a jim jividen blog

Here's the thing. I'm watching one of these shows on the Cooking Channel featuring food trucks. There's a Scottish expat making fish and chips; in a thick brogue he somewhat wearily explains his irritation with Americans who habitually order a side of tartar sauce: "tartar sauce is basically gherkins." That's this blog. I claim no particular insight, no revelation. If you enjoy the flavor, great, but this blog is basically gherkins.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Weekly Tendown March 18-24 2012(Happy Mad Men Day)

Dear Internet:

Geraldo Rivera  said it was the hooded sweatshirt that got Trayvon Martin killed.  In Florida, apparently, wearing a hooded sweatshirt is asking for it.


Hopefully, I'll avoid George Zimmerman this week.  As apparently, this picture is a reasonable threat to his life.

119 is here. This is Tendown 120.

1. Reason Rally
The largest political gathering of atheists in US history was yesterday in Washington.

You can see some clips here.

As a political act, it's important for members of marginalized groups to come out of the closet.  If every American had known that FDR was disabled, what impact does that have in fast forwarding a full inclusion of the disabled into positions of leadership?  If every gay athlete and action movie star were to come out tomorrow how much good would that do in emboldening bullied gay kids across the country?

The equation of religion to morality, specifically conservative Protestantism to morality is so ubiquitous that someone like Tim Tebow is spoken about by sports media in the most glowing personal terms you can imagine.  In sports character analysis "he reads the Bible" is shorthand for "he's a good person"; locker room worship and on field displays of religiosity start at the earliest of ages and don't seem to run up against any real opposition but were a quarterback to say "God is just a fairy tale" with the level of fervor that Tebow is allowed, he'd never make it past Pop Warner.

Here's a question from the University of Minnesota study from 2011:


I would disapprove if my child wanted to marry a member of this group....
Atheist: 47.6%
Conservative Christians: 6.9%
I would suggest its self evident as to which of those two groups does the most damage in the United States; the politics of conservative Christianity drive anti-science legislation on climate change, drive anti-women legislation on abortion and contraception, and provide a vehicle for opposition to social programs from health care reform to the minimum wage.  There is, let me suggest, no force more destructive to the collective good of Americans than conservative Christianity.

Atheists don't have the individual power to change that, but to the extent they can model elements of character like honesty and intelligence as atheists in the public sphere, to the extent that people perceived as "good" people "come out" as atheists, it permits a greater number of Americans to associate atheism with those good qualities and perhaps - perhaps to increase the degree to which they challenge the assumed morality of conservative Christians.


2. A Less Confrontational Picture
Zooey Deschanel and Kareem Abdul Jabbar.  Best celebrity couple ever.

3. The Problem is I Don't Know How to Work
There are a group wrestlers to whom I formed an attachment during the previous decade from watching them on the independent circuit for several years.  Through the miracle of tape trading, I saw Bryan Danielson's first match, a blond CM Punk wrestle at an ice rink, Homicide working in someone's basement in New Jersey.

They've built an equity with me; I watched them nearly kill themselves in front of a hundred people when they didn't have health insurance; when a guy like Punk breaks through I root for him in the way one might cheer particularly hard for a baseball player who he saw slowly work his way through the system.  If anything, I root harder for the wrestler, as the number of available jobs are so preciously small and you trust that baseball, for example, is a meritocracy in a way that wrestling is not.  When Brandon Belt (perhaps not the best example) kills AAA, you know he's headed for the Show.  But Vince McMahon doesn't care about Low Ki's match ratings.  To make it in big time American pro graps, you have to catch a series of breaks.

There are 4 major matches on this year's Wrestlemania, Punk and Danielson are in two of them (and Jericho, from a previous generation of young lions, is wrestling Punk) and I'm eager for it.

