THIS OLD LADY IS PISSED
Final goodbyes from the people fed up with the U.S. p. 8-9
make him forfeit his run for presidency. Racism again is the fear of “the other” and what we should focus on is how this is a newer brand of it. Obama isn’t black, nor is he white. He is the New American, a biracial product that suggests a beautifully realistic future for this country. I’m not the first to coin this term, but I’ll come out and say that interracial dating is a necessity for the health of us as a species. A straining of the leaves and excess crap like predisposition to disease in our gene pool. In the animal kingdom, German Sheppards’ hips go out around the age of 10 because of their “purity.” A relative comparison in human history then is the last Russian Czar, whose family was filled with hemophiliacs due to all the inbreeding. These people, still looking at the candidate’s outward appearance and booming baritone voice, are seeing what some people that look similar to him aren’t seeing. Over a year ago, Debra Dickerson released a book entitled The End of Blackness. She appeared on the Colbert Report, where she discussed with Colbert the idea that Obama is African American but he isn’t black. I also concur a bit that he lacks some of the Blackness that we might identify with someone like MLK or X, which isn’t a denial of the Kenyan part of his heritage; but he is more of a representative of a cross blending of cultures. Isn’t that the “melting pot” metaphor that we supposedly aspire to be as a country? Again, he helps to represent the duality of American society. We aren’t just an AngloSaxon or WASP conglomeration, but a motherfucking pastiche of diversity. As a Long Beach resident, nay of Los Angeles, I’m spoiled, I guess. I am an avid supporter of his candidacy, but from day one I’ve been afraid that we have another JFK on our hands. The nation
FEAR OF A BLACK PRESIDENT A CONFEDERACY OF MISNOMERS ALAN PASSMAN
Illustration RACHEL RUFRANO
ith the election finally upon us, it is more than just frightening to see what is coming to light. Really, what has been unveiled is the racism that you forget actually exists out there in those areas between here and the East Coast. There is a video from Al Jazeera West floating around on the net that was shot outside of a McCain/Palin rally. The first woman, just past middle age, they interviewed makes the statement that she is afraid that if Obama is elected then “the blacks will take over.” The viral clip is really just a treasure trove of ethnocentric, nationalist xenophobia that encapsulates the card that Good Ol’ Johnny and Sarah are playing to these 1950s transplants. A culture of panic-drenched dread is what these people are getting conned with. Words like “Arab,” “Muslim,” “Terrorist,” and “Socialist” are getting thrown around like they were synonymous. John McCain’s smear campaign, Joseph McCarthy’s Red Scare—same difference, if you ask me. So all this is being brought into question— not just of Barrack Obama’s qualifications as a politician, but that of a moral, ethnic, or ideological facet is just really ludicrous. Again nothing new, in terms of running for office; but since he is Icarus-close to the brass ring, there is a huge level of insanity to the fervor at which people are trying to slag him down. There is even some attorney out there, supposedly a staunch Democrat, who has charged in the court of law that Obama is not even a naturally born American, which obviously would UNION WEEKLY
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enthralled with another young, different and progressive minority (Kennedy was a Catholic) that has the potential to need his Armani suits made out of Kevlar. The Feds have already foiled one assassination attempt that two neo-Hitler Youthtypes had planned to go on, which was a symbolically numerological killing spree with Obama as the crown jewel in their scheme. The fear that I am quick to decry as part of a Fox News tactic to force the ignorant into voting to uphold the status
quo is seeping into the consciousness of us bleeding heart liberals. The scare tactics can’t sway our voting hands this morning. The change platform that Obama is running on isn’t just about sweeping policy reform, it is also about subverting the idea of who is an American and highlighting the reality that the pilgrims are no longer at the top of the heap. More importantly that you don’t need to look like Martin Sheen to be President, you can look like Dennis Haysbert.
A LAST MINUTE LOOK AT A FEW CALIFORNIA BALLOT PROPS efore you whine about California not receiving any campaign coddling from Obama or McCain, realize that this is perhaps a good thing. Californians haven’t voted for a Republican since Reagan, who was a movie star turned governor (Californians are insatiably fond of those types). Frankly, we have our shit together and this time around is no different; California is going to Obama. Get over it.
This is not to say your vote doesn’t matter, because it surely does, or at least we hope it does. Don’t fret over the presidential election—seriously. Devote your last minute attention to the slate of propositions on this year’s California ballot, and since you’re reading, the ones we’ve deconstructed below. Many a scholar would argue these props hold more pertinence to your daily, monotonous life than any celebrity in Washington.
PROP 1A Prop 1A should be a no brainer; CSULB is uncannily
PROP 8 Prop 8 really comes down to whether or not you want
familiar with the morning gridlock, and this is precisely what Prop 1A aims to relieve. I’m just excited for the day when I no longer run over cats to soothe my rage. The state is proposing to sell $10 billion in bonds to fund the new high-speed rail network (that means trains traveling at speeds of 200 mph) that will connect, among other communities, LA to San Francisco, and revamp our current rail system (also known as our pathetic excuse for modern transportation). Somebody whom I respect very little informed me, yet again, that this is indeed California, and that “We love our cars.” I’m amazed that this sort of thinking (and it remains rampant) continues to dominate the argument against any cohesive public transportation system in California. It’s frustrating, outdated, and frankly, a rationalization for an ass-backwards philosophy for getting from point A to point B.
the first explicitly discriminatory law written into the California Constitution. “Yes” means that gay and lesbian couples will forever be denied the right to marry, or, that California will officially condone denying rights to gays and lesbians that straight couples take for granted. There are many reasons why people think a prop like this needs to be passed, and the main is pure bigotry. In 2000, Prop 22 was approved to define marriage as between a man and a woman. On May 15th of this year the California Supreme Court deemed the statute of Prop 22 unconstitutional. Many proponents of Prop 8 argue that this debate was settled back in 2000 with a statewide vote, and thus the four “activist” judges overturning Prop 22 ignored the majority sentiment of California. This, of course, begs the question of whether or not the U.S. government was correct in removing Jim Crow laws established in the South back in the ‘60s—yes, it’s the same sort of thing.
PROP 5 We know you really want to help out your dealer and
PROP 4 Abortion is a divisive subject for the country, and
vote “yes” on Prop 5—which would reduce some weedrelated misdemeanors to infractions and create new treatment options for younger offenders—but don’t. The proposition is designed to reduce prison overcrowding by helping out nonviolent offenders, which is fine, but it provides a loophole to people that shouldn’t get one—namely assholes like child abusers. If an attorney argues that their client was under the influence of, say, Meth, the judge has no choice but to provide lenient sentencing. Not to mention that Prop 5 will ostensibly be creating two new bureaucratic agencies that have almost zero accountability. Bureaucracies need money, and the proposition sets aside $460 million annually in a state that’s already $16 billion in the hole. Oh, and that number could eventually balloon to over $1 billion a year as California expands the program across the state.
Prop 4 is already stirring up a whole mess of division. If Prop 4 passes, it will institute an amendment to California’s constitution that would force minors to notify their parents at least 48 hours before they have their unborn kidlets “taken care of,” so Ma and Pa aren’t blindsided by any health complications. If you think about it though, it’s pretty fucked up—no law can enforce better family communication. Imagine having to tell your parents you’ve made the toughest decision of your life (possibly ever) and it turns out they’re a couple of abusive fucks. Or maybe you already knew, which would probably make it that much more harrowing. What if you get kicked out? What if your parents use their grounding prowess to keep you from the appointment? So, what if? You could be that much closer to a coat hanger, which is bound to lead to its own share of health complications.
