Saturday, May 20, 2023

The Middle Children of History, Part 3

Quietly typing away in the evenings, my goal was to try and get more than one post done a month... I'm getting there. Slowly but surely. I have to be a little more selective than I used to be. When I was younger I would just post whatever the hell came to mind at the time.

Who knows if I'll ever publish Parts 1 and 2. I know people might ask, "where are parts 1 and 2?" It felt right to just continue on with the numbering that I was using even though I haven't published the first two parts. It also may or may not be apparent how I arrived at Part 3 by reading the first two parts. So I figured I'd just exclude them for the time being.

Also, to be clear, the title of this piece does comes from Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club. Credit where credit is due. 


I had an interesting interaction online that quickly shifted gears to someplace I didn't expect it to go, and apparently what I said was perceived in a negative way.  I don't wish any ill will on anyone, and I'm always hopeful for a spirited debate, but that's not always possible online, especially with Twitter (it never has been).

First, let me say that I am a libertarian (as anyone reading this should know by now). I know the meaning of that word has changed somewhat since Angela McArdle was elected to run the party... I followed her for at least a couple years before she was actually elected, and I support her. I don't think she's said anything in particular which was ever derogatory or intentionally divisive in any way, the reality of what has happened to the party is another topic entirely. The months after the National Convention I saw the discourse online with a lot of the libertarians that I followed--if anyone is interested in that stuff, I'm happy to share my thoughts on the matter--but I don't think that most of you reading this right now really care about the party dynamics. Second, for me personally, the way I feel is that I don't really care who you are; if you aren't actively harming other people, then you have a right to exist and live your life however you see fit. Whether you and I can meet as individuals and have a civil conversation has nothing to do with how I happen to see the world, as long as we can each agree to disagree and not be violent with one another. I'm even okay with loud voices and heated exchanges. I'm always down to make a real effort to understand someone's position or station in life as long as they're open to understanding mine.

Feel free to dig through that thread, there are some interesting comments. If we're being honest with ourselves, Trump and Biden were both elected in part because people are so reticent to be dismissive of the way their fellow humans interpret the world around them, and I think that's sad. But we do tend to follow tribes and quarrel with one another; that's the animal in man.

Change is hard, too--both on an individual level and a societal one--but it's always happening. Life and civilization are always in a malleable state, always marching forward (until AI cracks the code on how we manipulate time). For instance, my wife graduated from UNLV last week and got her degree in evolution and ecology. There was a guy there also graduating who was 75 years old. I don't know what he studied, but they pointed him out in the introduction portion of the ceremony... he looked like an old biker turned wizard.

"So why are you so offended by a rainbow?" I see that question and others which are similarly situated. The answer to that question is that I'm not offended. Adults should be able to pursue happiness however they see fit.

The Pride Flag isn't just a flag. It is a symbol of sexuality. Some people don't embrace it, and they never will. Others are more than happy to take the journey along with you. We all have friends and family who fall by the wayside for various reasons, sometimes we reconnect, other times we never get to the know the people we've each become. Sometimes we purposefully remove ourselves from those we grew up with because we aren't the same people, and we choose to not have to answer ignorant questions about our life choices. Everyone should be allowed to have their own journey through life that is free from the threat of expiration at the hands of another individual. I get it. I also advocate for 2A rights. Blaire White is armed, nobody seems to be fucking with her... Just keep that in mind, I don't care how much melanin is in your skin or which hormones happen to be dominant in your biological makeup, I support the right of everyone to defend themselves from the threat of others, and I choose to believe that our legal system still supports that idea as well, whether or not it actually does, I can guarantee that I will never find myself in a situation that would prove me wrong on that point. The average person on the street is not why I own a gun.

