blog news, family, social media, stupid people, technology

I’ve got new DNA results!

I believe the featured photo is of my mom’s father’s family tartan…

Bless Ancestry. com and 23andMe. I was having some trouble coming up with a topic to write about today, mainly because I don’t feel like complaining about Trump, and he’s making up a lot of the news lately. But since both Ancestry and 23andMe just updated their DNA results, and my results changed a bit, I can now write about that! And it will be soooo interesting, too. To me, anyway.

According to Ancestry.com, I’m now even more Scottish than I thought. The updated results now have me at 58 percent Scot. That would probably make Ex green with envy, since she fancies herself a Scot. The rest of the results were also interesting, as according to Ancestry, now I’m only 28 percent English and otherwise northwestern European. They also report that I have 3 percent Welsh ancestry, which I can certainly believe, given how many of my ancestors were from the British isles and Ireland. Ancestry.com also reports that I still have Scandinavian ancestry– Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian. Again, that’s totally believable. I am as white as they come.

Interesting… and probably pretty accurate.

Now, my 23andMe results are a bit more surprising. I did the 23andMe test before I did Ancestry’s, so it’s changed a few times since I first got results in 2017. Overall, 23andMe agrees with Ancestry that I’m mostly from the British Isles and Ireland. But they added some spice to my heritage, which is also believable. Behold…

23andMe classify their results somewhat differently, grouping Scotland, England, and Ireland together. They used to report Norwegian DNA, but replaced it with Finnish. And Ancestry doesn’t report Finnish DNA, but does report Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian.

Some might be surprised to see the Spanish and Portuguese results, but to me, they make perfect sense. I probably picked up that DNA thanks to the Spanish Armada. Some people from that dramatic event in the 1500s inevitably got together with Irish and Scottish people, forever changing their DNA. I was glad to see French and German again, since I know for a fact that I have some German heritage, and likely have French, too, somewhere deep in my genes. I also know that there were a few Native Americans from Virginia who got with my family, since they appear in my family tree. I was surprised to see the Levantine result, which has origins in Jordan, Israel, Syria, and Lebanon. But, I guess if we go back far enough, that makes some sense, too. Most people probably have some genes from the Middle East. I got a kick out of the photo 23andMe uses for the French and German section. It’s actually a photo of Hallstatt, Austria.

This is a screenshot from 23andMe’s Web site. I’ve been to this town and have my own photo of this view. It’s unmistakable as a famous Austrian town, where many Chinese tourists visit and wear dirndls and lederhosen.

What’s funny is, I just talked to my mom about our ancestry. She really doesn’t know much about her family of origin– especially on her mother’s side. I’ve told her a lot that she didn’t know, mainly because of these DNA tests and interacting with distant relatives. She never knew her maternal grandparents, since they died within three months of each other, before her second birthday. She was surprised when I told her I went on FindAGrave.com and found photos of her grandparents’ graves, as well as an entry for my dad, which was not put up by a family member. My Uncle Ed, who died just over a month ago, has an entry already, although no one but family is allowed to develop it until a year has passed. I think FindAGrave is kind of freaky, but it does provide interesting information about my long lost relatives.

Like my mom, I never got to know my maternal grandparents. My grandmother died when I was five, and we were living in England at the time. My grandfather died when I was six, and he was extremely senile and didn’t know who any of us were. I do remember living in his house briefly, back in the summer of 1978, because we had just come back from England, and my parents were purchasing a home in Northern Virginia, where we lived for just two years. He died months later, after having been court ordered to move into a facility, because he could no longer take care of himself.

The only grandparent I really knew was my father’s mother, who was affectionately known as “Granny” to just about everyone, even those who weren’t in the family. She lived to be almost 101 years old. My father died only seven years after she died. He was 81 years old, and had only lived without a parent for seven years. That is astonishing to me. Granny was mostly a wonderful lady, although she wasn’t as perfect as some people made her out to be. She had a mean streak. But mostly, she was full of stories, and made wonderful bread. I am glad Bill got to meet her and knew her for five years before she finally passed.

I find genealogy fascinating, especially since I grew up not really knowing my mom’s family too well. I knew my Uncle Glenn, who died in 2015, and I knew his daughter, although I haven’t seen her since my wedding day in 2002. She and I have the same blue eyes, inherited from our grandmother. Well… she got hers from Glenn, too. He had beautiful blue eyes. My eyes are probably my best feature.

Anyway… I’m glad to see the update from both DNA registries, even if Bill’s results are more interesting than mine are. He has African heritage.

Moving on…

A couple of days ago, I wrote about an irate private message I got from someone who was angry about an eight year old blog entry I reposted regarding an extremely violent murder in their family. This person was threatening, and complained that I had mentioned the name of one of the victim’s children, who is still a minor. They acted as if I had invaded their privacy to find out the child’s name, and threatened legal action against me. It was not a nice thing to wake up to on a Saturday morning. In my post, I was pretty sure I had only included information that was already openly reported in the news, circa 2014.

