How Can We Discern the Truth Behind Actual and Manufactured Hate Crime?

How Can We Discern the Truth Behind Actual and Manufactured Hate Crime?

—February 26, 2019

Truth has been a moving target ever since the Chicago Police were called to the home of Hollywood actor Jussie Smollett on Jan. 29, to investigate the report that two white men had attacked him at 2 a.m. on what was one of the coldest nights in that city of the last 100 years. Not to question that there are racist and homophobic Americans who might be prone to engaging in the violent behavior as described by the gay, black actor in his account to police, but that such might be a rare one-out-of-a-million exception rather than the norm.

In fact, when was the last time a black or gay man (or woman) ended up with a noose around their neck or had bleach thrown on them as the result of a racist or homophobic attack? This author would suggest that such attacks are exceptionally rare in modern American times, and that the vast majority of straight, white Americans (and pretty much everyone else, too) are appalled that such could happen in today’s enlightened times.

Nevertheless, and despite the apparent horse feathers weaved into Jussie’s account of the alleged attack, numerous politicians, members of the mainstream media, and celebrities of all stripes jumped on the hash-tag “Justice for Jussie” bandwagon to decry the rampant racism and homophobia that is reputedly roiling our country. Decry the alleged rampant racism and homophobia while obliquely and directly ascribing a significant portion of blame for the attack on President Donald Trump and anyone who supports him.

Easy to do, as the attackers were described by Jussie as shouting “this is MAGA (acronym for Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” slogan) country,” and many in the media initially reported that the attackers were wearing MAGA hats. In fact, the addition of those MAGA details to the alleged attack is likely the only reason that the story went viral, given that Jussie is only a B-list celebrity, and one that many Americans had never heard of until the alleged attack became A-list news.

And perhaps the alleged details regarding MAGA are why so many mainstream media journalists, politicians, and celebrities were willing to overlook some questionable details about the attack that belied the truthfulness of Jussie’s account:
—Given the extreme temperatures that night, Jussie and his alleged assailants were probably the only people out on Chicago’s streets that night.
—Chicago is definitely not MAGA country, and one would be far more likely to run into an attacker in that area claiming that it was “Obama country.”
—Hard to believe that Jussie held on to his Subway sandwich during and after the attack, especially when it might have been tainted by the bleach thrown on him.
—Why did Jussie leave the “noose” (reportedly, a clothesline) around his neck long after the alleged attack?
—Jussie’s unwillingness to provide police with complete access to evidence that could be gleaned from his cell phone.

As Commentary Magazine editor Noah Rothman noted in a New York Times op-ed, despite details of the alleged account that “strained credulity from the very start,” numerous “politicians and journalists seemed to suspend all critical thought in a campaign to indict not just Mr. Smollett’s attackers but the country as a whole.” Furthermore, and as suggested by Rothman, in their rush to judgement many within this campaign doubled down against those who started to question the original narrative, insinuating that such questioning was just bigoted salt being poured into Jussie’s wounds. Jussie himself said as much when he publicly discussed the attack for the first time on Good Morning America, noting that those who doubt his account of the attack are causing him as much pain as the actual assault.

Ironically, Jussie’s narrative started to formally collapse as the Good Morning America episode aired on Feb. 14, at the same time news was emerging that Chicago Police had arrested two suspects who may have been involved in the attack. Two “black” suspects who were later released along with a police statement that the scope of the investigation “had shifted.”

Chicago Police detectives were reportedly skeptical about the alleged attack from the get go, and, with some good due-diligence investigating, have apparently determined that the entire incident was likely a hoax constructed in great detail—complete with rehearsals with the paid attackers—by Jussie himself. Chicago Police are now seeking a follow-up interview with Jussie, but the actor’s defense attorneys say that Jussie has no intention of speaking to police, and that the attorneys will speak to the police on his behalf. In a statement released over the weekend, Jussie’s attorneys also said that the actor has been further victimized by claims that he played a role in his own attack. “Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”

We will just have to wait for the Chicago Police to discern this truth, or lack thereof.

In the meantime, what of real hate crimes that occur in America? Is it at epidemic levels as suggested by the mainstream media and others? And, more specifically, what of hate crimes that can be directly linked—as with the alleged Jussie attack—to Donald Trump and/or his supporters?

