Thursday, November 23, 2017

Excuse Me

You know, I find myself interrupting people, not because I'm "manterrupting", but because I just seem to do it. I actually dislike interrupting people, in part because I myself hate being interrupted. But the fact is, my mind often goes a million miles a minute, with all sorts of thoughts popping into my head, and when talking to someone else, I often find myself impulsively wanting to say what happens to have popped into my mind RIGHT then. Otherwise it might well be lost to the wind in the next few moments. It has nothing to do with my gender, or their gender, and I don't love when it happens. But the fact is, people interrupt. And talk over each other, especially people who are more familiar and comfortable with each other.

On the same token, I also often find myself explaining (NOT "mansplaining") things to people. Not because I think they're idiots, or know less than me, and certainly never because of their gender. I am a lover and seeker of knowledge myself, and thus I love to share knowledge with people. If I knew that they already knew what I'm explaining, I wouldn't WANT to be explaining it, and have felt that way after the fact when LEARNING they already knew. But I'm not psychic, if you are having a conversation with someone and have no idea if they know about ____ subject, and you enthusiastically want to tell them about it, you just start talking. Unmaliciously.

I am not saying that these things don't occur in society, though I DO and WILL constantly proclaim that those terms are ignorant, counter-productive and unnecessary. But I AM saying, that just because a man interrupts or talks over you, or explains something to you, doesn't automatically mean he's some entitled, misogynist, "privileged" monster. I've known (and experienced) MANY women who have interrupted, talked over, or explained things already known, to me OR to others.

And as I've stated in the past, if you actually bother looking at the psychology and sociology of little boys (AND many girls), they grow up interrupting and talking over and explaining to each other, all the time. That is simply how they learn to communicate. I could certainly see and understand how this happening, in a professional environment, and certainly done in a blatantly rude way, could be angering or frustrating. But tackling this with anger and bitterness and rudeness, is counterproductive, and isn't going to help fix or improve anything. Some people, granted, are just assholes. But I'm willing to bet that MANY people in your life who interrupt you, talk over you, or explain things to you you already know about, AREN'T doing so maliciously, and AREN'T trying to belittle you or "assert dominance" over you. They're just doing it, impulsively. And confronting them about it, with empathy, understanding, and patience, might very well be a far more effective communicating tool, to help yourself be better heard, and to help THEM to better understand you and better communicate with you, than being rude and shitty to someone because they do these things.

Being an asshole because you feel someone else is being an asshole, has never in the history of humanity, stopped anyone from being an asshole. Negative does not negate Negative. Be the Change you want to see in the world, and in other people. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Guilt and Innocence

The issue with the statement "ALL women should be believed", is that it insinuates ALL women are good, honest, innocent victims who never lie. Who NEVER do wrong.

It ALSO insinuates that ALL men are predators, and should be presumed guilty until proven otherwise (which is apparently never, if women NEVER lie or falsely accuse). This creates a culture we are seeing in action, where EVERY accused is immediately presumed to be guilty, and presumed to be a monster, and their life should be utterly ruined and their public image trampled, before anything at all can actually be proven or settled in a court of law.

Victims SHOULD be believed. But SO should the falsely accused. Victims should NOT be shamed or silenced, scared to come forward. But people who are falsely accused, and yes it DOES happen and DOES exist (I've known at least three people it's happened to), ALSO have a right to be believed, and presumed "Innocent Until Proven Guilty". It IS a horrible world out there for victims, in a society that has often ignored or silenced them. But it's ALSO pretty terrifying, that we are coming into an age where all someone has to do is ACCUSE you, and the public at large will automatically believe it to be true, and your life is basically over, even if you are 100% innocent. That isn't Justice, or Equality, or Freedom, or any of the other pretty words people like to parade about.

Make no mistake: It IS a good thing that we are seeing a movement where many victims are finally feeling brave enough to come forward, and tell their stories. Rape, sexual assault, etc. are an ugly and horrible thing. But it is ALSO seemingly inevitable, that in the MIDST of this wave, there ARE going to come to light accusations that are 100% FALSE. Lies designed specifically to take advantage of this new situation, specifically to hurt or destroy someone. And that is bullshit, and harmful, both for the falsely accused, as well as ACTUAL victims. People, ALL people, should be protected from being victimized. But amidst the efforts TO protect them, we should NOT forget that the accused ALSO have rights. And that believe it or not, even if it IS sadly a relatively small number, SOME of the accused are BOUND to be innocent. THEY are then victims too, and should also be protected by the SAME laws. Cared about by the SAME society.

