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Showing posts from November, 2012

Capitalism and Democracy

I am so sick of hearing that capitalism and democracy depend on each other, or even that they can coexist. The excuse for this is normally the evil bugbear of authoritarian communism, which frankly I will admit didn't work too well - but neither does capitalism, so you can stop waving the capitalist flag now. The fantasy is one of freedom - freedom to buy, freedom to choose, freedom to spend your way to a better life. Combine that with representative democracy supposedly giving the ordinary citizen a voice and you've got the perfect, shiny, consumerist dream of a greedy machine pouring money into politics and in doing so making everyone's lives better...

...wait, what?

This is the trouble with claiming capitalism and democracy can coexist. Democracy is about rule by the people - in other words, you get ordinary people making the decisions, not kings, bishops or some kind of political caste. And yet this is exactly what's happened; most normal people don't stand for…

Two Years On

So I've now been running this blog for two years! Holy crap! Ah, well, my prose has been doing somewhat better; my mind, however, has not and sadly it's spilled over into my writing. (Sorry about that.) That said, I've done some decent posts and maybe, just maybe, they're worth sharing. So here's a round-up of some of the best (or least bad) articles I've done over the past 12 months.

November: Riches I Heed Not - probably the last post I did that month, and my argument for why doing what you love is better than trying to make as much money as possible
December: Things People Should Know - a very simple espousal of my views on seeking the truth
January: Too Stupid To Rule - or why ignorance isn't a good excuse for limiting the say people can have on things
February: Dum Vivimus, Vivamus - I'd like to have put something more worthy up, but this is simply the best written piece from that month (which isn't saying much, I know); it's a desperate, s…

Superficial Interest

Superficial interest?! What's that all about?! It's quite obvious; it's the supposed interest someone has in something - but only until they have to research it. At that point, they back off a bit. Well, a lot - and I intend to subject the poor reader to a rant about it.

You might be wondering why I didn't just start railing against dilettantism; the trouble with that is that dilettantism also has a more neutral sense, one of the amateur or the curious dabbler. As someone who tries very hard to avoid being an elitist prick and who believes that academia should be open to all (seriously, for a nerd like me a good university with a good intellectual culture seems like some kind of sexy heaven, but it's also maddeningly frustrating to me that most people don't have access to this world and one of the only reasons I even know about it is through some of my teachers), I would hate to be in the position of attacking inquisitive amateurs - hell, I'm an inquisitive…

The I Want Post

(This entire post discusses mental illness, society's attitudes to it and my hopes for managing my own; as such, I will go into some detail with my trademark snark. If I am at all insensitive here please tell me in the comments and I will fix my post. However, I should warn you that there are triggers here for discussions of mental illness, mental health stigma and suicide, so if any of these things trigger or upset you please stop reading.)

I don't mean to sound greedy, but there are a couple of things I want out of life chiefly for my own benefit. Well...that does sound greedy. I hope I can explain myself - and if I fail to do that, I at least hope you can laugh at my attempts to do so.

I'm a not-so-nice, middle-class, white, cis, abled girl. Materially, I have everything I want and most certainly everything I need, but I've got the rather clich├ęd trait of not having something rather important...and in my case, it's called half-decent mental health.

So I'm si…

On Questioning

I've probably done this post before, but I'll do it again - this time with a different angle.

I like to question things. This is not news; it's the way I function. I have asked questions for as long as I can remember. Whenever I see something that I don't understand or that doesn't make sense to me, I ask questions about it.

So far, so very Osnat-like. But this isn't purely about me; it can't be. I'm not the only thing in the universe - obviously. No, this is what happens when disillusionment, inflexibility and doubt all collide.

I don't really go in for idols or role models; I don't have giant posters of Einstein or Gandhi up on my wall. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to say that I don't look up to anyone, because I'm do. I'm young, I'm not confident, and I don't really know what I'm doing - I'm figuring it out as I go along. And thus I seek out strength - I see people who seem to be pretty influential and I listen …

Why Do I Try?

Why do I try to be a good person, even if I frequently fail?

