Tag Archives: guns

On Journalism and Everyone Who Practices It (Whether Inadvertently or Not)

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Journalism is noble profession. The problem with journalism however is that far too many people fancy themselves as doing journalism when they’re doing anything but. Either that, or it gets muddled with punditry and people would sometimes no longer have any idea what they’re reading or listening to anymore. Do people who watch Shawn Hannity actually believe they’re not watching the news? I’m sure they think they’re watching the news and not just some college dropout opine about conspiracy theories. And with the rash of news and opinion outlets which cater to every political persuasion, anything that doesn’t fit or contradicts with our own biases could easily be waved off as fake news. The president of the United States does it. My father does it. Even my wife does it from time to time. I myself am not immune to consuming news from outlets that only share my opinion. I often get my news from left-leaning outlets. Probably the most right-leaning outlet I would occasionally watch would be Morning Joe with Joe Scarborough, but that’s only because the vileness of the current political climate have left them no choice but to go against their former right-leaning ways.

And one of the reasons why I tend not to consume anything from the right is that it’s often awash with conspiracy theories and generally vile attitude towards others. How the heck did Alex Jones get an audience? Who would trust anything that Jesse Watters says? And that’s just people on TV. There’s a plethora of right wing talkers on the Internet who dare I say are more unqualified to talk about politics and the news but still command a sizeable audience. And this again blows my mind because none of them are funny and witty at all. Without actually informing their audience, I would expect them to either be witty or funny at a minimum, but no, they’re just not. Outside of wit and humor, they just often resort to hate, which I understand is just as entertaining and addictive.

But what’s most ironic is that while the president of the US denigrates and makes villains out of real journalists, many right wing commenters who often cloak themselves in the amorphous mantle of journalism/punditry join in and attack the free press as well. “These are fake news.” “lame stream media.” As if they don’t belong and are not protected by the same rights real journalists are working under. It’s the same way Trump and many of his political supporters attack the government and this fictional “deep state” as if they’re not the ones currently running everything. It is insanity.

Just yesterday, five journalists were gunned down in Annapolis. This was after the president called members of the free press the enemy. This was a day after Milo Yiannopolous publicly opined that he wanted journalists to be hunted down. And again, ironically, Yiannopolous also happens to work for Info Wars and previously worked for Breitbart which would in some ways make him part of that group he wants attacked. And while they all attacked the 1st Amendment, I’m sure it would be that same 1st Amendment they would use to protect themselves from any liability. “I was just kidding.” “It wasn’t serious.”

God bless the journalists who do their job right and do their job well. We all need them now more than ever.

Maybe it’s not the most appropriate example from many liberals because he is a right winger who I often disagreed with, but I always admired how Charles Krauthammer went from Harvard medical school, to speechwriter, to journalism. I wish I had his courage and his gift to write.

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News Friday

A couple of things about the news:

Why are people surprised at the pope visiting a gay-hating bigot? The Catholic church, as progressive as the current pope has been on income inequality and environmental issues, is still a regressive institution when it comes to gender and women’s rights. The church still doesn’t like the idea of birth control and abortion (great idea for poor, overpopulated countries!). The priesthood is still a men’s club! The order of the world is still God > man > woman > children > animals.

A part of me tends to be nitpicky about the whole thing however. Growing up Catholic, I’m sensitive to the differences between Roman Catholics and Christians. Aside from Christians separating themselves from the Catholic Church hundreds of years ago, why would Kim Davis, a Oneness Pentecostal, be interested in seeing the pope and vice versa? Shouldn’t the two be arguing over the nature of the Holy Trinity and calling the other a heathen?

Also, why Kim Davis? Were the Duck Dynasty guys too busy for the Pope that week? What about the God Hates Fags people? At least I find them more logically consistent than Kim Davis. Like the Catholic church, they stand up against divorce , which really is the bigger threat against traditional marriages.

I can’t stand Obama when it comes to gun control. He rails against lawmakers and the NRA every time there’s a school shooting, speaking as if he has no power to makes changes. He’s the leader of the most powerful country in the planet! He can push his agenda if he wanted to. He certainly did with Obamacare. And he’s certainly trying with the Keystone pipeline. But when it comes to gun violence, police violence, income inequality, immigration, etc. it’s just one flower speech after another. Someone remind him that he’s not Maya Angelou. He’s the president. At least critics like Cornel West are willing to put some skin in the game and get themselves arrested in order to affect some change on important issues.

