Monday, June 29, 2015

Mike Huckabee: Victim of Equality

I suppose we all kind of saw this coming, but buckle-up Huckabuck fans, because the former Arkansas governor is throwing a nutty over Friday's Supreme Court ruling.
Above: Huckabee, in the early stages of nutty throwing.
"Just so we're all clear: this
asshole does not speak for me..."

-Abraham Lincoln
At the Western Conservative Summit, Huckabee said the following, like with a straight face and no, I'm not sure he can hear himself sometimes:

"They [people unhappy with the ruling] can do the same thing that Abraham Lincoln did about the Dred Scott decision of 1857...He simply ignored the ruling and said 'That's not correct.'"

-Mike Huckabee, clearly
unclear about a lot of things

First of all, no they can't. Secondly, yes, he means that Dred Scott case, the one where the Supreme Court said that African Americans couldn't claim citizenship and therefore couldn't sue and therefore should shut up and enjoy being slaves. That's the parallel Mike Huckabee is drawing here, that he's basically Abraham Lincoln, but with homophobia instead of being Abraham Lincoln. So do they not have 8th grade social studies in Arkansas? turns out they do not. In fact, they're a little fuzzy
on anything that happened before 6000 years ago.
Pictured: The same thing as owning
people. Source: Mike Huckabee.
Look, I don't want to tell Huckabee how to draw his ridiculous analogy, but is pointing to a case in which the Court brutally curtailed the basic rights of a group of people really the best way to go? Particularly if you're from a state famous for loving slavery so much that it participated in an armed rebellion against the Union; a conflict that ultimately killed Abraham Lincoln. So like, how is ignoring marriage equality the same thing as standing up to one of American history's greatest injustices?

"Hey, guess what? It's option 3. And the new
Bible says thou shalt shut up, Mike Huckabee."
He then went on to accuse the President of lying about his position on marriage equality and God of playing favorites:

"If he has so radically changed his view and now believes that same-sex marriage is the best thing that could happen to this country, one of three things is true: He was either lying in 2008, he's lying now, or God rewrote the Bible and Barack Obama is the only one who got the new edition," 

-Mike Huckabee,
flailing wildly

What? I looked him up. He's a country
singer and wears a stupid hat. It's not personal.
Um, so I don't think I have to point out that people's views can change over time, but you know, people's views can change over time. Yes, the President was against same-sex marriage back in 2008, but at the time he was running to be President of America, so even if he did secretly want marriage equality back then, he couldn't be public about it. Besides, there's a difference between policy and personal belief. I don't like country music, but that doesn't mean I can deport Toby Keith once I'm elected President. 

Above: Gay people, without whom
Mike Huckabee wouldn't have a job.
But by far my biggest problem with this guy, I mean aside from the homophobia, racism and sexism and the way he tried to pass these traits as a folksy charm, is the fact that marriage equality is like the best thing that could have happened to him, career-wise. Think about it, all he's been doing since the last time he failed to win the GOP nomination is present himself as the underdog fighting the good fight against such social ills as equality and people getting along.

Now he actually is on the loosing side, isn't this what he's wanted all along? I mean, his whole thing is convincing conservative evangelicals that they're being oppressed and that marriage equality is the first step in reviving the Roman practice of feeding Christians to the lions. Isn't that going to be a lot easier to do when they actually are the underdogs, being oppressed by the cruel tyranny of other people getting married?
I'm not saying we should feed them to lions, I'm just saying
that it's going to be easier to get donors when you're not the lion.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Nobody likes Antonin Scalia.

