Friday, December 26, 2014

The Cool of Violence

Doesn't quite belong here, but I've been annoyed at mainstream media glorifying violence for a bit now. I enjoy a violent movie as much as the next person, but when "realistic" movies have fight scenes that go on forever it just bores me; a punch is a punch, and violence has impact because it's terrifying how easily we break, but also how skill and training can teach us exactly how to avoid taking that one critical blow. The glory of violence is perhaps really how one avoids it.

Therefore when I was derping about in K-pop space, and came across this music video, I almost stopped watching it because it seemed to be another "rushing into random violence is cool" thing. Or possibly a "skinny guys can totally beat up career criminals by power of being pretty". But it deserves a look, because it takes it somewhere that is actually cool to me. Trigger warnings are in place here, because when I say it's violent, I mean it really is, especially for pop videos :P And um, the song is meh, that's not the point.

Fangirl notes, in case anyone cares: I don't know MYNAME very well, they're of the newer generation that feels a little young for me. I have however seen Seyong in other shows - the guy with black hair in the video - that is how I came across this. And because I like him (he's very young, so more like one likes an adorably puppy), this video was all the more shocking really! Maybe that's why I'm ranting about it here. Emotional collapse! XD

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Merciless


I could pretend to be blind,
and I would never really be it. Clasp
iron around my head, lock
the collar and throw away the key -
I could pretend to be blind,
but I would never really be it.

I could build a tower on a base of sand,
drive the pillars into the deepest rock, set
carefully steel against steel, swear
this is my home and here will I die -
I could build a tower on a base of sand,
and it might last the trials.

I could swear unto one love,
speak the words and pray to gods, break
the heart of any other, slip
the ring around their finger -
I could swear unto one love,
and it might last the trials.

I could cry when all comes tumbling down.

Bend the world around your mind, like
a drop bends a ray of light, make
truth out of grains of sand, and
here is your life -

but you are never really blind.


Monday, November 24, 2014


Saw this movie long ago, and didn't quite like it. Rewatched it recently because I wanted to make sure I wasn't just in a bad mood that day and didn't give it a decent shot.

And um. Let's get the feminist crap out of the way. Set aside the idea that a strong female lead is a girl *super*-doted on by her man-child father, who gets reasonably sporty and doesn't want to marry whichever dude. Also that the only women in here are A) main character, B) her mother who handles all the paperwork with calm feminine grace and acts like her husband's mother, and C) servants who exclusively scream and run away, carry cloth and hang out in the kitchen. And all men are brainless cavemen man-children or worse (the only point where male characters get to be any deeper than a pizza plate is when the clan heirs agree with Merida's request that they should all get to choose their partner). Also lose any notion that this would be an adventure movie similar to adventure movies with reasonably sporty boys as main characters. Each time Merida shoots her bow at a live target, it does absolutely nothing, and I hope you don't imagine she's the one who defeats the bad guy. Welcome helpless heroine.

Alright then, on to review. This script is, let's say, all over the place. There's several stories going on a once here, and sure that's fine, but at least one is just forcefully shoved into random dialogue for the first part, and then provides a timely easy way out from the final confrontation. The focus seems scattered, with sequences of scenery and beautiful shots that look more like graphic showing-off than any form of story exposition. I will expand on these two problems below.

1) Script. My favorite piece of writing here that for me comes to symbolize this movie is an early exchange between Merida and her mother. Slightly paraphrased, but far less than you might think, Merida goes to her mother and says "why do I have to marry", and her mother responds by saying "long ago there was a kingdom where one son wasn't satisfied with sharing with his brothers and the kingdom fell". End of conversation.

2) Nature Photography. In Brave, you get a long sequence of Merida shooting arrows from her horse and climbing a mountain to drink some water, to later tell her father that she did, and he goes "hey good job", and mom goes "sigh". In Pocahontas, you get not only the text of a song to progress the story while she and John Smith frolics in the forest, but what they do while frolicking also symbolizes how she brings him to see the beauty of nature and taking him deep into the forest where only the natives go, forming a bond between their characters over sped-up time. Compared to the much more story-progressing sequence of Merida playing in the river with her mother, the initial sequence of climbing the mountain is very near pointless. And there's more of these random shots of "forest" that fails to establish any sense of progress or wonder or setting beyond "forest".

One could easily say that 2 is a consequence of 1 (as in bad scripts, not greedy brothers). In How To Train Your Dragon, you very quickly get a feeling that the conflict between the boy and his father is about their difference in base personality and skill; the boy is an inventor, the father a hands-on warrior. But in Brave, the conflicts are scattered. Is it about Merida being too "boyish"? Too rash? Too selfish? Too childish? About her mother being too responsible, stuck-up, too traditional, too perfectionist? For much of it, it just seems to be a woman shouting "I want!" and a girl shouting "I don't want!", for a confusing number of reasons. Is Merida opposed to the marriage because it will limit her in any way? Will she not be allowed to shoot arrows or frolic in the forest when she's married? Or is she opposed to the duties? But surely she won't be queen until the old is dead, no? She hasn't met the boys before she starts protesting, so clearly she's already set up the stop sign irrespective of their personalities. Is she opposed to it solely because her mother tells her to?

