Crassness in the Wake of Tragedy

Like everyone else, I woke up to the horrific news of the shooting in Las Vegas today. Before we even knew how many shooters were involved or how many casualties there were, the internet was inundated with the hottest of hot takes – spurred in many instances by even hotter tempers. 

As the day wears on, we all are left to sift through the deluge of information and opinion in order to find answers. Most of us are still waiting, but we have managed to check on our friends and family members in the area. Some of the news we’ve received, personally, has been a great relief, but some of us are grieving and hoping that modern medicine will find a way to make our loved ones whole again. While news and opinion pieces rush out into the web at the speed of type, for many people the world has ground to a screeching halt.

It is always at times such as these that you can count on two sureties: there will be an outpouring of compassion and prayer, and there will be those using the tragedy to elevate themselves. 

It goes without saying that any shooting will be politicized aggressively and immediately. Before we have even the slightest clue what kind of weapon was used or how many laws were broken to acquire said weapon, there will be those demanding more laws, standing on the still warm bodies of the victims and demanding “justice” by means of “doing something.” It’s an easy position to take, bolstered by shock and emotion. It will inevitably elicit the kneejerk response of “terrorism” and “mental illness,” as if a perfectly sane person could never choose to do evil. 

While politicizing a tragedy is crass and crude and cheap, it is perhaps in some small way slightly more altruistic than the other kind of sneering in the wake of tragedy – that of the atheist.

I was not surprised but still disappointed to see responses to the call for prayer in the aftermath of the shooting were mocking and snide. A simple post on Facebook, which did not name a god or religion, devolved into the most vile attacks on people of faith. 

As a Christian myself, I have often asked for prayer during difficult times and sometimes my atheist or agnostic friends will instead offer “positive energy and good thoughts.” This does not offend me. It’s wonderful that they care enough to think kindly toward me, and I believe they are closer to conversing with God than they realize. 

Hannah was presumed to be drunk because her grief over not conceiving made her prayer more the sound of silent agony and thought than a clearly spoken appeal to the Lord. If someone is sending positive energy, God hears the desire of their heart. Is that not better than apathy? Is it not a thousand times better than condescension?

I’m not saying we must agree on the politics or see eye to eye on religion, but in the wake of something so terrible is it asking too much to simply hold our peace and give our thoughts to the victims rather than puff ourselves up with our own importance? Especially when people are offering thoughts and prayers for those affected and grieving, can you not accept that putting positive energy out into the world is better than sneering at the efforts of those who would? What has your condescension and pride done for the victims, and how is it any better than a solemn and sincere offer of prayer?

Clearly we are not lacking the sort of characters who would look down on their fellow man as a thing deserving contempt. That is, after all, what started this mess.

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Of Nerds And Raging

Hello, fellow citizens of the internet! I bring thee important news!

Actually, it’s not terribly important news unless you are feeling bereft and rudderless in a sea of despair because you haven’t seen a new episode of Nerd Rage lately.

Good news, if so! We did record a show this week, but Osei hasn’t posted it on our nifty YouTube channel yet, because he has to work out in the real world like some kind of pilgrim. *shudder* 

Remember to subscribe to our channel so you can watch that internet gold as soon as it drops. We discussed the flood, and protester outrage, and fan films, and Osei’s return to Extra Life, so you know it’s gonna be bomb.

Maybe if I use enough of the yutes’ lingo, y’all will get all hyped about the show and the channel and you’ll remember to subscribe and give the episode a like.

Maybe.

#LembasOut

The “Othering” of Introverts

 

I wish that I didn’t feel compelled to write this, but after nearly 37 years on this Earth I still feel like a bit of an outcast because of who I am.

I am an introvert.

There are already a lot of people who have discounted this post out of hand because they see introversion as an “internet fad” that people use to feel special. There may be some people who do use this personality type and the online communities dedicated to it as a mask or an outlet. People are complex creatures and they sometimes do confusing or unreasonable things. However, I can attest to the fact that introversion is very real, and I know that we move more freely and comfortably online and it is therefore no surprise that we have found forums in which to congregate and commiserate about how we feel, how we function, and how we are still so misunderstood.

There aren’t many people who truly understand me as a person, or why I do (or don’t do) certain things. I was trying to explain to my children just this morning why I am so exhausted after a weekend that was not terribly physically demanding. It wasn’t the work I had to do that wore me out, it was the fact that my plans, throughout the week, have had to change almost daily, and I have had more interaction than usual with other people, and when I made plans to do nothing (specifically to do nothing) on my day off, I was instead asked to do work things and family things and school club things.

