#MeToo, Hollywood, and Inescapably Shallow Social Media Movements

Hey, guys! This will be a quick post on the controversies and social media movements to “build awareness” that have sprung up in the wake of everyone pretending that something obvious was surprising: Show biz sucks! Who would have thunk? This is totally not a thing everyone already knew.

So film producer and former Hollywood studio executive Harvey Weinstein turned out to be a total pervert who frequently sexually harassed (and maybe assaulted) many, many actresses who depended on him for a paycheck. I know Neon Demon was about modeling and not acting, but that movie came out last year. It’s not like the notion of Hollywood and/or the wider entertainment industry being sexually and financially exploitative and shady as hell is a novel idea. Hell, Corey Feldman went on the record years ago talking about how he and his young friends were molested and exploited by their producers/executives, to the point where he credited that abuse with why one of his friends committed suicide. I have no idea why people are acting like this isn’t a problem that everyone was already aware of. And social media “activism” is not helping the problem.

I repeat: It is not helping the problem.

I don’t want to be one of those people who totally dismisses social media as a tool for social change. There are plenty of legitimately helpful groups and movements that could not exist or be nearly as successful as they are without the help of things like Facebook or Twitter. The Innocence Project. Multiple religious apostate groups. Depression outreach groups. The list goes on and on. So no, I’m not going to sit here and say that social media is utterly worthless when it comes to contending with social ills.

But for all those instances of social media providing a helpful and conductive platform for ideas that otherwise wouldn’t be easily accessible, on the flip side of that coin are things like #MeToo and the Harvey Weinstein debacle: People on the internet doing what people on the internet do best–oversimplify problems to the point where nothing they say is helpful and create symbolic Boogeymen to slay as opposed to actually caring about the wider issue at hand.

#MeToo went from “raising awareness about how many people are sexually harassed and/or assaulted” to “telling men that they’re all responsible for rape and encouraging women to continue with a victim narrative even if they don’t fit into it.” I already had issues with #MeToo because it conflates sexual harassment with sexual assault like they’re equal and comparable things, making no distinction between the two. That’s not to say that there are no cases of sexual harassment that actually should be taken seriously as abusive/threatening behavior. But that doesn’t change the fact that “sexual harassment” can also be something like an asshole yelling “Hey, baby!” at you while you walk down the street. And with the way the #MeToo hashtag has been shaping up, at least on my personal Facebook feed, it seems like a lot of people have taken to saying #MeToo for relatively minor reasons like that . . . even though it was meant to be a hashtag raising awareness about genuine molestation victims.

It turned into yet another excuse for people to make it all about them. I legitimately had a girl on my Facebook wall make a 300 word #MeToo status all about how she doesn’t have any actual experience involving being sexually harassed or assaulted, but she’s going to post the hashtag anyway because “rape culture probably made her discount and overlook any sexual harassment she’s faced in the past.” I’ve had guys tentatively and with the upmost apologies post #MeToo, because they’re detracting from “women’s issues” by pointing out that they too have been victimized. The fact that sexual violence and exploitation effect men and women at fairly comparable rates apparently doesn’t matter. It’s a women’s issue, and men need to learn not to rape, doncha know?

The same can be said for the Harvey Weinstein case. It’s no longer about sexual abuse in Hollywood. It never really was to begin with. That’s why everyone can already know about the problem but not give two fucks about it until a specific person starts making headlines. The issue doesn’t matter. Harvey Weinstein matters. Hollywood producers sexually exploiting their actresses and actors isn’t what we’re here to talk about. Harvey Weinstein being a pervert and an asshole is what we’re here to talk about. Because he’s the Boogeyman, and slaying him will make us feel like we did something so that we can promptly continue to not give any fucks as soon as his name in particular stops garnering as many clicks. Look, here’s another story about some random actress talking about how Weinstein made a crude comment to her at a studio mixer once! Ewww, isn’t he so gross?! Look, this one director is mad as this other director for not getting Weinstein in trouble for being a perv! Isn’t he such a hero!

Social media has made it so that the problem itself isn’t important, just contributing to the very specific narrative being spun–in this case, “Isn’t Harvey Weinstein awful, and thinking he’s awful makes us better people?”

No one cares that Corey Feldman was raped because Harvey Weinstein wasn’t the one who did it and his name is Corey instead of Carry. And, for all the social media executives’ talk about how they’re progressive and promote liberal values, the leaders of social media don’t give two fucks about this problem either. Rose McGowan got kicked off of Twitter for trying to tell the truth about Harvey Weinstein before it was cool. The Obamas and the Clintons, and left-leaning Hollywood in general, were just as aware of the issue of sexual exploitation in the American entertainment industry as everyone else who has made a “casting couch” joke.  That didn’t stop them from sucking Harvey Weinstein’s metaphorical dick up to a few weeks ago, and, on the Hollywood side of things, blacklisting anyone who had anything bad to say about him.

And these are the people telling a bunch of working class middle Americans who just happen to come from a red state that they’re “deplorable.” Okay.

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Return of the Sarkeesitron: Film Theory’s Reckoning

Hey, guys! Anita Sarkeesian is desperately trying to be relevant by “critiquing” the new Blade Runner movie on her Twitter, and I thought I’d address her points real quick. She thought it was a beautiful movie with an impactful score and inspired set design, and I’m just pulling your leg. She thought it was racist and sexist! What do you think her life is like outside of internet commentating? Do you think she goes grocery shopping and stands in the produce aisle looking at cantaloupes, trying to pick out the least racist, sexist, homophobic melon from the bunch so she can finally finish that fruit salad back home?

Here’s what she had to say:

I thought Blade Runner 2049 kinda sucked. It’s a film about oppression and slave labor that centers white men, only using people of colour and their cultures as background texture. It’s relentlessly brutal to women, killing off so many of them in ways that serve only to fuel the story arcs of the central male characters. A love interest of Officer K is pure male wish fulfillment fantasy, and the film never examines the underlying gender dynamics. Its attempt at discussing what it means to be human ultimately fails because it was unwilling to examine the sexism and racism it perpetuates.

You can read my review of Blade Runner 2049 on my nerdy media blog right here. If you don’t feel like clicking that link: I fucking loved that movie, and am mad that people are totally willing to shovel out money to see the million and twenty-seventh MCU film but can’t be bothered to go watch something more artful, with a bit more thematic gravitas than, “Still waiting for Thanos to put on that fucking glove!” This is why we don’t get nice things. I’m burnt out on comic book movies, can you tell?

As for Anita and her comments, I’m burnt out on them too. The idea of Anita Sarkeesian and her disingenuous, Tipper Gore-style moralizing and pearl-clutching still distresses me at a very visceral level as someone who is an artist and who enjoys the work of other artists. I always say that there’s no One True Interpretation of a creative work and that no opinion is a wrong one, but I have to call into question the legitimacy of someone’s interpretation when it seems entirely bent on promoting their particular moral worldview to the point of being brazenly unconcerned with the actual content of the work they’re interpreting. It’s like the Christians who insisted that Sympathy for the Devil was evil and needed to be banned because they read the title. Those people are just as disingenuous as Anita and her more modern ilk in their attempt to shape art into something that promotes their own morals or pays the consequences. I have a strong dislike of both of them.

Anita specifically, though, I can’t bring myself to hate that much anymore. I just feel kind of bad for her at this point as I watch her desperately flail to be seen as someone other than “the Jack Thomson with tits who crashed and burned at her own UN summit  meeting.” Her commentary on Blade Runner 2049 is pretty par for the course. “There were no black transsexual midgets in wheelchairs, therefore it gets an F- – -, because that’s all that matters when it comes to assessing quality.”  Nothing new to see here.

It’s a film about oppression and slave labor that centers white men, only using people of colour and their cultures as background texture.

Fun fact: The original Blade Runner is one of the key players that popularized the “Tokyo and Beijing crashed into LA and New York” aesthetic of cyberpunk futures. It’s heavily based upon a Japanese conception (popularized by many Japanese authors and creators in the late 1970s-1990s) of the future that visualized the haphazard combination of Eastern and Western cultures as the end result of capitalism and overpopulation. I highly recommend reading the original Blade Runner script; it goes into much more detail about how the cultural mishmash happened and how their language, a combination of multiple international languages, works and can be translated. It’s pretty cool. But fuck them for world building, right?

