A few random thoughts on mental illness and suicide

Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges in The Fisher King. Parry (Williams), who is homeless and mentally ill, retells the story of the Fisher King and the Holy Grail.

In light of all the ignorant and shitty things being said in the wake of Robin Williams’s incredibly sad passing, I want to say a few things of my own to offset all the ignorance and bullshit. This may be rough and disjointed, but here goes:

Suicide is not an act of cowardice. One of the weird paradoxes of clinical depression is that it tends to cause thoughts of suicide, but also tends to inhibit the depressed person from acting out those thoughts by leaving that person exhausted and devoid of will. Just being alive under those circumstances is an incredible act of courage, so wanting out isn’t “cowardly”, but rather quite understandable. At the same time, it can also be grisly and horrifying just to contemplate…yes, even under those circumstances.

When I was depressed, I was constantly exhausted, yet constantly filled with anxiety, with a sensation of burning in my veins. I had panic attacks, which made me want to flee whatever place I was in, but sapped my physical strength so that I could hardly move. This painful paradox led to a lot of suicidal ideation for me. When my boyfriend took me to Niagara Falls, I couldn’t cross a high bridge without thinking of how much easier it would all be if I only found the courage to step over the railing and let myself fall through the cool air into the waters of the drainage canal, 70 metres below. Yes, I measured the drop…by tossing a stone and timing the splash, then calculating the distance based on acceleration due to gravity. And whenever I passed a railroad track and saw a freight train coming, I felt an almost magnetic pull toward it, and a horrific urge to lay my burning neck down on the nice, cool rail. It was like the world’s most perverse physics class.

These thoughts of suicide brought me no relief; on the contrary, they contributed to the horror and exhaustion of an already gruesome battle. I did not want to die. I only wanted the pain to end. The fact that my illness was suggesting its own “cure” in such a dire manner was a terrifying experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone, not even my worst enemy.

I wasn’t being weak when I had suicidal thoughts. It took great strength to resist them, but it would have taken even greater strength to act them out!

The reason why some people on antidepressants commit suicide? Disinhibition. Prozac is legendary for giving depressed people back the energy the disease has sapped from them. It is also notorious for giving them the energy to take their own lives, where the depression had taken that away. This is why some people who are apparently recovering well on antidepressants “unexpectedly” take their own lives. Before prescribing any drug, a psychiatrist must ask them: Have you ever thought of suicide, or tried to commit it? If the answer is yes, any disinhibiting antidepressant is contraindicated.

I had suicidal ideations. I was so paralyzed by my illness that I couldn’t ask for help even though I needed it desperately. I should have seen a psychiatrist, should have gone on medication. Interestingly, one of the books I kept reading and rereading obsessively at the time was Colette Dowling’s You Mean I Don’t Have to Feel This Way?, which was about how antidepressants help treat the chemical imbalances of the brain that cause depression. But I never found the inner wherewithal to call my doctor or ask for a psychiatric referral. I never went on medication. I ended up toughing the illness out, and eventually the grey fog lifted. But when I later learned how many meds are tied to suicide in patients who appeared to be getting better, I wondered if I hadn’t somehow dodged a bullet. After all, Prozac was very much in fashion back then…

No, going on medication isn’t a sign of weakness either. Nor does it have anything to do with a conspiracy to “dope” us all into submission. The right medication(s) can save sanity and lives. The problem lies not with antidepressants, but rather with careless prescribing. And since a lot of doctors here in Ontario are overstressed and overextended themselves, with patient demand outstripping the physician supply, it’s all too easy for prescribing mistakes to happen. Especially if Big Pharma companies aggressively promote the latest drugs to doctors in an effort to boost sales.

And, give me a fucking break, Lionel Fucking Tiger, psychiatric meds are also NOT about “feminizing” boys. Antidepressants are not made of estrogen! A kid who can’t sit still in class, listening and learning, is not a boy being a boy, but a troubled youngster in need of help. If a girl acted that way, everybody would see that there was something wrong with her; sex changes NOTHING. Nobody can succeed in life by simply being left to run amuck. Anyone who thinks medication can’t make a positive difference to troubled kids has never been one, seen one, or had to deal with one. So please, spare me the pop-psych bullshit about the “need” to “bring back masculinity” by avoiding “emasculating” drugs like antidepressants or Ritalin. Masculinity never even left the building, and to equate it with madness is an insult to men, just as equating femininity with tameness is an insult to women.

No, genius and madness do not go hand in hand, either. Being exceptionally bright doesn’t make you crazy. Neither does being crazy mean that you are automatically gifted with rare and incredible insights. Yes, sometimes the two coincide in the same person. But to claim that this correlation somehow equals causation is like saying that having brown hair causes you to also have blue eyes, or vice versa. Plenty of people have the one, but not the other. And the fact that some people have both simply means that mental illness can happen to anyone, even the best of us.

When I was depressed, my normally high intelligence felt remote, like it had abandoned me. My usual creativity was dead and gone. I had trouble carrying out a lot of mental tasks that would ordinarily have been easy for me. I felt guilty and stupid all the time. Later, when the fog lifted, I got those faculties back. But when I was in the fog, even just walking to work or school took all the strength I had. By day’s end, I barely had the energy to lift a fork. It was like my brain had died and gone to hell. I was definitely no genius when I was sick.

Normality is not boring; it is a blessing. My only fear is that it will desert me without warning again, as it has repeatedly done in the past. I have been healthy for twenty years now. It is work, but it isn’t half as effortful as simply trying to survive while in the grip of a major depression.

And finally: No, mentally ill people are NOT in need of a good pep talk. You can’t jolly them out of it. Believe me, my former boyfriend tried. All it did was make me feel worse. And the trip to Niagara Falls, which was meant to cheer me up? It only fueled my depression and anxiety. That city is the worst place in the world to take a depressed person who also gets panic attacks. Especially if, like me, you are already afraid of heights even when you’re perfectly well. And the fact that I found no cheer in the tawdry, tacky tourist attractions made me feel like a total wet blanket on my boyfriend and his buddies, who were determined to have a good time even if I couldn’t.

Don’t try to talk a mentally ill person out of being ill. You can’t do that. All you can do, at the end of the day, is listen. Offering to do just that is often enough. And yet, too many people can’t even do that. It’s because they can’t fathom how badly a depressed friend needs someone else who is willing to hear it. If you’ve never been depressed, how on Earth would you know? So don’t presume to know anything. Don’t try to tell your sick friend anything. Ask.

You have no idea how much your friend is dying to tell.

A modest request

nobody-cares-boner.jpg

I really, REALLY need this shirt. So does the entire Internet.

Dear guys of the Internets,

I realize that this is a terrible imposition, but I have a teeny-tiny favor to ask of you:

Can you PLEASE lay off with all the fucking updates from your boners?

No, really. That’s all I ask.

No more long-winded personal ads built around the incredibly detailed specifications of your lonely, bored old penis.

No more hideous blog entries about the same, laughably couched under the rubric of “men’s rights”.

No more unsolicited dickpix.

No more passive-aggressive spreadsheets detailing the number of times some woman has failed to comply with your sexual demands.

And oh yes, you, Ben Fucking Stein: No more rambling articles detailing what turned your worm. No more whiny, entitled harassments of pregnant ladies via text messaging, either.

No more. All of it. Must. STOP.

I realize this is a tall order (she said, resisting the urge to snurk, wink, and make other references to salacious punning). But if we want the world to be a less dickish place, we have to start somewhere. And where better than the Internets, where all these dicks (and the dickheads who do not own them so much as they are owned by them) are just flapping around in the breeze.

Or, worse: standing bolt upright, all bloated and purple in the face, spewing goop in all directions.

