To All the Men I’ve Matched with on Dating Apps…

I feel so very misunderstood, especially when it comes to socializing and dating. I believe there are several things that people don’t quite comprehend about the ways in which I function in a social or romantic context.

Socializing in all forms—whether it be interpersonal, friends, potential significant others, familial, acquaintances—or what have you, it wears me out. It drains me. Even when I see family there will be times where I just need to take a break and have time to myself. There are times where I just don’t want to talk to anyone and where (especially within the dating context) it just seems pointless to invest time and energy in people over and over and over when it never seems to go anywhere or when I get hurt. Sometimes this exhaustion I feel will be due to the anxiety that is attached with not knowing what to say, trying to figure out what the right response is in the situation, making sure I am not oversharing or saying too much, that I am focusing the conversation not solely on myself and my experiences but making the effort to ask about their day and pay attention to their interests and show concern as to what is troubling the person I am conversing with or have befriended, and on top of that making sure that I express enough empathy so they know I care. All of these factors flood through my brain and many can be tied to my ADHD/undiagnosed autism.

Social anxiety is very common with those who have ADHD and autism because there is often the difficulty of not being able to read people’s tone or interpret their facial cues/body language. For me, I regularly struggle to read tone in text and while I’m sure this is a problem that technology presents to many it seems as if I struggle with it more than most. I only see the surface of what is written and find it difficult to discover any alternate or hiding meaning in text, sometimes I miss the sarcasm or double meaning in a statement, read too quickly and skip over important details that may completely change the entire intent of what was written. Continually having to be aware, making sure that I am not in fact misinterpreting what has been said, that I am not jumping to conclusions, that I read carefully what they write/say and decipher it appropriately, takes mental energy from me.

Oversharing is another common attribute that comes with ADHD/Autism. Sometimes I will go on and on about the most random of things, write elaborate long winded rants about how I feel about something someone did, or just give way too much detail into what I am doing with my day when no one ever really asked to know as much as I end up sharing. Typically after this occurs I will feel regret and embarrassment over exposing too much of myself, making myself too vulnerable. But at that point I’ve already said too much and you can’t take those words back (even when what has been said is not even negative). It’s at that moment that I will get a gut feeling that somehow I have caused a shift within the friendship or relationship, that they have discovered my oddness, weirdness, quirkiness, whatever word you want to describe it, they have found out that I am not as well put together as they may have initially believed me to be. Whether this is an accurate assessment by my gut is difficult to say but regardless it seems it is at that point the dynamics of the friendship or relationship change significantly. Much of the time when I do overshare it is based on pure impulse which I can mostly attribute to hypomania from my bipolar disorder. I rarely take significant consideration into how others view me because I figure that I am who I am and I see very few things wrong with me as a person which is why I am always so open about how I feel, what I think, and my mental health and neurodiversity. I don’t feel I have to be ashamed of any of it. I think that is a good mindset for anyone to have but I’m beginning to think that perhaps this openness I possess and practice has become detrimental to my relationships with others. So making sure I am saying the right thing, not saying too much, not making myself too vulnerable can also drain some of that energy reservoir.

Yet another aspect of ADHD/Autism that works its way into my socialization with others is that I may come off as self centered by centering the conversation around myself or my experiences. This is something I really do try incredibly hard to avoid because I know it is not an attractive quality and gives off the impression that one is a narcissist or egocentric. I regularly and actively make an effort towards making sure that I discuss and ask about the other person, what their interests are, how their day is going, and to find out more about them and who they are. In an effort to connect with others I relate to them through my experiences. This is not an uncommon socialization tactic among the neurodiverse. I think what complicates things is making sure that the conversation is reciprocal. I think I am successful in that regard a majority of the time. But again this continual consciousness of my participation in the conversation and the attempts at avoiding an impression of self-centeredness also zaps a bit of my energy.

Among these factors that complicate my ability to reach out to others is my ability to express empathy. I feel deep empathy and sympathy for others but expressing it is a complicated process for me. It is not that I don’t care because I do, but I am not the one to wrap my arm around a person and ask them to open up to me, to process their grief with them. This doesn’t come naturally to me and sometimes when a person is upset I feel uncomfortable because I don’t know how to handle the situation—do I give them a tissue? A hug? A pat on the back? How do I leave them feeling comforted and calmed? In some cases I will freeze up, offer a tissue and offer to listen to what is troubling them, but the expression of physical empathy or sympathy does not come naturally to me and I feel it would be insulting when a person is grieving to come off as insincere with my sentiments or assistance. So making sure I say the right thing, making sure I show enough of a concern, I make an effort to be overly empathetic to make sure they know that I truly care. When a situation such as this arises it also takes energy to figure out what to do, how to make things right, how to help the person I care about.

A final attribute that wasn’t previously mentioned but I feel should be included is being overly mentally stimulated. I have misophonia—yet another consequence of my neurodiversity. This means that some noises can be especially loud for me—crunching of chips and popcorn being chewed is one, the loud rustling of a bag is another. Avoiding these sounds and attempting to focus on the conversation at hand when what I hear is clouding my ability to properly communicate, that too takes energy. Having to focus on what to write in any given scenario when I am surrounded by loud noise and distractions makes it a complex act to make sure I am doing all of the other steps (expressing empathy, focusing the conversation on the other person and not only on myself, not oversharing, not misreading a text or misinterpreting the tone) 20x more difficult.

All of these factors combined consume my energy. The random comment here or there to strangers on Facebook is nothing. I don’t care what they think or how they see me so these factors never have to really be considered. But having to take all of these factors into consideration when having a conversation with a friend or someone I am interested in dating, it can make the whole process of social interaction feel like a chore that sometimes I just don’t have the energy for and socialization slowly loses its position of priority.

So now that we have covered all the ways in which social interaction drains my energy, allow me to gradually get to my point. When I invest all this energy into communication and relationships or friendships and it ends suddenly or the person’s behavior towards me changes in even what they may consider to be a slight manner, or if they backtrack and change the dynamics of our relationship out of nowhere, my brain does not know how to comprehend that. This too is a factor of ADHD/Autism, the inability to handle sudden change. I simply don’t know how to interpret being treated differently. If I go from talking to a person everyday and then suddenly they go quiet or we talk less, for whatever reason, I perceive rejection, even if they are not actually rejecting me. My brain will think “Does this person hate me? What did I do wrong that led them to this sudden change in how they are treating me? Why won’t they communicate with me so I can fix things? Why won’t they respond?”. Much of the time, despite my efforts, they will be unresponsive, further distance themselves, or just ghost me entirely. I’ll run through every scenario or reason why things may have changed and with the pessimistic, cynical outlook I have about life when things are going wrong for me it’s incredibly easy to narrow in on the worst case scenarios and blame myself for the demise of the relationship or friendship, even in the situations where there is every indication that I did nothing wrong. This change in relationship/friendship dynamics, the decrease in the communication or the ending of the friendship/relationship entirely, leads to a feeling of rejection or perceived rejection. Even though they may not be rejecting me, even though it may just be that work is suddenly busy, or they have family problems, or their dog is sick—all acceptable, understandable, and unfortunate scenarios. Much of the time people, because they are busy, fail to communicate which leads to me being unable to understand and coming to the conclusion that I am solely to blame, that I did something wrong, big or small, that fucked things up.

Now the one aspect, the one thing that complicates all of this incredibly, is that not only do I not know how to adapt to this sudden change in interaction but the rejection I perceive or experience triggers my rejection sensitivity. Rejection sensitivity is something individuals with ADHD/Autism also experience. For me, I will feel a deep aching inside of me, which has been described by some experts as a sensation of “being punched in the chest”. This physical reaction is simply due to the way my brain operates and is unavoidable for the most part. Unless I end things first, self sabotage, or just lose interest and we grow apart, I will inevitably feel that deep pain inside. It really doesn’t matter if it is a friendship or a relationship (although relationships/dating partners do hurt considerably more which I can only assume is due to the fact that I make myself more vulnerable when in a romantic or sexual relationship). I will always feel like I am to blame, “Why does this keep happening to me? It’s not fair. What am I doing wrong that makes people just leave me?”, are just some of the things I will ask myself when I endure this pain inside of me. For years I actively avoided social interaction with anyone, I isolated myself, because I so badly did not want to put myself at risk of ever again feeling that sensation as a consequence of failed friendships or relationships. Honestly, it hurts a lot because it makes you feel not only pain but as if you can’t really breathe and it is not a feeling I experience when I am distraught or crying. I could be completely quiet and yet still feel that pain inside.

