Archive Page 2

Sound advice for making alien contact

Found this on a French website. Not sure who the mad genius behind it is. This address is on the poster ian@union.io. “Good luck and don’t fuck this up for us.”

Instructions for making first contact with aliens

The Best Palin Cartoon of the Week (by Lalo Alcaraz)

Sarah Palin Whoops Cartoon

Cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz

Sarah Palin did not intend for Gabrielle Giffords to be shot (and that is precisely the problem)

A couple of posts ago I quoted Jon Stewart “The country’s 24 hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying up to our problems bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic.”

I think what happened in Arizona to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is a case in point.

The media has turned into a “24 hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator” and politicians know it better than any of us. They also know that if they feed it what it wants, then the media will give them air time. And airtime creates celebrity. Politicians also know that in the absence of intellect, leadership, or integrity they still can have a shot at getting elected given enough celebrity status.  Sad commentary on the American electorate, but that seems to be where we are.

Sarah Palin's Crosshairs Map

The result is not our best and brightest getting airtime or even seeking public office. To the contrary, this system favors people who are looking for a short-cut to the top and will perform whatever reckless stunt the media demands. Like painting the crosshairs of a gunsight over a candidate and proclaiming “ITS TIME TO TAKE A STAND”. Yes, it reinforces her brand. Yes, it is controversial enough to get media play. Yes, it is reckless.

Yesterday, Jared Loughner took a stand. Did Sarah Palin foresee this type of action? No. Did she want Rep. Gabrielle Giffords shot in the head? No. But that is exactly the problem.

Sarah Palin is an apt poster child for the short-sighted, flag-waving political leaders and media personalities who have displaced balanced reason and civil discourse with no-holds-barred, opinionated misdirection.  She lacks the common sense to understand the implications of her actions. She also lacks the common decency required to compete without such tactics — even if they work. Sarah Palin and her ilk remind me of the expression often used by parents to reprimand reckless children “It’s a lot of fun until someone loses an eye.”  Guess what just happened in Tucson?

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik has been the police spokesman in Tucson. He blamed this type of political rhetoric that has consumed the country. “When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous,”

Sheriff Dupnik also said he was not convinced that Jared Loughner acted alone. Whether or not they find another suspect, I think it is clear that Jared Loughner did not act alone. The people who operate, fuel and consume America’s 24 hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator are his accomplices.

I think Rep Giffords said it best last March on an interview with MSNBC:

“Our democracy is a light, a beacon, really, around the world because because we effect change at the ballot box and not because of … outbursts of violence …

Community leaders, figures in our community, need to say “look, we can’t stand for this.”  This is a situation where — people don’t — they really need to realize that the rhetoric and firing people up and, you know, even things, for example, we’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list. But the thing is that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gunsight over our district.  And when people do that, they’ve gotta realize there’s consequences to that action.”

Prophetic.  The full clip of the interview is below.

What can we do? Develop the one dicipline that any successful democracy demands of its people: critical thinking. Make it as objective and rational as you are capable. If you don’t agree with a politician don’t vote for them. It’s that simple. Demand that your candidates and your media remain focused on the facts or risk losing your support entirely. Zero tollerence for any individual, in politics, media or your peronal life who muddies the water with hate and misinformation. That doesn’t mean shooting them. It means calling them on their bullshit. The only people any of us should feel anger towards are the people who would undermine our democracy by marinating it in populist vitriol for their own personal gain.

My condolnces to all 19 shooting victims as well as their families and friends.

The real tragedy behind Bill Zeller’s last words

Bill Zeller emailed a suicide note at 6:57 (EST) Sunday morning, January 2, 2011 and then hung himself. He died three days later in hospital. He was 27-years old, a highly respected programmer and Princeton PhD candidate. I found this story on Gizmodo and was moved by it. I can’t relate to the experiences of Bill Zeller. And I do not agree with him that suicide was his only option. But the calm logic and raw honesty of his letter belies the tragic context in which it was written. It is haunting.

