DALE COOPER THUMBS UP
was gonna watch the entirety of twin peaks while on watch today, but i just found an it’s always sunny marathon on. sorry kyle maclachlan, another day.
How terrible is XXXXXXX, right?
I’m pretty sure that qualifies me as anhedonic
being a “man”: or the contemporary church’s simultaneously confusing and confused views on feminism and masculinity
i grew up going to churches. i still consider myself someone of “faith”, though that faith is now more rooted in the tao te ching than the bible or what’s spoken from pulpits. that said, i understand a lot of modern christianity. i’ve been there, i know the people who still live it and believe it, and so on.
so when people started talking about this article, i read it through the lens of knowing what various phrases and concepts meant, while those less familiar with the church were rightfully offended. still, as someone who believes everyone has value, i’d like to try and explain what actually happened there.
most of the article is actually pretty simple: it’s about how men are no longer behaving like men theoretically should. men are now lazy, uninspired, lack integrity, blah blah blah. that’s probably mostly true, but i’d argue it’s always been true for all people throughout all of history. another issue entirely though. anyways, that main argument is in itself pretty inoffensive.
where it does get offensive is when the author talks about men in reference to women. still, i should probably explain the current attitude towards feminism and why it’s there:
it’s easy to find examples of super-conservative horrible churches who support the oppression of women. the fact is though, those examples are a very very very tiny minority. i’d estimate probably 95% of contemporary churches (by which i mean the ones that play jars of clay or whatever is popular these days during services) allow women as pastors and that probably somewhere between 40 and 45% actually have them. but you’ll never find a church crowing about it and how great it is. why? because when most churches make that decision (which usually happens after really really old guys leave the leadership- not kidding either) there’s a sense of “well, shit, it’s kind of embarrassing we even have to make a rule allowing women to lead the church”. the congregations and newer leaders who are finally getting to step into those roles are embarrassed that it’s not always been that way. nobody feels like “hey! look how great we are for letting women lead!”
in reality, the modern church is feminist and striving to be more feminist (more and more women pastors are stepping into those newly available leadership and pastoring roles). but neither it nor the people outside of it quite realize that. a lot of that stems from the media portrayal of feminism, which is rarely- if ever- accurate and complimentary. feminism is portrayed in mass media as anti-men, bra-burning, angry, anti-family. it’s not women and men working together to make everyone equal- it’s women against men to place themselves higher than men.
of course, that’s utterly stupid and only a very tiny minority of feminists view the world like that, but the media in both news and pop culture is not known for accuracy or even intelligence. point is, family is very much a huge part of modern christianity and the portrayal of feminism as anti-family by media horrifies churches.
okay- there’s the background. now for the actual article in question:
The Founding Fathers believed, and the evidence still shows, that industriousness, marriage and religion are a very important basis for male empowerment and achievement. We may need to say to a number of our twenty-something men, “Get off the video games five hours a day, get yourself together, get a challenging job and get married.” It’s time for men to man up.
the “founding fathers” remark is just meaningless rhetoric. i suspect the author, his editor, and probably almost everyone that reads the article knows that.
it’s the line about “industriousness, marriage and religion” relative to “male empowerment and achievement” that’s worrisome (and understandably so). of course, what the author is trying to say and is actually saying are hilariously far apart. the industriousness remark is pretty innocuous as that was basically what he spent the majority of the article talking about. so how about the male empowerment? well, it’s a poorly phrased statement, that’s for sure. it’s also a christian buzzword. not the whole phrase, but empowerment.
it sure sounds like the author is talking about men asserting their “power and right over women” or some bullshit. but what he’s really talking about is men feeling like that industrious integrous concept of a man and wanting to fulfill that. “male achievement” is basically the same thing. it’s a phrase that he’s using to mean “go out and do good works, not sit on your ass and play videogames all day”. he brings religion into the equation because a lot of churches have men’s groups that build houses and playgrounds on weekends, and he sees a church as a good place to support that concept of men.
and marriage? how does that tie in? it really doesn’t, but it’s a phrase that sounds good to a lot of the readers in conjunction with religion and industriousness. as i mentioned before, marriage/family is still a very important part of christian culture.
in short, the writer comes across as chauvinist and sexist, but that’s merely because he’s writing from a slightly different subculture than us heathens frequently perceive. one last note on christianity: much like everyone, christianity is more concerned with the future than the present: they see these young men wasting away and think “feminism is ruining men” while not realizing that older men are still in power over women in traditional settings and that younger men who join those traditional settings end up in the same position as well.
also i can’t write “male empowerment” without seeing this pill that’s for sale in puerto rico called “la pepa negra”. yes, that means exactly what you think it means.
