The Blood

The following is a story to meet a challenge to write a short story of 666 words or less with a starting line picked for me.  (I am not including the preamble word count)  No further ado.

 

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The blood wanted to come off.  I could tell by the way the droplets sprayed from the knife as it arced up from the stab. The knife clung to the blood though, wrapping itself in crimson from tip to handle. I glanced at my hand and there was a surprising amount of blood on it as well. One stab, but the blood had come like a burst of a dam, and coated it to my wrist.

Everything moved so slowly, as if time stretched out from seconds to a lifetime.  The knife, rising from its first stab.  The sound of a scream drawn out like a howling wind. It was amazing the small details that I could see despite how fast things were actually moving.  A drops of blood floated up between our faces, cast off from the knife, glistening in the dimly lit room.  A flash of light from the small spots on the knife that werent’ coated in blood.  The look on his face.

I’d had so many conflicts with Jack before.  So many times we had come to blows, but the worst we had ever done was bloody each others lips, or give a black eye.  To think that it had raised to murder so quickly and over such a commonplace reason was incomprehensible.  Money. a few hundred dollars was all it took.

I looked into his face.  It was twisted in a snarl of pain, anger, and disbelief.  He seemed as surprised as I was that this was happening. While I stared in to his eyes, blood splattered across his face, flung from the knife edge.  It dashed on his cheek and ear.  A drop even flew into his wide open mouth as he yelled.

The knife stopped. For a moment I felt like we could retreat from this madness, but the knife had merely reached the top of the arc and started to plunge back down.  Both of us fixed our eyes on the knife.  The next was the killing stroke. The first stab had been impulsive, almost furtive.  Now it was determination to kill that sped the blade.

Time snapped back to reality, and the blade swung down fast and true.  The howls turned in to the shriek of pain and yell of rage, the blood returned to normal speed, dropping to the floor, covering both of us in its spray.

The knife struck home. Both of us stiffened with the impact, and an eerie silence fell, except for the labored breathing.  Another stab wasn’t needed, this one had found its home in a fatal spot. We both looked down at the knife.

It was over.  I was instantly filled with regret. A life cut short, so many things that would remain undone. Over so little.  I began to fall, the knife plunged deeply in my chest, and the world turned black.

Suffer the Children

 

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I have no joke for this. He’s standing with his dad.  Until he wasn’t.

I am an atheist.  Figured I’d get that out of the way quickly, because I’m going to be talking about God.  specifically, Jesus.  And Christianity.  And you know, not stealing children from parents and then putting them in cages.  Jeff Sessions, the Keebler Gestapo Elf, referenced the bible as  justification for what they are doing. Well, This has me beyond angry.  It’s a crime against humanity, and they are trying to sell it as a religious more. I’m going to give Jeff, and any of the other despicable people alright with what is happening to migrants a little lesson in their own religion. They clearly need it.

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I found a verse about beating kids too! Boy, this bible sure is fun.

Colossians 3:12 Says (paraphrased) Therefore as God’s people, be Compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, and patient.  Does that sound like a Right wing lunatic applauding the tormenting of children and parents?  I don’t think so.  They whiff on all five. They are arrogant, lacking in an ounce of care for these people.  They’d better start scoring some points if they’re going to pass the holy test.

There is a story of Jesus in the bible, sitting on a hill and teaching.  They’re called the beatitudes.  I’m not going to put them all down word for word, but there was a list of people who were Blessed. (Bless-ed.  Sorry.  I need you to go back and reread it with the correct pronunciation.)

What were some of the things on the list? Well, Meek… Mourning… Persecuted.  You know who that sounds like? the migrant families.  Another few are on the list.  Peacemakers. Righteous. Merciful.  Those are descriptors for someone in a position of power over another. And the people applauding Trump and his cronies doing this aren’t any of those three things.

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Kids taken from their parents and locked up?  What is wrong with you, me-dammit?

The bible also says things about how to handle strangers, the needy, the alien in your land.  Without the specific references:

You shall treat the stranger who stays with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers.

The alien has not lodged outside, For I have opened my doors to the traveler.

Love. Your. Brother. As. Yourself.  (I know without a doubt some would argue that the migrants are not their “brother” but in the bible context it meant other believers, which almost all of the migrants are, and it also says love your neighbor as yourself, so don’t fucking try it.)  I’m starting to think that these particular “Christians” have their own version of the bible.

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Get those touchy-feely loving people parts out. It’s UNAMERICAN.

Lastly, and this is a repeating something said above, THEY ARE PULLING CHILDREN AWAY FROM THEIR PARENTS.  This is is cartoonishly evil.  It cannot be justified.  That Jesus fella apparently said “Suffer the little children to come unto me” and These assholes stopped reading after the first four words.  This isn’t a condemnation of Christians.  I know that a far greater majority of people of faith are horrified with these actions.  I’m pointing the finger squarely at those who wave their bibles like they are angels, and act like demons.

From my point of view, these fuckers are LUCKY that there is no such thing as hell.  Because based on their own playbook,  They would be in that particular end-zone in no time.  This Jesus guy would have a few words for them.

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No. Really. What the fuck is wrong with you?

 

If you aren’t angry at this, there is something wrong with you. Atheist, Christian, Hare Krishna, hell, even Scientologists.  If you are ok with this, go to hell.