Well, a progressive group called America’s Voice has an online “Trump Hate Map” that purportedly tracks all Trump-inspired hate crimes against immigrants, minority groups and other marginalized people. Initiated with Trump’s campaign launch in June 2015, the map highlights less than 100 Trump-inspired hate incidents. While some of the incidents include murder and assault, most involve vandalism and/or harassment, with some not even rising to the level of an arrestable offense.

The relative low numbers of Trump Hate Map incidents must be a bit disappointing to progressive activists who are convinced that the millions of Americans who supported Donald Trump for president are rabid racists and homophobes. And this lack of substantial evidence supporting the notion that Trump supporters in general are racist homophobes leads some folks—such as Jussie Smollett—to manufacture their own hate crime incidents. In fact, the number of Trump-inspired hate crime hoaxes since 2015 might even outnumber actual Trump-inspired hate crimes.

—Originally published in Discernible Truth

Hashing Out the Lack of Diversity Among Oscar Nominees

Hashing Out the Lack of Diversity Among Oscar Nominees

The release last week of the nominations for the 88th annual Academy Awards stirred an immediate backlash due to the lily-white composition of the best actor and best supporting actor categories. That’s right, for the second year in a row the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 6,000-plus voting members failed to recognize any people of color or ethnic diversity for their acting abilities.

You would think that the crackers—more than 90 percent of the Academy members are white—Oscars So Whitewould have learned from last year’s backlash and made an effort to be more inclusive. Last year’s slate of 20 white acting nominees marked the first time since 1998 that the nominees didn’t include at least one racially or ethnically diverse actor. This despite the critically acclaimed acting in the Martin Luther King Jr. biopic “Selma.” And now the Academy voters have done it again, and revived the “Oscars So White!” backlash.

But are the Academy’s crackers biased or was there just a lack of good racial or ethnic talent? Critics are pointing to “Straight Outa Compton,” “Beasts of No Nation,” and “Concussion,” as being filled with black talent that was ignored by Academy voters. Of course, the review of “talent” is highly subjective and many people might argue that these movies, though quite good, are not representative of Oscar-worthy talent.

Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who happens to be a woman of color, said, “Of course I am disappointed, but this is not to take away the greatness [of the films nominated].” Nevertheless, she added, the Academy’s efforts to diversify are moving too slowly. For the record as part of its efforts to become more inclusive in the wake of last year’s backlash, the Academy invited “Selma” star David Oyelowo, “Concussion” acrtress Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and “Straight Outta Compton” director F. Gary Gray to join its ranks.

This obviously isn’t going to tip the scales enough, and will probably only alleviate the apparent Academy bias against blacks. What of other minority groups? We don’t see them represented with any nominations. Are any of the acting nominees Asian? How about Hispanic? Disabled? Gay? Native American? Trans? Obese?

The answer appears to be “no.” And if you are appalled by this blatant lack of diversity in the Academy Awards nominees, then no doubt you would support a mandated affirmative action program for the Academy’s nomination process. And not only would this ensure the inclusiveness of all marginalized minority groups, but it would force Hollywood to make movies more reflective of the actual world we live in.

Here is what the slate of “best” and “supporting” actors would be comprised of under such an affirmative action nominating program (with nominations based to the extent possible upon the actual percentages of subgroups within the at-large U.S. population).

Fourteen whites

Three Hispanics (with at least one being of Mexican origin)

Two blacks

One mulatto

One Asian

and one Native American every sixth year

Of the nominees seven must be obese, four must be physically or mentally disabled, and one must be gay (every 22 years the gay actor can be substituted for a transgendered actor).

So, what do you think? Should we force Hollywood to be more realistic by holding it accountable to affirmative action in its awards nominations? Hash-It-Out!

—M.J. Moye

Originally published Jan. 15 in Hash It Out!

Celebrity Sexual Proclivities for the Sake of Publicity

Celebrity Sexual Proclivities for the Sake of Publicity

—September 1, 2015

Ok, kids, so the big news over the weekend was Miley Cyrus coming out as “pansexual.”

Miley-Cyrus-tongue-twerkingNot that anyone should be surprised by any pronouncement Miley makes about her sexuality, and little doubt that we’ll keep hearing about her sex life for at least the next few years, say, until she gets out of puberty. But it did make us wonder what the heck a “pansexual” is. And no, it’s not somebody who gets off on frying pans and the like….

Pansexual is quite similar to bisexual, but on a broader range as it basically means open to getting it on with any member of the human race. So Miley is proclaiming herself to be about as inclusive as one can get with their sexuality. While we commend Miley for being all inclusive, we would like to remind her that there are laws regarding “age of consent,” and thus, that there are in fact limits to her sexual inclusiveness. We’ll also note that another word for pansexual might be “slut.”

