Posted on June 16th, 2015
A disclaimer before we get down to it... I'm a big fan of Michael Jackson's music.
I have all his albums. His musical talent continues to amaze me even today. When The Way You Make Me Feel comes on my iTunes, I come very, very close to dancing. And I don't dance. He was The King of Pop and I think he earned that title a half-dozen times over.
And now about that Rachel Dolezal thing.
For anybody who's been living under a rock lately, Rachel Dolezal is a white woman who has been pretending to be Black in Spokane, Washington, three hours away from where I live. This alone wouldn't be anything out of the ordinary... a whole generation of white youth has been pretending to be Black ever since Rap & Hip-Hop took over the music industry. What makes Rachel Dolezal so unique is that she actually lied about being Black. Something she did so effectively that she became the NAACP Chapter President of Spokane.
To me, this is a clear case of appropriation, and all efforts to equate it to being transgender (as I keep seeing over and over) is categorically absurd.
I could write about this crazy-ass mess for days, but entirely too many people have already done that. One of my favorites being Larry Wilmore, who devoted an entire show to the topic...
No, the reason I am bringing this up at all is because I got sucked into a comment thread yesterday where somebody was claiming that Michael Jackson "dyeing his skin white" was no different than Rachel Dolezal lying about being Black.
When I attempted to explain that Michael Jackson never lied about being white, and the reason his skin appeared white is because he had a pigmentation-destroying disease called vitiligo which he concealed using makeup, I was told to "shut the fuck up" because I "don't know anything about it"... at which point the conversation went down a spiral of how Michael Jackson should have been using Black makeup instead of white makeup so he wouldn't be lying about his race.
Which is when I dropped out of the conversation.
Because, in fact, I actually know a hell of a lot about vitiligo.
The reason being that I have vitiligo, and didn't feel like battling it out with an asshole who clearly doesn't give a shit about the truth.
And, yes, I understand your disbelief. Mainly because if you've ever heard of the disease, you're picturing this...
Photo by James Heilman, taken from Wikimedia Commons
Which isn't me.
Vitiligo for me is a very different story because of two reasons...
Which is to say, if you were to meet me in person, it is extremely doubtful you would realize I have vitiligo even if you were staring right at it.
But I really do have it, and over the past three years it's started appearing on my hands too. It isn't terribly prominent yet but, if it follows the same progression as other parts of my body, eventually it will be more visible. But for now? It appears as white splotches on my fingers above the knuckle...
If I had a black light, you'd be able to really see it. But since I don't, all I can do is up the contrast on the above photo...
As I said, you probably wouldn't notice it if you were to see me in person (unless you were seeing me naked for some reason)... but there it is.
And, let me tell you, even if it doesn't show up on your skin very easily, you are still going to research the shit out of vitiligo when the splotches of white start appearing on you. So don't tell me I don't know anything about vitiligo when I assure you I've learned absolutely everything I can know about it.
Needless to say, my limited experience with the disease has fostered no small amount of sympathy for people who have a very different experience from mine. Yes, I have vitiligo, but it showed up very late in life and is (for now) so negligible on my appearance you could say it's not even a factor. For most people dealing with it, that's not the case at all...
In his early years, Michael Jackson had more Black skin than white, so he actually did use Black makeup to conceal his vitiligo. But eventually his case was so severe that he ended up with more white skin than Black, and it was easier to switch to white makeup than paint his entire body Black. And that's it.
So, yeah... vitiligo is not even remotely in the same fucking ballpark as some crazypants white lady lying about her race... for whatever reason she's been doing it.
And while there may be some room for debate on how to view Rachel Dolezal's appropriation (and other aspects of Michael Jackson's life)... you have fuck-none justification if you are stupid enough to drag how Michael Jackson dealt with his disease into the conversation.
That holds true whether you are a big fan of his music or not.
Posted on April 4th, 2010
It's Bullet Sunday on Easter Sunday! Bullets and Eggs... could there be a better combination?