Best-case scenario: you’re reading this on Monday. Otherwise we just wasted your time and if so, we do not apologize. Hopefully we dropped some knowledge on your uneducated ass. This shit is important. Go vote. If you already did, good job. If you still don’t want to or you’re reading this after Tuesday and you “just didn’t get around to it,” don’t submit any opinions articles bitching about the results. UNION WEEKLY
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VINCENT GIRIMONTE & JOE BRYANT
MATT DUPREE Mercifully, Tuesday will mark the end of the 2008 election circus. Well, it will if we manage to have a drama-free vote count (knock on wood). So there’s a chance that some of you are reading this on a sunny Monday morning, hoping to see those magic words that will finally propel the sailboat of your convictions into the doldrums of your preferred presidential candidate. Well, keep on hopin’ faithful word-seers, because ya’ sure as hell ain’t gonna find ‘em here. Nope, I’m much more concerned about what happens after the victor is announced and the last smoking embers of the losing party are extinguished by the scornful piss of the news media. It’s all well and good to try and get your guy elected, but let us consider the damage done when the American public is forced to choose between candidates that have been presented to them as a raging mummy and a secret muslim Marxist (gosh, didn’t Marx say something about religion?). It may not be so easy to put down the swords after the ballots are counted, especially since everyone and their plumber have been calling this the “most important election in our lifetime” (it definitely is for McCain). I’ve been following this election really closely, a first for me, and it’s absolutely maddening. If it weren’t for the constant company of a stiff drink, I doubt I would have made it this far with my humanity intact. The modern body politic is an abattoir where the butchers wait in the shadows and the virtuous are ground up for kicks. It’s the sort of thing that makes a man want to dust off his old Rage Against The Machine CDs and re-learn the lyrics. But that’s just not good enough anymore. The country is up Shit Creek and its rapidly approaching Turd Falls. We don’t have the luxury of telling the “other America” to go fuck itself until the next election. We have to be courteous, win or lose, and we must be infinitely patient. Obviously, no amount of nicety is going to bring the red and blue together, but we can at least pretend to be purplish for a little while. Recently, a girl decided to fake a raciallycharged assault to advance her political position. A man in Hollywood decided to hang and burn the opposition’s candidates in effigy. And of course there was that halfbaked “assassination” plot on Obama that was splattered across the news tickers in all its redneck glory. These are the ugly symptoms of a desperate electorate that needs to chill the fuck out. Because when these mooncalves go out stuntin’—if you’ll excuse the cliché—we all lose. So go out, vote, and remember the words of my hero Hunter Thompson, “Paranoia is just another word for ignorance. “
ISSUE 63.10 “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” —Plato MAIL TO THE CHIEF LETTERS TO THE EDITOR MIKE “BEEF” PALLOTTA
lection season baby! Can you smell it in the air?! It smells like division amongst Americans. No matter what side we stand on we all know we should be voting on Tuesday. Right? We’re not just voting between creepy old man #1 and creepy old man #2; these candidates have clear distinctions and if you haven’t made up your mind yet, then you probably need to look up the number of a good therapist. This isn’t merely deciding between Cherry or Blue-Raspberry when filling up your Iron Man Slurpee cup—this is huge. The results of this election will reverberate for years to come. But you know that. I’m not telling you anything new. And because you know this, this week’s feature isn’t a waste of space. You know the facts already, you know the opinions, so we’re not going to waste your time with an 11th hour binge of two years worth of news. What we did do this week is take a look at what possibilities the future holds. Many voters feel strongly about their candidates and have been making their opinions known on what they will do if the opposing candidate takes the election. The division in this country has reached a boiling point and people are verbally threatening to bail, leaving the rest of us behind to wonder how it got so quiet and serene in their absence. So if you turn to pages 8 & 9, you’ll find two letters, each from a departing citizen in
a possible future. One is a young Democrat who’s fed up and leaving (if McCain wins) and another is an old Republican who’s fed up and leaving (if Obama wins). Each provides their own reasons for their newfound expatriation. Let’s hope those people that have been so vocal about leaving put their money where their mouth is and move to New Zealand, ‘cause we all know they’re not going to try and improve the situation if they stick around. And before we get to the mail, I’d like to thank my grandma, Dorothy Van Mulligen, for allowing us to take photos of her at the Long Beach Airport for the cover/feature. Thanks Grandma! Onto the mail: Hey Beef, The title of your column has never been more apropos than this week. That gives me an idea: you should totally run for president. In fact, I think everyone reading this should write in “Beef ” on the ballot and see what happens. Could be awesome? Assuredly so. Sincerely, Joe Bryant Well Joe, I’d like to take this opportunity and use this precious space in the Union Weekly to announce that I will be running for president in ‘08. People say, “Beef, you’re really putting yourself at a disadvantage by announcing this the day before the elections.” And I’ve responded by saying, “Fuck you, I was a little busy putting out a fucking newspaper!” Ask Away! Need advice from a man named Beef? Well send all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org!
November Horoscopes A poetic foretelling by Kathy Miranda
AQUARIUS Jan 20-Feb 18 Familiar souls are forgotten today and your loneliness will not subside. Your lover of four years is gently fucking your roommate...right...now. PISCES Feb 19-March 20 The words attempt to materialize, but your tongue melts like long lost summers and your last orgasm. Refrain from speaking today—your digressions spill out of your mouth like vomit, your stench lingering. ARIES March 21-April 19 A stranger will follow you home. Footsteps will echo amongst the crackling of autumn. Heavy breathing inches closer and closer. “Let go of the past,” the trees whisper, “and walk faster because you’re blocking traffic, idiot.”
TAURUS April 20-May 20 Time sets like the orange above the sea, disappearing into the blue melancholy that is your life. Take those few steps beyond the cliff, and succumb to the blood of your stupidity. GEMINI May 21-June 21 Reflections are not what they seem. The image is fogged, the expression, faceless. “It’s okay to be gay,” your girlfriend assures you. CANCER June 22-July 22 Love blooms into beast when you wake to him droolUNION WEEKLY
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ing swimming pools of spit on your bloodied sheets. You swallowed too much last night. LEO July 23-Aug 22 Embark upon dreams of foreign territories and flirt with the beautiful woman next to you as the plane spirals down, down, down into your anonymous graves. VIRGO Aug 23-Sept 22 Blood is thicker than honey and the bees feel neglected. Kiss your children’s cheeks tonight and bid your mother adieu—the bees got some killin’ to do.
LIBRA Sept 23-Oct 22
The glass half full ain’t what it used to be. And you, you my friend are drowning in a shit ton of irreversible planetary misalignment. Watch your back.
SCORPIO Oct 23-Nov 21
Eccentricity finds a home in your heart. It’s no wonder the crows flock toward you and kittens fall dead at your feet. Stay home this week, no one likes you anymore.
SAGITTARIUS Nov 22-Dec 21
Perfection lies in symmetery and practice. Consult your local witch doctor for your face problem.
CAPRICORN Dec 22-January 19
Um, Jesus would like to have a word with you.