Miley’s coming out as a pansexual got us thinking that this might herald a new trend in which celebrities start outing their sexual proclivities for the sake of publicity. It certainly worked for the rapidly fading celebrity athlete and reality TV star formerly named “Bruce,” and now Miley seems to be working it.

While “who’s next” in Celebrityville to out themselves for their sexual preferences and/or identities will undoubtedly be interesting, perhaps of more interest might be the sexual proclivity that gets named. We don’t consider ourselves to be prudish, and frankly, were surprised that there was a sexual term we were unfamiliar with, but while looking into the meaning of pansexual, came across a whole range of sexual proclivities that we’re not all that familiar with. And we’re not talking BDSM, foot fetishes and the like, because those are so yesterday….

Nope, any celebrities out there looking to create a bit of buzz via their sexuality, should out themselves for one of these:

Abasiophilia–sexual attraction to people with impaired mobility, especially those using orthopaedics. We guess that one would come out as an “abasiophiliac.”

Agalmatophilia–sexual attraction to statues, dolls, mannequins and the like. For the record, a man was caught in 1877 trying to get it on with Venus de Milo.

Acrotomophilia–sexual attraction to amputees. “Nice stump! Wanna get lucky?”

Apotemnophilia–sexual arousal based on the fantasy or reality of amputation of one’s own limbs. And yes, people have purposely amputated their own limbs for sexual gratification. 

Bugchasing–pursuing sexual activity with HIV-positive partners in order to contract HIV. Apparently bugchasers consider this to be “intensely erotic.” 

Coprophilia–sexual arousal and pleasure from feces. “Eew!”

Emetophilia–sexual arousal and pleasure from vomiting. Equally “Eew!”

Dacryphilia–sexual arousal and pleasure from other people’s tears or sobbing. “Cry me a river” takes on a whole new meaning.

Klismaphilia–sexual arousal and pleasure from enemas. Enemas sure are popular with the holistic health movement….

Mucophilia–sexual arousal and pleasure from mucus, whether one’s own or a partner’s. Yeah, “Eew!” 

Paraphilic infantilism (also known as diaper fetish)–sexual arousal and pleasure from wearing a diaper. “What a cute little baby.”pampers-imax-large-38-pieces- 

Troilism–sexual arousal and pleasure from watching one’s partner getting it on with someone else. “Take my wife, please” seems to be quite the popular Internet search.

Urolagnia–sexual arousal and pleasure from urine whether one’s own or a partner’s. And yet another “Eew!”

While outing oneself for any of the above sexual preferences would surely create buzz, in this day and age a celebrity looking for magazine cover buzz probably needs to go totally rogue…. How about:

antisexualism–opposition to all sexual behaviour and sexuality. OK, so perhaps this one might make a better fit for some of those folks running things in Washington…. 

—Originally published September 1, 2015 by Hash It Out!

Johnny Rotten of Sex Pistols Fame Becomes Newest Celebrity Sage

Johnny Rotten of Sex Pistols Fame Becomes Newest Celebrity Sage

—July 10, 2015

What’s with this emerging trend of turning celebrities into pundits who pontificate on the economy, politics, international affairs and other important issues as if they had been spending their lives working and studying these disciplines, rather than, well, doing whatever it takes to be a celebrity? The latest such example being Johnny Rotten, who shared his worldly knowledge about Obamacare, the Greek debt crisis, English monarchy, and Confederate flag debate in a July 7, CNBC Market Watch interview. This followed a June 15 Fox Business Network interview with Kiss frontman Gene Simmons, who pontificated about the economy, national debt and 2016 Presidential election (please see my June 26 blog–Big Celebrity Headlines With Little Effort!).

For those of you unfamiliar with the name, Johnny Rotten (nee John Lydon) was the lead singer of the English punk rock band the Sex Pistols, considered by many music aficionados as the vanguard of the short-lived first-wave punk rock movement that flourished from 1975 to 1980. The band, which only produced one studio album and lasted just two-and-a-half years, was known for politically incorrect and profanity-laced lyrics, the promotion of anarchy, and for publicly offensive behaviour such as cursing, spitting vomiting, fighting and related antics, especially during live shows.