Bill Zeller (via Huffington Post)

He had given permission for his letter to be reposted. Perhaps he thought it could help others in his situation in addition to clarifying his own. However, I think Bill Zeller miscalculated his options. The answer to his suffering was right in front of him. With sorrow and respect, I would argue that it was not his sexual abuse or parents that made suicide inevitable. It was the simple fact that for 23 year he kept his horrific experience inside, never shared it, never examined it in the light of day. I suspect that if Bill Zeller had posted this letter (or at least spoke about it’s contents), before making the decision to end his life then he may have found the alternative to suicide that so eluded him. If you can relate to what he is saying then please bear that in mind. And find someone to talk to.

Here it is:

I have the urge to declare my sanity and justify my actions, but I assume I’ll never be able to convince anyone that this was the right decision. Maybe it’s true that anyone who does this is insane by definition, but I can at least explain my reasoning. I considered not writing any of this because of how personal it is, but I like tying up loose ends and don’t want people to wonder why I did this. Since I’ve never spoken to anyone about what happened to me, people would likely draw the wrong conclusions.

My first memories as a child are of being raped, repeatedly. This has affected every aspect of my life. This darkness, which is the only way I can describe it, has followed me like a fog, but at times intensified and overwhelmed me, usually triggered by a distinct situation. In kindergarten I couldn’t use the bathroom and would stand petrified whenever I needed to, which started a trend of awkward and unexplained social behavior. The damage that was done to my body still prevents me from using the bathroom normally, but now it’s less of a physical impediment than a daily reminder of what was done to me.

This darkness followed me as I grew up. I remember spending hours playing with legos, having my world consist of me and a box of cold, plastic blocks. Just waiting for everything to end. It’s the same thing I do now, but instead of legos it’s surfing the web or reading or listening to a baseball game. Most of my life has been spent feeling dead inside, waiting for my body to catch up.

At times growing up I would feel inconsolable rage, but I never connected this to what happened until puberty. I was able to keep the darkness at bay for a few hours at a time by doing things that required intense concentration, but it would always come back. Programming appealed to me for this reason. I was never particularly fond of computers or mathematically inclined, but the temporary peace it would provide was like a drug. But the darkness always returned and built up something like a tolerance, because programming has become less and less of a refuge.

The darkness is with me nearly every time I wake up. I feel like a grime is covering me. I feel like I’m trapped in a contimated body that no amount of washing will clean. Whenever I think about what happened I feel manic and itchy and can’t concentrate on anything else. It manifests itself in hours of eating or staying up for days at a time or sleeping for sixteen hours straight or week long programming binges or constantly going to the gym. I’m exhausted from feeling like this every hour of every day.

Three to four nights a week I have nightmares about what happened. It makes me avoid sleep and constantly tired, because sleeping with what feels like hours of nightmares is not restful. I wake up sweaty and furious. I’m reminded every morning of what was done to me and the control it has over my life.

I’ve never been able to stop thinking about what happened to me and this hampered my social interactions. I would be angry and lost in thought and then be interrupted by someone saying “Hi” or making small talk, unable to understand why I seemed cold and distant. I walked around, viewing the outside world from a distant portal behind my eyes, unable to perform normal human niceties. I wondered what it would be like to take to other people without what happened constantly on my mind, and I wondered if other people had similar experiences that they were better able to mask.

Alcohol was also something that let me escape the darkness. It would always find me later, though, and it was always angry that I managed to escape and it made me pay. Many of the irresponsible things I did were the result of the darkness. Obviously I’m responsible for every decision and action, including this one, but there are reasons why things happen the way they do.

Alcohol and other drugs provided a way to ignore the realities of my situation. It was easy to spend the night drinking and forget that I had no future to look forward to. I never liked what alcohol did to me, but it was better than facing my existence honestly. I haven’t touched alcohol or any other drug in over seven months (and no drugs or alcohol will be involved when I do this) and this has forced me to evaluate my life in an honest and clear way. There’s no future here. The darkness will always be with me.

I used to think if I solved some problem or achieved some goal, maybe he would leave. It was comforting to identify tangible issues as the source of my problems instead of something that I’ll never be able to change. I thought that if I got into to a good college, or a good grad school, or lost weight, or went to the gym nearly every day for a year, or created programs that millions of people used, or spent a summer or California or New York or published papers that I was proud of, then maybe I would feel some peace and not be constantly haunted and unhappy. But nothing I did made a dent in how depressed I was on a daily basis and nothing was in any way fulfilling. I’m not sure why I ever thought that would change anything.

