July 4, 2018

This Is Not Who We Are

Filed under: 100 Days of Summer,Assorted Politics,Think About It! — Katrina @ 10:03 pm

On July 22, 2016, around the time of the Republican National Convention, I posted this to Facebook:

I spent my 4th of July evening on a plane flying home from across the country. When the sun was out, I saw craggy desert that gave way to the Rocky Mountains that became flat farmlands. When it got dark, far below me, blinking on and off all over like lots of multicolored fireflies, were the fireworks shows. From above, on its special night, I watched my country sparkle. And under the sparkling were the people, in all the various terrains within our borders, from all walks of life, enjoying a cozy summer evening and watching bright flashy colors across the sky, saying “ooh” and “ahh” and “oh, look, a plane”. Diverse yet with a common bond. That’s who we are. That’s what it means to be American.

Yet, we have a presidential candidate and the major political party behind him peddling paranoia, xenophobia, bigotry, greed, and violence. Worse still, these things are being touted as “American”, that these things are not only desirable but are part of our national identity, that they are what makes us “great”. And the thing is, as the primaries have shown us, this is resonating. Maybe it’s because so many, of any political persuasion, whether in support or against, really are buying the idea that this is what it means to be American.

So let’s maybe drop that idea already. It is a dangerous lie. Don’t lend it any credence. We’re a diverse land and people who value freedom and human rights and other nice stuff like that. And when some ultra-narcissistic loudmouth seeks the highest office in the land by supposedly speaking for us all when he promotes fear and hate and the ugly manifestations thereof, we have to say NO! SHUT THE FUCK UP AND SIT DOWN! THIS IS NOT WHO WE ARE!

The Orange Thing’s campaign seemed like a bad parody of white conservative American intolerance, from the longing for some imagined “great” past to the hostility toward Hispanic and Muslim immigrants, with the explicit notion that those white conservatives who have these beliefs are the only “real” Americans, that the rest of us either don’t exist or aren’t important or don’t belong in our own country. The rest of us make up the vast majority of the country, and surely, I and so many others thought, what he’s saying is so blatantly toxic and against everything we’re about.

But then, on the night of November 8, 2016, I reshared that post with the added comment:

THIS IS NOT WHO WE ARE!

*looks at electoral map*

…right?

The following January, a few hours after Orange Thing made it official in front of probably anyone, at a resistance event at WES, I read the above post in the open mic portion. In person, through a microphone, with my actual voice, to a room full of people, I recited: “…And when some ultra-narcissistic loudmouth seeks the highest office in the land by supposedly speaking for us all when he promotes fear and hate and the ugly manifestations thereof, we have to say NO! SHUT THE FUCK UP AND SIT DOWN! THIS IS NOT WHO WE ARE!” Followed by a round of applause.

It’s a year and a half later, and so so so much has happened, much of which I don’t even remember because it’s been one thing after another with this administration. There isn’t exactly anything great going on, that’s for sure.
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February 14, 2018

Mmmm, Candy Hearts 13

Filed under: Think About It!,What the hell? — Katrina @ 9:41 pm

“U R CUTE” Aww, thanks, candy heart.

“EMAIL ME” I have such a backlog already though.

“TRUE LOVE” Yeah, that’s a great way to get swindled by a Prince of the Southern Isles.

Happy Ash Valentines! Enjoying the candy hearts and still going meatless today despite having walked away from Christianity nearly a decade ago. In 47 days, we’ll be looking for colored eggs that might turn out to be an overshaken Duff beer can.

Anyway, here’s the thirteenth installment of this, the annual glance at love and relationships and how people seem to deal with them.

Let’s see…

Ever notice how basically everybody seems to think they are unlucky with relationships? I mean, that’s the trouble with love, in that we’re all built to some degree to crave the hell out of it, so of course it will more often than not feel lacking. And for very many people, well, this is absolutely true, that pairing up with someone for a while seems to happen almost as often as a transit of Venus.

But for others, they’re all like “no one wants me” and the proper response is “dude, you dated like three people this year and it’s only April”. Perhaps none of those dates progressed into anything else, and that’s certainly frustrating. But other times, you just wonder what they’re comparing themselves to.

It’s one of those times you must say… you know TV isn’t real, right?

