Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
October 25, 2019
Papa Ray Loves Black Meat
Category: Serious … Travels

So I visited Field of Screams in Lancaster County, PA, last night. As haunts go, it was comparable to other attractions incorporating multiple attractions in terms of quality, though it had a few standout areas -- I particularly enjoyed the multi-floor setup of the Den of Darkness (one ground-level area resembled a frontier saloon/brothel; toward the end there was attic area populated with all manner of creepy dolls), and the layout of the Nocturnal Wasteland was impressive though the theme was kinda weak. (The green light/fog combination they employed to give the visual impression of wading through a toxic swamp was brilliant, though.)

And there was one part that left me especially cold, though that's less the fault of the haunt itself than the actor. And it's not an uncommon thing. (I mean, I wouldn't be a millionaire if I had a dollar for every time it happened -- I haven't been to a million haunts, and not every haunt affords the opportunity for it -- but I could certainly buy a current Marvel Legends figure at a local comic shop markup.) Nearly every time I pass through a redneck cannibal area and the actors can interact with patrons, an actor singles me out to make a crack about "dark meat" or some other reference to the color of my skin. Last night the area was loud and the guy had wrapped his arms entirely around my head, so his speech was muffled, but I think he said, "Papa Ray looooves black meat." Ha ha ha. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 4:40 pm | Comments (0)
June 21, 2019
Brief thoughts on the Kashuv controversy
Category: Current Events … Linkage … Serious

So I'd linked the Vox article and included the accompanying text in a couple of places on social media, but I wanted to make sure I had a record of it here in my own space as well. (While I don't expect I have any regular readers these days who'd be inclined to weigh in, feel free to comment if you come across this whenever and have thoughts!) So here's the link to the Vox piece, and here's a Huffington Post article containing screencaps of the comments that have landed him in hot water. My post intended to initiate discussion and/or opinion sharing is below:

I'm curious to hear folks' thoughts on the Kyle Kashuv controversy. (I've included the Vox link because it gives a fairly comprehensive overview of the situation and includes abundant links to further information and assessments, not because of the particular viewpoint expressed here -- though I am in agreement with the author's sentiments about identity politics.)

For my part, I don't have a strong opinion about Harvard's decision -- I wouldn't have been outraged had Kashuv retained his admission, nor am I pleased that his admission was rescinded. Still, I acknowledge the difficult position in which the university was placed and I can imagine why rejecting Kashuv ultimately seemed like the better option. (Among other things -- and barring some demonstrated growth and insight that I haven't gleaned from reading several months of the kid's Twitter feed -- I don't know how favorably his peers would have responded to him on campus. I imagine at best he would have been a decidedly polarizing figure, and I'm not sure a student like that is a positive addition to a campus community.)

In any case, I'm sure Kashuv will be fine in the long run, and I hope that his stated contention to do better wasn't contingent upon the Harvard situation's resolving in his favor.

-posted by Wes | 6:04 am | Comments (0)
June 12, 2019
Turning off Bill Maher

So, not a novel gripe, but I continue to be annoyed with people who decry the rise of "identity politics" when they really mean that they're frustrated at being made to consider issues involving people who are not them.

Another not-novel sentiment: I'm really sick of Bill Maher. I admit that I used to kinda like the dude, and in any case I found his show worthwhile -- I mostly could've done without the "comedy" bits (some did land), but his New Rules weren't entirely lacking in insight and the panel discussions were generally informative exchanges. What I especially liked about Maher there, though, is that he often seemed aware that he was the least informed participant in those conversations and therefore served less as an active interlocutor than a moderator whose goal was to prevent the content from getting too esoteric. He'd say something like, "Whoa, this is a comedy show! A little context for the viewers at home," and then the panel members would explain what they were talking about so that the conversation was more accessible to someone who wasn't a policy wonk or a political insider. Since I was really watching the show for those exchanges -- and since during those moments I sometimes found myself confused (and I generally try to keep abreast of political news) -- I appreciated Maher's input there all the more. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 4:32 pm | Comments (0)
February 19, 2019
Promises from God for Men of Color. Ugh.
Category: Books … Serious

So I was in Walmart late the other night and was looking over the books on their Black History Month table, and my eyes settled on a book titled "Promises from God for Men of Color." I think I was in the mood to be annoyed or amused or confused -- or possibly, though doubtfully, enlightened -- or whatever, because it was this book that I decided to pick up and flip through.

Eventually, after finding nothing particularly arresting on the pages I found upon first opening the book, I skimmed the table of contents to see if it would point me to something more interesting... whereupon I found a section called "Positive Thinking." For myriad reasons -- many of which are related to my experience as a so-called man of color -- I do find it difficult to think positively about events. So, curious as to what advice the book might have for me on the subject, I turned to the page indicated.

Firstly, the page indicated didn't actually point to the "Positive Thinking" section -- that section was in fact two pages later. So a book that purported to communicate the promises found in the infallible Word of God to a particular audience couldn't even get the TOC right, which is discouraging but somehow apropos given the hand God's dealt men of color. Anyway, I did ultimately find the "Positive Thinking" section and settled in to read the verse expressly chosen for the subject. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 12:53 pm | Comments (0)
January 9, 2019
The president needs better speechwriters.
Category: Current Events … Serious

So... any thoughts on Trump's address last night? For my part, I found it highly discouraging -- not just because Trump is Trump, but also because he apparently doesn't have competent writers behind him. I honestly wish I'd had a chance to look it over and better organize and support his talking points; I feel like I could've helped him make a more compelling case for his wall without the faulty sensational appeals and the needless and sometimes false attacks on Democrats. Like, insofar as border patrol agents really are convinced a wall would aid their efforts, that's a great point -- I'd probably have stressed that more heavily. Honestly, insofar as it's true (in which case Trump should put more effort into convincing us that it is), it's arguably the only point Trump really needs to build an effective argument for his wall. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 2:52 pm | Comments (0)
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