Smartassicus out.

Left-Handed losing

The left loses.  Consistently. Almost predictably. Now, we can talk about 1000 reasons as to why the vote is bent, the system is rigged, etcetera, ad nauseam.  But I don’t want to talk about that. I want to talk about why WE lose.  what is it that we do that makes it so fucking easy for the right-wing to run roughshod over everything?  (Put down your stress ball and just give me a minute. I’m not going to be telling you anything you don’t know, if you’re willing to admit it.)

  1. We fight with ourselves.

Conservatives* Have a major advantage in unity.  Not unity with everyone else.  No, as far as they’re concerned the “leftist Marxist Stalinist snowflakes” can walk in to the ocean and die.  But voting wise, they vote with almost uniformity.  They are party adherent, and will vote in concert like a military drill.

*Conservatives in this context do not mean an average fiscal conservative.  It means the right-wing Gestapo that we have come to know and loathe.  It is not meant to group moderate or centrist people in with them.

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Like North Korean soldiers except a little more totalitarian and rigid.

 

We however, tend to have more diversity of opinion and thought.  This is a good thing, socially. It’s through diverse experience and knowledge that we progress.  It’s a major stumbling block for the electoral process though. We can’t come together as effectively.

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This is the pre-argument argument for the pre-argument about what to have for lunch.

This fracture leads us to work towards separate goals, and when the time comes to go with the majority choice, unity is grudging and often elusive. In American politics, you have the runners-up sometimes not voting, or even voting for the opposition.  In Canadian or other parliamentary systems, you inevitably see multiple left of center parties going up against a single right of center  choice.  In either case, this merely serves to help the people we DON’T want to be elected, get elected.’

2.) We are lazy about voting.

Conservatives are hyper-motivated to vote.  Which, if you think about it is really odd coming from a group of people who primarily believe that God has a plan and that his plan will happen and we can’t stop him. Of course not all of the right-wing are Evangelical Christians, but they do make up a larger portion of it.

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God can do anything. Except vote, so we’ll handle that.

 

By contrast, we need to be wooed to vote. Cajoled.  Reminded. Pestered.  (don’t “not all liberals” me.) It’s as if civic duty is a horrifying torture, and we do our best to block it out of our minds.  Or, we just have no desire to consistently vote because it’s just so gosh darn inconvenient.  If stopping the antithesis of everything you believe in doesn’t motivate you to get up off your ass and cast a vote, I don’t know what will.

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Midterms? But I just voted for… something… like only 2 years ago.

Turnout matters. When we don’t treat voting as a necessary and crucial aspect of living in our democracies, we hand elected positions to the other side almost by default.

3.) We demand a product that doesn’t exist

There is a naive need for our politicians to be pure as the fresh driven snow.  Blameless, spotless, no faults, no flaws.  In other words, a figment of our imaginations.  I don’t know where we got this ideological sieve from. Nobody really meets up to the expectations, unless we are wilfully blind to some of their flaws. They’re fucking politicians, not cherubs.  The right will vote for a bucket of three-week-unflushed toilet water if the right party sticker is smacked on the side.  They kind of just did.  We lose hard when we are unengaged due to perceived, or even real flaws that pale in comparison to what we end up with.

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Item 324, the candidate must wear virginal white after bathing daily in rose-water.

4.) We aren’t willing to put solid work in before demanding our end goal

This is one where the conservatives have an advantage not because of anything THEY do.  In fact, they don’t do anything about future goals at all, other than tearing down the rights of others and trying to install a despotic theocracy. But liberals and progressives have a tendency to have no tolerance for the long game, and want everything slid on to their plate immediately.  In America, for example, there is demand for single payer healthcare, college tuitions regulated or abolished, and other very, very good goals.

But we don’t wait.  We don’t pragmatically choose the options that get us one step closer to the goal. We pout and carry on that we don’t get it now, like spoiled children.

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Just finish the house now. Once we’re up there we won’t notice the missing foundation.

This is of course short-sighted, and detrimental to the very progress we seek to make. We need to slow down, and build it brick by brick, even if we don’t live to see it built.  If we truly want to make the WORLD a better place, we shouldn’t be primarily focused on what we as individual can get NOW.

All in all, the lack of pragmatism that the left side has is a hard obstacle, born out of ordinarily good intentions and the odd hissy fit.  I’m not suggesting we change who we are.  Keep being diverse.  Keep having lofty goals.  Keep demanding better out of our candidates.

But stop expecting it to descend from mount Olympus on the back of a swan to spread gold apples to one and all.  Do the work, get the pay off. This is of course, a vast oversimplification.  But I don’t think any of the points are inaccurate.  We need to do better, for those who come after us.

Smartassicus out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Untitled

I see no point in giving this piece a title as I’m not even trying to follow a script.  No forethought, no plan.  Just a brain dump.

Mental illness is the name and purging is the game.  I doubt this will be overly effective but it’s worth a go. Writing madly without even looking at the screen while I type, worrying about spelling errors later.

Am I happy? Yes. Am I sad? Yes.  What about the people in my life?  What’s the net equation between positive and negative emotions?  How difficult do I make life for those I care about, and which ones really do?

I know my family loves the me that they remember, but not the me that I am.  I am the great disappointment, abandoning the values of generations upon generations because I couldn’t maintain a happy lie.

