Age of Regression

I learn about people from several generations before mine and often, I’m impressed by their ability to articulate their ideas. This ranges from ideas or concepts I agree with all the way to religion. I attribute it to there being different distractions available at the time, but I don’t even think that accurately captures why these historical figures seemed to have a better grasp on communicating complex ideas. I think in many of the meaningful ways, we as a civilization are getting dumber. Given the title, you can easily determine that I’m less impressed by modern day thought, or at least the way that it impacts real life as I see it. Allow me to take off the gloves for a moment as I navigate through what will undoubtedly seem like a rant but may simply be my critique of how people are dealing with having too much time on their hands in the modern era.

The basis

A couple hundred years ago, Thomas Paine wrote ‘The Age of Reason’ which masterfully broke down religion. The first 5 pages of that publication were so eloquently stated, that for me, the remainder of it was simply hammering the point home. I understand the need to hammer points, especially in the era in which he lived, and the subject he discussed. For those unfamiliar, the simplest way I can describe this book is, it’s a sound argument for the absurdity of religion. Given his work was published when the working poor had very little else to do besides work and pray, it’s easy to see why it would take 3 volumes over a few years to fully articulate the absurdity of religion to the masses. Considering there was no internet, next day delivery from out of state or abundance of free time, I’d assume it was a gamble to address this topic at that time. Luckily, I was born hundreds of years later so I don’t know for sure. 

As I write this in 2022, the masses are inundated with information, most of It being emotional appeals and poorly formed opinions for every topic under the sun. Every person with a laptop and access to the internet can become influential regardless of the message or complexity of the argument. Present company included of course. We all have free will to believe what we want to believe, which is why the human collective is failing miserably. Instead of uniting for a common purpose to tackle any one of the natural ills that plague our societies, we are trying to determine what a man or woman is, or which political party is better, or if butt implants have gone too far. Pardon me for being dismissive, but all these things seem to be a waste of time to toil over. However, I’m about to waste a wee bit of time on them for that very reason. I will undoubtedly piss someone off, not because I aim to, simply due to differing opinions on things close to heart. Let us begin for real now.

Existence is an imperfection

Jean Paul Sartre

I feel like, therefore I am

Our desire to be inclusive of feelings is now corrupting our sensibilities. 20 years ago, the question “what is a woman” would only be acceptable from an alien species. Gender identity is a choice, however, gender itself is not. The terms man and woman are biological terms to reference genetic inheritance in humans. These same biological determinations are the reason we are successful with agriculture. As genetic inheritance goes, people are born as male or female, and the DNA which makes them one or the other remains that way until that person no longer exists. Feelings are complex, but not magical, and not capable of changing DNA. I can’t relate to people that feel so deeply something they’ve never experienced, that they can identify as that something. Rachel Dolezal caught a lot of flack for identifying as Black, and has continued catching it for years, even when being told she’s not. She lost her job and everything. However, race is a social construct to classify humans with varying geographic backgrounds and melanin content. That to say, the idea of trans-racial experiences are easier to digest than trans-gender. I can’t argue against feelings solely because I can’t relate to them, but feelings are subjective, emotional responses to external input, not necessarily logical or objective in any way.

If at the greater point of the human existence argument, we simply respected everyone’s right to exist freely as themselves, we could move on to more pressing matters than gender. As long as one’s freedom of expression does not interfere with or bring harm to another, let’s move past this unwinnable argument. That said, the terms “trans man or trans woman” don’t reference altered biology, instead they reference emotional expression, which is simply not quantifiable. In this case, biology versus feeling are like art supplies and art. Two people can spend $500 on paint, canvas, brushes etc. and make a painting. That is the objective biology. The value of that art objectively will never exceed $500 or the $500 equivalent due to inflation; however, if one painter was Pablo Picasso and the other was a patron at a high brow paint and wine sipping class, one may feel the Picasso is worth millions and the other would be worth less than the $500 spent. Moving on.

