wednes: (Eye of Wednes)
Did you see the piece in Teen Vogue about a makeup artist that transformed a white model, giving her the look of a woman of color? Apparently, people are calling this "blackface" and saying how super offensive it is. As you might think, I disagree.

Obviously, whether someone is offended is between them and the art. My point is not to tell anyone that they shouldn't be offended. But blackface and minstrel shows are not remotely the same as using makeup to transform a model. It's not done to mock, harass, stereotype, or profit from the images of POC. Again, if that still offends you, that's your business. But telling the artist that he's hateful is not cool. Demanding that he take down his work or stop making it is also not cool.

There's something else though. There's an idea among white liberals now that if you hear any POC say they don't like something--you're not allowed to like it either, else you're oppressing people. Obviously, not all POC will agree on any one issue, and suggesting that they should or do is pretty fucking racist. It's a good thing for us white people to ease up on the idea that everything should be catered toward us. But I'm already tired of having white people explain to me that my views are wrong--because they once spoke to a POC who held a differing opinion. I know POC too. How many do I have to find that agree with me before I'm allowed to maintain my personal opinion?

In the end, the purpose of art is to challenge people, make them think. That means being uncomfortable sometimes. It also means that people will discuss, even argue, the way they see art differently. That's not just okay, it's vital and necessary. By that same token, there's no art (or humor, for that matter) that one couldn't describe as offensive to someone or something.

Take one of my fave paintings, Picasso's Guernica (take THAT!).
Here's a smattering of what people might say about that painting if it were unveiled today, and depicted a more modern tragedy:
"He's making a painting about [tragedy]? What sicko wants to see that?"
"Oh sure, profit off the war why don't you? Fascist!"
"This asshole wouldn't be painting pretty pictures if he'd ever fucking been in a battle!"
"Where does he get off speaking for people of [place]?!?"
"There's nothing artistic about war. War is hell."
"I'm so sick of hearing about [event], why can't people just let things go?"
"Artsy Fartsy cuck paints woman holding dead baby, calls it art. Bullshit."
"We should boycott [museum] and make sure Picasso never works again!"
"Fuck painters! Sit inside all day and didn't even join the military! MAGA"
and so forth.
"Great, another white man speaking for minorities! Shut up and listen, Pablo!"

IDEA: I've been thinking about a project wherein people send me jokes and I explain what's potentially offensive about them. The point is to demonstrate that ANY joke can be considered offensive, because every joke comes from a place of absurdity or exaggeration. I just don't know how to figure out the mechanics of such a thing. Is Twitter the best place for that? Or a Reddit AMA?

Example:
Why did the chicken cross the road?
"Who are YOU to interrogate that chicken? He was probably escaping from the harrowing industrial farm complex where chickens like him/her are tortured every day. But you don't care about that, you savage carnivore! Where that bird wants to go is none of your business, they don't owe you an explanation, and it's offensive that you would even ask."

I would accept responses within a specified period. The goal would be for people to try to find a joke that can't possibly be described as offensive, then I point out how it could be.

Ultimately, we're all allowed to find things awesome or offensive if we want to (or against our will, I suppose), and to share those thoughts with the world. What we don't get to do is force people to stop expressing themselves because we don't like what they're saying. Sure, we may want to limit our exposure to such things, or even limit the venues that allow such people/works to have a voice. I wouldn't want my tuition dollars supporting an Ann Coulter or Milo speech. But they still should be allowed to speak.

The Signs

May. 23rd, 2017 12:48 am
wednes: (Farnsworth/zombie jesus)
I'm trying to identify the signs of when a person starts slipping into alt-right theology. I'm not sure if the people I'm noticing have always been a little off, but I know a few people now who have gone from normal and reasonably intelligent to Alex Jones listening, Glenn Beck agreeing, 'why are people so hateful to Trump/Pence' spewing.

Imma focus on two guys I knew in college. I don't wanna use their real names, so I'll call one Bee and one Jay.
When I met Bee, he was a non-trad student with a giant ego who acted like he was way smarter than other students because he "waited to go to school." What? He treated women poorly, drank a lot, lied to get out of trouble, paid me to do assignments, and presented himself differently to different people in huge and humiliating ways. We also slept together a bunch of times, and he told everybody not only that we DIDN'T sleep together, but that I was telling people we had and nobody should listen to me. I won't bother explaining how hurtful that was to a fat girl who thought she had a friend with benefits.
So when I ran into this dude on Facebook years later, he told me all about his wife before asking if I wanted to meet someplace and fuck. When I said No, I got a long diatribe about how I didn't understand how the world worked. He started sending me insane links and racist shit all the time. I'd try to discuss it with him, but he just went more and more off the deep end. Finally he said he was going to ban me from Facebook. I eventually learned he thought that if he banned someone from his page, they couldn't go on FB at all. Smart, right?

Jay and I had a similar background, except we lived in the same house. We ran in the same departments, had the same friends, and fooled around a few times despite never actually dating. Because college, yo. We did a few projects later on, and again, I was offered some no-strings sex even though Jay was clearly in a committed, live-in relationship with someone. I don't mention the sex stuff to advertise myself as a slut or whatever. It's just that treating women as a tool rather than a person seems part and parcel to the alt-right. (and make no mistake, if you're STILL supporting what Trump and Pence are doing, you're alt-right)
After 9/11, I started getting racist forwards from Jay. When I told him at length why I didn't want him sending me racist, anti-Muslim shit, he told me it was no big deal and not to get riled. Lately, Jay has been posting stuff on social media, then saying he doesn't want to discuss it. He deletes comments he doesn't agree with, and makes outlandish statements he can't defend with a single fact or verifiable example.
If Jay says something "happens equally on the left and right," Jay needs to back that shit up with at least two examples. Telling someone to "google it" when they ask you to defend some outlandish assertion you've made? No. If you know the facts of the point you're making, either state them or admit you don't have any.

Sure, it's not a lie to say that I get fired up about politics. The word "obnoxious" may not even be far off at times. While I've always done this, it's extra important now that so many poor/middle-class people are about to have their lives made a whole lot more difficult, dangerous, and full of denial of services.
On the off chance that one of my comments is deleted, I spend a few minutes considering whether I've been rude, off topic, or said something false. If none of those are the case though, I'm out. I don't have an interest in playing on an unlevel field. I have to do that in real life every day, so I'll be damned if I do it in conversations with friends. I won't discuss anything in a forum where dissent is silenced. Even if I'm not the one being silenced, I don't want any part of that.

These are the signs I've noticed in people turning toward the alt-right"
--Dislike for/distortion of PC Culture (being sensitive to the fact that not everyone is the same gender, religion, race, color, orientation, etc as you are, and that there's nothing wrong with that)
--Victim Blaming
--Vague admiration for how things "used to be," usually while forgetting many, many things from that era.
--Lumping people into groups and then into We and They.
--Being angry about things they can't explain ("Hillary did Benghazi" What do you mean? What do you think she did exactly? "Look it up, stoopit")
--Anti-woman sentiment (includes lying to wife/gf, trivializing or minimizing their concerns, slut-shaming, as well as basic rape culture stuff)
--Complaining about other people's English when they write like a sleepy toddler.
--Pro-confederacy or anti-BLM statements (including "it's my heritage")
--Distorting other people's statements to more easily discredit them
--Denying that they've said things they've said
--Refusing to take major news outlets seriously--including WaPo, NYT, and Reuters.
--Asking for explanations, then shouting over responses

Why is this important? Honestly, I wish it wasn't.
I wish this was as simple as "Oh, you like Reagan? I think he's a liar who doesn't give a shit about the poor, so I'm for Jimmy Carter." You can disagree for a bit and then talk about something else. Now, supporting DJT means thinking women should be punished for having an abortion, or that banning people from our country based on their religion is not just okay--but a step in the right direction. To support this administration, you have to either believe, or not care that the law will reflect beliefs, in misogyny, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and that will ensure that most people will no longer be able to get treatment for illnesses or injuries regardless of their seriousness. Oh, and you have to be okay with Christianity (and ONLY Christianity) being taught in public schools.
I know I'm not exactly saying anything new here. But dammit, this is getting harder and harder as time goes on. I can't imagine the logic or reasoning of why a normal, educated adult would suddenly buy into that garbage. The answer has to be that it's not as sudden as I think it is...
wednes: (OMG!!!)
Thinking I was clever by waiting until all the eps dropped, I signed up for some commercial-free Hulu so I could watch me some Handmaid's Tale. That book gave me serious nightmares. It was also the only Atwood I'd read until a coworker suggested that my not having read Oryx and Crake was a goddamn tragedy. Damn, that's a great series too.

But I digress...
The show is incredible. Elizabeth Moss is incredibly sympathetic as the Everywoman telling her story. Ann Dowd will break your brain as Aunt Lydia, who has an expanded role in this series--one that implies that the area housing survivors is smaller than the book led me to believe. In fact, I thought the book took care NOT to indicate that Gilead was the USA. Now I'll have to read it again. Of course, I see the value in making it America.

There's a lot to love about the show, even given the horrific subject matter. My fave thing though, is the music. At first I found it highly jarring that the show would end with modern music. Because the show itself has the look of something long ago--a colony for super oppressed Amish or Quaker people (pardon my ignorance at lumping them together), or something from the most repressive parts of the 1950s.
But that's the point. This shit didn't happen in a time before modern communication, or before people understood about gay issues or gender equality.

I wish they hadn't given Offred a name. The other movie did that too. They called her Kathryn. Here, she's June.

In other news, my new desk is huge and amazing. Will take some getting used to, since it led to a dramatic reduction in walkway space in the apartment. Maybe some day we'll get to move out of here.

Anyway, there are six more eps remaining, which means I'll be paying for Hulu for at least 2 months. Lucky them.

Medicine

Apr. 19th, 2017 10:31 pm
wednes: (Colbert Rage)
I'm taking a new medicine (no, it's not insulin) that comes in a pen. I give myself a shot in the stomach every morning, which isn't remotely as bone-chillingly horrible as it sounds. With these pens, you screw them into the pen and give the shot. Then you throw the needle part away and use a fresh one the next day.

After 2 weeks, I needed more "pen needles." I can't seem to get them. My pharmacy doesn't appear to have them, so my doc called them in to a medical supplier. They called me today to say that while they do have what I need, they can't take my insurance.

I said "Can I just get a week's worth and pay for it without the insurance? I just used my last one." The lady paused. I heard typing, and she came back with "No." I wasn't sure I heard her correctly. She repeated, "No, they're prohibitively expensive." And she said this to me AFTER reading that I have an Ann Arbor mailing address. This place is a shithole, but many people assume we have money because we have an Ann Arbor address.

Long story short, nobody seems able to help me get them.
Desperate, I look them up online so I can at least find out how much I need to scrape together to get them.

Come to find out, Amazon has a box of 100 for under $15.
What the hell?!?

I'm pondering this, because it happened the same week I got CPAP supplies from the local medical equipment supplier--MedEquip Ann Arbor, if you're wondering. The charge for one "gel mask with headgear" is $149. But I was charged an additional $50 (billing only, it said) for headgear. But guess what? I only got one headgear. I called the place, and they assured me several times that even thought it SAYS the $150 price covers headgear, they actually have to charge me an extra $50 for reasons they can't explain.

Guess what? Amazon sells the gel masks for $70 (without headgear) and $20 for the headgear. So they're charging more than twice what another retailer is for the same exact products. Same brands, models, everything.
When I asked about this, they explained that part of what I was paying for was "the convenience" of having them bill my insurance--which doesn't cover these full amounts. But it WOULD cover everything if they weren't overcharging me out the ass.

I'm not sure what I want to do about that. Can I bill my insurance for reimbursement for stuff I bought on Amazon? How does that even work?
It seems like this kind of fuckery is just another thing making health care shitty in America. If we had single payer, companies that overcharge by this much would never get a government contract and would have to either charge fairly or GTFO.
wednes: (Farnsworth/zombie jesus)
Heated discussions with outspoken feminists often make me more angry and frustrated than trying to talk sense into DJT apologists. Maybe it's because I expect more from those who claim to be "woke." Maybe it's because I presume that "being reasonable" means thinking pretty much like I do.

A blogger I enjoy posted on Facebook comparing Bill Cosby's treatment in re: his many rapes, with Bill O'Reilly and his allegations of sexual harassment. Their claim was that these two men were being treated differently from each other, and that the explanation for this was, of course, racism.

I don't mind saying that this seems like bullshit to me. No, I'm not denying that racism is alive and well, or that it often finds its way into the legal system. Of course it does. That's not why this claim doesn't work for me.

Point 1: Cosby drugged and raped at least 40 women while O'Reilly is accused of sexual harassment. If there are allegations of inappropriate touching or anything physical, I am not aware of them.
When commenters brought this up, we were told that these distinctions don't matter.
Um, what? Of course it matters. It matters in terms of criminal law, and it matters in the event of civil lawsuits. What a person does absolutely matters.
Example: Murdering your spouse is well, murder. Beating your spouse, while completely fucked, is not murder. So if two people do these things, one is a murderer and one isn't. Ergo, them not being charged with the same crime has nothing to do with anything other than the fact that they committed different crimes.

Point 2: No one has been charged with anything, meaning nothing has been adjudicated. How can one make a claim that one person is being punished more severely than the other when neither has been punished by the law?
Yes, Cosby has been formally charged. Again, he raped a bunch of people. Depending on the state, O'Reilly's harassment may or may not result in criminal charges. But we do know that he paid women off to avoid civil lawsuits.

Point 3: Much has been made of the unofficial punishments for these men. Public shaming, reruns taken out of syndication, unfavorable press and memes, etc. These men are no doubt experiencing different reactions from their fan bases. But does anyone really think that's solely because of race?
Do we think Bill O'Reilly's audience is made up of radical feminists who will ride him out of town on a rail for being shitty to women? No. it's made up of men who probably think if women don't want to hear him masturbating on the phone, they shouldn't wear skirts or high heels to work. O'Reilly has always been an arrogant blowhard who appeals to wannabe arrogant blowhards.
Meanwhile, Cosby has always presented himself as a kind of moral arbiter, as far back as the Fat Albert show. When you spend decades pretending to be a model husband, father, industry professional, and community leader, you have much farther (further?) to fall. Again, this is not racism. It's the difference between a fan base of crotchety old men versus sitcom-loving American families.

Ascribing motives to strangers is always tricky territory. But what really chaps my ass is this idea that dissenting comments should be deleted. Thinking that rape and harassment are different doesn't make me "part of the problem," nor does it mean I'm trivializing sexual assault. Bullshit accusations like that are why some people think they dislike feminists and feminism.

