Well, I was thinking just now about how I never felt comfortable around cops when I was a kid, and never knew why. I've long thought it was a phobia, but it just occurred to me to wonder if it was my Mutant Power telling me these men with guns were not to be trusted, and the resulting conflict between what my Mutant Power was telling me, and what society and my parents told me about them. Because it would sure explain the mixed feelings I had about them, if I was like "Mom and Dad say to trust them, but my gut tells me to stay away from them." (Not sure if it applied to all cops or not; I wasn't around many growing up.)
Well, I was thinking just now about how I never felt comfortable around cops when I was a kid, and never knew why. I've long thought it was a phobia, but it just occurred to me to wonder if it was my Mutant Power telling me these men with guns were not to be trusted, and the resulting conflict between what my Mutant Power was telling me, and what society and my parents told me about them. Because it would sure explain the mixed feelings I had about them, if I was like "Mom and Dad say to trust them, but my gut tells me to stay away from them." (Not sure if it applied to all cops or not; I wasn't around many growing up.)
???? What do??? How math???
Thank Goddess for the Arabs, and Arabic numerals, amirite?
Actually, I think I *can* do that problem. 14 plus 9 is 23, so break the V into II, drop the I from IX, and add the remainder, you get XXIII. Still, that might not work for other problems.
EDIT: I found this on Google: http://www.pims.math.ca/~hoek/opinions/
Which isn't to say there's not a conscious aspect, because there is. I bring this subject up, in fact, for a reason connected to the conscious aspect of positive thinking.
See, my roommate has had a rather nasty flu for the last several weeks. She's mostly recovered now, just has a lingering cough, but when it was new to her, it put her in so much pain that she went to the hospital, could barely function enough to answer the questions, and ended up getting a tiny dose of something four times stronger than morphine for the pain, which left her on cloud 9 for the rest of the day.
Those first few days, I was getting worrying sympathetic symptoms, and I was worried I would come down with it, too. But then one day in the midst of a bout of these sympathetic symptoms, I thought, "No. There's enough wrong with me already, what with IBS and depression, headaches, backaches, sleep apnea, and so on, that I don't need anything else. I'm not getting this flu." And that was that. I decided I wasn't getting the flu, and after several weeks of being in the same apartment as someone very ill and coughing on everything, I'm still doing good. Granted, I also took some vitamin C and echinacea that day, and more vitamin c every day for the next week or two, but I know that my decision was the majority of it, because I've had instances where copious vitamin C never did any good in preventing illness or healing illness, so the different factor here was my decision to not get ill.
Now here, in the wording of that decision, I was violating advice from Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsch, a series that makes a big point of going on about how positive thoughts should never contain negative words like "no," "never," etc. But it worked, so fuck all that New-Agey bullshit.
Now, I've posted criticisms of new age philosophy before, and really I'm surprised the 'new age' tag doesn't have more than one (now two) posts in it, because I've been critical of new age philosophy for a long time, even though I clung to it for many years before wising up. I hope to make it clear that there is some accurate stuff in new age philosophy, as those works still influence me, and I still agree with a lot of the CWG material, but as I've said here, positive thinking doesn't work the way Neale Donald Walsch (and a lot of other new age authors) seems to think it does. Or maybe it works for him, I dunno. But people are highly unique, and nothing is going to work the same for everyone. Reading the CWG series back in the day, I had a lot of awesome experiences with positive thinking's power, but then again, I was living at home and going to school at the time, so while I had stress from high school, it was stress I knew how to handle. When I went out into the job market after school, still living at home, those practices helped me a lot. I had some majorly profound experiences, like the time the whole world was an orchestra for about 30 minutes. But then shit happened, as shit is wont to do, and stress happened, and no amount of CWG/new age type positive thinking can really fight stress. At least, it didn't help me.
What did help me was Shao'Kehn, with Her practical voice in my head helping me out, with useful advice about how to let the stress wash over me and just continue plowing on. Her philosophy of strength and accepting that shit happens helped me. Still, it took me years and years to purge myself of the victim-blamey aspects of new age philosophy. Because new age philosophy seems to assume you're able bodied, without depression. I say this because speaking as someone with depression - even though that depression was life long and yet the philosophy did work for a time, the new age type of positive thinking only goes so far, and can't really stand up to depression and the various pitfalls that can make depression work. At least, not the way it's taught.
I'd be tempted to write my own book about how to do positive thinking, except that - as I said - I don't think it can actually be taught. Oh sure, it can if you're able bodied, not depressed, and not under much stress. But otherwise, it's just one of those things - in my experience - that you either figure out how to do, or you don't. Kinda like lucid dreaming; some people can learn to do it easily and frequently, but others only experience it once in a while by accident. Back in the day, I was learning how to do it (positive thinking) somewhat reliably, but then shit happened and now I only seem to have fits and spurts of it, like this most recent case.
You know, this makes me think... maybe I should actually, you know, work on trying to find my own way of trying to master positive thinking. I've been neglecting my spirituality so much lately. And this being something that involves a lot of thought and experimentation, I might be able to do it, since I like to think about stuff.
Anyway, enough rambling for now.
(Also: One of Dudley's biggest worries, at least for a while, must have been "what if being a wizard is contagious? If I catch it, Mummy and Daddy won't love me anymore.")
Then what does he do a lot of to - IMO - try to hold onto their love? He mimics them. Uncle Vernon abuses Harry, so Dudley abuses him even more. Vernon hates Harry, so Dudley gets everyone at school to hate Harry too. Vernon and Petunia both verbally abuse Harry, so Dudley does too. Which also serves to distance him from Harry. Harry is a living sign of what happens to people the Dursleys don't like. Dudley must avoid being like Harry at all costs.
So now imagine what Dudley must have felt like when he had to go on a diet. His parents kept talking before about keeping him fat because Vernon was fat. But going on a diet means slimming down, being less like his father. Which must have felt terrifying to Dudley. "What if I get skinny like Harry and they hate me?" Which adds incentive to cheat on his diet. It also makes him become very grateful when he finds boxing makes his parents proud of him, it balances out his weight loss in his mind, especially since most of his fat turned into muscle. But in the back of his mind, he's still worried, so he acts out his worry and frustration by becoming an even bigger bully, doing what he saw his parents doing all his life: hurting small children. Which may have been partially another means of mimicking his parents.