It isn’t that I dislike my job, or don’t get on well with my family, or that I’m depressed (introverts are often assumed to be depressed misandrists); rather, I just require time to recharge from the demands of servicing the needs of other people. Even conversation, however mundane, is a need most people have (hermit exemption applies), and it is not something that we can accomplish by ourselves. Therefore, conversation is an activity that you require someone else to participate in.

The conversation that most people expect just on a daily basis (the chatty woman in the bread aisle, the cashier asking about your shopping experience, the relative who calls with a question, the kids asking if they can go somewhere or do something) can already be taxing for an introvert, but add to that the extra demands of work, special requests of family, needs of friends, and any unexpected changes to your schedule and suddenly you have someone who is already feeling the tank run low but they have no idea when they’ll be able to refill it. You know that feeling… the feeling of anxiety and even panic when the fuel gauge of your car is dipping toward the red, and there are no gas stations in sight, and you’re on an unfamiliar road? That’s an introvert when they have had to deal with people and change and do not know when they’ll be able to enjoy their solitude long enough to recharge. We can usually calm down when we have a dedicated period set aside for doing nothing (which to us is everything – although many people see reading, meditating, or watching a favorite show as merely nothing). We may be puttering along, low on energy, but just knowing we’ll refuel soon is comforting: it’s the uncertainty that really wears on us.

To be clear, I love my family and I like my job. I adore my kids and encourage them to participate in activities that help them develop physically and mentally as individuals. I just need to spend time in peace and quiet in order to give the best of myself to them. The need for solitude, and the importance of self-care, is not a malicious or even passive selfishness. You cannot attend to the needs of others efficiently if your own state is precarious. It is no more selfish to assure you are psychologically prepared to handle your responsibilities than it is to insure you are physically capable of doing a task. It is prudent.

So many people see this need for solitude as shyness, or melancholy, or even arrogance. This is why we have our online forums and communities. This is why we write blogs. It’s not that we’re super impressed with ourselves for being “different”. It’s not that we want to be noticed and celebrated. We simply want to be understood. We want to exist without constantly being told we’re broken or that we need to change. Just because we enjoy solitude, and are often quiet in crowds, does not mean that we’re suffering from depression or shyness. It simply means we are observing and are content to interact on our terms. Not everyone wants to speak every thought. Not everyone needs to weigh in on every conversation. We aren’t “too good” to participate, we simply prefer to participate on our terms, in our time. We like to watch and listen and think. We are content with our own company. None of this means that we don’t like to go out and do things, or that we never want to talk. Introverts simply do not feel the need to do those things as strongly as other people do. When we are recharged and ready to participate in activities with other people, we’re a bit like a butterfly breaking free of a cocoon, vibrant and animated! We definitely require our quiet cocoon first, however.

Recently there was a concert listing game making the rounds on Facebook, and it reminded me how very unlike other people I am. There are several reasons why I haven’t attended concerts (money, time, desire), and I am not opposed to the idea of it, but I do not see concert-going as the pinnacle of fun. As a matter of fact, I simply don’t get worked up about music in general. This has earned me censure and a good deal of shocked disbelief over the years. I’ve had people insist that if I’d only listen to this, or try that, or “get out of the house,” I’d suddenly love it. Even if I do enjoy music I hadn’t heard before, I rarely enjoy anything that is blasted at full volume over a crowd of cheering strangers.

It’s not that I don’t like music, and even love some of it, it’s just that I really like silence. I enjoy walking outside without earbuds blasting notes and lyrics into my head, because I like the sound of birdsong and wind-rustled leaves and dogs barking in the distance. I like to hear gravel crunch under my feet. I despise, with a burning passion, unnecessary noise. I hate chatter that simply fills a silence. I bless the silence! I like to drive with the radio off. I like to clean with only the sounds of the fan running and the gentle swish of cleaner being sprayed. I just like hearing the world around me without blasting noise into it every second of the day and night.

There are, of course, times when I want to listen to music, and usually then a very specific kind of music or artist. I do enjoy it! It’s just not something I need to hear every day. Like a book that I can still envision in my mind, music plays in the background of my thoughts even when the world around me is silent. This is perhaps the most commonly expressed aspect of introversion – the “rich inner world”. It’s not that we despise the outside world and all its offerings, but that we can (and do) savor the things we experience beyond their actual duration. It’s often because we are savoring something in our thought and memory (or working out a problem, or pondering new information) that having anything intrude on that can be unpleasant and tiring. Imagine giving a presentation and being constantly interrupted with questions and demands that are largely irrelevant to the topic at hand; that is what it feels like to have the mind of an introvert.

