Lone Wolf at the Door

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Although Michael Moore doesn’t always get things right, I like the points he makes in HuffPo today, about how the tremendous violence we Americans visit upon ourselves and others comes from much deeper causes than easy availability of guns. While of course gun restictions will help, more mental health services will help, beneath it all he believes three big issues underlie our excessive crime and violence: POVERTY, FEAR/RACISM, and THE ME SOCIETY.

Of course all three of these phenomena are intertwined, each causing, reinforcing, and resulting from the other. The selfish me society is so intrinsic to our history and mythology. On the one hand, we see ourselves as parts of a whole, citizens of. this great country, but we really don’t evidence a strong belief in taking care of one another. And all evidence to the contrary, the person who falls is viewed as entirely responsible for his/her fate, and the person who succeeds did it all on his/her own. We lack community and connection that might ordinarily work to prevent most people from killing a bunch of other people. In America the lone wolf is viewed as a hero, a god. The lone guy who kills the enemy and the one who kills innocents are the same–disconnected, misanthropic–they just happen to point their guns at different targets. Every day we churn out these isolated individuals, all focused only on their own needs and wants in different ways, and some directing their lonely dislocation at the others outside themselves. You didn’t build that, we built that.

Now how do we dismantle it?

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Master of Bushes

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FuckBushmaster2Maybe it’s progress when the guns = masculinity equation is just right out there, blatantly on display, instead of hidden behind other supposed reasons Butch needs guns, and lots of them. This Bushmaster web ad, where a guy can go and put put his guy friends’ names in alongside pre-defined unmanly behaviors, then offer them the antidote to their sissiness, which of course is the Bushmaster gun. Does this approach actually sell guns? I wish I had time to do a sociological study of the people on whom it actually works, or perhaps this is a case where the stereotypes apply, and no study is needed. Those studies often just prove the obvious anyway. BUSHmaster.  So wrong.

 

Over at the goodmenproject.com, a writer notes that,

“If I were making up a parody commercial to INSULT American gun culture, I would consider that model   way too on-the-nose to actually use, but Bushmaster just rolled with it.bushmaster man card reissued

The first “definition” offered by Bushmaster for what makes a guy unmanly is that “Adam L. is just unmanly” because “Adam L. avoids eye contact with tough-looking 5th graders.” WOW. I guess he can consider his “man card reissued” now that he took a Bushmaster rifle and mowed those elementary school students down. Or, actually, he gunned down mostly kindergartners so is the ad saying he didn’t get his “man card” after all? If he’d focused the barrage of manly, penis-shaped bullets on 5th graders, would he then get the “man card”? Remember, he did use a Bushmaster. Holy shit, there are some f**ed up gun “enthusiasts” and gun makers out there. Holy fuck.

 

Did you know Jesus founded the NRA because he needed protection?

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Cross gun man

What kind of god is this?

Some of the worst blather out there on the Newtown shooting is coming from the “religious.” Evangelical radio host Bryan Fischer told his listeners on Friday,

Here’s the bottom line — God is not going to go where He is not wanted. We kicked God out of our public school system. I think God would say to us, hey, I would be glad to protect your children, but you gotta invite me back into your world first. I’m not going to go where I’m not wanted. I am a gentleman… Back when we had prayer, the Bible and the Ten Commandments in schools, we did not need guns.

Wow. I didn’t learn about god from those felt story boards at bible school, but even a heathen like me knows that god isn’t supposed to need an invitation—isn’t he supposed to be everywhere? Do godly children not bring him to school with them everyday? Some even pray at school (and they’re allowed to, even!) I’ve SEEN IT!

What has happened to your god?? Now Jesus loves war and guns, and his dad is too polite to go into a kindergarten classroom? His feelings are hurt because he wasn’t invited? Or he’s vindictively withholding himself? At least he’s a gentleman, phew.

I always heard that god is loving and all-powerful. But perhaps these evangelical media personalities don’t want their followers to believe in that version of god anymore, ‘cuz then who’d need Bryan Fischer, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, etc. ad nauseum?

Mi Esposa reminded me of one of U2’s lines:

Stop helpin’ god across the road like a little old lady

Fear and Loathing Deluxe, or, Nuts over Guns

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The horrifying school shooting yesterday fills me with sadness and anger, as it clearly does most of us. The tragedy is exacerbated by reading the usual knee-jerk responses that come from the right.

Gun Nuts

In an unfunny irony, earlier this week one of my conservative christian relatives inexplicably forwarded me a circulating email with the subject “A Profound and Articulate Argument,” by some military guy who writes that the weak/good people need guns to protect them from mugging and attacks by strong/bad people. (BTW, how can more guns be a christly position?) Of course attacks happen more than they should, but never as often as fear-mongering gun nuts claim. Over in places like Foxnewsville, they missed the memo that violent crime has been decreasing, down 15% since 2007, per FBI stats.

