Games

The Navy bla bla bla…but not charged with a hate crime.

Forced retirement is a lot better off than the dishonorable discharge many face under DADT, and the gap in pay and benefits is huge.

We should all just be plain ole Americans, right? And we could all just get along because we all have the same fair chances, right? Just consider how many men and women in service suffer in silence. In his interview given to YouthRadio.org, young veteran Joseph Christopher Rocha comes out about how during his Middle East war tour, he suffered everything from “being duct-taped and locked in a dog kennel to being forced to simulate oral sex with other men”. Reporting this targeted hazing -- which then becomes a hate crime -- means loosing one’s career. Ain't that America. Y'all love that shit, doncha!

Think of it this way: These are the stories gay kids get to read about at their breakfast table while they're figuring out how not to tell mom, how not to piss off dad, and how to stay outta trouble in school with other kids -- because the first thing kids will say (even in the presence of adults whose silence betrays them), should anything go wrong, is "fucking faggot" (or, my personal favorite: "Sugar in his pants"). Girls might have some latitude, but by kindergarten, kids have plenty of hateful words used specifically to hurt and abuse them, too!

The Navy and the pettiness of DADT in the all-American school

The terror queer kids face at school is still left comfortably inside the closet, and on this account, both mainstream gay advocacy groups as well as death worshipping zealots converge. Rather than extending Christian fellowship to these kids, many modern fundamentalists anchor their cause around rejecting gay marriage and hate crimes initiatives. They fall silent when asked where kids learn to hate so much. So, former president Clinton’s "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" policy was already alive and well in the all-American school. It was already a learned behavior from childhood. All Americans know exactly what I am talking about, but nothing brings this closer to the heartland than hearing an adolescent say something like: "That’s so gay!"

What about the gay lobbying group the Human Rights Campaign? HRC is advocating for gay and lesbian military conscription. The HRC “is the battered wife of the Democratic Party establishment, and its time to walk out,” according to longtime outspoken activist Andrew Sullivan.

Not soliciting whores alongside his fellow seamen was enough to out Rocha, and the teasing, taunting, and humiliation ballooned from there. “It made me feel that I was an animal, and the fact that this was done to me by my highest leadership in the United States military and the American military -- a representative of the US government -- was daunting to me.” It was not hazing, intended to bring a new trooper into the fold. This was a plain hate crime, and we ought to call a spade a nasty bastard and not retire him and his flock, but, think of more critical ways to… naw, just discharge him on the exact same terms as they discharged Rocha!

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

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TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

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The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

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If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

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Featuring a shining collaboration with Terry Riley, the Del Sol String Quartet have produced an excellent new music recording during their 25 years as an ensemble.

Dark Queen Mantra, both the composition and the album itself, represent a collaboration between the Del Sol String Quartet and legendary composer Terry Riley. Now in their 25th year, Del Sol have consistently championed modern music through their extensive recordings (11 to date), community and educational outreach efforts, and performances stretching from concert halls and the Library of Congress to San Francisco dance clubs. Riley, a defining figure of minimalist music, has continually infused his compositions with elements of jazz and traditional Indian elements such as raga melodies and rhythms. Featuring two contributions from Riley, as well as one from former Riley collaborator Stefano Scodanibbio, Dark Queen Mantra continues Del Sol's objective of exploring new avenues for the string quartet format.

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