"I'll ask my question, thank you very much"

Hokay, so, there's this.

This morning, all CNN played was the portion of this clip where the UF student was being tazed. After watching the full thing, this guy wasn't doing anything wrong. Not. a. single. thing. The UP police attempted to arrest this man, for speaking. For speech that was inflammatory, for speech that was controversial, but not for anything that isn't covered under that little thing we like to call the First Amendment. He wasn't inciting riot, or panic, not was he speaking in a manner than could be considered "fighting words." Was anyone in that audience getting up to riot, or fight? He was taken off the mike because the university police, trumped up, as they always are, with a sense of their own power, felt he was behaving in a manner that was inappropriate.
Then, as he was being taken out and arrested (love to see what those charges are going to be. Resisting arrest? The question is what was he being arrested for in the first place? Also, I'm pretty sure I didn't catch any Miranda rights on that video.) and was subdued by at least three, and what appeared to be more like five police officers, he was tazed, for trying to stand up. I'm going to say that again. For trying to stand up, and be arrested, like a dignified and decent human being. As he pled, and begged these men not to taze him, they did it anyway. And did anyone catch the hapless look of bemusement on big whitey's face before he realized he was on camera and told the camera operator to get back? (it's at about 3:17, for those of you playing along at home)
Which leaves me wondering-what in the hell has it come to when freedom of speech is so restricted, even on college campuses, the traditional home base of radical thought? Lest you think I have no respect for law enforcement, I absolutely do. What I don't have respect for is 1) unwarranted and baseless arrests 2) the fact that campus police feel that college students are less than animals and should be treated as such. I've seen it with my own eyes. The teargassing of hundreds of students, guilty of nothing more than being on the streets en masse. The nightsticking of those who've fallen from the gas. Cops, amped up on adrenaline and testosterone, firing tear gas wantonly into groups of less than ten people.
Why, on large college campuses, do college students suddenly lose their rights when they don't toe the line exactly? Last time I checked, we are the reason you have a job, and the reason the university exists. That's not to say that we are above the law, but we should be allowed basic constitutional freedoms, such as speech and assembly.
The fascist-izing of America is disgusting. And I'm as guilty as anyone of sitting by and letting it happen. If college students were serious about regaining their place as the innovators and conscience of this country, we would all protest this audacious abuse of power. We would stand up and say "We hate this war, we hate this president, and we hate the way you rich, old white fucks are running this country."

You know. Kind of the way this kid tried to.

(P.S. I love, love, love how John Kerry droned on through the poor soul getting tazered. Nice compassion, asshole.)


it's britney, bitch

Ah, the VMAs.

The end-of-summer, end all, be all of irrelevant awards shows. Last night's awards were, in a word, epic. Britney was back, old rock stars got punched, and everyone was drunk and in Vegas.

Which, was the best part about the show, to be honest. For a generation with an increasingly shorter attention span, MTV did the smart thing and axed an hour from the show, incorporated snippets of performances from everyone from T.I. to the Foo Fighters (featuring Cee-lo) and Fall Out Boy (featuring Rihanna) in between presenter nonsense, shameless self promotion— and maybe an award or two, and claimed they were only going to broadcast the show once [although it re-aired immediately after it ended.] MTV promoted its "remixed" version of the show, as well as web videos of the suite concerts all night— proving that the broadcast media is in as much danger of being replaced by the Internets as the print media.

The best part about the revamp of the VMAs was that the viewer felt like they were just hanging with the rockstars giving concerts for their own pleasure in Vegas suites. Kanye had a huge grin on his face while he dueted with Common in an incredibly up close and personal performance. The Foo Fighters called in everyone— the aforementioned Cee-lo, System of Down's Serj Tankian, Mastadon, and Queen of the Stone Age's Josh Homme for the most rock 'n roll of all the "intimate" performances. JT got drunk, accepted awards and yelled at MTV to play more videos—admirable.

Basically, the Vegas VMAs made us (bored twenty-something college students) feel like we were at a house party (something we can relate to) with the coolest kids in school (something we all want) Their decision to go host-free and employ a house "band," led by DJ/buzzkid/wunderkind Mark Ronson, was definitely an upgrade, as Ronson's arrangements of Top 40 hits like "Smack That" and "Wake Up Call" were 100% better than the real thing.

Who cares who won anything? At an awards show where Fall Out Boy wins "Best Group" three years in a row, does the Moon Man even attempt to claim a slice of creditability any more? I got to see Justin Timberlake shake his ass, Jaimie Foxx be a drunkass fool and Alicia Keys bring down the ceiling with a gospel choir. What else is there to ask for?

MTV: Pandering to short attention spans, youth culture and technology trends since 1985.