[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Monday, 2017-05-22

Morgellon’s disease

Filed under: Science,Society — bblackmoor @ 10:46

I recently heard about a phenomenon called “Morgellon’s disease“. Reading about it, I am finding the situation eerily familiar: amateur “experts” think they know more than actual experts, and construct elaborate conspiracy theories to explain why scientists don’t agree with them, when in fact the amateur “experts” are in denial (some even suffering from legitimate mental illness).

Saturday, 2017-05-20

Republicans are not conservative

Filed under: Politics — bblackmoor @ 11:09

We really need to stop calling Republicans “conservative”. They are not, by any objective measure, conservative: not fiscally, not socially, not philosophically, not environmentally. The Democrats are conservative; the Greens and Socialists are liberal; the Republicans are batshit crazy. Call them fascists, or religious extremists, or just cut to the chase and call them evil. But don’t call them conservative. Because they aren’t. They are the party of lies, hatred, and death.

Friday, 2017-05-19

Euphemisms

Filed under: Philosophy,Society — bblackmoor @ 12:40

I am reminded, once again, that the original Star Trek remains an example to which we can aspire. I hope that some day we will care more about people’s intentions than we do about their vocabulary.

Tuesday, 2017-05-16

The return of Republican Hitler

Filed under: History,Humour,Politics,Society — bblackmoor @ 10:41

It appears that Hillary Clinton has replaced Barack Obama as the bogeyman responsible for all of the evil things in the world that the Republicans are so bravely fighting against. So I updated my #republicanhitler meme. I guess when given a clear choice, Republicans really do hate women more than they hate black people. I am mildly surprised.

Moving forward

Filed under: About Me,Philosophy,Society,Travel — bblackmoor @ 09:03

I realized yesterday that I don’t want to move to somewhere I have already lived. I think of that as moving backward. It occurs to me that this is not how most people think.

Also, I would really like to move somewhere not populated by ignorant bigots and ruled by a death cult.

Monday, 2017-05-15

The problem of “free speech”

Filed under: Civil Rights,Philosophy — bblackmoor @ 09:13

For most of my life, I have been a steadfast supporter of “free speech” — the principle that anyone should be allowed to say anything, as long as they do not cause physical harm to another person. By “allowed”, I mean legally allowed, which is not the same thing as being socially acceptable. I have opposed laws against “hate speech”, for example, even though I think that in everyday conversation, such remarks should be condemned by others who hear them.

The problem is that we have somehow become a society that does not recognize the vast gulf between “socially acceptable” behaviour and “legally permitted behaviour“. Americans have accepted the premise that anything legally permissible is also acceptable.

I’m not sure how this happened. I suspect that it is a result of our attempts to legislate against things which have been considered socially unacceptable (the American war against drug users being the most obvious example). If socially unacceptable behaviour is against the law, but ruthlessly harassing someone for being female isn’t against the law, it must be okay, yes?

Whenever challenged on their obnoxious behaviour, the worst examples of human garbage proclaim they are simply exercising their right to “free speech”. The cry of “free speech” has accompanied the rise of “talk radio” in the 1980s (which is little more than Nazi propaganda masquerading as news), the spread of white-male supremacist asshat movements like “gamerhate” and “sad/rabid puppies“, culminating with the election of a vulgar narcissist as President of the United States.

How have Americans come to value vulgarity above civility and factuality? I think it is because we have placed too much emphasis on our “right to free speech”. It has become a sort of idol, which we worship by saying the most egregiously offensive things possible. That is bad enough. What concerns me more is that we have entire media empires spreading fiction as though it’s news, and huge portions of the population are rejecting facts and embracing the most ludicrous of falsehoods.

Frankly, I think it’s too late to fix it. The avalanche of lies has started, and it’s too late to stop it. We elevated “free speech” to a religion, and we are paying the price.

But I have a suggestion for the survivors of the next revolution, when they begin writing the next set of sacrosanct documents by which they will chart their destinies:

Limit “freedom of speech”. Prohibit the promotion of discredited scientific theories and outright falsehoods, and give serious thought to prohibiting language that encourages the victimization of any category of people. Somehow, make it clear that there is no need to “tolerate intolerance”.

Maybe if the next civilization extols civility, factual accuracy, and scientific inquiry, rather than “free speech” and “freedom of religion”, they can avoid our mistakes.

Thursday, 2017-05-04

Republicans are evil

Filed under: Politics — bblackmoor @ 17:21

Anyone who calls themselves a Republican, or votes for a Republican, is just unapologetically evil. That wasn’t always true. But the Republicans of the 21st century aren’t the Republicans of 150 years ago, or 50 years ago, or even 20 years ago. It’s become the party of lies, hatred, and death.

Saturday, 2017-04-29

Five acceptable responses

Filed under: Philosophy,Society,Writing — bblackmoor @ 15:44

This is a public service message.

When someone† posts, “Here is something I like!”, there are five acceptable responses. I will list them here.

1) “Tell me more about this thing you like!”
2) “Did you know this fun‡ fact about the thing you like?”
3) “I like that, too!”
4) “The thing you like reminds me of this other thing, which I like!”
5) (silence)

Now you know.

† “Someone” means “Someone who is not a full-blown Nazi, sexist scumbag, or overt racist.”
‡ “Fun” means actually fun — not mean, snide, derogatory, or judgemental.

Monday, 2017-04-24

Tipping is bullshit

Filed under: Fine Living,Food,Philosophy,Politics — bblackmoor @ 21:05

Tipping is bullshit. American “tipping” has created a whole class of beggars. People who work on my car work just as hard as the people who bring me food, but they’re not dependent on the kindness of strangers to pay their damned bills. And how much my mechanics get paid doesn’t depend on the cost of the part I have them install, or whether they’re young and cute.

I tip well, because I can (this was not always so), but I would much prefer that businesses actually pay their employees to do the job they were hired to do, so that the price I am quoted when I place my order is the price I actually pay.

“Tipping” should be abolished. It’s unfair to the people who pay, and it’s insulting and unfair to the people who receive.

But with the current political trends in this country, I suspect that most Americans will be depending on “tips” to survive before too long.

Tuesday, 2017-02-07

The gods themselves

Filed under: Society — bblackmoor @ 16:51

Against stupidity the very gods
Themselves contend in vain
— Friedrich Schiller, Die Jungfrau von Orleans (The Maid of Orleans) (1801), Act III, sc. vi

I have tried to defend the virtues of the South against those who attack from without, and those who seek to defile it from within — bigots, generally speaking. I’ve defended the rebel flag, affirming that it is an unofficial symbol of the South, and not a symbol of oppression or slavery, nor a celebration of the worst of our history. Like the American flag, the rebel flag has been associated with terrible injustice in the past, but that is not what it means.

That has been my position.

I am surrendering that battle. Not because of people who still blame people in 2017 for atrocities committed 150 years ago, but because of the people who seem intent on living up to the very worst stereotypes laid at the feet of the South. People who revel in ignorance, bigotry, and malice, all while waving the goddamned rebel flag.

Once upon a time, the swastika was considered a sacred and auspicious symbol. The Nazis, and the horrible people who continue to admire them, have ruined that, at least insofar as Western civilization is concerned. If the stigma currently associated with the swastika is ever washed away, it will be be many generations from now. Lifetimes.

Against my best efforts, I have come to the conclusion that the rebel flag has become so tainted that it will not be redeemable in my lifetime. Not tainted by tragic events 150 years ago, but tainted by people here and now who wave it proudly while proclaiming themselves to be scum of the absolute worst sort.

Was I wrong all along? Foolish? Maybe so. Maybe so.

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