When Zina knocked on Lain’s door, still feeling unnerved by D’s strange comment, the door swung easily on its hinges and revealed the bedroom to be empty. Zina wandered in, glancing around, hoping against hope that Lain might be hiding or crouched behind her bed for some reason. She called her name, but there was no answer. Zina’s heart sank.
She shuffled from room to room, hoping that Lain would answer her calls. She soon realized with a heavy weight that she was alone in the apartment. Zina glanced up at the wall clock and inhaled sharply, realizing that it was Thursday. Lain would be at band practice and probably wouldn’t return for hours. Maybe even the rest of the night. She would have to handle this on her own.
She dawdled in the kitchen, putting a tea kettle on the stove and grabbing a snack. She puttered around, organizing the shelves of the refrigerator before the tea was ready and she returned to her bedroom. She ate slowly, staring at the screen where Dean’s message sprawled in front of her. Then she noticed something strange. He was visible online. Normally he just wrote and ran. They had never had a conversation in real time.
Zina gulped down a hot sip of tea, and with shaking hands she clicked on D’s picture. A dialogue bubble popped up, and she began to type. Her heart was thudding in her chest, but she ignored it. There was probably some rational explanation.
Zina: I haven’t said that phrase since we began talking. How did you know I say that?
An elipses appeared on the screen as D. dictated a response. It took an unusually long time for the tiny sentence that finally appeared on the screen.
D:I think you wrote it on a comment that Roy liked.
Zina considered this thoughtfully. She did use the phrase a lot. It would be no big deal if he had read it and it stuck out in his mind. The elipses appeared again, and her thudding heart began to slow. She watched in anticipation as he wrote, until finally she could read it.
D: It’s one of the things I first noticed about you. It was like someone was finally speaking a language I understood.
Zina sighed. That made sense. It would stick out in his head if it was what drew his attention to her in the first place. She laughed at herself for the strange acceleration of paranoia she had experienced. Her breathing returned to normal and she shook her head. She hadn’t noticed it had become so constricted.
Zina: Oh, I see. This is strange. I don’t usually use the messenger on FaceSpace. I’ve heard rumors that they track what you write if you use it and can sell you out to the FBI.
There was a long pause before the elipses appeared. It disappeared briefly and then appeared again. Zina pursed her lips impatiently.
D: I’ve heard that before. Do you have something to hide?
The irony of him asking her if she had anything to hide nearly made her laugh out loud. She began to feel annoyed toward Lain for filling her with ridiculous doubts. Her annoyance fully eased her doubts about D. and she relaxed. They had been talking this long, why not just enjoy it while she could? You learned a lot more about a person during a real time conversation, so that’s what she was going to do.
Zina:Not exactly, but I don’t want to be vulnerable to the wrong people either.
D: That’s understandable.
Speaking to him in real time was much slower than she had thought it would be. Almost boring, really. He didn’t carry the same spark that the emails seemed to have, and she found herself losing interest quickly. Maybe he was tired or something. Still, tired or not, D. continued talking.
D: Guess where I am.
Zina: If you say “outside my window” I’m going to kill you.
D: ha-ha. No. I’m taking the easy way out and riding the bus back to the city. I’m passing a herd of cows right now.
Zina: You must be getting close to home.
The elipses appeared briefly, then disappeared again. She waited for a few beats before finally, his message appeared on the screen.
Rising Popularity of the Logical Fallacy on Social Media
I’m so beyond tired of seeing posts on Facebook that compare one tragic incident to another, and claim that people care more about one thing than they do about something else. This is so wrong on so many levels.
Measuring “The Sad”
There is no measurement that can accurately portray who is more upset about what. This is for a few different reasons. First of all, feelings are insubstantial. If you could measure sadness in grams and ounces, maybe it would hold some weight, but you can’t. You also have to consider the extremely biased media coverage that is given to certain events. The fact that the general public as a whole is tragically uninformed is not a basis to proclaim that one man’s death was more “cared about” than another man’s death.