Three years after the release of Blade Runner, Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World was released, a Japanese cyberpunk novel that was written concurrently with Blade Runner and had a final draft heavily influenced by the Blade Runner aesthetic. If the inclusion of Asian cultures in Blade Runner and 2049 is “background texture,” then I guess Haruki Murakami’s constant use of American rock n’ roll and jazz is also just culturally appropriative background texture.

I’m not even going to address the horribly inaccurate implication she makes about how people of colour are apparently the only ones who have ever been slaves or oppressed. It’s funny, because the supplemental anime featurette, that you can watch on YouTube anytime, about the history of this world shows that a black replicant was pretty much the cause of the replicant revolt. He doesn’t count, I guess. Something tells me that if the main character was a black guy, Anita wouldn’t be happy because it’d be too evocative of the painful memory of African slavery or some shit. This also totally ignores that you really can’t have the main character of 2049 be a person of colour if you want the plot to work. You know, Anita. Plot? The whole story is that Officer K thinks he’s Racheal and Deckard’s kid, which wouldn’t make any sense if he was anything besides a white guy.

It’s relentlessly brutal to women, killing off so many of them in ways that serve only to fuel the story arcs of the central male characters.

This is an example of Anita having her cake but not wanting to eat it. Most of the important characters in 2049 are women. You have Officer K and Deckard (who doesn’t show up until Act III), and Niander Wallace, who is pretty much in the background for most of the movie. Every other plot-relevant character is a woman. Da Police Chief, K’s girlfriend, the replicant resistance leader, the main antagonist, the human sympathizer, and Deckard’s secret kid are all women. Not to mention Racheal, who pretty much starts this entire plot and creates the source of replicant revolution post-mortem.

And when you have that many plot-relevant female characters, they’re going to die. And they’re going to die brutally if the plot calls for brutal deaths. Joshi (the policewoman) dies because she’s a Reasonable Authority Figure/Mentor character who would be too helpful if she stayed alive (This is usually a very masculine role, so you think Anita would be happy at the swapping of genders here, but nope). Also, she dies at the hands of the female main antagonist Luv, with Joshi’s death serving Luv’s character development more than anyone else’s. None of the dudes even figure out she dies, I’m pretty sure. Luv dies pretty brutally because she was the villain of the picture, and she manages to kill K by stabbing the fuck out of him. Also, Officer K’s entire point as a character by the end of the film is to serve the emotional character arc of Deckard . . . and K is a guy. So how does that fit into the rest of your complaint?

There’s Joi’s death, I guess. But the emotional impact of that actually was integral to the plot. That pesky plot again. Joi is a hologram whose sentience is left intentionally ambiguous. She loved K, but that was what she was programmed to do, and it’s never clear if she ever grew beyond that even though K clearly loves her like a real person. Her death is important. And the following meeting he has with another hologram of her that makes him question how “real” their relationship was is what prompts him to do the whole “become a tool for Deckard’s story arc” thing and help Deckard have a real relationship with his real kid. In short, you’re acting like these deaths served no real purpose, and that is false.

A love interest of Officer K is pure male wish fulfillment fantasy, and the film never examines the underlying gender dynamics.

Joi is literally made to be a male wish fulfillment fantasy. She’s a virtual girlfriend. That’s the entire point of her character. And the gender dynamics are brought up all the time with multiple characters making comments about “real relationships” and “real women” and stuff like that. She’s an emotionally impactful character because she’s an AI who winds up coming across as more genuine and compassionate and human than the humans in the story. She and K are both artificial life forms that you really want to have a real connection with each other because it would be one example of at least one thing going right in this bleak, bleak world presented. And it being ambiguous as to whether or not their connection mattered adds to the story. Just, fuck . . . did Anita watch this movie? I’m starting to think she read a plot synopsis and called it a day.

Its attempt at discussing what it means to be human ultimately fails because it was unwilling to examine the sexism and racism it perpetuates.

“This movie didn’t whip itself in the mirror for perpetuating -isms, John the Savage-style, therefore I hate it!”

Pewdiepie Says Nigger, Women Most Affected

This will be a very short post just making fun of the generally idiocy of how modern “activism” works, namely how it seems far more interested in raking individual people over the coals for doing something “bad” than . . . actually helping anyone. This doesn’t just happen with celebrities either; how many New York Times articles have you read about a 42-year-old housewife in Minnesota saying a mean thing while in line at the grocery store, and someone was there to record it with their iPhone, so now we have to make a national story out of it and pile on top of this one random nobody and act like they’re the human personification of everything evil in the fucking world so we can feel good about being Good People (TM).

It’s fucking ridiculous. I’m sure everyone knows that it is. But the need to act like a stranger saying something you don’t like is in any way important or relevant to anything is apparently a very strong one indeed. That’s what happened with Pewdiepie recently. He said ‘nigger’ while livestreaming some shitty FPS game. This is not only news, apparently, but it’s news we have to beat into the fucking ground and harp on until the end of time.

The people getting mad about this have clearly never gotten onto X-Box Live for more than two seconds. Someone saying edgy curse words whilst simultaneously playing a multi-player FPS game is a trope older than fucking dirt. It doesn’t make those people waaaacist, it makes them edgelords who compulsively say the most offensive words they can think of as a means of expressing their frustration because gaming as a culture generally encourages hyperbole, the overlap with 12-year-olds being pretty damn high. You can say it’s stupid an immature and I’d likely agree with you, but to go even further by pinning a moral label to it is ridiculous. You’re like Christians clutching their pearls at the vulgar, sinful language in the hippity hop. Just stop it.

It’s just another sign that we’re in the midst of a moral panic no different than when Frank Zappa had to go up to the Supreme Court and talk about how he didn’t give a fuck about whether or not his music “corrupted the children.” It’s a bunch of people getting offended on behalf of the poor, oppressed blacks to feel good about how non-racist they are. The notion that a black person can exist and also not be overly offended has apparently escaped them. Once again, you get all the well-intentioned-idiot rhetoric about how the blacks are a strong independent race who don’t need no man, but don’t say a word they don’t like or they’ll fall to pieces on the spot.

And for some anecdotal evidence: I’m black, and I live with people who are black, and I’m friends with people who are black, and I watch YouTube videos made by people who are black, and I have yet to come across one black person who has given half a fuck about this. Even if they think white people shouldn’t be allowed to say nigger, they don’t care, because what some random jerk-off in Sweden does has no bearing on them in any way. But by all means, continue to be offended on our behalf random, white liberal journalists who should probably be laid off seeing as how there’s and utter lack of things to talk about. There has to be if this is what you’ve decided to harp on as “news.”

An Address of Some Hypocrisy in My Circles

Warning: This is a bit of a rant.

So I consider myself an anti-SJW. Surprise! I know that may be difficult to believe. I consider myself one because, even though the basic ideas behind social justice are fine, the concept has turned into a catalyst for a very immature brand of authoritarianism. This style of authoritarianism is nothing new and typically the kind of dictatorial behavior that has arisen out of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries of the United States. What’s going on now is, in application, really no different than the attempts at purging evil Commies during the 50s, or the rock n’ roll panic of the 60s, or the funk and soul hysteria of the 70s, or the Dungeons and Dragons purge of the 80s, or the video game panic of the 90s. In all of the above examples–and modern day social justice activism–the goal seemed to be to protect people from anything that prayed on human flaws and could cause thought crimes that destroyed their human decency.

In the 80s, it was “D&D taps into our sinful nature and makes you do evil, ungodly things.” And now it’s “this [insert any innocuously random noun here] taps into implicit biases and makes you racist/sexist/whatever.” Same hysteria, just dressed up in social science instead of religion. This kind of mentality is not going to go away. It never has, and it will always be effective because, in the end of the day, “think of the children,” is a phrase that gets to us and makes us want to take action.

