Do You Feel Lucky?

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

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

ATTENTION WHITE PEOPLE

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.

Speak.

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?

BUT SOMETIMES I'M AFRAID THAT MAYBE MY SUBCONSCIOUS IS ENORMOUS AND CONTROLS MY EVERY CONSCIOUS THOUGHT AND ACTION. WHAT IF IT IS? WHAT IF I WILL NEVER KNOW THE INSCRUTABLE PULSES AND IMPULSES THAT UNGOVERNABLY IMPEL ME TO THE ACTS I SO BLITHELY WING MYSELF THROUGH??

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

I WON THE LOTTERY!!

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

I HOPE I'M NOT BOTHER ANYONE

MY BOTHER IS A SELECT KIND. OFTEN TO BOTHER OTHER, I FIND I HAVE DONE IT AND WISH NOT! BUT IN KIND, THE OTHER WILL BOTHER ME BY NOT EVEN KNOWING ABOUT IT. DID I TELL THEM? NOBODY DID - THAT WAS CHOICE OF MINE! 
 
SO I AM LEFT WITH IT. TO CHOOSE, TO BOTHER OR NOT SAY? FOR IF BOTHER ME, AND I FIND OUT WHO IS IT - AND IT IS YOU!! AND THEN FOR SAKE OF ARUMENT: DO I CHOOSE TO BOTHER YOU (POSSIBLY) BACK BY SAYING "HEY! BOTHERING!!?" - THEN I HAVE COMPOUNDED YOURS WITH ANOTHER ONE! SO PLUS IT COULD BE UNWORTH THE BOTHER ITSELF, BECAUSE TO BOTHER OVER BOTHER IS LIKE A DOUBLE DUMB. 
  
BUT! THE OTHER HAND! AND IF A BOTHER IS UPON YOU AND YOU NEVER SAY "BOTHER!" TO THE PERSON WHO AM BOTHER YOU - WHO THE FAULT IS THAT? YOURS! BECAUSE YOU TOOK THAT CHOOSE UPON YOU THE NOT MENTIONING IT. SO ULTIMATELY WHO BOTHERING YOU?

YOU SELF IS.

Friday, May 26, 2017

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

None.

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.

SAY IT! TELL IT! HAL-E.-FUCKEN LOOYA!

Privilege is WHUUT?

A GOOD THING.

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.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Seduction Techniques #3: The "Works For Me" Method

1. Wait til' they beg.

2. Listen carefully. Very carefully.

3. Consider their needs and wishes, and determine whether they'd be likely to entail any negative, long-term bad results of the emotional (or fuck, spiritual if you swing that high) well-being of any parties concerned. We both know what the immediate upsides are likely to be, hey? 'Nough said on that score. But don't skip straight to that, over step three. Hell, examining the upsides doesn't even come into the process, that's not a step you need when you're already clearly interested in these things. STEP FOUR:

4. Act according to the dictates of your conscience. Step five?

5. Reap the sweet, hot, dirty harvest of your effing, effortlessly-effected efforts' effects.

Folks, this works for me every time - every dang time. Like a charm, it does. Like a spell, almost. It's because they can tell you didn't skip over step three! Not skipping over step three works just about every damn time. The process comes off without a hitch or a snag, just like one of those tawdry, vulgar sidebar ads touting "psychological loophole discovered in the gendered psyche of your preference, which techniques it behooves you (or so goes the overture) to seize and wield, to devastating and satisfactory who-could-even-believe-it-really-works-and-oh-shit-is-this-really-happening (yes!) effect! You should acquaint yourself with and master these techniques immediately, pal - NOW, before they are FOUND OUT and MADE TO BE AGAINST THE LAW. They work on WOMEN, if that's what you're into!"

Not that there's everything wrong with that.

There may be ones pitched at the non-gynosexual demographic as well, but if so I haven't seen them. Maybe gmail doesn't think my emails are dirty enough in the right direction to show me those.