I mean, if you’re comparing yourself to basically any sitcom character, where even the “losers” seem to not have any trouble getting dates and sex, yeah, of course you’re going to feel like a romantic failure. That TV show or movie is a fantasy, playing on a very universal insecurity where the only winners would be aromantic asexuals if this weren’t yet another occurrence of their existence being denied. Because of writers seeking widespread appeal and ability to identify with the characters in a given situation, they make characters whose lives revolve around their dating lives, with everything else secondary, whereas one’s entire worth has everything to do with how well they conform to an unrealistic standard of romantic or sexual frequency.

Maybe it’s kind of like how the fashion and other industries set unrealistic beauty standards, undermining the inherent worth of those whose appearance doesn’t conform. Where, like how they need to acknowledge more diverse body types to allow those with different bodies to feel beautiful, maybe we need characters with more diverse types of relationships, so that someone who spends six consecutive months single isn’t made to feel they shouldn’t exist. Or, hell, just more media without any romantic plotlines. Not that there’s anything wrong with romance, of course. Just that there’s more to life.

Then again, everyone knows TV shows aren’t real and neither are the relationships depicted. Perhaps the feelings of romantic inadequacy stem from real life or at least a perception thereof. And it’s understandable, because, for all its faults and all the bullshit, when there’s a connection there with someone, it’s no exaggeration that everything is amazing and beautiful and all is right with the world. For a little while anyway. Reality always forces its way back into the picture, whatever it may be. But when it’s good it’s so very good. So of course when media and culture and friends and family say this so very good thing will definitely come to you if you’re worthwhile, and when reality doesn’t sync up, you wonder that maybe you’re not worthwhile after all. Perhaps with the unfortunate side effect of casting ridiculous aspersions on desired objects of affection.

It’s all such a mess. But we still have these candy hearts and their messages.

“SOUL MATE” Wait, do candy hearts have souls? I have made a terrible terrible mistake…

December 14, 2017

The Actual Innocence

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Think About It!,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 7:01 pm

Five years ago today, Sandy Hook happened.

Several children who should be navigating middle school right now instead had their short lives come to an abrupt and tragic end because some shithead came into their classroom and opened fire on them for some reason.

In the above post on the day it happened, I lamented this loss of life, wondering, as I said, what they could have ever done to anybody. After all, at their age, one is new to the world and still figuring things out and likely hasn’t gotten to the point of causing any deep and deliberate harm to others like those older have. Not that it’s ever okay to kill anyone, of course, but with kids, it’s hard to see any rationale for it. An adult might have deliberately ruined your career or betrayed you in some severe way or what have you. Again, not that the killing is okay, but you can see how one so distraught might decide it’s the thing to do. With kids, they aren’t capable of doing anywhere near the damage to others that adults are.

After all, children are innocent.

And that is what the innocence of children actually is. Innocence is the opposite of guilt. It refers to what the children themselves have or have not done, and how good or evil their intentions. This varies by child, as children are individuals, and there’s no specific point where one goes from “childhood innocence” to “adult asshole” as it’s a gradual progression depending on one’s specific life and circumstances and experiences. But any innocence refers to the individual’s intentions and actions.

As such, it has nothing to do with something being done to said innocent child, nor does it have anything to do with said innocent child’s knowledge of the world.
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November 30, 2017

The First Thanksgiving

Isn’t there anyone who knows what Thanksgiving is all about?!

Sure, I can tell you what Thanksgiving is all about. Lights, please?

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

This is Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation in 1863, officially declaring Thanksgiving a holiday, continuing to this day, changed only when FDR made it the fourth November Thursday rather than last, so we celebrated a week ago rather than today.

There were earlier proclamations of specific thanksgiving days with very similar text by earlier presidents here and there, but Lincoln’s is about where it was mostly set as an annual thing where it still is now.

What I don’t see is anything about the pilgrims at Plymouth. About two and a half centuries earlier. It’s mentioned at the above link, but also mentioned is there were numerous such feasts through the then colonies around the time.
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October 31, 2017

It’s Not Your Candy

Filed under: Foodz,Think About It!,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 10:33 pm

Happy Halloween!

Anyway…

No.

Stop. Don’t touch it. It’s not yours.

