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Messages - V3X

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Beyond the wall / Re: Our dreams have failed us
« on: January 09, 2017, 02:14:49 pm »
I read once that conservatives are pessimistic about human nature, and liberals are optimistic.

But I think that's wrong, in a way.  Conservatives are optimistic that people will be rotten (for their own benefit), and liberals are pessimistic that the pace of equality will ever speed up, because people will be rotten.

I think this is accurate. I know I am pessimistic, and not just for the last 2 months. I assume it's all downhill from here.

Beyond the wall / Re: Our dreams have failed us
« on: January 09, 2017, 12:28:46 am »
People of color, people of lesser means, people of all shapes, sizes, varieties, persuasions and orientations who live perpetually at the back of the line. We are content to know that the desk at the front of the line is taking applications and that people trickle through the door, coming in out of the rain. We are making Progress, and it's only a matter of time until everyone has been served. Our progress is so good, in fact, that we can sustain a few people cutting in line and bribes to the doorman. And why are those hooligans making such a ruckus back there?

Beyond the wall / Our dreams have failed us
« on: January 07, 2017, 07:47:43 am »
Winter grows like a glacier on the lengthening evenings, night after night depositing a fresh layer of cold onto what was there yesterday. It fits, this season of hibernating nature where everything looks, and feels, like a corpse. The flashing and buzzing of our synthetic society does what it can, but no matter what advances we make in quantum dot color technology, no matter how vivid the reds get, the cheap veneer of civilization peels away upon any close inspection. We scurry, we frantically, urgently distract ourselves with everything we can get a hold of. We build bigger buildings, we buy bigger TVs, we drive faster cars, we blast more rockets into space. We demand progress, because progress is how we define ourselves. Without it, we ... trail off, unable to complete a thought. Nothing.

In a way, it could be said we are the last lucky generation. The ruins of civilization are in such good repair, for now. At least the lights are still on. We know the ride has ended, but if we just hold out a little longer, maybe we -- maybe our children -- will live and die before the whole thing collapses in on itself entirely. No one talks seriously about rebuilding. No one talks seriously at all. No one talks at all. Well, we are all talk, just not to each other.

I am a pessimist. My pessimism runs deep, practically spiritual. I have an unshakable faith in the thorough rottenness of nature's ill-fated experiment in sentience. We have no idea what we are doing, who we are, or who we want to be. And yet, after having my pessimism vindicated so abruptly, I find myself wishing for optimism to show up somewhere. The 1960s were awful for a lot of people, but they gave rise to Star Trek, a show that is universally described as "optimistic" but which, it occurs to my cynical mind, managed to place the universal goodness and godwill of humanity exactly where it belongs: in some lofty, distant future that we will never achieve. At the time, and even now, Star Trek is lauded as describing humans at our best. And, here and there, its optimism inspired real people in real places to do truly good things. But mostly it comforted the already comfortable by telling us that someday, we would rise above it all and become our best selves. So we convinced ourselves that eventually, everything would work itself out. That we were on the right track. That "the arc of history bends toward justice".

Not today, though. Equality is inevitable; it just isn't yet realized. In the meantime, we need more prisons. We need tougher laws for those thugs. In the meantime, we need to cut back on these entitlements, and push people to be responsible for themselves. Someday, someday we will get there; but today, we are here, and let's just do this right now.

I am not educated to know if any of this makes sense in any sort of context. Did we ever value today what we believed we would value tomorrow? Or has our vision of the future always been so divorced from our plan for this afternoon? Our dreams so useless while we are awake? It turns out that history does not move itself. That the arrow of time does not attract the "arc of history". That what goes up does, in fact, come back down.

Beyond the wall / Re: You need this.
« on: January 07, 2017, 06:33:14 am »
this is the future i've been waiting for.

Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: December 25, 2016, 04:49:02 pm »
An archaeologist stumbles upon a secret Nazi plot to steal the Ark of the Covenant in order to use its supernatural powers to win World War II.

Fuck you 2016; the year the Status Quo died
RIP Rick Parfitt
The guy should have known better than to be in a group called Status Quo in a year like this.

Aneristic Illusions / Re: A question for America
« on: December 23, 2016, 09:58:01 pm »
This gives me a truly American idea: Declare myself a church and that my religion is the worship of money. Instant tax-exempt status.

Didn't Jim and Tammy Bakker already do this?

That's exactly what they did. But it isn't what they said they did.

Literate Chaotic / Re: Five word horror
« on: December 23, 2016, 05:54:33 am »
We are all just doomed

um excuse me the assignment is 5 word horror, not 5 word documentary.

Aneristic Illusions / Re: A question for America
« on: December 23, 2016, 01:36:40 am »
This gives me a truly American idea: Declare myself a church and that my religion is the worship of money. Instant tax-exempt status.