I called it “immature authoritarianism” because it’s a controlling mentality that justifies itself by appealing to a very immature desire of the public to have less personal, individual responsibilities. I think what’s happening currently with the social justice crowd, though, is slightly unique from what has happened in the previous decades. Previously, it appealed to people who just didn’t want to go through the effort of talking to their children about anything. They wanted some outside force to decide what their child should and should not be exposed to, and if they personally didn’t want their child exposed to something, they wanted some outside force to make an official rule about it so that their child would have to do what they said so they wouldn’t have to enforce any ground rules on their own.

Now, though, instead of “oh, who will think of the poor, fragile, impressionable children,” it seems to have turned into “we are still poor, fragile, impressionable children, oh, who is going to think of us.” That’s something a bit new, and it is something that has added a completely new level of immaturity to a brand of authoritarian behavior that was already pretty damn stunted to begin with.

A current running underneath many of the mainstream social justice ideals, a current you can see fueling many of the more infamous outbursts on colleges campuses, is the idea that the world needs to take care of you. Your well-being and your mental and emotional health is no longer your responsibility to maintain, it’s other people’s responsibility to keep in check. That’s why you get Ivy League college students whinging about how their campus just doesn’t feel like a home to them. It’s the new environment’s job to tailor itself to them now. That’s why you get college campuses banning speakers the students don’t like, because just not going to that speech if you don’t want to hear it isn’t good enough. The administration needs to take your feelings into account and lay down the law. That’s why you get Black Lives Matter activists harping on and on about what the cops can do to help black people and what the government can do to help black people and what white people can do to help black people, but they never mention what black people can do to help themselves. It is an idea that strips people of their own autonomy in order for them to feel protected.

Of course, you can’t do everything by yourself. Of course, it is a sign of an emotionally healthy person to admit that you need outside help and seek it out. These are good things. But SJWs have taken that idea and run with it into the sunset to the point where they no longer acknowledge that it’s also healthy to not be dependent on other people for your own emotional, mental, and physical well-being. Asking for help when you need it is good. Seeing outside help as the immediate, go-to option without even thinking about what you can personally do is bad.

It’s understandable why this is such a popular mentality among my generation. We are the result of a parenting style that essentially never let kids do anything for themselves and tried its damnedest to make sure no kid ever felt bad about anything. You had the self-esteem movement (that really wasn’t necessary because children have very high opinions of themselves without your help) that led to people giving their children praise without concrete reasons for doing so. As it turns out, praising children for doing specific things is good–I’m not saying that you shouldn’t ever tell your kids nice things. Being praised as a person with no concrete reason to latch onto gave them lower self-esteem because it a.) made children afraid of taking any risks that would possibly ruin their already obtained status of being awesome and beautiful, and b.) slapped them in the face with reality once they realized that the outside world doesn’t just laud praise on you by default and that you actually have to earn it. Oops. That was combined with helicopter parenting techniques that led to many children never really learning how to be self-sufficient in any capacity. Their parents helped them with everything all the time.

This is the generation we’re talking about. That parenting style has backfired. I want to get it out of the way right now that I am not talking about every single millennial. Like most other generations, most millennials are just normal human beings with normal hang-ups. SJWs are just the epitome of what could possibly happen if you parent your children in such a way, the same way the hippies were the epitome of what could happen as a result of strict 1950s parenting styles. Not everyone during that time was a hippie–most people weren’t–but the hippies were the ones to perfectly represent the generational backlash. I go to a stereotypical liberal arts college, and the rabid SJWs are a very loud and very influential minority, but a minority. That is an important thing to keep in mind here.

I wanted to get all of that out of the way before I ranted about this particular topic. I wanted to get it out into the ether that, yes, I think modern social justice is incredibly infantilizing because it is full of people who don’t want to deal with their own problems and who think it’s the world’s job to help them out. I wanted to get it out into the ether that, yes, I think my generation in general was raised in such a way that heavily promotes emotional immaturity and lack of self-sufficiency in adults. I wanted to get it out of the way, because this is a rant against a trend that I’m seeing pop up in anti-SJW circles (my circles) that I am not very fond of.

* * *

It’s essentially the same problem that the SJWs have. Anti-SJWs too have taken an idea and run off into the sunset with it even after it would have done them well to slow down after a while. In the group’s attempts to herald the free speech, emotional maturity, self-sufficiency, and individualism that modern leftist activism oftentimes seems to go against, many people who consider themselves anti-SJWs have taken it too far in the other direction. I’m not referring to any specific people really: This is an opinion formed after I went through an amalgamation of YouTube videos, their comments, and Reddit and (the rare genuine) Candid posts. I’m not accusing the entire group of promoting these negative aspects, simply that the atmosphere the group cultivates can lead to them.

The general hypocrisy that can be found in anti-SJW circles can be divided into two categories:

Education and Self-Expression

* * *

Both stem from a focus on maturity.

Anti-SJWs are very against immaturity. That is perfectly understandable. Once again, I do think that many SJWs demand to be treated like children. That being said, many anti-SJW commentators are so against immaturity that the umbrella for what constitutes “being immature” is growing wider and wider and encompassing more and more things to the point of it, too, becoming mildly ridiculous. This leads to . . .

Education

I readily admit that this issue could just as easily stem from me having a very different personal philosophy on education than other people. I admit that. But this is my blog, and you read it to hear my opinion. My opinion, particularly on higher education, is that classical education is awesome. Classical as in Socratic, classical as in liberal. A classical education is composed of many different facets because a truly learned individual back in those times was educated in many things. You studied science and you studied art and you studied history and you studied music. That’s why most of the Greco-Roman thinkers that we know well today were a million and one things: philosophers and mathematicians and astronomers and artists and poets all rolled into one guy. That is what a classical education is, and my fondness for it is why I went to a liberal arts college, because liberal arts education is a designed after classical education.

There are plenty of people out there who think that college is job training and that’s it. These are the people who complain about distribution requirements because “I’m here to study X, why should I have to learn all this other shit?” They have a fair point. I don’t think you should be forced to pay for classes you don’t want if you’re on a strictly vocational track. That being said, I think this is a very short-sighted view of things.

My liking for classical education is, therefore, very taken aback by the borderline fetishization of STEM fields that happens in many anti-SJW circles. For those who don’t know, STEM refers to science, technology, engineering, and math. And people in anti-SJW circles fucking love STEM fields. If you don’t do STEM, you’re an idiot and you’re wasting your time. This notion has always rather confused me because it comes across as very narrow-sighted. They look at high-paying electrical engineering jobs and neurosurgeons, and they say that’s what STEM is, totally ignoring that most people don’t get those kinds of jobs.

The majority of computer science jobs don’t care about your actual degree because computer science as a field changes so much that degrees quickly become outdated and useless. As far as biology and chemistry degrees go, the field has been so flooded with people who were told that it would get them a good job that the market is currently over-saturated and under-educated since people who weren’t good at it went into it anyway (the same thing happened with law degrees, by the way), and you’re lucky to be a low-level lab researcher that barely gets paid anything nowadays. Math is a strictly theoretical degree, so I don’t even know why people drooling all over STEM think it’s so much more practical than anything else. Just in case you were under the wrong impression that NASA was a thriving industry, physics and astronomy don’t get you much money either. Engineering is really the only one “guaranteed” to get you a good paycheck, and it is also an incredibly competitive field full of mediocre or incompetent workers.

I don’t know why people give STEM a metaphorical blowjob every time the subject comes up, and I am getting a STEM degree. If you want to promote the subjects as being important, go right on ahead. But lauding STEM over every other subject as the golden standard of education where everything else palls in comparison is just silly. I understand why they’re doing it–the social sciences and humanities have become hot beds of social justice ideology whereas STEM fields haven’t. Other fields being poisoned that way just breaks my heart to see, but it seems like many anti-SJWs write off the fields entirely as being worthless when that is not the case. On an off note, the promotion of STEM is often centered around STEM making you a lot of money, and I never liked assigning cultural value to things based off of how much money they make.

It’s also rather hypocritical. Our liking for STEM seems to run contrary to the other values espoused, especially in regards to anti-SJW values. Lots and lots of things are important and should be defended from the social justice poisoning that saps their value away and turns them into just another means of ideological control and propagation. They’re just going to call anyone who chooses to focus on all of these oh-so-important things over STEM a time-and-money-wasting idiot.