The things in my head that I can tell only a very few, and truths to speak to individuals that can never be said, as though it would relieve me of a burden, it would only pass it on to others.  Sometimes it feels like a half-life, despite living more true to myself now than I ever had.

Have I taken parts of lives as a result?  Am I causing a draining of vitality of people I care about?  Again, what’s the sum of good or bad?  do I give as much as I take? Or am I a vampire dooming anyone close to me to mediocrity of relationships, and a loss of vitality?

I know this is my brain having its way with me.  But real thoughts warp together with the lies of The Joker in my head.  It becomes hard to differentiate sometimes.  Like today where I watch a movie that had a scene that matches my worst nightmare and worst moment that changes a day from normal in to spiraling vortex of haunting memories, and self-doubt.  My internal screams are both at real issues and imagined ones.

I know that I’m not the only one suffering, I can call to mind in seconds a dozen people with suffering and pains, mental illnesses, and life-threatening or disabling conditions.  A moment longer and I can think of people dealing with everything ranging from poverty to a life nowhere near what they expected they would have.

If I had answers to any of the problems that people faced I’d fix it.  I think most people would, yet we have to rage impotently at our inability, or shut down long enough not to go mad with the senselessness of it all.

Sometimes I wish I could return to the happy delusion of believing that everything had a purpose and that one day I’d end up in paradise, but knowledge has a way of destroying fantasies. And I’m the better for it, despite facing harsh realities instead of comforting fiction.

I don’t have a conclusion that fits this piece.  No epiphany, no neat wrap up.  Just an end of the writing for now.

 

Keep fighting.  Smartassicus out.

Serendipshittery

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Blood money, bloody money, money for blood.

Again.  News rolls in again of another school shooting where the lives of American children are taken, and the same circular counterproductive arguments begin once again.  It made me create a new word (unless someone else has trademarked it already) in serendipshittery.  Serendipity is the chance occurrence of happy, beneficial results.  Serendipshittery is the opposite.  Every single person knows exactly what is happening.  Children are being killed by guns.  (If you respond with guns don’t kill people, people kill people, kindly fuck off until you’re gone, and then fuck off again.)

A girl at the Santa Fe shooting was interviewed and the reporter asked “Did it seem like it wasn’t real, that it could have never happened here?” her response was chilling.”  No.  It’s been happening everywhere so I figured it would eventually happen here.  I wasn’t surprised.”  It’s the children, the teens, that are aware of the realities while adults slap their hand to their head in disbelief as if this hasn’t been a regular occurrence for adolescent massacres.

Yes, it just happened.  Yes, people will yap about how it’s “too soon” to talk about it.  Pardon me for this.  Fuck you and your “too soons.”  This conversation has been dominated by the tone-deaf all along.

But here’s the thing.  Even the people who instantly rush to defend “second amendment rights” after every shooting, like ghouls rising from their rotten graves and splattering everything with foulness, they KNOW guns are a problem.  They just refuse to admit it.  So they throw out every silly non-sequitur they can think of, and do remarkably stupid, and frankly, shitty things.

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I’ll help by… um… showing up to a schools shooting scene with a flag and a gun. Yeah

Take this massive chucklefuck.  He was interviewed walking around the school with an American flag, a MAGA hat, and a pistol on his hip.  Because nothing says I CARE ABOUT YOUR LIVES, KIDS! by showing up with more firearms.  He couldn’t even give a good reason to be there.  He was there to offer “support.”  And maybe he was.  But he was there to support guns, not lives.

The interviewer then cut to someone incensed at this guy for being there with a gun.  I thought for a moment that someone was going to take him to task in the name of commons sense.  Nope.  This new person said that him bringing a gun here was insensitive to be there with a gun, and it wasn’t what was needed.  What was needed was prayer.  You can imagine how my single facepalm turned from one hand to two.

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We have so many, we’ll never run out.

Now, this isn’t an indictment on all people of faith.  I know many that know that just praying isn’t going to do a thing.  Yes, as an atheist I get really pissed off when people go down the route of “praying will stop bullets.”  But the vapid idiocy of proclaiming that prayer is the answer is as bad as those who actively rush to the defense of guns after every shooting.  They know it isn’t a solution.  It never has been. It doesn’t stop them from proclaiming it is the key though.

People pray all the time and there are still funerals that will be upcoming.  Hey, if it worked, I’d be all for it.  I’d even take a shift in front of a school saying any prayer they want if it made our kids bulletproof.  It. Doesn’t.

And that isn’t even the most sinister aspects. Knowing full well that the “It isn’t the guns fault” side is losing the battle of public opinion badly, trollish goons start spreading lies and disinformation immediately.  Some of it is utterly transparent falsehood, but that doesn’t matter.

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Left: White terrorist. Right: White terrorist in a photoshopped hat.

 

The shooting wasn’t even a few hours passed before fake profiles started popping up on Facebook with poorly photoshopped images and left-wing organizations such as Antifa listed among interests.  Facebook took down the actual profile soon after the piece of shit was identified.  But the right-wing nutjob portion of the gun argument have to lie to distract. Trying to paint him as a democrat because… I don’t know. Fuck democrats, I guess.  It’s a distraction from the issue.  Get people to talk about the lawn, and nobody pays attention to the house that’s on fire.

