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

In a World of BS This Guy Tells it Straight!

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

There’s a movement in the media, politics, and general pop culture; that glorifies simplicity in speech. It’s deeply rooted in a false sense of nostalgia that believes the past was a more honest and wholesome.

This is sadly bullshit, the past was a cesspool of lies, death, hate, and stupidity. Kinda like today.

Why do people have this ridiculous idea that we are unable to speak our minds and that everyone is trying to screw us over now but the past was so much better? That problem is due to three things: Glorification of Americana, Systemic Hate, and Lies.

Flim Flam Brothers from My Little Pony Friendship is Magic
Flim Flam Brothers from My Little Pony Friendship is Magic

Glorification of Americana

Through movies and other media, the time period after World War II has been glorified as a golden age. Arguably it was, if you were a middle class, white male, with no left leaning political views. If you weren’t in that very specific demographic, it wasn’t all that great.

Despite this being a time of travelling salesman bamboozling and flimflamming all over the place, it’s still seen as a safe and honest era. Mostly because of movies and television, but also because anyone alive who remembers it was young and innocent at the time.

It was, however, a great time for racism, sexism, and homophobia.

Systemic Hate

We as a species love to find patterns in everything and even more we love to categorize everything. Once we’ve categorized and separated things into boxes, we then rank or judge value. It’s harmless when we’re talking about fruit, but when we talk about ourselves it gets dangerous.

The idea that certain races are mentally, emotionally, or physically predisposed to specific traits is a complete fabrication. The concept that there’s more than one race of humans on the planet is scientifically unsound.

Unfortunately, culturally, especially in Cananda and the US, we’ve had a lot of problems with hate. Historically there was slavery; recently there’s residential schools. All because of a need to separate or assimilate those who aren’t like us.

Thankfully, we are slowly moving away from such idiotic and barbaric ideas. Part of the backlash against our society becoming less hateful is a backlash against political correctness.

If you are not part of a culture or subculture that is attacked with systemic hate, you can’t understand the hurt that your “only joking” does. To them, the joke is funny because of things they’ve heard. With no one to say, “Hey. That’s hurtful!” systemic hate just keeps going.

Remember that you don’t have to be hateful to say something hateful. Political Correctness is just being a decent human being.

Liars

I promised I’d tell it straight, no BS, in the title so here it is:

YOU’RE BEING LIED TO!

All these politicians that want to make something great, push Canadian Values, or are saying it like it is; are lying to you. They are appealing to your Hate and False Nostalgia to get what they want. They may be lying to themselves at the same time, but a lie is still a lie.

 

Do you disagree? Let me know in the comments.

Later Days,

Éric

A Letter to President Elect Donald Trump and His Followers

Congratulations on your win.

Now that you’ve managed to win the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Presidency, you have four years of power to shape your country into the place you’ve always wanted.

President Elect Trump said a lot of things on the campaign trail that were a little extreme. It’s an election, things happen, candidates get excited and things are said.

You now have a choice; you can double down on the hate or you can make America great again. You need to be an example, because whether you like it or not, you’re a beacon that all other countries look towards.

Make America great again, make it the land of the free, the land of opportunity, and the land of hope. Rebuild your crumbling infrastructure, your roads, dams, monuments, water systems; they all need desperate attention.

Don’t “Make” America great again, “Build” it back to greatness. That means more than just a frivolous wall. That means building your cities, your economy, and your people.

The LGBTQ+ community, the POC community, and the women are terrified that the hateful and downright monstrous things that were said during the campaign will lead to legislation, violence, and hate towards them. With good reason, as it’s already happened.

Change it Mr. Trump. You’re the President Elect now, it’s your responsibility to build up your people. ALL your people. The way you act over the next four years will decide if history call you a monster, a clown, or a decent President. It’s your choice.

To everyone who didn’t vote for Trump and who are terrified and/or angry; it’s okay to feel frustrated, it’s okay to be sad, those are natural reactions. Once you’re ready to come out of your grief, you’ll have the hardest job possible. You’ll have to show the other side that it’s possible to work with them despite disagreeing. It’s not fair, but you’ll have the be the ones to be better.

