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

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