I'll come up with something in a minute.

Slow Clap

When you loved your gay kids, Sen. Rob Portman didn’t care about their rights and thought you were a sinner for not disowning them. Now that he loves his gay kids, he expects you to care and love both him and his son. Okay, he can vote for marriage equality, I’m always ready to welcome someone into the human race.

As for his spiritual redemption though, he’s only getting a slow sarcastic clap from me.

It leads me to believe he never REALLY opposed marriage equality, he just wanted to look like he was because it played well with his voting block. I assume that he will still oppose women’s rights, the rights of minorities, the rights of the poor, the rights of those who can’t afford health care, and on and on and on…

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March 15, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

“So what’s wrong with being a Nice Guy?” You mean besides everything?

So we need to discuss this… I guess.

The other day I posted this link on another social media that sounds like a horror movie* if you say it right. The person I snagged the link from had kind of a discussion on their board because someone wanted to know what was so bad about being nice. He hadn’t quite twigged to the idea of what Nice Guy actually means to the internet, and was soon set straight. Now, since most the Nice Guys I’ve met don’t have the self awareness of a Rotary Club Sign, it might be time that we lay this mutha out for everyone.
*Seriously The Book of Faces! Also, Twitter is a romantic comedy, Tumblr is an action movie and My Space is a wacky Sci-fi comedy probably starring The Weasel himself, Pauly Shore. Yeah, I have a mentally undemanding job and a lot of time without interaction.

So the basic facts first, I think… and there is no nice way to say what I’m going to say here.

If you describe yourself as a Nice Guy, you might want to stop doing that. See, everyone outside of Nice Guys (note the capital lettering) thinks anyone who self-identifies as one is an asshole. Seriously, it’s like a code that Nice Guys don’t actually know and it’s frankly kind of sad. Is that fair? Sorry, what the blazing blue fuck does fair have to do with this? Fair is for sports, and this ain’t no sport. There ain’t no points and you only loose by failing to play the game. Go read over that link I provided, that will give you a great deal of the problem. The sort of guys who call themselves Nice Guys are so often not, and in fact are just assholes in disguise that most everyone else sees the word Asshole when they read the words Nice Guy. So yeah, stop calling yourself that.

I’m not going to go into the whole Nice Guy thing, except to say that you need to either understand some women aren’t as attracted to you as you are to them and be a man about it instead of a bitter little baby. Here’s the thing, they might want you later if you keep being a good friend. I don’t say that it WILL happen, but it COULD happen. However, if you take the rebuffed advances with the attitude of “All bitches are bitches and they don’t know a good thing when it’s in front of them.” then it WON’T happen. Not only won’t it happen with her, but if she networks right, it won’t happen with any woman inside the tri-state area. They don’t always share talk about the good ones, but they will always warn someone off a bad one. You should be nice, but be nice for its own merit and as its own reward. It’s not a game, you don’t build up points, the friendzone is not a penalty box.

In fact, let us talk about The Friendzone for a moment. I have only once or twice heard the term used by women. It’s almost totally used in the context of “That bitch put me in the freindzone and *blah blah misogynistic whining and entitlement issues* what a bitch!” For starters, call her a bitch again, women love to be insulted by guys. If you can’t spot the sarcasm in that last sentence, please break off a chair leg and beat yourself in the face until you see spots, I honestly can’t be bothered to come over and do it for you. Most the people who use the phrase use it as a complaint, and I can’t understand why. I am firmly in the Friendzone of a woman I know. She’s married, and monogamous, and possibly not into me despite my long flowing hair and dark as midnight eyes. Thing is, I love her deeply and dearly. We’ve never been to bed together, we’ve never even kissed. I’ve kissed her on the cheek a couple of times, that’s the closest we ever got to that and as far as I know it’s the closest we will ever get. And I’m okay with that because I love her and to an extent I love her husband and I care deeply about them both. I can’t imagine that being a bad thing. She didn’t penalize me, she didn’t even consciously “Put” me there, that’s just where I ended up.

I did however once have a woman explain that she had to “Friendzone” a guy. This surprised me, as she and I always refer to each other as friends. Now… spoiler alert, she had slept with me before and did so again soon after this conversation and the whole time referred to me as Her Friend. so I was surprised to hear that “Friend Zone” didn’t come with a side of sex for the poor bastard. She explained that she had sort of intended to sleep with him, but he went on this hateful rant about what a bitch his ex was and it totally turned her off him forever and ever. And that’s the other part of that, I am friends with a great many women, and I’ve had sex with more than a few of them. Unless there was an ongoing, committed relationship, all those women called me their friend. So yeah, even in the friendzone, there is sex.

The problem is, if you approach with desperation, with bitterness, with the attitude on your face… they’ll know and they won’t want to be with you. Maybe they don’t want to be with you anyway, but you don’t want to poison the well as it were. Okay, this one woman doesn’t want to date you. Maybe that’s because she’s with someone right now, maybe it’s because she doesn’t have those feelings for you, maybe it’s just not the right time. If you react badly, if you throw a tantrum, they’ll talk to other people about it. Even if you throw a tantrum outside that one woman’s sight, other women will see it. The network is strong. The network includes all types and genders. There is no escape from The Network. Fear the network. The only thing worse that labeling yourself a Nice Guy is for The Network to label you.

AND THEN THERE’S THIS!

Even if “Nice Guy” wasn’t being used by everyone but Nice Guys to mean “dickhead”, is that all you have going for you? That you’re nice? Really? Because where I come from, that’s like saying “I have a pulse and metabolize sugars in my liver” or “I am a person” No matter what, you’ve got to have more game than that you are “nice” by whatever we mean by that. Nice is a baseline, nice is expected, nice don’t even get you through the door. You need some skills. Probably more than video games, although maybe not. If you can avoid calling a girl a Fake Geek because she’s better than you at Medal of Duty: Call of Honor, you might be in with a chance. Look at me. Yes, I’m pretty, but there is so much more. I write bad novels, I take amazing photographs, I sing, I dance, I know more about the history of film making than is good for me, and I write truly atrocious poetry. Result? I still strike out seven times out of ten. Some people just ain’t into me, but I have a fairly decent reputation and I know how to self-congratulate in a way that is sort of endearing and appropriately lamp shaded.

