The real problem here is that we’re all dying. All of us. Every day the cells weaken and the fibres stretch and the heart gets closer to its last beat. The real cost of living is dying, and we’re spending days like millionaires: a week here, a month there, casually spunked until all you have left are the two pennies on your eyes.
Personally, I like the fact we’re going to die. There’s nothing more exhilarating than waking up every morning and going ‘WOW! THIS IS IT! THIS IS REALLY IT!’ It focuses the mind wonderfully. It makes you love vividly, work intensely, and realise that, in the scheme of things, you really don’t have time to sit on the sofa in your pants watching Homes Under the Hammer.
Death is not a release, but an incentive. The more focused you are on your death, the more righteously you live your life. My traditional closing-time rant – after the one where I cry that they closed that amazing chippy on Tollington Road; the one that did the pickled eggs – is that humans still believe in an afterlife. I genuinely think it’s the biggest philosophical problem the earth faces. Even avowedly non-religious people think they’ll be meeting up with nana and their dead dog, Crackers, when they finally keel over. Everyone thinks they’re getting a harp.
But believing in an afterlife totally negates your current existence. It’s like an insidious and destabilising mental illness. Underneath every day – every action, every word – you think it doesn’t really matter if you screw up this time around because you can just sort it all out in paradise. You make it up with your parents, and become a better person and lose that final stone in heaven. And learn how to speak French. You’ll have time, after all! It’s eternity! And you’ll have wings, and it’ll be sunny! So, really, who cares what you do now? This is really just some lacklustre waiting room you’re only going to be in for 20 minutes, during which you will have no wings at all, and are forced to walk around, on your feet, like pigs do.
If we wonder why people are so apathetic and casual about every eminently avoidable horror in the world – famine, war, disease, the seas gradually turning piss-yellow and filling with ringpulls and shattered fax machines – it’s right there. Heaven. The biggest waste of our time we ever invented, outside of jigsaws.
Only when the majority of the people on this planet believe – absolutely – that they are dying, minute by minute, will we actually start behaving like fully sentient, rational and compassionate beings. For whilst the appeal of ‘being good’ is strong, the terror of hurtling, unstoppably, into unending nullity is a lot more effective. I’m really holding out for us all to get The Fear. The Fear is my Second Coming. When everyone in the world admits they’re going to die, we’ll really start getting some stuff done.
Or a playstation or a flat screen TV or a newer car, etc and etc. I know people that work under the table for half their pay and get paid on the books for the rest and collect welfare. I know of drug dealers that collect for tax purposes even though they pull in thousands of untaxed money each month dealing. Tell me how I am not supposed to be upset with these people like I am with greedy corporate cronies? I’m not heartless. These people are selfish and unethical.
Except not everyone who has nice things is automatically cheating the system. People are given things as gifts. People buy things and THEN qualify for assistance. People save up for nice things.
You can’t assume what someone’s situation is just by what they own.
We were eating only donated Panera bread, rice, and turnips. My father was sneaking to the various blood banks in town to sell his plasma at twice the rate they allow. My mother was dying due to not having her medicine, which cost well over $1,200 a month after insurance.
My autistic baby brother wanted to do something nice for me.
He worked for months making custom art pieces to sell. He worked up courage despite crippling social anxiety and speech problems to ask the neighbors if he could do chores for them to earn more money - raking the yard, helping clean their house, walking their dogs.
For nine months he carefully hoarded his money in a jar in his bedroom. He counted it every single night and compared it to the cost of what he wanted to get for me for Christmas.
Finally he had enough. He bought me a DS Lite and a pokemon game.
He was so happy.
Until one of our neighbors, a highly conservative jackass, saw me with it outside a couple weeks later. My brother was with me.
The neighbor stormed up and became screaming at us, a pair of teenagers, over how we could be so selfish to spend money on “electronic shit” when we were a family on food stamps. Spittle flying from his lips, cuss words every other second, rage radiating off of him so violently that our father came running out of the house - at a limp, since his spine is broken, which causes him horrific daily pain beyond what I can imagine - to protect us.
My brother was never the same again. There is no happy ending here. That episode in his life changed him permanently and for the past seven years he has almost never left his room and never gone to a friend’s house. He is terrified of the neighbors and believes he is a bad person.
Because of fucking people like you OP.
Because of fuckers who believe that they know what life is like for everyone and have a right to judge.
So fuck you OP. If you know drug dealers, report them, go on and put your ass on the line then. But for fuck’s sake don’t you dare thing you understand what goes on in the life of the people who live in never-ending, grinding poverty. Because you have *no fucking clue* what goes on in the detailed lives of others.
