Viewing blog entries in category: Polemics - Page 2
Some people spend the better part of their days actively thinking about and looking for love. What they want is to deeply connect with another. To have companionship. A special person to spend time with. Someone to confide in. And this is a truism found in all age groups from young teens to people in their 90s.
And most of these folks do find love. Once. Twice. Lots of times. Many are serial monogamists—going from one relationship to another without pause or reflection. They just need that void filled quickly. Being alone is too lonely.
Then there are a few of us who are a different kind of animal. We function best when alone. Are happiest living as solitary creatures. And thus fiercely resist merging our lives with another. Cohabitation is done out of economic necessity, if ever, but never because one wants the company of a housemate/live in lover. We are all most likely introverts. Extroverts crave social interaction. Actually seek it out like hunters. What do introverts do? Nothing. We aren't proactive about dating or finding love. We can't be bothered. We are content in our little worlds of one. We enjoy our own company more than the company of others. Doesn't mean we are misanthropes. Not at all. For I love people. I find them fascinating—to observe, and interact with. But on my terms. When I want. When I am in the mood.
But, even the most introverted of us needs to have connections with our fellow human beings. The desire to share and express oneself and have a listener on the other end, is, I believe, universal. No one wants to only live entirely in their heads. But what someone like me wants is a mirror image, I believe. Someone very similar to ourselves. Why? Because we are terrible at compromising. And compromise is the thing one must do if one wants a partner. It is the price of admission.
It seems I am having a very difficult time paying that price. It is just too much. I tried making a deal-breakers list:
Unattractive/grossly overweight/facial hair
But it was not all-inclusive. There are so many more in my mind. In fact, two that I had not listed, ARE mentioned in my Plenty of Fish profile... in a not so subtle way. How is this for a stop sign?:
If you love dogs and/or are religious or spiritual, we may clash. But I am open to chatting with anyone.
Or how about this, a little polemic against romantic love, that I posted out on the forum last week. Does it speak of compromise?
I love the high of being in love. But when that fades, if there is not a friendship or deep respect for that person, I will lose interest. And that feeling of being in love lasts how long exactly? Not very long. And chances are I don't even really know or like that person very much. But I thought I 'loved' them. That is until the chemicals that bathed my brain in the delusion of love dissipate. Then I am left with someone and don't know what to do with them. I don't want to do the co-dependent thing. Not my style. I am a shark, not a swan. So I become single again. And start chasing that next high. It is about feeling good. Not about a contract. Or buying a house together. Or raising kids. Romantic love is about chemicals, like you said. And sex. Sexual attraction disguised as interest in the person and their lives.
Love for my son and mother are different. It is not a delusion brought on by pheromones and hormones. They are real stable relationships that have become strong over time.
I like having both. Key is to not try to make the first seem like it is of the second type.
Sadly, I still buy into all that romantic love BS in film and books. I don't know why exactly. And it is not a good thing. Because those stories tell me there is something wrong with me because I don't want those things. Or can't have them. Or can't sustain a (co-dependent) relationship.
I want sex and passion. But I don't want to hold your hand while we walk down the beach. We are not one. We will never be one. I am me, you are you. Stop being so clingy.
I asked my mom recently why I can't be like everyone else--happily married for years. She said, "It's not for you. You never wanted those things. You were always so independent." She is right. And as I get older and crave sex less, I am less inclined to shack up just to get those needs met. It gets easier being a shark when your hormone levels drop. The urge to merge lessens. Thank gawd.
That is why dating is kind of a joke for me. For what? For a long-term relationship? Someone to DO things with? I am an indoors person who loves being alone. Sex? Well he better be freaking good in bed or a hand will do the trick.
Do those words suggest I am wanting and willing to compromise? That I even want a relationship at all?
And yet, I am currently interacting with seven men on POF. All of them are very sweet and considerate. But two stand out. One is a poet! We have been chatting through the construction of one long, ongoing poem. Fun! That is what I want. Fun. No compromising. No headaches.
The other, chatted me up on day one before my profile was complete. Very handsome guy. We have been texting the last few days. But last night he sent a message after reading my updated profile. He asked, "No dogs or religion? I have a dog and am Christian." I wrote back with a snarky reply, which, WOW, I cannot copy and past here, because guess what? He just NOW deleted and blocked me. And our exchanges are now invisible. Holy cow! Here I am thinking I am the one being closed-minded. Please. Well, this gives me the out I needed, right? But truly, who ended things? I did, with my over-the-top, atheist, anti-dog mini rant/reply I sent him. I did write again, right away, however, and apologized. I am very good at apologizing. Just not always good at censoring my thoughts/opinions.
Why is delete the way so many men seem to go? The ultimate snub. What are we in high school? I mean really. Can't you just tell the person, I think we are incompatible and should discontinue corresponding? It is so odd, especially when no stalkerish behavior has been demonstrated on my part. Just the opposite. Well, maybe that is it. His ego was bruised. Mr. Hot Stuff isn't used to someone putting on the brakes. And I can think of another example of a person who was fond of deleting. Perhaps it is all about ego. Oh, grow up already boys! This woman is looking for a man. I think. Well maybe not looking. But I definitely know I am not settling for a little boy.
So, I guess it is the poetry man for now. Maybe we can keep things light. And poetic. If so, maybe I'll stick around. Maybe he'll stick around.
Selfies. Match.com profiles. Forum comments. What do they all have in common? They are all about feedback—means to obtain sustenance for starving egos. And aren't we all starving, or at least hungry to some degree? Of course we are. Basic human psychology. The Internet is a wonderful arena to witness this phenomena manifested in full force.
Match.com profiles. Why do we create them? Maybe we want to meet someone. Or maybe we just want to get winks—little nods of approval that reassure us we are desirable to others—even strangers. Strangers who we don't necessarily find desirable ourselves. If they are hot, well that is a bonus, but not a necessity.