Ahem. Sorry. Where was I, again?

Oh yeah.

Guys, I’m worried about you warping the minds of impressionable children. Kids these days are cyber-savvy, and it is your job, as adults, to make sure you’re not leaving sploodge lying around where they could slip and fall in it (ewwwwwwwww). It’s not that I consider sex dirty per se. In its proper place, sex is a mighty damn fine good thing. But you’re dragging it out of place, elevating your own erection to the status of an object of cultic worship, and that’s where we have a problem…

religion-penis-maggie-smith.jpg

Your penis: NOT God.

Look: Girls are learning from you that they must be constantly mindful of what your little heads are thinking of them, instead of learning to think and act for themselves. And boys are getting more and more empty in the big head with all this undue emphasis on the irrational demands of the little head. It’s making it hard for them all to learn anything of real importance, and this in an era where wars, global warming, famine and pestilence are threatening to do away with us as a species.

And no, I don’t believe that more sex-on-the-brain is the logical response and panacea to all this. Reproducing like rabbits doesn’t do even rabbits any good when their hutch is already hopelessly fouled and there are not enough carrots to go ’round.

And on top of that, Menz Rightzers’ maunderings about the biotruthy correlation between youth, looks and fertility are just plain fucking gross.

So, here’s my modest proposal to all of you schlong-waving guys:

Put away your dicks. Tuck ‘em and zip up. Never wave them around again. Not in polite company; not in impolite company; and never, ever in mixed company. That means no more boner-notes, no more moaning about your poor hurt widdle boner-feels and boner-sads. And in exchange, I and other women (and our merry feminist men) will never laugh and point at you again.

Do we have a deal?

“Not All Men” is still too many

not-all-men-shark.jpg

Not all men are like Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old who stabbed three roommates to death before going out on a shooting spree motivated by an unholy cocktail of misogyny, mental illness, and frustration at his “incel” status and his failure at picking up women.

Not all men are like this bunch of hooligans, who took potshots at some young women just for not having sex with them.

Not all men are like Marc Lépine, who went on an antifeminist crusade with a Ruger, killing 14 women and wounding several other people.

Not all men are like the boys who harassed me on an almost daily basis when I was between the ages of 12 and 17 — the same ages which, according to Julie Lalonde, demarcate the age bracket in which the greatest number of males will commit sexual assault.

Not all men are like the stoned-looking weirdo who sat masturbating in his car in broad daylight while asking me for directions to a street just a few blocks from where I lived during my student days in Kingston.

Not all men are like the older man who rudely propositioned me behind the wheel of his car when I was 20, grabbing my hand and sticking my finger in his mouth and telling me he wished it were my nipple.

Not all men are like the young guy who pulled up to the curb next to me in Toronto and tried to get me into his car, thinking I was for sale just because I was female and walking alone.

Not all men are harassers, rapists, murderers or creeps. But tell that to any woman who’s ever had a too-close encounter with one of them. “Not all men” is cold comfort to an awful lot of women.

“Not all men” is no comfort to me. I still have trust problems thanks to all those guys who made my life a shitpile over the course of my formative years.

“Not all men” is no comfort to one who was a student, and volunteering at the Queen’s Women’s Centre, when the Montréal Massacre went down. I remember how so many of the victims were in exactly my own age bracket then, too. It’s no comfort to me, because I went to school — and the Women’s Centre — terrified that I could have been next. And if not me, then maybe some other young woman I knew.

“Not all men” are why I keep saying “No thanks, I’d rather walk” when offered a ride by a “kindly” male stranger — or even a “nice” guy I know. “Not all men” are why I walk away when I see a car with a male driver slowing down as it approaches me. “Not all men” are why I walk faster if there’s a man directly behind me on the sidewalk. “Not all men” are why I flip the bird at any guy who can’t take a polite hint when I want to be left alone.

No, of course not all men are like that. Not even a majority are. At least I hope so. But I honestly don’t know. I’m not the one to tell, because I have run into way too many who were like that.

“Not all men” still covers an awful lot of men.

“Not all men” is still just too damn many, because NO man should be like that.

Things that I wish had died in the apocalypse

rapture-next-time-real.jpg

Y’okay. So I decided not to do a wankapedia this week; too much holidaying made it feel kind of wrong. And since it’s the end of the year, and it’s a good time to get general disgust off one’s chest before starting afresh, I decided to rechannel my bile a bit and unpack a few things, instead of individual people. The wankapedia will return next year (ha ha, geddit?). In the meantime, please enjoy this end-of-year conceptual shit-list, with my compliments.

1. Using “curate” in reference to anything outside of an actual art gallery or museum. It’s pretentious as fuck, and it’s been over-used…and not only this year, but for the past couple of years. Every two-bit dilettante now thinks they’re a fucking artiste. Now hear this: You don’t get to “curate” makeup samples, creepshots, food, or anything else that isn’t actual art, created by actual artists. Curation involves a whole lot more than just gathering a bunch of stuff together in an album, a box, or a Pinterest page. It involves research, education, and active engagement with those who come to see an exhibit. You can collect, collate, compile, whatever, but unless you actually work for a gallery and hold the job title of curator, you don’t curate a goddamn thing. You’re just throwing shit together. Capisce?

2. Twee. Another over-used word. What the fuck does it even mean, anyway? It sounds like someone trying to say tree with a speech impediment. Or is it a tweed that’s not made of good, new wool? It seems to be some kind of putdown for anything that’s cute. Or too cute for somebody’s liking. The ironic thing is, it sounds exactly like that whenever someone uses it; they get the cutesy-wootsiest widdle sneery-weerie when they utter it, and that’s undoubtedly counterproductive. I think it means cupcakes with pink icing and candied violets on top, and you know what? I would so fucking eat that, regardless. Since when is cuteness a crime? (And, that said: I’m also kind of partial to definition #3, which is cute, here.)

3. The lazy use of ironic and irony. Those words, they do not mean what you think they mean. And that IS ironic. So don’t use them when what you really mean is sarcastic or snarky, or sarcasm or snark. You want REAL irony? Read O. Henry, you dullard.

grammar-peeves.jpg

4. Drop-crotch pants. Apparently they’ve been around for a few years; the wonder is that they exist at all. They are hideous. Dropped waists were bad enough; now everything’s migrating so far south that pretty soon we’ll all be forced to trip over what essentially amounts to shorts around our ankles. Whatever happened to waistbands that sit on the natural waist, and crotches that sit on the natural crotch? I guess clothes that fit are no longer a thing. And how about that Justin Fucking Bieber wearing a pair of pants with both a dropped waist AND a dropped crotch? The waist was just barely hanging on his scrawny little hips, and the seat hit just above his knees. He looked like an oversized toddler in a loaded diaper. I felt like tossing him a box of baby wipes. (On second thought, I might need those for my eyes.)

5. Rape culture. No, not the phrase itself, but what it stands for. It is a thing, it is terrifyingly pervasive, and it is to be killed with fire. Especially after it cost two women their lives, this past week, in India alone.

6. The word “mangina”. It means absolutely nothing, because it was made up by right-wing trolls with rats up their dickholes. (See also “misandry”. Also not a real word.) I can only infer from the contexts in which I’ve seen it used that it’s supposed to be some kind of putdown for real, decent guys who treat women as friends, colleagues, comrades and equals, instead of slaves, sex toys, and chattel. In which case, putdown FAIL, because those are the guys that end up getting all the chicks the whiny misogynists are too busy sitting around hating on to actually bother trying to win. (Trying to win a woman over = “supplicating”, in their jargon. No, I’m not kidding. They have a whole ‘nother vocabulary, those guys.)

women-bitches-knifeblock.jpg

7. Constantly substituting “rock” for wear. It’s meant to make the most mundane outfit sound impressive. It doesn’t. What’s wrong with simply WEARING a potato sack? Why do you have to “rock” it? Unless you’re swaying hard from side to side or noodling away on a guitar while wearing it, you’re not rocking a goddamn thing.

