McA**hole

I usually avoid direct topical stories but these one hits close to home on so many levels. I’m so angry I could break something.

Kansas cop resigns after fake claim that McDonald’s employee wrote ‘pig’ on his cup

This particular story hit home on my feelings. With all the bad press law enforcement officers get these days, this was totally unnecessary. This entitled jerk brought shame to law enforcement everywhere. I firmly wish he had been fired vs being allowed to resign.1 This was a deplorable act that damages the trust we place in those who are supposed to serve and protect us.

It doesn’t help the law enforcement are already heavily marginalized by our sensationalist style media these days. These incidents are rare but because of the way we consume news for outrage, you’d think it was everywhere. Fun facts: There are just under 700,000 law enforcement personnel in the US.2 Of those, the abuse of power complaints are less than 10%.3 Should it be 10%? Of course not, but when we are talking about perception vs reality, it sets a very relevant point. This also does not mention the 60,211 assaults on law enforcement.4 No one ever mentions that part. And yes, people sign up for law enforcement knowing there are inherent dangers. That doesn’t make said dangers any less relevant.

The idea a Chief or high ranking officer would doubt the word of his officer used to be unheard of. I can well understand the Chief’s embarrassment and shock over discovering he needed to fact-check is own officer. (It doesn’t help that all the negative coverage of LE has discouraged many from even considering a job as an officer. I can’t help but wonder how low the bar gets sometimes to get cadets in the door.) This whole incident was just…unnecessary.

The one thing law enforcement in this country needs is citizen involvement. When the powers that be know they are being watched and potentially held accountable, they are less likely to abuse said power. I’m not talking about outrage on social media either. I’m talking about your community. Get involved. Indifference and outrage on social media does absolutely nothing but increase the problem exponentially.

And I’m not some rabid fanboy. Growing up in E. Texas as a little gay boy I discovered more than once what the police thought of the LGBT community back then. I was openly called a queer and fag to my face by police on multiple occasions; including once in a gay bar by the officer paid to staff as extra security. But things change. I now work for a law enforcement agency and have many friends who are cops and they are good people. They don’t go out hoping to shoot someone. They do the job and go home to their families, just like you and I. For every bad cop you hear about there are at least a 100 more you never hear about. Why? Because good news doesn’t generate outrage or ad-clicks. My point here is be outraged by individuals, not whole organizations. If I marginalized everyone based on the news I’d think all pit bulls are killers, all priests molest kids, and all gay spread HIV on purpose. Let us not become the oppressors we fight so hard to overcome.

I’m just so angry over this story today.

  1. He could potentially get a job elsewhere as a cop since he wasn’t fired. []
  2. As of 2018, Statista reports []
  3. USA Today Tarnished Brass article 2019 []
  4. FBI’s Uniform Crime Report 2017 LEOKA report []

Clones

No, not Star Wars. lol I’m curious why so many gay men have an issue with couples that look similar to each other or are “clones.” This is not a new phenomenon but I stumbled across several examples in the last few weeks. Some of the commentary was downright vicious and got my curiosity going.

On some level I guess people assume both are extreme narcissists, so of course they are into clones of themselves. And for some that may be true. Unfortunately, a lot of the couples I see targeted rarely seem to fit the mold. They often have one or two similar features that set it off. I actually rarely see couples where the guys are similar enough to the point of looking like brothers or cousins.

One couple on FB broke up and the side commentary was pretty nasty. The only thing they really seemed to have in common was lots of very dark body hair and beards. This gave them a very similar look but only at a very superficial glance.

On IG, there was a story floating around about a couple that was fighting because one was cheating with another guy. The cheater and the other guy were both naturally smooth looking and had blond hair in a similar style.1 And the queens were just downright vicious with some of the clone comments. I guess in this example it could have been an extension of anger over the cheating.

I like a lot of the physical traits I have in others. While I’ve never dated anyone who would be considered my clone, so what if I did? And science tends to think that people who gravitate toward others with similar physical traits is quite normal. I found no less then 3 different peer reviewed studies on the subject doing a few quick Google searches.2

Do gay guys feel threatened or deprived because they feel a sort of unfairness is involved? Is it jealousy? Why does it seem to invoke such a visceral reaction? Why the hell do you care!? If two people are happy, and they happen to be look-a-likes, then leave them alone or support their happiness. Don’t be a caddy bitch.

  1. Forgetting for a moment, no one wants to see or hear your dirty laundry aired out on social media. []
  2. Notice I said “peer-reviewed”, not someone’s blog rants like mine! heehee []

Bias

If you know me, you know I talk about personal bias a lot. Everyone has biases. It is a natural process as humans grow. As our morals (or lack thereof) are shaped thru our environment and our brains learn to label things, bias is inevitable. But, we also have something called logical reasoning. This allows us to recognize and potentially overcome our biases when they are wrong or misguided. That is, if we chose to examine our feelings or try to separate our bias from facts.

