I encountered a CNN article ostensibly on the Daniel Tosh “rape joke” controversy titled “When Rape Jokes Aren’t Funny.” Like all commentary I’ve encountered on this recent incident with Daniel Tosh, it contained no hard facts. It started off with qualifiers such as “according to” and “reportedly,” while acknowledging that all of the evidence came from a single unsubstantiated blog post, but by only a few sentences in it was clear that it intended to proceed as if all events were known and proven. No mention was made of the eyewitness accounts refuting the blog post, and instead the writers proceeded immediately into a conversation as to how people could defend the horrible things Tosh was now, seemingly magically, known to have uttered. Going beyond the standard approach of discussing the event while offering almost no or no corroborated information on the event, the authors of this piece went above and beyond by expecting us to assume that Tosh’s show is and has always been misogynistic with no evidence or quotes, even though you would think this would be easy to establish and could furthermore provide corroboration to disputed allegations against Tosh.
My point in bringing all of this up, though, is not to defend Daniel Tosh, to express my take on the controversy, nor to use it as a launch pad into the pervasiveness of rape in this society. Anyone who is interested in an essay with these goals or their opposites has an almost and effectively limitless supply of such essays across the web. Instead, I bring up the Daniel Tosh incident, or should I say the public discussion of it, to call attention to the abysmal manner in which our media handles all public discussion.
In their CNN article mentioned above, Julie Burton and Michelle Kinsey Brunns, begin to lay out their case with the statement: “Many women (and virtually all feminists) said these topics (free speech and heckling etiquette) were distractions, at best, from the sheer offensiveness of Tosh’s attack. “This of course raises the interesting philosophical question of what it means to distract from something that is itself independent of fact, or, at least, corroboration. How does one distract from something that is not known? Certainly no one’s comments have or could have obfuscated what happened any further than it already is. A more fair statement might have instead stated that these topics were not in keeping with the discussion that “many women” or “feminists” wanted to have about the incident.
It is fitting that they would begin their argument in this manner as the topic/focus of discussion around particular events are of paramount concern to the nature of political discourse around these events, greatly canalize the route of a discussion and the conclusions that it can come to, shape our understanding of these events, and determine how we integrate both our conclusions regarding and understanding of such events into our overall ideology. Unfortunately, media these days has become much more focused on providing us with the parameters and topics of discussions, than on reporting facts or providing any sort of objective analysis of events.
By shifting the focus of discussion away from facts or evidence of events and towards the questions of appropriateness of rape jokes and men’s supposed inability to comprehend why they upset women, the CNN article (and all of the ones like it) is able to completely ignore the question of what happened and seemingly immediately convict Daniel Tosh without even an argument. We saw the same methods used against communism in the cold war, when the question became “what do we do to contain the communist threat?” with no discussion of whether there was one; in the lead up to our invasion of Iraq, when the discussion became “how do we stop Saddam from acquiring weapons of mass destruction?” instead of discussing whether he had them; in our current standoff with Iran over their nuclear program, in which our media discusses how to stop Iran from acquiring a bomb that our own intelligence community states they are most likely not building. Regarding Syria, and Libya before it, our media discussed if international (read NATO) intervention was warranted, while avoiding any discussion of what the various factions were fighting for or broader questions of what determines a just uprising from a baseless “armed riot.”
There are countless modern domestic examples of this as well. The media discusses if “ObamaCare” will survive, conservative opposition to it, what it means for the unprincipled struggles between America’s political parties, and of course what the public opinion of the bill is today. Almost no discussion is given to the topics of whether the bill will hurt or help American families, the question of social justice raised by taxing poorer families to pay for healthcare for richer families, or the question of what other options the American people had and have at their disposal when it comes to handling the healthcare crisis. The media went out of its way to avoid discussion of any sort of single-payer public option.
Likewise, the media has been able to contain any damage inflicted on the status quo by the Occupy Movement by controlling discussion. When simply ignoring it didn’t work, the media raised this persistent question of “what are their demands?” again and again. The funny thing is, if the Occupy Movement had any overarching demands, they were for a public discussion of wealth distribution in the US–the exact discussion that the media avoided through its manipulation of the discussion.
