“Post-Atheism: There’s No God, Let’s Move On” – (Patheos)

Recently (in the past day or so in fact) I have come across 2 articles about our world Post-Atheism. I think a better description would be Post New Atheism.

Either way, back in the early 200o (post 9/11), the combination of both the horrible religiously driven events and the fairly recent ubiquity of the internet helped fuel a sort of irreligious revolution in the western world.  Spearheaded by the so-called 4 horsemen (Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Danial Dennett and Christopher Hitchens), the previously esoteric cohort of higher education begun to explode in numbers. To the point now that the irreligious are thought to be one of the largest untapped cohorts in the United States alone.
I use the term irreligious as a catch-all for anyone in the secular spectrum, being that I don’t expect people to adopt labels that they may not feel are fitting. I also don’t use the term Nones, because that seems a silly term to be throwing around in an intellectual environment. Not that it has stopped people like Dawkins though.

But moving on, it has been close to 2 decades since the events of September 11th, and the birth of Nu-New-Atheism. And some are saying that it is time to move on. Time to move into a post-atheist world.

I have to agree. Having already more or less adopted such a mindset in terms of my personal self, it’s about time that the rest of the world and the cohort caught up.
New Atheism has increasingly become an unintended parody of the religiosity it is supposed to be trying to defeat. Which is severely retarding its ability to fulfill that original purpose in many ways. It’s time for a reboot.

That was my condensed take on the subject. I will now switch to the article.

We’re now in the age of post-atheism, and not a moment too soon.

The Utopia That Never Was

If the study of science and history teaches us anything, it’s that everything has a lifespan. Organisms, species, and even civilizations originate, develop, thrive, and then die out. The universe itself will someday expire through heat death. So welcome to the age of post-atheism.

Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularspectrum/2017/10/post-atheism-theres-no-god-lets-move/#5uh3s7zkWyB46xU1.99

I believe the word that the author is looking for is entropy.

Not really a criticism. More, a helpful hint?

In the aftermath of 9/11, atheism seemed like a great idea. The new millennium was supposed to represent a fresh start, where we would apply skepticism to all the old beliefs. Science and reason would replace religion and superstition, and the world would be a better place.

However, the problems of the world are a lot more complicated than they seemed in that moment of crisis. We can argue all day long about whether God exists, and we’ve been doing so for over a decade; not only did religious belief refuse to go away, but blaming all the world’s problems on religion turned out to be just as self-serving, simplistic, and erroneous a dogma as any religious belief.

I feel inclined to swap out Atheism in the opening sentence with Nu-New Atheism But at the same time, I can’t help but think that using the word Atheism to describe the ideology that it has devolved into recently is wrong. New Atheism could be applied here, but I know for a fact that this practice long predated New Atheism. As much as I love this speech from Madelyn Murray O’Hair, I can’t help but think she is engaging in some of the same rhetoric. The whole Atheism First mentality that still permeates American Atheists, and really, much of the cohort as a whole to this day. Pissing away the potential of an entirely new voting block due to its reluctance to embrace a label.

That is not rational.

I suppose that the pre-2000’s version of garden-variety Atheism is not all that different from what ended up taking off in the New Millennium. Both were destined to become unintended parodies eventually.

White Men Tell Us Things

Our celebrity atheist spokesmen have plenty to answer for. The Four Horsemen initially inspired us to think about religion critically, but gradually we realized we were getting sold more than books and tickets to high-profile debates; we were also buying into a right-wing mindset. The New Atheists were providing intellectual cover to the War on Terror and Muslim-bashing. They derided feminists, and applauded academic hoaxes intended to discredit critical theorists. They’ve touted the work of racist pseudoscientists and declared that philosophy is a waste of time. For people who supposedly champion critical thinking, they sure believe some wacko stuff themselves.

I still struggle with this, really.

It started with the infamous Bill Maher/Sam Harris V. Ben Afflick show some time ago. There was a lot of reactionary outrage on both sides, lots of black and white arguments made. They are racist, they are not racist.

I used to be on the side of Maher and Harris. But I have since withdrawn entirely from the debate. Meaning that I don’t take any side.

Being around philosophy types has helped make many things more clear to me than they ever were before. Conversations like the one above are often chalked full of WAY more moving parts and nuance than is recognized. And the supposed thinkers that have become famous and well respected also often  seem to miss (or ignore) the grey areas. I have yet to have ONE New Atheist that I formerly respected that does not fall into this trap.

Could this be why they so dislike philosophy?

Even their pro-science rhetoric turned out to be problematic. The two-dimensional positivism they peddle is like the Model T of philosophy of science, a construct that went extinct around the same time as did the passenger pigeon. Scientific inquiry is in hock to corporate and military interests: pop-science TV shows like NOVA and Cosmos are sponsored by Samsung, Chrysler, FOX, and the Koch Brothers. Are these institutions that value freethought?

Though I have nothing to add or say about the statement, I have to bring one thing up. The word Freethought.

These words annoy me. You often see people use labels like freethinker despite obviously only applying the logic it entails to one area . . . religion. Ideological Atheism that mirrors religiosity, conspiracy theory, identity politics . . . the only one that counts is religion!