Except the difference here is, those kinds of ads (or the products or services described, which amounts to the same damn thing) are always almost certainly BULL SHIT, at least - smells so to me. Full disclosure, I've never clicked and tried. There seems to be a number of competing outfits ganging in on that same basic pitch, and, my guess is, all different competing and conflicting creatively, wishfully-written methods, shoehorned in under the same proven basic umbrella pitch (one assumes, proven. Proven to gull the marks, I mean). Face it: there's no way most of those work, and I'd laugh loud and long at the idea any of them work at all. But the caveat is, I haven't tried them.

I haven't had to.

And now? Neither do you.

Getting to Know Me #2: What Fictional Character Am I, Anyway?

In Muppet terms, I am a Skeeter.

Correction: his name is Scooter.

Actually I'm not him. I'm a Beeker. I spell mine with two e's, though - he apparently goes with an e and an a.

Skeeter was a mistake, there, sorry - different but wrong Muppet character. For some reason I thought that dude's name WAS Skeeter. If it had been, I might not have switched to Beeker! In some real sense, I'm definitely a Skeeter. There's an awful lot of Skeeter in me, but not the way that thusly-named character portrays it.

By the way, do you know I've never once considered the question "Which Muppet Are You?" WAIT! I DID, except on the particular internet poll, options were limited to Sesame Street Muppets. (Where yes, I am indeed Snuffleupagus - and I know how to spell it, and I am not at all offended by the supposed revisionism of Mr. Snuffleupagus now being acknowledged as real by all the neighborhood. He was ALWAYS real, he just had a slow-speed shuffle-off-to-the-side while Bird's distracted by something else - a Batman move he'd perfected on his own. Anyone else could have seen him at any time, except he didn't care to hang around to be seen.)

Close second: Guy Smiley, but the point is, boy was I surprised to find how hard it was to pick my Expanded Universe/Muppet Show Muppet! I can't believe I never consciously singled out any one of those guys to identify with. What a great cast of characters, and maybe that's the problem - too many ring true to different parts of you for you to identify too strongly with any only one!

In all the other classic "pantheon of fictional beings" Who-Are-Yous, though, I pretty much know and have it locked in. I am Linus in terms of Peanuts (with Woodstock in my moon sign), Batman in terms of Superfriends (SUPERFRIENDS ONLY), Captain Marvel ("SHAZAM!!!") in terms of post-Crisis, pre-52 DC continuity, Colossus in terms of Marvel, Captain America in terms of MCU (where there are, thank God, no goddamn "X-Men" cluttering up the place with their idiotic and insulting superpowers-based Civil Rights parable - that universe, the X-Verse, DESPERATELY NEEDS to be set in a world where no one is metahuman EXCEPT for mutants, in order for its conceit to ring remotely plausible! THOR WOULD BE HATED AND FEARED, in any world where people reacted to "mutants" so poorly!

Even speaking canonically, Thor IS a mutant, if the X-Men conception of "mutant" exists. Thor was born that way, for gods' sakes. No pun intended, attempted or accomplished.)

AND DON'T TELL ME HE CAN'T BE A MUTANT BECAUSE HE'S NOT OF OUR SPECIES. The Greek gods can interbreed with us. They pass the conspeciality test with flying colors. You telling me the Norse gods CAN'T? GROW UP.

In terms of Star Wars, I'm clearly Jiangjuan Ki. I just made her up. She's of the mysterious "Grey Sith" - they use the Dark Side (including all its emotions and the power they tap and leash) for objectively altruistic purposes, although they're also very heartless about it. Very "Greater Good," very "preserve the balance."

In Star Trek terms, I am Kirk. Didn't used to be. I used to test pretty strongly as SPOCK, if you can believe it! Now it's all coming up Kirk. Maybe that's just the world we live in, forcing me to Kirk up or Kirk out, or most likely and efficaciously, both. Close second: MOTHER FUCKEN CHEKOV

"Getting to knowwww, meee-e-e-e...!"

In Scooby Doo terms I'm Velma. I'd totally scooby dooby do me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

I Just Had An "Ah-Ha!" Moment!

Then I wondered, if you go to an A-ha concert, is it chock full of such moments?

Then I forgot what the original epiphany was.

On balance, it was an "Ah, well" moment. Life is chock full of those!