In society today, bias rules supreme on social media. IMO it is one of the single largest failings of “social media”. It has allowed people to isolate themselves from opposing opinions or anyone who disagrees with xyz topic. It also allows folks to reach out and find others who think in similar terms, which only serves to reinforce one’s bias.

Sadly, this has lead us to the ‘fake news’ era and a flat out unwillingness of people to believe facts. Don’t even get me started on the never ending fake sites that pop up alleging malicious acts or crimes against persons they are against. The rise in anti-intellectualism stems from an unwillingness to let go or overcome one’s own bias.

And this brings me to my rant today. You can’t call yourself a moral, christian, or even a good person when you ignore facts in favor of bias. When you simply decide “I do not believe that” in favor of bias, then you are not in fact a moral, christian, or even a good person. Faith in an idea, person, or even religion should be dependent on denying truth. As a moral or ethical person, you should care about truth above biases, even your own. More importantly, you should be willing to challenge your own bias to see if it is grounded in fact or fiction.

Snap

There are days where I see what humans are doing to this planet and I think to myself, “ya know, maybe Thanos had the right idea?” Then I realize we’d still be stuck with half the stupid people and I just shake my head.

If you told me 20 years ago we’d still be disparaging people over the color of their skin or calling vaccines sorcery I wouldn’t have believed you. Sadly, that is where we are today in 2019.

Our selfishness will be our undoing.

What Do You Say?

I was having a discussion with a coworker the other day and we got to talking politics. We were specifically discussing some of the underlying dynamics that often lead people to believe into crazy conspiracy theories. Mostly, we talked about how people often reason based on emotion not logic.

I used an example of my little brother. Not because my brother is a crazy extremist, just the opposite. The story perfectly illustrates how even well-meaning people end up on the wrong side of things at times. So the real question is how, in an age of sensationalized media, truly fake news, and bias, do we encourage every day folks to move beyond their base feelings and examine a solution with logic? How do we get people to realize what they “know” is often based on very limited exposure to the world at large?1

Let me get to my example. My little brother grew up not really “seeing” racism. To him, it is something he knows exists but in more pronounced examples. For lack of a better description, he sees it as a very black and white issue. I tried to explain white privilege to him and found it a frustrating struggle. As a white man he has never had to experience the frustrations a person of color endures daily. Because he grew up poor and busted his tail working hard to get to a point where he feels stable, he doesn’t understand how a black person doing the same thing faces many more obstacles. I explained many of the very real world examples to him and while he sort of ‘got it’, because he lives in a rural environment where these ideas are usually avoided, it doesn’t become ‘truth’ to him.

It is hard for people who spend everyday just worried about trying to put food on their table to rise above the squabble and focus on bigger issues like politics. And when they live in an environment where biases are constantly reinforced, it’s easy to see why so many fall prey to the machinations of political hacks who want them to stay poor and ignorant. People who are poorly educated as a whole are easily manipulated by their emotions. Quite simply, their emotions are used against them.

And this is one variable of many leading society towards a calamity. So how do we overcome that? What do you say to someone to get them to truly open their mind and listen? If we could figure that out I think the world would be a better place.

  1. How many “experts” do you encounter on Facebook or Twitter these days  LOL []

Supremes

I wish I was referring to the TV show. Sadly, I am not. I try not to delve into politics too much in my blog as that was never the purpose. However, things evolve and change and the issues today cut to my very survival.

With Justice Kennedy stepping down from the SCOTUS at the end of July, I truly worry for our freedoms. It’s been a sh*t show since he got in there but we had some insulation with the SCOTUS being pretty evenly divided. I knew there would be drama but I kept telling myself, ‘we’ll get thru it intact‘.  I am not so sure anymore. All Trump has to do is successfully appoint a rabidly anti-gay judge and all our hard-earned victories in the last few years are in jeopardy. The right to equality, the right to marry, and the right to exist are all up for grabs folks.

It is time to speak up. Complacency is a vote for those who want us dead. Everyone needs to reach out to their State representatives and demand they support a pro-LGBTI candidate. Elections are coming soon. Make sure they know we are watching and will be voting those who stand idly by out of office! We must exercise our voices. You can bet the fundamentalists are already rallying to get the most conservative, anti-gay choices they can on the list of possibles.

This will affect us for decades to come. We cannot let the SCOTUS turn into a bigoted hate-mongering extension of the extremists. We must demand the Senate fight and kill any anti-LGBT nominees. If you don’t know who your State senators or representatives are, feel free to click the links below.

Find your state’s Senator here

Find your state’s Representative’s here.