I had to say it. Its why I, for the most part, don’t take anyone that describes themselves with a buzzword (freethinker, logical, rational, reasonable, nuanced etc) all that seriously. In a nutshell, you do not have to tell me or anyone else because we will know.

In a nutshell, you do not have to tell us. We will know.

Let’s Be Reasonable

The most dire problems we face today aren’t religious: anthropogenic global warming, income inequality, systemic racism, our vulnerability to terrorism, gun violence, corporate influence over our government, denial of reproductive rights for women, and various other intractable matters. The idea that religion will disappear if we insult enough strangers online, and then all our problems will go away, is magical thinking of the highest order.

But they’re your hours, so pass them as you will. If the God-is-God-ain’t matter still seems important to you, have at it. But that’s stale stuff.

More or less what I have been trying to say for a while now. As the planet burns, we are trying to sell the passengers black t-shirts.

To my way of thinking, it’s more important to look at our own beliefs and biases, and subject them to the same scrutiny we’ve spent years and years applying to those of religious people. We need to take an honest look at the way we conceptualize science and approach knowledge; we need to examine our society and the inequities that still exist; and we need to acknowledge that there are philosophical assumptions involved in how we define history and humanity that deserve skepticism.

There’s no God. Let’s move on.

Could not have said it better.

It’s nice to see that at least a small part of the digital universe has started to wake up and smell the coffee. Well, has become comfortable enough to share these feelings publicly. But we have a long way to go. As evidenced by many of the comments under the article.

And possibly in this comment section in the future.

 

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The Dawkins Scale

It has been awhile since I last broached this topic. But in these days of turbulence and super chaotic news cycles, a softball is a nice distraction.

So here goes. The Dawkins Scale.

Despite having heard this scale referred to in the past, I don’t recall ever seeing it nor looking it up (oddly enough). But I happened upon it late last night on Twitter, so I took a look.

Most vocal atheists tend to place themselves at a 6. Some militants go as far as 7, but most generally know that is as idiotic a conclusion (given the evidence available) as a 1 or a 2.
I used to be a 6, back in my days of being a loud and proud Atheist. But aside from that point in life, I can not really place myself anywhere. Which is interesting for a chart that is supposed to be a default rule of thumb for all of the above. Not that it is surprising.

Let’s start with me today. After I quit trying on new labels after leaving the Agnostic Atheist one behind a few years ago, I started to look at the topic differently. I used to (like many) feel it important to make my answer to the ultimate question known (mine being “No”). But I realized in time that for me anyway, the energy expended on the topic was WAY out of sync with its true importance in my life. The god question has no bearing on my life whatsoever, so it needs no attention.
I also realized that my cookie cutter answers to the question (the Agnostic Atheist stance) were redundant to my true sentiment. I don’t know suited me just fine.
No, not Maybe. Many Atheists like to strawman this position by using Maybe to try and force people to pick a side. But it doesn’t work on this cookie.
I didn’t give some ambiguous answer with an obvious lean such as Maybe or Probably Not. I said I don’t know.

Now, switching to my childhood and teenage years previous to Atheism.

Church was never a priority for my household. I can’t really use words like certainty to describe my position on a deity throughout this time because they don’t really fit. Certainty seems to entail a that I had considered the concept (or at very least, the topic was brought up at some point in my presence). But that isn’t the case. It was just something that sat in the background recesses of my mind and consciousness. A bit like the blue sky or the green leaves of summer. It was just there.

The 9th grade came along and changed that a bit. One could say that a deity went from a background concept to being fairly prominent, though not in the way that most would expect. I didn’t have a come to Jesus moment. Rather, trials in life (to borrow from the theists) made me hate God. Initially, for all He (I was young) was allowed to happen to me. But then later for all that He was allowing to happen to people around the world.

Fortunately for me (looking back), I had very little church influence in my life. Had I been part of a church, I may well have reasoned these trials away as just a part of God’s plan. But I was alone in my struggle. Which allowed my God hatred to transition into an acknowledgment of a void, as opposed to full-blown theism. A Christian to be precise (since I don’t live in Saudi Arabia).

Now, looking at the Dawkins scale, I am not sure that I can place myself in it either pre OR post Agnostic Atheist.

When I was young, I didn’t give it enough thought to really consider myself within ANY of the so-called theistic options, yet also was not what they call Pure Agnostic. When I decided to Hate God (presumably the Christian one I was familiar with), I suppose that could be seen as a one or a 2.
And then there is now. We come back to number 4, Pure Agnostic. This position on the chart being “both the existence and non-existence conclusions are equally plausible”. While it would be the closest entry point of which I could shoehorn myself into this graph, it still doesn’t fit.

I personally do not give either conclusion equal weight or probability of being correct. When I say that I do not know, I am not kidding. The topic is unimportant and impossible to analyze at this point (and possibly always will be), so I just accepted that and walked away in pretty much every way possible. Rather than focus on unknowable metaphysical problems, I try and focus on the physical.

