stonesphinxes

Everyday Thoughtcrimes

Category: Everything Is Offensive

Shelter Me

Several universities are considering a ban on the rather insignificant social media app Yik Yak, which allows anonymous posting to a local bulletin board as:

“People have been saying some very racist, very hurtful things,” (senior, Ashley Winkfield)

Because god forbid our tender 18 – 25 year olds are confronted with any opinions that they may not share.

Little Ashley is scared, because:

“These are people we are going to class with, people who we see every day, and they might have some type of ill will toward us,”

And it’s all anonymous!  So we can’t even alert the Miniluv that there are students, I say students right here at this very institute of higher learning, that are thinking wrong thoughts!

Next thing you know those youths will be Fritterin’!

We’re in need of some reeducation, right here in River City.  Give me a moment while I fan myself and give my pearls a good clutch.

You know what will stop people from having and expressing crimethink?

Lobotomies.

Mostly, they’re not 100% effective.

What I wonder, is why we’ve failed Ashley so profoundly that she thinks that other students who think things that she finds repugnant pose an actual danger to her.  I understand the feeling, in a sense, she thinks because she does not have the self control to simply stop looking at a completely voluntary app where she sees things she doesn’t like, that other students also share the same total lack of agency.

Clearly someone who dislikes black people (or trans people, or Martians, or what have you), for whatever reason, is on the verge of decompensating into a hemorrhaging fount of racism at any second that will infect everything around them.

Of course, it is entirely impossible that someone could dislike, or even hate a segment of the population, and do exactly nothing about it but bitch and whine.

It’s when people aren’t even allowed to harmlessly bitch and whine that they start getting really mad.

Fortunately someone at Duke apparently has a lick of sense:

“On this campus and I think on most, what we tell students is freedom of expression, even offensive freedom expression, is what we cherish,” Duke Student Affairs Vice President Larry Moneta said.

I don’t know what else it is but terrifying when young people, en masse, seem to be unable to tolerate the idea that free speech is not important when we all agree on something – It’s important for the things that you detest hearing.

You can claim to care about freedom of speech when you can grit your teeth and defend the most vile and reprehensible speech you can think of.  Anything less than that and you may as well sign up for the Thoughtpol and man the reeducation camps.

For Ashley, I suggest she move home with her parents until she’s capable of facing the real world.

This might be more comfortable.

Appropriation

Part of my personal development in the last several years has been to finally internalize that men like long hair.

Yes, they do.

Yeah, I know your best dude-friend and all your BFFs told you your pixie cut was adorbz.  They’re lying.

The truth is that your dude-friend can’t tell you otherwise because he knows all girls have a screeching harpy inside and he doesn’t know at what level your harpy containment facility is holding at, and this is “Does X make me look fat?” level harpy bait.  Your BFFs are just delighted that they’re now all cuter than you by default.

That’s SO cute on you!  No really!  Super flattering, keep doing it that way. Sound familiar?

There’s even been studies that suggest it doesn’t matter what your face looks like, as long as you’ve got that goddamn hair.

And trust me, this was really hard for me.  I was very resistant.  It took me realizing just how much outward attractiveness matters.  Which is a lot.  I’d grown up in a culture where I had it endlessly held forth to me that people who care about appearance are shallow and beauty came from the inside.

Didn’t really work out so much.

That’s pretty much me, but add a buzz cut, acne, and less social awareness.

Long hair is a pain.  It’s work.  You’ve got to start preparing when it’s only a few inches long.  You have to schedule showers and washing and make some serious product investments.  Say goodbye to the “high” setting on your hairdryer and hello to Mennonite ladies’ blogs.

I’m working on at least mermaid strategic-nudity length and potentially longer if I can manage it.

That’s about right.

My favorite thing these days is coconut oil.  Coconut oil on fucking everything.  Every.thing.  I soak my head in it for hours at a time and have enjoyed the amazing paradoxical effects.

If there are any ladies reading – Holy crap.  Do. It.

