Pay to Play–I Mean Pray–I Mean Get Buried

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This is what I think of when I think of Christianity. Greed and extreme selfishness that morphs into cruelty.

It hardly surprises me the pastor claims the 93 year-old woman was no longer a member of his church because she didn’t give him enough money–despite having tithed for the last 50 years or so. Those past decades of tithes meant nothing because she missed the last two years of paying her church money. Due to illness, the woman was either in a nursing home, the hospital or in a coma. How could she have paid? Oh, the preacher has the perfect suggestion–her family should have pitched in a dollar or so–or likely more because he would have demanded it–every month she could not.

Fucking greedy bastard. Any way to exploit the masses will be jumped upon. Who knows. Maybe he has a mansion to upkeep or something, like so many other preachers.

I live in SoCal. We have megachurches everywhere, where one must spend thousands of dollars to become, and remain, a member. We have everyday churches that yearn for those kinds of funds, either for greed or need (likely both), and that charge a couple hundred dollars to become a member, with a yearly fee after that–on top of the weekly tithe. Money runs religion and those profiting from it have to find some way to make more–and exploiting the elderly and poor and desperate, pretending to pray for them while reaping the benefits of millions of dollars to do so (televangelists anyone?) is a handy way to get funds. I’m very anti-religion, but my boss is not–and he could not find an evangelical church that suited his needs that didn’t require him to pay a couple hundred dollars a year for each member of his family who would belong to it. He doesn’t have that kind of money, so his family doesn’t have a church.

I guess God hates him. Not as much as a 93-year-old woman who didn’t give His follower his due, but close.

That Didn’t Take Long–Of Course The Judge Reverses The Ray Rice Punishment

So you hit your fiancée, knock her out on camera, and get fired because you are a violent asshole. Then you protest that you shouldn’t have been fired, that a two-game suspension is really all the punishment you need. And the court of law agrees.

Attempted murder (you can very easily kill someone with a blow to the head)? Aggravated assault? Oh, I forgot, his girlfriend hit him too–only she didn’t punch him so hard he hit the ground and stayed there. It makes everything all right. It makes punishing him twice for the same thing bad bad bad. So yeah–go ahead, play for another NFL team. We all know that, when money and power is involved, you can pretty much get away with anything as long as you remain a viable cash cow.

This lack of interest in women’s ability to remain unabused leads to incidents like this. Men, somehow, get the idea that they can do anything they like to a woman and get away with it, because that’s what they see in the news, that’s what they hear from friends. And if anyone interferes with their ability to take what they want? They’re killed–especially if it’s a woman who tries to stop them.

It also makes assholes like Julien Blanc a viable resource for men wanting to attack women to get sex. He’s a self-proclaimed pick-up artist who trains men to stick women’s heads in their crotches to get them turned on enough to have sex–or, really, get them scared enough not to piss off the unstable guy who stuck their head in his crotch, and they give him sex to prevent being battered and/or killed. Of course, even NPR doesn’t think he’s that dangerous, despite the fact pictures of him choking women went viral. The title of their article about Britain and Australia denying Blanc entry to their country/taking away his visa is “U.K. to Deny Entry To Controversial U.S. Dating Guru”.

Controversial dating guru?

I see. If a man is a rape coach to thousands of other men, he’s just a controversial dating guru. When you see women as less, you can excuse the rape part.

Ray Rice and his violence plays so prettily into this culture, because, when it comes down to it, he hasn’t been punished at all for knocking out his then-fiacée. ESPN even claims 4 teams are looking at him. His millions will return and he will live in the lap of luxury again–because, even if women fans of football protest (and a few men) the NFL will jut point to the courts and say, “Our hands are tied.” Everything returns to normal. Boys can begin to look up to Rice again, and dream of becoming just like him. Abusers needing reasons to keep abusing, needing excuses to hit and kill, can nod and internalize the fact that, even if you’re caught on tape, you’ll likely receive no punishment in return for beating the shit out of a woman. When it comes down to it, America just doesn’t care about the fair sex.

Glancing through articles and blogs about the verdict, I read a blog post gloating over Rice’s return, happy that Roger Goodell had his ass handed to him. Thank the non-existent gods we have men like that supporting abusers, because without them, women might actually begin to think themselves human.

