An Unusual Privilege That We Don’t Discuss Nearly Often Enough

If you know me, you know that I’m part of the majority class, and if you don’t, you can probably assume that from my picture. I’m a white cis hetrosexual guy, leaving only “capitalist” off the list for majority class there, so I have a completely different perspective on things involving said class and classes because I’m on the inside trying to fight – which will eventually lead me to being known as a class traitor and all that fun stuff, I’m sure.

However, in all the discussions of privelege i’ve encountered, there’s one that seems to be missing, and that’s the one i’m going to present a case for today (or this month, depending on whether you only read me on the blog or know me elsewhere). The ability to declare oneself as an individual, or to declare that a representative of your class is an individual is an inherent privilege of the majority class.

Consider it. Every time white people or white cis people are grouped together in a discussion, we immediately state that we’re individuals. You can see it in the hashtags, #NotAllMen, for example, is guys saying that they’re individuals and not part of the group of All Men. When a white guy commits terrorism, we immediately condemn him, but in our condemnation we make it clear that he was an individual and not representative of the whole of White Guys. Contrast that with discussion points coming from White People about individuals of Other Groups, where we’re more than happy to point out their associations with larger groups. Muslim Terrorists indicts all Muslims, and we repeatedly call upon all Muslims to denounce those acts, even though it’s fairly clear that the 1.3 billion and growing Muslims in the world are not Daesh, Boko Haram, or the deluded guy with the car bomb.

More to the point, I have never, in my life, thought that my actions or actions I’m considering reflect on anything more than me as a person. Most white people I’ve asked think that would be absurd as well. But I’ve been told that there’s plenty of that question in the minds of Others. The idea of one’s actions being reflected on a group they belong to is sometimes constant for some groups. Black people have often changed directions or wondered if they should change directions because, from their perspective, they are representative of All Black People. Even when you look at women and their actions and ideas, they have a tendency to consider the impact of their actions across the spectrum of All Women.

However, this is bigger than single people’s thoughts and actions. The average person with Individuality Privilege has no issues aligning themselves with groups at will, and distancing themselves as well. They can join or leave anything they want to, they can include or ostracize anyone at will, because the world revolves around their own individuality. If identified as a member of a group, they can instantly and without repercussion disavow that link. They can also immediately accept and adopt that link without having to do any work to gain that link.

Why does any of this matter? You already actually know all of this without putting words to it, that’s why all the conversations in which some majority person blithely shifts blame off themselves to others of their class are so frustrating. It’s why you have to scream and cry whenever some guy says he’s not like Those Guys, but does nothing to make sure he really isn’t or that Those Guys aren’t as much of a threat in the future. It’s why nothing changes for the majority class until they lose their majority or until change is forced on them. But it matters for the same reason we identify all other privileges. Because identifying them makes them real and means that we can actually deconstruct them and work to understand them. This blog post isn’t enough to highlight or discuss the issue, it’s basically a start though, and hopefully the idea propagates and we can figure out how to combat it.

Where else it matters? It gives excellent context for a lot of what’s going on in political spheres. It’s literally the difference between coverage of Micah Xavier and Robert Bowers. In fact, if you go look up their terrorist acts on wikipedia, Micah Xavier is mentioned prominently in the summary introduction while Bowers, the guy who actually walked into a synagogue and then later gave himself up to police as the shooter, is still listed as a suspect and isn’t even mentioned until the end of the article. It’s not just racism in action there, Bowers is treated as a unique individual who has the right to innocence until proven guilty while Xavier is a black man who is dead and has no rights. In the immediate aftermath of right-wing terrorism, the entirety of the conservative community unquestionably has the right and ability to say that the terrorist doesn’t represent them while they hold entire communities and ethnicities to blame for the acts of people in their ranks. In our response to that, we claim that the right wing terrorists ostensibly belong to these groups after decrying earlier statements that paint all members of non-majority groups as part of the problem when terrorism arises from a linked group or person. As white people, the majority in the US, we are completely blind to that kind of scale switching and use it constantly, even and especially when it applies to ourselves. When people are decrying violent actions against violent groups of white people, they’re afraid that they’ll be mistaken for those groups simply because they’re standing near them. When one is arguing against punching Nazis and urging civility, it’s probably because they’re at the same rally and are afraid people won’t realize one’s individuality and that they’re not a Nazi. That realization really blew my mind, to be honest, because generally my response to “you shouldn’t punch nazis” was “then don’t be a nazi and you won’t be punched,” and the argument would continue. I legitimately thought that the “don’t be a nazi” would be a good final point and that there was nothing more to put there, so I had to figure out why people wouldn’t see that as the solution to the problem. So, the sudden realization that being grouped with people due to appearance, position, and relative distance was abhorrent to them was when I realized the individuality connection.

