Ever get annoyed? Ever feel like someone needs to be told where the dog died? Or handed a crowbar and a tub of Elbow Grease to help them pry their head out of their arse? Congratulations--you've come to the right place.

And when I'm not commenting on the latest thing to piss me off, I'm trying to figure out my own twisted life. Because, hey, I'm like that.

On a gentler note: for anyone dealing with depression, anxiety, and other assorted bullshit: You are NOT alone.

And if you're looking for a laugh, search on the key word "fuckery." It's just my little thing (as the bishop said to the actress).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Cloak of Hypocrisy

"I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." - Mohandas Gandhi

Yesterday was the day to wear purple in support of those who have been lost because of bullying. I didn't wear purple because I discovered I don't have any in my wardrobe. Who knew? So I'm writing this instead and encouraging everyone to support Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" Campaign because GLBTG kids need to know that not everyone out there is a fucking hate-filled moron; that there are good people who will love them and accept them for who they are. And because the yahoos need to get the message that they need to CUT THE SHIT. Mob behavior like that is for Nazis, not intelligent human beings, and bullies... *grrrrr*

Anyway, something has been sticking in my craw over the past week, and I finally realized what it was: hypocrisy.


My best friend Vicki introduced to me to today's quote, and I truly love it. It's better than Gandhi's comment about Western Civilization ("I think that would be a good idea!"). I had a hard go at religion last week, and the more I think about it, the more I feel like I was too soft on the hypocrites.

See, whenever someone wants to get away with saying something that will expose their prejudices, they start their sentence with one of the two following clauses:
"I'm not prejudiced, BUT..."
"I have PLENTY of friends who are insert group here..."

Both of those bastard phrases were used at me last week. They're bullshit. You ARE prejudiced; you are being narrow-minded, you ARE WRONG, so just own it and shut the fuck up because you're embarrassing yourself in public.

Now, I have used these phrases at various times in my life. The first one has been around for a while--it's the one that really got popular when political correctness became rampant. The other one has been a phrase white people have used for a looooooong time to cover up that they are scared as hell of anyone not from their color/nationality/religion/social class/etc.

And they're both BULLSHIT.

For fuck's sake, WE ARE ALL PREJUDICED. EVERYONE--I don't care what color you are, what higher power you do or don't believe in, how much money you have, where you're from, who you sleep with--EVERY HUMAN BEING ON THIS PLANET OVER THE AGE OF 9 MONTHS IS PREJUDICED. Learning to discriminate one thing from another is one of the first things babies do--little babies KNOW who Mom is, and most of 'em know who Dad is, too. Discrimination is the beginning of the learning process, and in and of itself, is not a bad thing.

It becomes a bad thing when it's used to penalize, exclude, hurt, whatever, others.

Allow me to be concrete:

Natural, acceptable discrimination:
Example 1 - Objects: There is a blue shirt and a green shirt. I chose the green shirt because I like green better--it makes me feel warm and goes well with my coloring.
Example 2 - People: There are two people standing across the street. One is my mother; the other is a clown. I walk over and give my mother a hug because I have, through the power of discrimination, determined that she is the person known to me, and I can do this.

Learned, unacceptable discrimination:
Example 1 - Objects: There are two rare, autographed books sitting on my coffee table. One belongs to me; the other is the property of my ex. My ex's is in better condition because he is semi-illiterate and has never cracked open the book; he just got it signed for the ebay potential. I keep the pristine copy and sell the crappier one and keep the money. (Yeah, I know, I'm reaching here; give me a break.)
Example 2 - People: Person A belongs to a group I find unacceptable for irrational reasons (color of skin, religion, sexual orientation). I take steps to curtail their Constitutional rights.

Now, I've been labeled a liberal by many (and sometimes, I'll own it myself), but I'm not, really. I'm not really even a Democrat. I'm a Rational Anarchist. What does that mean? It means that I hate rules, but at the same time, I understand the need for some of them. In short, it means I believe in common sense, something that just doesn't seem to exist these days in great supply.