People post selfies for the winks as well. They don't do it to share a milestone or a sentimental moment. They do it for instant approval—feedback. Especially when these pics are the same type of pic over and over again— just the face looking into the camera. Same face. Same expression. Never changes. Do they want the same compliments each time? Faces are static. A pic of a face is not something that needs updated every day. It is not a dynamic idea or opinion. It is nothing new. There is no novelty to it. See a face once, and that pretty much satisfies most people's curiosities.
I believe that people who post selfies are erroneously thought to be secure with themselves—at least their looks. I think it is just the opposite. They are very insecure and need reassured that they are OK—often. Some need their fix daily. They get instant feedback when someone comments on their pic. Nobody is going to say something negative. The polite thing to do is to say something nice. Or say nothing at all. If they post a text comment, they may get negative feedback. That is a risk. A pic is the ticket to instant approval online. It's quick and easy. In contrast, writing something takes time and effort. And there is no guarantee anyone will read your words let alone comment on them. And even less a guarantee that they will make a positive remark.
People rarely fawn over written words, unless of course the writer is super witty. And there are a few of them out there, no doubt. I have seen these writers who write for an audience, 'hold court.' They produce the goods which earn them quick nods of approval from their 'fans.' Online comedians are no different. They post jokes, amusing videos, and images for the same reason—for approval. No one is immune, really. Everyone is an egoist. Because everyone has an ego. And we all want—need—to be noticed. No one wants to be invisible. And so, we all try to get attention by different means—by getting profile winks, posting selfies, writing witty posts, or posting funnies. Some even crave attention so badly that they misbehave as a means of getting attention. Seen this in action many times on Solo. It is a spectrum. Some need lots of stroking. Others need less. Where do you fall on the continuum?
No matter what the means, the end is the same—positive feedback. We are presenting something we want others to judge. But we only wish to be judged kindly. Do we really want the truth? No, we want the version of the truth we need to hear. Negative criticism would defeat the purpose, wouldn't it? It is not about wanting constructive criticism to grow as a person—to possibly better ourselves. It is about getting our egos stroked.
Stroke me, stroke me...
Thanks Steve for being my muse out on the forum. Your thread inspired this blog post.
There is no such thing as objectivity. Everything is a construct—constructed by subjects.
No one is capable of being completely objective. We all start with a subject—ourselves. Even in eastern philosophy—though they fervently deny there is such as thing as 'self'—a person cannot think, feel, make decisions, or critiques without the self being a part of the picture. All film, food, art, and music critics critique from a place of subjectivity. Even you do. You choose to read about certain bands and genres and ignore others. We cannot consume all the culture out there. Our ignorance prevents us from being 'objective.' How do you know what you are missing? You don't even know what you don't know, most of the time.
Scientists may conduct their research using objective methods—quantitative research. But even then, the subjectivity is never left outside of the lab. What theory will they test? What area of research? Who did they study under? How much funding do they have for this research? How many assistants will they have? So many variables influence their 'science.' Objectivity is a goal. Not an absolute.
As far as philosophy goes, the more I learn about the different traditions and philosophers the more I see just how subjective the whole thing is. Philosophers are almost always egotistical and self-absorbed. And they build upon the works of other egotistical and self-absorbed thinkers. Objective? Hardly. Once a branch in philosophy becomes objective, it leaves the philosophy department. All sciences and mathematics were once branches of philosophy. "I think therefore I am," claims to assert an objective truth about reality—from a subjective position. Perhaps logic, physics, and mathematics are more in line with objectivity. But bring the mathematician, logician, and physicist into picture, and you have now contaminated anything that was once potentially pure, with subjectivity.
Law, objective? Never. Law is a construct. Constructed by human subjects. It was not something discovered. Some a priori entity. Like Plato's Forms. Even the concept of 'human rights' is a construct. Animal rights? A construct. Justice? A construct. Fairness? Depends on who you are asking. All completely subjective—constructed by subjects. Interpreted by subjects. The beauty of the Constitution of the United States is that it is NOT objective at all. It is a living and breathing document that is capable of changing with the times as the society and her subjects change. Subjects will interpret its contents differently to suit their needs. Brilliant, isn't it?! A perfect subjective construct. Perhaps objectivity is overrated. Even an illusion.
Hater and lover are constructs.
Do haters hate themselves and so they project this hate upon a musical artist—Morrissey? They are misogynistic so they project misogyny onto Morrissey? They are uncomfortable with their own sexuality so they claim Morrissey is uncomfortable with his? This is a cop-out and seems to be a convenient way to dismiss all criticism. What kind of criticism is objective—enough? I know I am not projecting my feelings about myself onto Morrissey. Are the 'haters?' Perhaps some deranged haters online—somewhere are. But, I honesty don't see any of those types on this website, at all.
And as far as trolling goes, studies have shown that the notion of the bully bullying because he hates himself and projects this hate onto his victims is erroneous. Many bullies have very high self-esteems. Are actually narcissists. Even psychopaths. They are not projecting self-hate onto others. They are toying with someone else for pleasure. For fun. Because they like it. We want to believe that all haters hate themselves and are broken in some way. Not always the case. Not even often the case.
What does it mean when we say a person is a lover or a hater, anyhow?
'Hater' has lost meaning from overuse and misuse. A pejorative construct. Notice how its counterpart, 'lover,' is not a pejorative term? 'Lover' is sweet and positive and conjures up things like goodness and peace and beauty—all lovely things. I prefer the term sycophant instead of lover. Because truly that is a more accurate description of the obsessive fan who is projecting, in denial, and completely subjective. I think if you are going to label some fans as haters, you must label their opposites as 'sycophants'—not lovers.
Perception is a construct.
