I’m Joining MelinaPendulum in Saying Goodbye to Harry Potter

It’s basically well-known at this point that J.K. Rowling is incredibly transphobic. So much so that the cast of the films have come out in support of trans people. Rowling has been problematic for years, but for privileged assholes like me, there was always a level of plausible deniability to it, up to and including Death of the Author.

Not so anymore. I mean… really I should have seen this years ago. It’s not the first time Rowling has outed herself as transphobic… it’s just the first time she’s publicly embraced it and doubled-down.

Now, to be fair, this is decently easy for me. The reason is because Harry Potter itself doesn’t influence my life now the way it did when I was a kid. The reason for that is… kind of embarrassing… but it’s worth talking about a little bit…

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Hello! I’m Still Here… I Swear…

As has become rather customary on my blog, I’ve been very silent… at least until I uploaded that blog on horseradish a few days ago. You’d think, what with all this extra time on my hands, that I’d be blogging up a storm. And it’s not like there’s no shortage of topics to talk about. There’s COVID-19. There’s the fact that cops haven’t stopped murdering black people in cold blood in our streets (FTR… justice for George Floyd. Black Lives Matter. Fuck the police. ACAB). More trans men and woman are dying this year. Trump is still president, and an absurdly high number of Leftists still think he’s better than a Democrat, despite four years of evidence that he’s the worst thing to happen to this country since at least Bush Jr, and is absolutely the worst president of my (now 33-year) lifetime.

I genuinely didn’t think things could get worse than 2016. Holy shit was I wrong.

So. Fucking. Wrong.

And yet, despite all this, I stay silent. I’m not here talking about the pandemic, or the protests, or Trump.

Why is that?

Because I just don’t want to.

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My Politics Right Now (and My Shallow Thoughts on Anarcho-Communism)

So… quick note. I consider my politics to be incredibly shallow right now. I am very ignorant about a lot of aspects of social, political, and economic issues, having only a surface-level understanding. I am working to change that… I’m studying. This post is the result of only one level of my studying. So I will admit up front that this post does not have a lot behind it… and most of what it does have behind it is ignorance. I’m hoping to have a discussion about this, because I think it’s interesting and I want to learn more. So please don’t expect an expert dissertation, here. Expect an ignorant lefty’s rambling thoughts about politics, instead.

The only thing I’ll say here is that there is roughly zero chance of me ever moving to the Right. The only path for me is to the Left.

Edit April 10: I thought this post was clear, but since it wasn’t… I am not, currently, an Anarcho-Communist. I’m engaging with the idea, but do not currently agree with it… yet…

I’m constantly researching my politics, trying to both strengthen and challenge my worldview. These days, I call myself a Democratic Socialist. And yet, the more I learn about Communism and even Anarchism, the more I think I could glide even further Left.

It’s so interesting reading political and economic theories from the Left. I’ve been watching a lot of Professor Richard Wolff these days, over at Democracy at Work. His series Economic Update is so fascinating. He, for those who don’t know, if a self-described “Socialist Economist”. I like what he has to say on economics, and specifically his talks on worker co-ops and Workplace Democracy, and how important they are to our future.

But I’ve also been learning more and more about the Anti-Work movement. It’s another fascinating political philosophy that says that no one should be forced into laboring in ways they don’t want to. It’s not saying that people shouldn’t work, but instead that people should have the freedom (both monetarily and in time) to pursue their interests. So yes, people should absolutely work together towards common goals and such, but no one should be conscripted into a job as defined under Capitalism and under the State. Basically, no more wage-labor, and no more Capitalism.

I’m also, of course, learning more and more about Anarchism…

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A Rant About the UK Election (They DID Vote In Their Interests)

So I call this a rant and it kind of is. It’s about a consistent narrative that I’ve always been sick of, and why I think the UK election proves that I’m right to be sick of it. It’s a narrative pushed by liberals, neo-liberals, and class reductionists. It’s a narrative that assumes that only oppression in existence is class; that most people only care about class. It’s a narrative that assumes that bigotry is an abstract concept as opposed to a real thing that directly affects real people.

The narrative, of course, is the constant questioning of why people vote for the far right. Why did people vote for Trump and the Republicans? Why did people vote for Boris Johnson and the Tories? Why do people keep voting against their own interests?

Well… the answer to that question, as far as I’m concerned, is that they aren’t voting against their own interests; we just keep getting our hypotheses about their interests wrong, and their voting behavior proves it.

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On the Muddiness of My Thoughts On Guns

(Note: As of right now, this is a blog post. However, I’ve been working on writing scripts for vlogs lately, because I intend to re-open my YouTube channel at some point in the near future for political vlogs, pointless rants, recipes, and one or two other things I want to get into… maybe music videos if I can afford to start getting my music recorded? We’ll see… but anyways…

This was meant to be one of those vlog scripts, but I decided to post it here as a blog post. You can read this just as a blog post for now, but eventually it’ll be the “Sort of Transcript” for a near-future vlog [albeit updated if I move further on this topic in that time], as well.

And since I’m on it… note that once I start my YouTube channel back up again, I’ll be using this blog as a space to post those transcripts, as well. So anyways… let’s get to the post…)

So this is an issue I’ve been feeling very torn about lately, and I wanted to write this in order to attempt to work out my feelings on it. Of course, given the title of this, I mean guns, and the regulation/banning thereof.

Way back when I was extremely politically ignorant and “edgy”, I was a “fan” of guns. Although I could never afford it, I wanted to be a member of the NRA. When I first moved to Florida, I even got the paperwork needed to apply for a permit to own a gun… although I never got one.

