04/17/15

Fashion Police

I wasn’t raised here. Sometimes I’m glad. But South Carolina is my home. And most of the time I’m proud as heck. And not just because Flava Flav was born nearby.

For all the grief we get about being stupid, backwards, and bigoted, South Carolina got it right where so many other jurisdictions have failed recently. Swift and decisive action against a police officer for whom we have every reason to believe probable cause of murder exists. Not manslaughter. Or unauthorized use of force. Or jaywalking. Murder. Not administrative leave. Or loss of pay. Or additional statement and internal investigation. Or advanced tickle torture techniques. Arrest. If it happens to be something else, or nothing at all, our criminal justice system can sort it out. But, North Charleston chose to prosecute Michael Slager exactly as the facts, presently in evidence, would dictate. And, I have it on good information the quality of this Police Chief and the personal role he has played in the decision to proceed this way. Any instinct to call it brave is strange. It’s just right. No one should get points for charging murder when the suspect shoots a fleeing, unnarmed 50 year old man in the back. But, apparently that’s where we are. So kudos North Charleston Police Department.

So what are the solutions?

Body cameras are in vogue. Like literally runway fashionable. Put Apple on a new smart vest or Jeffery down at RTW on a Gaultier GoPro. Wearable technology that breaths and lets people keep breathing, literally.

My boss has proposed a Remount Road Runway show to introduce the seasonal looks in shield and safety. But, that’ll be some of the fastest, most evasive catwalking in high fashion ever. Is Klum in a military crawl?? It’s literally life or death to introduce a new line in North Charleston these days. Bandolier is the new black.

In all seriousness, there might be some interesting community goodwill in a fashion show to introduce new safety features. A little levity could be good medicine at some point. Presently too soon.

Education. Just require some. Four year college educated cops are a start.

Post-cop/post-weapon. This is where it gets squirrelly. But sometimes you just have to ask the question. Do we need cops? At least as presently constituted. Could you have small violent crime task forces to engage serious and organized violent crime. For everything else is there a crowd sourcing alternative? A digital age community watch? I mean we’ve collectively circumvented taxis and hotels and record labels for crying out loud. We’re monitoring police movement and traffic congestion privately. Can’t we develop a shame/policing application for misdemeanors from traffic violations to petty crime? I don’t know. Someone a lot smarter than me probably does though. Just credit me when you do.

And guns? Are they necessary to most police detail? It’s like the debate in football over concussions. The very thing designed to protect against brain damage is likely the thing that is principally to blame — helmets.

Part of the solution is reducing the interaction between cops and society, in person and force. We just need less. If cops exist, they feel like they need to be busy. Writing tickets. Profiling. Shooting people. It’s not their fault. I’ve talked about this before. If you take a self-defense class, you’re looking for an opportunity to “defend” yourself. If you’re a mall cop, you’re looking for a “disturbance” to justify your existence. It’s the same thing with any authority. And weapons. Wear it exists, it’s used. Whether necessary or not. We’re busy bodies.

Accountability. Prosecute this crap. Just like here. We’re not going to win the hearts and minds of cops on this issue. It takes a certain mentality, which we actually want, to be a cop. They just need to know there are real consequences. This is the part that people understand practically but misunderstand legally. It is really hard to hold law enforcement accountable for misconduct, as a legal matter. I know. Shocking. Obviously, that’s what everyone is so upset about. But, it’s not just because there’s an unwritten bias. That’s the way the law is written. The responsibilities of law enforcement are in violence and intrude on the liberties and rights of others, necessarily. And, so in various ways, the law acknowledges the numerous grey and nuanced circumstances within which law enforcement operates. So that police officers can perform these sometimes very subjective duties without constant fear of retribution and prosecution, they are given a certain degree of insulation and immunity. Qualifiedly so. But, I think the line needs to be adjusted some. Just a little recalibration.

Sincerest condolences to the friends and family of Mr. Scott. There are blongs and blongs to say on that side every time.

Written and performed by sintax.the.terrific. Produced by Nomis.

Today’s blong here:

Busy Body

04/16/15

Pro ConTV

Wizard World, the entity behind the most significant of the Comic Con events, has launched an online channel, ConTV.com, featuring the quirky in fantasy, horror, sci-fi, and comedy media and entertainment. Think Elvira meets Bruce Lee meets some movie called “Zombie A$$.”

ConTv_Logo

In honor of the recent launch, today’s blong is an as of yet non-official theme hopefully to be made official soon. I mean it includes a reference to both “Voltron” and “leotard fashion.” I’m not sure what else you could really want in a nerdest anthem.