To that email forward, to violent, gun-loving American culture, I borrow from Katie J.M. Baker on Jezebel and say FUCK YOU GUNS.

Power Balls

Then there’s talk about mental illness, and the need for more treatment. I agree we desperately need that. And while we don’t know if this particular mass murderer was mentally ill, that malady is clearly a factor for MOST of the mass killers in recent memory.

The characteristics that ALL these murderers share are whiteness and masculinity. Women and people of color in this country suffer from mental illnesses too, but there’s only one group of Americans for which it too often manifests in murders of families and/or innocent strangers.

America has a gender role and white privilege crisis. Traditional definitions of masculinity have been ratcheted up: get angry not sad, direct it out not in, go out in a blaze of glory, take no prisoners, die motherfucker! Be a man and don’t act like a weak faggot or girl. Dominate.

Add to that the bloody history of white privilege in the US—a powerful racial privilege that is denied if ever acknowledged, a privilege that is expected, and which every institution in America has functioned to perpetuate. What we get then is a category of people (OF COURSE not all whites, not all men), for whom disappointment, pain, neurosis or psychosis is bound to come out in violent actions towards OTHERS.

A whole segment of media and institutions is devoted to glorifying violent white manliness as well as inciting resentment (fear) of those uppity women and “minorities” who are (supposedly) displacing the poor white guys from their rightful perches of power.

Shame

Shame on all the people promoting these ideologies of hate and violence—unacknowledged fear. Shame on the makers of ubiquitous products, media, games, wars that promote this shit. Shame on an economic system built around conquest, exploitation of people and nature, division, wealth accumulation, competition, selfishness, and a mythic individualism.

Shame on us for (literally) buying into any part of this culture of evil. Ironically for Mr. Military Man of the forwarded email, the very gender/racial privilege that he no doubt helps promote is what creates his whole weak/strong dichotomy that requires more guns.

Love

Once again, most of us are grieving for the children and families mowed down by killing machines, metal and human. I’m sending love and empathy to everyone in Newtown, and everyone in any kind of pain in the world, wishing it would manifest in healing and not more pain.

You’d Better Not Pout

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ImageHead on over to the fancy website, waronchristmas.com and you’ll learn the TRUTH about how Christmas is being KILLED by POLITICAL CORRECTNESS. Yes, as we’ve discussed before, that most American (i.e. christian, white…in other words, real american) of holidays (wait don’t cheapen it by calling it a holiday) is under SEIGE.

Oh man I hate the term political correctness, and the fact that it’s become this ubiquitous catch-all term for anything related to acceptance, diversity, or,–another word I dislike–“tolerance.”

To state the obvious: not wanting public institutions to endorse one religion’s holyday over all others is not PC, it’s not “war” it is simply a) abiding by the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment, and b) respecting and being sensitive to the diversity of people and beliefs in our pluralistic nation.

Conservatives seem to long for the good ol’ days when Christmas was promoted everywhere, when minority religions were totally marginalized, and most importantly, when everyone not white, christian, male, and rich knew their place and shut up about it.

I suppose I could give waronchristmas.com some props for not trying to hide this fearful and regressive motivation. They write that this “war” isn’t really an assault on religion, but on the very heart of true American culture! Here’s a key passage:

Nowadays, the attempt to stamp out “Christmas” in the public sphere and replace it with generic “holidays” is a slap in the face to the majority of Americans. If one of their most cherished holidays is removed from “their” culture, then where can they go to be at home? The answer, of course, is nowhere.

Americans have a right to the American holiday of Christmas. It is part of who we are… even though some of us are not Christian. It’s time for us to stand up and reclaim it from the small majority who are trying to take it away from us!

I love the shift from ‘they’ to ‘we,’ in two successive paragraphs. Those poor white Christians are being shut out from the America “they/we” own, gob nabbit!

Where can “they/we” go to be at home? How about home.

Leave-iticus

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SHAMEFUL DISCLAIMER: I did not write this post, and I truly intended to credit the author, but forgot. Now when I tried every google combo I could to find the original I couldn’t find it. I’m not a thief, I swear. I apologize to the author of this, and if anyone knows who that is please send me a comment.

Levit-alone-icus

When citing Leviticus and other scripture to justify gay-hate, let us not forget the other equally serious sins laid out in that infallible book!

By now we’re all familiar with this christian favorite on HOMOSEXUALITY: “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” —Leviticus 20:13.

For those who dutifully follow every rule in that BOOK, don’t forget these!

