Ramble: Blogging Advice from Hell

It has suddenly dawned on me what this world needs more of, oh so much more. First of all you all need more advice and wisdom. Don’t worry I have that covered – so stay with me and I’ll share that with you. No charge. Second of all the world simply needs more lists. So here is a dangling listicle of advisement pleasure:

  1. There are no rules for blogging. Yes you heard me right – you get to do whatever you think is best when writing a blog. Shocking I know. Take a deep breath and let that sink in for a moment.
  2. There are rules for good blogging. Yeah I messed with you there with Number 1, and that first big reveal of freedom. There are things you can do to create an effective popular blog. When I find out what those things are I will share them with you via an e-book. Only $29.95. But if you pre-order now I will take say $5 via paypal? It is an investment in your future.
  3. Don’t write poetry. Poetry blogs suck. Anyone that writes poetry sucks. They are angst filled pound-puppy rejects of blogging swill. Don’t believe me? This is a Poetry Blog – go ahead take a look around – OH…and bring a bucket.
  4. Post Photos. Lots of photos. It will guarantee your success as a blogger. The internet started out as text and slip-streamed into images and video faster than a porn-star on blow. Which reminds me that the biggest hits on the internet are naked pictures of women and cats. Only the cats aren’t naked. The other common element is both types of photos often include boxes of on kind or another. Mostly the other.

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/30/91108977_7f069dc9a4.jpg

    Obligatory naked pussy-cat photo…

  5. Sex. I don’t have to explain this do I? You know the old saying those who can do – and the rest of us read about it.
  6. Be a woman blogger. Women bloggers get followers faster than flowers get bees. Especially attractive women. And if you are a witty, attractive woman it is even better. Add a provocative photo of yourself, and the internet is like a baby crying for a nipple. I started a TUMBLR account as a twenty-something woman, re-posting steamy photos and I had more followers and dirty emails in a month then I could handle. And mostly those emails were all about the handling. I deleted the account.
  7. Be a celebrity blogger. Nothing says success like being a celebrity sharing your thoughts and opinions on everything, everywhere, every time. Of course being a celebrity kinda bypasses the whole chicken-and-egg dilemma from the blogging sense. Being a celebrity ensures the success of your blog no matter what you are saying. Add some photos of yourself – maybe topless sun-bathing and Oh-la-la! And yes twitter counts as blogging when you post every 30-seconds…
  8. Write about celebrities. It is like Number 7 in a coat-tails parasitic symbiosis kinda way. And I mean that in the best ways possible! Naked photos add hits (see Jennifer Lawrence…)
  9. Be funny! I cannot emphasize this enough. Funny gets you followers. We all lead bitter lonely lives in our own silent realities – why do I need to read about someone else’s sad sorry life? I tried to be funny once – it was quite the tragedy.
  10. Be tragic! I just said “Be Funny” and now I say “Be Tragic”? Look I don’t have to be right when I give out free advice, but I do have to cover all the bases. The best thing in the world is a sad-tragic tale told in a darkly humorous style. It is good to laugh – it is even better to laugh at other people’s misery and stupidity!  Add some photographs and SNAP! You is a blogging star.
  11. Create Lists. Lots and lots of lists. Want people to view hundreds of naked women (or fully furred felines?) then create a list of TOP-TEN Bikini Bodies. Mix in pictures of cats in bikinis and you have multiple points from this list covered! You will be a google god!
  12. Mention Jennifer Lawrence at least once. Search Optimization. Jennifer Lawrence Naked is the number one search term out there.
  13. Never have Thirteen items in your list. It is just way too long!
  14. Post in time for breakfast. People want to read short-snappy feel good items as they have a coffee. Eggs over-easy with a side of listicals. Oh that is good.

I guarantee that if you follow my advice you will be a blogger. Mainly because if you follow my advice you will create a blog – and so it follows you are then a blogger. The successful part has nothing to do with me or my listical of blogging wisdom.

Carry on and keep blogging.

http://healthyceleb.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Jennifer-Lawrence-2014.jpg

Jennifer Lawerence – hey is she actually wearing anything?

