Tag Archives: pettiness

We Have the Nanny/Police State We Deserve

I read this morning about some proud black families getting arrested for the heinous crime of cheering for their children when they accepted their diplomas on stage.

Arrested. For cheering. For kids who worked hard in the country’s poorest state, and graduated, when 25% of their fellow Mississippi students do not.

It disgusts me. Just like it disgusted me when child welfare gets called about children having the audacity to walk home from school unaccompanied.

What the fuck is wrong with people today? You see something you disagree with, you call the cops?

Here in Canada, we’re fighting off Bill C-51, which looks altogether likely to be passed and implemented at this stage, and which seeks to criminalize dissent (and that’s just the beginning of its terrifying contents).

In the States, they’re battling oppressive police forces that are kitted out like the best of black ops teams are.

These uber-controlling authorities are the result of what we have created, demanded, and funded, and all of it really began at the municipal level.

It Wasn’t Always Like This

Once, we had fun as humans. We went to school and frolicked on playgrounds, fell down and got back up again, bleeding knees and all. We walked to school alone. We hooted when our friends collected diplomas. We partied and invited the whole block.

If this sounds like a “back in the good ol’ days things was good!” kinda old folk recollection, that’s because it is. I love the digital age and I don’t blame who we have become on the fact that we have computers. I blame them on a 24-hour news cycle owned by industries who benefit from us being uninformed, angry, and scared. I blame the “if it it bleeds, it leads” news landscape, and the commodification of fear.

What The Hell Did We Do?

Prison, it’s big business now. The industrial penal complex is part of a whole lot of jobs today. Has to be, when America has the world’s highest prison population per capita, nearly 5 times the world’s average.

Or maybe it’s just all the guns. Maybe once you’d go and shout down someone for being a dick, but nowadays you need to worry there’s a gun behind that dickheaded attitude. Open-carry is open-season on not trusting anyone and leading with fear.

The Chasm Between Left & Right

Whatever the case, somewhere along the lines, everything in our lives became the enemy. Used to be, when I was growing up, Liberals were the ones you wanted to hang out with because they were fun. They listened to great music, smoked pot, had mellow attitudes, and fought for social justice in a “everybody deserves it, man” kinda way.

Today’s leftie is so goddamned uptight that we have rubberized playgrounds, kids not allowed to walk to school alone for fear that evils will befall them all, and all those neurotic laws about food safety. They’re a large part why we basically live in a nanny state. It’s not all the Right’s doing.

Between the extremist religious right on the rise and the sphincter-clinching left, it’s no wonder we insist on bringing the authorities into every little disagreement. The chasm between is growing so wide that no rational conversation can bridge the gap anymore. What a jerk! Call the cops!

politically-correct-foie-gras

Even Consequences Are Extreme

When everything is a crime, it means our responses escalate accordingly across the board. It means unarmed kids get tazed for shoplifting, or shot. It means people get shamed and berated for the stupidest of offenses. Back in the day, you had to do something really offensive to get shunned in the media, on the level of Howard Cosell calling a football play and blurting “Look at that monkey run!”

Ironically, this is why I prefer public shaming for things like dudebros shouting “fuck her right in the pussy” and other subhuman behaviour. It’s time we clean up our own messes without always turning to cops. When we have clear unedited video, multiple witnesses, live feeds, then why do we worry about involving the law?

Sure, floggings in the town square weren’t exactly the most humane of recriminations, but getting outed on social media for being an ass, then losing a job, well, it’s not like anyone needs to call in the United Nations to investigate human rights violations here. It’s just good old-fashioned consequences being meted out by a society not willing to abide nasty behaviour.

The Justice Malfunction

There are those who cry out that the everyman ain’t worldly enough to know how to judge what’s right or wrong, and this is why we need the courts. Oh, and that approach has worked so well for us?

We’re ruder, less patient, more selfish, and more judgmental than we’ve ever been, because we expect the law to come and clean up every mess.

We get the world we’ve created for ourselves, folks.

I, for one, want to return to the good old days when we would call a spade a spade, see the arrest blotters in the newspapers, and pass judgment on our fellow man ourselves.

It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way, People

All the Superintendent of that school had to do was say “Look, another outburst like that and we’ll stop the roll call.” Instead, the cops were called. For cheering.

I remember, in my youth, being naive enough to dream that we’d have a really free, amazing society when I grew up. I thought we had freedom of speech and new technology, ergo we’d have more freedom. I thought science was making us progressive, not getting us to cower in fear from an ever-darkening technocracy. I witnessed the rise of “community policing,” and I dared to dream it meant we’d care more for each other and feel more camaraderie, like a “Block Parent” system writ large.

