Capitalism, Heaven, and Hell

It is said without the threat / promise of heaven and hell, humans would have no reason to be moral. Worse people than I have pointed out the flaws in this. Standup comedians, skeptics, and more. One: laws and society enforce moral norms – not religion by itself. Two: if you need divine law to keep you from committing rapes and murders, you should probably seek counseling. Humans care for each other; it’s what social animals do.

It is often said that without capitalism, there would be no motive for labor, for innovation, for anything besides laziness. If you need greed and the suffering of others to motivate your every labor, you should probably seek counseling.

There are a million good motivations to labor that have nothing to do with the carrot of wealth or the stick of poverty. Again, caring for each other. It’s what social animals do, and what we could do a lot more effectively, if our lifeblood wasn’t being congealed into the foundations of castles.

Besides that, leisure. You work to minimize labor, conserve energy and resources so you can enjoy life. Building a house keeps out bears and keeps in heat. Less labor and resources spent building fires every night and guarding against bears. Let the fucking robots take our jobs, we shouldn’t need as many jobs in this world.

And there are plenty of jobs that need doing that are being left undone because they don’t generate gold bricks for the aristocracy. So much human need, infrastructure, education is being left to rot or straight burned to the ground right now in the name of greed.

Kudos for achievement, looking good, pride of accomplishment, basic executive function for self-maintenance. What are your reasons to labor? They don’t have to be dollars and cents or the fear of the economic abyss.

Belief in hell is one of the chief moral failings of the abrahamic religions. Belief in the necessity of poverty is the exact same fucking thing. Fuck capitalism.


Sucks ASS to be a Right Wing Martyr

Content Warning – Racism, Pedophilia, Terrorism, Death

Dying for the master race ain’t what it used to be. You get called a small dicked antifa manlet and race traitor and the whole nine. Allow me to explain.

So you’re a home-schooled right wing xtian fundamentalist kid, parents afraid you’ll learn to be OK with non-white and non-straight people if you breathe the same air. The indoctrination has you feeling pumped up, gotta go engage in the discourse online, blog about how you hate gay marriage and sex offender registries. OK, the second one is less about ideology than about identifying with a guy who bones children, whatever.

#BlackLivesMatter comes along and you are incapable of understanding that the statement is a response to a society that screams the opposite all but explicitly. Why, specifying that black lives matter can only mean that they think white lives do not. It’s race war! You gotta kill um all.

So you start bombing politically active black honor students and other undesirables. The feds eventually get off their asses to catch you and you end up dead. Well, at least you died trying to save the white man from those evil racist black people.

Then there you are – only known for your race terrorism and explodey death, in the national spotlight. The people who influenced you – Alex Jones, Fox News, Breitshart – they should see what you’ve done, see why, and while they can’t publicly condone it, should at least pour one out on your grave, right?

Wrong. They renounce you, reject you, and worst of all? They deny your very identity, deny your faith, your beliefs, the very things you died for. They claim you are everything you hate – weak, effeminate, left wing, a tool of an evil liberal conspiracy trying to make the right and white supremacy look bad.

You don’t even get to be a martyr for your shitty beliefs. That’s why it sucks to be a right wing terrorist. So do yourself a favor – stop before you start. The more you know.


Jessica Jones Problem

Content Warnings: Rape Mention, Abuse, Horror

Jessica Jones is a Netflix original series based on a problematic-ass comic. The premise: A woman with super strength falls under the control of a villain with mind control powers. He rapes her and uses her to abuse and kill others as well. Somehow she escapes his influence, and in an ensuing accident thinks him dead. But he returns, and she has to find a way to defeat him without risking falling under his control again.

It’s an intense psychological horror in that premise, that plays out very well in the hands of appropriately sensitive writers and directors during the first season. But as the premise is so based on the “sensational” nature of a hideous sex crime, it would be reasonable to suppose that the elimination of the super-rapist would kneecap any further storytelling with the main character.

I wanted that to not be true. A rape survivor’s story shouldn’t have to be defined by her rapist, in fiction or otherwise. I believe better things could be done with this character, and the second season was their chance to do that.

They failed. At the most basic level of writing, it was all about the hook. The first season had an extremely powerful hook. They were never going to be able to match it, in terms of its potential for horror and intrigue. The hook for the second season? Not as compelling.

But as writers and directors, there are ways to make up for the weakness of a hook. Play up the intensity of local situations and scenes, put in a character arc people will really love even if they don’t care that much for the premise. It’s doable. But they didn’t pull it off, not at all.

Frequently throughout the season, it seemed like they were intentionally trying to draw the drama and events smaller, make them less important, or make things less powerfully felt. Bad guys were soft-pedaled and good guys tarnished to where they were indistinguishable, presumably in the name of artistic complexity, but with the effect of draining all sympathy and interest from the audience.

At its worst, it felt like the budget constrained writing from Inhumans. And the dialogue between Jessica and the big bad in the last two episodes felt almost as repetitive and trite as Luke and Vader’s exchanges in Return of the Jedi. The worst part is that two good guy / sympathetic characters from the first season were turned into sleazy assholes with NO resolution to their arcs of descent.

And in the end? It looks like Jessica is angling toward an ultra-heteronormative domestic situation. My feminism shrank three sizes that day. The show was anticlimactic and just tired.

THE TAKE-AWAY
This season had to potential to show that you don’t need a sensational story of sex abuse to make a compelling narrative about a survivor. It failed to do so, and disappointed my shit out. Three thumbs down. I blame no one but the writers, directors, producers. Better luck in your future endeavors, actors.

Cat Owner Question

I’ve always had cats, but haven’t always been very observant of how they interact. About ten years ago I noticed a certain annoying behavior for the first time – neck biting. It’s obvious enough it’s some kind of dominance move, but it looks totally rude, and I usually feel compelled to break it up. Stop biting your sister, Hecubus!

But then, it has occurred to me this might be bad. Do they need to reinforce their social status on the regular? Is the dynamic different with more than two cats? What should one do? Any experts out there?