Under Your Bed (ConTV Theme)

ConTV also hosts original content, including the hit game show, Last Fan Standing, hosted by the indomitable Bruce Campbell.

Last Fan Standing Key Art

I announced previously that I had written the theme for that show, which is now on Episode 6.

The theme song is available now at iTunes and Amazon and can be streamed on Spotify. Search “Last Fan Standing.”

Performed by sintax.the.terrific. Music produced by Sir Chamberlain.

Lyrics here.

Retread blong here:

Last Fan Standing (Official Game Show Theme)

04/16/15

Trailer II

I think Mr. Mcconaughey speaks/weeps for us all.

I already reminded concerning the Rule of Two.

Written and performed by sintax.the.terrific. Music produced Matt Pelishek.

Today’s blong here:

The Empire

04/6/15

People You Prefer

It’s amazing how infrequently the news cites or links to original source material. The hardest part of posting today was finding the dang statutory language.

In relevant part the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) stipulates that

a governmental entity may not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion . . .[unless it] (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

Guess what? This is literally already the law.

Indiana didn’t make these words up. And they aren’t words without meaning. “Substantially burden” and “compelling governmental interest” and “least restrictive means” are legal terms of art.

It’s called strict scrutiny. Strict scrutiny is the test courts must apply to any governmental action (law) that attempts to regulate the free exercise of religion. It’s literally already what is required by the United States Supreme Court. See Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972); Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520, 546 (1993).

That’s why the federal RFRA analog to the Indiana bill has been deemed constitutional. It’s just not applicable to the states and that is why twenty some states have passed their own version, including Indiana.

But, in the wake of protest over it, the Indiana legislature has agreed to compromise language, which specifies that the new religious freedom law cannot be used as a legal defense to discriminate against patrons based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Well what about race or national origin? Or pregnancy or sex? Can Indiana’s RFRA justify disparate treatment on account of those characteristics? Well those immutable qualities are already protected from discrimination either by constitutional interpretation or specific federal statute. It’s not necessary to accuse Indiana’s RFRA of enabling discrimination on those grounds because it is understood already that it can’t. But, no such comparable protection yet exists for sexual orientation and gender identity, thus the necessary specificity.

So, here’s the amazing result. The public pressure on Indiana’s RFRA has transformed a law that was simply an echo of the legal status quo into literally an affirmative protection for sexual orientation and gender identity that did not previously exist (at least expressly).

I think in wrestling that’s called a reversal. And pin.

Regardless of the legal merits and effects, the cultural ones continue to be sort of ridiculous. On both sides. The controversy over RFRA sure involves a whole lot of can’t. You can’t eat here. You can’t tell me I can’t eat here.

I know there is some mutually-exclusiveness between the positions, but I sure would just prefer that both can. The religiously orthodox or shortsighted bigots can exercise discretion over their business interests and the LGBTQIA community can take their business and prodigious wealth just about anywhere else. I don’t believe this is going to result in significant exclusion.

When the equal access battle was fought for racial minorities in this country 50 years ago, there was no cultural capital on that side. To have waited on a cultural tide or the greed of capitalism to erode the segregation wall would have been a long, tortured wait.

It’s not the same cultural or economic ecosystem that the LGBTQIA community faces. First, our economy is so pluralistic, for every one fundamentalist burrito spot that denies you, there is an organic burrito, gay burrito, sports burrito, actually mexican burrito, or anti-burrito burrito restaurant to direct your appetite and dollars. Second, the momentum is now all on the LGBTQIA community’s side. The people who would deny service on these grounds are officially outliers. That’s not a value judgment; it’s just true. As a business person you’re somewhere along the following spectrum: (1) wildly, enthusiastically Andy Dick pro-gay; (2) gay friendly; (3) neutral; (4) personally uncomfortable but professionally ambivalent; (5) personally and professionally intrepid; or (6) passionately, comfortably Chik-Fil-A against-gay. (That’s not fully fair to CFA; I don’t even know a public enough name for this camp; which is the whole point.) I just don’t think the number and quality of the businesses desiring to publicly be (6) can be that significant. It’s just generally not very cool anymore or good for business. That’s not to say there isn’t financial opportunity in bigotry; there is. There’s just a whole lot more in non-bigotry.

