Posted on August 8th, 2019
Like everybody else I have opinions.
Unlike everybody else, my opinions seem to get me into trouble entirely too often. Which is why I should probably just keep my big mouth shut. Problem is, I can't seem to do that.
And there's nothing like political opinions to bring on the rage and hatred.
I get it from both sides because I am not a fan of Republicans or Democrats.
Right now I'm much harder on Republicans because they unleashed this idiotic piece of shit president on us and that's always good from some Right-Wing-based anger. But my criticism of some of President Obama's stupider moves always guaranteed copious amounts of Left-Wing-based anger, so what can you do? Since keeping my big mouth shut doesn't seem to be an option, I guess I'll just have to bathe in the hate. Like my hero Emperor Palpatine from the Star Wars movies*...
One topic that never fails to incite hate from all corners of the internet is talking about gun violence. Regardless of where you stand, somebody will hate your opinion. This is perfectly understandable given how lots of people are dying because of them. Gun violence is a persistent threat to every American, and temperatures are bound to be running hot when you debate how to solve such a problem in a country where gun ownership is at our foundation.
And every time there's another mass-shooting (which, let's face it, is all the time now) a blog post I wrote two years ago titled Second Amendments and Horse Shit starts getting clicks.
And an awful lot of hate.
Eventually I had to turn off comments on the post because it seemed like all the non-regular-readers didn't have anything constructive to add to the conversation (something I'm always in favor of)... they just wanted a place to unload their hate.
What's weird about all this? Back when I wrote that entry I worked hard not to appear biased, and tried to find talking points everybody can agree on. That was likely a mistake, because too much of it can be taken in different ways depending on the biases of the person reading it.
If I were writing the same post today, I wouldn't bother trying to be so careful. I would totally call out President Trump as a racist white supremacist asshole who is constantly inciting violence against immigrants, and must be at least partly to blame when these violent white supremacists keep mentioning him as inspiration when they commit these heinous acts of gun violence. I'd likely also talk about how ironic it is that we are losing so badly to white supremacy when this country fought a fucking world war to end the Nazis. And I'd definitely mention exactly how stupid it is to blame video games for mass-shootings when countries like Japan and South Korea play video games at a far higher rate than we do, but they don't have a violence problem like we do.
I'd also choose a different approach in discussing mental illness as it pertains to gun violence. A part of my thinking was that somebody who picks up a gun and tries to kill a massive number of people must have mental issues. But that's a pretty shallow armchair analysis. During times of war soldiers are convinced they need to pick up a gun and kill a bunch of people, so what about that? I'd argue that killing civilians when you're not at war is a distinction that's hard to miss. But when you've got The Commander in Chief of the United States Military essentially declaring war on immigrants and saying that the "immigrant infestation must be stopped for the good of the country"... isn't that pretty much the same thing? If you agree with what the president is saying and feel it's your patriotic duty to "fight the immigrant invasion," then no mental illness is required... just hate.
In any event, I want to be perfectly clear that I categorically do no believe that all persons battling mental illness or who are dealing with mental problems are prone to violence. That would, in fact, be absurd levels of hypocritical of me. Shallow armchair analysis aside, implying this might be the case was not my intent, and what I said about eliminating the stigma of mental illness and being more proactive when it comes to mental health in this country still stands.
Sometimes when laying out your opinions, mistakes can be made. And while I'll never apologize for having an opinion, I'm definitely sorry about being guilty of unclear, incomplete, or plain wrong statements I make when stating my opinion.
I may be one of the smartest humans on the planet, but I'm still human, after all.
*Apparently Palpatine is going to play a part of the new Star Wars film: The Rise of Skywalker. Assumably in flashbacks since the guy is like... dead... and everything. Or maybe he comes back as a Force Ghost like Obi-Wan? Can Sith Lords do Force Ghosts? I guess we will have to wait and see.
Posted on August 15th, 2013
Very, very few people could have took over for Jon Stewart on The Daily Show for a single episode... let alone an entire summer.
And yet... John Oliver did an amazing job of it.
He did so well that, while I'm happy Jon Stewart will be returning after the break, I will really miss seeing John Oliver cover the faux news on Comedy Central...
I hope that Comedy Central sees this too, because how amazing would it be to have another show developed for John Oliver which covers international news or something like that? I would absolutely tune in for it... and I'm betting a lot of other people would too.
And speaking of international news...
Absolutely horrified by the news coming out of Egypt.
My visit to the country back in 2007 was brief, but wonderful. The people were incredibly welcoming and kind, and I ache to think of them embroiled in such violence. Adding to the hurt is how those Egyptians who make a living from tourism are going to suffer. I fear that this is an industry that will not soon be returning to Egypt... much as it needs to.
