It’s a Good Life if You Don’t Weaken

As I sit here playing Fallout 4, on bed rest because of this lung infection that I’ve had for two months and haven’t taken care of until last week, I have the volume turned down on the TV. Any sound that I’m hearing is coming from the windows outside, and from the music that I have playing on my phone. Specifically, I am listening to the Phantom Power album by the Tragically Hip.

Much like millennium, mentioned in a previous post, this music brings me back to a specific time in my life, made golden by the light of memory. The first song I ever heard by The Tragically Hip was Bobcaygeon. It was about 4:30 in the morning at the time of year when the sun starts to rise a bit later each day.

I was depressed, heartbroken, and within a month of fully giving up on life. I hadn’t slept in a week, and my thoughts were barely my own. I had MuchMoreMusic on, because it played calmer music than MuchMusic. Bobcaygeon came on, and I was instantly hooked. The mood, the solitude, the mental state, all could have contributed; and might not have. I’ll never really know.

What I do know is their music helped to carry me to somewhere more stable so I could carry on. This was nearly twenty years ago, and yet memories are burned into my brain, indelible, of sitting in the wan morning light and hearing Gord Downie’s calm sonorous voice. Walking along the bridge west of Celeste at 11 at night after leaving Leon’s house, and Don’t Wake Daddy was just starting up as my boots crunched through the thin sheets of ice on the sidewalk.

Specific moments, frozen in time by one band, as no other has done.

I don’t generally cry when people die, particularly celebrities, as overall I feel like they’re going on to better things. I cried when I read that Gord’s cancer was terminal. I cried through their last concert. I cried when he died. I’m getting misty just writing this.

His job wasn’t nearly done. He left a hole in the world when he left. He was one of few true and pure voices of love and decency.

He will be missed, but memories and music are forever.

Sarah Jeong’s Racism, and the Newspaper That Defended Her

The New York Times recently hired a prolific racist. When presented with evidence, they chose to defend her and her racism rather than do what is right. This is a five-year documentation of her racism.

The New York Times recently hired a woman named Sarah Jeong. The hiring of this woman was controversial not simply due to the woman’s impressive history of racism, but due to the fact that even when presented with evidence, the New York Times chose to defend her.

I’m sure you’re wondering, how racist could she have been? It couldn’t have been more than one or two things, or the New York Times certainly would not have hired her or defended her. Not only was it more than one or two things, it was more than one or two things spread over the course of five years.

Now, for a little backstory: her defense about this level of racism was that she was simply responding to white racists in like fashion. The mistake she made here was not deleting her Twitter before making that claim. What you are about to see is a shocking level of racism from one single person.

Let’s start with 2013.

Wow, what a trip. Pretty amazing that all that got through, right? If you’re already shocked, I recommend going and getting your pearls, because you’re about to clutch them harder than you’ve ever clutched in your life.

As we move on to 2014, you might notice that it is somewhat more voluminous than the previous year. She starts by joking about a little kid getting shot in an airport. It’s funny ’cause he’s white.

What a trip! Amazingly, her Twitter account survived that year. While 2014 was obviously the most prolific out of these years, you’ll notice that while she gets better, she doesn’t stop.

Now you may ask yourself, how does somebody go three years being so racist without anybody noticing? For your answer, I would direct you to the body of work of Tariq Nasheed. Some people just get the privilege of flying below the radar.

…Anyway, let’s move onto 2017.

Now that we have seen her secret catalog of work on the subject of race, obviously we can understand why Twitter ended up verifying her and the New York Times not only hired, but then defended her. That reason? Excellent journalism.

At this time, I would like to thank Nick Monroe for taking the six hours to dig through her profile and find all of her racist tweets. Donald Trump is pilloried for saying one or two things over the course of a number of decades. We know that Richard Spencer is a racist, yet nobody can produce an amount of evidence to show his racism to equal what is shown here about Sarah Jeong.

When Chris Rock said “it’s alright ’cause it’s all white”, he certainly didn’t have this in mind.