On my own page, I invite discussion from pretty much anyone. If someone proves that they're unable to discern facts from fevered dreams, persist in name calling or verbal abuse after being warned, or are spouting racist, sexist, or delusional nonsense, they get banned. It's pretty rare. I never delete comments though, because people should own the shit they say online. Taking it down gives them a free pass to pretend it never happened. Plus, I'm not afraid of words, ideas, thoughts, or language even when I strongly disagree with them. I don't mind saying that cowardly bullshit like that pisses me off. Shutting down conversations is the thing that keeps us from connecting with each other and finding common ground.
Obviously, people can run their own pages how they like. But I don't think I'll ever understand the concept of posting something (ie: inviting discussion) and then deleting every comment you don't agree with. That's just preening and posturing. It's not interacting with your readership, and it's certainly no way to consider things in a new way.

In a sense, this exchange illustrates why I didn't call myself a feminist for a long time. I equated feminism with people bitching about comedians not being sensitive enough, or pretending that their offense means every joke they don't like can never be told again. Like deleting comments, saying people shouldn't joke about things is saying "I refuse to have my opinions challenged." Or more confrontationally put, "I'm too afraid to consider that I might not be 100% right on this issue." That's nothing to feel proud or smug about.

In other news, my time at Livejournal is done. They won't allow cross posting since I don't agree to their TOS, and I don't.
wednes: (OMG!!!)
As many of you know, I've been blogging at Livejournal since 2002. When they sold their site to Russians who gave far less control over content, I started blogging at Dreamwidth and cross posting to LJ instead. I've always continued to read at both places, and to make sure my own posts make it there.

I have a pet conspiracy theory about Russia and our internet. It's one that seems increasingly true the more things happen in the world with President Cyka.  It seems super obvious to me that this Syria bombing is 100% fuckery to make us stop questioning DJT's many Russian connections.  And just like every time he gives a speech where he doesn't manage to sound like a sundowning mental patient...the media can't shut up about how "presidential" he's being.  STOP BEING FOOLED.

Even if he was being super Presidential, bombing some random base and killing civilians isn't going to make Assad suddenly be cooler to his own people.  Maybe if we were going to kill Assad or swoop in and take his Sarin and shit, that might make sense.  But we're not doing that.  We're shooting missiles that are killing civilians--in order to demonstrate how fucking awful it is to kill civilians.  And before anyone gives me that shit about how war has casualties, I'll remind you all that once again, we have not declared war.  As usual, we just started shooting shit up and daring the rest of the world to either join in or stop us.  And because most of the rest of the world aren't the buttinski's that we are, they don't.

Anyway...
I went over to Livejournal today to take down my account.  See, any digital info that's stored outside the US can legally be given to the CIA without any sort of authorization. So when I got a notice saying that there's a new TOS, I did not agree.  They also have a policy against "political solicitation."  I'm not 100% on what political solicitation involves, but I'm reasonably sure that I engage in it.  Even if I didn't, I'd prefer to have at least the semblance of privacy as I cling to the idea that no government agency is interested in what I'm getting up to online.  

My plan was absolutely to take my entire account down.  But in order to do that, I have to agree to the new TOS.  I do not agree, and I'm not about to say that I do.  If I agree, doesn't that mean they can keep a copy of all my old blogs?  But if I don't do anything, they already have my old blogs.  Presuming a reality where I've said things that would make Putin mad (like say, I do not like POTUS45 and think he's a lying cyka), I'd just as soon live in a world where that doesn't put me in danger.  I order a lot of delivery food, so poisoning me would be pretty easy.

And you know that guy loves to poison people.

For now, I'm not doing anything and will try to continue crossposting there.  Not sure if they'll let me though.  When I said "not now" to the new TOS, the only choice they gave me was "Log Out."  Pretty scary what happens inside of just a few years, right?  
wednes: (Inception)
Yeah, it's the same depression and doubt that happens all the time.
I'd been sleeping too much and tired all the time, even waking up often in the middle of the night. That hasn't happened much since I started using a CPAP. Turns out, my sinuses were stuffy and it was impeding my breathing. Since I still have decent health insurance, I got my nasal spray refilled and that's going well.

Speaking of insurance, if the ACA repeal goes through, I'll be fucked. Like a lot of you, it took me years of trial and error (in which I destroyed relationships, jobs, my own credibility, pursuing career goals, etc etc) to find a med combination that worked without debilitating side effects.
If the repeal goes into effect, no insurance company will be required to cover prescription drugs. Also, no mental health care so even if talk therapy was enough without meds (it isn't), I wouldn't even be able to see anyone for less than $200 an hour. My meds are not generic, so those would be at least $350 a month for one, and $750 a month for the other. That's not counting anything I take for blood pressure, which is some. A few of those are generic, which means I probably could afford enough to not die. But since I'll be making the lives of everyone around me miserable--that's not exactly a blessing.

Funny, since every time someone wants to talk about gun violence, the GOP explains that the "real" problem is inadequate mental health care. Their solution is to take away mental health care--not just for the 24 million people who will lose health care, but for the roughly 2/3 of us not rich enough to afford comprehensive plans and the giant deductibles they'll carry.

So yeah, that's gonna suck.
On the plus side, I might be heading toward a manic binge. Yeah, that sucks for my happiness and well being and all. But I'm getting actual fiction writing done. The screenplay is slowly happening, and short fictions are happening even faster.
I was able to put together a new collection bag for my Arizer today. Most of you probably don't know what that is or why it's awesome. But I assure you, it's a wee accomplishment that gives me a slight sense of pride.
wednes: (Colbert Rage)
I've spoken before in this blog about the importance of "fake news" shows like Daily Show and Colbert Report. Nutshelled, it's a way for people to keep up with what's happening in the world without becoming suicidally depressed. TDS and CR always made sure to have accurate facts, and a clear way of explaining why whatever thing was fucked up. Watching regular news can be difficult without the comic relief and camaraderie.

Even though Jon Stewart gave up TDS (he's got a new show coming to HBO), we've somehow ended up with more shows in a similar vein. John Oliver is killing it on his show, and Sam Bee is doing likewise on hers. Wilmore took a softer and more focused stance on issues--and he ended up getting canceled. Colbert is on CBS now, and has only recently resumed his snarkery. His new show was pretty corporate for a while there.

H wonders why I watch shows that talk about politics all the time. They make me angry, and make me want to talk about the issues with him--which is isn't really a fan of. As far as he's concerned, if he can't do anything to fix it, discussing it is moot. I understand that point, but I certainly don't share it.

When I hear about all the awful things happening in the world, and see millions of duped idiots falling for nonsense--I get sad, and angry. You know, the way decent people do when the world is being a dick and innocent people are suffering for it. The helplessness we all feel can be crippling at times. Yet we've still got to pick ourselves up, get back to work or life or whatever as if anything we do actually matters. YMMV, obviously.
A good way to alleviate the sadness and anger is to watch even funnier people than I talk about the issues, explain why they're batshit, and basically confirm the stuff I was already thinking. One might call that an echo chamber, but since it's based firmly in reality, I don't mind. I feel better after watching Trevor, or John Oliver, or even Jon Stewart clips online. I have almost no power in the world, so I need to be reminded that far more visible people who are taken far more seriously than I, agree.
wednes: (Farnsworth/zombie jesus)
When they're not talking about the Nazi rally down the street, a lot of people are talking about health care. Health care in America has sucked for a long time, almost got better, but then kinda didn't. Now? It's going to be worse than it's ever been, and for whatever reason, some poor people are happy about it.

I guess if your insurance company decided to raise rates and deductibles, that's bad news for you. But they didn't do that because they couldn't afford to pay for care. They did it so they can still make tremendous profits while providing some people with limited care. The problem isn't how much things cost--it's that HEALTH CARE SHOULD NOT BE RUN FOR A PROFIT. I'm still not clear on how that isn't obvious. Like air and water (yes, we also pay for some of those things), being able to get regular checkups and shots, take the pills you need to stave off disease and whatnot, should not be something every non-rich American has to stress about.

When I was a kid, if someone got bad news from a doctor--their first move was to get A Second Opinion. Because doctor's are people, people who have opinions and who make mistakes. When's the last time you heard about a non-rich person going to talk to a different doctor because they didn't like what the first one had to say? Honestly, I don't think I know anyone who has done this. Sometimes if a mental health doc doesn't work out, people try a different one months or years later when they can. But I don't know anyone with the luxury of shopping around for doctors...and I do know a lot of people who are quite comfortable financially.

But then, rich people have always used doctors differently than the rest of us. Ever see a movie where a woman is crying--usually because something awful has happened? And the men say "She's hysterical. Get her a doctor." I know I've been hysterical a few times in my life. Other times, I've been so angry that I've literally come out swinging. Never, EVER has anyone called a doctor to come to my home and give me a sedative. Again, I don't know anyone this has ever happened to. it's more likely that the person would be loaded into an ambulance and carted away.

On the bright side, we've also done away with the bizarre practice of doctor's not telling women what's wrong with them. There's a story in my family about a mother of young children who's doc discovers that she has cancer. It's fatal, and there isn't much time left. The doctor then discussed his finding with the mother's husband, and the two of them discussed what the mother would be told. Um, WHAT? The story is that the husband respected the mother enough to tell her the truth, which is supposed to be awesome of him. The larger point, obviously, is that it would be monstrous not to tell a mother (or anyone) that they are dying, because of some weird sexist reasons I can't begin to fathom.

Anyway, I predict that medical care is about to reach a Soylent Green-ish lack of access. I think the Supreme Court will hear an overturn of Roe V Wade in the coming months. I'm also pretty sure the minimum wage will be abolished. Once that happens, it could be outright revolution. Walmarts will be burned to the ground--which honestly, would be pretty hilarious.

Low

Jan. 19th, 2017 09:42 pm
wednes: (Wednes Poison)
Whelp, it was fun having a president who didn't make me ashamed to be an American. I mean, look at what we've had to deal with just in my lifetime.

Jimmy Carter was awesome, but treated badly due to his "soft" nature. See, when I was a kid, it was Democrats who said we should be a "Christian nation," by which they meant feeding the poor and housing the homeless. Like many things between Republicans and Democrats, this has completely flipped. Now the GOP co-opts religion for their own purposes, but apparently THEIR Jesus has no interest in feeding people or helping them have homes. Now religion means anti-gay legislation and the closing of family planning clinics. Because...god is love?

Then Reagan. Now, I think he was a pretty terrible president, policy-wise. He funded terrorists and talked a lot of smack about the poor and gays. His wife was even worse. But at least Reagan made rich people pay their taxes. Can't get that nowadays. As much as I disliked Reagan, I wasn't humiliated at the idea that he represented my country.

Bush Sr should never have been POTUS in the first place, mainly because he ran the CIA. That's not cool. If you ever work in a big box retailer, they have a particular way the money is sorted at the end of the day. One guy calculates how much money their should be, while someone else counts how much money there is. This is to prevent theft and chicanery. Apparently, the United fucking States of America needed no such safeguards.

Clinton. Awesome guy, down to earth. Solid policies, great economic growth. All he had to do was say "Actually, what I do with my penis is not relevant to how I run the country. Next questions?" But no...he had to do a stupid lying tapdance that eventually made him a laughing stock. That sucked.

Bush 2. Do I even need to explain this one? He and Rick Perry should do a road movie where they blunder their way across the country, occasionally getting schooled by the people they've sought to oppress.

Obama. *sky opens and rainbows so bright they keep us from seeing all the drone strikes, still open Guantanamo, and lack of single payer healthcare* Yaaaay!!! So eloquent, so unwilling to cheat on his wife, so personable...

And now...this.
I still don't get it. I don't care how poor you are, how angry you feel about political-correctness (AKA basic human decency), or how really racist you are. You'd have to be monstrously stupid to think a man like Drumpf is actually interested in helping the poor and middle class. There is no metric by which Betsy DeVos, Rick Perry, Jeff Sessions, or Ben Carson are good choices for goddamn anything. You might as well put Charles Manson in charge of youth outreach, and maybe Yosemite Sam as a liaison to the NRA.

In other news, now might be a good time to buy a set of encyclopedias. People laugh at having a set of books collecting known knowledge of the world. But see, a set of encyclopedias is a snapshot of the world as we know it. It's supposed to lack bias. But if you've ever read an encyclopedia from say, the 60s, some of the biases are much more evident now. The America we enjoy now and the one we'll be left with in 20/20 may be markedly different. Might be nice to have a hard copy to compare and contrast.
wednes: (Farnsworth/zombie jesus)
Remember when Archie Bunker and his ilk called hippies "pinkos"? That's because liberal-scum-types were supposedly tinged by the foul redness of communism. Russians used to be the bad guys. Their government restricted information, kept its people in poverty to preserve a ruling class, and generally did all the stuff you read about in Animal Farm. Or Red Dawn

But...now xenophobic Drumpf supporters suddenly think Russia is awesome.
Just what the sam hell crap is up with THAT?!?

Remember when Russians bought Livejournal? It was right after they tricked almost everyone into buying lifetime memberships.

I bet it was to give them a glimpse into American internet culture so they could get clues on how to best manipulate us later on.

Remember that Trololololo guy? Yeah, that was part of it too. Virality gives the Reds a look into our online behavior, so they could see what foolish, skimming share-monkeys we all are. If nothing else, they learned how many people will comment on, or even share articles they haven't even read...because they agree with the (often misleading) headline.

Just sayin'

 photo spongebob_zpse8crdvue.jpg

#Kidding
#NotKidding

Meanwhile, it looks like the Cyka-elect is even more cyka than we realized. The internets are being told by some Brit that the Russians have footage of The Donald having a golden shower party with hookers, arranged for the express purpose of befouling a bed that the Obamas slept in. That's just...proof that even as we thought there was nowhere lower than the underside of rock, rock bottom--Drumpf will go lower than that.
wednes: (Colbert Rage)
It's well-known by all literate people that I am not a fan of the Great Orange Cyka-Elect. (Look it up, it's a Russian word, and it's hilarious) But now, he has reached the subjective and fabled land of TOO FAR.

On December 14th, I asserted copyright over the word "Unpresidented." The context was the vain hope that the Electoral College would do what it was designed to do--rescue us from a Nazi-enabling rapist who's already in bed with the Russians. They didn't. Of course there are great arguments on both sides of this, none of which I'm going to detail here.
Because that's not the point of this post.

The point is that Drumpf stole my word. Funny, since I rarely consider myself rich enough to rob. His stupid misspelled Tweet that inadvertently turned MY word into a hashtag has stolen my internet thunder, hasn't it? Okay, no it probably hasn't. It's still hilarious though. I should probably just be happy that he didn't put my beautiful word in the same Tweet as a white supremacist or a lady unfavorably rated with Drumpf's numeric system that lets us all know which chicks he'd sexually assault if there were no cameras. But I digress.

"Unpresidented" is my word. My word. Mine! Down down, go go, mine. *jumps up and down like Daffy Duck during a tantrum*

Besides, once Drumpf is impeached or resigns in a huff because some high school newspaper criticized his latest racist speech--we can all use the word "Unpresidented" again. Hope to see you all then. ;-)
wednes: (Peanut Butter/Jelly)
Okay, we all know that President Drumpf is going to be a nightmare wrapped in a clusterfuck, wrapped in a urine-soaked hellscape. Chances are, we'll completely lose our ability to feel outrage by the first State of the Union address.

