Heroes and Culture

Friday, 20 April 2012 09:58 pm
seryn: flowers (Default)
Another thing I was thinking about is how we view heroism.
From [community profile] comicbookmovies there was this link from the actor who plays Loki, http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2012/apr/19/avengers-assemble-tom-hiddleston-superhero

It somewhat says that superheroes are a non-faith mythological context for our common culture.

Then I was reading "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality" (fanfic by LessWrong)
The latest (linked) chapter of which talks about how superheroes are often monstrous because outside of the sterile bubble of civilization, when they use non-death methods to subdue villains, those villains escape and kill other people. It gives an example that the Joker kills lots of "little people" every time he escapes. But since none of those people are named people, we don't care and we like to think of Batman as having control over himself and his vengeance. It's actually not very heroic to let thousands of people die because killing the villain makes you squeamish.

What really interested me was the dichotomy between these viewpoints and how I agree with both of them. Firstly I love superhero movies. I wish I could stand being in theaters because I'd love to see Avengers on the big screen right away before all the complainers jump all over it. But I also think most of them are wrong when they let the police arrest the villain instead of killing him.

That's going to sound insane out of context. But I don't see how it helps society to imprison people for their entire lives. What are we saving them for? It's expensive and undermines any attempts we make toward rehabilitating people with shorter sentences. And we know that the majority of criminals who escape go on to commit more crimes of a violent nature. So in superhero stories, I actually agree that the person who doesn't "accidentally" squeeze too hard in the headlock is as much to blame as the villain when they escape police custody and slaughter innocents.

Then I started asking myself why it scares the police that Batman goes around at night fighting crime but people love Superman and would trust him with extraordinary powers. I think some of it is that Batman wants to kill and we never get the impression that Superman does. So Superman doesn't do his heroing out of a need for vengeance so it's okay that he acts on his heroism. Batman, not so much.

And Spiderman? yeah, we don't trust him either.

I realized that the major difference is in the masks... Superman is the regular identity, but his alter ego is the one who wears the disguise. Not that it would hold up with all the facial recognition nowadays.

But I keep wondering why we associate wimping out with heroism. But we totally do. If you're a real hero, you never have to make a choice where you sacrifice 100 people to save 1000. If you have to sacrifice anyone, then maybe we shouldn't consider you a hero. Only that's completely unfair since being arrested for violent crimes is a really good indicator of likelihood of further violent crimes.

So when Batman ties up criminals for the cops to take in, the criminals get out on bail or a technicality or for social reasons--- then they go on a murder spree.... we're all angry with Batman for not fixing the problem. Except if he did, we'd think he was a vigilante that needed to be stopped.

It's all well and good to claim heroes don't need violence to succeed, but reality is messier than that.
seryn: "this is the land of confusion." (confusion)
I have been making a concerted effort to connect with people. Even though it is sometimes hard. Not only is it contrary to my nature, but some of the people I've dealt with lately have been really judgmental.

I want to create a PSA.

If someone is having a problem, yes, you can offer to help. Yes you should be sympathetic if you can. But NO, you should not tell them why you can be sympathetic because of some long story of your own. You shouldn't say you understand what they're going through because everyone's situation is different. You can say you've been through trials of your own and you know how hard things can be. But it should stop there. It should be, "I can hear what you're saying and try to be supportive because I have been the one needing help in the past." Not offloading old woes you no longer care about onto someone who is already burdened.

If someone is having a problem, telling them they should be handling it differently is NOT helpful unless you're actually offering to do something about that.

Specifically do not be telling me that I should cook more fresh food and buy organic products unless you are offering to go to the store for me or give me a ride; some days you'd even need to offer to cook. I know I need to do better, but I'm struggling. Listening to a twenty minute lecture about my obvious failings is just painful. It actually upset me so much that I was unable to finish the rest of my lunch. I was eating half a frozen meal... like I'd been unable to eat the whole thing originally and I ate maybe a quarter of it today. It's one of the TJs Indian meals without rice, veg curry stuff. If I'd made that in the middle of July, like before everything happened, I would have wanted 2 entire meals because they're that small. Now I can barely finish half of one and when someone upsets me and tells me I need to be cooking more from scratch, I lose all interest in eating. If the lecture goes on, my stomach rebels. I've managed to avoid vomiting, but it's been a near thing.

