Archive for July, 2004
So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. – Franklin D. Roosevelt in his Inaugural Address
The truckers, who haul hazardous material across 48 states, explained how easy it is to spot “Islamics” on the road: just look for their turbans. Quite a few of them are truck drivers, says William Westfall of Van Buren, Ark. “I’ll be honest. They know they’re not welcome at truck stops. There’s still a lot of animosity toward Islamics.” Eddie Dean of Fort Smith, Ark., also has little doubt about his ability to identify Muslims: “You can tell where they’re from. You can hear their accents. They’re not real clean people.” – Time via Boing boing
Perhaps I’m a real strange one, but I try to actively suppress my worries. That isn’t to say I don’t have them, but I find obsessing about them does as much good as walking into a wall repeatedly. (I’ve tried both, so I know.)
I might be a little weird, but on 9/11/01 I actually did my best to apply this. I somehow managed to be unaware of the events until about 2 pm that day. (I slept in because I was exhausted from Jenni’s wedding the day before, and when I woke up I went directly to watching stored television on my TiVO, only getting to CNN about two hours later.) I admittedly spent about two hours shell shocked in fear and awe. I called Jenni and some family, and then said to myself “I have to go about my normal business.” This was not a callous disregard for what had happened, but a conscious attempt to restore life to as normal as possible, as quickly as possible.
I re-assembled my tux from its menagerie of pieces, hopped in the car and started to drive north, toward Wright State and by association Wright-Patt Airforce Base, one of the largest strategic targets in the area (if you’re looking for one) On the way I listened to WYSO‘s NPR coverage of what was happening. At one point I remember breaking down in tears from fear while driving. I got to the mall where I needed to return my tux, and it was closed.
I was at a loss for what to do. (This was supposed to be a day off anyways, so I didn’t have a plan to begin with.) I remember I did manage to make it to Wright State and buy food and a special edition newspaper at the cafeteria, I called work and offered to work if needed, and wandered to my new dorm room.
Its a jumble from there but I remember spending a good few hours in the dorm lounge watching television writing down facts and figures attempting to make sense of what had been happening, and attempting to predict what the future held.
I lost the battle against fear that day. Mind you, in the end I was in about as much danger as any other day.
I think though on that day we as a country entered a new battle, that of fear. Replacing the much missed previous war of fear, The Cold War.
Michael Moore makes the assertion in his new film Fahrenheit 9/11 and he also suggests in Bowling for Columbine that fear in our society is irrational, out of proportion to the actual reality, and is manipulated by many forces, especially the federal government. Additionally he makes the assertion that the Bush administration has actively utilized fear to manipulate the populace to support their goals in whatever they wanted the country to do.
But back to the Time article about the truckers spying on people in this country. (And yes it is spying!) I am all for training people to be alert and mindful of their surroundings. But this appears to be the one remaining branch of the ill fated Operation TIPS, a program to encourage America’s infrastructure workers to spy on the people they serve and report suspicious activities. It doesn’t matter though that programs like these are not indicative of a democracy; programs like these are indicative of totalitarian regimes. So while Operation TIPS wasn’t fully successful, part of it exists. If the logical lines that are being employed here prevail, children will be encouraged to spy on their parents, and George Orwell’s book will have only missed the mark by 30 years. We declared war 83,272 days ago (July 4, 1776) for our freedom from government.
I only fear one thing now. Its not terrorist attacks, being broke and poor, dying young, or being assaulted in the street; I fear for my security from the government.
The United States was goaded into a war built on fear, and started fighting for the wrong side.
Things have been interesting in the Citi lately.. Somehow I’ve become the gay poster boy in my department. (Mind you there are much cuter poster boys in other departments, but I digress…)
Lets back up quickly. I’m out at work. I always have been out, there never was any question or choice about not being out. That said, I don’t make a point of being out to everyone all the time, when the appropriate subject comes up, I’m out; If its nowhere near the subject at hand it doesn’t matter. (Really, if we’re discussing a new procedure does it really matter that I make a point of being out?)
I’ve had at least two experiences in the past week of young women at work wanting to know well anything and everything. The first was from someone who was in my training class and has been on my team as long as I’ve been on my team. For the most part this was your standard “I’ve never met a real live gay person, I’ve got tons of questions…” event. Lots of probing questions rooted in an honest sense of curiosity. For the most part I obliged and answered her questions, equality and understanding comes one person at a time, you’ve gotta work on it at that level, or ya might as well just bite your foot off.