Another reason you cannot measure a person’s empathy is because people simply feel. We are presented with a situation and we have an emotional reaction to it. We don’t hear a tragic story and automatically think, “Well that sucks, but it’s not so bad as what happened to someone else, right? So who cares?” Nobody is like that unless they are a sociopath. Anyone, when properly informed, will respond with a similar level of empathy and sadness toward a tragic event, no matter what it is or who was involved.
Grief Should Remain Unscrutinized
When I was younger, I experienced several deaths that seemed unfair and wrong. The suffering I endured cannot be expressed in words, and neither can the suffering of the families of countless victims. I personally don’t think the media should stick its nose into that sort of grief as it unfolds, but unfortunately, this is what happens. Everyone’s grief is legitimate, and can never be compared to someone else’s. Furthermore, it should NEVER be belittled based on the fact that the details surrounding their traumatic experience are supposedly worth more media attention than something else, and anyone who thinks that’s okay should be ashamed of themselves.
Facebook’s Logical Fallacies Encourage Media Sensationalism
Another issue with this rising trend of logical fallacy on Facebook is that you really can’t compare two unlike situations. Everything is different, happens for different reasons, and is covered by the media because of sensationalism – not to elicit an emotional outcry that will ultimately serve to change society for the better. You may think it’s absurd that someone is upset about one thing they hear, while you are upset about something else, but these are two separate events, and every person is moved by different things because of their own life experiences.
This type of argument is absurd, and often used to try and push people’s views toward a particular agenda. It makes no sense and when you parrot these ideas you end up looking like someone who cannot think for yourself. I’m going to give a list of examples to help explain my point.
Rainbows vs. Fireworks at the White House
First of all, the White House was decked out in rainbow lights when the Supreme Court made a life-altering decision for thousands of American citizens to uphold their human rights. But many people took this small symbol of social change as a challenge when a week later, the White House didn’t put up red, white, and blue lights to celebrate Independence Day.
The real question here is, has the White House EVER put up red, white, and blue lights to celebrate Independence Day? Not even once, have they? According to this logic, should the American LGBT(etc.) community become enraged that they didn’t get fireworks displayed all throughout the nation to commemorate the momentous occasion? These two events are completely unrelated. Independence Day gets fireworks, barbeques, songs, performances, documentaries, alcohol, parties, and respect, and gays get pretty lights. Deal with it!
Death vs. Death and Racism
Another ridiculous thing I see a whole lot of is people comparing the deaths of different people. People are murdered frequently, and many people are getting offended by the fact that police brutality may hog some of the limelight over, say, a white marine getting murdered two and a half years ago.
Okay, let’s just stop right there. Systemic racism is a huge problem that oppresses and harms black people on a daily basis. They can’t go a day without remembering they are black and that most people in their country look down on them. And then, when the police racially profile them and go too far, enough that the media decides it would make a sensationalistic story that will put their network on the map, these horrific crimes against humanity are belittled and compared to a completely unrelated event. So a marine once got murdered by a minority. Does that mean that racism and police brutality are okay, because all black people might potentially murder a marine?
It makes no sense. They’re not even in the same category. Well, unless you want to use your argument to justify racism and police brutality.
Yes, it is absolutely wrong and disgusting and fucked up that anybody should be murdered, by the police or otherwise. It is horrific, tragic, and evil. But they cannot be compared. The marine who was murdered will likely have a huge media following, if not across the nation then at least in his home state, and he even has a holiday to commemorate his actions and courage for his service to the nation. Minorities who are profiled by the police as a threat, treated brutally, and murdered, just have rednecks on social media getting angry that their death made the newspaper. It’s actually pretty racist.