I would also suggest there are more 'lovers' here than 'haters.' Way more. And, I would argue if there is any projecting going on it is coming from that camp. Some of the comments and attitudes of the 'positive obsessives' are seriously problematic and three miles from reality. Pure subjectivity. And projection. Read the, Does Moz hate his female fans? thread. And Who is Tina Dehghani? Numerous heterosexual female fans, who claim to have read Morrissey's Autobiography, exhibit a complete denial of the misogynistic and homosexual content in the book. They don't WANT to believe those things. So they don't see them. Willful ignorance. That IS projecting a worldview, sexual orientation, values, etc., onto a person—Morrissey. He is what they want him to be. Not what he says he is or shows himself to be through his actions and comments in the press. It doesn't help that Morrissey has made it easier for his American hetero female fans to remain in their delusional states now that he has edited out the 'gay' parts from his book. Should he publish a special edition for his radical feminist fans so that they too don't have to struggle with cognitive dissonance? Edit out the misogynistic tidbits? Protect your fan base by protecting your image. If there would have been as much talk of the misogyny found in Autobiography, in the reviews and press, as there was of homosexuality, you better believe those misogynist parts would also have been absent in the US edition as well. But as we all know, sexism and misogyny are so pervasive and ingrained in our culture, that some—most—can't even see these things when they are staring them in the face. See those two previously mentioned threads for evidence to back this claim.
It is all a construct folks.
Morrissey is a construct. His fans are constructs. I am a construct. Fandom—is a construct. Morrissey will let you see what he wants you to see. Image. Damage control. It is hilarious. And kind of sad. But... brilliant. That cannot be denied. He knows his fans all too well. He created them after all, didn't he? Morrissey constructed his own fan base. Perhaps like no other.
Why do some of us 'fans' appear to focus more on psychoanalyzing the man rather than discussion his music? I think this has a lot to do with the fact that Moz's musical output has been slim pickings as of late. What is on offer to discuss? Not much. Certainly nothing new. Whereas we had a a 450 page book about THE MAN to dissect, analyze, speculate, critique. And all his comments in the press and statements on TTY—an endless supply of content to mull over. Of course many of us became armchair analysts. That was what we had to work with. The book revealed little about the music and much more about the person. Plus some of us are more fascinated with the persona of Moz than his music—at this point in his career. The song remains the same. How many times can we dissect a piece of music? Or lyrics? New fans can and will, of course. But for us long-term fans? Been there, done that. The music is static. The man is dynamic. Much more interesting to discuss, I think. But that is just me. Can we have both types of discussions here? I say yes, we can, and should.
To commemorate my ten year anniversary of being a blogger at Solo, I have put together a book, in PDF format, of my favorite polemical writings from the last ten years. I have titled it...
Download PDF Here.
A disembodied mind could be an immortal mind.
I want to have my mind uploaded before dementia sets in. Then all that data to be downloaded into a computer. I would be happy to be without a body. Would actually prefer for my mind to be disembodied. I could live inside a computer. People could download an App if they want to access me, interact with me. I could have an online blog/website where I continue to post my thoughts and whatnot. I could have instant access to all the information on the Net. Could download it instantly into my hard drive—me. Wow. I am getting excited just thinking about the possibilities.
One benefit to being disembodied, would be the absence of physical pain. And, I'd argue, psychic pain as well. Because, how much suffering that occurs in the mind, is necessitated by having a body? Doesn't depression start as an organic process inside the brain? What about schizophrenia? Aren't these diseases of the physical brain structure itself? Surely it is not due to faulty thinking by a mind with free will. Brain misfirings limit free will, causing irrational thinking, delusions, anxiety, and depression. A brain without organic matter, such as one that acts like a program inside a computer, would be free of these misfirings. Psychic suffering could be rendered non-existent as well. Even grief would no longer have to exist, because loss would not have to manifest. If my loved ones' minds were immortal as well, then no relationship would have to end—unless by choice. Suffering could become a thing of the past. Even animals would be relieved of suffering. They would not be used by humans—for anything. Would animals then become irrelevant to human life? Would we still want them around? Maybe for aesthetic reasons alone? Who would take care of the earth if we all lived in computers? And who would take care of us? Would a group of mortal humans need to stick around to keep us running smoothly—in tip top shape? Maybe we'd all start out as embodied caretakers of other minds. Then we'd become disembodied—immortalized once we reach a certain age. Perhaps some of us would produce caretakers—our caretakers—before we become disembodied. Overpopulation would not be an issue, as life as a computer program would not require much space or resources—no food, water, transportation, clothing, or personal shelter needed.
What about pleasure? Would we have to give that up?
Would we then be unable to feel pleasure? Would pleasure even be missed in the absence of pain? How does a brain without a body feel pleasure? Do I feel pleasure when I learn new information because endorphins are released in my brain—bathing it in serotonin and dopamine? Or is something else going on? Why am I excited, happy, and high when a quest for information materializes? Are endorphins being released, making the payoff feel good? Knowledge seems intrinsically valuable—to the mind. I don't seem to need a reward for learning something new? The reward is learning itself, right? Or is it? Is this just an illusion?Are some brains rewarded by feel-good endorphins which cause pleasurable sensations in the brain—making them feel that they are craving knowledge? Are information junkies really endorphin junkies? Would an inorganic brain without endorphins still be motivated to learn? Or is it a system of punishment and reward? Could a brain be made to crave information without an organic reward? Is having information and knowledge what makes a mind so wonderful? Or is it the drive for knowledge, that is the real beauty of it? Are the ends (knowledge) irrelevant? And the means (drive), where the wonder, magic, and value reside? What is a beautiful mind, anyhow? Its ability and desire to learn, or the information it contains? Or both? I say both.
What motivates us?
Why are some people so driven to learn, while others are not? An example might be a skilled athlete who is driven to master his athleticism—push his abilities to their limits, extremes—but has little interest in reading, writing, or discussing ideas. Perhaps only an intellectual could entertain the notion of, and desire for, their mind to be housed in a computer for all eternity—to be disembodied—where it could learn at rapid speed and acquire an endless supply of information and knowledge. Is this something that is utterly undesirable to an athlete, whose body itself is the vehicle—the means to the end— to pleasure? What if there were no pleasure endorphins at all? Would a mind want to think? A body want to move? Maybe technology would render pleasure possible in a disembodied mind—even one which was 100% inorganic. Electrical impulses, perhaps?