Kim Kardashian vs Matt Taylor

This image was shared by a Facebook friend.

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If you assume that all women’s bodies are either clothed or exploited, then I suppose this makes sense. I strongly disagree with that sentiment.

What initially caught my attention concerning the Kardashian photos was the vitriol, from both men and women, I’ve witnessed on Facebook, especially since I didn’t think there was much very startling or surprising or outlandish about the photos when taken out of historical context (which, frankly, is the way most people are viewing them. It’s how I view them). They really aren’t that daring, especially since the photographer reused the setting and pose. Besides, wasn’t she some sort of cultural darling at one point? Not so long ago, people would have been more excited than scandalized about the photos. I mean, her sex tapes made the rounds.

What has changed?

Oh, yeah–she had a kid.

In our society, that’s when you stop being sexy. Women are supposed to wear “mom clothes” and “let themselves go” in order to provide the best care for their children. After birth “woman” is not important, “child” is. Women’s appearance no longer matters. Their health no longer matters, their careers no longer matter. They no longer matter. Women are supposed to sacrifice everything in order to raise a healthy, well-adjusted kid. They’re supposed to end up as the bored housewives with cheating husbands, dreaming of Twilight abusive romances because they believe that’s better than what they have, but it’s something they can never achieve.

They aren’t supposed to pose nude for photographs that are targeted for public consumption. They’re really not supposed to pose for nude photographs for anyone–their husbands are supposed to get sexual gratification from mistresses.

Kardashian made a decision to pose. Did she have publicity in mind? Likely. So what? It’s her life, and she can choose to pose nude if she wants. I have no problem with what Kardashian does as a consenting adult.

The objectification of women on Matt Taylor’s shirt is a completely different story. We aren’t talking about a consenting adult showing off her ass. We’re talking about a man who thought that, as a professional astronomer giving interviews about an absolutely awesome scientific achievement that millions, including men, women and children, watched, a shirt with bikini babes staring provocatively at the viewer was appropriate attire. To accompany that, he made a comment about the probe his team landed skillfully on a comet as not being “easy”. It’s kinda hard not to come away with the idea that Taylor views women as sex objects, there for the butt of jokes, there for his pleasure.

This isn’t being picky. This isn’t being bitchy. Imagine, if you will, a woman doing the same interview with hunky, thong-clad men on her shirt and voicing quips about an easy lay. That hypothetical woman would have been fired. Public outcry would have demanded no less. Taken with the fact that, no matter what women wear as a professional scientist, they still get criticized for wearing it, seeing a man in that shirt during a very important interview is a slap in the face. It is a reminder men are held to vastly different standards than women.

Consensual pictures versus objectified women on a shirt–there are very real differences the picture above ignores.

America’s Women Have Education–Now Stop Fighting

Ayaan Hirsi Ali wants to reclaim feminism from all her “fellow idiotic women”. Women like me. Why are we idiotic? We thought scantily-dressed women on a prominent scientist’s shirt was disrespectful and unprofessional. Hirsi Ali claims that even mentioning it proves how stupid we are, how we’ve lost sight of our goals as feminists, because we earned the right to an education in the United States and there are women elsewhere in the world who don’t have the same right. She claims that American women really have nothing else to fight for and should focus their attention on helping women living in the Middle East.

That’s right. We in America have made it! We have education! Now what we need to do is sit down and shut up about our trivial other problems and look for ways to help women with REAL problems. So what if religious zealots in America are doing everything in their power to make abortion illegal, even to save the mother’s life (because if she can’t bring a viable baby to term she deserves to die). So what if women in America make less than men, which ends up creating a permanent underclass of poor mothers who can barely keep their children feed? So what if women are discriminated against in the workplace, forced to endure slights about their work ethic and intelligence while being denied promotions, especially if they are mothers?

Women in America die in childbirth far more frequently than in 60 other countries–including many Middle Eastern countries.

In America, almost 6 in 10 poor adults are women. But that’s not a viable problem for millions of American women–or their children, is it? Not when there’s Muslim countries that also have poor, abused women.