Thought of the day: the impossible

AIM FOR THE IMPOSSIBLE. Settle for the inevitable.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Open Letter to My Favorite Cowgirl

Dear You,

If you ever you look around and wonder what's the point - what's good in this world that's worth all the sticking around, what do other people look to in this life? Remember: they have something you don't. Something beautiful, that fills random moments with wonder, something incredibly special to cross their paths from out of nowhere and remind, all of a sudden "yes! That's why life is so good." They something you don't have, or at least, something you're not in a very good position to see. Something truly beautiful: you, in all the moments when you're not even paying attention. They have the best view on you.

Trust me, unless you spend all day by the mirror looking deep into the eyes, your view cannot compare to theirs. Have you even seen your soul lately? Too busy checking your teeth, I think.

Everybody else in the world gets you: the best parts you choose, to try to put across. They see them even if you don't make it all the way there. But you? All you get is the whole thing, including all the icky and disappointing parts, the embarrassing memories that reflect with a cringe on some passing thing that triggers them, the parts other people barely noticed the first time and haven't thought about since, but that you can obsess on quite easily. The bad moods hidden from view, horrible thoughts rarely confessed. That's you, too, you know.

The whole thing's you, but for each and every one of us, knowing and dealing with the whole thing kind of takes the shine off ourselves. Grown accustomed to the lighting, you really can't brighten your own day - but did you know when you walk in anyone else's room - you know, you really take their breath away?

When I look into your eyes, I find it hard to find the words to say.

Love,

me

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Tough Topics #39: The Revolution

Do you want to tell people they can't be mad and madder about society's problems unless they have a solution to offer, outlined in bullet-point form so you can poke holes in it? Maybe you better take a closer look at the situation, captain pragmatic rationalist. These people don't care WHAT the solution is. There is always a solution: it is called fire, and blood, and death to the weak and vulnerable among us, death to the elderly and the sick and infirm and poor, death to those holding unpopular minority views (or simply unpopular minority genes will do in a pinch), death to whoever is on the wrong side of the first revolution that suckers the weak into pouring their immeasurable strength into it. Death to whoever fares worst, surfing the societal collapse. And I suppose you think the rich and powerful will fare worse than the poor and powerless, as things start to fall apart?

Wow, do you?

Just wow. Is humanity perfectible as well? Is there a greater good that outweighs the good of indefinite you? Do others agree which good that is? That would be too easy, though, wouldn't it.

Don't worry. There's always a solution, and that solution is ON THE TABLE. It is on the table RIGHT NOW, as it always has been for the past 241 years. That solution is always on the table, as soon as enough people find nothing else on the table to live for that they can live with. Revolution is on the table. Nothing you say is going to take it off the table. Now you want to say you can't come up with anything better than that?

It will not come to revolution, as long as more attractive options can be found to put on the table. Anything is better than dismissing mounting fury over real problems with "there's nothing we can do to make it better" as it keeps getting worse. You can either put something more attractive on the table, or you can stand back with your arms crossed complaining how people keep getting madder and madder as hell "without providing workable solutions." There's no burden on you, here, except for a burden of opportunity.

If you don't come up with a more attractive solution, somebody will. It will be a very attractive solution. And what do you want to bet the solution will be a slick fiction that seduces a ton of angry people into getting behind something that won't do jack shit to fix things in the long run? What if in addition to that, the solution also provides a glorious hope and a huge release for their fury and frustration in the meantime? Gives all this rage something to do! Makes them feel like they're making progress. Change! Probably something irreversible, and bad.

"Mad with no solution" does not equal "mad for no reason." People are not stupid. Politics is stupid. People who would dearly love to live their lives focused on work, on friends, on family and on living are not STUPID. They are not avoiding the important things: those are the important things. They have their priorities STRAIGHT. And they have every right to feel rage that politicians and financiers are so fucking incompetent they can't milk the cow without KILLING IT.

So what now? Do regular people who don't even want to get involved have to rouse themselves and GET involved? Do all people of good will need to be coming up with some solutions here, or at the very least, joining in denouncing what is detestably unsatisfactory? If we don't, I assure you all people of bad will are looking very ingeniously for some way to harness this force of discontent to their benefit.

