BROKEN NEWS

They broke The News with “breaking news,”

Trying to give us some breaking blues.

Trying to give us our just desserts.

And turning our children into perverts.

 

This just in: a black cat’s stuck in a tree,

and why it’s his fault will be on at three.

And come three o’clock, you know what they said?

That all black cats have it wrong in the head.

 

The clock strikes ten on Tuesday at the bar,

and the TV asks where my children are.

Me, who spent his pay on Satan’s water.

Prob’ly good that I don’t have a daughter.

 

Then again, there’s a fat man two seats down,

red cheeked because his daughter “dates a brown.”

He’s been drunk since that program on the cat,

and applauded when it fell in a splat.

 

But nowadays, that’s a good Christian man:

Claiming that he knows the depth of God’s plans.

——

 

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GOLDEN STRUGGLES

It’s hard to believe

Life is hard for everyone.

Even Donald Trump.

 

Although Donald Trump

Might not have it quite as hard

As a Harlemite.

 

Better dipped in gold

Than underneath a bootstrap,

Or invisible.

 

In the beating sun

Better to carry the whip

Than pick the cotton

 

That life’s more easy;

Even if they both get burned.

Only one gets scars.

 

But that’s hard to see

From a penthouse apartment

In your own hotel.

——

 

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RED SUNRISE – POST ELECTION THOUGHTS

Hello everyone,

 

So I am a pretty far left-wing person, and I’m here to digress about my perspective of this election. It’s currently 10:56 PM in California on Tuesday of the election, and I’ve seen a lot of things happen today. I got a text of disbelief from my family when Trump was leading early on in the election process today. Then I saw all my friend and family joking about how he could never win. I, myself, could hardly believe it, but in the pit of my stomach I could feel that something was wrong. Then the day went on, and I, along with many others, turned in my ballot to vote. Now, I’m in California, so it really doesn’t matter that I voted, mathematically, because California is a strong blue state. Yet I voted none-the-less, because it it my belief that all people should take advantage of the choices they are given. As the night wore on, it became clearer and clearer that Trump was winning this election.

The first major tip off for me was that he was ahead in all the swing states. He won Ohio, which is a corner stone state for elections. And things were still not really setting in for people on my Facebook feed. Then Florida came down to the wire and Trump won. Everyone of my generation has feelings about votes in Florida that come down to the wire, because when Bush won Florida by a supreme court ruling, it was talked about by everyone’s mom and dad pretty much until Obama was elected. This seemed to be when everyone woke up to reality. And suddenly all my friends, all these well intentioned Democrats, started to panic. How could Trump be winning? How? He called Mexican immigrants rapists! He was backed by the KKK! He bragged about sexually assaulting women! He said we should persecute Muslims!

So then how did he win? It seems so obvious to me that he is not an acceptable candidate for our country, but 49+ million people voted for him. That’s a literal fuck ton of people. It’s not just racism. It’s not just anti-Hilary. People believe this guy will actually change the way America works. At its core, they believe what he has said to be true. In at least some of their eyes, all these things he said is true. Now, I dislike Trump, but he is a powerful speaker. He uses concise, simple language that is direct and to the point. You know that idea that some guy is a ladies man because he is self-confident? That’s what Trump expresses to people. He also uses my favorite rhetorical device, hyperbole. “Make America Great Again,” is a slogan that feels hyperbolic. But hyperbole incites people. It hits people in their emotional areas. It’s an appeal to pathos, but it appears as a logos argument, which makes it really hard to argue with.

Which is what the election became about. It became about who had the more important issue. And the reality is that Trump crafted more important issues. They might not be really important in the scope of the world, but he made them seem more important—and at what point does “seems” and “reality” not simply become the same thing? I’ve talked about this before. If you say something is true for long enough, it becomes true, because truth is relative to what humans perceive. Hillary became the enemy to Red America. Less people trusted her than Trump, despite numerous studies showing that he lied on a more consistent basis than any other candidate in the entire election cycle. And the problem is that the DNC let it happen. They did not handle Bernie Sanders well, which divided the party and made “party unification” something that felt begrudging. “Fine, I’m with her, I guess” was a real bumper sticker, to further illustrate my point.