Obamacare allowed low-income women the opportunity to afford healthcare–and Republicans are doing their damnedest to get rid of it. Republican states refused the Medicaid expansion, leaving many women without healthcare and without options (especially rural women in areas where local hospitals have been closed due to lack of funds). Fighting to retain the healthcare we have, and increase access for others, should be important, right? Or should poor women in the US take a back seat to women in the Middle East who have it so much worse?

Tell that to my mother. Oh wait, you can’t. She died of breast cancer, a disease my family could not fight because we could not afford health insurance–and the doctors, the chemotherapists, refused to help her unless they received payment up front. When chemotherapy payments are close to 3/4 the family’s monthly salary, getting treatment is not an option. I refuse to believe that my mother’s life, and the lives of women just like her, mean less because they live in America, that their struggles and agony should be ignored in favor of the plight of others who, we are told, have it much worse.

I refuse to prioritize. Women’s plights, no matter where, no matter what, are important. Trivializing one will lead to the trivializing of another, and another, until all issues associated with women are relegated to the rubbish bin in favor of things that REALLY matter. Any excuse to delegitimize women’s issues will be snagged by the lowest common denominator–or so-called feminists who have a vested interest in keeping their power and privilege by denigrating women and treating their issues as second-rate inconsequentials (looking at you, Dawkins).

My husband put it this way: It’s like telling a person suffering from pneumonia that they can’t be treated until cancer is cured. It’s idiotic, unfair, and cruel.

What the News Didn’t Include About the Harassment of Chloe and Sarahanne Trestman

So Marc Trestman, the Chigaco Bears’ head coach, had a tough night. So did his team. They lost resoundingly to the Green Bay Packers.

Which means twitter psychopaths feel they must leap at the opportunity to send rape and death threats to Trestman’s daughters. Oh, they called him a “faggot” and said heads will roll, but the man received nothing near the frightening messages his daughters, who are not involved with the team and have no influence over how players play football, did.

I perused the news for info. What struck me, hard, was the fact that they tamed down the scary shit the women received. For instance:

dont let me catch you walking alone @chloT94

— 2ND (@SonBateman) November 10, 2014

Source: http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Trestmans-Daughters-Threatened-via-Twitter-After-Bears-Loss-282216911.html#ixzz3ImMTHUgk

OK. Scary, but not this:

@SonBateman@chloT94 I would rape the shit out of her

— Pumpkin Fucker (@ELNEIGHBORADOR) November 10, 2014

@ELNEIGHBORADOR@chloT94 I would fucking eat her remains

— 2ND (@SonBateman) November 10, 2014

@ELNEIGHBORADOR@chloT94 im going to roll around in and drIInk her fucking blood

— 2ND (@SonBateman) November 10, 2014

Until the main stream media (MSM) news actually covers the real awful, disgusting shit, it will remain the work of a few blogs to point it out. The majority of regular people, who hear about this kind of behavior in passing, still think internet trolls are harmless, just angry people with a one-off. When those people actually get to read the deep vitriol, the threats, when they are exposed to the absolutely disgusting and terrifying things Tweeted at other normal people, it will be easy to change their minds about the harassment that goes on–make them think about what kind of person could possibly send this type of tweet.

MSM, stop being complicit. Every opportunity to expose the horrendous nature of on-line harassment that you ignore is giving tacit approval to these monsters to continue what they do.

What Struck Me About Arthur Chu’s Salon Article

If you haven’t read Chu’s article on Salon, “I’m not “that creepy guy from the Internet”: How Gamergate gave the geek community a bad name, please do so. It’s in interesting read, a good look into the mind of a gamer geek with many problems and, at some points, few solutions to those problems.

The first thing that made me sit and think, was his description of failure.

Games were there when the one thing I’d always been able to rely on, my brain, wasn’t good enough for top-tier college-level classes. Games were there when, with my grades in free fall and my future plans falling to dust, I stopped going out, stopped answering calls, stopped eating regular meals and sleeping and talking.

Games were there when the girl I was dating… told me she couldn’t be with me long-term unless I got my life together….

Games were there when I came home, defeated and broken, to my mom’s house with no degree and no prospects.