My point in all of this is not that it is wrong for a group to attempt to bring discussion around to its interests, nor am I suggesting that such actions are always justified. What I am saying is that almost all of our public discussions of all issues are completely moronic because our media would prefer it that way. In the Tosh piece, they attack men who take Tosh’s side as ignorant of the threat of rape faced by women, and attack Tosh for (ostensibly) saying misogynistic things. Bizarrely, the less petty issues of how do we actually protect women from rape are absent. The mass media is never attacked for not calling enough attention to rape or demanding that more be done to prevent it. To be a feminist means to actually challenge the status quo and the institutions that prop it up. The authors of the piece I have described here are to be commended for calling attention to the seriousness and gravity of the issue of rape in the US, but in the end denounce a 2nd or 3rd tier comedian for rudeness instead of anyone who might actually be responsible for this scourge. Confucius taught that to not act when action is required is cowardly or a product of misplaced priorities. This article, like so many of our media-led public discussions is both petty and opportunistic.
In the end, if America’s shattered and fragmented left and the cause of feminism which is an integral part of it are to have any future, they will need to find a way to force public discussions of the topics of their choosing. We will have to reject nonsense distractions and the false dichotomies on issues presented to us daily. We will have to apply the same skepticism that is so often applied to religion to more secular elements of our society as well and, as much as possible, hunt down and base our views on primary sources available to us.
I’ve been reading lately about a lot of peoples failures. I’ve been reading about failures of banks, the free-market system, and the politicians to fix it. I’ve been reading about failures of the left to exploit these other failures, and failures of our “two party system” represent the “people” and carry out their “will.” What I haven’t been hearing about or reading from anyone is the failure of the system that brought us to this point. In fact everyone’s idea seems to be that what we need to fix these problems is “Democracy.” Why, if we could just have a few elections where the people’s voices were heard, everything would be all right.
You can hear this sentiment from just about everywhere: you can see it in Micheal Moore’s most recent film, Capitalism, and in the Occupy Wall Street movement, which seems to argue that what we need is a government of the 99% instead of the 1%; you hear it from the mainstream liberal organizations and both major and minor political parties which argue that if we can get higher voter turn-out maybe we can fix the problem; we could probably even hear it from the extreme right–I mean, isn’t that what they’re getting at every time they complain about activist judges and special interest groups? In fact, that seems to be everyone’s idea, that Democracy is the solution and that special interest groups are interfering with its proper function. If there are two things that almost every American can agree on, it’s that we are dissatisfied with the current state of affairs (i.e., where our country is and the direction it is going), and that real Democracy is what is needed to solve this.
The questions remain: What is this real Democracy? What is Democracy at all? What is this thing that, miraculously, we all agree on? I find myself wondering if these people consider America to have been a Democracy when we began the our war for independence, likely without the support of the majority of Americans who were content to stay with England. Were we a democracy after that war when only white men who owned land were allowed to vote? Were we a Democracy after the Civil War when we gave blacks the vote and then finally finished off the native Americans? Perhaps we became a Democracy when women finally got the right to vote in 1920, or maybe after we gave blacks the right to vote the second time around. But of course if we were a Democracy, the question remains when did we cease being a Democracy? After all, corporations have been people since the Civil War and the wealthy have always played a role in politics.
My point in all of this is not to remind myself and other Americans of embarrassing spots on our historical record. To be sure, there are plenty of moments to be proud of: we rose up to fight fascism in World War II; we had the New Deal in the Great Depression to help people when they needed it; and we created the first modern secular society. Perhaps most importantly, we created a constitution that is predicated on protecting the rights of man. But even when we were in what many consider our finest our, fighting for “freedom” against the fascist power during World War II, we were locking up Americans just for being Japanese, continuing a policy of segregation and voter disenfranchisement against blacks and bigotry against Jews, and maintaining sexist policies against women. Such policies hardly seem Democratic.
Perhaps they don’t need to be though. After all, the very idea of progress requires that situations start off less than ideal before being improved. If we don’t ask Mongols to apologize for all of the races they slaughtered, why should we ask today’s Americans to apologize for the crimes of our ancestors? The problem is not with our history which, as all histories always will, has its share of black marks but with our idea of Democracy itself.
