I’m Not Ready to Reach Across the Aisle — My Latest for Splice Today

Former Twitter rivals Eve Peyser of Vice and center-right New York Times columnist Bari Weiss have officially ended their feud, and they recently wrote an op-ed to tell the story. The two writers met at a conference, Peyser asked Weiss if she wanted to hang out, and the two quickly bonded over the things they had in common. They report that they’re open to befriending people with different political views (with the exception of neo-Nazis, of course), and hope others can do the same to escape toxic social media culture.

I’m still hesitant about reaching across the aisle. I know I’m supposed to step out of my echo chamber of fellow SJWs and break bread with the classical liberal/center-right pundits of the Intellectual Dark Web in order to make American civil again, but all my past attempts have failed miserably.

Read the rest here.

Humanists Face Off Against SCOTUS — My Latest for Splice Today

Earlier this month, the American Humanist Association (AHA) announced that the US Supreme Court will hear their case against the Peace Cross in Bladensburg, MD. The 40-foot tall cross is a World War I memorial that the AHA says is an explicitly Christian symbol on public ground, making it not only a church/state separation violation but also a slap in the face to non-Christians who served their country. The AHA’s legal counsel, led by senior counsel Monica Miller, first filed a complaint against the Peace Cross in 2014, and the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled the cross was unconstitutional. However, according to the AHA, a month later both the government and American Legion separately filed petitions to the SCOTUS to overrule the decision. Now the Supreme Court has to face a case that, as the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Andrew Seidel recently wrote, “could bring down the wall” separating church and state.

According to Seidel, there are only two possible reasons why the Supreme Court decided to take the case. The first is that conservative justices welcome such a controversial case because, he explains, SCOTUS’ “solid conservative majority is ready to begin checking items off the Federalist Society wish list.” The second is the conservative justices don’t think there’s anything wrong with a cross on government property and doesn’t think the cross is even a Christian symbol. “If this is true,” Seidel writes, “then those conservative justices essentially do not believe that the Constitution guarantees anything like the separation of state and church currently enjoyed by people in the United States. The justices will have bought into the Christian nationalist worldview that helped carry Donald Trump into office and will do untold damage to our republic and the principles for which it stands.”

Read the rest here.

A Secular Bangladeshi Blogger Fights for His Life — My Latest for Splice Today

While the murder of Jamal Khashoggi brought more attention to Saudi Arabia, it’s not the only country where writers are in danger. Secular humanist bloggers in Bangladesh are often murdered by radical religious extremists simply for promoting secular humanist values online. One such blogger currently fighting for his life is Md. Sazzadul Hoque, a 21-year-old man who was forced to flee to India due to threats against his life. “I now fear for my life,” he recently told The Times of India. “I could also be killed in India by fundamentalists who support the goings on in Bangladesh… I have nowhere to go.”

Raised in a conservative Muslim household, Hoque began questioning his religious beliefs and started blogging about secular humanism in 2016. A year later on Facebook, he publicly announced his atheism, and while the post went viral, his account was suspended and sparked countless death threats. “People who were my best friends are my worst enemies now,” Hoque told the Times of India, “and would turn me over to the fundamentalists at any time.” He tried to seek shelter in Bangladesh, but to no avail. After getting kicked out of college, he fled to India with a tourist visa in May of 2017. As he recently told the Press Trust of India (PTI), “Even now, I keep receiving threats on Facebook, but the situation here is not as fearful as it is in my country.”

Read the rest here.

Daydream Nation 30 Years Later — My Latest for Splice Today

I first listened to Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation twenty years ago when I was 15, and my first reaction was, “What the fuck is?” I knew that Sonic Youth was supposed to be these incredible alternative rock pioneers that toured with Nirvana shortly before Nevermind came out, and Kim Gordon had a brief cameo in an episode of The Simpsons, but didn’t know anything else about them.

