In which I wrote this as a response to a friend’s post on Facebook and am re-posting it here because I can.

So my dear friend posted this link on her feed:

And I read it and wrote this response:

Well-written, sure, but would have been more powerful with actual examples of actual men in positions of power actually interrupting women lower down the chain, and more on How That’s A Demonstrably Bad Thing In The Long Run And Not Just Essentially Bad Manners.

The diner/server scenario, as the author explicitly states, is a pre-existing and well-understood dynamic that gives the diner social permission to override the server. The server is servile, that’s literally the job, and all parties know this before beginning the interaction. Not to mention that the dynamic is the same regardless of the sexes of the participants – a woman diner can railroad a male server with the same impunity.

So the diner/server example is an example, sure, but it’s a really bad one, because it doesn’t defend in any way the premise of the piece — which is that All Men Take Up Conversational Space Because They’re Men.

Some men are interrupting twats. Most aren’t. I’m not a man, and I’m totally an interrupting twat. In fact, I have been known not only to interrupt the shit out of people, but to abandon conversations I get bored of and literally walk away, both socially and at work. This is not because of the penis and male socialization I don’t have, it’s because I can be and have been an absolute creep sometimes, especially to those I deem to be less clever than myself. So it’s not about my dick, because I haven’t got one: it’s about me being a creep.

So I don’t think this is about sex (or, I suppose, I should say, “gender”). I think it’s about personality types. Like you said earlier, some people only respond to aggression. Others only respond to being sought out. This is more of a burnt down old introvert/extrovert thing than a boys versus girls thing.

Saying that All Men Are Dominating Assholes Until And Unless Some Bigger Asshole Is Dominating Them is over-simplifying human interactions just a lot too much to speak to my own experience. It’s not about sex/gender, it is about ego and power.

Telling men to be small doesn’t do shit toward teaching women how to expand their own selves, nor does it require women to spend time understanding male psyche or the human condition, which is what they apparently should be doing if they have this much processor power devoted to The Awful Experience Of Being Interrupted By People With Dicks.

Most men, like other people, respond extraordinarily well to shame; if you have a dude interrupting you at work all the time, call him out on it, publicly, and ask him why he’s acting like a boorish, uncivilized, hyper-ass childish little punk. If he’s not actually an idiot, he’ll conform to expectations, just like a woman.

Because men and women are far more alike than different. And experiencing social anxiety is not the same as being the victim of entrenched, systemic sexism.

And, not to put too fine a point on it, but the author apparently doesn’t mind being a rude bitch to her friends, but self-polices herself into paralysis at work. How is that the fault of All Men?

If only there were jobs.

October 27th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Soapbox - (0 Comments)

In which I respond to a Twitter thread I read earlier.

Everybody baggin’ on Millennials for still living at home, not earning, not taking all those jobs.

Well, fuck that.

I’m not a Millennial; I’ve been working for decades. I’m making now what I made when I started working in the early 90’s – my earnings have essentially been flat. A few times I earned well, but not for long, in short-term contract gigs.

The job market over the course of my working career has gotten worse and worse, and pays less and less.

I’ve done a lot of job hunting over the years, and here’s what’s out there these days:

Crap.

Utter, complete crap. Temporary jobs, temp-to-hire jobs, seasonal jobs, shitty hours, part-time without benefits, low paying, insecure, crap jobs that expect extremely overqualified applicants.

Nobody doing call center customer support for Fingerhut needs a bachelor’s degree, but that’s what their agencies ask for in the job listings. A degree or five years experience. For profoundly low-quality jobs.

I saw a posting here in Minneapolis just last week that wanted people, experienced technical people, to drive out to the suburbs (no public transportation available) to work three 10-hour days followed by a 6-hour day followed by a 4-hour day, with one weekend day required, in a call center for around twelve bucks an hour. Temporary position with “the possibility of full-time.”

That, friends, is a shit job, and yet it’s one of the good ones! Because at least you’re sitting down, and the hours are the same every week.

Want to know more about today’s job market? Go take one of the jobs that are left: work at one of the major retailers, like Walmart or Amazon or The Home Depot, why don’t you. They’ll hire you just a smidge under full-time (deliberately, so you don’t cost them any bennies), they’ll pay you ten or eleven bucks an hour, and your schedule will be randomly generated by a computer program so that you cannot plan anything more than two weeks in advance (so no second job, no school unless you’re a glutton for exhaustion).

And if all that isn’t bad enough, you’ll spend your 34 random hours a week at work not in an office but in an ugly, loud, artificial environment, pounding around on concrete floors, getting abused by both the customers you serve and idiotic, hostile corporate policies that remind you at every turn that you are just a cog, and a replaceable one at that.

Even if you’re a model employee, even if you’re wonderful and knowledgeable and charming and always on time and never sick and you internalize all the utterly dehumanizing, dollar-worshipping, sunshine-up-the-ass crap they train you with, eventually you’ll get let go.