And yet...there are people who are going out of their way to make the best out of what promises to be nonstop global embarrassment. And for these things, we thank you:

The crackdown on fake news. Eventually, most of us were fooled by some "news" story that was at best, an exaggeration and at worst, flat out fiction. Sure, one could argue that a fake-news crackdown now is too little too late. But at least this isn't like guns where we get angry about it over and over but never actually take steps to address the problem. People are now being given the tools they need to recognize fake news from the real deal. Who knows, maybe that will inspire more news sites to stop being such lying liars. They might even start editing stories or hiring actual journalists to write them.

The Obama Biden memes. These are just delightful. It's nice being reminded that pretty much everyone woke is horrified by Drumpf's mean-spirited incompetence.

TIME magazine trolling the hell out of Drumpf with their Person of the Year cover. My gods, this is hilarious. He's touring the country thanking his fans and bragging about how awesome he is (and how it should still be MAN of the year. I agree on one point though, as calling POTUS-E a "person" is a bit of a stretch) while they're putting horns on his head and literally illustrating that he's all just for show.

Jon Stewart's new show on HBO. I don't know that this was a direct result of the election. I'm just glad it's happening.

All the jokes about who Drumpf is appointing to this or that. The Joker in charge of law enforcement in Gotham. Cruella DeVille heading a national ASPCA committee. Hell, maybe if I stop insulting him on Twitter, POTUS-E will put me in charge of the DEA. Just think of all the cool shit I could steal from civilia--...I mean, legally confiscate and "destroy." Seriously though, the fact that we can all still make genuinely funny jokes about it (the internets, not me necessarily) reminds us all that a) we're in it together, and b) most Americans don't think this is okay.

Yeah...most Americans don't think any political party should conspire with the Russians. FFS, Putin is so old-school that he's still poisoning his enemies like he's living in ancient Rome. Nor do most people think we should be on the same side as the KKK. If there's any good reason to remind ourselves that Drumpf lost the popular vote by a large margin, it's so we can remember that Americans are still basically good. We should also remember to work toward making voting easier. How do we go about that?

We know deep down that the Electoral College probably will not grow a collective conscience and save us from Drumpf. Despite the fact that he lost the popular vote. Despite the fact that he clearly colluded with Russia, and has no plan to give up his business interests in any meaningful way. Despite the fact that...well, no point on going over all that again.
But if it turned out that the EC does have a purpose...or just in case they do rescue us from Drumpftastrophe...I'd like to assert copyright on the word:
Unpresidented

Get it? Because this never would have happened before in our lifetime, AND the KKKlandidate-in-cheif would be un-presidented. Ha HA!

In the end, things in our beloved nation look bad. But it's not all bad. And we're damn sure not powerless.
wednes: (Sad)
The Good:

I voted. I'm so glad I did, because several analysts have said Ann Arbor was a potentially pivotal factor--as late as 11pm. We lost in the end, but I can at least know that I did what I could.

I'm gratified to see the good guys coming together, vowing to protect the vulnerable--because they're gonna need it. I'm not an especially powerful person, but if I can do something to help you or someone you know who is being oppressed, bullied, terrorized...please ask. I'll do what I can.

The Bad:

Duh, everything about losing two branches of government before they proceed to corrupt the third. I can't even express the disappointment, sadness, and fear I feel. When Obama got elected, a lot of gun enthusiasts were afraid that their guns would be confiscated, and a lot of uninformed (or lied to, Thanks FOX "news") people thought the ACA was going to murder their grandmother. Obama supporters tried to explain to those people that their fears were unfounded, and kind of silly in their unlikeliness.

But now, when Muslims, Mexicans, the LGBT community, African Americans, children, women, and everyone who isn't alt-right says they're afraid--the response from the Drumpf camp is akin to "Yeah, you should be. You people are in for it now."

Watching Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert both try to put on a brave face was...painful. It hurt to watch. I miss Mitt Romney. Hell, I miss John McCain--and he's batshit now.

Congratulations, America.
You've really outdone yourself this time.

If nothing else, it'll be fun to see the memes you post when Drumpf only fulfills the campaign promises that fuck people over (legally protected bigotry, even further restrictions on abortion, the return of stop-and-frisk), not the ones that help the middle class and below (jobs).

Me too.

Oct. 30th, 2016 02:46 am
wednes: (Doctor Literally Too Stupid)
I know this is an incredibly common viewpoint, but I will be very happy when this election is over. I'm excited to go back to a time when Drumpf's hideous face wasn't on my TV and news feed friggin' constantly.

Of course, Drumpf has said that in no way is he starting his own news channel. That means that he is absolutely 100% starting his own news channel. Funny since the departure of Ailes has made FOX news seem positively reasonable (but still biased) compared to FOX under Ailes. As awful as she is, I would love to see Megyn Kelly put in charge of the FOX puppets while Trevor Noah spends a ton of time cataloging the lies the Drumpf "news" organization tells.

Will violence break out after Hillary wins? Probably, but just a little. And you can bet all those cowardly white dudes open carrying through the streets will run home like bitches should the REAL military show up to smack them down. But if the contrast of the Aemon Bundy nonsense with the protestors at DAPL means anything (and I think we all know that it does), the alt-right goons will be cuffed peacefully and held overnight before being released with apologies.

In other news, this Carl Panzram documentary on Netflix is pretty good.
HBO saw my tweet about Larry Sanders show, so they asked for my address so they could send me a present. Cool, right? I predict that it will be a keychain and maybe a shirt that won't fit me. Still, that'll be fun.
I owe one of my Canadian friends a package, but can't seem to find a place where I can mail it. Looks like I may have to take a special trip to an actual post office (which means going out during the day) just to send it. Ugh.
wednes: (Wednes Poison)
Talking about politics is getting ridiculous, even for those of us who don't feel a need to find euphemisms for the word PUSSY. If you still think Drumpf is the sort of person who should run the country...it doesn't matter. You're probably not reading this post anyway. Why would you?

I do find it frightening how many people (roughly 98% men) are still twisting themselves like balloon animals in their efforts to excuse Drumpf's more rapey escapades. Because I don't have time to respond to every absurd comment or note I get when I discuss such things, lemme just stop a few of you before you get started. If you're tempted to say any of the following, here are my responses.

--"If you're trying to convince me that--"
I'll stop you right there. I have no idea who you are. I don't care what you believe, and emphatically not writing anything to convince YOU of something. You must think an awful lot of yourself if you think my comments on Drumpf have anything to do with you.

--"Saying 'Drumpf' is racist against Germans."
First of all, go fuck yourself. That's his family name. Also, I'm German too. As is easily verifiable, The Donald told Jon Stewart that refusing to use the name Leibovitz publicly meant he was ashamed of his heritage. I'm merely holding Drumpf to that same standard.

--"Stop slut shaming Melania."
I haven't. Though I do think she has terrible taste in husbands.

--"By saying Drumpf shouldn't hit on married women, you're not considering whether or not they're poly."
Sure, poly couples are a thing, they exist. But what I said was that if one is going to argue a "presumption of consent" because a woman smiled at Drumpf, that surely her being married should remove at least some of that presumption. At the same time, I think the "presumption of consent" argument is bullshit. Drumpf is objectively not sexy--and him thinking every woman wants him is at once laughable and disgusting.

--"You just love Hillary."
What are you, new? I supported Bernie, and he was the first presidential candidate I ever donated to. I do think she's capable and more than qualified for the job. But you know, there are plenty of high school sophomores who would do a better job and fill us with more confidence than Drumpf.

--"Stop saying Pussy."
No.

Have a nice weekend, America!
wednes: (Colbert Rage)
In all of our (totally justified) horror over The Donald, we seem to be forgetting something important. Yes, Drumpf is a racist misogynist, a master of demagoguery...we know he's the personification of mammon, the truest representation of greed, avarice, gluttony for what passes for glory in his world.

He's also woefully inept, a blithering, blustering incompetent.
He can't run a casino, let alone a country. At all. Not even a little.

Remember when we all thought Dubya was too dumb to run a country, and how he made such a big deal out of saying he's The Decider. That's because Cheney and his people: Rumsfeld, Rove, Libby and the rest were really running things. We all knew it, even though we preferred to blame Dubya for all the fucked up, authoritarian crap that happened. And why not? The guy's got a real Backpfeifengesicht on him!

So here we are again, with a Republican nominee who is, at best, a complete and utter asshat. A failure on a scale so grand, he'd literally have made more money if he'd done absolutely nothing and just collected interest on the money he inherited. And he could hold the highest office in all the land. Which means...

Vice President Mike Pence would be running things. Hell, Drumpf might even quit a month into his first term. There's no way he's ready for the schedule the POTUS has to keep. After embarrassing America on the world stage a few times, he'll never get over the bad press. But whether Drumpf leaves of his own accord, is impeached after some ridiculous act of stupidity he probably didn't even know was illegal, or if he just stands around twiddling his thumbs while Pence runs things--Mike Pence will have far too much power.

Let's not forget, Mike Pence is the guy who signed that ridiculous legal discrimination bill that made Indiana suddenly look like the worst state in the nation (giving Florida, Utah, and Alabama much needed reprieves). Pence would love to wipe Planned Parenthood completely off the map, and has said that condoms don't actually prevent any diseases. He's the guy that wants funerals for fetuses when there's an abortion or a miscarriage. And of course, Mike Pence said there's "no scientific evidence" that cigarettes cause cancer...because he was taking major cash from Brown & Williamson, Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, and US Tobacco. For reals. I'm sure we can guess where he stands on Citizen's United.

If any of you are thinking about voting for Drumpf, you should keep in mind that Pence will be, as Fearless Leader has said, "in charge of foreign and domestic policy." That's basically everything. So while Drumpf is busy trying to take us back to 1955 (ie: Make American Great Again), Pence may actually succeed in taking us back to 1955, on race relations, women's rights, reproductive health, LGBT issues, the minimum wage, unions, and a few things I'm probably forgetting. The only place the Republicans ever want to be modern is on tax laws for the super rich. Those should always be the lowest in history, right?

Don't forget, Drumpf fans, Mike Pence is also a career politician. We know how you haaate that.
wednes: (Really?)
Like many of you, I have a family. And within that family, there are a wide range of people, some of whom believe things I think are patently batshit. My favorite Aunt once told me she'd never vote Bernie because "he's a socialist." I have a cousin who swears the min wage shouldn't be raised because it mostly applies to kids working part time, and that Citizens United is a "free speech" issue. I enjoy spirited debates when I encounter beliefs like that, but I find not everyone is willing to discuss what they believe.

So today, my youngest cousin posts a hate video....Cut for what prompted this post )

This led me to think that one reason it's so difficult to talk about racism is this idea white people have--that the only way to be "racist" is to be in a skinhead group, the KKK, or to liberally use the N-word. Kids, that's not so. Even if you've never uttered a racial slur, you can still be less than inclusive. Tim Burton probably does not hate minorities. There's no evidence to say he does. But that doesn't mean it isn't an issue that his movies have very few POC. Thinking "white" people/culture/hairstyles are "normal" and everything else is "other/different/weird/ethnic" is a problem in terms of race relations. So is presuming that every character in every book is white unless the author specifically says they aren't. So if someone tells you that you aren't being inclusive, or racially sensitive, or are being kind of a dick, they aren't necessarily saying you're Mel Gibson or Hitler. That doesn't mean you shouldn't hear them out. Though yes, you have free speech and can absolutely choose to tell them to fuck off.

To that end, I say: Ron Weasley.
JK Rowling made Ron Weasley racist on purpose, and for this very reason. He's not a Death Eater, he's one of the heroes. He's not a supremacist, but he's got issues with squibs (they have one in the family, but he's never talked to them), werewolves, giants, Durmstrangs (or maybe just the one who's sweet on his gal), and Slytherins among others. He's also fine with house elves in servitude and considers Dobby an odd man out (in fairness, so does Hagrid).
Ron isn't a bad kid. He's not malicious, though I do find him petty and tantrummy at times. I don't think he's hateful either. He just believes certain things because they make sense to him, and has never bothered to question it. You know, like how a lot of the people who go around talking smack about Muslims have never knowingly had a conversation with one--or if they have, they come away saying they're "ONE of the Good Ones." It's why the Washington Redskins logo doesn't offend people who have never been called a "redskin" out of hate. Why WOULD they understand it?

But after someone explains it fully, to respond by saying they're lying or being "overly sensitive" is...pretty racist.

When I hear someone say something overtly bigoted, the first thing I try to do is ask questions to make sure I got that right. "Are you being sarcastic? Are you saying he deserved to be shot because he took his earpiece out? Are you saying all Muslims want to kill us for our freedoms?" The answer to that question usually determines whether a discussion ensues, or a screaming match, or I just disable notifications for that post. Calling someone a "racist" is a bad idea most times, since no one, even members of the KKKlan, actually admits that they're racist. Besides, "racist" is a label we slap on a person to let them know we don't like their opinion. It doesn't help anything. Nothing is solved by calling someone a racist. But opening a dialogue? That might help.
It's hard to hear that you're not being racially or culturally sensitive. I hate hearing it, and my first impulse is to explain why I'm not. But dammit, if you've got any kind of privilege, you also have an obligation to acknowledge it, and to think about how life might be (or listen to people when they explain it to you) for those who don't have it.

People tell me it's "not worth it" to "argue" with people on the internet. I maintain that discussions can make all the difference in the world if both parties have some modicum of respect for whoever they're talking to. If I'm wrong, I wanna know why. I want facts or a fresh perspective that tell me why my thinking is wrong, and what I should have noticed that I didn't. I deserve the chance to say, Holy Shit, Long Duk Dong is TOTALLY racist, and I'm sorry I didn't see it sooner.
So yeah, if you begin by calling someone a racist because they posted a meme they didn't even read carefully, the ensuing discussion probably won't go well. But if you open up an actual dialogue you might actually get somewhere. Not always. Some people love being angry and hateful, it's like a fuzzy warm blanket to them. But usually, people just don't want to be afraid. If they learn why they don't have to, that might also help.

Ultimately, my cousin took down the fake video because she "didn't want to argue." I think that's a shame, because the ensuing discussion was a good read.
wednes: (Stabbity)
I haven't blogged in a while. To be honest, my thinker has been a little cloudy of late, and I'm slowly working it all out via the printed word. Can you even bear to hear someone else prattling on about what they think Drumpf is teaching us about America? No? I don't blame you. Feel free to skip this post. For the rest of you...

The U.S of A. has the biggest and most well-funded military in the world. War is where much of our technological advancement comes from (though good old capitalism is no slouch in that arena), and where most of our discretionary income goes. If one argued that military spending was a drug, America would be long overdue for an intervention--we've become beyond obsessive with being well-armed. OVER armed, I think. Ready for anything, even though we're not really ready for things like say, a biological attack. Readiness is a lie, and most of us know that.