MIKE “BEEF” PALLOTTA Editor-In-Chief VINCENT GIRIMONTE Managing Editor KATHY MIRANDA Managing Editor
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MATT DUPREE firstname.lastname@example.org Senior Editor KATRINA SAWHNEY email@example.com News Director RACHEL RUFRANO firstname.lastname@example.org Opinions Editor VINCENT GIRIMONTE email@example.com Sports Editor CAITLIN CUTT firstname.lastname@example.org Literature Editor & PR JOE BRYANT email@example.com Entertainment Editor SEAN BOULGER firstname.lastname@example.org Music Editor & PR KATHY MIRANDA email@example.com Culture Editor VICTOR CAMBA firstname.lastname@example.org Comics Editor KATIE REINMAN email@example.com Creative Arts Editor MICHAEL VEREMANS firstname.lastname@example.org Creative Writing Editor SOPHISTICATED BEAR email@example.com Grunion Editor CLAY COOPER, STEVEN CAREY Graphic Designers CHRIS LEE firstname.lastname@example.org Photo Editor JOE BRYANT Copy Editing Coordinator, On-Campus Distribution CLAY COOPER email@example.com Internet Caregiver KATRINA SAWHNEY firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Executive ALLAN STEINER email@example.com Advertising Executive ANDREW WILSON, ALAN PASSMAN, JASON OPPLIGER, CHRISTINE HODINH, JESSE BLAKE, JAMES KISLINGBURY, DOMINIC MCDONALD, HILLARY CANTU, RUSSELL CONROY, KEN C., ANDREW LEE, TYLER DINLEY, SERGIO ASCENCIO, MICHAEL MERMELSTEIN, CARLOS GARCIA, RAINA PRATTO, ELIZABETH BICHER, JORDAN CORNTHWAITE, BEEF’S GRANDMA, KATRINA GUEVARA, ANDY KNEIS, JESSICA WILLIAMS Contributors Disclaimer and Publication Information The Union Weekly is published using ad money and partial funding provided by the Associated Students, Inc. All Editorials are the opinions of the writer, and are not necessarily the opinions of the Union Weekly, the ASI, or of CSULB. All students are welcome and encouraged to be a part of the Union Weekly staff. All letters to the editor will be considered for publication. However, CSULB students will have precedence. All outside submissions are due by Thursday, 5 PM to be considered for publishing the following week and become property of the Union Weekly. Please include name, major, class standing, and phone number for all submissions. They are subject to editing and will not be returned. Letters will be edited for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and length. The Union Weekly will publish anonymous letters, articles, editorials and illustrations, but they must have your name and information attached for our records. Letters to the editor should be no longer than 500 words. The Union Weekly assumes no responsibility, nor is it liable, for claims of its advertisers. Grievance procedures are available in the Associated Students business office. Questions? Comments? MAIL : 1212 Bellflower Blvd. Suite 256A, Long Beach, CA 90815 PHONE : 562.985.4867 FAX : 562.985.5684 E-MAIL : firstname.lastname@example.org WEB : www.lbunion.com
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NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW JAMES KISLINGBURY
wards the hope that the able do as much as we did. We met project might actually some amazing people in the promake a difference. cess of this whole thing. Gay, lesIt wasn’t long un- bian, bisexual and straight students til the two needed to alike stepped in to help us stencil go back to Michael’s to shirts and get the message out.” STUDENTS ORGANIZE purchase more t-shirts. In retrospect, Raina says, “This “NO ON PROP 8” They started having a has been a difficult process, not only booth at least two days because of the [campaign], but also T-SHIRT CAMPAIGN a week, sometimes that because it’s hard to cope with the booth was just a blanket fact that we even have to be doing ALLAN STEINER that was laid out on the this, having to fight for our right to grass near the friend- marry [someone you love] is so difship walk, but they were ficult to face.” She also said that the ong Beach has one of the na- there getting their message out. Soon project was more successful then tion’s largest gay and lesbian enough, the Facebook group had hit she would have ever imagined. communities, so when two close to 500 members. Through the At the Yes on Prop 8 rally that students, Raina Pratto and girlfriend group, they asked their members to took place on campus last WednesJordan Cornthwaite, saw a statistic coordinate, and wear their t-shirts day, students held up signs that in the Press Telegram, that estimat- on the same days. Thursday of last read “Prop 8 means less governed that 77% of Long Beach voters week was the shirt making project’s ment” even though the very defiplanned to vote ‘yes’ on Proposition 8, they were surprised. Frustrated and confused, the two came up with the idea to buy plain colored shirts and stencil the words ‘Stop Hate, Vote No on Prop 8” on them. At first, they were only planning on making shirts for themselves, but then they thought, “Why don’t we open this up to anyone who wants to do it?” They decided to make it into a campus-wide effort. To do this, the two started a Facebook group called “United Against Prop 8 CSULB,” And almost overnight, the group had over 100 members. The two went to Michael’s craft store to buy a ridiculous amount of Students in attendence of the “No on Prop 8” Rally” came out to show their support for T-shirts in just about every size and right’s of the gay community. Raina and Jordan’s T-shirt campaign was well representerd. color. They set up their first t-shirt station at a campus event called War is Expensive, Peace is Priceless. The last day, and participants were urged nition of the proposition calls for two set up a yellow tablecloth and to wear their shirts on November adding an amendment to our state put out a couple shirts that they 4th. In the end, the project ‘sold’ constitution. When asked about the had already stenciled. They sold the nearly 200 shirts, not including the statement, all of the students quesshirts for a $5 donation in order to shirts that people brought to have tioned—those that were holding up recover their losses and they offered stenciled for free. In addition, the the signs—expressed something to to stencil shirts for free. If some- project ended up giving over $300 to the affect of not necessarily knowbody brought them their own shirt, the campaign. ing what the statement meant themthey offered to stencil that shirt for When asked about her expe- selves, but expressed a desire for a free. Whatever excess money they rience organizing large groups, sign that said “Yes on Prop 8.” Othmade would be donated to the of- Raina said, “Other than a small er oppositional statements include ficial No on Prop 8 campaign. The bake sale for [a club I was in] dur- the implication of gay marriage befirst event didn’t attract many people ing high school, I’d never organized ing taught in schools, as well as the due partly to limited advertising. It a large-scale project before, so it idea that churches will be sued for did however, offer a chance to learn was daunting and stressful. We fell not performing gay weddings. about running and organizing the into the groove of placing stencils, If you are reading this before campaign. The next event they were making shirts, and [gathering do- you have had a chance to vote, reat was Sex Positive Week, which was nations] pretty quickly, but we also member that a No vote on Proposipublicized far more effectively. The had to deal with the tricky task of tion 8 means that you support givevent, which was put on by the Fem- scheduling people to help make ing homosexual couples the right to inist Organization Reclaiming Con- shirts when we couldn’t be there. marry. It is currently estimated that ciousness and Equality, better know Luckily, some close friends were approximately 10% of voters will acas F.O.R.C.E., and the Women’s Re- able to step up to the challenge and cidentally vote yes when they mean source Center drew much more at- helped us [be successful] from the no. If that’s too hard to think about, tention to the project and was the beginning. If it wasn’t for their sup- just remember, “Stop hate, Vote NO first real indication of the steo to- port, I doubt we would have been on Prop 8.”
THE T.H.C. INTOLERANCE INITIATIVE NOT WELCOME
3 NOVEMBER 2008
Apparently there is/was going to be/already was an election. All hail President Obama/President McCain. I supported you before you were cool/completely insane. Now onto the news that involves 20% people on the pay roll of Big Oil. Somalia, besides being the setting of Black Hawk Down, is something of a screwed up nation. As it stands, Somalia is a failed state embroiled in a 17 year-long civil war with no end in sight. In addition to several states inside the country claiming autonomy, there’s the Islamic Courts Union attempting to bring the nation together under Sharia law, there’s the African Union attempting to find some sort of sanity, and Ethiopia which invaded Somalia in 2006— not to mention countless secular warlords and criminal enterprises that have no interest in a working government. To say the least, the situation is a complex one and as it stands, Somalia remains in a condition of violent anarchy. What this instability leads to is pirates. Not the Chinese variety of pirates, with their towers of bootlegged DVDs, I’m talking about fullblown swashbucklers. Due to this lack of legal opportunities, many Somalis have taken to the high seas to find their fortune. Over the past three years, pirate activity has tripled (the figures seem to range from between 100 and 150 attacks a year), and at a ransom price of $2 million or so per ship, it’s not hard to figure out why piracy might be considered a good idea. Plus: You get to put “Pirate” on your future résumés. The most extreme example of pirates at work is the recent seizing of the MV Faina. The Ukrainian ship was loaded with 33 Soviet-era tanks bound for Kenya (though some seem to think that the tanks were actually bound for the southern Sudanese government). So far only one crewmember has died and that was apparently due to a medical condition. Early on gunfire erupted on the vessel, leading outsiders to believe that a fight had begun between the pirates, but as it turns out that was just their way of celebrating. Because I guess fireworks are too dangerous. While there doesn’t seem to be any news regarding the MV Faina in the past couple of weeks, the private military company (ie: mercenaries) Blackwater USA has offered to help guard boats sailing through the Horn of Africa against the Somalia’s brand of “coast guards.” It just goes to show that despite this “economic crisis” we’re going through, there’s always a buck to be made.