I suppose the question I would leave you all with is this: didn’t somebody once say that if you associate with racists that you are a racist? What sort of publication is the New York Times these days, then?

Just saying, it goes both ways.

Twitter, and Jack Dorsey in particular.

Today I woke up to some interesting news.

I have received my first seven day suspension on Twitter. For those that don’t know, Twitter will suspend you for saying the wrong things, so that you are silenced for a period of time. This works great when racial supremacy groups are being silenced, or religious groups pushing hate, or pedophile or rapist advocacy groups. Yes, those do exist. Amos Yee is a rather popular pedophile apologist.

That, however, would be ideal. Twitter is anything but. I have watched prolific racists continue to spew their hate and poison without receiving any sort of corrective action. I have watched people talk about how they think the law needs to get with the times and just make it legal to have sex with children. I watch and wait to see when there is a substantial pause in their posting, indicating a ban. There never is. Jack Dorsey, the owner of Twitter, doesn’t seem concerned with the welfare of children, or Christians, or anyone to the right of far left. In his world, white people can just go die. It’s the current year.

Cisgender heteronormative behavior is in the past. Any talk of it will be put down. It makes sense, I mean, he does live in San Francisco, currently the birthplace of the coming apocalypse.

Let’s forget about piles of shit and used needles all over the street though, I’m just here to talk about my suspension from Twitter.

I must have said something pretty terrible to warrant a suspension from Twitter, right?

That’s where you’re wrong, kiddo.

That’s right, I got suspended for seven days for calling Chelsea Handler a retard. Crime of the century. Pay attention, though. If you look through that, it does say that you can get in trouble for making fun of the disabled. Is Twitter agreeing with me that Chelsea handler is indeed a retard?

it seems like that is truly a silver lining in this situation. Anyway, back to the task at hand.

I have been suspended for hate speech.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This is okay:

And so is this:

But you dare call a leftist feminist spinster who is a mother of none a retard? That’s where Jack draws the line.

Luckily, there is hope. Infamous hacker and pirate bay owner Kim Dotcom announced a few weeks ago that he is tired of Jack Dorsey and his death grip on free speech and politics. He is planning on creating a replacement for Twitter that will ban actual hate speech rather than whatever the moderator on duty disagrees with.

As things are, I think I’m going to be just fine with my seven day suspension from Twitter. It will give me time to focus on things that I have been ignoring for far too long.

It’s time to go big or go home.

Life With an Anxiety Disorder

It was 1987. I was five years old, playing out in front of my house. I was with my friend Darryl, and we were using sticks to try and dig out the edges of a sewer grate because we thought that would be a great way to meet the ninja turtles. The sewer grate was in the middle of the parking lot that was part of our housing complex. On the grass in front of my house, my ThunderCats castle sat, a hose going through the front window. I like the idea of a castle with a waterfall.

Darryl got up quickly, seeing a danger that I couldn’t. I turned and began to stand. At that moment, a car shoved my body to the ground. I woke up about 50 feet away, under the car, having been dislodged by a speedbump. I stood up and ran home, passing out on the grass in front of the house.

I remember sitting in the car on the way to the hospital. I was in the car that hit me. I looked down at my leg, seeing meat and bone. I was interested in it, and tried to touch it. My mom stopped me, and told me I was in shock and that’s why it didn’t hurt. She asked me what I was doing when I got hit. When I told her that I was looking for the ninja turtles, she started asking me questions about them. She was keeping my brain going so I wouldn’t pass out.

At the hospital, things were much different. They didn’t want to anesthetize me because I was in shock, so they stitched my leg immediately and without anesthetic. It was a very cold stinging feeling.

In the years that followed, I remember things like walking back to the school from the schoolyard and feeling like something was pulling me backward. My friend Michael asked me why I’m walking as slow as an ant. I had no idea what it was. At such a young age, it might well have been a ghost holding on to me, preventing me from walking.