The fakes are cartoonishly bad. The creation date is today. Anyone looking at it for 5 seconds should be able to identify it is falsehood.  But it’s now circulating as fact among Gun-toting MAGA hat stands.

To quote Terry Goodkind: People believe (obvious) lies for two reasons.  They are afraid that it’s true, or they are desperate to believe that it’s true.  This is clearly the latter.  It suits the narrative of the “hateful left” so they will latch on to it like leeches on to a swimmer in a swamp.

Everyone knows what the problem is.  Everyone knows that there are again parents who have had their teenage child ripped away from them in a heartbeat.  I can attest to the devastation of sudden unexpected loss of your child, even if my circumstances are different.  They are never going to be ok again, these moms and dads.   My heart rips in two for them.  None of this is by chance, though. It’s the opposite of chance.  It is an ever increasing probability as a belligerent minority elect a blood money pocketing government.  They know it’s true as well.  But they just love their toys more than human lives.

Of course, talking about gun regulations automatically incenses the rambo wannabe population to condemn speaking of it. So if anyone wants to play the insensitivity card, that I am capitalizing on a shooting to forward an agenda, I’d say two things.  One, yep.  I’m going to say something every goddamn time.  And so should everyone else.  This needs to be protested at the national level with ferocity.  and two, If you’re the person who says that talking about gun control right after a shooting is ghoulish;  You are the disgusting ghouls I was talking about in the first place.

Smartassicus out(raged.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bird in a ribcage

Be still.  Quiet.  Listen intently, and you may hear it.  The mournful cry of the bird living behind your ribs. It’s not sad to be there.  It’s where it lives.  But that is the sound it makes.  It is the mourning dove, and that is its home.

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I am sorry to be such a downer, but you guys named ME.

I don’t know if you are familiar with the call of a mourning dove, but it’s aptly named.  It usually calls in the early hours of the day when the sun is barely beginning to rise, and it sounds every bit like a plaintive call of a heart missing something.

And that’s why we have a place for it.  I say chest because how we experience loss and disillusionment, with a tangible feeling directly behind the breastbone. I am not speaking of ordinary grief.  I am not referring to identified sadness. I am talking about the mourning for the unknown things that are just missing.  The reality is, no matter how good life is, we all tend to experience a dissatisfaction that can’t be placed, and cannot be filled.

People have spent their life trying to fill this place.  It has been used as manipulative preaching by being called a “god-shaped hole” during proselytizing. It has been used by con men who sell self-help or motivational garbage, or marketing to try to get you to buy things you don’t need in the never-ending quest to fill this spot.

If we are going to talk about holes, I’d prefer to call it a black hole instead.  Dark, dense, and entirely unable to be filled, in consumes anything we throw at it.

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I’d stay out, or you’ll have to spend eternity with Matthew Mcconaughey.

 

This black hole isn’t a bad thing. it just IS.  the human reality is that life is never the utopia that we want it to be.  You can have a perfectly happy life, and you will still have this place in you. I don’t think anyone is truly exempt.  When I was in the depth of despair during my PTSD and grief over the loss of my daughter, it was all-consuming.  So I created a place in my mind. A perfect place, so I could try and forget for a little while.  Now that place is the dream that will never occur.  It’s my Mourning Dove.  Not specifically this fictional place, but the feeling that it evokes.

Let me paint a picture with my words.  I close my eyes and see a beautiful network of homes over still water. The water is clear and clean, and barely moves other than to reflect soft sunlight.

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This place exists. My place does not.

I say a network of homes because they are the homes of all of the people I care about.  Those who are struggling with financial issues are no longer looking at a budget.  Illnesses are expunged.  The worries of life have slipped away.  The homes are all joined by wooden boardwalks, to a central platform with a covered roof but open sides.  A brazier is in the middle with reclining deck chairs surrounding it.  It is neither hot nor cold, but comfortable.  And everyone I love is there.  Everyone is wearing a diaphanous type of outfit which covers little, but is symbolic of lack of shame rather than lust.  Not that sex is non-existent, relationships are free and open and consensual as people choose. But nobody has any feeling of need to hide.  There is a sense of love and acceptance and peace.  Jealousy and strife don’t exist.

Perhaps this is a callback in some way to a vision of heaven that I may have had back when I was religious, it has many of the same elements, painlessness and love.  But it is a human place, an earthly place in my mind, not a reward for adherence to dogmas, but simply a place where those I hold in my heart to be truly free.  It’s a testament to what it is that my heart truly desires, to be with all the people I love without the weight of drudgery and responsibility,

What I used for comfort is also my grief; It is something that I will never have.  I will never have all my dearest with me, without the rigors of modern life. It seems childish at times, But I indulge the call of the mourning dove.   I dream it, and desire it.  I watch the sun set on the horizon in my dream knowing full well I’ll never see it.

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dream with me.

 And it’s ok.  Because I don’t think this visceral sadness is a bad thing.  It’s where empathy and care is born, and even the ever-missing desires are a part of us. And I can visit my dream as often as I’d like.

I’ll see you there.

Smartassicus out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consent, Redefined

I first want to take credit for coming up with an amazing clickbait title.  Good job, Smartassicus.  Why thank you.  Alright. Now that the self ego-stroking is out of the way, let’s get down to brass tacks.  I want to talk about consent.

