Category Archives: social justice

When Cancel Culture Comes For Comedy

The rant about Cancel Culture is not yet over. There is one more point to make. Cancel Culture is False Morality and has no place in Comedy.

To wit: Cancel Culture is a group of people pointing at one person and, as they do in THE HANDMAID’S TALE, yelling, “SIN! SIN! SIN! SIN!” It is Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery: Is your number up? Who shall we stone today? There is no explanation requested. Just a rush to judgement by a bunch of Hang ‘Em Harry’s.

So yes, I posit that it’s false morality, because what does it achieve, other than attempt to ostracize someone and try to end their career? What does it do, O Manic Pixie Hashtag Warriors, to further the agenda of a “better world”?

What are these “well-meaning”, self-righteous, morally-superior-in-their-own-minds minions doing to affect any change for the better?

Hi, Nothing. Meet Jack Shit.

Every member of the Cancel Hive-mind will say “I’m a good person” if you ask them. But none of them carry the benefit of the doubt in their pockets. I don’t know about you, but I have this bizarre idea that the first reaction of a good person is not to condemn, but instead, gather the facts.

Admittedly, I may be conflating “good” with “intelligent”, and completely derailing my argument. But – is this even still possible in the Era of Weaponized Opinion? – hear me out. Humor me for a moment, please.

Where is the dialogue? Why is the question not asked, “Hey, why did you say this? What was your intent? What was the joke here that I am obviously not seeing?”

AND.

Does no one these days actually UNDERSTAND comedy? I mean, sometimes, a comedian will take on the ‘voice’ of someone less enlightened than themselves, in order to demonstrate that this sort of person’s point of view is markedly ignorant. They do have the responsibility to make this clear. That onus is on them. But, if they have done their job, and that joke is sound, that joke works, that joke lands, welcome back to my argument.

The problem I’m seeing here is that people have forgotten – or have apparently never known in the first place – that:

  1. Art is meant to provoke (and yes, Comedy is absolutely, empirically Art); spurring discussion on whether a viewpoint is right or wrong and why that may be is a good thing. Talking to a comedian about where they were coming from with a controversial joke is also a good thing;
  2. Comedy itself is a good thing. It can help us deal with much of the darkness we are faced with in this life, including ignorance, so that we don’t, say, organize into a mouth-foaming mob brandishing portable guillotines from Sharper Judge Jury and Executioner Image.

There truly is a difference between controversial comedy and bad, mean comedy that is genuinely racist or misogynistic. And let me inform you so that we are clear – the shit comedy? That unfunny crap that actually is racist, misogynistic, cruel? First off, it’s lazy, no real comedians respect that shit. And also, it does not last long (unless you are frequenting white supremacist comedy bars or something, in which case, you have some duplicity fish to fry there). That kind of “comedy” is not rewarded. You won’t find it anywhere in the mainstream, or in the indie scene, either. So-called comics who sound like 7th grade bullies don’t end up going anywhere good. And so blurring that fucking line needs to halt.

You ABSOLUTELY have the right to not find a joke funny. You have the right, even, to be OFFENDED by a joke. I won’t even say it’s a crime to MISUNDERSTAND a joke. I don’t want to take any of that away. What I take umbrage with, though, is this piling on, this group anger directed at one person, this automatic rabid-wolf-packing

Stop jerking your knee, calling out EVERYTHING that you don’t like or don’t get or find distasteful. Do some research first. Knowledge is power, but also?

IT’S FUCKING KNOWLEDGE.

Do you truly think it’s problematic? Write an essay about it. Express yourself intelligently. Again, do some research. And apply some nuanced thinking, please. Stop viewing everything in black and white, binary terms. It is possible. I refuse to believe that we have lost the ability to do that.

Bertrand Russell said the sign of an intellectual is the ability to hold two contradictory ideas in mind at the same time. When I consider that statement, it appears to me to be the only true way one can come to a solid conclusion. If you do not weigh  opposing viewpoints objectively, how can you expect to come to a conclusion that comes anywhere near to sound?

definition of censorship - cancel culture comes for comedy

Comedians have a goal that they dedicate themselves to heart and soul. No matter how gruff they may seem, believe me when I say this: That goal is to make you laugh. To make your life a bit better, a bit more tolerable, if even for just the time you are in that comedy club or bar or on the couch watching that special or set. It is not their aim to make you feel like shit. Please, try to remember this before you decide to string up the next one for something they say. Please, just take a moment and try to see what they might have been trying to do, and how they might have been trying to do it.

