Monthly Archives: May 2013

The White Protagonist of Every Racially Themed Sports Movie

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  • “I’ll tell ya, Jerry—the 1960s—what a time to be alive! I’m young, white, handsome, and the star of my team. We’re gonna have a big season this year. Our traditional, All-American town is counting on us.”
  • “What!? Look here, Coach, I ain’t playing with no (Negroes/Chinamen/Swiss)! They don’t belong with us white folk. They’re too (violent/dishonest/unwilling to share the secrets behind their luscious chocolates).”
  •  “You don’t like me? Yeah, well I don’t like you either, Willie!”
  • “Coach, I’ve been thinking about that speech you gave. Maybe you’re right. Maybe all we need to do is work together, and our differences won’t matter.”
  • “Yeah, I think you’re a pretty good player too, Willie. I have a feeling that our athletic experiences are about to intersect with larger social developments in a meaningful way.”
  • “ Hot dog, We can’t lose!”
  •  “Listen up, Mr. Restaurant Manager, you will not stop my racially diverse friends from using your restroom. It’s not about the color of your skin, because we’re all the same on the inside. And how do I know that? Because in that bathroom, the stuff that comes out from our insides is all the same colors, and that means something.”
  • “I think we have brought the entire community together just in time for the big game.”
  • “I…I don’t know how to say this to you fellas, but I can’t play in the championships tomorrow. The doctor says I’m paralyzed from the scalp up.”
  • “You’re right, wise black groundskeeper. I’ve come too far to let my team down. You can go back to mowing the grass now.”
  • “That was a rough first half, guys. Just remember—friendship first, and winning second.”
  • “Willie, you just made an improbable play, and we won! Racism is dead.”
  • “I’m an old man now, and the past fifty years of my life are presumably unimportant. But boy oh boy, was that championship season something. It was so great that I’ve apparently accomplished nothing ever since.”
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The Mysterious Origins of “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”

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“Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”–it’s the children’s song known all over the world. Boasting a set of unforgettable lyrics and one of the greatest hooks in popular music, the tune burns deep in the mind of any kindergarten grad or irritated parent. But where did it come from? The Danopticon looks into some of the most popular theories. It could have originated:

  • From ancient Egyptian burial customs, which named these four parts as the most sacred parts of the body for mummification
  • As a preparatory song invented by the U.S. Legal system, training children to answer the question, “Where did the bad man touch you?”
  • Conversely, to describe the contents of Jeffrey Dahmer’s fridge
  • As an English adaptation of the Puccini aria Testa, spalle, ginocchia e dita dei piedi–Non potrò mai toccare di nuovo il mio amore (Head, shoulders, knees, and toes, I shall never touch my love again)
  • SPOILER: It never existed, it was all a dream
  • To aid physicians of the Southwest in determining if newborns were harmed by radiation from nuclear testing (the hills have eyes, but the kids might not)
  • As the lone success of a classically trained composer, who had to suffer through the rest of his life knowing that he wasted his talent on a repetitive children’s song
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Stupid Things I’ve Learned: Teach Vs. Learn

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If grammar mistakes were war crimes, then teenagers would be responsible for the My Lai Massacre. No one on Earth needs instruction on proper word usage as much as these middle schoolers, who get thrown off whenever they think about including a word with an apostrophe.

Still, one of the most useless classroom lessons I have ever sat through was an exercise differentiating between the words “teach” and “learn.” The two words may be similar, but in essence they do mean opposite things. The real issue with the lesson, however, I have never heard anyone mix up those words. Sure, a lot of people struggle just to express a coherent thought, but that does not mean that they go around talking like characters in a Huck Finn novel.

“If I hain’t learned yer nothing more, Jim, least you’ll know how ta catch a catfish from a hilltop.”-Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, in a quotation that I probably made up.

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And if we do talk like that, it probably means that we use the n-word too much. Good luck trying to get that in the curriculum.*

*This joke does not apply in the state of Alabama, as it is too real.

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The Danopticon is Back from the Dead

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Hey there world,

After a long hiatus, everyone’s favorite blog will be back this summer. Stay posted for new content every couple of days. Thanks for reading.

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