthermore, not all of the references made by either can be historically corroborated and most scholars emphasize the inclusion was about the fixation of certain theological traits than in any attempt at historical accuracy. As Christianity became a more formalized religion the importance as a celebration in the Liturgical Year grew in importance, however even as last as the 3rd Century the date of the celebration had yet to be formalized. -!>

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Monday mix: Monster Pumpkin Heaviness pt. 2

#MonsterPumpkinHeaviness pt 2 was this weekend on KAOS Radio Austin and MPH noise radio resumed the resurrection of moshable demonic monsters.
The cliche got underway last week as we explored the exceptional evil that metal, punk and hardcore has to offer. After all, if the genre is going to be called satanic by Tipper Gore and company it might as well live up to its billing.

Honestly, the show half-programs itself as there really is no shortage of references to monsters, demons, beasts and Satan itself, but that’s also the exceptional challenge of doing such a show, since something especially sanguine will always miss the cut.

Opening the show, we explore evil from multiple perspectives once again, this time courtesy of Type O Negative interpreting the mighty Sabbath’s namesake song, Black Sabbath, from the Satanic Perspective (because that extra dose of flame rising suffering was necessary?!?).

Moving on into the pits of true despair, we’re guided by Katatonia, My Dying Bride, Candlemass, Isole and other’s morose interpretations of demonic aspiration.

The temptress of tourture is being lured in before cranking the screws of sonic suffering and that comes from Blind Illusion, Mortification, Edge of Sanity, Hannes Grossmann, Vadar, Vastorbant. Testament’s Demonic Refusal also makes an obvious appearance and not only are Testa one of my all-time favorite bands but you’ll recognize this track as part of the show intro. Dyscarnate’s latest offering blisters the skin as well with “All the Devils are Here,” because of course they are, where else would they be.

Next, we’ll crank up the pain and sonic suffering by turning up the volume in the pit with the likes of Despised Icon, All Shall Perish, Upheaval, Hester Prynne, the Red Chord and more. Seriously, if you’re gonna do gutteral groans and pig squeals in the same song this is the perfect time to showcase it.

This, all while you learn about the origins of Satan and it’s influence on metal (hint: I’ve covered this on the blog before, metal music has roots in blues, jazz and classical, to name a few, and the crossroads obviously play a part in addition to the so-called “occult” lyrics that early purveyors like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and other late 60’s/early 70’s hard rockers drew from) as well as how you can bring special tricks or treats to kids who might not otherwise have the opportunity to take advantage of Halloween by supporting the not-for-proift ‘Ween Dream (weendream.org).

I do hope you’ll have the opportunity to tune in to http://KAOSradioAustin.org Sunday evening and if you can’t, that you’ll hit up the archives for this and all the previous episodes at mixcloud.com/MPHnoise

make music satanic again: Horns in the air folks, horns in the fucking air Continue reading

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Woah, Woah, Woah

It is impossible to catalog all the fun and inspirational things the Padawan does or all the milestones they are achieving. I just don’t blog often enough any more which is a shame, as there’s probably about three readers that would appreciate it.

Music is a big part of the Padawan’s youth experience thus far. It’s ubiquitous – they sing, we sing, music plays at day care, in the car, around the house either on the stereo or because the toys have music settings.

Happy Birthday is still the fave but we also have the A,B,C song beginning to go into singing rotation too. At least up to the letter G.

So, today, we were singing A,B,C in the car and Padawan interrupts and vehemently states, “No A,B.” I forget what I said in reply but the response is, “No A,B, thank you.” I started to sing something else, one of our made up songs. To which I was interrupted yet again, “No please.” So I asked, “What would you like to sing?” All I got was, “No A,B, thank you.”

Not wanting to drive in silence and being the AM news stations signal suck in that area I popped on a Halloween-ish type mix and on came the Misfits.

That’s what Padawan wanted.

For the entire Misfits song it was “Woah, Woah, Woah” from Padawan. Not in tune (then again, sometimes neither is Danzig) and rarely in time either. But that’s the allure of them participating at this age. When the song ended the Woahs kept going, and going, and going for almost a full 10 minutes through AFI and Type O Negative and even after the mix stopped.

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Monday mix: Monster Pumpkin Heaviness pt. 1

Allhallowtide is almost upon us and that means the resurrection of #MonsterPumpkinHeaviness with sublime chants of Six-Six-Six. Blur the line between good and evil with metal, punk & hardcore as if it was life and death with hymns of demonic monsters as we play into the cliche this week of KAOS Radio Austin at http://KAOSradioAustin.org

Tonight we explore the music, philanthropy & history of some of the halloween folklore we take for granted while learning about how organizations like thesatanictemple.com that stand up to the frights of modern, organized religion while eschewing the stereotypes of classic satanic debauchery. The importance of stressing both a multifaceted religious understanding and the need to separate one’s religious “belief” from secular law is truer than ever, particularly as showcased in the Satanic Temples work against Canonical Law and Bible thumpers.

Your soundtrack to the Samhain experience beings, of course, with Iron fucking Maiden. Because where else would you begin but a song that tells the tale of Satan from three different perspectives.

The beast’s blight comes in the form of modern moshers by Karkaos, with their grandly dark melodies and Kreator to frame the show with blackened thrash.
Meanwhile, the mark can be felt by the dichotomy of Darkane, Darkest Hour, Mors Principium Est, Before the Dawn, Once Human, Desecrate and more. Their approach is the sonic equivalent of lifting the veil between the living and the dead bringing the variety of vocal textures and diverse orchestrations.

While the torment of the mosh from Eloa Vadaath, Gigan, Phaze I, Atheist, Opeth, Divinity will obliterate your will with a brutal approach to composition style that blurs the experience of good and evil with a notch towards the the war between with blistering attacks on your inner being.

Finally the razing of your soul comes from the trickery of Rite of Passage, Iced Earth, Judas Priest, Anthrax and more as the balance of treasure and torment of your spirit becomes the trick you’ll be trying to comprehend all nite.

If you’ve ever missed any past year’s episodes of #MonsterPumpkinHeaviness you can pick them up at http://www.mixcloud.com/MPHnoise and more. So, please tune in past, present and in the future for week two (next week)…and remember, Per Bart Simpson’s interpreation of the “satan’s path” game “it’s gotta be good if it’s got satan on it” from S22 E4 treehouse 21 Continue reading

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