A TAKE ON THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT INITIATIVE
PIRATES OF THE SOMALIABBEANN
There’s a hole in my heart shaped like Lou Piniella’s dome. I know baseball is coming back, but that’s what they said about my old dog Chuck. Chuck didn’t come back, and until baseball does, I will lament. The Phillies ended their manufactured curse of 100 in a heroic, albeit staggered World Seires victory last week. Philadelphia professional sports (Phillies, Eagles, Flyers, and 76ers) had amassed twenty-five seasons of no hardware, close-but-no-cheese-steak frustration—hence the century mark tag put next to Philly’s woeful quarter-century of sports. I’m no longer jaded with baseball’s insatiable fascination with the “story;” theoretically the reason why the fan should give a damn, and usually the angle the purists couldn’t give two shits about. The truth remains that baseball needs the Disneyfication factor. When the sport can’t play day-games on the weekend because of midseason, often meaningless football games, it needs all the help it can storyboard. So I’ll keep vomiting every time Joe Buck shouts, “The curse is broken! They’ve done it, they’ve done it! The curse is broken!” For the good of the game, the Leaguer will vomit. For the good of the game. But I digress. I actually enjoyed this series despite its brevity. The precocious Rays had me believing, so much that I mowed the lawn last weekend after ten years of not mowing the lawn. I’ve been inspired. My mom wonders why I didn’t come out more like Cole Hamels—talented, well spoken, handsome, shaved—and predicts consecutive twenty-win seasons from him in the near future. She also posits that the DH blows. To Campus: Texas Tech over top ranked Texas. Another Big 12 on Big 12 blockbuster. Ho hum. TBL is crazy and is thus justified in saying Texas, and the entire Big 12 for that matter, is either overrated or laughably untested. Or both. More on that next week.
LBSU Women’s Soccer will host the Big West Conference Tournament after capturing another crown. The tournament begins this Thursday at George Allen Field and will run throughout the weekend.The Bush Leaguer will be there, as will the fine journalists from LBPOSTSPORTS.COM and the buffoonery that comes with them. Join the fun.
NOTES ON THE ASSOCIATION
MERM GIVES US EXACTLY TWO CENTS WITH HIS NBA PREVIEW MICHAEL MERMELSTEIN
Pacific Division – Los Angeles Lakers Now admittedly I am a bit biased, but with no major losses and a healthy Andrew Bynum, the Lakers are looking like the smart pick. I am not even going to talk about juryinay but that is pretty much the only thing stopping the Lakers from going to the NBA Finals once again. Northwest Division – Portland Trail Blazers Utah is still an incredibly good team and has just as much youth to them as the Blazers. But if Oden gets healthy and Jerryd Bayless can become a team leader for this squad, they can make good on their upside this season. Southwest Division – New Orleans Hornets The Hornets play in the toughest division in the league and any one of the teams from Texas can easily contend for a title this year. I’m pretty confident that the young Hornets will continue to improve and face the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. Plus the Texas three are all getting older in almost every position and I expect at least one of them to begin their plummet to the league’s basement. Rebuilding seasons, anyone? Atlantic Division – Boston Celtics Last Season, this division looked like a complete joke and depending on how the D’Antoni in New York thing works out it could stay that way. However, the addition of Elton Brand makes the 76ers a legitimate threat to the Celtics’ repeat. The poetic justice of Lakers ven-
geance in the Finals and the fact that the Celtics big three are still intact gives me no reason to second-guess a Celtics repeat in the Atlantic. Central Division – Detroit Pistons Obviously the Cavaliers are still good and might have found a suitable point guard to help Lebron out, but the Pistons still clearly have the edge, and should not lose control over the Central. It’s belonged to them for this entire decade. Southeast Division – Orlando Magic Part of me really wants to pick the Hawks in an upset, but they are not properly positioned this year to unseat Dwight Howard, one of the leagues most dominant players, and his rising team. Now a big man alone does not a team make, but Howard has a great supporting cast with the likes of Hedo Turkoglu and Jameer Nelson The Magic have a great shot at keeping their spot atop the South East Division. Most Improved – Miami Heat As much as I would love to say the Clippers, they are never a safe bet. At 15-67 it seems the Heat can only Improve, and with the prospect of a healthy and inspired Dwayne Wade and help from Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers, it is likely that the Heat can at least make it to .500 (a 35 win improvement). Biggest Disappointment – Houston Rockets Everyone is clamoring on and on about how much Ron Artest will add to this team, and I believe that he will help somewhat. However the more pressing point is that an aging and constantly injured duo of Yao Ming and Tracey McGrady don’t have the best track record of playing when the pressure is on and this year, with the great optimism surrounding the Rockets, the pressure will most definitely be on. MVP – Kobe Bryant or Paul Pierce Really I think it could go either way with Chris Paul being the Darkhorse once more. These two are competitors and define their franchises going into the 08-09 season. Kobe of course got the nod last year and had a productive off-season in Bejing, but Pierce was anointed into the upper echelon of Celtics lore with last seasons finals MVP and a ring. Rookie of the Year – Michael Beasley A) I already picked Miami to be most improved, and they can’t really do that without Beasley, B) Greg Oden already got a little banged up and he is still untested, and C) Derrick Rose isn’t going to turn Chicago around by himself. I think Beasley will get numbers somewhere in the region of 15 and 10 and help Dwayne Wade right the ship in Miami. Finals – Lakers over Celtics Typical. But seriously, I don’t want to see it any other way. The drama will be overflowing in this series, and David Stern will be a very happy man. Beyond that, the GM Survey and many other polls of sports writers and fans have come to a similar conclusion. Both of these teams are loaded with talent and have the pedigree to reach The Finals for another historic series.
3 NOVEMBER 2008
THE BUSH LEAGUER
Why I (a Democrat) am leaving.
I Photos CHRIS LEE
Neil Daniels (staunchy, above) is disgusted with America for electing “McLame,” and since he’s so disenfranchised with the country, he’s moving to Vancouver.
write this letter optimistic, not for a better America, but that somebody will discover it from the mound of nuclear rubble that will inevitably constitute San Francisco now that John McCain is our new president. I’ve high-tailed it to Canada, absconded with my last bag of Humboldt County’s finest marijuana, and most importantly, with my dignity intact. Also my Macbook. McCain will ban everything he doesn’t understand, meaning no more Unix-based operating systems, Rick-Rolling, hookah bars, Pitchfork, and neo-bohemian, European lifestyles. I’ll bet my WoW character on it. It’s not that I hate John McCain…for being old. I just hate everything he stands for, really. I also hate John McCain, the person. Barack Obama was our hope, my hope. No, fuck it. He was my Christ. He was my everything. I found politics to be a lost cause prior to that fateful day in 2004, when a black man (a fucking black man!) gave the most articulate speech I had ever seen, on TV, and it wasn’t James Earl Jones or Mos Def. The torture without him is ten times whatever hand-job John McCain received over in the jungle. And since when does crashing planes make you a goddamn war hero? I know nothing of war, but I’m fairly certain that’s the opposite of good. What a fucking farce. Vancouver is beautiful, everything I could have asked for while I wait in exile for true American Democracy. There are plenty of white, young professionals, but also enough minorities to make me feel cultured when I leave the house. A true metropolis. And, perhaps, Vancouver’s saving grace: Segway lanes. Nobody walks here. Walking is too akin to marching, and marching reminds me of military intervention, which in turn reminds me of the time the Marine Corps man beat my mother.
I’m gone, but not permanently. There’s always Coachella, and the Homebrew Convention. I’ll be following US developments from everywhere—I have an iPhone. The new 3G. And I’ll be remarkably more informed than most of you chumps who stayed in the States, as the “gotcha” media is now the “imprisoned” media, or “muzzled” media, or the “dead” media if you’re not Fox News. I can only speculate. Ann Coulter is our new Attorney General, you say? Great, a bible quiz on our citizenship exams. English only, of course. Since McCain is resolute on staying in Iraq ‘til the end of time, I’d be surprised if your job wasn’t being outsourced to Baghdad as we speak, assuming they get the phones working anytime soon. America’s fathers will finally have a chance to wait outside with a shotgun when the draft officer comes a knockin’. Congrats, America. Has Palin taken “science and stuff ” out of our curriculum yet? I know it’s only been a matter of days since she’s been elected, but the hockey dads in Wasilla tell me she works fast, but thoroughly. Our math and science rating remain dismal compared to our global competitors; I shudder to think where we’ll be now that textbooks will have Jesus riding a triceratops and squashing Jews. I see a parade of pregnant teenagers, six-months plump with nowhere to turn, walking down a back alley for a discreet abortion. The lack of sex education will create a population of sexual ignoramuses; college will now yield an alarming rate of pregnancies and AIDS will spread to the Northern Hemisphere. So much for universal health care. So much for foreign stability. So much for tax cuts for the middleclass. The great sculpture of hope is crumbling like McCain’s brittle bones. My country, where art thou? No more prisons, just a vast corral where firsttime offenders roam and are sniped from a helicopter. I hope you all can run.