Yesterday I put forth a special effort to meet people who are local to me, I found them, they said to email or call and we'd get together, but didn't actually give their contact information (and I didn't either). I found an email address, emailed it, and didn't hear back instantly. So now I'm wondering if my mail vanished into the ether or if it was one of those social politenesses where people say they want to get together but they are really adding the rest of this in their heads: "But only if the world freezes over and I need to use your corpse as a blanket."

I'm actually aware that I'm over-reacting and being irrational about this, especially to internalize what people say to me. But I am seeking help.

ps. If you're commenting on this and are on the sub-filter, please keep in mind that this post is PUBLIC. In fact, I think I might screen comments just for that reason. I'm not being paranoid... no. no. that couldn't possibly be it.

She's a square wheel.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011 01:53 pm
seryn: flowers (Default)
I think I know what the difference between being young and being old is.

Now that I am old, I just *shrug* when someone who is doing something outre finds that it attracts negative attention and wants to whine about it.

When I was young, those kinds of choices were cool and I admired those people and thought everyone should admire them too.

Now I just wonder why the fuck they can't get along with everyone else and have to shove their differences in everyone's face. I'm still pretty tolerant in that I don't really care what they do as long as it doesn't affect me or mine, but I have zero sympathy when they're unhappy that people stare at their facial tattoos and pierced throat as they walk down the sidewalk with unwashed matted hair and wearing rags that would have been rejected by 80s hair bands.

The point of making yourself different is so you're noticed. So you get no sympathy if you're noticed when you want to be noticed. If you deliberately go out of your way to appear different when you do not want to be noticed and complain about it to me, I am going to think you're stupid. Stupidity is never cool. When I was young, I didn't recognize stupidity and didn't notice its detracting effect.

When I was younger, I didn't care why someone was making themselves different or what kind of attention they attracted... being different was awesome and everyone should love that. I really didn't understand the point of trying to get along with other people.

When you're a mayfly, all summer in a day, teenager, there really isn't a lot of point in learning good manners and how to appear to fit in. Why would you want to bother with that shit? But now that I am old, I think it's really disrespectful that no one puts any effort into learning the rules that are supposed to apply to everyone. I had to learn it laboriously and painfully myself, so where do these punks get off recreating the wheel and telling me I'm too square to roll?

I don't fit in amazingly well, but I don't go out of my way to make myself so different that there's no chance I can even stand in a queue without people staring. In other words, I can't fake being a normal human for very long at a stretch, but some of these people can't even come close.

Do they even realize how awful those facial tattoos are going to look in 20 years when the skin droops into wrinkles and folds until the tattoo looks like a MAD fold-in? Yeah. I don't think so.
seryn: dew drop on leaf (dew drop)
Conversation often seems to revolve around the anomalous situation. But we don't keep people around whose anomalies are the good things. (That shit's contagious.)

People always complain about work. But hardly anyone leaves their job. From the outside, it usually sounds like quitting is the least level response the situation deserves. Tonight I told a friend she should just kill all her coworkers because the world doesn't need those kinds of shitheads. They're always incompetent, they never finish their work but they always leave early. Management leaves her short-handed all the time and no one seems to pay attention to her obvious advice. Luckily she's just talking about the anomalies and mostly her job isn't the kind of thing demons dream of in hell to use to torture people who are sent there.

Verizon had that commercial that completely failed... "Can you hear me now?" because if they're worried about the anomalies, then their network must suck.

I think it would get really boring if people talked about all the banal stuff they did the same as always. But it might be really nice if there was a little more of the kinds of things we can share and have people be happy for our little successes.

Today I sliced bread for toast and the two slices cooked the same. They weren't perfectly the same size, but my toaster cooks unevenly, so they came out matching. (I did choose correctly and put the thinner piece in the weaker slot.)

Today I also reminded myself to get another roll of toilet paper and did so before the old roll ran out.

Today I came up with an idea for something I might enjoy doing, found out how much it would cost ($9 for 2 people plus parking) and invited a friend to join me. I also found an alternative idea. That's like two ideas. I browsed for nearby food places as well and a place that had been nixed on my Tuesday list from last week (because I didn't know where it was) turns out to be right there.

I did go to the farmers market where I bought bargain tomatoes and gave the guy more money than he asked for. It was $1.75 or something and I gave him $2 and told him to keep the change. I also got peaches and freak lettuce.

