Mark Twain’s full of shit regarding travel

Now that’s a shocking, click-baity, title for an article. How can anybody find something… problematic from the father of American Literature? Well, it all starts with this picture that a former grad school acquaintance of mine posted on Facebook:

twaintravel

When taken at face value, I guess that’s true. Travel DOES open you to new people, ideas, and venues of charity. However, based on my experience I’m hard pressed to be enthusiastic over this quote, even if I’ve traveled my fair share in life. This article does an interesting job trying to dismantle the quote by way of positing that if it is the case, then the rich would be the least bigoted people on Earth and the poor would be the most. Of course in an age of budget air travel (especially in Europe) and hostel culture, the point kinda drops like a lead balloon. Yet the author hits on something when he talks of how despite all the culture those rich acquire from going to places like Lisbon or Barcelona, won’t extend to kindness of whoever is in ‘flyover country’.

That’s exactly what I think happened to my cohorts in my graduate school programme.

Like me, these people took the risk of traveling to an unknown country to learn new things, meet new people, and acquire new experiences. However, as time winded down and people were preparing for their return stateside, I had a conversation with one of my classmates. We opined about the rather magical (for youth at times is very magical) year behind us, and lamented we would have to leave where we were. Then, I stated that it would be a pity really, because after all this time learning to be more open towards other people different from us, they would resume the prejudices they already had of America once they hit the tarmac.

They would resume what I would call their: “Petty Little Bigotries”.

That’s the tragedy of it all. You travel the world, you do all these things, you meet these new people, get these new ideas, and then you go back and resume business as usual holding contempt for a good portion of your home country.  It’s even worse since we all majored in CONFLICT RESOLUTION, and what better way to apply what was taught to how you interact with people back home. But nope, let’s go to DC and take jobs there, advocate and enact policies we know is good for the masses even if we dare not to go out into the world of commoners. The only time we would deign to interact with them is if we have to drive through them on our road trips.

If I didn’t know any better, that kind of travel doesn’t destroy bigotry, it inverts it. The other is no longer the foreigner on a distant shore, but the neighbor at home. What I would assume to be feelings of alienation and melancholy of domestic life (I know the feeling), is ameliorated by the excitement only travel can bring, leading people to wonder why home cannot be like somewhere else. It doesn’t only happen with well-to-do 20-something college students studying abroad, but also people like these guys:

Tashfeen-Malik-and-Syed-Farook-998x749

Remember them? That’s Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, who murdered fourteen people last December. That’s a picture of them moving through customs at Chicago O’Hare after traveling to Saudi Arabia in 2014. Clearly such travel to Saudi Arabia, a country which won’t even let Christians, Jews, or any non-Muslim enter into it, must’ve slaughtered their bigotry. Yet it didn’t, it just inverted and allowed them enough gumption to plan what they planned and killed who they killed. Then there are those who participated in slaughtering Parisians last November too.  A good number of them did some traveling too, and their bigotry? Clearly still there, and again inverted to inflict harm on their neighbours. Spare me the alienation bullcrap, because I don’t remember any Honky who studied abroad invert their bigotry enough to shoot at their fellow Americans.

I COULD say that’s an extreme version of what I saw in my cohorts, but I think their version brings forth much more sinister undertones. You know those European countries that no doubt contributed to the destruction of their bigotry? Well… they are currently being overrun by individuals who indulge in magical pastimes like Taharrush and murder.  In turn, it’s compelling local governments to tell their citizens to dress appropriately, fine those who defend themselves, set up safe zones at festivities, and national governments to censor news online. Those individuals I speak of? Well, they’re pretty goddamn silent about all of those things, and invert their bigotry once again. Now the migrants are the others they shouldn’t be prejudiced to, but the locals in those countries. Yes, those very locals that have paid into those systems and societies are now the ones they must be bigoted towards. Any grievances on social media will be looked at, any protests will be dispersed, and towns no matter how small must deal with the influx of migrants. Do they honestly think that these developments will allow them the same exhilarating experience their first time? What of future progeny? They may not have that luxury; in fact it may even be worse. It may not do anything to destroy their bigotry.