How does that translate? Well, it means that I think you should use things like turn signals and observe speed limits in populated areas. It means I think you should stop and think before you open your mouth. It means I think you have a right to believe in what you believe in, but you don't have a right to force it on anyone else. You've a right to your opinion (though no right to being taken seriously).

It also means that I think you have a responsibility to the world around you and to yourself. It means that you have to take responsibility for your thoughts and actions and behavior. It means that if you say stupid shit to me and expect me to back down because you've taken something seriously that wasn't meant that way, you need your head examined.

I work in Political Correctness Central--I work in a university in Cambridge, MA, a place where we have tissues, not issues. A place where I learned to hate feminism even more than I already did because of the way a great idea was bastardized and destroyed by a bunch of hypocritical women who suffered from bad cases of denial, ignorance, and white guilt, and who had extensive educations to give them words to hide behind. And I have seen what happens when a minority gets uncontrolled power and how corrupt it can be--I saw a number of good people lose their jobs because they were the wrong gender or orientation, so NO ONE is innocent. Israel is a good example of this--they learned Hitler's lesson from the Holocaust really well and have nothing to be proud of. (And before you call me an anti-Semite, note I said "Israel," NOT Jews--my ex-husband was Jewish, and I experienced anti-Semitism up close and personal as it was assumed I was as well. My point is that every human being is capable of being an oppressor if they do not maintain awareness of their fears and remembers to THINK FOR THEMSELVES.)

Political correctness started out as a good idea--watch the hate language, think about what you say--but quickly devolved into just another bastard form of racism. Sorry, kids, but if you're saying "African American," but still thinking the n-bomb (I really DON'T use that word--I'll say "cunt" without thinking, but only use the n-bomb when I'm talking about my own people), you're really not doing anyone any favors.

Political correctness--or, as I like to call it, intellectual Naziism--has forced prejudices underground and prevented people from speaking freely. It's created more prejudice and problems than any hate speech ever did. And while I don't think using racial/social/sexual slurs is appropriate or acceptable, I'd rather hear someone come out and say it than get that sidelong lying look on their face, and say, "Well, I'm not prejudice, BUT those people..."

As for claiming to have friends who are from the group you are discriminating against... tell me, if that person is your friend, why won't you grant them the same rights you enjoy? What is the difference between denying a gay person the right to marry and racial segregation? You are telling another human being that, because of a condition beyond their control--a PHYSICAL difference from you--they aren't good enough to be treated like a full citizen. There's no logic to it, there's no rational reason to it--it's a decision based purely in prejudice, and you should be ashamed of yourself.

Now, I am NOT claiming innocence here. I learned almost every racial slur I know at home, most of them from my grandfather. My mom, however, had friends from all walks of life--she had friends across the spectrum and taught me from the beginning the necessity of tolerance and acceptance. However... we ARE Boston Irish, and a more exclusionary, isolationist, racist group of white people are pretty damned hard to find. Mum didn't escape all of her conditioning; neither did I. That is not a justificiation of wrong-doing--it's a statement of fact. The other side of that statement is that, since becoming an adult, I have done my best to be aware of my prejudices and NOT act on them--to rise above bigotry and stupidity and be the person I think I should be, not the person I was taught to be.

I don't always succeed; that's not possible. I'm not perfect. The positive thing that's come out of it is a driving need to understand hatred--fear is the base of it all: fear of the Other, fear of what is different, fear of what we've been taught is WRONG. And the fear we feel when we recognize what we dislike or distrust in the Other in ourselves--human denial. That's at the very bottom level of homophobia, especially in men in this society. We teach our boys to fear anything soft inside themselves, to be as "masculine" (whatever the fuck that means; I still don't get the false concept of feminity so many people try to shove on girls), and that to feel anything tender towards another man is BAD, never mind any kind of attraction.