8. Totes are large bags for carrying all your earthly goods, up to and including your kitchen sink. I have no idea what the fuck “amazeballs” are, and I don’t want to know.

9. In fact, sticking -balls on the end of anything is a sure way to make yourself sound fuckingballs idioticballs.

10. Pickup “artists”. Note the quotes. Especially the ones who wear douchey getups to catch women’s attention. And the ones who think rape is a kind of game. No, I’m not kidding. What they do is neither an art nor a science, although they borrow liberally from the vocabularies of both to try to advance their lucrative scam industry. They will NOT help you find a lasting relationship; in fact, their manipulative tactics are an active hindrance to finding real love, because they rely on you constantly playing head games and trying to “program” a human being like a robot. (Women HATE that. Trust me. I’ve been yoinked around by my own share of manipulative males, and not one of them will ever get me back.) They are a real scourge, and they have spawned on the Internets. Worse, they’re cross-pollinating with #11. They have already precipitated a massacre. Stop the motherfuckers before they spawn again!

pua.jpg

11. “Men’s rights” activists. Note the quotes. As you may have guessed, rights have fuck-all to do with their mercifully puny (bowel) movement. Their entire agenda consists of misogyny and the fight for “lost” (again, note the quotes) privileges that no man should ever have had in the first place. Such as the “right” to get off with a slap on the wrist (if that!) for abusing women and children, the “right” to be a deadbeat dad, the “right” to force women to play incubator/unpaid domestic servant/sex toy/slave/what-have-you, and, oh yeah, even the “right” to kill women with impunity for any perceived infraction against proper, submissive femininity. If they were Muslims or anything else not white and Christian, they’d be called “honor criminals”, and the right-wing nutters would be baying for their blood. As it stands, they ARE right-wing nutters, full of racist and xenophobic ideas as to why they’d rather marry anything but a fellow North American. And, when their little fantasy of the submissive foreign mail-order bride goes kaplooey, as it so often does, they want the “right” to imprison her in their homes and/or dispose of her remains without the pesky authorities catching wind. May they all swim nude in piranha-infested waters as part of one of their dipshit “manhood” rituals, and may the fish eat them genitalia first.

12. Dorky chicks who play up to the dudes from either of the above categories, usually because they’re insecure and need approval in the worst way. You can usually tell them by their mating call: “I’m not a feminist, BUT…” If you recognize yourself in that, then fucking stop it, because you’re not helping anyone. Least of all yourself. Grow a spine and don’t worry so much about what the shallow end of the man-pool thinks. It’s amazing how fast your relationships improve when you realize that you’re a person, not a doormat. And when you start to act accordingly.

rebecca-west-on-feminism.jpg

13. The Rules. Germane to #12: Has any relationship ever gone bust simply because a woman broke a few (or all) of these regurgitated bits of 1950s tripe on how to manipulate your man? Not a single proven instance of that exists — largely, I suspect, because all the guys worth having aren’t consulting manuals full of outdated advice on What To Look For In A Lady. Just as all the women worth having aren’t doing the same with How To Catch A Man. In fact, if there is one thing all truly happy relationships seem to have in common, it’s that they got that way WITHOUT The Rules. But guess whose didn’t do so well, in spite of several books of Rules and all? Oh yes. Oh dear!

14. That fucking “local mom” who’s discovered every $5 secret, from how to get whiter teeth to how to flatten your stomach to how to lose your wrinkles without Botox. Whoever the hell she is, why doesn’t she find a $5 cure for CANCER, instead? And, more to the point: How about you lazy ad-agency fuckers coming up with a new nonexistent “local” person to hawk snake oil? I’m not a mom, and I don’t think motherhood should be either a prerequisite to success OR an impediment to it. Also, I don’t believe in snake oil. PS: Ha, ha.

15. The NRA. For reasons all too obvious, obviously.

16. And Bushmaster, too. For playing so blatantly to male insecurity, you DESERVE to fail.

bushmaster-man-card.jpg

17. Saying “reach out” when you simply mean talking to someone. It implies that you’re coming across a vast canyon just to say a few lousy words. Whenever someone uses that phrase inappropriately, I imagine them hanging off a cliff, scrabbling for a grip on the nearest clump of weeds, and screaming desperately for help with one hand outstretched. Which is usually nowhere near the case. Stop trying to inject more heartfeltness into an ordinary conversation/query/interview attempt/whatever than there actually needs to be, goddamn it.

18. Nice Guys™. No, not actual nice guys, but the kind who merely style themselves as such so as never to have to get over their entitled douchebag selves. These guys can’t actually BE nice, just for niceness’s own sweet sake. Their “nice” is full of ulterior motives, and as soon as you make clear that you’re not properly impressed (by their definitions, not yours), it drops off and you’re left looking at their real, scabrous nature, which is all “Bitch slut whore, why you no sex me???” Some of these prize specimens now even have their own dedicated Tumblr, so women looking for love online know enough to stay away from them (and get a few free laffs in the process). I’m sure there will soon be others.

19. Germane to #18, any dude who bitches about getting “friendzoned”. Yo, dude? If you don’t like having women for friends, then don’t! Assuming that they owe you something just because you were kind to them (with ulterior motives) is not how a real friend behaves. And getting pissed at them for only being nice right back at you (as opposed to romantic and/or sexual) is pretty damn unfriendly, too. Be glad you have a friend, or…

satanic-friendzone.jpg

…you could end up like this guy. Forever Alone and not even wondering what it is about him that frightened the ladies off, because he’s too busy ranting at them like some fucking whackjob off Craigslist or wherever.

20. And the flipside of #19: dudes who “just want to be friends”…i.e., they dump you because they don’t want to be in a serious committed relationship, but then turn around and want you to be on call for whenever they’re alone, and they’re horny, and no one else is picking up the phone. That ain’t friendship, either. It’s just more of that old demon, Entitlement. For all we know, they too are Men of the Dreaded Satanic Friendzone. You know, the ones always kvetching about how no female friend ever wants to sleep with them. (Gee, I wonder why.)

21. YOLO. Aside from the fact that it’s bullshit (ask me about those three past lives in which I got burned at the stake!), it’s also an excuse to engage in deepest, darkest stupidity…which, in turn, leads to a drastically shortened lifespan. If one life is indeed all you get to live (and, happily or not, it isn’t), why go for the Darwin Award?

yolo-oh-no.jpg

22. Germane to #21: AGEISM. No, that’s not a perennially trending bullshit acronym. It’s a perennially trending bullshit concept. It sells a lot of snake oil. (And it wrecks a lot of faces, too.) I know it’s never fashionable to be glad you’re a crotchety old lady, but I am, because I’ve outgrown a lot of bullshittery, and the air up here at the top of the hill is so much better.

23. Fifty Shades of Grey. Unsexy “erotic” fanfic of terrible teen vampire series written to make abstinence look like the hottest foreplay EVER. Someone, please, drive a stake through the heart of all that.