What about you?
Are you an intellectual? Do you place thinking at a premium? Ever refer to yourself as an information junkie? Would you rather learn than eat, make love, or take a walk? Do you want to live inside a computer too? Email me. I think we could be great friends.
Companion piece: A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste
From 2005: Mind Transferring
Ray Kurzweil — Immortality by 2045
If in the future, we have the ability to save minds from disease and decay, should we make them immortal by housing them in new bodies every three decades? Or should we let them die to make room for new minds? What if overpopulation were not an issue? Or if we could house the minds in computers? Should we keep minds alive forever? I say yes, we should.
Don't you think it is more tragic for a fully developed personality to die rather than for a new 'potential one' not to be born? Let the people who already live continue to exist. And keep new ones from being born. Sterilization (voluntary) would solve that problem. All future births could be sterile. Parenthood—having children—would become something to read about rather than experience firsthand. Or we could inhabit and populate other planets. Perhaps by the time we could become 'immortal', the technology that would make living on Mars will also have been developed.
Why let the already developed personalities live on instead of replacing them with new ones? Because the mind gets better over time. If it is possible to keep the brain healthy and free of disease, then the benefits of a mind that is full of knowledge and experience is of great worth for both historical and practical reasons, and would only become more valuable over time.
It seems like a huge loss for someone's mind, which spends its whole life getting better, to have to decay and die. Why shouldn't the journey continue, forever? People look at the past through nostalgic lenses, stating, oh I wish I lived in the 20s, or 50s. In the future, we could live through hundreds of decades. Think what this experience and information would afford us. The utility of a super intelligent mind can't be overstated. Think if Einstein were still alive. Or other brilliant philosophical, scientific, or literary minds such as Thomas Jefferson, Shakespeare, or Beethoven. What technologies and discoveries and wisdom could they impart if they were still churning out creative works and brilliant ideas today? A mind is a terrible thing to waste. The body is just a vehicle to house the mind. It is replaceable. The mind is unique, irreplaceable. Give me a new body. Or house my brain's data in a computer. Just let my mind live on forever.
Do we need new blood to have fresh ideas? Do old minds become rusty? Or are these just stereotypes—assumptions not based on evidence? How do we know that these geniuses wouldn't still actively be producing output for hundreds or thousands of years? It would be worth finding out. But not all of us are geniuses, right? Does that mean our minds are not just as valuable? Not really. Most minds are worth saving.
What about heaven? Wouldn't an afterlife offer a form of immortality for my mind? Yes. But heaven is an illusion—a product of wishful thinking. If it can't be proven to exist, it most likely doesn't. I'm putting my money in science—the natural world. The supernatural world is for dreamers. I am a realist.
Companion piece: A Disembodied Mind
From 2005: Mind Transferring
Ray Kurzweil — Immortality by 2045
Morrissey states: "If you believe in the abattoir then you would support Auschwitz. There's no difference. People who would disagree with this statement have probably never been inside an abattoir."
Are his comments insensitive, even crass? Well, yes.
The Nazis DEHUMANIZED Jews, gays, Gypsies, the handicapped, and other undesirables, under the UNSCIENTIFIC theories of Eugenics, reducing the status of these humans to the status of non-human animals. So, Auschwitz victims were regarded as being non-human animals—just like cattle. The modern meat industry treats animals as non-humans—as they are—just like cattle. Thus, non-human animals are just like the non-humans of Auschwitz. This is the logic behind Morrissey's proposition. It makes sense on paper. And coming from Jewish intellectuals and scholars who survived the Holocaust, makes it look more legitimate. Who can argue with the victims of the Holocaust themselves, right?
Morrissey claiming animals are treated like the victims of Auschwitz is not a new argument, nor one which he concocted. But, even if it is logically sound, it is still insensitive coming from a non-Jew who is using the historical tragedy of a group of people for his own political purposes. It is emotional PROPAGANDA. And the Anti-Defamation League agrees.
Humans were treated like non-human animals. Animals are not treated like humans. Jews are humans, NOT non-human animals. Are animals being treated like Jews? It was wrong to treat Jews like animals, right? Is it also, then, wrong to treat animals like animals? This is essentially what Morrissey and Newkirk are saying. It is wrong to treat animals like animals. We need to treat them like humans. So the question is, should we give animals the same consideration as humans? If we do, this would mean they could not be used for food, or resources such as milk and fur, labor of any kind, entertainment, or even be regarded as pets. Why? Because they cannot offer consent. And without consent, this would amount to involuntary exploitation and confinement. In other words, slavery. And slavery is illegal. Do you agree with that? If not, then you don't accept this argument. And neither does Morrissey, really, when you think about it. He is all talk and no action. Because the man consumes diary and owns pets.
His inconsistency and hypocrisy is apparent to all, and makes him look like a silly, insensitive man, exploiting the tragedy of a group of people for his own selfish ideology—an ideology which in practice, he doesn't even fully embrace himself.
My can things change in two and a half years. With new information, our paradigms may shift.
In August 2011, I wrote a bog entry titled The Filter Bubble. It has been read by posters here and at least one person has used it as ammunition in an argument. In other words, thrown it back in my face, if I was ever critical of anonymous posting. Seemed that my little polemic had locked me into a position. So now, today, I am rectifying my position—reaffirming how I feel about anonymous posting in general but also clarifying a few details I left out of my first piece. Because I was not privy to certain nuances back then. First let me share what I originally stated.
Here is my thesis statement from that piece:
Those who call for anonymous posting to be disallowed and for more regulation of content posted to the Morrissey-solo main page and general forums are not only demanding censorship of free speech, they are advocating for a filter bubble to protect themselves, Morrissey, and the rest of us from information and opinions that don’t fit their world views.