Point is, grow the fuck up, be an actual man, and quit pretending that Nice ever was enough for anybody.

Thank you and goodnight.

January 24, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Okay Feminists, listen…

You’re basically right. Let’s get that out of the way. 98% of what feminist are currently saying is more or less correct. Dismissal of Intellect? Yeah, that happens. Objectification on a Mass Scale? Yeah, we still do that. Rape? Yeah. Reproductive rights? We’ve got problems like wow. Male Gaze? Guilty, though I’m not really sure how you intend to fix it without changing genetics. I agree with the substance of your arguments and endorse the whole of your ideas. (you can already hear the “but” coming, can’t you?)

HOWEVER!

Pretending that there was NEVER a time when the man-hating feminist was a thing?

That’s a lie.

Argue they were a minority, argue they don’t matter, argue that those ideas were part of a process and are no longer needed, but don’t say they never happened. Valerie Solanas was a popular and influential feminist of her time. And the SCUM Manifesto was, by her word, a serious work. She stated several times that she meant every word. Now, if you want to say “That doesn’t represent current feminist attitudes and never really represented mainstream feminism” no one would be happier to listen to you than me. I don’t think those ideas where ever really picked up on by most women who were looking more for better pay, less objectification, and maybe a little more understanding about what we all have to go through.

Except of course, a few mainstream feminists pick up on those ideas and expressed great admiration for those works. Gloria Steinem does represent mainstream second wave feminism and I found her hateful enough that I recoiled from her works when I tried to read them. Germaine Greer gives me similar problems as well. Both of them are intelligent women, with a lot of important things to say, but it gets lost in passages that left me going “Oh, it’s like that is it?” Sort of a shame, but there it is. I got burned at an early age by some very harsh talk and had to make my way to the idea that you’re getting fucked over on my own. I’ve had problems with a lot of the second wave feminism that I’ve read. I’ve read a lot I agree with as well, but on the whole I end up feeling like being born with a penis was a failing on my part. I sort of prefer the purity of the first wave, from what I’ve read of it. I’ll grant, I haven’t read all there has been to read, but I’ve read a few of the books and articles over the years. Of course, you also have Betty Friedan, who is the originator of the phrase, “Men weren’t really the enemy — they were fellow victims suffering from an outmoded masculine mystique that made them feel unnecessarily inadequate when there were no bears to kill.” which is pretty good.

NOW!

Current feminist? Third Wave Feminist? Fine group, interesting ideas. I’m sort of annoyed that many of them are saying the exact same things that first and second wave feminists said, but that’s more of a “Are you really still having to talk about that? Haven’t we fixed that yet?” which is more a problem with society than the writer. I find that those feminists are much more even handed, and tend to extend out the idea that men aren’t the enemy, but a fellow combatant. I like the idea that it won’t really work until we’re all free. I get a better feeling that third wave has done more to embrace the “Man is not the enemy here, but the fellow victim.” mindset.

So far I haven’t had much of a problem… EXCEPT! This wish to pretend those second wave feminists didn’t exist. It is a problem. It smacks either of ignorance or of dishonesty, and we can’t have an intelligent conversation with either of those hanging over our heads. It’s like saying misandry doesn’t exist. Yes, it does. I can prove it does. I’ve seen examples of misandrists in my own life. The level of misandry I have seen, as compared to the level of misogyny is akin to that of the rainfall of Des Moines as opposed to the rainforest of the Amazon. But let’s not try and pretend that it never rains in Des Moines, okay? It does, just not as much as the Amazon.

To say that it never rains, or that there are no man hater, when we can pull out sheets of paper to the contrary, is far more problematic than having to deal with the fact that someone can justifiably call you a liar. Stand up tall, say “Yes, that happened, however that doesn’t invalidate everything else I’ve just said. The amount of shit women have to put up with is far and away far more than men have to deal with.” Yeah, some asshole will try to shut you down once you agree it happens to both sides, but that guy is shutting you down RIGHT NOW with far more justification because you are either lying about or are ignorant of what your own side has previously said.

You can’t let those assholes have any more ammo than you can help. Why give them that? I don’t want to be 60 and still having people asking if there are any funny women despite the fact that Kate Beaton, Josie Long, Susan Calman, Tina Fey and Ellen DeGeneres out there. Never mind the republicans talking about how awesome rape is, let’s sort out if women can be funny first. Yes, they can. Okay, glad that’s settled.

Look, I’ll make it simple. It comes down to veracity, and I want this discussion to have some. We must remain truthful. Yes, the bra-burning was false, never happened, but that doesn’t mean that nothing bad has ever come from our side. Accept it, and move on.

I have never considered myself a feminist, because I don’t have the equipment for it. I mean the mental equipment, there is not going to be a cheap penis joke here. I am far to entrenched in the male mindset to really understand what women are going through, in much the same sense that I can never really understand what it’s like to be a poor black growing up in the ghetto. I can say “Yeah, that’s bullshit and it shouldn’t happen.” but I can’t even begin to say I understand what that person went through. I’ve got my own sexual-socio-political problems to work out. Now it may be that some of our issues actually coincide, but I’ve got to come from a different angle and I’m attacking from the other side. But I do so with as much honesty as I can muster and I ask you to do the same.

Also, if anyone can tell me if Anne Rice was endorsing Valerie Solanas’s ideas in Queen of the Damned or satirizing them, I’d appreciate it.

October 27, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Don’t bitch to me about the pumpkins

So, I’m at Einstein Bros. bagels this morning, right? I was tired, and hungry, and just mildly pissed off at being awake and in pain at that hour of the morning. Nothing an asiago bagel with cream cheese can’t handle, or at least help. So I’m standing in line and the guy in front of me… a pumpkin killed his family at the tender age of eight. That’s the only thing I can come up with, because he was bitching about the pumpkin flavored cream cheese like it was a personal slight against him on the part of the Einstein Bros. bagel company.