I would dearly love it if I could fall into the blissful embrace of solitude, or sit silently pondering many things, without someone mistakenly assuming that I’m upset, or shy, or down in the dumps. Shyness is timidity, which by definition means lacking courage or confidence. Introverts are not necessarily shy any more than they are despondent merely because they’re quiet. It is much more plausible to say that introverts are simply stoic. All in all, stoicism and forbearance are not bad traits to have, and they are certainly not traits that imply one is dysfunctional. We introverts function just fine, we merely function differently than our extroverted and ambiverted friends, but we all share a commonality in that we as human beings wish to be understood and appreciated as we are.

Big Announcements For Our Nerd Rage Audience!!

Last Wednesday night, we were excited to announce some big changes for Nerd Rage; unfortunately Osei had some glitches with his production software and we had to end our show early. We decided to bring you the news in the following video, and include our run down of the Walking Dead episode “Hostiles and Calamities“.

So we will be moving our show to Sundays at 7/6pm Central. This works with our schedules better and allows you, the audience, more time to catch up on The Walking Dead. We will broadcast just before the new Walking Dead episode airs, so that should reduce the chance of anyone hearing any spoilers on Nerd Rage.

We will try to keep the live, interactive show that everyone loves (hey, let us dream that you love what we do), with recordings playing on the upcoming Riot Radio. We look forward to engaging a broader audience and I, personally, think we can create some fun hashtags using the Rage and Riot themes. I’ll also be announcing more challenges and give-a-ways once we are settled into our new routine!

Embrace the Contradictions

It’s Wednesday, and you know what that means…

wednesdays
On Wednesdays we post spoilers.

WALKING DEAD COMMENTARY!

Okay, so for everyone who didn’t wimp out after Abraham and Glenn got Lucilled in the season premiere, Congratulations!! You may sit at our table.

fab-evil
I’m offering an olive branch..that’s wrapped in barbed wire.

Episode 2, “The Well,” introduces King Ezekiel and The Kingdom, which I suppose is proof that geeks and LARPers can survive the apocalypse.

haters
Become a king. Own a tiger. Be FABULOUS.

Carol wakes up after being unconscious for a couple of days due to her injury, only to find herself in this wonderland of tranquility and goodwill. Morgan takes her to meet King Ezekiel, and she almost forgets to affect her innocent act. You can tell she’s flustered, but little Sally Sunshine soon rises to the occasion and the cookie-baking Carol who fooled the inhabitants of Alexandria is once more ready for action.

punch-face
Oh, Carol, you saucy minx. We love you.

Carol is having none of this peace and plenty, though, and she lets Morgan know that she will not be staying with this group or returning to Alexandria as he had intended.

(By this time, of course, Glenn’s brain matter is decorating the ground and Rick is all crazy-eyes and snot, because Negan broke him. The group at Alexandria could use some good news and reinforcements, but Carol knows none of this and one has to wonder if it wouldn’t just make her more determined to go it alone.) 

Morgan, meanwhile, has taken a young man under his wing at Ezekiel’s request and is teaching him the ways of the Amish Ninja. You get the impression that Morgan is withdrawing his support from the #AllLivesMatter camp and making room for the possibility that some lives will have to end to preserve other lives.

shut-up
Just in time for the Neganpocalypse

It’s good that Morgan is coming to these conclusions before returning to the group, but Carol seems to need some time in the wilderness before she finds her mental balance again. She begins cheerfully and discreetly pilfering items from the residents of the Kingdom, intending to sneak away and shun whatever remnants of civilization are left, but is caught by King Ezekiel.

problem
Your problems don’t seem so bad when you’re eating a juicy pomegranate, now do they?

Zeke is cool, tho. He lets Carol in on his little secret (that he’s not a real king and stuff… total shocker!) and offers her a solution: embrace the contradiction.

He’s well aware that his kingdom exists in stark contrast to the reality of the world around him, and he’s carrying a heavy burden for the people inside his realm, but it’s the dream that makes it all worthwhile. He suggests that Carol can leave, but not, and offers to provide her with the means to go it alone if she so chooses.

feels
Don’t leave us, bae!

What follows is a solution that everyone can live with. Carol is on her own, but not, and Morgan is free to return to Alexandria. They both manage to make an impression on Ezekiel, which is promising given the possibility (necessity?) of an alliance and trade between the Kingdom and Alexandria. I’m hoping Maggie recovers and kicks butt at Hilltop, takes over management of that place, and then they can create a triumvirate with Maggie, Rick, and Ezekiel that would challenge Negan and the Saviors.

All in all, it was a very optimistic episode, in stark contrast to the premiere. It gave me some good feels, and made me hopeful again. I loved the depiction of Negan and Ezekiel as a fan of the comics, and I’m fully on board to embrace the contradictions established by these two dynamic characters. I’m excited to see where this season goes from here!

love
I can’t quit you, The Walking Dead. 

