narcissists, Twitter

The old American double standard: say one thing, but do something different…

Today’s travel blog has some exciting news within it. Last night, I finally booked our long awaited visit to Yerevan, Armenia. I’m pretty psyched about it, although I expect there will be some sadness, too. Yerevan has changed a lot since I lived there in the 90s. Some of the changes are legitimately good ones, but some aren’t so much. But some familiar things can never change, and I do still have all my memories– good and bad. I look forward to making new memories soon.

Today’s main blog post is about hypocrisy and double standards… you know, that old “say one thing, do something different” attitude some people have. My old hero, George Carlin, did a brilliant routine about it.

The old American double standard…

You might have noticed the featured photo today. It’s a screenshot of a post I found on X… thanks to Ex. Ex is the queen of double standards and hypocrisy. But she is not the originator of that post about Joel Osteen, the folksy televangelist whose Lakewood Church bought the former Compaq Center in Houston, Texas and made it into a giant “sanctuary” of sorts that seats over 16,000 souls. I haven’t watched Joel Osteen’s show recently, as I don’t live in the United States and never watch network television. I’m sure Joel broadcasts in Germany, but I don’t go looking for his program here.

But I do remember seeing Osteen’s show ten years ago or so, when I was still in my homeland. Osteen was at the top of his game then, giving Christian-ish motivational speeches every Sunday in his distinctive Texas drawl, advising people to find a good “Bible based” church. It was hard to miss his broadcasts on Sunday mornings, as they aired “religiously” (heh heh heh), seemingly on more than one channel.

I never paid a lot of attention to Mr. Osteen, but for awhile, it seemed like he was everywhere. He had books out, and they were best sellers. He lived in a huge mansion with his wife, Victoria, a woman that some might describe as a “trophy wife”. I won’t do that myself, as I don’t know the nature of their relationship, and I don’t believe that just because a woman is beautiful, that means she’s necessarily a “trophy wife”. Victoria Osteen is a very pretty woman. She reminds me of Brooke Shields. But that doesn’t necessarily make her a trophy wife.

On the other hand, I do remember the headlines about Victoria Osteen’s alleged behavior on a 2005 flight to Vail, Colorado. Osteen was apparently upset about a stain on the first class seat she was supposed to occupy. It was definitely NOT Christlike conduct, if the stories about it are in any way true. And while 2005 was a long time ago, that incident happened during the Osteens’ rise to fame. In the end, the flight attendant who sued Victoria Osteen lost her case. I suspect that there might have been some embellishment on the part of the flight attendant, although the altercation over the stain did happen and no one disputed it.

The Osteens are human, and I guess I can understand why Joel Osteen might feel compelled to block someone on X. Is it something Jesus would do? Maybe not. Joel Osteen is just a man who preaches, though. He’s not akin to Jesus Christ. Christ wouldn’t live in a house like this one. He’d use the money for the house to feed, educate, and house people. But people still listen to Joel Osteen and his wife, and a lot of them are happy to donate to the power couple. One woman on X wrote this:

My aunt is one of his most devoted cultists- I mean, uh, congregation. She makes awful money (3rd grade teacher, poor rural school) but like clockwork a good 1/2 – 2/3 of it sails into his pocket yearly. Definitely done her a world of good – she’s living in a studio now!

I’m sure Joel Osteen would say that is God’s will… for that woman to live in a studio, instead of in a humongous mansion. Osteen says it’s “God’s will” for people to live in prosperity instead of poverty. But it doesn’t sound like this woman has been rewarded for her generosity. What should she do to get on God’s good side, so she can live like Joel does? Will it take a miracle?

Then I noticed Ex’s response, which really made me puzzle. She wrote this:

That is so very sad.

Indeed it is. I felt the same way when I found out how much money Bill sent to Ex for years… and how much money she spent on stupid, worthless crap when they were married, completely exploiting a good man and sucking him dry. Some of the worst crap she spent money on was the LDS religion… which demanded thousands of dollars in tithing that did nothing but make them poorer and entrench Bill’s daughters in a cult. Granted, I was later grateful to the LDS church for giving younger daughter an escape. But I still think it does a lot of damage to people who don’t fit the mold. There’s a lot of evidence to support that opinion, too. All you need to do right now is to read up on Ruby Franke.

In any case, for all of Bill’s efforts, Ex alienated his daughters from him and abused him on all levels. She told vicious lies about him, and about me, and harassed his younger daughter for reconnecting with her REAL father (who is NOT her third husband). But there she is, all solemn and sad for a woman who tweets about how her aunt has been taken in by a manipulative religious “leader”. Hell, at least Osteen says and writes things that make people feel positive. Ex doesn’t even do that. She constantly criticizes the people who are closest to her, even as she claims to love them.