24. Sex discrimination. It’s just been ruled legitimate grounds for firing in Iowa, at least if you’re female, attractive, younger than your male boss, and your tight pants are constantly giving him hard-ons. This means that the law, at least in Iowa, now officially recognizes that the onus is on working women to discourage unwanted sexual attentions or else lose their jobs, even if they see their boss as a father figure and have zero interest in wrecking his oh-so-Christian marriage. Fear the bulge, ladies. Fear. The. BULGE.

too-sexy.jpg

25. Anti-gay “conversion therapy”. Note the quotes. This is NOT therapy. It is fuckery, it does not work, and it only serves to screw up gay kids, leaving them maladjusted and often suicidal. Any other form of therapy would be stopped if patients died, so why is this one getting a free pass?

26. Stochastic terrorism. Also known as “doxing with a death threat”. It’s what cost Dr. George Tiller his life, and it’s also what some gun nuts are now trying to do to a certain newspaper editor for putting together a harmless map showing where some people with gun permits live. It’s also massively unfuckingcool, people. And here in Canada, it can get you a hate-speech trial and jail time. Not surprisingly, this shit flies mainly south of our border, where some people interpret freedom of speech to include publishing pictures of other people’s kids to intimidate the parents, and uttering hideously hyperbolic death threats with a phony “ha ha, just kidding” attached.

27. Internalized misogyny. The only thing worse than a man who hates women is a woman who agrees with him. And who furthers the misogyny by way of disinformation.

close-your-legs.jpg

28. Amateur climatologists. It just snowed, therefore global warming isn’t happening! Hurr hurr. And what about the Little Ice Age, huh? HUH? Yeah, what the fuck about all that. Unfortunately for all these cutesy theoriettes, real climatologists have more to say than right-wing global warming deniers, and all of it just flies right over the latter’s simple little heads.

29. Antivaxxers. No, vaccines won’t weaken your immune system/cause autism in your child/turn your teenage daughter into a raging slut/etc. But believing the antivaxxer hype WILL make you stupid. Truly, madly, deeply stupid.

30. Fascism, both with swastikas and without (“libertarianism”). I trust I need not explain this one, eh?

31. Okay, one more: CAPITALISM.

fucket-list.jpg

And last but not least: Bucket lists. Also known as “Things to do before you die”. Or a longer-term variant on New Year’s resolutions. Or just a moronic list of irrelevant shit you might want to do right now before you die, but then totally forget about when something more interesting comes up, or real life intervenes. Some people even presume to write them for others, telling them everything from the general “how to lead an awesome life” stuff to how many kinds of sex you should have at least once. I don’t have one. I have a fucket list, and this is it.

Good night, and get fucked…until next year. Ha, ha.

Posted in Just Pissed Off. 2 Comments »

Why this is an ad-free blog

blogging-whore.jpg

I’ve been getting a huge uptick in traffic lately. Good thing, right? I thought so, until my brother asked if I had ads on my blog. “You could make money off it”, was his rationalization.

But here’s my problem: I don’t want to do that.

Not that I couldn’t use the cash, of course. Who couldn’t use cash, in this world that eats so goddamned much of it? But here’s the thing: I don’t want to make money off this blog. I do not want this blog to get eaten.

Radical notion? Well, I am a radical, and I don’t see why I should apologize for that. In fact, I’m downright anti-capitalist, and the notion of taking capitalist ad-cash for my dissident musings makes me laugh at the crazy irony of it. It also makes me throw up in my mouth a little.

The idea that the Internet should be a tool of crapitalism in the first place is inimical to me. I’m here to represent the underrepresented side that takes issue with all that. If this is a “marketplace of ideas”, then my idea is that the “market” mentality should be the first thing to go. Ideas should stand or fall on their own merits, not their purported cash value. You want to talk about freedom? Fine–here’s another idea: Your mind is not truly free if your blog is for sale. Discuss!

And speaking of ideas, let’s talk about the psychological reasons for my choice, which underpin the political/ideological ones to a large extent.

We are already inundated with advertising; it’s everywhere we go. You can’t turn on a TV or a radio without being hit with it; you can’t open a newspaper or magazine, either. It pulls your eyes and ears away from what you really wanted to see and hear, in whatever medium it exists. Do we need it all over the Internets, too? Every last little crummy website, it seems, has advertising slapped all over it. It’s a terrible spoiler; it leads to a dumbing down of the blog, and its readers, both. You can’t take away many meaningful messages from the black-and-white text when colorful animated ads are dancing on the sidelines, demanding that you forget what you really came for, and just click through and buy something you really don’t need or want. Is this what’s called “freeing your mind”? Advertisers would love us to think so. To them, the news, like our musings, is just filler for in between the ads, and not vice versa.

I never click through, BTW. I do my damnedest to ignore the ads. On Facebook, I routinely X them out, especially the dating ads (blecch!). I even have ad-blocking software installed on my browser, and whenever some banner or sidebar ad crosses my annoyance threshold, I click the little “block” tab, and presto! One more ad-server thwarted in its purpose. But still, the distractions are there, and they irritate me. They make me feel that I’m being propositioned by a pimp, instead of receiving information or insights from another person.

Also, the whole idea that ideas, insights, information, etc., can be monetized–and often for just a pittance, really, barely enough to keep the stuff hosted on a half-decent server–makes the whole thing pathetic somehow. Do people sweat over the right words to draw lots of eyes to their blogs, just for that? And would anyone who does that cop to it openly?

I’m not here to sell anything on behalf of third parties. I’m here to get you to read me, to take my ideas seriously, to exchange ideas with me too. That’s all. The idea that I’d tailor or slant my writing so some faceless third party can sell you something you don’t want, or worse, promote something or somebody I don’t want to promote, just so that I could make a few crummy cents off your clickage, goes against my grain in every way. I take my readers seriously; how can I ask them to take me seriously when the word-detecting adware on the side is pimping the very things and corporations and people that I rail against here? In the end their eyes will be drawn to the ad-words, not MY words. What self-respecting blogger wants that?

And finally there are the esthetic reasons. Which may appear to be less important than the political and psychological ones, but are not to be dismissed either.

Ads clutter the landscape; they crowd it; they cloud it. They break up a continuous space, and they do so deliberately to call your attention to themselves. This runs counter to the purpose of what you’re doing, and it spoils the experience, too. Do you enjoy driving in the countryside very much if there are billboards all over the roadside, blocking your view of the trees? Because that’s what ads on blogs do. They detract from my enjoyment of what I’m reading. They make me feel like I, and the rest of the world, has come down with a massive case of adult ADD. In fact, we have–our attention spans have been artificially shortened by advertisers who only need 10, 15 or at most 30 seconds to hook you on their junk.

And they do so by cultivating in you a subtle dissatisfaction with your own existence. Life would be so cool (you are meant to think) if only I had this gadget, that gizmo, those shoes, that outfit (that I need to lose X number of pounds to fit into, on the Y diet and Z exercise plan, of course)! And the fact that you don’t have those things and don’t fit into those clothes comes home to you forcefully when you look at yourself again after looking away from the dancing, jingle-jangling, colorful ads. You come away feeling dirtied, diminished, faded, scattered to the winds, and most of all, desperately unhappy.

I don’t want my readers to come away joyless and scatterbrained, diminished or faded. I want them to come away from here feeling nourished, understood, supported, satisfied. (Or, in the case of right-wing nutjob trolls, schooled, stung and butt-hurt. That’s edification, too, albeit probably not the kind they’re looking for.)

Satisfaction is the one commodity our society is desperately short on, and ads are a big part of the reason why. They’re not the whole of the reason–uh, that would be capitalism–but they’re a key part nonetheless. Without artificial distractibility and manufactured discontent (as well as manufactured consent), consumerism can’t function–and by logical extension, neither can capitalism. If people are happy with their old cars that still work fine for all intents and purposes, those trying to sell them spiffy, pricey new ones are out of luck. And so are the bankers and loan sharks who make big bucks financing those sweet car deals. If you are happy with your current life, those trying to sell you the various bits and pieces of a trendy “lifestyle” won’t make their money off you. As long as that pound of flesh stays on you, the vultures starve. If the economy doesn’t grow and the rich don’t get richer off of you, runs the flawed reasoning, catastrophe looms and the whole trickle-down machine will grind to a halt!