For all Harry went through in the years after being accepted to Hogwarts, Dudley had it worse in some ways, because his struggle to maintain his parents' love for him never went away, never got better, at least not for a long time. In fact, the distance from going to his own boarding school and the fact Harry wasn't there at they Dursley's house except in the summertime had to make him feel worse, probably worried they'd forget about him, or worried that they'd miss having a slave/punching bag, and turn their negative attentions on him to make up for the lack of Harry.
And his terror from Hagrid giving him a tail had to be pretty scarring, too; his parents hate anything weird or unusual, he had to have been petrified that they would hate him for having a tail. And even though he dodged that bullet once, he was terrified of adult wizards ever since, worried he wouldn't be so lucky in the future.
Oh yeah, and his snitching on Harry, getting Harry into trouble, was likely a way to turn negative attention back to Harry. Like, "I know you love to abuse Harry, so if I help you by giving you more reasons to do so, that means you'll appreciate it and love me more. Right?"
This all is probably the source of Dumbledore's comment in the sixth book about the damage inflicted on Dudley.
And then, after everything the Dursleys put Harry through, even though Harry was angry with him just before, when Dudley realized that Harry had saved his life, he got his first ever taste of unconditional love. Harry might not have liked Dudley, but they were still family, and so he saved Dudley. Never mind that Harry would probably have saved him even if they weren't family, as long as Dudley wasn't a death eater; Dudley doesn't know about Harry's "saving people thing." What's more, from what he's observed of his parents' behavior, Dudley might think or worry that as much as his parents claim to love him, in the same situation they probably would have fled for their lives and left him behind.
Of course, Harry then saves all their lives again by getting them into hiding from Voldemort, which reinforces Harry's goodness. (A concept which, incidentally, probably made Dudley start to realize how horrible his parents were, since they were obviously wrong about Harry and thus hated him for ridiculous reasons.)
And also, a lot of the same kinds of things must have gone through Draco's mind in regards to Dobby.
Anyway, given all this, I think Dudley having a magical child would be good for him. I think he would learn from his parents' mistakes, and his own upbringing, and be good to his magical child.
Now, I do believe in magick, but I have several problems with that way of thinking. First, the world is more complicated than that. Magick, including prayer, can only do so much. It can influence the world in your favor, but it's a bit like nudging a speeding meteor so it just barely misses hitting the planet. Sometimes it works, other times the meteor hits you and it's back to clubs and spears. No matter how hard you try, sometimes magick just doesn't work. So the problem with that New Age philosophy of "the universe wants you to be happy," is that it contradicts the evidence. All the evidence is that the universe is in fact a cold, uncaring expanse of void spattered with matter and energy, that has laws of quantum physics that allow consciousness to influence the matter and energy in the universe, but only a tiny bit." Magick is basically 5%, maybe 10% the magick part, and 90% to 95% real-world hard work.
Second, the whole notion sounds very privileged to me, something obviously thought up by people who have had little or no experience with the real world, much less of being poor. And they get people to believe it either by those people also being very privileged, or by people being desperate to believe that if they believe hard enough, they can better their lot in life; people who need to have something to blame that they have no control over, when it fails. I know, because I used to believe that malarkey. I used it as a means of hope, I used it as an excuse for why it wasn't working, and thus I blamed myself for not trying hard enough when it didn't work. It may or may not have been intended to be victim blaming, but that's what it often is.
Third, it sounds suspiciously like the belief of many Christians that God rewards people He loves and approves of with material abundance/wealth, an idea that is mostly used to justify victim-blaming poor people. Like, "Oh you're homeless? You must be praying wrong, or to the wrong God." The same thing happens a lot with people who believe in karma. "Oh you're homeless, you must have been horrible to homeless people in a past life." It's a nice little way to deflect the realities of the world, and continue to live on in blissful ignorance, rather than taking a hard look at reality and recognizing that it takes a lot of hard work and compassion and understanding to make the world a better place. Which, frankly, is true even if karma is real. The people who blame the homeless person for being horrible to poor people in a past life are, in turn, being horrible to poor people in this life. But they're so caught up in victim blaming as a reality deflection tool, that they're not stopping to think that they may be setting themselves up for a hard life in their next life. Or maybe they don't care, since their current ego will be dead and they won't remember any of this. Either way, the result is the same: keep yourself in blissful ignorance, not bothering to put forth the effort to better the world, because hey, karma, so it's their fault they're poor.
Furthermore, that kind of thinking assumes some kind of universal Overmind that is capable of understanding and caring about human beings, in a universe that is unfathomably fucking enormous. The smallest electron in the smallest atom is closer in scale to our sun than our sun is to the local galactic supercluster, and the local galactic supercluster is to the universe at large as the electron is to the galactic supercluster. And that may well be a severe understatement. So it seems pretty absurd and egotistical to me to assume the univere's Overmind is even capable of noticing humans, much less of giving even a tiny speck of shit about us and our welfare. Now maybe there's - I dunno - some kind of local solar system Deity that can help people out, but even then, there are problems.
Because really, even if the universe (or the solar system deity) DOES want you to be happy, that doesn't change the fact that the rules of this universe prevent it from being a magical cure-all, so the result is the same: you have to recognize that 90% and stop thinking the 10% is all you need, stop blaming others for being victims of circumstance, and stop blaming yourself when things aren't going your way.
And like I told my roommate, who was also complaining about the same thing, a good thing to say to people who say that kind of bullshit is "Oh, so I take it you think the victims of the Holocaust asked to die horrifically by Nazi hands? What about the victims of other genocides? Or ebola patients that die? What did the millions of First Nations people who died because of European invaders do to deserve that? Are you telling me that the slaves imported from Africa called that upon themselves?" Because there's only one of three possible reactions to that: 1. "Holy shit, you're right! I'm wrong!" 2. "Of course not! [Insert some convoluted logical labyrinth to attempt to plug the logic hole.] or 3. "Yes, they did."
I can't speak for y'all, but the only people of those three options that *I* want to be spending any more time with are the ones who realize that they were wrong.
In fact, that dream is not entirely just a dream. I have entered places with ghosts in them before, and felt them just long enough to know that the instant they see me, they flee in terror. I have become convinced that they're sensing Shao'Kehn, it's really the only explanation, as I myself am not scary.
