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Weekend With Ruthless: Happy Birthday REIGN!

Bloody Justice

Now some may say “My that’s a specific topic for a weekend with ruthless post.” Don’t worry it was just to make sure everywhere you share this post is a Happy Birthday to our wonderful writer Reign. Y’all know what she’s meant to WDDIJ. I don’t even need to explain again. But… Reign Appreciation! 

Now back to your regularly scheduled Weekend Ramble

Why are geeks and Nerds so damned annoying these days?

You might remember that previously I’ve run pieces on the complex relationship between myself and the geek and nerd community. This comes to mind.  Also this comes to mind. Most certainly you remember this piece and of course this one. You could come to the conclusion if that was all your read of me, that I somehow hate the culture I once considered myself truly a part of. But few things are farther from the truth. The reality is I distance myself often to get perspective. To be objective. And above all to get free of the stupid echo chamber that develops no matter what side you take in the random intra sub culture conflicts that today pop up with names like GamerGate.

You might notice our newest writer The 9 to 5 Gamer himself Bami O is the one exclusively covering that matter. For good reason. I’m not a gamer geek. I’m not even an ex Nintendo Nerd (#TeamSega). So as usual I leave those matters to those who have the right mind for them. Also stay tuned for big news regarding Mr. 9to5 and the WDDIJ network. BIG NEWS. Anyway. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks watching commenting, and in some cases engaging in the conversations that pop up in some geek and nerd centric communities. Both on Facebook and in Forums. I haven’t popped into the realm of reddit because I hear enough horror stories.

One thing that I do notice is a lot more conflict on things that don’t ultimately make the community stronger. What do I mean? Well there is always going to be some pushing and shoving between people who bring up gender equality, racial equality and sexual orientation as it relates to games, and the people who don’t want to deal with it. But I have noticed a lot lately that people are bringing up these issues, not to head towards solutions, but to browbeat anyone who disagrees. What do I mean? When you call out developers for not having enough black women in games in a facebook group with only the most scant of possibilities for a game maker to be on them, you really are just trying to see who will disagree with you.

And this style of interaction is everywhere. It isn’t just in the geeks and nerds online. It is often in the classrooms, and bars, and social gatherings of completely non-geek affiliated people. So if geeks are smarter, why do they do this stupid thing? I don’t really have an answer for it. I genuinely can’t grasp why they’ve gotten so unaware of themselves. And the sad part is this is not the only annoyance. Nor is it the greatest one.

For me the greatest annoyance lately is the so called “real fans” issue. Known to the philosophy majors and english majors as the No real scotsman logical fallacy, this shit is everywhere. No real fan of transformers likes Micheal Bay’s movies. No real fan of comics liked Watchmen. Real fans hate Teen Titans Go. Real fans stand up for this or that, or the third thing we forgot. It is a plague on my mental faculties. The things I expect and deal with from the non-nerd masses were supposed to be far more rare among the intellectual elite. But the same crap comes. And whether it is White Knight based simp attitudes, Neanderthal

And whether it is White Knight based simp attitudes, Neanderthal Psuedo-Macho bullshit, Sociopath Fem dominant feminism, or Stupidly cautious Conservative feminine traditionalism, it doesn’t go away. Hell Patricia Arquette, Michelle Rodriguez, Neil Patrick Harris, Terrance Howard, and fucking Bill O’Reilly aren’t even getting covered by me on this Weekend Piece because the geek reactions to them and the stupid infighting is so annoying. Annoying enough that I don’t even openly refer to myself as an ex nerd or ex geek anymore. I’ve taken the Rae Sremmurd approach of just saying “I like what I like” and tossing in a Kanye shrug. Think about how terrifying that is.

The more intelligent you are, the more you should drive the conversation to better solutions in my book. My idea? For now support things like Wolf-PAC and MAYDAY-PAC. By getting the money influence out of politics and supporting the right candidates until then, a lot of the problems in geek and nerd culture can be solved, or directly addressed. Taking the hands on approach with things you want changed. If Cosplayers can get cons to voluntarily adopted anti-harassment rules written by a non-lawyer, if LoL players can convince the devs to ban abusive players, then you should be doing what is needed to make the change you want to see, happen.

Hate the movie roles? Make some movies. Hate the gender roles in games? Make some games or support some game makers. Hate the way Law and Order, and movies like Gamer portray you in public? How about you help me build a PAC to run the attack for you? More on that later. For now though. Support your own. Help build them up. Go tell young school age girls about STEM positions. Go talk to young boys about how they handle growing up without being patronizing. Go check out OtaKast Radio Network, 9to5 Gamer, 314 Publishing, Imperial Dreams Productions, and all of our partners and friends in the links to the side. But most of all Share Words Don’t Do It Justice with everyone you know. Why? Because I mean it when I say Hot Topics, Cold Analysis. We turn our keyboards and posts at everyone. No one gets a pass just because they like us. The most objective analysis of subjective material on the internet. Lead by YOUR favorite Super Villain. Almost 2 years in and still nothing’s changed. So think about what you’re doing. And to the geeks and nerds don’t get all in your feels because I called you out today. I could have gone much longer but Words Don’t Do It Justice!