You’ll break some hostile corporate rule (maybe you’ll be late three times within a 45-day period because your schedule’s random but you have to get your kid to school), or maybe you’ll get sick, or maybe you’ve been there so long you’re finally making actual money and they’ll remainder you so they can replace you with someone who doesn’t cost as much so they can funnel more money into some useless golf-obsessed asshole CEO’s bonus.

There is no such thing as employer loyalty to employees. Every employer works hard at designing jobs that require very little more than a pulse; jobs that virtually anybody can be plugged into. Big corporations pay their front line employees crap and keep entire dev teams to build shit software that intends to make those front line employees replaceable. They think they can put experience and knowledge and problem-solving into software, and replace the humans who use it, more or less at will.

This is why customer service sucks pretty much everywhere you go. Even the lowliest position requires human knowledge; if it didn’t, the job wouldn’t exist. And yet the person you’re talking to is inevitably new, because these jobs suck and there’s a lot of turnover, and, even if they’re not new, they’re completely unable to solve any problem not specifically covered by their job parameters.

In fact, the odds are, even if they’ve been there for a couple of years, they don’t even know anybody not on their own tier. Even big box retail store managers have very little access to solutions beyond refunds or coupons; the tools they use to do their jobs are built far away, by teams they’ve never even heard of let alone have access to. Lots of things just can’t be fixed, period. Fuck you.

Employers don’t care about employee expertise, they don’t care when somebody leaves and the entire store loses a valuable resource. To the typical employer these days, employees are all disposable.

Many jobs requiring certifications and degrees pay less than $15 an hour.

Many jobs are temporary.

Many jobs are scheduled randomly, which, believe me, has a massive impact on quality of life, because the employee’s sleep schedule is constantly impacted, and home and social life is skewed. Try spending three or five years working every single major holiday. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but for human mental health, it is.

Seriously, if you really think there’s any honor in taking a shit wage in a shit job to earn less than you need to survive, you’re an asshole. These jobs are not like the jobs you remember. They’re awful and dehumanizing. And employers do not care about their human resources; they care about shareholders.

The sorts of career-building positions that used to exist just don’t exist anymore. I mean, there are some, sure, but not like there used to be. The people who have them are incredibly fortunate to have banker’s hours, paid vacation, holidays, and decent wages. They get to stay in the middle class.

Everybody else is dropping into poverty.

You don’t start as a bank teller right out of college and then end up in management in your 40’s. Why? Because banks are websites now.

You don’t start as a grocery store cashier right out of college and then end up in distribution in your 40’s. Why? Because stores are giant corporations now, and they’ll never pay you enough to remain in the middle class.

Even teaching at the college level is crap; they’re all students or interns now, getting paid little to nothing to work 65 hour weeks.

Jobs these days are “alternative” – temp, freelance, contract, part-time. They don’t pay a decent wage (or often even a living wage), they don’t offer bennies, and they don’t last.

The idea that there are “tons of openings, but there aren’t people with the right education and experience to fill them” is bullshit. People who are educated and experienced don’t want to work crap jobs for $9 an hour; they shouldn’t have to. But they do. And you wonder why they’re nihilistic? THEY’RE POOR.

And when an entry-level job wants applicants with advanced degrees but can’t find them, that’s not actually evidence that people are under-qualified. It’s evidence that the job market is a disaster.

Employers are demanding the most qualified applicants in the pool because they can – that’s how tight the market is – not because they should. Robots and automation are killing what used to be decent, honorable jobs, but the people all still exist.

Earnings have been stagnant for thirty years. 94% of net US job growth 2005-2015 was “alternative” work, not the kinds of real jobs people had in the 80’s.

You wonder why Millennials aren’t marrying, having kids, buying houses, even buying cars? This is why. They’re not middle class anymore, they can’t earn middle class wages and do middle class things because the jobs just aren’t there.

With the middle class failing in the way that it is, Millennials these days are either the few lucky ones at the bottom of the upper class – like the ones who live around here (I live in Uptown) in one of the newly constructed and mind-blowingly expensive apartment towers with underground, heated parking, restaurants and gyms built-in – or they’re college-educated, debt-ridden poor with nothing but low-quality, no-future, low-paying temporary work.

Even EMTs make shit wages these days! The guy or girl who saved your fucking life after that heart attack or car crash wasn’t even making $15 an hour! For a high-stress job like that!

Kids these days aren’t lazy; a lot of them are educated and willing to work, and work hard, just like you did. If only there were jobs.

In which I was serially sexually abused as a child by a slightly older male relative.

So, yeah, #metoo. Me, too. My perpetrator even went to prison for it. (Not for me, but for others, later.)

I honestly don’t think it affected me in any measurable way. I was never hurt or damaged. For years I thought it must have affected me badly, because my culture tells me how horrible and awful it is to be touched sexually without consent, but now? At 49? Nah. I don’t see it.

And I looked for it, the awful traces of it, for years. I positively delved through my own psyche, looking for horrific damage, rage, frigidity, timidity. I don’t find it. Because being touched sexually is not like starving to death, or being wounded, or living in a war zone. It’s mostly just irritating, if I’m honest. Which I am.