Peace be upon you, Egypt.
Posted on May 3rd, 2012
Remember back in 1999 when religious leader Jerry Falwell declared that the purple member of The Teletubbies was a homosexual role model for children because he was carrying that red handbag everywhere? Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but he was totally serious about it.
Since that time, other religious leaders and groups have been in an uproar over things they consider to be bad role models for children... and, more often than not, it's because they are gay (e.g. Chris Coffer on Glee) or assumed to be gay (e.g. Tinky Winky and SpongeBob SquarePants)...
Whatever the case, these morons honestly believe that even the mere sight of something they perceive to be gay will causes kids to embrace homosexuality.
And what can parents do when their child has been infected by The Gayness? According to Pastor Sean Harris of the Barean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C., you beat the gay out of them, of course!
"So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, 'Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do,' you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed."
"Can I make it any clearer? Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch, okay? You are not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male. And when your daughter starts acting too butch you reign her in. And you say, 'Oh no, sweetheart. You can play sports... play them to the glory of God. But sometimes you are going to act like a girl and walk like a girl and talk like a girl and smell like a girl and that means you are going to be beautiful. You are going to be attractive. You are going to dress yourself up.'"
Who is this sadistic moron?
And we wonder why gay youth are committing suicide in record numbers.
I'm straight, but heaven only knows I'm not the most masculine guy in the world. I most certainly wasn't the most masculine kid in school. And because of that, I should have been abused and beaten just to be sure any non-masculine behavior wasn't a sign that I might be "turning gay?"
When the furor over Pastor Sean's remarks hit earlier this week, I started writing a long rant about how we're quickly becoming a society that is hostile... sometimes fatal... to children who are even a little different than what is considered "normal." But as I was re-reading it, I decided that it would do more harm than good, and tossed it.
Then today I read where Pastor Sean is retracting his statements of persecution and violence, but not really. He still feels totally justified in telling people to beat their kids based on scripture that he obviously doesn't understand.
And now I'm wishing I hadn't tossed out my rant, because I concluded it by calling Pastor Sean "a fucking asshole that should be arrested for child endangerment who then gets the shit beaten out of him in prison so he can fully understand the violence he is advocating."
Some would say that such a wish for violence against Pastor Sean makes me no better than the asshole himself. They would be right.
But then I think back to the child I was. The child who wasn't good at sports, who didn't like hiking or fishing, who wasn't popular with girls, who loved art and music, who wasn't like most of the boys... and I say "fuck it." He would have advocated my getting beaten, so it's only right that he be on the receiving end of the same sentiment. Eye for an eye and all that.
And since I'm pretty sure I read that in The Bible somewhere, it's totally justified, right?
Posted on January 10th, 2011
And so, as promised, here I am commenting on the tragedy in Arizona after a day off from thinking about anything. I suppose I should preface this entry with a disclaimer in the hopes that my comments and email inbox won't explode with hate, which is about the last thing I need right now...
This blog post is in no way an attempt to tell people what to think. I am not trying to change anybody's mind. I'm not trying to get people riled up. I'm not trying to send a political message. I'm not trying to do anything except write down my thoughts in the hope that it will help me to move past this dreadful act of violence that has broken my heart and put me in a state of despair that I haven't felt in quite a while. I ache inside when I think of a little nine-year old girl being gunned down before she's even had a chance at life. I know that this isn't new... I know that unspeakable violence against children happens all over the world every day. But every once in a while an event like this brings all the pain forward and suddenly you're overwhelmed by something you try to forget... something you try to deny even exists. Then the reality of it all beats you down until you don't want to exist in a world where something so senseless and stupid can happen to somebody so innocent...
The shooter, Jared Lee Whatever, is clearly a seriously disturbed individual. Even a cursory look at his writings and YouTube videos reveal that he is mentally unstable with a tenuous grip on reality, perhaps even full-on schizophrenia, (as if gunning down a child wasn't proof enough that something is wrong). It's not in the scope of a simple blog entry to go into the peticulars of mental illness and my experience with those inflicted by it... except to say that trying to explain why they do the things they do and what causes them to do the things they do will make you crazy. I don't pretend to know what punishment is fitting for someone so clearly disturbed but, thankfully, it's not my job to decide that.
A lot has been written blaming Sarah Palin's "target list" (which clearly names Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords as a political enemy) as a contributing factor to what happened...
Coupled with her Twitter comments telling her followers "Don't retreat, RELOAD!" it understandably paints her in a bad light. And, since everybody is always looking for a villain whenever something terrible happens, she's a very easy person to blame.