I could ask, but the answer is apparently "long ago there was a kingdom where one son wasn't satisfied with sharing with his brothers and the kingdom fell", but I don't feel like cleaning up chessboard pieces, since neat perfectionist mother gets a touch of major drama queen whenever she tells that story. Woo character consistency.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Frog and the Scorpion

I have binged on Teen Wolf, a tv-series, for a while. Guilty pleasures and all that. It brought up a fable I've always quite liked, although I never considered why. So I will now, with the series as backdrop. A small spoiler warning, although nothing will be revealed that compromises plot twists or anything.

So the setup is basically that there's werewolves and hunters, and each side has at this point its own internal bad guy; trigger happy individuals that don't go well with the others of its own group, but that is not at this precise moment a direct threat. The main characters go to each of these to find out the truth about an old conflict from before they got involved. Back then, a werewolf decided to try to mediate peace between the two groups. Both of the bad guys then use the fable of the frog and the scorpion to explain/justify what happened.

The fable, in case you haven't heard it, goes something like this:
The scorpion comes to the frog and asks it to carry it across the river. The frog is hesitant because the scorpion's sting is poisonous, but the scorpion says, if I sting you, I will also drown. The frog gives in and the scorpion gets on its back and they set out. In the middle of the river the scorpion stings the frog. Dying, and sinking, the frog asks, “why did you do that, now we will both die”. The scorpion replies, “because it is my nature”.

The hunters say, it is in the werewolves nature to kill us, they must be setting up a trap, we should attack them preemptively. The werewolves say, it is in the hunters' nature to kill us, they will attack us when we come, we should bring secret backup. The two groups meet, the hunters attack, the werewolves' backup arrives. The hunters say, look it was a trap, as we knew it would be. The werewolves say, look they attacked us as we knew they would.

If there was ever a setup to be used as an example for destiny and the inevitability of consequence, it is this one, worthy of becoming a fable in itself. Like an evolution, an extension of the fable of the frog and the scorpion, each side's respective expectations of the other's nature brings out their own; their telling of the fable becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. And each side's telling of the events becomes an incentive to continue as before; a circle chase passed down from generation to generation.

So what is the fable, really? What is the purpose of the tale of the frog and the scorpion? Firstly, there's a million things it doesn't tell us. Perhaps the scorpion did sincerely not intend to sting the frog, and sorely regretted it after it was done, or perhaps that was the plan all along. Did the frog show suspicion towards the scorpion because of its species or because this specific scorpion had stung others before? Why the heck did the scorpion want to cross the river in the first place?

Anyway. At first glance, it seems all about the scorpion. It's easy to identify with the frog, perceived as the “victim” of the scorpion's nature. It seems the cautionary tale warns us to be aware of others' natures, and like the men in the story, prepare as if all enemies, or all non-friends, are potential scorpions.

But what of the frog? What do we know of the frog, and its nature? Despite the danger, the frog is convinced by the scorpion's logic immediately, without discussion. The scorpion could sting it while they're still on land, because somehow they have to get out into the water. But the frog takes what is said at face value and it trusts. Perhaps that is the frog's nature; perhaps by trusting the scorpion it has not only killed itself, but also effectively ended the scorpion's life. And then the story becomes not a cautionary tale to look out for scorpions, but a nod at inevitability, at each one's nature enabling the other's. Which one of them carried the responsibility, which one's nature was the one at fault? If each creature has its nature set, and neither can overcome it, there could never actually be another end to the fable. The frog and the scorpion are destined to die the moment the story begins. And maybe that's the lesson.

Ultimately the werewolves' story and the fable makes me consider if in our struggle for control in the chaos of life we put blame on whoever seems most fit to carry it. In this case, the scorpion. I by no means mean the frog, or any victim, is to blame for anything done either. Is one to blame for the nature one has and cannot change? The fable is strangely free from pointing fingers. Perhaps I only mean that in the grand web of things, in the great tapestry of destiny, there may not be a culprit or a victim, just a frog and a scorpion and the unfortunate way their natures meet.

Although I can't help thinking that the scorpion waits to sting until they're in the middle of the river for a reason.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Job Only Women Can Do

I read this article (very carefully because I know I tend to start out negative towards Republican writers) where a female Republican talks about "war on women" (which has apparently become a term in the US) and selective feminism (although she doesn't call it exactly that).

Side-note: It always feels counter-intuitive for me to capitalize Republican and Democrat, somehow.

Her point is valid, and her final statement a very good one I think. Because what I think her complaints on the concept of war on women come down to, is that there are ignorant people on both sides that use public opinion to attract more power to themselves. Whether of ingenious planning or sheer stupidity, or possible bad research, these people exist in all groups for all causes, and tend to make everyone else look stupid. And hopefully they cancel each other out, cross your heart and kiss your knuckle.

But there's a sentence in there that scratched the blackboard. "But if they cast their ballots for Foust, they’ll be electing a man whose disrespect toward women and the single job only women can do — mothering — is at least as offensive as Limbaugh’s name-calling."

Firstly, what the hell is "the single job only women can do" supposed to mean? What's the job only men can do? Sure there are stuff men do better (like f.ex. heavy lifting), and stuff women do better (like f.ex.lead airline traffic because light voices carry better over radio, apparently), and there are jobs that would be significantly more difficult for either. But that only that gender can do?

And secondly; really? I mean, the word "mothering" itself is reserved a female, but isn't fathering the same concept? Like how waitress and a waiter may have differing titles but the same job. Unless you're talking about the very specific task of giving birth to a child, which "mothering" can also mean, but I don't think that's the job she's referring to.