Antonin Scalia's descent in today's Supreme Court ruling is the stupidest thing to ever dribble from between his Supreme Justice jowls. Ever.
And he's said some stupid shit, so in many ways,
well done Justice Scalia, you've outdone yourself.
That thing. That's a petard.
Mystery: solved. Thanks internet!
What the hell am I talking about? Get this, after months of waiting, the Supreme Court finally handed down its 5-4 decision on state-level same sex marriage bans ruling that such bans are, constitutionally speaking, a load of homophobic horseshit passed off as the protection of the sanctity of marriage from the erosion of moral relativism. The best part is when Justice Kennedy, who wrote the decision, takes virtually every argument the anti-marriage equality people have been making for years about the importance of marriage and makes them reasons that the institution should be available to everybody thus hoisting them by their own ridiculous petards.

You know, together in common
recognition of how completely
wrong these people were.
But this is no time for divisiveness. The Court's ruling should be bringing people together. According to Kennedy, today's decision boils down to four basic principles, which everyone can get behind. Here, check out the first two: "...that the right to personal choice regarding marriage is inherent in the concept of individual autonomy" and "...that the right to marry is fundamental because it support a two-person union unlike any other in its importance to the committed individuals." 

See? Marriage is about individual liberty and is a magical, sacred union by which two people publicly declare their decision to screw while filing their taxes jointly. Freedom and responsibility? Conservatives love those, so why haven't they been onboard with marriage equality from day one?
I mean, all that's missing here is two dudes
making out while setting off illegal fireworks.
The third point is clearly aimed at the 'won't somebody please think of the children' crowd, or the Helens Lovejoy if you will:

We are thinking about the children.
How's that for comeuppance?
" safeguards children and families and thus draws meaning from related rights of childrearing, procreation and education...Without the recognition, stability and predictability marriage offers, children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser...This does not mean that the right to marry is less meaningful for those who do not of cannot have children. Precedent protects the right of a married couple not to procreate, so the right to marry cannot be conditioned on the capacity or commitment to procreate."

Again, marriage is super-important not only as a question of choice but also as a fundamentally important social structure that provides stable, healthy environments for children. Who doesn't want more of those?
Well, I suppose Fagin wouldn't but then he's the ring-leader
of a band of child thieves, so maybe he's not the best example.
Well, except for diving retribution...
And finally, "[s]tates have contributed to the fundamental character of marriage by placing it at the center of many facets of the legal and social order. There is no difference between some- and opposite-sex couples with respect to this principle..." Blamo, there it is. According to Kennedy, there is no reasonable, legally defensible reason that the state should make a distinction between straight and gay couples and that doing so only serves to demean homosexuals.

Above: Pretty much.
Ok, so what has Antonin Scalia, who wrote the dissenting opinion got that can possibly make us long for the days of sodomy laws and DOMA?

"Until the Court put a stop to it, public debate over same-sex marriage displayed American democracy at its best..."

crying in his cheerios

Yup, that's right. We, as in America, have been denied the opportunity to listen to more homophobic rabid-foam crazy about how gay people cause hurricanes. I appreciate that for Scalia, this whole thing has been a lively national debate, but for millions of people it was about whether or not gays and lesbians were equal citizens under the law, so in many ways he can shut the fuck up.
Pictured: People outside the Supreme Court building celebrating today's ruling.
Not pictured: Anyone giving a shit about Scalia's public debate.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Let's make lifestyle choices!

Gotta catch'em all...or else
die friendless and alone.
Alright fellow nerds, you know how game companies sometimes release multiple versions of the same game with slightly different content so that gamers will have to buy both to get the full experience? Nintendo's been tricking gamers into doing this for years with Pokémon. One version will contain monsters not found in the other game and vice verse so players then have to trade with their friends or pick up both versions to catch all the Pokémon. It's a...what do you call it? Scam? Like, seriously, it's the same game each time, just with slightly different monsters, but we fall for it.

