Death, Gender, Lonely, Math, Media, My favorites, race, Socialism

In Which I Qualitate/Quantitate

Don’t read this until you are ready to READ this. By that I mean, click on all links. You don’t have to read them, but they are an important part of the narrative. But do read the last link. It is the most important and is a news story and provides context.

c) I’m pretty sure that everything I think has been thought before.

That is simultaneously comforting and terrifying.

Often times our world is misled by what we think we think though. We then suffer under the great injustice that is our own misconceptions of ourselves. Specifically, the fact that 4 million more people watch Modern Family than The Middle. Both shows analyze the changing definition of the American dream, but one does it through shallow analysis of obvious xenophobia and one does it through thoughtful revelations about the inhumanity inherent in a capitalist society that refuses to empathize with struggle. Modern Family is a person who has not listened’s analysis, The Middle is someone who paid attention’s analysis.

1. I have had arguments with three people who have stated their frustration with the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Each of them went like this:
Them: “I agree with what they’re saying, I just don’t know what they’re saying.”
Me: “Have you been down to Zuccotti Park?”
Them: “No” and a bunch of more words that don’t matter.

2. I have a belief that Taylor Swift is doing the more harm to American society than Lady Gaga – specifically that Taylor Swift is doing the most harm and Lady Gaga is doing the most negative harm (negative used in the mathematical sense). This belief is challenged often. Typically those conversations go like this:
Me: “Don’t ask, don’t tell would have been repealed 3 years earlier if it weren’t for Taylor Swift.”
Them: “That’s ridiculous” They’re right “Lady Gaga isn’t even saying anything. She’s just the same mindless pop that we’ve had forever.”
Me: “Have you heard her new album?”
Them: “Um..” and a bunch of defensive lies about how they have an appropriate sample size that don’t matter.

3.

2. Frankie Heck – Patricia Heaton’s character on The Middle is a true hero of the Michael Moore union version of socialism. She is a lighthouse that shines light through all the cracks in the American Dream. Hard work equals hard work, but having money equals having money. Surrounding her is pain and suffering that is solely the gift of a desire for things she is told she deserves. And yet this could all be solved with a simple sharing of some wealth. It doesn’t need to be opportunity because we don’t all need to the freedom to try. We need the freedom to succeed. And success is not defined by being in the 1%. Then only 1% of us, necessarily succeed. I aim for 100%.

I like to play a game called turn concepts into rants for socialism in as few sentences as possible.

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Indignant, Socialism

Occupy, In Which I Say…

b) I’m tired of our forced hatred of numbers. As artists, numbers are the enemy, right? They make emotion seem irrelevant, right? They make people seem like quantities, right? Wrong, they allow us to see the world in a way in which analysis becomes possible. Analysis without numbers is not analysis – it’s speculation.

Here’s some numbers:

There are 11,000 people who are considered to be a part of the wealthiest 0.01% of Americans.

The poorest of that group of people makes $8,579,000 a year.

The average person in that group makes $35,473,200 a year.

Now, let’s let emotion creep in. Specifically the emotion of empathy.

44,000,000 Americans make less than $36,000 a year

Does anyone really need to make more than 8.5 million a year, when almost half of our country lives on $3000 a month? What’s the point in that? What good is their 9th or 10th million doing? Is it actually incentivizing anybody to let millionaires keep their 12th million dollar?

If we took all of the money that people make past 8.5 million dollars per year and gave it to the government that would give us $295,836,200,000. That’s without raising any current taxes, just taking away any money that anybody makes past 8.5 mill in a year. At 8.5 you get cut off. We only implement a new tax – I call it “The Max Tax.”

If we brought that cut off down to the top 0.1% income earners – in other words the top 110,000 people in America in terms of money made – the cut off would be at $1,532,400. It would also bring in $686,891,700,000 (aka: the bank bailout – aka: the money we gave to the people in this income bracket).

If we split that money evenly between the bottom half of America’s income earners, we would be giving them each $12,488.94.

I’m not suggesting we do that, but we should do that.

Source.

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comedy, Gender, Indignant

Where I Say Things Over Again

a) Comedy, Women

The greatest trick the devil ever played was not convincing a bunch of assholes that Kevin Spacey’s performance in The Usual Suspects is hands down the greatest acting performance that has ever fuckin’ happened, it was convincing people to argue about whether or not women are funny. I once got in an argument with a sadly misinformed friend who was claiming that men were funnier than women on average and I defended my opinion by using this graph:

I was wrong. So wrong. I was trying to say that there are a group of people that are super funny and they are evenly distributed between men and women, and below that are just people forced to be where they are on the funny line by social construction. Funny isn’t so continuous. It’s a word. Either funny or not. It’s binary.