While panned by most music critics has having limited to no musical talent, the band drew a massive cult following, their album enjoyed robust sales, and the Sex Pistols and Johnny Rotten became known around the world. Since the band’s break up in 1978, Rotten has been a member of the post-punk band Public Image Ltd, written two memoirs and performed with the surviving members of the Sex Pistols on a few reunion tours. Other than that, his only other real claim to celebrity is an appearance on the British reality show I’m a Celebrity…Get Me out of Here!, and bit roles on a wide variety of shows, including Judge Judy.

And now, apparently, Mr. Rotten is a wise sage, with intricate knowledge about the Greek debt crisis, Obamacare and the controversy over the Confederate flag. Just like Mr. Simmons, has apparently become a respected pundit, well versed in both economic and political issues.

Uh-huh….

Now if these gentlemen had been pontificating on these issues in a celebrity magazine, such as People or Hello, we wouldn’t bat an eye. But, CNBC Market Watch? Fox Business?

What, these media giants couldn’t pull in Warren Buffet? Couldn’t find someone who actually is directly involved with these important national issues?

What’s next, A CNN interview with Paris Hilton, in which she weighs in on the collapse of the Chinese stock market, or perhaps proffers advice on how to curb Russian President Vlad Putin’s Ukrainian ambitions.

Maybe Bloomberg can get a Kardashian (shouldn’t be too hard). No doubt that any one of them could provide crucial input about how to resolve the impasse between the West and Iran over its nuclear program.

And we’re sure Eva Longoria can wax poetic on how to subdue the Islamic State while at the same time toppling Syrian Dictator Bashar al-Assad, all without causing any additional chaos in the region. Who’s up for this interview? New York Times, perhaps? CNN? Anyone?

–Originally published July 10, 2015 in Hash It Out!

Celebrity Round Up–Patriotic or Not?

Celebrity Round Up–Patriotic or Not?

—July 3, 2015

Hoist the flag, don the red, white and blue, and let those fireworks fly, cause the July 4th weekend is upon us. And in the patriotic spirit of our national holiday, we’ve decided to investigate the patriotism of those people who capture the attention of the American public like Old Glory captures the wind.

Yep, let’s randomly examine some celebrities who may have background history that calls their patriotism into question: Here goes:

Donald Trump–No Doubt! Even though he tends to marry foreign and his hair is of questionable origin, he’s gotta be true blue American. Not only is he running for President (the most patriotic position in the land), his platform includes a proposal to build a wall that will help keep America American.

Arnold Schwarzenegger–Without a Doubt! Born in Austria to a former Nazi, The Terminator started dreaming of moving to America at age 10, and fulfilled that dream 10 years later, adopting his dream with enough fervor to allow the weightlifting champion to become a Hollywood star and then Governor of California. He might still have that German accent and perhaps a yen for Guatemala, but there’s little doubt about his love for this country.

Jane Fonda–Debatable! The Academy Award-winning actress’s patriotism has long been called into question due to her active opposition to the Viet Nam War, which included a visit to the enemy’s capital city and earned her the moniker “Hanoi Jane.” To this day, many veterans and most Americans on the right edge of the political spectrum consider her a traitor (at this juncture it needs to be noted that those on the far right generally consider all leftists to be Godless, un-American heathens). Ms. Fonda has publicly apologized for offending veterans, but stands by her opposition to the war. Those on the left would likely posit that Jane truly does love her country, and that her actions have been a case of going against the “my country right or wrong” stance by adopting a position of my country is doing something wrong, so let’s fix it.

Dave Matthews–Yes! Lead guitarist and frontman for the Grammy Award-winning Dave Matthews Band may have been born and partially raised in South Africa, but he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1980 and proudly calls himself “American.” While active in leftist causes (see Jane Fonda above), Matthews is a vocal advocate for the U.S. democratic process.

Justin Bieber–Not! He’s a Canuck! And Justin’s juvenile delinquent antics led to well over 100,000 true-blue Americans signing a petition asking the President to revoke his Green Card and deport him back to the land of ice, moose and beavers.

Pamela Anderson–Probably! Even though she’s another Canuck, the Baywatch babe became a naturalized U.S. Citizen in 2004, and has publicly stated love for her adopted country…though, while also saying that she is proud to be Canadian. We suppose that we should accept her as American, as Baywatch just wouldn’t have been the same if set in Canada. Lifeguards wearing wetsuits and toques? No thanks.

Christian Bale–Probably Not! What could be more patriotic and American than Batman (OK, Superman), but Christian Bale, current star of the Hollywood “Batman” franchise was Welsh Born and British raised. While he lives in Los Angeles, we could find no evidence that the current Batman has ever sought U.S. citizenship.