I'm in play for a tenure track position at a university; I've referenced this opportunity for the past month and a half, and I am as close to it as a person could be.  Since I moved away from law and began teaching almost 15 years ago, this kind of position has been the eventual goal.  I've spent those years on my version of the independent circuit, I've probably taught 75 different courses altogether, at the high school and for profit college levels; I've taught online, I've done seminars, I've had classes with one student and fifty; I've taught at 7 in the morning and 10 at night, I've taught for 12 straight hours with barely a break or an ability to sit down; I've taught in schools without clocks, taught with the lights out, taught without air conditioning, taught outside, taught at schools where the computers had to be locked to keep them from being stolen. I've taught chefs and mechanics and hairdressers and 12 year olds and 70 year olds and students without high school diplomas, without the ability to speak English, and who were taken away by the police during class. 

I've been teaching since my late 20s; I'm 41, for the last few years I've taught 7 days a week for virtually an entire 365 day calendar.  I'm not bad.  I'm not Bryan Danielson but you wouldn't fast forward through too many of my matches either.  I'm like the Claudio Castagnoli of for profit instructors.

I am at the very last breath of this hiring process.  This close to going to my version of WWE.

In the meantime, I still have bills to pay, so I interviewed at a school in a strip mall next to a Wings Plus this week.  Perhaps I'll team teach a course with Colt Cabana.

4. This is Probably Gonna Stick
 


5. My Movie Recommendation
I saw Moneyball finally; it's my new favorite film from last year, although not as good as Social Network from 2010.  The movie I'd suggest you consider (although it isn't as tough on the guys who made the original audio recordings as it could be, and doesn't flesh out its characters as much as you'd like) is a documentary Shut Up Little Man that would be worth your 90 minutes.

6. Booooooooooo.
 


The second greatest Golden St. Warrior of all time had his jersey retired this week.

The greatest Golden St Warrior of all time chewed out the fans during the ceremony for booing the team's owner.

I'm in favor of all of this.  Mullen should have his jersey retired, the fans displeasure is disproportionate to the current offense (trading Monte Ellis for Andrew Bogut) but long overdue given 35 years of sports crimes perpetrated against the GSW fanbase.  And Rick Barry's a pain in the ass.  He was a young pain in the ass, now he's an old pain in the ass - I want him standing at center court saying "you kids today with your Beatle haircuts, get off of my lawn."  It was perfect.

I'm okay with Alex Smith coming back to San Francisco; I would have been okay with his leaving.  He's just another guy; and if his interception rate ticks back up this year he'll face competition from Josh Johnson.

Denver won the Manning derby; that doesn't mean they go to the Super Bowl, they rode an easy schedule to a hot streak last season; if both the Niners and Broncos go 9-7 next year that wouldn't surprise.  I'd rather be the Colts than either of them (not next year, but prospectively).

And I assume Tebow winds up with that Jets job at some point.  I don't know that he works as a backup.

None of that analysis was as good as Pat Robertson's.

"And you just ask yourself, okay, so Peyton Manning was a tremendous MVP quarterback, but he’s been injured. If that injury comes back, Denver will find itself without a quarterback. And in my opinion, it would serve them right.”


Christian conservative - Pat Robertson.  Good marriage material, apparently.

7. And If You Don't Like it...Get Out
Rick Santorum, Presidential Candidate, made an appearance in Louisiana last week.

He was introduced by a minister, who said America is a Christian nation, we worship Jesus, and if you don't like it, "get out."

Candidate Santorum clapped and clapped and clapped.  It's here.

Were a candidate for President to have appeared at the Reason Rally, and were a speaker to have said, "We are not a Christian nation - we are a nation under the principles of the Enlightenment, depending upon human reason and not magic to uncover truth.... and if you don't like it - Get Out!" and that candidate were to have clapped and clapped and clapped at that sentiment - what would have been the reaction?

8. Stand Your Ground = The Bush Doctrine of Self Defense Law
Here's a walk though of the Trayvon Martin case.

9. Looking for a Job...
Be prepared to turn over your Facebook password.

10. Happy Mad Men Day
 


Consider this piece as pregame.

That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time....if there is a next time.....

Your pal,

Jim

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