Lost Without the Advertisers

Advertisements on Freethought Blogs – we used to have
plenty but now we have none. I used to see them as ugly,
rude, generally an eyesore. That’s to say nothing of the
infections of spyware unleashed by the more dubious
links. I didn’t like them before. But now?

Feeling kind of sad. I miss seeing the clickbait titles.
Obesity panaceas and hot bible prophecies, means for the
old to become young, or at least smooth out their skin.
Losing the ads has been like losing the spice on our blogs –
simply sad. FtB is too boring now. Capitalism save us.

Synonyms for Stupid and Insane

The words ‘stupid’ and ‘insane’, along with their synonyms, are still not cool with me. Don’t use them in my comment section, please do consider whether there’s a way for you to write in your own spaces without using them. I know it isn’t easy, but using those words is ableist. We really ought to be trying harder.

For a brutal reminder of why ableism is bad, read Ania on The Orbit again.


Illegal Actions Will Be Necessary

As Caine reports, there are already attempts to take away our legal right to protest. That doesn’t mean protest will be impossible, only that you will be more likely to be shot or arrested for it. There are lots of things we will have to do under trumpence that are or will become illegal. Interfering with immigration officers, recording racist police murdering people, protesting in hundreds of ways, stealing to feed and clothe the needy (no doubt including many of ourselves), possibly hacking communications to discover and reveal evil government actions to the people, so on. Not to sound apocalyptic – a lot of this stuff can be pretty low key. Are you prepared to risk becoming slave labor for the prison industrial complex? Not sure if I am yet, but it may get to where I don’t even have a choice. Many people have already been there.

Black Power Now

stylized raised black fist

Throughout this article I focus on racism in the political process as being about the persecution of African Americans.  Latinx people and others have definitely been oppressed as well, but the number one boogeyman that drives institutional white supremacy has always been fear of black people.  I’d like to give everyone some props and some encouragement.  Rock on!

To me the silver lining of this election is that now I know white people are not even worth trying to reach.  Those of us who are compassionate enough to see suffering and progressive enough to be intolerant of the intolerance that promotes it – we’re going to come correct no matter what.  White moderates and swing voters?  Total trash, useless, racist as fuck, just fuck ’em off.   We tried in so many different ways to win them and it was for jack dick.

People of color, on the other hand, recognized the threat and did what you could to stop it.  Every category of you had a good sized majority voting for the not-completely-depraved candidate.  If we collectively want to believe history has a forward trajectory, that it’s possible to end this fucking rocket train to the abyss, you, people of color, are the only real hope of that.

And I am absolutely not being one of those fools that blames low PoC turnout for Trumpistan.  I’m not saying you have to take responsibility here.  Samantha Bee said we shouldn’t be expecting you to build our country yet again, but then she went on to try and rally white people.  I’m saying that is a lost cause, probably until my generation is in the fucking dirt, and that could literally take eighty years to happen.

I’m saying you have support from some of us, you won’t be completely alone in fighting la revolución, but white people have proven themselves collectively without honor, without courage, without compassion, and cannot be trusted with control of the United States.  It’s bullshit that this falls to you, but I really think you can do it.

Why didn’t it work this time?  Racist voter disenfranchisement policies and the school to prison pipeline, first and foremost.  A full third of African American men in Florida were disqualified from voting due to felony records.  Now some would say felons have proven themselves morally defective and therefore unworthy to vote, but when you look at the demography of prisons now, you’d have to be racist as fuck to believe all those people actually deserve to be there, that they’re all guilty or morally faulty.

In fact, at this point it is safe to say the average white voter is much less moral than the average felon.  So smashing the school to prison pipeline, working this war from multiple angles, it’s all going to be necessary.  But if there was one thing that could swing the balance of power in this nation instantly?  It’s getting felons their vote back.

Now I’m just another fucking white man talking out my ass here and I know this is going to be impossible for a while, but I’m pathologically hopeful and can’t help but think that just maybe you have a shot at it.  Donald Trump got fewer votes than Romney, which means that he was so odious even some republicans couldn’t bring themselves to pull the lever.  That means their turnout is down.

