Saturday, March 14, 2009

Stop the Prison Rape Jokes

One of the saddest aspects of our popular culture is the ubiquity of the prison rape jokes. The reference to prison rape for comedic effect operates as a blight on several standup comedic acts, songs, sitcoms, and a range of "harmless," fun movies including Mallrats and Office Space.

As all theory heads know, the ubiquity internalizes, normalizes prison rape, when reason dictates it would be no more common to joke about this than it would to joke about any other kind of rape. It is after all rape.

Which brings us to this little piece by Doug Giles, one of Townhall's resident "Tough Guy Conservatives." You know the type he styles himself to be: he's a man's man, he hunts and kicks butt and takes names and he doesn't truck with them there elitist intellectuals. No sirree.

Anyway. The column is about what a bad guy Chris Brown is and by extension how bad the "hip-hop culture" is and by extension how much better conservatives are than liberals since after all, chances are very low that the makers and purveyors of "gangster rap videos" vote Republican.

But here's the snippet on prison rape. Harrogate read this and realized that during the existence of this glorious blog, he has never yet used it to express his disbelief that the culture is still okay with speaking of prison rape cavalierly.

Affect-Loaded Snippet:

Where I hail from (the great nation of Texas) men don’t do that to women, but the guys dumb enough to usually get the stuffing beat out of them by the girl’s dad or brothers—or both. After that near-death butt kickin’ administered to the girl-abusing loser by chivalrous men who love the women in their lives, the wussy would then proceed on to prison where he’d become the abused girlfriend of several randy inmates. It’s called jailhouse justice. And I like it.

This has nothing to do with "political correctness," though a professional neanderthal like Giles would probably try to put it in that category. Just a simple reminder for those who needed it, rape isn't funny. That's all.


So as times get worse economically, let the fear tactics begin again: kids with guns in college and nuclear bombers in Cuba and Venezuela??? WTF???

Did Russia not learn that spending ridiculous amounts of money of weaponry of fear, invading countries to institute your regime, and etc. in an effort to spread your ideology globally gets you no where and broke???

Hmmm, sound familiar?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Night Waits

From the inestimable Real Gone record: "How's It Gonna End."

Assy McGee Award® for 3/13/09: Paul Edwards

The piece is entitled "How I'm Praying for the President."
Just. Wow.

Representative Spewage:

Based on the policy positions alone, there is solid evidence that Barack Obama has made himself an enemy of God and the enemy of God’s people.

Update: Rhianna and Chris Brown...

...did not record a duet together. Whew. Now I can stop worrying about the personal drama being experienced by people that I don't know.

I might become a Radiohead fan, after all.

Because I now heart Thom Yorke.

And they think grade inflation is bad *now*...

Republican senator Jeff Wentworth (San Antonio, TX) has introduced a bill to the Texas Legislature that would permit people to carry concealed weapons on college campuses. His reasoning is as follows:

"I don't want to wake up and read in the paper that Texas students were mowed down like sitting ducks on campus because they weren't allowed to defend themselves," said Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, who is filing the "campus carry" bill this week. "It's a matter of personal safety and self defense." (from the Dallas News 2/24/09)

As a college instructor, I find this bill to be quite terrifying. I would feel very uncomfortable knowing that my students may be armed--I wonder if the schools would issue bullet proof vests to the faculty and staff? And what about the intimidation factor? Some students are a little frightening in their responses to a bad grade *without* weapons.

Plus, the idea that we'll be "safer" if everyone armed and able to properly defend themselves from mentally unstable attackers makes no sense to me. Sounds like a lot of freaked out people running around campus with guns to me.

Late, Late Thursday Musical Tribute

Harrogate has always liked this song.

To borrow the language of metaphor, it is almost as though the song were a magnet, and Harrogate steel.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fun With Vanity Fair: What Arguments Are Being Made in these Pics, and Which Do Ye Like Best?

Tip of the Hat to Supadiscomama, who moments ago drew Harrogate's attention to the existence of the following Rhetorical Siuation.

March 2006. Scarlett Johannson, Tom Ford, Kiera Knightley (annotated as FORD'S FOUNDATION):

March 2009. Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel and Jonah Hill (annotated as The Pretty Young Things):

And we're supposed to take all the posturing about economic cut back seriously?

Congress is still slated to get automatic pay hike.

Do they really need to make more than $174,000 a year?


From CNN:
Singer Chris Brown has recorded a song with his reported girlfriend, Rihanna, just days after charges were filed against him for allegedly assaulting her, the record's producer said Thursday through a publicist.

What should be the name of the song? "(Even though I should) I can't quit you babe."

Other suggestions?