I don’t fit the Dawkins scale. I don’t have a problem with that either, being that the whole thing is silly. It makes me question how exactly Dawkins came up with the dichotomy. If the child me is mostly outside of its confines, I have to think that there has to a cohort that he overlooked.
Indeed, I know that Dawkins and other Nu-atheists tend to not take criticisms from the Philosophy realm seriously. It shows in how rigid a doctrine that the once ambiguous Atheism has become in the hands of a generation following the 4 Horseman. Atheist or Theist . . . can’t get much more inflexible than that.
Either way, even aside from that well-deserved jab at modern Atheist culture (Atheism First! is a phrase that Trump helped me cook up), I still wonder how the I don’t Know people got overlooked. Unless it is the typical arrogant  “They don’t know what they are talking about, but WE will educate them!” atheist attitude. Being Richard Dawkins, it wouldn’t surprise me.

Well, I suppose that is all folks.

If you ever looked at this chart and thought “I’m not sure . . .”, no need to feel bad. Because it is dumb and extremely narrowly focused for the highly ambiguous cohort that it is supposed to be helping sort out.

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“I Choose To Stand Because I Haven’t The Guts To Take A Knee” – (Patheos)

Today I came across a Patheos article (written by Shane Phipps and posted on his own Patheos platform) that seems a good follow-up to yesterdays post on the same subject.  It is essentially Shane’s reasons for choosing to stand during the national anthem, despite not really disagreeing with the protesters choice.

Here is a small excerpt from the piece.

I choose to stand for the National Anthem. I don’t have the guts to take a knee. I don’t want to face the repercussions of taking a knee. I don’t want to have to get into a confrontation over it. I have lived a privileged life to the extent that I haven’t had anything I’ve felt the personal need to protest. But, because of the lessons that I am learning about the message of those who choose to take a knee, I now feel some discomfort each and every time I stand, place my hand over my heart and face the flag. Every time I hear the National Anthem now, I am thinking about hurting people who feel let down by that flag–people with a wholly different American experience from me. I’m here to tell you that’s a good thing–that discomfort I am now feeling is a good thing. The reason those young men are kneeling isn’t to disrespect anyone. It is so that I will feel some discomfort as I stand. God bless them for that.

Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/shanephipps/2017/09/24/choose-stand-havent-guts-take-knee/#3p8jQKWkwe6aC5R3.99 

Posted in Opinion, Various Commentary | Leave a comment

Taking A Knee, And Missing The Point

The last few days have had the phenomenon of taking a knee explode, thanks to President Trump again running his beak without actually evaluating what is exiting his lips. Or to put it another way, standing up on his podium of white privilege and telling the blacks of the nation to Stand up and Shut up. Know your place.

A man that even Jim Jong Un has figured out how to fuck with manages to turn a majority within one of the most patriotic American civil institutions there is (organized sports) towards seemingly unpatriotic action . . .

I would say I am surprised. But that has ship sailed so long ago that it is LONG gone over the horizon. Just like the possibility of going an entire week without hearing about some other thing that 45 has managed to completely fuck up.

Either way, this past week has been filled with the unexpected. Not the unexpected in terms of the world of politics. More, the unexpected in terms of the loudest voices of pushback.
First, a late night funnyman ensured the demise of yet another idiotic and evil healthcare proposal. It’s amazing how they don’t even try to hide their psychopathy anymore.
Then it was an ESPN host doing what is right.

And now, a tide of support. And with it, a tide of pushback. Many are offended by the disrespect being shown toward the flag, and everything it stands for. Including the military.

I will showcase one such example that I came across here on WordPress.

Yes, things are not all fine and dandy with our country. But it’s not been a thing that has JUST happened. It’s been happening for many years. There is much room for improvement, corrections, and things to change. There is a need for things to change. But tell me please how your cowardly act of kneeling instead of standing makes a bit of difference? And yes, I do believe it is an act of cowardliness. You make millions playing a game that people watch. You have a platform to speak out and to make a difference. Stand up for what you believe in….

https://beyondthemoonlight.wordpress.com/2017/09/24/taking-a-knee/ 

First off, I want to say that I do not think that such action is cowardly. Such insinuates that the action is unpatriotic. And this protest is far from being unpatriotic.

The president, the leader of the United States of America as represented by the flag, is effectively attempting to use the position as a bully pulpit. All of those freedoms and such that patriotic Americans love do not mean ANYTHING to him. Even when you remove race from the equation, this is painfully obvious.

Given this, it can be said that taking a knee is one of the most patriotic things that one can do at this point. People would not feel any need to protest if they did not care about their country and all that it stands for.

It is true that flags and patriotism do not mean all that much to me. In a globalized and increasingly interconnected world, I tend to view the notion of  “America/Canada/Mexico/Britan/Germany First!” as an antiquated relic of a bygone era that slows our progress. And there is the simple fact that I am not an American citizen.

Despite this, I implore all to take a more detailed look at the situation. To those that are concerned about the notion of disrespecting the flag . . . Frankly, you are missing the point.

The protests are a direct reaction to the anti-American actions and rhetoric put forth by the president of the United States. The man that represents the United States, does not embrace its values.

In a nutshell, it is not the protesters that are disrespecting the flag and all it stands for. It is The President that is disrespecting the flag and all that it stands for.

Many would like to paint it as a simple matter of either being an anti-American protester or a patriotic American. While that is the typical rhetoric of a polarized nation, the real reality is much more grey.

Who wins if Patriotic Americans are so busy defending the flag that they fail to see the nation slipping away? What of the military sacrifices of members past and present then?