It's a common story that I hear, a lot of people grow up in broken and/or oppressive households. A lot of time that oppressive force in people's lives comes from the people around them who are involved in the church, that's the way it was for me. My Mom really tried to find God and get me to come along with her when my Dad left. I was probably 12 at the time, smoking copious amounts of cannabis and being frustrated and angry with or at the school, acting out. That kind of stuff is identifiable to a lot of people, but hormones are raging at that age, and it doesn't really die down until well after you're in your 20s. I know "puberty" itself only lasts 2-5 years and is generally considered to end before or around age 18, but after you've gone through it you're still exploring your body and determining for yourself the acceptable forms of expressing your sexuality, or at least defining the lines for the stuff that you're comfortable with. Some people don't find out until much later in their lives even; 30s, 40s, 50s... Sure, teenagers may do things with one another we, as adults, would rather they not be doing... But 18 is the age we just accept that the switch of adulthood gets flipped on, so that's the time when people can start making decisions for themselves, before that, we hold the parents liable and responsible.

My wife and I aren't going to have kids, so it's very difficult for me to criticize someone who is trying to raise their kids the best they know how. Part of the reason I don't want to have kids has a lot to do with the fact that I don't blame my parents. I honestly think they did the best they could. Did I go through some fucked up shit? I think so... So, why would I inflict my attempt at trying to raise another human being onto someone else? It just doesn't seem fair and I'd feel guilty for not raising a kid right. None of us have quite figured this shit out, even those of you who do have kids--don't try to bullshit me, I see you out there, we've been out to dinner with some of you and love you dearly--but you as a person only get one go-around on this Earth, just like the little one that you're raising only gets one go-around (that we know of) so it's up to you to try and make sure that you can afford a better station in life for your kids than what your parents could afford for you. And so on and so forth, down through the generations, or far back into your lineage.

I don't regret my tweets, but I am disappointed in the way some of them are received. I think I might have upset some people, and that wasn't my intention, I'm always just eager to be an arbiter of constructive criticism and understanding, however mutually exclusive you want those two things to be. I legitimately just want everyone to get along with one another.

@thatrobinhood My favorite tractor-pull story! #pride🏳️‍🌈 #pride #redneck #tractorpull #bitock🌈 #lgbtq🏳️‍🌈 #truck #rednecks4rainbows ♬ original sound - Robin Hood

Unfortunately, I do think America tends to be a more violent society than it absolutely needs to be.

Some of you might laugh if you know me really well, others might be shocked at what I'm about to say. I've always been a fan of pornography, or at least what pornography could potentially do for facilitating sexual acceptance and understanding. There are some movies that don't just tickle the lizard brain, they're more thoughtful than that. It's interesting to me that the term "pornography" has never had an overtly restrictive legal definition of any kind. On the contrary, the ambiguous nature of the definition is what Larry Flynt relied on, and won his Supreme Court case. That same ambiguous definition is also what allowed puritans to establish a control over the material... It's a double-edged sword for sure.

Porn does have a benefit to society if done right. 

While the PornHub has definitely come under fire for certain policies/procedures/practices in the recent past, when I've been visiting the site, I've never run across any of the stuff that has been mentioned in the lawsuits. Yet, I do come across a lot of couples who are sharing their intimate moments with one another and the world. You can argue that the motive to do so is perverted by the desire to accumulate capital, and I wouldn't disagree with you, but I also would not concede that earning a living that way is a bad motivation, or is somehow morally inept. If there's a general desire in society for people to make love and not war, then I am all for that. We don't all each have to agree with one another on how that gets done. That's not the point. The point is that we're free to explore those options on our own, with others who are legally and consensually exploring their love for others as well. But it needs to be limited to everyone who is 18 years of age or older, and that legal definition could be moved to 21 if the smoking age increase is any indication, or barometer, to go by. I'm actually not entirely opposed to that notion. It would be up to the local communities rather than a central authority.

My wife enfeebled me in jest for the fact that the main graphic of this post is a photo that she took! Normally the nature shots that you see on my blog posts are photos that I've taken. In this instance she's been outside a lot more than I have. And, I did like the fact that she had a cactus sprouting a flower. To me, something beautiful growing from something so aggressive or protective is an interesting metaphor for how we as humans sometimes choose to express ourselves. Sometimes the thorny plant just needs a little water and attention before it becomes who or what it is meant to become. That's not code for anything, that's just one way of describing a commonality that we all share as humans: the desire to be understood and accepted, to be native to your surroundings.

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