Of course, if the machine is forcibly brought to a halt, or if we simply refuse to be cogs in it wherever we can, there is the still, small hope of dismantling it–or at least, shrinking it down to a manageable size. Or building something better, somewhere beyond its reach. That’s not catastrophe; that’s the very opposite of it. We desperately need new ideas for a new society; the existing one is threatening to lay waste our entire Earth. And we are running out of time against it.

I don’t know what the New Society will look like, but I know we will never see it if we don’t work on it diligently. Each of us must contribute, in good Marxian fashion, to the best of our abilities, and according to our needs. And for me, this blog seems like the logical place to start. If I see a cause (like the Seize BP campaign) that I consider worth cluttering up my sidebar for, or if I have something of my own (or my friends’!) to advertise here, I might well change my no-ad stance…a little. But no way in hell will you see me diminishing the quality of this place with anything I don’t believe in. Unless, of course, I’m starving and can’t keep my blog in server space anymore. In which case, I would prefer to set out a tip jar for everyone to chip in to, just to pay for my own funeral.

Let’s hope it never comes to that!

Confessions of a Racist Bitch

I got unfriended on Facebook today by someone I’ve known for less than a week.

Big fucking deal, right? Happens all the time. Means she wasn’t really my friend to begin with, blah blah blah. True, true, and sad-but-true. And yet, it still bothers me. Because it’s not so much WHAT happened, as HOW it happened that makes it so damn painful.

So, here’s what happened.

I reposted a petition from HarrassMap’s page. It seemed the right thing to do; after all, Lara Logan was viciously assaulted in the midst of just doing her job, right? What could possibly be the harm in recirculating a petition from an Egyptian women’s page dedicated to stopping sexual harassment, assault and abuse in a country that, like all of them, has seen too much bullshit heaped on the heads of its female half of the population? What’s wrong with acknowledging a problem, in solidarity, on the social networking sites?

What, indeed.

This person jumped on me for it:

Sexual harassment has become FAR less prelevant since the revolution. This article is misleading. What happened to Logan was an isolated incident and must be seen within its context.

I responded:

Well, this is an opportunity to make sure it stays isolated, and that things don’t backslide. Also, let’s bear in mind that so far, the only authoritarian thug ousted has been Mubarak himself. His successor was also his torturer-in-chief. There’s a lot of housecleaning still to do.

The reaction:

True but using new ways not the old ways. I was just looking at the page 4 ‘HarassMap’, it’s a UN initiative! If you disregard the actual context then you will not be dealing with the Real problem. Things won’t backslide. I find the term ‘housecleaning’ offensive.

That’s when my first little inner warning flag went up; I saw that she was looking to pick a fight here. She was working with a number of naïve assumptions and just plain false facts.

For starters: HarassMap is NOT “a UN initiative”. Here’s its “about” page; as you can see, it’s strictly an Egyptian women’s volunteer initiative. Maybe they’re looking to work with the UN, and maybe not, but this is hardly something imposed top-down from without. I doubt I’d support it if it were.

And sadly, the revolution has not wiped sexual harassment or abuse from the streets of Cairo or anywhere else. Eons of entrenched machismo just do not melt away overnight, or even in three weeks of sustained protest. The world is steeped in sexism, and harassment, assaults and abuse happen EVERYWHERE. Even the most enlightened, progressive western democracies aren’t immune. That’s the actual context here. And yet this person tried to lecture me about “actual context”, as though I didn’t know what I was talking about. (She went on to say as much later.)

As for whether “housecleaning” is an offensive word, I’d agree if it were only one group (or gender) being forced to do it all. That’s hardly the case in Egypt. The sheer size and diversity of the demos made that obvious. It’s a big house over there, and a lot of crap to be cleaned, but it seems that an overwhelming majority of the people is taking on the task. So there’s nothing to get offended about here, as far as I can see.

But this person was determined to get offended, be offended and stay offended. You can’t argue with someone like that; all you can do is walk away. Which I did. I figured she just needed to cool off a bit, and that later, we could talk better. Mistake.

I thought that she could see that we were both on the same side. BIG mistake. She couldn’t. Duh! On the Internet, no one knows where you stand unless you tell them.

And some people seem hell-bent on arguing where you stand even when you do tell them, and refuse to take your word for it. They always think they know everything better, and think they know where you stand, better than you yourself do. If you try to tell them that they don’t, they get all huffy.

I sensed that this was going to be one of THOSE discussions. I’ve had more than my share of them, and I hate them. I hate myself every time I get pulled into one, and I have a hard time going on liking the person who pulled me into it, too. Such arguments always tire me out. They ruin the rest of the day for me, and they ruin me for the rest of the day. All I can do to prevent having my day ruined by one of those is to walk away from it, gain some perspective, and try to deal with it later. So that’s what I did.

BIG mistake.

I got this when I finally came back:

Thanks for ignoring my comments! Stop making assumptions about what’s going on here! You have no idea what you are talking about.

And then this:

Why don’t you respond 2 me you stupid idiot Sabina?! you’re so sure you are right! Or you just can’t handle someone disagreeing with your arrogant opinions!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are not even able to respect one single person from Egypt!

And finally this:

Racist Bitch

And by then, her name was unclickable. She’d blocked me.

My friends, of course, defended me–or tried to. One of them, a Korean-American, could have told her just by a glance at his profile picture that I am no racist bitch. But this person, just as I’d suspected and feared, was utterly impervious to their attempts to reason with her. Any arguments I’d have had would have been an utter waste of time and energy. She was determined from the get-go to call me that, it seems, and she got to.

I did not, however, get a chance to defend myself as I would have if I’d only had the time. And the stamina. And a little more understanding and patience from this complete stranger. That hurts.

A week or less is not long enough to get to know anyone really well, on the Internet or off. There are people I’ve known all my life whom I still can’t rightly say I understand, even when I see them almost daily in real life. I think it’s pretty fair to say that if I feel that way about my so-called intimates, others must feel the same about me. So how would a not-a-week-old Facebook friend regard me?

Not with a whole lot of understanding, I imagine.

There are so many things about me that just don’t translate well to cyberspace. For that matter, there are a lot of things about me that are easy to miss even when we’re talking face to face! There have been times in my life that I’ve walked around in a major depression, borderline suicidal, and no one but me could tell that I was deathly ill. A part of me had died and gone to hell, and no one even saw. That’s scary. I could have killed myself and they’d all have been walking around with a shell-shocked look on their faces, saying things like “I had no idea…she never said…I couldn’t tell by looking at her…she seemed all right”, etc.

So just imagine, now, that you’re me, an introvert and occasional major depressive, trying to have this conversation. Could you have done it better?

Some of you probably could. Either you’re more extroverted than I (and I’m a terrible introvert, my online persona notwithstanding), or you’re better at arguing, or you’re better at simply never being misunderstood. (Those of you in that last category, I really fucking ENVY you. Could you bottle whatever it is you’ve got, and share it around? I could use a swig right now.)

(Or maybe you’re just better at not fretting and beating yourselves up over stupid people raising stupid arguments on stupid Facebook. In which case, I also envy you. Bottle that shit and gimme some!)

But even if you’re not better than me at this sort of thing, I hope you understand what I’m trying to say here. If I really were a racist bitch at heart, I’d have to go and do what they all do: say “Aha! I knew there was something wrong with THOSE PEOPLE!” and feel vindicated and retrench myself. As I guess this person did. I hope she feels better now.

