Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

What Is Behind This Senseless Violence? Pt. 6

People who claim mass shooters are automatically mentally ill are trying to tar shooters with the very stigma so many have tried so hard to eradicate. They call them mentally ill in an attempt to degrade them. That's an insult not to mass shooters, it's an insult to the mentally ill. You want to degrade these shooters? Call out what's really wrong with them.

Misanthropy isn't a mental illness. There are lonely, embittered and insignificant men, furious at their own insignificance and with a rage to take it out on innocent people, and then die. They have hatred and contempt for the woo woo hallmark happiness of others, sold and marketed to everyone, which to them is nothing but a lie. They want to prove how meaningless life is, by confronting the world with senseless death.

What are we supposed to do, create a world in which everyone can find meaningful interactions and find purpose in service to others?

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Thursday, October 05, 2017

What Is Behind This Senseless Violence?

The only message Stephen Paddock sent was "I am powerful, and your meaningless life is hanging by a thread at any moment, and you are helpless to protect yourself from me or anyone like me." Unless a manifesto pops up belatedly, we'll never know if he had any motivation beyond some kind of personal hate for the irritating happy little world of sheeple, and a desire to publicly execute a bunch of them to demonstrate the ugliness and meaninglessness of life, and the futility of delusions of security and control.

Even that's a guess at best. All imputations of motive will be, unless more is learned. Meanwhile, what is behind people's need to make all these big, sinister implications that "there must be some deeper motive?"

They're scared little children, is what's behind it. These are the people who refuse to believe anyone who'd deliberately murder strangers for no reason is "mentally ill." They're serenely ignorant, and they refuse to believe in the capacity of human evil because it scares them. They believe any act, no matter how horrible, can be "explained" by "ideology."

No. Sorry. Ideology provides the excuse for antisocial violent acts, but the excuse is not the cause. People inclined to violence gravitate towards excuses. One is as good as the other - the one they find will be good enough.

But plenty of them aren't so weak as to need an excuse from some theory or mentor in order to act. To deny that is to misunderstand the problem, waste time and effort on symbolic gestures that neither explain nor improve the situation.

That explanation people want is just some excuse, any excuse, to pretend they understand and to feel better about what humanity is like.

Example: plenty enough people think life is meaningless. Or that people are horrible. Or that humanity is worthless - a bad thing on the face of the planet. That the world is a wrong, bad place and that society is a disgusting lie foisted on people to make them believe in things like the possibility of justice. None of that is insane. It's commonplace.

If you start from nihilism, all it takes is a bit of egotism and irritation with people's chirpiness to want to show them all just how meaningless life is. Which isn't insane, if life really is meaningless. It's just cruel and egotistical. A refusal to honor the illusions of others and leave them to them. A desire to show the world that your interpretation of the world is the correct one, and that they have been fools to believe their rosier views of the world, which protect them not one bit from the inescapable truth.

I suppose you can say that itself would be an ideology, but no. Nihilism is the rejection of ideology. All you need to kill for no reason is to believe in nothing.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Thoughts and prayers going out

Thoughts and prayers going out to all scumbags out there contemplating cowardly acts of violence against strangers and loved ones. May God make a change in your hearts so you shoot yourselves in the f***ing head without the needless step of first mowing down others.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

The Tough Topics #46: The Oxford Comma

I use the Oxford comma wherever its omission could lead to an alternate reading, and omit it otherwise. You know where people run into trouble? Where their omission or inclusion of the Oxford comma is a point of principle, rather than a decision dependent entirely on content, context, and sense.

People who always omit it risk giving the reader two grammatically valid ways to read the statement. In contracts or in law, this can be fatal.

People who always include it run no risks in terms of the sense they wish to convey. But in using a comma where none is needed - where no alternate reading could arise from its omission - they risk seeming rule-bound, precious, given to stylistic affectations that serve no purpose. Adherent to a principle, without having any feel for its actual use or effect.

The Oxford comma, like every mark of punctuation, is a tool to direct meaning along the writer's desired path. Clarity demands its use where necessary. Elegance and simplicity would seduce us to omit it where its presence adds nothing. There are those who love and some who hate the Oxford comma, but the majority who simply omit it without thought do so out of an instinct for simplicity, and a dislike for needless flourish or ornament.