She’s not wrong to comment that it’s sad, though. It is always sad when people are taken in by snake oil salesmen, and they are everywhere, unfortunately. She communicates things that sound good, but the reality is, she doesn’t practice what she preaches. She has more heart for celebrities than her own family. See what she has to say about her favorite actor, who went on vacation and had his location leaked to the press…

I am glad you posted this, but we really should take it a step further. Sam’s life is utterly on display, privacy lost, but worse, he is CONSTANTLY objectified. He is apparently a stellar human being, but, objectification sullies accomplishments. He deserves more respect.

Wow… really? How many times have I seen Ex tweeting celebrities asking for money or connections? I have the proof in the form of screenshots. And my husband has literal scars that show the level of “respect” Ex had for him… /sarcasm.

I know it’s pointless to write about this stuff… but I really can only shake my head when I see Ex acting like a hypocrite. She says and writes things that sound good, but the reality is, she’s just another snake oil salesperson… and another hypocrite. And, to quote her, all I can say is…

That is so very sad.

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history, politics, racism, social media, YouTube

“Let’s compare swords…” Watching ridiculous arguments on social media…

Salutations, y’all. Today’s post comes courtesy of the Exploring Virginia Facebook group, a group that is supposed to be about celebrating the beautiful state of Virginia, but often ends up with people arguing politics among themselves. I guess it makes some sense, since Virginia used to be a staunch red state, but it’s now turned purple, as more people from the North move to the South.

I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t think of Virginia as a southern state. Those people are just plain wrong. In fact, Virginia is not just a southern state. It’s where the Confederacy was based for the longest period of time. Spend some time south of Northern Virginia, and you will soon see why it’s a southern state. Lots of people in Virginia are still very staunch Republicans, and many of them are still very proud of their southern roots. And, some of those people are still fighting the Civil War, which supposedly ended on April 9, 1865.

Virginia boasts a lot of Civil War sites. Lots of people come to Virginia to see those sites. Some even go there to do Civil War reenactments. George Carlin famously quipped about how some people still enjoy fighting a war that ended so long ago. See below…

“Use live ammunition, assholes, would you, please?”

George Carlin really was a genius. But, I digress. Also, I wouldn’t want to encourage more people to use live ammunition in the United States. All too many people are quite willing to open fire on their neighbors.

In any case, this morning, I came upon someone’s post about the Civil War Graffiti House near Culpeper, Virginia. Someone happened to visit there recently, and decided to share their photos with the group. Lots of people who fought in the Civil War on either side of the issue covered the house’s walls with graffiti. That’s cool, right?

Well, naturally, that post sparked controversy. Behold…

Here it comes…

Now, I was born and raised in Virginia, so I’ve been hearing the southern version of events for most of my life. Many southerners insist that the Civil War was 100 percent about states’ rights. And today, in 2023, if anyone in their presence dares to say it was about slavery, they suddenly become “Civil War scholars” /sarcasm, and it turns into a hostile argument. Check this out…

This was a conversation between three men. Notice how one of them becomes very condescending as he writes that one of the other guys “learned very little in school.”

I don’t actually remember learning a lot in school about the Civil War. Granted, it was a long time ago. But I went to a public Virginia high school in the mid to late 1980s, and back then, there wasn’t as much political correctness as there is now. My guess is that I learned the state approved version of events regarding the Civil War. I did have a very good teacher. His name was Mr. Zuger. He also taught my older sister, who is eight years my senior. Mr. Zuger is a UVa graduate. He probably knows his stuff. *shrug* He also used to eat chalk.

I do remember there were a lot of things we had to cover in history class, so I doubt we spent a whole lot of time poring over historic documents or having in depth discussions about what the Civil War was really about. I doubt it would have gone over well, though, if a teacher told students that it was about slavery. Where I went to school, there are many proud southerners who are very rigid in what they think and believe. In those days, quite of a lot of them were comfortable openly displaying Confederate battle flags. They saw nothing wrong with it. To them, it was a symbol of “southern pride”. While I admit I don’t know for sure, my guess is that where a person went to school has/had a lot to do with what historical perspectives regarding issues like the Civil War are taught. I would imagine it’s taught differently in Alabama or Georgia versus, say, California or Vermont.