But I don’t. I feel terrible. I blame myself for having brought it on.

And you know what that makes me want to do? THIS:

Which is exactly what I know I shouldn’t do, if I want anything in this world to change for the better. And I do.

So, no right-wing nutjob retreat into cozy racist delusions for me, and no satisfaction for my projecting accuser. There’s work to be done. Maybe this will help and maybe it won’t, but at least I’ve gotten it out of me now. Sometimes, that’s all you can really do, eh?

This is what cowardice looks like

mike-117w1-cyberstalking-asshole.jpg

Hey, Mike: I see what you did there. Perhaps you’d like the Indiana Attorney General’s office to see it, too? That could certainly be arranged. What you did qualifies as cyberstalking under US law, just so you know:


The United States Communications Decency Act was a piece of legislation that imposed heavy punishments upon anyone who:

(i) in interstate or foreign communications -

(A) by means of telecommunications device knowingly -

(ii) initiates the transmission of, any comment request, suggestion, proposal, or other telecommunications which is obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, or indecent, with the intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass another person.

(E) make repeated telephone calls or repeatedly initiates communication with a telecommunication device, during which conversation or communication ensues, solely to harass any person at the called number or who receives the communication.

Emphasis added.

I see at least four points in there that apply to your pissy little tweet: Annoy, abuse, threaten or harass. That IS what you were trying to do, and don’t you deny it.

Well, annoyed and harassed I may well be. I’m always disgusted when some titty-baby coward who doesn’t even have the guts to debate me like a man goes around calling me a bitch behind my back. But threatened? By someone who can’t even properly post the URL to my blog? Ha, ha, FAIL. My personal info is not publicly available, and even if it were, I doubt you’d have the skills to ferret it out.

And who are you planning to distribute it to? Your eight measly followers? Double-ha-ha-FAIL. I can pick up as many on any given day, and real ones, too. DECENT ones. In other words: Not like you. Maybe that’s what’s got your undescended testicles in a knot? Here’s a sure-fire popularity-increasing tip: Try not being such a fucking asshole. You want women to like you? Don’t go around calling them bitches. Man up and talk to them, to their faces, CIVILLY, even if you don’t agree with what they’re saying. If you can do that, there might be hope for you. But threatening to distribute their personal info, which you can’t get, to stalkers? Just because you have a small penis? Dude, that’s just childish. And pathetic. And oh yeah, ILLEGAL.

Go ahead, Mike, make my day. I dare ya. Got the cojones to comment now, or are you still gonna go the whiny passive-agressive, Angry Inch route?

crickets.jpg

Cruelty, the uncoolest cut of all

First, a little music to set the mood…

…because I’m really going to try for rationality and detachment here. It’s not gonna be easy, because everything about this just triggers the old blue blaze of rage and pain that I felt as an ostracized, bullied child. Every time I got shut out or picked on, that blaze is what I felt. And I don’t like admitting that I still feel it every time I see someone else get shut out and/or picked on. You’re supposed to get over that old kid stuff, you know?

Only, here’s the sad part: You don’t. You really don’t. And if you’re honest with yourself, you admit it.

And if you’re really REALLY honest, and painfully so, you admit that this shit goes on everywhere.

Okay, I admit it: This shit goes on everywhere. It goes on in supposedly liberal, enlightened, democratic-socialist CANADA, for God’s sake. I know, because it happened to me.

And no, it didn’t happen for the same reason as it happened to Constance McMillen. I’m not gay. I didn’t have a prom date at all (at least not for MY high school’s formal), much less one of my own sex. I was a shy, introverted, bespectacled, skinny, pale, redheaded, frizzy-haired, unathletic, unhip, unhot, too-damn-smart-for-my-own-good geek. And in a small town, where the narrowest definition of “cool” prevails, someone like that stands out. And standing out is unforgivable. The nail that sticks out, gets hammered down. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

And yeah, I got hammered. All through grade school and much of high school, I got fucking hammered.

I won’t go into any specific incidents. I’ve already been triggered enough for one damn day. There are more of them than can be named, anyway, and it made going to school nauseating. And this was for a kid who enjoyed classes. A kid who really wanted to be a doctor someday; a kid whose teachers kept telling her she really ought to be a writer. Being seen enjoying the use of your own brains is apparently utterly unforgivable in a place where conformist mediocrity is prized, other than of course in athletics.

So I got hammered. And I continued to stick out anyway. I bent, but would not be hammered down. I tried to hide my brains: useless. (I still got high 90s in French without even trying. I could have slept through that class and still aced every test.) I tortured my hair with a curling iron, to straighten and feather it into some semblance of fashion: useless. (One small whiff of humidity, and foof it went.) I got contact lenses, so people could finally see that I had a pretty face and not just four eyes: useless. (They were in the habit of seeing me through their own distorted, invisible funhouse lenses. Nothing I did was going to shatter those.)

No, the only thing that saved me from the whole thing was graduating. And going to university in a modest-sized city, where things were bigger all around. And learning to be myself, instead of some cookie-cutter knockoff of every other ditzy chick with Farrah Fawcett wings in her hair. It meant accommodating my curls, accepting my introverted, geekish nature, and learning to flip the bird at convention (and sometimes, at conventional people). And it meant becoming someone radically different not only from what the others were, but from what I had been and thought I should be.

Even a nervous breakdown and the realization that I wasn’t going to make it to med school wasn’t nearly as bad as being forcibly flipped out of the pond like I was all through my grade- and high-school years. Even realizing I’d fallen hopelessly in love with a gay guy, and being damn near suicidal at the ripe old age of 20, was a piece of cake compared to being shut out. I could get over my thwarted dreams, go beyond the misplaced romantic interest (he’s still my best friend to this day–how ’bout THEM apples?), and even get past the desire to just go to sleep and never wake up. But this? No. It follows you silently everywhere.

I thought I had gotten away from it at university, good fucking riddance to small towns and smaller minds–only to find myself suddenly struggling with all the unresolved pain, anger and stark terror of those days. And sometimes, in the dead of night, when I should be asleep but just can’t, I still have those moments where I forget who I am, who I’ve worked so hard to become. I even forget that the town has grown, and is not the same bigoted little place anymore. All I remember is what I have yet to overcome.

And what I have to overcome is that poison cruelty that seems almost inherent in people. The same that prompted Jean-Paul Sartre to say that hell is other people. It’s not inborn; it’s learned. And it gets passed down through generations. Each one gets beaten by the previous one until it bears the identical scars. Then it turns on the next and starts beating on them until they, too, bear those scars…

So when I read the obscene self-justifications that some people go through, presenting themselves, the bullies, as the poor little victims of a nasty, gay revolution–well, why not just wave a red cape in front of me and every other excluded kid? I mean, it’s not as if you’re not just asking to get your sorry asses kicked, is it now?

And yeah, I would so love to kick every ass of every person who ever did this to another. Doesn’t matter for what “reason”. I don’t give a shit for your justifications; spare me the “explanations”, I’m in no mood to hear any of them. Don’t bother to comment here; I’ll either delete it or declare you a Wanker of the Week, depending on whether my mood is fair or foul. You cannot explain or justify this. I know what you did. It has a name: CRUELTY.

Cruel isn’t cool, and I’m not fucking cool with anyone who’s cruel. I want to kick cruel people’s asses, ALL of them. I’d wear out my trusty old cherry Docs doing it, no doubt about that.