But things aren't all sunshine here. I need to replace my shoelaces on those fancy Mephisto shoes because they're polished nylon round laces. They won't stay tied unless you stitch them. Even double knots work themselves loose during the day. I have no bloody clue where one buys shoelaces. When I was a kid they sold them with the shoes but shoe stores don't bother with that now... the shoe repair place doesn't sell laces either. Target (when I looked, but that was a while ago when the store was new) only had round black laces and fat white athletic laces. So I looked online and I would have bought them through Amazon (third-party thing), but $5 in shipping seems a bit outrageous. Any pointers? My shoes are dark purple.
seryn: flowers (Default)
I would make a really bad immortal trying to pass. Simon watches lots of current music video shows.

It seems like the people who can sing have crap songs and the people who have good songs can't sing. Everything I heard tonight is bad. Like, leave the room so I don't hear that, level of bad.

I really don't understand why being able to sing (or play an instrument, or write music, and honestly it used to be all three) isn't required to have a music career as a performer anymore. It shouldn't be enough to have zero modesty and be willing to dance in a jiggly way while wearing pasties and a thong. If people can have music careers without any talent, I'll be expecting a call from the NBA because I'm their new dunking superstar who will get endorsements from Nike and Smart Water and whoever is making the fastest smartphone now. Because if talent isn't relevant to music, why shouldn't I be lauded for having no athletic skills on the basketball court?

I keep thinking I should write this story. Lady Gaga could be the "lollapollooza" of the anti-vampire war.
seryn: tea (virgin tea)
I'm reading a k-book, Love, Unexpectedly by an author I'm too lazy to look up right now. It was free when I got it. I have been enjoying it fairly well. It's moderately edited, no glaring gaffes, but the flow is a bit awkward due to the his and hers chapter alternation which makes for some redundant reading. It's still tolerably well put together, on par with better fanfic and Harlequin type novels.

But there's this really weird thing and I can't get past it.

The heroine is a native born Canadian living in Montreal, though she's from Vancouver. The hero is originally from India and has lived in England and France before moving to Canada. The heroine meets the hero while she's dating someone else and hero is her new neighbor. So they become merely friends even though the hero wants to be more. He blames their being friends for why she doesn't see him as a potential lover.

There is never any indication that there might be any other problem.

I'm still blinking about that 90% through the book. I would have a really serious concern about marrying someone who wasn't from my own country. If nothing else, for the legal reasons that it's extra complex with the paperwork and the hassle with family visits. (Hero's family lives in India.) Personally I would be a lot less likely to marry someone of a different race as well, for prejudicial and practical reasons. (I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but shared values make for a stronger relationship, and when you don't share a common upbringing, it seems more likely that there will be too much friction to overcome. I'd be more likely to marry someone of another race who was from a similar midwestern background to my childhood, and then only if we were compatible in terms of food and religion and family expectations. But it's hard enough meshing those issues with someone who was already similar.) Combined with the fact that the book never indicates that the heroine was attracted to the hero, it seemed completely unreal to me that he thought the problem was that they were friends first and he was caught in "the buddy trap".
seryn: flowers (Default)
[Having just read an article about a woman who was renting with Section 8 assistance a house in a subdivision that went bust.]

I don't remember the book by title anymore. It was a science fiction version of the Manchurian Candidate story. But it starts out with this woman who lives in a subdivision that's been hard hit by foreclosures until most of the homes stand empty and she becomes a baglady.

When I read the book, average house prices hadn't fallen in my lifetime.

Now that house prices have nosedived and all across the country there are subdivisions like that, I'm wondering why it didn't seem obvious that was a potential occurrence.
Read more... )
seryn: water drop  (green drop)
I think it's very lame that telemarketers do not have to disclose their CallerId information but Wisconsin is trying to make it illegal to make prank phone calls. Which of these things hurts the most people? Yeah. Which do politicians think is important? Yeah. I hate it when politicians come right out and say, "Fuck the people, this is about me."

Of course, now I'm about to do the same thing.

Lately I've been really frustrated by television. I'm an avid viewer of tv. I don't go to the movies. I have TiVo. Between those things I'm often unaware of new popular releases and I struggle to find DVDs for my Netflix queue (we end up getting TV mystery series discs much of the time). I find it extremely difficult to find new shows as well, but once I find something that appears suitable, I'm having trouble liking it entirely.