 

– THE Ruthless Wonder

Before you Protest: Why the SCOTUS decision today isn’t going to end up as bad as you think.

Seriously people. Read First. Rage Second.

Before you protest, and before I get started.

I want to stress that this post has no affiliation with or is made as a course of any associations with any organizations I have at any point in my life been a member of. Not Palestine Missionary Baptist Church of Jesus Christ. Not Jack And Jill of America Incorporated. Not the NAACP. And not National Black Law Students Association or Phi Alpha Delta or The American Association for Justice. Or ANY OTHERS! I say that because I know full well that what I am about to say is incendiary, and furthermore is likely to turn into some relation of it to my affiliations. It took a 20 minute explanation to my own loving Mother to get her to see what I meant and not respond based on her own experiences with racism, southern Missouri, voting, and well you know, The black Talos, Martin Luther King Jr.

End disclaimer

Introduction for those living under the proverbial rock this morning

The decision in Shelby County v. Holder revolves around Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which establishes a “coverage formula” to determine which states and local governments fall under Section 5, and therefore need to get approval before changing their voting laws. The justices ruled that Section 4 is unconstitutional, and that the formula used for decades — revised and extended several times by Congress — can no longer be used to establish those “preclearance” requirements: “The conditions that originally justified these measures no longer characterize voting in the covered jurisdictions.”  Credit: John Schwartz and The New York Times

The Actual Introduction.

See I like you started looking at all of this in the splashy coverage on CNN, BBC, MSNBC, FOX, Yahoo, Reuters, AP, and of course almighty Google+, twitter, and facebook(Seriously are they giving out Poli Sci degrees or are people just dolts with keyboards? Anyway). And if all you do is check that coverage you see the reactions to the ruling, or reactions to the reactions to the ruling, or of course my personal favorite, a TV talking head getting told the ruling with no explanation other than “struck down enforcement provision” on live air and then attempting to pontificate. I’m sure Olberman via Wherever he’s ranting from, Matthews later on Hardball, Cenk on TYT, and of course O’Reilly on the factor will have better more reasoned approaches with actually information to back them up(HAHA! I’m funny right? Don’t judge me.), but the best way to tell who has a law degree and a political science background is to see how they respond to anything said by the supreme court. It is THE litmus test of  pundit, or idiot.

One thing I tend to not do on purpose is rely on these sources when it comes to The N9ne and when it comes to the Justices of the Supreme Court as well. You might wonder why. Basically it doesn’t matter what they say. Because the reports about the ruling will get out all the info right? WRONG! One of the biggest problems with a supreme court ruling(which you really should have learned with Obamacare) is that the devil really is in the details. For good or ill, the splashy cover story of the ruling is that tip of the iceberg that sinks the titanic. What you don’t see has so much more meat and power to it than what you do. Which of course is why I’m talking about this right now. So to benefit everyone. And to ensure I don’t get off on too many wild tangents(too late). I’m going to break this down a bit like I attempted to hacktivism.

First up is why the ruling is bad, then we’ll talk about the good implications from the backdoor in the ruling, and well I wouldn’t be Lex Luthor of the internet if I didn’t toss in a subversive, revolutionary, yet strangely dictatorial, super villain manner of using this properly in the chess game we call the Federal Government. When I’m done feel free to do all the namecalling(Yeah yeah I’m an uncle Tom/Uncle Rukus. You realize if you read everything you sound stupid calling me that right?), threats(Seriously? My blog hit you that deep you wanna come at me bro?), and vows to never read this again and block me on all social media(Let’s be real you won’t so you can see how I respond. As well as in a week or two at most you’ll realize I’m right and come back) that you want to. But do yourself a couple favors. Wait till I’m done, and share it with anyone you know(I love hate mail to yourruthlesswonder@gmail.com)

Why this may have in fact set America back to the 1950’s America that no one actually liked.

The most difficult reality of all of this for me is that this decision happened. I thought for sure this would not be coming down as it did. Be it out of fear, hope, or some other emotion I truly thought the Voting Rights Act could not be touched, would not be touched by the court. Even in the face of things like the Court’s Affirmative Action decisions, Arizona Immigration Laws, and the impending DOMA decision, I felt like they would view this as a bridge too far. That this was a pillar of America’s commitment to itself. And that no borderline libertarian Chief Justice, or black conservative, or closet Federalist, would allow this to happen. And then they did. Each one in line. Each one loving the idea it seemed. Even a Super Villain has feelings.