The filter bubble and censorship that I described were in regards to Morrissey, not the lives, personal details, and characteristics of the posters themselves. I was not actively posting in the forums—especially not in Off-topic. I was writing from the position of a casual user, not an active one involved in the inter-dynamics of a community.
If Morrissey-Solo had a filter bubble, we would all be under the illusion that Morrissey was beyond reproach—that his remarks in the press were deemed acceptable and are mirrored by his entire online fan base. We would be under the impression that all his music was brilliant and that his band could do no wrong. We wouldn’t be privy to dissent. This isn’t just censorship of negative news and commentary, it is altering reality. And this alternate reality isn’t a good thing for any of us—including Morrissey himself.
I believed then, and still do, that censorship of unpopular and/or controversial opinions results in group think and an inaccurate portrait of a fan base. Portrait, as in, what can be seen from the outside. What is visible to the public. What a causal visitor to the site would witness if glancing over the forums.
Only seeing compliments and news items that depict Morrissey and his music in a positive light would paint an inaccurate picture of his fan base. Morrissey’s fans are not completely comprised of docile bodies and sycophants. We are a diverse group with a wide variety of tastes, opinions, beliefs, and worldviews. We are not a homogenous group—though we sometimes like to think we are.
And my closing statement:
Criticism is not just coming from trolls who wish to harm for harm’s sake. Many comments are made by long-term fans who are genuinely concerned about the direction Moz is taking his music and or his recent actions and statements. Criticism can be unsettling. But this can be good. It unsettles us—stirs up the sediment and knocks us out of our comfort zones.
Why did I write this back then and what exactly did I mean? And Do I still feel this way?
I wrote this at a time when I was not a regular user of this site. I was a news reader, in other words. I was not a regular poster involved in the 'community.' I recognized fewer than five names—people who were posters from before 2006, such as Uncleskinny and Robby.
Then, somewhat regrettably in retrospect, I began posting here again—and a lot. I became a central part of this community. A regular. And there are a few dozen or more of us. We all have user names, individual personalities, histories, likes, preferences, opinions, world views. Some of us have blogs. Some of us are friends off site with one another as well.
This is where the rules of unfiltered anonymous posting can be problematic. One occasional insult posted anonymously is rarely harmful or significant to the community. But if a regular—one who is privy to the characters and dynamics of the community—abuses this privileged information and is allowed to systematically harass another poster, this is harassment and violates the TOS. This type of anonymous posting is harmful. It is not done by a lurker, or a fly-by-night poster who does not wish to join the community, or by a regular making an occasional post anonymously out of fear because s/he is saying something controversial, or a regular who is too lazy or unable to login. No, it is done with the intent to HARM, TROLL, and DISRUPT. And that is what is does—exactly. It disrupts the community in a negative way. It causes paranoia and mistrust among the members.
Some might say this is good. It prevents alliances from cementing and discourages group think. This may be good for an organization—this type of underhanded scheming and insulting and character assassination. But a more intimate type of a community, such as this one, functions more like a family—not some cold, people are just numbers, institution. These are living, breathing individuals with real feelings and real lives. People get hurt. People can hurt others in real, tangible ways.
Anonymous posting in intimate forms with regular users who act as a part of a community—a family—should be moderated. Don't call it censorship, call it mediation. We have parents, counselors, and mediators for these things in real life. We have moderators for these things on forums. Moderation is needed and welcomed on Solo.
Want anonymous posting without moderation? Then have an anonymous forum where everybody is anonymous—no registered users or avatars. That may work and be a great concept. I may try to check out one of these places and see what I make of it. Will report back with my opinion in this blog entry, if I do.
But it is too late here. Morrissey-Solo has registered members. It is not an anonymous forum. So it is half-assed at moderation and half-assed at free speech. It is trying to be all things and can't make up its mind. Sadly, it is in a state of crisis as a result.
I consider myself bisexual. This identity is not fully embraced by the gay community or the straight one. Both groups think bisexuals are fence sitters. Mostly that we are AFRAID to embrace our gayness. Still keeping one foot in the heterocourt. This may be the case for some. It is not the case for me. I could care less what people think. My family is very open and would completely accept me being a lesbian. My mom knows I am bisexual, as does my son. They get it. They understand I have a capacity to love both sexes.
Many claim no one is obligated to come out. True. It is her/his life. And we don't know if doing so would mean their family would disown them or they could lose their jobs etc. But living in a closet, just keeps alternative sexual identities in the margins. Gives the impression it is something to hide—be ashamed of. Moz doesn't help the cause when he fails to use the term bisexual. If he truly loves both sexes, and is and can be, sexually attracted to both, then embracing this label could help so many of us bisexuals. It would help to legitimate it. Him failing to identify with it, makes us wonder why?
Many bisexual artists and celebrities—both women and men—have spoken out about their bisexuality. This has helped me see that I am not alone. Not some freak. Not a fence sitter. So now, when I say to someone, I am bisexual, they no longer roll their eyes and say, yeah right, under their breath.
Is Morrissey bisexual or gay? Only he knows. And what does it mean to be bi and not gay? Does it mean you have to have slept with both sexes? Or is simply being attracted to both enough? If a married man is attracted to some men, but has never had a sexual experience with another man, is he bisexual? Or straight? I'd say bisexual. Because it is about the recognized capacity to love both sexes, not acting on it, necessarily. A celibate, virginal priest knows his sexual orientation, most likely, even though he may have never experienced sexual activity with anyone. So if it isn't about behavior, then what is it about? Desire.
And this is where I have a problem with Morrissey being bisexual, rather than gay. He states in his book, or insinuates, he has had loving relationships with both sexes. Yet, he never claims to have ever been sexually attracted to any woman. However, he has made numerous references indicating he finds men sexually desirable. So if he does not desire women, and actually finds them repulsive—especially their genitalia (see book), it is hard to believe, in my mind, that he is bisexual. He may love both. But Tina is hardly described as an object of desire, in his book. In contrast, the men are. But those sexy passages about Jake have been edited out. Why? To make Tina look sexier? To make him look more bi, as the book was tilting towards gay? That is my theory.