The idea of gun ownership to me was the same as it is for any gun fetishist in the United States: the 2nd Amendment, masculinity, a mistaken belief in “protection”, a general coolness factor (which, I fully admit, I still feel even now, despite my general hatred of guns), etc. I was never keen on the idea of actually killing anyone or anything, but the general idea of going to a range and shooting a gun, having that around for “protection”, and so on was super attractive to me.

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The Revolution Will Be Intersectional Or It Will Be Bullshit

Okay look. I get it. It’s really easy to look at class and see that as the only “real” oppression in the world. When you’re a straight, white, cis-gendered, able-bodied man, it’s quite literally the only oppression you can possibly face. And it’s absolutely true that the only privileges we can truly see as individuals are the privileges we don’t have, which are, as a result, magnified in our minds.

To get selfish for a moment… I obviously know that white privilege is a thing, but I don’t see it because I’m white. I obviously know that male privilege is a thing, but I don’t see it because I’m a man. Same for cis privilege, and straight privilege. Technically I don’t suffer from class oppression because my family is middle class and I get to take advantage of that. But then again, I work in retail and make maybe $200 a week. So I can see class privilege to a point because my only protection from class oppression is my parents… I’m not going to say that I know exactly what said oppression looks like, because I’ve never been homeless, but I also have a roof over my head because my parents give me one without charging me a rent I can’t afford; which is why I try to give when I can to the homeless and fight so hard for a Universal Basic Income and Universal Housing… no one should have no money, and no one should be homeless. And it’s a lot easier to make that happen at the federal level than people think… you just have to get rid of the greedy capitalists in power, first…

So… maybe not so easy…

But I digress…

The point is that I get it. I get only fighting for class.

The thing is, though…

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MAGA Hats, White Hoods, and Swastikas: One Big Happy Family

How many of you have ever heard of J. Kenji Lopez Alt? Personally, I’m a pretty big fan. His Food Lab column at Serious Eats, and his Food Lab book (I promise that’s not an affiliate link… I make $0.00 USD if you click that and order the book; I do highly recommend it, however), have been hugely influential on me as a cook. He’s the Jimmy Page of food, as far as I’m concerned (and if you know how much I love Led Zeppelin, then you know how much of a compliment that is from me). He’s opened up his own restaurant in the Bay Area, as well.

Called Wursthall, it’s definitely a restaurant I desperately want to check out. Having made many of Kenji’s recipes in my own home, I already know the food is good. It’s just a matter of getting out there to try it… and I don’t have the money to do that.

Another reason I’m a big fan of Kenji is that when his politics creep into his food, it’s absolutely awesome. Just look at his Twitter bio

Full-time Dad. Author: The Food Lab (I don’t control @TheFoodLab). Chef. Feminist. Atheist.

Yeah I know… we don’t love men who proclaim themselves to be feminists. I don’t call myself a feminist, not because I don’t wholeheartedly support feminism (I very much do), but because of how many “feminist” men have shown themselves to be anything but… causing, obviously, a distinct lack of trust in men who make that proclamation. That said, having followed Kenji for years, he’s shown that he doesn’t just talk the talk… he walks the walk, as well.

Nathan. What does any of this have to do with MAGA hats, white hoods, and swastikas?

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E-Cigarettes, Wet Lung, and the US vs the UK

Yet again, the US news media over-hypes a story and uses it to peddle a narrative about e-cigarettes being “just as bad” as analog cigarettes. They are evil, dangerous, and should be banned. And this obsession in the US with e-cigarettes being somehow terrible is very strange to me, seeing as how other countries (such as the UK), are actually quite happy with e-cigarettes as smoking cessation devices.

E-cigarettes are in the news again because of a Pennsylvania woman with a history of mild asthma going to the hospital after having developed a cough, chest pains, and difficulty breathing. After attempts to control these symptoms, all of which failed, she went into respiratory failure, needing a machine to help her breathe and tubes inserted into her chest to drain fluids from her lungs. She was diagnosed with hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

According to Cleveland Clinic, hypersensitivity pneumonitis (also known as extrinsic allergic alveolitis) is “a complex condition of varying intensity, clinical presentation, and natural history. It is the result of an immunologically induced inflammation of the lung parenchyma in response to inhalation exposure to a large variety of antigens. These are primarily organic antigens to which patients have been previously sensitized and are hyperresponsive.”

Wikipedia gives a less technical definition, calling it “an inflammation of the alveoli within the lung caused by hypersensitivity to inhaled organic dusts. Sufferers are commonly exposed to the dust by their occupation or hobbies.”

What does this have to do with vaping?

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The State of the Vaping Union

I don’t think I’ve mentioned much that I vape. I started vaping to give up cigarettes, and I’m extremely close to giving up nicotine entirely. I did do a post on my old blog a few years back talking about a study claiming to have found formaldehyde production in vapes, but I think that’s the last time I talked about it on either blog.

What I want to do in this post is give y’all a surface-level breakdown of the state of the vaping union as it is right now. I’m going to go over some of the science, a little bit of the misinformation, where the laws in the US stand, and also what’s going on with vaping communities (there will be discussion of things going on with Reddit right now).

The summary is that, for people who vape or are interested in vaping, the whole thing sits in a pretty hellish limbo right now. There is a lot of misinformation out there in large part because bad science is getting more publicity than good science, the tobacco industry is pushing regulations that could destroy the industry, and communities like Reddit, separate from regulations, are basically destroying vaping subreddits. This post may, in some instances, come across as rather libertarian and anti-FDA because I really hate the regulations currently in place. But if you know me, you know that I am very much a fan of regulation and I support the FDA usually. But the way this is all being handled is pretty horrible right now, so keep that context in mind.

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