It's not a new concept, but next year's Fire Emblem If (Fates in the U.S.) will come in two different retail versions (well, three if you count DLC) and Nintendo is adding a whole new reason to pick one or the other: hot gay video game sex between androgynously drawn anime character sprites.
It's simple, Byakuya Oukoku if you're into ladies,
Anya Oukoku if you're into dudes. Got all that? 
Above: Gender plays no role as far as stats
go, but when playing as the female, monsters
drop 21.9% less gold for some reason...*
For adults and outdoor kids who might not know what the hell I'm talking about, Fire Emblem is a strategy RPG in which the player creates a character, choosing things like sex, stats, appearance and name and then that character interacts with NPC's (non-player characters) in the game. The last Fire Emblem let you marry your character off to an NPC resulting in certain plot developments and even offspring, but same-sex couples weren't possible. Fates, on the other hand will let you gay it up, but you have to choose the right version.

"I now pronounce you married,
 you may now level up."
Conquest is the version you want if you want to play a male character and marry a male character and Birthright if you want to play a female character and marry a lady NPC. Innovative, no? For the gamers who believe that Shigeru Miyamoto created Link and Zelda not Link and Steve, you can still choose opposite-sex partners and have children, but what's the point? I'd rather have more free time and disposable GP, but that's just me. Obviously gay couples in the game won't produce little level one baby mages or anything, but they will get stat-boosts, just like real life. So it you know, evens out.

Because there's never been anything
gay about Nintendo's games...
It may sound kind of ridiculous to get hung up on something as trivial as RPG characters having pretend same-sex relationships, but it's really about inclusion. Nintendo kind of screwed up last year when they omitted a same-sex romance option in Tomodachi Life and then said some pretty stupid shit about how gay people are a political issue and they like avoid politics in favor of whimsey and charm. It was a PR disaster and neither whimsical nor charming.

But this goes a long way towards making up for it and I applaud Nintendo for coming around to the kind of inclusiveness that gamers expect from pretty much every other major RPG series of the last 15 years. Even if it is a thinly-veiled attempt to get their customers to buy two copies of the same game. Progress, right?
This is Iron Bull from Dragon Age Inquisition, easily the most desirable
bisexual troll monster ever voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr. in all of gaming
and not once did he try to sell us on any DLC. Take note, Nintendo.

*Ok, no they don't, but seriously? That kind of shit wouldn't surprise me.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Today in Duh...

All those in favor of deporting everyone
named Allen? The ayes have it. Motion carried.
Gee, you goddamn think? Huh? What am I talking about? Remember back in March when a rabid-foam lunatic homophobic attorney called Mathew McLaughlin filed a proposal for a ballot initiative called the Sodomite Suppression Act? You don't? Well, he did. And because we live in a state where anyone can put up any crazy horseshit they want up for a show of hands, Attorney General Kamala Harris was required to take him seriously despite the fact that his initiate called for the immediate execution of all gay people.

Pictured: Judge Cadei issuing a writ
of Are you Goddamn Kidding me?
Harris asked for legal permission to throw out the initiative on the grounds that it was murdery, unconstitutional and omega-level crazy and now, three months later, her request has finally been granted. Yes, I said three months:

"Any preparation and official issuance of a circulating title and summary for the Act by the Attorney General would be inappropriate, waste public resources, generate unnecessary division among the public and tend to mislead the electorate..."

-Superior Judge Raymond M. Cadei, explaining 
how this whole thing has been a colossal waste of time

I don't mean to sound ungrateful or anything, but isn't there something wrong with a system that takes three months to consider whether or not putting up a ballot initiative calling for the summary execution for all gay people would be legal? I mean, all this asshole needed was some signatures and a $200 filing fee and if Judge Cadei wasn't on the ball, Matthew McLaughlin would be going door-to-door collecting signatures right now.
"Um, get off my property before I call the cops..."

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Bill Maher the Comedy Czar

So what's Bill Maher's problem? Did you see this? Go on, click on it. It's about Bill Maher calling out some college student for responding to Jerry Seinfeld's comment for-hang on, this is complicated. I'll start at the beginning.
First, all this happened.
"What's the deal with campus?
I mean, there're no tents..."
Earlier this month, Jerry Seinfeld, who probably not coincidentally has a new show, went on an ESPN radio show to talk about sports or whatever. While conversing with host Colin Cowherd, Seinfeld opined that political correctness ruins comedy and that's why his fellow comedians tell him not to bother playing college campuses anymore. He feels that college-aged kids just like throwing around accusations of sexism and racism for the hell of it and that they don't know what they're talking about and they sure as hell don't know what's funny. So like, take that 18-22 year olds.