There's always revolution. Surely you can come up with a better idea than that.

Tough Topics #38: The Greater Good

Recognize tyranny by its marks: where the one is called less than the many; less than the goal; less than the cause: there is tyranny. Rarely is it imposed from above. Rarely does it run afoul of the consent of the governed. Usually, it is demanded by the governed. The weak and gullible seek shelter within tyranny's seeming strength, believing that if only they give into it, if they identify with the "us" all greater goods are felt to serve, if they condemn whatever "them" is demonized as the enemy, the adversary, the problem, their loyalty will be repaid. They'll become part of some protected "us." They embrace that there exist greater goods, which can on behalf of Us void any one of us.

Giving into this seduction protects no one, serves the good of none, endangers all. You place an inhuman expediency, guided and determined by whoever happens to hold the pen or have access to the button, above us all. Be sure of it: they will take that job on. And when it suits expediency - the moment any one of you becomes sufficiently inconvenient - the inhuman Us will crush you out. You have given it permission to.

If you believe a greater good can be more important than the unspecified individual - the indefinite you - you give your blessing. You've allowed that an individual is of less consideration than a greater good. If an individual is less than, any individual can be. It's no crime for an institution to exercise that discretion against you, once you've given it that power. You set your own one life's worth as less than a greater good as determined by others. You bless an institution with the power to set what that good should be, and it is theirs to say who shall be called less than.

More to the point, if enough of those around you give that blessing, if we let that happen, we too will be governed by that consent. A greater good than any of us will do whatever it sees fit to any one of us.

No institution sees a greater good than its own. You, the individual, will be less than the greater good. By your own will or by common consent, you, your life, your right, will be subject to a peremptory void, potentially a permanent one. Of course no one would make that decision lightly. They'd glance at the greater good first, make sure it's still bigger than individuals. It'll be a very hard call to be sure, but don't worry. You won't be the one making it.

There's one thing you can say for sure about the greater good: you are not it.

Friday, January 06, 2017

HYPOCRISY!!! Or Something Quite Like It

So I saw this out there, and I thought "Now, this is food for thought about an awful lot of things, arguably, wrong with America."



As to the image itself: I don't see anything wrong with this. At all. The face, a little maybe. But the point is, this sick aversion we're all supposed to have, to hiss and cringe at the most basic and human of all our natures - the natural animal we are, unadorned in glory or even boredom; our natural human being and all you see and all you get to do with it - this sick aversion is at the root of our worst most pervasive perversions, predations, depersonalizations and neuroses.

You can say the point of this slutshameful meme is hypocrisy: because this is the person so-called conservative Christian values advocates are, apparently, fine with being "our first lady." Well, you'd be right the point is hypocrisy: because if you're a supposed liberal, presumably with enlightened views on sexuality, personal expression, and in any case very much against "slut shaming," you're the hypocrite for creating this image. And from the so-called Christian values side, there's no hypocrisy at all in acknowledging a person who is trying to walk that road now, may have walked a far different road in the past. Or may fall down on that road, now, and get back up. That's not hypocrisy, that's the point of Christianity.

When it comes to calling shame on innocent nature, I am willing take to task any person claiming to represent any value or morals system. On the topic of the human form, on sex itself, properly-expressed. Now, "properly-expressed according to whom?" you may well ask! I solemnly assure you, it is as appropriate for religion to advance a viewpoint on the proper expression of sexuality as it is for an individual person to hold a viewpoint on proper expression of sexuality. Yet it is equally appropriate, when we see such stances advanced, and where we can see and show where the stance in question is sick, unjust, or unhealthy, we can question it. We can object to it; we can remonstrate over it. We can rebuke the stance on merit. It's not only appropriate, it may be courageous. But only if you yourself can see, show, say where it is wrong. It would be foolhardy to try, if you can't. You can't say right from wrong if you can't show and tell. But before you go looking around for the wherefores and whys of right and wrong, get one point straight: don't go blaming your nudity prudity on God.

The fig leaf wasn't God's idea, people. It was ours.

