Affirmative Action

When I was about nine years old (1979) some people were talking to me about my future and what I could do when I grew up. One person said “You can work for the State!” My first reaction was “Fuck the State”. They said “The State will hire you because they always need minorities.” I thought that was a funny thing to say.

“Why does the State need minorities?” I asked.

“Because there was so much racism in the past that now they have to make up for it by hiring minorities until the numbers even out.”

“But I don’t want to get hired because of the color of my skin, I want to be hired for what I can do.”

Fast forward 20-something years later working in a State office. One white guy was reported to have said about a black manager he didn’t like “She’s not here due to any skill, she’s only here because of Affirmative Action.” A comment like that stings for two reasons: the first is the obvious slam against the individual. The second is because it’s entirely possible that that manager would be working here based on merit even if no Affirmative Action programs had ever existed. The catch 22 is that since those programs have existed for quite some time, it’s rather impossible for her to prove it.

If you are an ethnic minority individual incidents of racism may hinder you from time to time but the spectre of institutionalized Affirmative Action attends you always, like a shadow. It belittles valid individual achievements because there is always the impression there that accomplishments were not altogether earned. A syndicated columnist (I believe it was Thomas Sowell) described the fact that, as a black man, when he inveighed against Affirmative Action he was told that if not for those programs he would not have made it to where he was. His answer, of course, was that he was born in 1930 and was educated (at Harvard, among other places) well before those programs ever existed.

Up until now these programs, much like fruitcake at Christmas, have been given to us whether we want them or not. What’s even worse, even if we were ideologically opposed to them, we were still supposed to say thank you. But on November 7 all that changed. A proposal was put on the ballot here in Michigan which would prohibit programs that give preferential treatment to people on the basis of race and gender in college admissions. I was finally given a chance to weigh in on this policy myself and I voted to prevent such programs in the future.

The proposal passed by a margin of 58 to 42 percent which is a good thing. In the matter of college of admissions what does the color of one’s skin or the nature of ones genitalia matter next to the result you get with a kid, a standardized test, and a #2 pencil? In fact, the argument has been made that when you boost a student’s rating based on race or gender you actually do him (yeah I said “him” dammit I’m old school) a disservice by placing him in a group that is over his head. College admissions are intended to group students according like ability and when you skew that the obvious result is that students will be placed where they may not be able to keep up. This does nothing to combat racial prejudice and it in fact reinforces it when difficulties occur due to incorrect placement.

We would argue all the nuances and unintended consequences of AA programs until you’re blue in the face from me choking you but the best reason to dismantle them is because racism is bad. If it’s bad for individuals to do it, then it’s ten times as bad for the government (or any government funded agency) to do it. Why? Because you can get away from an individual, but except in cases of violent insurrection you can’t get away from the government. In the past these sentiments may have been just empty rhetoric, but this week out ballots have been counted and the resounding message is this: race is not a value!

Deja Who

January 2002

I awake from a dream. It’s about three in the morning and I’m on the living room floor next to the couch where She Who is Not to be Named has been sleeping. She feels my eyes upon her and she opens hers. I’ve spent almost every waking moment away from work with her ever since I ran into her at The Point After in late October. She’s looking at me silently and I say “I was just dreaming about you. Then I wake up and there you are.” She smiles back and the world is ok.

When I posted yesterday about the movie with the girls who had an unnatural attachment to each other I knew it sounded eerily familiar. Except in my case of unnatural attachment there were no hot lesbian scenes with She because a) I’m a dude and b) we weren’t kicking it. And we didn’t go and murder any old people either. That strange attachment eventually wore off and when I ran into She a couple of months ago I felt nothing of the old spell. It was all a mirage and self-deception as it was as my psyche had built her into something that she never was anyway, a sort of self-induced hallucination, kind of like getting the Holy Ghost. But it was fun while it lasted.

The downshot of that is that I think somewhere along the line I blew an infatuation-fuse. I can’t fall in like with anyone anymore and I think this may be permanent. I think this is somehow related to the time Eric Cartman blew a funny-fuse.

Heavenly Creatures

Ok. This weekend I saw this movie call Heavenly Creatures. I had never heard of it before but I read the info on it as I was scrolling through the guide info for the cable channels. It’s a movie based on a true story about two teenage girls, Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme, who develop an intense attachment to each other and when their parents seek to keep them apart they concoct a plot to murder the ugly girl’s mother. I thought this is the movie for me, as it has everything I value in life, specifically lesbianism and murder.

