August 2, 2012
You follow a philosophy of some kind, all of the readers of this blog, and hopefully you follow it well. When you encounter problems with your philosophy and your internal sense of morality, you seek ways to modify one or the other until there is harmony again. Hopefully, when you do this you modify your philosophy more than your internal morality. There is a problem, though, that I have seen in the world around me. There are people out there that follow absolutist philosophies who then modify the philosophy in a way counter to the absolutist claims in order to make it jive with their internal morality. Then there are people who rightly stick by the absolutist stance of their philosophy and, instead, modify their morality despite evidence toward them being wrong about said modification.
These two things, they’re seriously frustrating for me. I hate dealing with Bad Actors, people who think and argue in Bad Faith, and the immoral bigots that are a product of such people.
June 14, 2012
Humanity was born out of the blood, the mud, and the beer of nature. As it were. We are creatures of the environment we find ourselves in and much of our presumptions about the world, much of nature, is formed of emergent systems. The fact that we’re social animals is an emergent system. However, we’ve risen above our natural organization, our natural programming, and we’ve moved past living purely on instinct and survival. Our primate ancestors figured out tools and society, and our ancestors laid down the foundations of our world. They did this using one very powerful technology that we, the progressive people of the world, need to take back and make our own. It’s a technology that’s been instrumental in all of us becoming part of the progressive, radical, and liberal movements that we come from.
That technology is the power of the story. That technology is narrative.
Tagged: ableism, classism, contemporary fiction, equality, ethics, fantasy, feminism, narrative, narratives, racism, science fiction, sexism, social awareness, social justice, social justice theory, social theory, speculative fiction, steampunk, storytelling, writing
June 13, 2012
I’m not like the rest of the culture around me. I’m pansexual. I’m a nerd. I’m disabled. I’m autistic. I’m polyamorous. I’m a feminist. I’m kinky. I’m a gamer of all sorts. I’m a writer. I like tea. I’m into steampunk and other retrofuturistic speculative fiction genres. I like beer.
This is about where you might expect me to say, “But I’m just like you.”
I’m not going to, though. I’m not going to because I don’t need to. What needs to happen is that you need to accept that I’m not just like you and you need to respect that. I’m not your kind of normal, but I’m still normal. I’m my normal. I’m my ethical, moral, and just. I’m my own version of a person wrapped around a core of the good social justice arguments and social justice systems that have been shown to be better for everyone.
I’m not just like you, and that’s a good thing.
Tagged: ableism, article, cis*, classism, cultural system, cultural systems, culture, equality, feminism, futurism, misogyny, normal, patriarchy, people of color, philosophy, politics, rant, sexism, social change, social philosophy, social system, social systems, society, trans*, WASP, writing
June 13, 2012
Hey, Gamers. I’m a gamer. I’ve owned every Nintendo system since the NES. I’ve owned every major console since the NES except the Saturn and the Jaguar in one fashion or another. I played Half-Life when it was new. I stood in line for the midnight release of every World of Warcraft expansion. I’m a huge fan of beta programs and I was a longtime member of the Neverwinter Vault community (a lurker, mostly). I always watch the E3 coverage. Same thing with PAX, the German games con, and the Tokyo Game Show. I still play the classic Bioware western-style RPGs on a regular basis; Baldur’s Gate, Baldur’s Gate II, Planescape: Torment.
I’m also a guy. I’ve been a guy my whole life, and I don’t just mean that I’m male-identified and cisgendered, cissexed. I’m part of the guy culture – nerd, geek, D&D player, boardgamer, sci-fi reader, beer drinker, anime watcher. These things aren’t necessarily endemic to guys, but it’s part of a certain kind of male-oriented culture, a certain kind of guy culture. I’m part of that. I’m a Man on the Internet. I have been nearly my entire life.
Let me tell you something. I’m fucking disappointed in the rest of you.
May 22, 2012
Another rant incoming, so strap in, keep your pants on, and get ready to find out what else you’re doing wrong and why I’m disappointed in you.
But it’s okay, I love you anyway and I forgive you. I’m just so…proud of you. And everything you’ve done already. I just need you to do one more thing for me.
You need to get out there, get together with all of the other people I love, and be an activist.
May 18, 2012
How do you plan to make the world a better place?
What’s this then? Where’s all the short story writing you’re used to? All the passable fiction that you kind of enjoy and don’t tell anyone about? Where’s the comforting sense of a budding artist, someone who won’t make it probably but you root for him anyway? What happened to the bright eyed optimist who keeps posting things that you worry about?
Well, I took off my optimist hat and today I’m picking up my social justice sword.