So is Morriseey gay and not bi? I think so. But it is for him to decide. But he seems unwilling to claim the label—the identity—and instead comes up with, yet, another label of his own. He defines 'humasexual' as loving both sexes. Maybe he does love both. Maybe 'humasexual' is a person who loves both sexes but desires only the same sex, sexually. Gay with a twist?
It is odd that he claims to hate labels, and this is why he never embraced one. Yet he then creates another label, for himself, and announces it to the world on TTY. Maybe he just wants to be in control... the one to pin a label on himself and not have it be done by the press or public? We do know he is a control freak, after all.
This post is long over due. It is my blog, so I can say what I wish. And I wish to say what is on my mind regarding my relationship with CrystalGeezer (CG from here out.)
I don't know if there is such a thing as yin and yang. But if there is, then it manifests in these forums. If CG is the yang, I am the yin. And vice versa. They say opposites attract. But they also repel--think two magnets. We are opposite in so many crucial ways.
It really is a dichotomy in personality. She IS a thorn in my side. But this is not necessarily a bad thing. Yes, I find her to be annoying and obnoxious and crass and crude and butch and immature and low rent and irrational and delusional and cruel and a liar and manipulative and vindictive and obese and unattractive, and uneducated about things I find important to be versed in. And she is constantly following me around the forums like a stalker--a stalker with a mission to poke holes in me--my personhood, my arguments, my opinions, my views, my values, my likes, my dislikes. Nothing I do or say goes unchallenged. This is annoying as hell. And borders on abuse. Any highly sensitive person would have exited Solo long ago. But I am not that person.
Why do I not only tolerate but seem to nurture her behavior at times? Give in to it? Even walk into her traps willingly? Because, all her poking and prodding sometimes keeps me on my toes, if I am to be honest. It can challenge me to make the best case for my positions. Make me question my views. Defend them. This is not always a bad thing, because two things can come about as result of being challenged. It can help to reinforce and strengthen my postilions. Or, make me rethink them. And I am often wrong. And am willing to admit it when I am. Either way, this is a good thing. So this thorn, which is CG, is an irritant. But it can also be an eustressor, not just a distressor. It is all how I choose to see it.
Certain passages in Morrissey's book, Autobiography, read as misogynistic polemics against femaleness. To deny this is delusional. Here is an example: "Night after night like an unowned dog I would tear through the park, a creature in human form, all perilous bolt inviting danger, the bike dancing controlled flips as I gulped jets of rain–more danger, more fun. In comparison, what had girls to offer? Nothing but a mangled jungle of tangled hair presented as the jackpot payoff. Honeypots sprawled like open graves, their owners doing nothing at all other than letting you. The call of duty is all yours–to turn on and get off; to hit the spot and know the ropes; to please and be pleased; as the owners of such Bermuda Triangles do... nothing."
Coming from anyone else, this would read as hate speech. Why do we forgive the writer who pens such a diatribe against our sex? Because he is Morrissey? Yes, because he is Morrissey. But should we? Or should we hold him accountable?
I never cared—still don't—about his sexual orientation. I mean, I never had romantic fantasies to be with the man. Sure he is sexy, charismatic, and handsome. I guess when I first set eyes on him and for a short time after that, there was an attraction. But I am a realist. Wasn't gonna hook-up with him. I had no illusions of such. So it mattered not that he wasn't sexually attracted to women. But not being attracted to them is one thing. Being utterly disgusted by them is another. I assumed, rightfully, that he is gay. This noted passage, along with several others in the book, confirm this for me.
Imagine if he, as a white person, wrote a diatribe against blackness. Alarm bells would go off. But as most of us know, sex/gender is the last form of discrimination that is tolerated—worldwide. You think it isn't? You think we have moved past sex/gender discrimination? No one thinks it is acceptable anymore? Think again. How many of the liberals out there cry out against gender segregation in Islamic societies? Not too many. There is outrage about Palestinians being oppressed by the Israelis. But nobody is talking about liberating the women from male oppression, within this sex segregated society.
What Moz wrote was at the very least, insensitive. I am really glad I am not one to hang on his every word. For if I were, I would be devastated.
Anybody remember when Christopher Hitchens wrote that article claiming women weren't funny? It was a great polemic. I didn't agree with him. Not sure more than a handful of folks did/do. But the Internet lit up light a Christmas tree. And every liberal and conservative newspaper, talk show, and online magazine was discussing it, asking, "Is he sexist?" "Is he a misogynist?" There was careful, intelligent debate. The best of the best voiced their opinions, and wrote articulate retorts.
There isn't much going on debate-wise when it comes to Morrissey's attacks on femaleness. Why? Why the eerie silence in the media? Why the silence here? Actually, the silence on Solo is not surprising. Because, to bring up such a topic results in an idiotic comment such as, "What is the point of this thread?" This type of fan wants to silence the dissenters, the free thinkers, the folks who question things. Bringing these things out in the open threatens to pop their filter bubbles.
What does it mean if Morrissey hates femaleness—at least sexually? Does it change the way we interpret the songs? Is he no longer on our side—a voice for equality? What do lyrics such as pretty girls make graves and I lost my faith In womanhood look like in this new light? Should we now take them more literally? Reevaluate all the songs? Would doing so ruin the listening experience for many? Yes, I am certain it would. Would it ruin mine? No, not at all. Never saw him as a hero or as a champion for the female sex—and her interests. So, nobody has fallen off a pedestal in my world. I do, however, feel sad for those who did hold Moz to a higher standard, believing him to be a spokesperson for women's rights and issues. This book, surely, was a soul crusher.
Kind of a stream of conscious thing on the ethics of eating meat...
Why is it acceptable to kill and eat animals but taboo to have sex with them?
Let's see, behavior is formally regulated by two major institutions: government and religion. Also, rights are regulated/granted/defined by these as well. Both animal and human.