Still, as Drumpf loves to point out, we have a YUGE and impressive military. We could fuck up pretty much any country we wanted, especially if we didn't give a crap about loss of life (evidence suggests that we don't). We've used our military to topple democratically elected leaders in other countries. We've armed terrorists who were actively fighting their governments and killing law-abiding citizens. Saddam Hussein wouldn't have had two sticks to rub together if it weren't for us. We've used our military to torture people, and to hold suspects illegally and without charge or counsel. In much of the world, not only are we not "da best," we're not even the Good Guys.

We've all listened to most of what Drumpf has spouted as his ideas for foreign policy: building a wall, keeping out members of one religion, killing terrorist's families, carpet bombing nations we have not declared war on, and even using nukes. Reasonable people can agree that he shouldn't drive a car, let alone be given nuclear codes. And yet, it could happen. If too many people vote 3rd party and split the rational vote, it could happen.

If another country elected a dumbass maniac tire fire like Drumpf, one who threatened to kill our families and banish those of a religion they didn't care for--what would we do? Remember, we're a people who think a cashier saying "Happy Holidays" is being oppressive, and that Occupy Wallstreet protestors deserved to be beaten and pepper sprayed for "not having jobs" and "blocking the street." So I say again--what would we do to another country who elected such a hateful, disgusting, sexist bigot who threatened war crimes as an opener--and was still voted to the highest office in the land???

Seriously. What reason would they have NOT to invade us, attack us, remove the despot from office? If Drumpf was elected president, the rest of the world would have good reason to bomb us back to the stone age. It would suck, but we'd deserve it.

Responses

Jul. 15th, 2016 01:54 am
wednes: (X-files)
It's time once again for me to address some of the utter crap that's been going around the Internets of late, mostly to get it off my ample chest. Because people are lazy and mean and dumb, and I like to think I'm smarter, more active, and kinder than most (based on no factual evidence, just me and my intellectual vanity wishing). For the purposes of this post, I shall refer to the Internet as if they are a cohesive collective--while knowing that, of course, they aren't.

--Remakes/Reboots.
Internet: "Why do they have to remake everything?"
Wednes: "For money. Movies are a business. Businesses work to make money. Duh."

Internet: "Can't Hollywood think of anything new and original???"
Wednes: Can't YOU? You say this same shit every goddamn time a remake comes out. Besides, originality is not the same as good. How many times have we seen a cool new concept squandered by mediocre filmmaking or a godawful screenplay? #Pixels You might as well say "Why do they have to base so many movies on books? Can't they write their own?"

--Pokemon Go!
Internet: "People shouldn't be playing this game in [place where serious historical things have happened]. It's disrepectful."
Wednes: No, they probably shouldn't be. So why are there catchable animals hiding at these places?

Internet: "This is stupid. Why are adults doing this when [tragic world event that commenter has done nothing about] is going on?!?"
Wednes: If you think adults playing a fun game is stupid, how exactly would you categorize going online to complain about it? Also, complaining about others doing something other than charity work is just empty preening bullshit unless you posted it while simultaneously doing charity work.

--Ghostbusters
Internet: "MY RUINED CHILDHOOD?!?!11/1!?!?!"
Wednes: If this is the thing that ruined your childhood, I don't know how to adequately express how charmed your life must have been or how fucking batshit stupid you are now. Remakes do NOT ruin the original thing; and they certainly don't ruin the first time you watched it. If you're honestly letting this "ruin" anything for you, you're a mewling child looking for reasons to feel wronged. Here, I'll help: Happy Holidays!

Internet: "They're making it with women just to be PC."
Wednes: So now it's "PC" to acknowledge that women do things? The only reason to depict women as anything other than a love interest, sex object, or funny fat friend is because of "political correctness?" We must be up to 5% female lead characters at this point in movie history--and it's astounding how many dudebros feel legit threatened by that. Yes, you all go right on telling yourselves that female characters (along with racial minorities, gay/bi/trans folk, those with disabilities, etc) are only in movies to appease whiners. Congratulations. You just demonstrated that many types bias are alive and well, while announcing that you'd prefer that we not do anything about that.

--#AllLivesMatter
[specific demographic of the] Internet: "I happen to think ALL lives matter, because I'm not racist."
Wednes: That's bullshit, and I think you know that it's bullshit. Anyone who says this is willfully missing the point. This can only be because they honestly believe that there's no problem with police and racial profiling, police and the murder of minorities, or minorities and the criminal justice system at large. They have to feel it's appropriate that for-profit prisons to create a demand for prisoners that is then met by railroading poor people (mostly, though surely not all) minorities and at-risk populations. People who are offered 18 months instead of 10 years for crimes they didn't commit--and who take pleas so they don't risk missing their kids growing up. People who get a total of 7 minutes to discuss their case with their PD. Anyone who believes in #AllLivesMatter seem to miss the point that responding to cries of "Stop Murdering Us" with 'Come on, you guys have to be exaggerating. Cops have never done that to me or any of the middle-class white people I know.' IS goddamn fucking racist. Even if you think all the cops in all those videos are justified. Even if you think every last victim deserved to be murdered because they moved their hand, refused to put out their cigarette, or "didn't comply" quickly and humbly enough. It's still racist to respond to "Please Don't Shoot" with "This isn't a big deal, and I'm sick of hearing about it." Beyond racism, it just makes you an asshole.
Stop being an asshole.

[specific demographic of the] Internet: Cop Haters shouldn't call a cop if they need one, because doing so makes them hypocrites.
Wednes: There's a world of difference between "hating cops" and hating that murderers get to wear cop uniforms and get paid by taxpayers even after they murder someone. It's not hating cops to be disgusted that there are otherwise good cops who cover for and defend those that aren't. Everybody knows that there are good cops and bad cops, just like every job has good or bad employees. It's just that cops are given guns and permission to use their discretion to kill if they need to. That means they deserve more scrutiny than those of us who aren't. You're not being kind to the good ones by pretending the bad ones don't exist--nor are you hating on good cops by acknowledging that they do.

There. Now I feel better.
wednes: (Hazel 2)
I was watching That 70's Show recently because TVLand or whoever started them over from the beginning. Before Eric and Donna got together, Hyde made a pretty serious play for Donna. He even learned how to dance so he could dance with her when they skipped town to go to a disco. Her response? "Shut up and dance." Here's what Hyde did:
Kept dancing.
Maintained a respectful distance.
Was happy for his best friend when he got together with her.
Let it go.

What didn't Hyde do?
Kiss her anyway.
Call her a bitch/tease/whore/slut/dyke/etc.
Tell her how sorry she'd be some day.
Shoot up a women's studies class.
Keep pestering her in the hopes that she'd change her mind.
Remind her and everyone else what a Nice Guy (TM) he was.
Develop a disturbing and ever-growing hatred of women.

Even though Hyde is considered less than a moral ideal on that show, he was totally cool about the things that matter. Steven Hyde teaches us that you can drink underage, smoke pot, be lazy on occasion, reject the establishment, and come from a trashy family of terrible people--and still be a good person.

The concept of friend-zoning someone is still pretty hilarious to me. I suspect that teens have been subjected to such a glut of stupid romantic comedies and teen sex romp movies that boys think they have some sort of dramatic imperative to "fight for" and "win" the girl of their dreams. If they don't, they're either a complete loser or they "gave up too soon." That's a shame, because the idea of waiting around until She suddenly sees you as a sex god is about as silly as asking Elon Musk to turn you into Captain America.

I grew up as a fat teenager in the 80's. Back in the day, the concept of "friend zoning" did not exist. If you liked someone and they didn't like you that way you were supposed to get the hell over it and move on. Hanging around with them in the hopes that they'd change their mind about you was considered pathetic. Trust me, I know of whence I speak on this. Never, at no time, EVER was the object of your affection considered an asshole for the mere "crime" of not finding you attractive. Why? Because that would be stupid. That's not how attraction works. And yeah, those unrequited teenage crushes can hurt like hell, I know that too. But your pain doesn't mean anyone owes you anything.

As far as I've seen women never expect someone who doesn't find them attractive to suddenly do so after they're nice for a long time or whatever. But somehow, lots of men do. What's more--these men are often the last ones who would consider dating a fat chick or someone considered not stereotypically beautiful. I'm reminded of the American Dad episode where Francine "lets herself go" to prove that Stan loves her for her true self, and he ends up putting his own eyes out because she's so ugly to him that he can't look at her. He says something like 'Francine, I want a beautiful wife. If marriage was about connection, I'd have married that fat girl I had all those great conversations with.'

This philosophy basically boils down to, "Why don't any really HOT girls realize that beauty is only skin deep?" Because life is not a beer commercial, you assholes. And hanging around waiting for your "nice" friendship to morph into a sex parade is not what a "nice guy" would do.
It's what predators do.

Busy

Feb. 8th, 2016 11:21 am
wednes: (Elephant on Trampoline)
I haven't posted at all in February yet. So I feel like I should even though I don't have much to say. Oh wait, there is one thing.

If you're voting for Hillary Clinton solely because you think "it's about time for a woman president," you should shut your face. Sure, it would be nice if gender was less an issue when we choose politicians. But gender isn't relevant to whether or not someone is right for the job, would do a good job, or is the strongest choice for the position at hand.

Me, I don't find Hillary to be trustworthy. She always seems fake and forced, plus she loves big banks. I get that she's experienced and strong-willed, but if she's not strong-willed about stuff I think is important (single payer health care, $15 or higher minimum wage, less war), why the hell should I support her?

Trump

Jan. 28th, 2016 03:19 am
wednes: (Farnsworth/zombie jesus)
I'm trying to say as little as possible about Trump, while still not ignoring his more vile tendencies. I can't imagine that he could ever actually win the presidency. The primaries are mostly wank for the majority of candidates. I'm honestly not sure Trump wants to be POTUS in the first place. But since he's never done anything with skill, honesty, or integrity, I wouldn't expect him to be honest about his true intentions.

I'm not surprised that Republicans and "undecided" voters gravitate toward a showman who lives to shock people with the asinine things he says. I should think the main reason other Republicans don't like Trump is that it's highly possible that he'll get the GOP nomination. And that there's no way in hell that he can win.

It's also looking like Hilldog is not gonna get her wish this time around either. Bernie would have to fall seriously ill (or worse) to lose this thing to her. Yeah, she has a ton of experience and would do a passable job. But she's not really going to do shit about income inequality, the minimum wage, veterans affairs, campaign finance, and a lot of other shit that's fucking things up for everyone who isn't upper-middle class or above.

Honestly, I think what I hate most about Trump this week is that he actually makes me want to defend Megyn Kelly. But dammit, the enemy of my enemy can't always be my friend. She truly is a vile woman.
wednes: (Hail Ants!)
Been thinking about Political Correctness, because that's something I do a lot. It began as a great idea, and despite a few who have used it as an excuse to be what I call Word Bullies, it's still a good idea. Living in a liberal town and having almost entirely progressive friends, it's easy for me to forget how much racism, sexism, and general fuckery there is to be had in the world.

And then it becomes an election year, and it all comes flooding back.

Here's the thing about PCness (ha!), that I think it's important to remember. If you think of social change as a pendulum, we can say that the conversation has swung way far in the direction of sensitivity. But that's because we spent a long-ass time on the other side of things.

The further you go back in America's history, the more atrocities we see encouraged or at least tolerated by the government. Colonists were seeking freedom--religious and otherwise. But they first order of business was tricking, murdering, and stealing from the natives who were already here--and didn't murder or rob us when we got here. (Yeah, I know most of you aren't related to original colonists, but without them there still might not be predominantly white people here). Then slavery, witch trials, religious tests not just for government, but for tons of jobs, and general acceptance in your community. Even since the Great Depression, we've gone from having KKK members all over government and police departments to...having much less of that. In our grandparent's lifetime, lynchings happened with regularity, marital rape wasn't considered possible because it was the husband's right and the police shouldn't be involved--ditto most domestic assaults including child abuse.

So yeah, we're finally swinging back the other way. Now I don't approve of passing moral judgements on people because of jokes that fell flat, insensitive comments, etc. In general, I don't think people should lose their jobs for being racist (exceptions for teachers, cops, and other jobs where that can compromise your duties). I don't believe in Hate Crimes Legislation, if only because we should punish people for their actions, not their thoughts. I think people can say something stupid or thoughtless and yet not necessarily be branded Racist For Life.

You know how in the spring when you start opening the windows and letting in natural light? One of the first things you notice is how friggin' filthy your house got. So you figure you'd better at least vacuum and dust a few things. But the more stuff you clean, the more you notice the cobwebs and cat hair and collection of milk ring caps under every goddamn shelf. And before you know it, you're scrubbing out your kitchen cabinets, moving shelves, dusting behind the microwave--vowing to get rid of every last bit of dirt--it's not gonna hide from YOU, by Zod.

Well, that's what's happening to Political Correctness. It's not enough to just get people to stop using racial slurs at parties or slapping secretary's asses at the office. PCness (giggity!) wants to ensure that whether you're a racial or religious minority, a chick, have a disability or a mental illness, are gay or fat or super skinny or trans or atheist or you pass out if you eat gluten--that you're free to live your life without taking a constant barrage of shit for it. And that's a good thing. Trigger Warnings too, are a way to be respectful to people who are dealing with things that you may not be. Complaining about them because you personally don't need them makes you kind of a dick. Being kind and respectful isn't a hardship--or if it is, you might just want to examine your own sense of self-importance instead of blaming people for the inconvenience of deserving basic human courtesy.

So while most of my PC-related posts are about how stifling language is dangerous and counterproductive, I do think it's important that we remember that there's a reason all this is happening.
wednes: (Snakes on a Plane)
OMFG, I hate everything today.

The washer in our building has been broken since well before Christmas. Once it had been broken for two weeks, they magnanimously decided to allow H a key to a different building to use their washer. Alas, they kept his driver's license (they claim they gave it back, but it's fucking nowhere to be found) so now we can't do any more laundry until H gets a new one from secretary of state--or they actually fix the goddamn thing.

See, our lease says we live in a building with a washer and dryer. They don't give a shit. When I call to say "What's the holdup, it's been over a month," they also don't care. There's no recognition that "Oh, that's gotta suck for people who don't drive to not be able to do their laundry." Nope. It's like they've never worked a customer service gig before, and have no idea that sometimes--people just want to know that you give a rat's ass about fixing their problem. I shouldn't have to explain, for example, that if they don't have an answer for me, they need to call me back when they get one.

Also, I had to buy more socks.

I also have a client driving me insane, and who honestly seems to think that I'm sitting around doing nothing any time I'm not doing work for him. He knows very little about the book market or the industry in general--but refuses to take the advice of those who do. I foresee that he's going to pay me to handle his marketing, then blame me when the book doesn't sell--even though the reason it won't sell is that nobody is going to pay $20 for an eBook by someone they've never heard of, on a topic that's on its way out. Cripes!
The AHS finale tonight (which I'm SURE will disappoint), and the general tenor of the internet being...well, it's the internet. I imagine I don't have to explain.

