28 February 2014

In progress...

So, my regular readers (I found out recently that I actually have regular readers!) may have noticed I have repeatedly promised an indepth essay on capitalism, I have said at least once that it would be my next post, and I keep posting other stuff.

Well, it really is in progress.  I've written a lot of it.  But there is a lot more to go, and I decided not to start posting the finished ones until the entire thing is finished.

In the meantime - since I am saving each section in my drafts folder - I discovered a whole bunch of stuff I wrote, sometimes years ago, and for reasons I can't even guess at, I never posted. 

I'm going to start posting those, while I work on my biggest writing project to date.

Oh, and by the way - if you read 5 Years Later and Not A Great Start to the New Year, and you were wondering if I was still in a bad place... noooo.  I am not.  Not even a little.  A very very good place right now. 
I don't want to get into it too much here - its very exciting, its very mutual, but its also very new and we all know my patterns.  I can't be objective. 
As far as I can tell thus far, there is real potential, and regardless of how it turns out I am having a hell of a fun time in the moment.  If you remember, way way back, New Year's (2009); I honestly did not think it would be possible - I mean, literally, physically possible - to top that experience.  Well, it turns out it is.

26 February 2014

French feminist role reversal movie

Overall, this was great.  I love that it was made, and I hope some of the guys who treat women so disrespectfully see it, and it gets through.

As a guy, I actually have been harassed on occasion - by a co-worker (about 20 years my senior) who made suggestive comments regularly, by a gay guy who, when I was at a bus stop (shirtless, because it was a really hot day) pulled up in his car and proceeded to jack off while staring at me, by a homeless women who followed me around insisting I get a hotel room for us to share - but these were all rare, isolated incidents.
So I can sympathize with the general discomfort, but I can't really even imagine what it would be like to experience on a regular ongoing basis.

There is one problem I have with this video though - the last scene perpetuates a belief, shared by almost everyone, which is based more on misogyny than fact.
The guy really was "asking for it" when he yelled back at the gang members.  Not because of how he was dressed or any signals he gave off, but because he YELLED BACK AT GANG MEMBERS! 
In the real world, in the poor neighborhoods I have lived in, I started to notice several years ago that women regularly yell at people they are having arguments with on the street, but men rarely do.  Why? 
Because every male above about the age of 13 who lives in an area with street crime knows that doing that will get the shit beat out of you. 
Because the reality is that men are the victims of violent crime by strangers over 1/3 more often (down from twice as often a couple decades ago).  What any male with even an ounce of street smarts does when a group of 4 dangerous looking teens starts harassing him verbally is ignore it, let it go, and continue with his life.  Sometimes women yell or insult them back - and the reason they think this is ok is because most of the time they can get away with it - almost all men, even the low life scum who look for excuses to attack strangers, have internalized the (sexist) rule of "never hit a woman". 
But then, in the few instances where it does escalate to violence - and despite the fact that it escalates to violence more often with men - we take those examples and pretend it proves that women are disproportionately victims.  It isn't because the statistics actually support it.  Its because our misogynist society starts out with the premise that women are victims as a given, and then looks for the evidence to support it.

None of this is to suggest that harassment or assault (when it does actually happen) are ok.  They aren't.  But please please stop perpetuating the myth that women are the victims of assault more often than men.  It falsely paints women as weak and helpless, and does not advance the cause of equality.  Besides, its just plain wrong.

24 February 2014

Wearing the Skirt

Been thinking a bit recently about gender.

Thanks, primarily, of all things, to being more active on Facebook than I've ever been.
Which exposed me to:

(A ruler can only lead with the consent of at least most of the people. Women make up slightly more than half of the population. Sure, today institutions are set up that hold the status quo, but how did it get this way in the first place? This is a pretty plausible theory of how and it puts a lot of other stuff into a different perspective too.)
and this

(I'm afraid the larger issue is that we all assume the standard lego person is male. The standard lego person looks like this:
which has no features which indicate gender.
Kind of like when cartoons give a female animal character long hair or eye lash
es, lipstick, or (human type) breasts - even if she isn't a mammal - because if a cartoon animal just looks like an animal "obviously" it must be male(??)
It goes way deeper than corporations and marketing. We have all internalized it. Even the girl who wrote the letter.
and then this

17 February 2014

Google Bus

In order to protest income inequality, instead of attacking the corporations who pay minimum wage or outsource their labor, despite huge profits and huge executive compensation, we attack a corporation that actually pays well - and goes beyond good pay to provide (among other things) an alternative to car commuting.

Which means the goal isn't to actually ensure everyone has a living wage and can afford decent housing, its just to drag everyone else down to the lowest common denominator.
Actually, its not even that, since its the buses that have drawn anger, representing reasonably paid people moving into poor neighborhoods. Our solution to inequality and poverty is... segregation!


When middle class whites moved out of urban areas, it was called "white flight", and activists objected, because it made life harder for poor residents by turning them into ghettos. Now middle class whites are moving back, and even though you can't evict someone just to get higher rent in a rent controlled city, we call it "gentrification" and claim it is making life harder for the poor residents.

Now, I understand it is easier and more gratifying to pick an enemy to hate, and to throw stuff and be destructive than it is to think critically about complex issues - but is it too much to ask to go after WalMart and McDonalds and all the other low wage and outsourcing companies?

11 February 2014


Motivated by the discovery that I have a readership of at least one, in conjunction with being caught up on all the work I can get done (until the water pump is delivered), I am going to (finally!) get started on at least one of the two essays that have been waiting inside my brain