Archive for social justice

99 reasons why I’m better than you (#triggerwarning: #socialjustice)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 16, 2014 by Anton A. Hill

So the wife and I are getting groceries at Whole Foods (yeah, yeah, fuck off). I’m wearing my brand-ass new Persol shades (seriously, fuck off). We’re set on getting some post-shopping vegan, chocolate sorbet (if you don’t fuck off, I swear…). The checker makes a light-hearted comment on my shades. Something like, “Too bright in here?” Or, “Going to the beach?” You know, something humorous, chatty, polite.

But ignorant.

See, what he was doing was making a judgment on my wearing sunglasses indoors. He was operating from a place of able-bodied privilege where people like him don’t have to wear shades inside because they have no fear of getting skull-cracking headaches if they don’t. I answered, “Awfully presumptive of you. Here I am shopping, giving you guys my money, and you feel you have the right to mock my disability?”

Oh, shit. Wait. I didn’t say that. Know why I didn’t say that? Because, the site name notwithstanding, I’m not a fucking blowhard, self-righteous, offended-for-its-own-sake asshole. What I actually did was make some equally polite, humorous, smile-filled comment about the beach or something. Why? While I stand by the points I made in the third paragraph, it comes down to priorities. Was he operating out of ignorance? Yes. Was he making a bit of a judgment based on that ignorance? Yes. Does he arguably operate out of a place of privilege (I know you love that word)? Yes. But what do I gain by making a huge, public scene over a very trivial matter? Sure, it’s an opportunity to educate him on a social irritant he’d most likely otherwise never be aware of, but the process by which I’d most likely have to have done that would’ve cost more time, energy, and social awkwardness than I felt it was worth. Essentially, he meant no harm. Pick your battles. Move on.

I’ve spent a good amount of time on the webtubes chatting with those who consider themselves marginalized in some way or another. In many of those cases, I agree with their sentiment, but not with how they’re choosing to express it or how they’re choosing to, what they consider, affect change. If you’re one of those kinds of people, you feel your blood boil when someone accidentally, usually out of ignorance, uses a less-than-flattering phrase, makes an assumption, or some other crime against humanity, consider the following reasons why I’m a better person than you are.

  1. I hope for a lot, I expect little. We’d all like to be in a world where we’re all treated well and when we’re not, people apologize, change their behavior, and puppies and rainbows. But with competing ideas come competing freedoms, values, agendas, and so on. The hoped-for reality is often opposite to the actual reality. And while actual usually becomes hoped-for, it often takes a long time, with lots of struggle. As such, I try not to act on or pronounce too many absolutes. There simply aren’t that many. And when people act as if there are and pronounce things as such, conflicts arise.
  2. I’m patient. I have to be. Most people arrive to the conversation with loads of assumptions, not the least of which is that they’re right. About everything. Then, they tend to operate out of their assumptions, often treating me as if I’m wrong, even in a subject I’m a lifelong expert on. But I don’t hate them for that. Near as I can tell, we all do it. I see each of those occasions as an opportunity for discussion, learning, and so on.
  3. I don’t mind repeating myself. Over and over again. And I do this a lot. I can’t tell you how often I get the same questions. Usually verbatim. All the time. There was one week where I had to give the same spiel to three different people. What keeps me sane? I know that for each person, it’s the first time they’re asking and it’s not their problem it’s my 1000th time answering.
  4. I have a sense of humor. Ask anyone. I’m happy to be mocked. Usually, the only offense I take is if I just don’t think the mocking is that creative. But I don’t mind it. Not one bit. In fact, I often join in.
  5. I don’t expect you to read my mind. I know what I look like. It’s very often been pointed out. I’m a tall, thin, white guy. Since I’m usually socially seen with my wife, it’s obvious I’m hetero. Given those attributes, most people assume that there’s nothing “wrong” with me. And depending on definitions, they’re right. But along with that nothing-“wrong” assumption comes the expectation that I fit in with their image of what a straight, white guy is. As in no challenges, no sense of social oppression, and no willingness to learn about it. Thus, when we engage, I don’t expect others to just “get it.”
  6. I’m always willing to discuss, even when it becomes uncomfortable. Unlike many people I’ve observed, I don’t fly off the handle the second someone makes an assumption or asks a question. I don’t pull “trigger warning” cards (which I do have). I don’t take most things for granted. So if someone asks what I think of ableism and we seem to have a disagreement, I don’t just tell them to shut up and listen. Even if it is warranted.
  7. -99. I lied.

With this manifesto, I’m committing to calming the fuck down myself. I’ll do my best to not seek out controversy over these issues (or others) in my on-line presence. I can’t promise I won’t ever slip–some things really, really piss me off–but I’m gonna give it a go.

Maybe you should too.