I didn’t take any history classes in college, beyond Western Civilization. But– as an English major, I was exposed to a number of historic works in literature, and there I did have occasion to read slave narratives, poetry, novels, and other works that were either written during the Civil War era, or were by Black authors. So, although I didn’t read much about official 19th century era state government policies, I was exposed to the stories passed down by actual slaves. And having had that experience, I can’t help but not give a flying crap about why the Civil War was fought. I care about the end result, which was that slavery was officially abolished, and it became illegal for U.S. citizens to buy, sell, and own other human beings and treat them like livestock. Granted, officially ending slavery did not fix everything for Black people, but it was an important start. And that, to me, is what is most important.

But not everyone is like me, as I continually find out on a daily basis. Because these guys continued to compare swords. Have a look.

This comment is from the same guy. He addresses two other men. One is on his side; the other is in opposition.

Notice how the dude in the above comment addresses his opponent as “sir”, but does so in a belittling way. He doesn’t really think of the other guy as a “sir”. He’s not being respectful. He’s being a bit patronizing, as he lectures the guy who disagrees with him about the cause of the Civil War. I’m not sure why it’s so important to him to insist that people up north didn’t care about slavery, or that Democrats circa the Civil War era wanted to maintain slavery. Clearly the version of the Democrat Party that existed back then does not exist today.

I’m not saying the Democrats are perfect. They definitely have their problems. And I’m not saying that Republicans don’t have cause to be irritated by far left thinkers. I find some of what they say and do rather insufferable, too. But it’s pretty clear that in 2023, Democrats are more interested in promoting and maintaining human rights and fairness to everyone. Republicans are focused on maintaining cheap labor, low taxes, and white male supremacy. And they champion leaders who are nothing like Christ, even though they claim to care about Christian values.

Jeez… everything has to turn into a political argument!

Personally, I think a lot of “Civil War buffs”, who are obsessed with proving that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, are really just a bunch of white guys who want to divorce themselves from the reality of what slavery actually is. They bring up economics, and the fact that in the South, there were vast plantations where cotton was grown. It was a labor intensive job to grow and pick cotton, and the plant thrived in the South. But we didn’t have the modern machines back then that we have today, so a lot of manpower was needed in order to be able to send the cotton up North, where it could be turned into textiles, which were then sold for money.

The way they phrase it, the southerners were team players, doing a solid by growing cotton for the United States, and slaves were a necessary part of the plan, because no one was immigrating to the South. Because they needed the labor, and no “white” people who could be paid were moving down there, they had to enslave black people to get the job done. Or, at least that’s what one of the above commenters wrote. The way he frames it, those liberal northerners were trying to use the government to take over and turn their plantations into government owned communist paradises, and if only more white people had moved down South, they could have had well-paying jobs!

Now… I wish to reiterate, I don’t actually agree with that take on things. One commenter writes that “slavery was on its way out” and slave owners were letting their slaves go. But as I sit here and think about it, I wonder… Was this really a situation in which wealthy white men with FREE labor and access to female enslaved people for sex were suddenly having an attack of consciousness and saying, “Gee. I’ve owned these people for long enough. It’s time I did the right thing and let them go so they can pursue their own interests.”? That doesn’t seem very realistic to me.

Seems to me that even if some people were actually doing that– having a change of heart and turning their slaves loose– that wouldn’t stop other people from recapturing freed enslaved people and forcing them back into slavery. So even if a former slave owner decided to be decent and stop enslaving people, the people they freed would still be in great danger. Because, clearly, not everyone felt that way about ending slavery. Greedy people still abound today, and we still have many business leaders who, if they could get away with it, would continue to pay as little as possible and offer no benefits to workers so that the business owners and stockholders can get richer. Meanwhile, the working poor who don’t have enough money, even though they work three part time jobs with no benefits, are told they should stop complaining, and simply “work harder” or get another job.

When I think about the Civil War era and slavery, I do feel emotional. I think about what it must have been like for the Africans who were kidnapped and forced in chains on a boat, taken across the Atlantic Ocean in deplorable conditions, and then required to work very hard on plantations, while living like livestock. I think about women who were used for sex and forced to give birth in chains, then separated from their babies, as they were forced to be “wet nurses” for wealthy white women. I think about enslaved mothers watching their children being sold.

My guess is that the Confederate fans don’t like to think about those things. They’re focused on money, much like the people today who will happily champion a criminal like Donald Trump so they can have $1.89 gas again. They don’t want to talk about what that would mean for the people who aren’t courted by Trump… which, really, includes all of us. Donald Trump doesn’t care about anyone but himself. Whatever promises he makes are made only to score votes.

