The New Underclass

by Fitzroy on December 1, 2012

Tattoos have always been, and still are, reserved for the underclass.

Yes, tattoos are common now, and the underclass is growing accordingly. Looking at cause and effect, I think the underclass used to seek out tattoos. Now tattoos are your one-way, non-refundable ticket to underclass status. But the two always go hand in hand.

Is that racist? Maybe you didn’t spot the references to ethnicity in the prior paragraph, but lots of people are sure they’re there.

Take sports writer David Whitley, who suggested that Colin Kaepernick signaled a change in NFL culture:

For dinosaurs like me, NFL quarterbacks were our little Dutch boys. The original hero stuck his finger in the dyke to save Holland. Pro QBs were the last line of defense against the raging sea of ink. When our kids said they wanted a tattoo, we could always point to the Manning brothers.

Read the comments to his post.  The response is mostly incoherence and name-calling.  The charge of racism is so gratuitous and widespread now, no evidence is required. It’s simply shorthand for “shut up.” A code word, if you will.

To his credit, Whitley’s editor responded that it was not racism at all. Then he went all squishy saying it’s just generational. Then he went over the edge: “[I]t was about a new generation doing things in a fresh and different manner.”

 fresh \’fresh\ adj : having its original qualities unimpaired

That term seems rather misplaced; Kaepernick’s original qualities didn’t include tattoos. But “fresh” in the urban dictionary means something else:

Fresh is derived as in the sense of seeing something brand new and is attracting people like cars in commercials. but is used to refer to anything highly approved by someone.

For example, the urban dictionary has a fresh grammatical style.

The tattoo craze may be generational, but only because the tattooed generation is our new addition to the underclass.  We can argue the cause and effect of that another time.

Whitley is right about the cultural message of tattoos.  And although I would like to disagree with his statement that “NFL quarterback is the ultimate position of influence and responsibility,” he may be sadly right about that as well.  That’s not a slam of quarterbacks.  But a culture that has quarterback as its ultimate paradigm is going to spawn a generation with some dysfunctions.  An honorable role model?  Sure.  The ultimate position of influence and responsibility?  No thanks.

Still, a line has been crossed with Kaepernick.  Quarterbacks have as much right to join the underclass as anyone else.  His parents are shocked that anyone would criticize that decision.  The public tells tattoo critics to shut up.  The days of Tom Landry are over.  Underclass is the new normal.


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Brain Death by PowerPoint

by Fitzroy on July 8, 2011

What’s wrong with PowerPoint?

  • Focus on screen instead of presenter
  • Dark room induces sleep
  • Bullet points instead of prose
  • Pretty much everything

What to do about it:

  • Find a presenter capable of engaging an audience
  • Cut the cord
  • Outlaw it

Consider this:

Let’s not forget the power of the complete sentence and the humble predicate verb – the “motor” of a good sentence. However much firepower “bullet points” seem to contain, they are often just lists of phrases. They’re inert, like munitions stored in an arsenal. They haven’t been bolted together into actual complete sentences.

This argument is effective because:

  • It is vivid
  • It uses military imagery
  • It is made using complete sentences

H/T: Paco


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The Pope and Politics

July 2, 2011

George Weigel notes the inadequately observed 20th anniversary of Centesimus Annus, Pope John Paul II’s most important encyclical, which has some important things to say about our political life and the concepts of social and economic justice.  Weigel concludes: The encyclical’s analysis of the collapse of communism is also relevant to contemporary debates. Denying God, […]

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June 30, 2011

I’m all for using the latest tools to spread the word.  But I’m glad that God, in his infinite wisdom, first gave us 2000 years to digest the message in a lower tech, more poetic form.  Imagine St. Paul with an iPad: & now these 3 remain: faith hope ‘n luv but gr8est is luv

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A Study in Contrasts

May 5, 2011

Irony from John Miller at the Corner: Obama administration policy: Revoke the ban on photos of coffins of America’s dead soldiers. Withhold photos of the dead Osama bin Laden. Evidence that we are moving beyond moral equivalence.

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Lack of Respect on Campus

April 21, 2011

University of Iowa Professor Ellen Lewin is offended that a student referred to her as “Ellen” rather than “Professor Lewin.” “She referred to me as Ellen, not Professor Lewin, which is the correct way for a student to address a faculty member, or indeed, for anyone to refer to an adult with whom they are […]

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Melville’s Shiloh

April 6, 2011

The battle of Shiloh took place on this date in 1862, which is a good occasion to recall Herman Melville’s Requiem: Skimming lightly, wheeling still, The swallows fly low Over the field in clouded days, The forest-field of Shiloh– Over the field where April rain Solaced the parched one stretched in pain Through the pause […]

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What Ales Thomas Jefferson

February 4, 2011

America was settled in large part by Puritans. In rural Texas, I live with the consequences of that: a dry town. The predominantly Baptist citizenry of this town also live with the consequences, the primary one being the absence of acceptable dining options. While the Baptists profess to be alcohol free, and no doubt some […]

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About Those Calls for Civility

February 4, 2011

The sanctimonious left apparently has no qualms about labeling Sarah Palin’s views as hate speech while offering up her beheading as suitable fare for children.  The difference when such violence comes from the left is that . . . well, we know it’s just in good fun.  Everyone is supposed to recognize that liberals are […]

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Proudly Wearing My Stupidity

January 20, 2011

Somebody call the death panel: I’m too stupid to live. That should be self-evident from my opposition to ObamaCare, that ingenious and benevolent legislation that is set to give everybody affordable health care at cheaper rates.  My skepticism that it will pan out as planned is surely irrational because, you see, the legislation was crafted […]

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