If the ethical argument is lost on you, think of it this way, guys: does it really benefit you to make women feel hesitant to express their sexuality?
those who know me personally are generally surprised to find that i’m very patriotic. those who only know facts about me, well, it depends on the facts. i’m in the military, which would imply patriotism, but i’m also perceived as pretty liberal (more on that another time), which would imply the opposite.
of course, most people hear the word “patriotism” and their minds immediately go to cheesy flag waving, bush 04 bumper stickers, and “don’t tread on me” tattoos. none of which remotely define me.
patriotism isn’t about the government or foreign policy or who you vote for. it’s about loving your country. to me america is truly about freedom. while true freedom is never a real possibility so long as any semblance of society exists, the core concept behind the creation of america was to strive for freedom. now, the founding fathers that everyone idolizes were racists, sexists, homophobes, and so on, but they did put us on the right path.
to me that’s what patriotism is: it’s loving what’s behind america. it’s not about loving the president or congress or supporting every military action. it’s not saying the pledge of allegiance every morning. it’s loving the land, the people, the ideology that should back all of the above.
i love my country- my land. that does not mean i think other countries are somehow lesser places filled with lesser people. i love travel. i can’t imagine a life without experiencing and understanding other cultures’ and lives and views.
related but not the real topic: part of being patriotic for me is fighting to improve my country: fighting for more rights, better care for the people, and so on. i cannot understand those who just chose to leave because of politics. plenty of great reasons to live elsewhere, but “x got elected” or “i disagree with y” aren’t among them.
narrative and how it’s ruining everything for everyone
i love narrative. i think stories are brilliant. they tell us who we are, where we come from, what drives us. hell, i love narratives so much that they were my focus as an art major. i think a story is one of the most amazing things in the world. but dear lord do i hate the narratives told to us by news-media and the bullshit they cause.
a pretty convenient example right now is this: http://bit.ly/o275Ny
buddy metricjulie has been talking about it all day and how it’s really taking away from the horrors women go through by just saying “it’s not men’s fault- it’s the institution of hockey’s fault!” not only that, the lady who wrote the article manipulates statistics to tell the story she set out to. she clearly has a vendetta against hockey and violence and simply extrapolated the vancouver “blame the nhl!” cry to include violence against women as a side effect of hockey violence; when that wasn’t quite enough to get the point across for her article she picked a few stats that “proved” her point. except, as tyler dellows points out, they don’t.
that article isn’t really the subject i’m addressing though. julie is putting something together on that which is far better informed and probably better written too (rumor has it she uses capitals). no, what i’m addressing is how media has long since stopped caring about truth and only caring about their narrative (which happens to feed their bottom line a hell of a lot better than the truth would).
i’m not going to frame this as some awful conspiracy, because it’s not. the media doesn’t do “coverups” or any of that bullshit. no, it’s much simpler and more believable: it’s about making money. news corporations don’t bring in more viewers by telling you “the minerals in your water are probably a-ok: news at eleven”. no- they tell you “could the minerals in your water be killing you? news at eleven”. and then when they do get to that, they use carefully edited footage to tell you that “potassium is dangerous for humans” cutting the rest where the scientist says “but not even remotely dangerous in the amounts you’ll find in any water anywhere in the world.”
in the news there’s always a new safety hazard for your child, a new threat to our security, something that you fucking need to worry about even if you really don’t. it’s manipulative and greedy and just shit reporting. it makes me angry, because what the news reports is still considered honest enough for fact and then it enters common knowledge. today hockey caused riots in vancouver and tomorrow hockey will cause the rape/murder of a 12 year old girl and that is fucking disgusting because you know what fucking causes that? a fucking monster does.
look at the casey anthony case. everyone loves talking about what a monster that mom was and how the jury got it wrong and blah blah blah. guess what- i wasn’t in that court room, i wasn’t in the jury room. neither were you. all you know about that case, unless you were a detective or ada or something, is what the fucking news told you. nancy grace is especially guilty of this. by phrasing questions like “could she casey anthony have murdered her daughter?” she’s telling you that it is already a possibility. she is putting in your head the words of “casey anthony” and “murdered her daughter” together. by arguing this mother is not a “mother” as our society knows the concept, but is rather a monster, she’s drawing you back for more. it’s a story, and a good one, but one that is irresponsible and malicious.
the irony in all this is that i’ll likely have a degree in journalism in a couple years.
(on a related note: people love jumping on fox news (with great reason), but everyone is guilty of this shit. cnn, msnbc, cbs news, whatever. news reporting has long since gone the way of…other good things. like fucking unicorns. )
keep calm and carry off
i’m in london. it’s pretty alright.
seriously, i’ve really enjoyed being here, but at the same time part of me wishes i’d gone to iceland instead. or possibly canada. iceland because it’s more interesting and canada because of more friends.
london is almost disconcerting. it’s very very similar to being in an american city: english speaking, writing, similar shops, similar (though worse) food, etc. but it’s just off enough that it’s not quite. there’s a lot of “oh riiiiight” moments. canada on the other hand, as a whole you feel like you never really leave usa, and i’m sure the opposite applies to canadians heading south. they feel like they’re in just a different region of canada.
i guess it just fascinates me that canada is technically part of the uk or under the queen or something, and yet america and canada have grown so much closer in terms of culture and such than canada and britain or american and britain.
song of the morning
hold me tight- the explorer’s club
one of my favorite bands is the beach boys (pet sounds and later era beach boys, that is) and the explorer’s club does a great job at incorporating that sound while not ripping them off