When I was a teenager and a young adult (meaning 20s, not meaning YA like books which are actually starting pre-teen despite some of the books having actual sex in them), it seemed like the characters being acted were generally more polished socially than I was. It seemed like the stars of the shows were generally clueful and if something "humorous" happened, it happened to a side character or single-appearance character. (Not talking about sitcoms because I have never liked those, they run contrary to my sense of humor and my sense of justice and fair play. If you're the person who generally makes the errors that the butt of the series makes to get everyone to laugh, it's not very funny. Once you stop seeing the format as funny, you notice all the other times it's also not funny, even if it's not showing a personal resemblance. "Wait, that's not funny, that's bullying and abusive. What an asshat. Why did we like him again? Why is that character the star of the show when he should be up on charges?") TV was this medium that showed how once you learned to toe the line and shoe-horn yourself into a socially acceptable personality, then you'd automatically fit into place.

Lately TV has seemed to be promoting these people who side-stepped the required conformity and highlighting them. Which is fine, albeit too late to salve my ego. But now they seem to make fun of the side characters who are the normal ones. And when the main characters go do something hard and fumble, we're told through narrative that we should still sympathize with their awkwardness.

It's like society's standards have dropped to the point that I would have been suave as a teenager. I worked and worked and worked and worked to be able to appear normal. Only now that I'm moderately successful and can reliably pull that character on when I leave my door, society and its media representation have decided it is a good idea to pick on those people instead.

Why was it not okay for me to be a weird person 20 years ago but still not okay for me to be passing (for normal, not for dead) now? Why did we decide the current crop of newly adult people do not have to even try to fit in?

I find myself scooting ahead through shows when they talk about their relationships. They don't have relationships. They have casual sex with a repeating partner. When I was a child, there was that, but no one thought those people were going to be together during the daylight when the world could actually see them. There's a line in an otherwise forgettable HP fanfic, where Dumbledore tells Snape, "There's a way a man indicates to a woman that he wants to have a serious long-term commitment. He buys her a ring and proposes." I'm not sure I believe that because so many people treat being married as a non-permanent state that it's functionally equivalent to living together, but I definitely think there's a lack of bonding in the current media display of the standard "relationship".

Many women, and especially authors, talk about how they page past sex scenes in romance books because eh, whatever, all sex is the same and it's not about that, it's about seeing their relationship unfold. I find that if a sex scene is really incompatible with how I see the relationship, I dislike the author. I stopped reading those Kitty Does Everywhere series of books because the author graphically describes everything in Kitty's life, from her grocery shopping to grooming habits. It describes her personal issues including flashbacks to Kitty being raped repeatedly... but the author never shows us Kitty having consenting sex. The author closes the door to the bedroom and shows us Kitty having coffee with the fuckee the next morning. I find that so jarring... the contrast between hearing Kitty's ever thought to "Ack! Sex! Run away!" even though Kitty has zero self-control and will fuck men the same day she meets them, as long as they're "Brazilian". I think the whole series is laughable.

So it's not that I dislike the constant barrage of sexual innuendo and implications on TV, I'm just tired of hearing about people who wouldn't talk if you had them sharing a taxi calling their sexual encounters a "relationship" and making me sit through some sort of angsty melodrama about it.

I find myself deleting shows half watched or returning books half read when it's about people who just can't get along with their parents because their parents are complete and total assholes but "family" is all important--- that entire Janet Evanovich series is like that--- because you were expected to make your own way in the world and if you chose to keep contact with your family, it was only via remote phone call. Back when long distance calls were insanely expensive, you might only talk to a parent for a short time every few weeks.

It's really like everything I struggled with while growing up has been deprecated. I had a conversation with a foreign-speaking fanfic author who said she had to really think about when to use "whom" and they had harped on it when she was in school learning English. I said, "No one uses whom anymore. It's the semi-colon of pronouns and you look pretentious if you try."

How did we get to the point that being a grown up and shouldering your responsibilities and not manufacturing drama where none exists has become the "whom" of interpersonal contact?
seryn: flowers (Default)
I had a whole post, but most of it was me repeating myself. I will rephrase an excerpt.