Now your turnout is down as well, because white supremacists engineered it to be that way.  But how did they do it?  Some of the methods they used can be fought against with enough organization, enough will.  For example, you’re more likely to be voting late and without adequate ID to meet their racist requirements.  But what if a big enough push was made to get all of you the ID?  To get you registered?  To get as many of you as possible mail-in ballots and early voting options?

And what if you managed to reach some of the folks you know who – understandably at this late reactionary racist and terrible stage of history – won’t bother trying in the first place?  I don’t know.  White man, talking out of ass.  But hopeful.  And I’m certain many of you are already working these angles, have already promoted these ideas.

So if you get the vote you should be entitled to, you manage to turn the tide in some races for legislative seats, what of the Democrats?  There are some situations in which you’ll have no choice but the lesser of two evils and I know you know what to do there, but I’d also like to remind you that it’s a lot more possible for third party candidates to do well in very important local races.  Say you have a state with racist voting laws but you secure a proactive black mayor and sheriff.  They could do a lot to facilitate access to voting even in the face of that.

The Democrats might be able to become worthy of your votes eventually, instead of being the wholly ineffectual stopgap against white terrorism that they have been.  But I can understand giving them all of the side eye.  Here’s a fact that just can’t be disputed:  Democrats could have secured a much stronger position for themselves in government by fighting against racist voter disenfranchisement, but when they had the best shot at it?

They were actively part of the problem.  Bill Clinton used “tough on crime” laws to score points with racist white moderates, helping to bloat the fucking horrifying US prison system.  The Democratic party fears black power.  Maybe they should, but I don’t.  The paranoid dreams of white cowards and race terrorists shouldn’t be allowed to hold sway over the course of this nation, and with the power we have, shouldn’t have this large of a hand on the whole world.  Black Power Now.

Read Ania

Ableism, classism, all the ism. Do you have any idea how much it sucks to be poor? How about poor and disabled? An appropriately sad and horrific post on the topic, if you can deal:

Yes, this again

My household could use some disability income, but like many in “first world” nations, we try to get by without it. Why? “Fiscal conservative” policies aimed at eliminating all social services, by increments if necessary, have led us to this place where even getting a miserably inadequate disability check from the government becomes a full time goddamn job.

Seriously, all fiscal conservatives can get hanged. I have nothing but the bitterest contempt for that shit. You keep us on a razor’s edge of the abyss, you straight up drive us to death, because you think tax money is better kept in your pockets, in the Bahamas, in anything but help for the needy.

And as I see my people suffering, even dying for your ideology, your life becomes less and less important to me. If the poor ever strike back in this class war you’re waging, no amount of cruelty or violence from us should surprise you. Indeed, it could never come close to balancing the scale of history.

TWD: The Misanthropocalypse Continues Apace

Spoiler Alert for The Walking Dead

As I explained in this post about morality in fictional universes, many entrants to the post-apocalypse genre of story telling express anti-human morals. I don’t fuck with that. I said there,

I cannot watch these shows anymore (TWD and FtWD), as compelling as the perpetual danger and lovely actors may be. I just started watching them in early spring 2015 and quit fall of the same year. It took an embarrassingly long time to do so, but I figured out what was bothering me about them. Both shows have the exact same moral, playing out the exact same way, over and over and over again.

If it was a moral I agreed with, that might not be a problem. But I disagree with it powerfully. It’s the underpinning of so much of what’s wrong with America – trust no one, everyone’s trying to get over, fuck them before they fuck you. Some of you might disagree that’s what they’re communicating, but it really is.

The show, just like America itself, makes exceptions for those close to you, based on closeness. Trust no one (except your family), and so on. On the show it’s the people you know the best – your enclave / faction / posse, whatever – that can be trusted, and everyone else is wrong, dangerous, deluded, or even a cannibal. IRL America, it’s your family first, and everyone else is trying to steal your tax dollars or make your children gay or whatever. And if you must stand in solidarity with someone outside your doors, it’s your race or gender first, everyone else is out to take your jobs, or trick or rob you, or terrorism on you, or try to reverse the situation so that white menz become the most oppressed group evarrrrr.

This plays out in our economy as a situation of total desperation, just a gigantic pile of everyone screwing everyone, the Hobbesian war of all against all. It hurts us emotionally and physically. It’s felt the most by poor people, but can be seen clearly at every level of our society if you know what you’re looking at. It really doesn’t have to be this way; it’s just the same overwhelming fear of the Other that drives the plots of Walking Dead shows along their inexorable crappy path.

