Let people mourn, for God's sake...

I keep seeing these pictures and sentiments on social media comparing the Boston Marathon explosions to what happens every day in places like Burma and Syria; saying that it's wrong that we put so much focus on Boston "but don't care about those places, because it's not us."

That is some petty, low-class bull-shit, man. What is it with these stupid social justice blogger activists that have to turn everything into some stupid crusade? You can't say a damned word without someone turning it into some kind of horrible offense. Everything piece of media has to be carefully planned to make sure you have the perfect mix of nationalities, sexes and sexual preferences, or else you're doing someone a grave injustice by under-representing them. You can't say anything positive about Christianity (other religions are OK though) because then you're "pushing your faith." You can't offer health advice on how to deal fat - the #1 cause of preventable death or you're being oppressive by not embracing the "fat acceptance" movement. And now, apparently, you can't mourn the death of your countrymen because you don't spend every day of your life obsessing over the horrible things that happen to people in war-torn countries. Do you people not have even a basic understanding of how the human mind works? Or are you just the kind of bottom-feeders that trolls people in mourning?

1. You think we don't know that people are dying around the world? Of course we do. But it's *always* more personal when it's closer to home. People in America are more affected by Boston than they are by people half a world a way for the same reason that people are more affected when someone in your neighborhood is murdered than when someone on the other side of the country is killed - because human beings - not Americans, but human beings - are hard-wired to feel more of a connection with whom they share more common ground and can more easily relate to. That's just how we work.

2. People like you - and all these bull-shit pictures keep pointing out that "this kind of stuff happens every day in [insert war-torn country]." Well, yea. That's kind of the point. We understand that things suck in certain parts of the world. But we can't really fix that. We don't have magic wands that will just make it go away. We cant just send troops to every arm-pit on the planet because every time an American soldier is sent somewhere the world throws a fit and says "we're trying to be the world police." We can't throw money at it and think that's going to fix it. So we accept that it's happening because that's all we can fucking do. Because it's a day-to-day reality, so as horrible as it may be, we accept it. We can't spend every waking moment of our lives mourning the the problems of people on the other side of the world. That won't help them any more than it will help us. But when something like Boston occurs, where it's on our doorstep, when it's our neighbors, it's different. It stands out. Human beings (again, not just Americans, but human beings in general) are more affected by tragedies with unusual circumstances, because out of necessity we reach a certain level of desensitization of everything else. We have to for the sake of our sanity.

Bottom line: when tragedy befalls your neighbors, you don't pretend like it's no big deal just because the same tragedy befalls strangers on a regular basis. Our duty as part of the internationally community is the same as our duty as part of any local community - you look out for your neighbors as best you can, but your thoughts, prayers and responsibility to your family always comes first. This is the natural order. If you can't grasp that; that's your problem.

The Otherkin

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you The Otherkin. The Otherkin believe that they are not (or are not SUPPOSED to be) human, and that they are trapped in a world that can never understand them. And to them, it's not a joke, it's entirely real. This is what they identify as, and to them, the world is a not-so friendly place, because people refuse to accept them as anything other than what they appear to be.

Sound familiar? If you're laughing, rolling your eyes, or otherwise dismissing this, you at last know how I feel when people tell me that they identify as a member of the opposite sex, and that I am therefore obligated to acknowledge them as such. Scientifically speaking, their claim is about as valid as people who identify as members of the opposite sex. Biology tells us that a person's sex is idefined by chromosomes and internal reproductive organs. If you have XY chromosomes and testicles, science says you're a male. If you have XX chromosomes and ovaries, science says you're a female. Yes, I am aware of hermaphrodites; who I believe are the exception, but are a bit of a grey area as far as what I understand about them

If you believe that because someone feels that they were "supposed to be" something else, they therefore ARE something else, regardless of what science tells us they are; then as far as I'm concerned, you are obligated to accept the Otherkin are faeries, werewolves or whatever else they believe they are.

Gun Control

Alright, this one’s long overdue. I generally try to avoid this topic on the internet, as I know how inflammatory it is, but lately my social media streams have been over-saturated with ridiculous posts about it, I want to just say my peace, get it out there, and be done with it. Ladies and gents, my take on Gun control.