Otherwise “decent people” who admire Trump don’t want to think about what happens when the focus is only on money and commerce. They overlook the concept of greed, and the sins that many people will commit in the name of being greedy. When there’s the prospect of wealth and power on the table, some people find it easy to ignore the pain and humiliation suffered by people who are less wealthy and powerful. They don’t have time to think about how they might feel if it were them wearing the chains, being brutally whipped for some transgression, after performing twelve hours of backbreaking labor in the hot sun. And this, all because they have dark skin and were born somewhere far away, with different cultures, mores, and customs…

Granted, the United States is not the only place where slavery has ever existed. In fact, slavery continues in some places even today… even within the United States, actually. But to continually argue with strangers about what caused the Civil War is, to my mind, a ridiculous waste of time. To me, the main point is that the Civil War officially ended slavery, and the U.S. government slowly started recognizing people of color as human beings, worthy of basic human rights. Certain white people have been pissed off about that ever since. Some of them continue to try to make themselves feel better by not thinking about the actual horrors of slavery, and empathizing with how they might have felt if it had been them in chains. They just want to minimize the horrors by talking about economics and arguing about what events caused the Civil War.

The stupidity is breathtaking.

Well… part of me wonders if I should stop following the Exploring Virginia page. It seems like so many posts turn political, and then they quickly become insulting. But, I can’t deny that those posts do offer some food for thought.

If you have the time and inclination, I highly recommend watching the brilliant actress, Azie Dungey, on the YouTube series, Ask A Slave (produced by Jordan Black). It’s very interesting and entertaining, and the episodes are based on ACTUAL questions she fielded when she was a living history character at Mount Vernon. Below is one of several videos she made.

Classic… I grew up near Williamsburg, Virginia, and I got to know a lot of historic interpreters working at Colonial Williamsburg. They often encountered tourists with dumb comments like these… and a lot of them tried to play “stump the chump”.

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communication, domestic violence, relationships

Sometimes a person’s palms really can predict the future…

Ugh… Thursday again. Time to break out my riding vacuum cleaner. I’m kidding, of course. I don’t own a riding vacuum cleaner. I wish I did. Maybe I should buy a couple of robots to do the vacuuming, as that is one of my least favorite jobs, ever. I need a nice slim one, that can get under the bed!

Before I get to my most hated household chore, I want to write a blog post about a couple of relationship fails I’ve read about this week. I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but Am I The Asshole has become one of social media’s hottest trends. It seems like a lot of formerly awesome content providers, like God, have resorted to sharing AITA posts from Reddit. It’s pretty tiresome, although sometimes they do share some thought provoking doozies. That’s what I’m going to write about today, because I don’t feel like writing about politics or religion.

Both of the AITA posts I’m going to address have “hands” in common. Hands are a powerful means of action. They can be used for so many good and useful things, from doing work to communicating. They can even be read by palm readers, seeking to tell the future. But hands– particularly the palm part of them– can also be used as weapons, either through physical contact, or by spreading disease, as my discussion of these two posts will demonstrate.

Post number one…

There’s a lot wrong with this.

I’d like to know what redeeming qualities this guy has that his girlfriend hasn’t dumped him yet. Basic hygiene is something most of us learn at very early ages. It’s especially important nowadays, in the wake of the pandemic. And yet, here’s this apparently grown woman writing to Reddit about her boyfriend, who doesn’t bother to wash his hands after taking a dump. She thinks his refusal to wash his hands properly is why she keeps getting urinary tract infections.

Now… there is something to be said about washing too much. Some people really are germaphobes. Overuse of antibacterial soaps is also not good for a person’s health, since it can lead to antibiotic resistance. However– basic handwashing is essential for preventing the spread of disease. Moreover, it’s just super gross not to wash your hands after going to the bathroom. Even if you haven’t pooped, other people probably have, and their fecal residue is everywhere. When you flush the toilet, that shit literally flies everywhere. So yes, you need to wash your hands with soap. If you don’t do it for your own health, you should do it for the continued good health of the people you love.

Eeeew…

Secondly, it really says something when your partner says they will honor what the people on Reddit say, rather than what you, as their significant other, say. It sounds like this guy has no respect for his girlfriend on even the most basic level. He has no self-respect, either. I can only think of one reasonable explanation for his reluctance to wash his hands… and that is that maybe he subscribes to the George Carlin theory on hygiene.

But George, who is currently dead, did at least wash his hands when he shat on them.

If this guy actually was a George Carlin devotee, I would hope he’d have more self-regard than just doing whatever people on Reddit tell him to do. I like to think of most George Carlin fans as higher evolved beings. Anyway, this situation would be a hard pass for me. I’d be ditching this guy ASAP and finding someone a little less dangerous. Asking your partner to wash their hands, especially after shitting, is a small request that should be honored, for everyone’s health and well-being.

