Good Use Of Money

Right here.

Really, I hate the whole, “I’ll bet you $______ if you can just prove ________.”  Sure, sometimes it is a “I’ll give it to charity”…but mostly, it is about boasting rights and usually the expectation is that nobody will take them up.  That is, of course, because usually the claim is a worthless waste of time.  And this is most certainly a waste of time…and this guy wants to waste a judge’s time on top of that.

Oh yeah…evolution DOES contradict a literal reading of the Genesis Creation story.  A non-literal reading?  No, then it does not contradict the Genesis Creation story.  But if you are arguing for a literal reading?  Then you have no damn idea what LITERAL means.

Culture Is Vacuous-And By Culture, I Mean…

Maybe it is just my age…but I am genuinely tierd of listening to people go on about how vacuous our culture is and how it ties to societal ills.  Not because our culture has no facets that are vacuous.  It certainly does.  But usually when people are making that criticism, they really are decrying that people might take the time to discuss stuff they find unimportant.

It is also a criticism I see friends and aquaintences making based on stuff they see on VH1 and E!  And that is kind of the problem.  If your criticisms are based on shows dedicated to light and fluffy material, it is going to heavily skew how you are perceiving the culture at large.

While it can be amusing to shine a light on a dumb tweet, Facebook post or news story, that makes for a terrible jumping off point for cultural commentary.  I mean, do people post dumb things on Facebook and Twitter?

But you know what?

People also post witty, thoughtful and good things on Twitter and Facebook.  I see thoughts and ideas that challenge the status quo, that make me think about how and why I believe what I believe.

And unsurprisingly, those people complaining about the vacuous nature of society never see themselves as part of the problem.  Instead, they are the ones “shining a light” on it.  They are not expressing an epiphany borne of introspection.  Rather it is merely a chance to lash out at “culture”.  The commentary is often vague complaints about Kardashians and the so on.  Maybe the fact that I read nuanced thoughts and discussions regarding problems within culture leave me simple wanting moer than complaints about how hollow culture is in general.

As frustrating as some of those vacuous regions of our culture can be…the critics can be equally frustrating.

Search and Destroy

This week, discussions I was a part of collided. Over in political land, it was a discussion about the Website Jezebel.  In case you were unaware, after Obama was re-elected, Twitter and Facebook lit up with dis-satisfied voters who thought the best response to the news was racism and hate.  Some of these people were teenagers doing that thing teens do so well…say stupid things.  Jezebel was understandably put off by these comments.  Their response was to compile a list of these folks…their names, their schools, their extra-curricular activities, what sports they play, etc.  The idea is, apparently, to really hit these kids by ruining their chances at college and so on.

In comic world, the other day, someone found a website post Director James Gunn did two years back (possibly closer to three).  It was a list of the 35 comic book characters folks want to have sex with.  So, it was a mature list.  I was actually familiar with the list…and the less controversial list (one with none of the commentary that bothered people) has comments by me.  I used to be pretty active at Gunn’s site.  He was very interactive, and in spite of random moments that made me cringe, seemed pretty open minded.  The list I commented on, Gunn and I had an exchange about our shock that the only Watchman character to make the list?  Comedian.  Seriously.  The rapist.  The list was compiled by a vote, and on one version of the list, Gunn made commentary that was a bit…uncomfortable.  Rachel Edidin addresses it nicely.

Some have stated it was satire of Misogyny.  Maybe.  But it failed because it did not lampoon the outdated attitudes…it seemed more to lampoon it’s subjects.  But the point is, people wanted to do something about it.  And this is where stuff collided.  People seemed to want to destroy Gunn.

I am not crazy at all over the idea that the right answer when someone offends us is to try and get them fired.  People have the right to express the most heinous of ideas.  I have every right to decide whether I want to give them my money.  I have every right to express how wrong I think they are.  I have every right to take to twitter and express that.  Or Facebook.  It is important to have that outlet of protest.  But when we take it the step ahead and force destruction to rain on their heads, we start to lose our righteous ground.  Especially, I am concerned because these are tactics that were used on the left for decades.  Threat to out gay people, petitions to get people with unpopular opinions fired, etc.  Look at the pro-life movement.  There were some within the movement that publicized the names and addresses of doctors who performed abortions.  As some doctors were shot and killed, they were crossed off the lists in blood.

Do we want to have a legacy like that?  Where we start keeping a list of people who “think correctly” and those who fail to meet our standards are not allowed to move on in life?  Do we really think it is different when we do it to them?  It’s somehow different to try and get someone fired because they are homophobic than to get someone fired because they are gay?  Should something you said years ago be held in higher regard than where you are now?  The person I was long ago held very different opinions on issues than the person writing this post.  There was a time in my life that I saw homosexuality as evil.  I was vehemently pro-life.  Do the views I evolved to mean less than the ones I held when I was decades younger?  I cannot comfortably agree that punishing kids as Jezebel seeks to do is wise or good.  It is not the right step forward.  Especially hurting their ability to get into schools.  Yes, lets try and keep them teens from going to the place that often results in a personal re-evaluation of one’s beliefs.

Gunn, btw, apologized. And hey, he avoids the “sorry you were offended”…he takes credit for the failure on his own.  Considering that other recent offenders took the “Stop being offended route? (including defenders of Gunn) it was kind of refreshing.

Mitt, Man of the People

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.”[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

-Mitt Romney

So…do you think the Right Wing Media Machine will denounce Romney’s words as harshly as they did Obama’s “Clinging to guns and religion” video?

As someone who took financial help from the Government once (when I was laid off under the early years of the Bush Administration)…who has been taking full responsibility for my care ever since…as a small business owner?  I find it pathetic that Reince Priebus defends it as on message.  I find it offensive that Romney thinks he can gain my support by turning me against others who might be struggling a bit harder than me.

Not The Victim

So, now we find some trying to make Trayvon out to be a thug. Zimmerman kills a kid and the police investigate the victim. Trayvon has no history of violence. He was suspended for grafitti. Everyone who knows him says they cannot believe he was the instigator. Zimmerman claims he was the instigator. Zimmerman claims he was the person calling for help. Witnesses say it was Trayvon. Zimmerman has a history of violence. He has a history of calling the police regarding black men in the neighborhood.

But the simple truth is, Zimmerman opted to follow Trayvon after being told not to. And now Trayvon is dead. And not because he was wearing a hoodie, Geraldo.

I wish the police would have shown the dedication to looking into Zimmerman as they have for looking into Trayvon. You see, Zimmerman is not the victim here.