I was suddenly terrified to get on buses. The feeling was much stronger then, almost incapacitating. A complete, enveloping terror. My mother couldn’t make heads or tails of it, and eventually took me to a psychiatrist. I was soon diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder. The likelihood is that it came from head trauma from being hit by the car.

My ability to socialize was stunted. School was difficult. I had no idea what my triggers were, I had no idea that triggers even existed. I would find myself in blinding terror in the most innocuous of situations. Even as a youngster, I had the presence of mind to explain it to the person in front of me though. That didn’t stop me from getting bullied. The bullying, in fact, became so severe that my mother moved me to a different school. In retrospect, it was easily a very burdensome process for my mother.

Junior high came, and though I made friends, my disorder still relegated me to the realms of obscurity. This lasted through high school. Girls made it very clear to me that they liked me, but I could do nothing about it except seem unfriendly.

As I grow into an adult, I felt afraid to do anything but take the path of least resistance. Getting and keeping a job was difficult. No one understood what my problem was, despite knowing I had this disorder. My doctor, on multiple occasions, even recommended that I go on disability. I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to be limited.

I met my wife online. I had a fairly popular blog in the early 2000’s. Does anyone remember Mightyskunk from open diary? She was one of my readers, and we began talking on MSN, and eventually on the phone. She took a plane ride up to Toronto to meet me. My anxiety attacks lessened around her. She understood me, and even learned to soothe my attacks.

Skipping far ahead, I ended up moving to the United States. She and I got married, and I started holding down good jobs. My confidence grew. I also began looking at my anxiety attacks analytically. I started studying them. Instead of avoiding my triggers, I tried to encounter as many as possible. Eventually I got a drivers license, despite all reason. Driving is one long anxiety trigger.

After years forcing myself into my triggers head-on, my strength against my anxiety disorder has grown. Though regular daily life is still a constant source of terror, I’ve become good at masking my symptoms and sublimating the terror within me. There are still things that I won’t do. I love roller coasters, and go on them any chance I get. The Tower of terror at Disneyland, however, is a different animal. The worst anxiety attack I have ever had was on that ride. Just thinking about it scares me, even though I know it’s deeply irrational. I actually find the humor in the situation.

I still need to pause and compose myself when a person is walking toward me. I still have difficulty making eye contact during handshakes, though that’s mainly due to habit at this point.

In the 30 years that I have spent dealing with a severe anxiety disorder, I have found that confronting it head on is by far the best remedy. Avoiding triggers and succumbing to fear only makes it stronger.

In related news, has anyone out there listened to the Black Eyed Peas? Even if they’re not your kind of band, they cover some interesting subject matter, including anxiety disorders. They actually have a song where they discuss an anxiety disorder, and how truly terrifying it is.

 

I don’t fear none of my enemies

And I don’t fear bullets from Uzi’s

I’ve been dealing with something that’s worse than these

That’ll make you fall to your knees and thats

The anxiety

The sane and the insane rivalry

Paranoia’s brought me to my knees

Lord please please please

Take away my anxiety

Why So Negative?

Image somewhat related.

It’s strange in this modern day that people take such pride in the negative things about humanity. There is that quote that people often attribute to Marilyn Monroe that goes “if you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best”. I understand, as do many people, the intention behind it. It’s trying to make it clear that people, as a whole, are flawed. The thing is, it’s unlikely that there has ever been a time when people didn’t know that. Everybody knows that every person that they encounter has their own set of problems, difficulties, and things that make them less than perfectly appealing to be around.

“I’m a bitch and I know it”

The problem that has become apparent,however, is that far too many people use that quote and others as an excuse to be lazy about their interactions with people, or to be less pleasant. Most people that are encountered on a daily basis are decent people. They’re willing to have a conversation with a complete stranger, and don’t at all put up a front that suggests that they might have misanthropic tendencies. There are, however, a very few people however, who believe it is their duty to show the world and everyone in it just how crazy or angry they are. They hold it close to their heart as part of their identity. They go so far as to tattoo it on their body. They take any opportunity they can to tell you how “Loco” they are. Facebook would suggest that these people are the majority. Reality makes it clear that this is simply not the case.