I did some sleuthing yesterday, mainly because I wanted to block this person from ever contacting me again on Facebook (or anywhere else). I managed to find the person’s profile(s) and block them. However, in the course of doing so, I found out some new things.

I discovered that my memory was correct. The child’s name was included in several newspaper articles, most of which are online today. Furthermore, I found a wide open Web site, where what looked like some of the child’s schoolwork was openly posted for all to see. There was an essay there, revealing the names of the child’s parents, birth date, birth place, and the names of many family members, to include other minors. I even learned what kinds of food the child likes to eat, what the child’s career goals were at the time the essay was written, and where the child lives. So much for maintaining the online privacy of a minor.

I would suggest, to the person who contacted me, that before they issue legal threats regarding privacy of a minor, they might want to do some more Googling of the child’s unusual name. I learned a lot more about this child than I ever wanted or needed to know, simply by typing the name into a basic search engine. I suspect that their claims that I invaded their privacy would go nowhere, mostly due to this fact, but also because of the First Amendment, and the right to freedom of expression, which all Americans still enjoy, at least for now. If you want to come at me because I posted your minor relative’s name, you might also want to have a go at the reporters who originally covered the case. Because that is where the child’s name was originally shared, and that content is still freely available eight years later. And I had nothing to do with that.

In spite of being quite pissed off about that hostile PM, to the point at which I am deleting the blog’s Facebook page, I have removed the offending content as a courtesy to the person who contacted me. I did so because, frankly, no one else was reading that post anyway. Also, I removed it because, in spite of their false accusations toward me, I’m not a terrible person who is just out to make money by blogging. Likewise, I don’t want to cause people unnecessary distress. But even if I were just trying to make a buck, what would be wrong with that? There’s no crime against earning a living, right? Writing is a perfectly respectable career choice, even if some people don’t like the things that get written.

This blog isn’t a source of significant income for me. It’s more something I do because I enjoy writing. Moreover, I didn’t do anything wrong, and the claims that I violated anyone’s privacy are baseless and false. There is no law against writing or opining about things that are in the mainstream news. I do understand that people get upset when people talk or write about true crimes that affect them personally, but I don’t think that threatening to trying to censor people is the answer.

Finally… something a little ridiculous…

This graphic of stereotypes was posted in the Duggar Family News group…

Apparently, the above photo is circulating in certain parts of social media. It’s pretty disgusting. I would also say that it’s not very accurate. I’m not sure fundie women keep their figures when they’re eating things like tater tot casserole and barbecued tuna fish. I’ve also seen quite a few fundie women sporting heavy makeup, colored hair, and ridiculous perms. Moreover, I don’t think Jesus Christ would approve of the judgmental and negative attitude displayed regarding “The Godly Tradwife”. Jesus supposedly loved everyone, and helped those in need. It makes me sick that genuine Christian values have been co-opted and bastardized by hypocritical Republicans, who just want to quash anyone who isn’t like them, and doesn’t want to keep white, conservative men in power.

I might write more about this later… or maybe not. Hope y’all have a good Wednesday. Time to pick up my guitar.

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controversies, funny stories, language

Repost: “Cum” is not always a “bad word”…

Here’s another repost from May 23, 2018. I’m reposting it, because I think it’s funny. Keep in mind, this happened four years ago, before the world went to pandemic hell.

Last night, while quaffing too much wine and getting overly emotional about musical selections on iTunes, I ran across an article about a woman from Charleston, South Carolina who purchased a $70 cake from a Publix supermarket.  Cara Koscinski’s son, Jacob, had just graduated from homeschool “Summa Cum Laude”.  Just as an aside, I didn’t realize Latin superlatives were a thing for people finishing high school.  But apparently, this young man graduated with highest honors, finishing with a GPA of 4.79.

Bwahahahaha!

Koscinski had used Publix’s online ordering system to acquire the cake.  When she typed in “Summa Cum Laude”, the system automatically censored the word “cum”.  So Ms. Koscinski, thinking that a human being would be looking at the comments section on the order form, explained that the word “cum” in this instance was referring to the Latin phrase, not the disgusting slang term for semen.

Unfortunately, the person who decorated the cake was lacking both critical thinking skills and the powers of observation.  The person decorated the cake and wrote “Summa — Laude”, omitting the word “cum”.  Koscinski’s husband, who picked up the cake at the store, did not look at it before it was presented to Koscinski’s son, who was reportedly “humiliated” when he saw it.