How about neither?

If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it

Mark Twain

Maybe I’m a bit over the top here, but asking which political party is better right now is like asking how do you like your rape? The role of the politician in the United States is to be a representative of the people. To represent someone, interaction with those people regarding various topics and issues is necessary. Without the interaction, our representatives are simply doing what they please because we liked what they said while campaigning for the job. Politicians from both parties are making decisions to remain in power or gain in power. Understanding that the United States on the Federal and State level is a Democratic Republic, with varying levels of government below it, is important to know here. That said, neither party is objectively better than the other, they’re both raping. Depending on your political affiliation, one is date rape and the other is rape by an unknown assailant. 

It is interesting that people identify as one or the other. I usually fail to see how either side can capture the true sentiment of all their constituents. It’s rather sad to me that our system has reduced us to two, typically bad choices with no hope for a contending 3rd party. I briefly touched on this, but the polarization of the country politically is very similar to how things were during the Great Depression. Financially, money was being hoarded, Wall Street did what they pleased and the economy suffered because the two sides claimed superiority of ideas while both presenting more of the same. The New Deal brought us out of that along with a touch of good sense. One would assume that seeing these trends repeat we’d have a greater ability to learn from the past, but considering our biased and very flowery taste for history, much of that is lost to romanticization and willful ignorance.

This paragraph is only needed because there will be some caught up on the term “rape” being used so casually. It’s simply an example, not a dismissive take on rape or justification of one type of rape being better than the other. Quite the opposite, I’m saying all rape is bad, whether you know the person and would otherwise consent or if you’ve never seen the person before and would never consent. The only difference between the two is that with date rape, assuming you picked to go on a date with them, you technically pick the rapist (not the act of being raped), and with the unknown assailant you did not. 

I’m going there too

Yes, butt implants have gone too far in my opinion, but not based on the quality of the implants. I get that it’s freedom of expression, but for centuries and even now, the “big butt” was associated with women of African descent. Not only associated, but negatively associated. This brought notoriety to Sarah Baartman as a side show of sorts. Black women have been mocked and demeaned by White men and women the world over for it. Having a big butt was called “ghetto booty” and other things with purely negative connotations applied less than a decade ago. Thomas Jefferson wasn’t going in to rape his slaves because he was disgusted nor were the less notable slave owners put off by this abundance of yams. Quite the opposite, they secretly found it appealing, but racism said liking African characteristics was bad. So instead of accepting that all women are valuable, and women’s bodies are as diverse as snowflakes, that particular feature became fetishized and sought after in private but mocked publicly. With the fetish comes imitation and now we have this dynamic where a big butt is unfairly expected from any and every woman. So, those that can not naturally achieve a big butt, there are doctors installing artificial yams that look pretty ridiculous most of the time.

I like big butts and I cannot lie

Sir Mix A Lot

Well since I talked about the butt, I have to address the elephant in the room. I am in my early 40’s and I recall cartoons where they depicted Black people as White people after having their faces blown off and coated with gun powder. I remember seeing reruns of Tom and Jerry or Bugs Bunny with the racist depictions and racist stereotypes of watermelon eating, big lips, lazy, you know the nonsense I’m talking about. Imagine my shock when seemingly out of nowhere I started seeing White women with lip injections to go along with deeper and deeper spray tans. Not that these women had any part in the ridicule endured by Black women, I don’t attribute every racist event to every White person, that would be ridiculous.  It is often said that imitation is the highest form of flattery, but when those being imitated are still denigrated by the ones doing the imitating, that is exploitation.

Alright, this week’s rant is over and hopefully it wasn’t too uncomfortable. I considered talking about eyelashes too, but outside of mostly looking ridiculous when done poorly, there is no deeper content to be found there. The aim of this series of ideas is to provide my brutally honest take on some of the current hot button topics. I understand that having a sincere opinion that doesn’t quite fit the trend is risky, but so is eating sushi. You have to step outside to go anywhere.

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