I don’t think we’ll ever get to the point that we can just ban guns outright. I don’t think it would work, and I don’t think we should even it was feasible. The second amendment was put there for a reason. It is a fundamental right of every American to possess a firearm to defend himself, his home, and his family, as well as to hunt.

That being said…while an all-out ban is just out of the question in my eyes, restrictions need to be made. Common-sense gun control laws are just as much a no-brainer as allowing law-abiding citizens to own a handgun or a rifle. What do I mean by common-sense gun control?

          1. No civilian should be allowed to own assault weapons. Handguns and hunting rifles are fine; but no civie needs an Uzi or an M16.

          2. Convicted of a violent crime? No guns for you. Period. If you’ve demonstrated a propensity for using violence under unacceptable circumstances, you don’t deserver a tool to enhance your ability to commit said violence.

          3. In-depth background checks. #2 is a pointless rule if no one’s checking.

Now, I’d like to respond to respond to the faux-“arguments” against gun controls. I’m seriously getting tired of these gross-oversimplifications presented in these stupid little .jpgs. It’s always the same flawed arguments.

          1. “Guns don’t kill people, people bad people kill people.” They sure do. Thing is, bad people with assault weapons kill people considerably more efficiently than bad people without assault weapons.

          2. “More people are killed every year by cars/hammers/other innocuous items than guns, why don’t we ban them?” Because those items were designed for innocuous activity. The only time people are killed by a car, a hammer, etc. is when it’s being used in a matter inconsistent with its design and/or intended purpose. Cars are designed for transport. Hammers are designed for construction or maintenance. Assault weapons? They’re meant for killing people.

          Civilians have a REASON for owning a car. They need to get places. Civilians have a REASON to own a hammer. To build things. Civilians have NO reason to own an assault weapon. You don’t hunt dear with an M16, and if you can’t handle a home invasion with a glock and a 19 round magazine, you don’t need an assault rifle, you need TRAINING.

          3. “The first thing a tyrant does when he wants to control a nation is to disarm its citizens.” So you want to have assault weapons so you can do battle with the Police or the United States military, should you ever decide that the president’s a tyrant? Not swaying me. An alarming amount of people thought Bush was a tyrant on par with Hitler, and an alarming number of people think the same thing about Obama.

         4. “The second amendment guarantees my right to bare arms.” True. But there’s 2 issues with this argument. First of all, the founding fathers lived in a time where that meant muskets. 1 shot followed by a lengthy reload time. They couldn’t have possible conceived of the offensive capacity of today’s weaponry.

Secondly, let’s ignore that for the sake of argument. Let’s pretend for a moment that they had a crystal ball that allowed them to imagine M16s, AK47’s and any other assault weapons. The 2nd amendment just said “arms.” Your “this is what the 2nd amendment says, I’m a law abiding citizen, I should have access to whatever guns I want” logic could be extended to anything. Dirty bombs. Biological weapons. Why not let uncle bob build a nuke in his basement? He’s a law abiding citizen, nukes fall under the banner of “arms” so why can’t he have it? At the very least he should be able to buy NATO-approved explosives like C4 or semtex at Wal*Mart, right? It’s in the constitution! There has to be a limit somewhere. The constitution was meant to be a living document, not something that can’t be amended regardless of how times change.

Bottom line, I’m not against people having a handgun for home defense or a hunting rifle to hunt game. But there is no reason for an honest citizen to have a weapon designed to quickly kill as many people as possible, and the sooner we restrict those weapons to military and SWAT, the better our nation will be.

Misandry & Misogyny - A Vicious Cycle.

define misogyny - Google Search - Google Chrome_2012-12-17_16-02-45 
define misandry - Google Search - Google Chrome_2012-12-17_16-04-18

          New theory: a lot of the misogyny found in western civilization – particularly in the US - so often decried by modern feminists has, in fact, been fostered by modern, 3rd-wave feminism. What began as a righteous cause – the fight for sexual equality – today seems more and more to manifest itself as a source of female hostility towards men, and in fact is often just thinly-veiled misandry. I wonder how many have considered the idea that young men, who are now reaching their 20’s never knowing anything but a world where they are taught since birth that they belong to “the great oppressors,” and that they are accountable for the sins committed by earlier generations before they were even born into said world, are essentially being taught that men and women are not supposed to have a harmonious relationship; but an adverserial one?

