August 18

A Response to Emilee Danielson

Original Post

I want to say, first, that I am the parent of a transgendered adolescent. I support my child fully in their identity. Now, on to the subject of your rant.

Throughout your entire piece, you have very little positive to say about being a woman. You talk about the pain of being a woman. You talk about the fear of being a woman. You talk about the depression of being a woman who is trapped by their hormones, over and over again, and relate that as your experience.

You talk about the uniquely heteronormative experience of losing one’s husband (because, of course, a woman is nothing without her man). You speak of finding value only in what one’s family thinks of one, and, then, only if one has a husband and children.

You write off Ms. Jenner’s experience because you truly  do not understand it, and, while dismissing her as being not a woman and repeatedly misgendering her, you have nothing good to say about your own experience being a woman.

You may rant and rave about how Ms. Jenner does not fit your definition of what it means to be a woman, but from my perspective, all you seem to be able to hang on to is the worst and most negative aspects of that experience. You do not talk about the connection you feel to nature, as you are endowed with the ability to nurture life within you. You speak nothing of the joy of seeing your newborn child for the first time. You did not touch on culture not shaming you for being in touch with your emotions, or being able to cry without feeling ashamed of yourself. You didn’t mention being able to have close, emotional relationships with other women without being worried that others would label you as being homosexual, or, if you were homosexual, giving yourself away through those close relationships.

You also did not bring up a legal system that has long been on your gender’s side in the great majority of custody disputes. You did not admit that if a woman is raped or is the victim of domestic violence, she can go to the police, and, more often than not, get something in the way of justice, protection, and find many support groups to help.

Seeing as that you are fifty, I can understand that you grew up in a world of clearly defined genders, gender roles, and strict guidelines on behavior, and probably parents who bemoaned the changes that were happening to those definitions. Under the surface, those clear definitions were an illusion. There were people who were not heterosexual, there were people who did not, at their core, feel like the gender they were assigned at birth. When you were growing up, though, those things that had been denied and hidden were coming to light, and people were feeling more and more free to be who they were.

Yes, there are differences between the genders. But, can you imagine waking up every single morning, hating the very body that you are in, feeling betrayed by the flesh you inhabit? That your breasts and vagina were completely wrong and that they should not belong to you?

Can you even begin to imagine what it must be like to be constantly reminded every moment of every day that every aspect of your physical being seems to have betrayed you? Kind of like puberty, but permanent, never ending, and always there?

You talk about how horrible it is to be a woman. Can you imagine being a woman, trapped inside a man’s body, as if you had been dumped without resources on a strange planet and were expected to survive?

You may take offense at Ms. Jenner all you wish. I find your attitude towards those that are transgendered to be much more offensive, and your misogyny to be quite stomach turning.

 

August 17

10 tips on how to be a Lousy Game Master

  1. Treat your player’s characters like puppets. After all, they are only there to act out your grand vision and story.
  2. Delight in the death of your player’s characters. This leads to a reputation as being the killer GM, and that is a position of awe and respect.
  3. Throw monsters and villains at your players that seriously out power them. Let them know exactly who is in control! There is nothing like the look on a fresh half-elf ranger’s face when encountering Latharious, God-Emperor of the Liches.
  4. Accept real world bribes from players. Food, money, favors, weed… whatever they are willing to give in sacrifice for their character. If they don’t give enough, make their players suffer.
  5. Reward cross-talk with instant death. Preferably to only one of the people talking. Make sure you show favoritism!
  6. If your significant other is playing, make sure that they are given all of the lucky breaks and fortunate turns. If not, hit on all of the players that are attractive to you.
  7. Make sure to take every phone call, turn on the TV, and sneak off with your “special friend” during the game. Always remember the players are there for your pleasure!
  8. Hide your dice rolls. Consider the results to be suggestions. Randomly roll the dice, and pretend like it is something serious.
  9. Don’t bother investing in the game financially. Don’t provide food, figures, maps, a board, or even a table if you can help it.
  10. Be unprepared! Don’t bother anticipating your player’s actions, don’t take notes, heck, don’t even bother knowing the rules of the game! Make it up as you go along! It will add an air of mystery and suspense to your game.
August 7

Fighting Invisible Demons

Those who know me know that I try very hard to be funny, upbeat, and generally in a good mood. Those closest to me know that, behind this, is a complex structure of coping mechanisms. Depression, rage, fear, all are also parts of me.