This is how I ended it, finally: at, like, twelve or so, I decided it was fucking annoying, so I brandished a pair of scissors at him, and told him to fuck off. And that was that. Because he was horny and stupid, but not violent. Which of course makes me lucky. I get that.

There are at least two experiences I had as a young woman that I could, if I wished, call rape. But I don’t. I was never violently jumped by strangers; the experiences I could name rape, if I were a different person, were ones I’d entered into through choices I’d made myself, and I take responsibility for that. I put myself there. That’s the price of sexual freedom.

Now. What’s making me sad about this fucking hashtag is that this is, again, some sort of women’s movement, not a human movement.

What about the thousands upon thousands of men and boys who have also been abused, assaulted, raped? It doesn’t matter that it happened to them? Where’s the fucking compassion and inclusiveness, bitches?

Swear to God. Your husbands, your cousins, your own sons? Sure, it happens statistically less frequently to them, but damn it, ladies. It happens. Being one in a hundred doesn’t make it less awful. But the hashtag isn’t inviting their stories, oh no. It’s about women being victims. Same as it ever was, feminism.

Furthermore, the blame for all of this is fully placed on “men.” The elusive, predatory, cruel, power-hungry man. And that absurd psychological tenant from the 50’s that erroneously states that it’s “about power,” not sexual appetite.

I know I’ll get lambasted for it, but how is there NO EMPHASIS PLACED on women’s choices, or their responsibility to honor and protect themselves? The sexual liberation movement appears to have been taken not as a new level of freedom and responsibility, but a free-for-all entree into dangerous situations without any awareness of self-protection!

If all your #metoo experiences are from your childhood or the boardroom, so be it. You’re innocent as the driven snow, and a lamb to men’s wolves. But if you were ever in the wrong place at the wrong time, especially and particularly if you knew better, well, that’s on you. That’s the responsibility of freedom. If you make dumbass choices, you reap the results… and they’re yours.

In other words, if you take a knife to a known gunfight, yes, that is your own damn fault.
Own your freedom and your choices, ladies. I say this not because I lack compassion, but because for every #metoo post about being raped, genuinely raped, there are a thousand about being ogled. And fuck that.

Because:

If you’re a male, particularly a cis male, with a #metoo story, I’m deeply sorry nobody appears to give a fuck.

It’s unloving and exclusive and selfish and wrong, and I apologize for my sex being such angry, heartless attention whores.

I’m also certain that only a very successful, wealthy, healthy, and primarily safe culture can focus so much on sexual molestation. Being leered at, having your butt touched or your bra snapped, remains a social faux pas, not a fucking PTSD-inducing experience. Violent rape is bad, of course, of course, but horny men awkwardly plying their “game” at the wrong time will not fuck up your life unless you decide you’re that fucking delicate.

Which — spoiler! — you’re not. Unless you decide to be.

If you say no to a man in power à la casting couch scenarios and get ruined for it, well, that’s clearly bullshit. Speak up, when and if you can. I’m not saying there aren’t asshole, powerful, predatory men, because there are. There aren’t a lot of them, honestly, but they are there, and sure, write manifestos about how All Men Are Responsible for reining that shit in, if you must — even though you don’t write similar manifestos about reining in ball-busting bitches who ruin otherwise perfectly decent men — and pretend it’s not very much like suggesting all Muslims are responsible for ISIS. Whatever. I don’t care.

But so much of the #metoo thing is just women bitching about the fact that men have libidos, are frequently awkward and dumb about it, and do dumb shit that is more annoying than damaging. You want men to have better manners? Fine, reinstate the age of manners. They’re not that bright, men, really. Manners were probably invented by women to keep men in line in the first place, and most of them went out the window when feminists started being offended at having doors held open for them.

I find that #metoo, overall, is more offensive than moving, more self-righteous than loving, more exclusive than inclusive. Much of what’s being “protested” is male sexual desire and awkwardness, and this undermines the real issue of those, of both sexes and all genders, who have been legitimately damaged.

In which there’s a lecture.

When your business is open each day only because your staff are getting the rest of the food, shelter, and medicine they need to survive via charity because you’re not paying them enough to buy their own, it means either that you’re not a viable business because you cannot pay a living wage, or that you’re a greedy asshole who will not pay a living wage.

Either way, you remain in business only because the rest of the community you operate in is providing your employees the EBT, gas vouchers, and health care you’re not. Which is to say that, if you were operating in a community that was not providing this lack, you’d already be closed because your staff would stop showing up, and you can’t run a business without staff, right? And hungry, sick, and homeless people tend to have a hard time getting to work each day.

No one who works a full-time job, even as a lowly dishwasher, should need assistance to survive. If you’re not paying the warm bodies who allow you to open your doors each day enough to rent a room, eat modestly, travel to and from work, save a bit, and see a doctor, you shouldn’t be in business. Because you’re not a thriving concern, you’re literally dependent on welfare.