Let’s start off with the most obvious thing, which is consent in the context of sexual advances.  The #metoo movement has been awe-inspiring.  Women have stood up and spoken out against all forms of harassment and assault.  Not so much that women haven’t been telling us all along.  They have, and we as a society did not listen.  A lot still don’t.  The swell of #metoo was what was so amazing. It is by far the most wide-sweeping discussion on the topic of sexual consent.  It made me re-evaluate interactions in my life, and realize that I was a #metoo for women at times.  I am not going to qualify or explain, because I don’t want it to appear to be excusing my behavior even if it isn’t rape or assault.

But I am going to swing away from focusing on just sexual consent, as although it is so very crucial, I wanted to address it at a basic all-encompassing level that rings true as to why the #metoo movement is so valid and important.

 

I need you all to stop for a moment, and be prepared to think.  This isn’t meant to be condescending, there are so many of you who have probably worked this out long before me.  But It’s a mental exercise.

 

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I used Bush in two back to back posts, which I believe violates the Geneva convention.

One thing directly related to consent is bodily autonomy.  This is a term used far more in discussions (Ha. Discussions.  More like nosy religious people using emotionally charged falsified data and empty rhetoric to scream at women, particularly the vunerable about how evil they are and…) Ok. taking a deep breath.  That’s a topic all to itself.  It’s safe to say I’m pro-choice.  It’s also used in reference to the freedom of sex workers, but I have already written a piece on that.

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I am pro-choice.  I choose not to kill this man because she already slayed him.

 

Bodily autonomy. The concept that you have complete control over your own body.  You decide how you use it, what is allowed, what is not. Stand alone. inviolable. absolute.  let’s take that down to the cellular level.

If you have autonomy, you have autonomy over everything.  Otherwise it isn’t autonomy.  If we expand the concept to what it really means, it means you are not beholden to anyone for anything. At all.

No one has the right to your time, unless you consent.

No one has the right to your attention, unless you consent.

No one has the right to anything.  It is yours.

The only thing people can do is request things of you.  They must ask.  No, your employer has no right to demand anything of you.  They request, and offer remuneration. You either agree or don’t.  if you don’t agree, you are choosing to leave the job. But it is your choice.  Another place where pedantry can muddy the water is in parenting.  Well, the baby is crying. I have no choice but to take care of it.  But that’s really an extension of the choice you made to have the child.  You (hopefully.) had the child willfully.  Autonomy is not just a barrier to demands, it’s also a responsibility in the choices we make. You’d think that this was an elemental and perfectly understood concept, but it isn’t.  People demand things of others all the time. Husbands (or wives, but let’s be honest about percentages) pester their spouses for sex.  Employers make unreasonable demands. friends ask too much of you when you can’t handle it but they are friends and you don’t want to let them down. So on and so forth.

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Demand resistant force field for sale. Only costs all the monies.

Most of the time demands are benign, sometimes they are not.  But having any expectation on anyone for anything is actually, not acknowledging the autonomy of the individual you are demanding it from.

But what about marriage? Monogamous relationships?  Aren’t you duty bound by your oaths and promises?  The short answer is no.  You maintain your relationships, and the boundaries you set within it, by autonomy.  No piece of paper can declare you must be faithful to a person.  No tax status can make you agree to boundaries.  And if you think about it, do you really WANT it to?  You partner(s) are there by choice.  At least they should be. They should adhere to agreed boundaries because they autonomously agree to.  I am trying to encompass all different relationship types simply here, but the essence is that every day, every choice, every thing, is yours. Yours alone. And you have the absolute authority over how any of it is used.

As a last point, I of course need to address people who are in situations that choice is removed from them.  That happens.  I am not blind to people who can’t leave a shitty job because it will ruin them, afraid to leave an abusive relationship for many number of reasons, or people who have been criminally forced in to things they do not want to do.  This is unacceptable behavior.  It is violating someone else’s autonomy.  When you think about it, it is a truly despicable act.

There are a few things I haven’t addressed, and don’t plan on doing so.  I’m perfectly prepared for the “well actually” that can come with discussion like this.  I welcome it.

 

Now follow my fucking blog.  You know. If you consent to.

Love to all*

*some**

**few of you.

 

Smartassicus out.

 

 

 

 

 

VENI! VIDI! Defuit…

Everyone loves a winner!

Winning isn’t the most important thing, it’s the only thing!

Keep trying, keep fighting, and you will win.

Barf. Sorry. If you’ve ever won something significant, congratulations. Hell, if you take pride in winning connect 4 with your toddler, go for it. But we are so damned obsessed with victory. It doesn’t really matter what we are hoping to win, but most of us want to win at SOMETHING. So much so that we’ll even claim the victory of other people as our own. Read any Twitter thread after a sports ball match and the insufferable prattle of fans will make you want to gouge your eyes out. Particularly if you’re one of the fans of the winning team, in which case fuck you, I don’t care. Julius Caesar once said Vidi, Vini, Vici. I came, I saw I conquored. Well yeah. If you count sitting back and letting men who had no choice in the matter stab each other in the faces until there was enough dead people. I’m certain his correspondence with Ptolemy fans was annoying as fuck.

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Egypt sucks, Rome number one! Smashed you XXII to IV!

But it’s not really about sports or BCE wars, what I’m really referring to is treating everything we do like a victory, or a failure. No, this isn’t some motivational speech about learning from failures.

