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My drug of choice is writing--writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Facebook Gems Top of June 2020

Maybe don't try telling a six year old that
someone who will enjoy you doing it for an hour or so
is one thing you're actively hoping to find in a partner.

Since shelter in place and global pandemics and political landfill infernos tend to fracture my already ADD attention, I've been doing a lot more writing during Shelter In Place in bite sized chunks on Facebook. I'm still writing, it's just fewer long hours of focus on a single good article a day. So until Sh.I.P. ends or my ADD gets used to the new normal, I'm going to put some of my best posts (including some of the memes) every couple of weeks into a compilation post.

If you are demanding that fascists, bigots, and Nazis get a seat at the table and be heard out because "The Marketplace of Ideas!", but dismiss "defund the police" or socialism outright as worth listening to, you are less about boundless and limitless free speech than you think you are, and a LOT less slick than you imagine about covering up what ideas you're kind of okay with.

Ack!
Stop that!


The word “set” has 430 different definitions and the word “run” comes in a distant second at nearly 400, and we successfully manage to work out from context which one is meant.

Which is just to say, I’m fairly certain English, Western Civilization, and the future of humanity will be okay if “literally” joins “cleave,” “oversight,” and “sanction,” as a contronym.


The left and the right have different meanings when they talk about "cancel culture."

For the left it is often a nuanced issue when an individual is harassed (in very abusive patterns and for a very long time) by their former peer group, in stark contrast to the claims of valuing restorative justice, and usually with exact proportionality to their social marginalization. (Cishet white men are not held as accountable and given WAY more second chances.) It intersects with ableism as people with rejection sensitive dysphoria and various mental illnesses can be severely traumatized, often for years, by many of the most commonly used tactics, simply for not being contrite enough, fast enough. I'm not going to say where I land to someone who isn't smiling at me over broken bread, but it IS complicated.

For the right and it's staunchest critics "cancel culture" is pointing out that dead white slavers maybe don't deserve to be lionized on an actual pedestal. Or it is celebrities receiving literally ANY consequence for bad behavior, even as minor as a few all-caps tweets that hurt their feels in response to open, naked bigotry.

The sooner that little disconnect is understood, the easier it is to deal with the fact that our terminology and harm-reduction introspection will be commandeered to shame us for looking sideways at their ideologies the MINUTE they hear of it.



I really think it's time for Gen X to do the work of our generation and make a difficult choice.

We can either keep responding to Artax memes with "TOO SOON!" some thirty-six years later in a display of entire-generational trauma, or dropping paragraphs about how the Skeksies legit fucked us up, and thus acknowledge that the kids movies of our day were sort of the media equivalent of the playground with the corrugated sheet metal you could tetanus-cut yourself on and the teeter totter that would send you to the hospital...

OR....

We gotta stop giving today's kids' movies shit about how fluffy they are. By which we usually don't mean "fails to tackle real, topical, and serious issues by allegory," but rather "doesn't have characters or scenes that are immediately traumatizing." 

HAAAAAAAVE to.

Let us do this ONE thing to better the world instead of just watching millennials and boomers yell at each other as we eat Honey Nut Cheerios for dinner.


I had an avocado tonight as a capstone on dinner. But I didn't eat any toast. And it had been an hour since I had a bread product of any kind.

So hopefully I haven't destroyed my financial future forever.



If you ever want to “get it,” run a nice big page for a while. Compare the reactions to a few bigoted slurs or naked bigotry itself to the reaction to “irregardless.” See what makes people actually angrier. See about what they equivocate and about what they are unyielding. Notice what moves them to vitriol. See the patterns in the big numbers merit out over and over.

It’ll be quite the experience for you.



It's probably worth it for anyone at the upper end of social hierarchies to consider how many interactions happening at the social/cultural level, couched in slick language and well rehearsed scripts (and injected with everything from politics to motive), still boil down to this:

Person 1 - You're hurting me.

More powerful person - No I'm not. And if I am, you deserve it.




There's an op-ed in the NYT by Paul Krugman identifying this moment as the total breakdown in the US response.

It is.

This is the moment Trump decided to cheer protestors because they were protesting Democrats who had shut down businesses in response to the pandemic. He did this because they had (D)'s after their name, and he has come to see Democrats as his enemies because he is an egomaniac and everything is about him. 

And they don't properly fellate his genius. 

In cheering on those protesting a (reasonable) leadership response to the pandemic, he signaled several things at once.

1- He abandoned leadership. Basically, by not having a federal response, he told the states they were on their own.

2- BUT he cheered the protesters who were protesting the governors of those states that weren't doing what he wanted. So he may not have overtly and outloudly coordinated zero response, but he clearly favored it.

3- He signaled to every governor in the country that he would support their ignoring the virus and condemn any leadership response to it. He emboldened those who were calling it a hoax or overblown and cowed those who were trying to keep their citizens safe.

4- He engaged in a very official, top-down, conservative response (even if that response was to do nothing). He voiced official support for coordinated, well-funded, backed-by-billionaires, totally-not-grassroots political protests calling for ZERO response to the pandemic (trading lives for jobs). He may have done this as a personal move because those people were protesting his political enemies, but in doing so, he firmly put himself on the side of those rushing to reopen despite having no control.

5- He essentially ginned up the folks who would become the anti-mask movement today--,wearing masks being the ONE thing people could do to make everyone much, much safer, and the one thing other countries are doing that is getting them back to (a somewhat adjusted) normal.


Dudebro: I am an egalitarian. An equalist. I would march for equality. I would fight for equality. I would DIE for equality.

Peep from marginalized group: What I would like you to do is name this and acknowledge the particular ways that inequality affects me.

Dudebro: YOU HAVE LOST AN ALLY TODAY.....