 

If you want to be part of the conversation about this and other topics, tune in to #NerdRage tonight, 9:30/8:30 central and join us in the live chat. Osei, Ruth, and I will discuss TWD and what the new developments mean for the group. We’ll discuss that other thing I wrote about, and Ruth is working on a post about the sexism of STEM and how photos of nature help ease the triggering, or something. So much nerdery! So much rage! We’d love to see you there!

 

 

 

Stop Blaming Men For Your Failures As A Woman

I recently had a friend ask my opinion of this post entitled, “Why Women Need To Start Asking Men Out…Because Men Have No Balls,” and oh boy….

what-even-face
*fights the urge to slap a mutha*

Where to begin? The most glaring stupidity is the premise of the article; that is, if men are inherently deficient, why would you want to go out with them?

low-self-esteem
Basically, this.

The author (who gave her actual name as if she’s proud of this tripe) then went on a 20+ paragraph rant about how stupid, scared, puerile, and gutless men are.

She laments, “There’s no door-holding, no hand-holding and definitely no free drinks. There’s no taking off hats or courting through invitations. There are no smooth moves, no jackets to dinner. There are no flowers, no tables by candlelight. But, most importantly, there are no dates.” Sounds reasonable, right? I mean you need a date if you’re going to be given flowers and taken to candlelit dinners and hold hands. The drinks aren’t free just because someone else pays for them, but we get the general idea…she’s describing courtship. Right?

Wrong. She then proceeds, “If you’re a single woman, you probably envisioned your twenties as a roaring social scene full of expensive dinners and lavish nights out. You probably thought you’d have a boyfriend, or at least a few dates a week.”

Uhh…at least a few dates a week?? Of expensive dinners? Several dates a week???

budget-bro
You failed math, didn’t you?

She made it a whole paragraph into her post before she begins a diatribe of such epic stupidity that I felt compelled to dissect it.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that perhaps one reason men in her peer group aren’t spending lavish amounts of money on her is because they don’t have the money to spendIn your 20’s, you’re figuring out life, facing the reality of student debt, trying to establish yourself in a career, and probably living in a sparsely furnished abode with roomies. She obviously thinks a string of Christian Greys are going to vie for the honor of dropping fat stacks on entertaining and feeding her, and that they’ll be polite about it.

christian-grey
50 Shades of Delusion

She writes of the failures of men, “They’ll make eye contact with you in the bar, but never come over. They’ll get your number, but never call. They’ll offer to buy you a drink, but never pay.”

 I don’t know, maybe they’re in the bar to drink and relax, not engage with a millennial harpy.

They’ll say a girl is hot, but never hit on her. They’ll text you for a week, but never ask you out. They’ll do absolutely everything but make a move.” Apparently they just aren’t doing the hitting on and the making of the moves in the exact manner which you preferbut they are indeed making moves. You just don’t like their moves.

like-attracts-like
Just saying

She then goes on to complain that men will chase a woman down to get her number, but wait a week to text as if the only possible item on his agenda that week should have been texting her. 

Never fear, though, because M.H. (millennial harpy) has the answer!

Now, the unfortunate paradox for a woman is that she must be the chased and the chaser. She must be the target and the shooter. She must play coy and simultaneously pursue him.” 

She must complain incessantly and expect lavish dinners several times a week…

“Anyone notice the problem here? Yet again, women are left to do all the work. We’re left playing both sides of the game because they’ve simply forgotten how to play.”

Pretty sure if you’re expecting a man to invest time, energy, and funds into wooing you, calling it a game is a sure-fire way to turn him off. 

keeping-score
Lavish dinners ONLY, you man-child!

M.H. has decided that her dating woes are due to the fact that “…  men don’t know what the hell they want from us….We must tell them what they want if we’re to get anywhere close to the goals we had for ourselves.” 

Yes. Because dating is all about yooouuuuuuu, ladies! I suppose the irony escapes her that she complains about men being weak, indecisive mama’s boys, but her solution is to treat them like weak, indecisive mama’s boys who just need her guidance so that they might make her happy.

I’m curious if she and others like her ever bothered to ask men what they wanted, or if they wanted anything at all. Like my friend Doug said, “[She]  seems to assume that “normal” men SHOULD court, chase after, etc. any woman by virtue of the fact that she is a woman? This is nonsense.” It’s just possible that some men aren’t interested in the chase, and even more likely that they aren’t interested in that particular woman. 

As if her generalizations thus far haven’t been insulting enough, she posits that men are simply cowards; “They’ll never admit it, but you scare the hell out of them. After years of social conditioning, we’ve been duped into thinking that men are the strong ones…TV lied to you. Men aren’t these masculine displays of strength and perseverance. They aren’t these persistent characters..”

chandler
Because media and society have been so kind to portray men as pillars of strength.

It’s possible that the prospect of spending time with the author of that piece is frightening, but not because men are cowards… it’s because they’re sane.

