What Are You So Mad About?

I haven’t posted a blog entry since all of the chaos started in the country. I didn’t (and honestly still don’t) have the words to truly express all of the things that it has made me feel. I’ve been spending a lot of time on Twitter though, basically in astonishment at how many people are willfully ignorant, blatantly lying, or a combination of both… and from all sides of the issue. Emotions and tensions are higher than I’ve ever seen in my lifetime, so I understand that people will initially be speaking mostly with their anger. But anger can’t be an indefinite excuse for spreading false information, false narratives, and generally trying to make things worse rather than better.

My frustration comes from most people digging their feet in when it comes to their own personal take, and they won’t even listen to anything that doesn’t fit their narrative, let alone acknowledge and learn from any of it. It would be one thing if it was just random Twitter assholes, but I’m also talking about politicians and people in power who are acting the same way. Tom Cotton says “The riots have nothing to do with the death of George Floyd.”Β It doesn’t seem like the best idea to dismiss the pain and rage of those rioters who have obviously gone too far, but who are still upset with police abuse.

It’s amazing to see how many people who don’t want to be generalized or lumped together into one group, how they feel totally justified in doing that to people who aren’t on their side. “All cops are corrupt, murderous assholes!” “All protesters are violent, thieving arsonists!” Many people can’t or won’t admit that there are differences between peaceful protesters, the rowdy-but-non-criminal activists, the looters, the vandals, the people causing physical harm. It’s just easier for people to label them all as rioters so they can dismiss them as not worthy of being heard.

And then of course there’s a huge amount of people on the opposite side who can’t or won’t acknowledge that there are many different types of cops within law enforcement, including naive / optimistic officers seeking change, cops that just see it as a 9 to 5 job, officers who are on a power trip, ones who absolutely abuse their power, and then ones that can calmly kill detained suspects. And I’d think the one thing that both “sides” could agree on, is that we’re seeing far too many examples of the worst at both ends of the spectrum – and all it does is damage the message that they want to be heard. Yeah, everyone is mad, but if you take it too far then people are just gonna roll their eyes.

The second most widely spread bullshit take when it comes to this stuff, is that “If you aren’t breaking the law then you don’t have anything to worry about.” First of all, this is demonstrably untrue… and even if someone is breaking a law, are we as a society ready for law enforcement to commit physical violence in realtime for those offenses? What would those people think is a “fair punishment” for crimes such as stepping off of a sidewalk, being out 15 minutes past curfew, walking near people who are causing a disturbance, flipping off or cussing out a cop? Do we really want law enforcement to be able to kick, punch, drag, or choke people for those things? How about tear gas, rubber bullets, flash bang grenades, pepper spray projectiles? All of that is fine? If you’re only gonna watch one video on this page, make it this one – and put yourself or one of your children in the place of any of the folks who are taking the abuse…

And on Twitter, some chuckle fuck would immediately reply with “Well it wouldn’t be me or my kids in their shoes because we wouldn’t be participating in that!” And to that, I say… participating in what? Exercising your first amendment rights because you’re angry that police keep killing people without consequence? How about the people that are simply walking near someone who’s causing trouble? You could never be one of those people either? Those folks need to spare us all from their bullshit “it could never be me” crap.

One of the worst things that I’ve seen was in Austin TX. A college kid was shot in the back of the head with a “non lethal” projectile while cracked his skull and caused brain damage. The cops wouldn’t help him “in the street” and told people to take him to the police station. And when those people carried that critically injured man to the police department, they were immediately shot multiple times with pepper spray balls. And yeah, I’m being more hard on the police in this blog entry… because we should be able to expect more from the police. The people who vandalize, loot, start fires, etc… of course they should be arrested, charged, and prosecuted. But when cops act like criminals, that’s when “all” starts to get lost.

President Obama gave a wonderful speech yesterday, and among the things he said – he sent out a message to the mayors of every city across our nation, challenging them to review their “use of force” policies when it comes to the police departments and other law enforcement that they’re in control of. But then Donald Trump almost immediately issued a statement on Twitter, distancing himself from the idea of law enforcement reform – and instead saying the only thing he has in common with Obama is that they both fired the same army general. (Because Trump was being salty about being called out by that general, and that’s more important than the safety of every citizen in the country.)

At least national sentiment does seem to be finally turning against Donald Trump. He has never acknowledged the reason that people are protesting, and instead keeps doubling down with increased law enforcement presence, calling in military troops and vehicles, and threatening to send them to every state in order to “dominate” with force. Talk about lack of self-awareness. Hundreds of thousands of people are protesting against abusive law enforcement, and Trump’s response is essentially… “You wanna see abusive law enforcement?” I mean, his troops were using violence and pepper spray to clear the streets of humans as Donald Trump was giving a speech just yards away, claiming to be this amazing ally to peaceful protesters.