Yes, it is true you’re forced into this horrific model by monsters like Walmart, who drove prices down so low they’re unsustainable, but the facts still stand: if you can’t afford to pay a living wage, one that keeps your people above the poverty line, your business has already failed.

If you can only afford staff from near, at, or below the poverty line, well, then you simply cannot expect them to show up regularly, or have knowledge or education, or be healthy or enthusiastic or empowered or happy, or smell clean or have decent clothing. Because that’s what fucking poverty means. I know a lot of privileged conservatives think that people are poor because they “waste” their money on things like cell phones, but that’s bullshit. A cell phone is a cultural norm; everybody has a cell phone. Anybody who works full time or more should have one, and probably needs one more than you do.

It’s not what poor people spend their money on — hint: it’s exactly the same stuff you spend your money on, asshole — it’s the hatred people feel toward those who earn less than themselves, and the idea of the stereotypical willfully ignorant, addicted, lazy “poor person.” That person is so rare s/he barely exists. The vast majority of the poor in America work full-time in two, or often more, jobs. They’re not lazy, they’re systemically underpaid by a broken economy.

When I worked at Home Depot, half the people I worked with had second jobs, and half of those were grandmothers. Women in their 50’s and 60’s, working more than full time to make ends meet because their families had needs or they were too, too proud to get assistance. Do you really think that any white, 50-something, educated, experienced grandmother should have to work more than one full-time job? Really? Well, that’s who “the poor” are. Sure, there are some junkies, some crazies, some lazies, but MOST POOR PEOPLE ARE JUST LIKE YOU ONLY WITH DIFFERENT LUCK. That’s it. Their morals, values, and work ethics are the same as yours, they just can’t get jobs that pay a living wage, because the number of jobs that do pay a living wage is very low.

The federal poverty level is $15,060 a year. No one could live on that without help. Period. If you were actually a kid with a part-time job flipping burgers, fine, you don’t need a living wage, but the people flipping your burgers aren’t kids living at home earning spending money. They’re struggling retirees, with mortgages they used to pay with their decent and now non-existent middle class jobs.

Ten bucks an hour, full-time for 52 weeks, earns $20,800 a year. Very few areas of the country where someone can both earn that and live on it. Telling someone to move to those areas is ignorant and stupid, because nobody making $20,800 a year can afford to move. Moving is expensive, and it requires so many basics: transportation or money to buy it, the ability to take enough time off without income to move, so many factors non-poor people take for granted. Moving is difficult with money; impossible without it.

Fifteen bucks an hour earns $31,200 a year. That’s all. That’s it. Just barely twice the goddamned poverty level. It is by no means a lavish lifestyle, but it’s enough to have shelter and food and transportation and savings and healthcare. It’s enough to not be a burden on others.

I make a little over ten bucks an hour. For each hour I spend being screamed at by angry customers and abused by hostile corporate policies, I can buy some mouthwash and a pair of cheap socks. Or a single, low-quality meal out. Or a t-shirt.

Doesn’t matter how many hours you work yourself or how hard. If you’re underpaying but your staff are alive to come to work, somebody — the community, welfare — is subsidizing them on your behalf, and you’ve failed to provide your people what they need.

Repost: Kneeling

October 5th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Soapbox - (0 Comments)

In which I put this on Facebook the other day. Since it’s mine, I’m cross-posting here.

To the many, many white people in my timeline confused about the football thing:

Goodness, you really think these players are kneeling because they’ve been indoctrinated against toxic masculinity and/or wholesome American values?

THEY’RE PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL PLAYERS, for heaven’s sake, they literally embody masculinity and American values, by your own lights. It’s why you watch them. They’ve all experienced first-hand what it is to excel in a masculine endeavor, and what it is to actually “make it against all odds” in this nation, making millions for playing a game on TV.

A very quick bit of online research will show you that they’re peacefully — using a few moments of their time on TV, while you’re actually paying attention to them —
protesting the deaths of Americans.

Unarmed, innocent Americans, black and brown, killed and jailed, systematically, without repercussion, by the machinery of the state. Murdered by police officers (it happens all the time here in Minneapolis; children shot and killed, unarmed men shot and killed, innocent Americans SHOT and KILLED by cops who face no discipline for murder), incarcerated to feed the private prison wealth-generating machine, because of their color, overwhelmingly their skin color, more than any other measurable factor.

These problems are horrific and they exist, and have existed, and your ability to ignore them is wholly due to your whiteness.

If you think more black and brown people are dead and in jail because, well, that’s just how black and brown people are: they’re low class, in gangs, inherently more violent, they prefer ghettos, they’re tribal and ignorant and addicted and warlike by nature: UNPACK THAT. You either know it’s due to systematic economic disparity, or you believe black and brown people are inherently, genetically less civilized than yourself.

To rephrase, for emphasis: you either think it’s fine that people are routinely and systemically disadvantaged due to their skin color, which makes you a racist; or you think they’re lazy, which makes you a racist; or you think they’re fundamentally more criminal than whites, which makes you a racist. You might be a racist, no matter what you think you are, if you believe skin color has ANYTHING to do with how human beings are to be treated by other human beings. Read this paragraph again.