And in the meanwhile, the Frontier everybody from the political establishment and the media neglected and never took seriously? It’s pushing back. It’ll be an unfortunate battle between ne’er do wells who have vegetated in one corner of the Earth all their lifetime.

When it comes to travel, Mark Twain? You’re wrong and full of shit.

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Michael Bay DESTROYS Conservative Ideals in 147 Minutes – Four Reasons why 13 Hours should be the Left’s Favourite Movie of 2016.

Michael Bay! You hate him! You hate him so goddamn much! If he isn’t cramming those hunky chunky excuses people call Transformers movies down throats, he’s doing very silly side projects. First there was 2013’s Pain and Gain, and now we have 2016’s 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.

Benghazi! You hate it! You hate it so goddamn much! It happened a long time ago and it’s used by conservatives as a cudgel to pointlessly bash Obama and most especially Hillary Clinton. So much so that people are ACTIVELY SABOTAGING the potential of having our first woman president; instead, people are opting for (ESPECIALLY on the Democrats’s part) another septuagenarian white guy. When you combine both Benghazi and Michael Bay, it should be nothing but three hours worth of dumb Pro-American Hoorah agitprop for the popcorn swilling masses that does nothing to elevate the conversation we’re all having…

…BUT WAIT! Here’s the thing! 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi should be the Left’s Favourite Movie of 2016. Sure it may not look the part, but if you read deeper into the themes of the movie aside from the usual white noise of “They should have intervened!” you hear from the Right, it pretty much puts the screws to everything they stand for, and debunks all their ridiculous claims. To put it simply: Watch Michael Bay DESTROY Conservative thoughts with this 144 minute movie! Here are four reasons why if you lean Left it should be your favourite movie this year.

  1. Debunks the ‘Good guys with guns’ argument

People like to use this one segment of Jordan Klepper on countering Wayne LaPierre’s argument about stopping a bad guy with a gun involves a good guy with a gun. That may be all good, but Bay kicks him to the curb and drops some 9MM into Klepper’s dick with 13 Hours. Here a bunch of white men had all these machine guns, pistols, tactical sights, nightvision goggles, and grenade launchers. None of it helped in them winning against all those bad guys because it didn’t stop them. The more they shot the more they made them mad (which was deserved, but we’ll get to that later). Most notably, some gutless ‘bodyguard’ hands the late Ambassador Chris Stevens a gun for him to use, but he always looks so awkward with it because he knows it’s wrong. Then when their attackers enter the compound and the bodyguard, Stevens, and Sean Smith lock themselves up in a bathroom, the guns they had couldn’t fight back when the attackers used gasoline to set the place on fire and smoke them out. Bullets can’t stop smoke, especially bullets in guns held by retards who thought they could do anything.

So yeah, the pencil-dicked white men (and with all those guns they are pretty pencil-dicked) couldn’t at all save Stevens and Smith, and by extension, Woods and Doherty. They had the guns but their little lead ejaculations couldn’t stop getting deservedly gangraped. ‘Good’ guys with guns lost the day there, just like they did in the Alamo.

  1. Challenges Toxic Masculinity

In a possible allusion to the toxic #GamerGate culture that would take the internet by storm in 2014, all of Bay’s heroes are goony manbearded men. They make dick jokes, fuck around, and play Call of Duty. There’s a lot of FPS playing in this movie, and even the nongun-wielding Sean Smith succumbed to such delusions (he ought to have been playing something like Suikoden II instead). However, when the shit goes down, the frat boy, ooh-raahing, sociopathy of these wanna be real life CoD players could not help them. Yeah I mean, sure lives are saved but the most important part is their masculinity takes a big fucking blow to the dick. When it becomes time to legitimately reflect on their lives it shows that finally the veneer of manhood is cracking. It only took the aversion of the sound US Government to in show how poisonous ‘manning up’ is by way of leaving them to fight their attackers alone.

It’s just a goddamn shame Michael Bay didn’t go all the way and had the surviving soldiers and CIA operatives realize that the former’s world truly is a terrible place. I hoped it would show an arc at the end where they got involved with anti-war politics (a contract soldier variation of Breaking the Silence). However, the only satisfaction you will be getting is that they retired from the service and went home to their families. Even then, that’s cold comfort. Why? Because there are women stupid enough to let these goony manbeards cum inside them cuz they attacked Arabs. Even worse, they had KIDS with these guys, the most selfish thing for anybody to do.