It has been said that medieval kings had two bodies: the physical, flawed, and weak man and the symbolic and spiritual body that symbolized all that was glorious about the nation he ruled. The same could be said about today’s conception of Democracy. We have the flawed system that we can see in front of us, where the wealthy and corporations buy political power, where our free media pits us against one another every chance that it can get, with a the two party system that we feel constrains us, and with a congress that despite having been voted in, gets job approval from less than 15% of Americans. Then we have the idealized, symbolic, and–dare I say–spiritual Democracy that we strive for and long for. The Democracy which despite all our governing system’s imperfections encompasses all that we are proud of in our system, history, and the future that we imagine ourselves going towards. The only problem with this Democracy is that, regardless of its virtues, it’s illusory.
We would all like to imagine a country in which we are always in the majority, the majority is always right, and everyone knows what they are doing. In reality, that is not only not how our Democracy works, it is inconsistent with how Democracy could ever work. Sometimes it is easy to imagine oneself as being in the majority even when one is on an extreme fringe, and when one’s opinion is an extreme minority. It’s easy to imagine everyone you know and interact with is in the same situation. The end result of this line of reasoning is blaming all the special interest groups that get in the way, whether they be gays, the poor, or corporations. The fact is that this is how Democracy was always intended to work. What we call Democracy was conceived by a bunch of aristocrats in the medieval ages as a means of working out disputes between each other and reigning in the centralized authority of the king (Magna Carta, anyone?). Despite being expanded to include most other strata of society, its still a rich man’s game; just substitute corporations for aristocrats, and what’s really changed? There’s been at least one study, from back when times were good, arguing that feudal China with their bureaucracy system had more upward political mobility than America today.
There is no “we the people;” there are just many people and these are in many different groups. Far from being exactly the same or ideological opposites, as various sectors of America’s political commentary might claim, today’s political parties and politicians on the whole do represent different factions of America’s upper-crust as they duke it out. That these squabbles are of minimal relevance to the rest of us doesn’t make this untrue. If we get new political parties, they’ll either be irrelevant or working for the same guys who own the rest of us. To quote Mark Twain, “if voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.” It doesn’t sound like anything has changed. If democracy is what we want, we should own up to it; if we want something different, we should start saying so.
There are many reasons it would be pointless to try to convert me to a deist religion. One of the main snags I have with deist religions today is the whole idea of worship. I don’t really believe in worshiping anyone, especially not someone who claims to be a god, whether that entity be visible to me or not.
It’s god’s supposed obsession with being worshiped that really gets to me. Every Sunday we’re supposed to sing him songs and pray extra loud to him for making us. If my parents forced me to thank them for conceiving me under penalty of eternal grounding I would not think them to be the greatest parents I could have received.
This aversion to worship probably wouldn’t make much sense to the god-is-all-loving type of people, because they would probably say they would worship him even if not ordered to do so. There is still, however, the threat of hell for most Christians, or at least suffering without god’s love.
I hope that even the people who think that god is all loving would admit that there are still some pretty bad things happening in this world. All I’m saying is that I’m not grateful for poverty, disease, parasites, cancer, and all of that bonus stuff that comes with being alive. Frankly, I think an ideal god would have done a better job with creation. Someone who wants all the credit for the good in the world could stand to take a little more credit for the bad things as well.
Mysterious ways, I know. He’s supposed to have a plan for everything, but I still don’t think that justifies giving a child’s mom cancer to give a stranger the Christmas spirit. This is an example of something a Christian band basically said god would do. I use that example in part as excuse to link to the following video of Patton Oswalt’s bit about the song “Christmas Shoes,” because it is spectacular (NSFW):
A god I would want to thank (not worship) would be one that demanded nothing of me beyond that I do my best to be a good person and was just a nice guy. The kind of being who would say things in his holy book such as, “Hey, everyone. I made the many varieties of delicious and healthy plants for you and was going to make some that were poisonous to you, but I thought, nah, what would be the point of that?! You don’t have to thank me, it just made sense.” Unfortunately that god, like other gods, does not exist.
While I was eating lunch in a restaurant today the TV was blaring, and I saw the following story on CNN: Valedictorian Fights to Stay in the U.S. The version that I saw was slightly different. It did have the same newscaster who butchered the young woman’s last name that time as well (in a separate incident. I would think that someone would tell her how to pronounce the girl’s name).
In any case, here’s CNN claiming to actually care about someone about to be deported. Why? Because she’s valedictorian of her class. Would they care about her otherwise? We can say definitely no, because then they would be airing stories of this kind all the time, given how many people are deported.
