[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Tuesday, 2017-09-12

The problem with ‘privilege’

Filed under: Civil Rights,Philosophy,Politics,Society — bblackmoor @ 14:39

You're not being oppressed when another group gains rights that you've always had.

White privilege“.

Male privilege“.

Straight privilege“.

It bugs me so much that the word “privilege” is used in this context. “Privilege” is something that not everyone has, and that not everyone should have. But everyone should be able to travel without fear of being stopped for no reason. Everyone should be able to live day to day without fearing for their lives if a police officer notices them. Everyone should have their accomplishments respected and accepted without questioning if they had actually earned them. Everyone should be able to go through their lives without experiencing a constant barrage of insults or “jokes” aimed at their ancestry, or gender, or sexual proclivities, or skin color.

Using “privilege” to describe these benefits says that they should be taken away, which is the exact opposite of what ought to happen. These are not privileges — they are what everyone ought to have.

The argument for this terminology is that it points out that a person belonging to group X (males, straight people, “white” people, whatever) has some benefit that those in other groups do not have, a fact of which some (perhaps most) in group X are unaware. (Although how any straight, white, American male could possibly be oblivious to their status relative to other groups is a mystery to me.)

But given the standard response when the phrase “_____ privilege” is used, this terminology fails to convey that. The response is typically, “I am ____ , and I don’t have any special privilege!” And that response is correct — they don’t have any special privileges. What they do have is the ordinary way life should be for everyone, but isn’t.

So what would be better? “Respect”? “Dignity”? “Liberty”?

Personally, I think discourse on this topic would be improved if the focus were less on what group X has, and more on the gap between what group X has and what other groups have. There is a phrase already in common parlance: “income inequality”. I think we need a focus on “dignity inequality”, or “liberty inequality” — the emphasis being not to take it away from people who have it, but to make sure that everyone has it.

To be clear (because someone will read this far and yet still somehow fail to understand this), I am not saying that the disparity does not exist. I think you’d have to be willfully ignorant or just plain despicable to claim that (and many ignorant and/or despicable people do — Google “myth of white privilege” if you want your love of humanity severely tested). I am saying that if we, people of good will, are to come together and eliminate that disparity in treatment, describing it as a “privilege” makes that work more difficult.

Thursday, 2017-08-17

The Confederacy is not the South

Filed under: History — bblackmoor @ 11:37

The Confederacy is not the South. The Confederacy was a six-year tragedy in a history that stretches back over 400 years. There were other tragedies along the way, obviously — the genocide of native Americans and the chattel slavery of Africans being the two biggest ones, but as these were American atrocities rather than strictly Southern ones, I won’t be addressing them here. This isn’t about the crimes of the United States: this is about the southern USA (or just “the South”, as it’s affectionately known), which had its first permanent European settlement in St. Augustine, Florida in 1465, by the Spanish. The South existed for hundreds of years before the stain of the Confederacy, and the South is still here long after the blight of the Confederacy is gone (and good riddance!).

Even some Confederate generals, such as James Longstreet and William Mahone, recognized the value and importance of a United States with racial equality, and worked to make it happen. Sadly, they have been largely forgotten — or demonized — by Americans on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line.

A Southerner who glorifies the Confederacy and treats it like something to memorialize is like a 50 year old man who met a girl in a bar when he was 18, took her home, and woke up with a dead dog, a stolen truck, an empty bank account, and a case of herpes — but who insists on keeping her photo on the mantle because it’s his “heritage”. He shouldn’t be blaming himself for that mistake after all these years, but he damned sure shouldn’t be reminiscing about it, either.

Tuesday, 2017-08-15

Ghost In The Shell, The Sand, Nudist Colony Of The Dead

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 11:17

Recent movie viewing…

Ghost In The Shell (1995)

“Ghost In The Shell” is pretty famous, but I’d never seen it. The first half hour is really good. I really liked the story, the characters (if not the English-speaking voice actors), and the animation. It starts to bog down at around 30 minutes, when two characters woodenly recite some Philosophy 101 blather for a few minutes. After that, every ten minutes or so the movie grinds to a screeching halt for more “what does it mean to be alive” blah blah blah. It’s the sort of tedious philosophical crap that seems deep when you’re 16; after you take a couple of philosophy courses, or read a few books, or get some life experience… not so much. Aside from that, and the English voice actors in the dubbed version being really just terrible (don’t judge me for watching the dubbed version), I thought it was okay, but I expected it to be a lot better.

The Sand (2015)

In “The Sand”, a half-dozen attractive young people in bathing suits wake up after a beach party to find that they are stranded in the middle of a stretch of beach that eats anything living that touches it. The premise sounds horrendous, but the performances and the variety of ways the characters die really raise the quality of this. The cast is surprisingly good, and the movie held my interest the entire time. The special effects are very good at the beginning (both the gore and the monster), but get more cheesy and less convincing as the film goes on. But at the beginning, they really are quite good. Overall, this movie exceeded my expectations, and even surprised me a couple of times.

