Notes from 17-year old me, the blossoming atheist

I once populated my office with any piece of office supplies I had at home. This included leftover materials from the college years, which in turn was made up of leftover high school materials. So there I am, assembling training binders when I stumble upon a paper-and-pen journal entry from eons ago. My guess (from the grandiose language and the slight flourish of philosophical-induced misery) is age 17. I’ve reproduced it here for posterity and for my own reference some day, for teen-Mary’s livejournal is a thing that should never, ever be opened. No, really.

 

The age-old Catholic theory of the afterlife is a peaceful, sacred heaven where all are united in love for and worship of the god figure. But if people strive so much for this precious sense of humanity and individuality while in this “trial world” only to abandon it to be part of a utopian collective, then this earthly quest loses all purpose. What meaning could we seek here if our only goals must be eternal pain or eternal subservience? (To conveniently snuff out this line of questioning, the Church simply had Lucifer be the one to ask it.) In this cooperative heaven, how would our creative and industrial characteristics be suppressed while still retaining the earthly identities we toiled so hard to build? And what of our inherent ego-centrism? Our cliquish minds which cannot comprehend more than some finite number of relationships? Man cannot simply worship a god and rejoice for beauty and then begin the next day the same. A being so cultural and philosophically diverse as man….how could the ultimate reward be anonymous communal worship? And if such piety in humans were attainable for enough people so as to make god’s plan even remotely reasonable, why do essentially none ever reach it? It’s apparent that even the most devout, whose piety splinters when their closet of skeletons and inner demons break loose in public scandal, won’t be eternally happy with such an outcome after life, nor happy for even one week.

If the Catholic god truly is the all-knowledgeable and loving figure of which the stories tell, then the age-old vision of heaven is not comprehensive nor can it be considered credible by the standards of the modern thinker. It wreaks of the “perfect world” fallacy, heaven being some holy tyranny where a god is surrounded by adoring creations who proved themselves “worthy” to be in his presence. If the god figure were a loving god, he would not build such a narcissistic echo chamber populated by what are essentially slave creations who only worshiped in life out of fear of punishment if they pursued contrary goals. Such sadistic torture dungeons are the things of crime novels and horror films from which we recoil 6 days a week, yet Catholics discuss it openly and proudly on Sunday without any sense of irony or cognitive dissonance.

While we each may have a different idea of what the afterlife will be, it would take quite a god to create one place that everyone could call utopia and yet maintain and exercise their individuality. Such a feat is impossible in light of our (allegedly purposeful) design to have interests and personalities contrary to each other. Consequently, the same principle would hold true for marriage. Exact matches would be misery for the caged intellectual. With no sparring partner or otherwise inspirational force in one’s life to divert from the routine, how could a marriage fight an onslaught of immediate and utter boredom? What can they express except affection, for the narcissist has married him or herself. What kind of paradise is a marriage with an organic copy? The conceptions of a perfect world, perfect love, perfect marriage, perfect heaven have no credence. “Perfection” is ideological tyranny. How can anyone beyond the age of 10 sit in a pew listening to elementary-level drivel about god, love, heaven, hell, and any other philosophical notions oversimplified for the dullards of humanity and not be repulsed? Offended? Condescended to? A celibate and single priest giving relationship advice to married couples? A man commenting on women’s place and rights because desert fables thousands of years’ old make him feel obliged to do so? Please explain the mass appeal of this faith beyond “people are stupid en masse”, because my youthful optimism begs for an alternate explanation.


The Bandwagon-like Rise of the “I’m anti-bandwagon” Punditry

Widely known internet fact: It is nearly impossible to talk about something topical without getting hit by some soapboxing idiot’s scepter, dubbing you disingenuous, attention-seeking, or (my personal favorite) a fake geek.

Welp, don’t you fucking try to “fake geek girl” me about Alan Rickman today, Internet. I will combust into the Phoenix and take you down with me into hell. You’re seriously going to suggest women are fake geek girls for fandom(s) primarily made up of women?!? You want to play gatekeeper for our own fandoms too? Fucking christ, patriarchy. You are on fleek today.

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Let’s play “Bible or Quran?”

What do you think? Can you distinguish between the so-titled sharia laws of the Quran and those of the Christian Bible?

 

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days….if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks….The priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.

To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.

When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are.

Now kill all the boys and kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

If [a woman] vowed in her husband’s house or bound herself by a pledge with an oath and her husband heard of it and said nothing to her and did not oppose her, then all her vows shall stand, and every pledge by which she bound herself shall stand. But if her husband makes them null and void on the day that he hears them, then whatever proceeds out of her lips concerning her vows or concerning her pledge of herself shall not stand. Her husband has made them void.