LOL, had another thought, and it's funny. Now I'm wondering what Harry Dresden would see if he used his Sight on me. :-D I imagine he would see my protective sphere of red-hot barbed wire and razor wire and flames that is my empathic shield, only more intense because it would be Shao-Kehn's protective sphere rather than an empath shield. And Her burning eyes inside. But he would probably get a sense that She was benevolent, if a bit Protective Mama Bear like.
But yeah, it would be cool to see a horror film where a Pagan priest/ess is performing the exorcism, rather than a Catholic priest.
Capitalism distorts the value of things. In Ancient Egypt, they had the right idea about art: it was one of the most valuable things in their world, sacred even. (There wasn't much creativity, but oh well.) But capitalism puts most people in survival mode, which distorts the value of things. Let's look at the things that are underpaid and under-appreciated in our society:
* Artists (there are exceptions, but on the whole, it's true)
* People who work with the developmentally disabled
These, and possibly others, should be of the HIGHEST value, and should be getting paid the MOST to do their jobs, especially teachers. But no, corporate America wants people smart enough to run the machines but too dumb to question authority, and well-funded schools tend to produce kids that are too smart for our plutocrats to abide.
And then, too, some groups find ways to inflate the value of their work to absurd heights. A good example of this is the medical profession: important, yes, but the price of everything in the medical profession is so absurdly overpriced that doctors make money hand over fist. (If you don't think medical prices are absurdly overpriced, my roommate once got charged $300 just for a single ride in an ambulance. That's at least 1000% higher than it ought to be, and I only wish that were an exaggeration. An ambulance ride should be $30; 1000% of 30 is 300. And then you get professions like chiropractors, which back in the 90's were charging $30 for 10 minutes of pushing on your back. And therapists, charging as much as $100 an hour for you to vent your feelings at them. WTF???)
Another good example of a group artificially inflating their worth is colleges. College tuition is absurdly high, and literally the only reason for it is greed; the people running the colleges keep raising the tuition to see how many gullible people they can get to pay those ridiculous prices, putting themselves into lifelong debt they cannot legally claim bankruptcy on. Add to it the absurdly high cost for books, the fact that used books are not allowed in most colleges, and the fact that going to college is a gamble anyway, and it's a Ponzii scheme to make Enron look like chump change.
I would count sports figures in that group, too, but honestly *their* value is being inflated by the people making money selling tickets to the games, the owners of the teams. But the basic value distortion is the same: here we have a group of people who shouldn't even be able to make a career out of tossing a ball around, or at the very least should be making just enough at it to get by, but instead they're making millions of dollars every year. Honestly, the salaries for sports figures and teachers should be switched around. But capitalism encourages people to care about nothing but greed. It is an inherently evil economic system but the evil just keeps perpetuating itself because greed is a powerful motivator, and money is power.
I understand why they say his credibility is low, but to say he's an unreliable narrator... I don't think so. Maybe that would be true if he tried spinning us a tale of Dolores falling madly in love with him, and Quilty trying to snatch her from his loving arms so he had to defend her, but that is NOT the story he tells us.
In fact, Humbert seems quite candid, to me. He's honest about his actions and his motivations for them. He was honest about his obsession with his lost love, honest about the fact that he was obsessed with Lo as a replacement for his lost love, honest about the fact that he led Lo's mother on so he could get closer to Lo, honest about the fact that Lo was not a consenting partner in all of this, and honest that he killed Quilty because Quilty got between him and Lo, at Lo's behest.
So I'm confused. If he's supposed to be lying about something, what is he supposed to be lying about? What exactly is it that makes him an unreliable narrator? Is it just the fact that he's a child molester? If so, that's a pretty weak reason, given the evidence. If the version of the tale he gave us was him lying, I can't imagine why he would paint such an unflattering and unsympathetic image of himself for us. Because in the end, he still admitted to child sex abuse and to murder. And given that he was, as far as I can tell, only charged with murder of an adult man, I can't imagine why he would volunteer the information about his sex abuse of Dolores. Even accounting for the fact that it was a different era, I'm pretty sure sexually abusing a child was still illegal back in the 50's.
Come to think of it, thinking of things this way, there are only three possible solutions to explain these facts. Because child molesters come in two basic varieties: 1. Unrepetant repeat offenders, which lie and make excuses and never volunteer information of their crimes. 2. One-time-only offenders who feel remorse and can be rehabilitated, but who still aren't likely to volunteer information about their crimes. (Though it is possible.)
Either 1. The book never mentioned that the cops also knew what he'd done with Dolores, or 2. Humbert Humbert is a completely unrealistic depiction of a child molester written by a man who didn't have the faintest clue what such people were like, or 3. Humbert was so full of remorse for how he messed up Dolores's life that he volunteered the information about what he'd done to her.
Number 1 being true would not give any reason for him being "an unreliable narrator" other than the fact of his being a child molester and murderer, which given the fact that he confessed to those crimes and does not make excuses for them, is a weak reason.
If number 2 is true, then the fact that he's written by a man with no clue what child molesters of any kind are really like, then that basically means Nabokov was writing to deliberately make him look bad, and I can't see how his being unreliable is relevant, since he's still telling the truth, even if he is poorly written in this scenario.
And if number 3 is true, well, he's still telling the truth. Unless the truth is somehow even worse, which still wouldn't explain the unflattering and unsympathetic picture of himself that he paints for us.
So however you slice it, the only reason to call Humbert Humbert an unreliable narrator is the fact of his being a child molester, a supposition which is in direct contradiction with how he tells the story. So basically, No. He is NOT unreliable. He was wrong to do what he did, he messed up Lo's life, he murdered a man, and he deserves prison, but as far as I can tell, he was honest about his deeds, his motivations, and that what he did was wrong.*
And even if he were indeed an unreliable narrator, how exactly does that fact contribute to "This is not a romance story," when the story is literally not even remotely written as one??? Whoever said that took one fact and one supposition, neither of which was related to the other, and somehow tried to make a claim that they were related. Which is really fucked-up logic from where I'm standing.
Like I said, they're not wrong about the fact it's not a romance story. Anyone who's ever actually read the book, and paid attention, knows that much. But to use the questionable supposition of Humbert being an unreliable narrator to support that statement is just absurd.