What the sentence betrays is a tendency I've seen a lot in American attitudes. (Surely not only there, naturally.) This take on "feminism" seems to be about raising the value of "womanly" tasks, rather than the equality of men and women.

Part of me can't help but wonder if this is a very stealthy campaign to make it easier for women in particular to stay home with kids, and in that way draw more women to that specific role, and thus widening the gender gap and increasing inequality, limiting women's options by making one option far superior. Trapping middle-to-lower-class households in a single-choice environment with only one provider; in other words keeping people in their places. Because, and this is what really irks me; that they speak of raising the value of being a stay-at-home-mother, not a stay-at-home-parent. The job and the gender is automatically inseparable. It is the choice of women to stay at home, and women should be respected for it. It disguises itself as fighting for women's rights, while all the while it cements the idea that mothering is, indeed, only for women.

This is not the feminism I am looking for. Not the specific fight for women who care for children or decorate homes. I believe in a world where women can do any non-physically demanding job any man can do, and where the choice of staying home with children should be based on personality and willingness, not sex, gender or income. Where a mother isn't judged first and foremost as a mother, necessarily. People speak of how terrible it is for mothers to abandon their children, while fathers are expected to be reckless in the question; I want equality. I want the job description for the titles "father" and "mother" to describe the exact same position, albeit with personally customizable content, the same way as "waiter" and "waitress" does. Because I believe in men. I believe fathers love their children equally to their mothers. I believe taking a child away from a father is as despicable as taking it away from its mother, and I believe that if we raise men to live in harmony with their emotions instead of alienating them from half of their own humanity they will make wonderful "mothers". I believe I already know several such men, and have had the benefit of growing up with involved fathers around me.

I am adopted. Do I blame my mother more for giving me away? No, of course not. Do I think my mother misses me more? No, of course not. Do I long for knowing my mother more than my father? No, of course not. I have honestly never thought of those things before I constructed the questions just now. And they seem absolutely absurd to me. I carry 50% of the gene setup of both my parents; I know nothing of them so I have no idea of their personalities and therefore whether one would care more than the other, or whether I would like one or the other more. The idea that someone would judge my birth mother for giving me away, in a different way from my birth father, upsets me enormously. It not only force-feeds responsibility to a woman who should not have to carry it, it also insults my father, his dedication, affection and many other things. It is absolutely absurd.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sleepers - An Ongoing Conversation

Right now there is an ongoing conversation, where a young woman asked for advice because she was stuck in a room listening to a conversation between two men who talked about how feminism was stupid, sexualization happened to men too because hey he was once hit on at a bar, and women coming to the doctor wearing string underwear were begging to be groped. Yes, they're doctors.

I've always wanted to find one of these little hidden pearls of Swedish equality and see what I would do.

Anyway, the response was that if she didn't dare confront them (which I can understand that she doesn't, especially if she isn't comfortable holding loud discussions, like women are rarely taught to do) she should contact media.

In this case, since the two are doctors, it's a matter of people in a position of power, and what they say means they're unfit to carry out their profession, at least parts of their profession. They would do better in some aspect of doctoring that didn't involve contact with patients. Contacting media however and exposing the ongoings would cause much conflict, much hate and anger and fear, and for what?

The underlying problem is of course that by removing them, you at most teach them to not speak about it, making them perfect sleepers for bad treatment of women because they'll have even more reason to hate them. Diplomacy, not war, would be better. A personal discussion, a good speaker, the right questions, and perhaps one could calmly explain why this isn't functional, how it's damaging to themselves and others, and instead of increasing rage and making them feel threatened, calm the situation down. As academically educated men, they shouldn't be completely and utterly impervious to logic, especially not when coming from another man in a private setting. These are apparently men who are well-liked by their patients and the rest of the staff, normally, so clearly they have the capacity to mask any thoughts, and if not honest compassion, a capacity to simulate some. Perhaps that is even what stabs them in the back. I know myself, as a good self-manipulator, that recognizing that most people fall for your polished exterior, they come to appear "stupid" to you, which is one of the definite traps of good instinctive acting and social manipulation. And as we're raised to show appreciation for certain types of attention, a lot of women would act, and even be, flattered by what they say or do that is within the traditional male role.

These are men who may never do anything directly aggressive to a woman, yet their attitude is sure, however good self-manipulators they are, to seep into their lives. Comments, looks, expectations, forming the women, and men, they encounter ever so subtly. If they're good enough to never let it affect their patients, it's almost more certain it will infect their selves. How will they raise their daughters? I wonder, as intelligent and skilled as they are, would they dare and be open to trying to view the world from a different standpoint? Or would they brush it off as unnecessary, stupid, or pointless? I wonder do they have good relationships with the women in their personal lives? And I mean that honestly. I wonder. I want information. I want to understand. Do they seriously believe that feminism isn't trying to help them too? Do they not recognize the difference between populistic expression of an ideal, and the actual intended thought? Do they feel like they live in a world where half the earth's population are the enemy? Because I don't. I'm a woman, and a feminist, and I certainly don't see enemies. I see fellow humans that I'd love to talk to, and understand, and wish they wanted to talk to and understand me too.

Removing them is an immediate response to an immediate problem, not a long-term solution. But the world doesn't work on long-term solutions. We don't work for rehabilitation, integration, or education. We work for finger-slapping, head-patting and numbers on papers. It gets us forward, perhaps even faster than doing it well, but at much grinding of teeth and trampled hearts, and who knows how much money and effort spent.