Basically, a situation has occurred where stores are bragging about how they plan to charge some people more than others. I realized that is what temporally-limited sales do all the time. If you cannot get to Macy's during their one-day sale, you will pay more than the people who can. If you're an early riser on their mailing list, you will pay less and have more choices than someone else.

I don't like the idea that we have discriminatory commerce but that it is done subtly by pre-categorizing which people are going to get better deals. If stores are doing it with mailing lists, it's pretty easy to make it about some protected class by prejudicially not adding everyone to the mailing list.


Friday, 4 February 2011 03:04 pm
seryn: water drop  (drop)
I think I've discovered some small dram of social knowledge. I was able to detect when I was being used and I was able to detect when I was being told to fuck off.

The situation: I invited V2 and V3 to the big yarn show. It's quite a long drive for me (though other people travel further than this most weekends, including my brother a decade ago).

Now, I'm not being completely idiotic to have assumed inviting yarn people to a yarn thing would be asking them on an outing. It seems completely reasonable that I would be saying, "Would you like to do this together?" V2 sits on this for a week and finally emails back to say she'd love a ride there but is planning to meet up with her friends so she won't want to hang out and won't need a ride home.

I managed to get a clue that this was saying, "Let me take advantage of the social moron that I don't actually want to spend any time with." I replied saying that I was not likely to want to arrive first thing and asked if she had a certain time she wants to be there. A week passes, during which she completely vanishes with no notice--- lots of respect there--- and today there is an email saying if she is not getting a ride with me she will have to try to find a way to take the train.... You all see the GuiltTrip tickets being proffered there? Aren't you proud of me for noticing?

V3 emails today saying that she'd rather go with V2 on another day than go with me because of [volunteer gig that she respects more than the one she shares with me]. So obviously V2 could drive herself and I need feel no guilt about the train comment. This was actually in response to a completely different event which I had merely included a link to (I have no intention of going myself.) The next line says she cannot go to that event. And says she is going to another event for [people from where she used to live], which is on a completely different day. That was a really concise message telling me to fuck off. "We're not friends, you can hang off me now. Please stop talking to me." Because she canceled THREE things in one email.

I have learned the rule that whoever cancels is obliged to suggest the next thing. I have learned that a nebulous suggestion should be agreed to nebulously until the person whose ball it was serves it properly, though volleying casually to return the ball for service is friendly. But sometimes there were several things lined up. Sometimes there were several emails lined up. And three is the magic number, socially. First throw might have been a fault, so you get another try because this isn't a refereed match, and some people don't volley for friendly convenience, they expect you to get another out of the bin. Second throw should have volleyed but even professionals miss their returns sometimes. If the third attempt falls flat, then the ball's dead and you go home because there's no one there and you're just playing with yourself. Masturbating in public is frowned upon.

So when someone cancels THREE things in one email, it's a giant fuck off signal saying, "You wank in public and it smells all over your hands. No one would ever want to be your friend."

Which is, at least, convenient because I am under no politeness or social obligation to actually reply to that email. To reply to it would actually demonstrate a level of social cluelessness I no longer have nor can I feign ignorance.
seryn: water drop  (drop)
It looks like regular multi-vitamins do a better job as my nutritionary placebo than particular focus supplements.

Today I cooked a better than passable hashbrown. But it still took way too long to do. Zero hassle, good results, but a very long time. Today's effort returned to the grated raw potato boiled in salted and oiled water with the lid on for 5 minutes, then lid off until a bottom crust formed.

Knitting group is going to suck today. I've been abandoned by the other volunteers. Normally I'm kind of irritating and groups get along a lot better without me... I'm not the kind of grit that gets oysters to make pearls. I'm the kind of contaminate that kills off the clam bed. (If the [community profile] creativity people want to know why I haven't been posting a lot of chivvying mod posts, it's because I really believe we're better off if I chivvy other people privately and get them to post instead of me.)

Honestly I was angry last week about the V2 woman just not showing up and I was really thinking, "This is not going to work out." I believe that volunteer is a pay grade, not a job description. That means you tell your supervisor when you're not going to be in, because it is a job where people are relying on you. It means you try to schedule appointments around that time instead of during it, unless you have a full-time gig or a really pressing reason. V3 frequently cancels with very little notice--- her emailing yesterday is significantly more considerate than usual. But like the Julie and Julia movie showed Julia Child's third collaborator buggering off all the time when they were supposed to be working, it's really hard to imagine there was no other time that appointment could be scheduled.