But we can't lose sight of the controversy! Gratuitous use of the Oxford comma (where its omission could not possibly introduce ambiguity) DOES add something! It signals to the world "I'm Team Oxford Comma!" With all that that implies, and most of what it implies is good. I'm not Team Oxford Comma, but most of those people are pretty funny and great, and it's sweet and wonderful that so tiny a mark could say so much. An Aldis-lamp flash to the like-minded resistance.

The Oxford comma will never die. It will keep barging in where it's not needed, pointing proudly to where it sometimes is. And its opponents will omit it scrupulously, sometimes to the detriment of their case in court, more often to the hilarity of readers who spot the wild ambiguity unleashed. The Oxford comma is the only thing that can leash that beast. Do we need it? Yes.

Do we need it all over the place? Probably not. But you ought to admit, it's a little bit cute.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Thought of the day: Self-Concept

The persona is misconceived by too many as a mask, or a suit of armor - a barrier to hide behind. In reality it's far more like a martial art. It is a matter of self-knowledge: learning one's capacities, choosing which strengths to rely on and developing them into knowing, in practice. Being always one's self on the way to one's best self, never getting there.

Point is: I digress. But a carefully-constructed self-concept is a pretty sweet deal.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Unsolicited Marketing Advice #5: Prepared Statement for NFL Team Owners

Our flag stands for individual liberty and freedom of conscience, not lockstep uniformity and coercion. Traditionally, players have stood during the anthem to show respect for the flag. But if to force a show of respect for a symbol of freedom, it comes to the use of coercion and punishment, we are dishonoring that symbol, and the freedom it represents, far worse than they could ever do.

A patriotic display is voluntary. In places where it isn't voluntary, it's a meaningless and empty gesture in capitulation to tyranny.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Why You May Have Decided It's Such A Waste Of Time To Bother Trying To Argue With People

People who put their view to another with a goal to change the other person's mind do tend to get worn out. Of course they do. It's the frustration of their goal that wears them out. If they believe the point of putting their view out there is to change minds, they're not going to change many, maybe not any, and so they'll judge all that effort wasted. Naturally, this will wear them out.

It's sad, because they clearly do care about right and wrong views of things. I'd like to think they do, at least.

There are at least 2 great reasons to put your view out to someone that blow away these puerile debate-clubbers' "mind change" fixations. One is because truth is a great and positive relief and release to share. Whether it's a joyful truth, or a truth of justice outraged, once you've really tapped that outlet it's way easier to let it out than shut it in.

The other is, you share yours to understand theirs. Not only the view of the human being across from you, but how they came to that view, and how they continue to hold it. Honest questions, with sincere interest in the answers: you'll hear so many different ways and paths. Even if the conclusion doesn't ever make sense to you, you will increasingly understand the people. That understanding can never be a detriment to your ability to engage with others, and speak truth to them. The more of them you understand, the greater your reach will be.

These goals don't rely on external reactions for their fulfillment. Instead of wearing out, you will grow in strength and purpose.

Another good reason. If all you care about is changing minds, winning the argument - the goals of the puerile debate-club crowd - people can sense that. They can tell your questions aren't serious, your views aren't open, and that to you, the whole thing is just some kind of competition.

Ironically, people who think it's all a waste of time unless you can change minds suck worst at changing minds. That's why you'll hear them so often, crying aloud at how useless it is to bother. They're right: and they speak for themselves.

Don't listen to them. Nobody should, really.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Thought of the day: Fear of being wrong

Having been wrong is how you get right.

Respect for Free Speech.

You are free to voice your truth, no matter what it is. That's free speech.

And when people voice theirs, and it's vile ugliness and hate, you are free to voice yours in opposition. That's free speech.

Annnnnd if you don't, guess what? That just means you're a disgusting coward. It doesn't mean you respect free speech.

Respect for free speech is best expressed by using yours, to oppose what you claim to believe is wrong.

Monday, August 14, 2017


This is addressed to white people specifically. I hope that's ok.