The major problem here is that this allows for the restrictions on the changing of voter laws in states where race is in fact still a problem even more so than the rest of the country to just go away. Gerrymandering may in fact be out the door(it is in fact still illegal), but ID’s citizenship tests, general fuckery(sorry for all the cursing Mom) with registrations, as well as the old tried and true methods: poll taxes, literacy tests, location changes without notification, redistricting without notification, variable poll hours; may come back into use. That isn’t good. That is in fact probably the worst thing to come out of this ruling. States, and the greedy bigots, racists, politically correct proponents, and warmongers among us can go hog wild coming up with ways to screw each other and thus all of us out of voting properly.

Make no mistake. Let me make this absolutely crystal clear. Despite its current flaws with campaigns and the lead up to elections, America has bar none the most enduring, profound, and dare I say beautiful legacy when it comes to voting. America is unique. Built on ideology and political experimentation and not on national ethnicity. Those that come after us looked to our example. And the Voting Rights Act is a testament to America’s ability to right itself when it the decisions of the past are found inadequate, unsavory, or incorrect. Today is a loss for that notion of our nation. Today we all took an L. And the sad part is we did not have to. All the Justice League had to do was say nope stands, or nope not reviewing this, or any combination that did not include the words “this is not constitutional.” And they didn’t. So feel free to be angry. Feel free to rant and rave everywhere(does anyone actually use Xanga or Friendster anymore?) You are right to do so. But as you probably guessed, that brings us to my next point. And by God this one’s important.

The Ruling is actually not the death of Civil Rights in America.

The interesting thing about the Supremes featuring Chief Justice Roberts is that they are sort of like The Watchmen. And that tends to bring a “Who watches the Watchmen?” vibe to things. This ruling most certainly brought that to my mind. I can only imagine what more staunch defenders of all things governmental may think on the matter. But this ruling, like many others is not without its backdoors, hidden hallways, and secret cheat codes. That’s why I’m not advocating the launch of some clandestine attempt to accomplish Order 66 but with judges. In fact this ruling happens to have a very large escape pod that we should be using.

The Government has a fallback argument—because the formula was relevant in 1965, its continued use is permissible so long as any discrimination remains in the States identified in 1965. But this does not look to “current political conditions,” Northwest Austin, supra, at 203, instead relying on a comparison between the States in 1965. But history did not end in 1965. In assessing the “current need[ ]” for a preclearance system treating States differently from one another today, history since 1965 cannot be ignored. The Fifteenth Amendment is not designed to punish for the past; its purpose is to ensure a better future. To serve that purpose, Congress—if it is to divide the States—must identify those jurisdictions to be singled out on a basis that makes sense in light of current conditions.

That particular bit of the opinion seems to leave a nice couple of doors open. One all that would need to be done is convincingly show a current, present day reason to set up the VRA. Not simple I grant you. There is a general obstructionist movement going in Big Fed right now. But on this particular issue it might still happen. This also seems to say that if you did the same law but did not exclude states it might work as well. What does this mean? What can this bit of the opinion help? It means Congress(House and Senate) can craft another bill and pass it so long as it meets these standards. The opinion does not say that the VRA itself is unconstitutional. Rather it says that the way they picked who they can use this portion of the VRA is, and that if they wish to do this with the VRA they must either 1. update the requirements and formula; or 2. figure out another way of accomplishing the same goal.

That is far from a death sentence I think you’d agree. It is far from a take to the streets and round up the judges like the rich folks in The Dark Knight Rises(Sidenote: Seriously don’t do that you will go to jail…if the police don’t kill you first.). With the right tweaks the VRA could come back with entirely new justifications and handling things with up to date information which would allow it to survive scrutiny. That would fix all of this and let’s face it. There is one school of thought that the south would use this as a way to stay going hog wild on the subject and we would descend into a voter hellscape that we would and could not return from. But this particular bit is enough to do multiple things that could save the current state of things and start crafting a new VRA that would pass the test. And that is a good thing. As armed rebellions get rather bloody and I’m not ready for my Lex Luthor based Emperorship yet. So how do we use this loophole to right the ship? We act like the exceptional Americans we are. use our worst tactics for a positive end. Which is my third point. Ready? IKUZO!

We must overcome the impossible and kick reason to the curb to pull this off, but it will work. Trust me…

The thing about fixing the VRA is that you have to rely on a few facts. these facts weigh against the better angels of our humanity. They work not because we are good, but because humans can do horrible things to each other. They may require compromise. They may require lots of time. But they will work because unless we all suddenly become the freaking federation from Star Trek(I’m totally Ricardo Montalbán Khan in that scenario), this kind of leverage can/will/has/does work. The idea is simple, and if it isn’t currently being used I’ll be even more disappointed in the people who call themselves civil rights leaders these days(I’m looking at all of you.)

