Category memes

The Jemima Effect

This popular meme is very silly, of course. I am kind of amazed it’s even necessary to debunk it, but, look: Pontius Pilate. He’s very famous! He’s in the Bible, and he’s Italian. I don’t just mean, he’s Roman (which of course he is; there’s more than one Roman in the Bible—to whom do you […]

Jolly Holiday

Every year, around election time (I know; I’m running late) people suggest that it would be a good idea to declare Election Day a national holiday, thereby making it easier to vote. I’m not sure if this is actually a good idea* but certainly it’s a well-intentioned idea. Good people from all over the political […]

Short People

Memories are short nowadays, so it might be worthwhile to remind everyone that five short years ago, the term white supremacy referred explicitly to the fringe beliefs of neo-Nazis, the Klan, and maybe some militia groups. At some point in the last five years the meaning changed and now white supremacy is popularly used, at […]

Hastur Hastur Hastur

No one has ever been able to accuse internet pundits of being self-aware, but these celebrated tweets everyone’s talking about win some sort of prize for epic lack of self-awareness. Obviously there are plenty of problems at work here (in the tweets), but let’s hit the big one first. Julius starts out miffed that people […]


“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Can we talk about this quote for a moment, and why it’s exactly backwards? I don’t mean that the universe’s arc bends towards injustice, I mean it’s backwards the other way. I mean that what we do is: Check out what our […]

Imagine a World Where People Knew Stuff

This is the internet: Ignorant people shouting dumb things at each other, while we cheer them on. I’ve seen so many celebrations of this “perfect response” to a hateful meme, and none of those celebrations pause to wonder if a response can be “perfect” when it asserts that “it is the Wright brothers who have taken the credit” for […]

Punching Nazis Is the First Refuge of the Incompetent

…and then a Nazi gets punched in the face, and everyone pops a boner. Let’s choose one voice from the chorus of hosannahs. Let’s see what soi-disant free-speech crusader Warren Ellis has to say:  These are terrible things to say. This is all terrible. I understand that Warren Ellis is not an American and may […]

Erasing History

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about history, it’s that history is really big, and filled with disparate facts,  and an unscrupulous person can pick and choose to prove just about anything. So I saw this exchange, clipped and “memed” and passed around and I have no reason to believe much of what it says is false. […]

Problematizing Dissent

I’m not here to pick on someone whose family has suffered so much (ha ha), but I think Williams’s statement above, while tempting, is dangerous. Tumblr (where you may have seen this very meme) spends a lot of time talking about how white male is a “default setting” in our culture, and they’re not wrong. […]

Who Discovered America?

Columbus commonly gets credit for discovering America…At the time, however, the American continent was already populated. The Indians, we must assume, had discovered America long before anybody else ever got here! This is from a 1963 kids’ history book (Do You Know Who Did It? by Virginia Coigney*), and is fairly typical of how we […]