You want to talk selfish? Look in the fucking mirror.
This is an important post.
that time Bill O Reily was shocked and appalled that poor people could afford *gasp* A TV AND A FRIDGE IN THEIR APT?
and went on a rant saying these ppl shouldn’t be on welfare because they have a plasma tv and fridge because obviously poor people need to not have tvs and fridge because poor ppl should be storing their food underground in holes and draw on walls with stones and sticks for entertainment.
When I was a child on welfare, eating rotten lunch meat, walking in shoes with cardboard in the bottoms to cover the holes, I had an extensive collection of My Little Ponies. Not “one or two horses”; over three hundred, all told, and almost all the major playsets. Maybe, oh, 10% of the total came from my mother, over the course of the eight years I spent collecting and living with her. The rest were gifts from family members who didn’t know about our situation, but knew from Gramma’s chatty “everything is fine” letters that I loved My Little Pony. They were from the charity groups that let you sign up and specify what your children wanted for Christmas. They were from me saving every penny I found on the street. They were from favorite teachers who knew how poor we were, who wanted me to have birthday happiness. We’re talking thousands of dollars of plastic horses, almost none of which took a dime from Mom’s budget. And the ones that did? She was a mother trying not to break her daughter’s heart.
Every time someone yelled at us because poor people shouldn’t have nice things, we all died a little inside, and I clutched my horses even harder. I needed something bright and beautiful in the world, to make up for the roaches in the walls and the mold growing on the butter.
Unless you’re someone’s accountant, you don’t know where they’re putting their money, and it’s not your place to judge.
I am right at my fucking limit for judgemental shitstainery today. I just. I fucking CANNOT with these assholes.
Firstly, POVERTY IS NOT A FUCKING BINARY STATE. You aren’t either “poor” or “not-poor”, with absolutely zero middle ground between. Ceasing to be poor isn’t like a fucking Pokemon evolution - you don’t just shed that shit like a snakeskin and turn into a whole new being in seconds. Ceasing to be poor, especially in the face of severe social and economic pressure, is hard fucking yakka, and it happens slowly, in increments, over time, without sudden lottery-style explosions of new money but frequently featuring disappointing setbacks, and that means small things can improve before the big things do - like, for instance, being able to afford a shiny new phone to replace the dying one you’ve been stuck with for the past two years before you can afford to go off welfare. This sort of logic also ignores the idea that you can BECOME poor and still have around you the trappings of previous better-offness, like quality appliances. As convenient as it would be for the kind of troglodyte who likes to judge by appearances, becoming poor doesn’t mean you have to go hand in all your cool shit at the pawnshop, not least because a lot of that stuff - like functioning fridges and dryers, for instance - will SAVE YOU MONEY when you really need it later.
Secondly, anyone who thinks that poor people are fundamentally undeserving of luxury or treats or pleasure-buying or anything else that might alleviate the enormous fucking strain of being poor - because any departure from subsistence-level living means you’re an Eebil Welfare Slobqueen! - can go FALL IN A WELL AND DIE. I am fucking serious: if you, financially secure douchebag, have EVER gone and bought yourself a treat in order to make yourself feel better after a shitty day - if you’ve picked up some feelgood chocolate, or a new game, or a pricey bag, or a toy, or even something as simple as a taxi ride rather than a bus ticket because it was raining and you couldn’t face the queue - then you can SHUT THE FUCK UP FOREVER about the immortality if feelgood purchasing by people with less money than you. Because what you’re saying, when you sit down and police what people can and cannot buy, and the circumstances under which they buy it - what you’re saying is that poor people ARE NOT ENTITLED TO EMOTIONAL SECURITY; ARE NOT ENTITLED TO COMFORT; ARE NOT ENTITLED TO JOY, because they should be too busy scraping by with every fucking penny they have to notice that scraping by is utterly fucking soul-destroying.
Thirdly, a lot of the things you’re deeming “luxury” items? ARE FUCKING NECESSARY FOR GETTING ONESELF OUT OF POVERTY. Let’s see you try to jobhunt without a working phone or internet access. Let’s see you try to grocery shop on a budget for a family of four with no car and a freezer that’s just big enough for a couple of ice cube trays. Let’s see you keep yourself looking professionally presentable and your children schoolready when you’re handwashing all your clothes in the bath and hanging them out to dry on the radiator you can’t afford to turn on half the time, because your tiny income means choosing between warmth and medication.
