Happy Birthday to William S. Burroughs — American novelist, short story writer, satirist, essayist, painter, and spoken word performer.
I’ve written a bit lately, urging my similarly-aligned friends and acquaintances to refrain from insulting half the country because they voted differently, or didn’t vote. I’ve urged my allies not to call people “Nazis” or “white supremacists” unless those people actually are such.
This is an example where calling someone a “Nazi” or a “white supremacist” is appropriate, because that’s exactly what this guy is: his words make that clear. Now, is everyone in the audience also a white supremacist and/or Nazi? We can’t know that, and we should not assume that. But it’s reasonable to assume that the people cheering and giving the Nazi salute are. Or think they are (I suspect that a lot of these people would be surprised to find themselves taking a train ride in actual Nazi Germany).
So the question is, how do we get people who didn’t vote, or who voted for Trump, to see that this is the result of their actions? If we want a better future, we need them to realize what a terrible mistake they’ve made. The future depends on us working together. We simply can’t afford to hold grudges.
P.S. That was kind of a clever word-play there, comparing “leftists and cucks” to the golem, a figure from Jewish mythology. He’s not explicitly saying that he’s referring to Jewish people when he asks “if these people are people at all, or instead soulless golem”. Not explicitly.
P.P.S. What the heck is a “cuck”? Is he calling non-Nazis chickens?
P.P.P.S. I use the phrase “taking a train ride” in the second paragraph. As far as I know, I came up with that allusion myself — I don’t think I borrowed it from anywhere. However, on proof-reading this, I was reminded of another reference to taking a train… man. That’s dark, Dalton.
P.P.P.P.S. “Cuck“. So, that’s a thing, I guess. Ugh.
I will no longer be getting my news from Facebook. Too much of it is fabricated, and what little isn’t has been slanted and overloaded with emotion until any objective facts have been obfuscated beyond recognition. If you share a meme about this or that protest causing the death of someone, or a story about this or that person being assaulted or beaten by people because of their politics, or even the old-fashioned hoaxes like free cruises from Disney, plots to poison our food, or serial killers leaving diseased needles in vending machines, I am going to hide that post, and if you do it often enough, I will quietly “unfollow” you. (If/when this process can be automated, I will happily install an add-on that does it for me. Perhaps based on a list of fake new sites like this one.)
I have had enough of angry accusations and tragic claims made without even a token effort at verification, and that exist only to sell advertising or elicit an emotional response. I have had enough of political propaganda masquerading as news. Too many of these stories have been completely unsubstantiated, and a claim made without verification cannot be treated as true. Facts matter to me, even if they don’t matter to anyone else.
Share with me how your day went. What sort of things have happened to you today? Not a friend of a neighbour of a colleague — you. How was work? How’s your health? What movies have you seen that you liked? Books that you’ve read that you liked? (Hint: if you haven’t seen it or read it, your opinion about it means nothing. And frankly I would much rather hear about something you liked than something you hated.) Hell, I would even prefer that you share photos of your children — as repulsive as most children are, I would rather see photos of your actual child’s actual accomplishments rather than yet another photo of some anonymous child who may want “likes” for whatever reason — but who probably had nothing to do with their photo being shared.
Facebook is not a source of news. The “news” on Facebook is rumour at the best of times, and malicious lies the rest of the time. No more. Not for me.
The safest assumption on Facebook that any “news” you see is false. In my opinion, it’s no longer even worth doing the few minutes of research it takes to invalidate them: I’m more likely to find gold coins in Vixen’s litter box. If I want news, I will go to a respected mainstream news site that employs actual journalists.
P.S. So what is “real news”? My rule of thumb is that real news has a middle initial “B”: ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, PBS. The exception is CNN, which takes the place of CBN, which is definitely not real news. (There’s always an exception.)
If you want to see someone as an enemy, there will always be an excellent reason for it. Hatred is the easiest thing in the world. “I hate them because they hate me” is the easiest excuse of all. How many times must we re-learn that “They hate me because they do not know me” is usually much closer to the truth? Shakespeare told us. Twain told us. Roddenberry told us. But we keep forgetting.
But we have grievances, do we not? Of course. We always do. And our grievances are just, while theirs are petty and childish. Our fears are based on reality, while theirs are based on delusion. Our leaders may be imperfect, but theirs are monstrous, and want nothing less than the complete destruction of what we value most. So we will elevate someone to leadership despite their flaws, because to do otherwise is to surrender to annihilation. This is no time for idealism.
And how dare anyone on our side suggest anything less than seeking their complete annihilation, in the face of such an existential threat? How can anyone even suggest compromise with such savages?
After all, genocides have happened. Holocausts have happened. Must we not strike first, to prevent it from happening again, to us? How can we ever live in peace unless we first exterminate those who threaten that peace?
I was just asked by an acquaintance — a friendly acquaintance — not to respond to fear-mongering with facts, “because it send[s] a message that their fears aren’t warranted.”
When one side spends the better part of a year building up their opponent into a bogeyman of epic proportions, and then goes into hysterics when the bogeyman wins, I can’t help but see the resulting terror as anything but self-inflicted.
They’ve spent the last eight years mocking the fears of their opponents, only to be devoured by their own fear-mongering. And the irony of it is lost on them. And by “them”, of course I mean “us”. Because these are my friends and allies to whom I refer.
It is disappointing.
I hope the coleopterans will be better people than we were.
I am putting this here so I can find it later (and not have to write it from scratch every time).
Moral argument: NO ONE should have their privacy invaded to earn an honest living, much less to receive assistance when they are struggling. The only time it’s even remotely defensible is when someone is operating heavy machinery or otherwise directly responsible for the safety of others, and at those times the test should be for the person’s ability to operate that machinery — and that should include the effects of ALL drugs and illnesses which impair motor function. Until that happens, “drug testing” is no more than an excuse to exert power over others just for the sake of doing it.
Practical argument: Several states have enacted laws requiring drug testing of those receiving public assistance. In those states, the evidence is overwhelming: more money is spent on drug testing than is saved by withholding support from people who test positive for the substances being tested. The only purpose for drug testing recipients of public assistance is to pay extra in order to treat them like shit.
Pragmatic argument: The surpassing historical ignorance of those who would deprive the poor of food never ceases to amaze me. Even if there were no other arguments for keeping the poorest among us fed — if chubby bourgeoisie like me were all heartless, rapacious narcissists — the simple fact is that when the poor are kept hungry, we chubby bourgeoisie tend to find our heads in baskets. I like my head where it is, thank you very much.
There nothing as destructive to humanity as the preservation of the enmity of previous generations, long since dead.
(This might not be literally true. There may be more destructive things. But this one really irks me.)
The first one-quarter of my life is over: I am 50. Of al the things running through my mind, the uppermost is… I will never be as cool as Vincent Price.
This is scheduled to appear on my blog a couple of months from now. It’d be pretty creepy if I died before then.
This is my favourite scene from Willy Wonka. Because it’s not how others treat us that matters, but how we treat others… even if they are crooks, and even if we don’t win a lifetime supply of chocolate as a reward. The world is overflowing with vengeance and pettiness and bitterness: when has that made anything better? It’s better to be true and kind and forgiving, even if your only reward is that you are true and kind and forgiving.
R.I.P., Gene Wilder.