Introducing Brew 42

Due to the hateful position taken by a certain author, we at JenEric Designs can not morally support them or the world they created.

All Harry Potter crochet will be discontinued.

50% of all sales of remaining stock (including a beautiful Hufflepuff inspired scarf) will be donated to the Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC).


Hello Coffee lovers!

I’m proud and excited to introduce our newest flavour: Brew 42. It’s a medium roast unflavoured coffee which which will make you a really hoopy frood.

Enjoy it soon on JenEric Coffee and Crochet!

Enjoy!

Éric

Consume Media Critically

Due to the hateful position taken by a certain author, we at JenEric Designs can not morally support them or the world they created.

All Harry Potter crochet and coffee will be discontinued.

50% of all sales of remaining stock (including a beautiful Hufflepuff inspired scarf) will be donated to the Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC).

Use code BTLM for 15% off your entire order until Midnight June 14th.


Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Consuming media critically is something that I encourage everyone to do. You can love a story and still admit its faults.

I firmly believe that once a story is out in the world it not longer belongs (metaphorically and spiritually, not legally) to the creators. I wrote about this from a creator’s point of view in Your Stories and Characters don’t Belong to you. Get over it!

When you consume a story and love it, you take from it what you need. Once the story is out there and communities build around them, the entire world of it changes and grows. The fans fundamentally change the story, usually for the better.

That being said, it’s important to listen those who are hurt by the things we consume. To look at the negative aspects and accept that they can be hurtful. If someone says they are hurt by something, we must listen and learn from that.

Harry Potter is filled with racist, homophobic, classist, pro-slavery, colonialist, and antisemitic themes. I’m sure there are other things in there that I haven’t noticed. It’s also filled with messages about the power of love, found family, doing the right thing, and standing up against oppression. Nothing is perfect. It’s your responsibility to decide if the good outweighs the bad.

We plan on keeping our Harry Potter books and making sure we explain the faults to our kids. However, we gave away our Marion Zimmer Bradley books and I refuse to read Lovecraft. You need to decide on your own balance.

If the Harry Potter universe is important to you, if you have fond memories of waiting in line for the books, if you smile when you hear the words Mushroom and Badger close together, or if your life was influenced for the better by these book; those memories and events are still good and valid. As much as the creator influences the work, so do the consumers. Don’t allow the author’s misguided hateful views to dim the positive that the books have done.

If you still love the world and still want to consume things about it, I recommend looking into fan fiction, fan art, and other creators that have played with those worlds.

Art by the talented itsnucleicacid on DiviantArt.

Consume responsibly,

Éric

Long Haul

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Trump said something about having everything open by Easter. Even before that, people were talking about returning to normal.

I heard about the Virus in the end of January while on vacation at Disney. I’m ashamed to say that I thought people were overreacting. Then I got sick.

Baby Pegasus got something at the end of our trip to Florida and then sneezed into my mouth. Yum. I’m not sure if it was the virus or another Covid that’s flying around there, but it matched all the symptoms. Who knows. Either way, it was the worst sickness I’ve had outside of severe food poisoning.

By the end of February, I was starting to get worried. By the time the lockdowns started, I realized this was going to be a while.

Every week, news sources are talking about when things will go back to normal. People who saw the horrifying inequality in our society want us to do better then normal.

I’m convinced this will be a long haul. This will become our normal for a while. I’m hoping that by Christmas we will have a viable cure or vaccine. But I don’t expect the threat to go away until the end of 2020.

Now just because the Virus is still around, doesn’t mean that those who have their own best interest in mind aren’t going to push to reopen society. We will see those that believe humans are a commodity pushing for a return to capitalist normal.

We will see things normalized that should horrify us before this is over. Governments will push too far, corporations will push eugenics, or immunity cards, and worst, our friends and neighbours will start to believe the arguments.

My greatest fear is going to be having to choose between the health of my family, friends, and myself, over having to go back to work. I’m really hoping it doesn’t come to that.

Now let me be positive. At least in the short term this will mean a greater respect for those that are working hard everyday. Those that work at grocery stores, hospitals, restaurants, sanitation, and all the other essentials services.

In the long run, I expect better respect for the importance of health care and minimum wage. The need to make internet an essential and affordable service and the need for being prepared for this in the future. I also really hope we see the quick death of the anti-vaccine movement.

 Uncertain future. Illustration: Chris Riddell

We have lived through 3 major viral pandemics in the past twenty years (5 if you count Ebola and HIV); this is going to happen again. If we’re lucky, it’ll be a strain of something we have a vaccine for and can adapt fast but I predict this isn’t the last major shutdown of our times.

In these darker times, it’s important for us to remember three things:

  1. All life has value; no one should be defined by the amount of money they can make for others.
  2. Don’t give in to hate.
  3. Life will change after this and it’s up to us to make sure it’s for the better.