Michael J. Fox–Dubious! The Back to the Future star has long come across as the all-American boy type, but he’s another Canuck. While he’s a naturalized U.S. citizen in good standing, he reportedly insists upon being referred to as “Canadian-U.S.” and has been quoted as saying “I am a Canadian first.” Hmmm?

Salma Hayek–Unclear! Oscar-nominated actress Salma Hayek was born and raised in Mexico, and while she’s a naturalized U.S. citizen, for a while she reportedly lived in America as an illegal alien. And then there’s her marriage to French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault, which could well sway her allegiance toward his homeland.

Kiefer Sutherland–not likely! Who could be more patriotic than Jack Bauer of Fox’s 24? Well, not Emmy Award-winning actor Kiefer Sutherland who plays the character. Born in England to Canadian parents, Kiefer has played many roles that would suggest that he’s a true blue American; however, we could find no evidence that Kiefer has ever sought U.S. citizenship. And while not necessarily a patriotism deal breaker (see Jane Fonda), Kiefer’s grandfather was an influential New Democratic Party (about as far left as it gets) politician in Canada.

Keanu Reeves–Not! Born in Beirut, and holder of Canadian and British citizenship, the Hollywood actor has a Green Card, but we’ve seen no evidence that he has pursued U.S. citizenship. Perhaps he just feels that citizenship is just another component of The Matrix.

What do you think? Have we nailed the level of patriotism for this crop of celebrities? And, what other celebrities need to be more closely examined to ensure that their allegiance is with the red, white and blue?

—Originally published July 3, 2014 in Hash It Out!

Keeping Up with the Kardashian’s New Step-Mom

Keeping Up with the Kardashian’s New Step-Mom

—June 7, 2015

The former Bruce Jenner, a 1976 Olympic decathlon gold medal winner and television personality best known for his “father” role in “Keeping Up with the Kardashians, is now probably the most famous transgendered person in the world, thanks to her debut this month as Vanity Fair magazine’s cover story. The story of Caitlyn, as Bruce is now to be known, has pushed the issue of transgendered people into the national spotlight, and, well, raises a whole lot of questions.

Let’s start with Bruce…. Uh, we mean, Caitlyn.

Jenner claims that she suffered from gender identity disorder since childhood, and that “God gave me the soul of a female.” Yet the disorder did nothing to hinder his former complete success at being a man’s man: high school football star, world-record breaking Olympic athlete, race car driver, married to three different hot babes, father of six kids, successful businessman, Hollywood actor….

It begs the question, did he feel like a woman when he scored a touchdown? Did he feel like a woman when he smoked the competition on the track? Did he feel like a women every time he was trying to conceive any of his six kids?

While those questions remain unanswered, Jenner now says “for all intents and purposes, I’m a woman,” and news media is reporting that Jenner is post-transition. And yet, Caitlyn is still walking around with the male bits dangling between her legs. That’s right, Jenner has not undergone sex reassignment surgery. So, how can someone with a penis and testicles be considered a woman?

Can he…. Uh, she?

This is a question that even the transgendered community can’t seem to agree on, with some in the community arguing that successful sex reassignment surgery should be required for consideration as a true post-transitional man or women. Others, Jenner apparently included, feel that it should be based more upon a state of mind.

The question of what constitute’s one’s gender remains a grey area in the U.S. legal system, as the court’s have not really had to address too many cases…yet. The state of Maine’s supreme court did address the issue last year in a decision affirming the right of a transgender male-to-female to use the ladies room of his/her high school.

So which locker room is Jenner going to use, and how is that going to play out? Is Jenner going to be comfortable in either one? As a woman, the men’s room should conceivably make her feel uncomfortable, but the ladies room could be equally awkward for her due to her remaining manhood. And what of those sharing that same locker room space? How would you feel sharing shower space with Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner?

Interestingly, Jenner says he has no interest in men and that he is currently asexual. But what if his–sorry, her–sex drive returns? We suppose Jenner will be chasing the ladies as a lesbian. But how is his lesbian paramour going to feel about her lover having a penis?

And what of that penis? Should Jenner decide to go further into his quest for womanhood does sexual reassignment surgery really work. Does penile inversion–the most common technique for  transgendered male-to-female–create a true approximation of a working vagina?

See–a whole lot of questions, with each question begetting more questions. I think we’d better stop with that last one….

—Originally published June 7, 2015 by Hash It Out!