I didn’t realize how deep a hold he had on me and my life until my first relationship. I stupidly assumed that no matter how the darkness affected me personally, my romantic relationships would somehow be separated and protected. Growing up I viewed my future relationships as a possible escape from this thing that haunts me every day, but I began to realize how entangled it was with every aspect of my life and how it is never going to release me. Instead of being an escape, relationships and romantic contact with other people only intensified everything about him that I couldn’t stand. I will never be able to have a relationship in which he is not the focus, affecting every aspect of my romantic interactions.

Relationships always started out fine and I’d be able to ignore him for a few weeks. But as we got closer emotionally the darkness would return and every night it’d be me, her and the darkness in a black and gruesome threesome. He would surround me and penetrate me and the more we did the more intense it became. It made me hate being touched, because as long as we were separated I could view her like an outsider viewing something good and kind and untainted. Once we touched, the darkness would envelope her too and take her over and the evil inside me would surround her. I always felt like I was infecting anyone I was with.

Relationships didn’t work. No one I dated was the right match, and I thought that maybe if I found the right person it would overwhelm him. Part of me knew that finding the right person wouldn’t help, so I became interested in girls who obviously had no interest in me. For a while I thought I was gay. I convinced myself that it wasn’t the darkness at all, but rather my orientation, because this would give me control over why things didn’t feel “right”. The fact that the darkness affected sexual matters most intensely made this idea make some sense and I convinced myself of this for a number of years, starting in college after my first relationship ended. I told people I was gay (at Trinity, not at Princeton), even though I wasn’t attracted to men and kept finding myself interested in girls. Because if being gay wasn’t the answer, then what was? People thought I was avoiding my orientation, but I was actually avoiding the truth, which is that while I’m straight, I will never be content with anyone. I know now that the darkness will never leave.

Last spring I met someone who was unlike anyone else I’d ever met. Someone who showed me just how well two people could get along and how much I could care about another human being. Someone I know I could be with and love for the rest of my life, if I weren’t so fucked up. Amazingly, she liked me. She liked the shell of the man the darkness had left behind. But it didn’t matter because I couldn’t be alone with her. It was never just the two of us, it was always the three of us: her, me and the darkness. The closer we got, the more intensely I’d feel the darkness, like some evil mirror of my emotions. All the closeness we had and I loved was complemented by agony that I couldn’t stand, from him. I realized that I would never be able to give her, or anyone, all of me or only me. She could never have me without the darkness and evil inside me. I could never have just her, without the darkness being a part of all of our interactions. I will never be able to be at peace or content or in a healthy relationship. I realized the futility of the romantic part of my life. If I had never met her, I would have realized this as soon as I met someone else who I meshed similarly well with. It’s likely that things wouldn’t have worked out with her and we would have broken up (with our relationship ending, like the majority of relationships do) even if I didn’t have this problem, since we only dated for a short time. But I will face exactly the same problems with the darkness with anyone else. Despite my hopes, love and compatability is not enough. Nothing is enough. There’s no way I can fix this or even push the darkness down far enough to make a relationship or any type of intimacy feasible.

So I watched as things fell apart between us. I had put an explicit time limit on our relationship, since I knew it couldn’t last because of the darkness and didn’t want to hold her back, and this caused a variety of problems. She was put in an unnatural situation that she never should have been a part of. It must have been very hard for her, not knowing what was actually going on with me, but this is not something I’ve ever been able to talk about with anyone. Losing her was very hard for me as well. Not because of her (I got over our relationship relatively quickly), but because of the realization that I would never have another relationship and because it signified the last true, exclusive personal connection I could ever have. This wasn’t apparent to other people, because I could never talk about the real reasons for my sadness. I was very sad in the summer and fall, but it was not because of her, it was because I will never escape the darkness with anyone. She was so loving and kind to me and gave me everything I could have asked for under the circumstances. I’ll never forget how much happiness she brought me in those briefs moments when I could ignore the darkness. I had originally planned to kill myself last winter but never got around to it. (Parts of this letter were written over a year ago, other parts days before doing this.) It was wrong of me to involve myself in her life if this were a possibility and I should have just left her alone, even though we only dated for a few months and things ended a long time ago. She’s just one more person in a long list of people I’ve hurt.