Stay home, wash your hands, and be kind to one another.

Éric

Dear Pegasus – Fear of Cults

Dear Baby Pegasus,

You are on your way and I’m both excited and nervous. I wrote about my anxieties in my previous letter but I left one out.

I’m terrified because you are a perfect target for cults. When your Gramma was young, she joined a cult. They separated people from their families, fed them little, sleep deprived them, and made them believe that the central figure was faultless if not deific.

When I was young I noticed similar behaviour in school. In this case, it was a teacher with bad intentions who used all the same tricks to turn the class into his own private cult and he took advantage of select people. Even when he was caught, there were elements of the conditioning left in the class to make people want him to return.

You are growing up in a different age than your Gramma or I, and in some ways it’s wondrous. The entirety of human knowledge is available to you with little to no effort. As is the entirety of misinformation and hate that we as a race are capable of. It means that cults today don’t need a compound, they don’t need their old tricks. They have direct access to you through multiple channels and they prey on your fear, distrust, hurt, and pride.

Modern digital cults are cults of hate. They’re not new but they are much more far reaching. I’m scared I won’t have the ability to save you from them; I’m scared I won’t be able to prepare you to defend against them; and I’m scared they will steal you before you know what’s going on.

Your Mum and I do, and will do, our best to raise you and your sister to think rationally. To look at the evidence, opposing views, and make a critical decision based on that and your values.

I just hope it’s enough. I hope that in your darkest moments where you consider joining or participating in these things that you know you always have us to talk to.

I love you so much and I’ve yet to meet you,

Your Papa

P.S. This article explains a lot better what could happen.

Dear Pegasus – Being a Man

Dear Baby Pegasus,

As a parent, my goal is to help you be the best version of yourself you can be. That’s the goal, but on a daily basis I’m usually just trying to make sure you and your sister survive with limited trauma.

You’re on your way, two months now before you get here and I’m terrified. I feel like I just got used to having three members of the family. I have no idea what you’ll be like, or how you’ll get along with your sister and it scares me.

I also harbour a strange fear. I’m not sure how to raise a boy. I’ve spent most of my life surrounded by girls and when I made friends with boys it almost always ended poorly. I often have no idea what to say or how to act around other males. I can count on one hand the men I’m close to and feel comfortable with.

Gender is a social construct, but with it comes social constructs on behaviour and shared truths. I feel like I missed the “male” seminar and that means in groups of men I often feel like I’m missing something. Some subtext that I just don’t follow.

Yes I’m empathic, yes I’m a writer, and yes I am a man. But those are despite my anxieties, not because of them.

All that to say I have no idea how to raise you to be a good, great, or any sort of a man. Sorry.

What I do know is that I’m going to do my best to raise you as a caring, intelligent, and good person. It means I’m going to try and ask myself if I treat you differently than your sister and if it’s because you’re a boy. I want to make sure you don’t just respect others but have genuine compassion.

No matter what, know that your Mum and I love you and want what’s best for you,

Your Papa

I’m not going to See Captain Marvel

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Why am I not going to see Captain Marvel? My in-laws (whom I go to the movies with) are out of town. We’ll go see it, probably, the 19th. I do wish I could go see it opening weekend but it’s time to ramp up for spring (by name only in Ottawa) convention season.

Did you think I was going to talk about the Brie Larson controversy?


The actor said in an interview:

“About a year ago, I started paying attention to what my press days looked like and the critics reviewing movies, and noticed it appeared to be overwhelmingly white male. So, I spoke to Dr. Stacy Smith at the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, who put together a study to confirm that. Moving forward, I decided to make sure my press days were more inclusive. After speaking with you, the film critic Valerie Complex and a few other women of color, it sounded like across the board they weren’t getting the same opportunities as others. When I talked to the facilities that weren’t providing it, they all had different excuses.”

This has led to plenty of insecure men to call her racist and sexist and somehow means she doesn’t want white men to see the movie. I’m not sure they’ve learnt to read critically.

Even after she said:

“What I’m looking for is to bring more seats up to the table. No one is getting their chair taken away. There’s not less seats at the table, there’s just more seats at the table.”

The angry white men are still very angry.

They’ll argue that it’s just about:

  • Bad writing – she’s overpowered
  • Ethics in Journalism – she shouldn’t get to choose
  • Should be a man – they think Mar’vel was a better character
  • Ruining science fiction – Because she’s too powerful
  • Bad acting – the Oscar winner just wasn’t built to be a superhero
  • Too feminist – there are women in the movie who are in the lead roles

I’m sure I missed some sad-puppy, proud boy, kkk, incel, gamergate, bullshit in there.