America and President Elect Trump, the world is watching. Be the best you possibly can and show us that there is more to your presidency than fear and hate.

Good luck!

Éric

Being Hateful

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Sometimes I forget my rule of not commenting on mean comments.

Someone commented on an ad for the Goat Story Mug on facebook and posted a video about how it was hipster crap.

I was mildly offended seeing as I’m really enjoying my mug. Yes, it’s a little hipster but it also really useful for a klutz like me. I’ve dropped more than my share of coffee cups with disastrous effects. I’ve dropped the Goat Mug several times now and it hasn’t even leaked. That’s pretty damn good for something that cost $25.

So of course the original poster’s reaction was to attack me and then his friend joined in. I think overall they called me fat, stupid, and compared me to a tv character I don’t know. It still hurt, despite being pretty lame. I was tempted to go all Cyrano on them but decided it was a bad idea.

If you really want to read it, it’s here. (Please don’t comment to defend me. They’re not worth it.)

Trolls
It’s brought two things to mind. I wish Facebook had a way to declare that someone stole a photo. But more importantly it reminded me that it’s easy to hate.

Hate is easy

I’m just as guilty as anyone else of making a comment about Nickleback or something else that’s easy to hate.

It’s fun to pick on something and feel superior. It’s an easy joke and an easy boost to our self-worth. It’s also hurtful and mean.

It’s a great way to cover insecurities or fear.

Orlando

I don’t think I can talk about hate or fear this week without mentioning the Orlando Massacre.

It happened because of hate and hatefulness. Some say it’s a hate crime against the LGBTQ community and others say it’s a Terrorist attack against the US. It’s both. It’s also the act of a deeply deranged person who was filled with hate.

See, here’s the problem with hate, it eats at you and makes you the worst version of yourself. You hate and that makes you angry. The anger makes you hateful which makes those around you angry with or against you; either way it fuels the anger.

It’s easy to be angry and hateful. Much easier than trying to understand the loss, hurt, or pain. It’s easier to be consumed by hate than to be destroyed by sorrow.

Events like this are an opportunity for us to go towards hate or towards understanding. The true antithesis of hate is knowledge. When you can understand someone, you can at the very least feel some compassion.

When someone is being hateful and mean, it’s important to understand that it has more to do with them then it does you. That means that a lot of the hate you need to ignore. Get a hug from a friend or talk it out with someone who cares about you. 90% of the hate you won’t be able to change.

If it’s something you feel is important, however, then you need to talk about it. Know who you’re talking to and remember that not everyone is worth your time. Sometimes it’s better to cut the hate out of your life.

 

Take care,

Éric

Everything Wrong with Millennials Part 2

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’m sorry that I didn’t actually tell you what was wrong with Millennials in the first post in this series.

I could wax poetic about the economy, job market, debt, social issues etc…

Instead I’m going to tell you there’s nothing wrong with them. They are just like every other generation; trying to survive and make a better life for themselves and their kids.

If there is anything wrong with them, it’s that in general their opinions and feelings are ignored.

Here are a few examples from my own life.

Grade School

As a kid I felt completely helpless in the world. When I complained that one of my teachers was emotionally abusive, I was told I didn’t understand the world and I was being disrespectful. Other than my mother, no one believed me.

This teacher would stop class to spend an entire morning yelling about how stupid we were and how disrespectful we were. He’d yell and rant and then the next day he’d bring candy as treat for the class and say he was sorry.

I had long hair (my older brother had long hair and he was cool so…) and the teacher loved to make fun of me and call me a girl. He’d encourage the other students to make fun of me. Once he went as far as pulling the hair tie out of my hair… so basically pulling my hair. I yelled at him and was sent to the principal’s office. I was sent home. You see, I was just a kid and he was a well-respected teacher. I was sent home a lot because of that teacher.

This was throughout my seventh grade and half of my eighth grade. Just before Christmas break, he stopped being at school. We had a substitute teacher for the rest of the school year. It turns out that he’d been sexually abusing some of the other students. He’d been doing it for years and no one had come forward. They were afraid no one would listen. They were right! No one did until three of them bypassed the community and went to the police.