Man, was I ever off-base. What a sorry place we’re in today.

When you have a problem with someone, tell them. Don’t inform authorities. When you dislike how someone lives/acts/expresses themselves, get over yourself, because they probably don’t like your ideas either. That’s what happens in civilization.

Next time you want to call the cops, ask yourself if a crime has been committed, if someone is hurt, or if maybe you’re just being a judgmental asshole. If it’s the latter, then put the phone down, extract your head from your ass, and let us all have a simpler day.

Mental Health: In Which Steff Calls a Spade a Spade

A couple months ago, I proposed to talk about writing for therapy, how to kinda “go there”, via blogging.

The conference was yesterday. It was an “unconference” put on by end-patients and people who work on the peripheries of mental care.

Why did I want to get involved?

For a million reasons. I’ll get to most of them shortly.

But, first: I proposed my talk without knowing the conference’s “reputation” or anything like that. I just wanted a forum to talk about depression.

Unbeknownst to me, I stepped into the thick of a controversial “unconference.” It wasn’t until Friday that I really realized just how controversial it was. Whether it’s because ballsy speakers like Steven Schwartz speak in dismissive vernacular, saying edgy-yet-funny adjectives a lot of boring people object to, or because of who was organizing it, or even the press some of us speakers were getting, the reactions were ridiculously sharp and pointed.

Late Friday night, I saw comments some anonymous dumb fuck left on the Mental Health Camp’s website, and I got pretty riled up. Since then, all the comments were deleted, which I take serious issue with.

Me, I never would have deleted the comments. We convened the camp to fight stigma against the “idea” of mental illness, so why would you delete, and not fight, that stigma when it stands up and attacks you? Deleting and silencing the attack does nothing to neutralize it. But that’s where I stand and it’s not my blog. So, yeah. Moving on.

The asshat’s comments varied, but the most offensive of them all were that a number of those involved in the Mental Health Camp were doing so only to propel their image and get their allotted moments of Warholian fame. Media whores, basically, all faking their interest to get noticed.

Heh. Yeah, okay. Fucking shrewd, that.

A line in the comment made me wonder if I was one of the people they alluded to, just because I had the audacity to do an interview with CBC about the conference.

Here’s the deal, all right?

I’ll be the first to admit there were organizational issues with the conference. That’s what happens with not-for-profit amateur/volunteer organizers, people who have organized a conference just to have discussion and don’t have experience organizing them.

Oh, well. That’s life. It happens. But it’s not about the organizing.

It’s about the messages explored — mental health, stigma, and the fact the lives are destroyed by mental illness every moment of every day, and the fact that EVERYONE in their lifetime will experience mental illness at some point, and YET we don’t talk about it.

Well, I do, and I have for years.

I’ve been writing about depression, weight issues, self-esteem, lack of confidence, and everything else I’ve battled in life since 2005, and blogging since 2004. I’ve been getting real fuckin’ raw and honest since 2006.

There are a whole lot of things I’m willing to do to have success as a writer. Do you know what the least smart of them would be?

Letting myself in any way be any kind of poster girl for any mental illness.

Let’s see, when was the last time a Hollywood publicist suggested their celebrity client embrace their mental illness for the public as a means of netting better starpower in the press? Um, never.

Know why?

No one wants to be thought of as “nuts”.

Why?

Because people who are strong, intelligent, articulate, engaging, and well-liked don’t come out and admit their mental illnesses. They don’t talk about them. So stigma exists because all we see are the nutty fucks you try to avoid in hallways, or the whackjobs they put on television shows.

But those are extremes.

When assholes like that anonymous commenter attack a conference whose only purpose is to bring the overly-shamed and constantly-silenced issue of mental health to the forefront only because they dislike the people behind it, and they use that opportunity to suggest it’s basically Starfucking by those involved, it’s an insult to the seriousness of the issue.

It also suggests they have no fucking idea what it’s like to have been, in my case, an otherwise strong and intelligent person who took the wrong medication and considered suicide before spending the next year-plus trying to claw my way out of the depths.

It suggests they have no idea what it’s like to live under the clutches of your mind, body, and chemistry’s whimsy on a day-in, day-out, year-by-year basis, never being able to rise above a sick world of fear, chaos, and hopelessness that can’t manifest outwardly, that you hear inside your head every time you wake or lie down to sleep.