90% of laughter is forced because we feel it socially demanded of us. This is the true construction that keeps this argument going. All the people below that dotted line do not deserve to be laughed at, but we have decided that it is important that women laugh and men get laughed at (e.g. All Sitcoms). Therefore we force laughter when we see a man do something that we know he thinks is funny and we force criticism when a woman tries the same thing. Stop forcing laughter.

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My favorites, Nostalgia

Nisse Goes To Rural

The back of my woods seems like a safe place to write. Had I artistic intentions as a adolescent this is where I would have wrote. I should make up for lost time. I used to read out here. I once ran neck first into a newly installed electric fence because King Arthur’s journeys were so enthralling. The tree I sit in now was the homebase of my reading adventures. I had built ladders up to branches of the tree. By “I” I mean Alf, my mother’s father, Morfar. By ladders I mean that on one side is a series of skinny tree trunks nailed together to look like set dressing for a movie about gnomes. Hanging from the other side is a rope and two by four creation that could easily act as a 4th grade science project explaining the pulley in an interesting way for fellow classmates of the wilderness academy. The project would have gotten a C+.

This tree became a key point in my detour walk created in defiance of the concept of paths. This detour was not created by me, but co-opted by me in a self deprecation act of declaring equality to animals. An act that correlates to deer droppings lining the path in front of me as I mount the gnome ladder.

It’s an animal trail and it sucks, but it meets up with the real trail, surrendering its usefulness to an overgrown fern path surrounded by a thicket of maple, birch, and cedar all on the verge of death. I’m walking down the hallway of a retirement community for poor trees, but upon collapse they serve nicely as bridges that might be accidental. I know they were stacked next to each other over boggy areas as protection for a traveler’s feet, but without that knowledge, an outside viewer might question the concept of coincidence as these fallen trees seem to create a perfect path across moss. How beautiful is nature that even the members of its collective who’s life ceases to exist maintain their worthwhileness? An ignorant but well meaning wilderness wanderer would remark at the sight of these purposely placed bridge-trees. In front of me is the environment of discovery, centered around what looks like a the ruins of a sad native tribe, one who consisted on berries and their salamander recipe known only to he four archaeologists who studied these people and the twenty annoyed friends who had to bear through stories of the ingenuity of the extinct tribe whenever salamanders were brought up in conversation. Luckily that was rarely.¹

I know this to be my 7 year old version’s attempt at a fort. My mom probably helped me build it. She’s from a tribe of Swedes whose ingenious methods of putting wood together comes from a poverty induced lack of childhood toys and a rural induced plethora of childhood trees. The roof has caved in, in what would sprained the ankle of one of its three inhabitant if this truly were an archaeological discovery that I was in the midst of.

I scream.

The scream was not blood curdling, but it was the type of scream that you wouldn’t put in your blood because just by smell you could tell it might curdle. It was the type of scream you’d only use if it were too late to buy other screams and you only had beer and blood cereal in the house and it was just not the type of blood cereal that you ate dry.

The scream was because of a frog. The frog had leapt into my path, and then out of my path. A path that I had considered too mainstream as a 10 year old and had to create a detour homed a frog.

In Brooklyn, the home I now call home a man walked across 4th ave into the establishment at which I barista. I barista because I’ve baristad – a past tense verb that does not imply that I know how to spell the correct past tense verb to describe my former and current employment. The man was spewing both in literal act and in reference to the vitriol with which a racist diatribe came out of his mouth. Also possibly in reference to the way in which he attempted to pay for a small coffee with an assortment of change from his pocket. He was $0.15 short, but the $0.15 was a small price to pay to help a man full of spew get on with his day and life and therefore get out of my day and life as quickly as possible. I didn’t scream.

1. Adverbs!

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Attention Whoring, comedy, Indignant, Lazy, My favorites, Pathetic, Selfish

Honesty: My Excuse

I’m often reassured that I’m the only one that enjoys myself. The mirror is the only audience I respect because it is the only audience that reacts appropriately to my misfortune. I see myself as powerless not because I aspire to be the victim, but because I aspire to fit in with the majority’s perception.