I have thought, and sometimes I think I’m the only one, that #Gamergaters are not all young, angsty teens, but adults who found themselves disillusioned, bitter and resentful of a world they believe failed them, a world that didn’t allow them to succeed, no matter how much they deserved it. Lashing out is an obvious outlet for deep-seated unhappiness and despair.

Then he wrote this:

Trust me, I know what it’s like to have the most important moments of your life take place behind a glowing screen, to lose yourself in the dramas and quests of the game world when the real world seems hopeless. When the rest of your day — the fruitless job searches, the awkward attempts at socializing, the grinding sameness of being another Victim of the Recession — is dull gray and tastes like ashes.

When you fail at school, then try to get a job and fail at that, and are forced to retreat back to a home you left because your parents’ values and religion were no longer your own, it bites. It gnaws. It tears you apart from the inside, because your sense of worth dies. I think the recession has a lot to do with the amount of vitriol we see nowadays. There have always been deeply disturbed individuals out there who see the anonymity of the internet as a haven to post whatever screwed-up shit they want. There always will be. But when you have these trolls spouting their hate, and a person reads what they wrote and it resonates with them because their life is in the toilet and they need some sort of out, some way to make themselves feel better, they begin to create momentum. The more people who jump aboard, the more it legitimates the hate and reprehensible behavior, the more it seems justified, even if whatever drives their anger isn’t what, or who, they attack.

Poverty and hopelessness are blunt instruments that can easily bludgeon someone to the point that nothing in the world really matters anymore, including themselves. They can spew hate and anger because, in some ways, those feelings are meaningless. They are constant companions, and they lose their effect over time, swirling down into black despair. Any opportunity to make the emotions resurface is taken, so one can feel something other than helpless dread. Perhaps they’re even trying to bring down their victims to that level, so they can punish them with the same distressed desolation they feel.

One of my greatest fears is falling back into poverty. The grind of everyday living can be nearly unbearable when you have no money, no food, no recourse. I understand that–I lived it. It’s really hard to make yourself believe that, maybe, one day, things will get better, because for so long they’ve been so bad. But, as Chu found out, success can be hard-won. He took a chance opportunity to meet Felicia Day, and it paid off. He regrets that the opportunity he was given will likely never happen again because of the hate surrounding games, tech, and women in general. I find that sad, too. #Gamergaters are breaking their own backs and don’t even seem to realize it.

After the rape and death threats, who’s really going to take a chance on them? (This is a serious question, because what sane woman would take the chance of dating Eron Gjoni?)

Colbert, Sarkeesian and Universal Generalization

Thunderf00t notably, but DJ Grothe and others, were salavating because Stephen Colbert was going to tear apart Anita Sarkeesian during her interview on The Colbert Report. Oh, yes, he hates social justice warriors, feminists and women who talk. Them peoples is scary!!!

But Thunderf00t and his ilk made a mistake, evident by their extreme disappointment when Colbert, in fact, did not belittle, demean and trash Sarkeesian, and even, at the end, asked if he were a feminist. It’s a mistake my husband sees all the time in work done by students in his math classes when he covers universal generalization. It’s a standard priniciple in math–if you need to show something is true for all elements in a set, show it for a generic element in the set and then generalize to the whole. If something is true for generic x it must be true for all x in a set. Students mistakenly take someting true for a specific x and generalize it to the whole, rather than taking a generic element and generalizing it. It’s also called hasty generalization.

That’s what happened with Thunderf00t and others when they eagerly awaited Colbert’s lambasting of Sarkeesian. They took their own viewpoints, a specific x, and generalized them to the whole, which happened to include TV personalities they admire. They heaped upon Colbert their own misogyny and hate, rather than actually looking at his past record of sarcasm, irony, comedy, and satire. They saw in him what they wanted to see, and ended up disappointed (even disillusioned?).

Love it when Thunderf00t claimed it was a boring interview, when the cheers from the audience proved otherwise. Continue to see what you want to see. As much as some of us wish it, the world does not conform to made-up versions of reality because someone wants it to. Hiding your eyes behind hands does not mean you’ve disappeared, even if babies see it that way.