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Thank you Sir Ian. I learned a valuable lesson, but I feel the teabagging was unneccessary.

Nor is it some sad sack woe is me I never win lament. I win, sometimes. Almost everyone “wins” at something eventually. But is it really winning? (Ok, yes. Playing XI on a triple word score two directions in scrabble is winning, and totally pisses off your opponent.) Why aren’t we talking about earning as much?

Because meritocracy barely exists. So we seek to win, instead of not lose. Yeah, you have some control over some of it. But most shit is just out of your hands. Think about the best player on the losing team, the best solider in the losing army, they did their best and one ended up going home without a trophy, and the other without his head.

That’s the world we live in. We created a society that doesn’t reward effort so much as it does circumstance. For every story of a plucky young thing who grew his small patch of pumpkins in to a New England area monopoly on the gourd market, there are a million crashes and burns. A woman marries a man, he abuses her, then leaves her, she has kids, a deadbeat ex, and can’t make ends meet. What about the student who doesn’t have a rich mommy and daddy to pay their way through Ivy league? They lose by comparison to the brain dead dumbfucks who have no brains but plenty of money. Not to name any names.

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Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on toast. Yeah. That’s it.

I don’t want this piece to be long. The point is, you aren’t going to win much. When you do, a lot of it won’t have to do with you. If it does, it will likely be a small victory. If it’s not, It will probably be the only thing of real significant triumph. And if it’s not, well fuck you, you overachiever. Congratulations. For most of us it’s I came, I saw, I failed.

We go through life mostly making ends meet, and trying to extract some happiness from existence, and we succeed or fail at varying levels. It’s mind-boggling that people still think that working hard and effort are the key to success. It’s like they’ve never met a CEO.

We can take one small Schadenfreude for the jerks who win though. Those assholes who prance and strut about their victories, or make declarations of their own awesomeness. Victory is fleeting. Winners typically turn in to losers. They get defeated down the line. Fall on their face, or simply slip away in to obscurity. I’m not saying we should be jerks ourselves. But don’t feel to jealous, or worry about it too much. It won’t last. Just like that smug bastard Caesar, who really had a sharp end to his win streak. (Yes. you are allowed to unfollow me or send me a message cursing me out for that joke.)

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I came, I saw, I shit myself as I bled out.

Smartassicus out.

So much intolerance left

“So much for the tolerant left.”

the words emblazoned across the screen. Be it in a tweet, Facebook, or slipping from the lips of a neighbor, coworker or family member.And you clench your teeth.  Bite your tongue, feel the muscles between your shoulders clench and try to control your eye roll to less than migraine inducing.

How many times have we heard this refrain?  How many times has it been tossed out casually to any criticism as if it’s a get out of being an asshole free card.  Pre-Trump, it was the most annoying and repetitive thing we heard during debate about polarized issues.  It has been supplanted by another worthless toss off statement of late.

 

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41,511,141 is the number of times I have personally seen this tweeted

But it’s still in use without hesitation.  Doing a Twitter check right now, it was last used 16 minutes ago because someone had the audacity to say Tucker Carlson should shut the fuck up.

 

 

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No. Really. He should shut the fuck up.

 

The reality is this.  The world is getting more and more polarized.  There have always been two sides of the political spectrum.  Left, or more liberal/progressive or right, more conservative.  People fit anywhere along this line of ideology, but where it used to be some far left, some far right, and most hovering around the center, it’s not a few floating around in the middle of the pool wondering where the fuck everyone is while the left and right stand on opposite sides glaring at each other.  Talk to the people on the left, and it’s the right-wing that has run headlong in to bat shit insanity. Talk to the right, and it’s the Left that’s completely lost their minds.  And to be fair, neither side is completely wrong.  There are some straight up wackos on both sides of the divide.

 

Now here is where I go forward and my personal biases come in to play.  I feel that the right has shifted further from reasonable positions.  I am however, an unabashed leftist. So you’re not going to get an objective position from me.  Standing back, I have to admit that there are some on the progressive side that have in my opinion, completely lost their minds.  Although we share a great number of ideological values, we don’t share the way to get there, nor the priorities.  (I’m sorry, but free college for already privileged white kids is not at the top of my list. great idea? Yeah.  Maybe we should feed, clothe and give medical care to people first.)

All that is a long-winded windup to my pitch.  Which is this.  We DO need to stop hating as much as we do.  It comes easy.  I see an eagle AVI on twitter with the name deplorable and I immediately intensely dislike the person.  But should I immediately hate them?  TRY AND STOP ME. Sorry that slipped out.  No, I shouldn’t.

But I firmly believe that “hate” has its place.  We do not need to be the tolerant left in the face of the never-ending attempts to dehumanize, control, and marginalize people of color, LGBTQIA, immigrants, the poor, and non-Christian religions (or lack thereof.)

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It’s funny and not. Because it’s parody. And not.

We should not back down for one second in the face of fear mongering politicians and pundits, nor the people who have drunk deep from that toxic well and vomit it back out on every forum.  In short, we should hate the hateful.  We should hate the racist, the homophobe, the heartless, the unstable lunatics who believe there is a secret cabal of Obama clones running an underground network of tunnels to dig in to trailer parks and steal guns.