Post number two…

Uh… physical violence is definitely a dealbreaker (as are all other forms of abuse).

In this second post, we read about a man who managed to escape a physically abusive relationship with a woman and decided that he would never again tolerate being hit by a romantic partner. He was engaged to his girlfriend and they got into a fight. She slapped him hard across the face. They were both sober at the time, which doesn’t really matter. Drunk or sober, putting hands on someone else in violence is a no go.

The guy who wrote the above letter explains that after his girlfriend slapped him, he wisely decided to call off their wedding. He is obviously a considerate type, as he writes that he said he’d continue to pay his portion of the rent of their shared apartment until the lease ends. However, he doesn’t want to marry her anymore.

She’s claiming that he’s an asshole, because he’s getting so upset over “just a slap”. She says that he’s overreacting. Most telling is that when he told her she’d crossed a boundary, her response wasn’t contrition. Instead, she got very angry and berated him, then basically said he was being ridiculous for establishing a boundary. That’s a huge red flag. He’s right to be concerned about her instinct to strike out physically when there’s a disagreement. And her reaction isn’t to take his concerns seriously, apologize, and address them calmly. It’s to discount and gaslight him into accepting that behavior.

Those of you who have been reading my blog may know that my husband, Bill, endured years of abuse at the hands (and mind) of his ex wife. She gave off many warning signs before they married. In fact, the day of their wedding, they had a fight. However, because Bill didn’t want to make a fuss or disappoint anyone, he went through with the wedding… even though the warning bells were chiming loudly on their wedding day!

That was a huge mistake…

Almost ten years later, Bill emerged from that relationship in serious financial trouble, with literal physical scars, and figurative mental and emotional scars. He was estranged from both of his daughters for many years, and remains estranged from his older adult child. That relationship was terrible enough for him, but it also had ripple effects on many of his loved ones: his mom, his dad, his stepmother, his sister, his children, and me… as well as anyone who has had to listen to or read my rantings about his ex wife’s latest bullshit.

Divorce is messy and expensive, and it’s a sure bet that if this fellow marries his girlfriend, there WILL eventually be a divorce. The only way there wouldn’t be is if one of them died, or if they went through some very reformative relationship counseling. Moreover, if the guy did call the police after being physically abused– which he should be able to do without any fear— odds are, he would be the one in handcuffs.

I think the letter writer is smart to break up with his girlfriend over “just a slap”. Men absolutely can be abused by women. I’ve seen it up close and personal, and it’s not good. So no, he’s NOT the asshole for breaking up with that woman. Hopefully, she will get some therapy and deal with her issues before someone else marries her.

Bill and I are very fortunate. We get along extremely well and barely ever fight, let alone hit each other. There was only one time in over twenty years of marriage when I did put my hands on his neck, but it wasn’t meant to be an act of violence. It was not an angry action directed at him, and he wasn’t hurt in any way. He did automatically react to it, which immediately made me feel terrible. I even offered to sleep in the guest room, and he said it wasn’t necessary. I also apologized profusely, and it has never happened again. But even in that incident, I wasn’t fighting with him, nor was I even angry with him. I just reacted in the moment, not realizing that he would automatically be triggered in the way he was. The fact that he did react in that way is very telling.

Unfortunately, our culture promotes the idea that only women can be victims of abuse. Although most people are sensible enough to realize that anyone can be abused, some people– like Ex– take advantage of the idea that women are always the victims of domestic violence. When Bill and I were first married, he told me that he knew he could hurt his ex wife, yet he was telling me stories that were clearly indicative that he was a DV victim. When I gently pointed out to Bill that his ex wife was a domestic abuser, he was shocked and horrified. But then he agreed, had the roles been reversed, and Ex had been treated by Bill the way she’d treated him, he wouldn’t have questioned it. Even younger daughter knew Bill was abused by Ex; she probably saw #3 being abused, too. She went as far as sending him an article on male victims of domestic violence.

So no… the letter writer in the second post is NOT an asshole at all. He’s being smart. It’s better to be alone than have to live with someone like that and then get divorced. I endured physical abuse from my father, and it made me decide that anyone who hits me had better kill me. That doesn’t mean I would respond with violence; it simply means that they might really regret their actions afterwards. As I’ve mentioned before, I am NOT a people pleaser.

Anyway… there are more ways your palms can tell the future than just through a palm reading. If you’re with someone who refuses to wash their palms properly, especially after a bowel movement, you might want to move on. Likewise, if you’re with someone whose palm ever meets your face with force, it’s time to flush that turd of a relationship and find someone more respectful… and respectable.