Except... I don't for a single second believe that Sarah Palin honestly wished that somebody would pick up a gun and kill these people. Like me, she comes from a place and a culture where guns and gun terminology are just a way of life. I know this because I have been around guns all my life. Many, many people where I live own guns for hunting, for sport, and for protection (yes, we have a police department, but that's not going to be much help if you live ten miles up a canyon somewhere and somebody is breaking into your home or you're being attacked by a bear). When I was young I got my firearm safety card. I know how to use a gun. I've shot guns in the past. And even though my beliefs forbid me from handling a gun today, I could certainly do so if I had to. It's just part of the culture where I live and grew up.
As is the gun-based terminology that Sarah Palin is currently being crucified for.
But I'll get back to that in a minute.
First I want to go a bit deeper into "gun culture" and what that actually means. Because, whether or not it's prevalent in the area you're at, if you live in the United States of America, you're a part of it. And it starts from an early age.
If you're anything like me, a very early age...
This is the kind of stuff I grew up watching. If you're my age (or Sarah Palin's age) odds are, you did too. And for me to say that it affected her and not me would be pretty hypocritical. Here is a panel from a DaveToon from 2004...
And here's a full DaveToon strip from 2006...
And, just to show that I'm not above gun violence to myself...
Heck, I use guns ALL THE TIME in my DaveToons. And it's not always Daffy-Duck-style blasts to the face either. In a DaveToon from two years ago there were actual bullets involved...
Now, granted, the vast majority of times nobody actually gets hurt in my DaveToons. Just like with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck cartoons, in context the guns are used for comedic effect, not to actually kill somebody. Even when I finally used bullets in my gun, the worst I could manage would be to shoot off somebody's hat. And yet, I have occasionally shown somebody riddled with bullet-holes. Like the time I tried to show the results of somebody "Happy Slapping" a random person in Britain vs. somebody "Happy Slapping" a random person in the USA...
And, of course, registering my displeasure with George Lucas over his stupid Star Wars prequels and screwing up the Indiana Jones franchise...
In context things like this are mere fantasy ramblings. Even though I don't use guns in real life and think that the world would be better off without them, I'm not above using them for entertainment in a cartoon on a blog meant for adults. Or enjoying them for entertainment value either. I regularly watch all kinds of action movies where people are getting shot left and right. In the context of entertainment, I don't find anything wrong with that. And neither should George Lucas... he has "Indiana Jones" shoot a lot of people in his movies. Heck, he even massacred a bunch of kids in Revenge of the Sith!
All that being said, I'm not against people owning guns in our gun-based culture. That ship has sailed. In the USA the guns are here and they're here to stay. If we were to all of a sudden ban guns, it would have very little net effect. Since the majority of people mis-using guns are criminals anyway, you'd be removing the ability for non-criminals to protect themselves against them. For better or worse, we have a gun culture and that isn't going to change.
But, given the seemingly never-ending tragedy involving insane people with guns, it's not like we shouldn't at least attempt to figure out a way to keep things like this from happening. The problem is that nothing we try seems to work. Things like "waiting periods" and "background checks" may stop some senseless tragedies from happening where they exist, but the shootings are still going on. Because the crazy people always seem to find a way. Just like when an alcoholic gets behind the wheel of a car while drunk and ends up mowing down innocent people in a sidewalk somewhere. It's illegal, we have laws against it, we have court-mandated rehab to try and prevent it, and yet it keeps happening. This doesn't mean we shouldn't keep trying, but there doesn't seem to be a foolproof solution at hand. At least not here in the United States where guns are everywhere. Just like prohibition with alcohol, there will always be a way for people to get their hands on something... even when it's been made illegal.
The perils of people having of guns is an issue that requires a lot more thought. And I'm not going to claim to know how that chestnut can be cracked.
But what about the perils of people talking guns in their language, communication, and entertainment?
Is somebody like me who draws cartoons glorifying gun violence for entertainment partly responsible for escalating gun-based violence in this country? What about cartoons, video games, television shows, comic books, movies, YouTube videos, websites, and all the rest?
And yet... not really.
Taken in context, someone would have to be insane to look at one of my DaveToon rants or a Daffy Duck cartoon and think that they're being instructed to go get a gun and shoot somebody.
Unfortunately, as we are sadly aware, these people actually exist.
So, like I said... probably.
And yet... not really.