* = The only thing I can think of is that maybe the critic in question couldn't see Humbert's honesty because it got lost in all the flowery language? Which just means that whoever it was needs to reread it a few times, and/or expand their vocabulary.
Let me here tell you what sparked this realization in me. I read a newspaper headline saying something to the effect of "New school lunch program to feed even those who can't pay." My reaction was "Well I should hope so! To refuse lunch to a child because they or their parents don't have the money to pay is basically child neglect, which is the worst form of child abuse there is." Once I consciously made that connection, others quickly fell in place.
The first was that, yes; I have always believed that letting anyone go without food or shelter or any of the basic necessities of life is a form of abuse. I just hadn't been able to put it into those words before.
Secondly was the next obvious thing: if we work from that point of view, then the upper management of places like Wal-Mart are all guilty of child neglect. By not paying their employees a living wage, they are keeping food away from children, and possibly shelter as well. We have some really fucked up priorities in this country. The government will actively take children away from loving families just because they can't afford to feed their kids. How about instead of doing that, we charge the upper management (including CEOs) of corporations like Wal-Mart with child neglect? If corporations want to be people, then they can reap ALL the rewards of being people, including its management (the brain, if you will, of the corporation) doing prison time for 1000's of counts of child neglect if they refuse to pay their employees a living wage.
Of course, we'd have to add a few more provisions to the laws:
1. Add "families with children" to the anti-discrimination laws.
2. If any corporation's management move to another country where they can't be prosecuted, then the law should let the government say "Okay, fine. In that case, you will be considered a foreign company, and you can make up the difference in extremely high tariffs. We'll use the money from those tariffs to fund Food Stamps and other welfare programs." Basically, force them to choose between paying a living wage or paying the equivalent in tariffs.
And why stop there? How about all those corporations that ignore safety problems until someone dies or is severely wounded? Let's see... charge anyone who knew about the issues AND was in a position to do something about it, with negligent homicide. And if the corporation has a policy of "don't tell us about safety issues," whether official or unofficial, charge all the upper management with negligent homicide, too. (Or reckless endangerment, or whatever else applies.)
Oh yes, and everyone in GM who knew about the faulty cars killing people, and did nothing about it, they should all be charged with negligent homicide as well.
I think these changes would be far more effective, because we live in a world now where corporations can shrug off the ridiculously small fines for their crimes. I mean hell, if we're going to continue with using fines for these crimes, the government should at least make it a figure the company will actually miss. Like 25% of their annual profits for each conviction. Let's see the corporations shrug THAT off.
Oh yeah, and any attempts by the company to hide or obscure who the guilty parties were, would be dealt with by treating all the upper management as the criminals in that case. So they'd have to rat out the individuals who knew what was going on, to save their own hides.
And let's see, what else?
Pollution: Treated as attempted mass murder, maybe? Yes, that sounds right.
Killing bees: Envirocide, conviction brings in 50% of the last two year's annual profits, all the fine money going to projects to help save the bees.
Oh yes, and Monsanto's genetically engineered frankencorn and other frankenveggies interbreeding with the normal corn of other farmers, that should be considered pollution, because it IS pollution.
So yeah, I really think we need to change the way we punish corporations for their crimes. If they were forced to choose between paying their employees a living wage, or being tarriffed for the difference, and their upper management going to prison for child neglect, if they were to face REAL, significant consequences for their crimes, then maybe they might change for the better. And if a few corporations go under because they can't recover from the consequences of their crimes, then so be it. Hand of the free market, and all that bullshit. Adapt or die.
But I doubt any of this will happen until we forbid corporate money from politics, and actually ENFORCE that rule.
(Yes, I know this post uses dated numbers, but I've been on disability for a few years and I wrote this without any Internet access.)
Go out and about among the people and say "I'll pay you $7 if you clean my toilet." I doubt anyone would take you up on that offer. So when they decline, ask them "You won't clean a single toilet for $7, but you're perfectly fine with companies paying people $7 per hour to clean lots of toilets? Not $7 per toilet, mind you, but $7 per hour. It's easy to clean, like, at least 4 toilets in an hour. If they were paid $7 per toilet, that would be $28 an hour, and yet they're paid only $7 to clean 4 toilets. That doesn't bother you?"
Because honestly, given how much $7 is worth these days... I can't remember the last time I spent less than $7 at a single grocery store trip. So really, an hour's worth of work is only worth the cost of a package of fried chicken at the grocery store? You can get cheap packages of shredded cheddar that cost more than what people are being paid to clean toilets for an hour! And this doesn't outrage everyone?
Oh and hey, guess what? $7 per hour (a rounding of Oregon's minimum wage back when I was working) was considered a HIGH minimum wage for the US. (It's going up to $9.25 in 2015) I think the federal minimum wage was like $5 or $6 per hour at the most, back then (only, like, 3 years ago). You can't even get a halfway decent hamburger at McDonald's for $5 anymore, for fuck's sake! So we're expecting people to clean toilets, or slave over a hot stove, or deal with asshole customers all day long, for the cost of a couple cheap McDonald's hamburgers every hour? You work an 8 hour day and what can you buy with the $40 you made that day? If you scrimp, if you buy the cheapest shit you can find, if you buy from the bulk aisle, if you eat a lot of rice and pasta and beans, you might - I repeat, MIGHT - be able to afford a few days' worth of groceries with that.
So people are expected to stand all day, run around doing things on their feet all day, cleaning up messes and being polite and helpful to assholes all day, for a few day's worth of groceries each day? $40 a day... I dunno about you, but to me that sounds like a modern anachronism, like those TV shows set in the 1950's where someone says "I'll give you a job for $40 a day," and someone goes "Golly gee, that's mighty generous of you, sir!" Back when $40 could probably have bought an entire car (not a good car, but still a car).
Well guess what? This isn't the 1950's, and $40 won't buy much of anything anymore. The dollar is the new penny, and the penny costs more to make than it's worth. The minimum wage should have been called The Living Wage, because at the time, it was designed to be enough that on a minimum wage job you could afford to buy a house, a car, and have kids. Now you're doing good if you can afford a crappy apartment and food for yourself on minimum wage, and even then you're probably on food stamps and getting donations of food from churches. If the minimum wage had gone up as much and as often as it was supposed to, it would be up to anywhere between $15 and $20 per hour by now. That is at least $8 more per hour than Oregon's minimum wage, and $10 more than the federal minimum wage.