So ends today’s post… Now, I’m off to tend to the chores of the day. It’s a holiday in Germany, so it’s probably going to be a boring afternoon.

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condescending twatbags, divorce, politicians, politics, stupid people, Twitter, Uncategorized, YouTube

Time for you to go back to Civics class, Marge…

A couple of days ago, I was watching YouTube videos and happened to catch one by Farron Balanced. It was about Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene’s big plan to “fix” problems in the United States. She announced on President’s Day that she thinks it’s time for a divorce. Apparently, Marge thinks that the two major political parties in the United States are too polarized to function and have “irreconcilable differences”. So, to fix this, she thinks the United States should “break up”, much like she and her ex husband, Perry Greene, have.

She really is dumber than hammered dirt, isn’t she?

I don’t know if Marge and Perry are officially divorced yet. I do know that Mr. Greene filed for divorce in September 2022, according to People.com, citing an “irretrievably broken” marriage. I’m sure it’s not been easy for Perry Greene, as his wife is a very controversial figure who frequently says and does things that put her in the spotlight– and often for negative reasons.

This latest stunt also has Marge in the news. I don’t know if her divorce is what put this idea in her mind. Perhaps she’s been blissful as a free agent, no longer tied down to a partner with whom she’s no longer compatible. But she’s making headlines now, as she proposes that the United States should also “divorce”. Let the blue states do their thing, and the red states will do theirs… Right.

Did Marjorie ever go to Civics class? I took that class in 8th grade, back in the mid 1980s. I remember Mrs. Rockwell taught us about how the U.S. government works, the importance of voting, checks and balances of the three arms of the government, and how the idea of “united we stand, divided we fall” was championed by our Founding Fathers.

Now, I’m not one to be overly impressed by the Founding Fathers. As George Carlin famously pointed out, our country was founded by “slave owners who wanted to be free.” However, MTG is a Republican, and the Republican Party just loves to talk about the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, and other shit like that (*snark*). So it seems really odd to me that MTG, who practically oozes redneck Republicanism, would dare suggest that our country should go against the ideas of the Founding Fathers. Basically, it sounds like she wants to throw in the towel and say, “Fuck it.”

I’m glad Marge isn’t the only one in charge. I think she has a hell of a lot of nerve to make a suggestion like this. Because not everyone in the United States identifies as “left” or “right”. Quite a lot of us are moderates who embrace ideas from both sides of the spectrum… although I have to admit that I no longer have love for today’s Republican Party, precisely because of Trump loving dipshits like MTG and her ilk.

I’m no fan of Mitt Romney’s, but he’s publicly stated that Marjorie’s idea is “insanity”. Romney told the Salt Lake Tribune on Tuesday, “I think Abraham Lincoln dealt with that kind of insanity …”We’re not going to divide the country. It’s united we stand and divided we fall.”

On this, I absolutely agree with Mitt. Because unfortunately, there are a lot of less educated folks out there who listen to what MTG says and think she’s onto something good. Many of those folks would love to fight the Civil War again, not realizing that they would not be the winners if the South had won that particular war.

Former Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. also agrees with Mitt Romney. Cheney criticized Greene on Monday, highlighting the unconstitutionality of Greene’s proposal.

“Our country is governed by the Constitution,” Cheney tweeted. “You swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Secession is unconstitutional. No member of Congress should advocate secession, Marjorie.”

Unfortunately, a lot of people haven’t gotten the message that most Republicans are only interested in helping rich White people stay rich. But they are voted in by much poorer, less educated, and more racist people who think the Republicans care about their issues. They haven’t thought about what it would mean if states like– oh, Mississippi or Alabama– had to make things work on their own. A lot of red states are “takers”, as Joy Reid points out. They’re poor, and they need federal money to keep going.

Worth watching… I think Marjorie would like a Putin style government, too.

I don’t know if MTG is aware of this, but the powers that be in Russia have long been predicting that the United States would break up someday. According to this 2008 Wall Street Journal article, some thought it would happen in 2010. In the 80s, the Republicans talked about how evil communism was, and how we’re “better dead than red”. And yet, here’s MTG playing right into Putin’s hands. Because if the United States “divorced”, it would just make the country weaker and easier to control.

A screenshot from Reddit about how a Russian professor thought the United States would break up… I bet he never figured a Republican like MTG would be on board with this.

I really think a lot of people who might agree with MTG are less interested in the practical implications of what a national divorce would mean, and more interested in preventing cultural progress. A lot of Republicans are uncomfortable with the idea of historically disenfranchised people gaining power. They can’t fathom the idea that old ideas about sexuality, family structure, race relations, and the division of wealth can or should be challenged and/or changed.