Ramble: Check Your Privilege: Political Correctness Returns

Do you remember the Political Correctness fad of 1990s? Where language needed to be deconstructed and reconstructed to avoid hurting people’s feelings and protecting cherished sacred cows? Like all sociologically driven fads designed to bring about change it started from a sincere place in making people recognize that language shapes thinking, and personal biases are in turn reflected in the language we chose to use.

From its roots English is a Politically Incorrect language. The history of words capturing the essence of the patriarchal and xenophobic societies that contributed to the development of English. This is why the gender-neutral pronoun was “he/him/his.” Yes there is a real gender-neutral pronoun of “it”  – but that is also the pronoun for an animal, vegetable or mineral. We generally find that being referred to as “it” doesn’t really work. There is also the use of “one” as a pronoun, so that one might say “one can drive 10 miles and get to one’s house.” The use of “one” often simply creates an awkward sentence reeking of third person distance.

English historically tended to create categories of people by ending the name of the grouping with “man”. As in: human. From there we go quickly into fireman, policeman, postman, milkman, and of course “the man.” Overall that historical bias of English made the other half of “man” (also know as “woman”) feel rather excluded. So words began to evolve to reflect a new reality of gender-equity. We know have firefighters, police, postal workers, and no more milkmen of any kind. Some words are harder to evolve so we do still have humans and humanists. And we still have women (although it may now be spelled womyn).

That evolution of language stirred some waves, but it was when that evolution of language morphed into Political Correctness that things went over the top. Short people became “vertically challenged”; fat people became “plus-sized”; and Christmas became “happy holidays”. The reality is that English did need to evolve to make words more inclusive, and ultimately simply more accurate in usage. The backlash against “politically correct” language eventually turned the phrase “Politically Correct” or “PC” into a pejorative term.

So here we are and look PC is dead; long-live “Check your Privilege”.

Now in the normal sense of the word a Privilege is “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.” However, in this case “Check your Privilege” is all about an academic sociologically based reinvention of the word. Basically in this new context a “privilege” is to quote Wikipedia: “Privilege is the sociological concept that some groups of people have advantages relative to other groups. The term is commonly used in the context of social inequality, particularly with regards to race, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability and social class.[1] Specific elements of privilege may be financial or material such as access to housing, education, and jobs,[1] as well as others that are emotional or psychological, such as a sense of personal self-confidence and comfortableness, or having a sense of belonging or worth in society.[2] It began as an academic concept, but has since become popular outside of academia.[3]

This concept of “privilege” actually has a lovely earnest and hopeful framework holding it up. Unfortunately the original clarity of the concept has been hijacked so that “Check your Privilege” is now simply a quick slap to shut-down an opinion one may not want to hear. The original goal of making people aware of social and cultural privilege was to make individuals aware of societal inequities that may create barriers or exclusions for some groups that do not fit the “norm.”

The current use of the term has turned that around so that those labelled as being “privileged” have an unearned advantage that has been enshrined as a societal norm. The phrase “check your privilege” is then used as a warning bell that the speaker has no right to speak on a topic because the speaker is viewed has having no “real experience” and so is speaking from a blind-vantage of “privilege”. A quick interjection of “Check Your Privilege” is just a clever way to say “Shut Up!”

The beauty of this quick slap-down is it can be quickly wielded at any time by identifying an individual as being part of a pre-defined “elite” group that has unfettered access to “privilege”. The most used categories is north american culture are the privileged properties of being “white”, “male”, “able-bodied”, “attractive”, or “christian”. If you can be slotted into any of these categories then you are auto-magically privileged no matter your real life experience.  It does not matter that you may never have been treated as a “white” or a “christian” if by appearances you can be slotted into the category. Please note one cannot pick their own category – others must decide for you if your are “white”, “male” and so on. Your own personal life experience does not matter – only the external view of those that dis-like your opinions matter.

This of course makes the entire concept of social privilege suspect and distracts from the real disparities that do exist in our cultures and societies. Yes there really is sexism, and racism, and a host if other biased concepts and attitudes in our world. Attempting to shame people, or even to guilt individuals, because of a “perceived” membership in a societal group does nothing for the discussion, and simply makes individuals invisible. My experience of the world is not your statistical analysis of the world!