Art is the lifeblood of our culture, it is how culture is expressed and observed, and you can tell how free a society is by looking at the freedom of its artists, and censorship of art is wrong, and the destruction of art or mistreatment of the artist is a sign of a culture descending into authoritarianism . . . but if you want to make a living off of art, you are stupid. Why didn’t you become an engineer and get a real job? Rebuilding and restructuring low-income communities and combating the cycle of poverty for the betterment of both individuals and their wider environment is vital to addressing true social inequalities, but why would you ever become a social worker? Are you an idiot? They don’t make any money. Actual, fact-based journalism where the journalists tell the public the truth and not just what they want to hear by sticking to an inaccurate media narrative is vital to creating a more informed public and also vital to the upholding of societal ethics themselves, but why are you getting a journalism degree? Don’t you know you should be studying science? All of these things are important, especially in regards to the culture war where we think inferior and/or harmful values are trying to leave a permanent black stain on our cultural landscape . . . but focusing on any of these things above other, more worthy subjects makes you an idiot.

STEAM not STEM, guys! Art greatly improves the cognitive functions necessary for doing complex mathematical equations.

The more you know. ‘Cause knowledge is power.

GI Joe!!!!

* * *

Self Expression

Secondly, there is a concept of what being mature entails, and anything that falls outside of it is open for derision. And fair enough. There are instances where mocking and derision over being immature is totally justified–like in regards to the totally-not-a-sex-thing “adult day care” in New York or the aforementioned trend of SJWs wanting to be coddled and protected from things that make them feel bad. I’ve already said multiple times that I think emotional immaturity actually is a big problem, but I think many people have taken the criticisms in a needlessly bitter direction. This one seems to be rooted in the need to show off  how much more mature they are than those pathetic millennials. And a lot of it just seems so arbitrary and based in a rather cynical view of what adulthood is.

One example that many commentators latched onto was the awful, horrible existence of adult coloring books as a surefire sign of how pathetically childish our society has become. This seems pretty arbitrary, though. Arbitrary is going to be the word of this section. I can tell. Are people just not allowed to enjoy doing something because they also happened to enjoy doing it as a child? That seems to be the only basis for why this is being called immature. I genuinely don’t get it. People who like adult coloring books are not asking to be coddled by anyone else. They’re not sloughing off all of their emotional issues onto something else and telling somebody to get rid of it. They’re not indulging in anything unhealthy in order to feel better about themselves. They’re just doing something relaxing.

Coloring is very good at both relieving existing stress and preventing future stress. Many of its positive effects overlap heavily with the  neurological/psychological effects of playing a musical instrument. That makes sense: both are goal-oriented, both are aesthetic, both allow for improvisation. Something tells me, though, that the same people making fun of the adult coloring book fad as “immature” wouldn’t care, might even like it, if more adults started taking piano lessons.

You also see this mentality within media. Stephen Fry did a short interview on the Rubin Report and got tons of shit because he told people who want trigger warnings to grow the fuck up. Meanwhile I was just sitting there wondering where all the nerd-rage was when Fry belittled people for being immature because they like movies based off of comic books because that supposedly made them infantile by default. Never mind the fact that he was in a movie based off of a comic book, and I doubt he’d call either childish.

All these criticisms seemed hinged on the notion that there is just some point in your life where you need to stop doing random things that you enjoy doing because that’s not the mature thing to do. We have this idea set up that working towards making an impressive paycheck is all that matters, and if you aren’t doing that then you’re wasting time, being irresponsible, and acting like a child. If you enjoy something that could be deemed childish by some unknown metric, then, the thing you enjoy is a waste of time. Don’t get me wrong, working hard and being a self-sufficient, emotional mature adult is important. But that seems to come with the caveat that “being an adult” means that working hard is all you do, and that any time you aren’t working, that is automatically something that can be considered a waste, and that is a poor mentality to have.

This branches into more criticisms about how the anti-SJW crowd tends to be needlessly harsh on people and how they live their lives. This is most apparent in the current news story about the Cover Girl magazine having its first male cover model. I don’t read that magazine and I don’t plan to, but good for that guy. Congratulations. Apparently this is an odd stance to hold on the matter because a guy being on a women’s magazine cover is apparently either hilarious or some horrible, awful, leftist affront to men and masculinity. I don’t understand either of these things.

Anti-SJWs don’t like feminism because it derides an entire portion of the population based off of a single genetic factor and seeks to tell men how they should be acting in order to be “in the right.” This is why we don’t like them. People have been calling this kid a faggot and deriding how he is “what feminists want men and boys to be,” and all other things. It’s not the comments themselves I care all that much about, but the implication behind them. Apparently it’s okay for people on our side to mock/be disgusted by a boy who likes makeup because when we mistreat some harmless person who doesn’t practice maleness and masculinity “the right way,” because we’re right and feminists are wrong. It’s perfectly fine for us to tell people how they should be acting based off of their gender and call them horrible things if they deviate from what our ideas are, but when SJWs do that, it’s bad.

You saw it with that kid who isn’t hurting anybody but apparently deserves ridicule because he’s not manly enough. You see it with a lot of trans YouTubers with leftist opinions, where people actively try at refusing to treat them with any common courtesy. Because that will definitely convince them of the error of their ways, guys. It’s a very general “I’m not an asshole, I’m just speaking the truth” mentality that works . . . when you’re speaking the truth. Not so much when you’re telling people your opinion about how boys wearing makeup is an affront to all the good parts of Western society or intentionally calling Milo Stewart a girl solely to make Milo and others mad because you’ve conflated being an asshole to people who haven’t done anything to you with being intellectual and transgressive, and you’ve conflated abrasive vitriol for argumentation.

Anita Sarkeesian and Sex Negativity (And a Rant)

So Anita Sarkeesian has crawled out of the rock she was under and made another video she was paid to make. A few years late, but what’s punctuality to a famous internet commentator? I like to think it was prompted by the criticisms she got for asking for thousands of more dollars to start a new series when it’s not even clear what she’s done with the original KickStarter funds she got for Tropes vs Women in Video Games, a series she’s not even half way through yet even though it should have been finished years ago. But who am I kidding, you know she doesn’t respond constructively to criticism.

It’s about female character designs, titled Lingerie Is Not Armor.  If you want to watch the video, go watch it. Here’s the transcript. I’m not going through it point-by-point like I usually do with these video game videos because I’m tired, guys. I’m tired of repeating myself. I’m tired of acting like anything this woman says is anything besides her pandering to a fan base that will always support her no matter how transparently manipulative and incompetent she is (looking at you, UN meeting, you spectacular failure we have yet to be given a legitimate report on that has actual citations). I’m tired of listening to someone who clearly gives no fucks about art set herself up as the moral authority of it like 1960s Christians who only ever listened to an Elvis song to talk about how they knew it was sinful.

I’m tired of this. And to be fair to the world, the declining views on her videos seem to indicate that other people are too. Hell, Anita herself is trying to jump ship from the video games framework. Much like what happened in the late 80s, it has stopped being cool to act like geeks are evil potential criminals. But this woman exhausts me. She makes me fucking angry. I know she shouldn’t. But she does.

I want to make art. For a while, I wanted to make video games specifically. I realized I hated the actual coding process and moved on to other artistic aspirations, but I still appreciate games as an art form. Anita clearly does not. To Anita, video games are just murder simulators . . . Sorry, wrong hack video game commentator who sought to become a moral authority over the medium by screaming “Think of the Xs!” To Anita, video games are just misogyny simulators. And she is never going to see them as anything else because her feminist goggles have been firmly welded to her face.

She goes on and on about how these games are morally in the wrong for what amounts to her subjective opinion. And if she acknowledged this as her opinion, I wouldn’t care. I’d disagree with her. But no one interpretation of art is the “right” one. She can think what she wants and is not wrong. It is her opinion. Anita doesn’t seem to realize that, as she is acting as though she is proclaiming the capital-T truth of the matter. “I’m right. If you see these games another way, you are objectively wrong. And since I’m right, I’m qualified to be a moral authority on the subject. End of story. No argument.”