Trump thrives on hyperbole. He made a TV show emphasizing the phrase “You’re Fired.” If you have ever played a game competitively, you know that once you begin playing your opponents game, you have already lost. If you are an aggressive team, you have to stay aggressive, or you will lose because you are in an uncharted territory. You may think Trump is an idiot, but he’s clearly grabbed American democracy by the…throat. Now, I’m all for country unity, but country unity requires the unity of all people. Which I’m not sure a Trump candidacy can ever do.

Some of my close friends are terrified. The LGBTQA friends I know are horrified by Mike Pence, and rightfully so. The guy OK’d electroshock therapy to “cure gays.” My immigrant friends are afraid—even the ones that are here legally, because they know that a mob mentality can sweep away people who have done nothing wrong. It only takes a spark to catch fire, but that spark can burn for hours on end. Don’t believe me? Move to California for a summer and see how fires start. Or look at how some people are speaking to and about minorities now, and see that in many peoples eyes, People of Color are still lesser beings.

“Who could have seen this coming?” Well, I did. It was pretty clear from the primaries that he was going to win. He knocked his opponent’s off balance. He sowed the seeds in rural voters minds that politics were failing and that they had been rigged, then used his ethos as a “successful” businessman to get them fired up enough to come out and vote. Rural voters were up from 19% in 2012 to 26(ish)% this election. This is something that the Hilary campaign did not do. I’m not saying Hilary didn’t run a good campaign—by normal standards, she ran a very good campaign. She was composed, she was rhetorical, she was educated, she was far more prepared than any candidate we’ve seen in recent debates aside from perhaps her primary opponent, and she was extremely experienced. The problem was, that wasn’t what this campaign was about.

I brought up hyperbole, and negativity was another key aspect of this campaign. This should have been obvious, given how vile the 2012 campaign got due to Citizens United. What, did we think things were suddenly going to be nice? No. Trump is a direct result of Citizens United. He embodies negativity, and even embraces it. He took a video tape of him bragging about sexually assaulting a woman, embraced that he did it, and moved passed it. WE ARE STILL TALKING ABOUT HILARY’S DAMN EMAILS. Trump didn’t let something phase him, or act as a thorn in his side—even if it meant saying something more obscene the next week to get away from it. Hilary…kinda did. And maybe it was out of her control. People kept bringing it up, and maybe this wouldn’t have happened to a man and our country is still sexist. Excuses. True maybe. But they are excuses.

The fact of the matter is that those issues needed to be put to rest. Instead of “I accept responsibility for X and in the future” it should have been “Yeah, I made a mistake, but you know what? Everyone makes this mistake. It’s so common.” And then listed all the other embassy attacks that were mishandled and private email servers that had been used. Maybe even, I don’t know, bring up her opponents use of hidden information? If the election is about hyperbole, negativity, and strength, then don’t let it be Trump’s court. Make it your court.

I digress. I am worried for my friends. Tensions are high. That happens when things are taken out of proportion, which happens a lot around election year. The stock market was up earlier today, and now it is falling. Women feel threatened. Non-white Americans feel threatened. Non-Christians feel threatened. Democrats feel threatened. Journalists feel threatened. Our allies feel threatened. Countries that are not are allies feel happy because America is in turmoil, but they know they are threatened in the back of their heads too.