A normative value will always exist in the middle-ground of a society – meaning that there will always be those that exceed the norm and those that are below the norm. Yet all individuals will fall on different parts of different measurements! Meaning no one person is ever fully privileged by all a society has to offer.

This is why the cry of “Check your Privilege” – like the PC fad from before – has gone off the rails. It takes a good idea, and then goes OCD on the implementation. If you think you can tell me to “Check my Privilege” the reality is it is your own “holier then thou” sense of entitlement that needs to be checked. Go check yourself – but please not in public.

Ramble: The Straw-man of White Privilege

Lately I have been reading about this concept of “Check Your Privilege” and seeing things such as “If you don’t have to think about it, it is a privilege.”

Generally the concept of “Check Your Privilege” is aimed at those that are “White” and those that are “Male.” Because automagically “Whiteness” and “Maleness” confirms some mystical powers on those that are defined as “white” and “male”. And the elite are thus “white males.”

Now I do accept that bias and racism does exists. My difficulty is the concept of “white privilege” is basically a straw-man argument designed to distract from the reality of most peoples lived experience – no matter the color of their skin. A straw-man argument is one that exaggerates, misrepresents, or just completely fabricates the points so  it is  much easier to present another view as being more reasonable. However this is a form of intellectual dishonesty that serves to undermine honest rational debate on a topic.

Cheryl Harris describes whiteness as a form of property, which confers privileges on its holders. In “Whiteness as Property,” Harris writes, “The wages of whiteness are available to all whites, regardless of class position – even to those whites who are without power, money, or influence. Whiteness, the characteristic that distinguishes them from blacks, serves as compensation even to those who lack material wealth. It is the relative political advantages extended to whites, rather than actual economic gains, that are crucial to white workers.”
— Cheryl, Harris (1995), “Whiteness as Property”, in Crenshaw, Kimberlé, Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings that Formed the Movement, New York: The New Press, p. 286, ISBN 1-56584-271-5

While “white privilege” is an interesting academic thought exercise one aspect that is overlooked is that there are degrees of “whiteness”. Not all light skin people are treated as white and generally these light-tinted folks are given labels such as white trash, hillbillies, red-necks, and other descriptors meant to capture the low-status of these folks. Harris would seem to argue that anyone that can be classified as “light-skinned” is inherently blessed by the pinkish glow of their outer dermis.

The concept of “white privilege” imagines that north america society is a tiered cake arranged in discreet color layers starting with angel food-cake on the top and descending down into double dark-chocolate on the bottom. The societal reality is closer to it being a marble cake with swirls of white and dark mixed throughout the cake – and then topped with a creamy rich white icing on top. From the outside this marble-cake would seem to confirm that whiteness is indeed the key to success – when the reality is the white topping is more about the historical economic privilege of the elite European colonialists maintaining their economic head-start.

Yes the mixing of the marble is still uneven – so the cake is still darker on the bottom. However, more important than simply assigning “whiteness” is the understanding of the unbalancing impact of historical economic power that is still retained by a thin elite few. And yes they are mostly white. And mostly men. But their power actually flows from the control over things that are green and gold – economic clout to do as they please when they please. This is more about the eternal class disparity that has a historical white bias – and that economic power is a barrier that is harder to breakdown.

More Fear of Apples: Malusdomesticaphobia

Apples are an all-American success story-each ...

Every once in awhile I peruse my “Search Terms” list to see what people are actually randomly finding me. My number one search term is: Fear of Apples.

When I wrote my post on the “A Fear of Apples” I had no idea that it was an internet fascination. If you search for “Fear of Apples” I am actually number 5 on the search results with a link to http://merlinspielen.com/2013/02/18/a-fear-of-apples/

This is a point of pride, I am a front page search term. Okay so it isn’t thousands searching for Fear of Apples. Still I am surprised that it is now over 100 search results, and visits!

For those wondering there is an actual Fear of Apples Phobia it is called Malusdomesticaphobia, and it is the fear of all apples and can also be used when describing the fear of eating apples.