M.H. then goes on to regal us with the strength and intelligence of women, and how they are forever putting themselves out there for the good of society. She does this, of course, by denigrating the women who are raising boys into men who have the audacity to actively avoid her company.

We women have to stick together, ya know.

an-idiot
I’m sure that will never bite her in the butt

Perhaps my favorite part of this inane drivel passing for quality writing at Elite Daily is this: “In the society in which we live today, with Gigi Hadid and Miranda Kerr’s Instagrams readily accessible, women have got a lot to compete with…We can dream about Channing Tatum and Chris Pine all we want, but at least women are rational enough to understand that’s just not gonna happen. So we settle for the options we’ve been given and learn to work with what we have.” (emphasis added)

I don’t know why you have such trouble attracting a man, sweetie. It’s a mystery.

picard-no-you-didnt
She’ll settle for a lavish dinner and flowers.

The coup de gras in this misandrist rant is this assertion: “Men also know that if they don’t get up the nerve to ask you out, all they have to do is swipe right on Tinder to skip the date and get right to the good stuff.” 

First, if you are calling sex “the good stuff,” you obviously don’t feel you have much else to offer. Second, unless all these potential suitors are gay, there are other women enabling this behavior. Finally, if what you want are lavish dinners and he’s obviously only in it for sex, WHY DO YOU CARE THAT HE’S NOT PURSUING YOU? It’s simply a matter of wanting different things, and you need to get down off your sanctimonious soapbox about how indecisive men are. They made a decision. They chose not you. 

the-pain
The struggle is so real.

As my friend Ruth said, “Men don’t approach women for dates anymore, because they’ve been yelled and screamed at that women are too empowered to need or want them for more than an F-bomb. And the GOOD men are looking for so much more.” 

Men who are looking for more than no-strings copulation are willing to put effort into a date. They’ll provide flowers and candlelight and the whole nine…but they are not interested in playing games with a whiny little diva who wants to use them for their pocketbook before she decides to settle for not-Channing-Tatum. If you want to attract quality, you have to be quality.

buy-me-things
There are always rich, lecherous septuagenarians if being a decent human being proves too arduous. 

It’s true that society has supplanted courtship with hook-up culture, but it’s hardly singularly the fault of men. It’s also true that, like it or not, sometimes he’s just not that into you.

big-old-mess
You can always just treat yourself to dinner.

Enough With the Political Sanctimony

It’s no secret that the political atmosphere is rife with tension these days. It doesn’t help that both online and in the real world, there are paid trolls who are making bank off the divisiveness of various movements and campaigns. It is mentally and spiritually exhausting to deal with.

I’m simply tired of the political blame games. I’m tired of broad insults and assumptions.

Someone asked me earlier, in discussing ‘deplorables’ and ignorance and support for this side or that, “Who’s fault is that?” You know what I said?

Ours. It’s our fault.

It’s my fault and your fault. It’s everyone making sweeping assumptions and dispensing broad insults and NOT talking to the people around us in real life about the whys and hows of real life issues. We aren’t even aware of what issues matter most to the people living around us, working with us, and teaching our kids, or why those issues matter to them.

Seriously.

I think we need to step away from the internet and relearn how to speak to actual human beings. We need to be able to discuss, educate, and persuade without being complete asshats, because that’s pretty much how we all come across when all we do is obsess over who’s on the right side of politics all day online. We spend an inordinate amount of time arguing with people whose opinions we don’t esteem in the least, and whose lives we couldn’t care less about. And why don’t we care??

If you can’t see your opponent as a human being with value simply because they vote differently than you, then I’d say that says a lot more about you than it does about them. I certainly don’t like what it says about me, and as convinced as I am of my rightness, I realize that it makes no difference when I crow about it on the internet. That usually doesn’t change anyone’s mind, but it validates my opinion with every like and “Amen!” thrown my way…which is still pretty unproductive.

Being morally superior about our choice in candidate does far more harm than good. I can and will express my opinions, but I’m trying to avoid issuing insults to people I don’t even know. People whose lives, concerns, and values I can’t possibly understand. I know that their support may go to policies and candidates that I find detestable, but why should I then write them off as if they’re no better than dirt? Not knowing what led them to this choice, what good does it do to insult them now that they’ve reached it?

Basic decency has taken a critical hit in this election cycle. Even good people are so caught up in the frustration of it that they’re letting their pride and ego turn them into something unrecognizable. I get it, we’re all extremely frustrated! We’re all disappointed and disgusted and afraid. But we’re also all still human beings, and we’re more complex than “Trump voter” or “Hillary voter” or “Johnson voter”. We’re all far more complex than political affiliation. Our importance and worth extends beyond “ally” or “opponent”.