Note: I’m not going to use the more detailed, overly specific version of this plan for time’s sake. I’m doing this version so everyone can understand what I’m suggesting. Politicians, and members of the appropriate governing bodies may get in touch with me for more details to make it all work.

1. Obama(deal with it, dude is still POTUS) signs an executive order allowing the federal agencies which currently utilize his executive power, FBI, DOJ, and NSA to be specific, handle all federal enforcement of voter rights afforded by the constitution and its amendments. Since this would go beyond the VRA and to the specifics of enforcing the constitution, the only gripe one can have is that it is Obama doing that. While I’m not an Obama Stan, the man is in charge, So who else was going to have the power to do this?

Impact: This is likely to be challenged in court, but the amount of time to get this up to the SCOTUS again would take so long it could be rendered Moot by a properly formed VRA. In the meantime this stops shenanigans from going on.

2. A bill that looks suspiciously like the current VRA but instead of going after the old confederate states you just go after all states and territories. By calling this an effort to deal with corruption and voter fraud as well as restrictions on the right to vote. That little bit of language change even with the justifications as used in the 60’s would give the SCOTUS some serious fat to chew.

Impact: Combined with the time to deal with the EO mentioned in 1 that is 5 to 10 years of things being fine before any fallout. I know that looks, feels, and to a degree is kicking the can down the road on the VRA but it is for a reason. And it accomplishes freaking time travel on a government level on the cheap. Roll with it people. Roll with it.

3. NO ONE wants to vote down a new VRA. This is leverage. It must be used as such. Here you use that leverage on two bills. First on the one listed above in 2. The second is on the more properly done version. Seriously put time into actual research which should take at least 3 to 4 years to do on current voting irregularities, discriminatory voting practices, and underhanded districting as well as corruption. Go very hard on corrupt politicians when it comes to votes. Root them out like Elliot Ness and J. Edgar Hoover. Seriously underhanded, black bag, scary government monitoring level stuff. We already believe that the government is waging a silent unseen war against the American people while publically coming after our privacy. Use it to do this. Rely on the likelyhood that no republican tea party or not will want to look like they are anti non-corrupt elections and voting. It will work. Trust me.

4. This goes for any government representative be they Rep, Senator, President, Governor, State Sen, Assemblyman, all of that jazz. Make this a campaign issue. You want to save your ass(sorry again Mom? You want to stay in office? You want to march towards the White House for at least a 4 year lease agreement? Shout how not creating a new and more comprehensive VRA is integral to anyone who claims to want public office. Yell how it strikes at the heart of every American. Call out your opponent for not addressing the issue. Try to one up them when the talk about it in the positive. THIS IS AMERICA! You’ll shout. WE ALL VOTE IN AMERICA BUDDY. PERIOD END OF SENTENCE! Who in their right mind gets on the opposite side of that? No one does. The amount of suddenly glossed over faults will be astounding. You just keep saying it. Work on it and of course pass it. Then you get to look at your opponent and say “I passed laws protecting the voting rights of every red-blooded old glory waving American. Don’t you try and talk to me about patriotism.” No one survives that assault.

The end result here is you make a new VRA, but in the meantime you stop anything going wild. You neutralize the court, but by using its own ruling. In the short term it wouldn’t likely overrule itself. In the long term, well judges step down you know. The goal is to work on fixing the problem while keeping any potential competition occupied and off balance. Like I said, no one in office wants to be all over every media outlet in existence as being against the creation of a new better written version of the VRA. The international vilification of them would be political and possible physical death of them. But they aren’t stupid. They can rock the “this is a good goal, but this version isn’t good.” line of attack so long as you choose to avoid the more radical version of strategy I suggest here.  Trust in my Ruthlessness if you don’t trust in me. If you take my path of Ruthlessness, they will all be left to Wonder as things get done on this.

Saying Goodbye

So that’s my breakdown. That’s my hope. That’s my plan. Can’t say I didn’t bring solutions. Now this may have taken me longer to type and you to read than my discussion with my Mom, but I wanted to make sure it didn’t just sound like I’m THE Ruthless Wonder and I’m right, you’re wrong, so do this. It sounds a little bit like that, but not just like that. Anyway,  share this one. Comment below, email me, retweet me, share me on FB, Reddit, Google+ and hell reblog with proper credits if you feel so inclined. I’d say more and try more to convince you right now but in the end I think we all feel the same no matter what side you were on with this ruling. Words Don’t Do It Justice.

– THE Ruthless Wonder