Why is the UN having talks against cyber violence? And why is cyber violence solely “against women and girls?” I understand things such as revenge porn is mostly aimed against women, but a lot of the vitriol on the Internet is aimed towards everyone. It’s not gender specific. I would even guess there’s more animosity against gays and lesbians on the Internet than there would be against women. In any case, the Internet, due to anonymity, makes it a breeding ground for general negativity. Women claiming that cyber violence does serious harm especially to women is a disservice to the strength of women and downplays the effect of cyber bullying on men.

Also, shouldn’t the UN be focusing more on REAL violence? This seems more like a sham show to support censorship in many countries.

Listening to some sweet Willie Nelson to calm down.

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Why, Richard?

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So this 14 year-old kid Ahmed Mohamed goes to school with a clock he made for a science project, shows it to several teachers, some of them say that it “looks cool.” Then one teacher gets nervous, thinks it’s a bomb and calls the cops. The school wasn’t evacuated, the cops say it wasn’t a bomb, and the kid was handcuffed anyway. Now, people are saying that this was a case of Islamophobia. And I would say yes, it seems patently obvious. I don’t think a box with wires sticking out of it in a school is any more menacing than a couple of people brandishing their AR-15s in a Walmart. Both are legal, only the second example is designed to elicit an example. Only the second example involves things that are actually designed to kill people.

And if you compare the incident to how predominantly white gun-carry advocates walk around the country unmolested, there’s a good argument that this is just as much as being a person of color in America as it is about being a Muslim.

I already talked about how Bill Maher sometimes loses me with his Islamophobia. It is one thing to be an atheist, but it is another thing to be an Islamophobe. The hysteria over the brown kid carrying a science project around school showed such an abandon of logic that I was hoping someone as intelligent as Bill Maher would not try to justify. I tend to be sympathetic to atheistic arguments, and I really don’t want to claim that there is religious persecution after many fundamentalist Christians cry wolf about their “suffering,” but when he said that people were reasonable to be suspicious of Ahmed Mohamed, this is exactly the type of light Islamophobia that results in children being handcuffed.

He is not alone in this either. Even Richard Dawkins tweeted that the kid was a fraud. He suggested that the kid passed himself off as an inventor and made a clock that suspiciously looks like a bomb. All of it just to get arrested, create a viral story, and later on get scholarship offers and an invitation to the White House. Bravo, Richard Dawkins. You’ve just become a Twitter nut job (at least in this case). There’s always the possibility that we’ve all been victims of this brilliant kid’s masterful hoax, but Occam’s razor suggests that it’s probably just a kid who made a suspicious-looking clock.

Steven Levitt once wrote about atheist books and the mysterious market for them. Who buys these books? There is a market for holy and religious books, after all, the religious need the books to enlighten themselves more about their faith. And the religious would never buy atheists books. At least, I imagine they won’t. Why would they? But what about atheists? If you truly don’t believe in the existence of God, then why buy a book to affirm your belief? You don’t need reinforcement on a non-belief. As Steven put it:

“So who is making these anti-God books best-sellers? Do the people who despise the notion of God have an insatiable demand for books that remind them of why? Are there that many people out there who haven’t made up their mind on the subject and are open to persuasion?

Let me put the argument another way: I understand why books attacking liberals sell. It is because many conservatives hate liberals. Books attacking conservatives sell for the same reason. But no one writes books saying that bird watching is a waste of time, because people who aren’t bird watchers probably agree, but don’t want to spend $20 in order to read about it. Since very few people (at least in my crowd) actively dislike God, I’m surprised that anti-God books are not received with the same yawn that anti-bird watcher books would be.”

I think Steven kinda brushed on the reason why anti-God books are selling recently. Conservatives hate liberals and would buy books that bash liberals. I’m guessing that some atheists actively hate the religious, or at least see them as intellectually inferior to some extent, and perhaps get some joy out of bashing them. Instead of adopting a liberal attitude about things and truly not caring about religion unless said religion affects them somehow, some atheists get trapped into a sort of game of one-upmanship the same way political parties do. Of course, this is not something truly unique to atheists. The same could be said about some of the religious.

And this is where Bill Maher and Steve Dawkins sometimes sink to. Yes, yes, religion is bullshit. But that’s coming from our “enlightened” bubble. Ethnocentrism is judging others based on their ethnic group, especially in terms of customs, language, and religion. Perhaps people find value in their religion in ways that I do not. Who knows? I’m not about to judge other people as long as it doesn’t affect me. Believe in God or don’t, just don’t make it my business. But when giants of the atheist way of thinking start bashing huge swaths of people, it sours the whole thing for me. It is lazy and misguided. The same way some current feminists are spoiling the movement by being hyper-sensitive, censorship-advocating, misandrists, some atheists are turning into outright bigots.