You may be right. You may have the most facts and the best arguments. You may have a brain the size of Canada.

But if you don’t have a heart, you’ve lost. It’s just that simple.

You’ve lost your ability to influence people who you will need on your side politically, and you’ve lost a crucial part of what it takes to be a decent person in general.

There’s a saying that goes like this: “You can be right or you can be happy.” Just look around you. Look in the mirror. It’s pretty clear that we aren’t choosing happy, and frankly I don’t wish to be allied with a bunch of sourpusses.

I simply cannot retain the good in me when my mind and mood is being poisoned by negative influences. I choose to be happy, and to be at peace.

 

Romans 12

 

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”says the Lord.

 

Bias and Empathy

Everyone has inherent bias.

In any number of ways and on various topics, we have a preconceived and prejudiced view of the world. We can’t help it; our perceptions are shaped by our own experiences. We can no more gain experience by listening to someone else than we can gain height by standing next to an NBA player. We may be able to gain understanding, but we cannot feel or think any differently unless we process other perceptions through the lens of our own known experiences. This is called gaining empathy.

The dialogue I see every day concerning societal ills (specifically for this post, racism and sexism) is simply unhelpful. We have foregone compassion to pursue some kind of experiential competition, a jockeying of anecdotes, if you will. I have been told I know nothing of racism because I’m white, or that I must have internalized misogyny because I care about a man’s voice in an abortion debate. I’ve even seen the argument that I cannot speak with any authority on race because I’m blonde. It is largely accepted in our society that some experiences and opinions hold more weight simply because they fit a certain narrative.

I don’t have to be black to know what racism is, I have experienced it first hand, and quite forcefully. I have no “privilege” that protects me from hate, because hate is a spiritual ill. It isn’t choosy about who it infects. To be told that my experience is less valid or that my opinion less valuable based on my race is in itself racist. To be told that I must always side with a woman in a debate over sexism is perpetuating sexism. These narrow parameters we insist on are limiting not only our dialogue but also our understanding. We are propagating the very things we claim to want to abolish by telling others they aren’t qualified to speak because they don’t fit our idea of a victim.

There is no way for someone else to know our experiences, or how those experiences affect us. The only thing they can do is empathize by relating to us through an experience of their own. I have never lost a child. I imagine it is unbearably painful, and my empathy for those who’ve lost a child is based on my experience of knowing love as a mother and of losing a nephew. That loss devastated me, but I know my love and my loss was less than that of his own mother, because I know that my love for my own children is greater than anything else I’ve ever known, including my love for other family members. It’s simply different. I can, however, relate based on my own experience. I can empathize. I can understand a little better because my experience is a little closer. I cannot know, however.

Likewise, when someone speaks to me of prejudice and oppression, I can relate through my own experience. When they tell me that the vehicle by which I come to relate to them is invalid, unwanted, and disrespected, they are essentially saying they do not want my understanding; they want my complete submission to their thought control. They wish to implant ideas and feelings that are untethered in either experience or reality. They don’t want me to relate, they want me to substitute my thoughts for theirs. This does not lend itself to realizing empathy, but it is pretty successful as a bullying tactic.

We used to be taught the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, or “Treat others how you’d like to be treated.” This valuable lesson has been twisted and now people will say, “Treat others how they treat you.” You’ve been hated? Hate others. You’ve been oppressed? Oppress others. You’ve been objectified? Objectify others. This ideology is poison. There is no empathy or compassion to be found in it, only cruel one-upmanship and tyranny. This hardness of heart is what we perpetuate when we try to shut others up and devalue their experiences by which they can relate to and understand us. Empathy and understanding are fostered in the shared experience. When we begin to relate instead of compete, we can have constructive dialogue.

Of course, our anecdotes and experiences may still be askew of absolute truth, but they are valuable in establishing a healthy consideration for others via the Golden Rule. Facts (via FBI crime data/statistics) absolutely undermine the rhetoric of the Black Lives Matter movement, but facts do not do nearly as much damage as their expressed disdain for police officers and their disregard for other races in general. Even the most altruistic among them cannot overcome the divide that has been deepened by the inability to value opinions outside of their own. It is much the same with modern feminists. The rampant misandry within feminism today has poisoned all conversation concerning sexism. They do not want to foster understanding, but to obliterate and subvert all opposition to their particular worldview.

It’s important to realize that we all have our own biases. We can’t help how our experiences have shaped our perceptions, but we also cannot force other people to embrace our biases. We have to get over ourselves if we wish to connect, and we have to find shared ground in order to truly foster understanding. We have to return to a philosophy of empathy which says “I do not want this to be done to me, so I must not do this to you.”

What’s The Deal With Jessica Jones?

