The Brett Kimberlin Saga:

Follow this link to my BLOCKBUSTER STORY of how Brett Kimberlin, a convicted terrorist and perjurer, attempted to frame me for a crime, and then got me arrested for blogging when I exposed that misconduct to the world. That sounds like an incredible claim, but I provide primary documents and video evidence proving that he did this. And if you are moved by this story to provide a little help to myself and other victims of Mr. Kimberlin’s intimidation, such as Robert Stacy McCain, you can donate at the PayPal buttons on the right. And I thank everyone who has done so, and will do so.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Cosmo’s Racial “Sensitivity” is Actually Super-Racist

Well, Halloween is around the corner again, and the killjoys on the left are busy fretting that someone might wear the wrong thing and this annoyed me enough to make me want to blog again.  Yep, it’s the fear of “cultural appropriation”—the idea that the only people who can enjoy another culture are people from the ethnic/racial group that was historically associated with it.  So, only Native Americans can wear native American headdresses, I guess only Italian Americans can eat Pizza, and so on.  It’s a unique topic where people claiming they are opposed to racism regularly prove that they are actually super racist.

See, the first problem is that for one to “appropriate” a culture—that is, commit theft—you have to believe it is the exclusive property of... some person or group of people.  Which then leads you down all kinds of racist rabbit holes.

Don’t believe me?  Well, let’s look at how Cosmo dealt with this.  I first became aware of their latest tripe, by seeing this tweet.

Hey Parents: Maybe Don't Dress Your Kid Up As Moana This Halloween
— Cosmopolitan (@Cosmopolitan) October 23, 2017

Yep, it’s an article worried about cultural appropriation.  As you probably know by now, Moana is based on Polynesian folklore and it’s a very good movie.  (Seriously, see it, if you haven’t.  You will thank me later.)  Anyway, the Cosmo article confirms that it is concerned primarily with white girls dressed up as the titular Disney Princess* with this passage:

Chances are, you have a child that is enamored with all things Disney and wants to be all of the princesses. All of them! Especially Moana.

The New York Post recently highlighted an article on about how that’s probably not a good choice if your kid is white, and revealed that “moms are freaking out” over the culturally appropriative costume.

So, they are really only concerned with little white girls dressing as Moana.  Presumably if you are black, Japanese, South Asian, Australian Aborigine, Inuit, etc., you’re just peachy dressing as Moana.  Maybe.  They are kind of unclear on this.


Sidebar: And of course, you have to ask “how White does a girl have to be?”  If she is half-white, half-Polynesian is she unable to dress as Moana?  Does it take one drop of white blood to ruin it?  See what I mean about this stuff making people super-racist?


And it’s worth circling back to Cosmo’s tweet again.  To quote them: “Hey Parents: Maybe Don’t Dress Your Kid Up As Moana This Halloween.”  Putting that together with the revelation that they are only concerned about white girls... aren’t they implicitly assuming that the only people reading this tweet are people with white daughters?  Like doesn’t any Polynesians read Cosmo?

Actually, if they don’t, good for them.  What a cesspool of a magazine it is.

Joking aside, the implicit message to non-white women is “Cosmo is not for you!”  Which is pretty racist, when you think about it, especially for an article that claims to be designed to combat racism.  Are you starting to see what I mean about in the name of opposing racism, they end up being super-racist?

Unfortunately, they go on:

Recognize this: Moana is a really special character to young girls of Polynesian descent who have never seen a Disney Princess who looks like them, just like how Tiana from The Princess and the Frog likely resonated with young Black women who had waited decades to see themselves represented. White girls have plenty of princesses to choose from — there’s Belle, Ariel, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty … you get the idea. If your Caucasian son or daughter doesn’t get to be exactly what they wanted for Halloween, encourage them to take a step back and realize that they’re awash in privileges that the real Moanas and Tianas of the world will likely never see[.]

But by that implication, if you are black or Polynesian... you’re stuck with only one Disney princess.  I mean, you wouldn’t want to be culturally appropriating from, say, the Scots, because you decided to dress up as Merida from Brave, or culturally appropriating from the French by dressing as Belle.  And, evidently, if you are not white, you cannot dress up as Wonder Woman.

Oh, except it never actually works in reverse.  Cosmo will never say that non-whites are not allowed to borrow from white culture.  So if Tilda Swinton is cast as a traditionally Asian character in Dr. Strange, we hear accusations of whitewashing.  But on the other hand, casting Idris Elba as a character in Norse Mythology in the Thor movies, well, you’re just supposed to roll with that.  (And for the record, I do roll with it.)  In fact, if you object, you are looked down on as being racist.