But we’re not supposed to kick ass; we’re supposed to be meek, mild and forgiving. We’re supposed to grow beyond all that. We’re supposed to Forget. I mean, it’s only a silly prom, fergawdsakes. For a bright kid with a future, it’s supposed to be just a stumbling-stone on the road to Better Things. It’s only important to those who peaked in high school. That ain’t me, right?

Well, fuck it. I haven’t forgotten. And I’m not sure I’ve forgiven, either. The fact that a fake prom so far from where I grew up has the power to trigger all my buried outrage and bring it crashing back like it only happened yesterday, is a testimony to the power that cruelty has. It has the power to make me forget, or at least minimize, the fact that I did go to a prom, in another town, with a guy not from my high school. He liked me more than I liked him. He was not the guy I’d have gone with, had I been “cool” enough to be offered a choice of dates; still, I showed him mercy, because he was an even bigger geek than I was. He didn’t know what a loser I was to all my peers. To him, I was actually pretty. For his sake I put on a brave face and a beautiful outfit. How elegant I looked in my own hand-made royal-blue strapless moiré dress and my mom’s black elbow gloves (a damn sight better than these tacky little prats, that’s for sure.)

And yeah, I made the dress myself. Pleated overbodice, six-inch-wide sash, floor-length skirt, the works. And the black organdy ruff
led shawl, too. See what happens when you apply yourself in Home Ec, girls? And don’t you guys wish your girlfriends were hot–and SMART–like me?

But this makes it hard to remember that. It has the power to make me forget that I’m not the ostracized kid anymore, that I quit being that kid even in my last year at high school, where I began to morph into an adult whom other adults actually like. It even has the power to make me forget, for a moment, just how strong I really am.

And that strength didn’t come out of nowhere; it came out of being that excluded, bullied kid. Maybe it’s made me a better adult, a better listener, a more worthwhile person to talk to and with?

Maybe.

One thing it definitely HAS made me is glad that I don’t fit in, after all. Because if fitting in among the bullies who made my youth hell is such a prize, I don’t want it. I’d have to turn into a piece of shit just like them. What’s that old saying? “Even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat”, I believe is how it goes. Nope; no rodent here. Just a human being who doesn’t need to pretend superiority.

And one who admires the hell out of Constance for taking you all on and showing you all up. She’s got more class in her left pinky-nail than all of you have in your collective, pathetic, self-justifying carcass.

So yeah, bigoted kiddies, knock yourselves out claiming that you are the bullied ones, being shat on by northerners, gay revolutionary ACLUers, and people from the two coasts and God only knows where all else. Whine your sorry asses off about how everybody else looks down on you (as if YOU had a monopoly on pusillanimous shitheadedness!) Go play your smarmy phony victim card until it wears the hell out.

And it will, soon. Because it’s flimsy. And because the rest of the world isn’t stupid; it knows what lengths you went to in order to make sure your precious widdle prom was queer- and crip-cootie-free. That much secrecy takes planning and co-ordination. It takes a lot of complicity. It also takes massive amounts of cowardice. Not one of you kids had the stones to defy your parents, your school board, or your picky-picky peers; you are all a bunch of fucking wimps! You think you avoided “drama” by excluding Constance and her same-sex date, and a tiny bunch of disabled kids? HA! You just brought it on yourselves, ten-thousandfold. You deserve the shitstorm that you’ve got coming now.

And I, for one, will be pointing the finger at you and laughing when the verdict comes down against you. Because I love seeing the shoe go on the other foot, and pinching. It’s not nice, I know. But it is satisfying. And it is so very, very richly deserved.

Sucks to be you, kids. Here, have another song. And try learning how to dance without that graceless booty-humping you did at your “drama-free” prom, ‘kay? That shit’s no cooler than your overt, deliberate cruelty was.

Woe Blight and the Seven Dorks

This is, obviously, a short story à clef.

Once upon a time (the present), there was (is) a little red-headed Canadian princess (ahem–QUEEN!), who lived (lives) on the north shore of Lake Ontario and swore (swears!) she could see across it to Western New York on a clear day.

Well, just today, this little princess, or queen, or whatever, woke up feeling fine. Nothing wrong, which is funny because she has had rheumatism ever since she was hit by a car at 14, which was neveryoumind how many years ago, and ever since then she has been prone to joint and muscle pains on cold, damp autumnal days like today. Especially first thing upon waking. So let’s just call her Woe Blight, because really, you have no idea how much of a woe and a blight such a condition can be unless you’ve lived with it since you were a teenager, okay?

Anyhow: Woe Blight woke up, for once, feeling less woeful and blighted by her chronic condition. Which surprised and pleased her, and which she ascribed to having worked out the night before, right before bed. (She lifts weights. Her arms look almost as good as Michelle Obama’s by now. By next summer, she should have some spectacular guns.)

Unfortunately, Woe Blight’s well-being was not to last. By the time she had prepared her humble lunch (bacon-and-zucchini quiche, which real men DO eat–just ask Woe’s grumpy old German dad!), Woe was feeling more than a little under the cold, damp, drizzly weather. She was feeling nauseated and dizzy, and suspected she was running a temperature.

Still, being a cheerfully persistent and ever optimistic little thing, Woe Blight figured her problem was probably hunger. So she downed two tablespoons of Angostura, ate a hearty wedge of zucchini quiche, washed it down with a bottle of Moosehead.

Unfortunately, that didn’t do the trick. If anything, she was feeling even worse; the nausea had spread to her chest, which felt tight and congested. So, still optimistic, Woe Blight then went out to roam the hills of her colorful little county, determined to see if a bit of fresh air couldn’t cure whatever the hell was ailing her.

Well, it couldn’t.

By the time she was halfway up the road to the woods, Woe was feeling every bit as woeful as she’d ever been in her life. She was hugging the shoulder and clutching her umbrella, wondering at every step whether this would be the moment when she lurched into the hawthorn bushes across the ditch and lost every last bite and swallow of quiche and Moosehead to the demon that was ransacking her little belly. (She would have blamed a poison apple, but Woe’s parents are happily married for lo these past neveryoumind how many years, there is no wicked stepmother, and besides, Woe is fed up to the eyeballs with perfectly wholesome apples, living as she does among endless Ontario orchards.)

Well, about this time, somewhere between the train tracks, a cedar swamp, the hawthorn bushes, and a very surprised herd of Charolais cattle, Woe Blight met the Seven Dorks.

Their names were Grok, Woozy, Hinky, Murky, Pukey, Feverish, and of course, Dopey. They advised her to stop roaming around the hills like a maniac, and promptly get her little white butt back up the road, across the train tracks, and into her humble cottage, where the bottle of Angostura was patiently waiting on the kitchen shelf.

Now, Woe Blight usually doesn’t take advice from dorks. But she knew enough to know that she was in no condition to argue. The cold felt colder and the wet felt wetter, and her innards were fast turning into a messy, curdly soup. So she got her cute little butt back home and onto the trusty cot in her toasty warm study. She slept there for the better part of the afternoon and woke up, still plagued by the Seven Dorks.

The Itty-Bitty Shitty Committee, as she had by now taken to calling them, were still there when she ate supper, and they did their level best to make the tasty quiche seem rancid and her evening tea, insipid and cloying. A couple hours later, the Angostura needed reinforcements, and Woe Blight got out her trusty angelica tincture, a true rotgut which tastes so horrible that it makes one forget, at least for a little while, whatever it is that’s ailing one. Even diluted one-to-three in water, it’s scary shit; it turns the water grey-green and cloudy, like a pastis gone terribly wrong. If absinthe is la fée verte, this stuff is la fée morte. But it is, or is supposed to be, a sovereign remedy for gut bugs, according to her trusty herbal guidebook, so Woe poured herself a couple of fingers of it, then topped up the glass with cold filtered water, and downed the swamp soup, cringing at every evil-tasting mouthful.

