Author Archives: Neddy Merrill

September 18, 2010, 11:40 am

"I just saw a black woman on television, and she ain't no maid!"

Whoopi Goldberg’s reaction on first seeing Star Trek’s Lt. Uhura, played by Nichelle Nichols. Apparently Nichols almost left the show because she had a Broadway offer, until a chance encounter with a fan changed her mind.

That fan was Martin Luther King Jr. Nichols recalls their conversation:

One of the organizers came up to me and said that there was someone who wants to meet you; and he says that he’s you’re best, biggest fan and I’m thinking it’s a Trekkie! [laughs] and so I said certainly and I got up and turned around and maybe 10 or 15 feet coming towards me I see Dr. Martin Luther King and I remember thinking whoever that little fan is, he’s going to have to wait, because here’s Dr. King, who walks straight up to me with this big, magnificent smile on his face and says, “I’m the fan!” because I’m sort of looking around for someone else, and he says, “I am…

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September 16, 2010, 8:55 am

McConnell: let's play a round of "find the racism"

Lots of discussion of these images of South Carolina Senate President Glenn McConnell dressed as a Confederate Navy officer posing with black people dressed “in antebellum attire.” Apparently the black man and woman are “members of a Gullah-Geechee cultural group, which travels around bringing to life the Lowcountry African-American experience during the mid-1800s, including their dress, music and singing.” They were paid for their appearance.

It’s a weird picture. Since there are no actual historians here, and certainly none with an interest in the Civil War or the politics of memory, I’ll muse as follows:

(i) watching members of a Gullah preservation group would probably be pretty interesting;
(ii) it wouldn’t make the gathering less creepy if they were absent;
(iii) this makes me think that whatever badness there is here is present in a powerful white guy dressing up like a…

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September 16, 2010, 8:39 am


By Mark D. Fefer of the Seattle Weekly:

You may have noticed that Molly Norris’ comic is not in the paper this week. That’s because there is no more Molly.

The gifted artist is alive and well, thankfully. But on the insistence of top security specialists at the FBI, she is, as they put it, “going ghost”: moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity. She will no longer be publishing cartoons in our paper or in City Arts magazine, where she has been a regular contributor. She is, in effect, being put into a witness-protection program—except, as she notes, without the government picking up the tab. It’s all because of the appalling fatwa issued against her this summer, following her infamous “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” cartoon.

Norris views the situation with her customary sense of the world’s complexity, and absurdity. When FBI agents, on a recent visit,…

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September 14, 2010, 8:34 am

NYT myopia

The NYT discussion forum asks “why are colleges so selective?” Dean Dad moves in for the kill:

I couldn’t really expect them to acknowledge the existence of community colleges. There are only 1100 or so of them in the U.S., enrolling just under half of the entire undergraduate population of the country.

Hard not to sympathize with the vitriol.

Honestly, sometimes reading the Times I channel my inner Lou Ferrigno. “HULK SMASH PUNY RECORDING SECRETARY OF RULING CLASS!” What’s the difference between the New York Times and David Hasselhoff? One is a pathetic joke, and the other is David Hasselhoff.

September 13, 2010, 8:02 pm

Making Thomas Friedman look thoughtful


It may seem incredible to suggest that the anticolonial ideology of Barack Obama Sr. is espoused by his son, the President of the United States. That is what I am saying….For Obama, the solutions are simple. He must work to wring the neocolonialism out of America and the West. And here is where our anticolonial understanding of Obama really takes off, because it provides a vital key to explaining not only his major policy actions but also the little details that no other theory can adequately account for.


Gingrich says that D’Souza has made a “stunning insight” into Obama’s behavior — the “most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama.”

“What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?” Gingrich asks. “That is…

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September 2, 2010, 8:14 am

Couldn't you be hunting down some war criminals or something?

Latest internet outrage is a video of some girl throwing puppies into a river. Daily Mail. Gawker.

Hilarity: 4chan users on the case, other commenters complaining about how the site is overrun by “justicefags.” (Just the interest of the stronger, no homo.) Bonus hilarity: she’s from Bosnia. There’s something that really bothers me about the outrage being so out of proportion to the wrongness, but no one’s in the mood for a round of the Peter Singer game; just cut-n-paste from the Michael Vick discussions.

August 31, 2010, 1:10 pm

John Cole: Paypal is the worst company in the world

To learn why John Cole thinks that Paypal is the worst company in the world, read his post.

I have been amused by Balloon Juice often enough to owe John Cole more than a simple googlebomb favor, but for now it will have to do.

August 30, 2010, 9:41 am

We turn to Mobutu for insights about white people

Starting with Beck but then turning to people with “mosk” in their public facebook status.

August 27, 2010, 2:18 am

My influences include the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah upon him, and also Avril Lavigne

Who says we are not a party people? Terror suspect auditioned for Canadian Idol, sang “Complicated.”

All idols are haram, my brother.

August 26, 2010, 10:39 am

Most of this seems right

Advice for life at college, from Mr Destructo. The people who need it won’t pay any attention.
Part I
Part II

August 26, 2010, 5:13 am

If I were a historian I could make more evil queen jokes

Ken Mehlman finally comes out. Michael Rogers pins on the Roy Cohn Award.

August 16, 2010, 11:50 pm

What else do I blog about?

More on Mecca-on-the-Hudson from your humble MC Sir Make-Salat. Placed under the Carnival so as not to interfere with real scholarship.

August 14, 2010, 9:16 am

Obama's remarks at White House iftar

August 10, 2010, 9:35 pm

1 Ramadan 1431

OMA, has it been a year already? Only on the Hijra calendar! Ramadan mubarak to all brothers and sisters. Fasting time is between about 5 am and 8 pm hereabouts, and it’s hot out there, so be careful. Meanwhile enjoy a nice recitation of Surah al-Fatiha.

August 10, 2010, 9:22 pm

I try so hard to amuse McArdle, but she never even notices

Oh, don’t even bother.