It even affects me. I, the white cis het man, have no problems being a feminist and never really think that I’m a representative of the white cis het men. I sit around and decry the actions of the SQGs (Status Quo Guardians) while assuming that my words are enough to show that I’m special, I’m different. And it wasn’t really until I started noticing that white people’s arguments often serve to exclude them from groups that are fucked up that I really started to think about it. My reaction? To insist that I was an individual and not part of those groups that are fucked up. My thoughts have been swirling since that realization and I hope at some point we get to sit down and figure out how to deal with all this, because this may or may not be huge to understanding social problems.

I’d like to thank my Patrons, as usual, for supporting me bashing my brain into a keyboard until I get something legible out, and remind you that if you like this and think I should continue doing it, a patronage can be yours for as little as a dollar a month, with access to… well, not much else, to be honest. I put short blogs on the Patreon accessible only to Patrons occasionally, but not often enough to really call it a feature. I poll Patrons for ideas occasionally too, but if you really want my thoughts on some issue, the best method is to Patron up and ask me.

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Boners and Reactions or Weird Things You Learn About Toxic Masculinity From a Male Perspective

Boners are a weird thing. That seems like a self-evident proclamation, because holy shit, you’ve seen them right? Like, if dicks weren’t so normalized (through roughly 49% of the population owning one of their own), we’d assume they were some kind of symbiotic alien thing, a groinburster.

But beyond that, they’re just weird. They’re not only genitals, but symbols of explicit consent and desire, and proof of manliness. This is going to take some unpacking, so buckle the fuck up, shit’s going to get weird and everything will connect at some point.

Continue reading “Boners and Reactions or Weird Things You Learn About Toxic Masculinity From a Male Perspective”

Did You Know? A Handful of Things I Know That I Think You Should Know

I thought I’d round out the month with a bunch of weird facts I know that I can just leave here so I probably won’t be tempted to re-share them in person. It’s a weird trick I know for things in my brain, if I put them somewhere, I probably won’t think about them for a while.

But first, I’d like to take a moment of your time to beg you for things. You see, the $20 – $60 dollars I make from my Patreon every month for posting here actually constitutes a large portion of my monthly income, and the only amount that isn’t earmarked by the source to be for certain types of expenses. Now, I don’t want you all to think I’m being ungrateful, since I’d likely be doing this regardless of the payout I get for it and regardless of the deadlines I might set for myself, but I would like you to understand how much an extra dollar or two would mean to me every month. Five dollars alone is an extra day of power when I go over-budget, for example. So, please, if you like this and like me, consider going to my Patreon and pledging some pocket change at me.

Did you know Public Enemy never stopped making music?

Yeah, for most of the world, Public Enemy dropped off the face of the planet around 1994, when Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age dropped and people started passing on it in the face of the burgeoning Gansta Rap scene, and their last release with Def Jam was the soundtrack to He Got Game in ’98, a movie about a basketball boy who has to become a basketball man. I think. I didn’t see the movie, so it could be a retelling of the Taming of the Shrew with sneakers and basketballs for all I know.

So amazingly, most people were unaware that they didn’t just stop when they left Def Jam. Or when Terminator X, their long-time DJ, got into an accident and quit the band after the He Got Game soundtrack. They hooked up with DJ Lord and released There’s a Poison Goin’ On over the internet through Atomic Pop, and since then have released albums through pressings and the internet to the tune of 8 more albums, including a collaboration with Paris and Gorilla Funk. Their latest album, Nothing is Quick in the Desert was released on the internet last year. All this while Flava Flav was a reality star, an owner of a chicken restaurant, roastee, and general public idiot and while Chuck D was half the vocals of Prophets of Rage.

Did you know you could measure things with cigarettes?

Ok, that’s a little misleading, because actually measuring with cigarettes means you’re either measuring things that are exactly the same length or you have a straight edge and a good eye. However, cigarettes have incredibly standard sizing.

The basic sizes of cigarettes are “kings” and “100s”. Kings are a standard 84mm long, while 100s are – wait for it – 100mm long, which is such a nice even number that you could do a lot with it. With that knowledge in your pocket, you may notice plenty of brands and styles that also use numbers in their branding. You’ll no doubt notice that there are a load of “women’s” cigarettes that come in 120’s, which means they’re 120mm long (although their diameters tend to be much smaller than the standard 8mm). Camel’s version of 100s is 99s, because they just need to feel different, I guess, and are, surprise, 99mm long. And you may suddenly realize that Marlboro 72s are 72mm long, and therefore a lot smaller than a king-size cigarette. There’s also “regular” sized cigarettes, which are 70mm long, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen them sold at a corner shop.

Did you know that the Class A designation on cigarettes has absolutely nothing to do with their quality?