Because of this deep pain I feel as a consequence of my rejection sensitivity, when things do come to an end people assume I am so distraught or upset and the cause is because I am infatuated with them or feel too deeply for them when the friendship or relationship has not progressed much if at all. But most of the time it is not that at all. It is that I made myself vulnerable to someone, let down my wall, and then I get hurt for reasons I can’t even understand which then leads to a pain almost impossible to truly explain. I am reassured continually that they won’t leave, that they won’t judge, that they won’t hurt me—promises one cannot truly keep but which are made nonetheless, but I am not upset because of the person individually. People come and go and it does hurt more when you spend more time with someone and get to know them more but as far as dating is concerned if you give me a week I will forget about the person and move on. 

The reason that I become so deeply upset is because yet again I have to experience this unwanted pain. It’s well known that when you date you face continual rejection. It comes with the territory and is unavoidable. But to find a relationship, to find that person you truly connect with, which is something I have wanted my entire life, you must endure the process of dating. I endure it, but it isn’t pleasant for me to feel rejection or perceive rejection. 

So if you are someone I am interested in pursuing a relationship with and I make time for our conversations instead of focusing on my obligations, if I give you my social/mental energy when I have very little to begin with, if I make myself vulnerable to rejection by opening up to you and feel comfortable with you enough to start to be myself and let my guard down and you suddenly change your interactions with me for no explicable reason, after I have invested parts of myself into something that now appears to have gone nowhere, you cannot honestly be surprised if I am deeply pained and hurt by your blatant disregard for my feelings and lack of consideration for my well being.

Don’t Speak….

Every time there is a story about Kanye or Britney or a mass shooting, mental illness becomes the topic of conversation in Facebook comment sections. It never ceases to frustrate me that I, an individual with bipolar disorder (Type II) and ADHD (Predominantly Inattentive type) who…

  • has been in and out of therapy since age 7
  • was admitted to the juvenile psych ward at least four times
  • spent 1.5 years in a residential treatment center
  • has a long history of various addictions (luckily none related to smoking, drinking or drugs but I did have a self harm habit) that was fueled by my depression/hypomania
  • has had two years of intensive outpatient behavioral therapy and pretty much indoctrinated with CBT
  • undergone several sessions of ECT that I had to stop due to anxiety and not reacting well to the anesthetic
  • has had many complicated friendships and relationships with others who have a mental illness
  • sees a therapist weekly
  • takes medication daily and will have to for the rest of my existence on this planet

….will give my thoughts based off my own experiences with mental illness and my knowledge of the mental healthcare system and get a couple “likes”.

In comparison, another commenter, usually one I am responding to to correct them on their inaccurate depiction of mental illness or the stigmatizing nature of their comment, and whom based on the naïveté of their comment have no first hand experience with mental illness, will get hundreds of “likes”.

This troubles me for multiple reasons none of which have to do with the actual amount of “likes”. I don’t comment for the “likes”. I comment to share my opinion.

What troubles me is that…

1. People are getting knowledge of the illnesses from anecdotes

Everyone’s experience with bipolar, schizophrenia, schizoaffective, BPD, and other serious mental health disorders are vastly different. When it comes to bipolar there are four subtypes so my bipolar II experience will not be the same as that of another person with bipolar disorder. It might not even be the same symptoms. You also aren’t able to take into account any factors of a dual diagnosis. When you get secondhand information from someone who only has anecdotal commentary on psychological disorders you aren’t getting any of that context. You are just getting “Oh, Bobby was paranoid and depressed and all schizophrenics are like that” or “Stacy was so violent, overdramatic and emotional. But what can you expect from someone who is bipolar?” when in fact many people with mental illness are not violent. Statistically those with a mental illness are more likely to be the victim rather than the abuser. Summarizing it all up with anecdotes does a disservice when there is so much nuance and complexity in the field of psychological disorders and the discussion surrounding mental health.

2. People are gaining information about mental illness from those who have absolutely no understanding of the personal and impactful effects it can have on an individual’s day to day life.

Neither do I.

If you don’t know what it’s like to not be able to trust your own thoughts, to distort basic interactions and events to such a point that interpersonal relationships suffer, if you don’t know the unpredictable ups and downs of moods that comes with bipolar or the difficulty separating reality from fiction that comes with schizophrenia then you shouldn’t be the one explaining conditions in which these symptoms are very much the norm.

3. When someone who does not have a mental illness provides commentary it is very VERY easy for that person to minimize the severity when they don’t live with it.

Well it is to me.

Saying “Well, we all do that” is downright ignorant, insensitive and denies the existence of a legally defined disability. Denying the very clear reasons why a person should be put under a conservatorship is denying the detrimental affects mental illness can have on a person’s life. Drug addiction, problems with the law, going into debt from reckless overspending, suicidal ideation and many other byproducts of mental illness can lead to or become part of a person’s downward spiral or even death.

No one should be denied their basic rights forever with a conservatorship if they are stable and can maintain their mental health. Just like when you go to the psych hospital: if you are no longer a harm to yourself and others you can go home once you are stable. You are given back many of your basic rights. Well, if you no longer engage in destructive behaviors that are detrimental to your well being and you are able to manage your symptoms and illness you shouldn’t be under a conservatorship anymore.

2021 Britney is not the same as 2007 Britney. However, the reasons for her conservatorship in 2008 were completely justified. Saying they were not is dismissing the severity of her symptoms and illness.

If you personally haven’t come close to having your rights taken from you as a result of your mental illness you will not understand how serious a point you have to be at for conservatorship to be even a remote possibility (speaking in general terms, not just about Britney Spears but the system overall).

SIDE NOTE: Conservatorships are NOT a rich people thing. They are a mental health thing. People from all walks of life can be placed under a conservatorship if they are incapable of caring for themselves.

If you read one part out of this very long post it should be this:

The voices of those who are not diagnosed with a mental illness SHOULD NEVER be louder and more impactful than the voice of someone who endures it and lives with it everyday. Mental illness is not something that ever leaves your consciousness.

You are reminded of it when you have to take your pills in the morning, noon or night.

You are reminded of it when you have to manage the weight gain, the tics, the nausea or the slew of other side effects that come with daily medications.

You are reminded of it when you are incredibly excited and in a great mood but can’t 100% tell if it’s hypomania/mania or if you are just genuinely happy. As a result of this uncertainty you always keep a look out for the signs of a possible upcoming depression.

You are reminded of it when you feel the effects of depression, can’t maintain your hygiene or get out of bed. When can you can’t spend time with your kids or pets. When you’d rather stay in bed all day and avoid the world.

You are reminded of it when you struggle to keep a job.

You are reminded of it when your spouse, colleagues or friend says something that upsets you and you don’t know whether they were being rude or if it’s just your cognitive distortions at work so you ruminate over it all day.

You are reminded of it when you feel inadequate compared to all the other “normal” people and wonder why can’t you just live life as easily as they do.

Take into consideration that you don’t have what some may see as a psychological burden weighing on you, influencing your every thought, feeling and action.

For those who speak for others (and this includes the family members too because while they are affected by their loved one’s diagnosis it still is not their’s to live with and may even be biased towards mental illnesses as a result) it is not your place to share the experiences of people with mental illness or to explain to others what it is like. You are not in a position to speak about something you don’t personally experience or likely even understand. I can speak for myself and my experience after 35 years of living with bipolar disorder and ADHD. Many others might have the courage to speak up as well if you allowed them the opportunity to without the stigmatization and delegitimization of their experience holding them back.

So please…

Wait…I Thought All Lives Mattered?: Republicans and the Restricting of Trans Rights

Republican legislators while in the midst of national issues such as the pandemic, racial unrest, and mass shootings have decided they want to be a part of the problem instead of being a part of the solution. So now, aside from fighting every method to control the virus and refusing to enact any police reform or common sense gun laws, Republicans have decided to target one of our country’s most vulnerable groups: trans youth.

ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

More than 200 pieces of anti-LGBT legislation by Republicans have been under consideration in state legislatures. Half of this legislation targets trans youth. The focuses of the legislation touch on many points: preventing trans girls/women from participating on sports teams that align with their true gender identity, blocking gender-affirming medical treatment, as well as protecting “conversion therapy”, programs. While the two prior topics of gender-affirming health care and trans sports teams have been topics of recent public discourse “conversion therapy” has not. Conversion therapy attempts to “convert” trans people to their born gender or to “convert” gays and lesbians to be straight. This form of therapy is rarely successful and can actually be damaging to LGBTQ youth who are already at an increased risk of suicide.

