Arizona to Latinos: “Show me your papers”

26 04 2010

“Saturday Night Live” has been suffering from a massive comedic vacuum since Tina Fey left to do “30 Rock.” But Seth Meyers can still crack me up on “Weekend Update” sometimes, like he did the other night with this gag.

In his own way, Meyers is making  a great point. After all the ridiculous talk about Nazis from the political right, I can immediately see what’s so messed up about requiring cops to ask people for their “papers.” As Meyers says “I know, I know. It’s a dry fascism. But it’s still fascism.”

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Erykah Badu and the Definition of “Art”

8 04 2010
Photo, Erykah Badu at the North Sea Jazz Festival 2009

CC Image courtesy of tnarik on Flickr

By now you probably know Erykah Badu‘s “Window Seat”  music video stirred a little controversy recently. In it, she strips down to nothing at the site of JFK’s assassination in front of a bunch of tourists who weren’t told it would go down. And if you don’t expect some of us to get worked up over naked bodies, you don’t know Americans very well.

Badu says she was making an artistic statement. Some of her defenders are pretty persuasive. But critics like Bill O’Reilly say the video isn’t real “art.”

The argument actually reveals the weaknesses in our use of the word “art” itself.  The appropriate question is not “Is it art?” The real question is,  “Is it good art?”

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To boldly split infinitives where they have never been split before…

8 04 2010

“A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct.”

Princess Irulan, from Frank Herbert’s Dune

This blog has been a long time in coming. One question had to be answered before I started. How can I write about big things (truth, justice, democracy, religion, etc.) and still make this fun for me to publish and others to read? I have little interest in reading blogs that are merely personal diaries, and even less interest in writing one.

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Easter & King’s Assassination: The Political Utility of Resurrection

4 04 2010

“There is a war going on for your mind… We are the insurgents.”

As I sat in church this morning, I found myself singing U2 in my head.

“Early evening April 4, shot rings out in the Memphis sky… Free at last they took your life but they could not take your pride… In the name of love, one more in the name of love…”

I was contemplating an interesting coincidence – Easter falling on the same day as the 42nd anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking King was walking in Jesus’ footsteps. He too was assassinated while opposing imperialism. And because of the non-violent nature of his movement, I think we fail to consider a simple idea that even the occasional military history magazine can express quite clearly — that King’s movement should be thought of as an insurgency.

And maybe Jesus’s movement was, too.

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