These oversimplifying statements of self deprecation mixed with self pleasure aimed at analyzing my neuroses are necessary cathartic lies.

After every sentence I want to stop writing because it feels like saying anything more would be giving too much away – taking away the journey that a reader has the opportunity to go on and making them see what you see as an author, as a creator of this story that you are supposed to paint a picture of because you have taken up the responsibility of leading this audience and asked to be paid attention to – to take time away from others’ lives in order to participate in your own because you believe your’s to be far superior, at least for the time being, and with that great demand comes great obligation to maintain enjoyment, but isn’t giving them, the audience, an invitation to join you as the creator the most selfless way to enjoy an art with someone? Probably not.

I ask myself stupid questions about when form and message intersect because I’m a stupid person with stupid thoughts. My answer is always that they do, but typically it is not a premeditated desire. In my case it is nearly always an accident. I’m still pleased with the result.

My work is almost always reddild with mistakes. ecause I only want to write about what I’m writing aboute. I start feeling dishonest when I’m presented art that has been edited. If that art is about me, ten it must be about me. I typed this entrie paragraph with my eyes losed.

Mrs. McIntire was my typing teacher in high school. Later she would become the vice principal for a year, but for now she only taught typing – a class where maintaining a watchful eye over child-soldiers completing mindless, useless tasks is your only duty. I was and am a good typer (or typist depending on which one is correct) and was/am able to complete my tasks at such a speed that large portions of class time would be/are dedicated to me finding other ways to occupy my time besides staring at completed assignments. This led to the game Wiz3. Whose instructions read/read: Guide Wizio the Wizard as he journeys through a magical land. Collect the potions as you go to create spells that will help you on your way. Use the keys to enter locked doors and hidden treasures. Throw the levers to get to reveal new routes and bonuses. It was a great game that I played/play well and played/play loudly. I liked/like perceiving the anger Mrs. McIntire directed towards my playing loudly as jealousy towards my playing well. That made/makes the competition more fun. She won/wins of course. She was/is the teacher. She instituted/institutes a rule wherein every time a student finished an assignment she would have to check over their entire homework before they could play games. Those two minutes of class where she would be/is hunched over my shoulder breathing in my oxygen displaying my total inability for full control were the worst two minutes of school every day.

I struggle with tense often in my writing, which I think is because I’m never sure whether I’m reliving by writing or perceiving by writing. My biggest struggle with writing is which version of myself am I. Since I can only comprehend the idea of writing through a self-manufactured lens that looks upon myself, my goal becomes to bend the funhouse mirror in a new and interesting shape. It’s selfish: the inability to focus the mirror elsewhere, but focusing it elsewhere sounds mean. Maybe that person doesn’t want to see themselves in a funhouse mirror. I’ll take the bullet. The selfish bullet.

I worry that humans won’t exist when I die, but that’s only because I define humans as me.

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Math, Socialism

Why Math Can Save Me From Having Babies

I liked how math was always a discovery and never an invention. I preferred when people say that Newton “discovered” Calculus as opposed to Newton “inventing” the mathematical system. Discovery implies that this system of numbers and operations was inherently true in our world, but had not yet been found until Newton started drawing graphs. Mathematicians were talked about like explorers – they were Magellans of the mind – and that seemed cool.

That’s what I wanted to do.

I wanted to be an old timey explorer with a couple brass’n’glass instruments that helped me draw maps of the new islands I discovered filled with animals and plants that I discovered, but the more school I went to, the more I felt like everything on the globe had been discovered. Our world was finite – even if we hadn’t discovered every island or every canyon or every tributary, soon we would. But in Math! In math the exploration was unending – numbers were infinite. They were the first thing that was ever infinite. But to me it wasn’t just numbers. It wasn’t just adding, subtracting, and super-exponenting. To me it was about ideas. Mathematicians were explorers discovering new ideas and then sharing them with the world. They found how numbers worked and then they told everybody without patenting or protecting because these ideas could be used bye everybody to further new ideas.

This is where my issue with intellectual property comes in.,. As a struggling, starving, strangely shaped artist, I obviously believe that I should be paid for what I do, and more importantly have a say in how my art is presented because, after all, it’s MY art. But the idea of art is that it is a way to inspire ideas – that it is ideas, and how can you claim ownership over ideas? Don’t they just exist in the ether and someone was smart enough to discover them? How can one hold back idea from the rest of the world? What right do I have as an artist to do that?