I still feel guilty for not having realized what he was doing to my classmates. My mom was a social worker and I should have seen the signs. I guess I was too busy dealing with my own stuff.

High School

I was a little of an over achiever in high school. It didn’t translate in grades so much as school involvement. I helped out whenever I could and I joined, or founded, more groups than I can remember.

I volunteered, mostly with the school, and did my best to make things better for the other students and hopefully future students.

In my last year I joined the PTA as the student adviser when a friend couldn’t handle it and her extra courses (brilliant girl both for doing 5-7 classes a semester and for knowing her limits.)

I remember sitting there after a meeting while my ride was at the washroom or talking to someone else and hearing two parents talking about how lazy kids were. How they didn’t work hard enough, didn’t take anything seriously, didn’t volunteer enough, etc.

I didn’t scoff or laugh it off. I took it to mean that being part of 8+ clubs, taking a full course load, working part time, and volunteering wasn’t enough.

I still have trouble saying no. I still feel like I should be doing more.

University

When I was in university, I met a man on the bus. He asked what I was studying and why. When I told him communications, he snorted and said, “You have no idea how good you have it.”

I believed him. Past generations went to war, fought against oppression, saw rampant hate, dealt with economic crises. I must have been living in a golden age. I felt guilty.

Even though I was working 40 hours a week, taking four classes, and would end up finishing university with $30,000 worth of debt. I still felt guilty.

It’s great to encourage youth to improve themselves and the world around them. It’s important that we millennials take responsibility for the world around us. We know this and we’re trying, but we are the most diverse, and officially now, the largest generation; we won’t all have the same priorities and we might not share yours.

 

Éric

Everything Wrong with Millennials Part 1

Hello My Imaginary friends,

On Monday night a friend, someone I genuinely respect, posted a video. I can’t find the video to show you but it made me angry. It was a young woman, from her accent she was American, bemoaning the horrors of Generation Y (AKA Millennials or the Entitlement Generation).

She went on a minute long rant about us being emotionally stunted, entitled, rude, and wasteful. In one part she said something about Gen Y only complaining on Facebook. It was particularly ironic that the video was uploaded to Facebook. The friend also added a melodramatic comment about how no one would listen and they worried about the future of our world.

I see these kinds of ageist rants a lot. I’m used to people attacking me for my age / generation. This was just particularly hurtful coming from a friend.

They’ve since apologized for what they said and painting a whole generation in one stroke. They’re not mean spirited and I’m sure the post was brought on by some bad experience.

Ageism

There’s a stigma about being young, or old. People dismiss your opinions as inexperienced or dated.

Every generation has said, “Kids these days!” and I look forward to being the old man on the internet yelling back, “Shut up. Don’t you remember what they said about us?” (Sorry in advance, Gen Z /Digital Natives/Post Millennials)

Millennials are getting it pretty bad right now. Search the term “Millennial Generation,” and you’ll find people trying to understand us like we’re some sort of alien culture, people decrying that we’re going to ruin the world, people worried that we’re entitled, irresponsible, etc.

I’m not sure what’s causes this fear and hatred, but it’s wrong.

The Desmarais Prejudice Test

My friend didn’t think to include me or my wife in their generalization. Probably didn’t realize that we were in that age group. We are the early Millennials.

In hopes of helping people avoid insulting other I give you the Desmarais Prejudice Test:

If you’re going to say something about a group of people, replace that groups name with “Black People” or “Jewish People”. If it sounds racist, your comment is showing prejudice and maybe you shouldn’t say it.

Of course, this only works if you don’t want to be prejudiced.

Dangers of Generalizing

We are currently approaching 7.5 billion people on this planet. It’s a human instinct to categorize and label things. That’s a normal trait. I’m Canadian, a Geek, a Writer, a French Canadian, and a book lover. I’m also Cis, White, Male, middle class, agnostic, and a millennial.