If we do not speak up, we not have the right to speak up soon. That is not an exaggeration. Every day we the extremists trying to cut off the voice of the people. They want them demoralized and distracted by hot-button social issues so they can continue robbing the poor and feeding the rich. If we don’t break out of our personal bubbles and get involved, we have no one to blame when they come for us again.

GHHD #1 2018

Well, GHHD #11 is upon us once again. It is Pride weekend.  The gym has begun filling up daily with out-of-town’rs. *giggle*  I’m sure by Friday it will be overflowing. (pun intended)

However, you celebrate it, I hope you have a fun and safe one. For myself, I volunteered to work overtime again this year onsite at the event. I’ll be working with AMR ambulance services who are the medical component for the Pride permit.2  I’ve worked with them for many years at different events and they are always a pleasure to work with. Ironically, after the Pulse shootings, the Pride committee put in metal detectors and this has cut way down on all the illegal booze being brought in by kids.

As always, there are those among us who complain about all that is wrong with Pride. We know gurl, you hate it. Next! This year, it’s over the idea of adding a few extra colors to the rainbow flag. For a community that is supposed to be all about accepting others, we sure do have some rigid ideas when it comes to symbolism. If you don’t like it, use the one you like. Stop bemoaning attempts to make other marginalized communities feel included under our umbrella. I personally am not defined by the rainbow flag or any other symbol. I enjoy the symbols and support them but there isn’t any reason a symbol can’t change or evolve over time to better represent it’s purpose.

I still support Pride as an event. While we have gained a measure of equality since the legalization of gay-marriage, anti-LGBT crimes have sky-rocketed since the current POTUS took office. There is clearly still a need to show our solidarity, especially for our Trans brethren. Frankly, I feel we have an obligation to help pull those behind us still facing daily discrimination in their lives to the front of the line.

So while I am working my booty off to help keep everyone same, I am with you in mind and spirit. Let your freak (or not) flag fly! Whether you wanna look like a Warner-bros cartoon character or an average Joe, get out and celebrate. Maybe you can volunteer at a shelter, food back, or AIDS org as a way of celebrating. It doesn’t have to be prancing down the street or standing on the sidelines. Do you and support those doing them.

 

  1. Gay High Holy Day []
  2. Large permitted events require a medical plan to help off-set the need for emergency services. This assures a modicum of care and prevents overwhelming the normal emergency system. []

Selective

In the theme of my previous “Bias” rant, I’m been making some changes to my social media accounts. I’m becoming much more selective about who I follow. It doesn’t have to be rocket science but I ask myself, am I really going to follow or care about this person’s ramblings? It doens’t have to mean they are any more/less important than my own.

On FB, rather than unfriending folks and causing a whole new level of butt-hurt drama, I’ve started unfollowing many ‘friends’. Wow, what a difference it has made. The toxicity level has dropped significantly AND I really do pay attention to what the folks I do follow are saying. Who knew, right?! lol

On Twitter, I embraced ‘lists’. Now I move right into my lists vs my regular feed. I absolutely loathe the ‘friends liked this’ posts. Not that I use Twitter much anymore anyway. What started as my favorite social media tool has turned into advertising engine. It doesn’t much feel social at all anymore.

My poor Google app I mostly just ignore. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am Plus did not take off. I blame it for being too simple. People didn’t understand the more subtle nuances of leaving private comments vs public. It felt featureless for many people. It has also become an sp#m engine for p0rn.

I’m sad to say it but IG is my go-to social account these days. What a sad world when a picture book app is your primary social account? I enjoy IG for gym motivation. I try to follow regular guys that aren’t professional (or wanna be) bodybuilders. I prefer to follow guys like myself that struggle or focus on getting to the gym and staying fit.1  I also get a pure kick out of the seriousness some people invest in their IG shots. The level of obsession is staggering sometimes but oddly addictive to watch.2  Several blog readers have asked me why I don’t have more followers? I’d assume the same reason I don’t have a ton of comments on my blog. I don’t cultivate a “follow” crowd. If you follow me, it is because you are genuinely interested in moi, not because I post p0rn, glamour shots, and/or daily ‘inspirational quotes’ to cover up one’s own narssicism. *giggle* While I do love selfies from time to time, they aren’t my life and I rarely spend more than a few seconds ‘posing’ for one.

Snapchat is an utter disaster and I barely even open the app. The newest update is just another glaringly ad-in-your-face view. No thanks.

So far I’ve noticed a significant difference in how I view and respond to my social accounts. I find myself a little more engaging and willing to interact. I actually open FB more than once a day now. One could say it’s quality over quantity but that would be crazy, right!?

  1. I would TOTALLY be lying if I said a few hotties, just because, haven’t snuck into my feed! []
  2. Another sad testament to our times. []

Bias

One of the main reasons I’ve grown to loathe Facebook most days is the growing bias. Selective bias is slowly replacing our idea of logical reasoning. Just pick practically any topic and scroll thru your own friends list. You might be surprised it is closer to home than you think.