Maybe I don’t believe in invention. Maybe I think of invention as the literal creation of tangible objects – the assembly line worker is closer to the inventor than the idea man.  Discovery is still important, but we have this cultural fetish with inventing. Inventing is a more tangible thing to pay someone for. This is why capitalism fails. Ideas are not sellable because ideas are not created. They are found. It’s rude to discover something and then sell it.

Magicians buy tricks. They spend uncomfortably large sums of money on a trick at a magic shop that they then perform in front of people without telling them how they are doing it. This insures that people will keep coming back to them to see the trick. This insures that they can be the government that regulates their own economy.

We need to stop living like magicians. If we live like magicians, we’ll never get male birth control.

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Gender, Indignant, My favorites, Socialism

The Worst People in the World Were on the F-Train

She had gotten a salt bagel with hummus because “we’re in New York, honey” but now the hummus was spilling out the sides. As her jaw clenched around her breakfast, the bagel clenched and the ground garbanzo oozed outwardly.

“Here, honey”

He began uncrumpling the white paper bag that their Brooklyn experience had been served in. He blew into the bag to open it. This did nothing besides convince himself that he had helped.

“Put this under your bagel.”

He handed her the bag turned cumbersome bib proud that he had figured out his own what all New Yorkers had to be taught when they started eating bagels for breakfast at 4 years old.

“Wait.”

He explained his new realization that the age old bag under the bagel could be improved by tossing napkins in the bottom of the receptacle to soak up the excess bagel filling. He didn’t explain his even newer realization that this made no sense and was completely unnecessary because he was still on a high from improving on being a native New Yorker.

He thought about how “He kissed her” is a really nice sentence, but “she kissed him” seems scary. Before he had to worry about this anymore he decided it best to kiss her on the cheek and also offer his seat to a woman riding the subway alone. SHE was 40 years old and able to stand for HERself. Obviously it was necessary for HIM to find a place for the bag full of napkins and preparation for excess hummus that never occurred and the three shopping bags of Macy’s items. His bag of napkins was proving difficult to store appropriately as it was a little greasy and he was worried about leaving a grease stain on the subway floor.

He worried that a real New Yorker would have just carried the bag instead of shoving it face down under the seat where the grease stain would be less bothersome to other subway passengers. Then he was distracted by watching his girlfriend’s nose point at his navel.

“Why’d you do that?”

She responded to his poking of her nose accompanied by an exclamation of “boop!” He wanted to tell her “because we’re in New York,” but he knew that that didn’t make any sense. Maybe it was just vacation that was making him so giddy, he thought as he retook his seat that he had given up out of chivalry. Luckily he didn’t have time to think as another woman was standing alone. SHE was nearly 60 years old probably, though it was hard to tell with the Asians. He knew this wasn’t a very New York thing to do (standing up for two different people on a subway ride), but there were somethings that just needed to be universal.

“Or either of you.”

He didn’t really understand why the man wanted to take his seat while the woman didn’t, but maybe it was an Asian thing.

“Oh my god.”

She mouthed to herself but within vision of her boyfriend to express how strange it was to sit next to an old smelly Asian man on the subway. It’s too bad she had to marry someone so nice, but at least her parents liked him.

 

I have an obligation to society, that if society gives me more, then I must give more. And to those given least by society, we give more. I once argued with a woman in a bar I was working about chivalry and she questioned my lack of chivalry by asking if I would stand up for a woman in heels after a long day of work, to which I countered “would you stand up for a man in heels?” Let’s please be understanding of the things we give. That if the real distinction to be made is between person in heels and person in flats, then let’s not associate that with anything else even if they are correlated. My favorite first year statistics lesson is the lesson on correlation where the student is asked to think about why we can’t exclaim that ice-cream cures the common cold because there are less cases of the common cold when more people are eating ice-cream. The student rightfully ascribes both the lack of ice-cream eating and virility of the common cold virus to the common cold outside. Therefore correlation and causality are not the same. Therefore ice-cream does not cure the common cold. Therefore person in heels does not equal woman. Therefore getting up for a woman on the subway does not equal getting up for a person society has forced to feel a need to be gotten up for. It is fine to treat different genders differently as long as it is countering the difference that those genders are treated by society. Also: understand: historical prospective. That as a straightwhiteman I have been given opportunities that others have not, and therefore – especially if we are not going to allow our governments to redistribute power through socialism – I have a obligation to society to give more back to members of society – specific members of society.

 

I bet you that they had aspirations to be in a country club.

 

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