I'm not gonna go on and on about this, but if you think that within 48-hours of David Bowie's death is a good time to call him a "kiddie rapist" because he may have had sex with an underage groupie in the 70's...fuck you. You couldn't possibly care about that or you'd have brought it up sometime in the 70's, or 80's, or 90's, etc. But no, you clickbaity sons of bitches can't wait to garner a few pennies per click off the not-yet-cold body of a man who--even after he knew he was dying, put together something amazing for his fans.
Let me just say that while there is certainly the potential for abuse when adults have sex with teenagers--not all teen/adult sex is rape (you'll notice that ages of consent vary from state to state) and that people don't magically go from frightened child-victims to fully competent, informed adults upon the occasion of their 18th birthday (or 17th, or 15th, depending on the state). Moreover, I'm tired of people dictating how other people's sexual experiences should be judged...or the idea that they should be judged at all. If an individual asks for your help or guidance, you should give it. If they haven't, stay the fuck out of it.
wednes: (TV!!!)
Every now and then, someone will express surprise to me that I have this person or that person as an online friend, despite them spouting unpopular views or having strong opinions I don't agree with, or even doing shitty things like posting spoilers on purpose. But people who know me well know that I enjoy dialoging about tough topics--especially among those with whom I disagree. I don't want my life to be an echo chamber of shit I already agree with. Plus, I don't know everything, and people I don't agree with are more likely to know shit that I don't know. Though they might still be bugfuck wrong. ;-)

Today I saw a post referencing Jessica Jones on Netflix. Someone else was basically saying that because in the first episode, there was a single joke they didn't like (a joke that was insensitive to, and at the expense of, fat people), they "had no interest in" the rest of the series. Now obviously, people can choose to watch whatever the hell they want. But I found it curious that this post came from a person who, every day, argues that people need to seek out information that conflicts with what they've been taught, and that they need to be more respectful of alternate/new viewpoints. I really can see both sides of this.

On the one hand, we can all choose only to expose ourselves to people, things, ideas, and speech that is to our liking. For most people, watching TV is a leisure time activity and is supposed to be fun. Plenty of people watch TV and movies to escape the bullshit they see out in the world--so the last friggin thing they need is to see mean shit on their down time.
Personally, I like my viewing material to be more challenging, so I often seek out things that will make me think, feel discomfort, ponder and debate, or get really, really scared as I wonder what I'd do if what was happening to the characters was happening to me. But that's me--overall, my life is pretty easy.

On the other hand, I think it's myopic and incredibly limiting to say "I don't like something this character said, so I'm not going to expose myself to any of this material." In this case, that means missing out on the entirety of Jessica Jones, which would be a bummer for anyone who appreciates complex characters, or in-depth discussion of issues like responsibility, trauma, control, and consent. Plus, it's an awesome cast in a well-plotted show that everyone can get something out of--you know, unless they bail after Ep1.
When I say, "It's only a show," I'm not saying that what happens in fiction doesn't matter because it's just pretend. But I *am* saying that fictional characters shouldn't have the same impact as real-life people doing and saying real-life things. If they do, you might need to step back.
The characters in the TV aren't your friends. The rules of interpersonal communication do not apply. Watching a program doesn't make you complicit in the actions of the fictional characters--not even the protagonists. The Godfather is one of the greatest films ever made. Yet most of us don't leave the theatre wishing we had Luca Brasi's job. It's possible to laugh at Three's Company (for lack of a better example) without actually thinking homophobia is hilarious or that gay people deserve to be mocked or belittled.
Surely we're not so fragile that we have to scurry away from any speech we don't like, or pretend that everyone who appears in fictional media has to conform to our personal standards of morality or interpersonal communication-- or we just can't bear to look?!? Or is it a question of feeling "disrespected" by jokes? It might bear keeping in mind that TV shows and movies aren't made with any 1 audience member in mind. If they were, we'd probably know that before tuning in. Why is it so easy for some of us to be offended by people who literally don't know we exist? I'm certainly guilty of this.

It's possible that I'm assigning emotions or motivations incorrectly to behaviors I don't like. It might be that I loathe the superior air with which people say "I don't watch THAT" as if not watching something is analogous to actually doing something that helps oppressed people. Maybe it's the idea that you really can't have dramatic conflict in a world where no one has a problem with women, or men, or rich people, or poor people, or racial minorities, or religious minorities, or fat people, trans people, gay people, people with disabilities, people with mental illness, or takes issue with how people dress, how they dance, who they date, where they come from, or whether or not they can grammar.
EVERYONE sees the world through their own filters. EVERYONE judges other people for reasons seen and unseen. If you think you don't, sorry--but you're a filthy liar.
The more types of people we expose ourselves to, the more we learn about our fellow humans. Obviously, there are valid reasons not to befriend a mafioso, or a gaggle of methheads, or a pray-the-gay-away commune in real-life. But in media? One of the best steps we can take toward understanding each other is to expose ourselves to as much varied media as we can--and do our best to understand what we see viscerally--not just turning our backs on new material one rough comment in. We can do better than that. And for most of us, our lives are comfortable enough that we can safely expose ourselves to a whole helluva lot via the media at our disposal without collapsing into a quivering puddle of sobs or annoying short-lived outrage that doesn't go anywhere.

So kids, watch what you like--or don't watch. But if I may personify Television for a moment: I promise that the mean old TV-box isn't going to hurt you unless you let it. It's just a box. I promise. And if you let fear and potential discomfort keep you from exploring all the box has to offer, the least you can do is not blame it on the box.

Berfday!

Nov. 27th, 2015 08:10 pm
wednes: (Vyv ;-()
What did I get for my birthday? I knew you were dying to know.

H got me four new Pop Funko figures: Jason Vorhees (#1 in the hockey mask), Pennywise the Clown, and two from The Walking Dead: Little girl with the plushie, and The Governor. Nice!!! He also took the bus to get us Five Guys Burgers and Fries. I love that place.

H's sister got me a Game of Thrones coloring book, and my Aunt sent me a lovely card. So that's all awesome. Tomorrow is my party, which will include fantastic company, yummy food, and conversation that will tear your soul apart...or something. H is gonna take tons of pics, I hope. He has to take them because he doesn't want to be in them.

H's mom did not acknowledge my birthday. If I didn't know better, I'd swear she was MY mom. Ha!

There have been two terrible shootings since the last time I blogged. #BlackLivesMatter protestors were shot at a rally by...well, we know who they were shot by. Funny, I didn't hear anyone lamenting that those protestors didn't have weapons, lest they defend themselves from the racist asshats who shot them.
And today at Planned Parenthood. Without knowing who the shooter is or why this happened, I'm prepared to make the standard presumptions: some fake Christian who wants to protect fetuses while voting away any programs that might help actual children. I'll predict that his weapon(s) were bought legally, and that the media will focus on mental illness and extremism as root causes. Because heaven forfend we talk about how easy it is for violent nutters to get guns.

No word on how many people croaked during Black Friday shopping. I'm sure we'll find out tomorrow when the YouTubes of in-store fisticuffs start showing up.

And finally, I won the #NaNoWriMo. Because I am awesome.
wednes: (Really?)
How much more disgusted is it possible to be with one's countrymen? Every time I think I've reached maximum disgust between the Tea Party and all their nonsense, in-your-face gun activists who can't go out to dinner without packing major heat, and Donald Trump being treated as if he's actually a viable presidential candidate--I get schooled on how cowardly and terrible Americans can be.

I know plenty of Christians online and in RL--of all stripes. I know Mormons who think it's their duty to keep having more children as long as they can, even though they aren't able to support them financially. I know Baptists who were taught, and still struggle with, slut-shaming being the duty of any good parent. I know Catholics who honestly believe that using birth control is a one-way ticket to damnation. I don't agree with these things. Frankly, I doubt the veracity of those who claim to honestly adopt these beliefs as part of their worship of a purportedly benevolent god.

But here's the thing: I've been hearing for years now about how we have to do everything the bible says, lest we be immoral. Of course the people who say this don't really mean it--because they wear glasses to church, eat shrimp, don poly-cotton blends, get haircuts, etc, etc, etc. They also don't own slaves or force rape victims to marry their attackers. But hey, we have to follow at least the spirit of the bible, right? For morality? That's why we're supposed to applaud people like Cliven whatever the fuck who trespassed to graze his cattle, or Kim Davis who "took a stand" against those awful gays with all that gayness. It's because of the bible that we have to refuse to make pizzas for gay weddings or rip our kids out of scouts because the leader is gay. It's why Planned Parenthood is getting ridden out of town on a rail despite a profound and immediate need for it. Because Jesus, because bible.

But now...that war orphans, widows, displaced families are desperately seeking asylum--what do we do? "Sorry, all full. Sorry (not sorry) but none of you can come here." Shit, this cowardly bullshit is even coming from the very people who wouldn't even fucking be here if it wasn't for the US taking in refugees. I'm looking at YOU, Ted Cruz, you shrewish sack of crap. And the Anne Frank thing? It's actually true. She might still be alive now if we hadn't wanted to "stay out of it."

If you have honestly informed yourself about the Paris attacks and the overall refugee situation caused by Daesh (which was, in fact, largely caused by the good ol' US of A), and your takeaway is that they're all Muslims which means all terrorists which means GTFO? You are a monster. You aren't living by traditional Christian morality, and you sure as fuck don't believe that #AllLivesMatter despite your insistence to the contrary. As many others have said better than I: By refusing refugees, we are giving in to terrorists. We're giving them exactly what they want.

The "that's too bad, but this isn't my problem" school of foreign policy has been our ugliest export for some time. We fuck with any country that has something we want, claiming it's about 'necessary regime change' or 'exporting democracy.' But we do fuckall in countries where abominations happen all the goddamn time. Why aren't we helping oppressed Chinese workers? Or any of the other non-Paris places that have been bombed by terrorists in the last few weeks? Because we don't actually care about the people in these places. As a nation, we only care about what we can get from them.

The United States of America has the biggest, baddest, most well-funded armed forces in the world. Yet we're cowering in fear at people running for their lives from the very people we profess to hate? Are we really that lily-livered? Where are all the gun-enthusiasts who need fucking rocket launchers and semi-auto machine guns to "protect their families?" Why aren't they standing by the borders, ushering refugees in and offering to dispatch anyone who tries any terrorist shit?
No, I don't think we are entirely cowardly. But I do think we're that hateful. I think we, as a people, are absolutely callous enough to hear about refugees and think "Well who the hell told them to live in [insert godforsaken hellhole here] in the first place?" You know, the same way people say "Hey, if you didn't want to be treated like shit for 50 hours a week and still not be able to afford a doctor, why'd you choose to work at [minimum wage shithole]?"

The response to this refugee crisis is another embarrassingly ugly case of demonizing victims because it's easier to hate than to help. It's simpler to say "Hey, they brought this on themselves," than to say "Holy shit, that's awful--what can I do to help." It may be true that taking in displaced people or donating $50 won't "solve" the problem of terrorism. There will always be disgruntled assholes who think hurting people is fun and use that excuse to advance some bugfuck ideology. But what there should never be, are people who see these atrocities and say "I'd like to help, but helping might make something go badly for me, so I don't think I'll even try."

I've seen the way some of you react when your basement floods. Now imagine that your house was blown up, half your family dead, your son stolen and forced to fight for terror, and you're literally running for your life. Now imagine a bunch of comfy AF Americans sitting amid central heating, watching Netflix and eating food they can drive to the store and get without anyone shooting at them--got it? Imagine them saying that you can't stay in an empty hotel and get a cold shower and decent sleep, because they're afraid you might be the people you're actually fleeing from.
Then tell me you wouldn't fucking hate the people who did that to you.

So if you're saying that, if you're saying anything like that--stop it.
Just fucking stop.
wednes: (NaNo Runner)
I had a big post planned about nihilism and internet trolls.
But I'm behind on the NaNoWriMo and don't want to half ass it. It's pretty good.

Here are some things of note:

The attacks in Paris are awful. What the fuck is wrong with people? And what the fuck is wrong with Americans who want to blame refugees for the attacks. If they didn't vet refugees properly, that sucks. But it doesn't naturally follow that they're all terrorists--or that any of them are. Let's not let our sadness turn to anger and then to hate, comfortable as that may be for many of us.

Got unfriended for calling someone out on fat shaming. It sucks, because it's a person I genuinely like despite a complete inability to deal with opposition. I kind of hate seeing liberals act like petulant children who refuse to see the other side of something. And I'm annoyed yet bored with people who think "Haw haw, fatties are fat," is a funny joke. What are you, 13-fucking-years-old? Besides, I was just pointing it out. I'm not one of those "take that down or I can't be your friend" people. But when someone is being an asshole, it can take a real friend to let them know.

Barbara Kean is way better on Gotham as a villain. Way. Better.

American Horror Story: Hotel has more nudity than I require in my horrorshows. If I wanted to see that many naked people and that much blood-drenched man-on-man or three-way giggity, I'd wait for Game of Thrones to come back. That said, I'm not really mad that I already figured out who the killer is. Much like Shymalan's The Village--it's not really about that. It's about the journey. Plus, Evan Peters has been great this season.

Read Jack Ketchum's Stranglehold this week. Filled me with terror, then profound despair. I was reminded of Mystic River, in that I wanted to hurl it across the room in anger after I finished. But my Kindle is out of warranty, so I refrained. It's a damn good book. I wish I had Ketchum's skill for developing and building suspense. I do have similar skill for the violence, but that's the easy part. I think I do write with a high level of truthfulness, and my dialogue is damn fine. But these are the things we learn just by living in the world and watching it with an eye toward the story. Plotting, storybuilding, setting descriptions--none of that shit comes easy to me. I wish I was able to workshop more, pow wow with other writers and such.

The new book is coming right along. It's got two main characters who are also POV characters (1st person, because that's what I'm best at). One of them is highly unreliable because her roommate keeps stealing her medicine and selling it. The other is just a fucking asshole. It's loosely based on a few fucking assholes I know. Ha! I can't imagine I'll actually finish in time to win the NaNo, but it's gonna be a hell of a good book. I hope to be ready for beta readers by February.
wednes: (NaNo Runner)
The NaNoWriMo is upon us once again. I haven't won it in some time. My first year was 2004. I played and won for five years in a row. And before you say "writing is not a game you play," let me assure you that the NaNoWriMo can be as much a game as you make of it. Little bursts of productivity as you compete with smug strangers for hourly goals, stalking the forums with much clucking and head shaking, and the timeless wily game we fondly call Procrastination. But yeah, I'm doing it again this year, and I fully intend to win. Behind right now, which is why I'm blogging instead of writing--even though that makes no sense.

I've already drafted much of the novel that I'm working on. For now, it's called The Second Funeral which is catchy evocative, I think. As I write a new first draft (so called because I'm making so many changes), I have no idea what the theme of this book is yet. That makes it harder to write because I'm focusing on arcs, plot, and character instead of on theme. What is theme to me? It's the reason people should read the book. The theme of A Stabbing for Sadie is that a) you never know someone else's story, and b) it's wrong to murder people no matter how right, how justified, how fair and balanced you may think it is. The theme of Kiss Me Like You Love Me is that a) we're all full of shit to some degree and we owe each other far better than that, and b) some people never fucking learn. The theme of The Finster Effect is that a) one day all the daily bullshit we deal with is going to go to hell--then we'll be left with the people we are and the choices we make, and b) humans don't know what the hell they're doing, and are doomed as a species.