Now, I’m sure I could be called a “Libitard,” for buying into the facts that have been presented to me, but I don’t think that’s true. I’ve long come to terms with “Liberal Hypocrisy” as a mainstay of thought. The idea that a liberal has all answers to problems so that they can get a long. A so-called “higher path” to the bigoted, narrow minded Republicans. But, in the words of Lewis Black, “if liberals are so good at winning, why do they lose?” I’ll tell you why. Because from up on that seat, that high horse, it becomes harder to get down and vote. “We’ve got this in the bag.” “There’s no way we can lose.” “They’re handing us this election by putting Trump against Clinton.” Really? 2/3rds of America doesn’t vote. What if half of one of that third comes out and votes? That’s what happened for Republicans. But it’s more than that. It’s taking our politics seriously. It’s standing up and saying “I’m going to watch the news even though I hate the news because my life will be changed by this election.” And change it shall. Many people are talking about moving out of the country. Canada’s citizenship website crashed. Maybe the reality is that we’ve been spread too thin. There’s no way the needs of Iowa match the needs of California, Texas, New York, and Utah.

And I get it, State’s have rights to. I live in California. I know that my life is probably going to be the least impacted out of the whole country by this election—save nuclear war. But as a citizen of this country I am distraught. Because Donald Trump has been divisive in his rhetoric. Sure, he united a party that was on the verge of falling apart, but uniting half the country and alienating the other half is worse than alienating a quarter of the country. Think about how much you hate your opposing party’s candidate. Think how much you hate that one aunt that is voting in opposition with you. Think about how much you were surprised your friend was voting for the enemy team, and how much you loathe them now. It’s almost brother versus brother. It makes my stomach hurt because all these things we stand for—and I don’t even know which “we” I am referring to—but the things that we stand for have been compromised. I was taught that bullying was a weak man’s trade. I was taught that being braggadocios is proof of an excess of pride. I am not Christian, but I was taught that humility should supersede the rest of life. I was taught that all men are created equal. I was taught that if you worked hard, things would get better. Tonight, I have been taught that you can short cut your way to success by taking advantage of people. And I’m not sure what that means for the rest of the world. But it’s 12:08 AM now, and here we are.

I wish I could end on a positive note. That the sun will rise in the morning. But if the sun rises red with anger, and hate, is that really a sun we can all live happily under?

 

Edit:

Here’s a post-post election thought that I figured I should add in. I sat down to add this at 12:03 PM on the day after the election. Ironically, “Good Morning” by Kanye West was the first song on by Pandora. As shaken as I still am by the decision America made last night, life does go on. Hate will get us one of two places. One, further divided. Riots are starting, which I am not surprised about. I am worried they will escalate to Civil War. We haven’t experienced a Civil War with nuclear weapons, and I doubt we want to. The other option I see hate bringing us is the same cyclical nonsense that occurred when Obama was first put in office. Remember that? Remember the Tea Party people? And while the phrase “not my president” has continued to this day, I would hope that we could be the better people, and put that aside. There is only so much space in prisons. Do not sit down if hatred sets in, but do no be the person to insight violence. Protect each other. Do not let this so-called “white lash” become the split in our country that causes us to sink under.

MEETING NEW PEOPLE

Hello everyone,

 

I hope everyone is having a good day. Work has me really busy today so I don’t have much time to write, so if this is cut a bit short I apologize. Today I wanted to talk about how we interact with new people. New people are always an interesting subject, and in all honesty, I bet we act differently with new people based on the circumstances of how we met those people.

What exactly does that mean? Well, basically, I mean that how we meet and view people changes on the context. You will probably greet someone that you meet at a business meeting for the first time differently than you greet someone at, say, your little brother’s birthday party. These differences change how we talk, act, and even hold our self-esteem. Imagine being introduced to Bill Gates at a business party. Wouldn’t you be intimidated, perhaps even a little shy? Now think about meeting little Louie’s aunt Agnes. Suddenly not so scared or shy, right?

These situations alter how we perceive ourselves and how we perceive others. Let’s take the romantic standpoint. Let’s say you’re a person who likes meeting people whom you wish to date under relaxed, no business like settings. Do you think you could make an acquaintance and foster a relationship with someone you met at your law firm? Probably not, right?

There also is the aspect of our selves. You know who you are, right? But does your coworker? What about the new guy at the restaurant you go to every week on Fridays? When you interact with each of these people, are you indeed the same person? My answer is no, you probably act enough like a different person that you are perceived differently. I made a new friend under circumstances I had never dealt with before, and apparently I came off conceited to the point where she thought I was a Trump supporter. Which, to make very clear, I am not in the slightest.

