10 Reasons You Shouldn’t Watch the George Zimmerman Boxing Match

6 Feb

Olivia A. Cole

george zimmerman boxing match

I write this on February 5th, Trayvon Martin’s birthday, and despite all the things I would like to say to that young man, I’m going to say this one thing to you: don’t you dare watch the George Zimmerman “celebrity” boxing match.

The word “celebrity” comes from the word “celebrate.” When we celebrate people’s accomplishments we call them celebrities. Ask yourself right now: Do I celebrate what George Zimmerman has done? If the answer is no—and it damn well better be—then you should already know that watching this match violates the memory of a 17-year old boy whose life was taken violently and unjustly. But in case you need a few reasons why, I’ll provide you with some here.

  1. Watching this spectacle financially supports a man who gained notoriety by murdering a black boy. Let me phrase that another way: the man who got away with murdering a…

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Aside

I’ve read a few posts from people acting

30 May
I’ve read a few posts from people acting like someone pissed in their Cheerios because other people worship/venerate/work with/whatthefuckever pop culture entities in their practice. You have to believe they way they believe, worship the way they worship, or it’s wrong. In fact, everyone should believe the way they believe and worship the way they worship because we owe it to the gods.
 
Example of this last bit:
 
The gods deserve us – all of us, every single human on this earth – to be in awe of Them, to have such deep gratitude for Their presence that we regularly make sacrifices to feed Them, hold large festivals to celebrate Them, make incredible art to glorify Them, and do everything we can to maintain a right relationship with Them both because They are wonderful and because we need Them. (Source)
Am I the only one creeped out by this attitude? It reeks of the same obligatory bullshit that I hear when my mother drags me to church with her on Sunday mornings. You must believe in the gods in the way I believe in Them and practice how I think you should practice or you’re contributing to the downfall of modern paganism and are disrespecting the gods.
 
I can’t prove that deities exist. I actually believe in the existence of all possible deities, even smartass deity constructs like the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Invisible Pink Unicorn. I only worship one, and that’s Eris. But I can’t even prove She exists. It’s possible She’s a benign auditory hallucination. I don’t believe She is, but all I have is my belief and a voice in my head that isn’t mine. I made an offering and asked Her to help me through a particularly difficult therapy session (therapy is a battle, too–the fact that my opponent is my own fucked-up traumatized mind is irrelevant) and She did indeed help, but I can’t prove that wasn’t a placebo effect. I have a deep, fervent belief in Eris, and that faith isn’t threatened by someone who thinks She’s a personification of natural forces and deals with Her as such, nor is it threatened by someone who works with the Joker. If either of these things pisses Her off, She can deal with it as She sees fit to do so. I’m pretty sure She’d laugh at me if I actually tried to go to bat for Her like She can’t take care of Herself, like anything or anyone but my own ego is harmed by these practices.
 
I can’t speak for everyone’s relationship with their deity/deities, but neither Eris nor I need this relationship. She can get on just fine without me, and while my life would be harder and less interesting without Her, I lived a couple of years completely apathetic about the existence of deities and it was pretty manageable. In some ways, it’s simpler to live without deities. It’s not easier, but it’s far less complicated IMHO. But I continue because I have faith in Her and I want Her in my life. She sticks around because … well, I’m not quite sure why, but She does and that’s pretty awesome.
 
As long as one isn’t hurting someone else, I couldn’t care less if you worship Superman. Even if Superman isn’t real in the sense of some objective reality, even if it’s all in your head, where else does one experience things but their mind? If it affects your life, it’s real enough. I have read enough philosophy dealing with reality and skepticism about reality that I am unconcerned with whether or not my experiences meet some objective standard of capital “T” Truth, if that standard even exists. If Superman speaks to someone in a deity-like fashion, I can’t prove that is somehow lesser than my communications with Eris, nor do I need to if I’m actually even a little bit secure in my faith. I have never read anything that gives me any indication that any society has been in 100% agreement about the nature of reality, the divine, or much of anything. And yes, that includes ancient polytheists. Shockingly, your pet theory is no more or less correct than anyone else’s because we just don’t know. The age of your gods doesn’t prove their existence over someone else’s, your text don’t prove themselves. It’s all based on faith, so unless your practice is harmful to someone else, it’s all pretty equally valid. 