I could spend pages talking about the other relationships I’ve had that were ruined because of my problems and my confusion related to the darkness. I’ve hurt so many great people because of who I am and my inability to experience what needs to be experienced. All I can say is that I tried to be honest with people about what I thought was true.

I’ve spent my life hurting people. Today will be the last time.

I’ve told different people a lot of things, but I’ve never told anyone about what happened to me, ever, for obvious reasons. It took me a while to realize that no matter how close you are to someone or how much they claim to love you, people simply cannot keep secrets. I learned this a few years ago when I thought I was gay and told people. The more harmful the secret, the juicier the gossip and the more likely you are to be betrayed. People don’t care about their word or what they’ve promised, they just do whatever the fuck they want and justify it later. It feels incredibly lonely to realize you can never share something with someone and have it be between just the two of you. I don’t blame anyone in particular, I guess it’s just how people are. Even if I felt like this is something I could have shared, I have no interest in being part of a friendship or relationship where the other person views me as the damaged and contaminated person that I am. So even if I were able to trust someone, I probably would not have told them about what happened to me. At this point I simply don’t care who knows.

I feel an evil inside me. An evil that makes me want to end life. I need to stop this. I need to make sure I don’t kill someone, which is not something that can be easily undone. I don’t know if this is related to what happened to me or something different. I recognize the irony of killing myself to prevent myself from killing someone else, but this decision should indicate what I’m capable of.

So I’ve realized I will never escape the darkness or misery associated with it and I have a responsibility to stop myself from physically harming others.

I’m just a broken, miserable shell of a human being. Being molested has defined me as a person and shaped me as a human being and it has made me the monster I am and there’s nothing I can do to escape it. I don’t know any other existence. I don’t know what life feels like where I’m apart from any of this. I actively despise the person I am. I just feel fundamentally broken, almost non-human. I feel like an animal that woke up one day in a human body, trying to make sense of a foreign world, living among creatures it doesn’t understand and can’t connect with.

I have accepted that the darkness will never allow me to be in a relationship. I will never go to sleep with someone in my arms, feeling the comfort of their hands around me. I will never know what uncontimated intimacy is like. I will never have an exclusive bond with someone, someone who can be the recipient of all the love I have to give. I will never have children, and I wanted to be a father so badly. I think I would have made a good dad. And even if I had fought through the darkness and married and had children all while being unable to feel intimacy, I could have never done that if suicide were a possibility. I did try to minimize pain, although I know that this decision will hurt many of you. If this hurts you, I hope that you can at least forget about me quickly.

There’s no point in identifying who molested me, so I’m just going to leave it at that. I doubt the word of a dead guy with no evidence about something that happened over twenty years ago would have much sway.

You may wonder why I didn’t just talk to a professional about this. I’ve seen a number of doctors since I was a teenager to talk about other issues and I’m positive that another doctor would not have helped. I was never given one piece of actionable advice, ever. More than a few spent a large part of the session reading their notes to remember who I was. And I have no interest in talking about being raped as a child, both because I know it wouldn’t help and because I have no confidence it would remain secret. I know the legal and practical limits of doctor/patient confidentiality, growing up in a house where we’d hear stories about the various mental illnesses of famous people, stories that were passed down through generations. All it takes is one doctor who thinks my story is interesting enough to share or a doctor who thinks it’s her right or responsibility to contact the authorities and have me identify the molestor (justifying her decision by telling herself that someone else might be in danger). All it takes is a single doctor who violates my trust, just like the “friends” who I told I was gay did, and everything would be made public and I’d be forced to live in a world where people would know how fucked up I am. And yes, I realize this indicates that I have severe trust issues, but they’re based on a large number of experiences with people who have shown a profound disrepect for their word and the privacy of others.

People say suicide is selfish. I think it’s selfish to ask people to continue living painful and miserable lives, just so you possibly won’t feel sad for a week or two. Suicide may be a permanent solution to a temporary problem, but it’s also a permanent solution to a ~23 year-old problem that grows more intense and overwhelming every day.

Some people are just dealt bad hands in this life. I know many people have it worse than I do, and maybe I’m just not a strong person, but I really did try to deal with this. I’ve tried to deal with this every day for the last 23 years and I just can’t fucking take it anymore.