It's stupid, dangerous, and it's costing lives, and bringing out the very worst in people, and I am bloody fucking sick of it. Listen to a child cry because they've been told, "you can't be gay and live in my house." Watch the face of a beautiful young man you know twist as he fights between accepting who he is and the shame that's been put on him by his family. Hear the bitterness in a friend's voice when they tell you how their parents no longer speak to them because they came out... then tell me your prejudice is correct. Don't be surprised if I spit in your face. I am tired of seeing these beloved children and friends hurting because of the ignorance and fear in others. GROW UP AND GET THE FUCK OVER IT!

Claiming to not be prejudiced--in the case last week, homophobic--and then trying to limit the civil rights of a group of people because of your religion is an act of homophobia. Sorry, it is. Claiming you can't be seen as homophobic because you have gay friends and love them is also bullshit--if you love them, why won't you grant them the same civil rights as you enjoy? It's already been proven that sexual orientation is not a choice--it's hardwired in the brain. If our society wasn't so twisted up about sex and so stupidly uptight and obsessed with it, this might not be a problem, but because the rules the religions operate on were created by human beings (and some really FUCKED UP human beings; this is where being a historian with a fair grounding in psychology comes in handy--human denial of humanity and sheer hypocrisy in the religions have caused more pain and agony than anything on the planet. I give away no secrets here).

As I stated last week, I'm not asking the various churches and religions to sanction homosexuality and perform same-sex marriages if it really does go against their beliefs, but don't tell me you're a Christian and a follower of Christ if you hold to that because you're not--Christ NEVER came out against homosexuality--NEVER--and hey, when you hang out and travel with twelve other men, it would be a bit hypocritical, eh? Especially if you believe the expurgated version of the Jesus story that would have you believe him unmarried. Thirteen normal men, traveling around together, sleeping together... *stands back and warms self at the fire I have just thrown gasoline on*

See, sex isn't a sin. It's not--it's a part of being human. It's natural, it's normal. All the rules that we've put around it? Bullshit, honestly. Just social crap that's been forced down our throats. It's the prejudices and fears that others have developed and passed down that have become ingrained. I'm a historian--I've researched it. Want to know when the Church came out seriously against homosexuality? Happened after the Plague, when too many of the men in Italy (I think it was Venice, but I might be wrong--it's been a few years since that class) were spending too much time in the brothels which were staffed by both male and female artists (and if anyone knows how to prevent or disable a pregnancy, it's a professional who can't be out of action to make a living) and not enough on rebuilding the population.

The government of the city-state cooperated in this because they needed bodies for the army because they were always waging war back then. There was no real separation of Church and state--you bowed to the Pope or you were excommunicated. It took Martin Luther's 95 Theses and Henry VIII's dick before Europe found its backbone.

Outlawing prostitution made sense up until the later half of the 20th century when reliable birth control and disease prevention became a reality, and crime statistics have proven that legalized prostitution cuts down the sex crimes. Now? Now, it's just old prejudices and fear keeping women in a place of powerlessness and poverty.

Abortion is another issue that drives me up the wall. I would love to see the need for abortion to disappear--for a universally effective and universally available means of birth control (aside from abstinence because, after the age of 18, it's bullshit and a denial of humanity) to become available, for that to happen it would mean that universal, common sense-based sex education would need to happen. You know, the kind that involves information: this is what sex is, this is what happens, these are the possible consequences, these are the REAL odds, with no fear, no paranoia, just INFORMATION and treating kids like they're intelligent human beings capable of making sensible decisions for themselves. I don't think kids should be having sex before 18; high school is complicated enough without throwing fucking into the mix. I lost my virginity to date rape at 16, and I was stupid enough to want to prove to myself that it didn't hurt me, and I was fine. Sex can wait, but the only way a kid can make that decision is to be given clear, simple information without all the bullshit.