When social media came along, I just knew it was going to be a unifying force in the world. I was so excited and hopeful. Sadly, all it has done is allow folks to selectively reinforce their own biases. More and more every day you see people who favor bias over truth, honesty, or any sense of integrity. Talk about an unexpected outcome. hehehe In the past, the rules (and manners) of social interactions helped curb outrageous ideas, conspiracies, and all round nutjobs. they were confined to the fringe where they belong. Now can reach out to others that with like ideas with just the click of a button. This has emboldened them and we see many ideas and concepts considered absolutely insane break into the national consciousness.1

I don’t blame social media so much as our own failings. Our technology has outpaced our ethical ability to keep up with it. Our social media outlets have changed the world, just not necessarily for the better IMO. Oh don’t get me wrong, they do some good. You see fundraisers, goFundMe pages, outreach, etc. Local tragedies can grab national even global attention at times. But I find myself pondering whether the good it does outshines the harm? Sadly, I am beginning to think it doesn’t. The level of vitriol and toxicity is so very disheartening. After all my attempts to ditch FB in the past, this is the one that is slowly pushing me further and further away.

I wish I could say it was mainstream stuff and not local communities. Sadly, no. Be it NextDoor, FB, Twitter, etc. It is all becoming one toxic hole of spite, triggers, and/or attempts to shame each other. It gives new meaning to the idea of mob-mentality. People are tried and convicted based on click-bait articles, regardless of the lack of details. We are seeing the fallout even within our own LGBTI umbrella. We find allies fighting each other over the tiniest slights or misunderstandings. Conversations are polarizing discussions of who is right or ‘more wrong’.

There are times where I just kick myself for even bothering to try to point out distinctions. Our biases and indifference to others are forcing us into a sort of devolution of sorts. For myself, I can only control my actions. I continue to strive to bring things into my life that enrich it and avoid those that stain it. Social media is falling into the latter category more and more lately.

  1. Flat-Earthers, Anti-vaxxers, Holocust deniers, etc []

Judgey Much?

I get a lot of requests about my thoughts on political subjects.1  I tend to avoid them or at the very least discuss in private. My reasoning has always been people have a right to their opinions, even the ones I don’t like. However, you do not have the right to tell me how to live or enforce your beliefs on me. I draw the line at bigotry. The intersection of these two fundamental principles is entirely up for discussion which is what brings me to my post today.

One of my far away readers, all the way from Sydney, wanted to know my thoughts on the right of a baker or florist to not provide service to me for a same-sex wedding. And as always, I’m all about distinctions so I have sort of a split take on it. There is always that ‘gut’ part of me that says, “why would I want to do business with anyone who doesn’t want my business to start off with?”  I mean you can always choose someone else, right? Then my logic kicks in and I start rationalizing it out.

The problem I have with these so called moral-objectors is their outright hypocrisy. In several of the high-profile cases hitting the news, several of them flat out admitted they don’t particularly question most of their clients. More still when questioned specifically hem and haw over it and until they finally admit the truth. A couple of them even went so far as to admit they don’t really care about the “sins” of most of their clients as long as they weren’t gay.  Therein lies the distinction. Most of these folks regularly make no inquiry into their clientele’s beliefs. If you’re that devoutly religious then you would think they screen all of their customers to avoid violating their beliefs, right? It is no secret I have less and less use for religion as I age. The dissent and destruction is causes far outweighs the benefit IMO. However, I can’t deny it represents a powerful foundation for many people. And if I found a person who truly walked the walk then I’d honestly be more supportive of their freedoms. I can still disagree with most of religion and accept your right to believe and walk your path. Tangent: Ironic how I can accept them but they can’t accept me?

It isn’t really about belief. It is about enforcing their morals on you. In other words, bigotry. These people disapprove of your choices and by refusing they are telling you,  “Your ‘lifestyle’ is not OK with me; I am going to punish you by refusing to provide you a service I provide to everyone else without question.” That is really what it boils down to. So no, it isn’t really about their beliefs. It is about their ability to discriminate against you.  That I have a problem with. I can’t support these people’s so called freedoms because they are liars and frauds.

As for myself, I don’t think I’d sue. One, I don’t have the financial resources for that. Two, I don’t work in a job where I could just miss sh*t-tons of work for the never-ending court appearances, hearings, etc. I’d probably make a big stink, share it with as many people as I could and move on to someone else who wanted my business. However, I applaud those who stand up and won’t back down. I applaud those who can sue and take on the fight for everyone to be treated equally.

 

  1. Mostly, from my 20-30 crazy but exceptionally loyal readers. hehehe []