          One can argue that from a historical standpoint, if we are indeed engaged in a war of the sexes, men fired the first -shot- carpet-bombing with thousands of years of total inequality. That being said, you can’t hold people responsible for the actions of their forefathers. Think about it, if you met an awesome person that was like a brother or a sister to you, and it turned out they had a mother or father that was a total asshole, would you hold your friend responsible for that parent’s actions? Of course not. Not unless you’re the world’s shittiest friend. Well, if you can’t hold someone responsible for the actions of someone who is only one generation removed and tied to them by blood, how can you reasonably get on their case for the actions of the past several hundred generations of people they have no connection to other than shared reproductive organs and chromosomal pairings? You can’t. So instead, you have to look at the mondern generations; the men and women who control civilization now, and those who will inherit it. And when you look at the latter, in particular, things get a little murkier. While there’s no shortage of misogyny even in western culture; the amount of misandry seems to have matched and perhaps even surpassed it, but unlike misogyny, few even talk about misandry. At best people seem to want to wave it away like it doesn’t matter or even exist, and at worst some seem to believe that it’s somehow justice (perhaps some philosophical reading on the difference between “justice” and “vengeance” is in order for these people) and should be socially acceptable.

          Regardless of historical context, or the actions of past generations, the bottom line is that feminists today paint a picture to young males that "we blame you for what your father and grandfather did, we view you as potential rapists, and you. Owe. Us." In short, that they are seen as the enemy. Could it be that it the reason some men seem to hate women is because on a subconscious level, they decide “well, they see me as the enemy, I can either try to make amends for things I didn’t do, or I can accept them as my enemy?”

          Now, I know what some of you are thinking (or typing, for those of you have already tl;dr’ed this post). “Wraith, have you considered flipping this around? That perhaps the reason so many women seem to hate men is because of how hostile men have acted towards them? That perhaps your thesis is largely correct, but you just got the side confused?” Well, yes and no. I haven’t “gotten the sides confused.” But of course this is true for women, as well. Of course the reason a lot of women hate men is because of hostility (or even flat-out violence) from men. The reason I’m writing this about men and why some of us seem to harbor hostility; the reason I’m writing about misandry and not misogyny is that I feel like the latter is being pretty well covered these days. I literally cannot go a day without seeing a link or a post about what’s right with women and what’s wrong with men. Why we need feminism and, as Maureen Dowd wrote in her award-winning book of the same name: “Are Men Necessary?” In short, I’m presenting the male side of the equation because I feel like no one else is.

           My ultimate point is that regardless of “who started it,” we’re now trapped in a vicious cycle; and while I think most of the western world has accepted that men need to treat women fairly, I think it’s time some of you women accept that you need to do the same. Sex-based hostility is not going to disappear on our end while continuing on your end; and just like sexist attitudes from men fuel feminism, I assure you, the more you blame every negative thing said about a woman on misogyny, the more you complain about “men” as if we’re all alike and should all be treated like we’ve wronged you, the more you will encourage misogyny from us.

Reconciliation is a two-way street, boys and girls. 

My take on the “fake geek” phenomenon.

Over the past week, I’ve seen a lot of posts pertaining to the “fake geek” phenomenon. More specifically, why “real geeks” are bothered by “fake geeks,” and what exactly is the difference. Honestly, the whole thing reminds me quite a bit of other sub-cultures that get co-opted. Goth rings a bell.
I think that a lot of people who don’t understand people’s objection to “fake geeks” believe that this objection is simply a matter of “we have geek cred and you don’t.” Admittedly, that’s a part of it. Fake people are annoying. Whether it be a wealthy suburbanite who acts like he’s a ghetto-thug or a pretentious hipster who only professes to like something if no one else does as a means to make themselves feel special, the artificialness of it is disturbing.

But more central to the issue, as I see it, is the origins of the term and the sub-culture. For most of us who consider themselves “legit geek,” the understanding that we were geeks did not come from simply glomping on to a fad. “Geek chic” was an oxymoron for most of us. “Geek” was not a term that carried with it the implication that you were trendy. Quite the opposite. For us, “geek” meant loser. Nerd. Outcast. It meant that you weren’t cool, you weren’t popular, you were simply a social joke. And now that we’re finally starting to reclaim the word for our own, now that the stigma has started to die, NOW the type of people who used to PUT the label on us are CLAIMING it.