You know I could say this is a man's world. This is the world as it turned out under men's rule and we should try women's or some other militant bullshit. But that is to reduce an infinitely complex system to a few sexist, prejudiced words that serve nothing but make some feel better and some feel worse. I say everyone take responsibility. Raise our people to hold loud discussions in a calm manner, raise them to feel responsible for others, raise them to try to uplift each other.

I don't know how this current situation will solve itself, but whatever way it goes, someone will probably get hurt. Maybe most likely the young woman herself.

This is just my 2 cents.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Locking Your Door - About Reasonable Precaution, and Bears

I think I failed the previous post about this subject. But that's part of the point, to think, rethink, be educated.

Our original question was whether one could compare the precaution of locking your door with the precaution of wearing certain clothes to decrease the risk of being the target of crime, namely theft and rape.

I know it still sounds insane, but that's because in the current social climate, asking such a question is highly provocative. But that is also kind of the point, right. Ask all questions, sort them out, find some sort of truth to believe in.

In the previous post, I think I lost my way. What I was really trying to think about was, since we do put some kind of demand on people to take precautions for safety, such as wearing bike helmets or not go looking for bears, are there reasonable precautions for not being raped, and where does that line go? But perhaps I looked at it from the wrong angle. When a houseowner is robbed and left their door unlocked, the criminals are no less punished. But do the judge ask if the door was locked? Does the question have any relevance to the case? (Let's ignore insurance claims because insurances are strange and mystical creatures.)

We live in a world where women are raped. No doubt men too, but to a smaller extent. Nevermind. We live in a world where people are raped. This is fact. We (as in the majority of people, me included) would like to live in a world where we never have to be afraid of being raped. I'm sure this applies to people that currently aren't afraid too, just they never think about it. But realistically, even if we do take steps to ensure that safety, we at least won't be there in many years. So there is the situation. It is reality, just like "if I go into the forest there may be bears". The difference is that the perpetrators are humans. So the bike helmet thing is a better comparison. "If I ride my bike, some idiot may hit me with his car." Let's assume all people who hit cyclists are drunk drivers, so there are no real accidents, only people doing stupid things. The moment you get on a bike, you risk being the victim of a crime that will severely damage you physically and probably mentally. Now we've simulated something remotely similar. "The moment you walk alone in the evening or get in an intimate situation with a person, whether known or unknown to you, you risk being raped."

It would stand to reason that if you decided to bike, despite the danger of drunk drivers, you should take every reasonable precaution. Put on helmet. Use bike lights. It's not fair, because it's the drunk drivers doing wrong here, but nonetheless. What is reasonable? Is it reasonable to not get to wear what you want? Clearly you don't go around naked, but that's not for fear of being raped. When Jews for fear of violence hide their holy symbols, they are protecting themselves, but is it reasonable? Is it the society we want?

It is better to work the other end of the problem, than be rebellious for its sake. Try to encourage people to stop drunk people from driving, increase the penalties for doing so, or heck, ban alcohol. Better than not wearing a helmet and not using bike lights. But does that mean I'm saying, Jews, don't wear your holy symbols? For the individual it is surely safer that way. But for society, it's terrible. We give power to the criminals; we let them dictate. So where does the line go between reasonable precaution, and giving up?

There is of course another side to this line of thinking. When someone asks what a woman was wearing, why does it piss me off? Because it's a transfer of blame. If a drunk driver hits a cyclist, and the cyclist wasn't wearing a helmet and dies, the driver caused the death, not the decision to not wear a helmet. The victim doesn't cause the crime, they fail to prevent it (as we would all like to prevent all crimes, I imagine). Failing to prevent a crime is not a cause of blame for the original crime. She wasn't raped because she was wearing this or that, even if she wouldn't have been if she wore something else. She failed to protect herself, but that's no cause to lessen the punishment on the criminal, any more than saying that a knife stab victim failed to deflect the knife. Someone made the decision to do something criminal; whatever the outcome, they bear the blame. Since the victim isn't on trial, the question is irrelevant.

Although to be honest, part of me stops and thinks at the "the driver caused the death, not the decision to not wear a helmet". I do think that the driver should be charged with the full crime, disregarding the decision to wear a helmet or not, so as far as law and order it's clear cut for me. But did the decision to not wear a helmet cause the death? Did wearing a short skirt cause the rape? Logically, procedurally... maybe? The funny thing is that we can never know; we can make statistical models and talk about probability, but we can never know for each individual case, because we can't exactly replicate it. Did the rapist decide to do it because of the short skirt or not, we can't know that. Even if the rapist says this or that, even if the rapists truly believes this or that, still we can't know. Which means we don't know. No proof either way. No grounds for assumption one way or the other. Which makes for difficult thinking.

Another side again. Most rapes are done by someone the victim knows, in more intimate settings than "dark alleyways", where many other factors come into play. We get a return of true accidents and not just drunk drivers, because I do think in a few cases the rapist is too daft to actually realize what is going on, or perhaps the victim is too afraid to make an abundance of protests. There's also culturally fucked up ideas about courtship and gender roles and the built-in differences in what the traditional male and female roles say is initiative, invitation and agreement.

A man said to me the other day, "men are animals." It was unclear if he included himself in the statement, but he insisted that so was the case, from what he'd seen. Gender equality work in all honor, there's still plenty of animals out there, he said. Men who wouldn't be civilized no matter how equal the world was. Men who, regardless of what culture says, will take what their arms can grab.