As far as I'm concerned, if my books don't have a compelling theme, a valid and vital message--then they're a waste of everyone's time. Just typing that out worries me. I fear that I sound like an elitist jag (which, if you're new around here, is something I constantly struggle with). Plenty of people write books without a life changing theme, and that's a totally valid and personal choice. I read books like that, and I rarely come away with a feeling that I've wasted my time. In some ways, I feel like I owe it to the horror genre to elevate it to more than knives and monsters. Then I wonder if horror gives a rat's ass what I feel. If horror loves me as much as I love it, it's keeping a tight lid on that shit.

Somewhere between the 2nd edit, I tend to have that "Aha!" moment where I realize the real-world significance of the book I'm writing. That makes it easier to edit the fuck out of the draft, and then write a 3rd (or final, depending) draft. The one I send out to beta readers. I usually end up cutting a ton of stuff out, tightening all of it, and adding more about things and people who should have gotten more focus initially.

Without a theme, it's hard to know where anything is really supposed to go. Until I figured out the ending of Kiss Me Like You Love Me, I had no idea how it was supposed to end. Once I had a theme, it was clear that it could only end one way. Tough luck, Character!

I guess my main point here is that the new book doesn't have a theme. I can tell you who the main characters are, and basically what is happening. But I have no idea what it's "about." So please don't ask. When I figure it out, I'll let you know.



In other news, Deep Blue Sea is on cable this month. One of those movies that I know full well is terrible and has no connection to logic or science. I must admit though, I find it highly compelling as a film to have on when I'm doing other things. It has a great cast including Samuel L Jackson and Thomas Jane (a blonde, American James Purefoy if you will) along with Aida Turturro, Michael Rappaport, Saffron Burrows, and LL Cool Jay. H and I saw it on a date during those brief months after we were a couple but before we started living together.
wednes: (Wednes Poison)
It's always a drag when I try to have a civil disagreement with feminist-activists, and have to end up explaining that no, I'm not okay with racism, I'm not cool with sexism, but I do think it's okay to tackle these subjects via humor that is not always politically correct.

It's a bigger drag when I'm accused of being "part of the problem" because I disagree that artists are morally or ethically wrong because they approach subjects in a way that leaves a few individuals offended.

Comedy is supposed to be offensive at times. That's not to say that racist, homophobic, or other hateful humor should be celebrated. But the fact that a joke might make you wince, groan, or roll your eyes isn't necessarily indicative of an amoral comedian who thinks your pain is hilarious. If you're so offended that you can't stand to hear more--by all means, turn it off. Nobody is making you watch. Feel free to shout from the rooftops how offended you are. But, if you can, let's not leap to the conclusion that anyone who would dare offend you is a terrible person who doesn't deserve an audience...or oxygen.

Nobody has to find Amy Schumer funny if they don't want to, or Lena Dunham, or Daniel Tosh, or any other funny writer. I don't like Jeff Dunham; I think Larry the Cable Guy embodies much that is wrong with America, and that the best joke Jeff Foxworthy ever told is the one where he got famous. And yet, somehow, I'm able to live my life even knowing that these celebrations of stupidity exist.

Silencing artists is not the best, second best, or 53rd best way to end oppression, or hate, to give the disenfranchised a lift, or to improve anything ever. If fighting for social justice means so much to you (and it probably should), do something tangible about it rather than just tearing down artists because you're angry that people like them even after they've offended little ol' YOU. No artist is obligated to be all things to all people. You are not entitled to a world where no one is ever offended. Even if that could exist, it would be boring to the point of madness, and would likely never evolve or move forward. Discomfort spurs us to action. Being comfortable spurs us to apathy. If we didn't have air conditioners or TVs, I bet a lot more of us would be politically and socially engaged. But that's a topic for another day.

None of this is meant to say that people shouldn't complain when they're offended. They should if they want to. And just as everyone has the right to talk about being offended, so does everyone have the right to offend. I'm sick to fucking death of those who think any hint of offensiveness is morally and/or ethically wrong. Or worse, this idea that if someone is offended, that a) the speaker shouldn't get to speak anymore, and b) the intent of the speaker "doesn't matter." If someone has misinterpreted something, of course intent matters.

In the end, I think there really are people who complain just to demonstrate how very aware they are--even though said complaining is the kind of obstinate, accusatory pompousness that doesn't lead to a discussion or to the finding of common ground. It's not helpful to anyone, and should probably just stop. But it won't. Because the people who engage in it, for all their self-righteousness and feigned empathy, won't even consider examining their own behavior.
wednes: (Default)
On a huge "She Wants Revenge" kick after the Hunger-inspired killy group sex scene in the AHSH premiere last night. Not a bad ep, but as usual, seeing everyone complain about how much they dislike the show (that they somehow keep watching in the 5th year) is equally fun. I can't imagine hate-watching a show this fun, but to each their own, I suppose.

Was delighted to see that Kevin McCarthy (no, not the good one from Invasion of the Body Snatchers and UHF and such) is no longer trying to be Speaker of the House. Seems that if you hate gays, think women are stupid, and loathe the immigrants you hire to do the shit you think is beneath you, the only thing that can make the GOP hate you is you giving up their plan. So yeah, telling everyone that Benghazi was just a long con to discredit Hillary was never going to go his way. Even though most of us knew that already. Still, it's terrifying to think that John Boehner is the lesser of many evils in that instance.

BTW, I saw a few people making jokes about Boehner's orange face and not knowing what's up with that. Kids, Boehner is an alcoholic--the sort that drinks all day. When some people drink, they get red in the face. That makes it really obvious that they're stumbling around wasted, which is still considered unbecoming of a congressman--even on the right. Hence, the orange face that makes the red accents less obvious. You're welcome.
wednes: (AB/Waffle Man)
I do the overwhelming majority of the cooking around here, since H can only cook bachelor food. His fave meal that I make is chili, because I am the ace at it. I think my chili con carne is so good, that I'd enter it into cookoffs if they happened anywhere near me. But I'm certainly not schlepping my chili and fixin's down to Texas. I hear it's hot and racist down there. ;-)

Tonight though, H wants his second favorite meal--which is abbreviated thanksgiving. I take a whole mess of veggies and mix them with a bag of Pepperidge Farm cornbread stuffing. Add chicken stock and bake--serve with gravy that came out of a jar. That's right, a jar. You wanna fight about it? Sometimes I mix in some ground chicken, but today I'm keeping the ground chicken on the side for portion control. Meat is expensive, you know. With it, we're having green bean casserole. H friggin loves green bean casserole--and like many African Americans, he had never heard of it as a kid.

This is a discovery that I made in my adult life--that the Campbells cookbook from 1968 didn't make it out of middle-class white neighborhoods. When H and I first got married, H's grandmother asked me for the recipe after having it at her new church. She was the 3rd or 4th black person I knew who had never heard of it, despite being part of casserole culture. As far as I knew--if you knew about tuna casserole, you should also know about green bean casserole. Not so, though.

Like most people, I make personal adjustments to my green bean casserole. I always use frenched green beans out of a can, and more mushrooms than the recipe calls for (I loves mushers). I use cream of chicken mushroom instead of regular cream of mushroom. I also add sour cream and a healthy couple of shakes of Kraft parmesan. No fresh foods to be found, really. I stir it twice during cooking. Then of course the crunchy onions--which H would put on everything but breakfast cereal if he could.

In other news, my short story, "Raja" has been accepted by an anthology called "Not Your Average Monster." I had a feeling it would be a good fit for them if they liked it. I did a lot of work on this one before submitting, since another pub (that folded before they could publish it) made me edit it down to absurd proportions. So I'm pretty stoked for this fleshed out version to be getting some ink. Yay!

ahhhhhhhh

Aug. 25th, 2015 01:14 pm
wednes: (Sow the Seed)
Been spending less time on the internets lately.
Result?
I hate people slightly less than I usually do.

Facebook does this weird thing now where it keeps automatically switching the feed I'm reading back to the "home" feed. The Home feed has the posts of every (according to FB's weird "we're hiding tons of random posts from people you've already said you want to read, because fuck you" matrix) person who I've friended back, and all their shitty ramblings. Whereas I read from a list called "Buddies," which is people and groups I'm genuinely interested in, and haven't hidden or blocked due to the barrage of misinformed, hateful, or churchy garbage that makes my blood boil. So when I'm reading my list and suddenly come across 5 "repost if you love Jesus" memes in a row followed by some hateful shit about fat people, welfare recipients, or Obama--I know FB has switched me back.

And yes, boiling blood is a major health issue for me.
Even worse than back pain.

That said, this Ashley Madison thing is bumming me out. Specifically, the glee with which people celebrate the doxxing and even subsequent suicides of people who were doing things that are, in short, none of anyone's goddamn business. Sure, if you're lying to your partner--you're probably an asshole. Though your partner might be a worse asshole. Or you might want to keep your family together for your kids. Or you might be in a place where you had little or no choice over who you'd marry. Or you might be somewhere you could be killed for being gay or trans. Or your partner might not care if you have affairs as long as they aren't humiliated publicly over it.
In short, if you think the Ashley Madison hackers are a benevolent group of justice-seekers standing up for marital fidelity, you're fucking kidding yourselves. At best, they are jaded asshats who've been hurt by a cheater and therefore don't care who else gets hurt as they punish a few strangers for things that are--again, none of their goddamn business.
If you're defending the shits who think doxxing is funny or "justice," I hope you take a long look at the way you live. Ask yourself if you do anything you wouldn't want splashed all over the alternative internet--and eventually the regular internet. Anything strangers would be thrilled to shame you for, that could potentially hurt your spouse, children, parents, friends, jobs, or anyone else you've dared to care about. Maybe ease up on the internet lynch mobs and concentrate on living your life as best you can. And stop being such self-righteous assholes.

Corrections

Aug. 5th, 2015 11:01 pm
wednes: (Pot meets Kettle)
Think I'll address some of the stupidity I'm seeing on the internets here. It allows me to get it off my ample chest without having to interact with idiots. Here goes:

--If you're opposed to abortion because you're "sick of women abdicating their responsibilities" you've just admitted that you think raising a child for 18 years is a suitable punishment for the terrible crime of having sex. Go fuck yourself.

--If you think that, and don't support harsh crimes (like jail and forfeiture) for men who sire children and then are not involved fathers who support their children financially, you've just admitted that you're punishing women for sex--but not men. Go fuck yourself.

--If you think women should be forced to bring embryos or foetuses to term, but then vote for people who slash education, SNAP, WIC, oppose the ACA, or accuse mothers of being "welfare queens," you are not pro-life. You're pro-foisting-your-hangups on others. Go fuck yourself.

--No one has suggested that gun control will end all gun crimes forever. Nobody is that stupid. If you have reduced the gun-control argument to that, you're purposely twisting the issue. Go fuck yourself.

--Guns are not a magical amulet that prevents harm from befalling you--which I'm sorry to say that people have essentially said to me. "I need guns, because only guns can defend blah blah blah." Statistically, having a gun makes you more likely to be shot...either by yourself or someone in your household. Still want one--be my guest. But let's not pretend that those who prefer not to are asking to have violence done to them.

--Guns can and do go off when dropped. Sorry gun fans, there are many documented cases. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but drop safety standards only apply to handguns anyway. Most rifles, shotguns, and the like are not subject to drop-tests as a matter of law.

--Jade Helm 15 is not a plot by the government to take over the South and institute martial law. But even if it were--aren't a lot of you pro-fire-power types longing for martial law anyway?

--Even if Jade Helm 15 was a plot to take over the south, you and a couple of buddies in camo pants aren't going to stop the US Army Special Forces, the Navy Seals, or any other specialized military group. You're kidding yourselves.

--Hitting your kid out of anger is indeed abusive. It's not "discipline" because it doesn't teach anything except 'watch out or you'll get hit again'. Discipline is teaching someone what acceptable behavior is. Hitting is punishment, which some do think is a valid parenting option, but it doesn't teach anyone a goddamn thing--except maybe "one or more of my parents is violent and unstable." Not sure if what you're doing to a kid is abuse? Ask yourself, "Would I do this to an adult in a public place? If I did, could I be arrested?" If you answered No to the first question and/or Yes to the second--that's abuse.

Wow, I feel so much better now.
wednes: (Handfasting)
I live a life rich in anxiety, which is not a surprise to anyone who knows me. My main way of dealing with anxiety is to stay the hell at home and not go out into the big, scary world unless I have to. So if you've seen me socially outside my home--that means that I probably love the hell out of you. It also means that if I've inexplicably dashed away from a planned gathering, that it has nothing to do with you.

Anxiety. One of the things I'm most anxious about is that something bad will happen to H. He walks a long way to take the bus to work, and has been hassled by cops as to why he is out at night, where he's going, etc. I used to stand outside the video store where I worked waiting for cabs for upwards of an hour without incident--but when H was waiting with me we'd be questioned regularly. We were even pulled over in a cab once.

So, I occasionally call H at work, just to say Hey and to quell my anxiety. I'm aware that this is lame, and could be perceived as needy and controlling. H is cool with it.

Last week, I called H after waking up from a dream that he was shot in a robbery at his work. Not out of the question--especially since he's there alone during the overnight shift. So yeah, I called just to make myself feel better. The phone rang and rang, but he didn't answer. Doing my best to stay calm, I waited three minutes and then called back. Again, no answer.

I wanted to call the cops, explain the situation (leaving out the dream and some of my own ridiculousness) and just ask them to check in and make sure everything was okay. But I didn't.
See, H is a black guy who stands over 6 feet tall. Statistically, this is the scariest type of person in America. I then envisioned multiple circumstances by which H could be "accidentally" shot by "helpful" cops who thought he was robbing the place. This week, we learned that some cops think it's okay to beat the shit out of people for being "arrogant," or not properly kissing the asses of cops as they hassle us. If anything bad happened to H because I asked the cops for help, I couldn't live with myself. Seriously. I'd have to be hospitalized to prevent my own suicide after something like that. No lie.

It occurs to me how incredibly fucked up it is that I should be afraid to call the cops, because it seems that being helped and being killed or beaten are roughly equally likely in some circumstances. People like to pretend that the cops only kill people who are criminals, or who are threatening their lives. But we know better now. The proliferation of cameras on phones, on dashes, or in businesses have clearly proven that you can be standing around near a slice of pizza, making a minor traffic error, or just walking down the street and be murdered for the crime of looking scary, making someone uncomfortable, or standing up for your own dignity.

Nutzo police are not the norm in Ann Arbor. But they did murder a mentally ill woman last summer when a relative called the cops to help calm her down. Apparently 2 (or 3, I forget now) grown men couldn't take down a mentally ill woman with a kitchen knife in any other way except shooting her in the head. So yeah, why take chances?