I watched it and I discovered it was even better than I expected. These chicks had developed their own fantasy world where Orson Wells was supposed to be some sort of magical archangel. They regarded themselves as “heavenly creatures” who were not bound by the normal constraints of law and they professed the belief that when they died they would gain entrance to “The Fourth World” which Juliet described as “better than heaven because it doesn’t have any Christians.” I’m intrigued by this idea and wish to subscribe to their newsletter.

The online articles about the real life case say that the parents suspected that the girls were involved with each other sexually but Juliet (who has since become a published novelist) has disclaimed any sexual activity though acknowleges that their relationship was obsessive. The movie hinted at a physical relationship between the two, showing them kiss on the lips seven times, showed them bathing together in at least two scenes and showed them sleeping in each others arms in another.

The best part of the movie was the murder itself which was accomplished with a brick tied into a stocking being used as a cudgel. I don’t normally advocate murder but if you absolutely gotta do it then a brick tied into a stocking is the way to go. It took more than 40 blows with that weapon to kill the old bitch off and then the girls ran screaming back home and tried to represent that the woman died as the result of a fall. Yeah, she fell 47 times into a stocking with a brick tied into it. The police found the girls’ letters to each other and a diary describing the plot and after that the conviction was merely academic.

The saddest parts of the movie were when the girls were trying to prevent their impending separation (Juliet was being moved to Africa to help her tuberculosis) and they screamed, professed their love for each other, and stopped speaking to their parents entirely. After they were convicted they each spent five years in prison and were ultimately released on the condition that they never contact each other again. What a gyp, they never got to the carpet munching which means the old hag died for nothing. I recommend the movie though if you like stories about psycho bitches (which I do). The end!

Political Ads

I’m voting against every candidate who called me with a recorded message. Seriously, that is fucked up. You want to waste my time with some canned platitudes and you don’t even have the common decency to have a real live person on the other end for me to cuss out for interrupting my evening meal? That’s just shabby.

A few weeks ago I was approached downtown by a manequin-looking woman with a microphone. It was a news-woman from channel six complete with her cameraman in tow. She asked if she could talk to me for a minute. I said “About what?” She said “We’d like to know what you think about all the campaign ads on television.” I said “I don’t watch television” and hurried away. I absolutely did NOT want to be on TV. It’s not that I’m scared of the exposure (I am exposing myself even as we speak). It’s just that I think that she probably saw me and said “Here comes Joe Six pack, let’s get his opinion for the evening news.” I will not be your slack-jawed man in the street for all the bufoons in TV-land.

Debbie Stabenow has an ad that says she’s going to fight for economic fairness by preventing outsourcing. Fighting for fairness sounds great, until you realize that this is supposed to be accomplished by using the big stick of government to further restrict free trade (they hate your freedom). One billion screaming Chinese are making inroads to capitalism while we rush headlong into Maoism. Let’s see how this plays out.

Oh yeah, the conference went great. Except the girl I lost my cue stick to in a bet at the last conference showed up again this year and she brought my old cue stick! THAT was really odd, kind of like when you abandon a newborn in a dumpster and you think it’s long gone but a year later it shows up on your front doorstep and just looks at you. I know you all can relate.

That’s pretty much it. I’m going to the polls tomorrow to vote against whichever candidates are more governmenty and especially against the ones who harassed me with phone call recordings. If I was running for office my entire campaign would be based on the fact that I wouldn’t bother people on their phones. I would win by a landslide. Then I would thank all my constituents via phone call recordings.

Dear Blog People

I regret to announce that I’ll be unable to post for the rest of the week because I have AIDS  Continue reading Dear Blog People →

Hard Times

I wrote a rap about how hard it is to work in a state office. Here it is.

JFK

Click for the A short documentary video clip.

Ok, watch the video clip, and THEN read my commentary at the bottom of this page. Remember, WATCH the clip first or the commentary will spoil the video. Ready? Go!

Ok, now for my commentary. After I made this video I showed it to someone. This person asked “So you find the assasination of JFK funny???” My answer: Yes. I don’t get emotionally invested in things that happened before my time. The bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Holocaust, and the JFK assasination are all things that are matters of historical record. They were set in stone before I was born, I therefore feel no compelling emotional tug one way or the other.

Scott Norwood missing the field goal for the Buffalo Bills at the end of Superbowl XXV, however, I was alive for that so that one still stings. I remember exactly where I was too. I was at Tripper’s Sports Bar in Frandor. The guy on my left had bet $5,000 on the over/under and he missed out on his money by virtue of that kick as well. I was eating nachos with sour cream and black olives. I could live til I’m 100 and that kick will never be funny to me.