The original question was sparked in my mind because I read a woman being angry because she'd walked with her keys ready to stab an attacker with, and she was angry because she had to be afraid in this modern society. I guess all this thinking boils down to whether or not I agree with her. Because a large part of me thought she was silly. I have walked with keys in my hands ready to stab an attacker, and I've been afraid, but I've never been angry because of it. Because to me, it would be like being angry at there being bears in the forest. It is that way, take it or leave it. Thinking that way however triggered the alarms in my head. Was this reasonable? Who was right? Where did her anger come from, and my acceptance?

We can't just accept people doing wrong. However if some men are truly animals (and surely some women too, just smaller ones than bears), perhaps in the end we have to think of them as bears. If most rapes happen in intimate situations, then the actual dark-alley rapists are rare, are metaphorical bears in the metaphorical city woods. Being angry at them doesn't accomplish anything. It's the intimate rapists we have to worry about. The drunk drivers. The humans.

There are bears in the forest. There are drunk drivers. I bike in the forest and on the roads, but I'm more afraid on the road.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The World I Live In

Conventional TV with parents.

We start out with a show made by... what does one call them these days, mentally challenged people? Where they interviewed leaders of two political parties in Sweden, which one can't say too much about since it's made by mentally challenged people.

No. They don't stand beyond scrutiny, or quality, or justice. If they have the same rights and value as all other people, something they liked to repeat over and over and I wonder if they even understand what it means, then they are just as accountable for their impact on everyone around them. So on best viewing hours, we have people lacking even the most basic grasp of politics, and any sense of impact on the environment or consequence, interviewing politicians. So that is clearly the level of intelligent debate we need. Obviously this provides us with information, like, for example, it's a glaring example of how it's impossible to have a discussion with a person who doesn't understand any of the basic underlying assumptions of the topic. One of the hosts came with the fantastic argument "we should keep nuclear power because then we have more power". Are you serious?

Maybe I'm upset because I don't trust the majority of people to remain uninfluenced by this. I can see a large number of acquaintances going "hey did you see that thing last night, you know they have some points those retarded people, maybe they aren't so stupid, because more power is great, and thinking about consequences is so bothersome".

We continue to regular news. Forest fire. Instead of straight information, like show on a map where the fire is, describe what the firemen actually do, ask questions like "why have you pulled only the nearby firemen and not firemen from further away, since people are at risk and you can't get control", we have a few sentimental interviews with people going "hey this shit sucks terribly", and some general complaints about "how the authorities are handling the issue" which is what media loves to do; complain on the people working their asses off to try to fix a problem. God forbid the police or the firemen show some humanity and forget to jump through every exact hoop. Of course people have complaints. Everything can be made better, especially in a high-pressure situation. These people need help and cooperation, not whining. If nothing else, evaluate AFTER for the sake of.

Also anti-semitism is rising in Sweden because what people of the same religion do in another country. Clearly they should abandon their religion because other people of the same religion are doing terrible things, because that's what all other religious people do, and that really speaks of character and true faith. Clearly by continuing doing exactly what they've been doing for generations, they are supporting every act of others. So when Christians are harassing abortion-clinics or beating up homosexuals in the US, we should start harassing randomly selected Swedish Christians. FUCK ME YOU FUCKING MORONS ARE YOU SERIOUS.

They interview a Jewish person about it, some kind of official or professor or something, that says exactly what the entire thing has said, that it's because of what Jews are doing in another country. The interviewer feels the need to bring up what the leader of the Swedish Democrats have said, because the man could use more media exposure, despite the fact that the question is phrased in such a way that it will get EXACTLY the same answer as the one he JUST SAID because there's literally no other way to answer it. So you just wanted to give SD some more media time, or you're so bloody stupid that you can't skip or modify a question that has already been answered. Journalism woo. Good job. Fantastic.

By now I'm starting to feel dizzy and my chest is hurting, so I stop watching actively and try to read my book. I notice that I'm taking everything I read in a really negative light; I've read this book before and I love it, but suddenly my brain is pointing out that it's objectifying the female characters (it's from 1921), and there's this bitter tone to it (that is certainly imaginary). I find it hard to concentrate.

When my brain calls me back to the TV again, they've moved on the sports news. They're talking about people behaving like assholes at a sports event; soccer of course. Can't breathe anymore, I feel physically sick, and if I read the book it'll only get more tainted by the ambient stupidity.

I drop some comment on how stupid it all is, and that I'm leaving. Dad says I shouldn't listen. I can't not listen. It's physically impossible for me, that's why I don't watch conventional TV, that's why I shut myself in most of the time. Just the *tone* of some of the news, while I was reading, without me actively taking in the words, made me *physically ill* and mentally super negative.

Are you all listening to what is said in your living rooms? Are you understanding the power of suggestion, of passive information absorption, of attitude assimilation especially in children? Is this the level of professionalism you demand from media?  The level of understanding you're after in immediate, relevant events?

And you are the people I'm supposed to share this "democratic" country with.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Life in Faded Green and Rusty Black

I wish you were here to tell me what is important.

There goes a set of cups,
a carpet,
a curtain,
a candelabra,
a ceramic cat,
a spotless new coffee pot on the big blurry heap
of things that are just things.

A lifetime of things.
Some to be nothings,
some to be somethings.
Ugly things, pretty things,
cheap things, expensive things,
whose price tag is printed in your secret language
and written with dust and fingerprints;
with tears and private smiles.