I often wonder what life must be like for other people. People who can feel the love from others and give it back unadulterated, people who can experience sex as an intimate and joyous experience, people who can experience the colors and happenings of this world without constant misery. I wonder who I’d be if things had been different or if I were a stronger person. It sounds pretty great.

I’m prepared for death. I’m prepared for the pain and I am ready to no longer exist. Thanks to the strictness of New Jersey gun laws this will probably be much more painful than it needs to be, but what can you do. My only fear at this point is messing something up and surviving.

—-

I’d also like to address my family, if you can call them that. I despise everything they stand for and I truly hate them, in a non-emotional, dispassionate and what I believe is a healthy way. The world will be a better place when they’re dead—one with less hatred and intolerance.

If you’re unfamiliar with the situation, my parents are fundamentalist Christians who kicked me out of their house and cut me off financially when I was 19 because I refused to attend seven hours of church a week.

They live in a black and white reality they’ve constructed for themselves. They partition the world into good and evil and survive by hating everything they fear or misunderstand and calling it love. They don’t understand that good and decent people exist all around us, “saved” or not, and that evil and cruel people occupy a large percentage of their church. They take advantage of people looking for hope by teaching them to practice the same hatred they practice.

A random example:

“I am personally convinced that if a Muslim truly believes and obeys the Koran, he will be a terrorist.” – George Zeller, August 24, 2010.

If you choose to follow a religion where, for example, devout Catholics who are trying to be good people are all going to Hell but child molestors go to Heaven (as long as they were “saved” at some point), that’s your choice, but it’s fucked up. Maybe a God who operates by those rules does exist. If so, fuck Him.

Their church was always more important than the members of their family and they happily sacrificed whatever necessary in order to satisfy their contrived beliefs about who they should be.

I grew up in a house where love was proxied through a God I could never believe in. A house where the love of music with any sort of a beat was literally beaten out of me. A house full of hatred and intolerance, run by two people who were experts at appearing kind and warm when others were around. Parents who tell an eight year old that his grandmother is going to Hell because she’s Catholic. Parents who claim not to be racist but then talk about the horrors of miscegenation. I could list hundreds of other examples, but it’s tiring.

Since being kicked out, I’ve interacted with them in relatively normal ways. I talk to them on the phone like nothing happened. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I like pretending I have a family. Maybe I like having people I can talk to about what’s been going on in my life. Whatever the reason, it’s not real and it feels like a sham. I should have never allowed this reconnection to happen.

I wrote the above a while ago, and I do feel like that much of the time. At other times, though, I feel less hateful. I know my parents honestly believe the crap they believe in. I know that my mom, at least, loved me very much and tried her best. One reason I put this off for so long is because I know how much pain it will cause her. She has been sad since she found out I wasn’t “saved”, since she believes I’m going to Hell, which is not a sadness for which I am responsible. That was never going to change, and presumably she believes the state of my physical body is much less important than the state of my soul. Still, I cannot intellectually justify this decision, knowing how much it will hurt her. Maybe my ability to take my own life, knowing how much pain it will cause, shows that I am a monster who doesn’t deserve to live. All I know is that I can’t deal with this pain any longer and I’m am truly sorry I couldn’t wait until my family and everyone I knew died so this could be done without hurting anyone. For years I’ve wished that I’d be hit by a bus or die while saving a baby from drowning so my death might be more acceptable, but I was never so lucky.

—-

To those of you who have shown me love, thank you for putting up with all my shittiness and moodiness and arbitrariness. I was never the person I wanted to be. Maybe without the darkness I would have been a better person, maybe not. I did try to be a good person, but I realize I never got very far.

I’m sorry for the pain this causes. I really do wish I had another option. I hope this letter explains why I needed to do this. If you can’t understand this decision, I hope you can at least forgive me.

Bill Zeller

—-

Please save this letter and repost it if gets deleted. I don’t want people to wonder why I did this. I disseminated it more widely than I might have otherwise because I’m worried that my family might try to restrict access to it. I don’t mind if this letter is made public. In fact, I’d prefer it be made public to people being unable to read it and drawing their own conclusions.

Feel free to republish this letter, but only if it is reproduced in its entirety.