It suggests they don’t fathom that mental illness is the most costly and insidious of sicknesses in society — it destroys the fabric of life, of all the lives around the sufferer, not just the body of the afflicted. It ends relationships, destroys marriages, causes debt, and is the largest reason for employee leaves of absence in the modern workforce.

I don’t WANT to talk about depression.

But I need to.

Because what happened to me can happen to anyone.

Because it happened to my mother, and, as a 17-year-old girl, I walked in on her attempting suicide with the very pills that caused her chemically-induced depression — one like I myself would experience 17 years later.

Because doctors will tell you birth control pills don’t cause depression.

Because I know my birth control made me want to kill myself and feel like life could never have hope again.

I need to talk about depression because I’m tired of bi-polars, schizophrenics, and other more acute or rare mental health concerns having the limelight in “mental illness,” when it’s depression that’s most likely to touch, and destroy, the average life.

I feel like their more “stereotyped” afflictions make it less likely for seemingly average Jolenes like myself to come out and say, “I’m not that afflicted, but it still really fucked me up, too, and no one saw any big signs…”

I am a good writer. I’m a really, really good writer. I’m a passionate speaker who will not mince her ideas. I don’t back down from a fight. I’m engaging, funny, and even self-deprecating. I’m a great communicator with friends, family, everyone.

And yet depression almost took me out of the game of life.

But I survived.

I made it to the other side. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. I’m happy most of the time.

Still, I’m surrounded by people I see who are skating through life with the cool indifference of someone struggling with depression. I see it everywhere. And we’re NOT TALKING ABOUT IT.

You want to attack my IDEAS? Go for it.

But don’t fucking attack ME or any of those people who’ve had the STRENGTH to write about all the things YOU make fun of, that YOU won’t trust, or YOU can’t admit about yourself.

We’re out there only for the reason that we can’t be silent anymore. Society can’t AFFORD our silence anymore. We need to hear our thoughts expressed on the page, we believe our experiences are real and representative of the whole, yet largely ignored by the mainstream.

And we’re not going to be quiet about it.

Not anymore.

Until you’ve lost your job — like I once did — for writing in the public eye about your darker self, until you’ve had the courage to write without tempering your weaker thoughts and fears, until you’ve been able to admit you have an affliction the majority of society can’t understand and doesn’t know how to act around, you have no right to criticize us for the moments of acknowledgement we might finally receive after years of having the courage to tell our stories no matter what the prices have been.

Now it’s easier for me. But where the fuck were you in 2006 when I wanted to commit suicide only 9 days after writing the most harrowing things I’ve ever published? Where were you when my traffic dropped to nothing as I used my blogs to work through my depression? Where were you when I lost a job and nearly my home for having a voice on less acceptable topics? Where were you when I struggled to maintain faith in speaking out? Where were you when I constantly had to lower my voice when I said what I wrote about?

Sure, now you know about me, but I’ve been doing this for a long fucking time and I’ve paid a LOT of steep prices for my honesty.

But I’ve paid ’em and now you can’t shut me up. Just try it, honey. You’ll only wind me up more.

If I finally have an audience and a wider means of getting my message out, you’d have to be a fucking moron to think I’d walk away from that opportunity.

Oh, and being single and getting press for having gone nuts, been suicidal, and longterm depressed? Yeah, that’ll be a fucking brilliant way for me to get laid. I hear men are wild about that shit.

Marketing GENIUS, clearly.

Whoever you were, you anonymous spineless motherfucking commenter: Grow up. You’re a fucking idiot. Open your eyes. See that some battles need to be waged with faces on them.

At least I have the guts to show mine.

RANT: You Think You’re A Feminist?

I can’t stand elitism. I can’t stand the “we’re better than you” mentality. And I sure as fuck can’t stand when someone’s got to get their hate on just to get ahead.

A particular blog post from someone in the sex blogging community is ridiculously sexist and moronic in its simplicity, in my opinion. Because I don’t feel the need to sling mud and hurt anyone’s reputations, I’ll leave it anonymous.

The blogger in question had a shitty day. Some guy, after she admitted she was responsible for causing a car accident, mouthed off with “It’s always the woman’s fault.” Because of this, she turned around and decided to slag all “privileged white males” as being asses.

Now, if she’d gone and said instead that she WORKS with privileged white males who are all asses, that’d be different, but her post more or less painted all as the same, and THAT is something I have a problem with.

Here’s the deal. Continue reading