I share traits with all of the above labels, but that’s all they are: labels. Hot Dogs and Steak can both be All-Beef but they’re not the same thing.

If you start generalizing people based off their labels or generalizing labels based off of bad examples, you’ll end up hurting someone and possibly losing a friend.

 

Éric

Natural Marriage Vs Same-Sex Marriage

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

In case you’ve missed the news, on June 26th, 2015 the Supreme Court of the United States voted to legalize same-sex marriages. What this means is simple, State and City governments must recognize same-sex marriages in the same way they recognize opposite-sex marriages. The Canadian government started recognizing same-sex marriage in 2005.

Some people seem to think that this is a terrible thing and that it means the government is meddling in people’s personal lives. This ruling actually does the opposite, telling the government to get out of deciding who people can marry.

Natural Marriage

A family member posted a video on facebook that argues that the only form of Marriage should be Natural Marriage. This seems to be a bastardization of Roman Catholic Canon Law which says Natural Marriage, “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring, […]” Source – Vatican Website

The video makes no references to Roman Catholic laws but uses this definition. The video is here but I’ll summarize:

Marriage is for the perpetuation and stabilization of our society.

It argues that the government has three roles when it comes to behaviour; Promote Permit or Prohibit. In this argument they say that the government is now promoting same-sex marriage, which is a detriment to society. It also states that these are facts based off of nature and society not biology.

It says that Natural Marriage:

  1. “Creates Children;
  2. Best Raises Children;
  3. Protects Women;
  4. Civilizes Men;
  5. Lowers crime, poverty and welfare – which reduces the government spending and deficits; [and]
  6. Marriage is rooted in the biological facts of nature.”

It then goes on to say that everyone, even those that don’t get married, benefit from Natural Marriage because it stabilizes society.

This is should seem antiquated to you if not offensive. Number one is so ridiculous that even the above stated canon law makes exceptions for those that are sterile. It does however have clauses about consummation (AKA you have to try to get pregnant even if you can’t AKA SEX). They say later in the video that sterile marriage is ok because it’s the exception.

The next one is stupid plenty of well-respected and good people have been raised by same-sex couples, single parents, orphanage, foster parents, Etc. (As a certified Bastard raised by a single mother, I take offence at this one.)

Three, Four, and Five boil down to, “Boys will be boys. Best make sure you have one to protect you.” Assuming that the base instincts of man are to rape, pillage, slaughter, and cause mayhem; effectively gives men permission to do it. It’s an attitude that needs to change if we’re ever going to live in a society that isn’t dominated with fear.

It then states that Same-Sex marriage doesn’t have any benefits and that it’s detrimental to society because unlike Natural Marriage it concentrates on validating a relationship instead of bringing children to be law abiding citizens. According to them Natural Marriage “provides the best possible family for children and if we alter the definition of marriage the losers with be the children”. Blarg… Bullshit total bullshit. As long as a child is raised by at least one loving parental figure they’re fine. Statistically their chances of a good life are more affected by money than anything else.

How Same-Sex Marriage is Promoted

“Schools subject your children to mandatory curricula.” Duh and good. Ignoring something won’t make it go away. Let’s give our children all the information they need for life. I don’t see how this can be bad.

“Your business and taxes fund homosexual relationships.” Yup, they’ll get the same tax breaks you do. Meaning they’ll want to stay in your country and spend that money to stimulate your economy.

“Your freedom of speech is gagged.” BULLSHIT! You have the right to say whatever the hell you want but you do not have the freedom to avoid the consequences of your speech. Freedom of Speech means the government cannot prosecute you for saying something. (Threats of violence and true hate speech are not covered.)

That means I can go up to the owner of a local coffee shop and tell them they are a bIHnuch devoid of all honour, but it doesn’t mean they have to listen to me. They can throw me out on my ass. The same goes for your bosses. Being fired, kicked out, shamed, or slapped for saying something doesn’t impinge on your Freedom of Speech.