It’s a tax stamp, basically. Yes, pretty much every consumable you can think of that’s labeled Class A or whatever is a quality gradient, but hold on a minute, because this is actually kind of funny.

You see, originally the US Government taxed cigarettes by the pack. By the 1930s, that tax was being passed to the consumer, who was paying what is probably a pittance per pack in taxes, but people get really mad about taxation for some reason. Enter Woodford Fitch Axton, the largest privately-controlled cigarette company in the US at the time. They developed and sold Head Play cigarettes, which were packs of 10 cigarettes that were 11 inches long. They, and the pack itself, were also helpfully perforated so that you could break the cigarettes and the pack into 4 regular packs and 40 regular cigarettes (since filtered cigarettes weren’t a thing yet, this was a lot easier back then), leaving the consumer to pay one tax for 4 packs of smokes. Obviously, that sort of side-stepping of tax law couldn’t go on, so they revised the tax law. Class A cigarettes are cigarettes of which 1000 weigh less than three pounds, and Class B cigarettes are those that weigh more.

Did you know that wage stagnation is a real thing?

If we compare things from the late 70’s to now, which is only 40 years ago and well within the lifetime of most of our policy makers, you’ll notice that wages for the vast majority of US citizens hasn’t actually increased while our production and economy are increasing every year. In fact, comparing median wages across all age-groups from 1976 to 2016, wages across the 15 to 44 age-groups actually dropped, while it went up slightly in the older age groups. But if you split that by sex, you’ll notice that the median wages of women increased by somewhere around 200% in all age-groups as women started taking more work – although the median wage is still like 70 to 80% of men’s in the same groups.

On the side, for shining even more light on the situations, let’s look at the ultra-rich. A billion dollars ($1,000,000,000 so you can see how fucking big the number is) in today’s money in 1976 was around three million dollars ($3,000,000 so you can see how that number is drastically different). In 1976, there were around 175,000 millionaires in the US, and only around 10,000 were over 5 million in assets, which would be equivalent to multibillionaires today. Now there’s around 670 billionaires in the US, and about 5% (or 1 in 20, or around 16.5 million) people in the US are millionaires. In a world where “millionaire” is simply upper middle class or lower upper class.

So, basically, everyone under the line in the middle and lower economic classes has been getting the same short stick for at least the last 40 years, while they’re being told that their success is tied to how hard (i.e. how many hours they put in, even off the clock) and that they’re being held back by the other lazy assholes in the poor sectors.

Did you know that I’m often mistaken for an off-duty Santa Claus by adorable kids when I haven’t shaved in a while?

It’s actually kind of adorable, but I don’t know what to do about it other than shave more often.

I’d like to thank my Patrons, who have supported me through all these months with their generous pledges to keep me putting my thoughts down, and encourage you to go look at my Patreon, regardless of how much money you think you can chuck at me.

A Thing That Actually Keeps Me From Sleeping and I Don’t Actually Want to Talk About, But Here We Are

Ya’ll realize I’m a full on mental mess, right? Like, between my brain suggesting delightful things like suicide, murder, homosexual relations (there’s nothing wrong with them, but I’m fairly straight, so imagining fucking my best friends isn’t a pleasant thought), putting gross things in my mouth, etc. and anxiety telling me that I could’ve handled a conversation 10 years ago better so we should just go through it again and making world-altering prophecies for everything I think about doing and then depression just saying, “dude, just sleep or something, trying is for assholes and you’ll never amount to anything anyway”, it’s frankly amazing that I get anything done, and usually I don’t.

In fact, all that noise is a major part of the reason I keep a blog, so I can put my thoughts somewhere else for a while and then I don’t have to think of them. And showing them to other people so they can either understand what’s going on with me more or realize that what they’re going through isn’t just happening to them. It’s theraputic, in a way. But one of the major problems is that I don’t have a space to vent issues about people who are close to me, because I know they’re going to read it, and suddenly anxiety’s like “yo, you’re going to lose a friend because you mentioned how the noises they make while eating are irritating as hell.”

So I often don’t have anywhere to put those thoughts. Often, my only choice is to speak to people outside those friends’ circle to get things off my chest without triggering the anxiety, but due to the weirdly connected nature of the world we live in, that’s in no way a guarantee, so I end up eating those feelings until I do something drastic. That’s not fucking healthy, in the slightest. I’m up to my ears in stress at the moment and I’m still eating my thoughts pertaining to the situation, venting it bit by bit where I can but not enough.

So, in the interest of my own sanity, here goes.

Around October of last year, a good friend of mine needed a place to stay, as he’d lost his own place due to what we’ll call “fuckery that has nothing to do with this”. As he’d been the generous one in the relationship and given me a place to bunk before, it was only right that I’d offer and come through on a place for him. My apartment complex, however, has strict leases and keeping a guest for more than 14 days is a violation, and a lease violation would literally make me homeless as I’ve actually got nothing to fall back on. So, initially, he slept on my couch a few days a week and rotated through a few places for a while, which was fine.