Think I'm wrong on that one? Allow me to share: when she was about 14, myself and my friend Keith took my niece, Sammi (who is now 21 and utterly fabulous), out for coffee. We got on the topic of substances and substance abuse. I was honest with her that yes, I drink at times and occasionally smoke weed; however, I also made it clear that I smoked for the first time when I was in my 20's and already knew my limits, and that I never did it unless I knew I wasn't driving and I was in a safe place with people I trusted. Also made it clear that I didn't touch any other substances. At which point, Keith and I started telling her stories about people we'd known who'd done all of that crap and what happened to them.

Sam sat back, looked at the two of us and said, "If my parents had put it like that, it would have totally made sense! They just said, 'DON'T DO IT,' but didn't tell me why!"

Now, to be fair, this is what she remembered them telling her. Also, I am NOT her mother--I have a remove and a freedom her with her that her mother doesn't because of the role she has to play in her life, so this is not a criticism of her parenting style. I have the Aunt's Advantage--I could send Sam home and didn't have to live with her. ;-) I didn't ask for the other side because she got the message we were trying to get across to her: keep clean until you're of age because substances can really fuck you up if you don't know your limits and don't play safe. By being honest and up front and giving concrete reasons and examples, by respecting her intelligence and ability to make a good decision--in short, by treating her with the same respect we expected from her--we were able to give guidance rather than creating a climate of fear (and the rebellious curiosity that comes out of it).

By not framing it as "sin" or "wrong," but as a part of life and a choice she had the power to make, Sam was given power over her own fate.

"Love the sinner; hate the sin" was quoted at me last week. The problem is what some people consider "sin," I don't. A "sin" involves deliberately causing harm to yourself or another. It involves intention and action. It isn't about how you think, so long as you're aware of destructive thought patterns. Sin... sin is a human concept, like "god" and "religion" and "beliefs." We created it to keep people in line to prevent them from hurting each other and make it possible to live side by side. The common sense rules about not murdering, not stealing, not cheating--they make sense. The other crap--about honoring a god and parental figures--not so much. Those rules are about submission--control. "Do what I tell you to, OR ELSE!" Bastard rules, the kind you give a small child when they're misbehaving. (And sometimes, absolutely necessary--there comes a point when an authority figure does have a right to say, "Because I say so!" but it needs to be used lightly and carefully or it just becomes an arbitrary attempt at controlling another human being for your own pleasure. It's all about balance.)

Trying to control how another person behaves or thinks--trying to force them into conformity--is an admission of your own powerlessness and fear. It's an admission of your own inadequacy and ignorance.

So, as I've said before, I don't give a rat's ragged ass if you think the same way I do. I'd prefer that you're intelligent enough and mature enough to think through your prejudices and reason out whether or not you're doing right by others by trying to control them and prevent them from enjoying the same rights you do.

And if what I'm saying is making you angry--if it's making you feel defensive, or hatred towards me... go back and read what I wrote above about that reaction. You're letting your fear rule you. It's not me you hate ; it's the dark places and doubts inside yourself that you aren't ready to accept. What you hate me for is pointing them out to you.

Judge me as you will, but don't be surprised if I throw it back in your face. I am who I am--flaws and fabulousness, brilliance and stupidity, arrogance and wisdom. I know what I've done in this life and who I've done it with or done it to. I know what I am willing to do, and what I am not. I have a strict code of ethics and honor--not morals. I don't love everyone in this world; there are a fair few people I hate with a passion and would gladly carve out their hearts with a spoon. But then, I'm not a Christian. I'm just a human being. My Higher Power is a sensible one who accepts me for myself and only demands that I do my best and make amends when I wrong and take my laurels when I excel; and also, that I try to accept others for who they are; that I take right action, not act on my desires and self-gratification alone.

In short, like every other god, created in my own idealized image.
BTW, today's pic is of a magnet offered by Northern Sun, a progressive accessory company. Pop over to www.northernsun.com for awesome shirts, magnets, buttons, stickers and other cool stuff that let the world know you've got a brain and aren't afraid to use it.

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