Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ashamed and Proud

As my moniker and blog title might imply, I attended an institute of higher learning called "JMU." James Madison University, which is located in Harrisonburg, Virginia. It is a wonderful area, beautiful and scenic, and the place where I spent the most fun 6 or 7 years of my life. It's a good school. A really good one. It was when I went, and it still is. And I'm very proud to be an alumnus of the University.

Recently an event occurred at the school which has cast it into the news around the Washington, DC area. It has been an embarrassing story which I've tried to follow through websites, news outlets and fellow alumni from the area, since I now live near Philadelphia.

For many years, going back to the late 80's and early 90's when I attended, there has been a block party in April in a townhouse community called "Forest Hills." It was basically a street with one entrance/exit (as I remember it) filled with town homes. The residents would pick a weekend, and tell everyone "hey. Let's all get kegs on such and such date, and invite our friends. Turn it into a big block party." That's how I remember it happening, and I attended it more than once.

With the growth of social media, and the history of 20+ years of partying to go along with it, the Forest Hills Block Party has grown and grown. This year, the students had the idea of creating Facebook "fan" pages, and the like. It became a party that students from other colleges would want to attend.

To make a long story short, the party got out of hand. Riot police were brought in, and tear gas was used to disperse the crowds. Cars were damaged. Property was damaged. Many arrests were made. A schools reputation was damaged. Here is an example of one YouTube video I found regarding the incident.

Watching this video, I can't help but be anything other than ashamed. YouTube search for Springfest Riots, there are tons more. This was the first that popped up.

But over the last week or two, another story has developed, of which I feel a certain sense of pride. The police and the University have a bit of egg on their face. They are doing a bit of a witch hunt, tracking down YouTube videos and other postings of pictures to try to identify people who may have been involved in the criminal activity. I think it may be excessive, but so be it.

The student run newspaper at JMU is called "The Breeze." They had staff photographers and people assigned to cover the large party, and it obviously turned out to be a larger news story than anyone expected. On Friday, the Commonwealth's Attorney showed up at the offices of the paper with a warrant to seize any and all photos regarding the incident. Refusal to turn the photos over would result in all computers and equipment being confiscated, which would make continuing to produce the paper impossible. They wound up confiscating over 900 photos. But the student editor in chief realized that this was a violation of the federal Privacy Protection Act. She sought legal counsel, consulted her faculty advisers, and contacted an organization that helps give legal advice and protection to student run newspapers. For this, I am proud. This young lady, Katie Thisdell, has the guts and fortitude to stand up for free speech, privacy protection, and overall civil liberties in the face of quite a firestorm. I'm not sure that I would have the courage to do that now. I'm almost positive that I wouldn't have had the balls to do it then.

I've simplified the story. If you would like to read more, here is an article from the Breeze.

Congratulations Katie and the rest of the staff at the Breeze. You made me proud to be a JMU graduate again. Fight the good fight. Good luck.

Friday, April 2, 2010

More political incorrectness

I loved my post so much yesterday, I thought I'd share another clip from Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. The movie is chock full of scenes like this.

Best line in the whole thing is the black guy in the background who yells "ask if they have any Kool-Aid." Hysterical.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Political Correctness and Japanese People

A month or so ago, just after the Olympics, I was having a few beers with my brother and some friends at a local watering hole. (OK, OK, I admit, I was shitfaced at Victory Brewing Company. You're so fucking smart...) The conversations turned to political correctness, and how people that aren't white just look funny.

Our era of Political Correctness sickens me. People are just appalled when you make a joke based on ethnicity. But that shit is funny. And on top of that, I think this era of political correctness diminishes and downplays real-world political situations that are dangerous and worthy of at least some measured form of "keeping one's guard up."

I'm forty years old. I grew up in the 70's. It seemed like ancient history at the time to me, but World War 2 was only 25 years in the rear view mirror at that point. Like, that's how long ago I graduated high school. (Actually, 1987, but close enough for my purposes here.) It's not THAT far back. Like 1985, the MOVE bombing in Philadelphia occurred. Reagan took his second oath of office. "Careless Whisper" by WHAM! was the number one song. Foreigner wanted to know what love was in 1985. Eddie Murphy's girl wanted to Party all the Time in 1985.

That's pretty recent, right?

So with that in mind, I can remember plenty of political IN-correctness from my youth. But looking back, I think it was justified. Remember when a friend snuck up on you, we used to call that "japping" someone. Rightfully so. Those motherfuckers pulled off the ultimate sneak attack of all time. (Which, by the way, led to a pretty fucking disappointing Jerry Bruckheimer movie 60 years later that I still resent the short black haired slanty eyed people for....)

I actually said that I was going to "Jap" a waitress or waiter at Victory that night if they didn't bring me my beer quickly. The table was appalled. For about 3 seconds. Then everyone burst into laughter. It's no big whoop to use a term like that.

"Listen. Bring me my beer, quickly. I asked 10 minutes ago, and I'm thirsty. If you don't bring me my beer, I'm gonna hide at the end of the bar, and Jap you. You got me? Understand? I'm gonna paint the fence, wax-on wax-off, Do the Crane on your face, Thank you for playing Mr. Miyagi, now go fuck yourself and get me beer. Or I'm going to go all Nagasaki on you're ass."

I miss those days. It's good fun to joke. And by the way, in my opinion, that event is something that should never EVER be forgotten. And it is part of the history of the people whose country perpetrated the crimes....

I defy you. Do an impression of a German person. You're not going to sound like Dieter from "Sprockets."

(BTW....Mike Myers, more genius....funniest line ever on SNL???? "I am so full of anticipation that my genitals have sucked up into my body cavity. Before we begin… before we begin, would you like to touch my Monkey? ") You are going to outstretch your hand in a Nazi Salute and say "Heil Hitler." Go ahead...try it.

It sickens me when I hear people in an airport complaining about the security wait times. Get there early you jerk. People who look a lot like every Arab I've ever seen on 24 stole a bunch of planes and flew them willy nilly into a couple of fucking buildings a few years ago. At the time,I didn't live that far outside of New York City. My children went to elementary school with 2 kids who lost parents in the WTC bombing. That was not even 9 years ago, yet we forget so quickly. We worry about offending people who can't plan their trip to the airport properly??? Who is still worrying about those kids with 2 dead fathers? Who's helping to raise them?

Listen. This is simple. Puerto Rican's like to wear big earrings and their parents move in with you after your marry one of their women. Japanese people sneak attack. And they have funny eyes and are short with straight black hair. Chinese people, everything in the world takes "ten minuh..." Irish guys have small dicks. (I swear man, that's not true....I don't even know why I mentioned it.) I meant to say that Irish guys drink a lot. That's true. Black guys are better at basketball than I am. Black chicks wear hair extensions that fall out all over the streets of Philadelphia, and they all have tattoo's of someone from their neighborhood who's been shot. Guys with big noses usually have big hoses. Am I right? Russian's all like Vodka, the French will lay down for anyone, and the English all have bad teeth. It's ok. We still can like those people...

Don't hate it. Embrace it. It's not racist. It's insensitive. But insensitive can by hysterical. I love that little Asian speed skater, Apolo Anton Ohno. That son of a bitch makes me proud to be an American.

By the way. If you have not seen Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, it is the single most politically incorrect movie in history. AND IT'S HILARIOUS!!!!! Check out this scene about Asian people and their eyes.