Showing posts with label antidotes to hate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label antidotes to hate. Show all posts

Monday, February 17, 2014

Why Misogyny is Unmanly

Antidote to the horrific crap I've been writing about for over a year:  Why Misogyny is Unmanly.

Note to Self:  Find more.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Spete Tells It Like It Is

Over on, a guy who goes by "spete" (that is, I assume it's a guy) posted the following comment, immediately garnering many "likes" and positive comments from a handful of female readers:

Men's Rights Activism is one of those things that sounds reasonable in theory and is a complete fucking disaster in practice, kind of like Communism. In theory sure, someone should probably keep an eye out for every group, including this one particular group that has been in charge of pretty much everything for the entirety of human civilization. Just because their group has had the vast majority of political and social power throughout history doesn't mean that individual men might not be getting screwed over from time to time, it sounds perfectly reasonable to have someone looking out for their interests too.

Unfortunately in practice it's just a collection of the craziest, bitterest, stupidest, most batshit groin-grabbingly bonkers hateful misogynist assholes that can be found on the internet who spend 100% of their time alternating between poor pitiful me sobbing and screaming about what horrible bitches all women everywhere are. These guys are a hemorrhoid on the puckered anus of the internet. Even furries are a less embarrassing community than those mutants.

Another male commenter, GiovanniBattistaFidanza, professes bewilderment at the MRA phenom:

What are these guys whining about? Like 99% of all my interactions with women have been fine. They're pretty accommodating, they seem mostly friendly, even when I'm off my face. The only time I've had any stink-eye thrown my way was when I was being horrible a.k.a. hilarious. Women pose absolutely zero threat to me, and it's not the worst thing in the world having a few around every so often.

Reading these comments gives me hope...

Iggy Pop: A Man I Love

Yeah, something tells me Iggy has never felt insecure about his masculinity, either.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Man I Love: Steve Shives

Courtesy of "carnation," a commenter on Manboobz, two videos by Steve Shives:

While the MRM has predicted it's quickly reaching a tipping point, poised to go "mainstream" and become a real force for social change, this is what is happening instead:  vigorous pushback from... well, men:  serious men (that is, men to take seriously).

I know I've said I don't care for baseball caps on grown men, but for Mr. Shives, I'll make an exception.  In fact, I'd love to buy this guy a drink right now!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Erasing Hate

A few months ago, I decided to have my tattoo removed.  It is on my forearm, so it's quite visible during the warmer months, and I was tired of dealing with other people's reactions to it.  When I had it done, almost thirty years ago, it seemed a beautiful and daring form of self-expression, and I enjoyed the attention it got.  Now I am older, in many ways a different persona person who no longer wants to wear her heart, literally, on her sleeve.

I underwent three laser sessions at a total cost of nearly $1000.  Laser treatment is so excruciating that I cracked a molar gritting my teeth.  The only mercy is that it doesn't take long.  Unfortunately, although the outline faded a bit, the image didn't budge.  The doctor told me I was wasting my money to continueBecause the ink had probably been adulterated with silicone, it was impervious to the laser.  I was disappointed, but not surprised.  In truth, I was relieved that I didn't have to undergo the pain or expense anymore. So me and my tattoowe're pretty much stuck with each other, at least until the technology advances.

That's partly why "Erasing Hate," which depicts a former skinhead's odyssey back into Society, moved me on a visceral level.  When Bryan Widner is offered a chance to have his racist facial, neck and hand tattoos removed courtesy of the SPLC, he undergoes eighteen months of literal torture.  (Although he is under general anesthesia for each session, it is still an extremely painful process.) 

The transformation is jaw-dropping, as Widner goes from menacing freak to an ordinarily handsome man. 

The long, slow process: Byron Widner was determined to erase the traces of his skinhead past by removing all of the facial tattoos that he had accumulated

What the documentary fails to explain is exactly why Widner, once known as "The Pitbull" of the Vinlanders Social Club, decided to let go of his racist identity.  He credits his new responsibilities and joys as a husband and father.  His wife, a former white nationalist herself, suggests the couple became disillusioned by the violent misogyny of the white supremacist subculture.  The family is shown attending a Baptist church, but there doesn't seem to have been any one great spiritual epiphany.

I am left with the impression that the Widners just got tired of pretending that they believed in something they no longer believed in.  Like many of us, they got smarter as they got older, and were hungry to live with greater integrity, and in greater harmony with the rest of their species.

Hate takes a lot out of a person without much return.

It's understandable that estranged adolescents will be attracted to hate groups, cults, and radical political activism, which seem to offer all the answers and solutions to Why Life Sucks.  What I would like to know more about is how former members like the Widners manage to walk away.  That question is not really explored in any satisfying depth in "Erasing Hate," but the story of one family's "redemption" makes this the ultimate "feel good" movie.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Better Man

When I arrived home this evening after a long, hard day of being the cancer of American academia, I was gobsmacked to discover my next door neighbor was mowing my front lawn.