The hip alternative DC radio station at the time, WHFS, wasn’t hip enough to play Sonic Youth, and Spotify didn’t exist, so I had to go to Sam Goody and buy Daydream Nation to see what the big deal was. I hated it. It was noisy, it was repetitive, and the lyrics didn’t make a bit of sense.

As time passed, the album grew on me. I now get why Daydream Nation—which is 30 years old today—matters so much. It’s a work of modern art that should featured at the Hirshorn Museum, and a bridge between the underground 1980s alternative music scene and the early—90s alternative rock explosion.

Read the rest here.

Recent articles I forgot to share here

You’re probably wondering why I haven’t been sharing any new articles on here, with the exception of my latest for HuffPost. I’m still trying to figure out what to do with my FtB space since I basically just post links to my stuff and that’s it. While I still try to figure that out, here are some of my most recent articles:

  • A Hot Take on Hot Take Culture (Medium.com). The title says it all. It’s basically about how thanks to the blogosphere and social media, everyone thinks their opinion matters, and that the press is currently filled with professional edgelords who only want to own the libs and trigger the snowflakes.
  • Stop Using Sketchy Science Against LGBTQ People (Medium.com). At long last, I finally wrote about how the concept of Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD) is based on sketchy science, and that this is just another example of people using sketchy science to discredit LGBTQ people.
  • The Love of My Life was a Rebound Relationship (Splice Today). Oh boy, this is a doozy! It’s a story about my first boyfriend, how he made me feel alive again after leaving a shitty six-year relationship, and how I’m afraid to get into a relationship again because I’m afraid I’ll get my heart broken again.
  • I’m Lucky I’m Going to Die (Splice Today). This is a secular response to Bari Weiss’s recent article about Yom Kippur and facing mortality. It’s pretty raw because I talk about my own fears about death, and how I have to remind myself to stay in the moment and enjoy life right now.

I Was an Asshole on Twitter — My Latest for Splice Today

While the news broke about Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen a couple of days ago, I was called a troll. Earlier that day I tweeted that Bari Weiss, Katie Herzog, and Cathy Young would eventually write “pearl-clutching response articles” about how the removal of UNC’s Silent Sam monument was part of the Regressive Left’s postmodern cultural Marxist agenda for erasing history. A few hours and two more snotty tweets aimed at Weiss and Herzog later, the self-described Second Most Hated Writer at The Stranger—and former Splice Today contributor—told me that as a UNC graduate, she was always against Silent Sam and would’ve helped tear it down if she still lived in Chapel Hill. Young also tweeted at me and told me she’s always been against Silent Sam as well.

Normally I’d have a panic attack, but I’ve learned to be more rational through therapy and SMART Recovery, so instead I went into analytical mode. Let’s start with the facts: First, I made an assumption about three writers with whom I disagree 99 percent of the time based on their prior articles and tweets. Second, I aired that assumption on a public forum that anyone can see if they do a quick name search. Third, two of the writers confronted me with cold hard facts that debunked my assumption. Therefore, it logically follows that in the future I should take Herzog’s advice and stop making assumptions about people I’ve never met. Or at least don’t air those assumptions where everyone can see them.

Read the rest here.

Gender Dysphoria at an Alt-Country Show — My Latest for Splice Today

It’s Friday night and I’m at a coffee shop waiting for a local alt-country band to go onstage in an attempt to be more social. So far the social part isn’t working; I’m still the awkward wallflower sitting alone at a table, just like I was in my 20s. The only difference is now I’m trying to look more like the girl in the band than the four male members.

The guys in the band all have stereotypical hipster beards, glasses, and tattoos. Except for the tats, I used to look the same back when I was trying to make myself believe I was one of the boys. Masculinity was like a pair of shoes that didn’t quite fit, but I wore them despite all the blisters because I didn’t know there were other options. It wasn’t until I was 30 that I discovered there was a word that described how I always felt: genderqueer. Since then it’s been a process of trying on different clothes, hairstyles, pronouns, and makeup that were way more comfortable than my beard and men’s department jeans. Yet now as I look back and forth between the boys in the band and the sole female member, that old feeling of discomfort whacks me upside the head with a baseball. I can’t help but look at the woman the whole time. It’s not that I want to be with her; more like I want to be her.