I Miss Mayberry

It used to be that people put on their best face when they left the house. No matter what was going on in their home, they wanted everyone to believe that everything was going perfectly. The term “fake it till you make it” seems to apply pretty well here. The glut of TV shows and other media that suggest that every family is a dysfunctional band of misanthropes that has become popular in the past decade or so is disheartening. The Cosby Show was a wholesome program that did not center on race, people’s various mental problems, or disgusting things that people do. Instead it focused on creating good habits and following good patterns. There was even an episode in which Cliff taught Rudy how to mop the floor. Real, actual parenting happened right on the screen in front of all of America.

Full House was another of these shows. Bad things would happen, and instead of succumbing to the difficulties found, the characters would find ways to overcome. Oddly enough, the show featured a family that was far from normal as well, yet they were not portrayed as dysfunctional.

With the advent of Netflix, the show Fuller House has shown that this sort of wholesome programming is not only still acceptable, but popular.

Why, then, do we focus on the negative so readily?

A popular argument that has been bandied about for years is that we crave things that make us feel better about our own selves without having to actually do anything. This is why people still have losers from high school as friends on Facebook, even though they wouldn’t be caught dead associating with them in real life. It’s also why reality TV is such a big deal: we love to watch awful people be awful to each other so that by comparison our somewhat dysfunctional normalcy looks like an example.

That’s great for most people, but what about the ones who actually do go around being awful in real life?

Short answer: some people are just naturally assholes.

The long answer is a little more entangled. Due to Asperger’s, high functioning autism, or simply having had a bad upbringing with useless parents, some people just don’t know how to function normally within society. The problem comes when an Internet and a media full of people like that try to make it look normal, and suggest that it’s actually normal people who are abnormal.

Suddenly, treating people like human beings instead of treating them like statistics is frowned upon. This point will be expanded upon in a future article.

So, what’s the takeaway? I’ve got shit to do.

In short, normalcy is being attacked, as is decency, because those who are incapable or simply too lazy to do it are trying to make their version of normal into everybody’s. It’s just like the Healthy At Every Size movement. They simply can’t or won’t take the effort, and so try to normalize it while stigmatizing anything else.

Oddly enough, they take a lot of effort in doing so.

 

Perpetual Adolescence

Something strange to notice these days, is how much time young adults spend trying to remain in their adolescence. A record number of young adults or choosing to remain living at home with their parents, or living with roommates into their thirties. While some of these people have good jobs and contribute at home; not their home, but their parents home, many of them eke out an existence working at a Starbucks or similar coffee shop, or in a music store. They tend to have useless degrees as well, such as sociology, associates level psychology, or the dreaded gender studies. These are expensive courses that put people in terrible that while not preparing them financially to pay that debt back.

These are the people you see protesting all the time. They join groups like Antifa and travel around the country, unwashed and angry. They’ve got the time for it, because they’re not working an actual job. They tend to be very aggressive toward those that promote the STEM fields in school, and try to surround themselves with people much younger than them, more impressionable. 

Psychologist and cultural critic Jordan Peterson calls this a Peter Pan existence. This title makes sense. Peter didn’t want to grow up, and despised anyone who did. Captain Hook was the specter of adulthood, with the crocodile constantly chasing him, ticking, ticking, constantly ticking. A literal form of mortality. Time had already gotten a taste for him, and wanted the remainder.

Isn’t that just how it is though? We spend every day heading toward the end, inevitable and inexorable. We don’t get a choice in it, and yet, among the generation known as millennials, there is an idea that you can remain young until you suddenly wither and die. 

These are people for whom, when they reach their thirties and finally have to open themselves up to reality, things are going to be much harder because of the years they have wasted thinking that they are the ones that know better. These are people who are going to be bitter, angry, frustrated that their reward for trying to change the course of the country will be laboring until their final day.