I'll call my neighbor "Dick" because that's how I have customarily referred to him.  As in, "that Dick next door has erected a carport right on the property line" or "the Dick and his girlfriend kept me awake last night brawling" or (the worst), "the Dick's friend, who has been living in the trailer parked in his front yard for three months, has finally managed to kill the hedge with pee."

One afternoon Dick came barreling over to rage that my dogs were barking.  Guilty as charged.  But it was 2:00 on a weekday, and his dogs were barking too (well, howling, really, because they're huskies), so, so what?  He was obviously inebriated, and just spoiling for a fight.  In fact, he seemed mad enough to punch whatever was in his way which was, at the moment, me.  I apologized profusely, promised to rectify the situation, and ever after had a paranoid fear of arousing his ire.  But I kept my temper and bit my tongue.  I even handed him some peonies from my garden on Mother's Day, perhaps hoping that I could kill him with kindness.

I was not alone in my distaste for Dick.  My other neighbors mentioned he was a bit of a scammer.  Apparently he had sold one a lemon car.  Then he bragged about getting on disability due to a shoulder issue, which miraculously healed itself when he started taking special vitamins, which he then started to peddle around the neighborhood.

Dick, a self-professed "car addict," also had a habit of parking his dozen dilapidated vehicles all over the cul-de-sac, effectively leaving visitors to the neighborhood no place to park.

In other words, Dick became The Neighbor Everyone Loves to Hate.

Several months ago I complained to my fundy neighbors about him.  "Don't worry," they assured me.  "He's changed: he's found Jesus."

I wasn't impressed.  Jailhouse conversions are a dime a dozen.

However, about a week later, Dick staggered over.  At first, I was reluctant to open the door without anyone else in the house, but Dick was bearing a gift: an acrylic sink that he had gotten from the Home Depot remainder bin.  "I thought maybe you could use this," he offered.  I have no idea why Dick thought I needed a sink (if anyone wants one, it's still in its box in the hall) but I appreciated the weird gestureIt suggested he was declaring some kind of truce, at least.

Then tonight, I found him mowing my lawn.  Not knowing what to make of this mysterious development in our relationship,  I took my time pulling into the driveway and unloading my car.  In fact, I had to look at him a while to make sure it really was Dick, and not some random stranger performing a random act of kindness.

"Well, thanks!" I approached warily. "What's going on?"

"I've decided to Do or Say One Nice Thing every day," Dick explained.

"What made you decide to do that?" I asked.

"I'm trying to be a better man," Dick confided(Wasn't that the name of a country western song?) 

Later I told my partner about this miracle.

"Great!" she said.  "Maybe he'll mow the back lawn tomorrow."

I'm not sure why I think this story is relevant to the theme of this blog, except that I do believe that even the most hateful, angry people can change for the better.  Sometimes it takes a visit from the Ghosts of Past, Present, & Future.  Sometimes is takes being Born Again.   And sometimes people just figure it out for themselves.  It's all good.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Russell Brand: A Man I Love

I've always had a mad crush on Russell Brand.  I've sat through every one of his movies, even though most of them were crap, just to watch him.  His gypsy-boy physicality is dead sexy: the unruly hair, licorice-whip legs, yoga-toned torso, the manic energy his wiry frame can barely contain, those black eyes glinting with mischief...

But as we all know, physical attraction isn't enough to sustain a long term relationship, even one as unilateral and unrequited as the one I have with Russell Brand.  No, it's his brain that really turns me on: the cliche "rapier wit" was invented to describe Russell Brand.. 

When did I first know that it was love, not just lust?  Perhaps it was when he hosted the Westboro Baptist Church on his talk show.  It's hilarious.  He is irrepressible, and yet so sweet in his mockery.  He shreds them, but in the kindest way.  One imagines that it would be impossible to have a real quarrel with Brand: in minutes, he would have you on the floor laughing at yourself in spite of yourself.  He would kill you with kindness.

Then yesterday I read his remarkable essay on the demise of Margaret Thatcher.  It was one of the best things I have read for a long while.  Although I am neither British nor of Brand's generation, he made me understand what it was like growing up under her administration.  (Actually, liberal Americans who have been living with the post-Reagan legacy will relate equally well to what Brand writes about Thatcher).

The entire essay is a masterpiece -- anyone with the slightest interest should read it in entirety -- but this bit really stayed with me:

It always struck me as peculiar, too, when the Spice Girls briefly championed Thatcher as an early example of Girl Power. I don't see that. She is an anomaly, a product of the freak-conomy of her time. Barack Obama interestingly said in his statement that she had "broken the glass ceiling for other women." Only in the sense that all the women beneath her were blinded by falling shards. She is an icon of individualism, not of feminism.

And this!  This is when I knew beyond any doubt that the love I felt for Russell Brand was no passing fancy, but The Real Thing:

Interestingly, one mate of mine, a proper leftie, in his heyday all Red Wedge and right-on punch-ups, was melancholy [upon hearing of Thatcher's death]. "I thought I'd be overjoyed, but really it's just... another one bites the dust..." This demonstrates I suppose that if you opposed Thatcher's ideas it is likely because of their lack of compassion, which is really just a word for love. If love is something you cherish it is hard to glean much joy from death, even in one's enemies.