Anyone who clings to the historically untrue and thoroughly immoral doctrine that violence never settles anything I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms.
In general, I think we need to move away from the premise that being a good person is a fixed immutable characteristic and shift towards seeing being good as a practice. And it is a practice that we carry out by engaging with our imperfections. We need to shift towards thinking that being a good person is like being a clean person. Being a clean person is something you maintain and work on every day. We don’t assume “I am a clean person therefore I don’t need to brush my teeth.” When someone suggests to us that we have something stuck in our teeth we don’t say to them “What do you mean I have something stuck in my teeth—but I’m a clean person?!”
Many people believe geekdom is defined by a love of a thing, but I think — and my experience of geekdom bears on this thinking — that the true sign of a geek is a delight in sharing a thing. It’s the major difference between a geek and a hipster, you know: When a hipster sees someone else grooving on the thing they love, their reaction is to say “Oh, crap, now the wrong people like the thing I love.” When a geek sees someone else grooving on the thing they love, their reaction is to say “ZOMG YOU LOVE WHAT I LOVE COME WITH ME AND LET US LOVE IT TOGETHER.”
So the Genesis story gets written as a justification for why women are they way they are, of how they’re the ones to blame, and of why it’s right for men to take charge, because when a woman decides for herself… well, isn’t that how everything ended up so terrible? But what the story really says, this story men made up to hold women down, is that women have the power to change the world. Women have the power to throw the world into chaos and they do it because the world as it is isn’t good enough. Adam is content and Eve is proactive. Women see God’s world and think, this could be better. Let’s make it better. And if that’s called sin than it’s the best sin there is because without change nothing would ever happen. Without women, the story doesn’t even begin.
Men should be offended when someone claims that women should prevent rape by not wearing certain things or not going certain places or not acting in a certain way.
That line of thinking presumes that you are incapable of control. That you are so base and uncivilized that it takes extraordinary effort for you to walk down the street without raping someone. That you require a certain dress code be maintained, that certain behaviors be employed so that maybe today, just maybe, you won’t rape someone.
It presumes that your natural state is rapist.
— Original source unknown, seen on an uncredited image file being shared all over Facebook and Tumblr.
From [Tiger Beatdown › “Elitism:” Now, It Basically Just Means “Not Having Sex With Everybody”]:
: http://tigerbeatdown.com/2011/08/31/elitism-now-it-basically-just-means-not-having-sex-with-everybody/ “Tiger Beatdown › “Elitism:” Now, It Basically Just Means “Not Having Sex With Everybody””
> We get a lot of sexist narratives about love, but none of them are more pernicious and subtle than this: The Frog Prince story. You could call it “Beauty and the Beast,” too. Or you could call it “Twilight,” or “Knocked Up,” or “Rory Williams Won’t Stop Whining;” it’s always the same story, anyway. Girl meets guy. On the surface, this guy is unappealing! Because he’s a frog! Or he’s not sexually attractive to her, or he treats her badly, or he’s immature, or he’s Rory Williams and he won’t stop whining; all of these are frog-like states, generally considered unkissable. But only a bitch would think that frogs don’t deserve our sweet, sweet kisses, so the woman doesn’t leave. Instead, she looks for the guy’s good qualities. She lowers her standards; she changes her expectations. She gives up on her silly little “ideas” about “attractiveness” or “compatible lifestyles” or “having fun with her partner.” Finally, she loses touch with her own desires to the point that she winds up making out with a fucking frog. At which point he becomes a prince. Or a loving husband, or a responsible person, or a whiny little Roman Centurion; the point is, in these stories, once you give up on wanting things from men, men magically become what you want.
> Here’s the secret, though, if you are the girl in this particular story: That guy never became a prince. At all. He’s still the same guy; he still possesses all those qualities you initially found unappealing, for all sorts of valid reasons. People don’t go from frog to mammal overnight, and they particularly don’t do so because you ask less of them; you are still making out with a frog, in the long run. The only reason he looks like a prince nowadays is that you lowered your standards to the point that you literally could not tell the difference between frog and mammal. It’s not that you got what you wanted; it’s that you settled for wanting what you got. And that is the precise opposite of a happy ending.