“If we amplify everything, we hear nothing” Jon Stewart

Nice speech about the countiry’s 24-hour politoco pundit perpetual panic conflictinator. It “did not cause our problems but its existence makes solving them that much harder.” Here’s what Jon had to say. What do you think about this?

“I can’t control what people think this was. I can only tell you my intentions. This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith or people of activism or to look down our noses at the heartland or passionate argument or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear. They are and we do. But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus and not be enemies.

But unfortunately one of our main tools in delineating the two broke. The country’s 24 hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying up to our problems bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic.

If we amplify everything we hear nothing. There are terrorists and racists and Stalinists and theocrats but those are titles that must be earned. You must have the resume. Not being able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Partiers or real bigots and Juan Williams and Rick Sanchez is an insult, not only to those people but to the racists themselves who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate–just as the inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims makes us less safe not more. The press is our immune system. If we overreact to everything we actually get sicker–and perhaps eczema.

And yet, with that being said, I feel good—strangely, calmly good. Because the image of Americans that is reflected back to us by our political and media process is false. It is us through a fun house mirror, and not the good kind that makes you look slim in the waist and maybe taller, but the kind where you have a giant forehead and an ass shaped like a month old pumpkin and one eyeball.

So, why would we work together? Why would you reach across the aisle to a pumpkin assed forehead eyeball monster? If the picture of us were true, of course, our inability to solve problems would actually be quite sane and reasonable. Why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution or racists and homophobes who see no one’s humanity but their own? We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is—on the brink of catastrophe—torn by polarizing hate and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done, but the truth is we do. We work together to get things done every damn day!

The only place we don’t is here or on cable TV. But Americans don’t live here or on cable TV. Where we live our values and principles form the foundations that sustains us while we get things done, not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done. Most Americans don’t live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans, liberals or conservatives. Americans live their lives more as people that are just a little bit late for something they have to do—often something that they do not want to do—but they do it–impossible things every day that are only made possible by the little reasonable compromises that we all make.

Look on the screen. This is where we are. This is who we are. (points to the Jumbotron screen which show traffic merging into a tunnel). These cars—that’s a schoolteacher who probably thinks his taxes are too high. He’s going to work. There’s another car-a woman with two small kids who can’t really think about anything else right now. There’s another car, (referring to the Jumbotron blowing in the wind) swinging, I don’t even know if you can see it—the lady’s in the NRA and she loves Oprah. There’s another car—an investment banker, gay, also likes Oprah. Another car’s a Latino carpenter. Another car a fundamentalist vacuum salesman. Atheist obstetrician. Mormon Jay-Z fan. But this is us. Every one of the cars that you see is filled with individuals of strong belief and principles they hold dear—often principles and beliefs in direct opposition to their fellow travelers.

And yet these millions of cars must somehow find a way to squeeze one by one into a mile long 30 foot wide tunnel carved underneath a mighty river. Carved, by the way, by people who I’m sure had their differences. And they do it. Concession by conscession. You go. Then I’ll go. You go. Then I’ll go. You go then I’ll go. Oh my God, is that an NRA sticker on your car? Is that an Obama sticker on your car? Well, that’s okay—you go and then I’ll go.

And sure, at some point there will be a selfish jerk who zips up the shoulder and cuts in at the last minute, but that individual is rare and he is scorned and not hired as an analyst.

Because we know instinctively as a people that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light we have to work together. And the truth is, there will always be darkness. And sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land. Sometimes it’s just New Jersey. But we do it anyway, together.

If you want to know why I’m here and want I want from you, I can only assure you this: you have already given it to me. Your presence was what I wanted.

Sanity will always be and has always been in the eye of the beholder. To see you here today and the kind of people that you are has restored mine. Thank you.”

Welcome to Pussytown

How Sweden is winning the war against gender

U.S. Gender and Marriage expert David Popenoe has described Sweden as “the world’s most androgynous society“. David has never lived here. Had he lived here he may have used a different word. Androgyny is defined as “Being neither distinguishably masculine nor feminine, as in dress, appearance, or behavior.” I think Swedish men past that point  somewhere in the 1960’s.