The second experience happened yesterday. This has likely been one of the most uncomfortable “tell, and don’t shows” I’ve had. Her argumentative line included a few beliefs that I had a hard time responding to.
The first was a general underlying theme of “where did things go wrong with you?” Ultimately this took several forms within the argument: “God made man and woman to reproduce” (and when I informed her I would not have an argument on religious grounds) “Man and woman were made to reproduce.” I made generally unsuccessful arguments that well if man and woman’s only purpose was to reproduce after this purpose was fulfilled or not an option (i.e. Children are self supportive, or no children were had) we should just go and kill ourselves, because we’ve fulfilled the only purpose we were here for. (Mind you this would reduce taxes as well as a host of other benefits…) I couldn’t get this argument or anything similar to stick.
The second was the definition of sex, err of “normal sex.” She attempted to limit it just to coitus. (i.e. Penile->Vaginal Sex) I made multiple attempts at debunking the whole argument of “normal” but I failed again. (For the record every dictionary I checked (only two dictionaries, but they were so similar I felt any further searching would be futile.) included both coitus and other genital contact within their definitions.)
So what is the point here?
- You can’t win em all
- I need to develop some stronger arguments to replace my failed arguments above
- Arguing with a brick wall isn’t something thats likely to be successful.
I’d be pissed at myself if the me of 2002 or so saw the me of today. Not for everything, but because I’ve just been well seemingly apathetic about personal political issues such as gay marriage, the role of religion in government, and sending my peers to die to ensure that Iraq is a failed nation state.
I used to scream, scathingly demean, and organize against political positions that I feel are unjust or just plain idiotic.
Sigh. Well that little horizontal rule signifies about two days of procrastination on this entry, if not more. I’m really good at procrastination.
Here I think I need a few more of them.
There. Now back to the topic at hand.
I dunno, part of what I had to force myself to do back in 2003 with Jo was to be self focused. I was so out caring about everything but myself and I got to the point where there was nothing that was me to care about.
Its not that I don’t want to care about these things. I mean GLBT rights are, well, personal. But I can’t pour myself into just doing that. I have a life to live and goals to meet. I’d love to be able to commit myself full time to GLBT rights, but at the moment I don’t have a position that would allow me to do that, and have a reasonably wage to live on.
I want to keep this short and to the point. I’m too tired to just wander on and on philosophically working through all the permutations, but rest assured I have.
I hate getting up early. I’ve always been a late morning/late night guy. (i.e. In bed late night, out of bed late morning)
I’ve been having to be at work at 8 am last week and this week because I’m going through a training class to work on a different product, and we start bright and early at 8 am. There is one thing I’ve learned during the past week. The feeling of being in high school isn’t just the atmosphere, its the sleep deprivation.
Don’t get me wrong other periods are marked by sleep deprivation: exam week in college, show production weeks, moving to a new home, being sick, etc.. But the 8 am start time sleep deprivation feels different.
I’m a night rat, I admit that. I’m at my best when I wake up about 9 or 10 am and go to bed about 1 or 2 am. If given no structure I actually migrate to a third shift schedule. Its been years since I’ve done that voluntarily but I’m sure that if I didn’t have any commitments to meet I’d be going to bed about 6 am and waking up about 4 pm.
An evening schedule is natural for me. My habits, my mind, and my body are well adjusted for that schedule. They all balk at being forced into a morning schedule.
Here is the thing… Show me a high school that has classes starting at 11 am. I know you can do it in college or get a job where you start at 11 am, but find a regular high paying office job with an 11 am start time.. They don’t exist. (or are much rarer.)
Its a little wacky, but I believe it is discrimination to have such a rigid society built on the 8 am start time. I know I would’ve done better in high school with an 11 am start time. Thats just part of who I am. I know people who are “not morning people” who’ve been working the 8 am shift for a long time and it still wears them down really hard, so its not just a matter of getting into a routine.
Like any innate factor (race, sexual attraction, gender, height, etc) one group has declared itself superior and righteous and proceeded to establish a system where the lesser group is looked down upon for who they innately are, which is the definition of discrimination.
I know this sounds wacky, but if you accept that maximum societal productivity is a shared goal, then you would want every member functioning at their best; for that to happen The 8 am Regime needs to be defrocked.