Even though I loathe Sarah Palin, abhor her politics, despise her lies, deplore her half-truths, and find her messages of hate and bigotry to be disgusting on every possible level... even though I find her partisan hackery and unfounded attacks to be reprehensible... even though I think she has a lot to answer for when it comes to her irresponsible manipulation of people with fear, uncertainty, and doubt... even though she is one of the most useless, incomprehensibly stupid people I have ever seen in the political arena... even though she disgusts me in ways I can barely enunciate... her saying "Don't retreat, RELOAD" and drawing targets on her political rivals is just a part of our gun-based culture. Sarah Palin is being strung up for something most of us are guilty of in some way.
Even Daffy Duck.
When I was in high school I remember a pep rally poster where gun targets were painted over drawings of mascots from other school's sports teams. Above that, something like "WE'VE GOT YOU IN OUR SIGHTS" was painted. Did our school literally want to hunt down rival schools with guns? Of course not. Was our intent to incite others to hunt down these rival schools with guns? Of course not. But that's the culture where I come from. No sane person would attach heinous acts of violence to something like this because In context it's simply communicating team spirit in words and images everybody here understands.
In the wilds of Alaska where Sarah Palin is off shooting moose and clubbing fish, I'm sure it's much the same. Words like "RELOAD" are just colloquial parts of speech where she comes from, and a means of expressing her seriousness in the idea of confronting opposition head-on. I totally get that. The USA is filled with violent imagery just about everywhere you look, and she's just latching onto that as a way of stating her opinions. In that respect, she's no different than Quentin Tarantino making violent films like Reservoir Dogs or the people at Rockstar Games who make the Grand Theft Auto video games.
Except... as a political leader, Sarah Palin should know better. She should act better. She should be a better example. She should inspire better. And she should lead by a higher standard. But she never has, and I don't expect her to start now. When your message is one of division and hatred, there's very little room to maneuver. Sudden pleas for respectful debate and intelligent compromise would be seen as a huge weakness by her fan-base, and an implausible reversal by everybody else. She's trapped in a prison of her own making, and though she may temporarily tone down her rhetoric, it's only a matter of time before she's back to form or else she knows that she's finished.
And that means we ALL have a problem.
Because while I have every confidence that Sarah Palin never in a million years intended for anybody to be shot because of her gun-speak and infographics... when taken in context she should not be the least bit surprise that the accusations are being laid at her doorstep. You can't viciously attack your political rivals with such unbridled vitriol and expect nobody is going to take your extremes to an extreme.
Whether that's what happened here, we may never know. As I said, trying to understand the mindset of a disturbed person like Jared Lee Loughner will drive you crazy. But... so long as Sarah Palin continues down the road she's on, she should expect to be taking more heat down the line.
Hopefully you can now understand why I choose to forgive... even defend... Sarah Palin using language and imagery that's a part of America's gun culture to communicate. It would be hypocritical of me not to.
But I hope you can also understand why I choose to believe that context is everything when it comes to something like this, and hers is hardly a message or method I can support. Respectful debate has been replaced with vicious attacks when it comes to political discourse in this country... on both sides of the political spectrum. That this will lead to violence is not surprising. That people in this country will stand for it is surprising.
Or not. I mean, you've got kids watching Elmer Fudd blow off Daffy Duck's head seventeen times for heaven's sake.
Posted on March 9th, 2010
For the FIFTH frackin' time now, the company which handles the credit/debit cards for my small local bank had a "security breach" which means I have to get a new bank card. This sucks hard, because every time they issue a new card, you have a brand new PIN to remember. I usually end up forgetting the number, which is inconvenient when you're... ohhhh let's saaayyyy... at a cash machine in a foreign country trying to get some local currency to pay an impatient taxi driver.
Not wanting to go through something like that again, I decided to go to the bank and ask if they can change my PIN to something I remember. Turns out they could, so they did, and so now I'm back to the PIN I had for my very first bank card (which is the only one I can seem to remember). Here's hoping I get to hang on to it for more than six months.
Otherwise, I'm going to have to brutally murder the dumbass who keeps losing his laptop with everybody's bank card info on it.
Just like I almost had to brutally murder an old man in a car who tried to zoom ahead of me as I crossed the street on my way back from the bank. Except he realized he couldn't make it in time, so he slammed on his brakes.
And then proceeded to rev his engine at me while I crossed.
I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and stared at him while I said "SERIOUSLY?" Because I may not be much of a fighter, but I could have easily broken this geriatric asshole in half with one hand.
Rudeness like this just pisses me off. It's a rage thing I'm working on.
But at least I have perfect color perception, having scored a perfect score of ZERO at the ColorIQ Challenge!
Apparently 1 out of 255 women and 1 out of 12 men have some form of color vision deficiency. If you want to know if you're color deficient, you can click here to take a free test online.
Hopefully you'll get a perfect score like me!
Hmmm... I guess that means I'm officially perfect at everything then.