We here at Nerd Rage HQ do occasionally stray from topics on existentialism and nuclear physics to discuss the more plebeian topics, such as Netflix series and superhero culture.

I know, I know… you’re all shocked. Next thing you know we’ll be discussing online gaming or sloths. Good heavens… what horribly mundane things.

Anyhow, for today I wish to discuss the series Jessica Jones.

I’ve had several friends ask if I’ve watched Jessica Jones, and some who have used it to fill the void between seasons of Daredevil. There are even a few who, for some unknown and completely insane reason, have watched JJ but haven’t yet watched DD. I decided to catch up on this newer series, because I have enjoyed Daredevil so very much and have heard the two are loosely connected.

My verdict: meh.

I’m underwhelmed. The depiction of Daredevil, Kingpin, and the Punisher was so well done, that I really expected to be blown away by Jessica. I did my due diligence and researched the characters and got a feel for the story, so I wasn’t expecting to see a copy of Daredevil, but I was expecting more than what Jessica Jones delivered.

There are a lot of intriguing elements, but it’s incredibly vulgar. I understand that the heroine is a P.I. and her job entails some indelicate things, but the best thing about the show is the villain – who actually is really evil but is often more likable than the main character. Jessica is a complete ass to everyone, without fail, and is only humanized by her one friend, whom she is a complete ass to also. We’re supposed to believe that she is unpleasant so as to protect people from the danger she feels she brings along with her, but she often shows no compassion for the people around her at all. She is mercenary in nature (not taking jobs to help, but to pursue her own agenda or make them shut up), seems to hate humanity in general (she aids in a “compassionate” abortion in which the unborn is called a “thing” and disgustedly mumbles about “breeders” later), and doesn’t actively seek to improve the lives of anyone in her circle unless her arm is twisted – even though those people often stick up for her in completely selfless ways.

Apart from her completely horrid personality, Jessica’s powers are never really defined. They seem to be inconsistent at best, and you really have to suspend disbelief to accept that a tiny, emo, alcoholic possesses super strength and what might be accelerated healing or an impressive jump? Like I said, her powers aren’t explored or defined well at all (and keep in mind I already knew what they were). You also never get a feel for what motivates her. She comes across as caustic, and you’re meant to see her as broken, but she only seems broken about a third of the time. Nothing about this character is consistent.

Besides the main character being a hot mess, her boyfriend and fellow super is a bit one-dimensional as well. In fact, the most compelling characters are the much-abused best friend and the junkie down the hall. All of them, however, are nothing in comparison to the villian, Purple Man. Killgrave, as he’s called, is a truly bad dude. His powers are clearly defined and he uses them to full advantage, leaving untold collateral damage in his wake. Despite his general horribleness and destructive nature, he manages to be a compelling and complex character, something the main character is sorely missing. There are even moments when one could almost feel bad for him, all the while knowing that he’s hurt people in ways that will never be made right. That’s the mark of a well-written and well-acted character, though. Killgrave is what got me through the entire season of Jessica Jones.

Aside from the problem of not liking the main character at all, there is the issue of the show just being terribly vulgar. I’m aware of the rating, and didn’t expect a Disney show, so spare me the “it’s to be expected..” tone. When I say it’s vulgar, I mean it’s really hard to not turn it off vulgar. All of the dialogue/monologue is liberally sprinkled with “god-damn”, among other frequent swearing.  There isn’t a lot of nudity – in fact hardly any – and yet there is some extremely vigorous sex (broken beds and all) and suggestive content (moments of office romance, if you will). There is a recurring subplot dealing with a love triangle involving 3 lesbians, a nasty divorce, and extremely questionable ethics as two of the triangle points work at the law firm which Jessica somehow gets continually drawn to. One begins to wonder if this is merely to make the erstwhile romance more prominent than is strictly necessary, especially given that there are other problems which should require a greater focus. Like, say, a villain who is destroying people at will.

All in all, the show wasn’t entirely bad, I’m just not sure the good outweighs the bad. The villain totally made that season watchable, and he’s a horrible person. I’m not sure I would care to slog through all the negatives to see where the show goes from here, especially since the only character I care about at this point is the junkie neighbor, and since the only connection to Daredevil was a brief appearance by the D.A. and the night nurse.

Your Logic is Flawed

All I see on Facebook lately is “Colorado was STOLEN!” “Cruz is an establishment sellout!” and the further I investigate these claims, the more I facepalm.

I know I’m not convincing anyone of anything here, so I’m merely going to point out why your logic is flawed if you believe these things. I understand you all have your preferred sites that deliver news in exactly the tone you wish to hear, so I’m under no illusions that my post will shake the foundations of your beliefs. This is simply cathartic for me.