Earlier tonight, the kids traversed their neighborhoods in their awesome costumes and visited their neighbors with a familiar chant in hopes of a yummy treat (specifically Nerds, Starbursts, and Skittles if they came to my door!). Afterward, they went on home, checked everything for tampering for fear of the urban myth about poison or razor blades in candy suddenly actually happening, and at long last chowed down. Yay!

All this candy in the hands of kids? What are parents to do?

Nothing. It’s not theirs.
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February 14, 2017

Mmmm, Candy Hearts 12

Filed under: Think About It! — Katrina @ 9:33 pm

“IM YOURS” Yes, candy heart, I suppose you are. Lucky you.

“YES” What are you replying to? Or is this open-ended?

“KISS ME” Well, you’ll pass between my lips in the course of being devoured, so close enough.

Ah, it’s Valentine’s Day again. How nice. Last year, by which I mean like four posts ago since I’ve been neglecting this thing, I finally said screw it and tore love itself apart. And it deserved it, that bastard. Masquerading so long as being pure and good and something that will trump hate, someone had to say it.

I believe I’ll take a different tack today, however.

When in love, there’s this urge to place object of said love on a pedestal, to see everything this person says or does as brilliant or amazing. Something that you just sort of come to expect and work to see through it. It makes no sense. This person isn’t brilliant. They’re totally full of shit and they know it and really you know it.

And then you know you know it. Then what?

You find you still love that pile of shit anyway, that’s what. Whether it’s in the form of wanting to kiss them or being deliriously happy when around them or wanting to fight over money and dinner plates for life, you still feel it nonetheless despite them being very clearly full of shit.

Not that this is really a beautiful thing. I mean, this is also how abusive relationships continue. But let’s say there’s no abuse here. It’s just seeing human imperfections for what they are. This pile of shit that has won your affections for some reason is, after all, human. Just like you. Such an important common ground!

So you two piles of shit, enjoy your evening!

I’ll sit here with my candy hearts.

“U R SWEET” I think you’re the sweet one, being made of sugar. I’m made of other stuff.

“MARRY ME” Eh, why not? Could be the start of a long relationship- Or not, I just ate you. I must be part spider.

“TRUE LOVE” Ah, but we just met. You have yet to see through my nonsense. Give it time- Or not, I just ate you.

February 14, 2016

Mmmm, Candy Hearts 11

Filed under: Think About It!,What the hell? — Katrina @ 7:47 pm

“MY LOVE” What a sweet little candy heart you are!

“URS 4 EVER” Damn, candy heart, slow down!

“LET’S KISS” Well, you’re going into my mouth anyway. Close enough.

“NO WAY” Oh, well, can’t win them all. 🙁

Oh, hello. Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s time once again for the tradition that began ten years ago today, when I sit here and eat these candy hearts and gripe about romantic relationship stupidity.

I’ve said in the past that it’s people’s behavior and expectations around relationships and their partners that I take issue with, and that love itself isn’t what I’m against. That love itself really is pure and good.

I’ve changed my mind. Love is fucking stupid.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say it isn’t a good thing at all, that it is terrible, and really we should be recognizing it as the affliction that it is.

Love is a destructive illusion that causes terrible behavior and misery. When you’re in love, sure, everything feels all warm and sweet. At first. Then something goes wrong, and now all those warm and sweet memories turn to poison, no longer making you happy but only sad and angry. Someone who was once a source of comfort and joy is now just a reminder of shame and loss. You believed you felt some strong spiritual connection, but the bubble burst, and you feel more isolated than ever before.

People have a way of reacting badly to this, from making total asses of themselves in front of their object of affection and others to outright harmful or abusive behavior. Yeah, I’m not seeing the beauty here.

Maybe we should just remove “love” from our vocabulary altogether. Maybe just cut straight to what you actually mean when you say you love someone. Maybe instead of “I love you” it could be “I want to spend time with you” or “I’m deliriously happy when I’m with you” or “I want to kiss you” or “I want to have sex with you” or “I don’t wish you any specific harm” or “I want to buy a house with a nice yard and fight with you over money and dinner plates for the rest of my life” (also known as “will you marry me?”). In any case, maybe the only real response to a declaration of love is “yeah, and?”