Cloud level is 700 feet below my office and we're in the middle of a winter storm.  Everything is white, like being at a MAGA rally.  Temperature plunging, rain is sideways, on top of the clouds moving around us.  We will all freeze to death.  Put a sign at the 5 mile marker saying "GO BACK YOU FOOLS".

you really should sign up for the telecommuting option.

Literate Chaotic / Re: Five word horror
« on: December 22, 2016, 10:59:05 pm »
Liberty or death? Why choose?

Aneristic Illusions / Re: A question for America
« on: December 22, 2016, 06:39:29 am »
I don't think it was even that. I think it's just that he's the kind of alpha male type that people people tend to respond to, despite the fact that they make terribly incompetant leaders (or at beas are no better than a random draw), because ultimately we're not very far removed from chimps and monkeys and have been unable to buck the vestigial garbage programming left over from the days of small brands of early primates.

This tangentially relates to religion though as religion is, in many ways, the cultural equivalent of useless vestigial traits.

You're probably right. And this is even worse, of course. Even outright racism and stubborn willful ignorance would take too much mental effort for a lot of people.

Aneristic Illusions / Re: A question for America
« on: December 21, 2016, 09:25:44 pm »
I was raised Baptist, a denomination that dates all the way back to around the time of the Civil War or so, but nobody's exactly sure because nobody bothered to keep track or remember anything. This type of evangelical Christianity is distinctly American, which shows in its outright xenophobic, fundamentalist extremism. It's the religion we needed to justify slaughtering all those Indians and Manifest Destiny. But Baptists themselves actually believe they are practicing "original" Christianity, and will go to great lengths to draw surprisingly fabricated lines through a mostly fictional history all the way back to John the Baptist, because, you know, he was "the Baptist" in exactly the same way they are Baptists. You can tell because it's the same word. In English.

Anyway, there's a very large cult of the End Times among Baptists and more or less every other evangelical strain of Christianity. Only the denominations with recorded history dating back farther than 1825 seem to be immune -- Lutherans, Methodists, and Catholics of course. But the vast majority of American Christians are "evangelical", meaning they believe any history that runs contrary to what they learned in Sunday School is not only false, but an outright conspiracy to bury the truth and persecute them. They literally meet disagreeing beliefs and actual evidence in a way that strengthens their faith because, to them, it's only evidence of how "tricky" Satan is, and how they're the smart ones because they see through all those confusing numbers and experiments and clinical trials and... I digress, but yeah, America has the End Times Disease real, real bad.

As for this particular election, I honestly don't think it was that religious. The only function religion served last month for most Trump voters was to conveniently buckle and give way without so much as a peep. This was a very blatant, very deliberate backlash against Obama and against everything he and his supporters represent. It was an outright assault on multiculturalism, on liberal values (both modern and classical, no matter what these people try to tell you), on every conceivable type of equality. They viewed it as a referendum on the last hundred years of progress, and they rose up and smashed it to pieces. Their religion, insofar as it was involved at all, was more like a cheerleader than a band leader.

Beyond the wall / Re: sappy election blog #14
« on: November 12, 2016, 04:38:04 pm »
Well yeah. I'm not going to pretend I'm as disaffected or discarded as millions of other people are right now, but it's definitely bizarre. The logic leading to the conclusion that it's OK to ignore the vulnerable is as impenetrable to my mind as my reasoning that it is abhorrent is to my demographic peers. I'm sure it has to do with my having escaped the small white town I grew up in and being slightly more traveled. People who saw the world as unjust and unfair when I went to high school with them are, today, smugly self-satisfied and unconcerned whatsoever with the plight of the disadvantaged, if not openly hostile to them. I think it must be what I call "the Tofu effect", where spending years in an echo chamber, even if it contradicts one's thinking, has an inevitable effect of changing one's worldview.

Beyond the wall / Re: sappy election blog #14
« on: November 12, 2016, 02:33:58 pm »
What's weird for me is that I fit Nigel's description of Trump voters, demographically, to a T. White. Middle class. High school diploma, but little higher ed. Shit, I even have 2 kids and a stay at home wife. Not Christian, but raised as one. But neither Trump nor any other Republicanduring my conscious lifetime has appealed to me, especially not with any "boogety boo brown people!" argument.

It isn't weird because I don't understand exceptions to rules, but because I would think with so many otherwise matching data points, two things would be true: 1) I would at least understand why someone would go that way, and 2) I should be capable of relating to them in a way that seems more sincere than an "Ivy league elite" could. But no, they are as immune to my sincere pleading as to the condescension from Academia, and it just boggles my mind a little.

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