From [“USA! USA!” is the wrong response – War Room – Salon.com]:
: http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/05/02/osama_and_chants_of_usa “”USA! USA!” is the wrong response – War Room – Salon.com”
> For decades, we have held in contempt those who actively celebrate death. When we’ve seen video footage of foreigners cheering terrorist attacks against America, we have ignored their insistence that they are celebrating merely because we have occupied their nations and killed their people. Instead, we have been rightly disgusted — not only because they are lauding the death of our innocents, but because, more fundamentally, they are celebrating death itself. That latter part had been anathema to a nation built on the presumption that life is an “unalienable right.”
> But in the years since 9/11, we have begun vaguely mimicking those we say we despise, sometimes celebrating bloodshed against those we see as Bad Guys just as vigorously as our enemies celebrate bloodshed against innocent Americans they (wrongly) deem as Bad Guys. Indeed, an America that once carefully refrained from flaunting gruesome pictures of our victims for fear of engaging in ugly death euphoria now ogles pictures of Uday and Qusay’s corpses, rejoices over images of Saddam Hussein’s hanging and throws a party at news that bin Laden was shot in the head.
> This is bin Laden’s lamentable victory — he has changed America’s psyche from one that saw violence as a regrettable-if-sometimes-necessary act into one that finds orgasmic euphoria in news of bloodshed. In other words, he’s helped drag us down into his sick nihilism by making us like too many other bellicose societies in history — the ones that aggressively cheer on killing, as long as it is the Bad Guy that is being killed.
: http://www.facebook.com/sika.holman “Sika Holman”
Prairie and I were watching a movie last night, and so we missed the announcement of the Big News. After the movie, as I scrolled through my Twitter and Facebook feeds, I got more and more disturbed. Not _surprised_, really…but I just wasn’t comfortable with most of what I was seeing people post (and was outright offended by some of it, particularly the picture going around of the Statue of Liberty holding Osama’s bloody head high…that’s uncool on _so_ many levels, I’m a little embarrassed to see it popping up _multiple times_ in my friend lists).
I just want to take a moment to call out three friends (one of whom I’ve never even met in person) for making posts more in line with my own feelings on the matter.
> Never was a person to celebrate another person’s death. No matter how heinous they are, that is still a life.
: http://www.facebook.com/kirsten.pickard/posts/2026349345205 “Facebook: Kirsten: Never was a person to…”
> OK, here are my feelings on the whole Bin Laden thing: I’m not comfortable, ethically, with celebrating any death (no matter who died, or how symbolically/politically loaded it was), but I don’t feel sorry that he died, and I hope it gives some people a sense of justice or closure. I do think that cheering someone’s (anyone’s) murder is really, really low and uncool. Just sayin’.
: http://www.facebook.com/TheLoriest/posts/1939870210296 “Facebook: Lori: OK, here are my feelings…”
> So, Osama’s dead. Given the man was responsible for thousands’ death, and the life-changing misery of their loved ones, there’s no question I feel justice was done, albeit at 10 freaking years’ remove. But — solely in my opinion, mind you — the proper reaction to such for an average American is not to break out Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration.” A grim smile at justice performed, and then moving on with one’s life.
: http://www.facebook.com/MikeHarris4/posts/10150172599190248 “Facebook: Mike: So, Osama’s dead….”
Thanks to the three of you (and anyone else with similar sentiments that I may not have seen) for helping confirm that I’m not alone in my reaction to the news.
[There’s a New York Times column] where West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin writes a bit of political ‘fanfic’: what advice could Barack Obama get from former president Jed Bartlet?
: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/21/opinion/21dowd-sorkin.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin “New York Times: Aaron Sorkin Conjures a Meeting of Obama and Bartlet”
> **OBAMA** They pivoted off the argument that I was inexperienced to the criticism that I’m — wait for it — the Messiah, who, by the way, was a community organizer. When I speak I try to lead with inspiration and aptitude. How is that a liability?
> **BARTLET** Because the idea of American exceptionalism doesn’t extend to Americans being exceptional. If you excelled academically and are able to casually use 690 SAT words then you might as well have the press shoot video of you giving the finger to the Statue of Liberty while the Dixie Chicks sing the University of the Taliban fight song. The people who want English to be the official language of the United States are uncomfortable with their leaders being fluent in it.
I _love that line_: “The people who want English to be the official language of the United States are uncomfortable with their leaders being fluent in it.” So sadly true.
Then, leading into a rant more than worthy of some of the best West Wing episodes…
> **OBAMA** The problem is we can’t appear angry. Bush called us the angry left. Did you see anyone in Denver who was angry?
> **BARTLET** Well … let me think. …We went to war against the wrong country, Osama bin Laden just celebrated his seventh anniversary of not being caught either dead or alive, my family’s less safe than it was eight years ago, we’ve lost trillions of dollars, millions of jobs, thousands of lives and we lost an entire city due to bad weather. So, you know … _I’m_ a little angry.
> **OBAMA** What would you do?
> **BARTLET** _GET ANGRIER!_ Call them liars, because that’s what they are. Sarah Palin didn’t say “thanks but no thanks” to the Bridge to Nowhere. She just said “Thanks.” You were raised by a single mother on food stamps — where does a guy with eight houses who was legacied into Annapolis get off calling you an elitist? And by the way, if you do nothing else, take that word back. Elite is a good word, it means well above average. I’d ask them what their problem is with excellence. While you’re at it, I want the word “patriot” back. McCain can say that the transcendent issue of our time is the spread of Islamic fanaticism or he can choose a running mate who doesn’t know the Bush doctrine from the Monroe Doctrine, but he can’t do both at the same time and call it patriotic. They have to lie — the truth isn’t their friend right now. Get angry. Mock them mercilessly; they’ve earned it. McCain decried agents of intolerance, then chose a running mate who had to ask if she was allowed to ban books from a public library. It’s not bad enough she thinks the planet Earth was created in six days 6,000 years ago complete with a man, a woman and a talking snake, she wants schools to teach the rest of our kids to deny geology, anthropology, archaeology and common sense too? It’s not bad enough she’s forcing her own daughter into a loveless marriage to a teenage hood, she wants the rest of us to guide our daughters in that direction too? It’s not enough that a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose, it should be the law of the land that she has to carry and deliver her rapist’s baby too? I don’t know whether or not Governor Palin has the tenacity of a pit bull, but I know for sure she’s got the qualifications of one. And you’re worried about seeming angry? You could eat their lunch, make them cry and tell their mamas about it and God himself would call it restrained. There are times when you are simply _required_ to be impolite. There are times when condescension is _called_ for!
Oh, but how I miss Jed Bartlet. What I wouldn’t give to see Martin Sheen step back into character and let that little rant fly.
: http://www.metafilter.com/75035/There-is-only-hope “MetaFilter: There is only hope”
I think a short passage in [this Reuters Photographers blog] may have nailed one of the reasons why my interest in sports is limited to football (_real_ football, that is — most of you know this as ‘soccer’):
> …there appear to be few sporting images more emotional or exuberant than those “jubo” moments of soccer players celebrating after scoring a goal. The expressions of American football and icehockey players are all too frequently obscured by facemasks. Basketball players seem to err on the side of mean and moody and baseball players appear to be almost permanently underwhelmed. It might be a cultural thing or perhaps just a result of the way those sports are broadcast or sponsored. There certainly isn’t a lack of passion because tempers do fray and fights and arguments are frequent, but there doesn’t seem to be any of the theatricality we see from soccer players, at least not during the game.
: http://blogs.reuters.com/photo/2007/12/11/jubo/ “Reuters Photographers: Jubo!”