Oh, and it gets worse: people who work in restaurants for tips get paid even less than the federal minimum wage for everyone else, because tips are considered part of their wage. And yet people tip so poorly that at the restaurant-in-a-casino I once worked for - a CASINO, where people go specifically to drop loads of cash - they had to implement a mandatory gratuity for large groups because those large groups, which should have been getting the waitresses upwards of $20 in tips, were doing good to get $9 in tips, and often far less.
In this country, we have gone from valuing the common worker who mops our floors and cleans our toilets so much that we wanted him to be able to buy a house, a car, and feed his kids without much problem, to valuing that same worker so little that they can only survive with government assistance, and even on that assistance, their kids are starving and going to shitty schools. And what's the excuse? "Trickle down economy." It's supposed to be crumbs that are trickling down, which is insulting enough, but we all know it's really piss that's trickling down on us all; and piss is a waste product.
And all the while, the rich line their pockets with absurdly high profits, CEOS get paid hundreds of millions of dollars a year, corporations get so many tax breaks that the government owes THEM money, and corporations are moving their money to overseas banks and their headquarters to foreign countries, all while buying their way into American politics. We can no longer pretend these people in these corporations give a shit about any of us. These corporations are American corporations in name only, and the wealthy assholes who work for them are American citizens in name only. We have basically become overrun by people and companies that have made themselves foreign enemies of state, but still see fit to buy their way into our politics. Look to the CEOs of places like McDonalds for the REAL terrorists!
So please, if you wouldn't even clean a single toilet for $7, talk to your representatives in the government and DEMAND they raise the minimum wage to at LEAST $15 per hour. If you aren't outraged by how low the minimum wage is, by the fact that places like Wal-Mart pay their employees so crappily that Wal-Mart is costing this country billions in food stamps and other assistance, then you are a puppet of terrorist corporations. If you aren't DEMANDING the minimum wage be raised, you are aiding and abetting terrorism.
However, if you really think about it, this is anything BUT unequal. Sure, it can't last forever, but... well, I have a metaphor that will explain:
On one of the episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Ferengi bar tender Quark is dividing the profits of the bar (in the form of "latinum" strips) between himself and his brother, because it is payday. Being the greedy, exploitative Ferengi he is, Quark goes "one for you, TWO for me" with every count. The brother, Rom, points out that this is unfair. Quark agrees, and goes "two for you, THREE for me."
Now imagine that Ferengi law somehow changed, to say that this practice was unfair. Now the law says that, because Quark had been doing this for, let's say, 20 years, he now had to do the opposite for 20 years - give two to Rom for every one he gave himself. To Quark's mind, even "one for you, one for me" is unfair to him, and this is doubly unfair to him.
Now consider, blacks and other people of color (and women, too) have been treated so poorly for the last few hundred years at least (more for women) that at first, even paying non-whites for a job at all was once considered unfair by the people who were used to using slave labor. They consoled themselves, though, by paying POC a lot less than whites, and being much less likely to hire them for many kinds of jobs. (For a long time, they wouldn't have been considered for many kinds of jobs at all.)
Then things change again and they're told they're required by law to give preferential treatment to POC in their hiring, to make up for the hundreds of years of discrimination against POC. So in terms of the metaphor, they're being told to do the hiring equivalent of "two for you, one for me" to make up for having done "one for you, two for me" for decades or longer.
And in terms of the recent Republican vote against wage equality for (white) women, the Republicans are all basically Ferengi saying that they have the right to say "one for you, two for me" to white women and "one for you, THREE for me" to POC, especially POC women.
The thing is, we not only need Affirmative Action for POC and women, but also trans women as well, because as far as these Ferengipublicans are concerned, trans people shouldn't exist and therefore should not be hired at all, and if they're hired, they should be grateful for slave wages.
I'm not saying that, wage-wise, "Quark" should be giving "Rom" two for every one he gives himself, but hiring-wise, it's a good idea. Affirmative Action should be the law nationwide, it should apply to POC, women (especially POC women), transgender people, and gay/bi/pan people. Because the hiring system has been geared so heavily toward straight white cis men for so long that the only true equality at this point for minorities being discriminated against is to turn the tables for a while. Sure, it can't last forever without becoming just as problematic as the current system is, but in the meantime, it must be done.
And for those who say that they'd be forced to hire people just because of their skin color, gender, gender identity, or sexuality, I ask "And how is that different from what you've already been doing? Oh that's right, the tables have turned."
I’d be willing to bet that Slytherin’s reputation prior to Voldemort going there was at least okay, that nobody thought that house was any eviler than any of the other houses despite Salazar’s little falling out and subsequent temporary insanity. (Yeah, he raised a basilisk, but he never used it, and he locked it away. I think he changed his mind about it but couldn’t bring himself to kill the basilisk.) So basically, it was just another Hogwarts House.
Then along comes Voldemort, who is a Slytherin, and he is charming and clever. He uses his charm and brains to warp the students of Slytherin so they will bend to his will. He’s like a cancer, turning healthy cells cancerous by proximity. Through seven years of charm, cleverness, and hard work, Voldemort puts the whole house of Slytherin under his thrall.
This process is so potent that even after he leaves, the infection lingers. Just because the largest tumor leaves, doesn’t mean the cancer is cured. It continues to work in his favor, warping the Slytherins for decades to come, so that by the time Harry arrives, the taint of Voldemort has indeed turned it into a bad place. The living ghost of Voldemort haunts Slytherin, and it has been that way so long, it’s gained a reputation for evil. But since most people don’t connect Voldemort to handsome, charming Tom Riddle, it doesn’t occur to most people that Slytherin got that way because of Tom/Voldemort.
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Time and again, if you read thru DSM-IV or later, you see a pair of diagnostic criteria trepeated.
I plain English "If this doesn't bother the patient, and it doesn't interfere with their ability to function in society" then it's not an actual "condition".
Ok, great. If both are true (isn't bothered) and (can function in society) it's agreed there's no problem.
But there are *four* possible combinations off a pair of true/false conditions.That only covers one.