Comedy is not supposed to be safe. If you are worried about sounding like a “nice” person, you cannot do comedy. It isn’t possible. Because you can find a reason not to say just about anything.

I don’t want to live in a world where people are afraid to speak. Likewise, if someone has something to say that is heinous, hey, I’d prefer to know that they feel that way than shut them up. You have a better chance of improving a situation you know exists than one you insist is swept under the carpet so your delicate ears don’t have to hear it.

One day, it might be your speech that is condemned, you who is the one being cancelled. You may be the one who came off the wrong way without intending to do so. If that ever were to happen, I think you would want a chance for people to hear your side of things before they release the hounds. I want you to have that chance, too. I want us all to have that chance.

Even the people busy combing through 10 year-old Tweets as I type this.

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Cancel Culture, Cancel Thyself

(Cancel culture, political correctness, change your art.)

American Frightfest Thought (SPOILER ALERT): It really would have been the cherry on top had they made the so-called Monster the older, perennially abusive brother of the younger, self-proclaimed Wrong Monster. Because then, I could have been like, WHOA, because I would have been projecting my own horrible abusive dysfunctional sibling relationship with a bona fide Monster onto their relationship, and found the film extremely profound. Because it’s all about ME, after all, isn’t it?

Just Don't Look, say the censor-y pearl clutchersBecause that’s what we’re all doing these days, right? Insisting works of creativity be re-written to suit our own particular tastes and sensibilities and jibe with our own interior narratives, or cancel culture kicks in? Because we don’t want stories that challenge us to look at things in a different way but instead we just want those that mirror the same old worldviews and beliefs we’ve always held, yeah? I mean, shouldn’t they have just changed the series finale of Game of Thrones because it didn’t end the way people thought or wanted it to do so?

A RESOUNDING FUCK NO.

ART IS NOT A DEMOCRACY. (Disclosure: On the matter of whether Game of Thrones is Art: I can’t weigh in. I’ve no information, having never watched it.)

Anyway. Lemme grab my dramatic effect capital letter shit back. Hang on.

ART IS NOT A DAMN DEMOCRACY.

You don’t get to fucking vote on what the end of a TV series is going to be, unless for some reason that is the gimmick of the series, in which case, what a shitty series that is, and anyone watching that crap kinda deserves whatever they get dished up.

So. A week or two ago, Joaquin Phoenix was doing a press junket for JOKER and a reporter asked something to the effect of, do you feel badly about making a movie such as ‘this’, are you concerned that people will imitate this character’s (SPOILER ALERT {really? I mean, come on, it’s the fucking JOKER}) ‘bad behavior’?

I’m not sure what his answer to this was, but this question pisses me off.

I saw this movie once about a giant shark that stalked people and then ate them. But you know what? Unbelievably, I never swam around in the ocean stalking people and then eating them because I saw this movie! In fact, I never even did it at all!

Dogs in SpaceMore realistically, I saw SID AND NANCY and DOGS IN SPACE and neither of those films ever made me shoot up heroin. I saw CLOCKWORK ORANGE and FUNNY GAMES and yet not once have I invaded a family home and raped anyone OR worn all white. I saw the second A STAR IS BORN and I NEVER ONCE wanted to see the first one, third one, or most recent one. What I’m saying is, not everyone is a hypnotized zombie when it comes to cinema. In fact, dare I say the majority are not.

The whole idea that now we must SANITIZE MEDIA when we do not even hold the commander in thief to that same sanitized standard is ludicrous.

I think Joaquin should have told the reporter that he was more concerned that needless wars over things like oil and land might inspire people to be violent, and that he saw that as possibly being a slightly larger problem than films, because you must pay to see a film, while war is free and can impact you whether you choose it or not. Perhaps address the leaders and the very military industrial complex itself, Random Reporter Lady who failed Relevant Interrogatories 101, before questioning the ethics of a performer in a work of commercial entertainment.