Why this young lady? I feel for her, too, but listen to her talk. She’s worked hard, lived here all her life (since she was four). In the version I saw on TV she said she wanted a chance at the American Dream and that America stands for the freedom to be happy, which uses all the right buzz words, but what does it really mean? She knows just what to say to make herself sympathetic, but it’s all meaningless. What she’s really saying is that she’s special. She doesn’t deserve to get sent back. She said she felt she earned the right to stay, that she’d worked hard. I bet that many others worked just as hard as she did, if not harder, and they still got sent back to the countries they came from.
On the version they aired on TV (unfortunately not included on the online video), the newscaster talks to a lawyer about the case. The first thing she asks him is if there are any loopholes they can use to keep her in the states. Yes, loopholes. That’s what America is all about, isn’t it? We see the system screwing someone, and the first thing we ask is if there’s a loophole. Let’s not try to fix the inequity of the system because we’re OK with that, as long as this one girl (and possibly the sister that is briefly mentioned?) doesn’t have to go to Colombia.
And did I mention her brother fought in Iraq and Afghanistan? Oh yes. So that must make her even more worthy.
The question I have is why does CNN care? Why did they choose her and put her on the air? Are they hoping that she gets to stay, so that they can claim the system let’s us keep the “good” illegals and gets rid of only the “bad” ones? They don’t seem to actually care about any of the other people being deported, and neither does she. Or if she does, they’re not letting her say it here, and they’re certainly not saying it. So what does it all mean?
Is it just more propaganda about the so-called American Dream? If the teen who rated fifth in her graduating class was on a list to get deported and waiting to get into college, do we keep her? What about the person in the top third of her class? What if it’s someone in the top half of the class who only wants to go to state college instead of Yale? Where is the line for people who deserve to stay? Just what kind of factors actually matter in determining who stays and who goes?
They talked about the possibility that congress could make a private bill to let her stay. Private bills are not something I can get behind. It seems like a clear violation of equal protection under the law. If it’s a problem that this girl might be deported, then it must be a problem for some others as well. Shouldn’t we, if we’re going to go passing bills here, make one that applies to everyone equally? Why doesn’t anyone on CNN seem to think it’s odd that they are advocating special treatment for this one girl, just because they have heard of her?
We can’t just claim it’s OK to let her stay because we deem her special and send others away who are probably just as smart as she is (since the main argument for her being special seems to be that she’s smart/gets good grades). So she wants to go to college and live the American Dream. I’ll bet you that most immigrants will say that. It’s the classic line. It doesn’t make her special. It just explains why she’s here. And even if it did make her special, that doesn’t make it right if we let her stay and send others away.
She’s not the only one. I don’t know what the solution is, but it’s not slipping this girl through a loophole and then forgetting about the whole thing, which is what CNN seems to want to do. It’s just not the right way to be thinking about it. Send us your smart, your special, your sympathetic. Maybe we’ll consider letting them stay.
There are a lot of people out there who want us to hate Michael Moore. There are a lot of people who do hate Michael Moore. I can tell you one thing: none of those people have read his book, Here Comes Trouble. I don’t know how anyone could hate him after reading this book, especially since the first chapter is about people who hate Michael Moore and why.
I’ve always liked Moore’s documentaries. I’ve never thought it was right to fault him for taking a side, for not pretending to be objective, because no one is truly objective. It’s much more honest to let people know where he’s coming from and why. Plus, they’re brilliant.
I thought the book would be pretty decent. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did, however. I would recommend it to anyone. My library had many copies available (hint, hint).
This is a man who thinks for himself, which gets him into a lot of trouble in America. He’s also a man who has done a lot of really interesting things, met a lot of interesting people. John Lennon called him to offer his help. Bobby Kennedy helped him find his mom when he was eleven. The stories are all excellent, and many of them are funny. I don’t want to spoil any of them for you.
All I can say is that I wish we had a ton more people like him. Maybe then democracy might actually work. Unfortunately, we don’t. Not many like him at all. Keep making movies and writing books, Michael Moore. They help keep me going.
Dignity. I’ve noticed that many things in American society are geared toward taking away people’s dignity to keep them in line. Want help from a social program these days? That will require jumping through many hoops. Want a job? Be sure to remain cheerful and compliant.