Ultimately, one of the most pernicious forms of racism is the obsessive need to match races.  I really wonder what world these Cosmo editors live in.  I count among friends (and family) people from a multitude of races and ethnicities and I think most of the people my age do (and certainly kids younger than I do).  I remember one time a racist moron asked me on twitter why I didn’t marry my own “kind” (I am in an interracial marriage).  My retort was something like this: “I have married a woman who loves sci-fi and fantasy, who used to watch Stargate SG-1 with me on Fridays and make out during the commercials and thought going to see Deadpool on Valentine's day is a good idea.  I did marry my own kind.”  We may not look alike, she might speak a few languages I don’t, and she might have some family traditions I don’t, but beyond all that, we hit that sweet spot of being similar, but not so much alike that its obnoxious.

When it comes to movie roles, I think it is equally defensible to 1) cast the best actor regardless of race, or 2) when the role is linked to history (loosely defined), to pick someone who fits the appropriate ethnic background (or kinda fits it), and 3) find interesting stories from all cultures.  Let me expand on that.

Most of the time, if you are talking about, say... a movie that takes place in modern times, or a fantasy taking place long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, just find the best actors.  Maybe have some light race matching, so that if someone turns out to be Han Solo’s (biological) son, he looks like someone who might share some of his genes, but that is the extent of it.

But to give a practical example, I grew up seeing Nick Fury show up in various cartoons and comic books.  He was always depicted as a cigar-chomping bad ass.  And always white.  Like here’s a reasonably representative example:

But when, at the end of the original Iron Man, they had that end-credits scene with Samuel L. Jackson showing up as Nick Fury, my wife and I both exclaimed “cool!”  Yes, he didn’t look like the Nick Fury I grew up with, and I didn’t care even a little because to be blunt, I couldn’t picture anyone else capturing a similar level of bravado needed for the part.  So, if I am watching aliens pour out of the sky as a guy in a robot suit, a super-spy, an archer, a giant green rage machine and so on fight them, yeah, pick the best actors regardless of race.

(Although the Hulk must be green.)

On the other hand, I think if the story is historical or linked to history, then you are more justified in worrying about race-matching, especially if you are depicting a time in history when people were very racist. Indeed, if the story is significantly about racism or prejudice, then racial matching is almost mandatory.  Like if Stephen Spielberg had cast non-black actors as the slaves in Amistad, that would have gone over like a lead balloon.  I’m not saying it is impossible to create a movie about the Holocaust starring an entirely Japanese cast where the casting choice is justified,** but it’s definitely a hard sell.

But even then, I think a light touch is justified—not perfect matching, but close enough that it doesn’t take you out of the illusion that you are witnessing history.  I remember some strange people getting upset that Sean Connery played Jim Malone in The Untouchables or getting upset that Liam Neeson starred as Scottish hero Rob Roy. But both of them were great in their respective roles and it wasn’t that distracting.  Ultimately, we are talking about racial or ethnic discrimination and even when it is really well-justified (such as my Amistad example above) you are limiting your options.  Seriously, Connery won an Oscar for Malone and deservedly so.  Would you want anyone else playing the role?

Likewise, as an example “linked to history,” it would have been justifiable to cast a white guy as Heimdall in the Marvel Thor movies, but I ended up being fine with it.  I mean the theory behind the Thor movies appears to be that the Norse Gods were really inter-dimensional aliens who early humans mistook for deities, so all those myths of Thor et al doing this or that were just the half-remembered history of these aliens.  At least I think that’s what it is—they’re a little vague.  And in that context, if Heimdall was a black dude, you would tend to think that the Vikings would have really remembered that, so it creates kind of a plot hole that he is black.  But, on the other hand, Idris Elba takes that slender role and is completely awesome in it, so the awesomeness he brings to the table more than justifies the minor plot hole his presence creates.  Besides, nothing in Thor’s world makes very much sense if you think about it hard enough.  Really, when watching something with that much nonsense, one should follow the advice of Basil Exposition:

I mean if you are watching a movie about aliens who are literally millennia old but are simultaneously often really old immature people, an advanced species that...  for some reason uses bows and arrows and swords to fight, instead of (at least) ray guns... and somehow speaks modern English, but nonetheless know literally nothing else about our culture... isn’t a black dude guarding the wormhole device the smallest plothole?

But to the extent that we race-match, then you have to hit the third point.  We have to draw stories from a diverse set of cultures.  And there are interesting stories in every culture.  To circle back to what started all of this, that’s one of the things I thought was neat about Moana.  The movie is in a lot of ways a throwback to those old-school mythological adventures—like Clash of the Titans.  It was about a hero going on a quest to solve a problem (maybe save the world) and interacting with various mythological beings along the way... If was about an adventure, and to the extent that there was any romance, it was mainly a motivating factor (“I have to fight this giant monster to save the one I love!”).  Only it wasn’t the mythology I grew up on but something I never heard of before.  When I was growing up, I always enjoyed those kind of stories, but I always thought “surely, cultures other than the Greeks and Romans had their own cool stories like that Hercules or Jason.  Where are they?”  Well, again, I have no idea how true Moana is to the original stories, but at least I got to enjoy a brand new (to me) story in that vein.  So we should see the stories of many different cultures, and probably in most cases, you will see race matching, but that avoids creating a situation where there just aren’t good parts for non-whites.