At the begging of civilization, before there was a concept of animal rights, humans were thought to have dominion over animals. They could use them for food and labor... and sexual pleasure? Maybe. Maybe not. That is where religion stepped in and regulated sexual behavior. In all sorts of ways. Many things were off limits... sex before marriage, sex outside of marriage, sex with a person of the same sex, oral sex, anal sex, and sex with animals. The church/temple/tribal heads regulated this stuff and doled out sanctions to violators. Stoning anyone?
Ah, then came the Age of Enlightenment, thank god! No, no god; god is dead. Modernism... religion began to lose its power... Mill, Bentham... human rights... the end of slavery... women's suffrage... child labor laws... animal welfare... The Jungle... church replaced by government... regulation of sexuality under the banner, crimes against nature.
Postmodernism... Peter Singer, Peta... animal rights/liberation... secularism... gay rights... veganism.
Today, we are more relaxed in our regulation of sexuality. The church has taken a backseat to government. Separation of church and state. And the people have spoken... they want to do as they please. It is all about privacy now. Laws have been created to protect the individual's privacy. It's nobody's business. Many acts are no longer considered crimes against nature. But it is still a taboo to have sex with animals because it has been decided that animals cannot offer consent. Just like rape is not acceptable for the same reason... lack of consent. But what if an animal could give consent? What if a great ape showed measurable ability to offer such consent... be it through initiation and/or enthusiasm? Would that be considered consent? If not, why? What if Peter Singer gets his way and great apes are granted... not animal protection... but rights? Wouldn't they then have the right to privacy... and the right to have sex with whomever they wish, just like humans? Would we have to pass laws forbidding them to have sex with humans? Slippery slope, eh? Someone, or many, are thinking about these things... and sitting around discussing them in some think tank somewhere in the world, right now, as I am typing this. Btw, I am in my own think tank of one, at the moment.
At the same time, laws have been created to protect animals from cruelty, mistreatment, and exploitation. Dominion over animals is replaced with duty to protect.
Anyhow, so why can we eat animals and not have sex with them? Well, we can have sex with them in 17 of the 50 states in the US. Want to have a go with poochie, live in one of these states... Guam, American Samoa, Alabama, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kentucky, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia. Ohio? Interesting.
Until recently, there were no laws against it in Washington state. But this all changed in 2005 after a man died after having anal sex--and videotaping it--with a horse. Not sure if you heard about this. A documentary titled, Zoo, was made about it. Worth watching if you get a chance. Prior to this incident, zoophilia had been legal in Washington state for 117 years. Then a bill was passed to outlaw it. The bill states it is illegal on the grounds that it is cruel. Could be cruel. I bet some animal would beg to differ. It all depends on what was being done and by whom, where, and how. It may in fact be quite pleasurable for the animal. Manual stimulation of a dog's genitals by a human hand wouldn't seem to cause emotional or physical pain to the dog, would it?
This can change in the future in several ways... animals get more protection, and all states and more/all countries outlaw zoophilia. Or, maybe, great apes get rights and can now have sex with humans? Or not. Maybe there will be laws against it... extraspecies regulation... much like the current anti-zoophilia laws on the books. Or will it be a speciesism thing... like racism? Will apes fight for civil rights... the rights and privileges that humans are afforded? And then... comes same sex marriage between apes? Peter Singer, are you reading this?
So, it seems to be a dichotomy here. On one end of the pole, we have sexual liberation. On the other, animal liberation. At the moment, they seem to be at odds with one another. We want more freedom to have sex with whomever and whenever and wherever and however. At the same time, we want animals to be free from suffering and pain and cruelty and exploitation. Does protecting animals from these things mean we must give up some of out own sexual freedoms?
In conclusion, it is acceptable to kill and eat animals and not have sex with them because the government has passed laws against cruelty and the people have decided that eating/killing is not cruel, yet having sexual relations with them is. We are free to eat meat. It is morally and legally acceptable... except by some religions that have instituted dietary restrictions. Why? Because it is still not considered cruel to slaughter animals under the right conditions by the majority of folks. And in a democracy such as ours, the majority get to decide what is right and wrong. Bottom line, it is all about determining what is cruel. We have laws against cruelty. Want meat eating to be illegal? Convince the majority that it is cruel. The majority think it is cruel to have sex with animals, apparently. Really? I think that they just DON'T really need much convincing that it is not OK. Why? Because they don't want to have sex with animals. But people DO want to eat meat. Much harder battle to be won here.
Sixty year old sports writer, Martin Manley, committed suicide by gunshot on August 15, 2013. His suicide was meticulously planned a year in advance and documented on a blog which went public the day of his death. His blog is actually interesting. It covers a range of topics from suicide to family to his interests. Was this man just a narcissist looking for attention in the most hideous way possible? Or, was he a lonely, tired soul... jaded and resigned from life and simply wanting to leave a legacy behind in his own words?
He prepaid Yahoo to host his blog for the next five years—the maximum Yahoo allows. But, they took it down immediately claiming it violated their terms of service. Fortunately a bunch of mirror sites were created. Manley's sister reached out and pleaded for Yahoo to republish the blog. They have thus far, refused to do so.
Here is Manley's Blog, now being hosted by Anonymous. If you have time, check it out. He has some interesting insights. And after reading it—especially his position on suicide and his notion of legacy—you may just become convinced that we all should have online blogs... ones which will continue to live on after our deaths.
Well, who would have thought? I wonder how long David Tseng will continue to host my blog? If Solo becomes just an archived site will all its contents still be available online for years to come? Forever? Don't think I haven't thought about this. Yeah, I have saved all my journal entries into PDF files. But... isn't this a public blog? What would be the point if it became invisible at some point? Should I create a mirror site and prepay some web host twenty years in advance? I have a feeling some service is going to spring up that is willing to supply the tools for what I predict will be a burgeoning demand in the very near future. The Legacy site. Leave one behind for all to read. It's better than an obituary. You get to write it yourself. And it's forever... not just one day in a Sunday newspaper.