Few things here…  First off, it was a very stupid mistake.  I don’t blame Ms. Koscinski for publicizing this or even speaking to the manager about this oversight.  The online ordering system obviously needs to be updated in some way and the bakery employees need training.  Clearly, the person who decorated the cake was either working on autopilot or needs to be educated about Latin phrases that might be requested for decorated desserts.  At the very least, the rest of the world deserves to have a good laugh at the stupidity of this error.

Secondly, I kind of think Ms. Koscinski’s anger is a little bit out of proportion.  I mean, as sad as it is that apparently no one else at that particular Publix has ever ordered a cake with “Summa Cum Laude” on it, the error is kind of funny.  And if Jacob was really “humiliated” by a mistake that wasn’t his fault, he’s probably going to have a tough time of it in the real world.  When it comes down to it, it’s just a few dashes of icing that will be eaten, anyway.  Evidently, the young man felt he had to explain the term “cum” to his grandmother and why it would be censored on the cake.  Kind of makes me think he must come from a very sheltered family who doesn’t eat a lot of cum. 

And finally… if there’s one thing to be learned about this story, it’s that whenever you purchase a decorated cake, it pays to look at the finished product before you leave the store.  It might also be a good idea to order the cake in person or skip the grocery store bakeries and patronize a small business instead.  Actually, just reading about this reminds me of our wedding reception and how I wish I’d used a small catering service in town instead of the one offered at Virginia Military Institute.  I think I would have been much happier with the results.

Ms. Koscinski did get an apology, a gift card, and a refund from Publix.  They also offered to remake the cake for her.  She declined, stating “You only graduate once.”  That may be true, but Koscinski’s son will probably be cumming for the rest of his life.  At least he’ll have a funny story to share about it.

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complaints, condescending twatbags, poor judgment, rants, Trump

Tennessee school board bans book on Holocaust due to “objectionable language”… now the book is on backorder!

Have you ever heard of the “Streisand effect”? It’s a phenomenon named after the famous singer, Barbra Streisand, whose last name, I notice, is not counted as misspelled as I type it in the editor. I guess she’s arrived, since the dictionary recognizes her name as an actual word!

Anyway, the story goes that back in 2003, Barbra Streisand got good and pissed at the California Coastal Records Project’s decision to photograph her residence in Malibu, California as they were documenting the effects of coastal erosion The photos were intended to influence government policy makers. Streisand was apparently more concerned about her privacy, than the environment. She attempted to suppress the photograph of her estate via legal means, suing photographer Kenneth Adelman and Pictopia for violation of privacy. Before she filed her $50 million lawsuit, meant to get the aerial photo removed from the collection of 12,000 photos of the California coastline, the photo of her mansion had only been downloaded six times. Two of six downloads were by Streisand’s own lawyers.

Word got out about Streisand’s attempts to quash the photo, and over the course of the month following news of the lawsuit, over 420,000 people visited the site where it was posted, and downloaded the picture of Streisand’s coastline property. Instead of managing to suppress the image, the public became much more interested in the photo than they would have if Streisand would have just STFU about it.

That amusing end result of Striesand’s privacy case caused a writer named Mike Malsnick to coin the term, “Streisand effect”, back in 2005, when another notorious photo made the news and became much more popular than it otherwise would have. In that case, the owners of a holiday resort objected to a picture taken of a urinal at their resort, which was uploaded to a site called urinal.net. They sued, and the urinal pic became a lot more noticeable. Malsnick wrote:

“How long is it going to take before lawyers realize that the simple act of trying to repress something they don’t like online is likely to make it so that something that most people would never, ever see (like a photo of a urinal in some random beach resort) is now seen by many more people? Let’s call it the Streisand Effect.”

The phenomenon of controversial or “objectionable” things growing in popularity or notoriety after someone has tried to repress or quash them, is now known as the “Streisand effect”. And now, we’re seeing the Streisand effect at work again, thanks to some extremely conservative and misguided school board members in McMinn County, Tennessee, who are in the news because they banned a Pulitzer prize winning comic novel from their school’s 8th grade curriculum. I don’t think their school board vote actually went the way they intended it to go. Now, the Streisand effect is in full force, once again.

Put it this way. Much to my shame, twenty four hours ago, I had never heard of author, Art Spiegelman, nor did I know anything about his much acclaimed 1996 comic novel Maus. As of this morning, not only have I heard of the book, but I have just purchased a copy of it, and it’s now on the way to my house. I will have to wait a short while, because probably thanks to the recent controversy surrounding the McMinn County school board’s decision to ban Maus, there’s been a run on copies of Maus, even in Germany. This means that I am not the only one who felt moved– disgusted– downright pissed off enough about this news to buy the book. I have a feeling Mr. Spiegelman and his publisher will be enjoying the Streisand effect, as people rebel against censorship by purchasing, borrowing, and reading Maus.

