Resolutions, Already Broken

It’s never going to get any easier to write on this blog, especially with so many other outlets like Facebook and Twitter draining my limited time, resources, and anger (that ultimate keystroke generator). And yet, it’s never going to get any easier to do anything–it takes dedication, and commitment. So rather than dwell on the certain aesthetic goals or posting schedules I’d love to have, or the audience of comment-hungry readers I wish existed, I’m going to simply work with what I have.

Which is appropriate, because after reading this piece on criticism by Todd VanDerWerff, it’s clearer than ever to me that I want to be an appreciator. I don’t want to waste my time slugging through an awful piece of entertainment simply so that I can proudly, winningly boast about being a survivor (sans T-shirt). If I have to spend time with a deserted, lifeless husk of a game, I’d at the very least like to come out talking about the few things that it did right; this was the idea, at least, behind the Salvage pieces that I started writing back in 2014, pieces that it’s my intention to now return to.

Moreover, I want to make it clearer than ever that I’m not a political researcher. When I post critical statements of Democrats or Republicans or “the System,” it’s done not out of education but cynicism, often of the bleakly comic kind. (In that respect, I refer you to my recent review of Season 11 of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.) These largely exist on Twitter, where I don’t have to spend a lot of time dwelling on the sad gulf between what a rational person understands should happen and the reality of what actually does, or on Facebook, where I can play Devil’s Advocate whilst minimizing the number of people I unwittingly offend. I called these posts Of Fences, and because it’s my intention to be proved wrong with every post of this nature–emphasis on proved, though, which requires facts–I’ll begrudgingly start posting those discussions here, as well.

There are also some things I don’t post on a blog because of the whole question of medium. If something’s between the sweet spot of a Tweet and a text, does it really belong on a blog? America is already filled with So Much, and sometimes I restrain from posting so that when there is something to say, it means more. To that effect, then, I’ll aim for more of a digestive approach–not that what I have to say will be any more digestible to those who disagree. For instance:

  • Y’All Qaeda and their “yee-had” cannot claim that they don’t want a violent confrontation if they begin an occupation by bringing in guns. Just as people can’t support their “rights” to do so whilst at the same time applauding the shooting of a child like Tamir Rice, who was guilty of legally playing with a fake gun in a state in which it is legal to openly carry a real gun. But this isn’t me saying that the Oregonian protesters–despite my mocking appellation for those would-be Appalachians–are wrong, nor is it saying that people are wrong to think that the police did nothing wrong. Rather, this is me asking people to be consistent in the application of their beliefs, or to at least give serious thought as to their motives in flip-flopping. There’s nothing wrong with disagreement, but selectively choosing when the law does and doesn’t apply is problematic at best.
  • Maybe it’s just me, but isn’t basing someone’s qualifications for a job based purely on the color of their skin (or ethnic background) the very definition of racism? Sure, the job in this case might be for a “diversity” chief at Twitter, but unless the story is that a white male was hired over an equally qualified minority, complaining about this–while simultaneously admitting that his resume is impressive–weakens the very cause you’re fighting for. It’s Rachel Dolezal all over again: if she’s effective in fighting for minority rights, does it really matter what race she believes herself to be? Likewise, if this particular white man is able to more effectively locate, recruit, or train minority employees than other candidates, isn’t this a net gain? Ultimately, let’s agree to fix the problem where it actually exists: in a lopsided talent pool, tainted by decades of neglect, bullying, and systemic racism.
  • Here’s a fantastic read about perspectives. I’m not going to argue the merits of the piece–one of the points is that we all bring our own valid views to the table, and we don’t need to dismiss anybody else’s–but I will highlight this: “Censorship is when the authorities repress a work of art, not when someone dislikes it.” As Ricky Gervais said best, just because you’re offended, that doesn’t make you right. That seeps into every condemnation of political correctness (including the one woman who believes the use of “lame” for “uncool” is inhumane), and why I’m fearful of “safe spaces” in the educational system. How can we know what we disagree with if we are never exposed to it in the first place, if we never listen to dissent? This self-sustained echo chamber reminds me of nothing more than a child’s picky eating habits.
  • Finally, while I believe that disagreement is vital to this country, I believe that is true only when it is specific and constructive. There is no need to denigrated President Obama for his speech on gun control, to mocked Michelle Obama’s “rap” for College Humor, or to criticize the educator Ron Clark’s dance moves. If you have a problem with their specific policy, state it clearly, factually, and with your recommendation of something better. If your only recourse is to get personal (as so many commentators do when arguing over, say, a less-than-glowing review of Star Wars: Episode VII), I can only assume that it’s because you have no actual rebuttal to the substance of the argument. Look, it’s really easy to say someone is wrong, and it probably makes you feel better to ignore something you don’t want to hear–but part of being an adult, especially one in government, is the ability to understand that it’s not all about instant gratification and doing something “easy.” It’s about working hard to make things better, so don’t shut up–just make sure you actually communicate.

These are just a few of my favorite things of the past month that I’ve not spent blogging; here’s to a year of new favorite things.

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