The Trevor Project found that young people who participated in “conversion therapy had higher rates of suicide attempts than their peers, who are also extremely vulnerable. Fifty-two percent of transgender and nonbinary youth said they seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year. Ten percent of LGBTQ youth reported undergoing conversion therapy ― 78% of whom said it happened before they were 18 ― and youth who went through this practice reported attempting suicide at more than twice the rate than those who did not.” (Amanda Terkel, HuffPost)

Given these factors it’s disturbing that Republicans would push for such harmful legislation and try to enact laws that are so dangerous given that trans people have such a significantly high suicide rate.

Republicans can’t claim All Lives Matter and then endorse and support policies that negatively impact people’s lives and can push those impacted to actually end their lives. Republicans can’t play the victim and say they don’t want the government in their lives, that they won’t allow the government to tell them what to do or have the government infringe on their rights and how they live their life (in some cases to the detriment of the overall public’s health and safety) and then turn around and support legislation that attacks the rights and controls the lives of marginalized groups.

Republicans claim they don’t want the government in their lives. Yet they have absolutely no qualms in having that government control what everybody else can do with their bodies, who they can marry, who can adopt, who can vote, who should be allowed to come into this country, who can serve our country etc. And many of the policies Republicans want to enact negatively impact so many and directly benefit close to no one.

How many Americans will be directly affected by a trans person simply living their life?

Only the trans person.

How many Americans would be directly affected by a woman having an abortion?

Only the woman and her partner.

How many Americans would be directly affected by a gay or lesbian couple marrying and adopting?

Only the couple and a child waiting to be adopted.

That’s it.

How many Americans are negatively impacted by guns not being regulated and common sense gun laws not being passed?

Answer: Close to everyone. The thousands of victims of gun violence and mass shootings every year as well as their families who suffer the loss. Businesses and schools that have to amp up security for protection. Children who are forced to walk through metal detectors each day and practice school shooting drills.

How many are negatively impacted by not enforcing health laws and by Republican legislation and lawsuits that prevent proper measures to be taken to manage a virus?

Answer: Everyone. The people who have or will get COVID, the people who die from COVID, and their families. The elderly, school teachers, essential workers and others.

How many are negatively impacted when legislation to provide financial support to struggling Americans during a pandemic is held up for months because one party wants to provide less support than the other?

Answer: Pretty much every person who has been affected by the pandemic, economy and unemployment.

Republicans are passing legislation that directly affects only those in the marginalized and vulnerable groups of this country who are the few and refuse to endorse and pass laws that actually would affect every citizen in this country.

And This Folks is Why I’m Single…

So this is all the information on my actual OkCupid profile. In my defense they let you answer a lot of different categories of questions. (I also added some extra pictures and I’ll likely add more to this blog post later).

MY SELF SUMMARY

Hi there! I’m Emily.

I’m currently working towards getting a B.A. in Literature and Writing Studies with a minor in Film Studies (for the past three semesters I worked my ass off and earned straight A’s!).

I like to think I’m a good person. I believe I’m thoughtful, intelligent, creative, trustworthy and caring. I’m a good listener and am very open and honest about who I am which I’ve been told puts people at ease. I have a sense of humor and enjoy laughing. If you enjoy something I’ll try it out just to see why you like it. I’ve been told I’m a great writer and artist. After years of therapy I excel at emotional intelligence and coping skills. I find learning new things to be a very rewarding experience. I try to see things from another person’s perspective regularly. I learn from my past mistakes.

I’ve been described by others as: “quirky”, “the funniest thing”, “too smart”, “wholesome” and that I “have a good heart” yet here I am 🤷🏼‍♀️ I’m an introvert but I would like to be more of an extrovert.

Given that the world is in a bit of turbulence with the pandemic my life is at a bit of a standstill. I’ve taken a semester off after struggling with online classes. Now I spend most of my time cleaning and fixing up my house, working on my art, writing/blogging, watching movies/Jeopardy and playing with my dog. I’m setting up an eBay store and also trying to work on learning French, improving my math and science skills and making time for yoga and self improvement. I’ve also recently developed a puzzle addiction.

What I enjoy:
-Things that stimulate my mind such as word games and trivia
-Music, Movies, Reading (see details below)
-Jeopardy!
-Puzzles
-Creating art
-Learning new things (skills, languages, etc.)
-Used book sales and bookstores
-Collecting vintage books (mass market paperbacks and the Modern Library series from the 1920s-1960s)
-Teaching my dog new tricks
-My dog. He’s a bassador (black lab/basset mix) so he’s basically a mini black lab. In my unbiased opinion he’s pretty much the best dog ever.
-Big fan of hot cocoa. It’s one of my weaknesses. Also donuts.
-Bowling, billiards, mini golf, etc.
-Working on my writing (I’ve started a blog. I write too much and its become a bad habit.)

I’m always looking to expand my interests and hobbies and learn new things. Currently I’d like to learn how to sew, loom knit, play guitar and skateboard.

MUSIC
Punk, pop punk, ska, rock, alternative. My all time favorite band is Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. I’m also a fan of New Found Glory, Reel Big Fish, Blink 182, Motion City Soundtrack, No Doubt, Goldfinger, The Aquabats, The Vandals, The Ataris, Green Day, Sublime and Jimmy Eat World. These bands all figure prominently on my playlists although I do listen to many others. I’m not a big fan of new music and mostly listen to the same stuff I listened to in high school.

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes!!!

MOVIES
I watch a lot of the classics from the 1910s-1970s but I enjoy all movies. I’m currently working on watching all of the Best Picture winners and nominees (92 years of Oscars which equals 566 movies).

Yep, I made that!

My taste in movies is pretty eclectic.
I enjoy silent films (Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, and Lon Chaney), cult, and foreign films. I lean toward classic screwball comedies and serious dramas from the 1930s to the 1960s. I also really enjoy b-movies, Hammer Horror and bizarre movies/cheesy horror flicks from the 1960s-1980s. I like sci-fi films from the 1960s during “the red scare” that have anti-communism undertones. I really love the classic 90s movies I grew up on as well (e.g. Jurassic Park, ID4, Clueless, etc.).

I have a massive movie collection and use Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix, MUBI, Criterion Channel and the pay channels (HBO, STARZ, etc). I just wish I had more time to watch movies! I really like going to screenings of classic movies as well.

BOOKS
I love discussing books as much as I do reading them. I enjoy connecting with someone based on their shared interest in an author/genre and discovering what books we both enjoy. I lean more towards the classics although I want to try to diversify what I read and open myself up to more contemporary authors.

My favorite author is Ray Bradbury. I haven’t read everything he’s written (he’s very prolific) but I love his writing style and his works are unlike any others I have read.

My favorite book is “Frankenstein”. I’ve read it twice (there are several editions and I hope to some day read all of them and compare the differences). I love how the book can be analyzed in many different ways despite its brief length of 181 pages. I’ve taken two courses that have included “Frankenstein” as one of its analyzed texts. One course looked at the text from the perspective of white privilege in the 1800s and the other course from a philosophical point of view and with a focus on empiricism and how we learn. Mary Shelley has a way with words and a flow to her writing that I appreciate. I plan to someday write a fan fiction story/sequel to “Frankenstein”.

I also enjoy reading graphic novels, comics and webcomics. (For specific authors and comics scroll further down in my profile)

TV
Cartoons/Animated: Ren and Stimpy, Rocko’s Modern Life, Aaahh! Real Monsters, Daria, South Park, Final Space, Rick and Morty (I ❤️ Snowball!), Bob’s Burgers, basically anything on Adult Swim

Comedy: The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight, Conan, Community, The Soup, Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, Drunk History, Full Frontal, MST3K/Rifftrax, At Home with Amy Sedaris, Ash vs. Evil Dead

Classics: I Love Lucy, The Carol Burnett Show, The Twilight Zone, Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, Anything by Sid and Marty Krofft

Drama: Sherlock, Preacher, American Horror Story, Are You Afraid of the Dark?,

If Law and Order (including SVU and Criminal Intent) is playing in a marathon you’ll probably lose me for a few hours 😝

I watch A LOT of Turner Classic Movies (it has basically taken over my DVR).
————————————————————————————————

Wow. You really read everything up to this point? I’m impressed 😄 Here’s a gold star ⭐️ and a 🍪! Well you’ve read this far. Might as well keep going, right? You can do it! I believe in you!