Or, continue to be a moron. There’s that option, too.

AND.

The people – mostly Twitter users, it appears – who comprise the Cancel Culture, you know,  I really have empathy for them, I do. I know that at their level of wokeness, it has to be difficult to be so gosh-darned hard on people, caring about social justice and all. And too, it must be DOUBLY difficult for them. Think of it – to have to publicly acknowledge that the problematic person they are cancelling is more talented than them, that must be a bitter pill to swallow. Cause generally speaking, talented people spend their time utilizing their talents and creating things, not destroying them. They don’t spend their time on the internet bitching people out. It takes many characteristics to facilitate membership proper in a net.mob, but talent is not one of them. Net.mobs take anyone (no qualifications or previous experience required *** Do you like a Rock and Roll atmosphere? Leads Provided! Start immediately! *** ).

bell hooks quote

When it comes to mobs, what is the difference between carrying tiki torches and  carrying Frankenstein torches really? Is there truly a difference at all? Because I don’t see one. They both appear to be a bunch of people wielding way too much fire and all sharing one very precariously-poised-in-useful-reality brain when clearly they – and the rest of us – would be much better off with the benefit of many, many brains of a more practical and community-oriented nature.

I don’t know what the answers are. But shutting everyone up by cancelling them en masse? I don’t think that cancel culture is the answer at all. In fact, I KNOW it’s not. The truth is the truth, whether it scares you or not. It’s better to know than to not know if someone is dangerous, or hateful, or misogynist, or whatever the fuck they are. But also, it’s kind of gross to completely ostracize people from everything before all the facts are in, or for “offenses” like saying something jack-assed and ignorant 10 years ago. We need to allow people to grow.

Now if someone is running around raping puppies or what-have-you? Cancel away, have at it. Have a cancel party and play that cool drinking game, The Devil’s Triangle.

I LIKE BEERYou know, just ONE of those senators could have said, “Oh, a drinking game. Can you tell me how that’s played, exactly? How did you and your friends play that?” But no. NO ONE WAS CURIOUS WHAT HE WOULD HAVE SAID TO THAT? And NONE of those senators EVER heard of a real Devil’s Triangle? REALLY?

I wonder if it is cold and moist UNDER THEIR ROCKS.

Anyway.

That’s it. That’s the rant.

 

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I think that separating kids from their parents is pretty awful. You’ll have no disagreement from me on this issue. Seeing images of young children who have been wrenched away from their mothers is indeed heartbreaking. The thing that strikes me, though, is that through all of that, and through all of the cries of outrage and “This is not who we are” on Twitter, never once did I hear anyone mention, “Yeah, this is what adoption is like, too.” I mean, the only true difference I see, aside from external circumstance, is that the parent is generally in favor of the wrenching away. But you still have a child who isn’t asked, who isn’t capable of answering, “Would you like to be taken away from your parent and never see them again and never know them?” And through all of those separations, it was always the impact on the children that was the focus. So why wouldn’t it be the focus in the case of adoption, too? I’m probably making one of those arguments that in proper debate form you can poke a hole through as big as the Grand Canyon, that has a name like “Straw Man” or “Fred’s Fallacy” or something, but it really doesn’t seem THAT different to me. You get separated, there is a primal wound from this, you are traumatized in a deep place that eventually, if you are lucky, scabs over and heals, and the scar submerges itself somewhere where it’s not accessible on a day to day basis. It’s made out of the same tissue. I don’t know if it’s the same size scar. Maybe it depends on what happens to you after the separation, whether you are abused or well-cared for. But it’s the same kind of wound. And it would just be nice if people could see that. That separating children from parents is separating children from parents – it’s just that one is for political reasons and the other is for supposed ‘moral’ ones (read: money).

I Was Exchanged For Money And Attorney Fees And All I Got Was This Lousy Altered Birth Certificate.

Not that I care now. I actually, for the first time in my life, don’t. I just thought it bore saying. Someone needed to point out how fucked up the current (and former) system(s) of adoption are (and have been), because this is treated as normal, and it’s not normal. It’s twisted. (Not as twisted as making a whole other brand new human being inside of your body and then just leaving it with strangers and forgetting about it forever, but close.)