“Look at this fucking shit.” He opined to his companion. “I fucking hate pumpkin. Why the fuck do they have to put it out every year?”

His friend was trying to was trying to calm him down, explaining that he wasn’t actually required to have any, but he wasn’t having sense today, he was bitching about pumpkins. The kid behind the counter was looking sort of annoyed and worried, the guy’s friend looked sort of worried, and I can only think I was looking pissed. This isn’t rare, I often look pissed. Even when I’m not pissed, I look pissed. It’s just how my face is shaped. The guy was going on and on and I found that I was thinking a statement to myself that it would be fun to say.

“It’ll be gone by mid-November and no one’s forcing you to have any, so shut the fuck up asshole.”

I then looked at the kid behind the counter again, who was looking at me with face agape. Something seemed slightly off in the atmosphere of the room as well. Nothing you could put your finger on, just… something. I then looked at the two guys, who were looking rather stupidly at me in their suits and ties. It’s at this moment that I think “Yeah, it sounded sort of loud when I thought that, must have actually said it out loud. Fukit! Imma own it.”

The pumpkin hater is looking at me as if I were, myself, a pumpkin and I just decide to look back. Only now I’m allowing my face to look as annoyed as I feel. He was a big lad, but he was soft, and I do nasty for a living. After about three seconds he took two steps back and looked at the other kid behind the counter and didn’t say another thing until he left. I’m sure he had a great deal to say once he was out of my hearing, but that was the point. Thing is, he’s an asshole and a coward and all it took was a guy who could happily slice his face off while humming show tunes to shut him up.

Those of you who follow me on twitter or facebook, know what happened next. I sent out a small missive that explained that guy could shut the fuck up. For 90 days out of the year, people who like pumpkin stuff are happy. If you don’t like it, no one forces you to eat it. And then… it happened. While looking at my phone I saw another person explaining why Twilight sucks and the people who like it suck and I got pissed. Particularly since claiming Twilight isn’t very much like Harry Potter using Harry Potter’s rules is like bitching that a can of cola isn’t a web shooter. A little champagne cork popped off the bottle of rage I keep for special occasions.

Because… you know, you could have done anything. You could have saved a child’s life, you could have written a Broadway musical, you could have given a hand job to an elderly vicar, fixed an elderly neighbor’s car, learned to play the banjo, done something useful, but you didn’t. Instead, you once again bitched about someone daring to like something you don’t care for and telling them they were stupid for liking it. Hoo-fucking-rah for you. You have proven once again that positive reinforcement is a meaningless set of sounds as far as you’re concerned. What a fucking waste of a fucking life you fucking lead. Why not do something positive? Why make someone feel bad for liking something? What sort of piece of shit are you? Isn’t there some kind of apocalypse virus that could use the oxygen you’re wasting? You know, so it can grow strong and wipe out the human race? Something useful, not like what you used it up doing.

You would think geeks, of all people, would be less bigoted in their approach to the culture people consume. You’d think they’d be more tolerant and accepting about what makes people happy. But the sad fact is, they’re not. If you fall away from the accepted list of geeky things, you will get shouted at, mocked and treated like an idiot. And by what? By people who spent years getting shit for liking Dr. Who and Star Trek. By people who should know better, but strangely don’t. I know people who have left fandom entirely because they got tired of taking shit every time they got enthusiastic about something that didn’t meet with the Hive Mind’s approval. I’ve heard tales of people leaving a group in tears because someone decided to explain to them why they, as an individual, deserved to be killed for liking something that the other person hadn’t even read, but had heard sucked. And if I ever find that guy… just don’t let me find you asshole.

Now, it’s one thing to write a criticism of something, to explain why you didn’t like it. It’s okay to not like something, even to express that you REALLY don’t like it. You can even spend three pages of internet paper completely and utterly savaging something, if you thought it was going to be good and it turned out to be offensive. Hell, I’ve reviewed enough movies in the same manner a puppy expresses the fullness of its feelings on a slipper to allow that. However, once you’ve made your statement, and expressed your view, you are cordially invited to shut the fuck up about the matter. You said what you had to say, now let it go and get a life.

There is a difference between presenting your opinion, and just being a dick for the sake of trying to hurt other people. Constantly insulting something someone likes, is the second group. Constantly belittling people for their enthusiasm? Second group. Regularly decrying the quality of a product, without even asking why the person likes it, or suggesting something that they might enjoy more? Yeah, you’re gonna have to put “Second Group” on the form for that one. Live tweeting your insults while you’re in the movie on opening night, thereby ruining the experience for other people who paid to see that? Yeah, I’m GLAD you got thrown out of the theater and were told not to return ever. That person is a massive asshole.

Someone posted a quote on Facebook recently, that said something like “Geekery is about being enthusiastic about things we love, not decrying, not belittling.” and the very first comment to that quote that I saw was “Bullshit! I’ve never seen a geek like anything, they’re like hipsters, only they think they’re better because they pretend to be feminist or liberal sometimes.” and I found that to be just plain tragic. Because the geeks were supposed to be the good guys. But no, give them some time and they’ll be racist, slut shaming, misogynists, just as bad or even worse than any asshole you’d gleefully run down with your car. In fact, they’re far worse because they have the ingrained belief that no matter what transpires, they’re actually the victim here.

So there’s going to be some pumpkin flavored things. Maybe that’s not to your liking, but a lot of people do like it. It’s not hurting you, no one is taking away the asiago bagel. The salmon spread is still there. Likewise, no one is taking Dr. Who off the shelf and replacing it with Twilight. No one is burning your Harry Potter set and forcing you at gun point to read 50 Shades of Gray. Get over yourselves anyway, you are in no way the monitors for what is and isn’t good. Some of you people liked the Star Trek reboot for Fancy’s sake. There’s nothing wrong with liking it, but it does rather negate you from being ANY KIND of final arbiter. Not so much because of the Star Trek thing, but because there is no final arbiter. There might be some critics who are better than others, some who have a more informed opinion, but no one has the final say.