Also, only shampoo your roots and only condition the ends.

My favorite hair treatments are those marketed toward Indian women.  I follow their instructional videos on youtube, and, horror of horrors, I scope out the “ethnic” section of the hair care products.  I don’t really see how it’s my fault that they don’t market hair oil to pasty white euro-mutt women, but I’ve caught criticism for it.

Apparently I am “appropriating” Indian hair, and need to check my privilege.  Apparently women of color have worked long and hard to have access to their own section of hair products at Walmart, and I am not welcome on aisle 12.

As absurd as it sounds, I’ve been accused of having “white hair privilege” before.  Which makes me wonder what the advantage is to having hair genes that come from the same place that invented those dreadlock dogs and/or haggis and Nazis.  Half of it is wavy, the other half is curly in the opposite direction, it’s all very big if there’s a microliter of humidity, and there’s no cultural outreach to teach me how to do my hair.

Cultural appropriation is widely defined as:

Taking intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, or artifacts from someone else’s culture without permission. This can include unauthorized use of another culture’s dance, dress, music, language, folklore, cuisine, traditional medicine, religious symbols, etc.

So, uh, well, okay.  As I’m lacking in access to whatever cultural bureaucracy grants authorization to use another culture’s cuisine, I guess this will stand as an official apology for eating sashimi served by a Filipino and Korean chef team earlier this evening.  I was planning on making tikka masala later this week at home, but now I am confused and afraid.

I own a 1920’s kimono, which I am proud to say, only takes me 4 hours and one case of tennis elbow to put on.  I am working on some art that incorporates the imagery of Kachina dolls, because it’s beautiful and fascinating.  I first became aware of how Indian women do their hair when I lived next to a community of recently immigrated Indian folks, who also still wore saris daily.  I also think that saris are gorgeous and convenient for the climate, and would wear them myself if I knew how.

However:

the Orientalism that comes with donning saris, henna tattoos, and other Indian ornations, rub many people in both communities the wrong way

And:

An authentic cultural exchange should feel free and affirming, rather than plagiarizing or thieving.

So is it free and affirming for me to wear a sari that is appropriate for the weather conditions and buy the “ethnic” hair products that work really well for me, or is it insulting to the culture those things are intended for?  If I go to actual India and wear Indian clothes in India where everyone else is wearing them am I respecting or insulting the culture because somewhere before I was born someone of my skin color was a total bell end to Indians?

I suppose it depends on how butthurt you feel like being that day.

I grew up in a neighborhood where I carpooled with a Mexican immigrant family who didn’t speak English, my neighbor was a Dutch lady who conducted Tibetan Buddhist meditation ceremonies, and I went to Catholic Mass and Unitarian Universalist services on the regular.  My friends were Indian Indian, and Native American Indian + Italian hash, and  Mexican (of the native incorporated sort), and a whole bunch of other people whose defining characteristic was that they were able to overlook the mortal sin of my wearing puffy paint kitty sweater sets.

That’s actually the sweater. I had matching stirrup pants. My beard was never quite so lush though…

Are we supposed to be a melting pot here?  That’s what I always thought.

We learn from each other, and if one speaks pidgin Gaelic and Mandarin to get along in the world, so it shall be and we shall celebrate with potato pot stickers and soju car bombs.  And it will be good.  Especially after a couple soju car bombs, oh my yes.

Or are we all going to sit in our little tribes and demand that no one else can look at our super-secret special things?  Is everyone’s culture so fragile it can be entirely negated by a silly valley girl’s tasteless Halloween costume?

All said, I never expected to be getting dirty looks in the ethnic hair products aisle.

Edit: 01/25/15 – 8:20p

Just to illustrate, here’s a bunch of people yapping about cultural appropriation of “Chinatown Bags” by Stella McCartney’s clothing line.  Chinatown bags are apparently cheap, plaid, laminated cloth bags used for shopping in low-income immigrant districts of mostly Asian origin.  I guess.  All I got on the first two pages of Google were guide for buying fake Louis Vuitton in Chinatown, and shoes based on said unpictured bags.