You see that mentality run rampant in this video in particular. She actively scoffs at game makers who dare to *gasp* explain the reasoning behind character designs she personally doesn’t approve of. She downplays narrative reasons behind a character’s appearance (despite praising narrative reasons that lead to more conservative female garb in other videos), again with a scoff and a knowing smirk because she knows what the real reason is. She belittles people who have differing mentalities on the subject of scantily clad women. In short, she comes across as a born again Christian who is just so amused by all the poor, poor sinners who believe in other things that are so obviously wrong, when she so clearly knows the one true path to purity and enlightenment.

Because clothing can shape our first impressions of a character and has a tremendous influence on our sense of who they are every time they are on screen, sexualized outfits can contribute to what’s called the hyper-sexualization of female characters. Hyper-sexualization in the media occurs when a character is designed to be valued primarily for their sexual characteristics or behaviors. In hypersexualized characters, these attributes are highlighted above all else and made the center of attention, while everything else is secondary.

Citation needed. You can’t just say that something has lasting and tremendous effects on our collective psyches, Anita. Do you have anything to actually back up that assertion other than your opinion? Also, “primarily” is a quantifiable term. You can physically see when something is primarily focused on. But she is talking about value. Art is subjective. Each individual takes something different away from a piece of art. Value is subjective. What you place on the hierarchy of value is subjective. Even if a character was intended to just be a sexy character, that says nothing about what the audience takes away from it. A common phenomenon in fandoms – particularly female fandoms – is to sexualize characters who weren’t even intended to be sexy, often while simultaneously ignoring characters intended to be “the hot one.” Look at Death Note. I know that’s an anime, not a game, but it’s still a prime example of author intention meaning nothing when it comes to who the fans find attractive.

So being “primarily valued” for sexual characteristics isn’t a definitive trait you can assign to a character like it’s an objective fact. A sexual characteristic can be anything. What about foot fetishes? Are female characters without shoes now only valued for sexual traits because someone somewhere finds feet attractive? This is, once again, a matter of subjectivity. Just because you, Anita, see a sexual female character and think “well, that’s all there is to this character,” that doesn’t mean that’s what everyone else thinks too. You are saying “everything else about them becomes secondary” like it’s a bad thing, all while simultaneously making all their other traits secondary in your critique because you can’t get over them being attractive. Pot, meet kettle. You are doing the exact thing you demonize gamers for doing . . . Even though there’s no way to know that gamers do it.

She does this with Bayonetta, of all characters. Bayonetta, a character from a series of games meant to be over -the-top in every fashion. It’s hyper-sexual, hyper-violent, hyper-crass, hyper-everything because it is supposed to be ridiculously overblown. That’s what makes it fun. The only people not sexualized are the two kids. You know she hasn’t actually played these games because, if she had, she’d know that even the men in those games wear high heels and tight, ridiculously sexualized clothing. And to further prove my point about how what you take away from a character is subjective:

Anita says Bayonetta’s overly sexy nature makes it impossible to value her for anything but her sexualized traits and that everything else is pushed to the background. Do you want to know the two things I took away from those games, though, as someone who played them?

1.) High heels with guns in them are badass.

2.) Bayonetta is a snarky badass with awesome quips.

Notice how the main – you can even say primary – thing I value in Bayonetta as a character is how she is written, not how she looks. I’d actually say most players valued her for her fighting prowess over all else since she is majorly OP. She’s in Brawl now because people wanted her in a fighting game so much. You don’t beg developers to put a character in Smash Bros because you value how sexy they are and nothing else. This is Anita projecting her own feelings on to others – she sees these sexy female characters as nothing but sex objects, ignoring all other aspects of their character, and she thinks everyone else does too.

And, of course, she’s got to bring in the dreaded “straight male” audience, because appealing to straight men is sexist. For all her talk of how game companies need to acknowledge that people who aren’t straight men play video games, she relies very heavily on the idea that straight men are apparently the only ones being affected by video games. Are lesbians off the hook here? Are they allowed to oggle big video game breasts? I’m a mostly straight woman, and I think Bayonetta is very attractive and am perfectly okay with the game playing that up. Am I in the wrong here?

And yes, the majority of regular/frequent PC and console gamers are straight men, so I don’t see why appealing to them is a problem or “sexist.” Are you going to get mad that book covers are designed to appeal to women because they are the largest demographic for literature? Bodice-ripper romance novels with shirtless, glistening, muscular men on the cover are fine! All the YA books that put a description of how hot the main love interest is on the back as the excerpt to rope people in are good. But a visual medium doing the visual version of Stephanie Meyer describing how hot Edward Cullen is for the 80th time is taking it too far because it’s those filthy pig men we’re trying to appeal to and not the innocent women who just want a healthy way to indulge in their own sexuality.

Anita then goes on to talk about how you’re not really empowered if you’re a strong female character, but also sexy. Because, once again, physical attractiveness is all Anita cares about. You can be the most OP, badass character ever. But if you’re also hot, it doesn’t matter, you’re still a victim of this horrible patriarchal system that associates open sexuality with independence and strength. Because feminists never do that! *coughslutwalkcough*

So, essentially, if you are a woman who finds Bayonetta empowering, you’re wrong. And brainwashed. And a victim. Really encouraging there, Anita. She goes on to talk shit about Cortana from Halo, despite her (and the human she, as an AI is cloned from) being an awesome, “strong female character.” But she’s naked, so that doesn’t matter. Was I the only one who didn’t even realize she was naked? I thought her appearance was just smooth and shit because she was a projection.

She goes on to make fun of ridiculous, awful . . . story-justified reasons for character designs.

She laughs at game devs some more.

She re-emphasizes how being proudly sexual isn’t actually empowering because men like it, and anything a  woman can do that appeals to men is inherently objectifying even if she doesn’t think so. Make sure to say the word “men” with the appropriate amount of disgust here. It should not even sound like a word anymore, more like a gutural growl.

The end.

I’m done here. Do you want to hear my honest opinion, Anita? Probably not. You’ll likely write me off as a sock puppet blog, an evil straight white male masquerading as a black woman specifically to target you. You’ll write me off as a misogynistic harrasser with no real points to make, no real counter arguments to level, just a harassing troll who hates women with strong opinions. But you’d be wrong, Anita. The truth is that I am a woman with a strong opinion too. Do you want to hear it?

I think that content creators shouldn’t be called immoral misogynists for creating a character design you don’t like.

I think the designs for Bayonetta and Cortana are beautiful, both from the perspective of an artist who realizes how much work goes into character design and as a casual gamer who can appreciate a pretty face.

I think some of the breast exposing, body hugging outfits in some games are stupid and obviously pandering to the male demographic. But you know what else is stupid and unashamedly pandery to the romantic/sexual interests of its female target demographic? K-Pop boy bands, and the Teen Wolf show on MTV, and Taylor Swift songs, and Days of Our Lives, and supernatural YA romance novels. Shit that I like.

I think there’s nothing inherently wrong with that even if I think it is stupid, because it’s entertainment, and what is its job but to appeal to someone?

I think sexuality is fine – male or female – and neither should be demonized as inherently objectifying/piggish or inherently objectified/submissive.

I think if you are going to oggle someone’s tits, it’s better to do it in a fictional, fantasy medium  like Dead or Alive where no one gets hurt or offended by it, and the only ones saying it’s hurtful are people like you and Jack “video games encourage sociopathy” Thompson.

And, honestly, really and truly honestly – people like you are the reason I’ve almost given up on being an artist. I’ve been writing since I was in elementary school. I’ve got boxes and boxes full of spiral notebooks from a time before laptops, full of stories ripping off Narnia. I have a separate laptop that is ridiculously slow because I have so many scripts and screenplays and half-finished novels cluttering it to all hell. I’ve been conceptualizing a cartoon show – writing and art – for three fucking years.

And people like you make me want to throw in the towel. People like you do not appreciate art. You don’t appreciate story telling. You don’t appreciate the effort. You just want to complain, to morally arbitrate what other people can create, like an entitled jackass who thinks art only exists for you and no one else, all while almost never making anything that you want to see. Now, if I got a book published, I couldn’t be happy about it. If my cartoon pitch got picked up by Disney or Cartoon Network, I couldn’t be happy. Because people like you have made me perpetually horrified that the only value I have is in my skin tone and my genitals. If someone likes the art I make, it’s not because my art is good, but because someone “like me” looks good making it. I’m fucking worthless to people like you. You could replace me with any other person with tits and brown skin, and it wouldn’t matter, because you don’t care about ability or actual value or what I have to say or what my work can bring to people. You care about looks. So, congratulations, SJWs, you’ve run a black woman out of the market that is in such desperate need of your arbitrary, manufactured “diversity.” Don’t worry, you can blame white men. I’m sure you will.