January 19, 2012
I’d like to get a few things out of the way right off the bat here. I’m white, I’m a guy, I’m young, and I’ve got a thing for women (and men) of a certain skeptical kind of mindset. When I see women I find attractive at atheist events and meetings, I get all kinds of ideas in my head about how I’d like to talk to them and see if there’s anything there worth pursuing. Yeah, it’s a little trite but it’s true – I am, on some level, always looking for someone who I’d like to date and take home afterward.
However, I never go up to these women, I never talk to them, I never even ask their names. It’s partially because I’ve got some wicked social anxiety (the reason du jour, I know) and it’s also because I don’t know who they think I am. I don’t know what they think of me, I don’t know if they trust me or not, or if they’ll even talk to me. There is one thing I do know that they know about me, though. They know that I’m a slightly overweight white guy at an atheist or skeptical meeting, convention, or get together. They know that I’m part of a group of people that has harassed them, that has insulted them, that has excluded them, and that has refused to acknowledge how that’s made them feel. That’s the point (and it happens every time I even think about talking to a woman), that realization, is what keeps me from striking up a conversation with a woman. I avoid them so I can help make their evenings a little less uncomfortable.
This isn’t because I think women don’t trust men. I’m not assuming anything about those women other than that they know what kinds of men run in the circle we both find ourselves in. This isn’t because I know they’re “probably” not available or that they’ve got a distaste for dating guys from atheist groups. I’ve met plenty of women who, after I get to know them, are interested in atheist guys and actually ridicule me for worrying so much. I do this because I refuse to be included in the group that harasses women, refuse to be included in the group that sexualizes women at all times, and I refuse to be part of the group that has raped women. My absolute refusal to be included in these groups means I avoid repeating their behaviors, and one of those behaviors is propositioning women everywhere they go.
I didn’t write this article to talk about them, though. Or to talk about me necessarily. I’m just outlaying a thought process I go through several times at every atheist convention or group I’ve attended. I don’t like to do this and I wish I could be less anxious about approaching women, that there was enough trust fostered there that I didn’t feel like I was possibly putting them in danger or on edge just by expressing interest. It’s not their fault they feel that way, and it’s not mine.
Somewhere out there, though, there’s someone reading this that treats women as objects, who stalks women at conventions, who propositions women at the wrong time, who only describes women by how sexy he thinks they are. It’s his fault. Him and all of the men who think and act like him. The creepy, leering, sex-focused guy who finds some way to flirt with all of the women in any given group and disregards them as intellectuals whenever given the chance. His existence means that whenever I say hello to a woman she’s going to evaluate if I’m one of His men or if I’m something different. His existence means that whenever I flirt with a woman, she’s going to ponder if it’s something He would say. His existence means that if I want to get to know a woman outside of a skeptics meeting I need to find some way to ensure she doesn’t think I’m Him before I even get the chance to get comfortable talking to her. That means I’ve got two gauntlets of social anxiety to run and I can only talk myself through one of them. The other one is totally out of my control, totally out of her control, and is purely the domain of Him.
When I talk to my peers about these kinds of problems, especially those who are part of ‘alternative’ lifestyles or sexual persuasions, they all agree on the problem of His existence. He makes it difficult to impossible to be both respectful and sexual, to be both engaging and flirtatious. There’s never any innocent flirting because of Him, there’s never any dipping one’s toes in water when He’s around in a scene, and there’s never any relaxed but sexually charged atmospheres when He’s part of a group. In short, it’s almost impossible to be a good natured person who is looking for women to sleep with so long as women have met Him.
This is part of what drives me as a Feminist – finding Him and asking Him to leave. Not just so women don’t have to put up with Him, not just so I don’t have to put up with Him, but so I can get comfortable talking to the people I find attractive in the group. These reasons, I think, are good reasons and I use them to fuel my discussions with people in the atheist and skeptical communities, within the gaming and roleplaying communities, and I ask guys to not be Him. Sometimes I even ask a woman not to be Him ’cause they can do it too. Then the worst part about Him comes to surface in the community – He gets defended as just being one of the guys.
There’s two distinct problems here. For those of us who’d like to date the beautiful, intelligent women who steal our hearts and parts of our emotion-driven minds who we met at our local atheist meeting we need to both overcome the imposition that we might be Him and we need to not be confused as supporting Him. And yet when I hear people expressing interest in the former, I still hear them becoming and defending the latter. We can’t have women be comfortable around us, especially if we’re expressing sexual interest in them, as long as He is around. If we want to be able to come onto women we don’t just need to be mindful of respecting them, acknowledging proper place and time for such things, and being devilishly handsome and comely – we also need to stand up for all women and ask Him to leave.
‘Cause when you get down to it, if we have any ‘game’ the only thing ruining it is either not being mindful or the fact that He exists. And if you’re not being mindful? You’re not reading the posts online from men and women about proper place, time, behavior and all that? You’re still thinking that they’re uptight prudes and you’re somehow evolutionarily predestined to put your penis in everything that moves?
Well, you’re Him.