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For a limited time only, we can go to the Congo for $799.99!
Our “Congo Excursion 2011″ features an “8′ Wave Slide, Rock Wall w/Rope, Trapeze Bar, Belt Swing, Glider Swing, Telescope, Binoculars & More.”
The “& More” refers to:
- 1 tic tac toe spinner panel
- 1 steering wheel
- Multi striped canopy
- Mass rape
- The worst sexual violence in the world
- Malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia, and malnutrition as leading death-causers
- Anywhere from 3 to 7 million dead since 1998
- Nearly half of the dead (47%) being children
And yet, speaking of, our Congo Excursion 2011 curiously fails to feature any black children:
Filed under: Africa, Bad ideas, Bad Marketing Ideas, Children, Children's Games, Children's Toys, Congo Excursion 2011 Playset, Countries in Crisis, Death Tolls, Democratic Republic of the Congo, DR Congo, DRC, Genocide, Gorilla Playsets, Instability, Jungle Gyms, Mass Rape, Rebel Groups, Refugees, Sexual Violence, The Congo, Who Approved This Shit?, WTF?
Have you seen M.I.A.’s much talked-about “Born Free” video yet?
It’s also, frankly, a little silly.
The video depicts an American police state in which Gingers are rounded up and brutally exterminated, and by “brutally” I mean, in that beautiful cinematic way–replete with slow motion effects, big budget explosions, and a pastel desert sky–that filmmakers tend to favor, paradoxically, when they’re supposed to be showing you that killing is anything but beautiful.
And, YES, it’s a metaphor, but it’s also–as people have already pointed out–a South Park episode from 2005. A very funny South Park episode that made me giggle. Is that the desired effect of “Born Free,” to make people giggle at genocide? No? Then pick a better metaphor. Besides, Ginger-Hate is too trendy for M.I.A., it’s too cute.
But where this video really goes awry is with the song itself. “Born Free” sounds a whole lot like 9 minutes of you sitting on your bedroom floor, playing your records backwards. In other words, it’s kinda terrible. Especially for someone like M.I.A., who’s genius at delivering a message with a mean hook (see: “Paper Planes”).
About her music, M.I.A. has been quoted in the past as saying:
“Nobody wants to be dancing to political songs. Every bit of music out there that’s making it into the mainstream is really about nothing. I wanted to see if I could write songs about something important and make it sound like nothing. And it kind of worked.”
And therein lies the problem: “Born Free” sounds like nothing alright…but can you dance to it?
Filed under: But Can You Dance To It?, Censorship, Controversy, Dance Music, Fake Controversy, Genocide, Ginger Hate, Ginger Kids, Gingers, Graphic Violence, M.I.A., M.I.A. Born Free Video, Maya Arulpragasam, Music Videos, Political Songs, South Park Ginger Kids, Sri Lankans, Violence, YouTube Censorship
HuffPo has culled together the
best-spelled worst of the worst protest signs from Michele Bachmann’s Tea Party yesterday, which was designed to “scare members of Congress” into voting against healthcare reform.
Our top three:
Filed under: American Idiots, Congress, Conservatards, Dubious Comparisons, Genocide, Health Care Bill Public Option, Healthcare, Healthcare Reform, Idiots, Jackholes, Mao Zedong, Michele Bachmann, Protests, Scary Shit, Sharing The Country, Tea Parties, The Holocaust, This is Bullshit, What The Hell Are These People Talking About?
In Rwanda, from where I’m writing, it’s illegal for citizens to ask one another what they are. By “what” I mean, Hutu or Tutsi. The reason why it’s against the law to make ethnic distinctions in Rwanda these days is rooted in the genocide that took place here in 1994. That year, Hutu militias, on government orders, conducted a brutal 100-day extermination of 800,000 to 1 million people, most of them Tutsis. In Philip Gourevitch’s account from the survivors’ perspective, We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families, he estimated that the murder rate during those 100 days was 6 people per minute.
Tutsis were the minority then (around 15% of the population) and now. But the difference between Hutu and Tutsi has always been, from what I understand, a false distinction. There wasn’t a perceived difference among Rwandans between Hutu and Tutsi until the late 19th century, when European colonizers (first the Germans, then the Belgians) insisted on that ethnic divide for their own political gains. In the 1930′s, the Belgians went so far as to issue ID cards to all Rwandans identifying them as belonging to one group or the other. In ’94, Rwandans still carried such cards. And if yours said that you were Tutsi then, it soon became your death certificate, too.
Yesterday, I visited a genocide memorial in the town of Nyamata, outside Kigali. The memorial is in what was once a Catholic church where an estimated 2,500 Tutsis were massacred in April 1994. The Nyamata church is virtually untouched from the time of the killings, with the exception that skeletal remains have been removed. Blood staining the altar, bricks walls, and rafters has never been washed away, and bullet holes perforate the tin ceiling in pretty constellations. The ground is carpeted with the dirt- and blood-soaked garments of the victims. You literally can’t walk through the church without stepping on a murdered person’s clothing. Outside, behind the building, there are two mass graves, tombs you descend down into that hold the skulls and bones of 41,000 people killed in the area (according to our guide), laid out neatly on shelves. In some cases, you can picture exactly how a person died, because there’s a huge gaping hole in their skull or it’s hacked nearly in two. It’s one of the saddest fucking things I’ve ever seen.
What’s any of this got to do with me? Or you? I wondered the same thing all yesterday, feeling destroyed by the human capacity for evil on display at Nyamata. Words withered on my tongue. Every thought that I had struck me as gilded and frivolous. What did I know about tragedy? What did I know about loss?
I write a silly blog with one of my best friends. We crack rice jokes and make puns with the word “asian” in them sometimes for the sole purpose of entertaining ourselves. Our bread-and-butter is in the making of ethnic distinctions, and also in taking the piss out of them. We take pride in the cultures from which we sprang, in the ways of our ancestors, in who and what we are. We do this and no one dies because of it. It’s unclear to me why we should be so lucky.