No point to this story, I guess.
H was actually vacuuming the floor and didn't hear the phone ring.
He was fine...probably because I didn't call the cops for help after all.
wednes: (Default)
Feeling pretty good about being an American right now:

Obamacare held up despite a hilariously nonsensical Alito dissent.

Marriage Equality made the law of the land, also despite a hilariously nonsensical Alito dissent.

First Amendment protections defended unanimously, albeit for different reasons.

Removing the Confederate Flag from state license plates is NOT ruled to be a first amendment violation. Side note: Are there really still "Sons of Confederate Veterans?" Alive, I mean.

Threatening people online ruled, essentially, fucked up. 8 out of 9 ruled that people should go to jail behind that shit.

States can make laws against judges asking their supporters for money. This is huge, since it's a rampant problem most people didn't know about. (Thanks, John Oliver)

Redistricting by Race also ruled fucked up, despite hilariously nonsensical Alito dissent.

Pregnancy discrimination is Right Out.

Even prisoners get religious freedom.

This 4th of July, I might do something I don't normally do: actually celebrate America. Suck it, King George the third!
wednes: (Farnsworth/zombie jesus)
I wasn't going to weigh in on Rachel Dolezal in any sort of public way. As a white chick, I don't feel like the issue in general is any of my business. But I also don't feel like all the hate ascribed to her motives is okay. I'm hearing people say she lied to "steal a job that should have gone to a person of color," and that she, "engaged in cultural appropriation in order to obtain privilege she didn't deserve." If Black Privilege is a thing, this is the first I've heard of it. Her actions have been called "insensitive, self-aggrandizing, hateful, hurtful," and the ever-popular PC standby "problematic."

To my mind, she wanted to change her identity to distance herself from truly horrible people that, sadly, she had a biological bond with. I relate to this fully. Yet, I hear people railing on about how "She lied, SHE LIED!!! OMG, how can you let it go that she LIIIIIEEEDDD?!?!?!11/11" For fuck's sake, if any of you try to tell me that you've never lied--or even that you've never lied about anything important, I'm gonna have to tell you that you're a goddamn liar. Yes, I realize that there are racial components to her lies, and that I'm skipping right over them in this post. I'm not going to argue with anyone who thinks the racial implications of Dolezal's actions make them unforgivable. That's none of my business.

I'd like to tell you all something. Given some of your reactions to Dolezal, this may come as a shock to you (though honestly, I bet it won't).

My legal last name is NOT Friday. That's right, I "lied." When I wanted to distance myself from a family that didn't give half a fuck about my well-being, I toyed with the idea of changing my last name to Friday, legally. This was around 1997, my lowest point of mental health crisis in my adult life (though I had suicidal ideation all through high school and most of college). I finally said to my family, "I don't want to have anything to do with any of you until you can treat me with some basic goddamn courtesy and respect." I never heard from my mother, or her husband (my adoptive "father") again.

To be extra clear, this was long before I started writing "A Stabbing for Sadie," my first published book, and the first time I used the Friday name on anything substantial. I continued to use the Friday name in my personal and professional life. I legally took H's last name when I married him, but continue to use the Friday name anywhere that isn't a bank, doctor's office, tax document, or other situation where it's illegal to use a false name.

I never changed it legally. That shit is expensive. Plus, my mom paid the state to falsify my birth certificate as a kid, so I don't even have a copy of one that says what my birth name is. I was told that it's perfectly fine to use whatever name I want so long as it's not for the purpose of committing fraud.

Let me ask, how many of you feel "lied to, deceived, taken advantage of?" Who thinks I should apologize to everyone I've "misled?" Who thinks the abuse I've endured has "nothing to do with the adult" I am today? Who thinks lies are NOT an integral part of growing up with a mentally ill parent with no clue about their own mental illness? If you really don't understand why abused children lie, and why the habit of lying is so hard to break--hit me up. I'll be happy to explain it to you--that is, if you think you can trust a liar like me.
wednes: (Eclipse)
The news is making me hate everyone right now.
wednes: (TV!!!)
The world of cable TV is in flux right now.
Consumers may actually come out the winners this time.

Did you hear that Comcast complained to the BBB et al about Rob Lowe's Direct TV commercials? Waaaaaah, they're funny and people like them. Maybe if Comcast had better customer service than say, the Ferguson police department, they wouldn't be so worried about a few ads.

HBONow showed up on my Apple TV earlier this week. That's their stand-alone service so you can get HBO without having to pay for cable.

Turns out, most of your bill for cable programming stems from deals made to give you professional and college level sports. I could give a fuck about sports. I don't even watch the Olympics anymore. So why am I paying that much for stuff I don't watch--let alone all the other channels that used to be worth paying for and are now basically shit. I'm looking at YOU: History Channel, Discovery, Animal Planet, The Learning Channel, Mtv, SyFy, Food Network, 20+ hours a day of Comedy Central.

I've been trying to determine what channels I would actually need in order to feel like I wasn't missing anything important. Remember, I'm a pro reviewer and a major fan of television.
I would want:
Network (abc, nbc, cbs, FOX)
Comedy Central
BBC/BBCA
SyFy
A&E
AMC
TCM
FX
HBO
Showtime (but only for 1 or 2 shows)
IFC
PBS

There are probably a few other things I'm forgetting, but really, about 15 channels or so would have me covered. I'd just want a blazing fast internet connection. But it does seem like $200+ a month is an awful lot--which is about what we're paying with Uverse now that our fancy deal has ended. Plus, our internet is topping out around 5mbps, when it should be at least 4x that. This is preventing the watching of my iTunes from the Apple TV. True, a first world problem--but one that $200 a month should probably take care of for us.

How long will it be before a la carte channels are all available? I guess that depends. Comcast is being, by far, I think, the biggest crying diaper babies about all this. No telling what kind of petulant shenanigans they'll get up to as their position to gouge consumers becomes less and less stable.
wednes: (Vyv ;-()
It appears that Trevor Noah is the latest comedian to face a shitstorm on the Twitters. Now that he's been announced as Jon Stewart's replacement on TDS, bloggers have taken the time to go through his previous years of tweets, searching for things to be outraged about. Of course, they found a few. Among other things, he made some fat jokes. I don't approve. But you know, Jon Stewart appeared on TDS in a fat suit and there was no steamrolling Twitter army calling for him to be fired for it.

As someone who often finds herself defending people like Seth MacFarlane or Lena Dunham, I have to say "What the fuck, Internets?" Are we really so lazy that we have to decide the totality of a person based on a single <140 character sentence? OMG, someone made a joke I don't immediately think is funny--let's get them fired! This has happened to a few people, and had been attempted many other times. Really? We really think if someone says something we don't like--that they should lose their livelihood? That sounds like the mindset of a petulant asshat resentful of the fact that people are legally allowed to disagree with them.

When Obama first got elected, I talked a lot about how people didn't "get" him because he speaks in paragraphs rather than slogans and zingers. Now that everybody and the Nerdist's mother is on Twitter, this problem has gotten much, much worse. It seems that people are so willing and ready to declare people as Hateful for using the wrong word, for a joke that falls flat, for anything outside the party line. Sadly, social progressives are just as likely to form these mobs as conservatives are--and just as likely to cloak themselves in self-righteousness while doing so.

Sorry, but if you really want to be a tolerant person, you can't lash out at everyone and everything who thinks differently than you do. If you don't like someone's joke, maybe complain a bit and then watch something else. Or consider making it a teaching moment. Assume that terrible statements are made out of ignorance, rather than hate. If it turns out to be hate after all, disengage. If you're only tolerant of shit you already like, you're not being tolerant at all.

To paraphrase Jurassic Park: The Internet is one of the most powerful forces on Earth, and people wield it like a kid who's found his dad's gun.
Sure, Twitter et al can be a force for change. That doesn't mean it has to be a hammer used by virtual lynch mobs to terrorize anyone who dares say something we don't agree with. No. not even if they're hateful. Not even if they're wrong, stupid, or think bad thoughts. No one should be threatened, doxxed, or have their web pages hacked for the terrible crime of being an idiot, or even an asshole. People don't deserve to be fired for things they say in private--even appalling things. That's one of the reasons I don't support Hate Crimes legislation. I prefer that we punish people for their actions, not their thoughts.
wednes: (Go Crazy?)
For anyone keeping track on whether or not I'll be taking Latuda--the new med my doc prescribed for me--I'm not. I was a little nervous about the side-effects, like causing crazy mania. H thought I should take it, because the doctor said so. I explained that psyche meds don't really work like that. It's not like a blood pressure med--where you can die if you don't take it. Anyway, I eventually agreed to give it a try.

Then I found out that it's $90 a month.
So I'm not gonna take it after all.
Funny thing is, $90 a month is actually very cheap for a non-generic psyche med. Personally, I know very few people who live with bi-polar disorder, clinical depression, or schizophrenia (all ailments Latuda is supposed to help with) who are financially solvent enough that a sudden $90 a month expense wouldn't cripple them. Of course, if I didn't have insurance it would be over $300 a month. Are there really people, even sane people, who can afford a sudden expense like that? That's almost half our rent.

In other news, I'm watching the crap out of House of Cards on Netflix. When we got the free Apple TV, I decided it would be neat to treat us to Netflix, since it's only $8 a month. It's already paid for itself over On Demand rentals. Plus I saw "It's Such a Beautiful Day" which is a cartoon that will totally make you cry.
House of Cards is insane, and much more murderous than I was expecting.

Still looking for a new gig. If you know anyone who needs a content creator, editor, English or writing tutor, or childcare giver for a kid older than 7--do let me know.
wednes: (Homer/Stones)
Turned on the Daily Show tonight as I have for years--even when it involved some blonde guy and ended with Five Questions. The last time I watched, Jon confirmed the internet declarations (which I fervently hopes were merely rumors) that he is leaving TDS to do something he probably thinks is more important--though nobody seems to know what that is. Tonight, Jon jokingly asked "Did I die?" This was in response to the internet's reaction to his tragic announcement.

I realize that famous people owe us nothing. As Bart Simpson would say: They've given us countless hours of entertainment for free--so if anything, we owe them. But this isn't really about who owes who what. We can all agree that JS and TDS have given us much, while we offer little but ratings, adoration, and occasional internet mockery.

So what is it about?
Not to put too fine a point on it, but we need Jon Stewart. We need TDS to keep doing what it does. Less than 3 months after Colbert left us forever, we are terrified of what will happen without it.

Now I'm gonna speak directly to Jon Stewart, even though I don't know him and have never met him.

Jon,

I've been watching you on TV since you were covering Mtv Spring Break as if it were actual news. I rejoiced with you when you got your first show, and sad when you lost it. I rejoiced again when you got your next show--sad and angry when you lost it. Every time you were in a movie--I paid good money to see it. Hell, I own a DVD of Death to Smoochy and am not remotely ashamed.

We Americans feel powerless in today's world. We work hard but barely scrape by. We hear all about how if we're not rich, it can only be because we're lazy. If we don't want Christianity foisted on us everywhere we turn, it's because we hate Jesus. If we don't support endless wars, we must love terrorism. Poor people, and the ever-shrinking middle class constantly hear that it's all our fault--for supporting the wrong candidate, for not having any guns, for not listening to nutjobs like Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney or John McCain (who actually used to seem sane to me). We don't have a voice, not really. OWS protestors were beaten and arrested despite committing no crimes. Unarmed citizens are gunned down by cops who aren't consequenced--or even facing trial. We post about it, argue about it online, we try in vain to convince older relatives that No, the days of lynchings and rampant sexual harassment weren't "the good ole days." But we don't feel heard.

Then we turn on The Daily Show, where a guy (You) we've known since high school tells us that yes--we're being lied to. We're getting hosed by a system that doesn't give a shit about us. Bad people have great lives thanks to the work we do, the taxes we pay, the things we buy (often because we can't afford real/good stuff). You help us laugh at the horrible things we must endure--and laughter is often the most powerful coping tool we have. You help us remember that our problems aren't all new--that people before us have survived, overcome--even thrived. TDS gives us more hope than Barack Obama and the Avengers 2 trailer put together.

In many ways, TDS speaks for us--people who read, who understand nuance, who prefer paragraphs to slogans. The difference between you and us is that you're "In" and we're wherever the hell we are. If we are the people, the future, the trees if you will. That makes you the Lorax. You speak for us because in the grand scheme of things, we might as well have no tongues.

And now you're leaving.

Honestly, nobody wants to make you feel bad or guilty or wrong for making this choice. We really do love and respect you, and want you to have a happy life with your family. But we're frightened. Not just of change, but of what will happen without you in the next election cycle. Who will hold people accountable? Who will demonstrate the foolishness, expose the chicanery, or help mitigate the ruthless lie machine we endure every election? I know we say this every time--but 2016 is gonna be a nasty one. We're afraid of what will happen, and how we will cope with it, if you are not doing what you do so well.

I hope that makes our collective response a little easier to understand.

--Wednes (a lifelong fan)

PS: Jon, if you respond, you better be nice. My review DVD of Rosewater is going to be here this week.
wednes: (Vyv ;-()
I've been thinking a lot about cops lately, and the problems many of us have with them. Aside from the multiple unpunished murders of unarmed civilians, I learned recently that in many places, cops are legally allowed to have sex with prostitutes before arresting them. This is, I am told, done in the name of "gathering evidence." When you read the article, you'll note that the cop who pointed out to the press that this is legal and "by the book" lost his job--while the one who fucks prostitutes while being paid by taxpayers did not.

Let's look at that. Prostitution is a crime. Paying a prostitute for sex is a crime. So this means it's okay for a cop to commit a crime in order to stop a "more serious" crime. How serious could the crime be if cops are legally allowed to commit it? How long does it take for a cop to find a prostitute, have sex with her, then arrest and book her for the crime of engaging in sex with him? How might that time be better allocated into things that actually help citizens?

Honestly, unless you have a spouse who cheats with pros, I defy anyone to explain to me a way in which their life has been adversely affected by prostitution. Aside from sex trafficking, abusive pimps, and other bi-products of the black market--I don't even know why prostitution is illegal in the first place.

The NYPD went on a half-assed work stoppage recently. It seems their widdle fewwings were hurt when the mayor said he has given his son tips on how not to be shot by police. This petulant tantrum of a work stoppage came in the form of--and I'm not kidding--only making arrests that were "necessary." Arrests went down 66%, leading some to conclude that well over half of all arrests made by the NYPD are total bullshit. Couple this with stop and frisk stats, and you've got a pretty ugly picture being painted. Remember, this work stoppage was intended to be a "screw you" to the mayor--and a tacit admission that the city budget relies heavily on fines levied on these bullshit "crimes" that cops have since admitted are Not Necessary.