Yesterday I encountered two things that synthesized in my brain as an explanation of the problem in American sociology.
Read more... )

Grocery shopping, possibly laundry, definitely going out for lunch, then knitting group. That's the rest of my day. I guess that means I'm due a recording contract with a major studio now.

[edited to add the necessary cut tags and paragraphing]
seryn: water drop  (drop)
Whenever I think of myself as irresponsible, I am reminded that other people are oblivious to their own failings. I tried really hard not to be a volunteer for the knitting group because I knew I would struggle to come every week. I didn't feel like I could reliably be there. So I said that Thursdays are hard for me and I would come when I could. That worked until the other woman (V0) wanted to travel (apparently to Heart Of Darkness, Africa; considering how long it took her to return.) And then I was it. There wasn't anyone else. And I did really struggle to be there but I showed up as best I could and called in when I was sick. [That makes me V1.]

Yesterday the woman (V2) who insisted that she couldn't just knit with us to see if it was fun, that she had to be an official volunteer, just didn't show up. No email, no phone call, just not there.

The previous week, the third volunteer (V3) had bailed at T-90 minutes. I was starting to get concerned yesterday when it was T+5 minutes and I was the only one there. But she came in soon after and it was a light day.

I'm not sure why I think of myself as irresponsible and unreliable anymore. I think the definition changed from when I was a child and learning what being a grown-up was about. People honestly think they can cancel for no reason an hour before a 3pm event? People who insist that they have to be included in the leadership role just bugger off? In what way am I unreliable comparatively? But I tried to not be expected because I knew I didn't want to be there and it wasn't going to be fun for me. It feels like a job. And since it's a volunteer gig, the pay is actually negative. I have resisted buying anything for the group, but we are starting to run into problems where we just do not have what we need.

I hate volunteering for this group. It was different when it was a knitting group where I could share my expertise if I wanted to help or just knit on my own stuff. I need to find another knitting group so I don't just slack off entirely.... and I do slack off when I don't have anyone who will ask after projects... I got a lot better from helping at the group. I really did. But I don't like it.

naming of things

Saturday, 18 December 2010 10:41 pm
seryn: flowers (Default)
If you're going to name someone or something an actual word, you should have the balls to do it in a language you speak.

Caisson is a French word meaning box. It might look nice and sound nice like it's a good name to give your child, but I think calling your kid "box" is moronic enough if you were doing it purposefully, to do so accidentally is laughable as well.

Next time I need to name a dog in a story, I'm going to call it "Poubelle". Which is French for garbage can--- of the smallish indoor size. I think I'd call a dog garbage can anyway since dogs eat everything around them (in my experience) and I think the French word sounds like "something that makes poo beautiful" which is the entire purpose of a dog.

I think we should name people in English more. And I think we should stop using "name" type words that don't mean anything to anyone but are overused and trite. Also no one should ever name their sons "John". It's either a word for a toilet or it's a nonsense word with very few syllables. Just because it's been used for years and years doesn't make it a good choice.

I think Lintel would be a good name for a boy. Or Lucid. I like Clarity for a girl. I think Window would be an excellent name. I also like Gable and Salad.

I think there are a number of souls floating in the aether who are extremely glad I didn't get the choice. :-D
seryn: flowers (Default)
I'm tired of my personality being considered freakish. I don't really like people, except in specific, and even then, it's often inequitable. I don't like wasting time asking intrusive personal questions in the guise of "smalltalk" and I resent that people even ask me about my life when we're not close friends.
Read more... )
seryn: water drops (footprints)
I saw another news snippet saying people are arguing against mosques everywhere, not just "ground zero".

First, let me argue against NYC glomming onto the phrase "ground zero" as if they're the sole victims of a bombing, ever, when they weren't bombed at all that day. I know New Yorkers think they're the center of the universe, but that's ridiculous. Hiroshima can say "ground zero". Nagasaki can say "ground zero". No one who hasn't been hit with a bomb can say "ground zero". And preferably the term would be reserved for an area with lingering contaminates.

Second, why do people think mosques are the problem?