He quit his job and started working as a substitute for the local school district, which is fine and I’m glad he’s found something he really wants to do with his life and began following through with it. No big deal, he’s only over for a few days a week and it’s not like I was charging him to sleep on my couch while I was up all night.

He had a couple of girlfriends, and at the beginning of this time, those were some of the places he rotated through, which was great, glad he’s happy and whatnot and they didn’t seem to be a dumpster fire of a human.

But, obviously things changed, because I’m not really fine anymore.

Bit by bit, everything changed to make him more comfortable. He can’t sleep unless it’s close to 65 degrees for some fucking reason, which is goddamned cold. I spent most of the winter in a thick hoody and boots while in my home because I was always fucking cold. He moved his giant TV into my living room, which meant that he would need to rearrange my furniture to hold it. While I wasn’t there. I come home one day and my table has been moved, everything on it was cleared off and put I have no idea where – to this day I’m not even actually sure where some of the stuff on there went. I made do. I sometimes ran my laptop through the TV to play games on a giant monitor, I learned to enjoy having television on during the day and started following shows, but that’s just such a weird change that I was simply adapting, not fully accepting. Oh, and he apparently can’t sleep unless there’s some kind of noise coming on from the giant-ass TV, so my entire nights were filled with whatever fucking channel blasting through the living room while shivering because it was fucking cold in the house.

He broke up with one of his girlfriends, and lost a place to rotate through. His other girlfriend’s husband had issues with him being over there so much, so he lost another one. He was at my place full-time, but that was mostly ok, since he’d be gone during the day and he was sleeping on my couch so it wasn’t like there was a whole lot of proof that he was now staying uninterruptedly several weeks at a time. Did I mention that my complex management not only has the right to enter my home and inspect when they want but they have an exterminator come through and spray for bugs every month? It’s not like hiding people was just a matter of pretending they weren’t there.

Then more of his stuff started showing up. My couch wasn’t enough, he brought a sleeping pad. He wrapped it in my couch cushions and just left it there when he went to work, so if I’d had some company show up, my couch was not a sitting surface anymore, because it was literally 4 feet tall at this point and covered in trash.

Oh, yes, he leaves things around like he’s tracking in mud, and vertical surfaces are storage for everything, and he’ll leave things sitting around for weeks or months if he’s nowhere near where they go, like the trash or the sink, and doesn’t take them there immediately. Like, I’m not totally in the clear here, but I tend to nest, so my mess is literally just around spaces that I’m the only one that’s going to inhabit. In that paradigm, everywhere he is is where he’s nesting.

And then the nesting got worse. Since he wanted to sleep over with his girlfriend and they couldn’t do it at her house, they asked if she could come over a couple of days a week. I didn’t have a problem with that, largely because it was a regular schedule and I don’t dislike her. Also, since she’s got a day job, she’d be over shortly before they went to bed and would be gone early in the morning, so even if I didn’t feel like having people over, she wasn’t really over.

But the vibe changed. It became more like He was my roommate and less like I was providing a temporary solution to his housing problem until he got his feet back. More and more of his stuff showed up, more and more of his comfort became the order of the day, and even the girlfriend days became longer, regardless of how I was feeling, because as a roomate he’d have the right to have company and if I didn’t want company I’d have to make myself unavailable or ignore it. More of my stuff got moved around. He doesn’t like getting up to answer the door, so he instructs anyone visiting him to just come on in. Which is fine at his house, but that shit drives me right up the wall, people just walking into my house without me inviting them in.

Did I complain? Nope, he was paying the bulk of the bills because his house lifestyle had tripled my electric bill, he was bringing in groceries, so doormat that I am, I accepted that he was at least making up for my issues.

Then, the first taste of the summer came. The Teacher’s strike left Him and his girlfriend without a place to be much of the day, so they’d go to the marches and then come back to my house for hours at a time. Without a job to go to in the morning, the sleep-overs lasted most of the day, with the make-shift bed that was formed out of every cushion in my house and his sleeping pad and took over my entire living room floor stayed where it was long into the day, and they stayed in it, making maneuvering around my own living room a new exercise in balance and foot placement and making the entire thing start to feel less like my living room and more like His bedroom. He got a chromecast device for the TV and then I had to listen to every youtube video he ever wanted to watch, because TVs are loud and I don’t have headphones of my own to try to drown it out.