TALKIN’ PROPS: The Union asks some people on the street what they think of the props Prop 1A
Stephen Works Unemployed Train Conductor
What can I say? I need this. You want me to beg? You want to hear me beg? I’ve been drinking rubbing alcohol for the past nine months since Amtrak laid me UNION WEEKLY
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off because of budget cuts. I managed to keep my apartment for three months after I got fired, but now I mostly sleep in train stations. If I wear my old uniform around Union Station, no one says anything about me crying, sleeping under the stairs while whimpering pitifully. So that’s one good thing about my life: I got to keep the uniform. But look at me; I’m ready for work again! I’ve been waiting for this proposition to save me, so come on, man, vote YES on 1A. I think my liver is dead.
Kelly Hucklebean Fearful School Marm The liberal media will tell you that this is about chickens, but its so much more than that. Make no mistake: these chickens were locked up for a reason. Many of them are
violent offenders who have made no effort to rehabilitate or apologize. If we give them room to flap their wings or move, we’ve basically given our blessing to their fowl deeds. There’s no telling the kind of slippery slope that could ensue. Suddenly, the courts would be paroling these prisoners, and they’d be released to the streets. And with these chickens gone, we’ll be forced to use Mexicans for our egg-laying and sunrise-announcing jobs. Vote NO on prop 2, and keep dangerous chickens behind bars.
AMERICA, Why I (a Republican) am leaving. Nancy Loller (below) decided it was “high time [she] picked herself up by her boot straps” and leave the U.S. now that Barack Obama has been elected President.
Prop 8 Joost Schmidt Utah Citizen, temporarily residing at the Huntington Beach Hilton Oh, I’m definitely going to vote YES on Prop 8, but not because I want to protect marriage. I want to protect my emotionally disturbing closet re-
e had a chance, America. We had a chance to have a God-fearing, decent, patriotic, no-nonsense leader for this great nation. But Gosh darnit, America, we dropped the ball. Instead, we now have a brand new Arab, communist, terrorist, president—Barack Hussein Obama, who will completely let this country decay to its core. Mr. Obama, if you were not aware, is a Muslim and he hates Jesus. So, since this was one nation under GOD, it shouldn’t take a genius to make the final step in this equation: Mr. Obama hates America. But why would a person who hates our fine nation work so hard to become its president? Because Mr. Obama knows that for real “change,” you need to start from the top, and now he has the keys to the kingdom. You all thought September 11th was bad, well there’s a boatload where that came from! Speaking of boatloads, now that Mr. Obama is in office, you can say goodbye to the borders that protect this beacon of democracy we call home. Now, illegals of every color will be washing up on our shores, clogging our emergency rooms, dealing drugs at our schools, stealing our welfare, and snaking jobs faster than you can say, “Dos nachos, por favor.” This plays right into the hands of Sheikh Mohammed Obama, who will use this as an excuse to suck the lifeblood (money) out of every American like those mosquitoes that gave everyone SARS. Also, this tax money is not going to the defense budget. While this country lives under the constant threat of men like Bin Laden and the Ayatollah, the money that isn’t handed out to crack addicts and welfare fairies will go to finance the brain-washing of our children! Yes, the liberal education system, which is the biggest threat to basic family values and the presence of God in this country, headed by Mr. Osama—I mean Obama—wants your children. In cahoots with extreme environmentalists, who care more about
lationship with my meth-addicted man-mate. Meeting him in seedy hotels and airport bathrooms is my bread and butter—it’s the only thing that saves me from my marriage to a horrific porpoise of a wife (talk about gays marrying animals!). Can you imagine a world where Rep. Foley or Sen. Craig just divorced their wives and moved in with their anonymous sex partners? It would hurt the children! I don’t want to tell people not to be open about their homosexuality, but you all should know how fun it is in the closet.
farm animals than your children, and the Gay Mafia, this un-American Axis of Evil plans to use your tax dollars to convince your children they came from monkeys, that anal sex is natural, and that all of us will eventually drown in iceberg water. Okay, now let me pause here because I want to address a question that you may have: “Last I checked, didn’t Muslims hate the gays? If so, why does Obama, a known pseudo-Muslim, love gay marriage so darn much?” Obviously Muslims hate gays, therefore it stands to reason that Obama hates gays! It’s simple math! But to really succeed in tearing this country apart, Mr. Obama has to start with the American Family. Once gays have the ability to get married, they’ll be forcing pastors and priests to marry men to men and women to women, and they’ll change all of our Bibles to say that is just as moral as the union between a man and a woman. Obama needs the gays—for now. He wants to do away with family. He wants to do away with tradition. He wants to do away with God. Barack Hussein Obama is clearly the Antichrist, and YOU voted him into power. In spite of this unfortunate news, I have mixed feelings. First, all of my grandkids are home-schooled, so they’re safe from the secular world. But more importantly, if Mr. Obama is the Antichrist, I can sit back invigorated with the knowledge that the good Lord Jesus Christ is coming soon. I do realize, though, that if you do not have the eyes that only the rebirth through Jesus Christ can give you, a lot of this letter won’t make sense now. But in a few years, when you hear the sound of trumpets, and millions of people disappear into thin air, hear me now: I have 100 NIV Bibles and 100 copies of Left Behind in my basement, along with some canned food and 40 gallons of purified water for you (it’s always better to give than to receive!). For now, my husband and I, along with our whole family, are going to New Zealand. We hear that they are in desperate need of the Gospel. Maybe they’ll listen. Love, Nancy
Bruce “Brucey” Pfuckmann Scout Leader, Troop 369 The day that Prop 8 gets shot down I’m dropping my resume off at the desk of every elementary school principal in the county (they have a special fund set aside to hire gay-sex educators). I can’t wait to teach gay marriage, y’all! When Mayor Newsom legalized gay marriage
I chomped at the bit and went back to school for my teaching credential. I hope to be able to start teaching the youth early how to coordinate instead of match, how to wait to have gay sex until gay marriage, and how to tell Bears and Twinks apart. You know, basic gay stuff so that when they hit the scene they’re a little bit wiser in the thighs, so to speak. I want to counteract the heterosexual mainstream because I am an agent of change for Satan. My real goal with voting NO on Prop 8 is to turn everyone in the world gay and reverse evolution until the apocalypse comes. UNION WEEKLY
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STRAIGHT TALK PAYS OFF
THE UNION WEEKLY GOES ALL GOOGLY-EYED FOR BEN FOLDS CAITLIN CUTT
hat do Rufus Wainwright, Weezer, Tori Amos, Nick Hornby, and William Shatner all have in common? Other than each being some of my favorite people, the real answer is Ben Folds. He’s performed with all of these guys. Ben Folds’ diverse career took off with the band Ben Folds Five, who released their hit record Forever and Ever Amen, in 1997. Aside from tons of live performances with a litany of interesting musicians, Folds has also enjoyed a successful solo career which produced albums like Rockin’ the Suburbs, Ben Folds Live, and Songs for Silverman. Not to mention in 2004 he produced a spoken-word album for William Shatner called Has Been, which is simultaneously cool and bizarre. I actually got a chance to talk to Folds about his new album, Way to Normal, which features a track with Regina Spektor, and another collaboration he has in the works—an album written by Nick Hornby, who also wrote the book High Fidelity.