• HAPPY EASTER! To all my friends who celebrate this day for whatever reason, I wish you the happiest of holidays and a wonderful Spring. My day was nice enough... dinner at grandma's house... but my car ended up covered with bird crap. And I mean covered. There is so much bird crap on my car that I'm fairly certain I could fertilize half the apple orchards in the valley. I didn't have enough quarters for a car wash, so now I'm driving the PoopMobile. Kind of an ominous start to my Spring, but it is what it is.
• THRILLER! Say what you like about the freakish nature of Michael Jackson but, after watching his final appearances on the This is It DVD, there's no denying the guy was a true musical artist. I am only a casual fan but have to admit I was amazed watching him prepare for his farewell tour. Even if you only like one or two Michael Jackson songs you owe it to yourself to see this film...
• UPS SUCKS! Yesterday I was supposed to be in Seattle hanging out with friends and family. But a freak snowstorm descended, canceling my plans. So long as a winter storm warning is in effect, I can't risk being trapped in Seattle while I'm still trying to get caught up with work after my vacation. Since I was going to be home, I was asked to help with an emergency. An iPad demo unit which has to be on its way to Europe on Monday wasn't going to arrive as planned, and a software developer friend of mine asked if I wouldn't mind sending my iPad out instead (then he would send his iPad to me next week when he got it). Of course I didn't mind at all. The only problem was that I live in a small town where Saturday Delivery isn't available, and I wasn't expecting my iPad to be here until Monday. So I called UPS to tell them to please route my iPad to a UPS Store in a nearby city that has Saturday Delivery. I could drive into town, pick it up, transfer the software, and then ship it out again no problem.
Except it WAS a problem. UPS refused to do a damn thing.
They wouldn't reroute the package. They wouldn't even contact the local UPS station to have them take it to the UPS Store. They wouldn't even let me drive to the actual station and pick it up there. They didn't offer any solution at all.
What fantastic customer service.
I'm amazed that I've done this with Fed-Ex a couple times before and they never even hinted that it was a problem. Fed-Ex just took care of it, and I never gave it a second thought. But to UPS it's massive drama and an overwhelming ordeal that they can't (or won't) help you with. They just don't care. Which meant my friend... a small tech developer just trying to stay in business another damn day... had to drive eight hours round-trip to solve a problem that UPS could have fixed in just a few minutes if they had even a hint of customer service.
So, lesson learned. If you want a company that actually gives a flying fuck, ship with Fed-Ex.
UPDATE: And so one of the voicemails I ignored at work this weekend was from my local UPS station trying to contact me to see if I wanted to have my package delivered to an alternative address or meet a driver to pick it up. This is exactly what I wanted to do all along, but was assured by the UPS Customer Service line that it was impossible. Apparently the local stations actually do give a crap about their customers, they just don't have any support from corporate. This is so frickin' typical of big businesses now-a-days that I can't even pretend to be surprised.
And, on that happy note, I'm off to wash clothes. How exciting is THAT?
Posted on June 25th, 2009
Michael Jackson has died. I was not a big fan.
It's not that his music (hee!) was bad or that his songs sucked... it's just that (hoooo!) he felt the need to (shimone!) inject stupid-ass (hee-heeeeeee!) grunts, groans, squeals, screeches, yells, and (WOOOOOoo HOO!) "shimones"... whatever the fuck that was... into every (unnnh!) fucking (heeeee!) song. I absolutely (wheee-HEEEE!) HATED that shit. It was impossible for me to (shimone!) get into the song with all those (hoooo! shimone! hee heeeeee! unnnhhh!) interruptions.
But the guy was Captain Eo, and I suppose that counts for something.
I thought Captain Eo was totally awesome when visiting Disneyland in the late 80's...
During the height of Michael's big trial, I was commissioned to do a drawing of him for an online magazine, which was a difficult assignment. At the time, Michael was looking his freakiest...
But the Disney whore in me wanted to remember him looking like this...
And that's how I'll always try to remember him now.
Sadly eclipsed by the Michael Jackson news has been the death of another icon from my puberty... Farrah Fawcett...
Yes. Bad Monkey is a big fan from way back. Some of my readers, however? Not so much.
Meanwhile, Betty White is still alive. And still awesome.