Did you know that a great way to remember how to spell the word “separate” is to remember that there is always A RAT in there? See if you forget how to spell it NOW. It’s in your brain!

I’m going to write shorter posts about one topic at a time instead of longer posts that are brain dumps, or at least that’s the idea. We’ll see how it pans out. This whole blog is just one big fumbling experiment in chaos anyway.

 

The Awful Truth

It’s Cyber Monday, the big online shopping day. Seems like a good reason to state unequivocally why every blog post I make is in some way about financial stress.

I am trying to survive on $9,200 a year.

I just figured I would finally be upfront about that. It works out to $750 a month. Which is not enough to live on, as you have probably surmised. Which is why I do the clip thing. But this is very problematic for many reasons, the primary being that it does not solve the problem of subsistence, as the rule is that half of anything I might earn is to be deducted from that monthly stipend. ‘Anything I might earn’ is not a static number but is usually between $200 to $400, which means it’s really between $100 to $200 for an entire month’s worth of confused and difficult activity which is frankly hell to “show up to”, as I have outlined many times in this blog.

I am not able to get a job outside of my home. I am not yet qualified to get a job inside my home that would pay enough to pay for my state-sponsored medication which costs approximately $24,000 per year. Every day is spent stuffing down panic to keep it in the background, every day is spent concurrently trying to figure out a solution and suppress the intense financial anxiety.

I have wracked my brain trying to figure out how to improve this situation. I have thought about this for YEARS. Years of constant free-floating panic. Tears of frustration and worry are flowing freely as I write this, because the pressure inside is so great that I just can’t hold them in.

I just do not know what the fuck to do.

Government agencies will not be helpful. They are the ones who have set these rules and they do not care that these rules are not livable or workable, that they completely fuck you. Lawyers could care less; there’s nothing in it for them.

It is literally too expensive for me to live. It is too expensive to me to draw breath.

I am severely mentally ill. I have four major co-morbid mental illnesses. I am supposed to be focused on getting better and maintaining mental health. Instead I have been consumed by this worry, and it leads me to very dark places.

And I have no fucking idea what to do.

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Solidarity

Here is a list of companies that support the NRA:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.esquire.com/news-politics/amp18700113/companies-that-work-with-the-nra/#ampshare=https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a18700113/companies-that-work-with-the-nra/

If you do not agree with their policies, you can contact these companies and let them know that if they continue to support the NRA, you will no longer support them.

I stand with the students of every school in this nation who are standing up today to say ENOUGH. No child should ever have to fear going to school, and it is unconscionable if we as adults let this continue.

Many things must change. Today is about these absolutely amazing kids making their voices multiply throughout the nation and throughout the world.

And to that I say:  Fuck yes.

 

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Meetings, Protests, Walk-Outs

I m so proud of the kids of the State of Florida today. My heart absolutely swells, I have my fist in the air in solidarity. People have the power to get together and work for positive change. These kids are proof of the indomitable spirit that lives within us all. They kick total and complete ass.

(Btw, Marco Rubio has accepted millions from the NRA. I hope he is enjoying his blood money.)

*

There is no reason ordinary citizens should have access to assault weapons. Can we take a look at this, at what the motivation, the origin, could be for someone to feel so helpless, so unheard, so whatever, that they need a bunch of guns or an assault rifle in the first place? Is it some childhood injury, some adult delusion that drives this? I know some people collect guns. Collections I understand. Arsenals I do not. They never end well. They end with some cold-hearted malcontent killing innocent people. No one hunts with an AR-15. It’s been said before but damn it, let us say it again. No one hunts with an AR-15.

Unless they are hunting people.

AR-15s are meant to kill human beings.

Do you or your neighbor really need one, and if so, WHY?

There are reasons why this violence happens, and we need to root them all out and process them so that we can work on finding solutions.

Another post is forthcoming about the mental health aspects of the Parkland shooting and how Medicaid and many other systems are broken. I am going to summarize my experiences and give you a sense of what it is like to be in the system, and a little of what the stigma is like. Not that I believe the system necessarily failed in this instance. I do not know; I don’t have access to data that could lead to any accurate conclusions. But since everyone keeps saying we need to have a conversation about mental health – which we are currently not having – I am throwing in my opinions on that issue very soon.

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