“Your religious freedom is overruled.” You have the right to practise your religion if it doesn’t harm others. That’s all that Religious Freedom means. It doesn’t mean you have to right to tell people what to do. NO ONE is asking religious institutions to marry same-sex couples. This argument is like saying you have the right to walk on the sidewalk and then getting angry when someone else wants to walk on it.

Both the US and Canada have a separation of church and state which means that Religious Freedoms applies to everyone. If the Jewish faith started trying to pass laws against pork products because people eating them impinges on their religious freedoms, wouldn’t everyone think that was silly?

“The government has no compelling interest in legally promoting same-sex marriage.” The government’s number one priority should be the benefit of its people; not certain people, ALL it’s people. If you want to pander to the, “Think about the children!” mentality, then consider that on average Same-Sex couples adopt. Which means all those kids without parents can be paired with all those couples without. That seems like a pretty compelling reason. Also, in the US, same-sex couples are better educated and make more money.

The video goes on to say that it isn’t being biased against homosexuals and that by not allowing same-sex marriage they’re not discriminating against homosexuals but homosexual behaviour. Sounds kinda like what they said to Allan Turing.

They end with the lovely tagline of, “That’s not Bigotry, that’s biology.”

So if you haven’t guessed I think this video is full of shit. It shows no real reason to be against Same-Sex Marriage other than the usual fear and bigotry disguised as pseudo-science and sociology.

If you truly believe that Same-Sex Marriage hurts you personally than maybe you should look to your faith for an answer. Almost every faith has a version of the Golden Rule here are a few:

“Therefore whatever you desire for men to do to you, you shall also do to them; for this is the law and the prophets.” Mattew 7:12, New Testament

 

“What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.” Shabbath foli: 31a, Babylonian Talmud

 

“None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” An-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith 13 (p. 56)[63]

 

“Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.” Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama, c. 623 – c. 543 BC)

 

“Beware lest ye harm any soul, or make any heart to sorrow; lest ye wound any man with your words, be he known to you or a stranger, be he friend or foe.” `Abdu’l-Bahá[43]

 

I hope you have a Love filled day,

Éric

Disgust and Disdain

Hi,

I can’t remember if I’ve spoken about #GamerGate or #SadPuppies

If you’ve happily avoided these two movements you’re lucky and feel free to click away if you don’t want to get very angry, sad, and lose a little hope in humanity.

GamerGate was/is a hate movement with a veneer of fighting for journalistic integrity. I’m sure there are some in the movement that generally believe they are fighting for better accountability between journalists and video gaming companies but most are threatening people, specifically women, with violence and doing other horrific things.

SadPuppies was a movement that believes the Hugo and SFWA have strayed too far away from its Hard Science roots. To them, this means there are too many non-science writers, woman, and minorities that are dominating the field. “Real Science Fiction” is written by old white men with science degrees, or at least that’s how they sound.

The two movements have the same base in fear of losing privilege and fear of outside influence. Science Fiction and Video Games, have been dominated by white men for a long time and slowly over the past couple of decades women and minorities have started to take a place in both industries.

I’m an outsider, or fringe element to both industries. I play games but I’m not active in any communities outside of TableTop games, and I write but I’m only mildly active in the Ottawa writing scene. This means that I only know what I’ve read or seen from the news and people affected.

As an outsider these movements scare me. Plain and simple the things that have been said and done to certain people is fundamentally wrong. Threats of murder, rape, etc are evil. There’s no room for jest here they’re evil. Calling the swat team on someone, or posting their personal information online without permission is even worse than the threats. These acts are wrong on every level.

It’s not just the overtly evil acts that scare me. It’s the cliques, in fighting, and excluding of people for no other reason than that they disagree with you. The inborn sexism, racism, homophobia, and hate makes two of my favorite pass times feel dirty.

I want to make a career out of writing and I’d love to write for TableTop or video games but these events have made me not want to get involved with them.

Think about that for a second… I’m a thirty year old, white, cis, middleclass, five foot eleven, two hundred and fifty pound, man and these movements have me terrified to get involved.

Take another moment to think how it must feel for everyone else.

We need to stop being afraid of diversity and start embracing it.

Idic

 

Live Long and Prosper

Éric