So that, friends, is why they kneel.

If you think otherwise, if you think they’re doing anything else, disrespecting the flag or using their fame to feed some weird form of entitlement, you are wrong, just wrong, incorrect; safe in your cocoon of whiteness, far, far less likely to be murdered by cops or incarcerated without due process like your darker co-Americans because of your skin color.

They kneel, for a few minutes while they’re on TV and you’re looking at them, the ONLY time you’re even thinking about them, to get you to quit being indignant and start being compassionate, to quietly and gently and without lectures encourage you to quit complaining about the so-called violation of your stupid, stupid entertainment and THINK, ask questions, wonder why, and take some time to learn what it means, here in 2017, to be black or brown in The United States of America.

Um, wow.

September 18th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Soapbox - (0 Comments)

In which OMG SUPERMAD WHITE CHICKS.

She appears to think that football is real, and not a massive for-profit performance. IT’S ENTERTAINMENT. There is no promise of safety from offense.

Is it offensive? Sure, I guess, if you think football is real. Meekly, weakly, intentionally offensive.

He’s doing it because it makes white ladies aghast; it’s a sit-in, it’s peaceful protest, it’s a way of saying,

Hey, black people get killed by cops every day, innocent black people, far more frequently than should be, just for being black, why don’t you just model in your hearts and minds how that might feel for a minute, why don’t you quit being offended that your entertainment’s got a smudge of meaningless “disrespect” and think about how you would feel if your man got shot to death in front of you and your baby during a routine traffic stop because of his skin color, or your little boy got shot for playing with a toy gun because of his skin color. Just for a minute.

Just for a minute.

Just for a minute.

That’s all. He’s not a soldier. He’s not burning the flag. He’s using his fame politically, and that might jangle in the context of entertainment, but hey. That’s entertainment. Ever seen the Oscars? Ever?

Note also that our mother of the year puts “love” well after food, shelter. She feels her duties are material, not ineffable. Which is why she’s butthurt about someone peacefully making a point about a kind of ineffable pain she’ll never bother to try to understand, during her elective, optional form of ridiculous, bloated, faux-military entertainment.

Faux-military. It’s fucking football. It’s a game.

Does she have every right to be offended? Yes. In this country, yes. Absolutely yes.

As do I, to say she’s missing the point entirely, and looks a right twat doing so.

I’ve lived in Minneapolis for three years now, and the only time the mayor ever tweeted — repeatedly — about a shooting death? The victim was a white woman, shot by a black cop. The dozens of other shootings? No response. It turns out that you’re statistically far more likely to be fatally wounded by a cop if you’re not white.

Are a lot of criminals black? Sure. But statistically, based on population, most criminals — violent and non —
are white. And I don’t understand why blacks die by cop so much, but it sure does look like entrenched racism, and that needs to be contemplated. Which is why a football player, one who by all accounts donates extensively and has been said to have been seen teaching the Constitution to disenfranchised urban (black) kids, is kneeling during the anthem.

So think about it. Just for a minute.

Customer service is still weird af.

September 13th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Soapbox | Weather | Whining | Work - (0 Comments)

In which I STILL don’t understand how people can know so little about the services they use.

If you were the majority of Floridian customers I assisted during my shift at work this evening, you’ve just been through a massive 500-year storm that destroyed tons of shit, you either don’t have power or you’re running a generator, and you’re astonished that you can’t watch TV.

You don’t have power! Why in the fuck do you think your cable and internet should work? Irma was one of the strongest storms in recorded history. It did at least eighteen billion in insured losses damage (not counting crop losses or flood insurance), infrastructure is destroyed, farms are destroyed (Irma took almost half of the citrus crop in some areas), you had to fucking evacuate, and you can’t believe you didn’t return home to functioning internet?

Really?! YOUR CELL PHONE’S OBVIOUSLY WORKING, AND THAT’S A GODDAMNED TECHNOLOGICAL MIRACLE CONSIDERING THE CIRCUMSTANCES, but you’re mad anyway?

I have compassion for you, I do. It must have been and must still be incredibly stressful. But being a dick to customer service reps because you haven’t had internet for four days is just weird. Shit’s broken, my people, important shit, and if your neighbors down the block have cable and you don’t, well, I’m sorry. Life’s not always fair. Go watch TV at their house.

Multiple customers told me it was absolutely unacceptable for an outage to last four days. They demanded refunds, threatened to cancel (which, please, if you could get service from anybody else you’d already have it, and we both know it). It was a 500-year storm! Read a book, be glad you’re alive, and chill the fuck out! There are innumerable people out there working day and night to restore power, internet, cable. It takes time!

One customer admitted she had no power at home and was charging her cell phone at the corner store, but still freaked out about not having wifi in her house. It blew my mind. EVEN IF there wasn’t an outage and WE WERE DELIVERING INTERNET TO YOUR HOME, sweetie, IT WON’T WORK IF YOUR ROUTER ISN’T GETTING POWER. How can you not know that?