This is problematic because we’re ignoring the Asian immigrant plight by incorporating these bags into hoighty-toighty Western fashion.

One trench of irony to leap though –  Plaid is Scottish.

Which was appropriated by Asians who needed cheap shopping bags.  Which then the English, via Stella McCartney, appropriated back.  But apparently it belongs to the lowest bidder.  Whomever wins that particular bracket of oppression Olympics.

Edit: 01/25/15 – 9:51p

My carriage returns disappeared.  I’m allowed to use those, they were invented in Cleveland.

Hearts and Minds

I spent a great many years in Southern California, where rivers of bumper-to-bumper traffic begin at 6am and continue until roughly 7pm.  A trip through Los Angeles could take two hours or maybe twelve hours, and one’s daily commute requires a Tibetan-monk level zen acceptance of fate, or the navigational zeal of a Conquistador charting back waters where they’re sure the fountain of youth resides.

I once was trapped in a clog long enough for me to start and finish a short novel, due to a suicidally-inclined but indecisive individual on a highway overpass.  There was no way off the road unless one had a military issue Humvee that could handle a 40* incline, and the roughly several-thousand people at a dead stop were not pleased, to say the least.

A number of them thoughtfully offered to shoot the jumper, as it was clear they wanted to die, and it would save everyone the waiting.  Other circumstances not withstanding, there’s an argument that intentionally blocking California traffic is an obvious provocation to homicide.  No one who commutes in LA would vote to convict, I’m sure.

These dunderheads should take a lesson. 

The way to win people to your side and bring attention to your cause is NOT to conduct activities that will make them froth at the mouth with rage.

Also, you know what you’re doing by blocking the freeway?  Preventing the lower-class people (lots of women and minorities in there) who work hourly jobs from getting the hours they need to survive.  If hourly people aren’t there, they don’t get paid and may lose their jobs entirely.

So in short:

1. Don’t generate outraged indignation at yourself

2. Don’t fuck your constituency

Micro

A poster in /r/theredpill introduced some to the concept of “microagressions” today as so:

I’ve been seeing new talk of “Microaggressions” around the internet, where you cry a sad tear inside when someone inadvertently hurts your feelings, especially because you thought they were being racist/sexist, and they didn’t.

The official interpretations runs something more like this:

Micro-aggression is a form of “unintended discrimination”. It is depicted by the use of known social norms of behavior and/or expression that, while without conscious choice of the user, has the same effect as conscious, intended discrimination.

I am using the Wikipedia definition, as the more scholarly descriptions tend to use post-modern rectalalia that generally leaves me broken out in hives.

These are essentially regular things which one does every day, unconsciously, which can be interpreted through the lens of social justice to be racism/sexism/or any other particular “ism” that has gone to ground in the subconscious.

For instance, this student posting on the Brown University Micro/Agression Facebook Page reports:

“I thought he was sitting next to ‘Josê’…”

His name was Jorge.

Because not knowing how to properly pronounce a name that is written in a way that is counterintuitive to conventional English pronunciation, and that is similar both visually and auditorily to the other name, is evidence that the speaker is expressing internalized racism in that all Hispanic/Spanish names sound alike.  This is a way of demeaning the individual in possession of such a name as “other,” rather than an actualized individual like the Caucasian speaker.

Of course, it is not at all possible that the speaker was simply mistaken.

Apparently I face microagressions continuously from my Vietnamese-speaking clients who often mix up my gender because my my name is sort of ambiguous if you don’t speak English.

And I microagression them right back because I have no bloody idea what gender many Vietnamese names are common to.

The possibility that we might just be reasonably ignorant because we speak different languages and haven’t been exposed to that information yet… well, that’s ridiculous.

The /r/theredpill poster included a link to an article regarding the thoughts of a former solider and police officer on microagressions and trigger warnings, which are essentially:

Fuck your trauma.

