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A Reason to Watch the Sexist, Racist, Militarist, Corporate Rose Parade

  • Beneath the facade of festive glamour is an institution rife with sexism, racism, militarism and corporatism.
  • Perhaps the best use for the Rose Parade is subversion. 

Sonali Kolhatkar, Truthdig

500AP111229035147.jpgOccupy activists test a float made with a copy of the Constitution this 2011 photo. The same year, Occupy protesters crashed the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Dec 31, 2014 | I hate parades. I have always hated the bright exuberance, the cheering, and the flag waving. Every New Year’s Day, millions of people around the U.S. and the world tune in or gather in person to watch the Tournament of Roses Parade, also known as the Rose Parade. I live in Pasadena, home of the Rose Parade, and every year I watch thousands of families camped out on the streets of the city to secure a coveted spot from which to view the spectacle up close. Meanwhile, the moneyed classes pay for premium seating on bleachers set up for the occasion. But beneath the facade of festive glamour is an institution rife with sexism, racism, militarism and corporatism.

The Rose Parade has its origins in exclusivity and elitism. In 1890, when Pasadena was a magnet for wealthy East Coast Americans looking for temperate climates to vacation in during the winters, the Valley Hunt Club organized the first parade to show off the city. The hunting and fishing club, which continues to be featured in the parade for historical reasons, has had a problematic history of not admitting people of color.

Sonali Kolhatkar is the host and producer of KPFK Pacifica’s popular morning drive time program Uprising, based in Los Angeles, California. She is also the Co-Director of the Afghan Women’s Mission, a US-based non-profit solidarity organization that funds the social, political, and humanitarian projects of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA).

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Has Our Sports Culture Gone Overboard?

Sports, like most entertainment, can be an escape from the complexity of our world. Perhaps we need to look more closely at those difficult realties and put ourselves in the penalty box.

Shmuly Yanklowitz, Huffington Post

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Sports.jpg12/22/2014 | I have been a competitive athlete and sports fan all my life; however, upon reflection in emerging adulthood, my consumption and participation began to rapidly evolve.

For humans to flourish, we must grow intellectually, spiritually and emotionally. Through a myriad of educational and cultural opportunities, the avenues for self-growth and societal contribution seem endless. Why then does a sports entertainment culture that seems mindless dominate so much of the average American's time and commitment?

Shmuly Yanklowitz: Educator, Activist and Writer

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Related:

Chris Hayes, pro athletes, and “being a man” Elizabeth Stoker, Salon

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“No civilization would tolerate what America has done”

  • (We) have … been programmed into cruelty and apathy by (our) schools, churches, families, politics, and pop culture(.)
  • Institutional racism. Rampant income inequality. A broken justice system. America may never be a great society.
  • Torture Is Who We Are

David Masciotra, AlterNet / Salon

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102512-1.jpg (Image: Lance Page / Truthout; Adapted: Sean McMenemy, Paula Bailey

Monday, Dec 29, 2014 | It seems police can get away with anything: choking men who have surrendered; shooting unarmed teens; knocking pregnant women to the ground. While the issues involving race, civil rights and the relationship between law enforcement and communities are essential for examination and correction, few are talking about how all of this fits into the larger pattern of America’s cultural decline and decay. America has become a society addicted to violence and indifferent to the suffering of people without power. Whenever there is a combination of a culture of violence and an ethic of heartlessness, fatal abuse of authority will escalate, and the legal system will fail to address it.

Critics are right to condemn the criminal justice system for its embedded inequities and injustices, but they are hesitant to condemn the actual jurors giving killer cops get-out-of-jail-free cards. These jurors are representational of America: ignorant and cold. They hear testimony from eyewitnesses claiming Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown while he had his hands in the air, and set Wilson free without trial. They listen to reports of three officers choking Robert Saylor, an unarmed man with Down syndrome who wanted to see a movie without a ticket, and they send the police back to work. They watch video footage of police choking Eric Garner in New York, and of two police officers brutally beating Keyarika Diggles, a woman in Texas, and they decline to make them pay for it.

David Masciotra is the author of Mellencamp: American Troubadour (forthcoming, University Press of Kentucky). He writes regularly for the Daily Beast and Splice Today.

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Related:

Torture Is Who We Are, Peter Beinart, Atlantic 

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A country, like a person, is what it does.

The enduring wisdom of 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'


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Everybody hurts. That's the point.

Paul John Scott, Minneapolis (MN) StarTribune

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December 19, 2014 | ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas' has reached its 50th season. The animated holiday classic based on the popular “Peanuts” comic strip first aired on Dec. 9, 1965.

It was sponsored by Coca-Cola, and pre-empted a 7:30 p.m. Thursday showing of “The Munsters,” and the preview had disappointed the suits at CBS who had ordered it. The late Charles M. Schulz, the son of a St. Paul barber and creator of the beloved characters, had pushed for novel elements that his collaborators — the television producer Lee Mendelson and the former Disney animator Bill Melendez — didn’t quite understand.

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Paul John Scott is a writer living in Rochester, MN.

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Torture Is Who We Are

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A country, like a person, is what it does.

Peter Beinart, Atlantic

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Torture/lead.jpg?ngfozbWitness Against Torture protesters march in front of the White House. (Elvert Barnes/Flickr)

Dec 11 2014 | Torture, declared President Obama this week, in response to the newly released Senate report on CIA interrogation, is “contrary to who we are.” Maine Senator Angus King added that, “This is not America. This is not who we are.” According to Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth, “We are better than this.”

No, actually, we’re not. There’s something bizarre about responding to a 600-page document detailing systematic U.S. government torture by declaring that the real America—the one with good values—does not torture. It’s exoneration masquerading as outrage. Imagine someone beating you up and then, when confronted with the evidence, declaring that “I’m not really like that” or “that crimes%20are%20crimes%20mugshot%20button.jpgwasn’t the real me.” Your response is likely to be some variant of: “It sure as hell seemed like you when your fist was slamming into my nose.” A country, like a person, is what it does.

Peter Beinart is a contributing editor at the Atlantic and National Journal, an associate professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York, and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation.

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Related:

Revelations in Senate torture report demand prosecutions, The Center for Constitutional Rights  (CCR) 

  • Take%20Action%20Today%20button.jpgTake Action. Join CCR and demand that the Department of Justice act now
  • Please take action, share these materials widely, and help us build a groundswell of support for prosecuting those who torture and those who protect torturers!
  • 10 appalling findings in the Senate’s torture report

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