Well, apparently the scary shit is good for something, because Woe is typing her fingers to the bone and feeling no pain. Wish her luck for the morrow, kiddies, she suspects she’s gonna need it…and she really hopes not to have to drink any more angelica tonight.

EDIT, the next morning: Holy moly!!!

This one’s just for you, Carl…

stfu-soldier.jpg

A couple of days ago, a flying monkey ‘winger calling himself Carl pooped on this entry here. I had written out a nasty little reply, but I’ve had sober second thoughts, and what’s more, I’ve a hell of a lot more to say today. Since that entry’s about to roll off the front page with the posting of this one, I’ll copy out for you exactly what he crapped so you can see for yourself how ridiculous it is, even just on the face of it:


I honestly hope that fucking thug Chavez tires to invade Colombia or incite some kind of border skirmish. Having trained and operated with Colombian forces from 1990-2004, I can guarantee you that they would kick the living shit out of Chavez’s hollowed out army.

Carl, are you a masochist? Because you sure sound like you WANT to have your ass soccer-dribbled by a female civilian peacenik.

I don’t normally indulge stupid men’s death wishes, but I guess I can make an exception, because in a remarkably compact form, you’ve just encapsulated all the collective stupidity of your ilk. So, here goes…

First of all, the fucking thug here is Uribe, not Chávez. Tattoo it on your forehead if you have trouble remembering this simple declarative sentence, Carl: ALVARO URIBE IS A FUCKING THUG.

All of South America has a problem with Uribe. Venezuela and Ecuador do because they’re right on Colombia’s border, and they’re sick to death of having to mop up the bloody spillover from Colombia’s civil wars. (They’re also sick to death of being bombed and invaded by Colombia, with gringo “help”.)

And they’re not the only ones. Uribe took a whirlwind tour of South America lately, to no avail. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t giving press conferences, and that his motorcade managed to evade the huge mass protests everywhere he went; he wasn’t feeling any love. Evo actually smacked him around in Bolivia, which took some serious cojones. Even the big ABCs–Argentina, Brazil and Chile–aren’t buying what the gringos’ puppet dictator is trying to sell.

So, Carl, I bet you’re wondering what their probem is? Well, in a nutshell, it’s the sovereignty, stupid! When one country just pisses on all its neighbors by saying it’s gonna let the US build bases there, and it’s going to collaborate in spying and terrorizing, nyaaaah–what did you expect? Imperialism isn’t welcome there anymore (not that it ever really was, except to the idle rich, who were more than happy to have a US-backed death squad killing the uppity peasants so that they wouldn’t have to dirty their own aristocratic hands at it.) There are any number of good reasons why the locals have been yelling “Yankee go home” for over a hundred years now. Some of them are dead now, but others could still go before The Hague, assuming that a local tribunal doesn’t get to them first.

Colombia, incidentally, is rife with trial-worthy human rights abusers who are unlikely to face justice at home because the system there is deeply corrupted. Every administration since the Bogotazo, at the very least, has peasants’ blood on its hands. There are corruptos in every cabinet, and Uribe himself is the biggest one of all. Hey Carl, have you heard yet that he was good friends with Pablo Escobar, and even rubber-stamped the pilots’ licences for the latter’s flyboys? It’s true!

And that’s not even touching the paramilitaries. If those aren’t fucking thugs, I don’t know who is. And Uribe’s doing nothing to rein them in; in fact, he’s actively linked to them. What does that say about him?

Now, about your fond little hope, Carl…that Chavecito will “tire” to initiate a border war. (How the hell does one tire to initiate wars? Dyslexics of the world, untie!) Sadly, you’re not gonna get your widdle wish, because Uribe is now whimpering around with his tail between his legs:


Last Friday the president of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, said his government was interested in repairing relations with Venezuela and Ecuador. On the same day he also said that the Colombian government had sealed negotiations with the United States to allow U.S. troops to be deployed on seven of its bases in Colombia. Chavez responded that for such actions, the mending of relations was impossible.

[...]

Chavez, speaking on his weekly TV show on Sunday, said it would be impossible to renew relations with Colombia because of Colombia’s verbal attacks on Venezuela and the threat posed by the US military bases on its territory.

Venezuela also froze its relations with Colombia after hearing about the planned US bases, and then being accused of selling weapons to the FARC by the Colombian government. It withdrew its ambassador to Colombia on 28 July, reinstalled it on 7 August and is seeking alternative trading partners.

“Uribe said extremely cynically that he wants to repair relations. They are attacking us, they are slandering us, and then he says that he wants to mend relations between Colombia and Ecuador. But how? He can’t. It’s already impossible, there’s no way to repair this,” Chavez said.

That’s not war talk; that’s diplomatic and trade talk. It’s also a plain, bald statement of facts. He’s not saying “We’re gonna bomb Colombia”, because there’s no interest in throwing good blood after bad. He’s an intelligent man, disinclined to quarrel with an obvious stooge because it’s undignified–and, it bears repeating, he is NOT a fucking thug.

Now, I know you’re more than a little hard of thinking, Carl, because you obviously didn’t comprehend a word of my earlier entry. Since you claimed to have spent 14 years in Colombia, you ought to know at least enough Spanish to watch and understand the video I posted on the entry you defaced with your puerile war-mongering gibberish. I call bullshit on your claim, Carl–if you had spent that long in Colombia, you would understand not only Spanish, but local issues, a lot better. Your grasp of the news is that of a typical armchair general from Freeperville. You haven’t “trained and operated” with anyone, in other words.

chairborne-chickenhawks.jpg

I also call bullshit on the notion that Uribe and his gringo backers would “kick the living shit out of Chavez’s hollowed out army”. First off, the Venezuelan armed forces are not “hollowed out”, they’ve been purged of their SOA-trained putschists and cash-diverting bloodsuckers. That’s good for morale, as well as patriotism and loyalty–all of which they have in abundance. They’re also newly equipped with matériel that actually works. Venezuela has replaced its old FAL rifles with Kalashnikovs, and even has a Kalashnikov factory or two now. They’ve also been phasing out their dying F-16s, replacing the
m with some very capable Russian-built fighter planes. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Sukhoi, Carl? If not, let me show you it.

Venezuela don’t need no stinkin’ gringo hardware. These Sukhois (and the others still to come) are perfectly capable of bombing the shit out of any military base in Colombia, including the gringo ones, if Venezuela or Ecuador is attacked. If not, the planes will keep on flying just for show, as they’re doing above. There won’t be any border war, at least not one started by Chavecito, although he seems more than capable of finishing it. The one who will provoke the border skirmish–and who has already tried it more than once–is that fucking thug Uribe, and no other.

BTW, Carl, I’d really like you to explain to me how a “hollowed out” military could be capable of doing this:

180 clandestine drug-running airstrips destroyed, according to this EFE report from last year. They’re still hard at it, too. That’s why you’re paying so much more for all that crack you’re smoking lately, Carl–Venezuela’s not playing nice with your DEA smugglers anymore. (Pretty soon you won’t be able to afford any, and that’s fine with me. If you wanna see “hollowed out”, try googling the search terms “US economy”.)

Like I said, they don’t need no stinkin’ gringo hardware, or no stinkin’ gringo “help” combatting drugs! What they need, Carl, is for the US and Colombia to get the fuck off their turf and leave them the hell alone. Is that so hard to understand?

You can “honestly hope” whatever you like, Carl, but at the end of the day, you’re just another dumbass whose hopes will, thankfully, never be realized. You need to STFU…and find better things to hope for, “honestly” or otherwise.

Personally, I honestly hope you stop smoking crack.