I mean, it’s a loaded and muddy word. It distracts from what specifically is going on. It inflates importance of what’s being felt, adding some artificial divine quality, which really serves only to make it hurt so much more when it goes wrong, that the very essence of life itself has failed you. It’s just not worth it. There are much better uses of time and energy.

If only it were that simple. I get so afflicted just as anyone else.

Oh, well. There’s always the candy hearts!

“I-M SURE” Well, heart, most people aren’t sure of much of anything. You’re lucky.

“YOU ROCK” Awww, thanks!

“XOXO” I fucking hate that Elle King song.

December 23, 2015

Presence of Presents

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:57 pm

I’ve mentioned a number of times that I’m sick of people complaining about Christmas being “materialistic” or some crap. That we focus too much on presents and not enough on Jesus or family or something like that. As if these things are mutually exclusive or something.

But presents are not only, you know, gifts. They’re wrapped and under the tree and not to be opened until Christmas morning. They’re a mystery!

And isn’t that just like the coming year? The future? That the future is just there all mysterious and just waiting to be revealed. Could be everything you wanted. Could be disappointing. Could actually be a live cobra for some reason. Could be nothing you expected but everything you needed.

Okay, I’m making this up, but it sounds cool.

December 17, 2015

Meaning of Christmas

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:33 pm

Yeah, we’ve all heard the “Jesus is the reason for the season” types. What this holiday and season is about is awfully contentious for something that we can at least agree is supposed to be about peace and love.

But I’m not disagreeing with that statement.

Yes, Christmas is about Jesus. There’s no question about that.

It’s just that it’s ALSO about Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, trees, presents, cookies, cards, lights, holly, the Grinch, mistletoe, carols, candles, cookies, garland, tinsel, Charlie Brown’s sad little tree, gingerbread houses, snow, light, dark, stars, cookies, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, candy canes, leg lamps in the living room bay window, elves, the Griswolds, Rudolph, cookies, Ebenezer Scrooge, feasting on roast beast, the Polar Express, ribbons, wrapping paper, George Bailey, cookies, trains, stockings, sleigh bells, Yule logs, Nutcrackers, poles, Saturnalia, Solstice, cookies, those weird wreath hats with the candles they wear in Sweden, that cake they eat in Japan, Grandfather Frost, Jack Frost, chestnuts, and, of course, peace, love, joy, hope, and giving. And cookies.

And what the hell is wrong with that? 😛

December 14, 2015

Unchecked Power

Ever notice how our world seems to give unchecked power so much benefit of the doubt? Or, well, I suppose that’s true by definition as, if it weren’t given benefit of the doubt, then it wouldn’t be unchecked.

Look at some of the reactions in cases of police brutality. “Oh, well, he must have done something wrong for the police to have gone after him in the first place. They wouldn’t beat him up or shoot him for no reason.” You know, because apparently if a police officer so much as looks at you, it just makes sense to these people that you might as well kiss your ass goodbye, rather than, you know, saying “hey, this is wrong!” like any decent person would.

There’s also child abuse. Parents have near limitless power over their children, which very much allows for abuse, and abuse is very much rampant, but when it happens, you get reactions like “oh, well, the kids are probably exaggerating or outright lying, just ungrateful brats who probably deserved it, all parents love their children!” Ignoring that, for one, no they fucking don’t, and that they have no actual reason to believe the kids are lying, or to know for sure either way for that matter. But what is known is that parents who want to commit unspeakable crimes against their children could do so very easily, and pretending they just don’t or wouldn’t is very dangerous.

Then there’s war crimes. A hospital or school or the like gets bombed, killing a bunch of innocent civilians. And what’s the response? “Oh, well, that’s war for you. Sometimes civilians get killed. In fact, they probably weren’t so innocent and were likely hiding the bad guys so they probably deserved it.” Based on absolutely nothing. Just more of avoiding the necessary task of calling out what’s horribly wrong and instead trying to justify it.

Know what else? God! If an omnipotent God allows all of the above and more and worse to happen, who’s telling him to knock that shit off? It’s always “God works in mysterious ways! Everything happens for a reason! God loves us!” Yeah, meanwhile, somewhere in the world, a four-year-old girl just died of an infection caused by a ritual genital mutilation, but sure, yeah, loving omnipotent God we should continue worshiping.