But that’s interesting, isn’t it? Most people who meet me when I am with friends or family recognize me as a pretty progressive person, though with a level enough head to pause and try to at least understand the perspective of people who are more conservative. What does that say about how we view and judge others? What does that say about the way that we hold ourselves up based on different pre-existing circumstances? What do you think? Am I right? Is it more complicated than that? Let me know!

REAL RESPECT

Hello everyone,

 

I’ve been debating what to write about today, and while I was thinking about writing about heroes and battles because I am reading Beowulf, I decided the instead talk about respect. Now, as you know, 2016 is an interesting time in life. I, myself, am a cool 21 years old and have really just gotten the hang of knowing things…sort of. Anyway, respect is something that I hear thrown a lot today, and it really is hard for me to understand where people are coming from.

Let’s take the Trump campaign (an ever wild ride). People are saying that it’s their right for us to respect their opinion, or that we are being disrespectful by not condoning their bigoted statements because they are entitled to them. And that’s actually well and true—they are allow to say all these things, and in some ways it is disrespectful to disagree with them. However, it is also true that disagreeing with their opinions is also a right, and by saying we shouldn’t do so, they have created the same argument for us which they used to protect themselves. So that doesn’t really work.

Now let’s tackle respect for the flag. A symbol of the nation. By not standing during the national anthem, Colin Kaepernick challenged the idea that we must always respect the symbol of our nation. And he’s within his rights to do so. Peaceful protest is protected by the nation, and to say that it should not be done is simple minded. Nations fall and rise over the course of history, like everything. I guarantee you the party of Lincoln is vastly different today than it was when he was alive. Everyone remember the USSR? What about the great Roman Empire? The idea of a nation is a human construct, just like our rights. That being said, our rights are a positive construct, while a nation is always debatable. Kaepernick believes that our nation currently isn’t a positive construct, because it does not treat all people equally. And in all honesty, he’s right.

So the claim that he’s being disrespectful to our nation comes under the assumption that our nation always deserves respect. And it doesn’t. Respect is a human construct to preserve alliances and avoid violence. But it is only earned mutually. A person cannot say “you must respect me” and then spit all over you. Or rather, they can say it, but you will not harbor any respect for them. So this claim by conservatives makes no sense. Why would Kaepernick respect a country that has shown time and again that it does not respect him, or the idea he is representing?

Faith. That’s such an unfair argument. To “have faith” that these people will not treat him wrong, when statistics are in favor of the white man. I think, in all honesty, that I would take the one theme throughout history over a single nation’s measly 230 odd years. And that theme is being human. Black lives aren’t being treated as other human lives are being treated. They deserve that respect. Some people are claiming that they are being disrespected by the Black Lives Matter protesters because it’s anti-American. Well if it’s anti-American to claim human rights, is the problem the people, or the country’s standards? Ask yourselves that, conservatives on this issue, and realize where you stand on the side of real respect.

What do you think? Am I totally wrong? Are my points valid but need a better structure? Let me know!

COUPON CUTTING

Hello everyone,

 

How are you all doing today? I’m super sleepy because I was up watching the new Star Trek movie. Heads up, if you download the Atom app, you can get a free movie ticket, no strings attached…you know, besides downloading another app. I’m not sponsored by anyone, I just thought I’d share a sweet deal. Hey, but Atom, for real, if you want to pay me I’ll take your money.

Ok, but seriously, that’s actually the subject of the day. No, not Star Trek, there’s no way to have a good talk about something like Star Trek because there’s always someone that will disagree. Today I wanted to talk about deals. Specifically coupons or free tickets and the like. First of all, who doesn’t like a coupon? Seriously? How? There’s a non zero chance that this thing you would have bought for $50 is now only $40 if you just bring them a piece of paper, or a code to scan.