“Fake geeks” never experienced what we did. They never “earned their stripes” as it were. They never had the things that they were legitimately passionate about hang like an albatross around their neck. They never lost themselves so deeply in a fantasy or sci-fi world that it became part of their identity. They simply saw something trendy, garnered a tenuous grasp on a few buzz-words and claimed the name. It’s a little like a person who can walk and run without issue, and has never been in the military, rolling around in a wheel chair going “I’M A VETERAN! (which, as I’m typing this, is going through my head in Ralph Wiggum’s voice).

To put it simply: some of us had the “geek” label slapped on us by society, and some chose it for themselves because they saw it as a way to be trendy. To the former, there is often a sense of understandable resentment towards the latter.

Addendum: no, feminists, the "Fake Geek Girl" meme is not "ZOMG misogyny. It' has nothing to do with the geek in question being a girl, and everything to do with everything I just said above. You ladies have got to stop assuming that everything negative said about a female is said because she's a female.
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How To Spot A Chain Story

How To Spot A Chain Story

Stop posting stupid hoaxes about criminal scams, imminent changes to Facebook, corporate mis-deeds and the dying wishes of children.

What is a chain story?

Those of you old enough to remember when people wrote and sent letters on paper may remember “chain letters.” Outlandish stories that some jerk would dream up, mail to a bunch of people, and then end with “now send this letter to X people or you will be cursed!”

In the late 90’s, when email really started to catch on in mainstream America, the chain letter was reborn; “make a wish” emails, “secret curse” emails etc. They promised good things would happen if you forwarded it and bad things would happen if you didn’t. Thankfully, people start wising up about these, so a new breed was created. These new chain letters didn’t threaten based on whether or not you forwarded it, instead it simply claimed something was happening or going to happen, and relied on that to be motivation enough to get people to spread it. Classic examples included warnings about email tracking programs from Microsoft that would pay everyone who forwarded the letter; or new and dangerous scams from street gangs.

Today, the chain story continues via Facebook posts, social networking, and –somehow- still email. Every time you post one of these stories, or forward one of these emails, you make yourself look gullible, and contribute to junking up the internet.

Alright, so how do I spot one?

There’s several ways to spot these stories, but the biggest red flag is “the no link story.”

Consider this: you read a story on a web page and you want to share it with you friends on the internet. What do you do? If you’re like most people, you post a link to the web page (either by copy and pasting the web address or by click a “share” link on the page itself). Perhaps you post a comment about the story, but the key is that you LINK to the story. That way, people can read the article themselves and get the wholes story. How often have you read a story and simply posted a summary about what was going on, with no link? Probably never.

SO, if you see a story on Facebook or in an email with no link? Chances are it’s a chain story. The reason there’s no link is because the person who posted or forwarded it didn’t get the story on a web page; certainly not a reputable one. They read it in a Facebook status post, or a chain email. The email or post came from someone they trust, and therefore they trust ­that the content is legit. The trouble is that that the poster/forwarder did the same thing: they posted or forwarded something from someone else they trusted, who in turn forwarded or posted something from someone THEY trusted, and so on and so on.

But wait; I just read a warning that sounds really, really bad. What if it’s legit?

Simple. If you read a story that sounds really, really bad (already another red flag; FYI. What are the odds that you’re hearing a story that big from Facebook or email before reading it in the news?) and you’re concerned, ask the alllll knowing Gooooog! Simply copy and paste a sentence or two into Google and put quotation marks around it. Chances are, you’ll get hundreds of links about a hoax, which will contain the entire email or Facebook post in question.

Congrats. You’ve just avoided being a total n00b. Now, send whoever wrote the story you read a link to this post, so that they too might learn the ways of the non-n00b.

No? Alright, :::sigh:::


The AA's statistics

Another great article about the RIAA/MPAA and their ridiculous statistics: NY Times: RIAA & MPAA Exaggerate Piracy Impact Stats... But We're Going To Assume They're True Anyway.

I love that they're still blaming declining box office receipts on piracy. Like it has nothing to do with how advanced home theaters are getting. I think a lot of people are willing to wait six months for a movie and watch it on a 50" high-def LCD TV for a rental price of a few dollars and a few more for microwave popcorn and soda, rather than paying forty or fifty for movie tickets and theater concessions.