I think it's very likely that we just have to start thinking of masks in the same way we do shirts. I mean you might see someone without one, but indoors it'll probably get some stiff glances. And mostly, it'll just be something people wear.

Find a comfy one that you like and matches your outfit. If you don't the tight one you have, invest in the looser ones. Have a whole set with logos that fly your geek or nerd or sports or whatever flag high. Get ones with some snarky political statements on them.Go unapologetically Disney. Find the tie or loops that you like the most. Fashion statement with your mask. Consider rhinestones!

("Oh, that mask does NOT go with your pants. Wear THIS one. Much better.")

Get used to it. This is probably going to be our lives now. Possibly forever. We don't even know how well a vaccine will work, especially not with an active antivaxxer movement. New normal. Adapt.


Look, if you want my Game of Thrones/House of Cards piping hot take, what is happening with schools isn't any goddamned different than anything else the GOP does. They may want things to look like they're back to normal, but that's not WHY they're doing this.

They walk in, break things, and then shout, "THIS IS BROKEN. WE HAVE A POLITICAL IMPERATIVE TO GET RID OF IT." They did it with healthcare. They did it with SNAP. They've tried to do it with welfare to some success. They are trying to do it with social security, but they have to tread lightly or they'll lose the over-65 vote they can't win without. They can't get their way when most people LIKE the programs they want to eliminate, so first they have to sabotage them.

Now they're doing it with schools. Because public education costs a lot, and private education can bust the public school teachers union and otherwise circumvent many of the reasons WHY public education is expensive (usually at the cost of the the teacher and/or the quality of education, but who cares about that when there's money to be made).

They are going to CREATE a teaching crisis by causing a body count. By forcing everyone back into physical classes, hundreds of thousands of teachers will either die, get terribly sick, or be out for weeks––and those are the ones who don't quit or retire early. And then the Republicans will swoop in: "Shame about that public education system that is collapsing! Good thing we have vouchers and privatization."

That's my piping hot take. This is the long game for them, and they exploited a global pandemic to get their way because literally nothing is beneath them.

But, of course, at this point, Machiavellian doesn't matter. The consequence-oblivious sledgehammer has joined the fray.

About three days ago, Trump threw his ego into the argument (and everyone who says no to his plantation-sized, but two-year-old mature ego,"hates him"), so now schools will reopen and if he has to bluster because it's about HIM and his "authoritah" instead of children and health (or even the long game of breaking public education). He will threaten governors and take to twitter and turn yet another aspect of managing human health and safety into a partisan issue. Which means folks with Republican governors and purple states where people won't stand up to him are going to be even WORSE off.



The worst part is being absolutely 100% certain that there will be viral videos of openly weeping parents wishing to anything and everything that they could just go back and let their kid have a shitty semester or two.


Epidemiologists in April: Close the schools.

The Trump administration actively ignoring epidemiologists in June: Open the schools! Or I'll defund your asses.

I hate to be the one to point this out, but when you apply the law of big numbers to low statistical chances, you get SOME results. This is absolutely going to cause the deaths of tens of thousands of teachers. That's just the math of it. And hundreds of thousands more will be hospitalized, have organ damage, or be out of school for weeks.

But kids are going to die too. And no one thinks it'll be their kid until it is. Covid-19 affects kids less (and thank the UNIVERSE for it), but it doesn't NOT affect them at all, and by ten that fortuitous resistance is all but gone. So as soon as you start having MILLIONS of kids go back to school, the law of large numbers will kick in, and the math will show no mercy. Some are going to be in hospitals. Some are going to have lifelong organ damage. And some are going to die.



This isn't the absence of leadership. That's not actually even an accurate appraisal of our Coronavirus response.

It's ANTI-leadership.

Trump didn't just ghost his executive duties and abdicate to the states––in many cases explicitly.

He abdicated to the states and then kneecapped the ones who made him look bad by doing a good job. He got on stage and said shit that was actively harmful. He's out there consciously undoing the state and local leadership that has tried to step up into his vacuum of initiative.

"Lack of leadership" doesn't even cover it.





Disney parks didn't reopen because it was safe.

Disney parks reopened because they got indemnity shielding from the government (slickly folded into one of the stimulus packages). Translation=Disney parks reopened because now they can't be sued unless someone can PROVE Disney "intended" to violate the already lax social distancing rules the government has set down.

I like Disney as far as evil corporations go, and I am generally pretty happy with what I get back when I give them my money, but they are NOT looking out for you.



It is now statistically more dangerous to go out than it was in April, we're still in the first wave. There are people I love and haven't held in four months. Most countries have this thing under a semblance-of-normalcy-returning degree of control, but our numbers are in a "runaway scenario" because we have anti-leadership and no check on base behavior so abhorrent that it is telling us to get over the deaths of ten thousand kids and a hundred thousand teachers so we can have a good financial fall.

I will never ever forget that it is because you groomed your base to be anti-science, anti-media, and anti-expertise for thirty years, turned masks into a culture war issue, exploited a pandemic to slide through ever more ultraconservative policies that even you constituents wouldn't want if they were paying attention, covered up your criminally negligent failures (and your just plain criminal scandals), cared more about the stock market than literally anything, and assumed that hundreds of thousands dead was a conspiracy to make your cult leader look bad.

And guess what? Our economy's tanking anyway because you won't actually fix what's WRONG with it.

I can be compassionate, empathetic, love nuance, and still be so angry with you that my fury burns like ice.

I just hope I'm not alone in that long, long memory.



Conservatives: Free Market free market freemarket freemarketfreemarket.

Liberals: Okay but human live–

Conservatives: FREE MARKET!

Walmart: We've determined that it's in our long term financial interests to require masks given the customers we will lose and "lose" if we don't.

Conservatives: Not....like.....THA **NAZGUL SCREAM**

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