Even so, that last scene where Jim from The Office blubbers and cries to his wife that he’s coming home for good and that his friend died is cathartic. Masculinity kills, and the male tears that floweth from him must be drank with vim and vigour.

  1. Identity Politics Done Right.

The cancerous idea of a ‘colourblind’ society that conservatives and some fifth-column leftists bandy about is challenged with full force by the white Michael Bay. Instead we are shown a very colourBRAVE movie through how all the Libyans force the lie that is America’s concept of diversity. Again, while it SEEMS fine, the fact that Benghazi still happened and they failed is a testament of the impotence of America. This is because the deep, racial, gender, and sexual identities of everyone are suborned to concepts like ‘patriotism’ or the old capitalist adage of ‘just doing their job’. The only way Benghazi could’ve been avoided is if they embraced their identities and used them to forward what they feel is of more importance.

How offensive do you think it is to the black community, seeing two black men in this movie, being so inclined to defend the annex and mourn the loss of white people, in the shadow of Trayvon Martin? That happened only in February of 2012, and the time that could’ve been given for those men to confront the fleetingness of black bodies would’ve improved their lot exponentially in the conflict. The Libyan translator in this movie does not fare well either as his identity is also silenced by the noise. Not only is he cowed into joining the white men on the trip to the consulate, but he is goaded into the NRA fantasies of one… Sancho I think was his name. This is odd as that character is more a Don Quixote, fighting windmills instead of actual evil. Anyway, before they go out Sancho forces upon the guy a gun. This 2nd Amendment fetish bullshit not only puts him into harm’s way, but mesmerizes him enough to undergo Stockholm Syndrome. By the last half of the movie, instead of going home or staying out of it, like the black guys he decides to STAY with his true oppressors.

And don’t even get me started on the women, who are treated as diplomatic cattle deprived of their abilities to do good because of all those men who herd them around if the slightest thing goes wrong.

Disgusting how their true identities have been deposed for some fleeting espirit de corps. At least by the end, the Libyan doesn’t go back with the Americans and the black men, alongside the women, go home first instead of those… ‘soldiers’. At least they go back with a stronger cohesive unit, their own group, than the false diversity that got them to lose in the first place.

Colourbravery thine name is Ansar Al-Sharia.

  1. America Loses.

Above everything else, the Left should love 13 Hours because for all of Bay’s peccadilloes over loving America, he still saw fit to keep it real and end it with her having a big bloody nose. Sure, Americans survived the attack and could go home, and a lot of Libyans were killed, but this is a teachable moment. America was humbled another time for its reckless foreign policy that nobody could ever control thanks to Bush, and we deeply paid the price for it. Sometimes you need a few bodies to drop before that foundation of anti-war sets in, and we see that Stars and Stripes as nothing truly extraordinary. The satisfying shots of not just the attackers (nay… HEROES of the story) shooting it down from its flagpole, and it soaked in the pool of the consulate brings home that impacting point. Like the Confederate Battle Flag, or in Libya’s case Gaddaffi’s field of green, a symbol of hate is put down with much force.

As mentioned above, the indifference and inability for armed forces to operate may be considered cold by the usual rabble, but I’d like to think of it as the new US teaching everybody a lesson. What happened in Benghazi isn’t who we are anymore. It isn’t what our new objectives are. It’s just a shame those people on the ground murdering Libyans and who ‘survived’ in the compound didn’t understand that, and let those ‘good guys with guns’ run the show. But they lost, miserably, and that fluttering shot of a picture of one guy with his kid and their bodies on the tarmac waiting for a Libyan transport plane to take them home is a testament of the price they paid for their toxic stupidity that put a lot of people through Hell.

Sure, this movie will be taken in the other way (the WRONG way), and it will gross money in the box office. Even so, good guys with guns losing? Masculinity trampled? Identity politics empowered? And a humbled America?

I say that’s a win, and why it doesn’t need that 53% or so rating on Rotten Tomatoes.