The obvious second pairing is "does bother" and "does interfere with functioning". And that one too most folks will agree means that the person *does* have a problem and it needs to be treated.
Now for the less obvious ones.
"If it bothers the person, but doesn't interfere with their ability to function (as a "random" example, someone who is gay and belongs to a very "conservatine" church), the "proper treatment is going to be to get them to realize that it's *not* actually a problem just the way they are looking at it is a problem.
It's also fairly obvious (especially with that particular example) that they may not want to be told thos, and may be distinctly unhapy.
Now we come to the *real* zinger.
What if the person is happy with their"condition" but it does "interfere" with their ability to function AS DEFINED BY OTHERS. That's the situation in a lot of cases. Everything from homosexuality & some gender issue, to many kinds of autistics and related conditions.
Which is the right thing to do? Some rather loud and well funded groups will tell you that it's to force the "patient" to act as they are expected to. There can be *some* truth to that. Developing the ability to "act normal" even if only for short periods of time is a useful survival skill.
But forcing people to act according to what are in reality some quite arbitrary "rules" when they are wired such that it's incredibly diffoiucult for them to do so?
That's trading "can function (with horrendous, painful effort) in society" for "is not bothered by condition". That may look like a good trade to some people. But it's sacrificing the individual on the altar of conformity.
And that's a viewpoint that badly needs to be considered by the folks who are so gung ho about making these folks "act normal".
There’s been another school shooting, this time in Santa Barbara, and the culprit is an Aspie. We all know what’s coming: blaming autism for his actions. Which makes about as much sense as blaming someone’s actions on their being male, or on their preferring pistachio flavored ice cream.
We need to have a serious talk in the media about how wrong it is to blame mentally ill people for being violent, when it's almost always violence and ableism and bullying that causes people to snap in the first place, and that most people who snap do so internally and shut down or commit suicide, and only a very few will snap outwardly, which is true of all people, even neurotypicals. Push anyone hard enough and they will either implode or explode, and whether they're mentally ill or not has very little to do with which they will go with; and my guess is, that if being mentally ill affects that outcome at all, it will affect it more towards implosion than explosion.
All these school shootings are not a fucking coincidence, they are happening for a reason, and that reason is that our entire fucking society is broken and needs to be repaired or replaced. A broken society creates broken people. Even if mental illness or mental difference *did* somehow correlate to violence, the cause is the same: society. School is a fucking war zone these days, and was long before Columbine. School sucked when I was growing up, and it has gotten at least 10 times worse if I can believe all the things I've read, and I do. We overload our kids with so much homework - an activity that doesn't even do anything positive - that they break down into tears and get PTSD. Nothing is done about bullying, and that adds to the stress, and creates depression and climbing suicide rates. School is literally Hell these days, and we wonder why our kids are suffering. The system is broken, if it ever worked in the first place, and needs to be replaced, because I believe it is beyond repair. And we can go a long way towards fixing those problems by taxing the rich, giving more money to our schools, and replacing the broken school system with a better one. We can go even further along the road of peace by removing the stressors that cause violence, by making sure everyone has enough food and water, has dependable shelter, and people don't have to work themselves to death just to survive. Do that, and crime and violence will plummet like a stone through air.
These issues, after all, do not exist in bubbles apart from each other. Taxes affect education, education affects mental health and stress levels, basic survival affect stress levels of kids and parents alike, high stress in adults leads towards a heightened chance of domestic abuse which causes more stress for the kids, and heightened stress levels that never really let down will cause a certain percentage of all kids, whether neurotypical or not, to become violent. It's basic "fight or flight." And since the adult world is little better in some ways and worse than others, some people just feel there is no fleeing, and that fighting is the only option. Fix the tax system by taxing the rich and punishing those who evade taxes, combined with coming up with a newer and better education system, will go a LONG way towards slashing the rate of violence.
In the mean time, blaming mental illness on the violence without looking at the real causes of the violence is just as effective toward solving the violence crisis as Republican denial of climate change is going to solve that crisis.
The world is changing, and we don't need mindless manufacturing worker drones anymore; we need intelligent minds to invent ways for us to abandoned short-sighted capitalism and move towards a future where everyone can be free of the stress of not having enough food or shelter and clothes, and can focus instead on chasing their dreams and contributing in meaningful ways to society. We have the technology already to provide more than enough energy, food, and shelter to everyone on the planet several times over. The only thing keeping us back is the greedy capitalist system and the even greedier, short-sighted fools who benefit from this system. And if we don't start acting soon, we will self-destruct our entire species, whether by environmental catastrophe, increasing outbreaks of violence, or both.
So please, let's stop blaming the victims of the system and start placing the blame in the hands of the system victimizing them, and the more-real hands of the people whose profit and greed makes them the real victimizers.
Cultural appropriation means to take something from another culture that is not your own and use it against the will of the culture in question, especially if done in a mocking way. But even things used respectfully can be cultural appropriation. It's like consent in sex, a little. If the culture says no, if enough people in that culture don't like you doing that thing that is theirs, then it is cultural appropriation.
Even converting to another religion can be cultural appropriation, under the right circumstances. For instance, modern Zoroastrianism does not take converts. You are either born into the religion or you are not, and there is no coming into Zoroastrianism if you are a convert. If someone tells you they have converted to Zoroastrianism, they are lying whether they know it or not, and you should probably inform them that claiming to be a convert to a religion that does not take converts is cultural appropriation.
Furthermore, converting to a religion that does take converts can still be cultural appropriation if their religion either requires or strongly suggests the convert have a guide who is already a member of the religion to teach them their ways. You can't, for example, just toss a skullcap on your head and call yourself a Jew, because there are too many rules you have to know, and the best people to learn these rules from are Jews themselves. If you convert to Judaism without another Jew to help you, you 1. Are not really a convert anyway. and 2. Are committing cultural appropriation.
One form of cultural appropriation that applies to the religion thing as well to other things from different cultures, is done via unintentional mockery. Your intentions can be completely respectful, but if you don't know what you are doing, you will not only make a fool of yourself, but also make unintentional mock of whatever culture you've appropriated. For instance, the "Judaism self-convert" who eats pork and wears the skullcap incorrectly, or the "wigger" who thinks he's being cool and honoring Black culture by becoming a caricature of one small aspect of that culture.