Otherwise "Justice" means nothing. Period.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Endless Chess Match

This country is never going to truly evolve or get better, until we move beyond the tired, rotting "chess match" between the Big Two parties. Our founding fathers never intended for their to ONLY be two viable parties, and to be completely honest with you, looking at our history since the Big Two essentially took hold, it isn't as if we've done so great. The Republicans are not the villains, nor are the Democrats heroes. Nor vice versa. They're all (mostly) just wealthy, overpaid, overrated assholes, who don't (SPOILERS) actually care all that much about their constituent voters, OR the nation at large. What DO they care about? Staying power, and continuing to con the general voting public into KEEPING them in power, so they can continue living a life of luxury and ease, while helping out their rich corporate buddies at the same time.

How long as are we seriously going to continue with this every four years idiocy? Every four years, DEMS claim they're going to "Save the Country from those evil Republicans", and then four years later, the GOP claim they're going to "Save the Country from those evil Democrats", wash rinse and repeat, till the end of time? Meanwhile, our world and environment are literally falling apart, 100% our fault, while little to nothing actually gets done to FIX or SAVE anything at all. We get caught up in what naughty, mean thing Senator X and President Y said today, and caught up in the latest mundane issue, or inane yelling match of moral superiority and virtue signaling. And that just keeps going on and on and on, while people die, entire species disappear from the planet, and Nature itself gets poisoned and rots. How much longer?

Surely, it's SUPER important that we make sure to get those dirty, rotten, no good Republicans out of power, and KEEP them out, even though the Democrats sit around in power and do next to nothing when they have it. They pay token gestures, yes. But it's not nearly enough, never enough. Things in this nation, and in our world, are outright DIRE, and only getting worse. But people would rather sit around on their cell phones, arguing over what the dumb asshole the whole NATURE, our very CULTURE put into office, said on Twitter today. We argue about fake "Nazis", and worthless scandals, and LGBT rallies and abortion. We fight amongst ourselves, as we're 100% intended and expected to, while the real world around us literally crumbles. How much longer?

Even from certain specific Sanders supporters last year, after he "lost" the primaries, I heard how it was IMPERATIVE that we vote for Clinton, to keep Trump and the GOP out of the White House. Because we HAVE to maintain the status quo, HAVE to maintain this holding pattern, and "hope that maybe someday things will get better". How much time do people really think that we have, to keep maintaining the "Same Old Shit", and naively hope that maybe someday, gradually, slowly, magically, things will get better? The answer is, we have less time than you probably think.

Our planet will survive....but WE, and a whole lot of other innocent, blameless lifeforms, will NOT, if we keep going the way we're going. Yet people sit with their cell phones, on Facebook, on Twitter, watching Netflix, etc. etc., throwing out token #Hashtags and putting flags on their profile pic when something awful happens. Sending out token "thoughts and prayers", while people literally die in the street and our beautiful planet is run into the proverbial ground. We post funny memes and complain about our work day, all the while telling ourselves "Oh, well VOTING is still the answer, we'll just get rid of them rotten Republicans in 2020, and THEN things'll get better". But will they actually get better? Or will GOP just come along in 2024 and undo everything the spineless DEMs kinda/sorta did for 4 years? Only so 4-8 years later, the DEMs can maybe come back and undo some of what the GOP did, and the turns go round and round and round, like a sickening tennis match, that every hardcore voter out there is convinced to just mindlessly cheer, hoping their "Side", the "Right Side" wins.

A humanity fixated with "sides", and with winning petty, ultimately meaningless things like elections, is not going to evolve, nor is it going to survive it's own mess and self-destructive ways. The only way we evolve, the only way we survive, is to move BEYOND the stupid, pointless shit that we're told to care about, and start actually, as Ghandi once said, "BEING the change we want to see in the world". The very idea that we can go about our destructive, wasteful, poisonous daily lifestyles, but vote every few years and blindly trust that the rich people we voted into office will take care of everything and make everything alright...was ALWAYS foolhardy and absurd. "We The People" need to be the change, WE need to be the heroes that we've been waiting for. You cannot sit and wait and trust that others are going to do the right thing, and make some kind of difference. And I say that as someone who campaigned for Obama in 2008, as someone who used to buy into the "We NEED to Vote and Support the Democrats because THEY'RE the Good Guys" line, once upon a time. The DEMS have never been the "Good Guys". They're just the lesser of two evils.

Yes, you get your small handful of politicians once in awhile who really do care. But they are nothing in the greater sea of corruption and stagnation that is Washington DC. Politics and voting are not ever going to be what saves us. Never was going to be, never will be. That's just what the people who want to stay in power, because they benefit the most from the system and the ways things are, want us to believe. But I have come to believe, unquestionably, that the only people who TRULY care about politics, are the politicians, those who benefit from them. We do not benefit. And they do not care about the actual realities we face. They care about staying in office, so that behind closed doors, DEMS and GOP alike can sit and laugh and have tea together, talking about how great things are, for THEM. How great the country is, FOR THEM.

Meanwhile, the good, loyal voters suffer, and starve, and get sick, and die, or live long enough to have wasted their life working to help keep others wealthy and living the easy life. This modern life we live, the shopping, the hording, the cars, the factories, the smartphones and the mass pollution and waste was NEVER sustainable. From the beginning. And no amount of recycling, and "healthy eating", and volunteering, and voting, are going to actually help the big picture. Not in the long run. Certainly not by themselves. We need MORE than that, not just from SOME people, but from MOST people. That is how we improve, and survive. That's how we give our children ANY kind of future worth actually having. A world actually worth inheriting. Less people need to say the world needs saving. And more people need to get off of their asses, put down their smartphones, and actually go save it.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Save Files and Life's Trials

You know, a perfect example of people in our modern society accepting the various ways they get fucked, literally just happily bending over and taking it, is beyond the pale, is some recent video games, and their lack of save slots.

It's a petty and silly example, but it's still a perfect illustration. In several Wii U games, such as Ducktales HD, Pikmin 3, and Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you get one, count it ONE save file slot. Meaning, that if you want to start a NEW game, or make a NEW save on your existing game, that's it. You completely erase the ONE save file you already had going. Too bad, so sad.

On its face, that is fucking absurd. Why? Because we've had multiple save files in console games since the fucking NES in the 1980s, since at LEAST the original Legend of Zelda. It has been customary, even EXPECTED, that you should have no less than three save slots, if not more, for pretty much ANY game these days. It is something gamers have every right to expect, just like they have every right to expect to be able to adjust in-game audio or brightness, or pause the game mid-play. These are little features that should be in EVERY game that exists, no matter what kind of game it is. ESPECIALLY having multiple save file slots.

And yet, here you are. Even with Breath of the Wild, the sheer irony that ZELDA on NES started the tradition of having game saves on console games. And then for the first time EVER, the newest Zelda has ONE save file (unless of course you want to play the DLC Hard Mode, then you get one extra for that). And it is, without any cause for actual argument, complete bullshit. But you STILL had (and have) clowns that say "Oh but you can just create a new console PROFILE, and technically make a new save THAT way". Except that too is BULLSHIT. You should not have to find some kind of "clever" workaround just to have something that should already be there. But I've run across far more people that parrot to me the dumbfuck "make a new profile" BS, than people like ME who are smart enough to be mad about it.

And why is that? Because, just like with medical prices, or gas prices, or pointless laws, or people "learning to live with terrorism", people are complacent, cowardly, and lazy. They will, given the chance, always take the path of least resistance, and will always, unless forced otherwise, just passively accept whatever bullshit they are subjected to, because standing up and saying something, much less fighting back, is hard. Which is doubly ironic, in a world so rife is myraid protests for endless causes. Even most of those protestors, in other areas are their life that are, typically, MORE immediate and thus "more real" to them, also cowardly and passive. Accepting.

And yes, there is the axiom of "having the grace to accept the things you cannot change". But how far should that go, really? A lack of save slots in a video game is small potatoes, but it IS endemic of OTHER, far more serious and grave issues that people ALSO just accept. They just take it, because "what can they do about it?" And that is exactly why the world is in the state it is in today, because you have literally billions of people who simply "take it", because "that's just how it is". It is the mindset of cattle, of the herd.

Well listen up folks. Video games should have more than ONE fucking save slot. Medical and gas and other costs of living should be lower, because they CAN be lower. We are only charged the prices we are, because we have proven we'll pay whatever they charge, without resistance. We as a people, will continue to be subjected to silly, dumb, and even horrific bullshit on a daily basis, from all quarters, because we just bend over and "take it". That's just "how things are". Except they don't have to be, and shouldn't be.

People shouldn't accept one save file, any more than they should accept terrorism. Or cost of living so high that you cannot afford to live. As individuals, choose to be the person who stands up and says something. Who refuses to just bend over and "take it". Be the person who IS the change that they want to see in the world. Don't be the person just accepting whatever is, is, simply because it's "too hard" to fight for change. Be the person who fights for change, even dies fighting, because if more people did that, we might just have a more honest, more fair, and less cowardly, less horrible world.

Think about it. I know it's hard. But you owe yourself. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Other Side of the Coin

Another part of this #MeToo conversation that really needs to be discussed, even though I'm certain it's not popular to do so, is that while it is 100% right about victims fearing to come forward about harassment or assault, or being shamed or shut down when they try to. And that SHOULDN'T happen, none of it. When a woman is harassed or assaulted, and she comes forward about it, if it legit happened, there isn't a reason on this Earth that she SHOULDN'T be believed, and supported. But the OTHER side of that coin, is False Accusation. And it isn't just a male problem, it happens to women too. But it's still a reality, and it's still a serious problem, when you as a person are accused of something you absolutely DIDN'T do, and YOU are not believed. Sometimes even by friends or family, people who are supposed to "know" you and trust you. Having people close to you doubt you, because of someone else's word, is both terrifying, and heartbreaking. There are few lonelier feelings in the world than that, just as I'm sure it is an incredibly lonely feeling trying to report something that DID happen, and people ignoring or disbelieving you. 

It may be a minority experience, but false accusation also DOES happen, and it shouldn't be attacked or dismissed as if it doesn't, or as if it isn't an issue. I've known guys it has happened to, from minor stuff such as my ex claiming that my friend grabbed her ass when he didn't (and believe me, I grilled him about it, angrily, assuming she was right). To major stuff, like a former acquaintance being accused of straight up attempting to rape a girl, which could have ruined his life, even though it didn't happen. Or the time that a friend's demented ex, when he was once downtown with her drunk off her ass, got pissed at him for something, and literally starting yelling at told some random dude to call the police, that the friend was "assaulting" her. My friend just walked away and left her ass after that, and came to my house (naturally) to vent about it. And worse yet, when she later showed up passed out drunk on MY porch, I practically begged him to just let me do the right thing, and call the cops on HER drunk, abusive ass, and he refused to let me do so.

Or even myself, one of my best friends had a former fiance, who claimed that while he was out of the room, I was flirting with her (absolutely not). Or another time, that another friend's former GF, literally physically pulled me off balance so that I would fall into her against a wall, and then she "jokingly" accused me of grabbing her boob, even though I 100% didn't. And that situation immediately got the result I think she wanted: he got pissed at me, instantly, without even stopping to think that he knew me better than he knew her, and KNEW I wasn't the kind of guy who would do that to ANY random woman, let alone someone's GF (whom I had zero attraction to and frankly couldn't stand).

The friend instantly got angry, and threw something at me without taking stock of the situation, and I (rightly) told him to get the fuck out of my house. And I don't think she was one bit bothered by the fact that her deliberate "joking" false accusation, right in front of my face, right in front of HIS face, temporarily ruined our friendship (I didn't hear from him for months, until he had broken up with her, and then finally apologized and admitted he knew I wouldn't have done that). In fact, I think she did it because she would have found it "amusing" if we had started fighting like cavemen over nothing. A healthy clue was the fact that she was smirking and laughing, until the point that I told them to get the fuck out of my house.

Make no mistake, bringing this up is NOT in any way shape or form, detracting from or changing the subject from the sad and sickening reality of women (and men) dealing with harassment and assault. HOWEVER, false accusations shouldn't happen any more than harassment or assault should. One is far more prevalent, and that IS NOT an argument, obviously. But false accusations DO still happen sometimes, by people who assume they will be believed and the other will obviously be assumed to be guilty, with little defense or "proof" that you DIDN'T do it. 

It all depends on context, situation, and the individuals involved, obviously. But it DOES happen, and as a guy myself, that is a scary reality and concern that I have to be aware of, and afraid of. I do not make a practice of sexually harassing or assaulting anyone. But I HAVE been accused of the former, at the very least, and know those who have been accused of the latter. And one of the common bits of advice to men on the receiving end of such treatment is often "well don't be dumb enough to put yourself in situations where you could BE accused of anything". The problem with that, quite frankly, is that it is JUST as bad advice, and JUST as shitty a thing to say to someone, as is victim shaming, telling the victim of harassment or assault to "not put yourself in that situation" or "don't go asking for it". There is NO such thing as "asking for it", in either case, whether it be harassment/assault, or being falsely accused of such. In either case, the perpetrator is the one who makes the CHOICE to be a human shitbag, and try to hurt the other person.

That is the reality, the other side of the coin. And people need to be just as aware, and just as sensitive to it, because it can, in many ways, be just as awful and terrifying to be on the receiving end of accusations of abuse, as it is to be on the receiving end of abuse itself.