Aspirations (Current Goals):

-Surviving the pandemic
-Getting my B.A. in Literature and Writing Studies with a minor in Film Studies.
-Not having a guy randomly unmatch when he seems really into me and says he’ll message me the next day after the initial conversation but then never does 😒😔 (I mean at least give me feedback on what I’m doing wrong before you unmatch!) 🙄

TALENT (I could probably beat you at…)

A word oriented game like Scrabble, Boggle or Wheel of Fortune. I’m pretty good at trivia too.

MY TRAITS (My weirdest quirk)

I put my shoes and socks on before my clothing, I wash my hands when taking a shower and I like to eat mint n chip and rainbow sherbet ice cream together. I hate room temperature water and will only drink Aquafina (if not Aquafina then Dasani or Smartwater but none of that Arrowhead crapola). I organize my closet by color. I write lists as a way to cope with feeling stressed and overwhelmed. I do this thing with my dog when giving him new toys where I put the toy under my shirt and come out groaning like I am sick. I then collapse in faux pain and he pulls the toy out from my stomach. It was inspired by that scene from “Alien”. I also get enjoyment from cleaning my house.

NEEDS (Six things I could never do without)

-my doggo

-my family

-iPhone or iPad. Mostly for movie watching, music listening purposes and some book reading although I really prefer reading actual books over eBooks or listening to audiobooks. My iPad is also incredibly helpful when it comes to planning out my day and making lists and I wouldn’t get anything done without it.

-a good pair of black low top all star Converse

-water (preferably bottled) I don’t drink juices or sugary drinks so water is basically the only thing I drink

-a Dyson stick vacuum. I know it’s weird to have it be something I can’t do without but I like to (or attempt to) keep things clean in my house. I live in an old (not well maintained) house surrounded by several acres. There’s a lot of dirt and dust that gets in plus I have a dog so the vacuum is incredibly helpful.

HOBBIES (I spend a lot of time thinking about):

Movies I want to watch.
Books I want to read.
Puzzles I want to assemble.
Art projects I’ve been wanting to make.

How I never have enough time to do everything I want to do even though I actually have tons of time. How I’ll never learn all the things I want to learn and know.

What really happens when we die. Does our consciousness simply stop? Do our thoughts stop when our body has stopped living? How do we know our consciousness or our thoughts have stopped? Does everything just go blank?

MOMENTS (A perfect day)

A perfect day would start by waking up to a cup of hot cocoa and pancakes from Beach Plum Cafe. After that going to the quarterly used book sale at Oceanside Library and then walking my dog along the Oceanside Strand (which is where I took the picture below). Then head to Downtown San Diego and visit the museums at Balboa Park and take in a silent movie screening at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. I’d like to end the day making s’mores over a bonfire at Moonlight Beach. Logistically and geographically likely impossible but it would be pretty perfect. 😊

SECRETS (The most private thing I’m willing to admit):

Um…
I sleep on a mattress on the floor in my bedroom. My bed broke several years ago. Oh, I also sleep with a nightlight on but that’s because my dog freaks out when all the lights are off at night.

DATING (What I’m actually looking for):

I’m hoping to find someone who…
-likes long late night talks on the phone, inside jokes and going on adventures.
-is honest, open minded and nonjudgmental
-must love dogs
-absolutely must have a sense of humor
-enjoys a good meme
-enjoys reading and having long thought provoking discussions about books and perhaps philosophy, history and psychology
-someone who has a passion to learn
-has a desire to achieve their goals and a passion for life
-someone who gets me out of my comfort zone and opens me up to new experiences
-is politically liberal (no Trump supporters). I think politics shapes a lot of your views and how you look at the world and as a result who you are as a person and your values. It’s difficult for me to see pursuing anything other then friendship with someone whose values conflict with mine.
-someone who is not a COVID denier and has already been vaccinated or intends to get vaccinated
-somebody who encourages me to continue to work towards my goals.
-someone who recognizes everyone is a work in progress

Ideally I’d like a relationship down the road but for now just a person to spend time with and see where things go.

TRAVEL (If a million dollars fell into my lap this would be my vacation itinerary…)

Travel across all of Europe and if I had money left take a road trip across the U.S. and camp at or visit all the National Parks.

OUTDOORS (My Favorite Outdoor Activity)

Being an introvert it’s difficult to think of many. I enjoy taking my dog for walks in wooded areas (like Guajome Park). I like long walks along the beach and collecting seashells (although I really shouldn’t take the shells but sometimes they are just too cool looking not to). I love swimming but haven’t had the opportunity to for a while.

I’d like to broaden my horizons when it comes to the outdoors. It would be cool to learn to skateboard (I have a longboard but I just need a good and very patient teacher). I’d also like to go hiking and camping (I have a tent but no one to go with). Biking might be fun. Maybe fishing? I’m open to suggestions.

BOOKS (Currently reading…)

“The Origin of Species/The Descent of Man” by Charles Darwin
“Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov
Eventually “The New Oxford Annotated Bible” and “The U.S. Constitution”

MOVIES (The Oscar snub I’m still bitter about)

Roma

TV SHOWS (The shows I watch to cheer me up when I am feeling down)

Anything with Joel McHale, John Oliver, Jon Stewart, Conan O’Brien or Bill Hader.

GAMING (If I could live inside a video game, it would be…)

Cuphead. Honestly I’ve never played it and have really wanted to but last I checked it wasn’t compatible with my console. I really love the whole Max Fleischer aesthetic it has to it.

MUSIC (Five songs I’d put on a playlist to send to a crush)

“Tell Him” by The Exciters

“The Story So Far” by New Found Glory

“This Magic Moment” by The Misfits

“Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” by Muse

“I’d Do Anything” by Simple Plan

“All For You” by Sister Hazel

“Must Have Done Something Right” by Relient K

“You Put This Love in My Heart” MXPX

“I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness

“I.O.U. One Galaxy” by The Ataris

FOOD & WINE (It’s 1am and I’m home alone, my guilty pleasure munchie is…)

Donuts if they are available. I actually tend to unintentionally eat on the healthier side. Usually at night when I’m hungry for a snack I have peanut butter and banana on toast with a glass of milk. Or I have a cup of hot cocoa. If I’ve gone to Starbucks that day I’ll have a pumpkin loaf. Sometimes I make blueberry muffins so there are those as well. Dammit. Now I’m hungry!

COOKING (Best meal you’ve cooked?)

Roll up lasagna. It’s super easy to make and I’m not the most experienced chef. I’d like to improve on my cooking and baking skills though.

ART & DESIGN (What I make)

When I do take the time to make art I enjoy sketching, painting (mostly watercolor although I’d like to learn oil painting), collage, coloring, hook stitch, and mixed media. I enjoy the process of turning something old into something new. I really would like to learn how to sew so I can make myself some awesome dresses. Below is something I put together one night when I was cleaning out my den and found all these fake flowers and butterflies I had forgotten I had.

STYLE (The celeb whose closet I want to raid)

Gwen Stefani—only during the time period that spanned Tragic Kingdom to Rock Steady Dita Von Teese—I could never pull off the vintage pin up girl look but I love the style!

PETS (If I could have any animal as a pet, I would pick…)

A capybara. I read a book by Bill Peet called “Capyboppy” and ever since I’ve wanted a capybara.

SOCIAL LIBERALISM (The next president should be…)

Bernie (obviously).

(very old pic-before I lost a ton of weight)

WRITING (What I want to write)

I’d like to write short stories and novels although I don’t have any set plans for anything serious. I am a really good writer and hope to eventually have a career in the field but I do lack self discipline in getting myself in the habit of writing everyday😝

SCI-FI & FANTASY (My favorite sci-fi / fantasy story)

Favorite sci-fi book would be “The Martian Chronicles” by Ray Bradbury and favorite story would be “Nightfall” by Isaac Asimov. “The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is on my to read list so that might change my pick.