It's a question I frequently ask myself - but why should I be asking myself at all? Shouldn't I be secure in the knowledge that I am trying? Is my questioning a sign that I'm a bad person? I don't know - but what I do know is that I question myself to find reasons for things, to help me understand myself a bit better and to clear up the murky waters of my mind. And I suppose I'm questioning myself, too, to prove something to myself - to prove that my motives are pure. Maybe I will succeed in that, maybe I won't. I don't know; this is mainly a thought exercise.

I know what aren't my motives, though...

1. I don't try to be a good person because I get off on the warm, fuzzy feelings. Well, to be honest, I do get off on the warm, fuzzy feelings I get when helping someone else out - but that's not my motive to be a good person. It's a nice...a nice side-effect, if you will, but it's …

Feminism and Femininity

Right, ready to get shot at by angry people for this. (Real bullets if possible - not feeling too keen on life at the moment - and for the sake of whatever is good and right don't miss.)

I'm a feminist who likes all things STEM. I'm also vaguely feminine. No, this doesn't mean I'm a weird androgynous sellout to the patriarchy. If anything, it probably just means I'm human.

I'm very, very sick of the fucked-up attitude towards femininity that I've seen everywhere. Sometimes it's a good thing to have, because a feminine woman fits neatly into society's little boxes. Sometimes it's a bad thing to have, because women are weak, girls have cooties and any kind of femininity is obviously submitting to the kyriarchy. Most of the time femininity is crazily regulated. In short, society done fucked up. Again.

Why do I oppose this? Because I'm sick of the stupid, the oppression, and the way people race around breaking and twisting themselves to fit …

(trigger warnings: VAW, abuse, general discussion of misogyny) An Open Letter

Dear reader, whoever you are, I want you to know this: women aren't stupid.

If you know me, you might be slightly confused because I'm constantly ranting about how stupid humanity is, so I might as well amend that statement: women are not some special kind of magical, sparkly, feminine stupid that somehow manages to make other genders look cleverer by comparison. We are just as intelligent (or as stupid) as you are.

At this point, if you're going to trot out men having bigger brains than women or having higher IQs than women, I have this to say to you: firstly, men are physically bigger than women. This is why their brains are bigger. Relative body size has to be factored in when talking about relative brain size. As to men having higher IQs than women? Laying aside the debate about whether IQ is a decent measure of intelligence (because there is a debate, and because once you get past a couple of standard deviations it does break down quite spectacularly when it comes to …

On Polemics

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Polemics make me really, really, really, really uncomfortable.

Now, there are probably a lot of people who think I'm a spineless, easily scared little shit for saying that - and they may be right. I don't know. The thing is, I dislike polemics of any kind - I even dislike polemics that agitate for causes I support. It's a strange thing to say, and maybe one that will end up undoing something or other - but I have set it out and I might as well defend it.

Polemicists and polemics - even polemicists and polemics for causes I agree with - make me uncomfortable because they don't seem to care about the truth, only about pushing their agenda. Even if they say their agenda is the truth - is it really? I doubt it.

I consider myself a seeker after truth; a very bad seeker after truth, but a seeker nonetheless. I know that little if anything is certain and that my model of the universe could change any time. I doubt and question everything. But in polemics, there is no room fo…

On Balance (by an unbalanced twat)

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Balance very much seems to be something people strive for - or at least pay lip service to striving for - whether in their personal lives, where people stress themselves out trying to get their perfect stress-free life, or in their viewpoints; when talking about journalism or weighing up evidence there's sure to be some mention of balance somewhere, even if the people involved are rabid polemicists who would sooner run away from any kind of balance than ever temper their opinions. (Yeah, I don't like polemicists. Bite me.)

I personally seek truth, not polemics, rhetoric or verbal fireworks - and thus I appreciate balance. No, I don't just appreciate balance - I get incredibly pissed off if I can't find this balance because some stupid, lazy, ignorant, agenda-driven person doesn't want to give me other sides of the argument. Even if I agree with them - say if it's an article about how evolution is right - I'll still get pissed off.

Now can you see why I don…