Apparently I have been “tagged” with an “Internet” “meme.” I don’t generally do these, but the tagger, Mother Reader, was kind enough to play along with my silly little game, so I feel obliged to reciprocate.

Five Little Known Things About Me

  1. Upon taking the first sip of carbonated beverages, my body responds with a little hiccupy-spasm. When I was young and still getting used to this quirk, I would routinely take a swig from a Big Gulp and then do a Jack-Tripper-like spit take, spewing Pineapple Crush onto all nearby. Now I take a small sip and wait out the reaction before quaffing the rest.
  2. I refuse to watch trailers for movies I intend to see. If, while in the theater, they show a trailer for an upcoming movie that I have the slightest interest in, I will turn my head away from the screen, stare at the floor, and aggressively think about Catherine Keener in an attempt to avoid hearing the dialog. I have, in my travels, met two other people who also do this, and we cannot figure out why the rest of you don’t. “Who’d want to see the best scenes before the movie comes out??” we ask each other rhetorically, and then sadly shake our heads.
  3. I do not pronounce my Ls correctly. I make the sound in the back of my throat, rather than by touching the tip of my tongue to the roof of my mouth. I was given speech therapy as a child but, as with the soda spasm, I eventually just figured out how to work around it, and when it got the point where no one could tell the difference they stopped trying to correct it. Still, it has a few practical ramifications: when choosing names for our child we steered cleared of those that contained Ls. Curiously, I make the L sound correctly when singing, reading aloud from a book, and shouting “Devil! Devil! Devil!’ at passing cars on the corner of 5th and Pine.
  4. I think hate crime legislation is stupid. If one guy punches another it’s assault and should be treated as assault — I don’t care what words he was saying at the time. More to the point, hate crime legislation pegs the severity of the punishment to what the assailant is thinking at the time he commit his crime, and I don’t think the government should be in the business of regulating thought — even the thoughts of ignorant idiot assholes. This fact is “little-known” about me because, whenever I mention it while around my liberal Seattle friends, they’re heads tend to asplode. And that’s a total drag, as most of my clothes are dry-clean only.
  5. Speaking of assault … (Fun fact: all the best stories start with the phrase “speaking of assault”). I have only once, as an adult, punched a guy. Except, I didn’t. I was in my early 20’s and working on a Conservation Corps crew. We all gave each other copious amounts of shit — heaping slander and slur upon each another in the name camaraderie — and no one ever took offense at anything. But one time my coworker Paul said something that made me see red. I don’t recall what it was — in fact, I can even imagine what it could have been, given the stuff I do remember simply laughing off at the time. Whatever it was caused me to go berserk: and I took three quick steps toward him, cocked my fist back, and started to throw a punch. But then the tiny part of my brain that was still rational pointed out that this would almost certainly result in the loss of my job, and not having a job seemed like a bad thing at the time. (What can I say? I was young and foolish.) So I arrested my swing and, instead, kicked him in the shin like an petulant, eight year-old, be-ponytailed-girl. And Paul, who could have easily kicked my ass (did I mention he was an ex-con?), looked down at his shin for a moment, dumbfounded, and then looked at me, and said “Dude, what the fuck?” And I was, like, “Whoa! I do not know what just happened to me there!” And then we laughed and went to work. Because, in the best of worlds, this is what young men do.

43 thoughts on “Memed

  1. I don’t watch movie previews unless Jerry Bruckheimer’s name is attached to the movie. That’s because his movies are terrible, and I’d rather watch the “short” version for free on TV rather than sit through 2 hours of that shit and pay for it.

    So there’s at least four of us in the world that don’t watch movie previews.

  2. re: Hate crimes.

    Many, many types of laws require the jury to determine what the person was thinking at the time. It’s called “intent” and it’s what separates murder from manslaughter, libel from error, and so on. In fact, without being able to prove intent (different from motive) many actions cease to be crimes.

    The gov’t isn’t telling you not to say hateful things. It’s saying that if you commit criminal acts in order to act out your hateful thoughts, that’s even worse for society and more deserving of punishment than the equivalent action would be without a racial overtone.

    And I kinda agree with that.