Divine Intervention and Communication

22 Feb

An atheist friend once asserted that, even if deities exist, They don’t deserve worshiping because They could stop human suffering and don’t. This idea actually makes me a bit uncomfortable because, among other reasons, I reject the idea that deities should interfere, even positively, in the lives of people who haven’t signed up for it. That has a lot to do with my experiences with divine communication.

My godphone has a pretty good signal. I hear deities as clear as day as if we were talking on a cell phone in a quiet place with excellent reception. Communications with Eris are mostly pleasant, and even when they’re not Her messages are a positive influence on my life. But even though it’s often pleasant, having a distinct voice that is not my own in my head is rather odd. And Eris isn’t the only deity that has dialed my godphone.

I didn’t hear one word from the Christian God when I was a Christian, but I have heard plenty as a pagan forced to sit in the second pew on Sundays when visiting my mother. God makes no bones about how He doesn’t want me there & knows I don’t want to be there and it would best for all involved if I would GTFO. This is not ever pleasant; I suffer headaches, nausea, once I have even had a seizure. I have to mark the soles of my feet with protective symbols just to be left alone.

And communication isn’t the only way Eris has played a part in my life. She isn’t shy about playing some disorder games to see how I handle it. I handle it well and am stronger for it, but it isn’t pleasant. It isn’t anything particularly horrid, but it is rather stressful.

The point is, what deities want to do for a human, regardless of whether the deity cares about you or is pissed that you’re around, can be really hard to deal with. Eris and I have a relationship, and Her interference in my life is a part of that relationship. The whole world didn’t sign up for that, though. The whole world didn’t agree to let Her in their various minds and let Her play in their lives. And I wouldn’t think it was okay for Her to do whatever with some unsuspecting atheist or Christian or anyone else just because Her actions ended up benefiting that person. It’s just not ethical behavior.

I’ll never understand people who feel the need to speak out against trigger warnings.

30 Jan

They don’t hurt you in any way. If you don’t need them or like them, it’s just one little line, two max, that you have to skip over. Oh, to live in the nightmare land where some compassionate acts aren’t necessarily directed at you!

Let’s go over the latest anti-trigger warning nonsense, yeah?

Twitter is no longer a “safe space”. It has become a vehicle for outrage, to the point where many no longer choose to express themselves at all, or do so skittishly through a network of private messages.

This is the first line of the article, & I find it rather interesting. I’m sorry that I’m not at all sorry that Suzanne Moore thinks twice before being a huge bigot on Twitter.

However, in recent years the phrase seems to have become shorthand for “anything you may not like” […]

If “anything you may not like” includes common phobias, rape, violence, misgendering, eating disorders and other common triggers then yes.

I have never seen anyone who wasn’t mocking the idea of trigger warnings use them improperly. Provide me with proof of a pattern & I’ll direct energy towards getting people to use them better. But even if they’re being misused, that means folks need some “How to Use Trigger Warnings” education, not that trigger warnings are useless. Lots of useful things can be overused or misused. But before I pour energy into that I’m going to need to see proof of a trend of misuse.

[…] and to many has taken on the unpleasant connotation of providing a means for the oversensitive internet language police to vet content – some would argue.

First of all, if you’re a feminist who believes in the “oversensitive internet language police”, you need to start all the way over learning feminism. Claiming someone is oversensitive is a derailing tactic. Furthermore, who is “some”? Is “some” actually “you” and you’re too much of a coward to just say so, or are you bringing up some unnamed other person’s irrelevant opinion in a piece about why you don’t agree with trigger warnings?

As Moore was.

This is a piece about your terrible opinion, not Moore’s.

I have PTSD, but I did not find her or Bindel’s jokes particularly upsetting.