I'm just taking a stab in the dark here, but I'm guessing he doesn't play colleges anymore because kids born in the mid-to-late 1990's don't know who the hell he is.
I do know who he is and sometimes I think he's Matt Lauer. 
Men and women are different. This
fact is the basis for all hilarious jokes.
Anyway, Anthony Berteaux, a San Diego college student who writes for Huffington Post wrote an open letter challenging Seinfeld's broad assertion, arguing that college students can make the distinction between humor that deconstructs social ills like racism, sexism etc, and humor that reinforces them. It's not a prefect piece of writing; he wastes no time in dropping the word 'myriad' (a pet peeve of mine), and I don't think he's using the word 'muse' correctly, but he's writing for the Huffington Post so good on him.

I don't follow his show, is being
a dick kind of his thing?
However, Bill Maher is not one to stand idly by and watch his fellow comedian get called out by some twenty-year old kid who refuses to see the value of racist jokes:

"Stupid though I was in 1976, I wouldn't have presumed to lecture George Carlin on comedy."

-Bill Maher, picking on-wait a minute, is 
Jerry Seinfeld like, the new George Carlin?

I mean for real. Admittedly, most of Seinfeld's material that I'm familiar with comes from reruns of his old sitcom and being on network television, I'm sure it was relatively tame, but has he ever been edgy? I guess I always thought of him as observational humor and not say, bleeding edge social commentary. 
Parking garages. Am I right people?
Giving jump shot pointers to Stephen
Hawking on the other hand...
Maher goes on to rant: 

"Dear you little shit, I'm sure you're busy with your new letter explaining astrophysics to Stephen Hawking and giving jump shot pointers to Steph Curry, but try to get a clue."

Wow. Holy shit, right? Look, I think Seinfeld is funny. Sure, he's not my favorite or anything. I certainly wouldn't say he's what Stephen Hawking is to astrophysics or what Steph Curry is whatever sports thing she plays, but he's ok.

I think it's a generational thing. I was a teenager when he was a thing so I get him, but I think my parents probably find him funnier than I do. 20 year olds in college in 2015? Of course they're into different things. People's tastes are changing. It happens. It's not Anthony Berteaux's fault and it doesn't mean students are wrong, it just means they don't think Jerry Seinfeld's comedy is funny anymore. That's not actually a character flaw.
He once took twenty two minutes to tell a joke about how people
with accents are hard to understand. Twenty two goddamn minutes.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

At what price our dignity?

Pfft...not going to unlock any
achievements that way...
I realize that playing video games, especially as an adult, can be seen as something of a ridiculous waste of time and money and that's not unfair. I mean, game consoles can cost hundreds of dollars, the games themselves are like $40-$60 apiece and then what? You spend potentially tens of hours sitting in the dark, your eyes locked on a screen, whiling away what probably should be the prime of your life when you could be outside getting exercise and socializing with fellow humans.

On the other hand, have you ever played Assassin's Creed? Because it's goddamn amazing. You go around assassinating rival members of a secret society during the French Revolution. Also I think aliens are involved, so you know, it's educational.
You might even say it's educutional.
"Hey gaymo, how's bout a teabag!"
-Pretty much everyone
else on Xbox live
Anyway, on top of the initial outlay for consoles and software, manufacturers are always looking for other avenues to bleed you dry. Online subscriptions and DLC are nice, but for the highly dupable there's the peripherals. Like this. It's a fancy new Xbox controller that comes with swappable components so you can change out the control sticks depending on preferences or the requirements of a particular game. As an added bonus, it has a standard headphone jack allowing you to use your favorite headset to converse with the homophobic, misogynist, racist teens of Xbox live. All this for only $150.