Caveat or, mea culpa - whatever the term is; full disclosure - I am myself white people, though I prefer the term "personage."

White people, at some point today if you haven't already, you will see a viral social media post, with words to the effect: how ironic is it that all it takes is one white woman to get publicly killed in a horrifying video clip to get tons of white people outraged and speaking up?

There are a lot of reasons for posts like this, but let's focus on the end result. The aspect that matters: a lot of people would like you to shut your mouth. Racists especially, white supremacists particularly, would like you white people to shut up. They would like any white people arriving late to the fight to feel ashamed and fake, and shut their mouths in embarrassment. They would like you to question the basis of your outrage, and be unable to come up with a flattering answer. They want you to go back to being the average white person who finds all this so unpleasant and distasteful, and acts like absenting their voice is some kind of high road. They want you to slink back into silence, and let people with strong convictions hold the field unopposed. They're confident they can beat the activists, if bystanders keep out of it.

Well, don't shut up. If seeing that was what it took to open your eyes and open your mouths, don't close your eyes now that they've been opened. Don't shut your mouths. There have been a lot of horrific videos in recent years. There will be more to come. Your voice is powerful, especially in its silence if you let it be silent. Whatever it took for you to find your voice, to locate your outrage and to direct it at those who have contempt - not just for people who aren't like you! But for every human life that doesn't embody their twisted, lost, hateful ideology - whatever it took to wake that up, don't let your outrage go back to sleep now. When the battle is pitched and you are desperately needed, don't quit the fight just because you arrived late.

If at worst, you're forced to feel a pang of guilt for not having spoken out sooner, embrace that pang. Maybe you're one of the people like me, who somehow can't believe people are that bad. Maybe you've been able to shunt away how bad things have been getting, because it didn't cross over into your own life. Maybe you couldn't believe it because nothing had yet brought it home to you. Maybe you were able to rationalize away other attacks, incidents: deaths. "I wasn't there." "Maybe something else happened, to make it make sense?" No, you weren't there. It's been a privilege. Be there now.

Don't shut up. Engage the people who refuse to condemn what is patently and thoroughly evil. Ask them what on earth is wrong with them.

And yes, be aware that there's going to be a bunch of folks who make scathing ironic comments about how long it took you. They've had a long, disgusting, disheartening slog, and their patience is far from fresh. You'll find out a little bit about what that's like, so long as you don't turn over, close your eyes again, shut your mouth now.

Don't give evil the silence it needs to grow unopposed. Don't let your past silence shame your outrage now. Raise your voice, and keep raising it. Do you hate racism? They will hate that.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

I am a feminist. But just in case: see pronunciation note.

I am a feminist. I became a feminist after living with a women's studies major for eight years. Then I looked it up in the dictionary. At that point, I became a feminist.

A feminist is one who believes in and advocates for the legal, political, and economic equality of a woman to a man.

That definition's kind of unfairly stacked in favor. I mean, I read that - there wasn't any wiggle room at all! How could I not be a feminist? That definition makes anyone not a feminist pretty much a moron. I didn't so much "become" a feminist as realize I am one. What the heck does a heterosexual man who is not a feminist want, in terms of a woman? What does he aspire to? What kind of dip-stick wants - no, needs - an inferior partner? What kind of coward not merely settles for but demands a partner who is not at least his equal?

It's a good definition, because it focuses on the cause itself. Feminism is a cause. It's my cause. I don't own it, nobody does. It's mine because I believe in and advocate for it.

However! I'm aware over the years that there's another definition of feminist, with which I'm entirely cool:

A feminist is a woman who believes in and advocates for the legal, political, and economic equality of a woman to a man.

Sure, everyone that description fits is a feminist. The accent there is slightly more on who can belong to the club. That's cool too. There's an esprit de corps, people, that can only be felt between those who've shared the same trenches, being fired upon. It's precious, it's sustaining, and it binds people together like nothing else. Whatever your involvement in the struggle, men: you haven't shared those trenches.

