30 June 2012

June, 2012 Errata

Rather than develop any of these into their own posts, here are several subjects in concentrated form that may or may not be explored further in future posts.

Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations

The central tenet of Star Trek is one that celebrates diversity. Just this week, I've read some eye-opening blog posts by a musical-loving introvert and a British trans woman and I've chatted frequently through Google with a jaded feminist with a spiffy blog of her own. Every time I run afoul someone bemoaning "political correctness," I think of all the people represented by the microcosm of these three women and I realize that the complaining party's real problem is a lack of relationships with anyone outside their own homogeneous pool of people. I realized the effect these three (and several others) have had on me when I saw Billy Elliot: The Musical Wednesday night and I caught myself nitpicking its biases. It wasn't because some social bogeyman forced me think such things; it's because I've come to respect, like and care about people who aren't like me. They've taught me wonderful things about themselves, people like them...and they've also taught me some things about myself along the way.

Mash-ups Bore Me

Various YouTube fan edits and mashups keep circulating the web and I know I can't stop that and frankly, I don't even want to stop it. It's just that I can't really get into 99% of them, no matter how clever or well synchronized they are with the new music or trailer voice-over or whatever. When it comes time to discuss, I always come across as the unimaginative stick in the mud.

Anti-Obamacare Hostility

Here's the thing about the way this years-long issue has played out. The anti-Obamacare crowd has become so hateful that those of us who do support it can't even celebrate it publicly. We're so bullied by accusations of being lazy, selfish thieves who should have done something differently in our lives that isn't anyone else's responsibility to fix and we should just die and decrease the surplus population and how dare we even ask for sympathy because that's immoral of us that we just want to keep our heads down and not say a word. That's the real battle of health care reform: the bullies are winning, even if the Supreme Court unexpectedly handed down a favorable ruling on its legality.

I understand the importance to President Obama's reelection chances that his supporters be vocal, and I understand the importance to protecting this key piece of legislation of reelecting him. But after being hospitalized last year for severe depression partially brought on by the bullying persecution of the Tea Party, I just don't have it in me to make myself a target over this anymore. Mr. President, I appreciate that you've staked your political career and legacy on legislation designed to benefit millions of Americans like me and you can count on my vote come November. I hope you'll understand, though, if I keep kinda quiet about it right now. Of course, if you could give me some "red meat" by calling out that bullying and confronting it for what it is, that could make it more palatable for me to join you on the battlefield.

The Tea Party Threatening to Move to Canada if Obamacare Isn't Repealed

Sometimes, things are just so perfect they don't even need commentary.

Facebook Just Wants to Beat Children

It seems every other day, someone is circulating a diatribe on Facebook about how special their generation was, because their parents beat their asses and that's what's wrong with today's out-of-control kids, etc. I waded into one such debate, but I've let dozens of others pass without a comment because, like Obamacare, I just don't have it in me to fight these battles on a daily basis. The Reader's Digest version of my philosophy on out-of-control children is: "Kids are not out of control because no one spanks them. Kids are out of control because no one is investing the time to help that child develop properly. Spanking is irrelevant."

I was spanked just a few times in my life, almost none that occurred after I was old enough to form memories and the truth is I still believe the last one was an entirely uncalled for lashing out from my dad who just needed to reassert his dominance over me; not that I had committed some heinous infraction of the social contract. It wasn't that my parents were permissive; quite the contrary. It's that my mom took the time to discuss situations with me, even when they weren't at hand, so that I had no excuse for not seeing the right and wrong ways of handling them should they arise. Spanking without guidance becomes merely a tax for a child to pay, and guidance doesn't need the reinforcement of physical contact or even the threat of it.

Again, I also refer you to the memoirs of Gluckel of Hamelin, who wrote in her diary of the late 1600s and early 1700s about how terrible her children and their generation were. Every generation is branded the worst to ever walk the Earth, unlike any that have gone before it, etc. It comes from dishonest nostalgia. Take a look at a post I wrote in 2010 about today's youth ("Narcissistic Volunteers") and one I wrote just a couple weeks ago ("Birthright, Entitlement and Yard Sales") for more on my perspective on youth.


Lastly, one of my friends turned me onto Tawkify last night. She learned of it from a review on Gizmodo. It's an online dating service, but it's done the old-fashioned way: You hand yourself over to their human matchmakers. They're running a Klout-based promo right now, and my 54 score entitled me to three free matches (if I'd hit 60, I would have qualified for their 6 months, "red carpet" package). I naturally agonized over the registration process. I always fear that if I don't disclose all my baggage up front, then I'm just setting myself up for accusations of defrauding anyone who might actually go out with me when it comes to light. Yet, I also know that if I'm forthright about all of it up front, no one would ever bother with me. It's very frustrating for someone like me to do these things, and no matter how many times my friends tell me that no one is ever fully honest in their profiles and how I'm making it unnecessarily harder on myself, etc., I can't shake the feeling that I'm somehow concealing an unpleasant truth by not saying, "Okay, look...I have dubious health, no money, etc."

Anyway, I did manage to complete the registration process so we'll see what (if anything) comes of it. They never asked me about my income or marital status. I can only assume that my being poor and still legally married aren't supposed to disqualify me. At least it's something different from languishing on my own. Now, the Tawkify matchmakers have the burden of setting me up thrice. The Gizmodo article was pretty interesting and if you're curious at all, Dear Reader, I encourage you to take a look and give it a chance.