Holidays are approaching

I’ve stayed up way too late doing nothing in particular. Watching strange shows from Brazil with great English voice dubbing. Looking at my phone wanting to feel connected…
Then it flashes me the battery warning and I think, “probably time to go to bed.” My cats asleep in the middle of my bed and I’ll displace her so instead I remember I need to write a post for tomorrow.

This week is Thanksgiving in the USA. Another holiday that has its roots in blood. As if all holidays aren’t problematic icons embodied in a yearly ritual to enshrine the victory of one group over another. I mean it’s hypocritical to teach that it’s about some historical togetherness and all but I question whether or not that actually matters. Knowing the truth about history is a good thing and it can help avoid past mistakes in favor of all new atrocities.

But being mad about a holiday seems pointless. Get together and change it if you need to. Change the name and people’s cultural relationship to it. But mostly, it’s an excuse.

That correct. All holidays are an excuse. Mostly it’s to take a day off. For those lucky enough to be able to afford it. And even for those who can’t, its the opportunity to say fuck it, I’m taking this time for myself. For my family, if you’re into that kind straight laced social structure. It’s a way to be irresponsible in a state sanctioned corporate sponsored commercially acceptable way.

And it’s a time to say hi to that cousin you only vaguely remember. To try to restrain yourself, or maybe this is just me, from getting into sociopolitical arguments with people capable of only spouting talking points and appeals to authority. (Headline-If you are making an appeal to authority without data to back it up, you’ve already lost the argument.) And eat food you wouldn’t normally eat.

Some people, mythically to my mind, get to hang out with friends and have fun. I’ve never seen it, except on Single person Christmas, aka Halloween, and even then that a socially awkward sexually charged powder keg. It’s one overly fruity mixed drink away from making a pass at your married boss with his wife right there. Or laughing at someone’s use of fetish gear as costume and demonstrating proper flogger technique in front of people you know are friends of friends who will spread that like wildfire.
Not that this is a bad thing, I just don’t like awkward conversations about what drunk, no filter me, said when I am sober slight filter me.

Maybe I’m just not who these Holidays are aimed at. I know there are people who love this stuff. Love the gossip about nothing and the skirting of taboo topics at least until someone says grace.

Another thing I don’t do. I’m fairly certain my lip service Christian family would neither take a blessing from my faith nor would my faith be likely to bestow blessings. Honestly, if asked for a blessing, I think the proper response would be something like, “The choices we make have consequences. Whether those consequences are good or bad depends on where you are standing when they occur. This means that whether we act or not, either is a choice. Make sure you make your choices wherever possible. Don’t allow your choices to make you.”

But there is no appeal to a higher authority which seems to be the point of prayer.

So maybe I just don’t get it. Or maybe I do. But in any case, Holidays are meant for people to pause and see. To look around in the frenetic drawn out scream, and maybe, for once, listen.

But what do I know? I’m just a man who needs to move his cat, so he can go to sleep.

We only have freedom to choose when we are not in danger

When we speak from a position of strength, we forget that not everyone has the same privilege. Without a calm place to stand, without stability, there is no safe place to strike out from. It is the most fundamental human need.

Safety and security is more than a good neighborhood or a job. It is the sure thought that tomorrow and for the foreseeable future, there will be enough to eat, there will be a home that does not itself contain dangers, and despite what problems may be thrown at us, we will have a support system of people and seeable graspable opportunities which insure our continued lives and futures.

Most of us don’t have that. At best we have 2 of the 3 and hope that in some far off unknowable future we will be able to start planning for more than today. Most of us won’t make it to that future.

We are stuck on a ferris wheel which we stepped onto, all naive and full of dreams, hoping and thinking that tomorrow will be better. And that’s the best case, many were forced into darker alleys and worse choices by main circumstances.

How do we make it out? As a people, as humanity, how do we stop breaking the hearts and minds of our people just to perpetuate systems which promote the continuous devolution to barbarism.

I don’t know. And it’s hard to think of how to do so. I’m not safe. And it’s only because my broken heart and mind won’t allow me to sleep, that I’m able to get out even these words. All the while, wracked by doubt and worry and fear, thinking about the morning. When it all starts up again.

Thoughts on vitriolic speech

When we succumb to vitriolic language, we lose credibility in the marketplace of ideas. When one group espouses that all members of another group are inherently of no value, they set up a scenario of escalation by the people who most embody their statement and alienation from those who do not. That alienation has the opposite effect of the intended statement. Statements such as this are intended to highlight a problem and start a discussion but they have the opposite effect. Statements such as this polarize the accused group, causing not disintegration or fracturing but instead causes the majority of that group to, at least initially defend the group or try to differentiate themselves from that grouping.

This then leads to the people saying nay to the hyperbole, which then leads to a demonizing of those that say nay, then leads to anyone who might want to participate in a discussion about it to go silent. Because when all members of a group who have no choice in being that are vilified, outside of people who like to argue, they will see that discussion led to even worse things. And so, silence.

If no one is talking except to shout slogans and hashtags at each other then nothing can be accomplished. No discussion. No sharing of ideas can occur if you force the individual members of the group to acknowledge that you are right before you will speak semirationally with them.

Both sides shouting, no one talking, no progress is made. People want it all fixed, right now. Societies don’t work like that. The idea has to permeate the culture first. And do we want to have a hateful idea permeate a culture. It’s simple to tell if an idea is hateful. Just turn it around. Apply it to yourself and your group. Do you feel affronted? Angry? If someone said that about you would it make you feel good? If not, then you are spreading hate.

Hate is easy and it causes human emotions to flash hot. But it is destruction. Maybe you think to burn it down to rebuild it. But hate breeds more hate until there is no one left to rebuild. Or if there is, it will likely be people who rebel against your hateful ideas. Either way, you don’t accomplish your goal.

It is easy to say no compromises. But that is not how advanced societies function. Dictatorships do. But they don’t last and neither do their policies. One or two human lifetimes is the most you accomplish.
Real forward progress is accomplished by understanding and the slow process of new ideas embedding into youth and age giving way to the youth as policy makers. It’s slow. But it is effective and lasting change.

If you feel the need to fight, fight for someone’s rights. For someone’s life. For each other. Giving into hate creates a situation where things can’t change.

Hiding in our lives from ourselves

These phases and phrases that pass us off as normal, do us few favors.

Normal is hiding, normal is manning up or doing as you’re told instead of what’s right.

It’s keeping silent and saying everything is fine when you’ve bought the gun.

It’s saying I need to work through this alone when being alone makes it worse but we enshrine independence as some kind of peak but it’s other people who lift us up.

It’s being cruel to get the laugh and watching their heart crumble a little.

It’s presenting strength and calm
when inside the storm is raging
and just one touch or word could make all the difference
but no one knows to say
because this facade we build is crafted day by day
and today it looks like any other.

Normal is the killer of dreams and the striving for the middle when the extraordinary is right around the corner.

It’s the lie we tell ourselves to make it all better, that this is normal.

That we have to accept this because most people do
but the truth is we don’t really know
because we are all trying so hard to present normal.

We’re dying from normal. We’re losing our selves to normal. We’re slipping away day by day feeding into the great churn of buy this, it’s normal.

But it’s not too late to steal their normal and make it steel toed boots and black dresses and 5 o’clock shadow.

It’s not too late to make this normal their weird. Weird is their term for different, for outliers.

Weird is my term for kindred. I like your weird. Be weird with me. Fuck normal.