Summer came, and with it the normal stress of being poor as hell in a state where triple digit temps are normal came the added stress of someone trying to keep the house colder than the air conditioning can actually function. During the summer, OEC adopts peak hour pricing, as literally every energy company does because you literally can’t store energy in the power grid, so the 2pm to 7pm time period is basically a rush for them and everything costs more during that time. Usually, I just sleep during that time period, leaving my AC and all other optional electronics off, but that doesn’t help any when you have someone on your couch who’s not only awake during that time, but needs the house cold and has to watch youtube on the big TV all day long, suddenly turning my typical $1.07/day electric costs to sometimes over $6. And without a regular job, I was suddenly having to foot most of the bill. So, yes, a bit of stress. And with him home all the time, I was losing time to myself, which is fucking necessary because even though I’m fairly outgoing, something as simple as someone else being there kills all impetus I might have for things like showering. When my depression episodes get bad, they get compounded by the absolute mess my house becomes in the interim and the mountain out of a molehill mentality I get to on noticing my trash pile and my dirty clothes and running my hand through my greasy as fuck hair and I spiral out again. So I need to do little things to get going again, and if I’m not comfortable enough to do those little things, like showering, I never get started again. And while my aversion to being naked in my house if there’s other people around is entirely a product of my own fucked-up head, I can’t exactly form the words for “hey, could you fuck off for a bit so I can relax enough to shower?”

And then, He had his cousin bring a bed by. Just a box spring and mattress. I wasn’t asked about this, either, it just showed up like I’d be just fine with it, because his comfort is paramount. It turned my living room into “mostly like a bedroom” to “this is totally a bedroom” because they’re just sitting there, every day, sitting next to the couch so that he has both of them to lounge out on like it’s a queen-sized bed. And my entire living room is now devoted to his comfort and sleep. And when his girlfriend comes over, she’s over all fucking day, sleeping right there in my living room, while I might be trying to do things. My living room is now someone else’s bedroom, and if my apartment management comes over, there’s no denying that there’s someone staying in my house in violation of my lease, and there’s nothing I could do then. I got a notice for my house being a mess when I called maintenance to have my AC fixed (condenser failed, I was assured that’s something that happens with time and that he’d been to other places to do the same all month), and the general thing to do for that is to clean my house and let them know I fixed the problem, and they come by and inspect. But I can’t have them inspect, that’ll show the biggest goddamned lease violation possible.

My space has been invaded, I don’t feel comfortable in my own home, and I haven’t been able to relax in months, which is causing a stress feedback loop into my anxieties. And I haven’t talked to Him about it – to be honest, he’ll read this probably before I get the nerve to have an adult conversation – because Anxiety says I’ll fuck everything up and ruin a perfectly good friendship. But I’m not sleeping right and I’m not eating right and I can’t relax and I just need some fucking space. I need my living room to be a living room again. I need time to myself without worrying about people walking into my house at will. I need my space back, because it’s driving me insane to be losing it.

Thanks patrons, I’m not really in the right mindset to put a cheerful message here, and if you like me and want to contribute, go to my patreon. If you don’t like me and don’t want to contribute, I suppose you can just fuck off then.

A Quick(ish) Explanation of Popular Conspiracy Theories

We live in Interesting Times. Those of you who are scholars of of made-up Chinese curses, whether you’re aware of them being made-up or not, know exactly why I capitalized those words. This can be demonstrated by how much of our time is now being made to debunk conspiracy theories in our daily life, as the belief in the weird and powerful has literally seeped into every portion of our life. So, rather than debunk them, I thought I’d explain what’s actually driving them in the normally sensible people in your life. A warning though, this is going to get horrifying soon, and I’ll put the worst stuff under the cut so you can read it on your own.

The Flat Earth

Largely considered the most ridiculous thing anyone could believe and incorrectly considered the reason Christopher Columbus had such a hard time with financing until he tried Spain – which was in a financial crisis after Ferdinand kicked the Jews out of the country only to find out that they had most of the banking and lending. However, in the last decade, public acceptance for the Flat Earth has hit a fever pitch, with a lot of pseudoscience being used to justify the belief that the world is flat, and the conspiracy that the elite of the world are hiding it from us for… I don’t even know what reason.

What it comes down to is that a disk-shaped earth could only exist through the will of a creator, making this one of a few comfort conspiracies that isn’t shaped around horrible things happening to other people. The idea that the world is created brings comfort to the flat earthers, basically, and the idea that the world’s elite are keeping it from us all is just business du jour for them. If they can lie about something as simple as the shape of the planet and manage to keep it hidden even in the age of the internet, then you can be sure that everything else you think they’re lying to you about is also true.

Anti-Vaxx

Growing mostly out of the late 00’s, the anti-vaxx “movement” takes a hard stance on rejecting vaccines and many other medical wonders of the 20th century. Anyone reading this who hasn’t encountered this baffling mix of health worry and naturalism probably only comes out once a year to read my blog and gets scared by their shadow.