I mean, even if hypothetically you went to a literal feminist rally, and it literally happened that you were fired upon by literal bullets and had to dive behind literal barricades with your fellow feminists - you haven't. Even if you literally got shot in that hypothetical incident. Because to some of them, verging on an ideological majority by now I believe (depending on who you ask, and sometimes how), you are not their fellow feminist, and you can't be because you are a fellow. No matter what your involvement in the cause: you haven't remotely sustained under the same withering fire they have. You haven't walked around your whole life doubting, being doubted, flinching from implications, worrying which ones were deliberate and which were just ignorant, getting cut down, discarded, disregarded, all because you weren't empenised at birth. You were not in those trenches. You have DICK PRIVILEGE. Don't be a dick; own it.

Solidarity's important, and esprit de corps is important too. Living through the same kind of lifelong struggle forges real bonds between those who've lived it, and can therefore relate. You haven't lived it; you can't relate. Thank your lucky stars you can't.

Now: this is not to say all feminists hold that only a woman can be a feminist. Only that within the movement, most of the women seem to - and you ought to see and get that there are sound reasons why. Be sensitive to that, and don't try to horn in on the club when a feminist is right there telling you you can't be a member. You don't need to hobnob in a club. You've got a cause.

And what are you doing for it, by the way? If you don't mind my asking?

I'm not talking about being "allies." I don't understand this "allies" biz. The war is long since declared. We don't need allies. We need active combatants. Don't even consider yourself an ally if the extent of your allyship is to express your support to true believers! You'd better be doing more than that. When sexism rears its ugly head, you need to be right there shoving it up its sweet ass. Encounter! Engage! Confront! Oppose! Advocacy does not consist in preaching to choirs! The enemy is sexism, and you need to engage and confront that enemy wherever it is encountered. Otherwise, no: you don't believe in and advocate for. At best, you can claim to believe. Not enough.

Confession time. I must confess: I still say I'm a feminist. I'm always going to say I'm a feminist.

It's my cause. I can't understand any man whose cause it isn't. I can't understand any man who doesn't see how incredibly much we've all benefited from gains made towards equality. I'll always put it forth that I'm a feminist. But I'll put it forth tentatively, and absolutely without insistence. The cause is what's important and I don't need to crash the club. Often enough, the feminist I'm talking to proves cool with what I'm claiming. Big deal, yippee for me! Doesn't mean I don't retract and clarify at the first objection, and without argument, each time that happens. Because the definition of feminist that ipso facto excludes males is a legitimate definition. Because the reasons for that sentiment are valid. And because it cannot be valid for me to contest with someone dedicated to my cause, over some ego-need of mine to force my unwanted way onto her membership rolls.

I mean, that's practically obvious. You'd think.

So as a handy term to cover this sort of thing, I hasten to clarify that I am effeminist. Which indeed I am.

It's a specialized term, recent of coinage. It characterizes a man who believes in and advocates for the legal, political, and economic equality of a woman to a man. Generally, I use it in the adjective form, but it probably nouns out about the same. As language evolves, as understanding evolves, we need new terms from time to time. I made it up myself! Nice, right?

Only potential problem: the pronunciation. It's pretty much exactly homophonic to "a feminist." Thankfully, in practice it's not a problem. In my experience, it's always easy to clarify.

I'm always a feminist the first time you ask, but from there, strictly as needed, I'm about as effeminist as it gets.

Think Before You Speak, Not During.

Think before you speak, ok: preferably the day before. Think the week, month and year before - your whole life, as a general thing, think.

And after you've spoken with someone - think then! About what was said, and about whether what you mean has changed. Or feels like it needs to. And if it does, think some more. Think it through.

But don't think while you're speaking.

While you're speaking: focus on putting what you mean into words. Not on who you're saying it to, not on how different people will take it. Put what you mean into words. Work at this with focus and determination, all the while you speak. Don't distract yourself thinking up ways to soften, spin, or silence what you mean.

You know what you mean when you open your mouth to say it, right? Focus on that, and on getting it right. That's quite enough a task to set yourself, when you open your mouth. You opened it because you had something to say. Focus in, nail it - done. Then sit back ready to hear what the other's take is, and while you're listening - yes, think! Think then, about what they're saying, preferably. Not about what you intend to inject just as soon as you can finish pretend-listening and break in edgewise.