He knows that everyone knows he’s full of shit. He also knows that while plenty of people will call him out and be rightfully upset by his actions, he knows that there’s a massive number of people who simply won’t care that he’s a violent, self-serving liar, threatening the country with his military dominance. (I’d swear that a lot of people want to be him in that instance.) The same vibe that the abusive cops give… DO AS I SAY OR FACE THE CONSEQUENCES, NO MATTER WHAT YOU’VE ACTUALLY DONE OR NOT DONE IN REGARDS TO THE LAW.

Okay, I better start wrapping it up, because I could obviously go on and on and on about it. But my take on this doesn’t feel like it should be controversial or objectionable, but boy is it to a lot of folks. George Floyd was murdered by those cops, and they should be charged and prosecuted accordingly. I absolutely support the protests. Everyone should be outraged, not just POC or people who are more likely to experience police brutality. I’m not even upset when those protesters break curfew, block roads, or protest in “scary voices” right in the face of law enforcement. If cops react to those actions with violence instead of simply arresting folks, then it just makes it that much easier to see which ones are the bad ones, and which ones will stand by and do nothing as the bad ones inflict pain and suffering on US citizens.

Yeah, I’m fucking heated about this stuff… and for the same reason as a million other people. The folks in power know what the protests are about, but they’d rather dismiss everyone as vandals, trouble makers, criminals – so that way they don’t have to acknowledge the problem of law enforcement abusing their power. The way the cops seem to be increasing their abuse, it appears that they’re scared of losing that power. Same thing with the political leaders. If law enforcement no longer has its knee on the neck of society, that makes the sketchy people in power really fucking nervous.

Politicians, police unions, etc have been praising many police departments for the way they’ve “shown amazing restraint” during all of this. And yeah, in a lot of instances that’s probably true. Shooting people “only” with rubber bullets, knee knockers, pepper balls, tear gas canisters… instead of live ammunition. But I hope the people offering that praise to the cops… I hope they realize that the people on the other side have been showing remarkable restraint as well. How many days in a row will our society watch innocent people getting the shit kicked out of them by out of control law enforcement officers? How long will they be okay with Donald Trump unilaterally deploying the United States fucking military into the streets to control us all? Yeah, there’s a lot of restraint all around, but I wouldn’t count on that lasting a whole lot longer…

Self-Preservation

Sometimes when you hear people talk about emotionally abusive relationships, they might say “Well, she knew what she was getting into when she got with him.” which implies that it’s the victim’s fault. 😟 But what I see is someone who may have been willing to give someone chance after chance to prove they weren’t that emotionally abusive person, because they care about the person and want to believe that things could change.

Well, sometimes they don’t change.Β πŸ˜” And eventually, even though it’s difficult, even though you care about that person, if their actions are really messing you up… you do have to take responsibility for how you allow yourself to be treated and get yourself out of that situation. That person might actually even care for you as well, but if it doesn’t prevent them from saying or doing hurtful things, why would a person want to keep subjecting themselves to it?

They may not realize how much what they are doing is affecting you, or they might not even realize that they are doing it at all. 😐 Who knows… they might know exactly what it’s doing but not be able to stop themselves from doing it. No matter the case, you have to do what’s right for you, even if that makes you “the bad guy” in their eyes. And if they don’t think that what they’re doing is that bad, then “the bad guy” is exactly the way you’ll seem to them.Β πŸ˜’

*sigh* … 😞 and in almost all of those types of cases, it didn’t have to be that way…

Don’t Try To Distract Me With Facts

For someone who likes observing the humans and the way they act and treat each other, Twitter has been quite the place to be recently. And like I mentioned to a couple other people I know… I realize that Twitter isn’t an accurate representation of the entire population of humans, but even with that understanding it’s still difficult for me to see so many people who operate so differently than I think people should.

Mainly what I’m talking about is people’s tendency to find a controversy, pick a side, jump to a conclusion that isn’t based in fact, logic, or critical thinking – and then scream and shout at other people who don’t share the exact same position as they do. Granted, I’m not exactly silent on a lot of issues – but I try to only speak from a position where I’ve educated myself on the topic, and saying things which (I believe) have facts and logic to back it all up. My problem: expecting the humans to function the same way, hoping that they can understand the difference between a fact and opinion or allegation.

Two “situations” where I’ve found myself trying to bring reason to conversations:

  • The allegations against Chris Hardwick by his former girlfriend Chloe Dykstra. She has accused him of psychological and sexual abuse during their relationship, and within days his various television shows have been shelved by AMC, his name was scrubbed from the Nerdist site that he founded, and he has lost future gigs hosting various things at different comic conventions.
  • Atari has started a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGogo to develop and create a new console called the Atari VCS… and there is a small but extremely vocal group of angry “game nerd” YouTube channels who are absolutely certain that the whole thing is a scam, and keep producing angry videos with all sorts of allegations – all in what seems to be an attempt to sabotage Atari’s console launch.

