A Snap Judgement Snap Judgement

Posted by Brandon |

The Stranger, Seattle's alternative weekly, ran a photo on their cover this week of two security guards working on an open ATM at REI and wrote a story about Shane Becker, the self described vegan, straightedge, anarchist (sounds like a big ball of fun!) that took the picture, and how he was arrested by the Seattle Police Department after he refused to show his ID to the security guards when they confronted him about the picture.

The point of the article and the running it on the cover, I suppose, is about photographers rights and the arrest of someone that didn't do anything particularly wrong, and I get that. But does it deserve the front cover treatment? Does it even really merit a mention in even The Stranger? Is this really one of the most important stories of the week? Are there no other false imprisonment/police harrassment stories that merit our attention?

This story only exists and has only been given any merit because it happened to a white kid with an iPhone and a blog. A white kid with an iPhone and a blog that could've avoided all of this. But since he's a straightedge vegan anarchist, he just had to play his role and be uncooperative.

In the same way that the "fake cops" had their role to play, so did Becker. Both roles are wrong, both groups are at fault, neither should be praised. But by picking up this story and running with it in the way that they have, The Stranger has made Becker into the harmless photographer, the one who's rights were stepped on, the victim. When really the only victims in this case are people that are subject to police harassment or worse whose stories fall through the cracks while Becker and this ATM make the cover.

But that's Seattle and that's The Stranger. It's to be expected.

On a related note - Becker sells t-shirts with atheist and vegan slogans on them that I don't want to link to, but I do want to see if anybody can help me out with one of the designs. What in the world is this supposed to mean...

...because I'm completely stumped. I guess it's just a really stupid shot at athletes and sports? This coming from someone that was at REI purchasing a fancy bike rack for his car. Riding a bike is an athletic endeavor, FYI.

I would also like to take this opportunity to remind you that I am a flaming liberal even though this post comes off making me sound pretty conservative, I'll admit. I'm just sick of people that have a lot of power and influence in this life playing the oppressed. Being a white male in America sure is hard these days, isn't it? Makes it hard to enjoy our iPhones and blogs and our fancy bike racks.


Special Agent Oso Is Watching

Posted by Brandon |

I've been thinking a bit about Special Agent Oso ever since it debuted on Playhouse Disney recently. If you haven't seen it yet, well you probably don't have a toddler, so don't worry about it, you aren't missing much. Basically it's about a stuffed panda bear named Oso that helps kids with tasks like brushing their teeth or checking out a book from the library or finding their shoe in their dirty room. It's very colorful, it's got a catchy song, it's got pretty good intentions and it catches my daughter's attention, but there are still some things that bother me about it.

For one, I feel like it was developed by focus groups and committees. It liberally takes ideas from other successful kids shows and puts it all together into one package. A little bit of Spanish? Check. Talk to the audience? Check. Bad catch phrase? Check ("all part of the plan, more or less"). Merchandising friendly characters? They're supposed to be stuffed animals so, yeah, big time check - not to mention the merchandising potential for Paw Pilot, Oso's electronic helper thing or Numero Dos, the voice that comes out of his watch that seems to be his boss. Put all these elements together and it feels a little disingenuous to me.

One of the things that I was joking about today is how there are these little ladybug looking cameras that catch the kids having trouble with some task and send a signal to Special Agent Oso and how they seem very big brother-y. Sure, in the show they are being used for good, but what if they fell into the wrong hands? I mean, Special Agent Oso is about as "special" as it gets, it doesn't seem like it would be hard. But what actually kind of bothers me about them is that it portrays constant, secret surveillance as something positive to kids. I'm half joking about this and I'm sure that it wasn't their intention, but it does seem a little insidious.

But overall, I think Special Agent Oso has a good enough message that it trumps the committee feel and weird big brother issues. It teaches kids how to work through problems in a logical manner - three special steps is all it takes, apparently - and that isn't bad. But adults won't get much out of it if you have to watch it as well. It's not cloying or insulting like Barney or the Wiggles, but there isn't much for you here, though I'm surprised Disney's research didn't figure out a way to shoehorn something under the radar for adults in there.


Another 5th Grade Masterpiece: Fairytale Land

Posted by Brandon |

I showed a very sophisticated outlook on popular culture at the time, didn't I? And I could really draw those titties...Yea-yeah!



Posted by Brandon |

Addie and I were on Cute Overload today and we ran across this awesome video...

Now, if you think that video is funny - and I most certainly do - imagine what a 15 month old would think of it. Actually, you don't have to imagine, I caught it on video...

This is kind of mild laughter since this is actually the third time she watched it. The first time she laughed so hard that she couldn't catch her breath which in turn made me laugh so hard I couldn't catch my breath which in turn made Death? laugh so hard she couldn't catch her breath. And the second time we watched it, she laughed even harder.

Death? reminded me of when Addie was about a month old and I was really frustrated because I couldn't get her to smile. I worked my butt off just trying to get something - I'd have taken a gas smile even - only to be met with a quizzical stare. Needless to say, my worry that she would be completely humorless is totally gone.


The New Down With Pants!

Posted by Brandon |

If you didn't notice, there's a new look around these parts. It's not finished, I have a lot more to add and fiddle with, but I was anxious to get it up and going so here it is. What do you think?