Maybe it’s just that I’ve read both Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America and Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream by Barbara Ehrenreich in the past week. Maybe it’s that I’ve been unemployed for longer than society deems acceptable, even though many more people are unemployed for longer and longer. Even when many of these people get jobs, they’re underemployed, working part time when they want to be working full time or working at a job that doesn’t require a degree even though they have one.
Good news, once a person is unemployed for long enough, gets a part time job or a job for which he or she is over-qualified, it’s off the list of unemployed! At least, in the way they calculate it nowadays. Too discouraged to keep looking? That’s making America look better. Good job?
If someone doesn’t have a job in this society, it’s all that person’s fault. Never is one allowed to cite the system as the cause, or even as a factor. I recall once when I was employed in sales, having a meeting about the problem of falling sales numbers. It was after the economy just started to nose dive, and management was perplexed. Surely we, the underling sales people, were the cause. They told us from the outset that we couldn’t blame the economy or the product. Talk about tying my hands. Those were my main ideas. No, we had to solve the problem with ourselves. That, they argued, was the key.
In both of the above mentioned books, motivational speakers point to inner problems with the individual. If there is something missing, it comes from within. One must think positively. One must change one’s outlook. Circumstance is inconsequential in their world. Unfortunately, that is no the case in the real world, which most of us still call home, hard as some of us may try to remain in a positive delusion.
There’s a constant pressure to be better. If things aren’t working out, the conventional thought is that one can only look inward for solutions. Eventually, if something like joblessness goes on for long enough, one can’t help but wonder what is wrong with oneself. We need to change. We need to bend to the will of the corporation. Do as they say. Follow and smile. Dignity is not a luxury one is allowed when doing only what is expected in the world of positive thinking and networking to get ahead. Even outside of work we have to reflect positively on the corporation, the business, the boss. Don’t let something slip on the Internet. That can get a person fired.
Where is the room for dignity? The way to reclaim it is to proclaim loudly, and for all to hear, that it’s not our fault. The system is to blame. Then, perhaps, we can try to change the system. I know, that suggestion is blasphemy in the United States. Everything must be changed from within the system. How well has that worked for us so far? Where’s all that change Obama promised us?
Why can people not see that the one thing we cannot change from within the system is the system itself, which is precisely what the people at the top of this system, the 1% if you will, don’t want us to know. Try voting for change this Presidential election when there is no change on the ballot. No, it’s time for something more, something better. We can do better than this, as long as we’re willing to take our dignity back.
What we need are real motivational speakers, ones that will help get people motivated to change the system that rewards the already rich and punishes those whose circumstances leave them cold and lonely at the bottom. We need to avoid the isolation that comes with being unemployed, that keeps us from being the reserve army of the unemployed Marx spoke of. The more our numbers grow, the more capacity we truly have for change which is the real secret the positive thinkers and fascists who talk only of unity and compromise don’t want us to know about.
Gift guides: some random person trying to give readers ideas of what to buy someone, usually based on things that shouldn’t be an indicator of what someone likes. They usually have titles like, “Gifts for Mom,” “Gifts for Dad,” “Gifts for Men,” and such.
When did we all decide that having reproduced makes a woman want a set of make-up brushes for Christmas? I haven’t had a kid yet, but I bet you a million dollars that popping out offspring will not change the fact that I would hate getting make-up brushes as a gift. Buying me that would be like saying, “I have no idea who you are nor what you like, so I read an article. It said ladies like make-up.”
Usually, based on my experience, the gift ideas for men are things that anyone would like, and the gift ideas for women are things I would think no one would like. Apparently someone must like getting bath salts, or else there’s a conspiracy between the people who make bath products and the people who write these lists, which I have not ruled out.
For men, one list recommends some wine accessory (I’m not into wine, so I don’t really care what it actually does). Wouldn’t that be a good gift for, say, people who like wine–regardless of genitalia?
Fashion books? I swear, if anyone buys me a fashion book because some list told them to, someone will get punched in the face. These are all real examples.
Essentially, it’s just sexism in the guise of advice, advice we never asked for and don’t want. At least, I don’t want it. It’s just more stuff I have to filter out of my life to remain sane.
These lists are insulting on many levels. They assume people have no idea what to buy those of the opposite sex, or those who are of the same sex but have children, as if that makes one have different taste in gifts all the sudden. It also assumes that people like certain things based on these parameters.