Now is not the time for the United States to be broken up, with citizens feeling like they come from a “broken home”. Just because Marge couldn’t save her marriage, that doesn’t mean she needs to spread the idea of a new Civil War, even if she claims the split should be “bloodless”. She wants Biden impeached and removed from office? I think she’s a traitorous disgrace who has shown that she doesn’t cooperate and can’t work with others. Instead of splitting up the country, why don’t we get rid of these rogue political idiots who don’t care about serving the people of the United States?

Fortunately, MTG’s idea is going to go nowhere. According to ABC News, after the Civil War, the Supreme Court ruled that seceding from the Union would be unconstitutional. We all know how much Republicans like to scream about the Constitution, right?

I’m so tired of Marge and her ilk, especially as she keeps bringing up how “terrible” it is for children to learn about woke ideas. You know what I think is more terrible than abortion, controversial books and kids learning about non traditional families, and gender identities? Kids being shot in schools… or kids bringing guns to schools and shooting their teachers. I think kids losing their parents to gun violence is worse than a kid growing up with two moms or two dads. I think valuing money and property over human life– already born human life, that is– is much worse than learning that someone can be transgender, or that Christianity isn’t the only valid belief system.

It’s high time for more moderate thinking in the United States… and for people who learned something in 8th grade Civics class to be in charge. Come on… are you with me? Are you as tired of this shit as I am? And I’m watching it from Germany. I can’t even imagine how stressful it is to be in the US right now. Jeez!

And I kind of feel a little like a child of divorce, watching two sides fight over who gets custody. It’s totally shitty. Maybe it’s time Congress got an enema and we flushed away political turds like MTG.

In other news…

I just bought new sound equipment so that I can hopefully make more music videos soon. I’m having a real hell of a time since I revamped my office. Sadly, I think that soon, it will be time to make a video for Arran. :'(

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communication, social media

The old American double standard…

The featured photo was shared on Janis Ian’s Facebook page. I think she might want to consider if maybe she, herself, falls into the “easily offended” category… And before anyone comes at me, I hasten to add that I know I can be a bit prickly and easily offended about some things myself. I am human, after all.

Some years ago, I heard George Carlin talk about what he referred to as “the old American double standard”. His exact words were:

It’s the old American Double Standard, ya know: Say one thing, do something different. And of course this country is founded on the double standard, that’s our history! We were founded on a very basic double standard: This country was founded by slave owners who wanted to be free.

As I sit here on a Monday morning, eyes barely cracked open after a busy few days, I’m remembering George’s wise words. In fact, I was talking to Bill about them this morning, as I read a scolding Facebook post by Janis Ian. A few days ago, as I was eating Quiche Lorraine in Ribeauville, I noticed a post Janis put on Facebook. It was a quote. For some reason, even though she is a critically acclaimed songwriter, Janis Ian likes to post quotes by other people. And somehow, when she posts quotes, the comment section goes south, and she ends up chastising someone and/or closing comments in apparent disgust.

One of the contentious posts on Janis Ian’s page. She turned off commenting.

Janis had posted the above quote that some people thought was misattributed. Someone left a comment pointing out that she was “spreading misinformation”. The person’s remark was a little bit rude, and Janis responded in a rather pissy way. I happened to agree with the commenter that people should be more careful about sharing quotes and making sure they are attributed to the right person. In fact, one of my most popular posts is about how people misattributed a quote to Betty White that she specifically stated she never said, and never would say in a million years.

Again, I do think it’s important to get quotes both correct, and credited to the right person. As a highly acclaimed songwriter, it seems to me that Janis Ian would agree. I mean, how would she like it if someone made a meme using a line from “At Seventeen” or “Society’s Child” and attributed it to Carole King, Joni Mitchell, or Janis Joplin? My guess is that she wouldn’t like it… and if someone dared to share it on her page, she would call it out. Below is one of the more civilized exchanges on the post in question. I cut and pasted it, because the poster and I agree that there’s a bit of a double standard going on here…

I didn’t comment on the post myself. I’ve followed Janis’s page long enough to realize that she doesn’t always concede gracefully. I continue to follow her, though, because she’s often funny. I also appreciate that she appears to do her own social media, something I find refreshing and interesting. I like her music. However, I have a feeling we probably wouldn’t get along if we were to meet offline somewhere.

This morning, I was reading her page again, when I noticed this:

Do people really stop to read up on the people whose quotes are shared online? My guess is that most of them don’t… just like they don’t read news articles before commenting on the headlines.