I feel really good about buying this book. I am always interested in learning more about the Holocaust, especially since it was not an event that was extensively covered when I went to public school in Virginia, back in the 80s. I have learned a lot about the Holocaust on my own, having read a lot of true stories about it and watched many videos made by survivors and their descendants about that very dark period in world history. I don’t usually read a lot of novels anymore, mainly because I prefer non-fiction. However, as a former English major, I know that novels can and do have their place in teaching people about the human condition. This is a graphic novel, so that means there are comic illustrations, which I know Bill will appreciate. I probably will, too, although I am not as much into art as he is. Spiegelman has used cats to depict Germans and mice to depict Jews during the Holocaust, which I think is a very intriguing concept.

But even if it turns out I don’t learn from or enjoy reading Maus, I still feel fine about buying it, because seriously, fuck that school board in McMinn County. Below is the passage from the news article I linked that made me say to Bill, “That does it. I’m buying a copy of the book!”

As reported by The Tennessee Holler and The Guardian, the McMinn County School board voted 10-0 to ban Maus from all of its schools, citing the book’s inclusion of words like “God damn” and “naked pictures” of women. Apparently, the school board discussed the possibility of simply redacting words and images it found inappropriate, though ultimately opted to ban the book outright. When reached for comment by The Tennessee Holler, the board claimed that the book being about the Holocaust had nothing to do with why it was banned.

“Why does the educational system promote this kind of stuff, it is not wise or healthy… I am not denying it was horrible, brutal and cruel,” one board member said. “It’s like when you’re watching TV and a cuss word or nude scene comes on it would be the same movie without it. Well, this would be the same book without it… If I had a child in the eighth grade, this ain’t happening. If I had to move him out and homeschool him or put him somewhere else, this is not happening.”

I am so sick of these types of small-town, power-wielding, world-perspective limited people, who feel like they need to censor or ban things for everyone, because they are personally “offended” by language or nudity or things they consider “gross”, “inappropriate”, or “pornographic”. Especially when it turns out that the things they wish to ban aren’t actually any of those things, but instead offer real opportunities for education and enlightenment. Instead of trying to understand the “objectionable” viewpoint or perspective, they opt to just ban it and label it indecent or offensive.

Regular readers of my blog may recall that last month, I got good and fired up when popular YouTuber Mama Doctor Jones got mentioned in an Alaska school board meeting because a progressive educator linked to some of her videos as a means of teaching youngsters about sex. People in that meeting were equating Mama Doctor Jones’ very informative and scientifically based videos to porn! It was outrageous and offensive to me, and if I were a parent in that school district, I would be raising all kinds of hell about it locally, instead of just on my blog.

What really puzzles me is that these folks in Tennessee and Alaska, so outraged by books like Maus, which is a comic representation of Art Spiegelman’s father’s experiences in the Holocaust, or videos by actual board certified OB-GYN Mama Doctor Jones, are NOT AT ALL OFFENDED by Donald Trump’s disgusting treatment of women, minorities, employees, or anyone else who can’t do anything for him. Seriously, y’all… their hero, Donald Trump, had no trouble whatsoever offending the world with his narcissistic, misogynistic, racist, lying bullshit. Where was their outrage when they heard about Donald Trump grabbing women by the pussy?

The conservatives in Alaska and Tennessee who are clutching their pearls over words like “God damn”, nude illustrations, and frank and fact based discussion about sex, pregnancy, birth control, and abortion, don’t care at all that their orange, tiny-handed, hero would happily grab the younger and prettier women in their midst “by the pussy” if he felt like it, because he’s a “star”. Below is an actual transcript of what former President Donald Trump said in 2005 about a beautiful married woman he once pursued:

Donald J. Trump: You know and …

Unknown: She used to be great. She’s still very beautiful.

Trump: I moved on her, actually. You know, she was down on Palm Beach. I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it.

Unknown: Whoa.

Trump: I did try and fuck her. She was married.

Unknown: That’s huge news.

Trump: No, no, Nancy. No, this was [unintelligible] — and I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping.

She wanted to get some furniture. I said, “I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.” I took her out furniture —

I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.

Billy Bush: Sheesh, your girl’s hot as shit. In the purple.

Trump: Whoa! Whoa!

Bush: Yes! The Donald has scored. Whoa, my man!

[Crosstalk]

Trump: Look at you, you are a pussy.

[Crosstalk]

Trump: All right, you and I will walk out.

[Silence]

Trump: Maybe it’s a different one.

Bush: It better not be the publicist. No, it’s, it’s her, it’s —

Trump: Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

Am I really to believe that Maus is more offensive and inappropriate than Trump is? Am I to believe that thirteen year olds, who have already heard all of the bad words from their own former president, no less, and are now at an age at which they can reproduce, should be “protected” from Mama Doctor Jones’ content because some claim it’s akin to “porn”, or Art Spiegelman’s brilliant book about one of the worst tragedies in human history, because of nudity and words like “God damn”? Um… I’ve got a news flash for these people. Censorship does not prevent people from being exposed to objectionable content.