Making Jokes 101 (Why Rape Jokes are Okay)

I briefly talked about jokes a few years ago (I’m an adult now, bitches!) while discussing rape culture, and my opinion has not changed. It’s become far more eloquent, but it’s stayed the same at its base level. I’ve wanted to write a post on jokes for quite a while but didn’t know what to say on the topic. You hear comedy policing mainly in feminist circles insisting that rape jokes should never be told because they perpetuate rape culture. But you hear it in other social justice circles too: Lemony Snickett got in trouble for making a “black girl allergic to watermelon” quip during the National Book Awards show, for instance. They said it perpetuated racism. So I’m going to try to tackle my own view of humor and explain why I don’t think any subjects should be inherently off limits and why insisting that jokes perpetuate bad ideas does nothing but show that these people don’t know how humor works.

I think anything can be funny. The entire purpose of comedy is to find humor in things that otherwise wouldn’t be funny. That’s why there’s such a thing as a “played out” joke: If it’s something people already think is humorous, why are they paying someone money to go up on stage and talk about it when they could easily just chuckle about it on their own time? It is a comedian’s job to make people laugh at things they never would have laughed at before. This doesn’t have to be dark humor, but it oftentimes is.

One of my favorite comedians is Brian Regan, a guy who doesn’t even curse in his stand-up routines. But he has an uncanny ability to make mundane things like calling FedEx and Pop Tarts hilarious. It’s mainly to do with his delivery. On the other side of the spectrum, another favorite comedian of mine is Bo Burnham, who has the uncanny ability to keep coming up with new and different rape jokes on every album he puts out.

That is what humor is. You can find humor in anything. The key to determining whether or not a joke is “wrong” is to determine why it was told. What about it was supposed to make people laugh? Intention is the only thing that matters in determining how morally unacceptable a joke is. Humor is subjective. People laugh at things for their own reasons that the comedian doesn’t know or have any control over. People can misunderstand the intent of a joke, and in that misunderstanding find it unfunny or find it hilarious. The intent of the joke is the only concrete thing in the situation of joke-telling.

The same goes for other art forms. It’s not John Lennon’s fault that the music he made with the intent of promoting peace led to some psychopath somewhere getting the wrong idea and deciding to shoot him. It’s not a comedian’s fault that a suicide joke they told negatively affects someone. The artist loses control of the art they make. Their art is subject to the whims of what other people think, and other people tend not to agree with each other. So let’s talk about intent and why it’s what matters in the context of telling jokes and what jokes should “be allowed.”

Daniel Tosh is the perfect example here. I actually think Daniel Tosh is pretty funny in stand-up, TV shows not so much. During a stand-up act, he told a rape joke about how he replaced his sister’s pepper spray with silly string to prank her and how it was hilarious because that same night she got raped, which means his prank worked. Someone in the audience – a woman – got offended and heckled him, and he said something amounting to, “Wouldn’t it be funny if this girl got raped right now?” in response.

This is where I’m going to start sounding like a kindergarten teacher explaining the basics of a concept to people. I’m sorry. Feminists were outraged because Daniel Tosh was joking about rape victims and trivializing rape and “punching down” at someone weaker and more oppressed than him. It was rape culture! Yadayadayada. Here is the basic thing that flew so far over their heads that it’s in fucking orbit: Daniel Tosh was not making fun of rape victims, he was making fun of himself. Daniel Tosh’s entire schtick as a comedian is having an alter ego that is an utterly deplorable person. It’s funny because his alter ego is an asshole, acknowledges it, and proudly flaunts how horrible he is to such ridiculous degrees that you can’t help but laugh at how far this guy deviates from socially acceptable behavior.

The joke wasn’t, “Haha, someone got raped, and rape is hilarious.” The joke was, “Haha, someone got raped but this psychopath only sees it as a successful prank, that is so not okay it’s hilarious.” The joke was intended to make fun of people who thought rape was funny. It was not making fun of the girl who got raped. But all people saw was a joke made about rape, and any joke made about rape inherently makes fun of rape victims. And they didn’t think about it at all. The same goes for his response to the heckler: She got offended at a rape joke, tell another even more straightforward rape joke. It wasn’t intended to make fun of rape, it was intended to make fun of someone who didn’t get the joke in the first place.

That is how comedy works. Daniel Tosh’s jokes were acceptable and “moral” (because social justice warriors insist on talking about everything in terms of morality) because he was making light of something bad specifically because he and the joke acknowledged how bad it was. He was not denying that rape is an awful thing. He was not saying that rape is funny. The entire joke hinged on him knowing that rape was horrible, and hinged on him knowing that his audience would think that rape was horrible. If it wasn’t acknowledged as a bad thing, it wouldn’t be funny. And, sure, maybe some psychopath saw his show on Comedy Central and laughed at the joke because it flew over his head and he thought Tosh was just talking about how hil-larious rapin’ girls is. But Tosh has no control over people not getting the joke. That fact is very apparent.

Lately, rape joke outrage has been taking the backseat to race joke outrage. It’s like the Weekly Social Justice Memo had a typo and they just decided to run with this new thing to be outraged about. So there’s the joke about a black girl being unable to eat watermelon. As a fellow black girl allergic to melons, I thought the joke was hilarious. But, of course, people were outraged at the racism. How dare he make a joke about black people.

This is another example of people having no idea how jokes work and having no clue that there’s more to a joke than its immediate content. The joke was not intended to be,”Haha, black people like watermelon, but this black girl can’t eat watermelon even though she clearly wants to, being black and everything.” The joke was, “Haha, this stereotype exists, but this girl physically cannot do this stereotypical thing, proving how stupid that stereotype is.” It was, once again, a joke making fun of the bad thing and the people who think the bad thing is genuinely funny. It was a joke anti-racist people should have been behind 100%, but they were instead too hung up on its immediate content to actually understand the joke. It’s a joke about black people, it must be racist. End of story.

They don’t care about intent because they’ve been taught to downplay intent to have only the most minimal importance. (Intent vs. Impact they call it.) And this kills their ability to enjoy comedy since, without understanding the importance of the intent of a joke, it’s nearly impossible to distinguish something that is “just a joke” from something that’s actually alarming. Dark humor’s immediate subject matter is, on the surface, something only a psychopath would find funny. There’s no difference in the content involved. The only difference is what aspect of the content is intended to be humorous by the one telling the joke. If you don’t get that, you’re not going to like dark humor. More importantly, you’re not going to like it, and you will have a low opinion of the morals of people who do, even though that isn’t a justified moral judgment.

For example: Me and my friends have a running joke in our friend group about a fake company we made up that lets people hire rapists to go out and rape a specific target for a variety of reasons. This inside joke started after we watched an anime where a girl’s classmates/bullies arranged for her to be gang raped by some other unrelated classmates.  . . Because that’s what you do when you’re a sociopathic Japanese meangirl, I guess. We wondered how that whole thing was arranged. Did the meangirls just go up to these random guys and ask them if they wanted to rape a girl for literally no reason? How was this plan established without the cops getting called immediately? I feel like one of the guys they asked to do this would say no and be really alarmed. So we decided the meangirls must’ve contracted the guys out from some third party that provided this kind of service. Hence, a running inside joke was made.

It is funny because we, as moral human beings, acknowledge that such a company actually existing would be awful. It is funny because me and my friends are not okay with rape, and think it is ridiculously deplorable and unbelievable when multiple parties get involved under the express purpose of violating someone that way with no significant moral objections from anyone. That is the intent of our joke. It would suddenly be much less funny if one day one of us turned out to be a serial gang rapist. Because that’s when you realize, “Oh, they weren’t laughing at the concept because it was ridiculous that the world would be okay with this happening. They were laughing because they think raping someone is funny.”