I don’t know anything about H.L. Mencken, but I do know something about Sunday School. I was forced to attend for years. I didn’t find it to be particularly awful, since I grew up in a mainstream Presbyterian church, but I do know that there are a lot of toxic religions out there that do a lot of damage to people. I’ve written about quite a few of them in my blog.

On the above post, I noticed a lot of people were sharing their experiences. Some people were agreeing with the quote from Mencken. Others were apparently offended that Janis Ian was posting about religion. Some pointed out that Ms. Ian is Jewish, so what would she know about Sunday School? I think that could be a valid point. I could also understand why some people felt offended by the quote, since they are, themselves, religious.

I didn’t find the quote offensive, but I do think how people will take it depends on their own perspective, and there are so many of them to consider. And unfortunately, there are a lot of jerks on the Internet who get off on trying to pull “gotchas” on people. On the other hand, sometimes people are simply trying to prevent misinformation. If, for instance, I posted that Dolly Parton wrote the “Star Spangled Banner”, I would expect people to correct me. If I truly believed she wrote it, maybe I’d get a little pissed off by having my pride insulted by a well-deserved correction. But in the long run, it’s better that I know the truth, right? That way, I don’t look foolish later, telling people something that is obviously wrong.

I think there’s a fine line between being a jerk trying to make someone feel small, and honestly trying to give credit where credit is due. And while I agree that some posters were less than gracious in their comments on Janis’s page, I also think that Janis isn’t always as even-keeled as she could be. I’ve noticed that she has a tendency to scold people, sometimes when I don’t think they necessarily did anything to warrant such a response. It’s possible she does this because she’s a sensitive, creative, artistic person. Or maybe she’s a little narcissistic, as narcissists are often the type to shame and scold. Either way, it’s an aspect of her online personality that I don’t particularly like very much. Like I wrote up post, if we were to meet offline, I sense that we wouldn’t like each other. But then, if that turned out to be true, and Janis didn’t like me much, she’d be one of many people. 😉 I’m the kind of person people tend to love or hate. 😀

A recent post by Janis… I see her point, but her point is one of many that could be presented…

Janis Ian often posts quotes by people she apparently admires, even if they weren’t “good people”. I actually applaud her for discouraging the ever popular “cancel culture” that a lot of people think is justice today. People are complicated and complex, and sometimes brilliant people say and do shitty things. It shouldn’t necessarily negate everything else they do in life. On the other hand, if you’re going to post something for public consumption, chances are good that someone is going to be contrary or inappropriate.

If you’re a famous person, it’s even more likely that someone is going to take a dump on your post. I know it’s annoying. It even happens to me sometimes, and I am not famous at all. But one thing I would like to ask Janis is, why is it up to her to decide what should, or should not, offend other people? If someone is offended by Picasso, shouldn’t they be free to state that? Isn’t that how productive discussions in free societies get started? Wouldn’t it be better to just take a breath, validate the person’s viewpoint, and then try to have a civilized chat about it, rather than just dismissing them as being “too easily offended” and scolding them for being “argumentative”? Why post this stuff if it just leads to exasperation and shutting down the comment section?

I will admit that the comment sections on my own blog are set to shut down after a certain time. I don’t do that on the travel blog, because most of the stuff posted there isn’t controversial. I do it on this blog, because sometimes people find old content and try to stir up shit on subjects that are old news. I don’t get enough productive comments from people on old content to justify leaving comment sections open, although I’m always open to re-evaluating my policies. I prefer to let my regular readers be the ones who comment, though, and they usually do so on posts when they’re new. Troublemakers and spammers hit the old stuff.

I try not to be hypocritical, and while it can be hard, when I’m wrong, I do try to admit to it. I’ve been wrong about a lot of things. I’ve also been right about a lot of things. I think it’s best to try to stay open-minded about most topics, although I can agree that sometimes people can be so open-minded their brains can fall out. Or, that’s my opinion, anyway.

I guess my main point is that opinions run the gamut. As my favorite uncle, Brownlee, used to say “Opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one.” I know he didn’t come up with that quote, nor did he come up with the follow on… “Opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one, and everyone thinks everyone else’s stinks.” I think that’s pretty accurate, don’t you? I just wish people who claim to be open-minded and desirous of discussion would take a moment to examine their own behaviors before pointing out other people’s bad behaviors. Because chances are, the speck you’re trying to remove from someone else’s eye is obscured by the plank in your own. And yes… I know that’s a concept that comes from the Bible.

Maybe I learned something in Sunday School, after all. Praise be!

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