I wish you were here to tell me what is important.

Is it the chair with a missing button?
Is it the chipped plates with flower prints?
Did you run your fingertips over the surface and feel like home,
or did your partner pick them up against your will?
Did you hide your treasures at the back of the cupboard,
or are they unwanted things stashed out of sight?

One thing on the heap,
one thing in my pocket.
It's like a morbid game show.
"Step up on the stage!
Guess, out of these hundred objects
which one your loved one's ghost would haunt!
Speak up!
Lean closer to the microphone, please."

I wish you were here to tell me what is important.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Locking your Door - About Asking What She Was Wearing

I can't come up with a good way to formulate an introductory question... let's try with;
When a woman is asked what she was wearing, the night she was raped, can that be equated with a house owner being asked if he locked the door the night his house was cleaned out?

Don't shoot me down, all questions are allowed to be asked! Now let's see.

Crazy people exist in all areas and groups of life. I'm fairly sure that if you looked closer at the group "fairly sensible people", you'd find some crazies there too. Thus, in the group "men", we're bound to find a decent amount of crazies. (We're using the term loosely here.) These crazies are likely to, when presented with means and opportunity, do things the rest of us find uncivilized, offensive, or outright inhuman, like rape or murder people, or steal everything not bolted down.

When a crime is committed, in our current society we assume "reasonable" precautions have been made by the injured party. Did you call the knife-wielding drunk guy an ugly ass motherfucker? Did you lock your doors and keep your pure gold ingots in a vault?

Ideally, we would all be prancing around in a conflict-free world, where the worst violence ever recorded is soccer players elbowing each other in the nose when the referee isn't looking. A place where people don't lock their doors, never wield knives or call each other anything, and can pole dance around the flag pole naked for all anyone cares. Surprisingly, we aren't.

Society is made from agreements, silent or outspoken. An agreement to not rob or murder each other, because it makes life better for everyone. I pay tax so that your mother can live somewhere when she gets old, because when my mother gets old, she'll need somewhere to live too. Some things are easy to check. Is person A paying tax? Yes, check. Some things are very difficult. Is person A hiding a 13yo child in their basement, taken from the next town over? Uhm, probably not, but who really knows? Has person A raped someone, will they, or would they if presented with an opportunity? Eeeehh.

So what does the law say. Person X lives in a neighborhood plagued by thefts and vandalism. They frequently leave their house unlocked and have no security systems. One day they return to all their possessions gone and their dog kicked to death. Law says it's still theft, and whatever else the law says about kicking other people's dogs to death. Although person X probably won't get their insurance, if they had any, the thieves and dog-kickers will, if caught, get their punishment regardless. Entering someone else's home and taking their things is still illegal, even if the door is unlocked. How about leaving your possessions in a public area? Person X takes their stereo system, puts it in the front yard, and goes inside to sleep. In the morning the stereo is gone. Say the thieves are caught. Will they still be convicted of theft? How about if the stereo system is left in a public parking lot?

The law may say this or that, but public opinion may say that the fool who left his door unlocked only has himself to blame. So the public blaming women for wearing this or that doesn't really surprise me, and maybe that's the price to be paid. Self-righteous masses are dumb as shit. The law however, is a different question. The law would still be obliged to help the dude get his things back and punish the thieves, and similarly, rapists must be pursued with the same prejudice regardless what anyone was wearing. Right?

I feel it could be argued that a person carries their private space with them, as in, a person's body is counted as their house or their apartment in terms of rights. In that sense, for rape, you can either argue that the stereo can never be in a public parking lot, or you can argue that if you go to a public parking lot at night dressed in... actually I don't know if it matter what you're dressed in, at a public parking lot at night, even a SWAT stamp on your back might not keep you safe. But I get sidetracked. If you stand there, in the dark, alone, is the stereo in your house or in the parking lot? That's where I feel the question lies. Do we put a certain degree of responsibility on regular citizens to avoid crime, and how does that apply to rape?

This post hasn't progressed any thinking, the entire space went just to explain the question, but honestly I just started thinking about it so there's a lot of thinking left to do.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Free Speech of Art

I'm going to write more in what I'm calling "Chain of Thought" style, where I'm bringing up a subject I've been thinking about, and just let the writing process crystallize as I type. Meaning I will have come further (hopefully) by the end of the post, and you can see my path through my reasoning.

Here's our initial question: Should Art depict real life, or should it promote new, different, and/or "better" ideas?

Easy answer: both. Not necessarily at once. But in a non-offensive way, while provocative is fine. It depends on how it's done. If it's done with good form and common sense. Okay, maybe it wasn't that easy.

My problem with this question is the same as the Free Speech ideal. If I truly, madly, deeply hate person X, then telling everyone how terrible this person is, while not lying, is theoretically perfectly fine. Lying is not okay, but everyone's got bad sides, bad days, mistakes and skeletons in their closets. Where does the line go then for invasion of privacy? Where does my rights to free speech end, and his/her right to her own person begin?

(If marketing is everything, and it often is in our modern world, then bad publicity is still publicity, so should X just shut up about it? It's perhaps a bit bad mannered to speak ill of other people, but it's basically an entire business these days so we can't expect younger generations to be more restrained than we are(n't) now. Anyone working with information and marketing knows how powerful just a suggestive seed is, when well planted. And what's seen can't be unseen.)