Look, I can’t tell you the content of this joke because I wouldn’t follow Bindel’s transphobic ass to the last source of drinkable water on the planet Earth, much less subject myself to her tweets & I blocked Moore, but just because you don’t find something upsetting does not mean that everyone everywhere has to feel the same way. “But I wasn’t offended!” is a bad argument. You weren’t offended, good for you. This is not a defense for the joke, though, because it was obviously harmful to someone for it to become an issue.

I would rather inhabit a Twitter where people feel able to have a laugh, thereby taking the risk that it may upset me, than a strangely sanitised social network where people check their “privilege” at the door like a fur coat (no knickers), with no dance floor, no booze and no fun awaiting them- just a vast, pompous expanse of skittish hacks dealing in whispered platitudes.

If you can’t make a joke without shitting on an oppressed group of people, you’re not funny. I want to live in a world where oppressive “humor” is socially punished, and I’m gonna start making that world a reality by doing so myself. Humor at its best comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. Good humor should at least not afflict the afflicted. When it does, it is not unreasonable nor pompous to say, “No, this is not acceptable. GTFO with your terrible oppressive jokes.”

And again, if you put privilege in scare quotes, you need a serious re-working of your feminism. Like, you may need to go pre-101 here.

I’m going to skip over the rest of that paragraph because I’d rather respect her experiences as a person with PTSD than potentially say something shitty about her healing process.

Before I continue; a disclaimer. In explaining my choices, I am not condemning those of others.

Then what exactly is the point of the article?

’ll admit something else that will perhaps be unpopular: those message-boards, those websites, smacked to me of victimhood.

Look, I get this probably came from a very personal place, but this is actually really awful and I don’t see the value in sharing it right after the author claimed she wasn’t saying anything of this to condemn others. This is a condemnation; it is a judgement. It is a really harsh thing to say, & I’m not trying to be mean here, but I just really wish the author had not shared this opinion from that time in her life. It’s superfluous and harmful to other people who need those spaces to heal.

All of us, at one point or another, make a choice regarding what we will and will not expose ourselves to. […] It’s the same reason for which television news broadcasts are often preceded with the words “this contains scenes some viewers may find upsetting” – so that you can make the choice to switch off.

I don’t understand how you can get this and not get trigger warnings. That’s their whole point. “Hey, this article/blog post/video/etc. is about rape/police brutality/hate crimes against people with disabilities/etc., you can now make an informed decision on whether or not you can handle seeing this.”

With triggers, one does not make the choice to have a flashback, or a panic attack, or to collapse in tears at work and have your day ruined by a random reference in an internet post.

This is true, I don’t understand why you don’t get trigger warnings if you get this. See previous paragraph.

Equally, as Suzanne Moore pointed out, a soldier can have a flashback because of a curtain moving in the breeze.

This is really starting to feel like another journalist defending Suzanne Moore to protect the idea that they are “the press” and we are the audience who should shut the fuck up. Yes, unfortunately not every trigger can be warned for. That makes it even more important to warn for the ones we can so that people can save their energy for the potential unavoidable circumstances if they need to.

The world is full of triggers.

This is true. See previous paragraph.

You could, I suppose, try to liken a trigger warning to informing epileptics that there is some strobe lighting coming up.

Yes! This is a good example of a warning. I’m really not understanding how you don’t get the need for trigger warnings.

Except it’s not that simple.

Oh, gods.

I remember my grandfather telling me how one man’s seizure had been set off by the light flickering between the trees as he drove.

So your argument is basically, “We can’t warn for every single thing, so we should warn for none”? That’s rather silly. Very few, if any, useful things have an all-encompassing utility. You warn for the strobe light so people with epilepsy don’t have the avoidable seizure. This shouldn’t be a hard concept to grasp.

Similarly, that specific depiction of violence on the internet might be your light between the trees, but it isn’t mine.

No, this is more similar to the strobe light. The person depicting the violence on the Internet could have warned about the kind of violence they were depicting, but didn’t so someone was triggered in the same way the douche bag with the strobe light didn’t warn the epileptic friend who then had an avoidable seizure because of it.

I don’t think, like some, that trigger warnings hinder freedom of speech.

I’m glad because this is a rather ridiculous argument. “Please warn me when you’re going to be explicitly talking about X,” =/= “Never talk about X.”