Random shit for Friday (#triggerwarning: #bullshit)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2014 by Anton A. Hill

I’m seriously gotta take a break from Twitter. I whined about this in my hangout with Frank Skiff. I swear I see something on Twit and Facebook almost every day that pisses me off.

And not even religious shit.

I’m gonna name some names so if you don’t like that, or a ramble fest, go away.

First up, @infuriousbeauty on Twitter told me blah blah misogyny, blah blah, I’m male, therefore STFU. I don’t give a shit when total random strangers tell me to STFU. I actually find it pretty amusing. What irritated me was that she said that criticism of her point (which was some bullshit on males and misogyny) was invalidating to her as a woman.

Right.

Think whatever bullshit you want on the world being run by a patriarchic cabal of misogynists (who hate women). To some small degree, I don’t really care. Crazy is as crazy is. But to equate calling bullshit on bullshit to invalidation… is bullshit. No one, and I even mean us evil white, male, heterosexuals, gets to spew bullshit and be granted a pass because, you know, criticism of one’s bullshit •feels• like invalidation. If I invalidate you, you’ll know. It’ll sound something like, “You’re fucking stupid.” Or, “You’re invalid.” Or, “Shut the fuck up.”

I said none of those.

I questioned the validity of her point/claim. Granted, such questioning may feel uncomfortable, but that’s not my responsibility.

I then asked if, per her reasoning, as a gimp, do I get to say whatever the fuck I want and call anyone ableist who dares call out my bullshit?

Piss, moan, whine.

Here come the names! Yesterday, I see a F’book post by Dave Muscato in which he says he heard someone tell a sexist joke and, gee, what’s to be done? Better call the motherfuckers out on their misogyny!!

I like Dave. He rocks that goatee like nobody (except maybe The Rock). But what the fuck? First, and this annoyed the hell out of me, Dave equated “sexism” with “misogyny.” No, he didn’t literally say, “These two are equal,” but he used them equally. As synonyms.

They’re not.

And I’ll prove they’re not. From dictionary.com:

Misogyny: hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women.

Sexism: 1. attitudes or behavior based on traditional stereotypes of sexual roles. 2. discrimination or devaluation based on a person’s sex, as in restricted job opportunities; especially, such discrimination directed against women.

Granted, “devaluation” enters the territory loosely bordering the desert of “hatred,” but it’s not equal thereto.

And yes, I know, an appeal to a dictionary is essentially an appeal to authority; however dictionaries are archives of occurring linguistic phenomena. When languages change, dictionaries reflect that.

And yes, I’m aware that Australia up and decided that “misogyny” and “sexism” are, in fact, synonyms. That’s a separate linguistic discussion, but for now I’ll just say: bullshit.

Back to Muscato. I have a sincere question for you, Dave. Do you care as much about fact as your very public atheism would seem to presume? Because you don’t seem to. You seem to embrace at least two terms (possibly more) and their misuse… because fuck accuracy.

But that’s a small issue. My greater concern with Dave’s post was that he then went on to say how he wasn’t gonna back down from calling people out for sexist/misogynist jokes.

Okay.

I called bullshit on where he drew his line and how he decided that’s where it should be drawn.

Then fucking Penn Jillette stole my goddamn thunder. 🙂 He basically schooled Dave on who the fuck is he to say anything about humor?? (I’ll re-post if I can.)

I mean, seriously, Dave. Honestly. I totally get that there is humor out there that even I would consider in poor taste. But man is it a fuzzy, gray area that whole “taste” thing. What would I do if someone told what I considered a really offensive joke? I don’t know. I wonder, though, what will you, or anyone else do with these?

Q: What’s the first thing a blonde says when she wakes up?
A: Are all you guys on the same football team?

Q: What does Helen Keller do when she falls off a cliff?
A: •Miming fanatic hand-shaking•

Both are in poor taste. Both I find hilarious. Yes, even as a gimp.

Finally, and this is minimal, I saw reference to somebody on Freethought Blogs whom I’d never heard of. The headline was something about sexism and jokes.

Seriously, when the fuck did jokes become the Great Satan??

I didn’t even bother. To quote a billion shrieking social justice warriors, “I don’t need you to tell me what I should find funny.”

My hangout|WITH @BEAGRIE

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 19, 2014 by Anton A. Hill

This one had some lag, but otherwise worked great. No idea why poor Zoe Jen suffered so. There are two big rants in which Bullock couldn’t get a word in edgewise, but other than that, this one was chunks of fun. Thanks to Johnny B (don’t ever call him that)!

My hangout|WITH @ZOEJEN_

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 5, 2014 by Anton A. Hill

I issued a warning on the YouTube page, which was essentially that it seems there’s a good bit of feedback/echo/reverb. The tiny bit I watched there doesn’t seem to be any, but I’m certain it creeps up later. I hope it doesn’t ruin what Jen has to say as that’s the whole damn reason or the hangout.

And now with no further ado, some serious Twitter-hashtag-activism bashing!

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