COMICS (will check out anything drawn by…)

Roman Dirge—Lenore

Jhonen Vasquez—Johnny the Homicidal Maniac

Ariel Schrag—Definition, Potential, Awkward, Likewise

Allie Brosh—Hyperbole and a Half

Phoebe Gloeckner—Diary of a Teenage Girl

Emil Ferris—My Favorite Thing is Monsters

R. Crumb—Fritz the Cat

Sarah Andersen—Sarah’s Scribbles

Art Spielgelman—Maus

Marjane Satrapi—Persepolis

Nathan Pyle—Strange Planet

Kate Beaton-Hark! A Vagrant

Illustrators: Gris Grimly, Quentin Blake, and Ralph Steadman

There is an somewhat obscure underground comic series called “Action Girl” I started collecting years ago and really enjoy reading. There’s about twenty issues in the series and I have most of them. I’m also a fan of Slave Labor Graphics and Fantagraphics. I like The Best American Comics series of books as well and hope to collect and read all of them someday.

TABLETOP GAMES (My favorite board game and why)

I have a fondness for Monopoly even though I rarely win. I enjoy Scrabble because I enjoy word games. Fairly recently though I was introduced to Clue and of course it’s the one game I don’t own that I enjoy the most. I like playing co-operative games as well. As far as card games I love playing Hearts, UNO, and Skip-Bo.

TATTOOS (Plans for my next tattoo(s))

I have two tattoos so far (a turtle on my back and love tattoo on my ankle). Once I get enough money I’d like to get an Sailor Jerry style tattoo of a rattlesnake wrapped around my ankle about to attack its own tail. The tattoo design has a whole bunch of symbolism tied into it. My dad, who I never really knew, once caught a rattlesnake and cut off its rattler and gave it to my mom so it’s one of the few things I have from him. My dad was also a self sabotager who was in a way his own worst enemy so that would be why the rattlesnake would be attacking its own tail. I would include yellow roses as they were the flowers at my parents wedding. I also would like to get a tattoo of a film strip wrapped around my wrist and going up my arm because I love classic movies.

CARS (My dream car)

Okay so I don’t actually have a car of my own. I love old cars though! Especially the ones from the 1930s to 1950s. The cars back then were like works of art compared to the cars now. Back in high school though (early 2000s) there was a beautiful blue late 60s/early 70s Chevy Chevelle Malibu that I would see regularly at a gas station not too far from where I lived. It was the most beautiful shade of blue. I wish I had a picture of it. That was my dream car. If not that car then a restored car from the 1930s to 1950s (probably an Studebaker)

Criticism of Americans is “Hate Speech”? According to Facebook, Yes It Is.

This morning at 2:00 a.m. I wrote a comment on Facebook stating criticisms of Americans. The context was regarding how foreign countries are now requiring vaccine passports. My comment was not even so much criticizing the U.S. as it was stating how other countries around the world view our citizens. According to Facebook saying that other countries see U.S. citizens as “selfish, loud, obnoxious and greedy” is “hate speech”.

80% of my comment was based on others opinions and not my own (other countries opinions of Americans and the opinions of people who complain about undocumented teenage girls being taken to SDCC (San Diego Convention Center) and their belief that the undocumented teenage girls will cause a surge of COVID-19 cases in San Diego—as if the anti-maskers and reopening schools and businesses plays no role whatsoever).

The only parts that consisted of my opinion was agreeing with the need for vaccine passports and juxtaposing the outrage over undocumented teenage girls coming to the country untested and unvaccinated with how other countries would feel about Americans who had not been vaccinated coming into their countries.

My comment in its entirety

My previous infraction (first strike) on Facebook was language I used when I was being bullied by another user who baited me essentially. She bullied me and then reported me for my response. I felt bad about what I had said so I didn’t dispute it. I knew I was in the wrong even if she did provoke me. I could have chosen to be the bigger person or just ignore her but I didn’t so I accepted that I was in the wrong.

However, this time I did dispute my comment because criticizing Americans isn’t “hate speech”. Especially when it’s not even my own criticism but restating the known criticisms of others!

So for 24 hours I can’t post. I can’t comment. It’s not the end of the world but it is irritating. The frustrating part is I try to be careful about what I say. I try to avoid foul language as much as I can and try to not attack people’s character. I’m not perfect but I try to follow THEIR rules because I am a stickler for rules. I feel a sense of anxiety and guilt over breaking the rules to be honest. With my “first strike” on Facebook I felt a wave of anxiety come over me stressing over the fear of my account being deleted. I don’t like the feeling I’ve done something wrong. I see no difficulty in following rules and I often have complained about how others simply don’t follow the rules and how I don’t understand why it is so difficult to simply stick to the rules. My therapist has even theorized that my strong desire to follow rules correlates with my ADD and that I use rules as a way of understanding how to interact with others. Yet somehow I have now been told I have broken the rules.

I disputed my comment and received a response from Facebook that it is still “hate speech”. Presumably a human being looked at my comment in its context and thought restating the criticisms that others have of Americans is “hate speech”. Unbelievable.

I honestly don’t think anyone reported my comment today because I think anyone that actually read it wouldn’t take offense to it. I believe it’s simply that Facebook’s algorithm saw that I said some not nice things. However, in the past, Facebook has given me the opportunity to edit my comment or decide if I still want to post it. They essentially have given me a warning before posting but for some reason not this time.

I should add that I have been told some horrible things through Facebook comments and over Messenger (and yes I kept some receipts!).

I had a woman actually send me a message on Messenger and in the comments section telling me I shouldn’t have children and another woman in the same comment thread saying I’m the reason children don’t report abuse and calling me awful names because they misinterpreted a comment I had written (a comment ten other people liked and clearly understood the intent behind).

I had a man suggest I allow the cops to shoot my dog and then sue the city and buy a new dog.

The dude actually “lol”ed.

I made a comment on a page about how I’m tired of skinny jeans and no one looks good in skinny jeans and all hell broke lose (I didn’t realize women cared that much about them). I went through the comments to my post trying to quell the wrath and leaving positive messages to every woman that left a comment (many of my responses saying that I likely don’t know what I’m talking about and I’m sure they look great in them). Despite my efforts I had two women bodyshame me with one equating my body to being shaped like sweet potatoes (I should add that I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2016 so to say that after losing all that weight was just cruel).

I had one woman just tonight tell me no one cares about my comments or what I have to say. I’ve had countless times where people have insulted my intelligence or say I lack reading comprehension when their comments simply make no sense or they provide minimal context (I will admit I’m really not great at reading tone and nuance in written text but that’s not the same as comprehension in my mind). I’ve had men make sexist comments and basically say they won’t discuss a topic with me because I’m a woman. And I’ve seen some incredibly vulgar and transphobic statements made in some Facebook groups.

Now I know Facebook isn’t filled with rainbows and sunshine. Neither is the real world. But it’s just wrong what people can say and what I have been penalized for. You would think Facebook’s algorithm would pick up on a comment about a dog being shot or a body being shamed. I never reported these users because I didn’t think it would be fair to other users to have their accounts suspended and in some situations it was just people being mean or critical and not necessarily in my mind worthy of reporting. In other situations it felt like what was said might not fall into any of Facebook’s categories to report (and nobody wants to feel like they are being a “Karen”).

Yet now somehow I am suspended for restating criticisms that others hold about Americans?

If it seems like I am rambling on it’s mostly because I have trouble making sense of this to be honest. People who spread false COVID-19 information or say how vaccines are dangerous or degrade undocumented children or leave literally hundreds of laugh reactions on posts about a man being killed by a cop or about trans or non-binary people and the struggles they face and the people who think all of the mentally ill are violent criminals and abusers—they are totally acceptable by Facebook standards apparently. But restating other people’s criticisms (criticisms that are not even really my own) is worthy of suspension.

“You Can’t Handle the Truth!”: Opinion vs. Truth

Jack was right you know. Some of us just can’t handle it.

In this day and age there is cause for concern when people seem to have forgotten just how the truth and how our relationship with media and journalism work. However, such mistrust and confusion is not at all surprising and certainly some media outlets (Fox News and CNN most notably) have not been doing much to curb the suspicion of inaccuracy when it comes to reporting. With the amount of disinformation, misinformation and distortions of the truth spreading and sparking like wildfires (not the ones set in California by Jewish space lasers mind you) it can be hard to know what to believe. Accusations fly on the left and right over how “the mainstream media (MSM)” skews the truth. To be fair, most news sources do tend to have a bias. It’s difficult not to. But there is a significant difference between presenting the truth with a biased perspective and presenting a complete fabrication, a blatant falsehood, a lie.