Can someone explain to me why I have
a job like a chump when professional
Halo player was apparently an option?
Yeah, that's $150 of money for something you probably already have, except now it comes with a set of small, easily lost-down-the-couchable parts which offer what I suspect is a imaginary to marginal improvement in the level of game control. But what do I know? Here's what professional Halo player Mike Cavanaugh had to say:

"When I was competing, I would go though a controller every three months..." 
professional Halo-wait, really?

"Fuck yeah I'm up for talking about
the Kingdom of Heaven, c'mon in."
Yeah, I've clearly been wasting my life by not pursuing this as a career, but still, $150? You know, recently a friend called me up and asked me if I'd help him pick the game console that was right for him. That's like, well I have no real basis for comparison, but I imagine it must be like being one of those people who hand out the Watchtower, and having someone come to your door and ask where they can sign up. Anyway, I steered him toward an Xbox One and when we went looking for a second controller we discovered that the basic ones cost $80. $80! When did this happen? Playing video games has always been pricier than say, a brisk walk or an afternoon with the Jehovah's witnesses, but between the console, two controllers and a game or two you can easily spend $600.

"These hadoukens just roll off the
thumb. Money well spent I say."
-Some idiot
Look, there've been a lot of ridiculous peripherals over the decades, and at least this one has the benefit of being an actual controller and not say a plastic drum set or cyborg glove from space but holy shit, $150? We have no one to blame but ourselves. Like, I know we're all grown-ups, so really this just comes down to how much you want to spend on throwing a hadouken in comfort, but every time one of us coughs up $150 for one of these things, we only encourage manufacturers to pull shit like this again in the future.

Where does it end I ask you? Where? Well, obviously when we either find a more mature hobby or when we stop shelling out for crazy gimmick peripherals. So, like, never.
We are, traditionally, a gullible people.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Let's hear it for half-measures!

Hey, so remember when that grass roots campaign, organized to get a notable American woman on the $20 bill to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment? They had a whole vote and Harriet Tubman won? It was a pretty cool, right? Well, it's not happening.
"What's Harriet Tubman done for us lately?"
-The U.S. Treasury, apparently
Jackson's safe for now, but for
real, he'd better watch his obverse.
Instead, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew just announced that he's going to totally steal the group's idea, and then make it incredibly lame. The Treasury will be putting a woman on a bill to celebrate the 19th Amendment's centennial, but instead of replacing noted genocidal maniac Andrew Jackson on the twenty with an historically significant (and presumably non-genocidal) woman, they're going to replace Alexander Hamilton on the ten dollar bill. You know, the ol'sawbuck? No? Apparently that's the nickname for the $10 bill. Never heard that before? That's because none of us are lumberjacks, and there's about half as many 10's in circulation as there are 20's (source: the internet).

Oh, and don't worry Alexander Hamilton fans, just to make sure our nation's first Secretary of the Treasury isn't relegated to obscurity, you know, more so, not all the tens will be womanized in 2020 when the new design is rolled out. The department will still print a percentage of Hamilton tens as well.
Hamilton fans, or Hamers as they like to be called, are among
the most devoted of all historic Treasury Secretary fandoms
"They got the vote and now the ten...some
 of the tens...what more do they want?"
Here's Treasury Secretary Lew on why women should be happy he's giving them a bill at all:

"Our democracy is a work in progress. This decision of putting a woman on the ten dollar bill reflects our aspirations for the future as much as a reflection of the past."

-Treasury Secretary Jack Lew,
on how the new bill will, uh,
reflect our aspirations or whatever

Um, maybe I'm reading too much into that, but does it sound a little like he's telling women to lower their expectations? Seriously, our democracy is a work in progress so that's why we're giving women the $10 bill instead of the $20 which comes spewing out of every ATM in the country. But hold on another hundred years or so and maybe we'll think about putting Eleanor Roosevelt on the five or something. Huh, I think I just got what Lew was saying about this being a reflection of America's past...
Better luck next century...