Side note: Some people do not understand why cultural appropriation is bad. But consider something... imagine you are a devout Christian, and some fool comes along from a country where Christianity is a minority; he knows little about Christianity, but tries to convert himself to it. His attempt has him wearing the cross upside down, getting Jesus's name terribly wrong, going to "church" on the wrong day, and he can't even tell you any of the 10 commandments or any of Jesus's teachings, but goes around dressed like a cartoonish mockery of Jesus, snacking on communion wafers and canned cheese. Even if some people find this very funny, a lot more will be VERY pissed off. Even if his intentions were pure, he is making unintentional mock of someone else's culture. [ End side note ]
But it can go the other way, too. I've seen a lot, lately, of people saying things are cultural appropriation which are not. People saying that having spirit animals is cultural appropriation is one example. They've got this notion that spirit animals are only from First Nations culture, which they view as a monoculture, without realizing that spirit animals come from shamanism, which is a blanket term for practices that exist in thousands of cultures the world over and in the past. They forget that there is shamanism in their own ancestry, and therefore having a spirit animal cannot be cultural appropriation unless they're claiming it as part of something else, like if the person is claiming to be a member of First Nations spirituality when they aren't. If you are not part of a First Nation/Native American tribe, as recognized by the tribal leaders, then you cannot be a member of their religion. If you want to go into shamanism, fine; shamanism is not tied to a specific culture and everyone's cultures can trace back to shamanistic roots, so being a shaman is fine. Just don't try to be a shaman of a culture that is not your own.
So, in essence, before you adopt a practice into your life, do some research, and ask yourself the following questions first:
* Is it something tied to a specific culture?
* Are you doing this thing properly?
* Are you doing this thing respectfully?
* Have you done research first (and I mean real research, not just 5 or 20 minutes Googling it)?
* If it is tied to a specific culture, do you have permission from the leadership of that culture to do it?
* If any members of that culture told you to stop doing that, do they still tell you to stop after being shown proof that their leadership is okay with it? ("Leadership approves" clause does not apply to cultures with no recognized hierarchical leaders, and therefore if more than a handful of people in that culture disapprove, you should stop doing it.)
If you answer "No" to any of those questions, you should probably not do the thing. Though admittedly, as evidenced by that last question, things are not always so cut and dry. Like I said at the beginning, it is both an easy concept and a difficult one. Even moreso than consent in sex, because you're not just dealing with the consent of one person, in cultural appropriation.
But ultimately, the point trying to be made by calls of cultural appropriation is that people just want to be treated with dignity and respect, and that means treating their culture with dignity and respect. It isn't always easy to know how to go about doing this, especially if something from their culture exerts a strong pull on your soul, but the point is to try, to ask the people who are already in that culture, and to LISTEN TO WHAT THEY SAY. Because if you don't, then you're just being an asshole.
What was meant to be a simple 3-sentence post mocking the bullshit Tumblr complaint of "cisphobia" turned into a rant:
OMG! People getting called bad names and getting vitriol in their general but not specific direction on the Internet because of their gender identity! Gee, I wonder what that would feel like?
Seriously, guys, don't complain until you start getting harassment in meatspace about it, or beat up physically because you used the "wrong" bathroom. Or if you can't find any cis people in media who aren't played as complete jokes. Talk to me if trans people start murdering cis people just for being cis. Or start harassing, beating up, or murdering other trans people because they thought they were cis. Talk to me when your only worth to most people is because cis people are their fetish the same way feet or shoes are, reduced down to a sexual object just because of your gender expression. Talk to me when you can't get through the week without trans people asking you what your "real name" is, or asking deeply personal questions about your genitals without any permission or preamble, and then getting offended when you tell them you're not going to answer. Talk to me when trans people demand to see "proof" that you're cis, asking to see your genitals and/or breasts, touching you without permission, and/or raping/murdering you if you refuse. Talk to me when you're constantly being called a liar whenever you talk about yourself; when you get strange looks wherever you go; when people stage whisper or openly speculate about your "real" gender when they walk by, without even pretending to give a shit that you can hear them.
Talk to me when you try to date someone, you hit it off with them, it looks like you might get laid, then you tell them your gender identity and they look at you like you're a sack of maggots and condescendingly tell you that they can't date you because your genitals are "wrong." Or just as bad, treat you like a mentally retarded child and tell you you're a freak gently.
Talk to me when being cis can get you fired from your job, or not even considered for employment. Talk to me about it when being cis means that people paid to help you survive, such as government welfare workers, treat you like something less important than a dog with fleas.
Complain about cisphobia to me when you can be made to feel your life is in danger at your workplace because - even though you're going stealth - a police officer tells you he knows you're a "faggot queer" and he's "going to be keeping an eye on you," just because your pants and shoes are a tiny bit nonconforming.
Tell me all about cisphobia when you spend a large chunk of every day feeling unsafe, outcast, loveless, unlovable, despised, the butt of jokes, a freak, unnatural, and berated.
Tell me about it when you finally find a safe place you can be yourself without all the hatred, cruelty, harassment, bullying, belittling, and laughter at your expense, only to have the same people who make your life Hell invade your safe space, respond to everything you say to your fellow cis people as though you were talking directly to your tormentors, take everything you say about your tormentors personally as though you were accusing them personally of doing every single thing you complained about.
Tell me all about cisphobia when you respond to those people invading your safe places, saying they don't belong there and begging them to stop responding to messages that are not aimed at them, and to please leave you alone, because they're taking away the one good thing you've found in your life, and they refuse because they can't seem to be satisfied unless they're fucking with you every moment of your life wherever you go. Then watch as they get angry and scream at you as though you had initiated the abuse, as though it was you who were pursuing them wherever they went, when it was THEY who chose to come into YOUR territory and piss on everything to claim it as their own because God forbid you have anywhere at all to exist, you fucking worthless freak.
Please, talk to me about cisphobia when everything you say to try to get rid of these pesky invaders is twisted out of context so that literally everything you say is somehow a personal attack against them. Talk to me about how oppressed you are when these people make up lies about your safe spaces and what goes on in them, to make your safe spaces look like some moral cesspit just because you had the audacity to TALK ABOUT THE SHIT YOU'VE GONE THROUGH YOUR ENTIRE FUCKING LIFE, to other people who have been going through the same ordeals!