Listening thoughtfully to theirs can only help you understand your own meaning. Once you've digested what they have to say, consider your reaction. Now, your reaction can simply be thoughtful silence. It can also be a few introductory remarks noting where you agree with these points of theirs, before advancing on those other points. Your reaction can be to question, following on from their statements, seeking clarity. Exploring just where your grasps of reality overlap, and do not.

Or, your reaction may be to know precisely what you've got to say. So say it! Put what you mean into words.


You'll have thought it all through before, surely? But if not, even better! You'll have ample time to think it all through afterward, after all. From daring to speak, you'll gain more rounded insights on everything that comes up, wherever you've participated. You make a habit of this, you'll end up knowing pretty dang well what you mean on just about anything that does come up. Better yet, you'll know how easy it is for you to correct your views, using the best parts of other people's views - wherever they improve or improve on yours. That's a thing you can see for yourself, if you ever make a habit of focusing hard and sharp on what you mean, instead of on how to pitch it, twist it, cloak it in mist. Bury it in shit, or sink it in silence. The people who worry about that kind of stuff never learn to think clearly about anything.

The people who think first and shut up learn nothing but the inside of their own brains, and the cowardice that therein dwells.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Thought of the day: Guaranteed Something

Does it ever occur to anyone that without further specification, saying "Guaranteed results" ought to be about as reassuring as saying "Guaranteed consequences"?

Friday, August 04, 2017

Darth Vader must stink horribly

I mean, think about it. Walking around in the same black leather outfit all the time - does he ever even bathe? Does he ever take it off? Can he even? Parts of it are parts of him! We know he takes the helmet off sometimes, but even there the closeness of the helmet and the rankness of dried spittle must be overpowering. The suit probably has some climate-regulating elements, but go ask an astronaut how rank their kit gets after a full day's work - and they're not striding around menacing people 24/7 in it. There's no in-film evidence that the Empire's technology has developed any B.O.-killing miracle fabrics. Look at Grand Moff Tarkin! His foul stench carries all throughout the Death Star, and his outfit is clearly far more breathable than Vader's.

It's kind of disgusting when you think about it.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Our Ideas Are Not Mad At Each Other

Conflict between ideas is inherent in the ideas themselves. It's not a matter of belligerence, of attitude, of the personalities involved. There are points of conflict that are demonstrable, where each idea contradicts the other. If one is true, the other must be modified, possibly discarded.

When we become aware of a conflict between ideas we hold true, or a conflict between ours and those of another, we have a choice.

We can address the conflict: emphasizing the point of contradiction, explore how each idea's validity can be supported with reference to either A) observable reality, or B) some acknowledged truth, fundamental to both parties' understanding. B is usually best and easiest, but if the parties can find no fundamental shared truths between them, relevant to the ideas in question, they can still fall back upon A. If neither idea can be supported from there, any conflict between the ideas is probably imaginary.

Or, we can elect to leave it unaddressed. Whenever we become aware of a conflict between ideas and we fail to address that conflict, this is either cowardice or apathy. Cowardice, when we doubt our ideas can stand up to the examination, and we fear the consequences if they are undermined. Apathy, when we don't believe the attempt is worth the effort.

Don't worry. In either case, the attitude is probably entirely justified.

In neither case is anything of one's self at risk. When an idea of ours is undermined, the worst that can happen is that we become motivated to explore it more deeply, eventually to reach a better grasp of it. The better to hold it, if the idea is fundamentally sound.

Sometimes, the only better grasp we can get of an idea is to let it go. No harm done to anyone. If we ever want another look at it, or if we're feeling nostalgic, we can always wander back to the idea later and pick it up, kick it around!

"White Privilege" Doesn't Work.

"White Privilege" doesn't work. And I've tried. For about the past fifteen months or so, any time I'm in a social setting and things go awkward, I'll take a step back, put my hands up and say "Whoa! Whoa whoa, whoa. White Privilege!" I'll accompany that with a light brush of my cheek with the fingers of the left hand, turning the palm outward after. As if to demonstrate and invoke skin tone as a confrontation-stopper.