Many find it easier to deal with a world when the world makes sense; when there is a reason and explanation for everything no matter how ludicrous and outrageous that explanation may happen to be. It’s easier to wrap your head around a vast plan of Democrats plotting to take away human rights and bring about a socialist/communist/fascist uprising than it is to handle the reality of a once every hundred years global pandemic that upends your entire way of life. This leads many to the territory of conspiracies (I’ll save my thoughts on that topic for another time).

With advances in technology we have become so inundated with constant news cycles and notifications that people are bombarded with truths they just can’t handle. (I know there have been multiple times this writer has locked her phone away in her car just to get a break from the never-ending onslaught of constant information). When there is a virus, salmonella outbreak, economic crisis, natural disaster—news organizations tell people about it so people can protect themselves and be informed. However, now people are so used to being told predominantly the scary parts of life and the tragedies that this is misinterpreted as every piece of news simply being used to strike fear, to manipulate their emotions and actions or to fit an agenda. Real news, the sharing of information is not fear mongering. It’s simply journalists doing their job.

People for their own benefit should take a step back and observe what media they are consuming and if it consists of predominantly News or Opinion. To be crystal clear, Opinion is when someone gives you their interpretation of an event or their judgement of someone. Opinion can lead to fearmongering. Someone can take facts and build them up with what they think will happen and create a fearfulness that journalism isn’t supposed to project. Examples of such opinion based journalism would be pundits such as Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham on the Right and Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon on the Left.

News is when you are told the facts. News tells you the who, what, when, where, how and why. There is no spin, no bias. There’s no long monologue of what is right and what’s wrong. No calling out of Democrats or Republicans or placing blame upon politicians or political parties. No preaching from the soapbox or clutching of pearls. No personal interpretation or judgement of any kind.

There are those who do report on news while adding their own thoughts on the topic or solutions to the problem. John Oliver of Last Week Tonight comes to mind as a responsible comedian whose staff does thorough research and actually cites their sources. He validates his information which is what actual journalism is. Oliver as a comedian, an entertainer, is under no obligation to provide his sources or even to present the counterarguments or statements from those agencies or individuals he focuses his episodes on. But he does so and that is being a responsible journalist. As stated previously, it is difficult to avoid complete bias in such a politically divided country and world, but nonetheless news sources need to work on maintaining accuracy and the Truth, so that viewers are capable of clearly identifying when that Truth shifts to Opinion.

While it can be difficult to cut through the crud in a 24/7 digital media era, a few organizations that stick simply to the facts are the AP (Associated Press) and Reuters. Many other news organizations cite their information from AP. It really is important to know your sources and finding a media bias fact checker helps. There is nothing wrong with reading Occupy Democrats posts or Fox News so long as you are able to comprehend their bias and have the ability to separate what is the Truth from the Opinion.

Some media consumers, through no real fault of their own, simply aren’t capable of making such a division. One subsection incapable of making this distinction that you see spreading misinformation or repeating verbatim the talking points they hear spouted from biased sources (specifically Fox News) are of the baby boomer generation, otherwise known as “boomers”. One can only assume that many boomers grew up in an era of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Kronkite. They could turn on the news each evening and listen to the days or weeks events knowing that these men of journalism they allowed into their homes were being honest and truthful with them. An unspoken trust that has gradually deteriorated over time with the advent of 24 hour news networks. A trust that no longer exists in the journalism of today. When you think about it, why should these Boomers not place trust in the news networks of today such as OAN and Fox News when those of yesteryear gave them every reason to believe in accuracy and truly “fair and balanced” media?

It helps to be aware of the facts AND bias of the sources that feed your news diet.

The important thing is to know the difference and if it’s opinion consider the source. It’s also important to note that an organization calling themselves news (Fox News, OAN, and even CNN) does not mean they provide 100% news. It’s confusing but true. Networks that are 24/7 are not all news because there simply isn’t enough news coming in all day long. They have to fill up all that extra time and they fill it up with opinion. CBS News, NBC News, ABC News—they don’t need to fill it all with opinion because they are only an hour or so long on TV. They only have enough time to tell you the basic details of the top stories. Additionally, it is important to make note of not only the media organizations but the corporations whose bias and influence not only exists in the networks they own but also branch out to other divisions of their media enterprise.

With how the world is now, where you can find any article, news source, research paper to back up an argument its important for us as media consumers to know who is telling us the Truth, knowing how to admit when we are wrong and when presented with the Truth being able to accept it even when it doesn’t conform to our preconceived or biased narrative. We can’t be right all the time even if our media environment attempts to convince us otherwise.

Strategies, Actions & Rules for Conversations About Social Matters (SARCASM)

Here are some of the pieces of advice I am going to share for one to truly win in a Facebook debate:

These are the ways I think one can really engage in an intelligent, thoughtful and productive debate with someone who holds an opposing view to their own.

Claim you want to engage in a friendly discussion. That you are the civil and rational one and that you are mature enough to discuss these matters like adults. When or if they don’t reply right away call them a troll (or libtard, snowflake, demoncrat, communist, Marxist—your pick) before they can even respond. You can also tell them they should be deported because they don’t agree with you. It really doesn’t matter that that is 100% illegal and is what autocrats do. They aren’t real Americans who practice freedom of speech like you do.

Make sure that right off the bat you demand that they give you data instead of providing your own. This is vital when you are the party who in fact broached the topic without any data of your own.

Make sure that whenever they disagree with you that you point out how racist their political party is. It doesn’t matter whether they are Libertarian or Green Party. If they are against Trump they are 100% Democrats. ALWAYS assume they are backing Joe Biden who although considered a centrist by many is such a progressive socialist that he will lead us into a 1984 communist dystopia. That reminds me! Make sure you use fascism, communism and socialism interchangeably. It really doesn’t matter that they are completely different.

Deny that the political parties switched views decades ago and that there wasn’t always a two party system. Even though you think “all lives matter”, don’t think white privilege exists because you were poor and that systemic racism and oppression of POC isn’t real it is really your opponent who is the truly bigoted racist.

If the opposing side does bring you scientific data claim it was fraudulent or biased and then point to a random paper by a doctor who has no experience in viruses or research and claim there is some conspiracy theory with China and Bill Gates because you saw an “entertaining” video about it on Youtube but you never actually read the research paper the video was about. It’s okay that you didn’t even skim the abstract because there is no reason why you can’t trust what Fox News and Youtube tell you the research paper says.

You may then proceed to tell them if they do “deeper reading” they will find out about how true everything you have told them is. Be sure not to direct them to any sites or provide links but just give them vague theories. It doesn’t matter if you are the one who brought up these conspiracy theories first and be sure to make it clear to them that you don’t do the research for others. They have to find it on their own. Give generalized details all about the “deep state” and what our government has planned for us. Make sure to ignore the fact that Google and Facebook’s algorithms present us with what we are searching for and not what is in fact accurate information and that using either to search for information will only confirm what we already think or believe.

If that doesn’t get your point across bring up anecdotes about how your friend’s cousin’s brother’s girlfriend had COVID-19 but it really wasn’t that big of a deal and it’s just like the flu. It’s only about 2% of 328 million who will die in the U.S. That’s not bad at all!

Make sure you rationalize the deaths as just being the elderly and immunodeficient who were going to die anyway. If that doesn’t work blame the deaths on pre-existing conditions. Whenever they bring up a death toll inquire about pre-existing conditions even though that type of data isn’t recorded. If they can’t produce the data they are wrong.

When your opponent brings up the long lasting damage to one’s health after suffering from COVID-19 make sure to ask for studies even though the virus has only been around 7 months and they only started reporting about long term health issues in June and it’s now the end of July. If they can’t produce the research they are 100% wrong about it.

Be sure to mention that you’ve “read studies”. Oh and if you do share scientific data, articles and research papers make sure that they are from 6-8 years ago. Given how long ago it may have been published and that it is in no way current or accurate it might possibly prove your point if they don’t notice the date.

Make sure to clarify that they can’t ignore the scientific data that‘s been around for decades even though science is an ever-changing field of study and new information about a 7 month old virus is emerging every day.

After that proceed to quote Orwell out of context or paraphrase Niemöller and compare taking down Confederate statues to the rise of the Third Reich and compare wearing face masks to what the Jews did before they were sent to the concentration camps. Make it very clear that this “isn’t communist Russia or North Korea or Haiti” (that Haiti doesn’t have a communist government is irrelevant).

Make sure you throw in some memes that present 8 year old events as having happened this July. It doesn’t matter that the rapist was convicted and is serving four consecutive life terms. Don’t worry about the fact that a simple Google search will disprove your meme. Memes are never accurate ways to get the news but make sure your opponent knows that it’s really the media’s fault and they are unethical because they didn’t cover an 8 year old story written about in a meme.

IMPORTANT: when you want to emphasize a point you are making, TYPE IN ALL CAPS. It will not make you any more right than the one holding an opposing view but that doesn’t really matter because your caps lock will let them know YOU ARE DOMINATING THE CONVERSATION. If they call you out on your excessive use of caps lock blame it on your failing vision.

Don’t worry about blatant and repetitive spelling errors. Everyone makes them even though there is Google, dictionary apps and autocorrect fixes your spelling for you as you type.

If all that fails just type TRUMP 2020 with a bunch of random emojis but mostly American flags because don’t forget—even though everything you say contradicts the Constitution you are a true patriot 🇺🇸

I’m almost positive that will be the way we will bring together this fractured nation and become united once again.

Is This a Thing?: Cancel Culture (J.K. Rowling edition)

Is there really much of a difference between “cancel culture” and the good old fashioned boycott of a company or a public figure’s products? Is “cancel culture” just prescribing a name to an old concept to trigger some new outrage?

In the past if people didn’t like something they simply didn’t buy it or they protested it with signs in the streets and loud (albeit catchy) chants. If someone said something truly offensive people would call or write to the higher ups in charge wanting that individual fired or their show taken off the air. How is that any different than the “cancel culture” of today? With the innovation of social media and the reaction much more massive and impactful in scale, companies, studios, publishers, etc. hear directly from the consumer. The complaint doesn’t go through letters and phone calls now. It comes pouring in from e-mails, tweets, and trending hashtags. The method is different but the hoped for outcome is the same.

Even Trump’s tweets and his use of “boycott” lead one to question where the line between a simple boycott and “cancel culture” begins and ends. It’s difficult to not acknowledge that the line tends to be drawn by political parties.

As a society we shouldn’t accept or allow racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and overall discrimination to persist. These contemptible concepts are completely unacceptable for where we are as a society. We are living in the 21st century. Humanity has been on earth 200,000 years. We have come to a point where that kind of shit just isn’t acceptable anymore and for very good reason. Having an individual not be held to account is not an option. If people don’t recognize that there are consequences to their words and actions and that what they are saying or doing is wrong they won’t realize they need to change. Like many things in life people don’t see something as worth changing unless they see a need to or are directly impacted by it.

On another point why should people in positions of power or influence who say or do offensive, racist, transphobic things not be held to account for their actions and words? As many on the Left have stated it is not “cancel culture” but is instead “consequence culture”. You are facing consequences for your words and actions. Should the wealthy be spared because of their notoriety or power? For millionaires who believe they are untouchable from penalties the most effective measure you can take against their reckless actions (actions that are not always considered illegal but are morally or socially frowned upon), is in their pocketbooks. You can’t take away their fame or power or influence. There will always be people who support them, agree with them, or enable their offensive views. What you can do is take away their income that as entertainers is reliant upon mass public consumption.

What alternative would there be to reprimand a person who holds power, fame and wealth so that they be held accountable for discriminatory behavior when the behavior in itself isn’t illegal but still viewed as reprehensible? In what meaningful way can the overall public say “We will not stand for this” than by saying we won’t watch this actor on TV, we won’t read this author’s book and we won’t buy this company’s product? No one can force a consumer to buy a product and consumers strongest and most effective impact is in denying companies the consumer’s most important purpose—consumption.

Let’s use an example of J.K. Rowling (I’m saving Dr. Seuss for another post). When Harry Potter first came out some religious parents demonized the book as encouraging and promoting unchristian, pagan sorcery. Many parents protested the books and later the movies, refusing to let their children read and watch them. Groups pushed for the book to be completely banned, to not be sold or available in libraries (they failed as it is impossible to ban a book). Despite all of that, those who still wanted to read the books read them.

New York Times article describing Christian outrage over the children’s series.

Flash forward two decades later. Rowling begins to tweet transphobic remarks to millions of her followers, many who grew up with her books and some who are transgender themselves. People called out her behavior in all the ways that they could. Rowling is beyond wealthy, famous and as such has the platform to have her opinion and view spread far and wide to millions of Twitter users. Having such a platform she, like others, needs to weigh what she says carefully as her words carry significant influence. The most important aspect with the example of Rowling, compared to other notable figures, is she is predominantly recognized as a children’s author with many young and impressionable followers. So how would it be recommended someone who holds such prosperity be held accountable for spreading messages of intolerance and hate? How is it that people refusing to read or buy her works and inhibit her success are any different than those two decades before? Those who disagreed with the content of her books so strongly that they wanted them banned? The only differences are the reasons and the accessibility to outlets that allow a collective united voice to able to say “This is not okay.”.

Rowling, can deny being transphobic without realizing how her words and actions re-enforce transphobia (implicit bias). However, she cannot play ignorant or dumb in this regard. Many of her followers and readers have strived to explain to her how her views are inaccurate, misguided, go against science and are hurtful to many of her trans followers. Even those who made their careers as part of the Harry Potter universe have called out her perspective as transphobic. Yet still she continues, unwilling to accept the reality of others and placing her experience over theirs. When you are part of a marginalized and stigmatized group acceptance is important, especially considering that the suicide rate within the transgender community is incredibly high. That acceptance by all is important and vital so one does not feel ostracized by the majority. Rowling is pushing against such acceptance and inclusiveness by denying the transgender experience.

In one instance Rowling denounced an article that used the inclusive description of “people who menstruate”.

Not only was her statement viewed as transphobic but is also incredibly condescending. Despite being informed that those who are intersex and transgender menstruate she was adamant about her view that only women should be viewed as menstruating without considering anything biologically to the contrary.

In another instance she supported a woman who went to court after refusing to use the proper pronouns among her coworkers. A court ruled against this woman yet Rowling maintained her support. While she can claim she is the furthest thing from transphobic those she supports, the messages she spreads and the views she holds are completely contrary to that.

However, this highlights an important point: people don’t have to accept this behavior. They don’t have to give her their money and if they disagree with her they won’t. Success isn’t a guarantee and just as difficult as it is to rise to the top it’s just as easy to fall to the bottom. So if people stop buying her books or speak out against her how is society “cancelling” her? If people disagree with someone are they “cancelling” them if they don’t buy their books? Throughout history those who were embroiled in controversy faced public backlash. How is it any different in this case? Because there is a new word for backlash and boycotts its something new and different? Just as Rowling is given the freedom to insist upon reinforcing her outdated and inaccurate views so to are people allowed to say she is wrong and call her out on it.

If the offender who committed the egregious action comprehended the gravity of their actions, admitted that they did something wrong and worked to change their behavior in the future there likely wouldn’t be such a thing as “consequence culture”. In many instances celebrities who acknowledge their mistakes have been spared real consequences for their actions and to their careers. But with some they instead stubbornly stand by their actions, further digging their hole even deeper while blaming diabetes or Ambien usage instead of accepting responsibility for their own racist implicit bias. It begs the question, “How is there an empathetic conversation to be had though when one side can’t even admit they are at fault?”. To show and admit that it was an honest mistake is a start but actions speak louder than words.

People who are supposedly being “canceled” are not being forced to change or pushed into silence. Decades ago many didn’t accept the gay community. Homosexuality was considered a psychological disorder with gay men given lobotomies in an effort to “cure” them of their homosexual nature. Now we have gay marriage legal in all fifty states and laws have been created to prevent discrimination against LGBTQ+. Decades ago Jim Crow laws and segregation were commonplace. People of color were lynched. Now segregation is unconstitutional and lynch mobs are a thing of the past. This isn’t to say homophobia and racism ceased to exist. Both still exist but in modern times they are looked down upon and penalized. This transformation didn’t come out of nowhere. Society’s tolerance and acceptance took time. Humanity is continually progressing technologically and socially. To hold people accountable for their actions isn’t “cancelling”. It’s progressing.

Accountability? What’s That?

Illustration by William Hennessy

Well, Trump has been acquitted. AGAIN.