Women should remain silent in congregations. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says.

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. ….Women will be saved through childbearing if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

When you go out to war against your enemies…and you see among the captives a beautiful woman and you desire to take her to be your wife and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month. After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife.

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death.

If a man takes a wife and, after sleeping with her, dislikes her and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, “I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity,” then the young woman’s father and mother shall bring to the town elders at the gate proof that she was a virgin. ….Then her parents shall display the cloth before the elders of the town, and the elders shall take the man and punish him. They shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give them to the young woman’s father, because this man has given a virgin a bad name. If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the young woman’s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death.

If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.

A holy man should only take a virgin of his own people to wife.

 

Surprise, they’re all from the Christian Bible! But please, America, cherry pick away and continue proposing bills using this misogynistic, racist, inane drivel as your source of infinite wisdom.


Winter Break

The semester of doom is at an end, and the grades are rolling in. For the maintenance of my mental health and the successful attainment of passing grades during a time of great trial, anxious breathing attacks, and no truly restful sleep, I owe thanks to the following:

  • My rock, the manfriend. He calms me, keeps me grounded with humor, convinces me to sleep, and occasionally cooks me food.
  • The first three seasons of Scandal
  • Cape Cod brand sweet red chili chips
  • The Starbucks holiday spice flat white and the absurd abundance of holiday store hours
  • Cheddar cheese popcorn
  • Master Sword, whose persistent needs remind me to chip away at creative goals and maintain creative outlets, even during times of stress (scholastic duress???)

Thank you and good night.


Star Wars: The Force Awakened the Trolls

You know the types. The ones who have notoriously contrarian taste, and not for unknown gems or under-the-radar breakout talent or film festival hits that we just haven’t heard of yet…. but for things that are commonly thought of—even sometimes universally agreed upon—as bad. The kind of people that think Ben Carson makes some good points actually, Roger Moore was the best James Bond, Kanye West is a superior writer/performer to Freddie Mercury, Gamergate got a bad rap because the feminists complained, McDonalds makes the best burger, the Star Wars prequels are the best Star Wars movies, men just sing rock better than women #notmyfault #itsjustscience, Boondock Saints is so cerebral dude it really makes you think, ….

Yeah, you’ve got one. Everyone’s got one. I bet that dude doesn’t like Rey from The Force Awakens and he can’t really tell you why. If Daisy’s constant Keira Knightley overbite bothered him during her dialogue, I might roll my eyes, but at least that would be a reason (by definition only). Maybe he has an aversion to overbite. Who knows? But he can’t express why Rey upsets him so much; she just does. His growing awareness of women coexisting in all of his most cherished fandoms is upsetting, but he can’t say that because in his mind the feminazis would bear down on him, crush all his dreams with a flurry of tweets, and turn his friends against him. See, all these fake geek girls are participating in what he used to do alone with the guys! (Read: he never noticed them before because they didn’t have strong platforms to represent their interests, they used agender usernames, and/or they never talked about their gender because who cares.)

Nevermind that Star Wars has been an award-winning, multi billion $ franchise for over 40 years! This guy is upset that he liked it when few others did (?) and now others are onboard because the new movie release makes it suddenly topical (??). UGH, the vapors! Look at all these people who grew up watching these films with their parents now expressing delight at a new movie release for the franchise! Only he has liked Star Wars for long enough to justify a heavy level of engagement in Star Wars “subculture”.

Newsflash, bud. The audience for the biggest film of all time does not a subculture make. At that point, it’s just culture.

After all, Rey is a female lead character “taking over” what he and his male friends have exclusively (*snort*) enjoyed all their lives. Yes. By one woman starring in one fucking blockbuster that can still boast a primarily male ensemble, women are “taking over” the genre. It’s like that whole “Women have not been judged on the grounds of whether they talk more than men, but of whether they talk more than silent women.” It doesn’t matter whether we exist equally with men in film leads or even less than men in the fandom; the fact that women exist in the fandom at all and on screen in the lead role at all is seen as too much by this archetype and his vociferously insular cronies.

So how does he get you to understand that Rey just sucks? Well, let me tell you! He says the same line over and over again. He says it on every friend’s Facebook wall. He says it on every blog. He says it in the comment section of every article. He says some variation of it every day for three months and won’t step down, explain his case, or even introduce variation in the wording:

Rey has no character development or depth.