Content-wise, there is no difference between me and my friends’ injoke and a joke an actual rapist would tell to their rapist friends. The difference is in the intent. The difference is in the background. The difference is in the context of when and where the joke is told. And that difference matters. It is the difference between normal people and sociopaths, and you cannot sweep it under the rug and say that they are the same thing. And this knee-jerk outrage over content and content alone without taking into account any of those other elements that make comedy comedy is killing people’s senses of humor.

There is a difference between me calling things “false and queer” (because saying “fake and gay” is homophobic, don’t you know?) as a means of humorously/ironically pointing out the arbitrary nature of “offensive language,” and a hick in Arkansas laughing with his friends over a hilarious joke about beating up fags. Under the pretense of the social justice brand of humor, though, these are one in the same, the fact that I’m not okay with hate crimes against gay people doesn’t matter.

These people do not understand humor. You can tell they don’t because they are very selectively up-in-arms about things. They know that humor is subjective. They know that not everyone agrees on what is funny. But they’re so entrenched in the social justice mode of thinking that a difference of opinion can’t just be a difference in opinion. It has to be a difference in morals. Their humor and the things they find funny are the morally acceptable choices for humor, and people with different senses of humor are stupid and/or morally wrong.

They don’t apply their supposed standard evenly. “Sexist” jokes about women are unacceptable and perpetuate misogyny, but literally making jokes about killing all men is fine and not indicative of any wider social ideas and doesn’t have any “wider impact.” Jokes against men are just jokes, and people who don’t like them are overreacting. Jokes that contain racial stereotypes are wrong  and unacceptable, but the “stereotypical white person” joke that has existed since the beginning of time and almost universally depicts white people negatively is perfectly acceptable.

This isn’t even confined to social justice pet issues. You hear them decry rape jokes because they make light of “women’s issues,” but what about literally the rest of Daniel Tosh’s set that depicts him as an abusive asshole to everyone? What about PTSD jokes? What about dead baby jokes? Suicide jokes? Depression jokes? Abusive parent jokes? Prison rape jokes? AIDS jokes? Police jokes? War jokes? Holocaust jokes?

I love me a good Holocaust joke. Bo Burnham has tons of them. “I want you like Anne Frank wanted nobody to read her fucking diary,” “Love is like the Holocaust ‘cept you don’t die quick and you don’t get thinner.”

You rarely hear people be outraged about all the things they logically should be outraged about if their hang-up is “making fun of really bad things/punching down.” All of the above things are horrible things to experience that are joked about all the time. Worse, those are inherently bad things, unlike race and gender, which may or may not make someone’s life more difficult. What, the people with those actual traumas can suck it up, but the people with the horrible, horrible experiences of . . . being not white and not a guy, they deserve comedic discretion at all times? This would indicate that the outrage is less genuine offense and more being offended at the things that people are currently offended by at the moment.

These are the kind of people who got Lenny Bruce arrested for “unacceptable language” in his comedy shows. These are the kind of people who would ban George Carlin from their venues because he made fun of religion and offended Christian sensibilities. Nothing should be off-limits with jokes. Jokes are not offensive, people are. Jokes are not moral constructions, the ideas behind them are. Black listing comedians and banning certain subjects from being joked about doesn’t get rid of bad ideas. It just let’s the actual bad ideas grow in the dark, whilst simultaneously getting up-in-arms about the people who are pointing out the absurdity of those ideas throug humor. When you laugh at something, you’re given the chance to think about why, and you’re taking that chance for self-reflection away from people. Worse, you’re doing what collectivists love to do and grouping everyone into the same category with psychopaths who they have nothing to do with. Because all sins are equal in the eyes of God.  . . I mean justice.

Taking Buzzfeed’s Privilege Test

Time to see how privileged I am, guys! Because if anything can assess the nuances of the quality of a life, it’s a one-size-fits-all checklist from Buzzfeed. Let’s get started, yo.

I am white.

Nope. Good to get that one done right out of the gate. What if they’re a white person in China or the Ukraine- you know places where being white makes you a minority or has no bearing on life because almost everyone is?

 

I have never been discriminated against because of my skin color.

I have been by both white and minority groups.

 

I have never been the only person of my race in a room.

Seeing as how I’m in Asia right now, you know the answer to that. What about biracial people? Does this apply to me if I’m the only biracial person in a room of black people? Of white people? I’m both of those things, so….

 

I have never been mocked for my accent.

Mocked is putting it very melodramaticly, but people have made fun of my Southern accent before. Does it count if I also make fun of my accent?

 

I have never been told I am attractive “for my race.”

Seeing as how I’ve been told I was pretty by someone not in my family like three times, the whole “for a black girl” part never came up.

 

I have never been a victim of violence because of my race.

I have, I think? Does this mean personal violence or things like vandalism against my property and whatnot? I’ve never been punched in the face, but people did kill my dog once. I don’t know what this question means.

 

I have never been called a racial slur.

I have been.

 

I have never been told I “sound white.”

I am told this all the time, usually by black people.

 

A stranger has never asked to touch my hair, or asked if it is real.

This has happened to me, but I don’t care. Does it count as a disadvantage if I don’t give a fuck?

 

I am heterosexual.

I am.

 

I have never lied about my sexuality.

I have not.

 

I never had to “come out.”

Well, I did come out as bi to one of my friends in high school when I had a crush on a girl that didn’t last. And I’ve had to come out as an atheist in the Bible Belt, which sucked, even though that’s not the kind of coming out you’re talking about. I think. Fuck it, I’m saying I have.

 

I never doubted my parents’ acceptance of my sexuality.

Not really. I’m pretty sure they thought I was a lesbian for a while and they seemed okay with it.

 

I have never been called “fag.”

Nope.

 

I have never been called “dyke.”

I’ve been asked if I was a lesbian in a derisive manner once. Does that count. I will say no, I guess.

 

I have never been called a “fairy,” or any other derogatory slur for homosexuals.

Nope. But what about all the straight people who get called the Louis CK definition of “fag,” what do they mark here? It’s not a gay slur in that case, so they should ignore it or.  . . ? I don’t know. This list sucks.

Heh. Unintentional gay joke.

 

I have never tried to hide my sexuality.

Nope.

 

I am always comfortable with P.D.A. with my partner in public.

I don’t like PDA, so no I’m not always comfortable. It has nothing to do with my sexual orientation, I just think PDA is awkward. What do I put here?!

 

I have never pretended to be “just friends” with my significant other.

Nope.

 

I have never been ostracized by my religion for my sexual orientation.

Nope.

 

I have never been told I would “burn in hell” for my sexual orientation.

I’ve been told that for other things. But not for my sexual orientation, which is the only important one I guess.

 

I have never been told that my sexuality is “just a phase.”

No one told me this. But my aforementioned girl crush was just a phase, so.  . . . The truth is homophobic. Sure. Why not?

 

I have never been violently threatened because of my sexuality.

Nope.

 

I am a man.

I am a woman, so no.

 

I feel comfortable in the gender I was born as.

Yep.

 

I still identify as the gender I was born in.

Yep.

 

I have never tried to change my gender.

Nope.

 

I have never been denied an opportunity because of my gender.

What does this mean? I couldn’t do boys’ baseball because I was a girl. But the boys couldn’t join the girls’ baseball team either. So that applies to everyone, so I don’t see how it is a privilege or disadvantage. And in college I’ve been given opportunities because of my gender that men actively can’t get and have no male counterpart for. So the inverse of this is true. Is there a check for that? No? Okay.

 

I make more money than my professional counterparts of a different gender.

I don’t think I do. I’m pretty sure my shitty pay is the same as theirs.

 

I have never felt unsafe because of my gender.

Not really. Feeling unsafe generally has more to do with location than me being a woman. Also, if I get physically assaulted, people are far more likely to help me than a guy in the same situation. So I’m pretty good.

 

I have never been catcalled.

Not really. What counts as catcalling? God, this list is so vague.

 

I have never been sexually harassed or assaulted.

Nope. Shocking, I know, what with the rapists waiting around every corner and whatnot.

 

I have never been raped.

Nope.

 

I work in a salaried job.

No.

 

My family and I have never lived below the poverty line.

We have and still do.

 

I don’t have any student loans.

