politics


I wouldn’t say I was shocked when the some subset of Star Wars fans got up in arms about the Rogue One trailer. Is there a word for “tired and incredulous”? What’s the emotion you’re feeling when you roll your eyes and mutter “are you fucking kidding me?”

This is all pretty well trod ground at this point, and at twenty-two days after the fact, I’m not exactly trying to cover the subject in a way you haven’t seen. All the salient points have been made:

  • There have been seven Star Wars movies thus far, of those we have one woman co-lead, and six instances of third-billing or lower.
  • We can probably safely concede a single sci-fi adventure movie to the female gender without the patriarchy immediately crumbling.
  • All of this arises from the fact that, to people with unexamined privilege, equality — even decreased inequality — feels like oppression.
  • The assertion that a woman with agency is somehow aberrant in the Star Wars universe is nonsense on the face of it.
  • Jesus Christ, aside from Mon Mothma, EVERY OTHER CHARACTER was a man anyway, so maybe fucking relax, movies are still insanely bad at representing women.

That fourth point there, that’s the one that comes closest to what I want to talk about in the first place. Star Wars, despite what terrified misogynists might claim today, was never a boy’s club in the first place. I’m not saying it was a feminist manifesto, or that there’s nothing problematic about how the movies dealt with gender and sexuality (Anakin is a virgin birth? F’real?) they were, without fail, ahead of the curve on putting women in positions of authority, and letting them engage directly in the action of the film.

What’s more important is that while there may not have been as many women buying Timothy Zahn novels, and maybe there weren’t any girls in the West End Games Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game campaign you played in, women have always liked Star Wars. Movies don’t make the kind of money Star Wars has made without some of that money coming from the lady half of the population.

I’m not really writing this to talk about Star Wars though, that’s just the recent thing that came up that brought all of this back to the surface. I’m getting to my point, but to get there, let’s talk about the CW.

Stainless Steel Appliances: They’re great for restaurant kitchens that are getting bleached down once a week, but not a home used by a single family. They get fingerprints like crazy, you can’t use magnets on them, and since they’re the default choice for a kitchen remodel right now, are going to look super dated and thoughtless in years to come. Don’t fall for them!

Capitalism: Again, fine is the right capacity, but Capitalism is just a method of crowning an oligarchy of the greediest people.

Fake Sugar: Eww.

The Stars and Bars are a symbol of Southern pride and heritage! It’s a way of honoring our ancestors, and our unique cultural identity! There’s nothing racist about being proud of your roots.

I have a three point response:

Fuck You
When I see someone sporting the Battle Flag of the Confederacy,* which was never even the actual flag of the C.S.A., my reaction is split between a dumbfounded “Really?” and a seething rage. The ignorance involved in claiming there is anything dignified or honorable signified by the South during the Civil war is just astounding. The Civil War, like all wars, was fought for many reasons, but at the end of the day, one side was defending the right of human beings to own other human beings and the weight of that one stance is so great as to render all other aspects irrelevant. Your side was in favor of slavery, therefor your side was the bad guys. QED.

The Confederate Flag is a Symbol of Racism and Failure, That’s It There’s this notion put forward that the Confederate flag isn’t necessarily a symbol of the C.S.A., but of rebellion and Southern Pride. First, no, it’s a symbol of the C.S.A. If you want to come up with a flag to symbolize the south, that’s great, but you really shouldn’t draw on the imagery of a bunch of racists who lost a war. Second, the idea that the flag is a symbol of rebellion or pride are insane. Rebellion against what? A college degree? Making more than minimum wage? Integration? If you want to be a rebel, fly an anarchist flag, not the flag or an organized government that existed just long enough to be in one war and lose. Remember that last part, the only thing the C.S.A. ever did was lose a war.

No, Seriously, Fuck You. There’s this growing notion that these days the people who REALLY have it hard are lower-middle class white folk from the south, and that they must join together under a banner in order to protect their heritage. Sorry guys. If, as a people, you have failed to keep your schools funded, your teenage daughters un-pregnant, and your parents from becoming alcoholics, and you’ve proven unable to reverse the trend, then yes, you’re going to die out. Ignorance, insularity, hostility toward change and The Other, these aren’t traits of a culture who’s loss is to be mourned. It’s not a tragedy, it’s progress.

*NOT the Stars and Bars, which is a different shitty flag the south used. They had like nine different shitty flags in the five years they even existed because the C.S.A. was fucking stupid.

Universal Health Care would be a disaster! It would be too expensive, there’s no way a country could pay for that and keep a healthy economy! Giving people things for free just makes them lazy! What if I have to wait longer in line and… you know what? I can’t fucking do this.

Fuck it. I can’t pretend this debate is a debate anymore. There is not now, nor has there ever been a meaningful counter argument. We can afford it, we can make it good, we have a responsibility to do so. Debating the anti-health care contingent with facts, figures and logic is like marshaling an army to defend your base, only to realize your opponent is just one in a jeep making explosion sounds with his mouth. The only things keeping people from embracing a universal health care system are fear and greed. Fuck those people.

I’m going to go ahead and get all anthropology* on you. Health Care, such as we are capable of, has always, historically, been free and available to all people to the best of our abilities. Sure, maybe the best health care available was trephining someone, but it was there. In the 20th century, medical care has followed the same arc as a great many social services (law and judiciary, wealth distribution, education) and becomes a role of the church and religious structures, then moves into the public sphere, eventually coming under the control of the state. At least, it has in pretty much every country other than the US.

Homo Sapiens take care of each other. It’s how we’ve survived; it’s what we DO. If, as a human being, you are told you have the option to make sure no one has to die of a treatable disease and you don’t go for it, you’re a piece of shit. If you’re told we can totally eliminate the number one cause of bankruptcy (which is really bad for the economy), by not taking every last dollar a sick person’s family has, and you aren’t on board, you’re a piece of shit. There’s no debate to this. If you’re worried you have to wait for care, the answer isn’t about overall levels of health care, and making as many people as healthy as possible, the answer is you’re a piece of shit. If you think it’s socialism, it’s not important that health care is a service, not a means of production, and thus doesn’t really relate to socialism, it’s important that you know you’re a piece of shit. If you don’t think people should get freebies, it’s not that you’ve lived such a sheltered and blessed life that you’ve never developed the empathy to understand and relate to people in trouble, it’s just that you’re a piece of shit.

I don’t have enough energy left to waste it giving real answers to people are motivated by greed and fear. Stand up straight, join the human race, do the right thing by helping your fellow man, or fuck yourself. Those are the options. If you can honestly say that keeping a profit motivated system is, in any meaningful way, better than a system motivated by a desire to make people healthy, there is something wrong with you. You’re sick. You might want to look into moving to one of the many, many countries where you can get some help with that.

*Marvin Harris being the source on most of this.

NOTE: The word Socialist (capital S) refers to the Socialist party. The word socialist (lower case s) refers to the school of political thought.

There are a lot of reasons to hate FOX*, but the one that has gotten to me more than any other is the whole “Obama is a Socialist” fear mongering they’re doing. A current Google search has more than four and a half million hits for the search terms Obama and Socialist, but the whole thing is fucking absurd. Obama isn’t a Socialist, he’s not even a socialist. He’s a moderate Democrat. I would know, I’m a socialist, and he doesn’t come remotely close to representing my values.

Being a socialist is pretty great. It’s fun to argue with someone and say something like “of course every citizen deserves medical care,” have them counter with “that sounds like socialism,” and be comfortable saying “man, we should BE so lucky.”

See, having the government pay for and/or administer health care is not socialism, any more so than public schools, police and roads. These are public services, services which every person in the country deserves access to. This, to my mind, is the absolute LEAST that a person should be able to expect from their government.

The most immediate response when I out myself as a socialist is that I have something against free enterprise. I find this one amusing, as I’m a huge proponent of free enterprise, it’s part of the reason I agree with socialism. Honestly, I’d be in favor of the complete dissolution of all national corporations. Anything that ought to be on a national scale (internet, phone, railways) should be passed to the national government. Anything that ought to be local (grocery stores, restaurants, farms) will be owned and operated by people who actually live in the area and can see the impact of what they do. This doesn’t mean a product can’t be carried nationally, it just means that rather than a single chain carrying the same products everywhere, each product would be sourced for a specific local clientele. Locations would develop a culture. There wouldn’t be as many obscene benefits available to huge chains, making it far more likely that a startup could become competitive if there is indeed an unsatisfied desire in consumers.

I’m well aware that the scenario above is not traditional socialism, so just to verify, yes, means of production for essential goods like oil and sustenance food farming in the hands of the government. This still leaves local farms to produce foods people actually want under their own agency. Are there problems? Sure, but I can’t help but feel a greater affection for an organization chartered under the notion that its purpose is to serve the public good, rather than to make money from the public regardless of the outcome.

I’m honestly interested in some counter arguments, so if you think I’m full of shit, by all means let me know. A position like this succeeds or fails based it its ability to resolve or adapt to criticism.

*MYSPACE JOKE

Here are some things I have opinions on.

Drinking at Lunch: PRO!

Drinking at lunch is great! You get to come back to work a little tiny bit drunk, but it only lasts for like an hour! I’ll grant that drinking at lunch is a sometimes thing, but I am categorically in favor of it.

The Free Market: CON!

I don’t believe in The Free Market. I don’t mean that I disagree with ideals of Free Market capitalism, I mean I don’t think it is a thing. If the Market is not regulated by an outside force, it will fall into monopolies and oligarchies who will control it from within, generally at the expense of the consumer and bottom rung employees. The Free Market is dumb.

Lady Gaga: PRO!

I want to be clear that I have no interest in her music in any way. I am just happy that if a person has to be famous, it is her. She got famous and immediately said “I know, I’ll dress like a loon, get naked, and staunchly support safe sex and gay rights!” Lady Gaga, KillAllTheWhiteMan supports you in a way that does not involve actually listening to any of your songs.

…I just want to throw down another example of Secret Proof Our Culture is Misogynist. Take these names: Evelyn, Gertrude, Tracy, Carol, Beverly, and Robin. What do they all have in common? They are all historically masculine names that have been adopted by (I would argue, have been abandoned to) women. Culturally speaking, we have no problems with girls having boy’s names. I have a cousin named Wallis, a variation on the popular popular men’s name from the 1920s. The Television show Pushing Daisies features a female lead who goes by the name Chuck. My step-sister is named Cameron. All historically masculine names, all totally acceptable. Now try to imagine a guy in 7th Grade named Evelyn. This kid is not having an easy time.

Why?

Because men are something to look up to, and admire, and of course we would give women men’s names, it’s cute for them to try to live up to standards of masculinity. Of course, naming a boy after a girl is nothing short of child abuse. It’s the same reason tomboys are cute and feminine guys are played for laughs or revulsion. When a female takes on male characteristics, she’s impersonating dominant role. When a male acts in an effeminate manner, he demeans himself.

Our culture still doesn’t respect women, and doesn’t hold them as equals to men. If you don’t believe me, suggest that someone name their son Susan.

AND NOW AN EXCERPT FROM AN ALTERNATE POST WHERE I FELT LIKE TALKING ABOUT RACISM INSTEAD OF SEXISM

The simple fact of the matter is that giving a child a distinctly urban black name, like Terangelo is going to impact the way they are perceived throughout their entire life, and will in all likelihood lead* to a lower average level of education and income. As long as this country is racist, having a name that constantly re-identifies you as urban black will probably be an impediment.

Our current president being named Barack Obama is an incredible fluke.

I’m aware of studies already attesting to a correlation between these types of names and things like education and salary, but I’ve never seen one that corrected for initial income and education of parents. As it stands, I realize I’m somewhat guilty of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, but I would counter that post hoc ergo propter meus balls, which my or may not translate as “after this, therefor because of my balls.”

I have been asked a few times by friends and acquaintances from nations with a more civilized form of health care funding the following question:

“Why the hell are so many Americans mad about getting something that will only benefit them?”

Easy enough to answer. The Conservatives, especially the Neo-Conservatives, with the philosophical guidance of people like Leo Strauss and his “Noble Lie” have been functioning with the understanding that in order to perpetuate their agenda, they would need to convince the nation’s poor to vote against their own economic and social interests. The most effective way to do this has proven to be with a carefully cultivated, constant and largely directionless state of fear. The upshot of this is that the fear can be directed toward almost any issue with the use of a few key words like “socialism” or “terrorism”. This technique is being actively applied toward a tax payer funded health care system. As a result the people who have been told to be afraid of a public option for health care are angry at the people who are supporting it, effectively seeing them as the people responsible for scaring them.

It occurs to me as I write this that we have a word for using a state of constant fear to advance a political agenda. The irony of the fact that I am loath to apply this label to the Neo Con movement that would not hesitate to do the same to someone like me is not lost.

One of the goals of the homosexual agenda is to indoctrinate children in the nation’s public schools by convincing kids that homosexuality is a normal and healthy lifestyle. Because schools fail to warn children of the dangers of homosexuality, and because it is taught that homosexuality is not only “normal” but “healthy” as well, homosexuality starts to seem like a good choice to young school children.

The National Cultural Values Survey reveals a striking correlation between greater exposure to television and lenient moral views. Heavy television viewers (four hours or more per evening) are less committed to virtues like honesty and charity, and more permissive about sex, abortion and homosexuality.

The homosexual movement has been militantly demanding not just the homosexuals’ right to do whatever they wish to do behind closed doors, but, more importantly, that society fully accept their lifestyle as both healthy and normal.*

Of all the insane anti-gay arguments, I think my favorite is Not In Front of the Kids, and it’s sibling argument If You Don’t Talk About It, Maybe It Will Go Away. These were both well represented in the Thatcher/1984 Era UK with Section 28. The central idea, as far as I am able to pierce through, is that being gay is SO AWESOME, that if we even mention it as a possibility around people, kids especially, they’ll probably switch.

I mean, wouldn’t you?

Stickman and Carl illustrate the central gap in this theory.

Oh, right, no, you wouldn’t because either you’re already gay, or you’re not. Knowing the popular terminology for homosexuality has no influence on whether or not a person is attracted to a person of the same gender. There’s a reason it was long referred to as The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name.

Acceptance of a non-heterosexual norm is entirely possible. Look at Sparta. However, the current media portrayals and overwhelming societal standard is heterosexuality. This has yet to stop young people from identifying as gay. Doesn’t it make more sense to give them an image of homosexuality as healthy and comfortable? If a person is going to be gay, they’re going to be gay, the least the media can do is make the process of accepting themselves and coming out less soul-rendingly painful.

*All Strawman text taken from Conservapedia. This is what these people really believe.

If you are having an argument, and you decide it would be a good idea to really really infuriate the other person by making it clear that you don’t care and you’re not taking it seriously, just start playing peek-a-boo. There is nothing less respectful than covering your eyes while someone is talking, saying “where’d I go!” then looking at them again and saying “here I am!”

Next Page »