Tell me all about cisphobia when you can't go anywhere to talk about the crap trans people put you through for being cis without trans people making everything about them, and constantly barraging you with "not all trans people are like that!" Tell me about it when you laugh at the stupidity of it all, that they can't seem to realize that telling you "not all trans people are like that!" automatically contradicts their statement because by assaulting you in your safe space with that sentiment IS harassment, IS abuse, and DOES ABSOLUTELY turn them into the very people they claim not to be!
Yes, please do tell me all about cisphobia when literally everything has to be about trans people, because "you cis freaks" aren't allowed opinions or safe places because you SHOULDN'T EVEN EXIST, because you are a perversion of nature, sinful, Satanic, a pedophile, or worse!
Tell me about cisphobia when trans people who claim to be "cis allies" won't let you talk for yourself, THEY must talk FOR you, because they think you're too stupid to use big words, and/or your opinion is worthless, only THEIR opinion counts. And then when you call them out on this bullshit, they withdraw their support and treat you the same as the rest of your tormentors, proving they were never allies to begin with. Because they want to do all the work for you and how dare you have to audacity to try to deprive them of yet another opportunity to make absolutely sure they are the center of attention at all times!
Complain all you like to me when your supposed "cis allies" make HUGE profits off half-assed attempts to bring "awareness" to the "cis struggle" with merchandise and albums and concerts and tours and so on, and keep all that money to themselves, or give it away to groups that don't do JACK SHIT to make anything any better for anyone but themselves, when there are SO many ways that money could help: cis kids living on the streets after being kicked out by their parents, prostituting themselves because it's the only way they can find to make money; cis people living on poverty wages at a job that makes them sick to their stomach every day, and unable to change their lot for the better because it's the only job that will hire them; cis people being murdered for being cis left right and center but the "allies" say nothing about that; cis kids being bullied in school, going home with bloody noses and a mess of bruises every day only to come home to their parents telling them they have to change who they are to prevent more beatings; and so many things besides.
Complain to me about cisphobia when nobody will hire cis actors or actresses for roles, even to play cis characters. Tell me how, when you try to complain about the discriminatory and offensive practice of cis people not getting to play even cis characters, everyone tells you you're "too sensitive" and how you should be grateful that "such a good actor" was chosen for the role, even though as a trans person he has NO FUCKING IDEA the shit you've gone through your whole life, and so HOW THE HELL could he *possibly* play a cis character properly? Tell me, when you campaign for cis actors to play cis characters, about how you're sneered at, scoffed at, laughed at, and basically told to shut the fuck up already, because nobody fucking cares about cis actors except "some stupid social justice warriors" on Tumblr.
Bitch at me about cisphobia when, upon being raped for being cis, you're told it was your fault for "lying" about yourself, and "leading them on." Cry at me about cisphobia when cis people are being murdered at several times the rate of trans people, and not a single one of those murders is on the 5 o'clock news, and the ONLY media outlets covering the story AT ALL are online, and even you only found out about it yourself because of a "social justice warrior" post on Tumblr.
Scream at me about cisphobia when the ONE cis actress in the public spotlight, who has won awards and been nominated for others, who fights for cis rights and is a WONDERFUL human being, gets voted onto Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People" by NINETY PERCENT, basically a fucking LANDSLIDE, and then the magazine COMPLETELY DISREGARDS this vote and chooses some fucking tinpot dictator and some vapid pop stars to put in the magazine instead. Tell me about cisphobia when your screams of protest at this outrage are met with silence at best, and acidic vitriol or death threats at worst.
Tell me all about cisphobia when your entire existence is either shit on, ignored, or erased. Let me know when even Left-leaning liberal entertainers are using cis people as the punchline of a joke. Tell me about it when your understandable RAGE at EVERY FUCKING THING that has happened to you and your fellows because of your gender identity is cited as proof that you are an over-emotional, super-sensitive, trans-phobic bigot. Tell me about cisphobia when your hyperbole statements of frustration about your trans oppressors, in a conversation between just you and your fellow cis people, is twisted out of context into "OMG that was a death threat!" and cited as proof that you are "just as bad" as the people you are complaining about, even by people you thought were cool before. Because, once again, absolutely everything must be about your oppressors, because the sun shines out their assholes and you're just this little worthless freak.
Then, and ONLY then, will you have a right to complain about cisphobia, and don't you DARE talk to me about it until that day comes. But know that if that ever does happens, I will listen to you and I will be there for you even though you weren't there for me. Because it is the right thing to do.
I didn't say anything to them, though I was very tempted to. Because what I wanted to say to them was, "It doesn't matter what age someone is, people are still people and have a right to privacy, even children. It is STILL a violation of privacy, and there's no justification for it. Just excuses." Because honestly, if they're old enough to use a cell phone to send and receive text messages, they have a right to those messages being private. Same goes for email.
Sheesh, the bullshit some people rationalize in the name of "safety." Oy vey.
Not sure if it would work, how it would work if it did, or what the end result would look like, but it's worth a try. Wish I had the skills and money to try it myself.
I think it was meant to be comforting, but it has some scary implications. First, if you consider being born to be coming alive from nothingness, then dying is going back to nothingness.
Second, even if you believe in an afterlife, being born is an incredibly traumatic experience, and if we remembered it, we would all have PTSD. (Though it's entirely possible, given the state of humanity, that we all have a form of PTSD from being born after all.) So one implication is that dying is very traumatic. And that the world we live in now is warm and comforting and safe compared to what awaits us.
Although... he did say "in reverse," so I guess it's also possible that all the trauma comes first, then you die, and no more trauma. That we go from a life of trauma to a warm and safe and comforting place after death? Yeah, that's possible too.
It makes sense for her. She would want to spend as much time as possible getting caught up in her knowledge of the wizarding world, since the school doesn't have a Wizard Studies class for the muggle-borns. So naturally the schoolwork, which comes easy as a breeze to her, takes second fiddle to her studies of the wizarding world, meaning she'll take every shortcut she can without cheating, because as she told Ron about copying/cheating, "how will you learn?"
Though I suspect it was a spell that already existed, and here's why: the Prime Minister's remark about Kingsley, saying, "He's highly efficient, gets through twice the work of the rest of them." So obviously Kingsley knows the same spell.