The band goes on stage and launches into their set: it’s a mixture of the Old 97’s, Whiskeytown, and Uncle Tupelo with a touch of Jack White sprinkled in. The music is great, but I can’t enjoy it. All I think is, “I’ll never be who I want to be.”

Read the rest here.

The Definition of Racism Doesn’t Really Matter — My Latest for Splice Today

Before I begin, I just have a few housekeeping items. First, as you’ll notice in the byline, my name is now Tris Mamone. Second, don’t let the title throw you off; the article is about how the debate over the “true definition” of racism isn’t doing anything to help solve institutional racism.

Now here are the obligatory intro paragraphs:

Once again, people are debating about whether people of color can be racist towards white people. It depends on how one defines “racism.” One side uses the sociological definition of racism, prejudice plus institutional power, and the other uses the dictionary definition, hatred towards people based on skin color. Which side is right? Does it even matter?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines racism in three ways: believing one race is superior to all others, a system of oppression based on skin color, and hating someone for the color of their skin. The first and third definitions are the most familiar, and the ones David French of the National Review used in a recent article about Sarah Jeong. “A powerless person’s hate may not harm the powerful,” he writes, “but it is still hate… The essence of bigotry is to look at the color of a person’s skin and, on that basis alone, make malignant judgments about his character or worth.”

Read the rest here.

Trolling is Tempting — My Latest for Splice Today

Every morning, at breakfast I check Twitter to see if Bari Weiss or any other writer I don’t like tweeted something that’ll make me mad. If they haven’t, then I check their likes to see if they liked any tweets that I don’t like, and then search on Twitter to see if anyone else hates these writers as much as I do. Finally I look at the clock, see that the morning is almost over, and think about hit pieces I can write about Weiss et al. while I brush my teeth and shave.

However, the other day, I thought, “Is this healthy? Isn’t Internet drama one of the things that fed into my drinking problem? Also, is hate-following all these classical liberal/libertarian pundits helping me write? Then what the hell am I doing?” I like to think I’m just getting ideas for future articles and motivating myself to make stronger arguments for progressive values, but maybe the opposite is happening. Maybe I’m just a troll.

Read the rest here.

And don’t worry, folks. I’m NOT joining the Intellectual Dark Web. I just get burned out real quickly on toxic Internet culture.

I Miss Being Drunk — My Latest for Splice Today

No new Bi Any Means Podcast episode today, but I have this:

I’ve been sober for seven months now, but not in a row. The first lapse was in January, a month into recovery. I was still new to sobriety, so brushed it off and decided to try again. My second lapse in April almost cost me my life. Fed up with the world, I went into my parents’ liquor cabinet, opened up a brand new bottle of Jack, drank half of it, and then wrote, “I want to kill myself so bad right now” on Facebook. I don’t even remember writing it. The rest of the day was a blur: I recall getting a call from a friend to see if I was okay, me calling 911, getting interviewed by the paramedics when they arrived, and ending up in bed with my mom by my side. The next day I decided to take recovery more seriously, and tackle the underlying issues that fed into my addiction.

It’s almost four months since that incident, and I’ve made some progress. I got more serious about deconstructing the irrational beliefs that influenced my drinking using SMART Recovery, started attending a second weekly recovery group, and became more honest with my therapist. But I still miss being drunk. I miss feeling my muscles loosen up with that first sip, reality melting away, seeing the colors of the world blur like a Monet painting, and feeling more comfortably numb than Pink Floyd. There’s no need to slow down and rationalize things; I just fill up that 12 oz. tumbler with bourbon, and then it’s all aboard the Inebriation Express.

Read the rest here.