But they do display an increasingly nannying approach to language that is being used to shut down discourse and to silence.

No, no it doesn’t. All it says is, “Hey, this article has these things in it. Read at your own risk.” I’m sorry you find compassion to be a “nannying approach”. And I thought you weren’t going to condemn others?

Often, it is coupled with a sense of passive aggressive glee (“um. You should have put a trigger warning on that”).

That’s not passive-aggressive glee. It’s, “Hey, this is pretty triggering. Can you put a warning on it, please?”

I do not doubt that they are of enormous service to survivors with specific triggers likely to reoccur on feminist websites, but it has got to a point now where I feel women I have never met are trying to wrap me in cotton wool, and I detest that.

“I’m sure these trigger warning are useful to some survivors, but I don’t like trigger warnings, so fuck those survivors.”

No one is trying to “wrap [you] in cotton wool”. They are trying to give people a head’s up so they can decline to read or brace themselves for the material. Feel free to skip over the warning if you feel coddled by them, but don’t argue for taking away something you openly admit is useful for other survivors and victims.

But there are some survivors who are trying to open their boxes, and a trigger warning can serve as an admonition to stay in our shells. I wanted out of mine.

 I’m going to try to be gentle here because I know this comes from the author’s experience as a survivor. A trigger warning is not an admonition to keep the boxes closed. I’m sorry you view them that way. Trigger warnings aren’t there to say, “Don’t read.” Trigger warnings aren’t even always used that way by survivors and victims who find them useful. Sometimes it’s just useful to have a head’s up so you can brace yourself. Some of us don’t want to jump headlong into the pile of boxes; we’re ready to take a peek into the boxes, but we need a moment to take a breath and steady ourselves. Without a trigger warning, though, there is no taking a breath and mentally preparing oneself to open the boxes–someone throws boxes in our faces then gets mad when we say, “Um, you could’ve warned me first.”
It’s like someone in the first comment said: You could try seeing those warnings as for other people, rather than at all directed at you. Just because a thing isn’t useful for you doesn’t make it not useful. Trigger warnings are incredibly important for some survivors and victims (and no, there’s nothing wrong with not being at the point where one can call oneself a survivor–people who still consider themselves victims should have their narratives respected), and it’s so, so harmful to try to take that away because you personally see it as coddling.

Had an epiphany recently

31 Dec

Until very recently, I considered myself a Discordian; then, while I was still on Tumblr, I was doing a belief system 30 day challenge & realized I didn’t really know why I was a Discordian. I knew what I liked about Discordianism, but there’s plenty I like about various religions I’m not part of. I did a Tarot reading recently & one of the things it told me was that I was the only thing holding me back from finding a spiritual path.

I realized that, no matter where I end up, Eris will be there with me. She’s literally in my head. She’s my Goddess & any path I take is gonna need to be one She can be a part of.

That’s all I’ve gotten so far, but I’d like to think that’s a pretty good step in the right direction.

29 Dec

That post on alcohol and consent I promised on Twitter is coming, but it’s gotten more involved than originally planned. To really do it properly, I need statistics & such. That sort of research is a pain, so I need to wait until I’m on my computer.

I think introductions are in order…

23 Dec

My name’s René. I’m a 23-year-old undergrad student at Ole Miss. I’m a non-binary trans person, ze/hir pronouns (this isn’t negotiable–I will not acknowledge any comments that refer to me with a different set of third-person pronouns).

I enjoy watching TV shows and movies, reading books, playing video games, and critiquing various elements of each of these. I like to talk about politics. I’m on a journey to find the right religious/spiritual path for me & I’ll probably share some of my experiences along the way.

I haven’t completely formulated a solid comments policy, but trolling, unapologetic bigotry, or any combination of the two, will not be tolerated. No, this does not violate your freedom of speech; I’m not the government & therefore have nothing to do with your freedom of speech. The 1st Amendment does not require every person ever to allow you a platform to say whatever you want.

Having said that, feel free to use the comments section for any questions, concerns, refutations, etc. I hope we can learn a lot from each other & have some fun too.