Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It's not just killer apes

You might say that God won't save us, but I personally don't have a better solution.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ain't that a bitch

The last guy at least vaguely understands the reality that he's better off personally by accepting that the world is a racket. I guess oil traders do possibly deserve to earn more money--this one clearly knows to jump off a sinking ship (though sadly, his time horizon excludes even one generation of progeny, which is prima facie evidence of evil to all active parents).

Alistair Darling, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer who led the No campaign, admitted that the closeness of the result was a wake-up call. (DD note: I see no further exposition on this in any other sources. To the contrary, I see the on-schedule offensive against those who dared to vote for independence. Source. )
“Today is a momentous today for Scotland and the United Kingdom as a whole,” he said. “While confirming our place within the union, we have confirmed the bonds that tie us together — may they never be broken.”
Pubs across the country were staying open throughout the night with customers both anxious and excited to see whether the historic union would be consigned to the history books.
Greg Waddell, a doctor working in Glasgow, tells TIME that he voted Yes “because disempowerment breeds dependency; because the current extent of social inequality in Scotland demeans every one of its people.”
Others among the 4.2 million registered voters were less optimistic about prospects for going it alone.

Nick Allan, an oil executive from Aberdeen, said the Yes campaign promises were enticing, but he voted No as it would be impossible to pay for them — especially not with North Sea oil.
“The problem comes down to money,” he says. “How on God’s earth are you going to be able to afford all of these improvements? The country will be bankrupt in a matter of years.”


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Teach your children to hit

I started with this at the end and moved it. Just so I am perfectly clear if you beat your kids in the 21st century you are a bad parent and a fool. Ditto if you hit your girlfriend like some chump.

I've been thinking about the various domestic violence issues going around the NFL, which quickly flared up into the Adrian Peterson child abuse/discipline controversy.

This has devolved (of course) into a discussion about spanking or hitting children in general. The two main arguments I see against spanking are:

1) That physical discipline/punishment has no benefits over non-violent methods, and may be detrimental (the articles vary their condemnation vs. not spanking from "maybe worse" to "a tiny bit worse" to "they turn out shitty" in the pieces I've read. I'll save my criticism of social science posing as science for another day).

2) That it teaches children that violence can be used to solve problems.

I only want to address #2.

#2, the statement that hitting kids teaches them that violence can solve problems (all the articles use this phrase) is interesting. Implicit within it is the assumption that teaching children that violence can solve problems is wrong.

I think this is insane. Our entire social system, culture, society, and interpersonal relationships are enormously influenced by the implicit or explicit threat/use of violence. I'll throw it out as a presupposition of my argument that violence is very much proven to solve many large and small problems that are of great interest to a great many people.

While the socially correct form of violence to use is economic or psychological, the ability and willingness to inflict physical and emotional harm on others is endemic in our society at large and in virtually every subgroup.

It is very important to teach your children that this is true.

That does not mean that you need to hit them. You do not even have to raise your voice if Johnny is an angel his whole life.

Still, the correct response to violence is also violence. Socially, we prefer to use non-physical violence as retribution. This does not in any way change the underlying socially accepted justice of retribution for all forms of wrongdoing. We do not, as a social belief, think the punishment should be less than the crime.

If you want to argue that violence is bad, I will agree with you. And then nervously shift on my feet as I wonder how to fulfill my new commitment to zero economic or physical violence. Because they are the same. Making someone lose a job or be homeless is actually probably worse than punching them a couple dozen times. Refusing to commit any form of violence will make avoiding your own exploitation difficult.

None of that is my point.

To use the same word in two posts in a row, demanding a nonphysical response to physical violence is a way to rob humans of their agency. Your agency, your ability to control your own destiny, is more important than a removal of visceral violence from our culture.

Having all our physical violence carried out by proxies makes us far more likely to use it and to dehumanize those we oppress, both in our neighborhoods and around the world. Ask the people in Ferguson if outsourcing their use of violence for justice to the local government has worked out.

A firsthand knowledge of the violence that both props up and is a structural element of our society is almost, in my mind, a prerequisite for understanding. I am quite sure most chicken-hawk warmongers have never taken a punch, and more importantly they likely didn't throw one back.

Without some experience with physical violence, you are, like on most issues, just not going to "get" it. I'd even venture so far as to say that people who have a personal experience with physical violence probably have a better awareness of the oppression and yes, violence that is done to them and on their behalf.

I hope my daughters never ever get in a fight.If anyone ever takes a swing at them, I hope they knock that person on their ass.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

They do it in the public square

First you get punched, then you get shamed, dehumanized, and even the people who are supposedly on your side take away all of your agency. Damn.


...Let’s be clear: If the NFL were not primarily a profit-making cartel utterly entranced by its own sales pitch as a morally righteous and fundamentally American institution, the second Ray Rice video would have changed nothing. As Goodell said Tuesday, there really would be “nothing pertinent” in it. There is nothing on the second video of Janay Palmer that anyone on the planet could not have inferred from a description this straightforward: “Ray Rice knocked out his girlfriend in an elevator.” Nothing in the new video merited more punishment than what would have been disclosed in the previous investigation, had it been conducted as responsibly as the NFL and its mouthpieces were so eager to claim it was...

...There is a part of that primarily white-dude “traditionalist” culture that has gotten so good at inventing all “the facts” that make up the convenient, self-pardoning, exculpatory part of “we have to suspend judgment until we get all the facts” that you have to endlessly loop a video of woman getting hit in the fucking face before most people will finally stop inventing a reason for why it’s her fault anyway.

And the sick, sad thing is that this ultimately infects us all.

A few minutes after I saw the latest video, I thought to tweet a screenshot of it as a screw-you to a commentator from the far-right who was being particularly smarmy about the subject. I almost felt I had to – as if the only way a discussion about objective reality can happen anymore is through an exploitive rhetorical device that foists it on others almost as angrily and violently as the subject it’s discussing.

 ...the only thing more hateful than watching that video is the notion that institutions like the NFL barely need to lift a finger anymore to get various subcultures to manufacture comforting alternate truths as needed – until the only thing that gets through anymore is the sheer luck of indelible, inarguable, visual documentation, and the horror of a person’s repeated national humiliation.