Look at Josh Duggar. He grew up in a famously conservative family that was chronicled on reality TV. His parents were held up as paragons. They claimed to be very strict about keeping their children from objectionable content in television, books, music, and yes, the Internet. Need I remind everyone where Josh Duggar is right now and why he’s there?

Seriously…

I’m not trying to imply that Josh Duggar wouldn’t be a sex offender if his parents hadn’t been so controlling. He might just be wired that way. What I am saying is that banning “objectionable content” tends to make it forbidden fruit– more attractive to the masses. Perverts are gonna perv. I think it’s better for parents and educators to be open-minded and provide constructive and supportive guidance to their children when they are presented with challenging or potentially offensive material, rather than just quashing it. And that goes for both sides of the spectrum. I don’t like the “cancel culture” so often embraced by left wingers, either.

Censorship doesn’t work. Throughout history, people who have championed book banning are not remembered as the “good guys” who truly have everyone’s best interests at heart. The timing of this decision is especially offensive, as yesterday was Holocaust Remembrance Day.

I expect to have Maus in my hot little hands next month. I look forward to reading it for myself and sharing my thoughts about it. I’m glad that, at least for the time being, I still have the right to make that decision for myself. And I am heartened by people like Wil Wheaton, who have pledged to make this book available to people in McMinn County by buying a couple of copies and asking the book store owners to give them freely to people who ask for them. It was Wil Wheaton’s thoughtful post on this situation that got me to learn more about it this morning.

Many thanks to Wil Wheaton for being one of the “good guys”.

So cheers to the Streisand effect. I hope Art Spiegelman enjoys the unintended consequences of small-minded people serving on the school board in Tennessee. Like Wil Wheaton, I get pissed off by “authoritarian bullshit”. I try to fight the power whenever I can. I hope many other people will join me. I’ll help by providing an Amazon link to Spiegelman’s masterpiece, Maus. If you purchase through the link on my page, I will get a small commission from Amazon. That would be nice for me, but even if you just want to check it out of the library, I would highly recommend doing that. Fuck the powers that be!

A little mood music for this post.

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ads, expressions, music, videos, YouTube

A new right wing anthem…

Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting in my bedroom, halfway zoned out as I listened to Rover’s Makeover on YouTube. Suddenly, there was an ad, which, as usual, came at an inopportune time. I usually skip the ads on YouTube as soon as I can. Most of the ones I get are in German, anyway. But yesterday, I wasn’t able to immediately hit the “skip ads” button, so I actually heard the opening lines of what turned out to be a new “song” by Canadian rapper Tom MacDonald and Adam Calhoun. I was so shocked and appalled by them that I listened to the whole thing. Below is the video that played. It certainly got my attention.

Yikes. Wouldn’t want to bring either of them home for dinner.

At the risk of sounding like a Boomer, I think this song is pretty atrocious. However, as I listened to it, I realized that a lot of people are going to identify with it. I found the song on YouTube and noticed that the comments on it were overwhelmingly positive. There are a lot of very angry people in the United States right now who don’t feel heard or respected. And that’s one of the main reasons why we had to endure four years of Donald Trump as our president.

Now that Trump has been ousted, these newly emboldened folks are doubly pissed off. So people like Tom MacDonald and his ilk make bank by writing songs that rally more anger and hatred, and spread disinformation. I have a feeling this song could be a hit among a lot of fed up people, and it might even inspire violence among those who are “pissed the fuck off” and feel “moved” to do something drastic.

I played this song for Bill this morning. After it was finished, Bill said “Well, the song does make a few valid points.” And that’s true. I can see how some people come to the conclusions made in this artistic endeavor. What concerns me, though, is that the song promotes violence, division, and rage instead of peace, solidarity, kindness, and mutual understanding. It adds fuel to an already burgeoning fire, instead of encouraging cooperation, coordination, and collaboration. We really don’t need more people getting pissed off and taking up arms. I think we need to come together and embrace our better natures, not go off half cocked, looking for more fights. But that’s just my opinion.

I am all for artistic expression, and I’m totally against censorship. That’s why I’m writing about this today, realizing that there will be people who will go listen to the song and determine whether or not they agree with its message. Frankly, even though I am a “white person”, and according to this song, I should be feeling disrespected, ignored, and pissed off about minorities and liberals asking for fair and humane treatment, I was unpleasantly shocked and offended by the “New World Order”. As this was playing, I was literally stunned into silence. And then I felt kind of worried. After reading the comments on YouTube, I realized that this song will speak to and probably inspire people to continue being divisive and hateful.