1. No Free Speech: “He who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him (Lev. 24:16)

2. No Bacon For You: “And the swine, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. Of their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch; they are unclean to you.” (Lev. 11:7–8)

3. Blood, Sacrifice, Burn: to atone for sins, the priest must kill a bull, gut it, then burn it on an altar. (Lev. 4:1–10)
[NOTE: The first several chapters of Leviticus are devoted to mandatory animal sacrifices, such as the wringing of turtledoves’ necks, the cutting open of goats and bulls, and the vivisection of female lambs, for various sins.]

4. God loves Slavery: feel free to buy, sell and trade slaves, they are your property. “You may bequeath them to your sons after you, to inherit as a Possession for ever.” (Lev. 25:44–46)

5. Uh oh Obesity Epidemic: “It shall be a perpetual statute throughout Your generations, in all your dwelling places, that you eat neither fat nor blood.” (Lev. 3:17)

6. No Mullets For You: “You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard.” (Lev. 19:27)

7. Put That Shellfish On the Shelf: “Everything in the waters that has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers, you may eat. But anything in the rivers that has not fins and scales, of the swarming creatures in the waters and of the living creatures that are in the waters, is an abomination to you.” (Lev. 11:9–12)

8. Firing Squad or Guillotine?: “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death.” (Lev. 20:10)

9. No Wonder Teapublicans Voted Doen UN Treaty on People With Disabilities:

“For no one who has a blemish shall draw near, a man blind or lame, or who has a mutilated face or a limb too long, or a man who has an injured foot or an injured hand, or a hunchback, or a dwarf, or a man with a defect in his sights or an itching disease or scabs or crushed testicles; no man of the descendants of Aaron the priest who has a blemish shall come near to offer the Lord’s offerings by fire; since he has a blemish, he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God…He shall not come near the veil or approach the altar, because he has a blemish, that he may not profane my sanctuaries…” (Lev. 21:18–23)

Better Betties (not Friedan)

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More evidence of how dead the revolutionary movement of FEMINISM is. Killed by media backlash, by brilliant/sick marketing of toys, fashion, cosmetics, values; killed by women who got tired of fighting, and younger women benefitting from those fights without knowing the origin or cost of their expanded opportunities. Not caring to know because they’re taught it’s enough.

And yet conservative media likes to keep its twisted idea of feminism in the news, telling all to believe there’s some active man-hating cabal out there controlling women to the detriment of men in power (if only!).

On Fox news recently, Dana Perino warned that women should “make better decisions” to avoid being beaten or killed by their abusers. And later, Suzanne Venker at Fox warns us all that men are retreating from marriage because “men say women are no longer women.” She suggests we all get in touch with our feminine side to remedy this matter post-haste. Otherwise who knows, women might bypass marriage to unstable men in favor of self-sufficient (safe!) alternatives and that can’t be allowed!?!

Venker: “You begin by accepting that men and women are different. Equal, but different. This means you’ll have to reject feminist dogma since feminism has taught you that equality means sameness.”

Nothing like a good straw(woman) to advance an empty argument. Those old lies about what equality means, what feminists want, how men/marriage/women/children/our entire civilization are being DESTROYED by the outrageous pursuit of gender equality…why haven’t we (feminists, progressives, smart people) done a better job of countering the falsehoods and continually promoting our values through this fog of war?

Ah geez, it’s way more fun to shop for clothes, makeup, shoes, boobs, that turn me into the fuckable object everyone wants me to be. Back off you old dyke.
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The Atheist Shibboleth

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It seems that media coverage of conflicts over christmas displays in public places is usually framed as Atheists against Christians (the only true Americans). Of course conservative media loves to pound on this one, and it is a brilliant way of bonding your audience to you and your corporate sponsors by uniting all against the common enemy of change, diversity, multiculturalism, globalism, satan. It’s a WAR on Christmas, and we all need to join ranks against the mongrel hordes who clearly want to…be more included in things? I dunno.

All that aside, it’s fascinating to me that atheists are featured in the forefront of those who object to the tacit public endorsement of christianity inherent in nativity or other religiously inspired displays on government property. Atheists are easier to target explicitly than other actual religions (although apparently a number of the christies think atheism itself is a religion!) so the implicit denunciation of atheist’s declaring war on their sacred day is a good cover for what they’re really afraid of, i.e., change and difference, of any kind.

I suspect that those Americans like me who are not atheists, but don’t believe that any religion’s beliefs and symbols belong in the public square–because we don’t have a state sponsored religion, and because we have a plurality of religious faiths whose adherents shouldn’t have to be bombarded with symbols and ideas of one religion. Even though we already ARE. Conservatives rail about the fact that christianity used to be everywhere in public life as if that’s EVER been a viable reason to do anything—well we used to put children to work in factories at age 5, we used to think slavery was a-okay, that leeches cured all disease, holy shit—the number of horrible things we USED to do is endless. Some of us non-christians are just trying to keep working toward putting some more things onto the list of horrible things we USED to do.

 

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