  3. The /l/ you’re saying is probably a velar /l/, meaning it’s pronounced in the velar region of your mouth (back of the throat). Another name for it is the “dark /l/.” It’s common in other dialects of English; in American English, it’s pronounced at the end of words, which is why you can say “Devil” correctly.

    Thus concludes Phonology 101.

  4. My body has the same reaction to soda, although it’s not consistent. It seems to happen most frequently when everything seems normal and a bunch of people are right around me.

  5. I hear you about movie trailers. When a movie comes out that I absolutely know I want to see then I don’t watch them and try to avoid any discussion of the movie (this was very difficult to do for the Blair Witch Project, I recall). But the twin problems for me are 1) there are so many movies I want to see that I still need to narrow that list down to the ones I absolutely must see, which usually involves seeing a trailer and 2) I really enjoy a good trailer (see Adaptation, my vote for one of the best trailers ever).

    Something less well known about me (not that anyone here cares) is that I love parenthetical asides. Love them.

  6. I totally have the same reaction to soda, and sometimes beer. It sneaks up on me when I am not looking, but I have not had to actually do the spit take. It is more like the hiccup you mention. And it ALSO happens mostly when I am around others who wonder “is this dude ok?” I’ve always wondered if it is related to the carbonation, or just the cold – but a warm carbonated beverage just doesn’t sound very yummy, so I haven’t tried to do any more scientific test.

  7. I had put a qualifier to tagging you, figuring someone as blogfamous as you no longer needed to participate in memes (meme’s? memi?), but I certainly appreciate you playing along. Your little knowns were verrry interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    I hooked another children’s book blogger into your “silly little game.” She putting forward Miss Nelson for Board of Education. I had also debated this one:
    Raggedy Anne for President
    Better a rag doll than a puppet!
    …but I felt bad putting Raggedy Anne out there.

  8. I agree that David Neiwert’s argument is compelling, though I take exception to his framing of the issue. In the opening paragraph he describes opposition to hate crime legislation as “a right-wing position;” in this follow-up post (also an excellent read), in which is notes that some on the left also have misgivings about such legislation, he says “many mainstream liberals have capitulated to the right-wing, pseudo-libertarian contention that hate-crimes laws create ‘thought crimes.'” Apparently it is very important to him that anti-hate crimes views originate from conservatives, even when they are held by liberals.

    For me, dislike of hate crime legislation is rooted in a rather fanatical devotion to that most liberal of values: freedom of speech (and thought), even for those who I personally find reprehensible. In my high school “civic law” class, our teacher would summarize the arguments on either side of famous Supreme Court cases and ask us to vote on the outcome; I was the only one who voted “for the Nazis” in the ACLU v. Skokie.

    I think it’s disingenuous of Mr. Neiwert to imply all disagreement with his position must, ipso facto, originate from the other side of the political spectrum.

  9. If you do watch the trailers on DVDs after having watched the film, you’ll discover an amusing fact. They all contains scenes that never appear in the actual film. Every single trailer I have ever seen has had some action or view or dialog that does not appear in the actual production. Of course, different versions of the same film are made for different territories, but the fact remains, TRAILERS ARE FRAUDULENT LIES. LIES I TELL YOU, DAMNABLE LIES!

    I want my money back.


  10. Wow. I read the Neiwert article and had almost the exact same reaction as you, Matthew. I am very much a wacky lefty (i.e – Love terrorists, hate America, Godless, etc.) and I have always been very uncomfortable with hate crime legislation. It’s thought control, or an attempt at it. I read Mr. Neiwert’s article and thought he made some good points about variable sentencing (as did Travis, above) but the fact that he was so concerned with pigeon-holing the argument as a conservative one was distracting.

    The other problem I have with the argument is that there doesn’t seem to be any distinction between intent and motivation and I think that while the difference is subtle, it exists. If I beat the crap out of somebody because they’re a jerk, my intent is to beat the crap out of him to make myself feel better and to make him feel bad, my motivation is that he’s a jerk. If I want to beat the crap out of someone because he is Swiss, by intention is to make myself feel better and to make him feel bad and my motivation is his dirty dirty chocolate loving, watch building self offends me. What if he’s Swiss and I think it’s for his own good that he get the crap kicked out of him? Is that more okay, because the intent was kinder? Is it less okay to kick him because he’s just a jerk? Where does it end?