The AA's love to tout stats; well the most telling stat, in my eyes is that that people are spending more money on over-all entertainment than ever before. You can cherry-pick details like

The top album in 1999, “Millennium” by the Backstreet Boys, sold 9.4 million copies. The top 2011 album, Adele’s “21,” sold 5.8 million

But as I always say context is king. The truth is that the variety of music styles, and more specifically the variety of music styles getting exposure is far more varied. There are whole genres that have sprung up between then and now; which means that a lot of those "lost" album sales aren't really lost as much as they are SHIFTING.

Another thing I don't think that the RIAA, in particular, are not taking into consideration is the effect of the internet as a means of LEGITIMATE distribution. The internet's effect on the music industry isn't relegated to simply people illegally sharing music for free. It's also provided a previously unparalleled opportunity to self-publish. In 1999, if someone wanted to get their name out there and really sell music and albums, they could either go through a small label, which probably wouldn't get them much exposure outside of hard-core fans of indy music, put on small local shows and sell a few dozen CD's there, or get lucky enough to sign with an RIAA-affiliated label.

These days, things are different. Now, promising musicians can publish their music through iTunes or put it up on an easily made and hosted website. Small indie labels who impress one person can see their name spread to a hundred thousand in a day thanks to social media, driving their sales up. So the fact is, while the RIAA may be seeing their album sales slump (that's another thing they don't like to tell you: all these statistics they keep throwing at you? They only account for their sales. Their labels. As if any music that gets made and sold by anyone other than them just doesn't count), INDY labels are seeing their sales increase drastically.

And looking at the album sales charts is a stupid way to measure things, as well. Again, you're looking at the small picture. 12 years ago, everyone had the same gripe about music albums: you pay $10/$15 for an album because you want that those two great songs you heard on the radio. You put the album in your player, and listen to all 13 songs; and you enjoy...well...you enjoy those two great songs you heard on the radio. The rest is just crappy filler material that you never would have bothered with if it wasn't attached to the music you knew. These days, you hear a song you like, you buy that song. If you're curious about the album, you pull up Spotify or a similar service and listen to it (and you either get ads or pay a subscription service, so they're still making money on it), and if you actually like all the tracks, then you buy the album. So yea, Adele's album may have sold about 3.5 million fewer copies than Backstreet's did, buy how many MP3s of Rolling In The Deep or Someone Like You (aka the two songs most of those 5.8 million people bought the album for) were bought on iTunes, Amazon, Zune, Google Play or other services?

But the AA's don't want you to think about any of this. They want to just point to irrelevant numbers and say "we used to sell a lot of overpriced CD's and now we don't sell as many CD's anymore, and that's because piracy is up." Like it's just that simple. It's rarely that simple. Context. Is. King.

The confederate flag

Let me begin by saying I believe in freedom of speech. It is a founding principle of this country, and for that reason, legally, I believe everyone should have the right to wave the stars and bars.
That being said, while I think it should remain legal, it is ethically abhorent. I can't wrap my mind aroud someone wanting to proudly wave the banner of a bunch of people who were so determined to keep other human beings as property that they turned traitor and declared themselves no longer Americans. The confederacy, for the entirety of its existance, was this country's enemy. You're flying the flag of your nation's enemy. What the hell is the matter with you?
"It's a symbol of the south's history and heritage." Well, yes, it is. That's not necessarily a good thing. You could say the same thing about the Swastika and Germany. Just because it's a part of your area's history doesn't mean it's a GOOD part of its history. It doesn't mean you should be PROUD of it just because it's part of your heritage.

The confederate flag

Let me begin by saying I believe in freedom of speech. It is a founding principle of this country, and for that reason, legally, I believe everyoen should have the right to wave the stars and bars.

That being said, while I think it should remain legal, it is ethically abhorent. I can't wrap my mind aroud someone wanting to proudly wave the banner of a bunch of people who were so determined to keep other human beings as property that they turned traitor and declaired themselves no longer Americans. The confederacy, for the entirety of its existance, was this country's enemy. You're flying the flag of your nation's enemy. What the hell is the matter with you?

"It's a symbol of the south's history and heritage." Well, yes, it is. That's not necessarily a good thing. You could say the same thing about the Swastika and Germany. Just because it's a part of your area's history doesn't mean it's a GOOD part of its history. It doesn't mean you should be PROUD of it just because it's part of your heritage.