What you’re doing, OP - you and other privileged assholes like you - is assuming that poverty is somehow EASY; that there’s no emotional, psychological toll to it that might ever need to be alleviated - not for adults, and especially not for children, because the children of poor people don’t deserve happy childhoods; presumably, they should just get jobs and work for their toys, as though this were Dickensian fucking England. You see objects, but not the sacrifice behind obtaining them; to you, objects have no context, no significance beyond their cost and status value, because THAT’S ALL THEY MEAN TO YOU. I used to work for a government department in Australia that provided free fridges and washing machines to people on welfare whose own had broken, and which they couldn’t afford to replace. I rang one woman to tell her that her fridge request had been approved, and she was literally fighting back tears of relief - not only had she been spending extra money she couldn’t afford buying groceries day to day, because all the food was spoiling without anywhere to keep it cool, but she’d been having to keep her young kids from realising just how bad things were, too - she’d told them they were having Ramadan early, fasting early, to explain why there was no food all of a sudden, and she didn’t know how much longer she could keep it up. I approved a washing machine for a single father who was struggling to keep his children out of foster homes after their mother, who had been their primary caregiver, was arrested; he needed one for the social workers to let him keep his kids, but was between jobs and didn’t have enough cash to replace the one that broke.
tl;dr: THERE IS NO ‘RIGHT’ WAY TO BE POOR, BECAUSE THERE IS NOTHING RIGHT ABOUT POVERTY. STOP POLICING POVERTY WITH YOUR MADE-UP FUCKING CHECKLIST OF RULES, AS THOUGH IT’S SOME COVETED, ADVANTAGE-CONFERRING CLUB THAT LAZY PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO SNEAK INTO INSTEAD OF A DIFFICULT, HEARTBREAKING, LIFE-THREATENING SITUATION. YOU DUMBASS.
Planet infected by humans
"In the 24 hours since this time yesterday, over 200,000 acres of rainforest have been destroyed in our world. Fully 13 million tons of toxic chemicals have been released into our environment. Over 45,000 people have died from starvation, 38,000 of them children. And more than 130 plant and animal species have been driven to extinction by the actions of humans. And all this just since yesterday." - Thom Hartmann
I have decided that I am not going to pursue a Ph.D. after all. This is not for me, though I previously thought it might be. With absolutely any type of institution (i.e. formal education, corporate America, marriage etc.) there are games to play and I have to weigh out if the games are worth…
It’s not poverty that makes the difference; it was the teachers. The difference was that the high-performing teachers actually “walked the walk.” First, the classroom and school climate was MUCH better at the high-performers. Secondly, the teachers at the high-performing schools didn’t complain about kids not “being smart” or being unmotivated. They made it a priority and built engagement, learning, thinking and memory skills every day. In short, they didn’t make excuses; they just rolled up their sleeves and built better student brains.
More than half of Wisconsin’s public school districts are buying food from local sources and another 19% intend to start doing so soon, according to the first "farm-to-school census" conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture.
The new report says 43% of districts nationwide had farm-to-school programs in place in the 2011-‘12 school year, with fruits, vegetables and milk topping the list of local purchases.
You can use this USDA search to find your district and find what percentage of the food budget was spent locally.
image via flickr:CC | NatalieMaynor
I just read a very civil, reasonable argument against some of the skimpier costumes on female characters in comics.
It’s a huge topic, I’ve talked about it endlessly, and I think I have expressed that a costume that is revealing is not alone upsetting to me. If it makes sense for the character, I…
Are you ready for some opinions? One fresh rant, coming right up:
You know what, i AM really bothered by A LOT of the costumes.
It bothers me that off the top of my head, I can’t think of 10 female characters in pants.
It bothers me that aside from Specter and Namor, the most exposed any male characters are is bare arms.
It bothers me SO. FUCKING. MUCH. when people and writers conflate “naked” with “empowered.” Usually because the perpetrator doesn’t know what the hell they’re talking about regarding gender issues, slut shaming, and other caveats surrounding women’s clothing and their right to wear it.
Yes some of the outfits are iconic; when i first saw Wondy’s redesign I was bothered. But then I thought a little more about it, and figured it was probably for the best - because her outfit has always been STUPID (that’s right I said it). She’s dressed in an American flag strapless swimsuit. I haven’t read Gail Simone’s run on Wondy so I missed her “some length to justify her costume.” Her stupid costume has become an icon, perhaps even more iconic than it would have become otherwise had it NOT been a ridiculous costume.
I love Wonder Woman. You develop a fondness for her stupid costume as you grow to love a character. I love A LOT of female characters (I’m a woman, I read comics, it’s an inevitable outcome). But that doesn’t mean I think their costumes aren’t stupid!
