Sunday Mickery: Guts Over Fear

Content Advisory: A couple of F-bombs visible to the naked eye, plus some ideas that might not sit well with asshats who are trying to keep other people down.

For the past few days I’ve been mulling over lots of navel-gazey stuff and during some down-time I made this image. Once again, Eminem reaches out and grabs me.

all these words are Eminem's, and no infringement on rights is intended.

All these words are copyright Eminem, Sia Furler, et al. No infringement on rights is intended.

It’s Time to Address “Christian Privilege”

The Huffpo article linked below, from Ryan Bell, is almost two years old but I ran across it today while doing research into the concept of Christian Privilege. Since reading the article in my local newspaper that I shared here a few days ago, I’ve been thinking a lot about the various “Privilege” issues that continue to plague America, and I’m motivated to be more active in doing my part to address them. And I feel strongly that my life experiences, education, and circumstances make me someone who can address and actively pursue how Christian Privilege affects our public life in America. Although my experiences are not entirely parallel to Bell’s, in this article he expresses a lot of things with which I deeply resonate. So I share this article here as a marker – a starting point on my journey to try to stand up and get involved in something I feel is deeply important to our future as American humans.

So, here we go.

Please, Let’s Not Start With the #NotAllChristians Foolishness : a Huffington Post Article by Ryan J. Bell.

 

Obfuscation in the Name of Jesus is Still Pretty Much Lying

Every week in our local newspaper, this guy – and ONLY this guy – gets to fill an entire above-the-fold half of one page with his particular view of Christianity. Nobody else – no other pastors, or theologians, or people of other faiths, or even people of other points of view within Christianity, gets to share this space. This is the man that the editorial folks of the Oldham Era – the county just to the east of Louisville – believe best represents “A Religious Point of View”.

And this week, he took his always Evangelical-Conservative point of view to a whole new level. This week, he boldly and confidently lied in the name of Jesus. If you click on and enlarge the image, you can probably read the whole thing. But I want to especially highlight the part that is pull-quoted at the bottom, where Early asserts that “there is no scientific fact that is inconsistent with the Bible.”

I accept that people ought to be able to express their beliefs. I accept that a county newspaper can have a “Religion” page and allow whomever they choose to write it. I don’t like the fact that in this case it is always a White Evangelical Christian man doing the writing, but I accept the paper’s right to do so.

But a person who spouts blatant and easily-refutable lies in a newspaper article ought to be held to account for it. Even if – no, ESPECIALLY if – it is a lie in the name of God.

earley-article

Showing the DudeBros the Door

I don’t play many video games, but I remain on the informed fringe of that world because many of my friends and peers DO play them, and because so many aspects of video game culture – and critique thereof – have direct bearing on the tabletop gaming culture of which I AM a part. The video game hobby gets most of the press because it has grown into a huge industry, but almost everything that is going on in that sphere is also going on in the much smaller sphere of tabletop gaming. In other words, both hobbies are engaged in a struggle over issues of representation, equality, and access. And as more women, people of color, and LGBT folk become involved in gaming and/or speak up about the issues, the more entrenched, belligerent, and asinine a certain subset of straight white males has become in their attempts to claim the hobby as their own.

As I continue my quest to write and share more here on The Monkey over the next year and beyond, if you follow along, you’re going to be reading a lot about this stuff. Because it matters to me, and like so many of my peers, I’m tired of having the most visible public face of the hobby I love be represented by a bunch of loud-mouth misogynistic racist dudebros, and even more importantly, I’m tired of watching them do the horrible things they’re doing to people who simply want nothing more than to have equal access and equal representation in the hobby and in the games themselves.

So, I’m going to start off by posting some links to several excellent articles that’ve been written over the past few days by people who are saying things I think are important and potent.

First, in this post from GamesOn.net, Tim Colwill invites any of his readers who are threatened by Equality to exit stage right and not let the door hit them in the ass on the way out:

“So, here’s another change for you: if you really think feminism, or women, are destroying games, or that LGBT people and LGBT relationships have no place in games, or that games in any way belong to you or are “under attack” from political correctness or “social justice warriors”: please leave this website. I don’t want your clicks, I don’t want your hits, I don’t want your traffic. Leave now and please don’t come back.” – Tim Colwill

Go read the full article. Because Yeah.

Next, game designer Elizabeth Sampat shares some potent truths about the recent threats against fellow designer Zoe Quinn:

I could tell you stories about the voices we’ve lost, the women we’ve scarred, the people we’ve left behind. I want to, but I’m not sure you’d get it. I tweeted earlier today, We should have a war memorial for all of the women we have lost to this. We should lay flowers and grieve and see our reflections in stone. And I meant it. I wish there were a way to honor the people our industry has wronged, and a way to visualize the enormity of what we have lost because of it— some representation of the gap between what games are and what they can be, and the pieces of the bridge between that have fallen away.” – Elizabeth Sampat

Read the article on Elizabeth’s site

Edit: There is also this gem from Leigh Alexander on Gamasutra, where “Gamers” are declared over:

‘Games culture’ is a petri dish of people who know so little about how human social interaction and professional life works that they can concoct online ‘wars’ about social justice or ‘game journalism ethics,’ straight-faced, and cause genuine human consequences. Because of video games. ” – Leigh Alexander

Read the whole article on Gamasutra

*******

There are more I could share. No doubt you can find several others being shared by other bloggers, Facebookers, and G-Plussers. Go be informed. And let’s fight this crap. They wanna take the term “Social Justice Warrior” and make it a derogatory label, I say we own it and claim it and wear it with pride.