Furthermore, how can you not realize that if your house doesn’t have electricity, the node providing your cable probably doesn’t, either? Sure, installations like that have generators, but they only run if you can get to them to put fuel in them. If gas or the generators themselves aren’t accessible, they’ll go down. The network is vast, interdependent, and complicated, and service crews can’t even start working on them until cleared to do so by authorities. Internet service doesn’t just fall out of the sky, for fuck’s sake. Power outages, destroyed equipment, line cuts: there are tons of them because A MASSIVE GODDAMNED ACT OF GOD JUST ROLLED THROUGH.

I’m sorry your kids are driving you nuts without screens to occupy them, and I’m sure it’s a bitch, but your internet and cable will be restored when it’s restored. You need to back the fuck off the ignorant attitude and be glad you’re all still alive with homes to return to. It’s not like your provider somehow fucked up; it was an act of God. And at least your cell phone still works. You may be going over your data plan, but at least you’re online.

#googlemanifesto

August 7th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Soapbox | Web - (2 Comments)

In which a man suggests that women and men are, in fact, different. And gets fired for it.

Isn’t there evidence that males tend to cluster, intellectually, more toward genius or idiocy, whereas females tend to cluster toward average?

If so, this means that while there are, of course, both genius and idiot women, it also means that, all things being equal, any woman dealing with any man will likely not be dealing with an equal. It is more likely that he will be either smarter or dumber than she is, which explains a lot of our cultural noises about men being stupid and women being evil, or vice versa, or whatever.

If you’re a man interacting with a woman, she will probably be either your intellectual superior or your inferior, statistically, because you are less likely to be average than she is. Your odds of finding a woman exactly as smart as yourself are low, because you’re probably either an idiot, or, if you’re lucky, a genius. And if you happen to be average, well, good for you, unless she’s an outlier.

In essence, the #googlemanifesto dude is probably writing somewhat above the intellectual capacity of a lot of females. Which explains much of the enraged backlash: they’re mainly responding to key words.

Luckily, intelligence alone isn’t that big of a deal. It’s just one facet of any human being; there’s a great deal more going on, and much of it much more important.

I do denigrate his cost efficiency model. Many things should be done because they’re right, and not because they increase income. Using money as the go-to proof of efficacy is as ridiculous as expecting everything to be nice and feel good. Success can be measured by a variety of benchmarks, not just efficiency-as-measured-by-sales. Psychological well-being, for example, or longevity, or generosity.

http://gizmodo.com/exclusive-heres-the-full-10-page-anti-diversity-screed-1797564320

Look! They call it an “anti-diversity screed”! Because it suggests that males and females are biologically non-identical!

Once we acknowledge that not all differences are socially constructed or due to discrimination, we open our eyes to a more accurate view of the human condition which is necessary if we actually want to solve problems.

OMG are boys and girls different, measurably and demonstrably so?!

The wrong magics

May 31st, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Food | Introspection | Soapbox | Social - (0 Comments)

In which I continue to try to figure out why I care so much about people being wrong.

today in the shower i gave an imaginary person a lecture about chiropractic:

“chiropractic doesn’t do anything but separate people who can afford it from their money

“there are one or two adjustments that actually do something, apparently, but you can get those, when indicated, from any physical therapist. if you get them from the chiropractor, you probably didn’t need them anyway

“when people leave the chiropractor feeling better, it’s placebo. because most of the time they don’t go for the two demonstrably effective adjustments in chiropractic’s arsenal

“chiropractic is a scam, probably not a deliberate one (i’m sure most of its practitioners are sincere, if deluded by their training), but a scam nonetheless because we know that ‘subluxated’ bones don’t cause disease, period, and interesting but ineffective cracking sounds don’t get muscles to move bones ‘back’ where they ‘belong’

“the whole concept is bunk; i mean, it was a cool concept in its time. but, alas, a totally and completely wrong one

“point being you should probably spend your relaxation money on a licensed massage therapist, a sex worker, or an hour in a hot tub.

“and definitely avoid neck adjustments. once in a huge great while, if certain things come together in a certain way, you can be dead of the stroke caused by that neck adjustment even before nightfall!”

NOW:

since chiropractic is almost entirely harmless placebo, why do i care about it?