Not just stupid in the sense of “a full grown person is wearing a lurid, color blocked bodysuit” - that’s a comic suspension of disbelief that happily applies to everyone. It’s offensively stupid. Ace ninja badass: little clothing. Psychic ethereal spiritual woman: little clothing. Psychotic sadistic murderess: little clothing.
You can take each character individually and say, “yes. this makes sense. she wears what she likes to wear, everyone’s opinion be damned.” But I’m breaking out the these-designs-aren’t-made-in-a-vacuum thing. All these characters exist in the comic universe. And in all these universe lineups, the men have underwear over their clothes and the women have underwear, period.
Gail, if you’re reading this, I love you. I love what you’ve done with each and every character you’ve written. You have managed to reclaim many a dumb costume so that it CAN make sense. But for the love of God, “this skimpy outfit makes sense for the character,” seems to apply to a FUCKTON of comic lady characters.
Most of them.
Defend your characters’ right to tit-windows. That can look great, got some dresses with em myself. I’m not saying we should make it like the men’s costume where they’re all in skin-tight suits with different color blocking - but maybe a few MORE women be a little LESS male gazey.
Honestly I have a hard time processing how some of the artists get away with this shit.
With regards to how this talk got started, I’ve always taken it for granted that the laws of physics are always to be suspended in comics, not just for super powers, but also for boobs. But now I see all these conversations about bikini practicality, so let’s talk about that.
All this talk of “Sonja won’t care if she’s exposed,” that’s fine. Sure it makes sense that the character wouldn’t care if the world saw her in the nude because Sonja has zero fucks to give for such things. But I imagine it’s somewhat distracting when your bikini is slipping all over the place because you swung a sword really hard and you’re popping out in one place and strings are cutting into you in another place. Now I have a mental image of Sonja actually being tangled up in her bikini (for those of you who think this is just as unlikely as a vaginarang, go down a fast water slide or get hit by a big wave in a bikini - your top ends up in inconvenient places)! But showing her ass-naked (which would also make sense for the character and be much less restrictive) would break some Comics Codes no doubt. But I digress.
I already agreed with this point several times already.
But once again, yes, the characters don’t exist in a vacuum, and for every character that it makes some sense for her costume to be revealing, there are a ton that are just…there. Out there, no reason, no motive, no nothing.
And that’s pathetic.
But it works both ways, Sonja, for example, doesn’t exist in a vacuum, either, and in her world, there’s a lot of exposed flesh, male and female, and that’s kind of part of the aesthetic and we don’t have the excuse that it’s impractical because she’d look weird at a restaurant.
I also have to say, a lot of the discussion on this topic veers uncomfortably close to some awkward areas for me, shaming of cosplayers for the choices of outfits they wear, slamming (admittedly fictional) women for what they choose to wear, and a sort of one-size-fits-all condemnation of outfits that don’t meet a specific imaginary guideline of taste. I do tend to err on the side of tolerance, but that’s my choice.
I’m not aiming that bit at the last poster, by the way, but you can see bits of it in these last couple threads.
There’s a lot here to face, I am not dodging any of it, I face it every day. I fought for that goddamn belly window to come off of Helena for years, and I’ve turned good paying gigs down because I thought the costumes were stupid.
Everyone’s got a right to their opinion, I am sure we all agree on that.
Sonja, in this genre, and being the character she is, I can see what she wears. Again, it ISN’T that different from the other iconic figures in Conan’s comic myth, as stated by the artists of the time.
I am fine with Canary’s fishnets. I’m fine with Power Girl’s outfit. I always find the uproar about Wonder Woman’s outfit a little perplexing, I just don’t class it in the same league, but that’s a matter of perception.
The answer to ALL this holdover stuff is creating a ton of new stuff that breaks the mold. That’s always the answer for me. When I create new characters, I am very aware of the stuff that has been so hugely dominant for so long.
In the Movement, there are five female leads; Virtue, Vengeance Moth, Katharsis, Tremor, and Rainmaker. Every single one wears pants. There’s not a boob window in the bunch.
The asspain of the industry is that the characters that hold up the roof were all created about a billion years ago. And they were all white, straight, and nearly all male. That’s the holdover.
For me, I like to work with all that stuff, but when I create NEW stuff, I want the universes that I really love to scrape the rust off and add new flavors.
I don’t expect everyone to see it my way, I’ve already said I have a fairly high tolerance for exposed flesh in female characters IF I get to do the same with the guys AND it makes sense for those characters.
When I look at some of the costumes over the years, I shake my head just like you guys do. But there are a few that make sense to me, that’s really no different from anyone else, I suspect.