I have seen people argue that Art should strive for a higher ideal, most recently a reader complained at a graphic novel aimed at teenagers and young adults that it begins with a young woman waking up after sleeping with a man she's just met. The writer argued that that's reality, the reality these teenagers are already living in.

I have seen people argue that Art should depict reality, be grounded in situations people can recognize and relate to, that if it's too esoteric and abstract it has no value, it's just paint splatter. David Lynch comes to mind. And the depiction of Dali in Midnight in Paris when he's obsessed with rhinoceroses.

And I've struggled with a story I want to write, which touches on pedophilia. I have written about rape and murder, torture, incest, genocide, the list goes on, and to me personally pedophilia is just another subject on the long list of complications life can include, crassly seen. But that is another discussion. My problem lies in that the subject is so stigmatized that I'm afraid even to write about it alone in my room. This should not be true for any subject, of any type, for any person. If something is hidden away and not spoken about, we can't make democratic decisions about it. Even writing this, I'm worried that if/when anyone reads it they'll judge me as a person writing about these things not having experienced any of them, but this is how we learn, by communicating, exploring, discussing. This is how we become a more enlightened, understanding, nonjudgmental, progressive people.

So do I believe Art should have no boundaries? If someone wants to paint a vagina on a square in Germany, that's fine, if someone wants to hang paintings with beaten women on their living room walls that's fine, if I want racial slurs on my wedding invitations that's fine.

Short answer: yes.

Long answer: in a perfect world, none of these things would be offensive. Eccentric, perhaps, but not offensive. The problem with them lies in the context. We live in a time when certain parts of the body are supposed to be private, when violence against women is a societal problem in I think every culture on the planet, and where race have been used as an excuse for horrific acts past and present.

I sense a circle argument. If Art is judged as offensive because of it's context, then we can't separate it from that context, and thus all Art, whether it's created as depicting reality or not, will be interpreted as commenting on reality. As in, Art is forcefully made both into the opposing sides of "depicting reality" and "promoting a future". The drawing of a young woman having sex with a stranger is only offensive if it's interpreted as both. And even if we're drawing table spoons, incest rape is going to associate back to humans and reality and future, and there we are.

(Can we as humans create Art that has nothing to do with either humans or the world around us? That seems impossible to me. By laws of... I don't know what to call them, logic maybe, anything a human thinks could probably be called a human concern.)

We have voided our original question. The new question is, censor vs. TFS (Totally Free Speech). Except that's not a question, it's an interstellar nuclear war.

I will return on this topic. In the meantime, if anyone at any time would like to drop me a trait, any trait, or preference, or anything at all about themselves or another person, and have me write up two very short texts, one promoting this trait or thing as the best thing ever, the other trying to prove that it's trash and terrible and should possibly be made illegal, feel free. It's a fun exercise for me, and a chance to get praised and insulted at once for you. Be warned, I will take your request as consent for me to say any whichever terrible things with no holdback and no trigger warnings :P

Have fun out there peops.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My People

The world is probably full of people like me, who want at least 5 days a week to be silent stories, stress-free although not necessarily work-free, preferably people-free. Days where talking to anyone at all is an optional thing, as is leaving home ground, and where I can dive into something for six hours straight, whether it's writing an essay or playing pokémon, without being interrupted or having to speak one single word. Where one can really concentrate and create something good. From what I can deduce out of the information available, there are quite probably quite a lot of people like me.

I don't meet a lot of them, because I've been taught that they're losers.


Or maybe I do, and we both pretend to not be like that.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Intelligence is a virtue

The threat of mutual destruction as a method to keep order only works if both sides are intelligent enough and empathic enough to understand the assuredness of mutual destruction and the consequences it would entail for themselves.

So I guess that's why villains are so often ridiculously stupid in stories, even when they're intelligent enough to construct huge complex plans. They need to be so stupid, or in other words so certain of their own success, that they can't see the risk of mutual destruction or understand the consequence.

When some religious guidance says doubt is the sign of a healthy mind, perhaps this is what they mean. If you ever find something you're absolutely sure of, that's the time to take a long hard look at yourself, even if it's something you're sure is good... especially then.

It doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. I'm still not sure how you act in a world made of uncertainty, I think it has to do with fear and faith and hope, and it has to do with accepting your part in a universe too complicated for a human mind, and your place in nature, but I do wonder one thing. Has healthy doubt ever started any wars?

In the end, the breaking point isn't fear or faith or hope, or love, or any of those things they always talk about in stories, though. In this case, it's intelligence.

That is not the full story though. Nothing ever is.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Faith in Man

Almost every time we go anywhere we drive by a church that has a sign that says "It is better to trust in God than put your confidence in men" and it offends me. It provokes me. I want to run in there and yell "You put your confidence in men every time you go on an airplane or use tap water! You're insulting thousands of years of brilliant human engineering, it's not God lifting the airplane or cleaning your drinking water it's the hard work, blood and tears of generations of amazing people!"

If there's anything you *should* do it's put your confidence in humans. We've gotten where we are together, and that's what we should celebrate and be proud of and use as inspiration for our future.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Travel Diary - Florida 10 days in.

I may have presented the US in a bad light in my previous Florida post. I can go to the movies for cheap where the space is nice and the sound excellent, the pizza is great, and I did see both a bike shop and three people biking today.

