Wednesday Whackness: Allen West Edition

allen west

Allen West. I like to think of him as the reason we invented the phrase “bat-shit crazy.” He was a one-term U.S. Representative from Florida and it’s not because he answered to a higher calling, it’s because he was voted out even quicker than he arrived.

He’s proven himself to be a gold medal-caliber bigot and conspiracy theorist. He rode into office on the Tea Party wave and the current must’ve been too strong because two years later it carried him right back the fuck out. The re-election campaign that he lost was the most expensive one ever waged in the history of Congress. Guess it goes to show that all the money in the world can’t convince people to vote for crazy two times in a row. These days he hangs out where all now-unelectable Republicans go to retire; Fox News.

The following image (WARNING: It is somewhat graphic) comes courtesy of the Facebook profile, “Allen West Republic” which claims to be in support of his website:

12509698_990903580985870_7701446594259995446_n

The easiest way to gig him on this is poor grammar. Or what seems to be a fundamental lack of understanding of what Islam is. But that’s low-hanging fruit so how about the message of the image instead?

In looking for countries ruled by Islam (his terms, not mine), I figured the quickest way would be to find a list of countries where Muslims represent at least a simple majority of the population. And here is a quick blurb from that link:

According to the Pew Research Center in 2010 there were 50 Muslim-majority countries. Around 62% of the world’s Muslims live in South and Southeast Asia, with over 1 billion adherents. The largest Muslim population in a country is in Indonesia, a nation home to 12.7% of the world’s Muslims, followed by Pakistan (11.0%), India (10.9%), and Bangladesh (9.2%). About 20% of Muslims live in Arab countries. In the Middle East, the non-Arab countries of Turkey and Iran are the largest Muslim-majority countries; in Africa, Egypt and Nigeria have the most populous Muslim communities. The study found more Muslims in the United Kingdom than in Lebanon and more in China than in Syria.

So, let’s assume that from the perspective of the graphic’s creator that they’re talking about countries in the Middle East, which is not really a stretch considering current events. That being said, after reading the statistics above you might be asking yourself how can a claim such as the one in the graphic be true if the majority of Muslims don’t live in the countries implied? And the simple answer is that it’s not, it’s an out-and-out fabrication.

Michael-What-the-office-10400786-400-226.gif

I’m just shooting from the hip here, but I can count at least twenty out of the fifty Muslim-majority countries that I know are not a “HELLISH NIGHTMARE” as West would have you believe. Now, those are only the countries I know something about. Out of the same fifty Muslim-majority countries I can only name around ten that I absolutely would not visit even if I knew more about them. Maybe this isn’t the most scientific of approaches, but I think it’s hard to say that it has any less merit than West’s. I pray that you’ll find that my argument at least includes numbers and research and most hopeful of all, good grammar. (If yer not picking up what I’m laying down, this is a good resource that gets more in-depth.)

This image and countless others shared by West’s supporters and people like them continue the incredibly short-sighted, reductive arguments that will only serve to harm American policy both foreign and domestic. I urge, even beg people to not blindly accept any broad-based assertion that they happen upon, regardless of its intent. But that’s perhaps a little too optimistic of me. I would just like to sign off by reminding anyone who still isn’t with me that never in our history as Americans has discriminating against an entire group of people ever worked out for the best.

Palate cleanser:

Sunday Funday!

How great is this? If you answered “really great” then you’re correct. Congratulations.

Still Workin’ On It Monday

I’ll think of a title soon, I swear. But in the meantime, link dump! This one is a bit all over the place so, please…

ESUJJ3K.jpg

…bear with me.


This video comes from what is, pound-for-pound, my favorite YouTube channel. “Every Frame a Painting” is a series created and narrated by Tony Zhou that delves into the nuts and bolts of film-making with a special emphasis on cinematography. My post on Akira Kurosawa featured one such video. In the following clip, he shows you why Jackie Chan is a film icon and explains the difference between his style and most of his contemporaries and how that sets him apart in the best of ways. I have been a lifelong Jackie Chan nerd and I could probably give this multiple viewings (ed. note: I already have):


Here’s a good read. Politico is a go-to for my daily news-in-politics fix, but they also throw in great history lessons like this one.

download

FDR during one of his “Fireside Chats.” Named so because Eleanor said he had a hot ass.

Three big moments put American foreign policy on a path that we’re still on today. If you guessed that all three of those moments were wars, then you win a piece of candy of your choosing. The last big moment of the three was of course, World War Two. This particular article focuses on the run-up to World War Two and how FDR was posturing himself in such a way as to break away from the isolationist sentiment that held sway in the American public prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. The piece is written by author and history professor Josh Zeitz. If you’re a history nerd or you are fascinated by foreign relations and want to know how and why we got to where we are today on the world’s stage, have a look-see.