With Hardwick and Dykstra, I’m of the opinion that nobody knows what happened except for the two parties involved, so the public can’t come to a determination that’s anything more than just opinion or assumption. But on Twitter, there are thousands of posts from people who are loudly cheering that he’s lost his jobs and his reputation, despite the only “proof” being that an ex-girlfriend said some things.

These aren’t people who think that he did what she said. These are people that know, with absoluteΒ certainty, and aren’t hesitant to call him a monster and say that he’s getting exactly what he deserved. There’s a smaller group who are outright calling Dykstra a liar, and then there’s an even smaller group of folks like me who simply say that we hope that someone gets to the bottom of the situation based on the facts, and that it’s unfortunate that a man’s life is being destroyed based simply on an allegation.

For the people who are #MeToo activists, people who advocate that people “wait and see what the facts reveal” are the enemy. A majority of them make a comment supporting Dkystra, and then follow it up with “And I should know, because I’ve been through the same thing or something similar – showing that their view might be a little biased. Evidence is already popping up which conflicts with parts of her allegations, but hell… if he’s guilty, get him. But damn… the man has lost almost everything and has been declared a trash human by half of the internet – all because she said it was so.

With Atari, they put their crowdfunding campaign on IndieGogo, which doesn’t require a working prototype before funding can be solicited. But angry YouTubers are screaming “THEY DON’T EVEN HAVE A PRODUCT!” as if that’s something that should surprise anyone. Why would anyone expect them to have a nearly complete product, when that’s the point of raising the money? And Atari, for whatever reason, delayed the launch of their campaign once last year – which is another thing that the video creators say indicates a scam. As if no other successful products have ever had delays in their design or production.

What the problem actually is, is that these YouTube creators feel slighted by Atari. They feel that Atari owes it to them, to contact them and provide them more information, or answer the questions that they have about the project. Atari eventually got tired of being badmouthed by this small group of angry people and pushed back against what they were saying, which obviously hurt the feelings of these “reviewers” and caused them to make even more outlandish claims. Most of these angry folks haven’t even backed the project, nor do they intend to, but boy are they mad anyway – because how dare Atari not contact them directly and answer every damn question that they have.

Atari’s project already has nearly $3M in backing, so apparently there were plenty of people who felt like the information on the campaign page was enough. As with any hardware, it will obviously go through all sorts of slight changes before finalized, and people understand this. The angry YouTube mob is furious that Atari won’t give them more information, but why should they have to? If they’re already getting plenty of backers, and it’s obvious that speaking with the angry people won’t make a difference, why would they? Are these folks also screaming at Sony and Microsoft, demanding that they be given more about their next consoles in development?

But the more that these people shout “SCAM! DUMPSTER FIRE! FAKE! LIES!” in their videos, the more that their followers start to get nervous, and end up drinking the kool-aid and repeating the same claims that are being made in the angry videos. If the creator has 100k followers on YouTube, and is spouting whatever… there’s a good chance that their followers will start spouting the same thing in the comments and elsewhere, even if just to look like they “think just like a video creator who has 100k followers.” It’s toxic and sad.

So yeah… whether I’m trying to convince people that they should hold their venom for Hardwick until the claims against him have been proven, or if I’m pointing out that all of the “signs” that angry video creators are using against Atari are just normal things that happen in almost every crowdfunding campaign… people just continue to rage. You’re expected to either hate Dykstra or hate Hardwick. No middle ground. You’re supposed to accept that Atari is scamming $3M from people, and shouldn’t dare suggest that it might not be the case. Hardwick might be guilty, Atari’s console might be a flop or a scam… but people’s eagerness to convict others of this or that, with only assumptions or “feelings about it” to back it up… it’s just bizarre, and the amount of people getting caught up in it only seems to be growing.

I know, I shouldn’t bother… but I wanna believe that under the surface, people really are capable of unbiased, critical thinking – and I wanna say or do things that encourage that, or try to bring it out of them. Every now and then I might get one or two of ’em… heh… but not surprisingly, the irate people who claim their passion-filled opinions as fact just don’t seem interested in considering alternate views of a situation. 😏 It’s still my method of escapism though, for when I don’t feel like thinking about anything in my own life, in those moments that I’m sticking my nose into other people’s thoughts… so at least I’m getting a small benefit from it all, eh?