To be fair, I have seen gift guides that are for, say, people who have an actual, specific interest. Perhaps these are more accurate. I don’t know, but I would assume that very little actual research went into what was put on them in either case.
Just say, “here’s a list of crap that I think would make a good gift.” And be creative about it. If I see one more list of things moms like that is full of beauty products, I’m going to go on a rampage. If I hear one more suggestion that I get someone tools because they have a penis, I’m going to go on a rampage.
Let’s face it, I’m going to go on a rampage. It is apparently unavoidable, because this is not going to stop.
Every year it gets to me more. The Christmas creep. Retailers thrusting Christmas on us earlier and earlier in a lame attempt to make more money sooner and for a longer period of time.
Do people actually fall for this? Does seasonal music on the radio put them in the mood to spend, spend, spend? Because it just makes me want to run, run, run. I like the holiday well enough, but when I have to put up with it for so long it just gets annoying and ruins it.
It’s kind of like seeing extended members of family for a couple of days. If something about them doesn’t gel with me, and suddenly I’m around them for a month, I might get a little sick of them.
Two days before Halloween, I went into Big Lots. There was a clearance rack (before Halloween, mind you) with a few children’s Halloween costumes. There were no Thanksgiving items to be seen, but there were Christmas decorations everywhere. Not just a few for sale. They had at least a dozen decorated Christmas trees in the center of the store. Red ribbons everywhere. I was appalled.
In Meijer, there were also decorations for sale before Halloween. Then, the day after Halloween saw the main aisle by groceries packed with Christmas candy. Heaven forbid there should be a time when there aren’t themed candies available to buy in large bags. That would be positively unamerican.
Just yesterday I tuned into a local classic rock station in the car. Christmas music. Not just a few songs mixed in, either. Constant xmas. Never ending “joy.”
Crazy people are already posting things about “CHRISTmas.” This early. There’s no escaping it, folks. Everyone is crazy. They would have us believe that they’re merely crazy with the xmas spirit, but it’s not so. It’s much deeper than that. Maybe the pagans should ask the Christians for their holiday back.
I’ve seen enough red and green. Hows about we push the creep back to the day after Thanksgiving. He needs boundaries. I want a restraining order.
I find myself wondering if fruity Halloween candy is made by child slaves, too. The article doesn’t touch on it. I could assume that if I buy Nerds, they won’t be as evil. But this is America. In my heart I know that everything I can buy is somehow evil. The problem is, as many of us know, much deeper than slave candy.
The second article says the following:
What concerns me even more is that we, as consumers, are not demanding that this be stopped. Some continue to buy chocolate even after learning about these human rights abuses. I’ve heard excuses from people in my own life, and they echo the rationalizations I’ve made myself in the past: “We can’t afford fair-trade.”
This is unfair. Firstly, I am outraged; don’t say I’m not. Secondly, I can demand as much as I want, and the companies not going to do a damn thing. The honest truth is that generally I don’t buy these candies anyway, and the companies don’t notice. I don’t fool myself into thinking that they do.
Even if I were to buy the Kit Kat candy bars that are fair-trade (and hard for me to get, since I don’t live in the U.K.), I am still supporting a company that uses child slavery. My hands are never going to be clean. The idea is just to make me feel better about myself. That’s all things like this do. I can seek out clothes online that weren’t made in sweatshops, and spend money I don’t have, or I can feel guilty and buy something from the store that I know was made on the backs of someone poor. Those are my two options, currently.
It’s a valid concern that we cannot afford fair-trade. That’s what the companies want. They’re the ones paying us low wages, and then they say, “See, fair-trade is expensive. We’re justified in offering you cheaper options.” I don’t think it’s fair to say that someone who cannot afford to spend $38 on Halloween candy is rationalizing. I do, however, think that saying you bought your candy from a good source so you’re not part of the problem is rationalizing.
As people, we don’t have the time or energy to take on child slavery chocolate candy, homelessness, sweatshops, the lack of jobs, corporate greed and power, corrupt politicians, inequality, and all of the other myriad of problems facing our society at once. It cannot be done. This person is asking me to demand that this be stopped–and I really do demand it–but it’s a bottleneck effect after awhile. There are so many horrible things that they just get clogged up in our brains, and nothing gets through. It’s a matter of survival. We can’t think about this stuff all the time or we wouldn’t get out of bed. Many days, I don’t want to get up as it is.
There’s no way to do it if we’re thinking of them as separate problems. The good news is, they’re not. It’s all one big problem: Capitalism, the source of it all. If we don’t stop Capitalism, we’re not going to solve all of these problems. Ever. We’re not going to stop child slavery chocolates. We’re not going to stop corruption, sweatshops, jobs going overseas, homelessness, any of it. Or maybe we will stop child slavery chocolates, and, mission accomplished, stop there.
A person can become a vegetarian and feel like they are not part of the problem of bad meat packing. One can buy free range and not support farmers who keep their chickens in tiny cages. But it doesn’t mean a damn thing as far as the big picture is concerned. Best case scenario, maybe a movement gets the word out about eggs, and everyone buys free range. The companies still have thousands of other practices that are evil. Do we just move on to the next one, ad nauseam?
That’s not for me. For me, it’s all or nothing. Knock down Capitalism. If you want a revolution, we’ll talk. I can’t be bothered with a bunch of petty stuff that solves nothing and serves only to make people feel content with their existence. “It’s OK, I bought the organic, free-trade chocolates.”
I’m sorry, it’s not OK. It’s not going to be OK for a long time at this rate. Wake up. We can’t solve this buy “voting with our money.” Democracy cannot solve this; it’s part of the problem. It keeps us quiet. It keeps us from rocking the boat. “We have monetary votes.” Too bad those votes mean so little.
Add to this the fact that if a person says anything bad about Capitalism or Democracy, he or she is automatically a crazy radical, not to be trusted. That’s what the Capitalists, the 1%, want. Keep us isolated. Keep us from waking up and seeing the problem, the real problem. They want to keep us bogged down in all of the individual problems. There’s enough there to keep us busy for centuries. Unless, of course, we take down the root cause. Look how the media tries to make the Occupy protesters look crazy. Because some of them get it. All of these problems, one source. It’s a good start, we just have to keep going. We can’t stop here.
Everyone has advice–what we, the listening public, should or should not do. The problem is, most of it’s crap. Most of these people, labeled experts, are, in fact, morons.
A lot of my time and energy is spent sorting. Good advice from bad. Truth from lies. Fact from speculation. A large portion of my daily caloric intake is probably devoted to the task of mental sorting. It’s tiring. It’s sometimes boring. But everyone should be doing it. That’s my advice. Don’t assume anyone actually knows what they’re saying until it’s verified that they are citing actual facts.
I’ve seen it stated that everyone in my dreams is someone I have seen in real life. How do they know this? They don’t. I’m sorry, but there is just no way to prove this idea. I don’t buy it.
There are tons of different views on how to raise children, many of them contradictory. Yet, all of these people claim to be experts. Well, who says?
I recently read For Her Own Good: Two Centuries of the Experts’ Advice to Women by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English, because I have thought a lot about advice and experts in my life. The book is mostly about medical advice to women over the years, but I think it would be interesting to anyone, as it also covers how the medical profession developed (which was one of the most interesting parts of the book, if you ask me). The doctors set out to make themselves the ultimate experts so they could profit off of medicine and advice-giving.
Yes, there’s a lot of money to be made in advice-giving. That’s what many blogs try to do, give advice. I do, on occasion, say how I think people should be living, but this is not an advice blog. I’m not an expert. I’m a person with a brain. A tool, I am finding, that many don’t dust off often enough. A brain is not supposed to be merely an organ that tells our other organs to run.
Advice should be meant to help people, not meant for profit. And, if someone is going to give advice, it should be backed up by actual facts. Not the made up facts that people like Ann Coulter think are real. If that woman has a fact in any of her books, it’s merely by accident that it slipped in there. She’s a crazy person. My advice is to stay the hell away from her ideas.
My advice is to watch your back. If someone is on a major news network, dispensing his or her brand of knowledge, especially if they are on the side endorsed by said network (and they are always on a side, don’t let them tell you otherwise), be wary. This person is, more than likely, full of crap and full of themselves. I don’t know what else to tell you.
I'm Brenna: a writer, a feminist, and an atheist, among other things. Sometimes I feel like no one makes any sense. This is my attempt to make sense of the world. I hope it is funny, serious, and occasionally beautiful. Enjoy and consider.