True, a lot of this comes from feeling helpless, seeing many of these forces not as always right but as all-powerful and therefore there’s no choice but to assume rightness. And just plain not knowing how to change anything and finding it easier to tell the victims that they were the ones who were wrong, to give the illusion that we have more control over our fates than we actually do. But we can understand that tendency and still acknowledge it’s wrong. I mean, you don’t need to know exactly how to make a certain change in order to speak up about what’s wrong. Shit, if you had to, about 90% of those protesting or raising awareness about just about anything would be out of work! But there’s bad things happening. Acknowledge that they are bad and quit making excuses for them.

December 10, 2015

Baking Cookies

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Decrees!,Foodz,Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:06 pm

I hereby decree…

Baking cookies is the happiest activity there is.

Well, it is. Just say the words. Baking cookies. See, there’s a smile!

Saying “let’s bake cookies!” conveys joy and excitement. It’s not like anyone ever says “ah damn it, I’m stuck baking some fucking cookies!” Just plain doesn’t happen.

There’s all kinds of ways to make cookies. Lots of room for experimenting! And what’s more fun than experimenting with different ways to create a tasty treat? Nothing, that’s what!

And after all that fun with trying different ingredients and methods, you end up with cookies! Yay! 😀

December 4, 2015

One Time a Thing Occurred to Me

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Musical Musing,Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:43 pm

So you’ve probably heard that Scott Weiland of the Stone Temple Pilots died late last night.

So ends an iconic voice of 1990s music.

I’ve seen them in concert a couple of times. Wouldn’t call myself a big fan, but I definitely like a few of their songs. Particularly “Vasoline”. In any case, STP has clearly been an important part of the 1990s soundtrack of our lives, I suppose.

Think about it. Making music that affected people in so many ways, just as all other musicians. But also and more extraordinarily being sort of an essential piece of the scene of their time. It’s art. It’s part of culture. It generates emotions and such in people. That’s something special.

Scott Weiland was only 48, but, aside from at least making it way past 27 unlike so many others like him, he still added something to this world. Just like all other musicians. Just like all other artists. I suppose we all can only hope to do something like that, to any extent.

April 28, 2015

Death by Paper Cut

Filed under: Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:18 pm

So I was putting away some paperwork the other day when my left hand grazed the side of a folder sitting in an upright organizer. A sheet of paper inside that folder was poking out the side at that moment. Sure enough, I grazed the side of it so lightly yet just right that the paper sliced into my left ring finger.

Gah! Paper cut!!!!

I’m cringing at the memory. As are you, since you’ve had a paper cut and holy crap they suck!

Every time I get a paper cut or some other stupid incident that results in some minor bloodshed, I start to think… what if this is what kills me? Like if the cut got infected with some super resistant form of bacteria and I wound up dead from sepsis.

Aside from the death, which would suck in and of itself, there’s the shame of such a pathetic death. What if there is an afterlife? What if I’m hanging out with some other dead souls and they share how they died, whether heroically saving people during a storm or simply succumbed after a long battle with cancer? They’ll be all like “So what happened to you?” And I’d have to be like “Well, I got a paper cut that got infected and killed me just shy of my 32nd birthday.” And then they’d avoid me. I’d only be allowed to associate with those who died from choking on a hot dog or something. For all of eternity.

Or even back in life, when people ask “aww, how did she die?”, friends and family would be like “from an infected paper cut”. It’d probably be on my tombstone. In my obituary. It would overshadow just about anything else about me. Something about working in biotech or being a youth rights advocate? Nope. Dead by paper cut!

So I guess, if death by paper cut is even remotely a possibility, we should live our lives in such a way that we’d be remembered for something other than this pathetic death. Which is a rather tall order. Murder people by giving them paper cuts perhaps? That’d certainly solve some problems, but may create others.

March 30, 2015

Lion and Lamb

Filed under: Think About It! — Katrina @ 5:51 pm

So we’ve all heard that saying about the month of March. That it “goes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb”. The idea is that the month begins with harsh wintry weather and ends with mild spring weather.

Yeah, I call bullshit. I mean, if anything, it’s the other way around.

What do lambs look like? They’re gentle, soft, white, and fluffy. You know what else is gentle, soft, white, and fluffy? Snow! In fact, it’s right there in that rhyme, that Mary had a little lamb “whose fleece was white as snow”. Not whose fleece was, say, like airborne pollen that will have you sneezing for the next four months.