Sweden is one of the world’s most socially-engineered societies. Its been a hobby that Sweden’s elected officials have dabbled in since the 1940’s. These engineering feats are meant to produce impressive statistics. This is all very appealing to the rational mind. But history has taught us that behind the impressive numbers,  social engineering often has unforeseen human consequences. In the case of gender equality in Sweden that unforeseen consequence is the effective emasculation of the Swedish male psyche.

Stockholm Nightlife (Source: http://www.thelocal.se)

From the perspective of a middle class American raised in New England, Swedish men seem feminine. It was Swedish women who first brought it to my attention, usually in social situations after a few drinks. I suppose it was a way of flirting.  It was always the same: Winging about Swedish men and what emasculated pussies they are. I would reply “I can’t believe you are telling me this. It was your archaic brand of 60-style feminism that has effectively neutered the male of your species. And now you are telling me you pine for real men from southern Europe?” It doesn’t make sense. But if you live in Sweden long enough you understand that unexamined acceptance of logical contradictions is as Swedish as surströmming (and about as palatable to foreigners).

It’s hard to miss the general absence of masculinity here. I met a British woman in London recently. She told me how she and her girlfriend, also from London, visited Stockholm for three days.  It was their first time in Sweden. I asked her how she enjoyed it.  “Not very much” she said.  “We went to Cafe Opera because everyone said it was the place to go, but I wish someone had mentioned that it was a gay bar.” After that, they went to two other bars in Sture Plan, central Stockholm, but the same deal. She said “I didn’t know Stockholm had such a pervasive gay scene.” I laughed. None of the bars she mentioned were gay bars. I’m sure few of the men there were gay, they were just Swedish.  A recent article on the topic in the New York Times commented on this point  “In this new world of the sexes, some women complain that Swedish men are too politically correct even to flirt in a bar.”

Absolut Wooss — The shape of things to come (Source:http://www.absolutads.com)

Swedish blogger Anders Janson observes that “Finns think that the comparatively talkative and urbane Swedish men are homosexuals.” I would not go so far as to call them homosexuals, but they certainly lean towards the metrosexual side of things. And its not just because they are so extraordinarily studied in their appearance. The general demeanor of Sweden men exudes a lack of backbone, even when they try to assert themselves. It’s as if its been beaten out of them and they are resigned to their subservient position in society now.

This perception is reinforced for me daily on my walk to work. Each morning I struggle to negotiate my way through the maze of pram-pushing papas who dominate the sidewalk. They stroll leisurely along, often two abreast gossiping on their way to a cafe or pedicure, obstructing the way for the women and me who need get to work.  Today 85 percent of Swedish fathers take government-paid parental leave. They are entitled to take up to 13 months off if their wife agrees.

Swedish men acknowledge the demise of their manhood. In a recent study in Sweden, “51 percent of respondents said Swedish men were more masculine in previous times, with men in particular (58 percent) agreeing with the statement. Only 13 percent of men and women felt today’s men were more masculine than their predecessors.”  This decline in masculinity bothers no Swede, in fact it is widely hailed as progress. Having talked with many Swedish men about this,  I get the sense that they have been so marinated in Swedish-style feminism since birth that they accept without question that masculinity itself is fundamentally wrong, a defect. There is an unspoken guilt associated with their masculinity and that keeps men from addressing it.  Like masturbation for Catholics, it comes with the territory of being human, but I’m not going to  march through the streets of Boston declaring my right to self-love.

The new Swedish male archetype? (Source: http://thebeautybrains.com)

The Swedish media are onboard with the agenda. In deference to women males are uniformly depicted as impotent  fools in all Swedish advertisements. If there is anyone demonstrating a glimmer of intelligence, it will be the woman. If there is an apron to be warn, it will never appear draped across a women’s breast. Same goes for any other domestic cleaning or cooking aids. This has worked. In real life I’ve never known a Swedish woman who knew how to use a cooking or cleaning utensil. I’ve lived with three so far. Love them dearly, but they have been the most domestically-challenged roommates I’ve ever had (and that’s going back to my frat brothers when I was 18).