I’m not the most avid of board game enthusiasts, but when I play a particularly good one I feel the need to pass it on. If you have too many players for Settlers of Catan and you’d rather not play something especially cruel like Shadows over Camelot or drawn out like Risk, then maybe I have something for you.

Robo Rally was gifted to me last year riiight before I left for the summer so I never cracked it open until this past autumn. Suffice it to say, it was a great gift.

ah_prod_roborally_pic2_en

Robo Rally

The basic gist of it is this: You set a course for your robot with the objective of reaching a checkpoint. However, other players are trying to get there too. You go step by step in revealing your paths as a group and your robots, especially with a larger group, will, in all likelihood, run into each other, push each other off course (potentially into a pit or even off the board), and/or shoot at each other. You set your course five steps in advance and every player reveals a step in their plan at the same time, so if you get knocked off course during the first step, the next four can blow up in your face or with a lot of luck you can even slide back-asswards into victory.

As I said, the game is chaotic and even more so with more players (maximum eight). So my recommendation is to have as many as possible for the greatest likelihood of carnage and laughs.


And for the closer, here’s some Run the Jewels for you (yer welcome). This track is the closer from their second album, the critically-acclaimed Run the Jewels 2. I love these guys, and I’ve been listening to Killer Mike off and on since his debut album Monster came out in 2003 (I sound like such an ass). The hooks are out of control, as Mike’s stage partner El-P handles the production and together they’ve made arguably the best rap of the former’s career. Their stuff is political, ideological, confrontational as hell but most importantly, good. Even if you don’t care for their message, it’s damned hard to deny that they have chemistry, excellent lyricism, and top-notch production. Without much further ado:

Wednesday Wecommendation: Bojack Horseman Edition

bojack_horseman2.jpg

Bojack Horseman (courtesy: Netflix)

I am loathe to summarize Bojack Horseman in nutshell-form because it’s actually quite hard to classify. As of now there are twenty-five episodes across two seasons available and the while the first quarter or so of the series doesn’t do much to differentiate itself from forerunners in the adult-oriented animated arena, the latter half of the first season and the following season offers up drama in a way that few comedies seem willing to attempt.

tumblr_nb3z5aocWw1qc8jh0o1_500

 

The show stars Will Arnett in the title role of a washed-up sitcom actor trying to reclaim his former glory and the easiest comparison is probably Archer in terms of the latter being a spiritual predecessor of sorts. Both deal in pretty over-the-top premises, somewhat unlikable but also emotionally stunted titular leads, and a colorful, if occasionally one-note, background cast. Both shows ultimately traffic in laughs but aren’t afraid of the swirling maelstrom in their characters’ souls. But I think where the two diverge is that Bojack delves even deeper into the fragile psyche of a damaged man. In some ways, Bojack is just as similar to Mad Men as it is to Archer or say, Community.

tumblr_nauiblvLOX1qfaphzo1_400

A deep well that Bojack oftens returns to is the surreal reality of life in Hollywood and of the inner workings of the entertainment industry at large. Another limitless source of laughs is the sometimes off-putting but consistently funny imagining of a world where animals are bi-pedal and can talk. They just drop you into a reality where this happens to be the case and the material just writes itself really. Not every bit works, but as is the case with other great comedies, the show takes risks and the payoff is worth it. Some punchlines are as crass as you might expect from a show of its ilk, and there are copious sight-gags and allusions in every episode which welcome repeat-viewing a la Arrested Development.

wvy71jm

I would behoove me (get it?) to mention the voice cast. Arnett (Arrested Development) turns in performances that make me wish for a voice-over category at the Emmy’s. (Sure, it would be between him, H. Jon Benjamin and Seth MacFarlane every year, but whatever.) Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) turns out to be surprisingly adept in the recording booth, but considering the quality of his line-reads in Breaking Bad, it shouldn’t come as a shock that he delivers superb stuff as Bojack’s roommate, Todd. Rounding out the cast are the similarly excellent Alison Brie (Community), Paul F. Tompkins (Comedy Bang! Bang!) and Amy Sedaris (Strangers with Candy).

Bojack made me laugh as hard as any comedy has in recent memory, but also found the space for some really heart-rending sequences where you find yourself hoping for the best possible result for the characters involved but know that it won’t always come. If you decide to give it a go, keep going until about episode seven or eight. If you aren’t digging on it by then, feel free to continue watching The Bachelor or whatever garbage it is that you’re watching these days.