And, speaking of the hipness of the relative positions, it has officially flipped. It wasn’t sexy to be an abolitionist or a non-segregationist. It definitely wasn’t cool to stand beside AIDS victims in the Eighties. But, as soon as it’s cool to be for a particular civil right, you’re on the wrong side of the issue. That’s the whole point. The community being denied the right is, by definition, marginalized not popularized. If you actually gain cultural cache among the masses by being so outspoken on a topic, you’re not a hero or martyr; you’re bandwagon. So no one should be patting themselves on the back for the most obvious possible observation that deep proponents of the RFRA are probably and mostly bigots on this topic. But, if you really count yourself a civil libertarian, the fight is now officially on the other side. People are entitled to be wrong. And, live wrong lives in furtherance. Let’s please not forget that.

I wanted to rank my favorite Easter candy just because I like ranking things. Growing up, I spent most of my Easter mornings trying to brandish various candies to my father but blinded by the Damascus Road movie camera flash. It looks like interrogation footage. Seriously.

5. Jelly beans. And, not just Jelly Belly snobbery.
4. Giant bunnies. Anything oversized at seven years old gets top 5 billing.
3. Whoppers Robin Eggs. Because someone still has to stand up for malt.
2. Mini Cadbury Cream Eggs. Am I the only one who gags trying to eat the original?

aaaaaaand

1. Grayson Allen. A delicious Easter candy too??! What can’t this kid do?

What are the chances that the vintage Paas image I chose for today would advertise “Gay Calicos”? 98. 100%?? Seriously. Total happenstance.

paas

Written and performed by sintax.the.terrific. Music produced by Dalama Jones.

Today’s blong here:

Resurrection

04/4/15

And When From Death I’m Free

I will sing.

easter

Performed by the sintax.the.terrific and playdough (collectively deepspace5). Music produced by Alex Goose.

Today’s blong here:

Rise

03/24/15

Double Dirty Chai

As confessed, I’m out of time to produce new content right now. But, there’s news still to be covered in song and you look to me. So, I’ve tried to be diligent to recycle blongs relevant to timely news stories, but sometimes you just don’t have a prior rap news song to reboot. I know you know exactly how that feels. Rummaging around: “Where the hades did I put that Creflo Dollar Hurts Taxpayers rap verse?!”

Well, no fear. I’ve devised a fix. Introducing:

The Flong.

Blong + Blong = Fusion Blong

or Flong

So when you don’t have time to write a song concerning the CEO of Starbucks addressing shareholder concerns on the issue of same sex v. traditional marriage, you post together a song about Starbucks, and then one about same sex marriage, respectively, and you get a Starbucks-On-Same-Sex-Marriage Flong.

Sounds sort of delicious actually. Maybe that’s a flan.

Anyway, it’s like Pictionary.

X045BR_600x500

+

images

=

images

I’ve never meant to anyway, but I certainly have lost all standing to moralize. And, there’s painful prescience in today’s songs. But, the values stay the same, even when our hands and feet fail.

One Venti Flong coming up.

Star Buck-Bucks! Written and performed by sintax.the.terrific. Music produced Fab da Eclectic. Originally posted concerning Howard Schultz open letter to gun owner patrons

A Little Less Somewhow written and performed by sintax.the.terrific. Music produced by Gudo. Originally posted concerning NY State’s legalization of same sex marriage.

Today’s flong here:

Star Buck-Bucks! A Little Less Somehow

03/21/15

Extinction Level Event

I originally posted today’s blong upon news of his trade to the Lakers. Steve Nash has formally announced his retirement.

Maybe the last of a breed.

nash

Performed by the sintax.the.terrific. Music produced by dj clutch.

Today’s blong here:

On Top

03/18/15

March Mental Breakdown

There isn’t a billion dollars at stake this year, which sucks because I finally guessed a perfect bracket. Anyhoo.

This year has brought a whole new meaning to the phrase “March Madness” for me. Basketball and my own.

But, tomorrow the ball is tipped.

Yours truly knows a little something about banging on the boards:

me and kris rotated updated

Not to be racist but but guess who’s not getting the ball here?

Please bear with me until April and I’ll be back on the grind. Until then some blong classics.

Performed by sintax.the.terrific. Music produced by djclutch.

Today’s blong and annual tradition here:

The Madness

03/12/15

Watership Down Redux

I’ve been in desperate need of some good news. This qualifies.

After literally a lifetime of hop(p)ing, the following cinema news:

“A 21st-century CGI resurrection of the English rabbits of Watership Down is underway at the BBC and hopes to begin production soon.” (hat tip, Conduct Latimer)

I mean it’s inconceivable, but in case you haven’t heard, I have an album thematically based on Richard Adams’ Watership Down. Is there a news story I don’t have the angle on??

Undisputed champ of rabbit news rap.

Bonus Track, Shining Wire, featuring manCHILD: