Category Archives: Society

Misogyny and Bullying

This is a followup to the previous post, Year of the Woman? That one ran long, and there were some things I didn’t get to. There was also, from my point of view, an egregious memory lapse considering the nature of the post: I didn’t mention the new The Doctor. (Maybe because I’m planning a separate post about her, so she didn’t need to be in the more general one.)

There was a key aspect I meant to talk about with regard to sexual harassment, but my note for it was on a different piece of paper than my main notes. I just didn’t see it while writing the first post (it was in another room).

So now a long post gets even longer!

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2018: Year of the Woman?

RIP Penny Marshall

Some called last year the Year of the Woman. There are good justifications for the phrase, the recent election, what’s happened in the #MeToo movement, but Christine Blasey Ford might have an opinion on how far we have to go.

With President Obama, we were confronted with the reality that, despite progress, racism is very much alive in our culture. The past year or two has spotlighted an identical dichotomy with regard to gender. Politically, socially, and personally, we seem to become ever more divided in ever more ways.

As a white male I can speak on the core of sexism or racism only from the outside, but as a member of a group perceived to be a key source of the problems in the first place, raising my voice in support seems crucial.

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Fans: Not A Fan

Star Trek wasn’t hugely popular right off the bat, or even for a long time. The first series, after all, lasted only three years and had to fight for survival for most of that time. But it did catch on hugely with us fans; many of us fell in love right away.

From an early point even within the fan community, let alone to mundanes, some of us were careful to identify as Trekkers rather than Trekkies. As I used to put it, “Trekkers are grown ups who love science fiction. Trekkies own a pair of Spock ears.”

Then, because of a little movie, named Star Wars, science fiction went mainstream. And so did the divide between two rather different kinds of fans…

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I’m Offended!

I am offended by people who are offended! It’s like how I am intolerant of people who are intolerant. It’s a challenge. Somehow I have to ignore the self-referential self loathing, but life is paradoxical and ironical, and I’ve always embraced both (and chaos) as personal philosophies.

Irony and paradox aside the whole idea of being offended has become an aspect of society today. We’ve turned it into a cottage industry, and both sides of politics have heavy weaponized it into a WMD.

The problem is often the legitimacy of being offended. When is it right to take offense, and when might the real issue be our own perceptions (and we should just STFU).

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Texting Subtext

Recent politics makes us, perhaps, overly aware of just how differently from us people can see the world. Recent politics also makes us very aware of how fraught it can be interacting with people who see the world differently. (Although it isn’t the differences that divide us so much as our tribalism.)

Setting politics aside for a moment, I recently stumbled over a difference that I found both bemusing and enlightening. It explains something that’s puzzled me (and caused a degree of head-shaking) for quite a while. What’s cool is how it switches my worldview, because now I understand it’s not a mistake or laziness, but a valid choice.

I’m talking about periods and lower case in text messages!

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Breaking Wrong

For years friends have been urging me towards the TV show Breaking Bad. They tell me about how the writing is so good, and the drama so engaging. The problem I have is that it stars, not just a meth dealer, but a meth maker. For me that’s a deal breaker that no writing is good enough to overcome. Nothing is worth inviting a meth maker into my life on a regular basis.

I see a parallel in how people accept Trump even when they do see him for the idiot and creep that he is. In this case, it’s certainly not good writing (or good governing) they seek, it’s getting their way that makes them support an ignorant, incompetent, greedy, narcissistic racist.

I gotta ask: Have we gotten too willing to embrace human failure?

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Edge of the Knife

The universe may not be connected in the Dirk Gently sense (or perhaps it is, wouldn’t that be fun?), but I can’t help but be bemused by those occasional moments of synchronicity. Just striking coincidences — almost certainly — and just a product of one’s own mind connecting personal dots, but still.

When a moment of such synchronicity involves favorite TV shows, South Park, NCIS, and Doctor Who, plus the Mandelbrot Set, it covers a lot of bases and adds an extra special element of cosmic delight. (Not to mention all the options for the lead image! (Except not really. Gotta be the new The Doctor!))

Fundamentally, it’s all another riff on an old standard: Yin-Yang.

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Now What?

Of late I find myself in a state of profound despair. Many attempts to post; all end up in the trashcan. It’s not having nothing to say, but finding no point any more to saying it. My faith in humanity was always a bit tenuous, and the last decade or so has really given it a beating.

Things on a personal front ain’t so great, either, but that just makes it all that much harder to take. The Kavanaugh (Kava No!) hearings, and all that went with them, made me sick to my stomach. Once again I see how far we have not come.

I find I’m losing my last illusions about people. Maybe that’s a good thing?

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Feelings vs Intellect

xkcd #1901There’s really only one web comic I read anymore: xkcd. Randall Munroe continues to turn out thoughtful gems, and I really appreciate the ad-free nature of the site. I also find his What-If? series delightful; the first episode is one of my favorite interweb jewels!

But it’s his insight to the human condition and ability to nail a point with such brilliant brevity that I most relish. I value some of his comics as highly as I value favorite quotes; both are pithy petards against our myths and illusions.

And sometimes he even hoists my petard a bit!

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A Side of Feelings

face-palm-polar-bear

SMH…

When it comes to feelings (nothing more than feelings), there are two strongly reactive — yet very separate — feelings clubs on my mind these days. The one that surprises me is personal and seems to have only myself as a member. The unsurprising one, the angry, depressed, shocked one, contains nearly all the liberals these days.

A more on-the-nose term might be ‘city folk.’ (Or my personal favorite: “polis people.”) Some see this — I fully agree — as a divide between rural and city sensibilities, between local old-fashioned and global modern tech, between yesterday and tomorrow.

One side is stunned the other won, while the winners are holding their breath wondering what they’ve won…

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