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Fire in the Theatre/Theater

Harris Wittels Thought I Was Lame As Hell

Fancy Pants 2002

  I barely knew him.  He was a rockstar and still super nice.  He was huge from the get-go for all the right reasons.  I was in the audience at the Cabaret at Emerson when Fancy Pants debuted.  I still remember a sketch (from their second show?) about going to work inside a living bear as the funniest fucking thing…     Please remember this is 2003 and they are like 11 years old.  This is before everything this reminds you of. They were a million times funnier and more original than the other comedy […]

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Secularism is Not a Western Ideal

"God Does Not Exist" ... "HE DOES."

As my friends on the Left settle into what I consider a reductive understanding of Charlie Hebdo’s work as racist, Islamaphobic, problematic, whatever – here’s a collection of cartoons by Cabu (one of the assassinated cartoonists) which evidence a more nuanced progressive point of view at that magazine. The cartoonist Cabu (who drew all of the cartoons shown here) was consistently anti-colonial and anti-imperial in his work, just like the rest of Charlie Hebdo. This character, a French soldier on the cover of a fictional magazine called ‘the pacifist union’ says “France […]

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Freedom of Speech Cannot be Killed

Matejko_Stańczyk

By Joe Randazzo Originally published on MSNBC here: http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/former-onion-editor-freedom-speech-cannot-be-killed When I was editor there, The Onion was located in the heart of Manhattan and the one person manning our front entrance was our petite, tattooed office manager, Jessie. She was the definition of unthreatening, and we used to joke that she was the only thing standing between us and some heavily armed radicals, should any ever become enraged by something we put in print. Right now, that joke makes me sick to my stomach. Twelve people were murdered at the offices […]

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Religiously Liberal

Ben gets the lead here for calling Harris and Maher racist. Steele and Kristof do a good job trying to inject the ‘reasonable persons’ argument. My problem is this – Affleck is right. Harris is also right. Islam is not a blind spot for liberals, how we approach intolerance of Muslims while maintaining an anti-authoritarian, anti-theocratic point of view is a confluence of ideological imperatives that takes more than a soundbite to parse and understand. As a person who feels strongly that religious ideology is poisonous to all reasonable debate (and dangerous when mixed with military or police powers), I also recognize that the ‘liberal values’ that Maher is adopting as his shield evolved from Protestant Christian thought during the Renaissance and Reformation. Without the enlightenment, led by many Christian and former Christian/Deist and Jewish philosophers, Maher would have no universal rights of man to point to. Likewise, we Americans give a pass to ourselves and choose to ignore the religious ideation of many of our own value systems when we look at our actions, political or otherwise. Atheist liberals look at the civil rights movement as a victory of humanist ideals, when really it was led by black ministers. When our own terrorists like Timothy McVeigh and Robert Bales kill hundreds no one calls the pope or Rick Warren to account. This is because white Americans see their own foundational beliefs and power structures as natural and progressing toward […]

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In the Future You Will

I know they’re AT&T ads, but I remember watching these and being so excited for the future. Yesterday, I actually looked up how much a virtual reality headset costs. My car drives on half electricity generated when I brake. These videos make me flush with gratitude for how tech has changed our world. But I also see that really nothing big has changed. The advances demonstrated in this video are largely conveniences meant to help people consume more quickly and work during their vacations, and making face to face communications obsolete through video screens. Almost everyone in these videos is alone. The in-person interactions are incidental. (The exception is the athlete receiving medical care, which stands out as a humane and very necessary deployment of tech. Sagefully, the patient’s health is of utmost importance to a major American corporate entity – his NFL team – making his recovery not a self evident matter of good fortune for a person and his family, but because he gets back on the field, the season is saved, blah blah blah.) Commerce will self-innovate, businesses will always look for ways to improve themselves to out compete the next business or address new needs and pain points for consumers. But tech and money can’t solve problems that exist between people. They can only make the conversations more predictable and less frequent, less intimate, they insulate the richest people from the poorest people, and provide a dim […]

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Iconoclasm in Kiev

demol

Click over to the Guardian to see protesters in Kiev pull down the statue of Lenin, and read about how statues – invisible symbols of entrenched and assumed power in our everyday lives – becoming sitting ducks during an expression of revolutionary disobedience. Since the dawn of man, in our freest moments we have torn the idols down. Some pics from RT: Direct link to video:  http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2013/dec/09/kiev-ukraine-protesters-statue-lenin-video

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