This is so incredibly disappointing. It’s like a small part of you knows the Senate would mostly vote along party lines but a bigger part of you really hoped that Republicans would come to their fucking senses and realize the brevity of their actions and the responsibility they have to their constituents and the oath they swore to uphold. I’d expect this shit from representatives, many who are just starting out in politics and are still getting their feet wet, but senators, some who have spent so many decades in office that they were around during the Clinton impeachment, I expected better. These senators just set a precedent for a president to be allowed to plan and execute an insurrection on the Capitol and escape with ZERO consequences. Republicans went after Clinton for lying about a blowjob. Who was physically hurt by that? Who was killed by that? Not to mention almost everything that has ever come out of Trump’s mouth has been a lie or a twisted distortion of the truth.

It’s especially frustrating when you consider the thousands of people who are arrested each year and actually held responsible for their actions. Peaceful protestors arrested for violating a curfew suffered more penalties for their actions than the President of the United States did for inciting an insurrection that threatened the safety of every member of Congress, their staff and resulted in the deaths of 5, suicides of 2, and 100+ cops being injured. One officer had an eye gouged out, one lost three fingers, another suffered a heart attack after being tasered multiple times. Others were beaten with flag poles. The Capitol building was draped in Trump and yet he somehow holds no blame and suffers no consequences for any part of this?

Pro-Trump insurrectionists gather outside the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The senators who voted to acquit Trump essentially said fuck you to Blue Lives Matter, fuck you to their Congressional colleagues, fuck you to their Congressional staff and fuck you to their constituents. “All lives” clearly don’t even matter anymore to Republicans. Even their own.

You cannot tell me that a man who was one of two people (the President and Secretary of Defense) who had the power to send the National Guard in to protect the Capitol as the insurrection unfolded and who failed to do so does not bear responsibility. A man who organized a rally for months, continually spouting toxic rhetoric of distrust towards the government and telling people to “fight” for the country dozens of times on Twitter, who spread elaborate campaigns of disinformation, that he did not incite an insurrection, did not intend for this to happen

A president who held a rally blocks from the Capitol on the day of the verification of electoral votes and who directed people to walk to the Capitol building to “support” their members of Congress, that he did not contribute to what unfolded. Who laid out the groundwork prior to the election and admitted that if he didn’t win that meant the election was rigged against him. Unless he won, it was rigged. There were no other explanations for his election loss according to Trump.

A man who while the Capitol was being attacked instead of calling out his supporters immediately on Twitter and telling them to stop the violence and leave spent the time calling members of Congress trying to convince them to side with him. A man texted his own VP stating that if Pence didn’t side with him he was “a pussy”. A man who later told his supporters, the same supporters who had chanted to “hang Mike Pence”, that “You’re special and we love you”.

A noose is seen on makeshift gallows as supporters of Donald Trump gather outside the Capitol. Photograph: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Trump has escaped real consequences for every despicable crime you can think of and now he can add inciting an insurrection, the deaths of seven people and the brutal assaults of 100 Capitol police officers to his resume. And all of these Republicans who voted along party lines, who were too scared of their extremist constituents to keep their oath, are at worst co-conspirators, and at best, enablers. The ones who spent the trial ignoring the evidence. Who met with Trump’s defense team. Who didn’t even consider being impartial. The ones who even after the People’s House was attacked still persisted with false claims of election fraud. The same Republicans who have defended Trump every step of the way these past 5 years. Excusing his crimes, offenses, dangerous actions and harmful policies and allowing extremism and conspiracy theories to contaminate whatever legitimacy there was left within Conservatism.

I’m honestly disgusted and nauseated by all of this. We have laws for a reason. It’s a fucking shame that some of the people voted in to uphold those very laws are morally incompetent and un-American in their actions.

American Consumerism, Christian Nationalism and…Bruce Springsteen?: An Analysis

During the 2021 Super Bowl (an event where, during a pandemic, sweaty men spend hours slamming their bodies into each—no social distancing here folks), Jeep decided it would try to bridge the nation’s division with gaslighting rhetoric on religion and Americanism through the method of commercials, consumerism and Mr. Bruce Springsteen. These are my thoughts…

“Here I go driving my Jeep down a Midwestern road and exposing myself to the elements in the freezing cold winter.”

First things first: Bruce looks really uncomfortable in that Jeep. Like he’s not in his natural environment.

Secondly, you can’t make an ad about “the middle” and fill it only with Christian imagery and expressions. “Climb the mountaintop”? “Cross the desert”? A sun setting behind a chapel with the outline of the cross as the focal point?

26% of Americans are religiously unaffiliated. Where is their “middle”? How is their freedom to not believe displayed through an ad that highlights a biased emphasis on Christian religious beliefs that Atheists and Agnostics do not adhere to?

What about Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists in this “middle”? They make up 5% of the U.S. population yet I see no Star of David? No mosque? No Buddha?

Where’s the “middle” for the LGBTQ+ community? 4.5% of the U.S. population identify as LGBT. I see no rainbow flag. If unification is Jeep’s secondary intent (the first being to subliminally push consumers into buying their products) you can’t achieve that by failing to even acknowledge LGBTQ+ citizens existence in this country.

What about people of color? 42.1% of the US population are not white.

And immigrants? 13.7% of the US population are immigrants.

Where is their “middle” expressed in all of this? It simply isn’t. This is due to that the “middle” for the Right (which is clearly who the target audience is—interesting since they routinely complain about politics in Super Bowl ads and football games) doesn’t include any of these diverse groups. According to this ad the “middle” actually doesn’t include anyone except Bruce Springsteen.

I’m not pro-religion but if you are going to make an ad about reuniting the United States you should not begin by using religion, an institution that since it’s origination has done nothing but divide believers from non-believers (in some instances leading to genocide and war) as your starting point for bridging the divide when it has largely contributed to so many of the problems our country now faces:

-Religious mass gatherings being legally allowed during a pandemic that has a death toll of 463,000.

-Attempts to get rid of Roe v Wade and doing away with access to safe abortions fueled by religious beliefs of Catholics and Evangelicals and the debate over when life begins.

-Attempts to strip LGBTQ+ communities of their civil rights and deny them marriage and the ability to adopt because of some archaic and inaccurate line of scripture

Christians are incredibly overly represented in Jeep’s ad and by not including a diversity of religious beliefs or symbolism the messaging reinforces the distorted belief that the US is a “Christian nation”. Many of the founding fathers (notably Jefferson and Adams) did not want to be subjected to a mandatory religion, which at the time was the norm, thereby developing and instituting the concept of the separation of church and state into our Bill of Rights. That we have actually become a country largely focused around religion is not what the founders intended.

Additionally if you are hoping to reach some “middle ground” it is counterproductive to voice that message of unification through a straight white man who by his own admission falsely represents “the working class” and has become the stereotype of “the American Everyman”. The U.S. was founded by (presumably) straight, white, wealthy, male landowners. This group of men instituted divisions in the formation of our own government (e.g. African American slaves were equal to 3/5 a person and women couldn’t own land or vote). It’s pretty tone deaf to have a straight white male millionaire giving a lecture on “what it means to be American” when straight, religious, wealthy, white men have had a dominant influence in American history and as having been in positions of power for so long clearly have worsened a multitude of America’s problems over the past two centuries.

Where was this request for unity over the summer when peaceful BLM protestors were beaten in the streets for advocating for changes to the systemically racist justice system of the United States? Where were calls for unity to bring us together in order to defend our country against a potentially deadly virus (that has killed 463,000 and sickened 27 million, a virus we still don’t know the long term ramifications of) with the goal of protecting the public health? There are so many points I could list in these past five years where we could have unified.

It is difficult to not see this ad as White America’s edition of equality and foolish encouragement for the Right’s argument of a need for unity. This ad really seems to serve as a mechanism in gaslighting the country into minimizing the death, destruction and volatility of 1/6 and dismissing the responsibility of those who encouraged this animosity over five years that led us to where we are today. It is diminishing the impact of the heinous acts of right wing extremists when they attempted to bring about the downfall of our government and democracy (or republic if you are talking to a conservative/Republican). It is essentially saying “Well after everything that’s happened between us let’s forgive and forget and come together” negating the responsibility, accountability, negative impact and ownership of the divisive destruction encouraged by the conservative-Republican side of the political aisle.

You don’t get to tear down this country and then bemoan the fiery division that you poured the gasoline on for the past five years. You don’t get to the gaslight the nation into pretending it’s all in our head.

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started