There is a place for criticism in art, even for emotional critics. After all, art needs emotion, but not bullying. Telling people they’re wrong, or stupid for liking something will only drive those people further away. Particularly when you’re mean spirited complaint comes from a place of ignorance. It makes you no better than the bullies many of you so often decry. Actually it makes you worse, because you know how it feels to be hurt. Now that you have some small amount of power, because a few of you are smarter than the people you’ve been insulting and can string words together more skillfully, don’t abuse that power. I’d like to still be able to respect a few of you, and I don’t like having to write you off as the same sort of mindless assholes that you are hypocritically complaining about.

So yeah, calm down about the pumpkin stuff. It’ll be gone by the end of November. Really, it’s the people who like peppermint I feel for. They only get their flavor for about 30 days and then it’s gone.

September 12, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

I can smell fear, and it smells like Drakkar Noir

Once upon a time, I knew some rich people. Not 1% rich, but 5% maybe 10% rich. Trophy wife and private school rich. Yacht and second house bigger than most people’s first house rich. So rich, but not mega rich. Rich enough that they’ve become terrified about their relative postions.

I was 15/16 and a friend of a friend introduced me to a friend and I was informally adopted for a couple of weeks during a couple of summers when someone was home from school. The details are unimportant and hazy, and I’m not interested in talking about that right now anyway.

The story I want to tell is when I was chosen as an escort to some… thing or other. Someone was getting an award and there was going to be a dinner afterward and I wasn’t told I would be in a room full of suits until we were on our way or I might have not worn purple sweatpants. However, I did, and I’m not ashamed of that fact because I’m not ashamed of much at all.

Shame doesn’t get you very far in life kids.

So I’m sat at a table, while the girl who in retrospect had a crush on me the size of Mt. Rushmore and was aching for me to make a move, went off with her mother to talk about something. I’m not entirely sure what they were talking about, but she wasn’t getting in trouble for bringing me because I think her mother was hoping to pick up a bit on the side when she was done with me. Also, she would have mentioned if her mother had been annoyed because she was reveling in annoying her mother that year. I do believe, I was part of that, but that’s not important right now.

As a result of her being called off, I was sat at a table with seven other guys. Five of them were employed by the company that was giving someone an award, one was their boss and the last one was a college kid who was interning with the company, but because of college he didn’t have the full suit but only a shirt and tie. The boss was one of those silvering haired jackasses that likes to be an executive, and likes to tell people he’s an executive and has been an executive so long he has truly forgotten people like me exist.

So we’re sitting there, and it’s a no-booze do because of all the college kids and people like me. So the executive orders a Slice with “lots of ice” requesting the waitress to “fill the glass” and I can see a couple of the guys sort of squirm. They hate Slice, but they’re going to drink it because Bossman drinks it. I’m not joking, as she goes around the table it’s “Slice, lots of ice.” “Slice, lots of ice.” “Same for me.” and my heart is filled with contempt for these people. I can tell damn well that one wants a Pepsi, that one wants some root beer and that one wants a needle filled with heroin and a line of cocaine to chase it with.

It’s about this time that I start to notice that unlike most places I’ve been, the colognes of the men aren’t mingling into a strange mixed scent. It’s only Drakkar Noir at table five, no other scents prevail, perhaps mine. But my scent was a faint hint of shampoo and not much else because I hadn’t even shaved. It’s about this time that I realize the thing that separates me from everyone else.

I’m the only person at this table who isn’t terrified.

Everyone else, even the bossman, is afraid. They’re afraid of not being on the right track. Sure, they all drive Fords, but are they driving the right Ford? Does a winner drive an Explorer? Surely, only a looser drives and Escort. What about a Mustang, or a Thunderbird? Can a winner really be seen driving those? Remember this is the early 90s, when neither car had any balls to speak of. Is this the right shirt? Should I have an oxford collar? What if only a loose uses a Windsor knot? High School is merciful, compared to the management track. There is as much information to understand as there is in the geekworld, it’s just the rules aren’t written down and you have to be smart in a different way. More about that in my next post.

And then there was me…

I don’t care how these people view me, I don’t care if they like me or not, I’m not thinking about anything they can do to me or for me. They can’t do anything to or for me. Even if they could, I don’t much care. I’m not worried about it, I know what I need and I know what they need and I get things done. I am, in a few words, the man without fear. I have never been concerned with the stupid little things that need to be done, should be done, ought to be done. I have no respect for social levels, or how much someone makes, or if I’ve impressed so and so. Ask Syd how easy that makes me to live with sometime. Weddings are a chore because “fuck wearing a tie, I don’t give a shit about those people” and so on. The thing is, the lack of fear mixed with the not giving a good god damn, makes other people want to sit next to me.

A lack of fear might be a sign of psychosis, but it is also perceived as a sign of being big dog on top.

When the waitress came to me, I decided to buck trends and stick to my guns and stay the course and not actually think about it and just order like I always do. “Coke no ice.” Oh how easily the words tumbled from my lips. Nothing major, not for me, but conversation at the table stopped. Someone put on a record, just so they could do that sound of yanking the needle and making a record scratch sound.

“Really?” one of the scared dogs men at the table asked. I looked at him for about two seconds longer than I needed to before smiling and saying “Yeah, I don’t like my pop watered down.” He looked at me, and I looked at him and he broke eye contact first and nodded, which caused the Bossman to laugh. He actually threw his head back and laughed. One single solid “HA!” and that was it. Now, I’m not sure my dears, my darlings, what I said that was so funny. All I can figure is that I’d stared down a guy who had perceived himself as a sergeant at arms and given him an answer that couldn’t be balked in a polite setting. I’d worked out a way around him and no one could do anything about it. His only real reaction was one of fear and bluster, and I have no fear to react with so he broke first.

As a result of this, the bossman started talking to me. Instead of talking about my plans, what school I was going to, where I would work, and what road I would eventually take to get from here to there, I spoke about what interested me. I told him about a documentary I’d recently seen about the evolution of mankind and how we pertained to apes. By refusing to talk about what he wanted to know about, and only talking about what I wanted to talk about, I managed two things. One, avoiding boredom. Two, and this would have been important if I’d had any use for it, which I didn’t, I established for the table which of us was the bigger dog. I was on top of the conversation, I was leading the bossman around the room with my fresh knowledge about human behavior being like that of chimps, and I was holding the table.