Those of you who are reading this and have escaped that fate, good for you. Those of you who are reading this, however, and are still paying money into a course that’s only going to teach you how to divide people up into groups, get out before it’s too late. You deserve better, and so do the people around you.

There’s nothing that says personal responsibility better than piloting your life in a direction that’s not going to hurt yourself or those around you.

An Evening in Downtown Phoenix.

I was at the Trump rally in Phoenix last night. I ended up getting there quite late, roughly 7 o’clock. The last few people who were going to get into the convention center were entering. The sidewalks were crowded, with protesters on one side of the street and Trump supporters on the other. The streets themselves were relatively clear, thanks to the phoenix police. Knowing that there was no chance of getting in, I wandered the streets and enjoy the sights and sounds of the throng on both sides of the street. 

Amid cries of “Fuck Trump!”, which has become the standard battle cry for the erudite leftists when they find they have no actual argument, there were a group of BLM members that were playing a rap song on a boombox that also featured the term “fuck Trump”. A highly imaginative group on that side of the street. 

Meanwhile, on the conservative side of the street, there were discussions going on as to what was being said by Donald Trump inside of the building, as many people were streaming it on their phones while they stood on the sidewalk. 

There was one guy wearing a white wife beater that was admonishing the conservatives by naming downtrodden communities like Harlem and Compton. Y’all wouldn’t understand, he said. Y’all don’t know, he said. How little this man does now. I grew up in a place like that. Unlike him, however, I didn’t sit around for decades feeling sorry for myself. I decided that my lot in life was not the hand I was dealt. I, therefore, did not sympathize with this man. 

I saw police on horses wearing riot gear, and police on the ground wearing the same. It was far too hot outside for what they were wearing. And yet, it was necessary, due to the situation that could pop off at any moment. When Trump’s address ended, The attendees, obviously conservatives and Trump supporters, filed past the protesters, with mere feet of space and a thin line of police tape separating the two groups. 

I was prepared for a fight at one point, as a man who had his little girl with him who couldn’t possibly have been above ten years old, was harassed and shouted at by the protesters with a level of profanity that a girl that young should not have to listen to. Her father was obviously perturbed and offended, as he flipped the bird at the group. Two protesters broke off from the rest and began to follow him and his daughter. I followed as well, prepared to put them both on the ground if they attacked the man and his daughter. Eventually they backed off and went back to their group, to resume shouting at the passing conservatives. 

While I wandered, I made sure to listen to the conversations going on. Something that struck me was how everyone on the liberal side of the street seems to be looking for a solution to their problems that didn’t involve actually solving them. They wanted somebody to point the finger at, someone to blame. Not themselves, though. Clearly, nobody can be responsible for their own life and decisions. They were born poor, and raised by single mothers. They can’t possibly have any responsibility in this world.

There were a small group of BLM members that were trying to blame Whitey for every problem they ever had, but they mainly kept to themselves.

There was one point during which a very large and muscular man wearing a trump shirt passed by. The protesters became conspicuously quiet at that moment. They who are so keen on violence to spread their word, but only toward those who are unlikely to hit back. It was very telling. 

Among the people wandering around observing was a man who was dressed in furs and wearing a spirit hood. He appeared to be a centrist, and was trying to let both sides know that they were wrong in opposing each other.

Anyways, once all of the attendees left, and the only people remaining where the conservatives and protesters of various ilk on opposite sides of the street, the police deployed teargas to disburse the crowds. I don’t blame them one bit. I’m sure that thousands of people on either side of the street did not have work to get to in the morning, and would’ve gladly stayed there all night carousing, arguing, and fighting. In that heat, in the clothing they had to wear, with dehydration weighing on them, I fully understand why the police did what they did. I also fully support it. They had families to get home to. They were tired, and had beds they wanted to collapse into. 

In short, the evening was relatively uneventful, compared to what was expected. Phoenix showed that it, as a collective, has a little more class than some of the other cities we’ve seen. I’m proud to live here, and look forward to seeing other cities live up to what I saw last night.

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