Yet for whatever reason we live with this weird, sort of low key stereotype about people who use coupons as being cheap. I mean, sure, there are always those people who wont shop somewhere unless they can get a coupon, but that’s such a tiny minority that they can’t be that impactful to the real life views of coupons. Let’s take it a step further. What happens if you’re on a date, and your partner offers to pay, and you let them. Super sweet of them right? Suddenly they pull out a newspaper clipping for $20 off on your restaurant bill. Is it less sweet that they offered to pay now that they’ve done this? If no, cool. If yes, why? Your food fees were still covered. If you hadn’t paid attention to how they paid, you would have had no idea that they didn’t spend money.

Even further, this person still spent their coupon on you, and not someone else, so they obviously care. Now lets say you are in line behind someone at Stater Bros. and they take a gritty piece of paper out of their wallet, hand it to the cashier, and their bill is reduced by $10. They pay the cashier, smile, and walk out the door. How do you feel? What did the person you picture look like? Was it some white guy in a business suit and those fancy shoes that all businessmen seem to wear? Was it a large African-American woman who walked with self-assurance and spoke with some sass? What do those stereotypes of what you pictured tell you about your view of someone who uses coupons? Maybe it was a teenager whipping out their phone so that someone could scan a code. Regardless, these are just images created within the context of your life, but they are then applied in real life when you see someone. If there is a negative association made with the use of coupons, then it is also true that, to some extent, all people who use coupons will be seen poorly. And that’s bad. In all honesty, I don’t have the answer on how to fix that, but I can tell you that if you actively attack your own stereotypes, whether its over coupons, or cloths, or lifestyle, you will be better prepared to reserve judgment on someone when it really counts.

OTHERING ON THE GO

Hello everyone,

 

Today I wanted to talk about othering, specifically because of Pokemon Go!. In Pokemon Go!, there are “teams” that you can select: Team Mystic, Team Valor, and Team Instinct, which are all supposed to represent different sets of values. Now, I’m up in the air as to whether it is a good thing or a bad thing to have added these teams to the game, since the game makes players pick a team and thereby identify with that team, but it is a thing nonetheless.

So lets talk about some of the pros of making these teams. By forcing players to pick a team, they cause players to identify with something. This is good because it creates a sense of camaraderie and community within the greater Pokemon Go! scene. Which creates a bridge for players to communicate between one another and bond. In turn, this can lead to friendships that transcend the borders of our communities. Seriously, I was recently added to a small Pokemon Go! Facebook group that already has a few hundred members. It can also make for fun sporting rivalry between the three teams. This also allows for people looking to use Pokemon Go! as a common identification method more ability to divide players—for example, lets say there is a store looking to add competition between players as well as make teams. Isn’t it super easy to simply have them split into different Pokemon Go! teams? Not only will it be a fun contemporary term, but it also will make the connection between teams instant and strong, rather than awkward and fleeting.

Ok, so the good aside, here is the problem with making teams like this. There is no regulation, which means that on Facebook and so on, some of these playful feuds and sporting rivalries will escalate into full blown discrimination. In that group I mentioned above, Team Instinct is being picked on as the lesser of the three teams already. Which is a scary proposition for a game that released less than a full week ago. How far will it escalate? Can we expect to see gang-like activity from these crowds? The othering that occurs as a result of splitting the game into teams creates a strange duality in which this game that was popularized through nerd culture has created cliques of “good” and “bad” within the community.

So what’s the best thing to do about this? Well for now, nothing. I don’t have the answers, and the reality is that there is a non-zero chance that this game won’t just die out quickly if the other issues of the game (incomplete worldwide release, lack of certain desired game modes, etc) are left unfixed. Additionally, the extreme aspects of othering within Pokemon Go! are not entirely mean spirited yet. There is a good chance that they won’t evolve into worst territories. However, if things do get worse, it is important to have a plan of attack. Which is simple—eliminate the teams. Seriously. Teams are cool and all, but why not leave the clique making to actual small groups of friends? They’ll get together to play still—heck I know groups of people going for bike rides and everything. Anyways, let me know what your ideas are on the subject. Have a great day!