Examining the cast of an anti-US, anti-terrorism video

Who’s the real terrorist?

The above video is interesting. What’s even more interesting is the way the ethnic features and genders of the different people are so carefully chosen to represent different points of view.

The male actors are slightly white, so that they don’t look too threatening and ‘foreign’ while espousing potentially threatening viewpoints. They don’t look too different from the assumed viewer, meaning they’re more accessible. The female actor looks slightly not white, so that she seems to be speaking for a more culturally diverse USA, yet is still white enough because She Represents The Viewer.

The viewer’s white, btw, everyone.

This same woman is in there to create the appearance of diversity, yet her role is only to speak out and then be shut down. Her role is created for us to dislike her and to enjoy her demise, as it were.

Now. Just try and imagine a Muslim woman making all those very well-informed points to the American woman, or even to an American man. It doesn’t feel quite right, does it? Like it would pack less of a punch. Like she’s just being bossy or argumentative for the sake of it, or irrationally defensive, rather than making deliberate points that she really knows about.

That feeling is a cultural reaction, and I’m willing to bet that’s why the filmmakers cast the genders they did in the roles that they did. They don’t want to challenge our views of gender; they’re too busy challenging something else. Or maybe they just didn’t think about it.

In summary, I don’t think the choices of gender were as consciously thought out as the racial choices here. Not that either paint a very pretty picture of our society or the people who filmed this.

If you’re offended by the above, it’s an accident, and I’m sorry. No offence is intended here; I call it how I see it because it’s easier to analyse things that way. I in no way support the idea that so-called foreign people are threatening, it’s just a notion that people subconsciously tap into, and has been used here for a certain effect: we are scientifically proven to place greater trust in people who look more like us. Maybe that’s why we often tend to look like the people we marry.

I’m Not Just Looking at Science’s Butt

Somebody posted this Cyanide and Happiness comic in an atheist/agnostic facebook group I frequent. I took objection.

science's buttIn my view, green shirt’s just being elitist. Let me explain with something I know lots about.

If Green Shirt enjoys, say, Pink Floyd and Beethoven, and LOVES music cause he thinks it’s the food of the soul, but has never done the tedious work of studying music theory, getting good at lyrics, chords, scales and inversions, and practiced his damn guitar/violin/timpani till he’s really worked up his fingertip calluses, does that mean he’s just looking at music’s butt? I’d guess not.

You can enjoy the results of something without dedicating all your time to it. You can still be in awe of the people who do study it, and make discoveries, or great music. You can still be in awe of the new discoveries made by scientists every day and have it strike something in you personally without actually being a scientist. A lot of that shit has kept everyone from dying at various points in our lives; who wouldn’t love science for that?

Finally, who is Green Shirt to make this complaint? Lavender Guy is the one who actually mentioned the cool fact in the first place. Green Shirt actually hasn’t shown his knowledge of anything, and is just trying to be obnoxious and dampen another’s enthusiasm unfairly, without adding anything to the conversation.

I rather dislike this particular comic. Partly because it’s unfair to people who like things, but mostly cause Green Shirt is a dick.

(I’ll admit my bias: if we’re not talking about music, I’m closer to Lavender Guy than ol’ Greenie.)