Union Weekly: How are you? Ben Folds: I’m good. I’m in Dallas. No! Houston. I can tell by looking at the hotel stationary. UW: You’re going to be possibly doing something with Nick Hornby, is that true? BF: Yeah, he’s written a lot of lyrics now. So, I’m writing some music to his lyrics, and we’re gonna make an album. Well, we’re gonna record an album’s worth of material and if we don’t like it, we won’t put it out. But we’re definitely going to record. UW: You have collaborated with a ton of people, are there any more people you are looking to collaborate with? BF: These things just come along by chance, usually. The thing with Nick, I just sought him out to do this because I was trying to complete lyrics for [the] Way to Normal record. I just felt like I wanted another point of view. So I asked Nick to lend some of his words. But his words weren’t matching the music that I was working on. It just wasn’t fitting together. So then I just said, “Why don’t you just write a whole stack and I’ll match music to those.” UW: You just did a reunion show with Ben Folds Five, why did you guys decide to do the Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner instead of Forever and Ever Amen? BF: Well that was what they asked for. I think it’s an interesting story. If you see the concert, it will make more sense. That may not have been the most popular album we did but MySpace was looking for bands to do records that have a story inherently in them that play from front to back. Another part of the story to this was that the record wasn’t that popular when the it came out, and it had so much money and promotion put into it. And yet it was pretty much deemed a disappointment at the time. So, seeing the whole thing grow like it did, seeing the story behind all of that—I think the [MySpace] producer was correct. UW: Speaking of stories, on your website, it says that your new album, Way to Normal, was a way of finding yourself. Is that how you see this album? BF: I don’t. I think that’s bullshit.
UW: [laughs] Okay! Well what is it? BF: I think when you make a record there are two things at once: One is that I step in some uncharted territory, even if it’s trouble—who you’re working with, your method—because you can’t just have a formula. I don’t think it’s wise to have a formula, to keep doing the same thing. UW: That’s no good. BF: I guess it works for some people. But when you do something different you take a risk of fucking up. People do an experimental album, sometimes these are viewed as a great record in the long run, like Reinhold Messner was. But when you do it, you risk alienating everyone. The other thing that you do, is that you come back to something that is comfortable at the same time—kinda like Way to Normal—everyone says, “Wow, you’re finding yourself again!” So I may have agreed with that to some extent when we did the biography. I have this up-tempo gene in my music, this album was that for sure. But, it’s just a record, you know? It’s just some light, up-tempo songs—some that may stick around for a while, and some of them will fall by the road side. Time will tell. I’m lucky. I think, when I think about my records, every one of them has something to contribute to an ultimate best-of record. UW: I was watching a documentary a few years ago about you, and they interviewed your mom, and she said you used to come home and play the piano until your fingers were bruised. Why do you play so hard? BF: I like that dynamic. If you’re 15 years old and everyone’s gathered around a piano, it’s not the same thing as being in a garage when everyone’s got amps. You can’t really hear the piano. So I would play in a way that I could keep up with everyone else. I think Mama’s talking about that. But I play quiet stuff too. You don’t get much credit for that, though. UW: Well, don’t worry, I think you’re doing just fine. You’re pretty good, I guess. BF: I’m good at what I do, but I’m not good at what other people do, if that makes sense. UW: In Rockin’ the Suburbs, you did all the instrumentation. How many instruments do you play? BF: Well, anything you can hit I guess. When I was growing up I tried learning the cello and the clarinet for a brief period, but mostly it just ended up being keyboard, guitar, bass and drums. If you can play the drums you’re on your way to making your own album.
ROCKIN’ THE TRAIL A HISTORY OF CAMPAIGN SONGS RACHEL RUFRANO
Some argue that Kennedy won the election against Nixon because he looked more attractive and trustworthy on the televised debates—it’s true, Americans make decisions based on gut feelings. I would argue, however, that Obama will win this election based on his campaign song selections. It’s not about platforms. It’s not about religious or ethnic background. It’s not about the political image. It’s about the music. But you can make your own educated gut feeling. Barack Obama: “Move on Up” by Curtis Mayfield “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” by Jackie Wilson “City of Blinding Lights” by U2 “Think” by Aretha Franklin UNION WEEKLY
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Let us first note the use of black soul music. I can’t imagine McCain shuffling through his iPod in his campaign bus and landing on any of these classic songs. I don’t trust a person who can’t enjoy soul music and, clearly, Obama enjoys it enough to know what’s good. “Move On Up,” is a brilliant choice—the younger voters will recognize it from Kanye West’s rewrite “Touch the Sky.” Aretha Franklin is always a good choice, and who doesn’t love to yell “Freedom!” at a campaign rally. Oh, and I give him extra points for using a U2 song. He’ll win over all the “hip” middle-aged Republicans (and me). Yes, U2 can finally be cool again! And the choice by Jackie Wilson is brilliant only because it may be the greatest song. Ever. John McCain: “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry “Take a Chance on Me” by ABBA
“I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers “Let’s Get It Started” by Black Eyed Peas Now, don’t get me wrong—“Johnny B. Goode” is a great song, but let’s not forget that Johnny B. Goode was a “country boy” who “never ever learned to read or write so well.” It’s the same case for ABBA—nothing is more fun than Swedish pop music and I can’t hear this song without doing the back-up vocals (“takeachance-takeachance-takeachance”), but could McCain have picked a cheesier line? “Come on, America! Take a chance on me!” Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ “I Wont Back Down” is a solid choice. Solid. But he’s up against Jackie, Curtis, and Aretha. It may not be enough. And I’m not sure if a comment is necessary for Black Eyed Peas. This song is actually called, “Let’s Get Retarded.” I can’t go for that, McCain. I can’t go for that.
ENTERTAINMENT ALL THE MEN’S THE COOLEST
JOE BRYANT JAMES KISLINGBURY VINCENT GIRIMONTE
THE WEST WING
PRES. JOSIAH BARTLET (MARTIN SHEEN)
VINCENT GIRIMONTE WHY HE’S COOL: I have a Hollywood dad. He’s Tom Hanks from Road to Perdition. Strong and silent. My Hollywood mother would probably be Andie McDowell or Mary Steenburgen or, in the spirit of Election Day, both. For posterity’s sake, I have selected my Hollywood president, and that man is Josiah Edward “Jed” Bartlet from Aaron Sorkin’s series, The West Wing. Aside from being a genius with words and shrewd with every single decision he has ever made, including daily minutia and family-oriented disputes, he is perhaps the greatest judge of character in Hollywood-Presidential history, according to Hollywood-Presidential historians. Bartlet surrounded himself with an intellectual staff, capable of making quick decisions while walking and talking. IF ELECTED PREZ IN 2008: For his first order of business, Bartlet would probably challenge the Religious Right to a Bible-off and expose them for exactly what they are: inferior. Bartlet could recite the Bible in pig-Latin, but he’s never smug about it. His keen sense of humility is something I’ve yet to see in a leader. PRESIDENTIAL WORDS: “You really gotta ask yourself, ‘whats the point in being a superpower anymore?’”
AIR FORCE ONE
PRES. JAMES MARSHALL (HARRISON FORD)
JAMES KISLINGBURY WHY HE’S COOL: America has a long and proud tradition of badass presidents. For example, George Washington was considered to be invincible in battle and Teddy Roosevelt charged up San Juan Hill on foot. In this case, President James Marshall was a Vietnam veteran who single-handedly retook Air Force One from America’s oldest enemies: No-good, filthy commies. A president kicking ass is as American as apple pie, eagles, baseball and blowjobs. When I watch this movie I almost feel sorry for all of the foreigners that will never understand the majesty of this top-notch action flick. IF ELECTED PREZ IN 2008: Marshall’s firm stance on never negotiating with terrorists will make him a strong contender in the War on Terror, and it’s possible he would personally lead the hunt for Osama Bin Laden and finally bring that diabetes-ridden douche-nozzle to justice. The only downer is he’d probably keep the Iraq War going just so he could let himself be kidnapped by insurgents and kill his way out. You might be against the war in principle, but no one can argue with the fact that this man gets results. Plus, he’s got a no-nonsense lady VP and everyone loves progress, right? PRESIDENTIAL WORDS: “Get off my plane!”
MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON SEN. JEFFERSON SMITH (JAMES STEWART)
JOE BRYANT WHY HE’S COOL: Senator Jefferson Smith is the most honest, decent politician to ever grace film. He has an abiding love for America and its ideals, and he’ll do anything to uphold what’s right—even if it makes him look bad. In the film, Smith filibusters an unjust bill for 23 hours while being slandered by corrupt Senators. That’s the kind of dedication that we could use in DC. Jeff Smith is what we can never have, and because of that I love and resent him. IF ELECTED PREZ IN 2008: If Mr. Smith went to Washington in 2008 he’d usher in an era of unprecedented good will. Sure it would take some doing, but the guy would strike against corruption at home, just like every single candidate running this year has promised to, only we could guarantee that he wouldn’t just be blowing hot air. One bummer: the President can’t filibuster for any hours, let alone 23, so he’ll have to rely on his natural bumbling charm to get Congress to do the right thing. PRESIDENTIAL WORDS: “I wouldn’t give you two cents for all your fancy rules if, behind them, they didn’t have a little bit of plain, ordinary, everyday kindness and a little looking out for the other fella, too.”
From left to right: Josiah Bartlet, James Marshall & unsuspecting commie, and Jefferson Smith. We at the Union would like to extend our fake endorsements to all three of these men, mostly because their first names all begin with the letter “J,” but also because they epitomize steady (compassionate) intellectualism, badassery and determination. Respectively.
3 NOVEMBER 2008
LITERATURE BETTER UNDER YOUR NOSE THAN ON IT
THE GOOD IN LITERATURE BEING INDISTINCT
Illustration JAMES KISLINGBURY
hen you walk into a bookstore, there is a clear distinction between where the literature and where the fiction is. It is generally acknowledged that the literature section is where all the “good stuff ” is and the fiction section is where everything else is: the Danielle Steele, the Dean Koontz, etc. But who’s to say what is a good work of fiction, worthy of being called literature, and what is a bad work of fiction? Many literary groups may claim that Ulysses is the greatest work of literature ever written, but how can we make the distinction of what is good and bad based on what most people can agree on? Literally translated from Latin, the word “literature” actually means “acquaintance with letters,” but it’s clear that, by today’s standards, the word means much more. The art of writing literary works has existed since the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh in 2700 B.C., and we’ve had quite some time to decide what literature is. Apparently, Charles Dickens is worthy of our definition, but romance, crime, and science fiction are not. The question, “What does literature mean to the individual?” begins to depreciate—it’s not up to the individual because it’s for the masses to decide. However, I argue that, although the masses are surely on to something, the definition of literature is still purely subjective. In the book What Good Are the Arts?, British literary critic John Carey argues what he thinks draws the line between literature and fiction: the idea that all good writing is “indistinct.” While it’s true that literature is capable of criticizing and moralizing, it’s generally looked down upon and readers tend to praise the idea of “show not tell.” It makes sense that readers enjoy the narratives—they allow us to escape. A novel on the art of art and We’re less likely books about books of art books. to take something from a story that tells us how to feel than we would if we believed we took meaning from the story all on our own— or at least if the writing is good enough to make us believe that. This is why having the talent of writing something “indistinct” is necessary to be a good writer. How many times have we read something and discussed it with our friends only to feel that we’ve read a completely different story. How could they have seen that character that way? How could they have missed that important part? LiteraUNION WEEKLY 3 NOVEMBER 2008
ture begins to connote a sense of self-hood and individuality. Our imaginations are given free reign through the power of indistinct writing. But how can a work of literature be indistinct? Every detail is written out for you and you’d think there wouldn’t be any room to fill in the blanks, but there is. Carey brings up an interesting point. He says that “it may be that English alone, being uninflected, and without gendered nouns, [that allowed] for the pliancy for a writer like Shakespeare to develop his figurative mode in.” It has to do with the use of metaphor and simile, which can connect things contrary to reason and allows the imagination to start working and fit things together that rational thought would naturally keep apart. Here’s an example comparing an excerpt of Shakespeare’s and Marlowe’s description of a Jew named Barabas: “Bags of fiery opals, sapphires, amethysts, / Jacinth, hard topaz, grass-green emeralds, / Beauteous rubies, sparkling diamonds…” You can see from this example that Marlowe’s writing is not very indistinct. Your imagination can be lazy with this one because a bag of jewels is something that is very easy to imagine. Really, the only thing remotely indistinct here is “grass-green emeralds,” but even so, your imagination can very quickly connect the two and there you have it: grass-green emeralds. If we take a look at Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida, we will see that the imagination becomes much more active, especially this scene where two lovers must leave each other: “We two, that with so many thousand sighs / Did buy each other, must poorly sell ourselves / with the rude brevity and discharge of one. / Injurious time now, with a robber’s haste, / Crams his rich thievery up, he knows not how, / As many farewell as be stars in heaven, / With a distinct breath and consigned kisses to them. / He fumbles up into a loose adieu, / And scants us with a single famished kiss, / Distasted with the salt of broken tears.” I guess a bad writer might have said, “we don’t have
time to say goodbye,” but Shakespeare uses the power of indistinctness to elaborate on what the two characters are really experiences so that you, in turn, can experience it. Shakespeare personifies time as someone who has stolen all their future embraces, but there are clearly only two characters. This thief hasn’t run off with a sack of any sort, for he has crammed his loot into a “loose adieu.” Our imaginations are definitely at work here. We’re forced to imagine this thief running off with intangible moments in a loose adieu and somehow, we get exactly what Shakespeare is talking about. We are also forced to imagine a “loose adieu.” The reader must ponder how an adieu can be loose. Were their words inarticulate? Does he say loose because they are parting in two? These are all ideas streaming through the reader’s mind and it is for this reason that when we discuss something with someone, like a story or an excerpt, we may feel like we have read two different stories. We can decide to read this Troilus excerpt on the surface or we may decide to dissect every metaphor, but these are all decisions that are up to the reader. When you walk into the local bookstore and you see literature segregated from fiction, I would argue that the literature section writers better utilize the tool of indistinct writing. Because if it isn’t indistinct, what is it? A painting is distinct. A photograph is distinct. A symphony is distinct. Although other works of art are open to interpretation, they do not have the same power of manipulating language that literature does. In a sense there is an “indistinct section” in our bookstore and a “distinct section.” When we walk down the aisles of indistinct we can pick up a novel that will become a part of our mind and always remember. It makes reading just as much a creative process as writing. The reader can leave with a sense of self-significance and authorship. These writings enlarge our mind and monotony can vacate and replace itself with creative thinking—an all too absent part of our lives.
JORDAN CORNTHWAITE UNION WEEKLY
3 NOVEMBER 2008
COMICS Koo Koo and Luke by Jesse Blake
Humanation by Travis Ott-Conn
MEDIUM Youâ€™re STUCK Here by Victor! Perfecto
Drunken Penguin Presents... by James Kislingbury
Know. Vember. Send feedback to: email@example.com Or leave comments at the Union office Student Union Office 239
Political Pun Comics by Union Rep.
3 NOVEMBER 2008
CULTURE a sneaker collector’s paradise by kathy miranda
elbow deep by steven carey Sex is fun. Sex is pleasurable. Sex is a rollercoaster ride. Sex is better than a seven-egg omelette with avocado salsa. And if you’re lucky, or have any tact, you had some over the holiday weekend. Congratulations. You got the escape, a release from the everyday hodge-podge that makes up our lives— the standard cup of boring morning coffee, eating lukewarm leftovers in front of the tube. And almost as satisfying is the moment after, the sex hangover, the cool draft drawing the heat of sex off your bodies, the slow, steady breathing of mutual well-being. Some would say this is us at our most animal, some kind of instinctual ritual we’re drawn to like salmon swimming upstream to spawn. But sex has never been just about procreation. It’s a long-standing myth that few animals have sex for pleasure; usually people point to dolphins and a few select groups of apes. However, it turns out animals have sex, jerk off, and generally get funky during the day because there’s just nothing else to do. Being an animal is boring. There’s no TV. There’s no YouTube. And obviously if you’ve ever let a dog mount your leg you know that there’s something going on that isn’t about making baby puppies here. No. This isn’t instinct. This is us rubbing our purple lipstick on anything that moves. This is us grabbing at the nearest person in hopes of falling into bed like spoons fresh from the washer, beads of sweat dripping down us, steam rising as we slip into each other’s corresponding shapes. Something strange happens there when two people agree to have sex. It’s like a contract. And that agreement is, I think, something that draws us more than any inherent draw or greater Darwinian dick that pulls like a water-stick to the wetness of crawling into bodies. Having sex is promising not to laugh at nakedness. Having sex is like being able to fart. Having sex is a concession to reveal your most vulnerable self to someone, a stripping down, both literal and metaphorical. We carry our identities around with us all day. We keep our IDs with our pretty little names and our small photos neatly organized in our pockets. We walk ourselves around like children. But in the bedroom we don’t have these protections. We’re vulnerable there— naked—curling and twisting like unborn babies in the married puddles of our collective plasma. We’re swimming in the afterbirth of absolute reduction. Sex is a psychological act. And that moment after, the feeling of being accepted is really essential to the pleasure of it. It’s what makes us comfortable being naked around each other. It makes it okay to be raw, to experiment with the boundaries of what we think is right or wrong. There is no right or wrong in the bed. There is only that acceptance, that pleasure.