Attacks On Planned Parenthood
Something that has been really making me shake my head is the latest trend of attacking Planned Parenthood and comparing it to the brutal act of trophy hunting. Many people have the crazy idea that Planned Parenthood’s sole purpose is to harvest the organs of unborn children and sell them for a profit. Based on this ridiculous lie, begun by a slur campaign from hell determined to get rid of social programs that help poor women, many sheeple are crying out that Planned Parenthood is more evil than animal abuse and we should feel guilty for caring more about animals than we do about people. They are flabbergasted that society hasn’t shut down this program once and for all despite the fact that many are outraged over trophy hunting.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense that these people would prefer seeing animals abused and children born into families where they aren’t wanted, leading to abuse, trauma, neglect, drug use, and a cycle of poverty they may never be able to break out of. Generally, this lifestyle is responsible for higher crime rates and a lower quality of life for the families they are born into. So using the same logic, people who compare the lion to Planned Parenthood apparently prefer child abuse over animal abuse. Bravo. If you don’t understand what I mean, watch this clip. It explains my point perfectly.
More than anything, Planned Parenthood is an organization that helps poor women that nobody else cares about. They provide health care and screenings for women who could never afford it otherwise. It is a phenomenal organization, and although a tiny fraction of their profit may be spent on performing abortions when needed, like, say, if a woman is raped and her pregnancy may cause complications that would kill her because of a traumatizing event she had no control over, they will help her and give her the option to donate the stem cells to science so that maybe her unborn child could have a hand in curing cancer. Pretty evil, right?
I don’t agree with murder in any form, it’s awful. But I don’t see all the people trying to shut down Planned Parenthood offering to adopt out all the kids they think they’re saving or start a better program for helping impoverished women and their unborn children. The poor babies would just end up born into a hellish cycle that nobody in their right mind would ask for and grow up judged and condemned by the same people who supposedly “saved” them. Sure, adoption sounds nice, but when is the last time you went to your local orphanage and brought home someone to love? It rarely happens, and either way, the unwanted children are put into a hellish foster care cycle, condemned by society, and surrounded by dysfunction, substance abuse, and pain.
Women in Planned Parenthood are too poor to survive on their own, so obviously it’s a great idea to throw an innocent child into the mix. It’s not like being poor is one of the most stressful things a person could go through, and it’s not like people take that stress out on their children and abuse them. I mean, who do those bastards who give a shit about trophy hunting think they are, caring about a lion when 3% of Planned Parenthood’s revenue goes toward abortion?!
The argument makes no sense, and was started by a classist and sexist organization that wants to continue oppressing women. You want to hop on the band wagon? Go for it. But it’s a pretty ignorant argument. At least make sure your argument isn’t a logical fallacy.
Responses To Brutality Toward Animals
There are few things more appalling than the brutal treatment of animals. Most people know this, but for some reason, they don’t like to dwell or admit to it, because they are guilty of benefiting from the exploitation and abuse of animals on a daily basis.
Recently, news of a wild lion’s torture has come into the mainstream media and elicited a (reasonably) negative response. People are upset and disgusted by its treatment, and finally it seems that animals are getting representation for their suffering in the mainstream media.
But wait, not so fast. People who want to continue utilizing animals without guilt can’t seem to let this one slide. Why should people pay attention to the savage treatment of animals without being made to feel guilty for not caring that people in the USA are murdered too? And that Planned Parenthood still dares to grace the earth on its distorted mission to help impoverished women in horrific cycles of abuse to receive health care?
I just do not see how any of these things are related. Animal abuse is an evil thing. Period. It is not something that you can compare to other evils in the world. Evil is simply evil, and chances are, everyone is just as upset about the brutal treatment of Cecil the Lion as they are about every other fucked up thing that happens in this world. Let it go and show some respect for suffering!
Nobody should be forced to suffer, animal or otherwise, and these arguments are completely illogical. If you want to argue against Planned Parenthood, get your facts straight and argue against the organization. Don’t bring someone else’s torture into it and belittle their suffering to make your stupid point!