The Times article summed up the state of affairs like this  “In this land of Viking lore, men are at the heart of the gender-equality debate. The ponytailed center-right finance minister calls himself a feminist, ads for cleaning products rarely feature women as homemakers, and preschools vet books for gender stereotypes in animal characters. For nearly four decades, governments of all political hues have legislated to give women equal rights at work — and men equal rights at home.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There is also the more absurd fall-out from Sweden’s gender engineering. Just a sampling of the headlines induced by this social experiment:

  • The political debate to allow women to ride topless on the subway because men were allowed to do so (by the same logic women are already topless in city parks, municipal swimming pools and, of course, on beaches).
  • The elementary school system in one Swedish city mandating that for one week all male children had to wear dresses to school to help break down stereotypes (female student’s, however, were not obliged to reciprocate by wearing mens clothes).
  • Organizers of the Miss Sweden contest forced to cancel the event due to “feminist harassment”.  When the Miss Sweden pageant returned the next year the rules were changed to allow men to compete, remove the swimsuit portion and to declare that physical appearance had nothing to do with the judging. Yah, right.
  • Sweden’s government paving the way for the development of road signs at pedestrian crossings that portray women rather than just men.
  • A feminist group at Stockholm University is campaigning to ban all urinals from campus, and one Swedish elementary school has already removed them based on the “logic” that a man standing up to urinate is deemed to be triumphing in his masculinity, and by extension, degrading women.
  • Last year after the Pirate Bay file-sharing trial, Annika Qarlsson, a female member of Sweden’s parliament, wove a meandering web of “logic” that went something like this:  Since most of the people sharing files are boys, and they support the right to share files, then they are protecting their privacy, and most Swedish woman who are raped are raped by people they barely know, if the woman barely knows the rapist then the rapist is protecting their privacy, therefore Pirate Bay supporters are rapists.  ““I realize that my earlier post can be interpreted to mean that I’m accusing all Pirate Party supporters and all young men of being rapists.” she later said.
  • Tiina Rosenberg, a professor of gender studies at Stockholm University, and the brain trust behind Sweden’s politically influential feminist movement who boldly asserted that “women who sleep with men are traitors to their gender.”
  • The case of Ragnar Bengtsson, the 28-year-old Stockholm father who wants to breastfeed his children.  He spent three months last year pumping his breasts in public to try to stimulate lactation. It didn’t work.  He says he did it because he wanted to be closer to his children.  He is a student at Stockholm University. Maybe he was trying to get some extra credit from Tiina Rosenberg. (see YouTube commentary below).
  • Sweden’s Trade Ethical Council against Sexism in Advertising (ERK) which deems practically any depiction of a woman as sexist and protects the Swedish population by having it banned.
  • And then, of course, there has been the recent outrage over the fact that Sweden’s princess Victoria had her father walk her down the isle at her wedding which was heavily criticized as sexist here in Sweden and widely touted as an outrage against all women.

And that’s just what makes the papers.  I experience the effects of all this gender bending every day in both my professional and private life.  It’s as if masculinity is an itch and Swedes love to scratch it. So they constantly seek it out and then claw it to pieces.  To me Sweden’s zeal in this endeavor is not so much about equal rights for men and woman. That’s not the focus. I suspect there is another silent, perhaps subconscious agenda. It may be misplaced anger and frustration, false entitlement, or part of a larger political agenda.

motivational poster, feminism

Direct observation has taught me that Sweden is every bit as sexist as any other developed country. I see the same disrespect, the same bullying and the same political and workplace abuse, and the same  submission to power.  Its just that here the tables have been turned and its the women wearing the pants. This is modestly disguised under a thin veneer of girl power (as if that is supposed to justify it). I just wonder how long it will be before erections are outlawed.

There is one question Swedes may want to ask themselves as they progress with their gender cleansing campaign: Is masculinity just some vestigial remnant from the Neanderthal mind that should be scrubbed from the gene pool or is it an essential part of what makes us human?  I think both Swedish men and women should ponder the consequences of the utopia they are engineering before it is too late.

Personally, I think true discrimination should be engineered out of society ( I preface it with “true” because the word discrimination is widely misapplied today).  But the Swede’s won’t solve sexual discrimination by neutralizing gender.  No more than we would solve racial discrimination by neutralizing skin color.

Honest Movie Posters

Cracked.com has published its “If movie titles were honest”. I like Cracked.com a lot more as a web site than I used to like it as a magazine. Here are my favorites from their recent post. Any titiles they missed?


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