All to often there have been attempts to put a human face on the tiki-torch white supremacists and the confederate flag waving morons who shriek about showing respect for America by standing for the anthem while waving the flag of a defeated traitorous faction.

Now, when I originally sat down to write this piece, I was going to take a far more militant tone.  But a few tweets from people I love and respect gave me pause.  I will cite exactly none of them, because they know who they are and you probably don’t (but you should because they are awesome.)

“Anger is useful. Hate is not.”

My brain shrieks at that.   HATE them. They deserve it.  Brexiteers.  Trumpsticks. Tories. The “we hate melanin” party.  (I really don’t know all the names of the various groups that stand on hateful ideology.)  My lizard brain wants to hate.

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I’m sorry. This meme is obligatory when talking about hate. All hail the dark lord, Lucas.

 

When I mentioned that I still feel hate, another person kinder and wiser than me wrote  “I do sometimes too…  I always try to find compassion. I’m not always successful. So should we feel compassion for the people who do their best to maintain suffering in our world and nations?  Pity?  Hatred?

I think that what it boils down to, is that hate isn’t hate when it’s opposition to hate.  I don’t really hate any individual person who voted for Trump.  (Although I’ve met few in person and they may test that theory.)  I do hate pretty much everything they stand for.  I hate their hate.

So when they talk about the intolerant left, Fuck yeah.  We must be the intolerant left.  We must not stand aside on attacks on the vulnerable.  We must block every attempt at taking away the rights of women.  We must point the spotlight on racism and bigotry.  We must stand shoulder to shoulder and say no to every single horrible thing those steeped in fear and loathing can throw.

But hate?  No.  We shouldn’t.  And just like giving up opium, good luck getting of that cold turkey.  I’m the most hateful of the group of people I was chatting with about this very topic.  I’m as my partner calls me, a little over-emotive.  I feel deep, hurt deep, lash out from the deep.  Bigots played a role in one of the biggest losses in my life, albeit indirectly.  Letting go of hatred for homophobic douchecanoes is as easy as watching The Notebook without grimacing.

But it comes from a place of honest compassion for those who don’t have the same privilege in life that I do.  That are victims of what is currently the most toxic world political climate since World War 2.  I think for most of us that’s the case.  I think we want love to win so badly that we feel the hate of opposition to it.  It’s easy to do. So if you find yourself feeling hate, remember what it is that we stand for.  And stand against.  There’s no hate cessation patch. And in saying that It means I have to do the same lest I be a hypocrite.  I hate hypocrites.

 

Smartassicus out.

 

 

 

 

 

Tape it to make it legal

Disclaimer:  In the following piece I do not propose to speak for the people I am speaking about.  I do not intend to group or classify them a ubiquitous entity, they are each unique, autonomous human beings.  This is a work of opinion.

So… Stormy Daniels, hey?  Big news, isn’t it?  An adult film star sleeping with the Cheeto. Scandalous! Titillating! (Use of pun intended or not dependant on if you think it’s funny.)  And totally disgusting.

What? no.  Not her.  Not what she does.  The only thing I find off about her is her taste in men.  What’s vile is the way that people have spoken about her since the story broke.  Slut. Hooker. Whore.  And it’s not limited to the right-wing trying to discredit her.  It’s also invective being used by opponents of Trump to make HIM look bad. (he doesn’t need the help, folks.)  Liberal, “progressive” people saying things like, and I direct quote:  Raw-dogging a porn star.

This piece is not about Stormy.  She is just an example of the vitriol society has towards sex work.  It’s about the utter hypocrisy that is displayed across political spectrums.

 

Let’s start with the obvious.  Pornography.  I’m not going to debate the merits of porn.  I am not interested in arguing about who watches it, why, etcetera. (WOMEN WATCH PORN.)  What’s fascinating about it is that it’s legal.  It is the exchange of money for a service.  Being compensated for sexual services.  What makes it legal?   Recording it and selling it.  Yet sex work is criminalized.  the only difference is recording it.

Now in what fucking universe does that make sense?  (Ha. Fucking.)  No, this isn’t an invitation for the puritans to start an anti-porn argument.

 

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Which would be odd, they seemed to be in to some pretty public kink.

 

When it comes right down to it, sex work is perfectly legal as long as you record it in some fashion, be it photographs or video.  The hypocrisy is that there are an uncountable number of people who have no issue with porn, watch porn, think nothing of the legality of porn… yet are opposed to sex work.  They are adamantly opposed to a woman using bodily autonomy for income. (unless they get to watch a video of it I suppose.)  you can type in to google any particular type of porn you’d like to watch and get results.  It’s as if the sex being broadcast changes it from sex work to something entirely different.

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Used SFW to not show unwanted nudity.  Now I’m getting emails from cookie fetishists.

 

This is the part where it get’s tricky.  Because I want to raise my voice in unison with sex workers.  I want to be on their side, but run the risk of misrepresenting individuals in sex work whose attitudes or opinions differ than mine.  I hope that any who read this would challenge anything I say that is not ok. I write this from a place of privilege and can easily misfire.

But the reality is that pretty much every anti-sex work argument is based on fear mongering, myth, and outright lies.  People argue that it fuels human trafficking.  The opposite is true.  The criminalization of sex work leads to criminalized operations.  When it’s illicit, the unscrupulous monsters will swoop in.  Predation on underage women is not a sex work issue, it’s a pedophile issue, and must be addressed entirely separately. (this is also not an issue of gender, as sex workers come in all gender expressions.) Kid diddlers aren’t going to stop when legal consenting adults operate as sex workers.