What about the lion? Well, what do lions do? Other than lie around all day and plot regicidal wildebeest stampedes. That’s right. They roar! Know what else roars? Thunder! Know when we get lots of thunderstorms? Spring!

In white and fluffy like a lamb, out roaring like a lion. Much more accurate.

January 19, 2015

The Real Heroes

Filed under: Idiot Box,Think About It! — Katrina @ 7:07 pm

So I just got back from seeing the movie “Selma”. It was amazing. Brought me to tears a few times. Made me cringe a few times at the horrible racial violence. Powerful. Highly recommend it.

And it had better win Best Picture, damn it!

Not only because I like it when a movie I’ve seen wins Best Picture, but because it’s damn good. And also because I don’t want American Sniper to win.

Just to be clear, I have not seen American Sniper. I don’t particularly want to. I just read through a plot summary of it. Seems to be your run-of-the-mill soldier movie.

Soldiers are commonly referred to as heroes, and I suppose they are, or at least they’re really brave for putting themselves in that position. Not going to dispute that. And we have two holidays for them, Memorial Day for the dead ones and Veteran’s Day for the living ones. “Support Our Troops” bumper stickers and other such items are ubiquitous. After all, they’re the ones out there protecting our freedom, right?

Er, no, that one I will dispute. For one, their mere presence in many areas is pissing off the locals and thus encouraging support for the terrorists who might attack us and lead to more restrictions on our freedoms in the name of safety. Mostly it’s that the greatest threats to our freedom are internal.
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December 25, 2014

С Рождеством!

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Think About It! — Katrina @ 9:25 pm

Oh, have I run out of Roman alphabet languages already? Er, no, there’s a few more. Next year, next year…

Well, nothing all that unusual about this Christmas. Same stuff. Work early on Christmas Eve, which was cool, not because I had to work but because I actually have a job at Christmas time for the first time in three years. Then cookie baking. Then putting up with family. Then church and Silent Night. Then wrapping presents. Then finally in bed at almost 6am, having been awake nearly 22 hours.

Anyway, it’s Christmas Day. Today is for joy. For love. For peace. For hope. For generosity.

We’re a bunch of assholes to each other much of the year, in many ways. But for this day, let’s just try not to be. Let’s at least be the peace we want the world to be. Let’s put kindness and understanding first. Let’s forgive and be together and be happy. Let’s put aside differences and annoyances. Even if just for this day. So that even when we go back to our normal rotten selves, we’ve at least had a taste of what could be. So we know it’s possible, at least in theory, at least in small doses.

Or, well, that would surely be nice. Anyway, I’m stuck with my family today. Excuse me while I get back into the fray. *cocks shotgun*

Merry Christmas!

December 21, 2014

Background Music

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Musical Musing,Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:48 pm

You know what’s fun about listening to Christmas music? Well, a lot of things.

One thing is that it makes everything you do seem like it’s part of your very own Christmas special. That mundane actions suddenly become festive.

Filing paperwork? Meh. Filing paperwork with “Sleigh Ride” in the background? Festive!

Driving to the grocery store? Meh. Driving to the grocery store with “Jingle Bell Rock” in the background? Festive!

Stuck in traffic while in a hurry? Meh. Stuck in traffic while in a hurry with “Carol of the Bells” in the background? Festive!

Sitting around eating cookies? Delicious. Sitting around eating cookies with “Holly Jolly Christmas” in the background? Still delicious. And festive.

December 19, 2014

Collateral Damage

There’s a lot of collateral damage in activism. When making points for change, you need to be careful. Who is getting thrown under the bus in your talking points?

In youth rights, we sometimes make the case, when someone goes on about how “undeveloped” teens’ brains are, that studies have shown that, despite this, teens’ brains function better than those of people over age 60. Which on its face is a good point, showing that we’re not so fussy about this same metric in another context. But I’m generally uncomfortable with it, because a “solution” to the double standard might be then to restrict the rights of the elderly. Though the intention is to expand the rights of young people, the flip side is the point throws the elderly under the bus.