You could see it in their eyes, I was clearly a bigger, more important dog than their boss. Their boss was the biggest, most important dog they knew, and I was dominating him. I could see a couple of guys, particularly the one who wanted a root beer, thinking that maybe turning their loyalties toward the kid in the flannel shirt was the way to go. So much so that when the waitress came back to freshen drinks, the root beer kid did the bravest thing he’d ever done in his life. He ordered another Slice, but this time without ice! I wanted to berate him, I wanted to bang the table and demand he order the root beer he wanted, but I couldn’t. That would have been pack behavior, that would have been showing concern for another member of the group, and I don’t have pack behavior. I’m not a group member, not of any group, but I am pretty and fuzzy and will let the right people pet me while biting everyone else.

I’m not a dog, I’m a cat.

That’s what they didn’t understand, that’s what almost no one ever understands. I’m not looking to be the top dog in the hierarchy, I’m looking to be the most honest cat who just doesn’t give a shit and will tree a bear if provoked. My wants and needs are so far different from everyone else’s that while they might try and act like they get what I’m saying when I say this, their actions prove that they haven’t the first notion what I mean.

I can’t honestly suggest this to you as a career path, because it doesn’t work for al people. You have to be smart enough, strong enough, interesting enough, and pretty enough all at once to pull it all off together. Also, you have to understand the difference between tough and mean, between clever and cruel, and most of all between honesty and douche baggery. Hang on a second, that needs to be a bigger point, it’s far more important.

You have to understand the difference between tough and mean, between clever and cruel, and most of all between honesty and douche baggery.

Also, don’t use Drakkar Noir, because it smells like fear.

August 5, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

The Rise of Women’s (trash) Literature.

I’ve been noticing that a lot of the criticism of Fifty Shades of Grey falls into the same bullshit that Twilight criticism falls into. It’s so badly written, it’s got an unhealthy relationship at its core, it’s going to teach girls bad lessons.

It’s that last part that always irks me. So many complaints basically lay the idea that Twilight will teach girls to be submissive little Mormans. Like females are unable to read a book without the ideas in that book invading their fluffy little heads. I read James Bond and didn’t turn into a racists, misogynistic, homophobic hired killer. I read Batman and didn’t turn into a member of the 1% beating up on the lowest and most desperate members of society. I read Spider-Man and I don’t wear spandex and didn’t become a photojournalist. I’m pretty sure girls can read a fantasy romance and not turn into the pet of some vampire. I find it condescending, misogynistic and insulting to the women I know to suggest otherwise.

Syd read them, she kept her independence in tact. My friend J read them, she’s relatively normal. I’ve got a buddy, D we’ll call her. Her son is autistic, her daughter is on the cusp of her teen years, she’s raising them both alone because her husband left her after being a completely selfish dick for years. She’s not stupid, or weak, or particularly dependant on any men that I’ve ever seen. She’s tough, smart, independent and she luuuuves her some Twilight. Actually, I think she likes some of the young men playing characters in the movies, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is, all these women have recognized the fantasy element and got on with their day without being unduly swayed by the books’ stupidity. To suggest she might be otherwise is to insult her. Besides…

Women have been reading this stuff for decades.

Oh, yeah, didn’t you know about that? Yeah, see, if you want to complain that Twilight or 50 shades is stupid and badly written… you need to admit that either you know nothing about women’s fiction or admit that it’s 1961. Would you like me to make a Mad Men joke now or shall we wait to break those out? I pick 1961, because the oldest crappy romance book I’ve ever read was dated that date. Kind of squicky to be honest, a lot of “force her ‘til she likes it” kind of stuff. Of course, since even the Pern novels written around that time have some of that, it’s hard to differentiate.

Actually Harlequin Romances have been around since the 50s, and other crap like it has been around since before then. However, everything I’ve ever been told about the Twilight series has always lead me to the same sentence “Sounds like a Harlequin to me.” And every time I say that, the woman telling me about it has nodded and said “Oh yes, they’re just like one.” It’s not always old Harley, but enough times it works. Most your basic romance novels work this way. You’ve got the rich boy, the poor boy, and the girl who must choose between them. There are a few things that separate one company from another, like the quality of the sex and the level of commitment, but more or less… yeah. That’s what the books like that I’ve read where like. That’s just it, I get the idea that most these people have never read anything like this before.

Twilight it just a basic romance novel… Mit Vampires.

See, there used to be a place for these things. It was a little corner of shame, tucked back where no one but women went. No hard covers in this section, paperback only. You grabbed something with rose vines around the edges and cursive on the cover and you got the hell out. Most people who are complaining about this stuff though, have never read them. This ignorance of most people complaining about Twilight astounds me. Because I’ve read a couple Harlequin, and yeah, they were stupid and badly written. Thing is, I’ve read a lot of things that were badly written. A lot of the “boy’s fiction” I’ve read has also been stupid and badly written. Jack Higgins is not Shakespeare. Not in any respect. Come to think of it, neither is Dick, Chandler, Poe or Twain. Yeah, I went there! They were also once crappy popular authors, disregarded in their own times. And most of them aren’t Shakespeare because they weren’t trying to be.

They were trying to be entertaining and occasionally thought provoking. Mostly though, they were just trying to make a buck. When you read Azimov, for example, you forget that 90% of the stories that were published along side his were barely readable trash. I’ve gone through some Amazing Stories reprints, there is a lot of junk in there. That is the bane of the paperback reader. The pulp world is full of that, but the romances get dismissed more. Once in a while though, I’d read a pulp romance that actually was okay. While the Detective Novels started hitting hard cover, even the crappy pulp ones, the same never seems to have happened for the girls.

The romance novels, never got respectable, like the Sci-Fi or the Detective novels did.