First, let’s start with your news sources, shall we? I keep hearing how The Media is evil and in the tank for The Democrats or The Establishment Republicans (it changes depending on who is critical of The Angry Cheeto – which reminds me of the evil Cheese Curls in Veggie Tales, right down to the lips). I see a lot of Trump supporters claim that the big networks are too liberal to be taken seriously while at the same time stating that smaller publications aren’t established enough to be trusted. Basically, anyone who isn’t printing favorable articles about Trump is untrustworthy. It’s true that we don’t have a lot of unbiased news sources, but when you link to biased and fake news sources posting rumor, slander, and speculation, you have effectively lost your argument. You cannot merely silence opposition, accuse it of bias, and then post biased fake garbage that supports your claims. And if you cite The National Enquirer, people are well within their rights to laugh in your face. Having a real story once every decade does not a reputable source make, especially when they are in the business of sensationalism.

Next, I’d like to put to rest this hysteria over Colorado delegates being “stolen”. I had a gentleman earlier state that “you only think you live in a Republic” while bemoaning the fact that votes were not cast democratically. Now, if you’ve got at least 5 brain cells firing at full power, you know he might have a problem with defining either the word “republic” or “democratic”. The fact is, the way delegates were elected in Colorado was Constitutional and pre-dates (in practice) the more widespread democratic primaries we see in other states. The delegates were not hand picked by The Establishment, in fact you could not get more “grass-roots” than the delegate selection process. The only thing barring Joe Voter from becoming a delegate is making a commitment to the party (paying a small fee) and showing up to a meeting (being active in the process). Oh, and perhaps eloquence and charisma. The delegate process is representative in the same way that other offices are representative: you vote for the person that you think will protect your interests and then they cast votes and represent you. If you’re confused about this, take it from someone who participated in the Colorado Caucus. Trump had plenty of time to court delegates, but he was not prepared to do so, and any reference to “Lyin’ Ted” or The Establishment is a load of hogwash because the Colorado process began months before either Cruz or Trump were hopeful nominees.

That brings me to my next point, which is that for someone who will “get things done” and “make really great deals”, Trump has shown that he is ill-prepared even when he has months to strategize. Hell, he can’t even count on the votes of his children because they didn’t register as Republicans before the cut-off date. It’s almost as if he thinks his propaganda sites and angry tweets will carry him right into office, all the while whining that the process is unfair and promising that only he can get things done. I still don’t know what Things he will get done, but apparently winning delegates and securing the votes of his children is outside of his ability. Rage tweeting may keep him in the press, but it doesn’t bode well for foreign diplomacy or for his business, which he also failed to account for. I can’t fathom the people who whole-heartedly believe that Trump is the ultimate Doer and Deal-maker when he hasn’t exhibited any efficacy outside of being a giant orange Crybully.

Finally, the worst and most abused logic is that which contends only Trump is “anti-establishment”. Most recently Trump supporters point to Cruz securing the funding of a junior Bush brother (gasp!) as proof that “he’s been bought by The Establishment!”. This despite the fact that Cruz defied Bush 43 and defended Texas against the U.N. and the International Court, which may have led to a distinct coldness from the Bush family (this should also lay to rest the idiotic globalist charges). The charge also flies in the face of literally everything that Cruz has tried to accomplish as an attorney and a Senator. To claim that a man who has stalwartly defended conservative principle and policy throughout his career is somehow, in a single primary season, a shill for The Establishment is perhaps even more ridiculous than to claim that a man who has been a lifelong progressive waffler and backer of Establishment and Democrat politicians is, in a single primary, suddenly conservative! I mean, do you even listen to yourselves?! Even Ben Carson, who woke up long enough to endorse Trump, has implied that he believes Trump is a fraud and a bad person, but that he is supporting him anyway #ForTheChildren. THIS LITERALLY MAKES NO SENSE! As far as I can tell, the logic behind backing Trump is “he’s a horrible person but he pretends to be okay, so he’s gotta be better than that horrible person that pretends to be okay” – and all in the name of being Anti-Establishment, which Trump has  funded, Cruz has fought, but because Cruz is winning delegates and donors, suddenly everything is flipped upside down and The Dufus Dealmaker who can’t strategize his way out of a cereal box is being shut out by the Establishment Shill who just happens to be a lifelong principled Conservative.

GAH! You people. 

The cherry on top of this Illogical Sundae you Trump folks serve up on the regular, is the claim that even if Trump is not really Conservative, he’s still better than Cruz because he can “work with people and get things done”… because “no one likes Cruz.” So you say Cruz is Establishment and part of this massive conspiracy to unite the party against Trump, but he can’t unite the party against Trump’s ideological equals… because no one wants to work with him. And then you say that only Trump can work with the Establishment in D.C. to “get things done”.

cant even

I’m done. I am so done.

spock cries
You made Spock cry.