I do now! Thanks, shitty summer funding. I hate you to.

 

I have never gone to bed hungry.

I know what this is implying. But you can be rich and miss dinner all the time. This applies to me, but someone should have really punched these questions up to be less emotionally evocative and more fucking specific.

 

I have never been homeless.

Nope.

 

My parents pay some of my bills.

When I’m at home they do, but when I’m not at home, they don’t. So.  . . Yes? I will go with that.

 

My parents pay all of my bills.

Nope.

 

I don’t rely on public transportation.

I do. I don’t have a drivers license, so I kind of have to.

 

I buy new clothes at least once a month.

I’m wearing a sweater right now that I got in high school. So no.

 

I have never done my taxes myself.

I don’t make enough money to have to do taxes.

 

I have never felt poor.

I feel poor all the fucking time.

 

I have never had to worry about making rent.

I’ve never had to paid rent.  . . I live in a fully subsidized dorm while in college. I’m sure if I did pay rent I would worry about it. What do I put here?!

 

I have never worked as a waiter, barista, bartender, or salesperson.

I have.

 

I have had an unpaid internship.

Yep.

 

I have had multiple unpaid internships.

Yep.

 

I went to summer camp.

Once when I was like 9, and it was a free day camp. And I was a councilor at a music camp, does that count as going to summer camp? I will put yes, I guess.

 

I went to private school.

Nope.

 

I graduated high school.

Yep.

 

I went to an elite college.

Yep.

 

I graduated college.

I’ll put yes since I’m about to.

 

My parents paid (at least some of) my tuition.

Nope.

 

I had a car in high school.

Nope.

 

I’ve never had a roommate.

I have had roommates.

 

I’ve always had cable.

Nope.

 

I have traveled internationally.

Yes.

 

I travel internationally at least once a year.

Definitely not.

 

I studied abroad.

Doing it now.

 

I’ve never skipped a meal to save money.

I do this all the time.

 

I don’t know what “Sallie Mae” is.

What the Fuck does that mean?

 

I spent Spring Breaks abroad.

That is a hard Nope.

 

I have frequent flier miles.

I do, but that’s because I have to fly from the South to Philly and back at least five times a year. I don’t have enough miles to actually get me anything.

 

My parents are heterosexual.

Yes.

 

My parents are both alive.

I don’t know. I have a single mom, Buzzfeed. Why isn’t that a point?

 

My parents are still married.

I am a bastard child. They were never married.

 

I do not have any physical disabilities.

I’m legally blind, actually. So yes, I do have a physical disability.

 

I do not have any social disabilities.

Nope.

 

I do not have any learning disabilities.

I had a speech impediment as a kid. Not now. So no, I guess.

 

I have never had an eating disorder.

Nope.

 

I have never been depressed.

Not sure what to put here. A doctor never told me I was clinically depressed, though, so I will say no.

 

I have never considered suicide.

I have considered suicide, depressingly enough.

 

I have never attempted suicide.

Um . . . Does prepping for suicide but not attempting the actual act count as attempted suicide? I legit do not know.

 

I have never taken medication for my mental health.

Nope.

 

I can afford medication if/when I need it.

Not right now.

 

I have never been told I’m overweight or “too skinny.”

Well, I am overweight. So people telling me that are being accurate.p

 

I have never felt overweight or underweight or “too skinny.”

I have.

 

I have never been shamed for my body type.

Not really, no.

 

I consider myself to be physically attractive.

I don’t think I’m horrible looking, but I don’t think I’m attractive either. I think people who tell me I am are kind of talking out of their ass to make me feel good.

 

I can afford a therapist.

Nope.

 

I’ve used prescription drugs recreationally.

Once. On an off note: Ambien fucking sucks.

 

I have never had an addiction.

Nope.

 

I have never been shamed for my religious beliefs.

I’m an atheist. I’ve been shamed for that, but that is not a religious belief, Buzzfeed. God, way to oppress me with your religiously normative statements.

 

I have never been violently threatened for my religious beliefs.

Nope.

 

I have never been violently attacked for my religious beliefs.

Nope.

 

There is a place of worship for my religion in my town.

No? There’s no atheist club, so I guess not.

 

I have never lied about my ethnicity as self-defense.

Nope.

 

I have never lied about my religion as self-defense.

Nope.

 

All my jobs have been accommodating of my religious practices.

Being an atheist does not require accomodations.

 

I am not nervous in airport security lines.

I’m always nervous in airport security lines, but that is because I’m one of those people who everything always goes wrong for when I’m at the airport. I’m not afraid of racist TSA officers or anything. I’m afraid that a slightly too-big tube of toothpaste will wind up stranding me in the Shanghai airport for 24 hours because they give no fucks that your flight is leaving in ten minutes! Sorry, some recent complications have been on my mind.

 

I have never heard this statement: “You have been randomly selected for secondary passport control.”

Nope.

 

I have never been called a terrorist.

Nope.

 

Nobody has ever tried to “save” me for my religious beliefs.

They have.

 

I have never been cyber-bullied for any of my identities.

I’ve been cyber-bullied by repgressive leftists who do everything but call me a race-traitor because I don’t agree with them. I can only assume that counts.

 

I was not bullied as a child for any of my identities.

I was bullied by black kids for being an Oreo.

 

I have never tried to distance myself from any of my identities.

Not really. How do I distance myself from very apparent physical states?

 

I have never been self-conscious about any of my identities.

I guess I have. But, what, having high self esteem is a privilege now? I thought privilege was about external factors? Where were all the questions about how I felt about and reacted to certain things earlier, if my perception of events wound up being a privilige-marker in of itself?

 

I have never questioned any of my identities.

Nope.

 

I feel privileged because of the identities I was born with.

Yes, actually. Academia and the literary world are both being bitches to white guys right now.

So what is my score (after I’ve worked out all the infuriatingly ambiguous questions, that is)?

You live with 56 out of 100 points of privilege.
You’re quite privileged. You’ve had a few struggles, but overall your life has been far easier than most. This is not a bad thing, nor is it something to be ashamed of. But you should be aware of your advantages and work to help others who don’t have them. Thank you for checking your privilege.
Oh my God, guys! I’m privileged! My place at the front of the line in the progressive stack got it all wrong!
This survey is awful. As someone whose job it was to make effective surveys for some time, this actually made my brain black out at a few points. If any one of your questions is so vague that people do not know what to put, it is a bad survey. If the answer they put can be easily misconstrued by both the survey taker and the surveyor, it is a bad survey. If the questions do not provide enough context to be answered thoroughly as a whole, it is a bad survey.
Want some examples? No? You’re getting them anyway.
“I’m always comfortable with PDA with my SO.” is vague as he’ll. Anyone can be uncomfortable with outward displays of affection. I can only assume you are referring to gay people being self conscious about it. When the person taking the survey has to assume some implied context in order to answer the question, it does not work.
“I have been bullied for one or more of my identities.” can be easily misconstrued by a surveyor with confirmation bias. When I, a black woman, say I have been bullied, a Buzzfeed reading Tumblrite is going to read that as “men and white people mistreated this poor black woman” when that is not the case. But it is worded so vaguely and with so little specification that they can take whatever answer they want and fit it into preconceived notions.
“I have never taken medication  for mental health,” is a question that once again relies on an unspecified and ambiguous implication that you have not had mental problems and therefore didn’t need medicine. What about the people who needed medication but couldn’t get to a doctor or couldn’t afford the prescription? They are going to be counted as privileged in this case simply because they’ve never taken a medication  before, totally ignoring the contexts behind that statement.
And most of the questions are like this, if you didn’t pick up on that. I wouldn’t care so much except for this is Buzzfeed trying to do social commentary. It is them trying to create a yes/no list that actually assesses how privileged someone is. And since privilege is what determines who gets to speak and who gets to say what things, it is important. This is a “serious” quiz. And it is awful.
And it also placed an economically disenfranchised,  physically disabled, religious minority, black woman who has considered suicide into the “Privileged” category. Because I have to fly places sometimes and went to summer camp once. Now, I actually think my life has been pretty good, all things considered, but using regressive liberal logic, me ever being considered privileged is laughable. So it doesn’t even use its incredibly skewed and shoddy questions well. That is just sad.