Nudist Colony Of The Dead (1991)

“Nudist Colony Of The Dead” sounds like it will be awful, and it is. However, it’s not what I expected, and it’s actually somewhat amusing. For one thing, it’s a musical. The songs are terrible, but the tunes are kind of catchy. Second, it’s a satire of late-1980s Americanized Christianity, along the lines of “Saved” (2004). It’s not as funny as “Saved”, but they do try, and it’s definitely a step above painfully unfunny “comedies” like “Bridesmaids” (2011), “Jack And Jill” (2011), and “Hot Pursuit” (2015). Finally, I was surprised at just how little nudity there is. I was expecting a cringe-inducing, wooden parade of naked bodies, but there’s more nudity on an episode of Game Of Thrones (the first season, anyway: I stopped watching shortly after Sean Bean died). Heck, “Ghost In The Shell” probably had as much nudity (although those were robots, so I’m not sure that counts). So while I wouldn’t call this a good movie, if your expectations are as low as mine were, you might find it okay, or even mildly amusing. But it’s no “Zombie Strippers” (which is fantastic, aside from the tedious framing scenes at the beginning and the end).

Sunday, 2017-08-06

Young and beautiful

Filed under: About Me,Philosophy — bblackmoor @ 21:22

No one is young and beautiful forever. As Carrie Fisher said, “Youth and beauty are not accomplishments. They’re the temporary happy byproducts of time and/or DNA.”

On the bright side, age has made me a much better person than I was 30 years ago. I wouldn’t trade that for being young and pretty again… but I would think about it.

Friday, 2017-07-21

Cult Movie Night: Anne Rice Vampires

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 23:45

Tonight’s Cult Movie Night was “Interview With The Vampire” (1994) and “Queen Of The Damned” (2002). “Interview” is definitely the better film, but the cast in both is really quite good. And Aaliyah was just pure magic in “Queen”. She steals the movie, even though she only has a few scenes.

Wednesday, 2017-07-19

Trying to find an “up” side

Filed under: Politics,Society — bblackmoor @ 17:42

I have been making a sincere effort, for the past few months, to focus on the positive. To “promote what I love instead of bashing what I hate“. To find joy in my gardens and the view from my living room windows, rather than focusing on… well let’s just leave it at that.

sigh

To not fantasize daily about moving to a more pleasant land, and instead gaze upon the grace and beauty and (increasingly) the potential of my birthplace.

Instead, day after day, I am exposed to evil, and evil, and evil, and evil

Not merely a difference of opinion, but genuine evil: the desire to harm others, and the power to do that harm. That is what we-the-people of the United States have put into power, and what we seem intent on keeping there.

Venal. Ignorant. Malicious. This is the United States of America in the 21st century.

Thursday, 2017-07-13

President Trump as a syphilitic rash

Filed under: Politics — bblackmoor @ 11:09

We the people elected an overtly corrupt, vulgar narcissist and habitual liar to the highest office of the land. This was not an isolated incident: we have been filling the upper levels of government with people like this for decades. Trump is not the disease: he is just the most visible symptom — the ugly rash that we complain about while our brain and internal organs are being eaten away by syphilis. A large portion of the United States has exactly the government they want.

Trump may stay or go: it truly doesn’t matter. The real problem is the people who elected him (and that we even need to quibble over whether they are the technical majority is a sign of just how serious this problem is).

I do not have a solution, other than fleeing. But my wife won’t leave as long as our parents are alive.

Wednesday, 2017-07-12

Twitter

Filed under: Humour,Society,The Internet — bblackmoor @ 15:12

Twitter is the very worst of humanity, delivered 140 characters at a time. It is the untreated sewage of the Internet.

Liberals and conservatives

Filed under: Politics — bblackmoor @ 09:23

I have been saying for some years now that the United States does not have a “left” and “right” — we do not have “liberals” and “conservatives”. Not in our major political parties, anyway. What we have is “conservative” (the Democrats) and “batshit crazy” (the Republicans).

It was not always like this. But the Democrats and Republicans of 2017 are not the Democrats and Republicans of 100 years ago, 50 years ago, or even 20 years ago. The Democrats have become the Republicans, and the Republicans have become something out of a Monty Python skit.

It will get worse before it gets better.

Tuesday, 2017-07-11

Mansplaining

Filed under: Society — bblackmoor @ 22:16

Observation: “mansplaining” is the early 21st century version of “hysteria” — with a single one-word accusation, you can devalue someone’s humanity, experience, and point of view, based on nothing more than pointing out their gender.

Of course, as usual, men have it better. No one is going to be involuntarily committed due to a diagnosis of “chronic mansplaining”.

That’s progress, I suppose.

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