Friday, June 12, 2015

What's Australian for Sour Grapes?

Brace yourselves everybody, Nick and Sarah Jensen, a super-Christian couple from Canberra (fun fact: it's the capital of Australia!) have announced that if the country legalizes same-sex marriage, they'll divorce. Sort of. They'll divorce like in a legal sense, but they still plan to live together, beget more kids and just generally carry on as normal except now when someone to asks them what their deal is, they'll launch into a rant about how everything was fine until the gays cocked it all up. 
Pictured: Just some of the billions of married people in the world,
which begs the question: why should we give a shit about Nick and Sarah?
They'll just plant themselves next to
the shrimp and wait for you to ask...
So, in many ways, they'll be the people you'll want to avoid talking to at a party. Seriously, nothing kills a party like a homophobic screed. Speaking of, here's what Nick had to say in the Canberra Times:

"Our view is that marriage is a fundamental order of creation. Part of God's human history. Marriage is the union of a man and a woman before a community in the sight of God. And the marriage of any couple is important to God regardless of whether the couple recognizes God's involvement or authority in it."

-Nick Jensen, victim of gay people
being all gay and shit

You hear that Australian gays? A straight couple might be forced to...well, not forced, choose. A straight couple might choose to get a divorce if you keep insisting on equal marriage rights. I hope you're pleased with yourselves.
"Huh? What? Sorry, we couldn't hear you over
the deafening sound of our hard won legal rights."
"We told you to check 'married filing
jointly' but no, you wouldn't listen.
Hope you enjoy the concept of shame..."
If you read his whole op-ed, he goes on to trot out the familiar horseshit about how marriage is a timeless and mysterious institution forged by God in the Beforetime and that's why it comes with tax breaks (because God apparently gives a shit about your 1040), but he's not vitriolic or angry. Here in the U.S. we're used to rabid foam crazy and rage and there's none of that here which I suppose is refreshing. As anti-gay rants go, his is pretty level-headed. Don't get me wrong, he and his wife are still being enormous asshats, they're just being somewhat more polite about it than say the Westboro people or Mike Huckabee and that Chic fil A thing. Wait, did I just say something nice about a pair of homophobes threatening a fake divorce if they don't get their way?

Yeah, I don't feel good about it either, but check out this response from Nick Jensen's brother. A self-described strong supporter of marriage equality, Soren Jensen defends his brother's right to voice his opinion and denounces the name calling and hatred on both sides as counter-productive. Which, ok, it is. 
"I disapprove of what you have to say, but I'll 
defend to the death your right to be a total wanker."
-Not actually Voltaire*

Above: Another marriage
ruined by gay people.
So we're left with the difficult choice of deciding where the people end and their medieval, bullshit opinions about what other people should and should not be allowed to do begins. Are Nick and his wife good people except for the whole hate-filled worldview thing? I mean, I'm sure they're great parents and love their dogs but they're argument is that gay people are so repellent and toxic that expanding the definition of marriage would forever taint it as an institution for everyone else. That's just shitty, isn't it?

I'm not saying the Jensens should be heckled or threatened or anything, but it's going to be hard not to call them a couple of ignorant fucknuckles. Yeah, it's how they talk there. Anyway, as per Australian law, the issue will now be decided by strapping Nick and Soren into bungee harnesses, giving them weapons and pitting them against each other under a sort of dome-like structure. Two men enter, one man shuts up and deals. Because Australia.
What? Oh, don't give me that look. I know two things about Australia:
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and rabbits, and I couldn't come up with a
way to work a rabbit joke into this one. Oh, three if you count fucknuckle.

*Well, obviously Voltaire didn't say 'wanker.' He was French and probably would have said something like wânquiérre. But it turns out the whole quote was bogus.