I DON’T KNOW

i don’t know why i care about any of the rest of it, either, from raw milk to chemtrails to alkaline diets

none of it affects me directly! it doesn’t matter! i don’t know anybody who is refusing chemo for kale ‘n’ chlorophyll smoothies, and if i did i’d probably be like, fine, if that’s how you want to die, i respect that, but please get yourself set up with palliative care asap

last night i got drunk on pinot grigio and wrote a post about raw milk or some shit, and apparently posted it without a title or anything, because some roos on facebook were telling me things that are all absolutely untrue, and drunk me HAD TO WRITE A THING but didn’t want to get in yet another pointless comment war with people who want to be wrong

plus i know it doesn’t matter

if you’re healthy and hale and want to drink raw dairy, fine, whatever, you’ll probably live,

but OMFG WHY DO YOU HAVE TO ARGUE SO FIERCELY WHEN YOU ARE DEMONSTRABLY FACTUALLY INCORRECT

i can show you these claims have all been refuted by experts!

and you’ll do what people do, you’ll say dumb shit about ‘dairy shills‘ and trot out baby-tier conspiracy theories in which pasteurization was not, in fact, a scientific breakthrough that made a measurably vast improvement on the quality of human life, but is, in fact, just like vaccines, THE MAN tryna PUT US DOWN

another friend recently started posting about chemtrails, of all things. CHEMTRAILS. the first time she did it i responded with “lol” because that’s what you do when you’re not crazy, but she wasn’t kidding

and IT DOESN’T MATTER, it’s ultimately harmless, really, if people want to believe that water vapor is a vast government conspiracy of mind control/poison/weather manipulation/insert batshit insane crazy nonsense here, and i don’t know why i give a shit

BUT I DO

it drives me nuts that people want to be stupid

it drives me nuts that people get so violently angry when you show them that what they believe is incorrect

it drives me nuts that people want to base their very identities on shit that isn’t even true

somebody got super pissed when i said the ‘50% of marriages end in divorce trope’ was never true. i remember enjoying having learned something new, when i learned that stat was a lie, but other people do not enjoy learning something they’ve “always known” is wrong. it infuriates them and they attack you like their very lives are in danger, which, according to brain scientists, is how it feels, i guess

whenever i find myself repeating something ‘everyone knows’ i tend to go look it up now, because a bunch of it is wrong. the divorce rate peaked at 40% in the 80’s and has been in decline ever since. the average human utilizes about 64 ounces of water a day, but it comes from the food and drink we consume so there’s never been any need to pour an additional 8 glasses of water down your gullet. body heat radiates from everywhere equally, not mainly from one’s head. glass is not a liquid, it’s an amorphous solid. if you touch a baby bird to put it back in its nest, its mother will not reject it.

and so on.

i have given up “believing” anything at all about, for example, human diet. i was rabidly low-carb for awhile, but humans ate carbs for ten thousand years before the obesity epidemic started, so it’s not just carbs, or even refined carbs, because we were eating those for hundreds of years before we all got fat, so i just don’t know. and it’s okay for me not to know.

i used to believe that vegetarians were healthier and longer-lived because some diet book or another told me so when i was 20-something, but since then i’ve learned that those things are not true.

and in general i don’t care what you eat, unless it’s something stupid, like smoothies

other friends of mine post their morning beverages on instagram and they have an old-fashioned juicer that spits out the fiber pulp of the fruits and vegetables they’re juicing (so they’re basically drinking sugar) and they drink chlorophyll daily and “believe” it’s healthy

except it’s just another health food trend in an almost infinite line of them that does nothing measurable but get your cash out of your wallet rather neatly

but they’re very healthy people with low risk factors and they do use the fiber in their diets elsewhere so it probably doesn’t matter IN ANY SIGNIFICANT WAY if they feel their morning juicing ritual is good for them, but it just makes my fingers itch

because at best it does nothing, and at worst it gives one of them type 2 diabetes since taking the sugar out of whole fruits and vegetables and ingesting it all at once causes blood sugar spikes normally regulated by the fiber the juicer takes out and if you’re going to take risks shouldn’t they at least be in the form of wine or downhill skiing or something fun rather than a beverage ritual done because people think it’s “healthy”?

if i’m going to have that much sugar, it’s not going to be some fruit and vegetable combo that tastes like sweet dirt, it’s going to be a chocolate malt. at least the dairy fat may mitigate the sugar the tiniest bit, and i’m not going to delude myself into thinking it’s “healthy”

“healthy” is the opposite of diseased. it’s not something you can get better at. like, if you’re healthy, you’re not going to get somehow “healthier” if you do a few weird things to your diet

i take no supplements. zero. none. haven’t for a decade at least, because i learned that they do nothing at best, and poison you at worst, plus they’re expensive and i’d prefer to spend my money on pinot grigio and chrome baskets for my bicycle and vacations

DOES IT MATTER IF PEOPLE BUY SUPPLEMENTS THAT DON’T DO ANYTHING AND ARE GENERALLY HARMLESS?

um, no, i have to say, no, it doesn’t really matter

they can afford it, it makes them feel like they’re doing something, most supplements aren’t toxic or anything (although some are, and will fucking put you in organ failure)

it just BUGS THE SHIT OUT OF ME anyway

why is my species so gullible, so prone to magical thinking about the wrong magics, so fiercely violent when you tell them they’re incorrect?

and why do i care?