Long story short, the entire controversy is just another, in a long list, of made up sexist crap.

This movie looks amazing and I can’t wait, even though I will have to, to see it.

Éric

I’m Fat and so is Trump

Hello Internet,

I’m fat. I’ve been considered morbidly obese since seventh grade. Here I am at my thinnest and best shape of 200lbs and 220lbs:

The left (200lbs) was taken in 2003 and the right (220lbs) in 2005. The difference in weight could have been mostly hair.

My entire life I have seen people like me be one of three things: Villain, Weirdo, and Dork. These were the roles I could play in society and my role models were comedians (John Candy).

There were three universal truths about being fat:

1. You were messy, smelly, or gross.

To this day I am obsessively clean about eating and hygiene. I’m struck with terror at the idea of being messy with food in front of people or having BO.

2. You Love fast food.

I watched my mother (who weighed 300-400lbs for most of my life) struggle with this constantly. She wanted to be healthy but being poor meant it was easier to buy frozen and fast food. I still marvel at the privilege inherent in people who hate veggies. Fresh veggies are better than candy to me and growing up they were a rare treat. Now I try to follow a diet from the keto pure diet reviews I found.

That being said I do love me some McDonalds and A&W.

3. You were lazy / it’s your fault

Oh this is the reason so many people have eating disorders, Yo-Yo diet, or try dangerous things. Sometimes you’re just fat and sometimes you need to balance the need to lose weight and the time/money it would take to lose.

Hey advice person, let me stop you right there. I am perfectly healthy. My blood glucose, cholesterol, etc are better than most men half my age. Other than arthritis, allergies, and IBS; I’m fine. Also keep your chia/coconut/superfood to yourself.

Trump

I don’t hate Trump; I loathe him. His entire being, especially his presidency, is an assault to common sense, humanity, and decency. His treatment of minorities, the economy, and the English language are horrifying.

He’s also fat and likes fast food. We have that in common.

The disgusting thing about Trump serving fast food to a bunch of athletes is that he served them 2-3 hour old, cold, fast food. He could have commissioned a bunch of fast food trucks to show up and it would have been quirky. Instead he pre-ordered a bunch of food and as it cooled he gave a nonsensical speech.

His weight, ass, belly, flab, etc. do not represent his worth, or lack thereof, as a human being. His actions and words represent his monstrosity.

Please stop making fun of him for his fatness. Every time you associate causation between his being fat and his repugnant behaviour you tell me, and children who look like me, that we’re no better than Trump.

Fat is not a representation of worth. I am not inherently bad because of a number on a scale.

Stop mocking and associating Trump’s weight with his worth.

The living personification of capitalism and hate has given you a plethora of material to mock.

I’m fat and so is Trump. Our size doesn’t make us twins and the fact that we have that in common means absolutely nothing.

Be kind,

Éric

Top 10 Statements Guaranteed to Make Éric Rant (and Angry) Part 2

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

Last Tuesday I posted Top 10 Statements Guaranteed to Make Éric Rant (and Angry) Part 1

Now here is:

Top 10 Statements Guaranteed to Make Éric Rant (and Angry) Part 2

5. Fad Science

Superfoods, toxins, free radicals, coffee enemas, diets based off of the food cavemen ate, and many more topics are junk/fad science. I’m not talking traditional medicines or all-natural remedies.

When people start trusting celebrities, fake doctors, and random articles over what their doctors say, we end up with people who truly believe that a fruit smoothie will remove harmful substances from their bodies or that pomegranates cure cancer.

The true dangers of this mentality is the fear of science, doctors, and health professionals. That’s when we get dead infants because their parents thought turmeric could heal meningitis, herbs can cure strep throat, and babies should be on gluten-lactose-free diets.

There’s no “SECRET DOCTORS DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW”, there’s no quick fix, and sometimes genetics is the problem. Eat a balanced diet and consult a doctor.

Anyone who’s offering you a quick fix is trying to sell you something.

4. Sexual Education is Not Necessary

Want to improve you and your child’s knowledge of sexual education? BUY BLUSH HERE!

I spoke about it

My wife spoke about it

And we are trying our best to educate people

Let’s just say I believe that subjects like proper body part names, consent, bullying, and LGBTQIA2S+ belong in a well-rounded education. Knowledge and discourse are the way to acceptance and understanding.

3. Video Games, Movies, and Television Create Violent People

Every once in a while a study by a special interest group will pop up saying that TV, movies, and video games cause violence.

It comes up every time someone sees the uptick in school shootings in the states or perceives the violence around us.

As I said in point 9, the world is actually a better place. We are exposed to more violence but that’s because we’re not sitting by and ignoring the violence around us. Racial violence, violence against LGBTQIA2S+, and religious violence are finally being exposed (mostly) and that makes the world look bleak, but we can’t fix a problem if we don’t know it exists.