I had presviously used a photograph of a so called WW2 veteran on his knee, suposedly in support of the recent protest. I found out however that it may be a fake (source being Reddit, I believe). Thus I have removed it (though it is likley still visible on Twitter).

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Things That Anoy Me- Part 16

76.) Tragedy Of The Sheeple

I miss the days when it took more than getting fired over sharing a genuinely biased message to get attention from the public. You know, those days when you needed more than charisma in order to have your opinions on societies biggest problems taken seriously.

Back in my days as a child, the “You can’t believe everything you see on TV!” mantra was drilled into at least my brain.
But as an adult, I rarley (if ever) see the same stance being taught to children (let alone embraced by most anyone else!) in the context of social media and the internet. Which is a HUGE disservice to not only our children, but the whole of society itself. When in combination with things like content tayloring algrighyms, one can only HOPE that this huge educational gap is not resulting in to much mental anguish due to percieved confirmation bias (at the micro level), or enabling the whole sale destablization of whole societies (at the macro level).

But I suspect that we will continue to have this phenomenon of idiots in the spotlight (many cashing in on crowd sourcing, of course!) for as long as we do not teach people anything beyond HOW to use the internet.
Learning how to operate the machine is important. But since it is essentially the wild west of the 21st century, failing to warn people that some areas of the internet are akin to entering lawless southwestern towns a century ago is only asking for trouble.

77.) Christmas Creep

http://www.cbc.ca/news/move-over-pumpkin-spice-latte-safeway-offering-eggnog-in-september-1.4292312 

Aside from aiding and abetting the whole news advertising phenomenon of late (really CBC?!), we have another reason to hate capitalism.  I am not sure when this piece will be published, but yes, the date on the article is correct.

September. Late September, granted. But still . . . September.

Yeah, it’s everyone’s pet peeve.  The build-up to the ultimate mediocre event becomes more and more drawn out with each passing year. But to be fair to Empire (masters of Safeway and Sobeys in Canada), this is not the earliest I have seen Christmas deployed.  It was only a year or 2 ago that I saw brits mixed reactions to holiday shops opening in August, and Christmas cakes with expiration dates BEFORE Christmas itself. At least Safeway held out until Thanksgiving was at least in sight.

But I suppose it is official . . . that time of the year has officially arrived. That period between September and back to school, and New Years. Holiday hell.

For the retail worker writer of this blog, it means more traffic. More people (often with their obnoxious spawn in toe) gathering up every unhealthy and sugar-laden thing they can get their hands on, making an unholy mess that could rival Irma in their wake.  And as the holidays get closer (first Thanksgiving, then the hellish culmination that is Christmas), people will behave with less and less holiday cheer.

“Merry Christmas”? “Happy Holidays”?

More like “Go fuck yourself and get the fuck out of my way!”.

After Halloween is over, the remembrance day sheep will voice their disdain for stores and people that DARE to decorate in holiday garb before the sacred day that is remembrance day has passed. Though many of these poppy wearing twats will have no issue crowding stores and shops 1 second after 1pm. When they are legally allowed to reopen for business.

SHOW SOME RESPECT!

Just don’t fuck with my ability to buy bread, butter, or 10 cans of tomatos because they are a dollar. Those brave men and women DIED for our right to buy cheap tomatoes!

Once past the remebrance day mark, October and November eventually slide into December. The whole marketing machine will kick into high gear, once more.

The Christmas First brigade will make itself visible once more. Be it pins, Facebook memes and posts or some other way, they will shove the dick of Christ right into our societal holiday traditions. All the while claiming persecution and becoming triggered little snowflakes at the sight of a world taking a less THEM oriented stance in a multicultural world.

Its gonna be a blast.

I can’t wait for the holiday retail playlist to make its yearly appearance!

78.) Cries Of The Chronically Obsolete

http://business.financialpost.com/technology/gaming/pewdiepies-casual-racism-is-scary-but-even-more-terrifying-are-the-millions-of-fans-who-still-support-him

First off, I don’t give much of a shit about Pewdiepie, or the incident. Well, either this one or the previous one. The first one, where he paid for hire consultants to say something overtly racist (aparently just to see if they would actually do it). At least some did, as you probably guessed. And the 2ed incident being his calling someone that annoyed him in a video game session the N word (I heard the audio).

Given the context, its arguably not the first word that would come to mind. Maybe its common in his private group of companians, and slipped out in the public forum.
Shit happens. I am not going to play the part of the launguage police, tearing someone down just because of a lapse in judgement.
Particularly since the old gaurd of media is likley trawling though every terabyte of non-traditional popular content on youtube, looking for something else to villinize.

But now, the tactic changes. From trying to shame the source, to trying to shame the so called supporters.

The freedom of the Internet is fantastic and all, but there really is something to be said for the standards and controls enforced by traditional media.

We were all reminded of this again last week when YouTube star Felix Kjellberg – better known by his online handle, PewDiePie – let loose a nasty racial slur in a clip of him playing the popular online battle royale shooter PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. It was too harsh for publication in a family newspaper, but suffice to say it involved an F-bomb plus that most controversial of racial epithets. And it was brought on simply because he was having a hard time shooting a random player from a distance. He doesn’t even seem to notice what he’s said until a few seconds later, when his expression changes slightly and he adds, chuckling, “I don’t mean that in a bad way.” Whatever that means.

Whatever that means.

I could be wrong. But it sounds like an inside word from an internal group that accidently slipped out at the wrong time. In a way, even less pertinent than Bill Maher’s brush with the N word earlier this year.

But it was too late. It was out there. And social media did what it does in situations like this. The highest paid YouTuber of 2016 – he now has an estimated net worth of about $20 million – was raked over the coals by gamers and non-gamers alike, many of whom were already fed up with his questionable behaviour in past videos, including a post earlier this year in which viewers saw his reaction to a pair of men holding a sign with an anti-Semitic slogan (which eventually cost him a lucrative partnership with Disney). Already notorious within mainstream media, dozens of sites – including The Guardian, CBS, Wired, and Variety – reported on this latest outburst.

Imagine that. And I bet that none of them loaded the reports with advertisments, so as to prove that their agenda in this was purly selfless.

But it’s his fans that are perhaps the most troubling part of all of this. Despite his continued offences, Kjellberg’s subscriber numbers have grown by millions this year alone, now sitting well over 57 million. His channel still has the most subscribers of any on YouTube. And each new video he produces is still receiving millions of views. He continues to be, by any meaningful measure, YouTube’s biggest original star.

Its almost like many people don’t give a fuck about manufactured outrage. As if up and coming generations have less interest in the typical pablum formula that worked so well on the boomers that came before them.

Imagine that. Something else that the young have killed.

This tacit decision by millions of people to simply overlook his unacceptable behaviour is kind of terrifying – though perhaps not all that surprising, given the recent rise of far-right movements around the world. His subscribers can’t even use the separate-the-art-from-the-artist defence – as some have tried with writer Orson Scott Card and filmmaker Mel Gibson – because, in the case of Kjellberg, the art is the artist. What we see in his videos – especially videos of him simply playing a game – is not an act. It’s just Kjellberg being Kjellberg. People who still watch and support him despite his bigotry are implicitly buying into casual racism.

And as long as millions continue to do so, they won’t consider themselves outliers. The strength of numbers will make them confident that the rest of the world is just overreacting, making a big deal out of something that ought not be much of an issue. Put simply, Kjellberg’s legions of loyal fans are actively normalizing his behaviour.

First off, subscribers do not necessarily mean viewers. Many people have subscriptions to many channels that they may not even pay much attention to anymore. I did up until recently (I got fed up with them clogging up my feed).
As for the others, chances are they pay more attention to the litterally thousands of hours worth of video in which he is NOT casually racist. A bit like the millions of hours of television aired on various networks that accidently carried Janet Jacksons titty for a split second.

Normalization of this behavier? One can’t write off the concept, I supose. But I worry far more about President Trump doing that. Even the most prominent Youtube face dosen’t have THAT big of a platform.

Though he does still have viewership numbers that would make many traditional media company wet in the trousers.

So what’s to be done? Probably not much. YouTube has taken punitive action against Kjellberg in the past, removing him from Google Preferred and axing his original series Scare PewDiePie, but the online video giant is unlikely to go so far as to ban him.

Dare I say . . . GOOD!

First off, thanks for feeding into the Orwellian Free Speech hype machine. Its bad enough having whole cohorts droning on and on about a topic they don’t know FUCK ALL about in depth without shit like this only enabling them further.

To take the libratarian approach, Youtube COULD ban him if they wanted. Private ownership comes with that power.

But I would hope they woudn’t, because I leave the job of the deciders of content to the consumers. Its not like were dealing with David Duke. If people are that off put by it, they will go away. If not, then so be it.

As the top channel on the service, removing him would be akin to HBO cancelling Game of Thrones, or ESPN giving up Monday Night Football. It’s just not going to happen.

Thank goodness for capitalism!

And, despite his apology, it’s probably too much to ask that Kjellberg actually learns from his mistake this time and makes meaningful amends not just through a change in behaviour but also engaging in activism and awareness campaigns, as any good PR professional would surely recommend to him right about now.

So, engage in needless self promotion in the name of making amends for a slip of the tounge?

Why not.

More likely, we’ll simply need to continue to rely on the conscience of social media to keep tabs on him, and hope the message that antics like these are unacceptable slowly sinks in for those who continue to watch and support him. It’s a sad state of affairs, but it’s where we are.

I have my doubts that it will happen again. If it does, I still won’t care really.I will consider him to be one of the biggest dumbasses ever for getting caught in the same trap yet again.

But thats pretty much it. To me, he is irrelevant.

Does he hold views that I think a dangorous, however?

Yes.

One thing I will say . . . love the headphones.

That aside, THIS SHIT is far more dangorous than his casual rasism. I hesitate to label him a flat out climate denier because he never explicitly says it (climate skeptic?). But if I can watch this and come to that conclusion, its safe to say that many others will to. Which is a terrible use of this giant megaphone.

To wrap it up, the traditional media can play these games all they want. But we see though the smokescreen, and were not falling for it.

79.) I Hate Baby Boomers

There was once a time when my attitude was quite typical. If I were to list one generation as one that annoys me, I would more than likely have said millenials. Despite being one myself (on the head end of the group), I would have likley used the same reasonings as many older people do now. They are underachievers, they are overly distracted by technology, and they are to weak to sucseed. And they are KILLING many traditional forms of . . . everything!

From entertainment, to banking, to food and beverage.  Fucking kids, man!

So common is this attitude amoung the older generation that someone like Bill Maher can shit on millenials litterally at the drop of a dime. And no one bats an eyelash.

You can find it at the tail end of the following clip (5:25). Maher bringing up the so called fragile nature of the millenial generation. As though what amounts to a vocal minority in a hyper media saturated world is representative of an entire generational cohort. As though the VAST majority of millenials are not to busy struggling though daily peasant life to give much of a fuck if he or Milo douche canoe Yiannopoulos speak at Berkley.

This, coming from a man that claims that agism is the only acceptable form of bigotry and bias left in this era. Yeah, okay. Sorry for making you feel so triggered you fragile snowflake.
Or, very astute observation! Depending how you look at it.

Isn’t it nice to be a baby boomer that has made it? Isn’t it nice to have had your fun with the planet (to paraphrase him)?
Naturally, all that is left is to look down at the young people with disdain.

Maher is generally on the right side of things, to be fair. In fact, when it comes to the idiotic notion that is moving from this increasingly voletile planet to Mars (or somewhere beyond), he was pretty much the only person with a large platform that I seen come out AGAINST this. Credit where credit is due.

But, enough with shitting on the youngsters (be they millenials, or beyond). While a privilaged few may be making waves by taking various so called SJW ideologies WAY to the extreme, the vast majority don’t even have the option of higher education. They are stuck inhabbiting the broken econamy left for them by the previous generations excesses.

That is pretty much the story of every post boomer generation. Were stuck with what remains. The shitty service econamy with the lack of a living wage as a RULE, the pollution and increasing ecological degredation and instability. The scary fact that the world that our children (and US!) may see as a reality could well be VERY diffrent than the one that our predesessors abused and trashed.

Often completly oblivious to this enormous degree of destruction being left in their wake, these fat and stupid morons continue to talk down to the young, and post moronic shit like this all over social media.

 

To stupid to realize that they are freely doing the bidding of fossil fuel companies and glorifed petrol states like Saskatchewan and Alberta, they pollute our feeds and our brains with this shit.

I supose that I shoudn’t be surprised that a generation that grew up on a diet of one directional cable news would be so quick to spew without thought. But it is still unacceptable in an age where looking things up can be done with a simple tap or click.

Millenials used to annoy me. When I took my cues from people like Bill Maher, its no wonder I came to this conclusion! Everyday life is filled with examples of the typical millenial. And yet, everyday life is also filled with the typical entitled boomer. In fact, being in retail, I have noted that the millenials (and beyond) tend to be FAR more considerate than their elders. Unsurprisingly.

Why should an entitled ruling class give 2 shits about the peasants?

So yeah, there you have it. I have contempt for my elders, mostly Boomers. Their continued arrogance and refusal to give enen a LITTLE of the reins to the up and comers ticks me off. And I hope that future generations survive their unparalleled and continued assult on this cosmic rock that we call home.

George Carlin was right to call you assholes out. Bunch of fucking sellouts.

80.) Working Class Stupidity

Having grown up with a parent that was on social assistance by nesessity, I can assure you that our refrigerator and pantry NEVER EVER looked like that. In fact, both tend to be extremes. Though my fridge at current (and as a child) looks/looked more like the one on the right in the days before payday, its hardly a good indicator. If anything, it might tell us that this middle class family either has yet to go shopping, or does a lot of eating out. One of the first things Gail Vaz-Oxlade checks when helping a family with their finances is their refrigrator. Lots of condiments and little else tends to indicate that a lot of food money is allocated away from groceries.

Then again, this is hardly even worth going into indepth since those sharing this don’t put ANY thought into it.

I am reminded of an aquaintence complaining about not having much left of an around $80,000 a year salary because of taxes, expenses and other facts of life. You made a good life for yourself. You further ahead than likley millions of middle class Americans. So shut the fuck up and enjoy what you have.

The working classes assumption that it is the POOR that is fucking them is always a real hoot. It’s not those above you throwing your attention away from their antics by using essentially dog whistle tactics. Nope!

Nope!

It’s the poor. The poor that often would LOVE gainful employment, but instead settle for accepting whatever pittance they can get their hands on. All the while getting looked down upon, of course.

1.) If less money meant more stuff, then everyone would jump on the welfare train. Is that not logical?

2.) If you can compfortably own a $200,000 and up home, 2 vehicles, have 2 or more kids and have some cash left over for pleasure at the end of it all, I don’t feel sorry for you.

Workers of Canada and the world . . . stop being stupid parrots.

Posted in Things That Annoy Me | Leave a comment

“How “Free Exchange of Ideas” Naivety Limits Free Speech” – (Patheos)

Here is a small exert from a recent article that I found interesting. Though I have been questioning the effectiveness of the whole “open marketplace of ideas” for a while, this author takes it on from a very different perspective than I. That point of view being a typically oppressed racial minority in American society.

Far from abolishing limits in the arena of speech, however, the naivety of this view actually encourages, however unintentionally, an oppressive limiting of free expression.

Because this ideal of a naturally free and open exchange of ideas, in which the best ideas automatically rise to the top, ignores the fact that the real world is not an ideal flat surface. The real world has power imbalances. Good ideas do not naturally rise to the surface; in the real world, we often have to be fight to hear the most important voices, and it’s hard for them to be heard above the dominant voices that are constantly shutting them down.

For example: If you were an American slave in the 18th century, you would not have as much of a say regarding what went on in this country as a white landowner. Obviously. Now, the white landowners can talk about the free exchange of ideas all they want. The fact is that the exchange is not free. If you talk back to your master, you may be whipped or otherwise punished. If you try to express yourself through voting, you will be denied. If your master asks you, in front of his guests, whether you think you should be free, your response — if you want to stay in your powerful master’s good favor, is “No, sir. I’m happy here.”

It’s not an equal playing field. It took the bloodiest war in our history, the Civil War, to even remotely attempt to even out that discourse. Free speech was limited for the slave. And sure, you could disagree — but you wouldn’t be heard. Instantly, if you said “Yes, sir” the whites at the table might laugh at you or dismiss you, and say that you didn’t know what was good for you — after all, slavery was beneficial to the blacks, or so the lore went. And you would be demeaned and face negative consequences at the plantation.

Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/barrierbreaker/free-exchange-ideas-naivety-limits-free-speech/#L8erAWHOKqEpeFYZ.99

The essay goes much more into the details after this. It’s worth the read. The perspective is an interesting one, no matter the validity.

While I had not thought of the generations of bias argument as presented by the author, my problem with the so-called free marketplace of ideas was more in the lack of quality controls (for lack of a better way of putting it). To put it one way, being charismatic and camera-friendly goes a long way. Even a terrible (or debunked) idea can be made to sound damn good with the right representation. Otherwise known as, a huge chunk of so-called online intellectual content. Or as I called, pseudo-intellectual content. It’s hard to find anything BUT this at this point.

And another aspect to consider is the financial motive, as enabled by crowdsourcing. In a word, Patreon.

Many popular content producers of all stripes utilize (or rely on) the platforms as a source of income. And this is not always a trivial matter either. Dave Rubin (host of the popular Rubin Report) brings in just under $28,000 a month from just under 4,500 patrons (contributors). While I imagine that to be on the higher end of the spectrum, its a perfect illustration of the problem posed by money.

People like Dave Rubin claim to be open to anything and everything that comes their way. I will take them at their word since it’s hard to prove otherwise. Call it innocent until proven guilty.
I do have a concern, however. If an idea ever came along that end up uprooting the status quo that has been so good for them financially, would they openly admit it? Even at the cost of possibly losing the monthly windfall?

Indeed, it’s a difficult thing to consider. You can not really make accusations since the burden of proof is impossible on both sides of the coin. You can’t prove deception, and they can’t ever really DISPROVE it. Nothing short of the ability to read minds would enable that. So we must give the benefit of the doubt.
But at the same time, knowing how self-serving (and at times deceptive) humans can be, its a question that should not be ignored.

Something that came to mind last night (in relation to this topic) was money in politics. I was pondering which was worse. This, or money in politics.

In discussing this with a friend, I ended up concluding this to be worse, in a sense. Political donations are generally at arm’s length, so there is a bit of a buffer to self-interest. However, funding flowing (essentially) right into one’s bank account has no such buffers.
Money in the political system has more far-reaching consequences than moneyed free speech (for lack of a better descriptor). However, many wrong or harmful ideas can go a long way when they originate on a fairly popular and well utilized digital source. For example, the now infamously torn apart term Classical Liberalism. Despite seeing it effectively written off by more than one source, it still persists.

I guess I should note that I have highlighted what is technically 2 problems. One is lack of quality controls in terms of what ideas become mainstream. And the other being potential financial conflicts of interest of the loudest promoters of such ideas.

It’s a hard nut to crack, really. Had I not had an academic close by, I would never have realized that much of what passes for intellectualism online is trash (or close to it). Yet, most people don’t have the time (or the desire) to run everything they hear from an often trusted intellectual, though the ringer. In fact, the thought would not even occur to them, because the people they get the information from should know. Even I can’t really fault that attitude because that was essentially me 2 or 3 years ago.

What I can say however is that a good start comes in realizing that intellectual status does not necessarily guarantee that every idea or conclusion presented by said person is valid. Particularly if the person is speaking from outside their area of expertise (VERY common).

Do some digging with some creative search queries. The fanboy material is often overpowering when it comes to these guys, but other stuff is often available. Reddit (oddly enough) can be a good place to try.

A bit baffled and unsure what to think of much of anything you come across anymore?

Welcome to my world. Have a cookie.

Posted in Free Speech, Opinion | Leave a comment

“Howard Stern is having fun on-air…THEN 9/11 HAPPENS! – (Radio History)”

16 years ago today, the events of 9/11 rocked the world.

Many people in the years since revisit the event on its anniversary. In all honesty, I don’t even like using that word in this context (it’s unfitting for a word normally reserved for more positive defining events). But it is what it is.

Where were you when you heard the news? What were you doing? How did you react?

These questions are asked and answered by many. And they elicit responses from others, also reliving their stories on that day (particularly after social media became more embedded into the fabric of society). I have even done this in past years.

Typically I would share my somewhat comedic story of the goings on of that day. Of being in the 8th grade at the time, at school. Though I didn’t hear anything about it in the morning or on my lunch break (my school didn’t really have TV’s anywhere, and no one was home at my house at lunch time), I did learn of it during gym first thing in the afternoon. We were all sat down and the gym teacher explained how 2 747’s had impacted each tower of the World Trade Centre, leading to their eventual collapse. Slightly wrong information we know now (forgivable, given how little ANYONE knew on that day). And after that, classes went on.

At the time I was less impacted emotionally than I was a bit perplexed as to what the World Trade Centre even was. The whole of the afternoon, I wondered. Picturing in my mind (for some reason) a gigantic glass structure leaving mountains of glass piled in the streets of New York.

It was only when I was just barely a block from my house, that it suddenly hit me what the World Trade Centre was, because of an episode of the Simpsons (of all things). I remembered the episode in which the family goes to New York City in order for Homer to retrieve his car from the World Trade Centre, left there by Barney Gumble.

And then I realized the enormity of what had happened.

I quit participating in this ritual a few years back, however. Primarily due to an article posted by a facebook friend sometime around the 10 year after mark. The article essentially made the argument that despite the loss of life and infliction of fear and terror brought on by the events of 9/11, events afterward should serve to make us pause.

Although over 3000 people lost their lives that day, the death toll in the ensuing wars and conflicts has since WAY surpassed those losses. This is not even taking into consideration the enormous financial cost of these wars on the US. Nor the legitimacy of the wars, in some cases. Nor the blow back aspect (be it 9/11 as a reaction to prolonged American intervention, or the prolonged post 9/11 interventions serving to fuel more potential blow back against the US and its allies). Nor is the effect on everyday civilian life taken into consideration, due to the everlasting presence of seemingly ineffective protection programs like the TSA or the worldwide NSA intelligence dragnet.

On September 11th, 2001, many US civilians paid dearly. But in the years since, the coin has flipped. Though US citizens may have started out the victims in this scenario, it’s easy to see why that is far from the case now. Thus the argument is made that it is time to forget 9/11. It became (and remains!) the justification for countless overreactions and atrocities. It’s time to let it go.

I found myself in agreement. To a point, anyhow.

I did quit posting my 9/11 story on the date, and didn’t interact with any such posts. At this point, I don’t react to ANY breaking stories of terrorism, really (with the exception of some dark humor shared with a select audience).

But back to the initial track. Should 9/11 be forgotten?

No.

First off, it will not be anyway (let’s be realistic). It shouldn’t be anyway.

What should happen, however, is the letting go of it as a blanket justification for pretty much every middle eastern intervention at this point (notably, not involving any nation that actually contributed attackers to the 9/11 plot). At this point, all that we’re doing is enriching the military industrial complex as well as feeding into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Indiscriminate killing of middle eastern civilians (or arming governments that do) only serves to create more enemies of the state.

Of course, this is not the only issue going on in the middle east. The problems here existed long before 9/11. The region has long been dogged by outsiders drawing invisible international borders without actually taking populations into consideration. For example, if the Sunni and Shia don’t tend to get along, then it might not be a good idea to force them all into the same geographical area. Sure, a well-planted dictator can keep things under control. But take that cork out of the bottle, and things can get . . . interesting.

As they say, hindsight is 20/20. Some people’s foresight is also 20/20, but we tend not to listen to those people. But no matter what, we must sleep in the bed that we have made.

But I will move on.

It’s interesting to look back from 20 years on, to see what has transpired since. How society changed. The military angle. One of the most notable things for me, however, was the so called Truther movement. How pretty much every angle of 9/11 has since come into question by a certain cohort of the population.

I have responses to many of these so called questions. But today, I think it more interesting to take a look back.

There exists hours of footage of the news coverage of this day. But I happened across something far more interesting back in July (when this piece was first inspired but put aside until today). I found a recording of Howard Stern’s show September 11th, 2001 show.

Normally an amusing and comedic show (of which it was in the beginning), this episode turned on a dime. Howard and the crew (along with their callers) ended up becoming a fairly reputable source of information not just for NYC residents, but also for syndicated listeners all over the nation.
I like this episode because of the non-journalistic aspect of all involved. While being careful with what they said and with what information they dispersed, it’s interesting witnessing their reactions to the situation without the filter of journalistic professionalism present on pretty much all other coverage.
Not to say that such professionalism is not a good thing. It can just at times be hard for ordinary people (prone to ordinary reactions) to identify with.

Which is where the Stern show struck an interesting balance.

Hosted by a group of essentially every day people, you get their unfiltered real time reactions to the situation. Something it seems many identified with. Yet they also were careful to filter, to ensure they were not spreading misinformation or condoning reactionary actions.
Yes, there is overt bias and jingoism displayed by both hosts and callers into the show. Words were spoken that make me raise an eyebrow.

But I don’t judge the hosts or the callers to harshly. The context is in the heat of the moment. It was a traumatic moment for people everywhere, let alone those directly in Manhattan, all of which will be touched by this in some way.

And so, there you have it. Likely my final acknowledgement of 9/11.

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