Check out www.apropersite.com for more Proper steez, including collector’s edition sneakers, caps and shirts.
or all of the crowded, stuffy sneaker shops in LA, not to mention that snobby sneakerhead attitude that is just so potent at Flightclub and Supreme, walking into Proper in downtown Long Beach was comforting. The hidden shop on 1st street is best described as a secret safe haven for sneakerheads and urban fashion lovers alike. With two stores clustered together among a small block of urban apparel stores, Proper offers a wide collection of special edition sneakers, printed tees and caps. A candy store for any fashionable hip-hop head, skater, baller, or any of the like, Proper works hard to please. As you walk into the store, prepare to be greeted by an entire wall full of fruity colored goodness. With a friendly and knowledgeable (no posers here) staff and
a calming shop layout, your search for your limited release Mooneyes Vans or your Nike Blazers, Nike Dunks, Jordans, Air Maxes—take your pick—will be nothing short of a breeze. And the collection extends beyond much more than sneakers. With fresh brands in stock like Alife, Stussy, 10 Deep, Crooks & Castles, Adidas, and a selection of their own Proper steez, this store has all of your wardrobe neccesities covered. Indulge your sneaker fetish and enjoy the lingering smell of fresh rubber at Proper, your finest Long Beach sneaker shop. Proper Footwear is located at 425 East 1st Street in LB. Find their Apparel store at 431 East 1st. Street
The Only Good Ganguro is a Dead Ganguro JAMES KISLINGBURY
There’s a lot of pretty great stuff about Japan— ramen, Akira Kurosawa, ninja, robots and the elderly, but there’s also an ugly underside to the Land of the Rising Sun. No, I’m not talking about cheap anime, tentacle porn, the Rape of Nanking or one of the highest suicide rates in the industrialized world, I’m talking about some of the less obvious things that haunt the neon streets of old Yamato. Specifically, I’m talking about this horrible thing the kids have deemed the “ganguro.” The origin of the word ganguro apparently comes from the Japanese word for “blackface,” so it’s good to know that racist stereotyping isn’t isolated to our half of the globe. The fashion consists of what I assume are color-blind female youths tanning their skin into Oompa-Loompa hues and bleaching their hair into
nuclear whites. It is one of the uglier things I’ve seen people inflict on themselves and I’ve seen the BME Pain Olympics. Apparently this fashion was sort of developed as a direct challenge to traditional Japanese beauty, where women are supposed to be small, quiet and pale (scientifically, it appears that ganguro style is as far away from the geisha as possible without segueing into another species). Luckily this questionable chic that started in the ’90s has been tapering off in popularity ever since the dawn of the new millennium. My guess is that one of these girls ended up looking in the mirror. You could probably make an argument about me being some racist, misogynist imperialist, but come on—look at these broads. Tell me with a straight face that there’s anything about that picture that could be considered a good idea. Unless, of course, you’re desperate for a Halloween costume. UNION WEEKLY
3 NOVEMBER 2008
“Anyone else getting tired of Jesus being a Lord and Savior?”
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Volume 63 Issue 10
Monday, November 3rd, 2008
Grand Grunion High Council of Elders Council on the 2008 Presidential Election of the Important North Americas
Left to right: Gaelic Foreskyne, Fights When Drunk, The Frothy Sea, Skip Encarnacion, Sophisticated Bear, and Sexual Randy discuss whose turn it is to pay for pizza.
TRANSCRIBED BY SEXUAL RANDY UNDISCLOSED LOCATION, CO – Due to the free reign the Grunion Elders are given over this publication, they are contractually obligated to assemble every four years and initiate discourse on the current political landscape of the Important North Americas (both coasts and the pot smoking portions of Canada). Unfortunately, the Grunion Elders were unable to meet at their secure bunker last year, due to current EIC Sophisticated Bear’s debilitating injuries he sustained during his attempt to ghost ride the whip, so the discussion was postponed until this year, forcing the Grunion Elders to tackle the 2008 Presidential Election. Sophisticated Bear moderated via Grunion American Indian translator, Fights When Drunk. Sophisticated Bear: RAWR ARARRGH? Fights When Drunk: Great Bear Elder says, “How was the parking?” The Frothy Sea: It was alright. Some cumfart
snaked me out of the only cripple space. Skip Encarnacion: You aren’t disabled and not everyone that uses those spaces are “cripples” or “Clubfooted Americans,” as you call them, some are for the blind or intensely obese. TFS: Hey, I’m a journalist! SB: GRARR RAWR-RAWR NARWRR GARR!? FWD: Great Elder Bear wants to know who you will cast your shells for, in order to decide who will be the Mighty Father of America. Sexual Randy: Wait. Come again? SE: He’s talking about the presidential election, obviously. I’m writing in for Che Al-Karbombi. He’s a very gifted poet that reads at this great sociali— [Gaelic Foreskyne stumbles through the twenty-ton steel blast door that leads to the Grand Grunion Council] Gaelic Foreskyne: Did the strippers leave? TFS: There aren’t any strippers. We just knew you’d come if we said there were.
GF: This isn’t another one of ye’ fookin’ interventions, is it? SR: For the last time, we don’t give a shit about your debilitating alcoholism. Or you in general. Really. SE: The two-year long campaign cycle has clearly rendered you deluded. I only follow the elections for three weeks because any longer is supporting a consumerist, capitalist, anti-Semitic, imperialist policy towards starving children. Starving children. TFS: I’m voting for McCain. I don’t agree with his economic or social agendas, but he seems the most likely to kill the ethnicities I have no preference for. That’s the kind of decisive leadership this country deserves. GF: Voting is for coonts! The only ting that’ll change this nation is violent, bloody revolution! Like what we did back in Ireland! SB: RAAAHGH BAARRRAAA NARAGH!? FWD: Great Elder bear wonders, “What exactly were you doing back in Ireland?” GF: I was too busy takin’ night classes at Erin Go Technical School. Not that I di’nt want ta fight those limey basterds! SE: Whoa, racial! SR: Can we rap this up pretty soon? I’ve gotta go pick up one of my 17 kids, Julio, down by the school yard. I wanna leave before gridlock sets in, he lives 1,500 miles away. SB: GRAW NRAWW RRRAGH! FWD: Great Elder Bear says, “No one is keeping you here, Randy. You can leave when you like, but heed this: Quetzocotl will frown upon you if you choose to exit the sanctity of this table.” SR: He said all that? FWD: More or less. GF: Ya seem awful snooty fer a fookin’ bear. TFS: Watch it. He may be sophisticated, but I’ve personally seen him eviscerate and rape a narwhal with his bear hands. GF: Don’t those tings live in the ocean? TFS: You’ve never seen a bear angry until you’ve seen one swim in the Arctic Circle.
INSIDE Local Middle Schooler Heard John Saramarco Pees Out of His Belly Button Joyce Carol Oates Middle School was bustling with “the totally true” rumor that “[7th grader] John Saramarco pees out of his belly button.” The news comes during tumultuous times; last week it was revealed that Cassie Bolten’s breasts developed over summer. PAGE P4
Bipolar Athletes Excited, Livid by Inclusion in Special Olympics
The Bipolar Society of America issued a press release stating that they were both “super psyched” and “bummed out” about their inclusion in the 2010 Special Olympics. They also wondered if you wanted to party and if you’d miss them when they were gone. PAGE MRF
Archaeology Student Discovers Area Racist Keeps Friends Close, Led Zeppelin PAGE H8 PAGE 7211 Enemies Closer