I feel like this song expresses some ideas that are very twisted. However, even though I think the ideas are twisted, I can sort of see how and why some people have them. It takes time and, often, personal experience and thoughtfulness, for people to change their views. I’ve mentioned before, for instance, that I think it’s unrealistic to expect all people to immediately embrace ideas that, for all of time, were either once considered taboo or were once okay, but aren’t anymore. And it takes time for people to shed prejudices and ignorance. It’s best that they do that on their own accord, rather than feeling like they’ve been forced.

I don’t think that tolerance and “political correctness” are things that can be necessarily ordered or legislated. For instance, we can demand that people stop being racist or sexist by enacting new policies, but secretly, a lot of people will still be sexist and racist. They just won’t be as open about it. I think this song sort of drives home that point. A lot of people still have what some people think of as “disgusting attitudes” that they keep under wraps. The fact that so many people agree with these lyrics and are praising them on YouTube tell me that a disturbing number of people deeply resent progressive ideas and “woke” culture. And those are the people who will embrace someone who will give their feelings a voice. I think Tom MacDonald and Adam Calhoun will probably make a lot of money with this song. But I hope that the money they will make isn’t tainted by the senseless and tragic hurting and killing of innocent people.

To be honest, I’m not a big fan of excessively “woke” culture myself. I don’t like the smug attitudes that some extremely liberal people espouse, as if they are so much more evolved than more conservative people are. And I can understand, completely, the chorus of the song, even if I think the sentiment is rather petulantly expressed. The verses are what really disturb me– along with the conflation of situations that don’t really compare, and are, in my view, poor examples of “injustices”– particularly against white people.

Like, for instance, some people’s “need” to carry weapons everywhere, and comparing the need to have guns, and being a so-called “good guy with a gun”, to putting out a sudden fire with a fire extinguisher instead of calling a fire brigade. So many people have been killed by gun violence, many of whom were perfectly innocently going about their business. I’m sorry. I can’t compare a classroom full of six year olds being gunned down at school, to a sudden fire that requires an immediate response with a fire extinguisher. Fire extinguishers don’t usually kill people, unless, of course, they’re being used by a right wing thug to bludgeon and kill a cop at an attempted coup. Guns are expressly made to maim and kill people and animals. It’s as simple as that. And these two situations are NOT comparable… but I know that many people will think of them in that way.

Same thing goes for the lyrics comparing a deadbeat dad who doesn’t support his children to a woman who decides to have an abortion. The situations are NOT comparable. Paying child support and being an attentive parent is not the same as putting one’s health and very life on the line to gestate a potential human being. Paying child support does not, for instance, necessarily cause someone to get sick with eclampsia or force them to delay cancer treatment… and the vast majority of parents paying child support made a choice to bring a child into the world. Sometimes people who get pregnant got that way because they were forced to have sex. In very few cases, are males forced to be fathers. They can almost always choose to keep their pants zipped or use a condom, save for a few very rare exceptions.

The verse about blackface being wrong compared to transgender people is just plain offensive and overly simplified. But– I can understand how certain “salt of the earth” types will think it makes perfect sense. I know that a lot of people are upset that they are being asked to deny what they were taught as children– that there are only two sexes and a person is either one or the other. I can understand why that is upsetting to them, but I am repulsed by the hatred and profound ignorance behind how that condition is expressed in this song. Like, they won’t even try to empathize with someone who might be suffering because they can’t identify with the either/or male or female model. I don’t think transgender people are a threat to humanity, and it’s sad that some people are so threatened by those who simply aren’t like them.

Also… as someone who has actually spent time in a formerly communist/Soviet country, it really disturbs me how people who clearly do not have actual experience or even real knowledge of what communism and socialism are try to compare the United States to China. There is no comparison. But these lyrics continue to drive home the fear and ignorance behind so many people’s opinions regarding different government models. Also, a lot of them don’t seem to realize that some of our most celebrated and vaunted government programs are pretty “socialist”. One prime example is the military system, which is very much a government regulated entity. But try to get some career military service people to give up their retirement pensions and “perks”, and there will be a backlash, won’t there? Yet, a lot of them will only vote for Republicans, who are deemed more “military friendly”… as they go to their government owned quarters, shop at the commissary, and get their and their families’ healthcare needs taken care of on military installations, free of charge.

Anyway… I think it’s clear how I feel about “New World Order”. I think it’s a profoundly ignorant song that takes some elements of truth and twists them in lyrics, sets the lyrics to a catchy beat, and will, unfortunately, rile up equally ignorant people who lack perspective and don’t have any regard for anyone besides themselves. I really think it’s a disgusting song. But, as I am all for freedom of expression, I’m not going to call for it to be censored. In fact, by sharing this post, I know I’m simply raising awareness of this song and, perhaps, even promoting it.