    Prosecute all violent crimes and crimes of intimidation vigorously, regardless of the motivation.

    PS – “be-ponytailed-girl” is a lovely word.

  11. It’s good to know I’m not the only carbonated-challenged individual in the world. Sometimes, it almost escapes thru the nose but I think I’ve got that under control!

    But, I must protest! Whatever is that comment ‘be-ponytailed-girl’ all about? I’ll have you know that not all 8 year-old be-ponytailed girls kick.

    In fact, many of the girls I was unfortunate enough to grow up with followed through on punches. This resulted in my looking like Rocky after being ruined by that damn Russian. Ruthless bee-ahches!

    So, next time Mr. Sassypants change your analogy. Or else I’ll send those girls from my hood your way!

  12. Matthew:

    Well, FWIW, I’ve discussed liberal/libertarian views on hate crimes a couple of times, including the post you link to above (there’s another here). But the crude fact is that the vast majority of opposition to hate crimes laws over the past decade has originated from the right, especially the fundamentalist (i.e., anti-gay) right.

    I hope you’ll notice that your original objection — that the laws against bias crimes constitute the creation of “thought crimes” — is simply nonsense emanating from a basic misunderstanding of how these laws, and criminal law generally, work, as one of your own commenters already explained. You’re essentially arguing for discarding the entire tradition of mens rea as a factor in criminal law. That is to say, the law constantly weighs factors like intent and motive in determining the severity of punishment, and that is precisely what bias-crime laws do.

    But I want to address your newer objection, and the one I assume motivates most liberals and libertarians to the extent they agree with you — namely, that these laws impinge on our freedoms.

    I want to point out to you that what these laws are about specifically are protecting freedoms for millions of Americans. It’s easy, especially for white liberals, to think of freedom in an abstract sense and defend rather abstract notions of how government might impinge on them, when the realities for nonwhite Americans is that their very real, basic, fundamental freedoms — freedom of opportunity, of association, of speech, for that matter of simply traveling — are constantly threatened by people who perpetrate hate crimes.

    I explain this in the link above:

    More to the point (and as I also argue at length in Death on the Fourth of July), hate-crimes laws are not about taking away anyone’s freedoms — rather, they are about ensuring freedoms for millions of Americans.

    As I point out in the book, hate crimes have the fully intended effect of driving away and deterring the presence of any kind of hated minority — racial, religious, or sexual. They are essentially acts of terrorism directed at entire communities of people, and they are message crimes: “Keep out.”

    Rural dwellers’ dread of the dark colors of the inner city is something of a cliche, one based nonetheless on reality. What is less observed, however, is the common dread held by many minorities for America’s more rural spaces. Black people fear stepping foot in Idaho because of the presence of the Aryan Nations in the state’s Panhandle. Gays and lesbians view driving through places like Wyoming and Montana with a palpable anxiety.

    If you get out a map of the country and put yourself in the shoes of a person of color or another sexual persuasion, and start looking at the places you would feel safe visiting, you’ll suddenly realize that this can be a very small country indeed for people who are not white heterosexuals. This is what Yale hate-crimes expert Donald Green means when he says that hate crimes annually create a “massive dead-weight loss of freedom” for Americans.

    I’ve yet to see a single libertarian seriously address this point.

  13. my 5 year old son, eli, cant say his l’s properly either. this started to be a problem when he began telling people his name’


    he can say it sometimes though. i think now its more a case of saying it when he feels like it

  14. What is a “message crime”? Is a message crime different from a threat? If it is a threat, does “Keep Out” (as opposed to “Keep Out or we’ll lynch you”) really constitute a threat?

  15. I love movies but rarely see them at the theater. Being that going to a movie these days costs about the same as a small car (without the $9 popcorn), I generally rely on Netflix for my viewing pleasures. That means on the rare occasion that I see trailers, they are for movies I won’t see for months. I won’t remember any of it anyway. So for me, the trailers are just part of the thrill of going to the movies at the multiplex.