Likewise, Sex workers are not responsible for your marriage.  They aren’t making your spouse or partner cheat.  I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the argument that because it’s available, it’s at fault. This is one of the most specious arguments, and stop blaming a sex worker for your lousy partner.  I have heard there are some workers that won’t even provide service to someone if they suspect they are married.  Who’s the immoral one?

Sex workers choose to be sex workers.  Yes.  There are examples where people have turned to sex work as a last resort.  Just like people will take any job that they don’t want but have to put food on the table.  The fact that it is sex work is irrelevant to the reality that frequently (and when it comes down to it, most of us) do things we aren’t enthusiastic about to pay the bills.  But that doesn’t mean sex workers aren’t happy with sex work.  I have befriended a number of people in the business of sex work on twitter, and the prevailing attitude is they like what they do.  The things they hate are bad clients, judgmental shitheads, and people who try to barter a deal.  Not the work they chose for themselves.

Sex workers DO NOT SELL THEIR BODIES.  They provide a service that uses their body.  So does your masseuse, chiropractor or physiotherapist, house painters, plumbers and so forth.  Society differentiates because it’s sex.  Not because it’s work.  And it’s the underlying hypocrisy about sex that is the issue.

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You loved Pretty Woman but turn your nose up at this.  I see you.

 

Sex workers do not all operate the same.  They are not cold-hearted profit seekers with no regard for people.  That’s us regarding them.  Not the other way around.  I can’t speak for all sex workers in this regard.  The only thing I can do is speak my own experiences.

First is the interactions with sex workers who I have befriended online.  They have all been caring, wonderful people.  I do try to remember that they need space and time management because they are working with clients, primarily.  But that isn’t unlike me not bothering my friend at work when he has a work deadline.  Peel away the preconceived judgements about sex workers, and SURPRISE! They are thinking, feeling, people.

But I want to use a deeper example to personalize it.  I am right now in a wonderful relationship.  It wasn’t always so.  I was in a near sexless marriage that came to an end.  Despite the lack of physical affection I received,  I remained faithful. (at least physically.  Pornhub probably had my family history.)  After the break up, I desired sex.  Not abnormal.  But the thought of the bar scene turned my stomach.  One, I wasn’t sure I wanted another relationship EVER.  That changed. But at the time I felt like, fuck it, I’m done.  But I also didn’t want to be a user.  I am not condemning casual sex.  I have had sex with people who had no realistic future of a relationship, the key being it was not a misleading attempt to dangle a relationship so you can get some sex.  It was two adults who had regard and care for each other that chose physical expression and that’s just fine.

But I am appalled by (mostly) men who play the I want a relationship game and then ghost when they get their rocks off.  That is not the person I want to be.  I hate these men with the fire of a thousand suns. (do NOT “not all men” me. I’ll spit on your sneakers.)  So I sought the services of a sex worker. Twice.

Was it ideal for me?  No, for FULL enjoyment for me I require a deeper connection with the person, but the experiences were not negative.  I chose not to use the back page classifieds, because there are no assurances that I wouldn’t be fueling an abused person.  The symptom of illicit sex work in the first place.  I chose local sex workers.  They were independent, intelligent women who screened, addressed security concerns appropriately.  They were prepared, provided protection, and fully disclosed exactly what their rules were.  (Side note, don’t try to break a rule.  It makes you an asshole.  If it says no kissing, she means it.  No, I didn’t try.  I’m saying don’t be an asshole.) Just like no shirt no shoes no service, you don’t have an excuse to flout it.

One was more businesslike, and was “in charge” of the sexual service.  This was her stipulations.

The other was warmer (although the first was not unpleasant by any means) and was more interested in some get to know along with the service.  There was an awareness of a need for more than just sex, but human contact.  Hugs and conversation before, cuddle and a kiss on the cheek after, and not a rush to get out.  (I do not think someone leaving right away is an issue, it is after all, a business arrangement.)

I differentiate because people just don’t seem to give a fuck that sex workers are complete individuals who run their business as they see fit. It is well past the time where sex work is decriminalized. Yet things like SESTA keep getting forwarded by people who want to maintain archaic moral standards while not living up to them themselves.

Now here’s the parting shot.  Some may have read my experiences and sneered.  Thinking I couldn’t get a woman to sleep with me without paying (I didn’t try.) or that I engaged in immoral behavior (fuck your morals.)  Some may read this and never look at me the same way again.  I don’t give a shit.  If the take away from this is “Oh my god, he had protected, consensual sex with a sex worker instead of leading on someone or engaging in activities I didn’t want to and paid for it, what a scumbag”  you can walk out the door.  I don’t care what you think.  I did the right thing for me, and what I felt was the best thing to avoid anyone being hurt.

 

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Disclaimer: I am not, in fact, a Honey Badger.

But it’s not about me.  It’s about the sex workers who need society to stop treating them like a disease and realize that THEY are the most honest of us, in reality.  To my friends online in the sex work industry,  I beg your indulgence if I missed anything, or spoke an untruth based in ignorance.  My voice is on your side, for what it’s worth.

Smartassicus out.