As for Halloween costumes, if your little girl isn’t Polynesian and still wants to dress up as a Moana, tell her to go for it.  I believe children are not “color blind” so much as “color unconcerned,” and isn’t that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream?  If your child judges Moana not by the color of her skin but the content of her character and admires her enough to want to be her for Halloween, you shouldn’t discourage that because she is the wrong color.  And of course, the proposed cultural segregation of the “anti-cultural-appropriation” crowd—where everyone is supposed to stay in their culture, lest they appropriate someone else’s—creates a separation that is not equal.  Saying “oh, there are plenty of other princesses” to a little girl who likes Moana best, kind of ignores that there is something different about Moana other than her ethnicity: she is one of the few Disney “Princesses” who is a pure hero, without any romantic entanglements.  I said “few” in the last sentence, but honestly, I can’t think of another.  Even Frozen, which isn’t primarily about romance, still has a romantic subplot.  In some ways she is a better hero for little girls to look up to than Wonder Woman precisely because there is nothing special about Moana, except her determination and her big heart—and any little girl or boy can choose to give themselves those same kinds of traits.  And what could be more utterly subversive of racism than a bunch of little girls and boys looking up to, and wanting to be like, heroes and heroines who do not share their ethnic or racial identity?

On Halloween, a large number of kids decide they want to dress up as someone they think is really cool.  And in previous years, I have seen a black boy dressed as Captain America, a Filipino girl dressed in The Little Mermaid’s Wedding Dress, and I’ll probably see white girls dressed as Moana this year.  Cosmo and the anti-cultural-appropriation crowd see this as a problem.  I see this as pretty cool.


* In the movie, they actually debate whether she is a princess, in a humorous way.  In a less humorous way, Moana is a girl in a society organized around hereditary rule who is in the line of succession with the expectation that someday she will be chief of her village, so... yeah, she is a princess.

** Here’s how an all-Japanese movie about the holocaust might be done and be justified.  I admit I don’t know everything about Japanese culture, but I presume that there is prejudice within their culture, because... well, humans suck and they tend to suck that specific way.  So maybe they could do a holocaust drama where the disliked minority are cast as the “Jews” and the majority is cast as the “Germans” or at least the “non-Jews” in order to highlight such prejudice in Japanese society.

Or here’s another possibility.  You might see a movie about the holocaust where both the Jews and their oppressors are played by a veritable rainbow of human pigmentation, as a way of highlighting the common humanity of both the victims and their oppressors and the ultimate stupidity of prejudice.


My wife and I lost our jobs due to the harassment of convicted terrorist (and adjudicated statutory rapist) Brett Kimberlin, including an attempt to get us killed and to frame me for a crime carrying a sentence of up to ten years.  I know that claim sounds fantastic, but if you read starting here, you will see absolute proof of these claims using documentary and video evidence.  If you would like to help in the fight to hold Mr. Kimberlin accountable, please hit the donation link on the right.  And thank you.

Follow me at Twitter @aaronworthing, mostly for snark and site updates.



I have accused some people, particularly Brett Kimberlin, of reprehensible conduct.  In some cases, the conduct is even criminal.  In all cases, the only justice I want is through the appropriate legal process—such as the criminal justice system.  I do not want to see vigilante violence against any person or any threat of such violence.  This kind of conduct is not only morally wrong, but it is counter-productive.

In the particular case of Brett Kimberlin, I do not want you to even contact him.  Do not call him.  Do not write him a letter.  Do not write him an email.  Do not text-message him.  Do not engage in any kind of directed communication.  I say this in part because under Maryland law, that can quickly become harassment and I don’t want that to happen to him.

And for that matter, don’t go on his property.  Don’t sneak around and try to photograph him.  Frankly try not to even be within his field of vision.  Your behavior could quickly cross the line into harassment in that way too (not to mention trespass and other concerns).

And do not contact his organizations, either.  And most of all, leave his family alone.

The only exception to all that is that if you are reporting on this, there is of course nothing wrong with contacting him for things like his official response to any stories you might report.  And even then if he tells you to stop contacting him, obey that request.  That this is a key element in making out a harassment claim under Maryland law—that a person asks you to stop and you refuse.

And let me say something else.  In my heart of hearts, I don’t believe that any person supporting me has done any of the above.  But if any of you have, stop it, and if you haven’t don’t start.

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