It doesn't work, folks. It has no effect. Sometimes, it will result in an engaged and passionate discussion of white privilege, and of how people have misunderstood its nature or pervasiveness, but the point is it doesn't work for what it's supposed to allegedly do: exempt us (or if you the reader are not white-identified, "we people") from the harmful consequences of racism and in particular, racial dysneogyny ("racial dysneogyny" is a term for people suddenly bitching about racism all of a sudden, especially unexpectedly). While it's true this can lead to an active, engaged exchange with the beneficial outcome of everybody on the same page, the fact remains: "White Privilege" doesn't work like we've been led to believe. It's basically a bill of goods.

Consider yourselves warned, everybody - white OR nonwhite. And try to tread lightly on other peoples' sensitive areas. Worst of all, in case it happens, remember: if somebody calls you out on racism - that person is an ally.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Subconscious: Or Is It?

Through most of my life I have been convinced either A) I do not have a subconscious ("subconscious mind" I suppose would be more correct. I will not be referring to it as a "subconscious mind" - I will be referring to it as a subconscious. DAMN though, I do dearly wish it could be correctly called "a subconscience")

I'll come in again.

Through most of my life I have been convinced either A) I do not have a subconscious, or B) if I do have one, it is almost completely vestigial, atrophied - inconsiderable, at any rate, in terms of whatever influence it has to exert. Because in general, as I act and occasionally, retroactively examine my actions for any discernible motive, I'm pretty sure there aren't any hidden or submerged influences rattling around down there. I mean, there really truly usually don't seem to be ANY. I'm kind of shallow and 'surface' - as far as I can perceive, anyhow. You know?


The point is, if that turns out to be the case, then...damn it!! I KNEW IT. Son of a bitch.

Saturday, July 01, 2017


So anyway - I won the lottery. And I thought, what about other people? What would YOU do if you won the lottery?

How many people would hire hookers to do fun, spontaneous, non-hooker activities?

How many people would hire out the ENTIRE SPACE NEEDLE restaurant in Seattle and recruit as many people as feasible to dress up as angels and see how many will fit?

How many people would

How many people would build a wrestling-nest of PURE POUTINE, and announce a 10,000 prize for anyone who can beat you in the championship of Poutine Wrestling, all while cannily not mentioning any particular currency so that you could technically make the prize be 10,000 of anything?

How many people would go back two paragraphs and complete the sentence?

How many people would do their own funky thing?

How many people would do, or essay to do somebody else's own funky thing?

Would anybody try to do MY funky thing?

How many people would take exception and make it a rule to make no allowances no matter WHERE the buck stops?

How many people would make an effort to compose sensible English sentences?

How many people would pee more often. If they won the lottery.

I know I would.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Considering Surgery? Some Questions You Haven't Considered, Maybe

Because the surgery is localized within the area of your body, it leaves you with some options. I'd suggest visit your practitioner's clinic first, before committing to anything definite. Does the waiting area have acceptable feng shui? What if it doesn't? Can you trust yourself to tell? Rub the affected area with essential oils. Then check the feng shui again: better? Sometimes multiple applications are necessary before a badly feng-shui'd area can really be brought up to standards. Once you're satisfied on that score, question your doctor on personal medical issues. Is he or she forthcoming? If so, you can lay back and trust yourself to the best modern science, equipment and tender gentle care has to offer - for a price.

That still leaves you with some nagging questions: when are you going to do the dishes? Are you ever going to call? Why haven't you shaved lately, I don't like it! Sometimes the best answer to questions like these is patience, and maybe an "awe shucks" attitude. People ask because they care. Good news is: you'll have plenty of time to ponder it all out during your long, luxurious recovery. You don't have time for a long recovery, you say?

A better question might be: can you afford not to. If you want that pain to go away, recovery is the price you pay.

Monday, June 26, 2017




Friday, May 26, 2017

I Have No Self-Respect. I Have A Great And Awful Personal Dignity, But No Self-Respect Whatsoever.


It'd be pretty much superfluous, I imagine.

I have a fantastic imagination! This doesn't increase my confidence in my judgment any.

That's about it for today!