A couple months ago, I saw at an event about climate change a print-out from some old article on Mother Jones. I don’t feel like looking for it, because fuck that article, but basically it was demonstrating how people in wealthier countries use up more resources than those in poorer countries (which is a major “no shit, Sherlock!”). And a lot of its points were basically about keeping the population low, so there’d be fewer people to use up resources and generate greenhouse gases. Points included: praising China’s one-child policy (you know, the one with the forced and sex-selective abortions and infanticide that resulted in a severely skewed gender ratio), implying that countries with the most unrest are in turmoil because such a huge portion of their population are young adults (you know, because young people just do nothing but start wars, right?), and even some completely ridiculous points about how apparently TV families are getting larger (their entire basis was the existence of the Duggars), and a few more that were just rotting my brain cells with each letter.

You know, no matter how much I might support a cause, I just can’t get behind the ridiculous hyperbole and fearmongering and outright lies that a lot of them resort to. Especially when, as said, some of this causes damage to other causes for human rights and whatnot.

And ultimately it’s self-defeating. It’s hard to defend your position on an issue when most of the points and info you’ve been given to use are full of shit. You have to spend so much time weeding out the bullshit to find the one tidbit that’s actually valid. And if most of what there is to defend the cause is so exaggerated, it discredits what’s real.

All of it is to make a serious problem look worse than it actually is. So the organizations and other entities working on it can get more support and funding. Like I mentioned before about how groups talking about child marriage in certain parts of the world are using a rather loose definition of “child marriage” in order to inflate the number of “victims” to make the problem look even worse than it already is.

The groups who do this know they’re doing this and are often proud of it. There’s usually the “yeah, that video is fake and the facts are pulled out of our ass, but it truly really is a serious problem and needs your attention!” They don’t seem to care that all they did was expose themselves as shameless liars.

For God’s sake, these causes and movements are only necessary to fix a problem. They are a huge waste of time in the long run. But these people turn it into a morbid self-promotional tool in and of itself. Where doing good for people comes second to making damn sure you look like you’re doing good for people. 🙄

December 17, 2014

Coventry Carol 2

A couple years ago I wrote about Coventry Carol and what I realized about the lyrics.

About a tiny child, presumably Jesus, being referred to as a youngling.

And that Jesus, therefore, is a Jedi.

But just recently I learned some more about the song, in that said tiny child actually isn’t Jesus. The song is about the Massacre of the Holy Innocents. When Herod went looking for Jesus in order to kill him and ended up ordering all first born boys under age two to be killed.

The song is a mother singing to her soon-to-be murdered baby.

Oh.

Well, this doesn’t change anything. It just means that the Bible forgot the part where Obi-Wan shows up and walks among the slain sadly, saying “Not even the younglings survived.”

December 13, 2014

Male Privilege

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Estrogen,Think About It!,What the hell? — Katrina @ 2:53 pm

Privilege is a tricky concept to explain. People have a way of never using examples or never adequately explaining what they’re talking about, so the privileged ones who feel attacked act accordingly and everything turns into a completely pointless mess.

But a while back, I found a pretty good example of male privilege, and it was on the radio. No, it wasn’t 97.1 WASH this time! It was DC101, the rock station. There’s this thing they do weekday afternoons where they play a song that used to be played all the time but now isn’t played at all. They usually do one song but sometimes two or three. On occasion, they do more than that on certain special days.

This was one of those days. They played two songs, both of which had male lead singers, and a third one had a female lead singer. The fourth also had a female lead. At this point, the DJ was apologizing for making the set of songs too “girly” for playing two consecutive songs by female singers, and that apparently a couple of people tweeted or texted him commenting on that. So the DJ decided to make up for it and the fifth song was by an all-male band who, the DJ said, were “proudly misogynist”. And the next two songs were also sung by men.

So that’s seven songs, two of which were sung by women, and the other five by men. And somehow this was “too girly”. Even though the male-sung songs were still the majority. The fact that two of the songs were not sung by men, and that they were done consecutively, and that after they were done, the songs were two by men and two by women, thus even, this was considered “too feminine” and thus offensive.

And that, there, is male privilege. That when things are equal between the genders by the numbers, it is not perceived as equal but of a sign that men are losing out on something and that women have too much power. Even when they are equal. Even when, with the whole seven song set, the men still have a strong majority. Somehow, even in this case women still have “too much power”.

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