Video games can cause addictions but so can books and collecting stuff. (Hey, hey… I don’t have a problem with collecting books.) Violent video games are a way that many people use to alleviate the anger and frustration that bombards our near powerless daily lives.

2. Vaccines

With the exception of a statistically minor portion of the population, the only thing vaccines cause are adults. In point 9 the graphic shows that child mortality has been steadily dropping since the 1900s. One of the major reasons for this is vaccines. You don’t have to worry about your child dying of smallpox or being crippled by polio.

Despite what some idiotic celebrities will tell you, the harm caused by not vaccinating is immense.

Measles cases hit record high in Europe (Warning there are some sad images of children with measels)

Have a look at this wonderful cartoon explaining how vaccines work.

1. [Insert Person] Doesn’t Deserve the Same Rights

All people should be treated equitably no matter their sexual identity, sexual orientation, skin colour, culture, country, religion, physical health, metal health, or intelligence.

It’s easy to be afraid of people you don’t know anything about. Fear of the other is a natural human reaction. It’s not logical or useful however. We need to accept others as they are and as they tell us they want to be treated. If someone from a minority tells you they’re not comfortable or don’t like your behaviour, listen to them.

Everyone deserves to live a life that is free from fear and hate.

Stop thinking of political correctness and start thinking of human decency and treating people with respect.

And yes I’ve ranted on this before:

 

Those are my top ten rant buttons.

Later days and future arguments,

Éric

Fear and Hate

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’ve been thinking a lot about hate. Not dislike or revulsion, but genuine hate. I don’t fully understand it but I think is has to do with fear.

Picture of Yoda with the quote, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

I find the philosophy of Star Wars, pre-Disney, utterly repulsive. It has elements of racism, sexism, determinism, and emotional and sexual repression… but that’s a rant for another time.

I do like the above quote… in part. I think Yoda is on to something but I don’t think anger has anything to do with it. Hate is born directly of fear and often that fear is fueled by ignorance.

Unfortunately the world is filled with people who are willfully ignorant of the world around them. They wallow in their hate, create logical arguments for it, build it up, and it becomes part of them.

This is true evil. When hate becomes a part of someone’s self-image they go out of their way to destroy what they hate.

I hope that as individuals and as a society we can rise above this and react to fear with curiosity not hate.

 

Happy thoughts,

Éric

Frustration, Sadness, and Anger

Dear Imaginary Friends,

I was going to make this a Dear Dragon but what I have to say is for you.

As I’m typing, I’m vibrating with anger. I’m going to structure this into three parts to avoid it devolving into a curse filled rant.

Background (This isn’t new)

South of the border, or in Canada’s Pants, we’ve been seeing increasing acts of violence and hate. The Google Manifesto and the atrocious events in Virginia are only the newest in a long line of hateful, vile, putrescent evil. However they’re not new. Nor are they worse than what we’ve seen.

Two years ago just as many horrifying things were happening, but the political climate, news, and public were less informed. It was still happening, it was just as horrific, and it was just as open.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely happy that these things are being noticed and people are speaking out about them, but they are not new. It might have gotten worse, but it’s not new.

Canadians: wipe that smug smile off your faces. We have all the same issues here as they do in the states. Just look into some of our CPC candidates and you’ll get the idea that maybe we aren’t as progressive as we think. We have as much hatred and racism here. Expect the white nationalists, nazis, white supremacists, anti-minority, and canadian values crowds to start protesting more and more openly.

Don’t believe me? Ask a minority or look up the debate on Bill C-16 that extended basic human rights to Transgender people.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or shut the hell up about Free Speech

Calling for the mass killing of an entire demographic of people is not Free Speech. It is Hate Speech. NO ONE has the right to spew hate.

Unfortunately, yelling and saying that one kind of person is better than another isn’t hate speech.

Free Speech means you can’t be prosecuted for your opinion. It controls what the government can and will do in response to what you say. It doesn’t protect you from your employer, friends, family, or media’s judgement. Eg; You can say nasty things about a subset of people in the comments of this post and the government won’t arrest you. I, however, can delete the comment or send it to your mother.

Your Rights and Freedoms should only extend to the point where they infringe on someone else’s health and safety.

MAY3886-770x581

You’re human beings, start acting like it!

This is for all those who agree with Trump, Kellie Leitch, and Pauline Marois; that some people are better than others.

Ignorance is not an excuse for hatred! Get the fuck over yourselves and start trying to understand how your problems are of your own making and all people are the same.

It is our responsibility to help our fellow humans and to stop hate when we see it.

Be better, act better, and stop others when they aren’t.

Éric