The Media Thrives Off Your Ignorance and Outrage
We have to accept that none of us control the media. Everyone with two brain cells and a soul will be outraged when they hear horrible stories, no matter who or what they involve. The media chooses to exploit these stories for their own sensationalist agendas. The news isn’t here to inform the public, it’s here to get ratings, compete with other news broadcasters, and push yellow journalism to its limits to try and get a good story. The more controversy they elicit, the more viewers they can usher into their corner, and the more money they make.
It’s not only manipulative, but it makes people look like sheeple, parrot the thoughts of the broadcasters who bring them this news, and keeps them in the dark about other issues going on. News stations try and get the most shocking story with the most controversial angles possible so that people will start a “dialogue” and refer to their news broadcasting station for all the details. They withhold things and reveal them as they see fit to keep viewers on the hook as the masses begin formulating their opinions about what happened. We are spoon-fed little tidbits that put us right where they want us – glued to the limited amount of information they have chosen to give us and desperate to learn more.
When we don’t know the whole story, we make assumptions. We become the kings of the logical fallacy and start making connections that make no sense to justify an argument that ultimately falls in favor of racism, animal abuse, and sexism. These ridiculous arguments aren’t made because they are convincing and rational, they are made because they push the agendas of the people who put them out there and want to keep the world stuck in the stone age. If you’re okay with that, great, but I just thought I should warn you, you’re making an ass of yourself and belittling a lot of things that matter. If you have a cause, get your facts straight and fight for it the right way. WithOUT getting logical fallacy involved.
Plight of the predators
Piling fact over fiction over lie
Never stop, Never be
Never stop to think
Whatever they claim – believe
Whatever the cage – be free
casualties vs. profit
a generation of “just drop its”
walk on, walk away
Don’t look back
You’ll remember the day you turned to stone
The day your theory cracked
Mistaking and faking
Solutions to games
Wishing and pushing
to be the first to play
Perverted by poverty
By educationless youth
Miserable in the shadow of self-decay
An abomination of the shelter
Where once you felt safe
Now placing a stone lid over the tomb
The sun is undone – it’s left this room
I am a white woman who has been overwhelmed by the injustices I witness on a day to day basis. If I spent all day focusing on the ways this society has been structured to oppress people, I wouldn’t have time for anything except a very militant advocation of equality. I tried that route, but soon discovered that I have been traumatized on so many profound levels that if I surrounded myself with these issues on that same obsessive basis, I become suicidal, question the point of life, and acutely feel the utter futility of rising against a system so perfectly designed to enslave us all.
The world is ugly and we are all hurt by it, and being an advocate who is only focused on this fact is a grim profession. Particularly if you have no support from the people around you and, more often than not, get treated as if you’re insane or inferior. I had no buffer, no group of my kindred people patting me on the back, validating my apparently “radical” notions. I was very much alone. And now, the only people who seem to get the point are people of color, many of whom will never accept me as a sincere ally or force of change due to the (lack of?) color of my skin. In fact, if I do ever change anything, I have this fear that they will ultimately resent me and think, “she only succeeded in anything because she’s white.” And I would be even more afraid that they would be right, which would devalue the fact that I have been obsessing over changing the world for about as long as I’ve been alive.
I’ve always worked hard to brighten up even the dimmest of lightbulbs around me. It’s difficult work, and I’m not doing it because of “white guilt” or anything like that. I’m doing it because it’s the right thing to do, and I can’t believe how damaging these systems of oppression can be or how they came into power in the first place. “Evil” is not in my genes and it’s not something I feel it’s my personal responsibility to make up for just because I was born white and so many white people have been/continue to remain ignorant and cruel. I simply understand that the system is dangerous and hurts us all…but some more than others and white men least of all.
Labels and White Culture
That being said, I’m starting to wonder why it is that other white people, including myself, object to labels (in general) so vociferously. Wouldn’t my life have been easier if I decided to label myself “the white asexual lesbian feminist environmentalist animal rights, social justice, human rights and anti-racism advocate?” Would I have been able to find my little support group of like-minded people who mirror my own beliefs and help me work to save the world? What did I hate so much about labels? And what is it that other white people reject about labels?