In another post on Tumblr (“The Walking Dead to Me“) inspired by the Glenn Rhee fakeout death (I wasn’t hip to the feint yet), I wrote:

…The show is just too bitterly misanthropic… Basically, any generosity toward humans outside of your immediate tribal unit is punished by painful horrible death, because people can never be trustedddddd.  The writer is no doubt a rethuglican gun fondling jingoist piece of trash.

And yeah, now the entire Asian-American population of the southeast USA is extinct, so, bleeahhh.  Fuck those writers right in their filthy conservative necks.  Their brand of edgy “moral courage” is the kind of banal evil that passes for virtue in mainstream amurrica and I’m so tired of it.  I’m gonna sleep on the show now (& its spinoff), and kindly advise all good people to do the same.

Now that Glenn has actually met the fate he suffered in the comic books (killed by yet another white “alpha” male – apparently the most naturally dominant form of human life in lieu of law), that post is once again completely accurate.  I don’t know though, I’m not actually watching the show.  Any other Asian characters in sight?

I feel like I had something to add to this thesis but it eludes me.  Just, right now, on the eve of Trump’s more-narrow-than-it-should-be defeat, this worldview has a louder mouthpiece than usual.  The place I work for sells fascist propaganda from convicted election fraudster Dinesh D’Souza and others.  Ideas that belong on the outer fringe of human thought are packaged by billionaire-funded haters and sold through mass market outlets.

But the excesses of contemporary right wingers are just tapping into something that’s already there – the rotten core of the american dream.  All I have left for this subject is exhaustion.  G’night.


By the Way, Scumbags

This post is for the scumbags. Hello scumbags. I got a list from someone to pre-emptively block a lot of you, which is pretty cool. When I invited y’all to come out and get blocked, a number of you were already on it, so straight into the trash without having to push a button. Nice.

But those of you with affection for sock puppetry ended up with some socks in the trash and some just in moderation. I added those puppets to the filter as well, but I’m sure you’ll come up with more. My question: In all the puppetry, do you have a real name or regular nym? Do you try the real name first, then switch to socks when your comment doesn’t appear? Are you known by your real name anywhere other than facebook and work e-mail?

I don’t read the comments that go straight to my trash thoroughly, just skim for keywords that they are indeed deserving of their home in the waste. But I did notice a comment saying that wanting to like people is at odds with aggressive blocking. But you’re wrong! It’s entirely consistent.

I want to like people, and I cannot if I know that they are abusive and shitty. So if I managed to go five years without seeing one person being racist misogynist or otherwise trashy, my pathologically optimistic neurotypical brain just might be able to trick me into forgetting how much you creeps are worthy of hatred. I just might accidentally start to assume good will from you again. People are basically alright, right? Right? Haha, yep.

EDIT!
Perfect example: I had a link to Wilford Brimley talking about oatmeal in the bottom of one of my posts. When you follow the link to youtube, in the sidebar recs is a video of Brimley’s views on homosexuality. I didn’t click on that link, and guess what? I still kinda like Wilford Brimley!

Useful Faces

Most people conduct themselves differently in different company and situations. Social media can jumble our sense of discretion when we forget our audience, or accidentally post in the wrong place. On tumblr, the norm is for people to have a bunch of cute animals, yuks, positivity, and horrifying news from the movement, all in a messy stream. Who is that meant for? It’s not great.

When I first got into tumblr, it was with the intention of creating a feed where no one would encounter depressing or triggering content. I’m not hyper-scrupulous about tagging things that don’t bother me (like cute snakes and bees), so it isn’t the safest place on that platform for people with those problems, but it’s a good place to go for yuks and cute animals, sans all the hot news about how we’re doomed and people are fucking evil. A rare service. I also limit the images of people to extremely non-sexy ones* because hawtness invites thinking about bodies, a problem for many eating disorder sufferers.

That’s my primary tumblr, but in following others to get material, I kept getting stuff I couldn’t use on my dash, and had no outlet for the way it made me feel. So I started the Great American Satan tumblr (which mostly reblogs political stuff), a less sensible tumblr for barfing up all of the horrifying news about white race terrorists, and an artful repository for images of sexy people.