Danielle Steel is still considered to be a trashy writer, despite selling more books than any other author alive! 500 million Danielle Steel books are out there, 150 million more than all the Harry Potter books put together! She’s the 4th highest selling author of all time! And Barbra Cartland, another romance novel is #3. Steel’s books actually do make it to hard cover at least, but it’s hardly been considered respectable for the mainstream reader to buy one of her books. You still had to go to the corner of shame if you wanted to read Steel. And for the most part, no critic, and certainly no male critic ever bothers to read any of these books. They’re for girls, and as such have never been worth reading. The same applies to Erotica. Most erotica has gone ignored by men, unless they were looking for the good bits.

But now, suddenly, something has changed. A shitty romance (mit vampires) is number one in the charts, with a crappy erotic novel at #2. They sell the hardcovers in boxed sets and stock hundreds of copies because they know they’ll need them. Why should that be? Maybe because someone is reading this stuff. And why does it offend so many people if it is? I mean, so some extent, who cares what people are reading? I know, I know, but honestly, what does it matter? Why all this constant harping and bitching and moaning. It’s not like anyone forced you to read them. However, to another extent, you’d better figure out why they’re so popular. Someone is working out why this works, someone is riding this train, someone is getting rich. Someone had better get a handle on this whole mit vampires thing, and soon. Most of all, you need to stop insulting it all the time.

Just dismissing it and insulting it only serves to alienate the people you claim you want to reach.

Insulting 50 Shades is boring, I’ve gotta tell you. And no one cares. The publishers don’t care what you think, they’re making money hand over fist. I don’t care, it has no effect on me but to make you another troll decrying something that someone actually enjoys, which makes you an asshole. The women reading it really don’t give half a fuck what you think. They like it, they’re gonna read it, and then they’re going to go to work the next day and not fuck the mail boy in the stock room, because adults don’t actually do that. They’ll get their fantasy kick, they’ll sigh a bit, and then they’ll read something else. Maybe, if you engage them in conversation, you might find out why they like it. If you’re really skillful, and not an asshole, you might even steer them towards a better book.

So let us review…
1, Shut up about Twilight. No one cares if you think it’s stupid.
2. Shut up about 50 Shades of Gray. No one cares if you think it’s stupid.
3. Have a little respect for the intelligence of the women around you. They actually do care if you think they’re stupid.

July 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

The Recreation of Manhood

I got to thinking about macho bullshit today, and an idea about it struck me. We’ve been slowly watching the death of the traditional male for about 100 years now, but macho bullshit still remains. If anything, we have an increase in what I’m going to call MBS, because I intend to write it many times and I don’t want to write the whole phrase over and again until the end of the world.

What I’ve been seeing, and I think we really started seeing it in the 80s, is Hyper-MBS. There used to be 2 groups, quiche eating wimps and MBS-muscle men. The wimps were small, vegetarian, and possibly gay. The MBS guys on the other hand were built to an extreme unobtainable without steroids, probably ate trees, and were probably gay. Gay came up as a pejorative quite often in those days either because it was the worst thing they could think of to be or the other side knew that the previous side thought it was the worst thing to be. Many gay jokes have the air of “And I’m only saying that because it was bother him about them, but that doesn’t make it okay. I think after this, we shall dispense with the pejorative. I simply wanted to acknowledge its existence.

Here is the thing though, 150 years ago, or there abouts, men had all the responsibilities. They earned the money, paid the bills, set the rules, made sure everyone abided by the rules, provided discipline and served as the head of the house. Along with those responsibilities, went certain privileges. We know the privileges, we don’t need to go into that right now. I’m not even saying that those men were cruel, or ill tempered, I’m merely pointing out that they were responsible for everyone in their family. They were the one who had to provide, to take care, to make sure things worked. He couldn’t show much emotion because everyone depended on him. If he was seen to be worried about something, then it must have been really serious. Atticus Finch may well be the perfect shape for a father in some ways.

About 100 years ago, some women started to assert themselves. They spoke of privileges, but what they really wanted was responsibilities. They wanted the responsibility of deciding political matters for example. You can look at this as the right to vote, or you can look at it as trying to be responsible for the shaping of local and federal matters. As some of them now earned money, some of them took more responsibility for the running of the household. They began to balance checkbooks, and serve on local councils and make decisions. You can call this taking privilege, but a lot of stress comes with those responsibilities and I call them as they are.

When this started, some men simply saw it as the woman offering to share the load. Many a man in the past leaned on his wife, asked for her help and sought her advice. Now it was just being done more widely. Slowly, by degrees, the social order changed. Soon men were being told that not only were they going to be forced to give up those responsibilities, but they would also be loosing the privileges they once afforded.

This is where MBS really got started. It was a response to being told to give everything up. MBS men decided they not only wouldn’t give up their masculinity, they would become hyper masculine for fear anyone thought they might succumb even one inch. As a result, these men became walking parodies of manhood, until they couldn’t even see a reasonable idea with a telescope. But really, they were just tired of being told to give things up without ever seeming to get anything in return.

I think this is where the rage comes from, when someone wants to have a discussion about sexism on the internet. Men have been asked to give up so much, that any talk now has the instant feeling of “Oh what am I supposed to loose this time? When will it EVER be enough?” Consider for a moment, many of these young men live in a world that tells them they can’t have a private Men’s Only club, but women can have gyms where men are not allowed in any way. There are train cars where men are barred, but if men try to have anything of their own, some female makes it her mission in life to insert herself into their tree house. Not, I will admit, without reason do these things exist. However, you men today are born into a world where the are given less than any time before, are allowed no exclusive spaces while everyone else has some, and are constantly being harangued about how much privilege they possess, when to them it looks like the privileges are being enjoyed by everyone but them. For a 15 year old, who doesn’t understand how the word works, being misogynistic can feel like the only recourse they have.

And it shouldn’t be that way.

We’ve taken a great deal away from men through the last century of feminism, but we’ve given very little to them. The idea of a man crying at a movie is still cause for humor. A man wearing clothes for style rather than ruggedness or comfort makes many question his sexuality. Any sense of feminizing is seen as a wholly wrong thing, by both men and even more importantly, women. Women say they want a sensitive man, but several will go for the square jawed gorilla 6 times out of 10. A man that doesn’t work on his abs is lazy, a man that reads poetry is suspect, a man that says he wants to know what a woman wants is subject to anger and mockery for not already knowing.

