Archive for ‘Politics’

December 12, 2020

Body Positivity

Fat acceptance movement

Body positivity is a social movement initially created to empower overweight individuals, while also challenging the ways in which society presents and views the physical body. The movement advocates the acceptance of all bodies regardless of physical ability, size, gender, race, or appearance.

Body-positive activists believe that size, like race, gender, sexuality, and physical capability, is one of the many ways that our bodies are placed in a power and desirability hierarchy. The movement aims to challenge beauty standards, build positive body image, and improve self-confidence.

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December 1, 2020

Jewish Nose

Joseph Jacobs

Jewish nose is a caricature of Jews with hooked noses with a convex nasal bridge and a downward turn of the tip of the nose that emerged in 13th century Europe. The stereotype persists despite the fact that this nose type is as common in the general population as it is among Jews in countries where it is prevalent, such as in the Mediterranean.

Around the middle of the 19th century, and lasting for more than a century, the term ‘Jewish nose’ was commonly used in scientific literature to describe a particular shape of nose which thought to be a race-based deformity characteristic of people with Jewish ancestry (which by unwitting efforts of plastic surgeons of early 20th century started to be viewed as a pathology to be corrected).

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November 28, 2020

Cancel Culture

The Problem with Apu

Cancel culture (or ‘call-out culture’) is a modern form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles – either online on social media, in the real world, or both. Those who are subject to this ostracism are said to be ‘canceled.’ The expression ‘cancel culture’ has mostly negative connotations and is commonly used in debates on free speech and censorship.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama warned against social media call-out culture, saying ‘People who do really good stuff have flaws. People who you are fighting may love their kids and, you know, share certain things with you.’

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November 19, 2020

Russian Political Jokes

Hammer & Tickle

Russian political jokes can be grouped into the major time periods: Imperial Russia, Soviet Union, post-Soviet Russia. Quite a few political themes can be found among other standard categories of Russian joke, most notably Rabinovich jokes (short fictional Russian stories or dialogs with a punch line) and Radio Yerevan, also known as the Armenian Radio jokes, which mocked the ‘Question & Answer’ series of the Armenian Radio.

A typical format of a joke was: ‘Radio Yerevan was asked,’ and ‘Radio Yerevan answered.’ For example: Radio Yerevan was asked: ‘Comrades, will there be war?’ Radio Yerevan answered: ‘No, but there will be such a struggle for peace that everything will be razed to the ground.’

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October 25, 2020

Nanny State

seat belt law

Nanny state is a term of British origin that conveys a view that a government or its policies are overprotective or interfering unduly with personal choice. The term likens government to the role that a nanny has in child rearing. An early use of the term comes from Conservative British Member of Parliament Iain Macleod in 1965 edition.

The term was popularized by the British and American tobacco industry – especially by their touring celebrity-lobbyists Bernard Levin and Auberon Waugh – and later by PM Margaret Thatcher. Some laws considered nannying at the time, such as mandatory seatbelts and smoking bans, were later accepted as common sense.

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October 16, 2020

Rotwelsch

Thieves' cant

Rotwelsch [rut-velsh] (German: ‘beggar’s foreign language’) or Gaunersprache (German: ‘crook’s language’) is a secret language, a cant or thieves’ argot, spoken by groups (primarily marginalized groups) in southern Germany and Switzerland. The language is based primarily on German.

Rotwelsch was formerly common among travelling craftspeople and vagrants. The language is built on a strong substratum of German, but contains numerous words from other languages, notably from various German dialects, including Yiddish, as well as from Romany languages, notably Sintitikes. There are also significant influences from Judeo-Latin, the ancient Jewish language spoken in the Roman Empire.

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October 12, 2020

Brooks Brothers Riot

hanging chad

The Brooks Brothers riot was a demonstration at a meeting of election canvassers in Miami-Dade County, Florida, on November 22, 2000, during a recount of votes made during the 2000 United States presidential election, with the goal of shutting down the recount.

According to investigative reporter Greg Palast, author of ‘The Best Democracy Money Can Buy’ in 2002, conservative lobbyist Roger Stone organized the demonstration, and political activist Matt Schlapp was the on-site leader. At least a half dozen of the demonstrators were paid by George W. Bush’s recount committee, and a number of them went on to take jobs in the incoming Bush administration.

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October 10, 2020

Sharpiegate

Dorian

The Hurricane Dorian–Alabama controversy, also referred to as Sharpiegate, arose from a comment made by President Donald Trump on September 1, 2019, as Hurricane Dorian approached the U.S. mainland. Mentioning states that would likely be impacted by the storm, he incorrectly included Alabama, which by then was known not to be under threat from the storm.

After many residents of Alabama called the local weather bureau to ask about it, the bureau issued a reassurance that Alabama was not expected to be hit by the storm. Over the following week, Trump repeatedly insisted his comment had been correct. On September 4, he showed reporters a weather map which had been altered with a Sharpie marker to show the hurricane’s track threatening Alabama.

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October 8, 2020

Copaganda

Officer Friendly

Copaganda, a portmanteau of ‘cop’ and ‘propaganda,’ is the phenomenon in which news media and other social institutions promote celebratory portrayals of police officers with the intent of swaying public opinion for the benefit of police departments and law enforcement. Copaganda has been defined by cultural critics as ‘media efforts to flatter police officers and spare them from skeptical coverage’ and ‘pieces of media that are so scarily disconnected from the reality of cops that they end up serving as offbeat recruitment ads.’

The term has gained more popularity in the wake of the George Floyd protests as the United States’ media structure publicly reckons with its role in perpetuating overly fawning or unrealistic portrayals of the police, which activists believe has contributed to downplaying the effects of police brutality in the United States.

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September 12, 2020

Blowin’ in the Wind

The Gaslight Cafe

Blowin’ in the Wind‘ is a song written by Bob Dylan in 1962 and released as a single and on his album ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’ in 1963. It has been described as a protest song, and poses a series of rhetorical questions about peace, war, and freedom. The refrain ‘The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind’ has been described as ‘impenetrably ambiguous: either the answer is so obvious it is right in your face, or the answer is as intangible as the wind.’

The song was published for the first time in May 1962, in the sixth issue of Broadside, the magazine founded by Pete Seeger and devoted to topical songs. The theme may have been taken from a passage in folk singer Woody Guthrie’s autobiography, ‘Bound for Glory,’ in which Guthrie compared his political sensibility to newspapers blowing in the winds of New York City streets and alleys. Dylan was certainly familiar with Guthrie’s work; his reading of it had been a major turning point in his intellectual and political development.

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August 17, 2020

Level Playing Field

The World Is Flat

In commerce, a level playing field is a concept about fairness, not that each player has an equal chance to succeed, but that they all play by the same set of rules.

In a game played on a playing field, such as rugby, one team would have an unfair advantage if the field had a slope. Since some real-life playing fields do in fact have slopes, it is customary for teams to swap ends of the playing field at half time. A metaphorical playing field is said to be level if no external interference affects the ability of the players to compete fairly.

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August 15, 2020

Karen

Central Park birdwatching incident

Karen is a pejorative term used in the United States and other English-speaking countries for a person perceived as entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is appropriate or necessary. A common stereotype is that of a white woman who uses her privilege to demand her own way at the expense of others.

Depictions also include demanding to ‘speak to the manager,’ anti-vaccination beliefs, being racist, or sporting a particular bob cut hairstyle. As of 2020, the term was increasingly being used as a general-purpose term of disapproval for middle-aged white women.

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