So if you were alive and remember exactly what you were doing at the moment JFK was shot you have special dispensation to be pissed off at me and my video. To have known Mr. Kennedy to be a real live person and then to have witnessed his end must have been traumatic both for you and for the nation. But if you’re around my age or younger then the salient point is that the assasination is funny for reasons that are beyond my control. It’s not MY fault the guy happened to be the prototype for the bobblehead phenomenon. And I believe if JFK was right next to me watching this video he would be laughing what was left of his head off!

The World Serious

This year’s World Series is drawing record low television ratings. The problem, baseball afficianados say, is that this year’s matchup is boring. The thing that I’d like to point out, however, IS THAT BASEBALL HAS ALWAYS BEEN BORING!!! THAT’S WHY PETE ROSE PLACED ALL THOSE BETS SO HE WOULDN’T FALL A FUCKEN SLEEP! EVEN THE PLAYERS LOOK BORED WHEN THEY’RE PLAYING! THE ONLY THING THEY EVEN LOOK MILDLY INTERESTED IS ON THE OCCASIONAL DOUBLE PLAY! WHAT THE FUCK!!???

Ahem. So baseball fans, watch this boring ass World Series. You watched all the other ones and they were all boring too. As for me I didn’t care that yesterdays game got rained out because I was going to watch the Miami Heat preseason game anyway.

That is all for today. Tomorrow I think I’m going to post a link to a very short documentary I’m making about John F. Kennedy. It’s in the works even as we speak.

Smoking

Most days I don’t smoke at all, just as most days I don’t drink, but I always have a pack of cigarettes with me just in case a game of pool breaks out. I’m not physically addicted to nicotine. Often days go by without pool and beer and I therefore have no desire to smoke, so I don’t. If I had the desire and was suppressing it I could chalk it up to willpower, but since the desire is not there in the first place, it’s something that just is. But just as soon as the quarters are put in and the table is being racked I fire up a Marlboro Light. The cause falls somewhere between Pavlov’s dogs and tradition.

There are people who think I should try to quit. If I didn’t want to smoke I wouldn’t. I like to smoke in moderation because it allows me some self indulgent pleasure after doing whatever it is I do during the workweek. When it’s Miller Time, it’s time for me to breathe fire and drink Budweiser (because FUCK Miller time). The funny thing is the people who see me only when I shoot pool probably think I smoke all the time, whereas the people who see me only when I’m NOT shooting pool probably think I don’t smoke at all. The true answer (as often does in real life) lies somewhere in between.

When I first met “Layla” in real life, who knew me first only from the blog, one of the first things she remarked was “I didn’t think you were the type who smokes”. My answer to that is that there’s a lot of things I do that I just don’t write about. Like I never write about donating canned goods to the poor but. . . . Ok I’ve never actually done that so that’s probably a bad example. But I stole some gloves and a hat from a poor person once so that’s kind of the same thing. Let us not get bogged down with semantics though, it’s time to move on.

Oh yeah. . . I always think it’s gross when I see somebody driving to work smoking in their car first thing in the morning. How can people do that? Whenever I see that I have to suppress a gag. The only time I’ve ever done that was back when I used to hang out with Monique, who had somewhere along the way become a pack a day smoker. Back in those days I smoked whenever she smoked (just because it seemed like the thing to do) and after a while my chest hurt. But once that era ended I went back to doing what I’ve always done and what I in fact do now which is only smoking when I’m drinking and/or playing pool (those two usually coincide).

Yes, there’s a slight health risk to smoking in moderation but that’s an informed choice on my part so I’m willing to take it. After all, beer, pool, and banging the occasional woman of questionable humanity are not the only things in life, but it wouldn’t be much of a life if those things didn’t exist now would it? If I can be so bold as to answer my own rhetorical question, no it would not, so I’m going to deal with that value judgement and act accordingly. Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it!

* This message brought to you by the American Lungs are Vastly Overrated Organization

More Random Thoughts

For Halloween I’m gonna be Some Puerto Rican Guy. The only thing I have to do differently is learn to dance when I fight. This will come into play in the event of a bar brawl, I just hope I can snap and sing in time with my opponent.

Things I have learned this week: If you take a coffee filter and turn it upside down, a cat won‘t want to wear it as a hat. As a rule cats don’t like very much that’s new and innovative. I am unfazed, however, and my work on the cat-parachute will continue.

“Layla” tried to alert me to the breast exams on TV yesterday. Unfortunately I was somewhere else shooting pool at the time. This brings me to my other point: women don’t like it when you hit their boobs in rhythm like a boxing speedbag. I’ve never understood why.

I’m hungry. I’m gonna order a pizza sub from Cottage Inn Pizza. My two items will be mushrooms and ground beef. I’ll let you all know how it turns out.