That’s my useful faces of the moment. This blog, its tumblr version, the easy going tumblr, the ragey anti-racist one, and the sexy people. There’s a few others that don’t lend themselves to snappy descriptions, and no doubt more to come eventually.

What are your faces online? What do you use them for?

*Just realized this sounds like I’m trying to post unsexy people. That’s not exactly it, it’s just generally posting people that are not being at all sexy. Generally. Boy. I rly can’t compose words today.

Don’t Say “White Guilt”

I don’t want to hear it. I’m annoyed to sometimes hear the phrase from progressive quarters. I wouldn’t be surprised if it originated in the African American civil rights movement, a way of talking about white people doing activist tourism, or some such. But most of the time when I hear it now? It’s from shameless racist cockstains. Whether you fit that description or not, don’t bring that phrase in my house.

I don’t feel guilt for the actions of racist whites. I feel shame. There’s a difference. Guilt would be if I felt personally responsible for slavery, lynching, etc. I don’t. I feel some guilt for the actual racist things I’ve done due to unconscious biases, but being neurotypical, my brain doesn’t even let me feel all that bad about it. I feel alright.

Shame though. I feel gross for sharing qualities with scumbags. I feel gross for having kinship with people like Trump and David Duke. I feel ashamed to be the same race as these people not because I think there’s something inherent in race that makes one good or evil, but because THEY make our shared race important in a disgusting way.

Likewise atheism and manhood. I’m ashamed to be the same apparent gender as Thunderf00t, Eron Gjoni, Daryush Valizadeh, and Ted Bundy – not because I think being a man makes one inherently evil, but because THEY have exercised the social power of their gender in evil ways. Because Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, TJ Kirk, Pat Condell, Penn Jillette, Bill Maher, and more have cited atheism and secularism in defense of shitty terrible positions.

People of privilege at this moment in history are in high reactionary mode, becoming more loud, terrible, fearful, and hateful than ever before. They’re making us look bad. If you don’t feel that, well, good for you, Jimmy. But you should be aware Trump reflects on you. Dawkins reflects on you. You cannot escape your brand, and it is being dragged through the shit right now in an epic way, by YOUR fellows.

You might not feel the shame like I do, but if you did, it might prepare you for the way the oppressed react to your presence. Might help you understand things like Schrodinger’s Rapist and Hands up, Don’t shoot. Whatever the case, don’t talk to me about white guilt.

A Reason for Joining Freethought Blogs

People are hungry for content, something to fill their minds with, engage, distract, allow them to feel outside of themselves in a good way. When they come to a blog network instead of a random singular blog, they will see other articles in the sidebar, and click on those. They need content! Need it.

So. Let’s say your blog doesn’t have a ton of up-front appeal by itself, but if people come around a while, get to know you, they really like what you’re offering. How do you get them to come back repeatedly so they can get past the initial unfamiliarity?

Show up in the sidebar on a blog network. People come here for what they know, for PZ or Iris or other authors they followed from other places. But they need more, and they’ll see your articles in the sidebar. They will get to know you. Your stuff will be seen. All you have to do is be productive and you can have an audience here.

The pay is sub-minimum wage, but you could monetize that in other ways. Parlay it into speaking gigs, sell merch, take donations for specific kinds of content, whatever. But you can do none of those things without an audience. A blogging platform gives you a guaranteed audience. I love it. I’m not taking full advantage of it at the moment, but it’s here for me when I’m ready.

That said, we aren’t a good cultural fit for lots of people. You don’t have to agree with everything everyone says. There are bloggers here I won’t read at all, or that I’ll just skip their comment sections. But the bare minimum: You have to be OK with unapologetic atheism. There are many of us who are in full-blooded opposition to islamophobia, but none of us will defend islam itself from fair criticism, none of us think any religion should be shielded from blasphemy. That puts us at odds with large swaths of the liberal community.

Meanwhile, none of us are going to tolerate misogyny, racism, queerphobia, etc., and that puts us at odds with unfortunately large swaths of the secular community. Look around, feel things out, do what seems right for you. But know that it’s a pretty cool deal. Think about it.