- Throwing shit. Or shooting people.
- May 25th, 2014
Okay, focus. There's a huge pile of metaphorical shit in the doorway, but there's *always* a huge pile of metaphorical shit in the doorway. We have to create the world we want to live in *anyway*, and then demonstrate it by living in it.
So how do we deal with the emergent properties of society? The item in the recent news is apparently a guy in Santa Barbara who shot up a sorority house on the grounds that he's not getting laid, therefore it *must* be All Their Fault. Okay, nutcase. So? Some of the people who are decrying his actions are also denigrating another group of people who have started saying things like "Not all men are like that." The people doing the denigrating are in immense virtuous denial that they have gotten down in the same pile of shit as everybody else, and are throwing it around with the same level of two-year-old abandon.
No, *not* all men are like that. So what? Societal contexts exist, and people living in societies are influenced by them. We as individuals remain responsible for our individual behaviors, but isolating one's self to the degree that one's behaviors are not affected by societal pressures is IMO one of the causes of low-functioning autism, and means that people who use this tactic can't really function as members of society.
One important option we have is to ignore things. Would it be a good idea to ignore this guy in Santa Barbara? What action could we have provided him to take that would have raised his point for public discussion *without* seriously disrupting or damaging the lives of the people he appointed as his scapegoats?
There are two things I think "we" need to do. The first is use this event as an argument for stricter gun control, as a way of limiting the abilities of those of us who lose our sanity to do lethal damage.
The second is to take responsibility for how we each both receive and, perhaps more importantly, *filter* our news. Why are the people saying "Not all men are like that" saying that? Is it perhaps because they've been hit by shit-slinging assholes before themselves, and are tired of deflecting yet more shit? Maybe the solution to the problem is to *stop throwing shit*.
Of course, it's just as irritating to be standing there with your hands in your pockets and have someone come up and excoriate you for engaging in shit-throwing. We can go around in circles forever, if we choose. Let's not. If your hands really *are* in your pockets, ignore this person. Might be worth checking your pockets first, though.
People can choose to be offended for any reason or none. They have a right to their feelings. You and I in turn have a right to determine our own foci, and their offense might or might not be one of them.
How shall we choose those foci? And how does this relate to some nut in Santa Barbara? The second question is the easy one for me; I live 900 miles from Santa Barbara. There is no action I could have taken to alter this course of events and no reason I should have to think about it. If *you* don't live in Santa Barbara, why should *you* think about it? Floor's open.
But that first question is a doozey. If we're talking about societal pressures above, what about the societal pressures on our shooter that insist he needs to get laid, and that only attractive young women can meet his needs? Human touch is a recognized human need, and his needs weren't being attended to. Where is the Department of Mercy Fucks? Oh, that's right, there isn't one, and never has been. So if you're male, and surrounded by the most hypersexualized culture in mammalian history, and get overwroughtely horny as a result, we deny your humanity. You have no rights, you may not express your needs, and no one proposes to do anything to help you. And don't you throw any of that shit at *us*, boy, just because we can get laid at whim. We are Good Guys, and Good Guys aren't supposed to get shit on 'em. The hat has to stay white.
If you are surrounded by people who need affection, what are your rationales for withholding that affection? Get out there and make nice on somebody, dammit.
And perhaps I shouldn't need to say this, but don't shoot anybody while you're at it.
This is relevant to *me* because I've historically not found it useful to be in denial of people's bad characteristics. And it has been repeatedly and strongly drawn to my attention that the shit-throwing metaphor above applies to me, too. We are with good reason not a shit-tolerant species; one part shit to a hundred parts ice cream still does not result in a tasty dessert. Under what circumstances is the pointing-out of faults appropriate? And when does it constitute "shit-throwing"?
I have other writing that needs me to do it more than this does. If there's interest, I'll participate in discussion as best I can.