What we need, is to give something to these young men. We can’t give them the old world, that’s never going to happen. What we can do though, is turn down the hyper MBS that’s turning them into something wholly repugnant. I personally find the statements young men make about women, any women, repellent. That’s not manhood to me, that’s the screeching of scared little boys. When it comes from little boys who are in their late 60s, we have done something wrong as a society. We need to offer them some idea of manhood, and I think we can offer it though simply loosening the reigns a little.

Hear me, hear me…

In many ways, men were never really told they can let go of all those responsibilities. We’ve never been told its okay to cry our eyes out at a sad movie, or to wear what we feel like wearing when we feel like wearing it. We’ve failed to give a reasoned and responsible role model for these guys to follow, partly because our fathers didn’t have one and their fathers didn’t seem to have much of one. We started going down a strange and unknown path about 100 years ago, and we’ve never really been able to find our way. We need to make it okay to admit we’re lost. We need to say it’s okay to ask for directions. We need to show particularly our young men, its okay to make a fresh start.

In some ways, we need to let go of our old responsibilities, and in some ways we need to gain new ones. Mostly, this MBS hasn’t gone away because we’ve never really offered a viable option to that MBS. We need to make it okay to abandon that, and gain a new place. Be responsible for your own self, and be a little more responsible for those other men around you. Explain that no Real Man would in fact ever say “Bitch, go make me a sammich.” because a Real Man is confident enough not to need to say anything so childish. Syd pointed out a while ago that it’s kind of ironic that the things that make people say they’re taking you Man Card away is usually when someone has done something that makes them a Real Man in the first place. BTW, a Real Man, doesn’t need a man card.

We’re going to have to do something, this situation ain’t going away by wishing.

July 13, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

I Got Your Rape Culture Right Here: Part Two – I’m annoyed that the one time I was accused of rape, no one bothered to look into the issue.

You might wish to peruse part one.

Warning: This could be triggery as hell, but I don’t feel comfortable cutting it and making it easy to skip. :/

I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be annoyed that the one time I was accused of rape, no one bothered to look into the issue. I mean, everyone assumed I was telling the truth, and everyone assumed the girl was lying. As the beneficiary of that, I suppose I should be glad, but in retrospect I can’t help but feel annoyed that no one really bothered to ask that many questions. It was a serious issue, and no one treated it seriously. Okay, nice to be believed, but sad that everyone shrugged off the issue.

Allow me to explain.

Once there was a girl who had a massive crush on… you know, I’m not exactly sure. Yes, she wanted to get into a relationship with me, but she also wanted to be with some of the people I was with too. I’m not sure if this was so much a crush on me, so much as a crush on the situation. She just wanted to be part of the show, but she wasn’t balanced and rule two states: Don’t stick your dick in the crazy.. This situation was part of the formulation of that rule. Don’t bang drunk chicks came later, and because of similar situations.

So we’ve got this girl, who I worked out was psycho just as I was getting to a point where I might have really gotten myself into trouble. Now, I never actually slept with this girl, never got beyond some mild kissing. I then worked out she was a bit nuts, and about the time I had worked out that there was something wrong, a lot of other people also reached a similar conclusion. She faked a beating her father gave her, according to the person who said she told them, by smacking herself in the face with a book. A lot of people more or less came to the conclusion that she was too rich for their blood and cashed out of that card game but quick. I had already left that hot mess on the road by the time the “beating thing” came about, having decided that her talking smack about Syd was not on.

So a few weeks later, I get a phone call. I’m going to disguise things by even giving false initials.

G: Hey, how’s W in bed?
Me: No idea, it never got that far.
G: But she blew you right?
Me: Uh, no. It never went beyond first base.
G: Who the fuck says first base in 1996?
Me: I do. I’m all full of anachronistic shit.
G: That’s interesting.
Me: Ain’t it just? I also say ‘groovy’ a lot.
G: No, it’s interesting that you say you never fucked her.
Me: Why?
G: She’s saying that you and her basically fucked on a daily basis though most of May. Then one day, when she wasn’t in the mood, you ah… how do I put this?
Me: Are you talking rape?
G: Yeah, I guess I am. She’s saying you raped her.
Me: Okay, I deny that. It never got near sex with us.
G: Okay.
Me: Okay?
G: Well, she’s been saying that you and her fucked for a while, but she just dropped this rape thing today.
Me: Okay. So, what do you want to do about it?
G: Nothing I guess. I mean, I believe you.
Me: Okay.
G: Just look out, she’s talking all kinds of shit about you.

There was then another conversation with a person who said that she’d said I forced her to perform an oral act upon my person, but they didn’t even mention it to me at the time because they thought it sounded like bullshit. This was just the final nail in the coffin and after that whole accusation thing W was sent off to the island of misfit toys. The last I heard of her was over a year later when she called me, trying to patch things up. That conversation involved the words “suicide attempt” and “institution” and an admittance that she’d made the whole thing up because she was mad at me… or Syd, or G or U, or whoever she thought she was mad at. There was also a lot of crying and throwing herself against the stony rock face that passes for my tender mercy.

I didn’t say much, just admitted that the accusation had bothered me, and that I wasn’t sure I could bring myself to forgive her for making it. The thing is, we wouldn’t have gone back to being friends if I had, and my soul is pretty comfortable with the black marks on it. Makes it look all goth and sexy. To this day, I’m not sorry for not having handed out some half hearted bullshit non-apology like “Well, I guess we both did things wrong” and I’m not sorry for saying “Shush little lamb, I forgive you all the wrongs you tried to do me.”

What I feel is a deep sense of anger. Anger that someone would falsely accuse someone of the one of the darkest crimes our society has. Anger that everyone else just sort of looked at her, and then at me and went “Naaaaah!” without ever trying to really investigate the matter. Anger that things like this only serve to make it that much easier for a genuine case to be dismissed. There might even be some anger at myself, for not going into a righteous fury, demanding the truth be shown. I just let everyone drop it, and allowed the event to become another bump in an already bumpy summer. It became just another ostraka cast in to the voting that led to the eventual shunning of W from the group.