But actually, when I think about it now, I don’t have to wonder much at all. Western/European white people (in general) are the most boring, cultureless race on the planet. At most, we glorify the Greeks, Romans, and the middle ages. These are societies that I personally feel were base, thoughtless, self-inflated, and generally colonialist. There was some merit, but not enough to justify the attention they receive today (comparing Aristotle to Lao Tzu for example, Aristotle’s mind was actually pretty primitive). If these are the groundwork of white culture, that means we are taught, rather subtly, to glorify raping, pillaging, and taking what isn’t ours. Always viewing the world in regards to Aristotle’s “great chain of being,” putting (Graeko-Roman) men on the ladder just beneath God, then everyone else afterward. And taking a quick glance around at the women and people of color in the room, our relationship to them does, admittedly, lack a certain finess. Call it respect maybe. “White culture” certainly lacks the warmth of Hispanic cultures, the depth of African cultures, the majesty and ingenuity of Asian cultures, and the beauty of pretty much every culture that isn’t our clueless, confused, white attempt at finding meaning in this vapid void that was created for us.
A Day in the Life Of White Average Amy
However, since that is only the groundwork of “white culture,” thus merely a subtext of the culture we live in that affects us daily, I think we should examine what is really going on in the day-to-day lives of the white race. White Average Amy (happily identifies as female, white, heterosexual, middle class) wakes up one morning, turns on the television, checks her iPhone, goes to work so she can afford her car payments and internet bills, goes out to drink and dance with her friends at the club listening to music that glorifies drugs and alcohol, materialism, and putting out. She lets some guy talk her into taking her home with him, gets laid, goes home to bed, and repeats the cycle. White Average Amy is surrounded for hours and hours by the media, telling her that she isn’t good enough because she is a woman, but also that she is better than others for being white.
If Art Imitates Life, Where Does That Leave Us?
They say art imitates life and vice versa, but at this point I’m not so sure. I feel as though the media is spiralling out of control and out of our hands as citizens, glorifying the ideals of the ultimate numbskulled oppressors. They want everyone to fit into a box that they have created for us, and for us to question ourselves all the while as they create our identity for us. For white people, and those who have been assimilated enough to lose sight of the value of their own ethnic identities, the media and consumerism is our only real culture. As white people, we have nothing at all that keeps us tied to any value system or ethnic identity whatsoever, except maybe Christianity (which has acted as a huge tool in assimilation and should be another post entirely).
White people are stuck in a world where our only meaning is derived from the media and, potentially, our mixed experiences with our religious values. The media tells everyone that white men are supreme, while at the same time denying them the right to express their feelings properly, degrading them should they have any interest in anything remotely “female” identified or compassionate. Many feel that women should be serving men as the bible intended, and as such anyone who is a woman or who is thought to act like a woman, are lesser people. The media tells everyone that blonde haired, blue eyed, skinny girls (I can’t even say “women” because the beauty standard is barely legal, bordering 18 years old) are the highest epitome of beauty, while at the same time bombarding these same women daily with microaggressions against their own autonomy, appearance, and independence.
The media is constantly attacking women, especially women of color, on an even more extreme psychological level. These attacks create a raging, insecure void in women that can only be filled with products, conformity, assimilation, and servitude. Or, you know, empowerment and self-love, but that’s a lot more difficult to accomplish than, say, retail therapy. White women are told bronze and blonde is beautiful, and encouraged to poison ourselves with chemical hair dies and UV rays in tanning beds, at the same time being taught that our white skin color makes us, absurdly, somehow more special.