There are a slew of fundamentalist Christians in this country. They far far far far far exceed the number of Muslims in the USA at all. No one denies even the most radical of Christian churches permission to build a new facility (when they can pay for construction and permits). Even groups which are politically active and which foment violence are "protected" by the Constitution (despite laws saying that politically active groups are not protected religious organizations.)

If we're looking to eliminate radical groups, banning Christianity entirely would make as much sense as banning Islam entirely-- probably more because we have a lot more American Christians and they're used to being catered to legislatively.

Not to mention that when you deny people the right to peaceably practice their religions, that's when regular people start being reactionary. By denying Muslims mosques in America, we are encouraging the radical Islamic factions which say there are no good Americans anywhere. It doesn't hurt us for people to peaceably practice their religion. Islam is not about fomenting violence.

Also anyone who relies upon the Second Amendment to protect their gun ownership should appreciate that the First Amendment came first and all religions are protected. But a shocking number of people seem to think that rights are things they want and privileges are what people who look different from them want.

If I have to put up with radical Christians saying that contraceptives should be anathema and the government cannot cover them for anyone who uses public assistance.... that's a fundamental right for women, contraception is what allows women to be equal... then I don't see why those people can have a country where other non-violent religions are not tolerated. If they want America to be a Christian country, then we need to divide it fairly so everyone (including me) has a home. But if they want to continue the share the country, then they need to be a damned sight more tolerant of people different from them since they're the ones who are completely backwards from what a civilized people would want.

You don't have to be an Arabic man to be a Muslim. Admittedly, if you're a white American woman and convert to Islam, I'm not going to think a lot of your intellectual reasoning abilities because the way Islam is practiced in many places denigrates women. But Christianity isn't much better--- it's just more common. There are Christian women who voluntarily started covering their hair, no one even has to denigrate them first. The way Christianity is practiced in a lot of rural American areas is as bad as Sharia law.

It is my belief that all religions exist to oppress women. That is the sole point. There aren't even any Pagan religions that have room for childfree women, and some of those are cobbled together using the cafeteria plan from every mythology in existence. You'd think the people picking and choosing could come up with a role for women that doesn't involve pregnancy as the basis for their social placement.

If they want to ban mosques, that's really fine with me. But I think the government needs to Eminent Domain every single bloody church and strip all Christianity of its tax-exempt status while they're at it. You can't say everyone has to tolerate me and mine but no one should be allowed to tolerate you and yours if you want to be a tax-exempt organization. Plus Christians allow Fred Phelps to claim membership, so they're obviously hateful beyond what having a new mosque in New York City would mean.

contrast in beauty

Monday, 26 July 2010 12:15 pm
seryn: flowers (Default)
I read something somewhere about how we distinguish between masculine and feminine by contrast. So women wear makeup that exaggerates facial characteristics and men do not.

Although I think I could believe that about the contrast without artificial emphasis, I don't believe it overall.

There's Duke on Haven, he's got extremely dark hair, very prominent eyebrows, and a dark moustache. He seems very striking in that Superman's Clark Kent kind of way. The majority of women preferred Aragorn to Legolas in the LOTR movies. And most men seem to gravitate toward the blonde bimbo kinds of women where there's very little difference between hair and skin color but the lips are painted blow-job red.

So high-contrast is appealing to women. The proverbial "Tall, dark, and handsome."

I don't know what men who aren't interested in artifice-laden women prefer in terms of contrast, but there isn't a parallel "dark and beautiful" saying.

It makes me wonder how much of women's standards of "beauty" are less about what's appealing to men and more about what women like on themselves.

On the whole I am quite pleased to be with a man who thinks makeup is ugly on women and that I am more beautiful without it. Not only because it's beneficial to my self-esteem, but because I don't waste an unholy amount of money on artificial colorants.
seryn: flowers (Default)
Today's news has an article saying Syria is banning the full Muslim veil at universities. They call what is banned the niqab.

Apparently the Syrian government is concerned about the increase in one of the outward signs of conservative Islam.

Syria is not banning all head scarves at their universities, but Turkey does.

France has banned the burqa. Which is the full body covering with a similar facial coverage to the niqab or even moreso with the mesh over the eyes.

The grounds being used by European countries for the bans is that the wearing of these extreme veils is degrading to women. I agree with that perspective simply because the modesty requirements are inequitable between the genders.