Today was the first day of Storms, and when I say storms I mean that places with this kind of weather tends to have thunder/rain storms, although in this case it means "light showers and exceptionally sudden and horrendously loud thunder". The electricity went out for a few seconds and the first bang nearly blew my head off. First thought: that would have scared the shit out of Loki. I instinctively looked around for him to make sure he was alright. I miss him tons.

I miss some other things, like my own bed, my own space, my clothes... I'm not entirely sure how my reasoning went when I packed but it wasn't flawless. I also have to make some decisions. Things are cheap here but I can't buy everything. There are space and money constraints that I must consider.

I sound super negative but that's not the full story. Good things are just more abstract. And I am slow to get used to things, I think.

Friday, May 23, 2014


I know I said I'd start again and then disappeared for a week. Bear with me, I'm still getting used to the whole blogging thing.

Also I'm in the states. Pretty cool. I read somewhere that it takes about a week to get into the homesick stage, and true enough, yesterday I started missing "normal" things terribly. Everything here makes me slightly uneasy, although I don't know why. The nature is nice, people are very friendly...

Things I think about Florida:

  1. This town is super perfect for bikes. It's 100% flat land here, with big wide roads, warm weather... and not a single bike. Everyone drives. I don't think I understood how much the US is built around cars. There's drive-in everything. The town itself is so incredibly spread out, stores are scattered all over the place, because you drive between them.
  2. There's signs everywhere, probably because stores are so scattered. And there's stores for everything, like auto parts, pesticides, pet massages. (Still haven't seen a bike shop though.)
  3. Variety. There's much more different types of cars, different shapes and sizes and brands. Low old Americans, next to super polished Toyotas, next to fat pickup trucks. There's tons of different trees, just outside the door there's probably like 10 of them, thick branches crawling across the ground next to thin tall palm trees, next to little fat things that look kinda like pineapples. Sitting outside I was visited by a bunch of birds, and a few little turtles coming up for air in the pond. A crow-like bird taking a bath, a pair of canards, two black turkey-like ducks (that for a moment I thought were attacking me, because they decided to walk by so close) and a beautiful white egret.
  4. Store people are very friendly. Every one of them say things like "You have a very nice evening", or "Have a wonderful weekend". It should make me happy, but I'm Swedish and socially challenged and just find it creepy. There's also people putting your stuff in bags in convenience stores. Which also makes me uneasy, because it means I'm just standing there awkwardly.
  5. Obviously it's warm, but it's warm in the humid sense. It's lucky most places have AC, although I guess it's not super good for the environment, but I don't handle heat excellently, especially not the humid kind.
  6. Stuff is pretty cheap, but in some places there's a sales tax that's added after the price you see on tags, so it's hard to keep track of how much you're spending. Also buying like a pizza or a Chinese food box for 5-7$ I could eat 3-4 times of each. Not healthy but certainly pretty cheap for food you don't have to cook.
Things I think about me:
  • Traveling is great for reestablishing that I like Sweden. Even if we've clearly forgotten why we're such a great country and how we became that way.
  • My actual location matters less because the things I like to do are mostly not location-bound. Long as I have electricity and internet, I could probably live anywhere. 10h on the plane was fine because I was writing and watching movies, which is what I do at home too. Actually living in a place is more about the... people? Culture.
  • Leaving Loki alone for a month isn't so much a problem for him as it is a huge problem for me.
  • I have a big need for alone-time. I like people and talking to friends and stuff, but I need a lot of time to myself to feel at ease. It's okay having people around if they're not in the way and they ignore me and my activities.
  • Not recognizing any labels or store names is very tiresome. You have to actually look at everything. Didn't quite realize how annoying it was, I mean sure the first time in Lidl many bottles and stuff don't look like you're used to but it's much more tiresome when everything is that way.
  • I think of tons of things to blog about, and then promptly forget them once I actually sit down and make silly lists instead.

One important piece of advice: if you for any reason are offered a wheelchair at airports, just accept them. Forget honor, forget whether or not you actually need it, just say yes. It will save you endless amounts of time and annoyance. Trading pride for two and a half hours of standing in line? Hell yes.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Like a Phoenix (Down)

For one reason or another I decided to read backwards a bit, and I met a person that I'd almost forgotten. Hello Old Me, I can't say I know who you were anymore, any more than a pine tree knows the pine cone it came from. I remember spots of it, and most notably, I remember the positive. I remember A Spirit World of Concrete and Glass, for example, from September 2010, I even remember where and how I felt as I crafted it, on the bike. There's also a clear pattern, that 2010 I wrote about the difficult things and how hard they felt, but the years that were truly trash and terrible, 2011-2012, I'm mostly writing about other things even as that's when I failed school and dropped off the social plane as my leg and back got worse and I drowned in the task of trying to come to terms with who I had become (decently packaged handicapped shit, as I thought). But that 11-12 girl I remember. I'm still her, I'm still fighting her battles although I've come a long way.

2010-me, you may be gone now, but I'm glad you left footprints behind for me to find and decipher. I'd like to know you, if for nothing else but to remember what I've survived. Because I survived, 2010-me. I may not have succeeded at everything, but we made it, we moved on to other problems, and we've come to terms with some of the ones you had.

It occurred to me, that with the knowledge of public posting as a filter to sort away the most useless stuff, blogging from time to time may be leaving finds for future me to dig up. Planting dinosaur bones.

So I'm casting a Phoenix Down on this blog, and I don't care if anyone reads it, this time I'm doing it 100% for my own sake! A public diary. The life of a Me. The Lifestream Chronicles.