First, let’s get a few things out of the way. I am not a nice guy. For a few reasons.
- In recent years, I haven’t heard the word “nice” used to describe a person as a compliment — not a man, at least. “Nice” is the word that precedes a phrase starting with the conjunction “but”. It has a connotation of “Yeh, no.”
- If you had any idea what goes on in my head….
- My motives are never fully pure or altruistic. It’s always complicated. I’m a human being and a dude.
So I’m not the most enlightened person in the world, is what I’m saying. I’m not a guy who claims to be a male feminist or a social justice ally. Those labels mean a lot of things to a lot of people and they can and do duke it out over who’s doing it right to their heart’s content.
Also, I start a lot more blog entries than I finish so I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t care about all the other madness going on in the world. I usually don’t post about something until I’ve given it a lot of thought and, frankly, I can’t keep up.
In the past few weeks in the news I’ve seen some stuff, boy, and it bothers the hell out of me. It just keeps building up so I need to vent. (It was the mutilation one that did me in.) There was a lot of talk a while back about a “war on women”: maternity issues, equal pay, contraception, abortion, and other lofty social issues. Strong language, for sure. A striking rhetorical device.
I’m not talking about rhetorical devices, though. I’m talking about a physically (and emotionally and psychologically) hostile culture. Well, maybe it’s a bit more complicated than that. The line between desire/hatred and between respect/resentment is thin and razor sharp.
Let’s get to it. Here are some articles in the news recently. I tried to keep it to 2016 but some are older. Brace yourself. Trigger warnings. Horrific inhumanity ahead. In no particular order or grouping, and crossing all boundaries of countries, cultures, religions, races, and ethnicities:
TODAY IS MEATLESS MONDAY
It didn’t go how I expected. I made this video last week. I still have two of those big ol’ mushrooms left. But that’s about all the preparation I did for today.
So I mostly ate nothing. Morning homemade latte. Let’s call it a fast. I did eat some romaine lettuce. I can eat that stuff like potato chips except when it’s started to spoil. Hate that taste/smell — slightly rotten food.
Then … I got hungry.
Inside: What’s my why?; What am I looking for in a woman?? That’s a random, if not timely, question.
That’s a good question. Why do I train? Why do I do this? Why do I do anything? Justin asked the group what our “why” is. Not just “what are your goals” but what are your goals for? What purpose do they serve?
- I want to be healthy and fit enough to work and play for decades. I want to die young as old as possible. I want to have the energy and endurance to explore. Explore with people and share new things – new places, new faces. I want to live.
- I want to set an example for my loved ones. I want to walk the walk. I want to show results so that they’re inspired to get their own results.
- I need to be strong as hell for my loved ones. As time passes fewer of us are able-bodied.
- I want to transform and live up to my own expectations and standards so that I can be sharp and in focus and not out of phase and blurry, translucent or even invisible.
- I want to have the confidence and energy to have a balanced, healthy social life complete with plenty of constructive me-time between the adventures. I want anyone I interact with to be better for it.
- I want to have the confidence and energy to attract positive people.
- I want to have the energy and fire to pursue all of my creative outlets.
While I’m at it, Goodkind asked what I’m looking for in a woman. Even though I have a spiel in my head I didn’t explain it well. He recommended that I write it down. Give voice to it. So let’s do it. Against my better judgement I’m going to share it. Then after I post it I’ll get cold feet and remove it. Then I’ll be ashamed of myself for fearing judgement when life’s too short to go around stifling yourself because of what other people think.
A lot of this – not all, obviously, ’cause that would be weird – is also describing the kind of people I want in my circle, my tribe, in general.
Colin Kaepernick’s refusing to stand for the national anthem. Is that upsetting? Is it offensive to you?
It amazes me that his quiet protest, which only came to light recently so that he had to explain himself, is imploding heads.
It’s such a shallow form of patriotism that can’t accommodate dissent. It’s a patina of patriotism. It’s the oxidation on the Statue of Liberty.
Here’s the crazy part. It seems like the people who are most offended have nothing to say about all of these proud, haughty displays of the Confederate battle flag.
I mean, talk about symbolism. Literally flying the flag of a breakaway nation — secessionists — fighting against the United States in order to preserve an economy based on enslavement. The losing side of a civil war. And having the nerve to bash someone else’s patriotism?
Anyone who forcefully says #AllLivesMatter says it only as a sardonic, hostile response to #BlackLivesMatter.
Invariably, in the same conversation they try to convince me (or themselves) how someone deserved to die without due process of law, which suggests that they don’t really believe that all lives matter.
“#AllLivesMatter. I hope if you ever need the police that they don’t show up and you die or get raped or something.”
Come on, now. This isn’t about hating or not wanting the police. (I’ll keep it real, though. I have seen a few black people saying crazy things but those things are crazy. And sometimes ignorant. And sometimes conspiracy theories from wherever conspiracy theories come from.)
I assume that during the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure #AllLivesMatter activists show up to shout, “WHAT ABOUT DIABETES? WHAT ABOUT LIVER DISEASE? #CureAllDiseases! Not heart disease, not hyperthyroidism, ALL diseases!”
Of course, everyone’s lives matters. I’ll even say #WhiteLivesMatter, #BrownLivesMatter, #WomensLivesMatter, #QueerLivesMatter, #BlueLivesMatter” and #PoliceLivesMatter even though an occupation isn’t the same as an immutable physical sociocultural designation but okay. I’ll say it all day long because I believe it. It’s not mutually exclusive to my belief system. It’s a part of my belief system.
The difference is, I’m bleeping outraged and heartbroken when cops are killed, too. Not only when people who look like me or share my socioeconomic status, whatever that means, die unjustly and unnecessarily.
Black on Black Crime
I’ve started a YouTube channel named Blackout Doors. Or BlackoutDoors. Or Black Outdoors. I’m still finding my groove and figuring out the technological logistics – POV video and quality sound are my biggest challenges right now – but I’m getting there.
My goal is to bridge the gap for people who are interested in camping and hiking but don’t have the know-how, gear, or inspiration.
WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?
Inside: Old man yells at cloud
I don’t believe in microaggressions.
We live in a time and culture where everyone can have a voice, which is wonderful. Great. We have access to instant information, facts, and each other’s thoughts about them. All of the information. All of it. We live in a time and culture where we select the information and facts we want to hear and believe. We abuse this gift of knowledge and connection by using it to self-affirm and self-radicalize.
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve unfollowed people on Facebook for various reasons, some of them ideological. I generally don’t follow anyone on social media that is aggressive with their beliefs. But if we all did that, what are we left with? Cliques and tribes of faux-blissful ignorance. (That’s why I do re-follow every now and then and occasionally attempt to have a level-headed conversation, which is a fruitless endeavor, lemme tell you.)