Some people will read this post, listen to the song, and determine that they like and agree with it. And when people downvote it because it’s offensive and hateful, they will complain about censorship by the left wing media. Could it be that a lot of us just don’t think that this is the right way? I’d like to hope so… and I hope there are more people wanting to make things better for EVERYONE, instead of selfishly focusing on the perceived hatred, disrespect, and disenfranchisement of white people.

Again, YouTube showed this to me as an AD… I don’t think the song is being censored by YouTube. I saw it twice yesterday without having searched for it. It just popped up as I was watching something I actually wanted to see. I was stunned and offended by the video, and wholeheartedly disagree with its message. And while Tom MacDonald and Adam Calhoun will no doubt make money and win over fans with this, I think this song’s message is just going to make things worse for everyone. What a terrible shame.

Below are the lyrics for those who don’t want to listen to the video:

Here’s the problem with America, the country is broken
’Cause they minds stay closed but they mouths stay open
Get attacked and we blame terrorists, go broke and we blame the price
Blame racists for the racism but only if their skin is white

If we don’t need guns ’cause we can call the police
We don’t need fire extinguishers, call the fireman, please
You didn’t wanna build a wall and now the border is weak
Your favorite actor has a gate that’s like 15 feet

Racism is gay, if you’re offended, that’s retarded
Intolerance is great until you speak and you’re a target
If a white man paints his face black he’s a racist piece of garbage
But you put him in a dress and he’s courageous and he’s gorgeous

All these double standards, man, I’m tired of the noise
Freedom’s an illusion if they censor your voice
Call a dad a deadbeat for neglecting his boys
But a mom kills a baby and you call it pro-choice

[Chorus: Tom MacDonald & Adam Calhoun]
You act like you’re so much better than us
Yeah, we know that
Who told you that you so special?
But you’re a new world order
Your facts ain’t facts without censorin’ us
Yeah, we know that
Good job, you loses your medal
But you’re a new world order

[Verse 2: Adam Calhoun]
Why they hate the flag, they try to burn it to the ground
Don’t do that in front of me, I’ma let off a round (Pow)
Scream loud, burn the city down now
Put it on the news, make ’em all feel proud

Look, make a system where 85% of black people fill the prison
Is it ’cause they black, or they make bad decisions?
I ain’t good at math, but it seems like it’s division
Or is it white privilege?

I believe politicians need to be locked up
Try to take our freedoms, that’s how you get shot up
Got our back against the wall, try to just stop us
More guns, more ammunition, please stock up

Election gets rigged, rights get infringed
Take the syringe, frighten your kids
Show up right where you live
Make me wanna grab a rifle and just go… (*Bang*)

[Chorus: Tom MacDonald & Adam Calhoun]
You act like you’re so much better than us
Yeah, we know that
Who told you that you so special?
But you’re a new world order
Your facts ain’t facts without censorin’ us
Yeah, we know that
Good job, you loses your medal
But you’re a new world order

[Verse 3: Tom MacDonald & Adam Calhoun]
And everyone blames white folks for every little bitty thing
We don’t have no one to blame, we take responsibility
They tell you be a man, then call it toxic masculinity
Then when you act feminine they call it white fragility

I don’t understand, trans-man, with humility
I’m just tryna raise my kid the best of my ability
If I disagree you try to cancel, get rid of me
You can’t, so you can’t be the answer, you killin’ me

And I hate white supremacy just as much as you
But I ain’t feelin’ guilty for somethin’ I didn’t do
The system’s killin’ everyone, it sucks but it’s true
They kill you then they broadcast it and call it the news

Or they’ll brainwash you through social media feeds
And if you disagree, they’ll eat you immediately
Make America China, pretty easy to see
I will always remember the land of the free

[Chorus: Tom MacDonald & Adam Calhoun]
You act like you’re so much better than us
Yeah, we know that
Who told you that you so special?
But you’re a new world order
Your facts ain’t facts without censorin’ us
Yeah, we know that
Good job, you loses your medal
But you’re a new world order

And below is a sampling of the comments on the video…

To that last commenter, I will say that YouTube showed this song to me twice yesterday as an ad. I don’t think it’s being censored.
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poor judgment, Texas

Texas school official says teachers should offer books that have an “opposing view” of the Holocaust…

It’s a rainy morning in Germany, which means that my dogs will be waiting for their walk again. Since there will be a delay, I have time to write another blog post. This one is about the continuing descent of Texas into a straight up dystopian land. It’s not enough that Governor Abbott has signed anti-abortion legislation that deprives women of the right to make personal decisions about their own reproduction. It’s not enough that Texas politicians have called for women who have abortions to be executed, or that hospitals have forced a pregnant woman in a coma to stay on life support, even as she basically decomposes. Now, the dystopia is spreading to the schools.