I’m still kind of bugged by how easily the whole thing went from accusation to acquittal though.

The thing that really keeps me up nights though, is that thought that I must have been associating with some real pieces of shit. Most the people in that group that I still associate with, either didn’t hear about this until much later, or only heard about it through third party channels because they’d decided that seeing W again wasn’t part of their life plan and they were already prepared to call her a lying bitch if she claimed the sky was blue and would have waited until sundown to scream that it was clearly orange and red. The people who let the accusation drop, the ones who heard it first hand, were so dismissive of it that subconsciously I think it tripped a switch for me. I watched them after that, and I must say that their attitudes to later events like this one did not bode well for us still being friends.

I don’t like how the thing was handled. I don’t like how some people I called friends treated the accuser. I don’t like how lightly it was all treated. Mind you, I don’t like people lying about me either. In fact nothing gets my blood up so much as someone telling a lie about me. The whole thing leaves me feeling sick and ambivalent about humanity.

Yeah, there’s no joke here, just another reason as to why I claim that life has no real heroes.

March 22, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

First Conctact Bias

I have an idea about why so many people think of vegans and atheist as being obnoxious and always trying to push their lifestyles on other people, despite it not really being the case. Mostly, both groups are just getting on with their lives, albeit a bit smugly, but if I took a hammer to the head of every person who went about smug and self-satisfied, there wouldn’t be a religious house of worship left in the world and most the universities would be empty, not to mention the months I’d have to spend in Hollywood and Wall Street. My arms would get tired and the joy of smashing in heads would quickly turn to dull drudgery is what I’m saying.

I will admit that I find vegans to be a bit exasperating when trying to feed them, but that’s more because I have to keep a constant tally in my head about whether or not a particular food item is allowed. After all, you learn just how oh so many things have some kind of animal product in them when you hang out with a vegetarian for a while, and vegans are even stricter. In fact, I knew one that refused to eat some plant based things because animals are wantonly harmed during their manufacture. Okay, fair enough, if you’ve decided not to eat bacon because of how the pigs are treated then you probably shouldn’t eat processed broccoli burgers or tofurky when you learn that they murder a kitten every time they make one. They do you know, just out of spite. Still, it’s a more or less valid lifestyle choice, and if you have to choose a lifestyle then denying god or eating only veggies is as valid as eating bacon or going to church every week.

However, back to the point I started with. Why do people find them so obnoxious when they’re usually not terribly pushy? I would like to suggest the concept of first contact as an explanation. Think about it, who was the first vegan you met and when did you meet them? Probably between 14 and 19 right? And they were about your age, yes? And like all teenagers who had single-handedly discovered something, they were endlessly obnoxious about trying to justify their new blasphemy by trying to convert everyone around them. I’ve got an idea that most people who have just discovered something are usually pretty unsure about it, and convincing other people to join makes them less unsure. In trying to convince other people to do it, they get to be pretty obnoxious and in the case of Christian Missionaries, down right evil. BTW, if you think I’m being hard on Missionaries, I will remind you I’m related to those fucking people and that I have extensive first hand knowledge about how down right evil those fucking people, and the groups they work with, are. This extends to the fact that I refer to them, consistently as “those fucking people” instead of say… my relatives.

Back to the point I was making though. If the first vegetarian ever you met would openly weep when you would eat a hamburger, or show you pictures of pigs being slaughtered when you’d think about bacon then perhaps you might get it in your head that vegetarians are all assholes and that vegans must be even worse. You don’t ever even have to meet an actual vegan, just by extension that they’re stricter than normal vegetarians, means they must be bigger assholes. Ipso to the Facto amirite? Well, no, since most your actual day-to-day vegetarians over the age of 21 aren’t all that obnoxious. Yeah, you’ll still get one now and then, but I’ve found holding their heads underwater for 10 minutes usually sorts that out.

When a person comes to this sort of lifestyle as an adult, their attitude is entirely different. They’re calm, willing to explain things, rarely try to convert anyone, and above all they’re respectful of those who don’t wish to follow their path. I know, you can always find an example of the one asshole, but that’s the point, it’s usually just one asshole, not the group as a whole. Sadly, by that time, the first contact bias has worked its way into your brain and it doesn’t matter how mature or intelligent they are, they still seem like a dick to you because that’s what you’re expecting of them.

I’ve found the same to be true pretty much across the board. After the age of 21 or so, most your teenage atheists either settle down to calmly not believing in god, or they slide back into belief and become complete assholes again. Sadly religionists very rarely convert like an adult. They’re always just a 14 year old who has discovered that vegetarianism can make them feel special via the act of trying to judge what everyone else is doing. Yeah, I’ve got my own first contact bias on religionist, but they so often give themselves a bad name and stories like this just don’t help. Even so, I know lots of people who subscribe to one religion or another who are perfectly decent people who don’t molest children or anything… and yes, I find it pretty fucking sad that I feel the need to clarify that fact. Of course, if you really sat down and examined my views on humanity on the whole, you would probably find it all pretty depressing.

Also, if I might just add as a final note: if you call yourself a vegetarian, but you still eat bacon, you are not a vegetarian. Seriously, you eat fucking bacon. That is the meatiest of all meats!

October 5, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 1 Comment

Careful with that word Mable, it’s loaded.

Rape Culture, as a phrase, is in a really dangerous place right now. See, it’s a really real thing that some people would like to pretend doesn’t exist, so they use any examples to ridicule and dismiss it. Sadly, some people lately are giving fuel to those who would like to destroy the discussion.

It’s in danger of going the way of Privilege, which can no longer be discussed because fuck the people who fucked that discussion up for the rest of us. No, I’m serious, we can no longer discuss privilege because some people decided to use it as a point of attack instead of as a point of understanding and they did it so well, and with no small amount of racist vitriol, that it has destroyed the topic for polite conversation. This post mentions several problems, all be it from a feminist standpoint, but the problems exist everywhere and those claims can just as easily be about race or religion or having your eggs over easy rather than scrambled.

Continue reading

August 26, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment