DIGGING DEEPER

Hello everyone,

 

It’s been a while since I wrote a personal discussion of things as opposed to something creative, but here we go for a spin. Just a few days ago I crossed the two hundred post mark on this blog…which I only knew about because WordPress notified me. Anyways, that got me a tad bit excited. I mean, that’s a lot of writing. I usually spend between 30 minutes to an hour on each on, which means I’m somewhere between 100 and 200 hours spent writing openly on the Internet (in all honesty, it’s probably closer to 200, since most of my work takes closer to an hour). In that time, I’ve written poetry, political commentary, short stories, life restructuring, and emotional discussion pieces.

Sometimes, I get asked by people how I write so much—I mean, there’s only so much to talk about, right? Well, yes and no. Firstly, the human condition is infinite. Or, if not infinite, it at least is far longer than what a human could talk about in one lifetime. Seriously, I could write every day of my life and still only scratch the surface of the world. At the same time, it also begs the question: how much is relevant? I mean, do we really need another college student presenting ideas on how World War II was bad when we could go to a source that is more well-known, or even more entertaining? No.

Digging deep to be entertaining, or interesting, or whatever you want to call it, can be difficult. I know I struggle with it. I know people who are professionals that struggle with it. If you have never heard Louis C.K. talk about his life as a stand-up comic, struggling for new material, check out this video. It’s pretty enlightening, even though it’s born out of the passing of another famous comic. The reality is this: 1) we can always get better at what we do. Take Usain Bolt, famous fastest man alive. 2008, breaks the world record for the 100-meter dash, at the Olympics. This guy is set. He’s in history. He’s the greatest ever. Exactly one year later, in 2009, he breaks his own record. 2) to get better, you have to work for it constantly. Usain Bolt is a good example. It’s not like he sat around for a year to break his own record. He probably ran every day. Louis C.K. writing new material constantly to always come up with something unique and different.

This is the reason I write new stuff constantly. But what I have noticed is that it gets hard sometimes. I LOVE writing. I mean like I really, truly enjoy it. But that doesn’t mean every day is easy. Sometimes I don’t know what to write about. Sometimes I sit down at the computer with no clue what is going on. Some days suck. I’ve written things I don’t particularly like. But if you throw darts at a dartboard 200 times, sometimes you’ll hit dead in the center, sometimes you’ll hit that solid midpoint, and sometimes you’ll miss that board entirely. If you never throw the darts, however, then you can never hit the bullseye. And, conveniently, the more you practice, the less misses you will have.

HONESTY BEGETS ADMIRATION

Hello everyone,

 

Happy Monday! Ok, not so happy Monday, but hey, you’re reading this, that means that you probably survived it. Or are taking a break from work. Or maybe you’re “working.” Whatever it is, I appreciate you reading this. That being said, it probably is in your best interest to put this on hold and get back to work, if you are reading this at work. It’s dishonest to claim to be working while you are lounging (ironic, since I am writing this at work). Which brings me to my discussion topic for today: Honesty.

Honesty is something that we often put aside in order to succeed, or sometimes just to avoid blame. As we grow older, we are prone to lie less about small things like breaking a cup or stealing candy. Seriously, I have little brothers, they used to lie a lot more than they do now, even though they still lie a lot. It isn’t their fault though. They are afraid that if they tell the truth there will be some horribly punishment. Louis C.K. (really Cassady? Another Louis reference?) has made a perfect analysis of this, which I have put below:


But really, we lie because we need to get something. It’s a natural reaction. Which I think is something that a lot of people don’t understand. They like to contort lying with inhumanity, when it’s the opposite. People lie. People cheat. People steal. Of course, this does not justify their offenses or leave then unaccountable, but it does mean that some amount of lying is to be expected.

Which brings me to honesty. Why do we value honesty so much? Seriously, it is one of the golden standards of being a human being. Be honest. It’s something we are told time and time again. I think it’s another lower brain/upper brain battle that is on going. I think honesty is something that isn’t intrinsic to people, but we have nurtured people to do the morally correct thing for so long that it has produce guilt, and become a natural thing to do. At the very least it is a harder thing to do—and it is the more noble thing to do. Sometimes, however, some people try to lie about being honest.

One of my favorite examples of this is during a presidential debate, or during a public address by a politician. Apparently, a black coat with a white shirt underneath and a red tie somehow triggers the idea of honesty in our minds. So almost every candidate will wear these colors—it’s why they all look the same. Candidates do this to get votes—and can we really blame them? If we are that susceptible, then it is in their best interest to do so. Especially since candidates have to lie so often to succeed. Since lying is the bedrock of politics, why do we elect the candidates we do? The reality is that lying is often centered around a truth. For Hillary, it’s that she’s trying to do the best thing for the average person life without too strongly affecting the successful. For Trump, it’s that he doesn’t want to see America turn into a country that cares about its majorities first when the Big Businesses will be hurt. For Cruz, it’s that he wants to keep America as a bible thumpin’ country. For Sanders? Well, he honestly wants to see people not suffer. Which is admirable. And that’s why he’s such an outsider—because he is respectable. Honesty begets admiration.

THE GLASS OF PREJUDICE

Hello everyone!

 

Back at it again with the blogs! I considered leading with “white blogs” but I get the feeling that may come out more racial than intended. I left of yesterday with a pretty strong critique of ethos, pathos, and logos use within the political spectrum. Obviously, it is a really diverse idea, as I argued that Sanders balanced his use of the pillars while Trump relied on the use of pathos to control people. It very easily can be seen from other angle, but I’m going to stick to my guns (ironic, as I am a pacifist) on this one. Today, I would like to discuss political correctness. Not the “Trump” political correctness, but why exactly we have this idea in place of political correctness, and why we are so prone to ignoring that for comedic effect.

One of my favorite jokes of all time is Louis C.K.’s Forklift joke, in which he discusses racism and interpretation of racism. Here’s a link to a video of it I found on YouTube, please watch it for comprehension:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8Nhd3ihoA8

 

If you don’t have access to the video for whatever reason (why are you reading this at work?), I’ll briefly explain the concept of it—though I highly recommend watching it. Basically, his white friend has a racist family that says “the nigger fell asleep at the forklift,” and Louis presents this racial insensitivity, and then juxtaposes that idea with the black interpretation of the situation—disappointment with their fellow African-American falling asleep on the job, and a Greek friend curious how someone falls asleep at a forklift. Now, I’ve taken on a moderately academic tone to my writing, which perhaps is why you flinched a little when you read the word “nigger.” And that’s good—it means you are racially sensitive in your conscious mind. It probably also means that, at least to some extent, you disagree with Trumps divisive rhetoric, even if you are a Republican.

Unfortunately, a large number of people think that the buck stops here when it comes to racism. They think that being angry with Asian drivers when they make a dangerous move in traffic, or when they crack a joke about a women not being in the kitchen, it is totally harmless. Which it isn’t. Despite the fact that you, more than likely, don’t go out of your way and hurt someone, what these passive acts of violence do is script your responses to specific scenarios. It labels people. It categorizes them. As I’ve said before, categorization is the root of all evil. In terms of prejudice and discrimination, it becomes more blatant because we have been raised in an attempt to dismantle the idea of racial prejudice and be colorblind. The problem with this is that we are also told to embrace and promote individual culture heritages. I’m not saying either of these ideas are wrong, but they are ideas that are in opposition with each other.

This creates a weird gray area that nobody really understands and has shifting boundaries. For example, a lot of African-Americans are still called “Boy” in southern states. If I called someone “Boy” where I live, my white friends would look at me bug-eyed at best, and at worst I would probably be jumped by somebody (you thought of a black person attacking me there, didn’t you?). Yet people LOVE Louis CK’s dark humor. And they don’t hold it against him. Is it because he’s on stage? No, Trump is a testament to that. Is it because he is ironic about it? Possibly but no, because he is legitimately telling a story, the irony isn’t about the racism, but rather about juxtaposition about the internal struggles within racial boundaries. Is it because he has been through some systematic amount of racial injustice that has deeply changed his upbringing? No, he’s white—he’s a member of the group that’s been on top for centuries. I think that it is that, because of our mixed cultural ideas, we have come to accept that some amount of racism as acceptable. If I say that I am not going to name my adopted African-American daughter a typical black name like Maya, Leontyne, or Zora because I like a name better than that and it would be racist to name her one of these names, I have still labeled Maya, Leontyne, and Zora as “black female” names. That’s a racist thing to do—even if it isn’t directly racist. Think about it. You have “white names” and “black names,” and even “Hispanic” or “Asian” names in mind.

Again, that’s ok that it happens in your mind. You aren’t a part of the KKK or a neo-Nazi because you picture someone named “Dequan” as a black man. But if you claim that these labels are acceptable to make, then the racial line has been pushed forward. Think about it like a cat. If he pushes a glass too hard, it will simply knock over and break, and his fun is over. That’s what the extremists do. But if the cat knocks the glass lightly, it doesn’t really do anything—it may just move a couple inches. And that’s cool to him. Because he got a reaction out of it. So he keeps pushing it farther and farther, not so much that it knocks over, but to keep getting a reaction. And all is fun and good, until eventually he knocks the glass off the table, and it goes plunging to the floor and shatters across the room. It didn’t matter that the cat pushed the glass lightly, because he pushed it too many times. Be aware of how often you push the glass of prejudice, and how hard you are knocking it.