A White Girl’s Perspective On Appropriation
White people are floating aimlessly in a cultureless world, left with a burning desire to hold on to something special, significant, and with meaning; a culture. And since we don’t have any ethnic identity of our own whatsoever, what seems to happen is that we take it. We crave meaning. We “borrow.” We appropriate. We make light of the violent things that other white people have done to the cultures that we want to “borrow” from because we are so engrossed in creating our own patchwork identity, finding our own meaning, something of actual value in white consumer culture. (spoiler – there isn’t anything of value in white consumer culture). White people tend to treat all cultural symbols like they are some sort of magical pathway to meaning that anybody can take, when in reality, much of the time it is a glaring act of disrespect and ignorance. Most white people are oblivious of the assimilation that brought us to this point and the deep meanings of the symbols and traditions that they want to be a part of.
Sharing culture with white people is risky business, because culture isn’t up for commentary. It’s not something we have a right to judge and assign value to (or especially, to devalue). We can’t just try on a culture for a day and hope it sticks. That’s not how identity works. We just know we are lacking something, and apparently feel like it’s okay to pick and choose from whatever culture we think will fill the void. White people don’t often have special ethnic foods that help connect us to a more beautiful and vibrant ethnic identity – we have Pizza Hut and McDonald’s. We have “happy meals” full of toxic chemicals and fats, and these are what define our customs. Our daily life. White people don’t have much of a culture at all, which is probably why so many don’t really connect with any label beyond the one we find on our shoes. All we have is consumerism.
Where Assimilation Leaves Us
The assimilation of culture was carefully and thoroughly begun by the colonialists, who believed they were the best thing to happen to earth since fresh water, and thought that everyone should do everything exactly how they did because duh, they were the most awesome, right? Obviously. They stripped other races of their culture and forced them to act like them. And they were white people who valued base and greedy things. They wanted everyone to value base and greedy things. One of the strangest parts about assimilation is that it doesn’t just affect people of color. Whites become even more vapid and harmful toward themselves and others because the only thing they have to identify with is violence, hatred, and currently as a culture, the soulless void of consumerism.
The only identity we have to cling on to is the racist, anglo-saxon, male-dominated media and maybe an absurd pride in a family name or attitude that ultimately falls flat when put to the test. Western people, particularly white ones, wear brand loyalty like a badge. We support certain companies and brands as if it were a sacred symbol of power that might lend meaning to our lives. But I’d like to take this time to remind you that the meaning we seek wouldn’t be lacking in the first place if, instead of assimilating other cultures, we embraced our own origins and celebrated traditions that made us feel closer as a community. And by that I do not mean a community of white supremacists and the types of Christians who judge everyone who is a little different from their expectations. I’m talking about creating our own traditions to re-define “white culture.”
So What Should We Do?
What I would love to see, personally, is for white people to really reach deep down into their roots for something worth keeping alive and celebrating. I’d like to see us band together to create new traditions, traditions of healing and the cultivation of respect for other cultures. I am not talking about a hodgepodge of appropriation, I’m talking about something entirely new, something different that white people can use to be proud of themselves for something real rather than by how much power was stolen by whites from the rest of the world.
We need to build community, some way to help the world get back on its feet. And we can create new traditions and customs outside of the media, outside of mindless consumerism. We just need to stop treating these things like they’re so important, like somehow reflects our own identity. The frank reality is that it doesn’t. It won’t reflect on us either way if we don’t approve of Kim Kardashian’s boyfriend. The media is distracting us from living our own lives and leading us to feel as if a show that somebody else created can really say anything about who we are as people. It can’t. Only we can define our identity, and it should be more than what shows we like and which clothes we buy.
Our actions speak. Our voices speak. And we need our intention to be louder than words and translated into action so that wounded, skeptical, and oftentimes, (rightfully) angry people of color know that not every white person out there is a brainwashed tool of oppression. We need to create our own identities, and be strong in the face of racism. And if the white men in power don’t like that, then let them show their true colors. It will never change what’s right, and they’re bound to lose when it matters the most.Until then, we need to keep fighting, because the battle is far from over.