I’m not saying that the religious are being persecuted. I’m not, especially in terms of Christians in North America. But casual bigotry towards other religions makes cuffing children, not allowing refugees into countries, and outright bombing cities, a tad easier to do.

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So Sad

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So uh, that was pretty sad news the other day. Some sad gunman shot at a bunch of people in a campus in California, killing seven people and injuring several others. The gunman made a series of videos and a lengthy manifesto detailing why he wanted to shoot women and how much he hated them for rejecting him. He hated the fact that women in campus didn’t pay him any attention and that they would rather go out with idiots. In his manifesto, he fantasized about killing most women in the world and just keeping a select few for breeding. What a charmer!

Now, there’s already a bunch of spin on the story. People are rallying for gun control. And yes, it is a bit ridiculous when law enforcement officials have to go through so many hurdles in order to get assigned a pistol, and yet any individual on the street can get a pistol with barely any question asked. Despite, this, I’m sure not much would happen because we’ve seen similar stories likes this too many times and if anything, there have been more pro-gun legislations passed since Obama got elected. People will use the story for their own agenda, and it will probably be the agenda that gets more people killed. Heck, even as I write, I’m looking at a story that blames homosexual impulses on the shooting. Great. Blame the homos. Have more of them stay in the closet and lead unhappy lives.

I saw some of the videos (I couldn’t get through all of it) and read some of the gunman’s writing. Sad. This was a kid who couldn’t get laid despite being the son of what I assume is a fairly successful director. He drove around in a beemer. If a rich kid in a beemer couldn’t get laid, what chance does the kid in a Kia have? This was a kid who had resources. How come those who don’t have money are still able to get laid? Doesn’t he deserve as much? Many people felt that the videos were extremely narcissistic, and they truly are… but I felt more depressed thinking that this was a sad and terribly entitled kid who couldn’t get anything that wasn’t given to him in a silver plate and wrapped in a bow, someone who truly just didn’t understand how humans worked.

The whole thing kinda bugged me, because we’ve all been there. There’s always a girl you couldn’t get. There’s always times when we felt ugly and dejected… hating the girl we like because they’re out with someone who treats them like shit. I know many men in their thirties who are still like this kid, alone and wishing for company. But usually when you feel dejected, you get over it. You move on. You don’t turn and seethe in hatred of the things you desire and can’t have. And you certainly don’t write pages of fantasy manifesto about them.* It’s just terribly unattractive.

As for being a virgin, you don’t obsess about being still a virgin at 22. Who cares? Lower your expectations. Stop aiming for the 10 and aim for the 8. Or wait a while. There are no scoreboards out there. I believe losing one’s virginity is one of the biggest letdowns most people would ever experience in their lives. I know it certainly was in my case. So I’m really lost whenever I hear people obsessing on either side of the spectrum: those wanting to get laid ASAP, or those saving it for marriage like it’s a precious gift. It’s not a rite of passage. It really isn’t. After years of having sex, the first one would most likely be the most forgettable of all if it wasn’t the first.

If anything, the shame of being a virgin (not that there should be any shame to it) is just something that reeks out of people who obsess over it. It just makes it easier to tell.

The gunman actually reminds me of those terrorists expecting to be with 72 virgins after they blow themselves up. If you read the holy text, those virgins they are promised have alabaster skin and golden hair (and apparently, gigantic), much like the blonde sorority girls** the gunman lusted over. It’s like some terrorists’ rage, much like the gunman’s is just rooted in lack of access to sex, and that if the both actually got laid now and then, they would relax a bit and enjoy this wonderful world for what it is: a world of endless sex possibilities. And really, if he was so pent up, why not just hire a prostitute? Heck, hire a classy prostitute. It’s better than shooting people up and dying as a sad loser that people will blog about and criticize. That goes the same with terrorists. There are wonderful women in this world. And beyond the joys of sex, there is greater meaning in life. IN LIFE! You have to be living. Live, get laid, and be happy.***

 
*I never wrote manifestos over how much I hated young, pre-Seal Heidi Klum.

**Beautiful, blonde sorority slut? How creative is this guy’s fantasy? It’s like he was raised on Playboy and Axe Body Spray.

***Now, I realize that the gunman was mentally ill. He was truly ill. And while I wrote more about the common frustrations of wanting sex and not getting any, I think the recent tragedy’s roots are more about mental illness and the need for sensible gun regulations. But that topic has been covered so many times by people smarter and more competent than me. And yet, here we are still.

 

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