The Pot vs. Sins of the Kettle

It’s surreal what we’re getting to see from our government these days, and specifically from our President. Donald Trump, who has been caught on tape bragging about how he can (and does) sexually assault women, how he can’t even control himself or stop himself from doing it… the same man who has at least SIXTEEN different women who have accused him of sexual assault of one kind or another… again, this man is President of The United States… but there he is on Twitter, trolling Al Franken for taking an inappropriate photo with an allegedly sleeping woman – and giving him shit for lecturing other people on not being the type of person who sexually assaults someone.

I know, that’s a little hard to follow… but yeah, Donald Trump, proud sexual predator, focus of a dozen+ sexual assault claims including the alleged rape of a 13 y/o girl and the rape of his own wife – he’s lecturing another man accused of sexual assault, for lecturing others on sexual assault. I’m not joking when I say that this is legitimately making my brain hurt and my eye twitch.

I don’t know if Donald Trump forgets that he’s on tape bragging about how he grabs at women’s vaginas without consent, or if he remembers but just doesn’t care… but whatever is going on in that man’s head, there’s no doubt that he has some serious psychological problems. Perhaps he knows that some new information is coming down the pipe tomorrow, maybe regarding his son-in-law who was once again caught withholding Russian communications from the Senate – or perhaps it will be about his biological son, who was recently caught having secret communications with Wikileaks for months despite everyone in the administration denying it. And let’s not forget about Jeff Sessions and the perjury charges that he could be facing for the many lies that he has told congress.

Because if he didn’t tweet what he did in order to distract from any or all of those topics – then the man is simply psychologically damaged, because all that this is going to do is bring all of the negative attention back on himΒ  – along with reminding the world about all of the women who have made accusations against him. Oh… and it took him less than a day to tweet something inflammatory about (Democrat) Al Franken, when it has been more than a week since theΒ (Republican) Roy Moore scandal came to light, which (instead of just being about a tasteless photo) includes allegations that Moore sexually assaulted a minor, otherwise known as child molestation. But of course Trump hasn’t said a word about that, and being the coward that he is – he wouldn’t say anything about Franken in front of reporters, but instead waited until he was back at home, sitting on the toilet, with his dick in one hand and his phone in the other. (How’s that for some mental imagery?)

Good lord… this is what we are now. This is what the world sees when they look to America as an example of how people and countries should be. It’s fucking disgraceful, and has me going from being completely speechless – to where all I want to do is rant about it, because it’s disgusting, shameful, and it makes me sad that kids growing up these days will think of this as the normal way that people in government function.

I’m honestly getting sick to my stomach as I type this… but this is our inescapable reality.

Mixed Emotions

While Genesee was here we were of course talking about all sorts of memories, and we even watched some old home videos that I’ve got uploaded to YouTube in an “unlisted” area. As we watched some of the Atlantic City videos we got to talking about the story behind how I found and got her a key from The Continental motel for Christmas last year, which just so happened to be a key to a room that we actually stayed in – with video proof, as I walked up to and recorded the number on the door (like the nerd that I am) with the camcorder. 😏 It really was amazing…

That then immediately made me remember how I made an awesome, lengthy blog post about it… but then due to certain people reading my blog and giving me shit about the choices I was making in my life – I ended up deleting the entire blog without archiving it. πŸ˜” So unless I find some internet archiving site that managed to capture it, that post (and all the others from that short era) is gone forever. And if you know me, you know that’s not like me at all – just impulsively wiping out a significant chunk of my own history. 😠

That’s what happens though when you’ve got someone who’s words meant everything to you, suddenly and repeatedly getting really fucking shitty about things. πŸ˜’ Rather than leaving my words up here to be picked apart and used against me, I just instinctively made them go away – theorizing that without a detailed view into my life, there’d be less for anyone to be shitty about. πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Meh… I still deal with internal mental fallout from that (and other things) every single day. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ In fact, it’s usually the first thing on my mind when I wake up and the last thing I think about before falling asleep. Good times.

But anyway… speaking of memories… another fun thing to come from going through the old photos was discovering a stack that focused on school parties, birthdays, and holidays with friends when I was little. And thanks to Facebook, I’m still linked to a lot of the friends that were also in those photos – so it was a good time when I scanned and posted a bunch of them. πŸ™‚ My god… the outfits and haircuts are so embarrassing, but everyone was excited to see them and laugh.

That’s one thing that I’m glad of, and one thing that a lot of friends are jealous about… how Mom and Dad documented and saved so, so much stuff from when I was little. 😊 Tons of photos, stacks of old school papers, favorite books, favorite stuffed animals, baby books filled out with all sorts of details about me… it’s just an amazing amount of stuff from my birth onward that I’ve got here – stuff that a lot of people’s parents never bothered doing/saving. I’m lucky to have it all.