  16. I’m a urban left-coast right-winger, and I’m just thrilled at the prospect at being grouped with the hateful racists that our culture is unfortunately infested with, kthx. The idea that racism finds its home primarily among conservatives is generally, I find, because people are calling a refusal to adapt to the modern culture conservatism. Last I checked, the hard-line communists in Russia were being branded conservatives because of their stance. Yes, that’s conservatism under one form of the word, in the same sense that liberal can refer to applying too much ketchup to one’s burger. But connecting all racists to all right-wingers is the sort of abhorrent induction that clouds perfectly reasonable discussions about things like welfare and the minimum wage with charges of racial discrimination that almost certainly does not exist in the hearts of right-wingers. (Yes, I do too have one!) Don’t make the mistake of thinking that disliking hate-crime legislation on our principles (which are indeed genuine) is really some nefarious plot protect the hallowed traditions of exclusion and oppression.

    Here’s an idea, go ahead and charge these racist bastards’ little terrorist acts as terrorist acts. You might even believe that Bush has already signed into law something that says that it’s appropriate: Mr. Neiwart hints at the Federal goverment’s language for the definition of terrorism when he describes hate crimes as acts designed to manipulate the actions and presence of a political minority. I personally think we should include stalking as a terrorist act, because it’s a form of kidnapping without direct captivity, which forces the hand of the unfortunate victim.

    While you’re still working out whether Bush wins or loses by classifying common crimes as terrorist acts (thereby proving that terror happens on US soil right here under the watchful eyes DHS), I point out that indeed, intent is an element of a lot of crimes, but intent under the law is not the same as hateful feelings– intent under the law generally refers to whether or not you intended to do the crime, not why you did it. Mens Rea is latin for “guilty mind,” not “hates homos,” and Mr. Neiwart acts as if the libertarian view of thoughtcrime (yes, we know why it’s one word, don’t we) would toss that out on its ear… except, we suppose, for all the other crimes which people commit without hate. Those people will just have the usual guilty thinking. Hey, there’s a reason that “guilty mind” is an element of the crime, but it most certainly isn’t a crime itself.

    Of course juries and judges take the motives of the suspects and defendants into account. Is anyone suggesting otherwise, and furthermore, is this not working? If not, give the juries and judges more latitude to sentence, not mandatory minimums (which work so wonderfully for drug crimes by the way) because there was a swastika, burning cross, or rainbow present.

    Message crime? Sounds suspiciously close to “speech crime” to me. Yes, a crime intended as speech. Precisely why we shouldn’t give them special treatment– we don’t want to legitimize the tool of “message crime.” Maybe it’s too late.

    You can’t make hate go away or even discourage hate by giving extra punishment because of the unequal cultural or social standing of the perpetrator and victim. You’ll make it go underground, and that’s the last thing you want. Hateful ideas don’t smother underground, they smolder for ages. Let hate come out in the open, where people never forget that it’s there, never fail to criticize it, and let the marketplace of ideas extinguish it in full.

  17. Even stranger movie-preview behaviour: at a friend’s house for a movie marathon the other day, he was surprised that I wasn’t enthusiastic about his plan to watch every movie’s trailer (on the DVD) immediately before the movie itself. Apparently he does it all the time. Madness!

  18. Not being a sufferer myself, I was first made aware of the ‘liquid l’ phenomenon by Harry Shearer some 20+ years ago. In interviews he spoke about it as the touchstone of his impression of Tom Brokaw. It was a surprisingly life-changing observation! I’d never noticed it before Shearer pointed it out, but then whenever I heard it I’d be all, “Did you hear that?! S/He can’t pronounce the letter L!! Can’t you hear it?!?!? Why isn’t everyone else freaking out!??!?!”
    I’m afraid knowing that you are one of these L mispronouncers is going to affect my Defective Yeti experience.
    Maybe for the better: you might get some of that sweet handicapped patronizing… Awww, isn’t it great what he does with a website, despite all that life has thrown at him, he just keeps on keepin on…

  19. The difference I see between a “hate crime” and a “regular crime” is the recidivism rate. If I beat someone up because he got me fired or killed my dog or broke up with me or whatever, then I’m less likely to repeat that crime, depending on the “triggering” circumstances. If I beat someone up because he’s black or gay and stepped over some invisible line, those triggering circumstances are maleable and very common, so I’m probably going to beat up a whole lot of people in my lifetime.

