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Member since: Sun Jan 1, 2017, 05:42 PM
Number of posts: 13,667

Journal Archives

This filmmaker spent months interviewing neo-Nazis and jihadists. Here's what she learned.

What’s the best way to fight racism and extremism?

The impulse to dismiss extremists as unreachable fanatics is strong and at times justifiable. But perhaps it’s not always the most effective means of combating them. Deeyah Khan, a journalist and filmmaker, has decided to engage them directly as human beings.

The results are stunning. At the beginning of White Right, for example, she says to Jared Taylor, a prominent white supremacist, “I am the daughter of immigrants. I am a Muslim. I am a feminist. I am a lefty liberal. And what I want to ask you is: Am I your enemy?” Taylor is an old hardliner and so he doesn’t buckle, but Khan’s interactions with other white supremacists go in surprising directions, and you learn quite a bit about who these people really are.

I spoke with Khan about her experience making these films, what she discovered about the nature of extremism, and how her thinking has evolved after sitting down face to face with her “enemies.”

A lightly edited transcript of our conversation follows...


"Much of it doesn’t come from hate. It comes from a lot of other basic human needs that are not being met. To be sure, there are political and social and economic factors involved on both sides, but if you dig deep, you find that it’s about much more than that."

Read the rest of the transcript at the link. This Muslim woman befriended neo-Nazis, and her interactions with them caused several to leave the movement.

From 1000 Points of Light to 1000 Hamberders

This is exactly how far the GOP has fallen. These memes need to be posted far and wide. In fact, they should be front page material for all newspapers everywhere. Fucking vision of the future (no matter how absurd, it was still a nice metaphor) versus vision of fast food. We are truly living in Idiocracy.

These are direct quotes. The first from a rally. The second from his tweet.

Go team dum dum

Remember JFK's Faux Pas: Ich Bin Ein Berliner?

We've come a long way, baby!

Tweet of the Day!


We Need a Better Name for Rump Cultists

They easily twisted HRC's term "deplorable" to their advantage:

We need a name that they refuse to accept, something they absolutely cannot stand.

I can think of a few: "Racist Fuckwads", "Russian Sectarians", "Shitstains of Humanity"

Sorry, but I don't believe "Cult 45" is offensive enough to them, and maybe it's better to have a term that dissociates them from the Rump. That way they alone bear the full force of responsibility for being racist fuckwads.

Ideas? Suggestions?

Are You Authoritarian? (Take the Test to Find Out)

Just for funzies. There are plenty of other tests, but I like the way the questions are worded. Try to focus on what it would take to truly believe in authoritarianism like a deplorable. I scored 5.86%. The higher the percentage, the more authoritarian you are.


Here's another one that lends more historical perspective and does not take itself very seriously:


Again, look at the weird questions!

How We'll Forget John Lennon

A few years ago a student walked into the office of Cesar A. Hidalgo, director of the Collective Learning group at the MIT Media Lab. Hidalgo was listening to music and asked the student if she recognized the song. She wasn’t sure. “Is it Coldplay?” she asked. It was “Imagine” by John Lennon. Hidalgo took it in stride that his student didn’t recognize the song. As he explains in our interview below, he realized the song wasn’t from her generation. What struck Hidalgo, though, was the incident echoed a question that had long intrigued him, which was how music and movies and all the other things that once shone in popular culture faded like evening from public memory.

Last month Hidalgo and colleagues published a Nature paper that put his crafty data-mining talents to work on another question: How do people and products drift out of the cultural picture? They traced the fade-out of songs, movies, sports stars, patents, and scientific publications. They drew on data from sources such as Billboard, Spotify, IMDB, Wikipedia, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and the American Physical Society, which has gathered information on physics articles from 1896 to 2016. Hidalgo’s team then designed mathematical models to calculate the rate of decline of the songs, people, and scientific papers.

The report, “The universal decay of collective memory and attention,” concludes that people and things are kept alive through “oral communication” from about five to 30 years. They then pass into written and online records, where they experience a slower, longer decline. The paper argues that people and things that make the rounds at the water cooler have a higher probability of settling into physical records. “Changes in communication technologies, such as the rise of the printing press, radio and television,” it says, affect our degree of attention, and all of our cultural products, from songs to scientific papers, “follow a universal decay function.”

So this is a little OT; however, think of the implications for political figures and events (such as Watergate). The last paragraph frightens me a bit. The media controls what makes the rounds at the water cooler, which in turn decides what makes it into the physical records. Anyway, the rest of the article is very interesting as it discusses what factors determine the decay of our society's collective memory.

Why these sea slugs look so much like David Bowie

Though it has been three years since David Bowie died, his legacy continues to inspire fashionistas.

The rock star was known for wearing vibrant colors and imaginative textures, looks mimicked by scores of trend setters. But perhaps no other creatures bear a more striking likeness to Bowie than sea slugs.

Hear me out.

This is an argument that inspired the entire creation of Bowiebranchia, a blog that’s been active since 2015 with the sole purpose of comparing the iconic styles and moods of the late rock star with these soft-bodied, underwater invertebrates.

Nudibranchs, sacoglossans and other sea slugs carry showy exteriors on purpose. These creatures burst with colors to warn predators that their slimy innards may be toxic or distasteful. By drawing comparisons between sea slugs and the man who created Ziggy Stardust, Bowiebranchia exposes what we can learn about the wild, beautiful and competitive evolution of both.
More: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/why-these-sea-slugs-look-so-much-like-david-bowie

Who'd a thunk it?

It's Time Steve King Got the Boot

You know about what happened today:

Steve King under fire after embrace of white supremacy

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) faces a potential censure motion from congressional Democrats and splintering support among Republicans after using racist language in a New York Times interview, questioning when the terms “white nationalist, white supremacist and western civilization” became “offensive.”

The statements drew denunciations from across the political divide, including from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. King later issued a statement rejecting the labels of “white nationalism and white supremacy” and calling himself a “nationalist.” King said the fact that he is “an advocate for Western Civilization values” does not mean he subscribes to the “evil ideology” of white supremacy.

Do you remember this incident?

Rep. King yells at man questioning him about extremism, boots heckler from event

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, erupted in anger and kicked a man out of an event on Thursday after the man questioned King's connection to white supremacist ideology and linked it to the recent Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.

Kaleb Van Fossen, who was identified by The Des Moines Register as the questioner, asked King about his past controversial comments, which prompted a fiery response from the lawmaker.

I'm done with sitting on our collective hands. KICK HIM OUT!!!

Ted Cruz's beard makes him look like Ammon Bundy

There, I said it, and I'm not taking it back because it's the truth.

Just when you thought it couldn't get any creepier...
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