The human body, its form and expression through all variations: what's natural is not shameful. And especially, its forms of expressing in the fullest act of human union bodies and souls can come together to make, making one bucking, thrashing beast beautifully for a few minutes - something you never both come all the way back from, by the way - or for those who consensually mutually prefer their sex a bit less significant, why not? Just performed just for mutual fun, and a thrill to know you better this way; what can be called wrong about that? Casual or serious as death til you part, either way two consenting adults want to play, is FAIR PLAY. Or just one consenting adult, standing or lounged or appearing just as he or she wants, and happens to be - wearing whatever or just a killer Blue Steel. Who is disgusted by this? A human being, beautiful as may be, just as they are? Or humans being, doing any or all of the things together they do so beautifully ugly.

Who is disgusted by this? Who in that scenario is the disgusting one? What's wrong with you, America? GROW UP.

It's time we start prudeshaming the slutshamers. If we haven't already, I mean. One important point before you do, though: it's actually perfectly okay for a Christian to be a proud prude! Because you can guarantee this: a Christian will never, ever judge another's sin.

Some of them just think they can, but we already got a guy for that.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Protagonist Archetypes #3: The Girl Who Gets Fallen In Love With

One could argue that the Girl Who Gets Fallen In Love With is a weak role, not a powerful, almost most wondrous storybook archetype, as I've posited in the past in my critique, note, ode to noted actress Zooey Deschanel. People denigrate that kind of role, calling instead for a gun-totin' or sword slicin' or club bludgeonin' swashbucklerina.

These people have either read the wrong storybooks, or watched the wrong 80s and 90s and 00s reimaginings of them, or both.

Let's look at it from the flipside of the archetype: the Boy Who Gets Fallen In Love With. Don't give me this revisionist glib cynical cowardly Prince Charming stuff. I know Prince Charming. I don't know if he was valiant or not, but he's clearly a good guy, a good catch, an honorable man - rich as all fuck and cuts a damn dashing figure, besides. He is also someone who is capable of true love, as witnessed in broken spells. But I don't know if he was or wasn't courageous, in the hero-of-violence sense. Because as far as I can recall, Prince Charming never even unsheathed his sword! Not in the stories I've read. Certainly he wasn't lopping heads off with it. They just throw all that trash in there these days to pump up the junk-candy adrenaline rush, and fill out a cinematic amount of time. All distracting from the real magic of the story - the only kind of magic that sometimes comes true.

Storybooks are for children, some say. But the power they have is witnessed in the dreams they instill, which mature and endure far beyond childhood as some of the biggest and most wished-for, important gifts adulthood could bring or want. Things that the rest of life needs, for the "happily" to feel right, and fit. The power of these stories isn't founded in some laughable theory of early indoctrination and brainwashing. The themes put into these tales are simply the most powerful themes, the most powerful needs and wants that their storytellers knew. These stories were not written by children, but by grown men and women who knew what magic was possible to life. Powerful, powerful stuff.

The love of these stories is a true thing: not a false, not a lie - but never is it promised, never guaranteed. Never deserved. One can only hope for luck and fate to open a crack, and when the chance comes, it must be dared! You must seize that chance with pluck and audacious good graces. True love is not deserved, but it can be earned. The mere chance of that is rightly called fantastic.

These storytellers put in all of the highest magic of real life that they could. The most powerful adult roles are not soldiers, but lovers.

And as in fiction: so in truth. The most magical and beautiful and amazing of roles is to be the one who gets to fall in love. You who believe that's a weak role: you only think you grew up.

In actual fact, you don't even know which way.

TMI Tips #3

The vagina is naturally elastic. Chances are, you will find it can comfortably accommodate even the largest human penis size, even fully-erect, even in cases where at first blush - the dimensions may seem frightening. As a preparatory measure to ensure comfort and enjoyment (to say nothing of peace of mind), perhaps nothing could be better than sexual arousal.

All the above presupposes consent. I'd like to think that goes without saying, but that may be my typical patriarchal guy style rearing its ugly head yet again, so I err here on the side of caution, if any: guys?

Consent comes first. Then her, then you.

Ladies, please feel free to skip over any chauvinism AKA chivalry implicit in that last bit, with your characteristic and stereotypical grace. Thanks!