All I can do is blink a few times and remark, “K.” and make this face into the computer screen ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

We watched her suffer in the desert. We saw her desperation and loneliness. We watched her mourn and finally let go of her hope on Jakku and start a new life. We saw her struggle with abandonment issues throughout the film and make the decision to do good. We saw her slowly give up waiting on phantoms and pick life on her own terms. We saw her make friends, find courage and strength, get lost in self-doubt along the way, and come face to face with her past. We saw her reform her identity as a force user, experiment with her abilities, use her intelligence and wit to escape, and be saddened by the loss of a father figure. We watched her conquer her fears and tap into her inner strength to take on the dangerous Kylo Ren in order save her friend. We laughed with her, cried with her, feared for her, rooted for her, and cheered for her accomplishments for two riveting hours in IMAX 3-D.

So when you say “Rey has no character development”…..

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Were you asleep? Were you looking around the whole time waiting for the male protagonist to show up? I can’t help you, son.


I don’t use fact checkers! Facts are all part of the liberal agenda of the MSM!!!

The internet is an interesting place. Just last week, a loon I know proudly identified a quote as being wrongfully attributed to Pope Francis. It was one of those awkward attempts at a viral pic that’s so obviously out-of-character for the alleged speaker that you wonder why anyone would think it were true in the first place. But, apparently it was taken seriously enough to get thousands of shares. Not by this loon, though! She shared it only to make a point about not sharing it (o.0). She claimed that she used snopes.com to learn about the history of this falsely attributed quote and expressed a sincere hope that people will check things before mindlessly sharing them.

Start us off on the cringe waterfall, Reza.

Start us off on the cringe waterfall, Reza.

It was the most meta fucking thing. I stared and blinked at the screen and thought surely she was making a tongue-in-cheek joke at her own expense. This was a sarcastic charade, right? I realized, though, that someone in her position would never have a reason to joke about it. She’s the kind of person who shares Hitler/Obama memes. She shares effortlessly debunked nonsense on the daily right alongside odes to the gun lobby that are so twisted in their premise that you have to wonder if she’s ever been pro-life (particularly since U.S. toddlers shoot themselves, siblings, or parents every single day). ….The kind of person who shares chain emails and takes ten minutes to type things like, If this is true, then shame on {….} instead of taking the three seconds to just google it. ….The kind of person who will join any and all bandwagons that put her positions on pedestals regardless of the ethics of such a movement (e.g., Who cares if the KKK are the leaders of this movement?). ….The kind of person whose political positions share more in common with religious beliefs because they (1) are not naturally developed but taught, (2) must be respected as an equal to any other position regardless of the factual merits, research, or careful consideration of those positions, and (3) are recklessly held in the face of any and all evidence to the contrary. ….The kind of person who is almost unintelligible in any communication channel (in person, print, or computer) but who will proudly proclaim that one of the most rational, careful, and well spoken leaders of the decade is a “moran” (sic) because he thinks bombing other cultures back to the Stone Age isn’t a successful long term foreign policy. THIS person would like you to please kindly snope before you dope.

door

Dear loon,

Thank you for debunking the erroneous Pope Francis quote among your friend circle. You have done important societal detective work today, but I’m actually very disappointed to hear that you know what snopes is; that you’re aware, at least in a minimal and elementary way, that fact-checking bodies exist on the internet. Perhaps you can’t name any others, but you know of and have used at least one. How, then, do you explain the last three years of prolific and unconscionably false, inflammatory shares, posts, and comments on the internet? Before this admission, you were just a proudly ignorant loon, happy to hide in a bubble of your own experiences and privileges at the expense of others. Now you have outted yourself as doing so with knowledge of fact-checkers and that you choose to be this way on purpose. That is far, far worse. I didn’t realize there was a bar even lower for you to reach for, but you found it.

One more for the road.

considering the subject matter, ironic Clint gif FTW!

considering the subject matter, ironic Clint gif FTW!


GOP Debate Bingo, Episode II: The Failsauce Ignites and Lights California’s Forests on Fire

Ladies and gents, if you don’t suffer from anxiety and have nothing better to do at 8pm EST (or even 6pm EST for the happy hour edition), why not enjoy round 2 of the GOP debates on CNN? Here’s a bingo card with which to entertain yourselves.

GOPDebateIIBingowatermarked


Huckabee On The Campaign Fail–I mean Trail

At the next debate I will expect questions to Gov Huckabee on 1) why the supreme law of the land need only be followed if you’re in the mood, 2) why his platform for president is now essentially “Do whatever you feel in your fee-fees,” and 3) Why he felt it a more pressing call from his commander in chief (God) to help his human flock by making public appearances with first-world-problems rep Kim Davis instead of lobbying overseas and/or our current administration about the millions of dying, misplaced Syrian residents.

If a pastor thinks he should be running a secular government and by definition conflicting church and state, I damn well expect him to –at bare minimum– be capable of following his own religion.