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

In-Depth Literary Analysis & Considerations #2: Walden's "Civil Disobedience" Pt.1

Walden, in his excellent and posthumously-influential essay On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, once observed: "Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it." It strikes me there's a problem with this, even if probably not a serious one. Most of us would have a hard time describing the kind of government that would command our respect, because to do so would not be honest. Most of us have very little use for government.

The generally milling masses of the governed could probably (if they thought about it, if they were honest) declare that the government that commands respect from others is what they'd be interested in having. They'd be willing to take their share of commands, for the sake of everyone else having to. To fall in line themselves would be fine, in fact they probably have no great or particular yearning to ever get out of line. As long as the government promises to keep others in line too, that's more than a fair trade: the freedom to give up doing what irritates you anyway, in exchange for preventing others from doing it! The indifferentiated masses of the governed aren't particularly interested in creating or becoming a nuisance. If they have a use for government at all, they chiefly want government to prevent others from making nuisances of themselves. Ideally, with government itself making the least necessary nuisance of itself in the process.

The proud few anti-authoritarians, meanwhile, might declare, "No government which commands respect is worthy of it!" Or, "The only government that would command my respect is the government that refused to command at all." This seems dumb even if you don't think about it.

The guy's name's not Walden, of course. I knew that, but I just liked the opening better that way; calling him Walden. I bet Walden would approve. He was kind of a quietly mischievous scamp.

Also, there's something about government as "the least necessary nuisance" that tickles me. I had to leave that in.

Also, and this is probably too obvious to mention, but "indifferentiated" is a portmanteau word of "indifferent" and "undifferentiated," with the meanings of both combined in it. A related concept: I'd love someday to be in a position to make an impromptu pun in Natalie Portman's presence, in reference to her toes, and using the word "portmanteau." She's bad-ass. Got a husband, though. I guess whether it'd be appropriate comes down to whether she digs puns, and thinks her toesies are cute. Some people don't! I've discovered some people have this weird aversion to their own feet. Weird.

Fuck, I forgot where I was going with this. Let me slap a "Part 1" in the title, in case I can later recall. That's my sweet procedure in a nutshell!

Monday, March 06, 2017

Tough Topics #40: "Your Privilege Is Showing."

Oh, yes, it is.

And oh yes, by the way. My privilege is showing.

I've said it before, in here and elsewhere, out in the wide world without apology, and without (anywhere I've said it!) so much as the slightest bulge or budge of real gainsay offered: Privilege is always and everywhere, itself, a good thing.


Privilege is WHUUT?


I'm proud of my privilege. It is my inheritance as a human being. My privilege is what we the people (#yesallpeople) are capable of affording every human being on earth. Justly. The privilege we are talking about here is principally human dignity, given largely without question and taken largely without even being aware of it as a gift. Take my case: my identity is accepted everywhere. Nowhere am I assumed to be incompetent, weak, criminal or inferior due to my demographic classification. Seems so rudimentary, doesn't it? Can you imagine living your live-long life under conditions where none of that is true? Where wherever you go, people can and all too often do question your right to be there, your right to be you, your right to exist?

If you can imagine that, chances are you've lived it. Chances are, you've been missing out on some privilege, there (Not all privilege! #notallprivilege. I mean, you're accessing the internet right now, are you not? Rejoice. Your privilege is showing.). But chances are, if you can imagine a life like that, chances are you've been missing out on some privilege. Some privilege that others, maybe, have been taking for granted. My guess is, you were well aware of that. Sorry to belabor the point!

If you can't imagine that, though, chances are it's because you've got privilege. Try to imagine not having that, try to imagine getting used to any moment of your life, somebody taking the opportunity to shame and belittle you for who or what you are? And take a moment to ask yourself, "Damn, self - isn't it great that I DON'T experience that? Isn't this privilege GOOD?"

Yes, it is. Everywhere it is enjoyed, it is good. It would be a damn sight better if it were enjoyed everywhere, by all, is all.

It is BECAUSE privilege is always and everywhere itself a good thing, that it is an evil thing where privilege is unjustly denied. White privilege is good.

What whites as a class can take for granted is only what everyone else SHOULD HAVE. Male privilege is good.