I realize that the typical stereotype of any cop on the job more than say 5 years is that they're angry, racist, drunk, and if they're still married--that the marriage is hanging on by a thread. I bet there are things we can do to make things easier on cops that don't involve giving them a free pass to beat or kill civilians, or to get busy with hookers as part of the work day. I don't know what though. I confess, I'm ignorant of how most cops live each day. I'm also ignorant of the rules they follow in order to get the job done.

But I shouldn't be.

I think citizens should be able to get a copy of current police codes of conduct. I want to know what they're told during training, and what the specific rules of their jobs are. After all, cops are paid via tax dollars which come from citizens--even citizens who have at some point, broken a law. See, if you work, you pay taxes. That should give you a say in how you're governed and under what rules. Then we can know for sure whether using minority mug shots for target practice is something every cop supports. I bet it isn't.

Why don't we have access to a list of the rules cops are expected to follow? Some will no doubt argue that if we know the rules, criminals will find ways around them. Like maybe prostitutes will stop having sex with clients if they know one might be a cop, or something. But see, that would mean that cops rely on citizens not knowing the law in order to catch them committing crimes. How is that fair? How can there be secret laws and rules that citizens aren't aware of that can be used against us?

I'll ask again--why can't citizens have--for the asking--a copy of the rules that all police follow. Like the Freedom of Information Act, all we should have to do is ask, and we should be sent a copy of the rules governing cops in our city, county, and state. This should be current and unabridged.

What I don't know is how to go about making this happen.
Open to suggestions.
wednes: (Vyv ;-()
When I read other authors talk about their marketing techniques, a lot of them say they never talk about politics online. They say it's alienating to readers who don't agree with them, and they don't want to offend people. Obviously, it's their choice to discuss or not discuss whatever they want.

For me though...
it feels like a cop-out to refrain from commenting on the news of the day. And by that, I mean actual news--not celebrity foolishness or some lady who got into a car accident when she was shaving her privates.

I was accused of "trying to be the internet police" this weekend when I called someone out for posting something hateful. I do that. If the poster or speaker is someone I have an actual friendship with (whether online or RL), I feel complicit if I see certain things without comment. These include hateful, racist, or sexist language, reinforcement of stereotypes, or things that are demonstrably and/or provably false. So if you're laughing at disabled fat people, accusing 16-year-old girls of "slutting it up," or suggesting compulsory drug testing for all pregnant women--you can expect to hear my reasoned dissent.

It would be easy to say "If you don't like what I post, don't read it," or "Get the hell off my page if you can't handle what I'm laying down." But honestly, if someone actually disagrees with me to the point where it makes them dislike me as a person, or avoid my work like I'm some kind of Orson Scott Card--what I honestly hope for is that they approach me to talk about it. My point has never been to declare things and then close off all discussion.

Anything I post, I'm willing to defend. Any question someone has, I'll do my best to answer it. People have asked me all manner of things from how much I weigh, to things about my sex life, to whether or not I've ever actually wanted to kill someone, or if I've have had sex for money. Granted, I may tell someone that their question is none of anybody's goddamn business--but even after I do that, I still might answer.

Ultimately, I like discussing the big issues--particularly among those with whom I disagree. I've had great conversations with conservatives about fiscal conservatism, the purpose and realities of welfare, equality in the legal system, guns, drugs, and plenty of other divisive topics. Rational discussion is how we learn and progress as a people. What I won't do is dignify asinine stances with rational debate. If you think black people commit more crimes than white people, or that gays are icky and what they do shouldn't be marriage--my willingness to discuss that is limited.

This post was stemmed from another writer who asked me if I worry that "all this political talk" is costing me sales. I have to say, refraining from discussing things I find important is far too big a price to pay just to sell some books. I tend to blame my miniscule advertising budget anyway. Besides, if you read my books you're gonna get a tiny dose of my politics anyway. The Finster Effect is pretty damn political, and S4S and KMLYLM both deal with social issues galore.
wednes: (Vyv ;-()
Been reading articles (and comments--oops!) about shelters for women and children. Apparently, some nobs think they're "sexist" because they only cater to women and children, when way more men are homeless blah blah blah.

For those who are blissfully ignorant as to how these shelters work, a women & children shelter with a secret location is for people who are fleeing from abuse. The secret location is so their abusers can't fucking find them, and therefore not abuse them and the children. It's emphatically NOT "a bunch of feminists who want to keep men out because they think we're all rape-happy." Though now that they bring it up, I can see why someone fleeing from abuse may not have to deal with strangers telling them how pretty they look when they cry. (I have seen this happen in a "regular" homeless shelter.)

If your #NotAllMen fixation is so keenly developed that you actually feel cheated that men aren't allowed in secret-location domestic violence shelters--my suggestion would be to keep spouting that bullshit. Once women everywhere want to smack the shit out of you, you might actually have a valid claim to stay at one of the shelters (and boy howdy, are they luxurious!) you lament.

I've mentioned before that I've given volunteer time and stuff to local shelters, both for the general homeless population, and in what we used to call "battered women's shelters." I don't tend to mention that I've actually stayed at a women's shelter, as a client, when my (now ex, obvs) boyfriend was too dangerously unstable and threatening even for me. I cannot overemphasize the fear, the feelings of failure and embarrassment, the complete and utter shame people feel when they have to turn to such a place. Wait, did I say "people," because I meant "me." I felt terrible fear, shame, humiliation, and as if I had failed everyone who ever believed in me. I can only imagine that it's 100x worse when children are involved.
In addition to that, shelter living is not sitting around all day "living off the government." People staying in any shelter are required to have, or be actively seeking (with proof) a job. They have to pitch in with cooking (try making spaghetti and salad for 50 people and tell me if it feels like work) and cleaning, and must work with a caseworker to get a safe housing plan in place. There are rules, regular drug screens, mandated counseling, and if you break those rules you have to leave no matter how dire your situation.

Women and children who need these shelters often have different needs than the homeless population at large. It is not hyperbole to say that some are fleeing for their lives. Check out the stats on how many women are killed by partners after leaving them. No, one group isn't "better" than another, nor are some "more deserving" of help than others. Every human being deserves a safe, warm place where they can sleep without fear of vermin or violence.
If you honestly have a problem with that, I'd suggest that rather than focusing on the "breaks" others get that you don't--that you take a good long look at whatever ugliness inside you makes you see victims of abuse and say "Damn, I wish I could live like those lazy bastards...seems like a sweet deal." Because while that hateful, misinformed gibberish may not make me want to hit you, it sort of makes me wish that somebody else would.
wednes: (Doctor Literally Too Stupid)
Operation New Computer continues.

I went from a 2008 macbook (not a Pro, the student one) to a mac mini with 8g of RAM and a 2.3 quad core processor. The terabyte drive has given me room to download Homicide: Life on the Street in its entirety. I also have a 24" monitor, up from a 13". So that's all very nice.

Was really bummed to see that Mavericks has done away with my beloved Spaces, and replaced it with some homely crap called Command Center. It sucks. H found me a Spaces emulator program that only costs $20. I'm loving the trial so I'll surely buy it after I get paid. My bank account is actually overdrawn right now. Why I'm being charged almost $20 a month in fees is beyond me. I guess the bank has a system where they charge you money for not having enough money in your account--just one more way banks are not really for poor people.

The extra stuff I needed for the computer was supposed to arrive today. After waiting up for over 6 hours for the UPS man, he showed up during the five freaking minutes I was in the bathroom. So...no dice. Hopefully he'll try again tomorrow, which the text they sent me says will happen. But tomorrow is Saturday, so I wouldn't be surprised if I had to wait all weekend now. Just some cables and the Time Machine drive, plus speakers and a camera since a mac mini is basically BYOeverything. I thought I wouldn't bother with a camera, and then immediately had to postpone a conference. Oops.

On another topic, does anybody really think it's a good idea for us to go back to Iraq? It sounds like this is just a ploy to keep up the illusion that we were there to help the Iraqi people. Does anyone actually believe that? I don't see how. Normally I don't give much credence to the idea that we should help "our own" people over those in another country. In this case though, I'd really like to see veteran's needs, welfare, unemployment benefits, schools, green energy, and job creation addressed before we engage in another goddamn multi-billion dollar war over nothing.
I know we talk a good game about soldiers fighting for our freedom. I can't seem to recall our freedom ever being in jeopardy, at least not in my lifetime.

In TMI news, I'm having the sort of cramps that could kill a small child. Time once more for my annual Nightmare Period. I can always tell it's coming because I want nothing but red meat and coca cola for several days straight. It's also the only time I'm likely to crack out on caffeine Of course, I can't drink regular coke anymore. I also don't keep chocolate around the house anymore. *sigh* These healthy shopping habits will be the death of me...
wednes: (Count Thumps Edward)
Actually, I want to talk about gun rights activists--the wacky kind.

Reasonable people can disagree on which gun regulations have the most effect, as well as on the percentage of gun owners who are careful, responsible, and compliant with the laws governing gun purchase, storage, and use. The two extremes of the gun argument seem to be "No one should have guns except soldiers and law enforcement," and "Everyone should have whatever gun they want, and carry it anyplace they want no matter what anyone else thinks."

Obviously, both of these are problematic.

The majority of outspoken gun rights activists are also socially and politically conservative. They use phrases like "take our country back," and espouse the virtues of smaller government and less regulation. Taking Our Country Back sounds inherently bigoted to me, not to mention scary. For me, I'm less unnerved by people wanting guns as I am about the reasons people cite for needing guns.
Defense and hunting are fine by me. Target practice in the middle of a city? No. Carrying large firearms (so large they must be strapped to your body and can still be easily seen from a distance) into a place where families are eating seems not just excessive, but willfully aggressive. Ever watch a movie where people rush into a space carrying huge guns? How many of them are "just exercising their rights?" I can't think of any. But yeah, if you think you need guns to take on the US government (insert Cliven Bundy comments here), our military, or your local police--you're clearly hoping for a scenario in which it's okay to shoot cops. That's a little unnerving too.

So okay, let's say you believe guns should be everywhere--schools, bars, churches, any business that's open to the public. Oh yeah, and the airports. Does this mean that we aren't even going to acknowledge the feelings of people who don't want guns around themselves, or their families? Are we really going to tell business owners that they must allow guns in their stores if they don't want them there? There are plenty of legal things people aren't allowed to do in stores. For example, I've worked several retail jobs where we did not serve any customer wearing a mask--even on Halloween. If a customer walked into a party store in a mask, they were told to remove it, or leave. Why? Because someone wearing a mask might be up to no good. Fucking is legal. Most stores don't let you fuck in them (so WHY do you have beds here, Mr Furniture store?!?) even if you're not showing anything. Taking a shit? Also legal, but try it on the pool table of your local tavern, and behold the annoyance.

What I'm wondering is if responsible gun owners are irritated at these lunatics who carry giant guns into a family restaurant and then act surprised that people respond with alarm. Seems they are. Seems that even Wayne LaPierre wants these assholes to stop acting like petulant children having a gun-fueled tantrum. So what happens now? Can we reach a consensus, or does it all just get crazier until we're literally shooting it out?

Story: When I went to Woodstock '94, the tenor was such that we could smoke pot out in the open and no one would do anything. Amazed, I raised my freak flag high and smoked as openly as I could. My friend pulled me aside and said "Wad," (people called me Wad then) "Just because you can smoke out in the open and announce every exhale, doesn't mean you have to." I looked around at all the families and random strangers, wondering if my friend was right. I didn't admit it immediately, being a dumbass 20-something. But he was. This rings the same way to me. Yeah, you can have your stupid gun. Do you really have to brandish it around in public rubbing everyone's nose in how little you care about their comfort and safety? Apparently so.

See, if you know someone has a fear of snakes and you throw a snake at them, you're an asshole. You can say it's a joke, or it's your right, or that it's legal, but you're still an inconsiderate, selfish, slightly sadistic asshole.
Don't be an asshole. Every single part of life is easier that way.
wednes: (Doctor Literally Too Stupid)
If I'm trying to be more positive, going on the internet after a polarizing news event is something best avoided. But no...I read all the stories including a transcript of that absurd manifesto. I read all through the #YesAllWoman tag on Twitter until it was hijacked by ugly haters. I fully expect all the pro-control v anti-control BS whenever there's a shooting. It often boils down to "Let's get guns out of the hands of criminals and crazy people" versus "Nobody and nothing has a right to get between me and mah gunz." I hear people fearing that someone will come take their guns away, but I've never heard anyone in authority actually say they wanted to do this.
Please correct me if I'm wrong--but there has been no restrictive gun legislation passed since Obama became president. We've done more to stop the scourge of baggy pants than that of gun violence. I don't know anyone personally who thinks no one should have guns, ever. Most people are more reasonable than that.

However, this latest massacre is more about men versus women. Or rather, who owes what to whom and what the unhappy party has a right to do when their needs aren't met. A few weeks ago, I was unfriended by someone who posted a friend-zone comic. The punchline indicated that the girl (who asked an angel for a nice guy to fall in love with) was called a bitch and told that she "friendzoned" him. I suggested that this "joke" was hateful and sexist, and was told in return that friendzoning works both ways and that it's nothing against women.

As a fat chick, I have to laugh. As a person who grew up with appallingly low self esteem, I had lots of crushes and came to think that I'd like myself better if a cool guy liked me. In my defense, I was a young stupid kid--sort of like this guy. I was also mentally ill, like this guy. But nobody ever tells guys who reject fat girls how "mean and shallow" they're being. Nor did anyone suggest that I "keep at him" or try to "wear him down" or "show him how amazing I really am."
No...I was told to lose weight, get nicer clothes, all manner of shallow shit. The point was that if men didn't like me, I was supposed to change myself rather than blaming the men. Of course, I didn't blame the men, I blamed my own perceived ugliness. But if chicks don't like a "nice" guy (never mind that nice guys aren't pro-torture and don't generally murder people in drive-bys) then they are bitches. And bitches deserve what they get. The internet aftermath and the teenage girl with a FB shooter fan page are evidence that plenty of people still have whacked views on male-female-relationships.

Like most of you, I expect a certain level of stupidity whenever I go online. What I don't expect to see are grown-ass men who say asinine things like "Men and Women have it equally bad." Speaking for myself, I literally do not know a woman who hasn't been raped, stalked, menaced, manhandled, or experienced other physical attempts to sexually control or manipulate them. I would be very surprised to learn that this is true of all men. Personally, I've been hit by several times as many men as I've actually taken a swing at.
It baffles me that there are men, even men who call themselves feminists, who honestly don't see that women have things foisted on them daily that men don't have to deal with. As a fat chick, I'm not sexually harassed often, but it's not like it doesn't happen. More often though, I'm treated as a non-entity because I have the audacity to present myself in such a way that strangers don't immediately want to fuck me at first glance. The nerve of that woman, not being sexy. Duh, being sexy is what women are FOR.

So yeah, agree or disagree about gun control, or mental illness. But to pretend that women aren't on the receiving end of a tidal wave of aggressive inappropriateness, or that we're often dismissed or laughed off when we call people out on it--? C'mon. If you really don't think that happens on a daily basis, you need to open your fucking eyes.

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