I also agree that there has been a large push toward conservatism in religious requirements. I have seen it in my own life. Not in terms of the burqa/niqab, because those are rare enough here, but in terms of the number of women wearing dresses in public and on television. For now dress wearing remains a choice, but it hasn't been 50 years since girls were prohibited from wearing trousers in public schools in America. With the continued rise in conservative religious views, the wearing of dresses will return to a mandatory practice if we do not stop it. American women who are not Muslim are already voluntarily veiling themselves for modesty.

I have long been a very modest woman, I rarely wear sleeveless things, even for sleeping (which makes the shopping for summer-weight nightwear a real pain). I almost never go out in public with bare legs. But the women who wear dresses and veils for modesty make me want to buy a bikini and wear the skimpiest clothes I can find, just to protest. You will never, ever hear me say that a skirt is more modest than trousers though. Anything where there is a meter-wide access point or where falling will cause wardrobe malfunction is inherently less modest than trousers which specifically cover the legs. There is a theory that skirts obfuscate the shape of the legs, but I think the easy access routes under the skirt hem make skirts significantly less modest and less under the control of the wearer. Skirts make touching the legs easier. Trousers make looking easier. I think modesty should demand the clothing which restricts the touching since the only people who would invade your personal space directly have zero manners. Polite people will restrict the looking on their own.
seryn: flowers (Default)
I am disappointed in the Google chat thing. I need a feature like DW's access list. There are times when I need to be logged in, because I am waiting for my SO to say he's missed the bus and will need a ride home.

What we have done instead is to send texts via phone instead so I can log out when I am not available to chat with friends.

Last week I had emails from someone who wanted to rope me into a long and involved project. I don't mind helping friends casually when they want me to look something over, but I'm not going to write someone's marketing content for them. I'm not going to create instructions on how to get attention for a new idea. I might suggest that the best way to get lots of people involved is Facebook and Twitter and talking to local groups of enthusiastic supporters, but I don't use social media that way and I believe shilling is obvious to most users. I did say that finding some people who were familiar with those things would be a good place to start because it might help to have all the efforts coordinated. (Which I thought was extremely adept of me as a way of saying, "You're going to do something stupid because you've never used Twitter before and it's non-trivial to join something with established protocols without tripping yourself up."

I read the page of marketing spiel and said it wasn't setting the right tone. (I thought it was pedantic and stale. But used more polite words which evoked documentary-type works.) At the end it asked people to give money. Generally I find pleas for contributions off-putting. DW is happy to trade extra services and good karma for my buying an account (I don't really use the extra services, but I wanted to help.) Twitter doesn't charge users and they're so pervasive as to be part of fomenting a revolution in the Middle East.

If someone wants to build something, they write up a plan and submit it to the kinds of companies who build that kind of thing. ONLY if none of those established companies who have R&D money to invest are not willing to work toward the idea do you try to implement it on your own. And THEN if you have to go your own way, you have contacts in the field, you have people with big names that are willing to vouch for the feasibility, and THAT is what makes investors come forward. But anyone who has a product who doesn't try established channels at all and starts their pitch with a plea for money... not interested.

Show me videos. Show me designs. Show me pictures. Prove that your idea doesn't suck... that thousands of people are on your brightly painted bandwagon. Show me that even when your ware is all vapor that they tell their friends who are also gung ho to steam in your non-existent bath. Because if you want to actually make something that will be a mass marketed product, that's going to involve a lot of construction and building and inventory and parts and supplies and labor and marketing and and and and and. There's really no way to do that without big name money to help you build a factory. And big money doesn't follow dreams, it follows documentation and effort.

Anyway. So that's someone I'm trying to avoid. It's not you. But I just want to "turn off chat" and force an email. With people like that, it's much less annoying to deal with them when they're forced to edit and think before spewing.
seryn: flowers (Default)
I really dislike the Fourth of July as it's celebrated in current times.
because you've all heard this before )
seryn: water drops (footprints)
One of those N questions on Y days places asked whether I am doing anything to hide my age.

I'm not. I would, but only if it added to my appearance in other ways.

hair )
makeup )
sunscreen )
clothes )
music )
TV )
money )

I am old. I don't mind looking like it. I wish I didn't feel quite so old, but exercise is actually helping that. Now if my back didn't sound like popping corn when I bend over to tie my shoes, that'd be really awesome, thanks.


seryn: flowers (Default)


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