Because:

If your psyche is so fragile you fall apart when someone inadvertently reminds you of “trauma”, especially if that trauma consisted of you overreacting to a self-interpreted racial slur, you need therapy. You belong on a psychiatrist’s couch, not in college dictating what the rest of society can’t do, say or think. Get your own head right before you try to run other people’s lives. If you expect everyone around you to cater to your neurosis, forever, you’re what I’d call a “failure at life”, doomed to perpetual disappointment.

Fucking rodger wilco.

And I would like to add, regarding the people who seek out such microagressions, upon which they offer up their delicate feelings as tiny martyrs –

Some people think that experiencing a trauma in itself is somehow honorable, rather than the honor being in how you deal with it during and after.

Of course, being genuinely traumatized in today’s first-world society, which is full of politeness and miracles (comparatively) is difficult to accomplish (and they’re probably too fragile to withstand an actual trauma anyways), so they go about collecting all these teeny tin cut-rate microagression badges from imaginary conflicts to pin on to prove that they should really for real be taken very seriously.

If you ever, ever, talk to me about microagressions, this is what you look like:

Little tyrants who imagine themselves great warriors, giving themselves awards to celebrate their make-believe battles.  They ride out on hobby horses to rattle their pewter sabers at the “grownups” of the world.

The basic problem with microagressions is the assumption that anything that is not perfect at all times, is a symptom of societal disease that must be eradicated at all costs.

Sometimes people are wrong, or mistaken, or ignorant.

Psychologically, people like to hang out with others who look, speak, and act like themselves.  This isn’t going to change anytime soon, without a serious hardware overhaul.

The universe is an infinitely interesting, colorful, and diverse place, that has an important personal message for you:

Getting over it is what deserves a badge.

Thoughtcrimes

You may not like me.

That’s fine.

I have a collection of thoughts that are practically guaranteed to fluff the rice of anyone traveling along on any given sacred cow.  I’ve been a political conservative of the paleocon libertarian variety in an incredibly liberal area.  I’ve been an agnostic skeptic in the Bible Belt, and also in enclaves of granola mothers (the crunchy mamas were more hostile, honestly).  I’m a female men’s rights supporter.

Consider this a trigger warning.

It seems these days, there’s a small contingent (small especially in proportion to the volume of tantrums they throw) that believes that people who hold opinions contrary to theirs should be unable to hold jobs, or to live their lives in peace.

See the recent doxxing and job loss (video link) of the artist of Plebcomics.

Some people, you see, had their feelings hurt by her comics, since they did not massage their special interests with requisite vigor.  She dared point out hypocrisy in some of those special interest groups as well.  The nerve.  They responded in a rational and mature fashion by emailing her employer with threats and pornography until the artist decided to resign to save her employer the trouble.

In a similar vein the Tumblr site “Racists Getting Fired” does just what it says on the tin.   If you see someone say something objectionable or that upsets you or your special interest, get them fired!

Which may seem like a juicy way to get back at those awful detestable people who don’t toe the orthodoxy, that is until someone with an axe to grind, oh, an ex boyfriend maybe, submits doctored screenshots and fires an internet crusader mob straight at her employer.

Because how could any of this possibly go sideways.

In my own experience I was forced to rage quit Reddit (though I prefer to picture it as walking away from an explosion without looking back) because my opinions on gender relations were apparently intolerably heinous.  Namely I discussed Red Pill philosophy without the necessary crossing oneself, spitting three times, and spirit cleansing ritual.  Several individuals took it upon themselves to go through years of innocuous and frankly tedious post history (I was really into kitten pictures for a while there)  and attempt to put together who I was and where I worked.

Clearly it is unacceptable to not agree with the professionally offended.  Their tender sensibilities clearly cannot withstand such easily avoided assault.

Myself however, I’ll continue with my little thoughtcrimes, and leave them here for other oldthink unpeople.

*Image Credit: Liberymaniacs @ Deviantart