This conspiracy is based on two things: the fear of a mother’s removal from their children’s care and a distrust of corporate control of medicine. The sciences behind childcare have been advancing steadily for the last century, vastly improving the lives of children and therefore adults for the betterment of the entire nation, but in a lot of cases it seems to value the child over the mother, which has a lot of women deeply concerned. Especially given the number of cases where care has been removed entirely from the mother by the state in response to the mother’s decisions in child care, the natural response for many women is to be skeptical and vocal about their objections. And as care has increased throughout the generations, many grandmothers and great grandmothers are still around to voice their own objections to the amount of effort and cost being put into childcare, using their now-outdated regimens as proof while conveniently forgetting the hurdles they had to jump and continue to jump as their lives get longer. And what conspiracy is worth it’s weight if it doesn’t include faceless committees benefiting from the exploitation of the masses, and this conspiracy has both Big Pharma and The State, where Big Pharma benefits financially and The State benefits through population control. A distrust of either or both is an assertion of personal autonomy and rights, showing that those who fear these things enough to whisper about them are afraid that they’ve lost both those things due the the machinations of the current state of affairs. Like many mainstream conspiracies, this is one where the foundations for the belief make sense even when the outcome is batshit crazy.

The Deep State

This one’s just starting to hit people’s radars and so a little explanation might actually be needed, as this is a very Trump Era theory. Well, it’s not actually from the Trump Era, but it wasn’t mainstream until now. The Deep State theory is that there’s a secret cabal of highly-inflential actors within and without the government itself that are secretly running things and are pushing a pro-corporate DNC presence on the people through a large series of influences, reaching us through non-state actors such as Twitter.

Oh, my gawd. So, the underlying belief that would make this sort of thing believable is that the reason things don’t work the way you think they do is because a faceless group is actively working against you, which explains why members of the Trump family are vocal advocates of this theory. When your daddy’s in charge and things aren’t going his way, only more powerful people could stop his actions, and when your daddy’s in the highest office in the land, then the only people more powerful have to be secret actors. Going outside the family is much the same kind of thing, people who believe that the president can and will do whatever the fuck he wants with the government are having a hard time not understanding why nothing’s changing as soon as he proposes an idea. The true secret of most conspiracy theories is that they bring comfort to those who hold them, and the idea that things are out of their hands or that they’re the scrappy heroes in an epic is deeply comforting to a lot of people, regardless of their actual standing. As to why the conspiracy is tipping it’s hand with overt “subliminal” action, it’s a long-held belief that world conspiracies can’t simply do their thing without telling people. Part of that comes from Illuminati theory which holds that the Kabbalah magicks used require overt statements which can be hidden or disguised but must be seen by the victims in order to work, but more recent theories just kind of adopt that idea without the magic theory involved, instead holding it to taunts that only the woke people can find. All in all, the Deep State is a comfort theory to establish why things in the government are still not “right”.

Warning:  The stuff under this cut is disturbing.  Here’s your Content Warning for wanton murder and pedophilia.  Also, the cut only works in front page view, so if you’re visiting this page in particular, there’s no cut.

Continue reading “A Quick(ish) Explanation of Popular Conspiracy Theories”

Democrazy 2: Expected Joke Title

I’d like to start by dispelling a rumor I’d heard, that my blog is for my Patreon supporters and if you’re not in on that, you shouldn’t bother. Nope, my blog is actually for everyone. If you can see this link, you can totally read my blog. If you’ve been linked somewhere else, have fun! My Patreon is for people who’d like to encourage and reward me for my creative endeavors and occasionally see shorter thoughts that aren’t big enough or developed enough for blogs. They can also suggest topics for me to cover. But mostly, they’re just cool people who think my brain excretions are worth a few bucks a month.

Anyways, the last time I was hitting the topic of the American democracy-that-isn’t, I was talking about how every facet of our voices has been co-opted, ignored, and corrupted, a clear and present violation of the first pillar of democracy. And now I’m going to discuss how one of the cherished portions of American government doesn’t even really exist. The entire idea of the Checks and Balances of Power has been almost entirely eradicated from our system.

Ideally, the checks and balances takes the form of separation of powers. The legislative branch writes the laws, the executive branch enforces them, and the judicial branch decides if said laws are right within our framework. But think about that for a minute. Take some time. When was the last time you saw the executive branch not totally involved in legislation for his party beyond his power to issue executive orders and veto bills? The president is the member of his party with the highest office in the land, and we really expect him to push his own agenda on the entire legislative process. When the ACA was being drafted, Obama was in it all the way. We literally don’t know who actually wrote the bill or who brought it to the floor, it’s ObamaCare.

And who’s in charge of all government policy that isn’t directly tied to congress? It’s the presidential administration and his cabinet. Foreign policy, internal policy, agriculture, housing and urban development, the head of the CIA, all of these are the Administration’s purview, and there’s not a whole lot of oversight from the other branches on these cabinet positions. There may be a senate hearing over misconduct, there might be laws passed to limit things, but in reality, they’re pretty much operating with impunity in their various stations.

So, really, the executive branch’s check and balance system is completely broken and we really expect it to operate like it does. Let’s check in on the Judicial Branch.

One of the more striking international stories recently was the case of Alfie Evans. He was a little boy who, and I don’t know all the details here so I’m skipping them, was in a coma. The doctors at his hospital declared that he would never have quality of life, would never achieve consciousness due to the brain atrophy he’d gone through, and would be reliant on machines to do his autonomous functions, so they decided that it would be in his best interest to pull the plug now rather than wait and see if anything could be done decades down the road as medicine technology improved – largely because that’s incredibly unpredictable and they’d be saving a shell of a person who lacked any higher brain function just in case something might come along. His parents disagreed. The court was brought in to make a ruling. Rome offered to treat the kid and had even sent a life-flight chopper to do so. The court ruled with the doctors, and disallowed Alfie’s trip to Italy. It’s all very sad, but it’s also entirely within British law, and it all makes a great deal of sense when you read into it. However, Americans invested in the case immediately decried it as a failure of social medicine and stated that the government forced its ruling onto parents who just wanted to save their baby. It was quite a bit more complicated than that and I’m fairly sure you can find every bit of information available on the subject if you so choose, but I’m focusing on the American response.

You see, Americans fully understand and believe that Judges are entirely partial, especially towards their side of the liberal-conservative spectrum and are agents of the state who make rulings to enforce the law of the land. In the UK, though, courts are unbiased arbiters of the law, and while appointed by the state, are not beholden to its views. So when the Americans started saying that the UK government willfully killed Alfie to hold onto it’s precious control over healthcare, the Brits were often incredibly confused by that statement, which is why they were terrible at addressing that particular line when it was thrown around. They’d respond with “no, the government didn’t do anything, the court did,” not understanding that over here, those things are considered one in the same for a lot of people.

In tangential news, exit polls on election night in 2016 revealed that about 70% of voters were most focused on the prospect of Judicial appointments. Yes, a lot of people who voted Trump did so because they knew if a Republican was in office, they’d appoint a lot of conservative judges to federal postings. In fact, since Roe vs Wade, who gets to appoint Supreme Court justices has been incredibly important to politically-minded folks because of the vicious cycle of conservatives wanting to overturn the ruling and liberals wanting to block, like it’s a game of tic-tac-toe only it’s about what women can legally do to the proto-humans that grow in their bodies. We, as Americans, think it’s perfectly normal and absolutely ok for judges to rule on major issues by their personal political leanings, and not by what the law says or does. It’s so ingrained that we don’t even find the concept of Activist Judges to be appalling. We are entirely unbothered by the idea that Judges will interpret and change law entirely based on their own feelings on the matters at hand, not by what is and isn’t right or intended by our founding documents which are supposed to be the highest law in the land. Regular people even stating that there are different interpretations to the words in the Constitution is so uncontroversial that they’re regular talking points and party platforms.

Speaking of Judicial appointments, we all know how those work, right? The Executive branch appoints people to fill judicial positions, and the Legislative branch, specifically the Senate, confirms those appointments. But we’ve now been in a position where partisan politics have been using every trick available to them to hold up these appointments for as long as possible in order to ensure the party of their choosing gets to pick the judges going in. Famously, the senate refused to hear confirmations on any supreme court candidates in the last 6 months of his administration, and more recently, the Trump administration has has a hell of a time slogging nominees for everything through the Senate, sometimes on partisan ground and sometimes out of pure vindictiveness or bad nominations. Essentially, the parties want their own people or at least moderates close enough to their own people in positions, and have been doing everything they can to stop nominees that aren’t friendly to them.

And the list goes on. At every part of the whole Check and Balance process, the political parties have manipulated expected action and procedure to make this whole mess of muddied waters of responsibility and usable powers to benefit themselves or at least not benefit the other guys. At this point in history, we are so used to the idea that politicians will make all their decisions and actions based on party politics over rule of law and unbiased views of progress as a society that it’s become a complete non-issue. We literally don’t complain about it unless the other side is doing something we don’t like and we don’t have a solid footing for complaints other than “lack of bias and constitutionally appropriate ideas”. The entire process these days is to stack the deck at every point in the Check and Balance so that you don’t have to actually deal with it, and to make everything harder for the other side to get things done. It’s less a government process and more a boardgame these days. And that’s just fucked up.

I’d like to thank my supporters on Patreon – you know who you are by now – and everyone who reads, even semi-regularly, my brain spatterings on here. It definitely helps me and my mental state to write, and having an audience makes it more pertinent to me. Hopefully I can get fully back on the horse and do posts in a better schedule than “oh shit, the month’s over tomorrow, what do I have?” soon, but we’ll see.

Offensive vs Offending

One of the strange things to come out of the culture wars of the 10s is a weird argument over the sharing of opinions. I mean, other than ideological battles and literal nazis coming back into view. Man, this decade is completely fucked up, isn’t it?

So, a lot of what’s going around, particularly in the pictures-with-words memes is this idea from the ideological right that everyone’s problem with the things they say is that they’re personally offended by those things. It is, in fact, a big part of the culture there that they’re these brave folks who’re speaking their mind in the face of cultural marxism or whatever and that we need to get over our butt-hurt and be real men or whatever. It’s basically a big joke where the whiny liberal SJW can’t change the channel and ignore the things they don’t like, stemming from a real fear on their behalf that a liberal establishment will illegalize and regulate speech and custom to force everyone into a multicultural viewpoint. At best, they’ll tell you that you have the right to be offended, but they have the right to offend.

But, see, here’s the thing. No one has to be offended to say that something is offensive. To be offended is to feel personally insulted and/or attacked, which, in the eyes of the right, means that you’re incapable of controlling your emotional response to things, and therefore immature. To be offensive is to state or agree with values that are not in line with those of society. I don’t have a dictionary handy, so those are the best definitions you’re going to get. In essence, “offended” is a personal problem, and “offensive” is a societal problem. For example, if you were to call someone a “sleepy-eyed Jew”, that would be offending them, because you’re belittling someone on a personal level. If you did it in public, that would be offensive, because you’re also implying that there’s something wrong with being a Jew – otherwise it wouldn’t be an insult, which you’re clearly using it as. In essence, a gross opinion is like a penis. You can show it to people in private, and if they like it, it’s fine. If they don’t, you’ll probably offend them. If you show it in public, it doesn’t matter how many people like it, because whipping your dick out in public is an affront to decency. Here’s where that might get tricky for some people though: the way someone lives their life or loves other people is not an affront to decency as long as it doesn’t harm others or involve a lack of consent. Being homosexual, transgender, bisexual, nonbinary, liberal, socialist, communist, fat, ugly, non-christian, atheist, poor, covered in bees, wearing religious dress, in a bikini, protesting, or any combination of these things is not inherently offensive, and not any more or less offensive than being heterosexual, white, male, conservative, capitalist, conventionally attractive, thin, christian, rich, not covered in bees, wearing business attire, wearing non-revealing clothing, counter-protesting, or any combination of those things. Holding an ideology of harm to others based on those things, or even wearing the costume of someone who does, is, however, offensive. Which is why Nazis and white nationalists/supremacists are held in about the same respect as the Westboro Baptist Church. Actually, even less so, since the WBC is terrible at recruiting and hasn’t been a real physical threat to people in their protests.

And yes, you have the right to offend. You have the right to be offensive. Congratulations, I guess? But so does everyone else on American soil (Yes, even visitors and immigrants. The Constitution’s inalienable rights apply to everyone, not just citizens. That’s the “inalienable” part.), and we all have the right to respond to offense and offensiveness. And weirdly, someone telling you to shut your bigoted mouth is not a suppression of your first amendment rights. Which means that if one were to say “All black men are violent thugs,” then I can respond with “That’s deeply offensive and has no part in modern civilization,” without being offended by the original statement. And I’d be right because the United States is not a white ethnostate and in a nation as diverse as ours, harboring bigoted views holds us back and continues to enable racist/misogynist/anti-gay/etc. systems that we’ve been fighting for decades to dismantle.

And I feel stupid explaining that offensive and offending statements are different because the people who most often laugh about snowflakes being offended by their statements are the same people who fly into a rage when folks disrespect their sacred institutions of God, Guns, Soldiers, Cops, and Flags. They demonstrate that they fully understand the difference, but because they use the terms “unpatriotic” or “unamerican”, they haven’t made the actual connection in words. They still might not, and continue arguing that we liberals are just mad or butthurt and trying to force them to change. I mean, we are trying to get people to change out of bad ideas, systems, and schemes, but not specifically into an echo chamber of liberal thought – largely because, like any other giant umbrella term, liberal thought encompasses so many overlapping ideas that it can often be self-contradictory and will only be neat and tidy in the most general sense, much like conservative thought. But so it goes, since it’s 2018 and we have to explain that things that were bad 70 years ago are still bad today.

I’d like to thank my Patrons Connor Garrison, Sean D. Fegan, Erik Peters, Althea Peters, Hoyt Fischbeck, and Rebecca Fegan, for continuing to support me and my works, and I’d hope that after reading several of my posts, you would also consider joining my Patreon and getting the benefit of sometimes hearing my thoughts on smaller things that aren’t full blog posts.