I DON’T KNOW!

i “believe” less and less as time goes by, but the world isn’t less magical. i don’t know much of anything about “being healthy” because NOBODY promulgating diet advice ACTUALLY DOES. i don’t take pills or drink smoothies or buy kale, because those are all dumb fads.

fermenting? well, i don’t know, and neither do you. the WHO says it’s linked to stomach cancer, so maybe ferment with restraint and very, very, very clean equipment. the discovery of a second ‘brain’ in the gut does not necessarily equate with anything going on in the fermenting movement. the bacteria that like to eat the sugars in your ferments are not necessarily the ones you want in your gut biome, plus a lot of the bacteria you eat don’t survive the acids in your stomach, plus some of your biome is yeasts, plus nobody knows yet, and probably won’t in this lifetime, so what you ‘believe’ about your ‘healthy’ ferments and your gut biome is mostly made-up nonsense and your results are more likely to be placebo than anything you’re actually doing

what i do is eat a varied diet of less-processed foods and monitor my caloric intake. brown rice, whole wheat flour, beans and legumes. lots of fat, because fat is delicious. i do not drink 64 oz. of water daily, but i do have at least a glass.

i’m overweight, which we know increases numerous risk factors, so i assume my diet and lifestyle are not ideal. but it’s also true that every female relative i have looked about like this at my age, so there’s definitely strong genetics here as well, and hey, most of them are very long-lived anyway. and i prefer moderated enjoyment of a variety of foods over fear and guilt and magic rituals involving blenders or fermenting jars.

so, most of what everybody ‘believes’ is harmless, even if it’s wrong, and i know that but it’s DRIVING ME NUTS to be constantly bombarded with bullshit. no, milk is not filled with pus. no, vaccines do not cause autism. no, kale isn’t a ‘superfood,’ because ‘superfood’ is a flawed concept to begin with (if you have scurvy, a lemon is a superfood; the rest of the time it’s just a lemon. kale has never cured anything, as far as we know, except hunger, temporarily). no, the alkaline diet does not cure cancer. no, chelation therapy is not effective ‘against’ autism. no, vegans aren’t healthier. no, no, no. i know it doesn’t matter that you’re wrong, but you are, and it drives me nuts that you WANT TO STAY THAT WAY.

your mind is the only tool you have. the only one. you cannot get enlightened without a mind. you NEED the fucking thing functioning properly, which means you need to be able to use it to discriminate between reality and unreality, truth and lie, fact and fiction. letting it fill up with shit is just a bad idea, i guess. clear it out, throw that shit away, just be with what is, rather that what you think you need in order to shore up your ego. get rid of beliefs rather than collect them.

be wrong.

let go.

listen.

May 30th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Soapbox - (1 Comments)

retweeted a statistic about how the vast majority of dairy-related illnesses are due to raw dairy products

(probably the trendy ones, drunk by hipsters and science-haters, rather than, you know, actual dairy farmers or small-holders drinking the stuff in their ranch houses, because with their knowledge they’re highly unlikely to poison themselves, amirite)

and now people on social media are telling me dumb shit about how ‘all factory farmed milk has pus in it!’ (no, it doesn’t, because ‘pus’ isn’t a thing) and ‘nobody ever got sick from raw milk!’ (lol, clearly not true, bro) and pasteurization kills essential nutrition and

OMG THE STUPID

not only do we know that raw dairy, improperly handled, which is super likely when the market is so far from the consumer, makes people sick, but

it takes literally fractions of a second to learn about the modern dairy industry’s checks and balances (here’s a single example about how romantic notions about milk are wrong) plus,

WHOA THE FDA EXISTS

Ye fuckin’ gawds i just can’t

EVEN

the chiropractics

the naturopathics

the anti-vax

the vegans and smoothie-drinkers and pseudo-yoga practitioners (yoga is a method of enlightenment, not an exercise regime, for fuck’s sake)

the ‘cure cancer with alkaline diets’ crazies…

WHY ARE WE SO WILLING TO BE DUMB WHEN WE HAVE SO MUCH KNOWLEDGE

yes, i’d love absolutely fresh diary, i guess. if i had a cow or goat and milked her myself, well, i’d drink it unpasteurized, if i had total control over the entire supply chain, from her udder to my face

(but seriously, i don’t want to breed them every season or two and figure out what to do with the calves or kids and i know from my aunt that quadrupeds are not inexpensive to keep healthy and i live in a fucking uptown apartment so the odds of my ever having access to FRESH raw milk is NONE)

and if i left the pail out in the sun for half an hour while fucking with my laundry or some shit, i’d probably heat it before consuming it, because fuck puking, really

…but commercial raw dairy? even from earnest, small producers? um, not so much. i prefer my milk pasteurized and unhomogenized. because even earnest, small producers cannot guarantee that their milk is held in perfect conditions at all times, from the teat to my fridge, unless they bring the shit to my house themselves.

when there’s a simple, effective method for killing any potential contaminants that does not measurably alter milk’s nutrients, why not use it?

oh, but MUSH, heating the milk destroys the nutrition!

does it, then? um, no. no, there’s no evidence that’s true, meaningfully. i mean, maybe someday there will be methods for proving that supposition, but today, no. the money’s on not poisoning yourself when you don’t have to.

plus, what’s wrong with heating the stuff? don’t we heat our milk more often than not, using it in coffee, in recipes?