Politics and Whatnot

Just another liberal political blog

Monthly Archives: July 2012

The End

When I started this blog, I thought I’d have time to write in it regularly and be able to pursue some sort of direction.  Unfortunately life kinda sucks and the idea of just having a blog while making a living doesn’t seem to be all that possible.  I mean I though not watching any TV would be able to create space to write a fucking blog post once or twice a month, apparently not. There used to be a time when an educated person could work 60, 50, even 40 hours a week and make enough money to get their own place and eat three meals a day.  Unfortunately, I’ve come to realize that day has passed.

So the few blog posts I’ve gotten out have been rushed and sucky.  Because I have no fucking time to write them but feel like I need to write them anyway.  But it would be better to not write them at all than to put out the crap I’ve been putting out.

Maybe someday I will have a blog again, one that doesn’t suck.  Maybe if I retire in some 30, 40, 50, 100 years, although I have no idea how I’m ever going to save up enough to retire.  And it’s not like social security’s still going to be around at that time.

But it’s not so bad.  After all, 100 years ago the typical work day was sun up to sun down, six days a week.  And that was a shitty job too that involved loud noises, hard labor, and lots of danger of the not fun kind.  And the pay was shit too.  Today, if you work the same hours at a desk job, I guess it’s not that bad.  Although maybe compared to 50 years ago, it is.

I’ve already wasted way too much time on this post, which illustrates the problem with having this blog.

The end.

Hey, my 100th post, how perfect.


The destructiveness of formal writing

One of the great things about having a random blog is that you can post stuff that really doesn’t belong anywhere on the internet’s topic-based forums.  This post definitely falls into that category.

I was looking through some old essays on my computer, from ten years ago when I was in college (they were transferred over from my old computer).  I remember thinking that it would be funny to see what I considered to be “good writing” when I was that age, as I still consider my writing to kind of suck now.  I figured it would probably be boring, mindless drivel by comparison to my current abilities.

And I was wrong.  Very wrong.  In fact, I would have to admit that in comparison to the writing I do for my current day job and even for this blog, my old essays seemed to be very thoughtful and entertaining.  Why?

One thing jumped out at me: no citations.  My old philosophy essays had no citations, and even a history-related paper I found had only a few citations rather than citing every sentence.  And I realized: citations destroy writing.

Seriously.  Think about it – if you have a work that has no citations, you just write it, without worrying much about conforming to whatever it is you’re talking about.  Now, this is usually seen as bad because it gives the writer the freedom to distort the source.  However, it also gives the writer the freedom to summarize a source in a manner that is tailored to the author’s point rather than the way the source was written.

For example, say I am making a point that Shakespeare is overrated and his stories suck.  I could do this as follows:

Take Romeo and Juliet, for example: the ending was an obvious cop-out.  The story is about lovers, whose love persists despite the world’s disapproval.  After building up this conflict throughout the story, Shakespeare kills them off with an arbitrary accident that has only a superficial relationship to everything else that happened.

But if I have to cite what I’m talking about, I have to do it like this:

Take Romeo and Juliet, for example: the ending was an obvious cop-out.  Throughout much of the story, Shakespeare focuses on the conflict between the protagonists’ love for each other and their families’ disapproval.  (See Act x, scene x, some scene that’s like that.)  However, the only relationship that the ending has to this conflict is that the motivation for Romeo’s attempt to fake his death, that led eventually to the tragedy at the end, was related to the conflict.  (See scene x, act z whatever).  This is a weak ending for some reason, but I forgot why because I had to spend so much time worrying about how it fits what I’m citing.

Obviously I’m exaggerating just a bit, but you get the idea. It’s a pain in the ass to have to cite sources, and it disrupts otherwise fluid writing.  In the process, the truth of what the author is trying to convey can be lost.  Citations may be important in some cases, but many forms of writing in the professional world require them to the extent that they become burdensome and destructive to the search for the truth.

Another problem is format.  My college writing didn’t have any particular format, it was whatever made sense for what I was writing.  This allowed me to get wrapped up in what I was writing.  When I wrote about historical figure during college, I still remember that as I was writing one of my longer college essays, I was imagining being the historical figure I was writing about at that pivotal moment in history.  But if I have to follow a rigid sentence-by-sentence format, my mind is instead focused on writing the right thing in the right place.  Rather than painting a picture, I’m pounding pegs into holes.  Yet, any kind of professional non-fiction writing seems to involve at least a loose sentence-by-sentence format of some sort.

I guess this is a bit off from the typical political hot air on this blog.  See?  Now I’m trying to conclude to follow my usual blog posting format, and it’s not working.  I’ll just end it here, fuck it.  Shit just got meta.

The deadly lie that being fat is acceptable

One of the annoying things about being a liberal is being associated with a particular brand of liberal that wants to eliminate personal resposibility. To me, being a liberal is all about personal responsibility – being responsible for the planet, what our bombs do, how we treat minorities, etc.  I also believe in acceptance – we should accept people’s traits that they cannot control – like gay people, even harmful things like disability, insanity, and predisposition to criminality, where it cannot be controlled. We should treat each person how we ourselves would want to be treated.

But, I have to admit, there is a species of (usually temporary) liberal that wants to push acceptance even further, to the point of accepting what can and should be changed.  To ignore the personal responsibility side of liberalism, and instead accept irresponsibility that harms society and even the person we’re accepting.  That’s where I draw the line.

First and foremost is the “fat acceptance” movement.  It has been justified as a response to eating disorders like anorexia, and it seems to have taken its cues from the gay rights movement, suggesting that fat is simply a lifestyle choice that is not harmful.  Recently, an online women’s magazine even posted pictures of women in “fatkinis,” suggesting that they are “hot.”  It would go without saying that very few people that are attracted to women would actually think that fat=sexy, although there are probably a two or three out there somewhere.

But more importantly, fat causes many health and life problems.  The notion that you can be just as healthy and happy while being fat is a lie.  Obesity kills 400,000 Americans a year (some dispute this statistic, but it’s been cited in other places too).   That’s 133 9/11 attacks every year.  Anorexia, by contrast, kills 145 Americans each year.  Undoubtedly many millions are also crippled by obesity, but due to the lack of a good definition for “crippled” in this context, putting a figure on it is impossible.  So when you tell people that being obese is healthy or acceptable, it’s no different from cigarette companies that fund studies saying smoking is healthy or non-harmful.  The result is that people die because of the misinformation.

So it’s time to stop spreading the lie that fat is healthy.  Fat is not healthy or acceptable, and it is not a lifestyle choice, but is a very preventable cause of death and suffering.  Here’s a few reasons to be at a healthy, non-obese weight.

Of course, most fat people already know the costs of obesity, but the urge to tell them what goes against common sense is destructive.  A fat person’s waistline is no more attractive or acceptable than a smoker’s black lung.  We should be finding out what causes obesity and working to eliminate it, not accepting the havoc it wreaks on people’s lives.

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