Tales from an Elementary School Hallway

school hallwayFor the past few days,  I’ve been keeping a certain distance from emotionally engaging with what happened last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary. Clearly, I’ve been plenty engaged with – and really pissed off about – various trending reactions to the tragedy, which you can easily see in my social media and blog history if you haven’t already. But as for the thing itself, I’ve buried it for the most part. I’ve hugged my kids a few extra times, but that’s about it.

This morning, though, I went to our local elementary school to help out with WildLion’s holiday party. The announcement sign outside the school currently reads “Our hearts and prayers are with Sandy Hook Elementary and the families in Newton, Connecticut”.

Now I’ll admit that the first thing my ample imagination did after reading that was to envision myself grabbing Mike Huckabee and all the other “God was absent because we’ve kicked him out of public school” asshats and shoving their faces into that sign and then punching them in their square white male Evangelical jaws. I don’t admit that proudly, but it is honest.

That immature hormonal rage lasted until the moment I crossed the threshold of the building.  Then, instantly, it shattered.

I went into the office and signed in as a parent volunteer, said “hi” to Lynne and Diane, the office managers, like I always have, with a smile on my face but a massive surge of – I dunno, vetigo, I guess – welling up inside my chest.

From the office I entered the main hallway of the school and headed toward WildLion’s second-grade classroom. It’s a relatively new building, well-maintained, with ample lighting and lots of things like kids’ art and spirit banners and stripes of school colors (royal blue and yellow) all over the walls. There is plenty of activity – kids with passes going to restrooms or to other classrooms, teachers and teaching assistants and school administrators & counselors walking around. From the open-doored classrooms, the sounds of children learning and teachers teaching and … life.

And that was the moment when my emotional failsafes all broke and my imagination kicked down the door of my fear and sadness and knocked the mask of the “angry progressive white male father” right off me, exposing the scared little boy fully capable of envisioning this bright idyllic middle-class scene full of learning and life becoming a hellscape of screams, gunshots, and chaos.

So much for keeping my emotional distance.

I cried. And I felt like throwing up. I actually had to divert into the nearest restroom. I’m not really sure an adult visitor is supposed to go into the boy’s restroom, but I did because otherwise I’m crying in the middle of an elementary school hallway. Thankfully, no kids were in there. (Which I think kinda proves that God is in fact very present in that particular public school).

So yeah, I cried it out in the boy’s bathroom. Then, after few minutes I pulled it together, left the restroom, and went to help my kid and his friends have a holiday party.

The rest of the morning went “normally” for the most part. Except for one thing that I felt I just had to do – I took WildLion’s teacher aside for a moment and told her that I am thankful for her. That I am grateful that she is spending her life teaching, caring for, and protecting my kid and all the other kids she devotes herself to every school day.

And when I left the party, I went up to Cartographer’s 5th-grade classroom, dropped off the teacher’s gift Leah had made and told his teacher the same thing. Then I saw Cartographer’s counselor in the hall and thanked her, too. And as I signed myself out in the office, I thanked Lynne and Diane and the assistant-principal who happened to be standing there.

And as I walked out past the sign I’d read earlier, I guess I felt a little better. Because yes, I *do* still wish I could shove Mike Huckabee and his ilk through that sign. But I can’t, and even if I could it’d be stupid, immature, and pointless (not to mention lowering myself to senseless violence). But what I CAN do is appreciate, support, and help the people who are educating and caring for our kids.

The Root of All Evil

american-flag-tattered

Here’s what had me up much of the night, noodling around in my rather messed-up noggin:

Behind the curtain of every cause we’ve come up with for why tragedies like the Newtown school murders happen, there are people whose job it is to keep the status quo going – to keep us afraid, insecure, and wanting some kind of product to drug us out of our despair. People whose mandate it is to maximize shareholder profits over all other considerations. Media companies turning journalism into riveting entertainment so we’ll watch them instead of the other channel. Health insurance company lobbyists keeping comprehensive and authentic mental health care reforms from happening because they’ll drain company income. Gun manufacturers working hard to keep certain American myths about independence, frontier spirit and self-protection alive and well in order to sell more weapons. It seems like the love of money really is the root of all evil after all.

On the other hand, here we are, desperate to be entertained. Desperate to keep pretending that mental health problems are things that happen to OTHER people who are not as tough as we are because otherwise they’d pull themselves up by their own brain-bootstraps. Desperate to secure ourselves in little safety bubbles so that the scary-crazy Other can’t get to us. Desperate to get to keep playing Cowboys and Indians long after we’ve supposedly grown up. Desperate enough that we will in fact pay any amount to try to meet those needs even as we never seem to be able to quite meet them. Desperate to put the blame for all the things that make us insecure on anyone or anything as long as it isn’t us.

So maybe the OTHER root of all evil – the twin-sister and eternal dance partner of the love of Money –  is our desperate need to avoid losing our Privilege.