College Courses in America

Here is a list of the Fifteen Strangest College Courses in America. They are:

15. Arguing with Judge Judy: Popular ‘Logic’ on TV Judge Shows, University of California, Berkeley

14. Underwater Basket Weaving, University of California, San Diego

13. Learning From YouTube, Pitzer College

12. Philosophy and Star Trek, Georgetown University

11. The Art of Walking, Centre College (a philosophy class on Immanuel Kant)

10. Daytime Serials: Family and Social Roles, University of Wisconsin

9. Joy of Garbage, Santa Clara University

8. The Science of Superheroes, University of California at Irvine (about physics)

7. Zombies in Popular Media, Columbia College, Chicago

6. The Science of Harry Potter, Frostburg State University (no lab work required)

5. Cyberporn and Society, State University of New York at Buffalo

4. Simpsons and Philosophy, University of California-Berkeley

3. Far Side Entomology, Oregon State

2. Myth and Science Fiction: Star Wars, The Matrix, and Lord of the Rings, Centre College

1. The Strategy of StarCraft, University of California, Berkley

Only one of these is a rhetoric class, the class on Judge Judy. Yet, even though it is on Judge Judy, it is a very smart class, especially for freshman. According to the description:
TV "Judge" shows have become extremely popular in the last 3-5 years. A fascinating aspect of these shows from a rhetorical point of view is the number of arguments made by the litigants that are utterly illogical, or perversions of standard logic, and yet are used over and over again. For example, when asked "Did you hit the plaintiff?" respondents often say, "If I woulda hit him, he'd be dead!" This reply avoids answering "yes" or "no" by presenting a perverted form of the logical strategy called "a fortiori" argument ["from the stronger"] in Latin. The seminar will be concerned with identifying such apparently popular logical fallacies on "Judge Judy" and "The People's Court" and discussing why such strategies are so widespread. It is NOT a course about law or "legal reasoning." Students who are interested in logic, public disputation, argumentation, and popular notions of fairness will probably be interested in this course. This is NOT a law course or even a pre-law course. This seminar is part of the Food for Thought Seminar Series.

After reading about this, I may try a clip or two next week when we continue to examine reasoning.

And speaking of dogma

CNN reports that current, and maybe soon to be ex, RNC Chairman MIchael Steele needs to "ease concerns" with Republicans because he stated abortion is an individual's choice.

There must be a point in which we call the Republican party a religion or a cult and not a mere political organization.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Awesome Rhetorical Combat Between Chris Matthews and Ari Fleisher

The kind of clip that Harrogate has been given to understand is known as "Da's Turn" in the Solon household.

Lots to chew on here. Rhetorically speaking, from Harrogate's perspective this battle is a battle in two movements, with Matthews getting somewhat out-maneuvered in the first half (though it will surprise nobody that Harrogate still agreed with what Matthews was trying to argue), and with Matthews at least bringing things to a draw with Fleisher in the second half. Harrogate always said Ari Fleisher was a masterful shit-talker, and it is manifest here that once again, he's good with the demagoguery.

Mostly at stake on the level of substance is rehashing our entry into Iraq. But they also argue about other things that might make a few Situationers' and Readers' blood race, such as whether it is honest, and for that matter whether it is decent for the Bush people to keep bragging that we "didn't get hit again under Bush's watch."

For Bristol Palin: A Rambling, Somewhat Boring, but Nevertheless Heartfelt Post about the dangers of Dogmatism

About three weeks ago, Harrogate triggered a barn-burner of a thread in relation to Bristol Palin's interview on Fox, particularly regarding Rightist reactions to her candid statement that abstinence-only education was not realistic. What was at stake in that thread for Harrogate anyway, was the alacrity with so called moral values pundits were willing to throw Bristol overboard as having no credibility on the issue, because she is a teenager.

While numerous other epistemic issues were raised by Situationers, for Harrogate what remains most interesting about the Rhetoric surrounding Bristol is the extent to which these so called "values" pundits are willing to subjugate any and everything to ideology. They are the type of people Harrogate fears. NOT because they believe in abstinence before marriage. NOT because they are religious. NOT because they are conservatives. But because they pass conviction-town and integrity-ville and then keep right on going up the road to doctrine-istan.

There is a class of person--and you can find them as well on the Left as on the Right, as easily in the secular sphere as in the religious--for whom the actual world, including the myriad human beings occupying it, are like proverbial flies in an otherwise perfect ideological ointment.

But anywho. Now we learn that Bristol and Levi may well be breaking up. What will happen as a result of this, in the Right blogosphere? How will the decision of two high-profile human beings, not to have a shotgun wedding, be received in the ideological matrices that lie in wait? Time will tell.

In the meantime, and on a related note, Harrogate found this recent column by Rebecca Hagelin interesting. Unlike other talking heads that Harrogate has recently linked to on this blog, Hagelin's column has the ring on human authenticity: the "Spring Break" that she arranged for her two college Sons sounds absolutely awesome, and you can tell from, her tone that this is a woman who is writing from a place of joy.

Sigh. But the column is also Heavy on the Doctrine, so much so that much of the value of the piece is lost. For example:

Face it: When an adult in authority stands in front of the classroom and directs graphic discussions of sex in every form, forces boys and girls to sit by each other throughout the humiliating lectures, and then further violates the child's natural tendencies to be private or modest, then you end up with kids who follow what they’ve been taught. On the other hand, when kids are treated with dignity, taught the value of abstinence, and how to avoid placing themselves in compromising situations in the first place, the research shows that more of them do, indeed, respond by adopting a lifestyle of self-control and more responsible behavior than those drowning in "sex ed".

This column is rhetorically interesting to Harrogate because it shows how a compelling piece of writing can be ruined by a tedious effort to make everything "fit."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tee Shirt of the Week® : 3/10/2009

Kind of the inverse of last week's featured tee. Except, with more of a pop culture {heh} thrust.