I'm all for it, obviously. Not everyone enjoys writing, of course. Maybe they could share pics and write captions, instead of prose. Maybe drawings. I think everyone should have a legacy blog. Maybe I will rename mine... Legacy Blog. Sound arrogant? Well, are you really shocked? Be honest now.
Morrissey is not my hero.
Christopher Hitchens came close. But even he was a very flawed person. He drank too much, smoked too much, and wrote an essay that argued women weren't funny. Nobody is perfect.
But Hitch and I had a lot in common. So I think he would have made great company. Many state just that. That he lit up the room, was highly entertaining, and could hold court into the wee hours... never losing his edge. People adored him. He was charming and charismatic... but most of all, gracious.
Gracious is not a trait I associate with Morrissey... unless we are talking about animals, of course. Anyone who requests a fellow being to salt his fries so that he may be spared illness (imaginary, of course), is not someone I'd like to pal around with. Nor could I revere such a person. This act alone demonstrates a serious flaw in his moral character, imo. And before you say that this incident is unsubstantiated (as I have heard claimed before), it was reported in a magazine. If it was false, Morrissey would have let us know via TTY. It happened folks. That is who he is. He is fussy, demanding, and probably has some OCD traits. Not fun company. Not hero-like.
When I first discovered Morrissey... the young, sexy vocalist, who penned and sang the most unique and witty lyrics I had ever heard... I was fascinated... obsessed with his image... his persona. I wanted to know everything about him. And so I literally read every article and interview I could find. I learned much. Then I found Solo... and became a part of a community of fans. I have learned so much more about his music and history since then.
In 2005, I began to feel disillusioned. I realized that Morrissey was not the man I thought he was--hoped he was. His boycotting of Canada, talks of playing in Iran, remarks about the Norway shootings etc... changed my perception of him. I no longer saw him as a voice for me or my beliefs. I realized that we were different... very different. Our moral compasses pointed in different directions. He was not, nor could ever be a hero because I did not look up to him nor respect his thinking or way of life. He was not an ambassador for any meaningful cause... except animal rights. And even then, it seemed more self-serving than selfless.
And at the same time, I was discovering Hitchens. So the contrast of these two icons made it all the more apparent.
Morrissey is tops in my book as a brilliant and talented lyricist, vocalist, and stage presence. But he is not worthy of hero status. Heroes are folks who stick their necks out, serve as role models, fight for human rights and injustices... change the world... inspire others to make changes for the greater good.
Many of the fawning sycophants here claim they ARE inspired by Morrissey. His lyrics saved their lives, helped them through troubled times, made them give up eating meat. Great. But this is all very subjective and has no bearing outside of one's bedroom unless it is applied to accomplishing things that help others and make our world a better and more interesting place. What great accomplishments achieved by his fans, which serve the greater good of humanity, are the result of listening to his music or adopting his views?
We are told not to eat meat, to hate David and Victoria Beckham, and to see the Royal Family as evil. And then what? Give to charity? Help the homeless? Educate the illiterate? Build homes in disaster torn areas? Help raise money for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation? Nope. None of these things. Morrissey tells us to not eat meat, hate certain celebrities that he feels have not earned their statuses, buy his music... including the reissues, and fork out big bucks for concert tickets without any guarantee of a performance. That's it. How is this being a role model worthy of hero status?
So anyhow, no, I don't desire to meet Morrissey. If I did, I would not place him on a pedestal or ask for his autograph. He is no better than I. Different? Yes. But more worthy as a human being? No. Of course, I don't worship any TV, film, or musical celebrities. I see them for who they are--talented entertainers with gifts bestowed upon them by mother nature. Lucky folks who have embraced their talents and worked hard to nurture them and share the fruits of their labor with the rest of us. Wonderful! The world is a more interesting and amusing place as a result.
Why am I here, on Solo, if I don't think Morrissey is a god worthy of blind adoration? Because I love his music and I enjoy interacting with other folks who do as well. So please don't tell me I have no business being here. I do.
In the United States, consumerism and holidays go hand in hand. And nothing displays conspicuous consumption better than the candy isles at large retail chains during the preceding weeks before CERTAIN upcoming holidays. Certain being the key word here. Because, as I will argue, not all holidays in celebration make ritual the consumption or gift giving of candy. Oh no, some blatantly deny these sweet treats to be in attendance. So who are the bouncers at the holiday doors? And what are the motives behind the gate keeping?
Let’s look at candy from an economic standpoint. And see how it ties in with holidays in the US.
First off, what ARE the major candy consumption holidays? Starting from the beginning of the year, we have Valentine’s Day in February. Then there is Easter in March/April. Next we have Halloween in October. Then there is Thanksgiving in November—which has embraced candy consumption in the last decade or two. And lastly, there is Christmas in December. Are there holidays in May, June, July, August, and September? Of course there are. And major ones. May has Mother’s Day. June has Father’s Day. July has the 4th of July. But then why don’t they have candy at their cores as well? Well, let’s think about that for a minute. What do those last three holidays have in common that differentiates them from the candy-infested ones? They are all summer holidays. And what are the biggest enemies of chocolates? Heat and humidity. Oh I’m melting! Shipping and storing candy in the warm summer months is economically unsound—too risky and expensive.
So you see, candy's correlation with the cooler, fall, winter, and spring holidays has EVERYTHING to do with economics. The next time you buy those Valentine’s chocolates for your sweetie, ask yourself why it is that you don’t buy Mom chocolates on Mother’s Day. Mom LOVES chocolates! She loves them when Dad gives them to her in February. But alas, there is no candy to be distributed in May. So the next time you get those warm and fuzzy feelings, waxing nostalgic about the loving meaning behind the pastel foil-wrapped chocolate eggs in the crystal dish sitting on grandmother's coffee table, remember this... Those egg have nothing to do with sentimental tradition and the expression of sweet, loving gestures. They are about cold, hard cash!
Page 2 of 4