Those people closest to me struggle with similar demons. Many of them are blessed and cursed with the ability to understand the larger patterns, to see the story. It is a dance along the cliff between sanity and insanity, and it takes phenomenally strong people to dance this line without falling off.

It has been said that ignorance is bliss. On the inverse, knowledge is power. Both have their dangers. Is one a sheep, to be led willingly to slaughter, or is one a wolf, to be hunted by the fearful?

Neither. One is human, and to ignore the responsibility that comes with that is to sacrifice our one and only valuable birthright; sentience.

So, the only way I stay sane is through learning, logic, and force of will. And the occasional joke.

August 6

Romancing Israel

Nearly twenty years ago, I met a man who became my best friend. An apatheist, late atheist, he was bright, talented, although a bit unfocused, he helped me get through a significant and horrible series of events in my life that changed me forever.

After I returned to the Midwest from the west coast, he was able to track me down and we continued our friendship. We did business together, as we were both in software development.

My friend was of Jewish descent. When his son was born, I helped him get together a minion for the son’s bris. He wasn’t religious, but it was important to him culturally.

I frankly thought we would be close friends for the rest of our lives. During the wild days after my divorce, several things happened that began to drive a wedge between us.

I am filling you in with the back story because I need to give you some perspective on what just happened.

After years bemoaning the nuttiness of his father, a far right wing rabbi, my friend suddenly shifted. He started defending Israel to the point of, well, saying some bizarre things. His political bent shifted radically right, and he started blaming liberals for hate crimes against Jews. I have my theories as to why, but this is not really about him. This is about some of the underlying misconceptions he has come under the influence of, and I think it’s time to let the air out of the Conservative love fest that is built on some very dangerous lies. Continue reading

August 6

Aggressive Atheism

Over time, I have been accused of being an aggressive atheist.

Oh, the terminology has changed. I’ve been called an asshole. I’ve been told I am “proselytizing”. I’ve been told that I am too open and vocal about my atheism, even once by another atheist (or so they claimed at the time).

“Oh,” you are thinking, “You must be one of those anti-theists. You hate religion and the religious.”

Nope. I don’t hate anyone, and find religion to be, at best, annoying, and, at worst, an excuse for people to treat each other badly. Why, then, am I labeled like that?

Because I speak truth to believers. I point out the flaws in their belief, in their logic, and I ask questions that challenge their worldview. Let me give you an example.

Recently, a Facebook friend posted a meme of a “white Jesus” with the question, “Is there room for me on your wall?”

If I had been an anti-theist, my response would have been something along the lines of, “Sure, let me go get some nails.” or “Fuck no! He isn’t real!”

Anti-theism is not about speaking truth. It is about reacting negatively to religion. It can be dogmatic (All religion is wrong and evil!). It is usually very aggressive

What I did was ask why I would want a portrait of Cesare Borgia on my wall. For those of you who don’t know, the images of Jesus used in mainstream Christianity are of Cesare Borgia, a disgusting man from the 15th century who was given a PR makeover by his father. He had a variety of images created with Cesare as Jesus Christ. The campaign was super effective, and very, very few people today know that White Jesus is not Jesus at all, but Borgia.

By the end of it, I was threatened with violence, told by one person they had no idea what I believed (and then went on to tell me what I believed. Or, more accurately, what they thought I believed), told my parents had failed somewhere with me, and then blocked by someone who has known me since I was about eight years old.

Did I throw any insults? Not one.

Did I call people stupid? Nope.

I didn’t even really challenge their faith. But, I made them question it themselves, and that horrifies people. So, while it is acceptable for some Christians to say that other people deserve to be tortured for eternity, inciting thought and critical thinking is a crime worthy of banishment.

CHRISTAIN WARRIOR 1
At least I’m not one of these guys.

Why don’t I insult believers? For the same reason I don’t blame women for being raped, or the elderly for getting ripped off. Religion is a scam, and blaming those that have been scammed does nothing positive. The best thing for me to do is plant the seeds of doubt. In those that have a mind open enough to it, maybe they will realize the scam and get free. Forcing them with insults is not my style.

So, call me an aggressive atheist for challenging worldviews. It could be worse…

 

 

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