What males as a class can take for granted is only what everyone else SHOULD HAVE.

If our fight is for good, our fight ought to be for all. Only then can we say our fight is for justice. Our need and our cause is solidarity. Our outcome, which is attainable, is for no one to be denied the great and good privilege that others are born into and enjoy, unearned - and typically, without even thinking about it, or even being aware of it. Our weapon?

Consciousness. Education, ideally. Which is the same as to say: didactics, pedagoguery, propaganda, and other marketing techniques as needed. Propaganda is as bad or as good as its truth content. Propaganda just means snazzy posters, catchy slogans, and well-conceived appeals to what is deepest in us. If you think these things can't serve truth, you're a fucking weirdo. Our weapon is to make truth known on every medium, small or large. Our weapon is to proclaim at all opportunities the self-evident truth which we have been given to know. Which we are privileged to know. Our weapon is to make public service announcement. To be able to perform such public service is itself, a privilege.

Our mantra? UNITE. Topple and leap the dividing lines, cunningly-drawn to keep us on the smallest side they can box us into. Unite in solidarity with every other side, every other group that has been similarly (or differently!) boxed in. Pit yourself not against the enemy they propose, but against the one who is preaching that enmity. That is the oppressor! THAT is the enemy. It is the inhuman Us, seducing your allegiance by stirring up the enmity of every conceivable Them, each against you - because each against each. The inhuman Us, who tells you to identify with it, identify with the Strong, and to fear the huddling, struggling, discontented masses and classes of the weak. The oppressed. Weak, only because disunited. Weak, only because pitted against each other in an enmity partly inherited, partly engineered. Our mantra, our call? UNITE.

The oppressed, taken together, are the mightiest demographic on earth.

Our shame, our stigma? Face it, friend. If you're on board with this kind of program, you already have and enjoy education privilege at a level most people haven't had access to - or worse, haven't wanted to. Drop the umbrage act, can the divisiveness, quit making the ignorant the enemy. Quit playing into the hands of the dividing and conquering oppressor, and let's help school these poor, benighted, underprivileged fools! If you're one of those who know better - your privilege is showing, and only you can help spread the word of the truth in the fight to unite. Sound the call to all, with the great good privilege you and I already enjoy - and which EVERYONE SHOULD.

And probably, would. I mean, don't you? Who wouldn't enjoy a thing like that.

Yes. Your privilege is showing. Your privilege is showing you how things could and should be - for everybody. It's because they aren't that way for everybody, it's because some are unjustly denied what you were born into and take for granted, that you need to consider what you have a privilege.

Your privilege is a good thing. You didn't ask for it, didn't earn it. Others no more or less deserving than you are denied what you were born into. That's why it's called "privilege." What should you do? What can you do about the fact that you have privilege?

REJOICE, of course. Privilege is a GOOD THING. It is your inheritance as a human. It is where all of us are heading, as a humanity. The only sorrow is that we're not yet there, to where all can enjoy something so rudimentary as having our basic human dignity accepted uncategorically. "Uncategorically," meaning not called into question based on a demographic category.

Hey. Did I mention that privilege is a good thing? The only one thing wrong with privilege is that it isn't yet widespread enough. Acknowledge yours. Rejoice that you have it. Claim it. Declare it good.

And if you have any sense of gratitude for being born, for getting to exist at all; if you have any concern for the fact that others are denied great good things that you enjoy, things you were given on on the way in as a door prize for being born, how about taking a practical approach? Shake what your mama gave you. USE your good thing, for the good of all. Grow what you got, flex what you got, leverage what you got, and spread that good thing that you got around. Work it like you earned it. Work to extend the recognition of the privilege you enjoy as something that others should not be unjustly denied! Unjustly, just because they fit some other human category than the one you lucked into, with its associated privileges. Your good won't be diminished one bit, by your efforts to spread these privileges around. It will only widen the pie, and increase the good - yours, and everyone else's.

Privilege is the good thing that you lucked into, where others are kept deliberately out. But human dignity is not a zero sum game. The harder we work to ensure others aren't denied, the greater each human dignified can make good. Increasing that potential redounds overwhelmingly, to the good of all.