Yesterday, I read about how a top administrator in the Southlake district had controversial comments about what kinds of books teachers would have in their classroom libraries. Gina Peddy, the Carroll school district’s executive director of curriculum and instruction, was secretly recorded during a training session last week. According to NBC news:

“Just try to remember the concepts of [House Bill] 3979,” Peddy said in the recording, referring to a new Texas law that requires teachers to present multiple perspectives when discussing “widely debated and currently controversial” issues. “And make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust,” Peddy continued, “that you have one that has an opposing, that has other perspectives.”

WHAT? That was, I think, a brain dead comment if there ever was one. How do you share an opposing view of the Holocaust? I’d like to think Peddy simply misspoke, as we all sometimes do. I would hope she had a brain fart, perhaps brought on by the state of things in Texas today. It was certainly a thoughtless comment, though, and it doesn’t make me think too highly of the quality of education in Texas. Is it any wonder that so many teachers are leaving the profession when they not only have to deal with the whole COVID-19 situation, but they also have to contend with these kinds of intrusions on their teaching methods?

I read that this whole thing began when a fourth grade student brought home a book called “This Book Is Anti-Racist” by Tiffany Jewell. The girl’s mother objected to the book’s content and complained to her daughter’s teacher. When the teacher did not respond in a way that satisfied the parent, the battle over what kinds of books are appropriate intensified. Local officials investigated the mother’s complaints about the teacher and declined to intervene, but the Carroll school board overturned the decision and voted 3-2 to formally reprimand the teacher. That decision, of course, made other teachers feel threatened, since they figured the board would side against them if other parents decided to complain about books in their classroom libraries.

Evidently, there’s a huge controversy about what is being taught in Texas schools. Some Southlake parents have been fighting against new inclusion and diversity programs at Carroll for over a year. They are opposed to lessons about racism, history (that paints white people in a negative light), or LGBTQ issues. Some of the parents have incorrectly identified the “progressive” lessons as promoting “critical race theory”. That’s how the new law, Texas House Bill number 3979, came to fruition.

Texas House Bill number 3979 is supposed to encourage teachers to present multiple viewpoints of controversial topics. I’m sure the law was intended to address the concern that some people have that their children will be fed a political agenda that doesn’t align with their preferred views… or that white children will somehow be made to feel guilty for the fact that they’re white. Personally, I can understand why some parents worry about that. I happen to agree that no one should feel ashamed of who they are, particularly when it comes to things they can’t change. That includes so-called “privileged” people.

However… there are some subjects that are sacred. The Holocaust is one of those topics where there is no “other view”. There have been people who have denied that the Holocaust happened, or they try to present it in a way that is sympathetic to the Nazi movement. Make no mistake about it. The Holocaust was absolutely horrifying; it’s real; and it didn’t happen all that long ago. Now, more than ever, we must be aware of the danger that can come from turning a blind eye to what happened in Europe during the 1930s and 40s. It was less than 100 years ago… and frankly, whenever I see Donald Trump rally a crowd, I’m reminded a lot of how Hitler came to power.

When a teacher asked Gina Peddy how one might oppose the Holocaust, Peddy’s response was “Believe me. That’s come up.” Wow… REALLY?

There was a time when I considered becoming a school teacher. I went to a college that is very well known for producing outstanding teachers. Many of my friends are teachers. But honestly, after reading about some of the crazy stuff teachers have to deal with nowadays, I am kind of glad that notion went by the wayside. It seems like back in my day, parents trusted and respected teachers more than they do now. I have seen what goes in to making teachers, and what they have to do to be qualified to teach. They don’t get paid a lot in many places, even though their value is immeasurable and they are vital to human development.

I am pretty appalled that someone in the education system in Texas suggested that teachers should present opposing views to the Holocaust, even if that comment was made due to a massive brain fart. It really is embarrassing. And I can see why teachers are so concerned. One elementary school teacher said:

“Teachers are literally afraid that we’re going to be punished for having books in our classes. There are no children’s books that show the ‘opposing perspective’ of the Holocaust or the ‘opposing perspective’ of slavery. Are we supposed to get rid of all of the books on those subjects?”

Imagine having to grade masses of papers, answer dozens of irate emails and phone calls, AND be concerned that the books you’ve chosen for your classroom library might be deemed controversial, even when the validity of the subject matter is not in dispute. Teachers definitely have a tough job, and this kind of situation only makes it tougher…

And once again, it makes me glad I don’t have to deal with this problem myself. I think if I had children, I would want them to be free to read almost everything. I grew up with parents who mostly let me read what I wanted. All it did was open my mind and make me love reading. I really think this new law is misguided, even if it was well-intentioned. This situation ought to be fixed as soon as possible, before more excellent teachers decide to change careers.

The district did apologize

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