    The other problem is that hate crimes are often supported or excused by the community at large. For instance, here in Texas, a judge gave a murderer a ridiculously light sentence because the victim was gay (he stated this in court record–it wasn’t even “under the table” or anything). At this point, where does the victim turn for justice? The benefit of either federal hate crime or federal civil rights violation legislation is that it gives victims a place to appeal for justice when the community condones the crime.

    One reason that “hard leftists in liberal urban areas” don’t see the point of hate crime legislation is that they may not see the problem. When you live in a state that has executed a minimum of 12 people who were posthumously cleared of the crime or where a pagan witness in a custody hearing was arrested on leaving the courtroom and held for two days on no charges, well, hate crime legistlation makes a bit more sense.

    Of course, it would probably suffice to strengthen the civil rights legislation that was used in the 60s to charge lynchers after their own communities turned a blind eye to the crimes.

  20. Well, I’m convinced that those on different sides of the “hate crimes” issues have different perspectives and in order to understand where those who disagree are coming from, will have to open their minds to seeing things from a different viewpoint.

    Me, I don’t have a firm opinion on the matter.

  21. My girlfriend does the same hiccup thing with carbonated things. No spit up. She’s just happy to find out she’s not the only one, after all the ribbing she’s gotten about it!

  22. My favorite line from the Simpsons is Harry Shearer doing Tom Brokaw’s tribute to the Greatest Generation:

    “Lauding your legacy is a labor of love.”

  23. So if I kicked the shins of a Hollywood producer who created one of those give-away-all-the-good-stuff movie trailers, would it be considered a hate crime?

    I only learned recently why I have long been one of the fingers-in-my-ears, humming-loudly movie-trailer-avoiders: my daughter asked me for my top three movie theater experiences and every single one was for a movie I knew almost nothing about before I went. Seeing the trailers won’t necessarily ruin the movie, but it definitely ruins the movie-going experience.

  24. Hate crime vs “regular” crime… Let me see if I understand the difference discussed here: If someone beats me up because I’m a woman they should get a more severe punishment than if they beat me up because I took the last bag of potatoes from the grocerey store?
    Doesn’t make sense to me.

  25. A hate crime doesn’t just target the individual, but the group they are a member of.

    I don’t think “because I’m a woman” is a good example. Men, after all, need women to continue the species (and most of them prefer women for sex), so it’s just not the same kind of thing as a hate crime against jews, or blacks, or Christians, or such.

    I can’t help thinking… a hate crime is terrorism without the politics.

  26. So if hate crime is thought crime, do we apologize to Germany for the Nuremburg Trials?

    And does the DC Holocaust Museum reflect a deluded liberal ethos of affirming hate crime legislation?

    Say you’re a Kurd: Did Saddam commit a hate crime when he gassed your village?

    If I advocate the beheading of Jar Jar Binks, is that a hate crime against that idiotic character in Star Wars: Episode I?

    What kind of hate crime am I committing when I play Grand Theft Auto?

  27. I do the back of the mouth L thing too. I never knew that this was unusual until just now. Is is actually that abnormal?

  28. Without getting involved in the debate: I liked that, as a man, you kicked another in the shin.

    It’s an entertaining scene to envision…

  29. I do the hiccup thing too. I’ve gotten good at continuing to drink even as the hiccup occurs, without introducing liquid into my sinuses or spittaking. Probably results in a little backwash, but in the grand scheme of things I think it’s not a problem.

  30. Do you all understand that there’s a big difference between:

    1. Gang of skinheads breaking the window of a Jewish owened store and spraypainting Nazi-graffitti with “Jews out or die.”

    2. Couple of sixth graders are horsing around and break a store window on a dare. Since they were not caught immediately, they spraypaint their initials on the wall and run like hell.

    Totally different intent and levels of harm to the community.

  31. I’m sooooo with you on the movie trailers thing. Can’t stand spoilers of any sort. (Oddly enough, I kind of even do this with book jacket descriptions. If the first couple sentences interest me enough in the book, I won’t read any farther, lest I spoil some surprise.)

    I noticed the other day that my cable provider has a “movie trailers on-demand” channel. It made me cringe to know that was out there.

Comments are closed.