In advance of Thursday, I bring you GOP Debate Bingo

Don’t be afraid. Let the tomfoolery flow though you. Let it give you sustenance as you mark the debate progress with stickers on this custom debate bingo card. And “God Bless America.”
GOPDebateBingo


The Exclusive, Firm, and Final Proof Jon Snow is Alive We’ve All Been Waiting For

 

 

 

melisandre

 
 

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Ladies and gents, this is the one! ALERT, ALERT! This is the moment we’ve all been crying for: exclusive paprazzi footage from the set of Game of Thrones in Belfast! Enough will he, won’t he with the Wimbledon hair, you guys. THE TRUTH IS HERE! Spoiler clip below the fold. Don’t kill me, HBO, I’m just a messenger!

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Reviewing Other People’s Documents

When PhDs decades above my pay grade send me documents to review that are riddled with text errors and grammatical snafus and then feel slighted and get reactionary when I send it back to them all marked up.

…And then they send me more embarrassing documents the following week.

fYYanMF


Oh, Florida.

confeddebacleflorida

Enslaved Africans made up 44% of Florida’s population by the Civil War, and in its aftermath a fifth of the black community fled due to systemic lynchings and racial violence, barred from even working in society. This reality was so widespread and pervasive in post-confederate spaces that it inspired “The Great Migration” without any phones or social media with which to organize it.

But sure, white people. Your Fox News ideology about things that don’t affect your day-to-day experiences whatsoever is more important than the abhorrent legacy that symbol engenders for millions of black Americans. Carry on.

Once again, the line that separates 21st century conservatives from progressives is painted to be basic human empathy and an ability to imagine anyone’s circumstances but their own. The smugness will backfire when their grandchildren visibly recoil at their stories someday.

Goku is disappointed in you.

Goku is disappointed in you.


When the Internet Strikes

That moment when someone comments on your Facebook factoids specifically to start a fight and politely gets truthbombed back to the Stone Age… and then deletes her FB in a pouty rage because she didn’t expect to be called out for her pernicious bullshit. “Why can’t I spout harmful propaganda that I heard third-hand from a chain letter that my racist uncle sent someone without being oppressed and my freedom of speech trampled by know-it-all academics?!”

I hold that most of the time if you genuinely want to know about a subject, you’ll take the fifteen seconds to look it up rather than compose three haughty paragraphs of sociocentric nonsense. But then again, I’m just an academic.

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Eff you, Facebook.

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This is not what I had in mind when I wrote about women taking initiatives.


Return to Nature: A Childhood Fantasy

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I just started watching the final season of Inu Yasha on amazon. This show brought so much natural beauty, vibrant colors, and downright fabulous fabrics into my anime repertoire, not to mention the fictional mancandy who was ready and willing to receive my blossoming female gaze. This was one of those series that I reveled in during youth, bought the plushies and other gear at conventions, and even wrote fanfic. But like most fandoms, I lost touch with it in college. Inu Yasha was important to my youth in many ways, one of those being a bonding opportunity for my brother and I. With six years’ difference, opposing gender perspectives, and a vast landscape of traditional religious repression separating us, we had few places wherein to connect. Saturday night anime was one of those places.

But my family relationships are for another post, another time. What I want to talk about right now are the environmental aspects of the show and what it means directly for my nostalgia as I watch it today. Although it has its own beauty that easily stands alone, Inu Yasha speaks to me so much for the nostalgia factor. This show had its own kind of feminism going on, one which I didn’t fully understand but I at least acknowledged. There was Sango, a mighty warrior who hunted down her enemies and took no prisoners. There was Kikyo, a protector of nature and order who dealt vengeance like the BAMF that she is, not afraid to send an arrow through her own lover’s heart when she was wronged. Then there was Kagome, a like-minded teen lethargic with modern life and who secretly wanted to escape to a time before the modern hubbub, conventions, global conglomerate, and CO2. In the story, this reality is thrust upon her more as a genealogical inevitability, but of course I infused my own traits into my interpretation of her character.

inuyasha2

I call that time the “Lord of the Rings years” because my mindscapes looked more like Rivendell than they did Maryland, USA, and this feudal fantasy-Japan anime fit the pre-technology paradigm for those years too. These were years where I was deeply disillusioned with modern life (as rebellious children desperate for autonomy and feeling emotionally, culturally, spiritually, and sexually repressed by a household whose values they don’t share are wont to be), and thus fell into depression. Blog posts on being an ultra-liberal, atheist, sexually open, feminist hippy in an opposing household are a dime a dozen, the emotional effects of which are almost cliche in their universality. So, no need to tread those grounds. Instead, I’ll discuss the avenue I personally chose: fantasy. Novels, fanfic, TV, movies, and my own imagination.

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